Good Decisions

How Can 10 Dollars Make You Happier?

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What’s the best way to spend 10 dollars? Buy a coffee? Chocolate? A paid iPhone app? According to research out of Harvard Business School, any of these will work – as long as you give them away to somebody else.

They key to purchasing happiness, it turns out, is to spend your money on gifts rather than on yourself. In one of many studies (which have all come to the same conclusion) researchers gave money to participants in an envelope and told them to spend it on anything before 5 PM. The primary difference between the two groups was this: Half were told to spend the money on themselves and the other half were told to spend it on somebody else.

Some people picked up a coffee from Starbucks, others spent it on gifts like stuffed animals. Regardless of the purchase, or the amount of money that was provided inside the envelopes, the participants who gave their purchases away became happier – and the happiness of those who spent the money on themselves didn’t change at all.

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True Happiness vs Mainstream Fun: Settling the Debate

By | Achievement, Clear Perspective, Energy, Fun Relationships, Good Decisions, Stability | No Comments

When you achieve happiness, you can have fun just about anywhere. Some of greatest memories are during times when I was in what are, on the surface, miserable environments. In Thailand with my wife, Cherise, we went hiking through a dense forest which, little did we know, was littered with millions of leeches. Jumping around to escape the leeches with Cherise was a blast! And, it is a memory I won’t forget. Now, we say things like, “Love you times all of the leeches in Thailand” – An acknowledgement that this is essentially the largest multiplier in existence.

When I was traveling Europe, my mom and I went to Venice on a backpacking trip. The last bus dropped us off at the wrong location, and we had to hike through torrential rain in the middle of the night, on no sleep, for over an hour. Cars drenched us, and our massive backpacks, with buckets of water as they passed. And when we got to our campground/hostel, it was locked up for the night. This, among hundreds of others, is one of my favorite memories with my mom.

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The Most Poisonous Phrase in the World: ‘Let’s See How it Goes’

By | Achievement, Clear Perspective, Fun Relationships, Good Decisions, Stability | No Comments

The phrase is ubiquitous – I hear people say these words in nearly any situation:
– “I hate my job, but let’s see how it goes.”
– “I’m not happy in my relationship, but let’s see how it goes.”
– “I just went on a first date and I think she likes me, but let’s see how it goes.”
– “I’ve started a new diet and don’t think I’ll make it all the way through, but let’s see how it goes.”

There are far better responses to the situations above, and I’ll tell you what they are. By changing what you say, you will empower yourself to have a more successful, enjoyable and fulfilled future.

It’s a strong statement to label this ‘the most poisonous phrase in the world.’ There are other, far more evil phrases (e.g., “Let’s plant a bomb in that building”). However, no other phrase is both so widely used and so damaging to our collective perspective on life.

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The Ultimate Guide to Waking Up Early

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I am a night owl, and I spent years trying to wake up early. Every once in a while, I was successful – and I loved it. On these rare occasions, I’d be up at the crack of dawn – before anybody else in the neighborhood was awake. I’d make myself a coffee, sit at my desk and get more done in that first hour of the day than I would have in the first four hours at my distraction-ridden office.

It was on these days that I’d swear to wake up early ‘from here on out!’ Then, I would snooze over and over again for another 6 months until I happened to get up early again.

I’m going to share with you the secrets I’ve learned to waking up early and get a head start on your day – and on your peers.

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How To Get Negative Thoughts, Depression and Anxiety Out Of Your Head

By | Clear Perspective, Fun Relationships, Good Decisions, Stability | 2 Comments

I Can’t Stop Thinking About It, So It Must Be True! Right?

We humans have very active imaginations. Thoughts come and go, like clockwork. For the most part, we don’t give much credibility to thoughts that randomly pop into our heads (“Am I an alien?” or “I bet cats can talk to each other!”). Sometimes, though, a thought doesn’t go away.

This unfortunate thought process is the result of several brain functions that, independently, serve perfectly reasonable purposes but are disastrous when activated simultaneously. Think of it like a toddler, a hammer, and a laptop. Separately, these items are great for their purposes. But combine them, and unlikely you’ll be checking your emails anytime soon.

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Will Your Natural Instincts Lead You To Happiness?

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Over the past decade, I’ve read volumes of books, articles, journals, interviews, blogs, tweets, and musings on the topic of happiness. My favorite flavor of happiness writing is the exploration of our brain structure – particularly the way that our minds are wired and how we can use this understanding to our benefit.

Through this inaugural blog post, I’ll share with you the thesis of this Blog: That our minds are not naturally set up to lead us to happiness in the day and age in which we live. You see, our ancestors, the Homo habilis, spent about 2.8 million years evolving. Their ancestors, the Hominidae, diverged from Gibbons about 15–20 million years ago. In fact, the earliest known fossils of primates are from the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago.1 That’s a lot of evolution and, for the most part, provided a consistent environment within which to evolve – Dangerous animals, rival tribes that might kill you, long gaps between finding food, and sexy tribal women wearing nothing but loincloths.

All of the sudden, about 10,000 years ago, agriculture and civilization appeared. This changed everything. Fast forward to our modern age, with fast food, porn, theme parks, and functioning legal systems – it is clear that our environment is strikingly different from that of our ancestors. Unfortunately, our brains haven’t had a chance to adapt to our new world.

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