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Can you be happy and still want more?

“Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.” ~ Helen Keller

How can you be happy with what you have if you still want more? 

Being happy with what you have helps you

  • Appreciate every day blessings
  • Have an attitude of gratitude
  • Choose happiness every day
  • Focus on all you have instead of what you don’t have.

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And while you are happy with what you have right now, continue working for what you want. Being happy with what you have doesn’t mean you settle for where you are.

  • Stay focused on your goals. If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for.
  • Decide what you want, then take action toward your goals, and don’t give up.
  • Be patient. Success takes time. It doesn’t usually happen all at once.
  • Trust the process. It’s in the journey that we gain the most.
  • Do the work. It’s up to you to figure it out.

Being patient can be a challenge. You may have to work at it. (That’s one of my daily challenges.)

Impatience leads to distractions. And there are so many potential distractions. 

You’re responsible for your own happiness. No one can do it for you.

The good news is, you can do it. No excuses.

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No one knows everything about everything

Everything we know, we’ve learned somehow – by watching, hearing, reading about, and/or doing.

Being a lifelong learner is good for your health and happiness. It helps keep you engaged in the world, so ask questions, research, and keep learning.

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Being a beginner can be awkward because you’re figuring things out as you go. You can learn a lot from experts, but some people may try and make you feel ridiculous because you don’t know something they think is obvious. They forget that no one knows everything about everything.

Sharing Ideas

A few months ago, I joined a bloggers meet-up because I wanted to connect with fellow bloggersI thought it would be a great opportunity to share “best practices” and gain insight from their experiences.

Bloggers at the meet up ranged from total newbies to experts with years of blogging experience.

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I’d just recently started reading Seth Godin’s blog. Seth blogs about marketing and business. He’s written a ton of books and been around a long time, but he was new to me.

I thought a newbie might like Seth’s blog too, so I asked a brand new blogger, “Have you heard of Seth Godin?”

And a blogger who’s been blogging for years said, “Everyone knows about Seth Godin.” It was  the kind of statement that would’ve had a drawn out, “Duh” coupled with an exaggerated eyeroll.

“Nah-uh,” I wanted to say, but instead I said, “I hadn’t heard of him ’til a few weeks ago.”

I thought to myself, “No, that’s not true. Everyone does not know about Seth Godin.”

(Interestingly, Seth Godin blogs about how ideas are shared.)

No matter where you fall in the spectrum of experience, remember: No one knows everything about everything.

Photo courtesy of published on strong-woman.comIf you’re a beginner:

Learn all you can. Do your homework and show up as prepared as possible.

Take your time, take notes, and practice. Keep at it. Don’t worry if you forget what you learned and have to keep re-learning it. 

Get extra help if you need it. It’s okay. Don’t let pride keep you from learning all you can.

If you’re an expert:

Be open to new ideas. Even a teacher can learn from a student.

Be patient with others. Don’t assume people know what you’re talking about. We’re all at different stages of learning. 

Be humble. You were a beginner once too.

Sharing ideas is important. It’s a give and take. Sometimes we teach, sometimes we learn. Don’t let people to make you feel bad about being a beginner.

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Choose belief over doubt

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford.

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So often, we give up before we start. We list reasons why something won’t work. It saves us the trouble of trying and keeps us from risking failure.

But how can we get past that? How can we open our minds to the possibility of success?

It’s about belief. And then it’s about action.

Belief over doubt

Doubt stems from fear and it’s a powerful force. How do we get from “I don’t think I can” (doubt) to “I can” (belief).

Will saying, “I think I can. I think I can,” over and over, like The Little Engine That Could, work to help me believe and succeed?

It’s a great start. 

Think of it as chipping away at a pile of doubt, all the “reasons” you think you can’t.

Believe. Be open to the possibility of success. Even if you don’t know how you’ll reach your goals and they may seem so far away, believe you can do it. Work hard and don’t give up.

Be okay with failed attempts.

Of course, you’ll face setbacks. What successful person hasn’t?  Remember that the only way to guarantee you won’t fail is to never try.

Can or can’t? Each of us must decide for ourselves.

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Be the gatekeeper of your joy

When I get upset about someone else’s inconsiderate behavior, like cutting me off on the highway or going to the “15 items or Less” aisle with a cartload full of groceries, I’m giving someone else power over me. I’m giving up my joy.

