“The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.
Our task must be to free ourselves; by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein, 1954
To the mind that is still,
the whole universe surrenders.
It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. The mind is indeed your battleground. It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides. It’s where half of the chaos you thought was real, never did happen. But if you allow these thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your sanity. You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into bouts of depression, and into defeat.
There’s no escaping the fact that you are what you think – that you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.
But are you ready for some really good news?
You CAN change your thinking.
And mornings are one of the simplest times for making this change gradually transpire in your life.
Each morning is enormously important. It’s the foundation from which the day is built. How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have.
So when you first wake up, be mindful and take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one. And when you start the day in a mindful state like this, it’s easier to focus effectively and step into the day on the right foot.
But, on many mornings, of course, this is far easier said than done.
So, to help you adjust your mindset first thing every morning, I offer you the 52 morning meditations below – one for each week of the year (note: you can start your year of morning meditations anytime you want). I choose one new meditation every Monday morning and sit quietly for three minutes, repeating it silently in my mind as if I were meditating. I also write it on a post-it note and stick it next to my work desk (where I can see it) for the duration of the week. This little ritual has helped reduce stress and chaos in my life by reminding me to keep things simple, peaceful and in perspective.
- Happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a vacation, a job, or money. It starts with your thinking and what you tell yourself today.
- Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice – your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
- You’re not a failure because you can’t be all things to all people – you’re a human being.
- Oftentimes, you have to say no to good things to be able to say yes to the most important things. You can’t do it all. Breathe deep. And choose wisely.
- If you are passionate about something, pursue it a little bit each day, no matter what anyone else thinks. That’s how dreams are achieved.
- Again and again, remind yourself why. With a strong enough reason why, you will be able to do what’s required at any time and in any circumstance.
- You do NOT know exactly what the future will bring. So your best bet for living is to make the best and most positive use of the present.
- Sometimes you spend time waiting for the ideal path to appear. But it never does. Because paths are made by walking, not waiting.
- Don’t let not knowing how it will end keep you from beginning today. Uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting.
- Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being wise. Do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.
- As you struggle today, remember, it’s far better to be exhausted from lots of effort and learning, than to be tired of doing absolutely nothing.
- What might seem like a setback is often an opportunity for you to learn something new, and develop a more effective, more realistic strategy.
- The truth is, you need to spend some time crawling through the dark to fully appreciate what it is to stand in the sunlight.
- Your track record for getting through tough days is 100% so far.
- When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
- The problem is not the problem – the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.
- Many people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now.
- One of the most rewarding and important kinds of moments in life are the moments when you finally find the strength to let go of what can’t be changed.
- When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself. And that changes everything.
- Never force anything. Do your best, then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things that are out of your control.
- You cannot control exactly what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it all. In your response is your greatest power.
- Instead of getting angry, find the lesson. In place of envy, feel admiration. In place of worry, take action. In place of doubt, have faith.
- Don’t compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. Focus on the step you are presently taking.
- Patience is a genuine expression of confidence, acceptance, serenity, and faith in your own ability. It’s a sign of strength. Practice it.
- In a culture that seeks instant results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance. Be strong, present, and steadfast. Stick to your positive daily rituals. (Angel and I build positive daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Sometimes what you never wanted or expected turns out to be what you need.
- Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances and people you want, it gives you the circumstances and people you need… to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
- It’s not the strongest or the most intelligent people that survive and succeed in the long run, but those who can best manage change.
- The truth is that we all fail. The greater truth is that no single failure ever defines us. Confess. Apologize. Learn. Grow wiser. Press on.
- Nothing is permanent. When you understand this, you can do almost anything you wish because you’re not trying to desperately hold onto anything anymore.
- Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really another beginning.
- It’s your choice. To be positive and free, or to be imprisoned by your own negativity. To live in the past, or to be hopeful about the present.
- Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time – it’s about accepting what happens every time, and making the best of it.
- Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn’t mean their life is perfect. Their smile is a symbol of hope and strength. Smile back.
- People are much nicer when they’re happier, which says a lot about people who aren’t very nice to you. Wish them well, and be on your way.
- Maturity is learning to gracefully walk away from situations that threaten your peace of mind, self-respect, values, morals, or self worth.
- When people are rude to you, smile and choose not to react. Travel the high road. Keep your peace. Do so, and you take all their power away.
- The longer you remain peaceful, the stronger you become. Peace on the inside leads to real, meaningful progress on the outside.
- Be low-key sometimes. You don’t need to put everything on social media. You don’t need to tell everyone about every step you’re taking. Silently progress, and let your actions speak for themselves.
- Rise above the pettiness trying to draw you in. Focus on what matters. Where attention goes, energy flows. Where energy flows, things grow.
- Fight every battle, not because you hate what’s in front of you, but because you love what’s behind you—the people and things you stand for.
- Be careful not to dehumanize people you disagree with. In our self-righteousness, we can easily become the very things we dislike in others.
- Never regret being a good person, to the wrong people. Your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.
- Remind people that they matter. Remind them that someone loves them. And most importantly, don’t forget to remind yourself of this too.
- Whatever else may be going on, always remember that you have been blessed with today and the ability to live it as you choose.
- Being less reactive can transform your life. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out over time. Just be, and breathe.
- Stop rushing. Breathe. Be where you are. You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment. Every step and experience is necessary.
- Don’t jam your life with plans. Leave space. Sometimes great things happen unplanned and big regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big, that we fail to notice all the little things that give life its magic.
- Keep your eyes open for blessings in disguise. They are everywhere. And they are worth noticing, and appreciating.
- At times, you just have to appreciate exactly where you are. You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing. Be grateful for the lessons.
- RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale. Exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
Afterthoughts… On Making the Best of Your Day
There’s little doubt that the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome on any given day is your mind. If you can overcome that, you can overcome almost anything. And while the meditations above are a perfect start, there’s something else I want you to remember too – something we coach our course students through almost every single day…
No matter what’s happening, you can efficiently fight the battles of just one day. It’s only when you add the battles of those two abysmal eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated.
Realize that it’s not the experience of today that creates most of the chaos in your life, but the regret and resentment about something that happened yesterday or the fear and dread of what tomorrow might bring.
It’s necessary, therefore, to let yourself live just one day at a time – just today – just right here, right now.
Trust the timing of your life.
Focus on the present.
And just do the best you can.