Is Happiness the Thing That’s Making You Miserable?
It is easy to have a smile on your face when life is going according to plans. It isn’t so easy to keep a reasonable attitude when life drops you in a pile of manure. And I don’t think it is expected of anyone to lie in the manure with a beaming smile on one’s face. Sometimes you are going to feel a little melancholy and that is okay.
I’m not sure who started this “you need to be happy all the time” idea, but they need to be shot. Figuratively speaking of course.
Happiness is an emotion. And like all emotions it comes and it goes. Sometimes you will be sad and there will be periods of time when you will be happy. But you should not expect to be happy all the time; it simply isn’t a realistic expectation and having a goal of happiness might be what’s making you miserable.
Instead of happiness I focus on fulfillment and joy. I work everyday to find more things that make me feel full. Full of self-pride, full of confidence, full of self-esteem, full of joy, full of wonder, etc.
I find ways to get full by eating a little healthier, working a little harder, seeking out new experiences, loving my wife to the fullest extent, reading books that challenge my brain and, of course, writing my blog.
I seek to be full of joy, not happiness. I strive to increase my fulfillment, not to be happy all the time.
The goal of happiness is what makes so many people feel as though they are broken or “less than” and that is unfortunate.
Here’s a thought: stop trying to be happy all the time. Start focusing on joy and being a little more fulfilled.
Jealousy Is the Root of All Gossip
It never ceases to amaze me how humans act when they see others getting ahead or getting more. The neighbor who buys the new luxury car which leads other neighbors to begin gossiping about how they can afford such things. The member at church who shows up wearing a new fancy dress which leads other members to begin talking and speculating on why she’s wearing that dress. Why is talking about others so natural for some human beings?
Maybe it’s jealousy or envy?
Why can’t people mind their own business and focus on their own issues and tribulations? Why can’t people focus on their own business?
My favorite is when others then venture out to spread their venom in the form of gossip. They spread from person-to-person like the plague talking about something that does not pertain to them in the slightest. “Did you see what Beth wore today?” “Did you hear that John got a raise?” “Well I heard they can afford that new fancy car because Joann just came into some money.”
Jealousy is the root of gossip.
Sometimes the gossip is innocent, but then there is the spiteful, vengeful, evil “innocent” gossip which is spread by someone whose primary mission is to destroy. These people are some of my least favorite and I categorize them with narcissists and manipulators-avoid at all costs. These people have venom in their souls and they seek to use any morsel of truth to spread misinformation with the intention of burning and destroying others.
Sometimes you learn the hard way that you can trust no one. Keep your own business close to yourself and protect even the slightest of details.
Is There More To WordPress Than Just Blogging?
A common misconception that bloggers on WordPress.com make is they misunderstand what this platform is all about. They make the mistake of believing that all that is required is to produce an epic saga and people will flock to their page to read the wonders found within. What they quickly realize is WordPress.com is much, much more than a one-sided relationship.
Jason at Harsh Reality taught me this lesson a few years back and taught me the “key” to comprehending WordPress.com and I’m here to pass it along to you.
WordPress.com in its basic form is a social media platform just like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. At its heart is the function of connecting and interacting and it is much different from WordPress.org. WP.com requires, for those who wish to grow, interpersonal synergy and without synergy, the relationship withers and dies.
This is why I have implored my friends here are WP.com to reach out to others; find people who think the way you think, believe what you believe. It’s the reciprocal action of friendship that drives the blood flow of this platform and unless you understand this simple concept, your page will flounder.
Once Jason explained the social media aspect of WP my page was off and running and I believe yours will also. Take the time to connect. Build synergy. Build relationships. Give more than you take. Reblog other pages. Help someone without being asked for help. Read. Like. Comment. Connect. Care.
These are the keys to the WP kingdom.
Last night I was making dinner and half listening to the NBC Nightly News. I rushed around the kitchen, browning the chicken, dicing the red rose potatoes, and making a salad, when I heard a story that literally stopped me in my tracks.
The reporter was talking about the increasing mental health problems on college campuses. More than ever before, students are anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed.
There’s a course at Yale that teaches kids how to be happy. Ingenious.
Psychology professor Laurie Santos developed the class. She teaches students how to live a more satisfying life.
