Four Truths From Toy Story 4

A person who seeks an enlightened existence must awaken to realize universal truths. Kilroy Oldster, author

Yesterday I took “my little girl,” Katie, and her three children to see the new movie, Toy Story 4. We all loved it! Here’s what I came away with: 

  1. We all need to learn resilience. When Woody’s child (the child to whom Woody, a toy, belongs) grows up, Woody is demoted in the playroom and loses his “favorite toy” status. As he clings to his old role, he must learn the hard lesson that life is ever-changing.
  2. Happiness can be found down a variety of paths. Woody believes that belonging to a child is the only path to happiness. Like a parent who experiences an empty nest, he has to come to terms with another way of life and realizes that, this too, can be fulfilling. 
  3. True friendship is worth the trouble. Woody places a high value on friendship and goes to great lengths to protect his friends— even when doing so makes his life difficult or uncomfortable. 
  4. Forgiveness is key to a happy life. As Woody and his friends forgive Chatty Cathy’s selfish, and sometimes sinister, behavior, they experience the peace that comes with forgiveness. 

Affirmation: Life’s lessons are universal.

Coaching questions: What have you learned lately from an unconventional source? What do people learn by watching you live your life? 

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Creating Happy Days

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. Abraham Lincoln

Today is my husband’s birthday. I wish him good health and happiness for the coming year. What does that mean exactly? We get the health part but what about happiness? Some think happiness is something we can use up. Others think happiness is the result of more…more money, more fame, more stuff.  Nothing can be further from the truth. 

Contentment or happiness is the result of many things including our environment, habits, behaviors, and decisions. It is also the result of learning to create a good day for ourselves. As we consistently choose to be happy, the amount of happiness we experience can improve over time and we will be better able to address problems as they arise. Happy Birthday, Ken!

Affirmation: I know how to create a good day for myself.

Coaching questions: What makes you happy? How do you create your own happiness? What will you do to bring more happiness into your life? 

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Photo by Christopher Martyn on Unsplash

Stop Pursuing Happiness

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. Helen Keller, author

Why were over forty women willing to tell me their sad tale of mother loss? Their universal response was because they wanted their experience to make a difference to another person. Telling me their story and having it become a part of a book gave their loss meaning—and meaning gives us happiness. 

Happiness can’t be pursued, it’s the side effect of dedication to the pursuit of something meaningful beyond our own gratification. This is why creating something to share—a painting, a garden, a book, an afghan, a festive meal, etc—gives us pleasure. This is why volunteering at the school, hospital, church, etc—gives us pleasure. Stop pursuing happiness and begin to look for the meaning in your life. 

Affirmation: I find happiness in meaningful experiences. 

Coaching question: Where do you find meaning and purpose in your life? 

 

Four Keys to Greater Happiness

The happiest people in the world have a few characteristics in common: they create strong social networks, have a sense of purpose, are usually generous and have faith. The Blue Zones newsletter

There are two Blue Zones books and studies. One is about the longest-lived people in the world, the other is a study of the happiest. The formula discovered in their extensive research on happy people the world over seems simple…have friends, purpose, a generous spirit, and faith. As we search for happiness in more money to buy more stuff or have more experiences or greater leisure, we may be missing the point. 

We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Whatever our economic background, age, or circumstance, we can embrace the principles proven to bring us greater happiness. 

Affirmation: I know how to create happiness in my life.

Coaching questions: Do you have friends, purpose, a generous spirit and faith? What element needs to be stronger for you to have greater happiness in your life?

IMG_3986I’m in a happy place with friends.

No Regrets

Never regret a day in your life: good days give happiness, bad days give experience, worst days give lessons, and best days give memories. As seen on Facebook

The older I am, the less I regret any day. I can sense my days slipping away and I want to savor each and every one no matter what they bring. I’ve had my share of experience and lessons but mostly I’ve experienced days that created memories and happiness. I’m a fortunate woman.

How we frame the days of our lives…bad equals experience, worst equals lessons….makes a difference in our overall peace and joy. Each day is a gift, enjoy.

Affirmation: I never regret a day in my life.

Coaching questions: How do you frame your bad and worst, good and best days? What helps you stay in the present and embrace each day as a gift?

IMG_1061 A beautiful morning on Barfield Bay, Marco Island, Florida.

Choose To Be Happy

Forty percent of our happiness, or lack thereof, is dictated by our genes, and about fifteen percent is by circumstances. That means you’re in control of about 40 to 45 percent, which is a lot. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones of Happiness

Yesterday my daughters and I took their two youngest, Marcella and Sitara, both five, to Santa’s Village, a kiddie amusement park/petting zoo, for the day. At one of the girls’ first rides I noticed that Ken, the 60-ish ride operator, was extraordinarily happy as he welcomed each child to his ride, smiled and waved at them as they rode, said good-bye to each one as they left. We returned to Ken’s ride (it was a favorite) at the end of the day. I was hot and droopy but not Ken. He was still smiling and welcoming each child as they boarded.

Perhaps this is Ken’s retirement job and that’s why he seems to love it so….perhaps he is living off the meager income it provides. I have no idea but I do know that Ken has chosen to be happy and brighten the lives of little children and tired grandmas. Thanks, Ken.

Affirmation: I choose to be happy.

Coaching questions: In what ways do you choose to be happy? Who do you know that, despite their difficult circumstances, has chosen to be happy? In what way do they inspire you? If you are this person, know that you are inspiring others.

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Balancing Purpose and Pleasure

To be truly happy, you need to feel both pleasure and purpose. You can be just as happy or sad as I am but with a different combination of pleasure and purpose. And you may require each to different degrees at different times. But you do need to feel both. I call this the pleasure-purpose principle–the PPP. Paul Dolan, author of Happiness by Design

Hedonism is the pursuit of happiness via sensory pleasure and comforts. Eudaemonism is the pursuit of happiness through efforts to live a virtuous life and become a better person. There’s evidence to show that living well means balancing these two aims.

If we choose one to the exclusion of the other, we can end up feeling like we’re missing out which can cause anxiety, depression and even chronic disease. One way to obtain balance is to notice when experiences provide a sense of both pleasure and purpose then create more of these moments in our lives.

Affirmation: I have both pleasure and purpose in my life.

Coaching questions: Can you name a time when you experienced both pleasure and purpose? What helps you keep both pleasure and purpose active in your life? What gives you pleasure? What gives you a sense of purpose?