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Start Late

“It is never too late. Even if you are going to die tomorrow, keep yourself straight and clear and be a happy human being today.” ~Lama Yeshe

There’s a common misconception that there comes a point when it’s too late to do things you want to do. Maybe one of these statements sounds familiar to you:

“I can’t become a designer. I’m far too old to change my career path.”

“I’ll never get married. It’s too late in the game for that.”

“I couldn’t possibly start yoga. That’s for people much younger than me.”

We choose arbitrary windows of time

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Up on Your Dream

“Commitment in the face of conflict produces character.” ~Unknown

We all face obstacles in pursuing our goals, whether they’re professional or personal.

We think we’re on the right track but realize we’ve chosen the wrong approach. We’re enthusiastic and hard-working, but our support system disintegrates when we need them the most. We’re just about to make significant progress when we run out of time or funding.

Tenacious as we may be, we all have our breaking points—that moment when the potential rewards stop justifying the effort. Usually, that’s the hump that separates your best shot and your best reality.

Before …

Un-side for a While

“When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.” ~Wayne Dyer

Research shows that rooting for a team, identifying with a group and enjoying the camaraderie you feel with other fans, can increase your sense of personal happiness.

While it’s satisfying to feel a sense of belonging, it can be dangerous to carry this us-against-them philosophy into other areas of your life. We do it all the time.

A man connects so deeply to his heritage that he puts up walls with people from different backgrounds.

Or a woman believes something with so much conviction that people who …

50+ Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

It’s a well-known fact that the holidays bring on the blues. According to the National Mental Health Association, reasons for feeling blue around the holidays range from fatigue to financial limitations to tensions in personal relationships.

As for me, I’m generally a happy person. I don’t dwell on things I can’t control, I have realistic expectations, I’ve learned overtime that trying to change people is futile, and I’ve even come to appreciate some of my flaws.

But sometimes, melancholy finds me. Like a thick fog

Connect Without Complaining

“Instead of complaining the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.”~Proverb

Complaining can be a bonding experience.

You meet up with your friends after work and immediately start rehashing frustrations with your boss. You have dinner with your siblings and commiserate about confrontations with your black-sheep uncle. Or you release tension on a blind date by noticing the wait staff’s shortcomings.

Commiserating is a great way to immediately establish rapport. In that moment you feel connected—you  both have grievances, problems, and wishes for a better world.

It’s even easier to do in a challenging …

Connecting with Friends: Faster Isn’t Always Better

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield

In today’s virtual world, considering regular mail can feel rather absurd. Why would you send a postcard when you can instantly send an email or an e-card conveying your thoughts and good wishes, right?

But what happened to the charms of opening your mailbox and wondering what lies within? Hasn’t the walk back from the postbox become rather boring with only bills and flyers to expect?

Though the digital age has done a marvelous job at getting the

No Price Tag for Happiness

“Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes.  There is no need to explain or make sense of it.  Just trust what you feel.” ~Unknown

Last year I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Writing.

During my college career I created public relations material for both my Business Writing minor and the public relations firm where I interned. As I thoroughly enjoyed my minor and the internship, I decided to apply to more PR positions.

About a month into the job search, I was …

15 Ways to Change the World

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad and that is my religion.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It’s no secret that we live in a world that’s obsessed with wealth, fame, and celebrities. Some call it the “age of narcissism.” I’m not sure I want to label or judge our current circumstances. Instead, like Gandhi suggests, I’ll put my focus on being the change I wish to see in the world.

I’m planning to mix things up a bit for 2010, and I invite you to do the same. Instead of creating New Year’s Resolutions that …

Choose to Lose

“Being right is highly overrated. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ~Unknown

We all know someone who always needs to be right.

She turns everything into an argument worthy of a courtroom, complete with counter arguments and below-the-belt accusations. She finds holes in everything you say, even if you were actually agreeing with her. And in the end she needs the last word, even if means belittling you or ignoring your feelings.

Not everyone acts this righteous all the time, but we’ve likely all tried to win in an argument at least once before.

Maybe it’s the

5 Rules for Life

When I first sat down to write this piece for 5 Rules for Life, I wrote “Live without rules” five times, each followed by a reason to keep your approach to life flexible.

The way you live is largely a reflection of where you’ve been, who you’ve been, and the beliefs you’ve formed. Who am I to create a cookie-cutter hard-and-fast code that makes sense for everyone?

That’s when I realized I’d need to make a sixth rule to introduce these ideas: judge my words, and anyone else’s, against your own reason and moral code.