“Psychology and the Good Life” is the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history. Nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates students are enrolled.
That statistic speaks volumes.
Millennials, also known as “the anxious generation,” desperately want to know how to be happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled.
“Psychology and the Good Life” focuses on:
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Should You Drop WordAds From Your Blog?
I try to stay away from making statements about other people or their blogs. My preferred method is to ask questions and leave it up to the other person to decide for themselves. So when I give the following advice as it relates to the WordAds program, I do so from my own experience hoping it will shed some light on why I dropped the program.
Shortly after I began blogging I decided I was going to monetize my blog and allow WordAds to display advertising on my site. For those who are unfamiliar here is how it works…
WordAds allows random ads on your site based on the behavioral, geographic and demographic targeting designed by a Google Adwords campaign. So a company targeting women between the ages of 25-55 might want ads delivered on my page due to this being my target demographic; approximately 70% of my daily views are women. The way each blog gets paid is based on impression share, with an impression being the number of times someone actually looks at the ad.
I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head and I already had a budget to help direct the flow of cash that would soon befall me. I would quickly realize all of my hopes would be dashed and WordAds would prove to be a huge disappointment.
I thought if I could work my page to 100,000+ views each month then I would be able to build a nice little ad revenue stream and eventually maybe become a full-time blogger. In April 2016 I passed the 60,000 views per month mark and was excited to see the ad revenue. When the number posted I was shocked to say the least. $34.30 paid on 58,340 impressions. Thirty-four, 3, 4. Wow I was so disappointed. I did the math and realized that it would take me millions upon millions of monthly views just to get to a few hundred dollars.
A few months later I would suspend the service.
One of the main reasons for turning the ads off was it slowed down my load time on my site. I have also noticed this on nearly every single blog I visit that has the ad program turned on. I wonder why someone would be willing to sacrifice views and user-experience for $20 per month. For me it made no sense. Right now my load speed is faster than about 80% of the websites in existence, loading in under 2 seconds. When I ran ads on my site I averaged load speeds well over 4-5 seconds putting me in the bottom 40%. Why is this important? In this day-and-age people demand fast, fast and fast. They simply are not going to hang around for long if a website is slow, which means the chances of a new reader clicking away and never returning are quite realistic.
Plus, why give up primo space on my website to help make someone else tons of money, when I only get pennies? So I decided to turn the ads off and sacrifice the $20 instead of slowing down my load time and discouraging people from visiting.
The other issue revolved around the content of the advertising. I had zero control over which ads would be viewed on my site and often times people would email me asking why I allowed Asian or Russian dating sites to advertise on my site. As if in some way I was endorsing these ads. Also, there were tons of soda and processed food ads which I don’t endorse. I can see how someone would see an ad and think I was providing direct advertising to a particular brand or industry when if fact I was not.
My experience ended badly and I’ve never, ever considered turning the ad program back on. I am not willing to sacrifice the readers experience for a few dollars each month.
I encourage you to think strongly about using ads that slow down your site because in today’s world people are quick to click away and move on. And once they’re gone you might not ever get a second chance.
Energy vampires are lurking…
One of the most difficult things to do is to cut bait from people who use up our energy in a negative way. I judge the people I allow in my inner-circle on whether they fill my energy tank or drain my energy tank. If I find a person to be more draining, then I distance myself from that person. I am incredibly guarded in that way and I am like that for a specific purpose…I simply don’t have the patience to deal with people who are energy vampires.
If you have followed my page for any time you may know that I am particular about the people I allow to hang around me. I want positive, goal-oriented and intelligent people in my corner. I don’t want lazy, junk food eating, uninspired and negative people in my life. Maybe I have gotten to the age that I realize time is important and I am no longer willing to allow for too much drama. And when I take a deeper dive into the makeup of the energy vampire they are usually self-absorbed and negative; two characteristics I will not allow to have a place in my life.
Energy vampires are easy to spot. They might exhibit any of the following characteristics: stubborn, opinionated, high sense of self, controlling, negative, demeaning, angry and/or pity themselves.
When I see any of these character traits I watch closely to see what is going on behind the scenes. If I then discern the person is legit, I allow them a little closer. But they are going to have a lot of work to do to prove to me they are worth any effort on my part.
