3 Tips for Doing Something Better

You see those article headlines all the time: “10 Tips for …” blah blah blah. The writer claims to have simplified some common problems we all face — losing weight, achieving happiness, getting along with your boss at work — into three, five, or 10 nuggets of no-fail wisdom. Often we find two or three that are useful and ignore the rest because they seem benign or we’ve already tried them and know they’re no panacea for success.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Numerals in headlines quantify value, draw readers,” from Wylie Communications, April 3, 2015.]

Sometimes it’s helpful just to remember that life is a journey, not a destination. After all, the sooner you get to a destination the sooner your journey ends. And when it comes to living, well, that’s not a good thing.

So here are a few insights garnered from recent Internet articles that may be more helpful than doing a kale cleanse or trying your sister-in-law’s new miracle diet.

1. Relocate to a happier place.

The happiest people in the world reportedly live in Europe — namely Denmark. In fact, retired Danish women claim the highest order of cheerfulness, consistently reporting a happiness score of 8.5 out of 10. According to recent research, geography does play a factor in happiness, which is probably less of a revelation for people who live in excessively cold or depressive surroundings. For those in sunnier climates, they probably recognize and appreciate this fact on a daily basis.

A second indicator of happiness is income — up to a point. The higher the pay, even if it’s just one quintile higher on the income scale — the more content the demographic. But pay apparently doesn’t trump geography, as even “the poorest 20 percent of Danes are more joyful than the richest Greeks.”

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Stated preferences,” from The Economist, March 31, 2015.]

2. Don’t replace your job, replace your boss.

New research reveals that less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs and, at some point in their career, at least one-third of workers left their job to get away from their boss. It seems such a shame that one person can be endowed with the power to make a group of people (direct reports) miserable on a daily basis. This impact is not even confined to the workplace; unhappy employees tend to go home and make their families miserable as well. That’s a lot of power.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Employees Want A Lot More From Their Managers,” from Gallup, April 8, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What Do Workers Want from the Boss?” from The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2015.]

3. Reject rejection.

They say you can’t control bad news, just how you respond to it. One high school student recently took that advice one step further and decided to reject her bad news. Specifically, being rejected entrance into Duke as a freshman next year. She wrote the university a letter informing them that she rejected its rejection and looked forward to seeing them in the fall.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “17-year old rejects Duke’s rejection letter,” from CNN Money, April 3, 2015.]

Let’s face it: Most of these tips are not practically applicable. But it may help to recognize that not all goals need to be monumental. They can be small and daily, like did you get in your half-hour walk today? In a recent speech, the Dalai Lama reiterated the importance of focusing on what is truly important to each of us:

“We all want to live happy lives. We want our lives to have meaning. Leading a meaningful life doesn’t mean accumulating money, power and fame, but generating happiness … No matter how complicated our lives may be, if we can maintain a degree of inner peace, we’ll be happy.”

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Friendly Meetings and Conclusion of Brief Teachings,” from Dalailama.com, March 21, 2015.]

We realize there are many things we cannot control in life, but perhaps the best tip is to focus on what you can control. When it comes to securing your financial future, we can help with that.

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