I know I need to be the gatekeeper of my joy and not give it up over silly stuff that’s out of my control.  Photo courtesy of pixabay commons posted on

It’s easier said than done

The other day I was at the grocery store. I was in a good mood. I’d just had a great visit with my sister, the music playing in the store was upbeat and happy, and my daughter had gotten engaged the day before.

I was in the parking lot putting my groceries in my car and I noticed a guy walking to the driver’s side of his truck. He looked at a piece of paper in his hand, probably a receipt, wadded it up, and tossed it on the ground. It didn’t even look like he thought about stuffing it in his pocket. He just tossed it on the ground.Photo courtesy of pixabay commons posted on

I couldn’t believe it. In my mind, I was like, “You jerk! What the heck’s wrong with you?! Pick it up, loser!”

He didn’t look my way, but he must have felt me giving him the stink eye, because when he drove away, I was looking at him like, “You suck!” He kind of glanced my way while driving off.

I got in my car thinking, How can people do that? I mean, I understand when bits of paper get away from you or you drop something and litter without even knowing you’re littering, but to intentionally throw something to the ground?

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He’s probably the kind of person who’d spit his chewed up gum out on the street so someone else can step right on it.

Seeing him throw his paper on the ground, intentionally littering, really got me mad. I went from happy and singing to just pissed off.

Stay on guard

But why was I so upset?

Was it just the audacity of the guy and his apparent attitude of “It’s not my problem. What do I care?”

I realized I was letting that guy spoil my good mood. I was letting him get the better of me.

And so I get back to the original idea about what I know. Don’t give away my joy. I was giving away my joy. To a stranger who litters. That’s just stupid.

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What were my choices?

Confront him. Tell him to pick up his paper. (Parking lot rage)

Pick up the paper and throw it away myself.

Walk away.

Say a prayer for him.

Give him the evil eye.

Blow it off.

What did I do? Nothing helpful. I got in my car and drove away, still angry about what he did even though he was long gone.

I didn’t handle myself very well.

It reminded me that:

We make choices in all our interactions every day. What we say or do. How we react.

Each of us is the gatekeeper of our joy

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Next time you let someone annoy and irritate you, remember that you’re handing over your joy. On a platter.

Then decide if it’s worth really that important to you. 

Remember that you can’t make people do, think, or feel the way you do about things. The only person each of us can ever hope to control is ourselves.

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Where you look is where you’ll go

A few years back I took a bad spill from my mountain bike. The crash left me with bruised and bloody knees. It hurt, but while it wasn’t a pleasant experience, it helped me realize something important: Where you look is where you’ll go. 

Cycling baggage

I’ve never been very good at things on wheels. Skateboards, bicycles, skates. I tend to fall for some reason. I’ve had my share of memorable falls. I once fell off my bike when it wasn’t even moving.

So getting on a mountain bike presented a mental challenge for me because I had to let go of memories of skinned knees and painful falls. I had to expect to stay on the bike.

It was a beautiful day for a ride.

I started out fine. My husband and I were cycling on a smooth, easy trail (my favorite) in a scenic state park. 

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The easy trail turned into a gravel trail and then a little further along we wound up in an even more difficult trail in a rocky creek bed. 

I was trying to stay positive and confident, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I don’t want to fall. It’ll hurt if I fall.” 

Up ahead there was a large rock, probably about the size of a football and I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t hit the rock. Don’t hit the rock.”

Well, sure enough, my front tire hit the big rock and I went flying off my bike. I skidded on the rocks before coming to a stop.

Blood ran down my legs. My knees and hands burned. I screamed a few choice words and cried like a small child. I was right. It did hurt.

What happened? I was doing so well!

Where you look is where you’ll go. 

I was so focused on the rock, I didn’t see anything but the rock. I was saying, “Don’t hit the rock.” Of course I hit the rock.

The mind is powerful. Where I focus my thoughts and attention is the direction I’ll go, even if it’s not where I want to go. 

It’s a reminder to be aware of how your thoughts direct you. What you focus on is an indicator of where you’re going.

How many times does it happen that the one thing you decide you don’t want to do is what you end up doing? The one thing you don’t want to happen is what happens?

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Where you look is where you’ll go.

Avoid focusing on what you don’t want. Focus on where you want to go and on what you want to do, because where you look is where you’ll go.

Fun extra: Here’s another illustration of the principle that where you look is where you’ll go. It’s from Bob’s Burgers when Tina learns to drive a car.