I guard my inner-circle closely because it is crucial to my success to have positive people around me, not naysayers and Debbie Downers. And at this point in my life I simply don’t have the time nor the patience for dragging anchors.
Developing the skill of patience…
Now, now, now, now, now!! My mind screams at me sometimes which reminds me of how far I have come, but also is a process check on how far I have to go. I am not always the most patient person, especially as it relates to me getting ahead. When I set a goal I want to reach said goal as quickly as possible.
And as much as I work on being patient there are those moments when I get frustrated because things are not moving at the pace that suits me. Then I try to curtail these thoughts of frustration with “everything happens for a reason and in the right time and in the right order.” I have to remind myself of this mantra often.
In the world we live I can have virtually anything I want when I want it, how I want it and where I want it. I click a button and 30 minutes later food from any restaurant I choose can be on my doorstep. But as convenient as life has become in the civilized world there are still inescapable facts and one of those facts is that sometimes we have to wait. Honestly, it pains me to even type that last sentence.
Waiting is tough. Waiting means certain parts are out of our control. Waiting means you might not be ready. Waiting means the timing might not be right. Waiting means discipline.
Here’s the thing: patience is a skill that can be developed.
For some patience comes more easily than for others, but patience can be honed and crafted into a weapon. And I believe patience might be one of the most under-appreciated weapons in an achievers arsenal.
When I first started blogging I was a sponge for information. I wanted to know anything and everything I could so that I would grow at the fastest rate possible. At that time the “in” thing was social media and understanding its power to propel a blog to massive amounts of views. And like many bloggers I had my page connected to every possible outlet: Facebook, IG, Twitter, Stumble, Tumblr, etc.
But in the last 6 months I have adjusted my view on how I broadcast my page. I have completely disconnected from social media and have focused more on WordPress, email subscribers and search engines for my traffic.
The reasons for the change are complicated and simple all at the same time.
First, social media is an entity unto itself which requires its own commitment in order to be used effectively. It was taking up a tremendous amount of my time and honestly I got tired of the grind of Facebooking and managing Twitter.
Second, search engines bring a much wider audience from many walks of life. And unlike Facebook, they find me instead of vice versa.
Another change I made last year was to use a third-party email subscriber list to build a database. I never want to be beholden to one primary source for my traffic and having a group of dedicated email subscribers is important.
What’s interesting is this formula is much, much different than what I have done in the past, but it seems to be functioning at a higher level which is nice. At one point, the grind of being on so many social media sites was causing me to consider discontinuing my blog. So instead of quitting I disconnected.
The important thing for me is to continue to find new ways to function and to change my plan when needed. Somethings work, somethings do not. But when the source of joy becomes a source of pain, it might be time to rethink the plan.
One of the most common observations I make happens when I listen to others talk; especially when it relates to politics and/ or religion. What I have noticed is how infrequent people have an informed opinion. I hear a lot of repetition. I hear a tremendous amount of regurgitation.
I’m not aiming to take away opinion, but I wonder how many of us are playing Monday morning quarterback through most of our life. How many people actually take the time to educate themselves first, then form an opinion based on some reasonable amount of intellect.
One of the reasons I don’t ever talk politics is because I simply don’t care about politics. And because I don’t care, I don’t study the history of politics and therefore I am ignorant. And because I realize I’m ignorant I don’t pretend to know.
I think a lot of people are pretending to know. They pretend to know about politics. They pretend to know about religion. They pretend to know about sports. They pretend to know about economics. They pretend to know about everything.
Let’s face it, any person can have an opinion, but does that opinion have substance? Does it carry weight? Does it mean something or is it all talk?
The truth is they know little to anything.
They are like someone who stands in the downtown area banging a drum. Yes it is loud. Yes it gets people’s attention. But after a while that banging drum becomes annoying and wreaks havoc on the senses.
But well supported thought is like a light in the darkness. It draws us because it is based not only on individual thought and rationale, but it is based and supported with facts. And that informed thought becomes like a light in the darkness; it draws us in and makes us seek it, drawn in like a bug.
I think most people live in the former dynamic. They “know” about politics. They “know” about sports. They “know” about economics. They talk, talk, talk in order to have an opinion, but actually know little; they are the drum.
You should be different; be the light.
“It is better to remain silent and be assumed the fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove the doubt.”