Buddha said, “Believe …

Assume the Best

“We must never assume that which is incapable of proof.” ~Unknown

You can never truly know someone else’s intentions.

If a coworker offers to cover your shift, she may be trying to ease your stress—or she could be vying for your job. If your sister-in-law offers to pay for your meal, she may want to help you out during tough times—of she could be trying to remind you that you’re inferior.

You can always find a negative assumption that allows you to believe the worst in people. Or you can give that person the benefit of the doubt and believe

A Scientific Perspective on Happiness: Rules in Your Head

“Happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors.” -Dalai Lama

I’m now convinced that the above quote is true. Let me explain why.

When I was studying for my psychology degree, I came across an interesting module called positive psychology.

It’s a section of the field that looks at the positive side of life, including a scientific study of what makes people happy. So potentially, it would put concerns I already had about pop-psychology, self-help, and spirituality to the test. I immediately signed up.

The idea that happiness comes from our attitude is a popular one.

Review and Giveaway: The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

Update: The winners have already been chosen for this giveaway:

  • Cynthia Atkins
  • Kevin Costillo
  • Tracey Sullivan
  • Stephanie (@Omgitsafox)
  • Brenda Sue

Is it possible to be happy in a world marred by prejudice, violence, and global disharmony—in a time when people often feel isolated from their communities, even in the most heavily populated places?

That’s the main question presented in The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World; and the answer is a resounding yes.

The fourteenth Dalai Lama has known tremendous adversity in his lifetime—having been exiled from his homeland of Tibet when communist China invaded in 1959—and yet …

40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain

“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” ~Ajahn Chah

Eckhart Tolle believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us.

We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow …

Let Go

Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong—sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

Maybe your life doesn’t look like you want it but you’re not sure how to change it or even if you can, so you feel hopeless, frustrated, and even a little bitter.

Or maybe someone hurt you so deeply that you don’t know if you can trust them anymore, so you feel angry, defensive, and indignant.

Every day we can find a million and one reasons to feel discouraged, or incompetent, or vulnerable, or harried—all things that hurt when we hold them inside like a …

7 Key Steps to Living a Beautiful Life

“Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.” ~Julius Charles Hare

I admit, I have a beautiful life. I don’t mean to brag, but I love the life I have and there is no other life I’d rather live. This wasn’t always my truth.

Many years ago, I didn’t think I would one day have a beautiful life. I had a terrible attitude, a soul-sucking job that I occasionally enjoyed, superficially at best, and I pursued things that would always leave me feeling empty.  It took me a long time and a lot …

Project Happiness: Believing in the Good in People

“Make finding the good in others a priority.” ~Zig Ziglar

One of the most exciting parts of writing about happiness is getting the opportunity to connect with people who make sharing joy a priority.

If you’re looking for it, you’ll find positive people everywhere—in your office, along your morning commute, on blogs you follow, and within your Twitter stream. They won’t be the only type of person you see; there are plenty of people out there who walk around holding onto a lot of pain, and knowingly or unknowingly spread it.

But an uplifting person—someone who believes in the good …

Letting Go of Stories About Other People

“The biggest problem for humanity, not only on a global level, but even for individuals, is misunderstanding.” ~Rinpoche

Someone cuts you off in traffic.

What a jerk!

A date stands you up.

She obviously doesn’t like you.

Your colleague gives you a dirty look across the room.

Your last email must have really pissed him off!

In so many places in our lives, we see a behavior and automatically make a meaning out of it. Everything from a glance to an email gets snappily run through our minds and attached to a reaction or feeling.

Part of this is biological. …

Take a Small Step

“I could never make a living while traveling the world; it’s just not realistic.”

“My guitar won’t pay the bills. People think I’m crazy for trying.”

“I don’t have the money to go back to school. I’m stuck in this dead-end temp job.”

Most people dream of doing something that gives them a sense of excitement and purpose. Only some people believe in the possibility of that meaningful, exciting reality. Even fewer people pursue those goals in the face of adversity and discouragement.

Belief in possibility and the willingness to try can mean the difference between feeling alive and feeling

Living Life at Full Throttle

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” ~H. Jackson Browne

When I was fifteen, I “died” for about a minute or so and then came back to life. A very severe case of bronchitis that lasted for over a week caused my brush with death. What complicated the situation was my allergic reaction to one type of medicine.

I had what’s known as a near death experience, and it was typical of all other near death experiences.

There was bright light, lots of love, and a huge reluctance to come back. I tried