Archives for January 2009

Money, Greed and Happiness

I want to share with you the message that was sent out today to subscribers of A Daily Dose of Happiness.  This is particularly timely because of the credit crunch that is making everyone suffer, but if you are a sensitive sort, you might not want to read any further; I am about to rain on most people’s parade.

The credit crunch is a product of – let’s not mince words – greed.  All of our greed.  We wanted more, more, more (SFX: maniacal laughter in background).  Well, we got more, more, more than we could ever hope to throw away without even opening the excess packaging.  Sooner or later we have to pay for it.  Sooner or later has arrived.

Today’s Daily Dose of Happiness Message 

You know that whole debate about money buying happiness. It gets overly simplified, like far too many things.

I recall attending a Zig Ziglar seminar a few years ago. He said, “Money is not the most important thing in life, but it comes reasonably close to oxygen.”

His point is well taken, but how much oxygen do you need? There is a point at which more oxygen can be a life-saver. There is also a point where more oxygen becomes overkill.

Likewise with money. The first dollar you make this year will be very, very important for your happiness. At some point, when your basic needs are secured, the value of money starts falling dramatically. The 100,000th dollar you make this year will likely bring some extra momentary pleasure, but is unlikely to  actually make you happier.

The key is to find the point at which money stops making you happier. Any investment of additional time to earn more money will actually reduce your happiness (more money that does not add to your happiness, less time that would have).

Any further compromise of values or principles required to earn more money will likewise reduce your happiness (more money that does not add to your happiness, less integrity that would have).

Instead of accepting that we have to pay for all the excess of the past couple decades, we want the government (that’s us, remember?) to buy us even more excess.  Yes, we in the Western world really are embarassingly spoiled rich kids.  The problem, as any credit counselor can tell you, is that you cannot spend your way out of debt.   And as we dig our way into even greater debt, I just cannot see how that creates more happiness.  I fear we are collectively handing over the keys to what I call “The Merchants of Misery” in my book, Climb Your Stairway to Heaven.

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Support War Child

I mentioned a while ago that we are supporting the 12 for 12K Challenge, a charitable campaign launched through social media.  Each month in 2009, a new charity will be selected, and we are asking you to consider a small donation ($10, but feel free to give more if the spirit moves you).

The first charity, for January 2009, is War Child.  Why?  There is a good piece where Danny Brown puts the value of $10 in perspective.

Here is a quick overview of the War Child Charity:

…and below is a video of Little Lady and Little Sister protesting against poverty.  In truth, they did this 100% spontaneously the first time, but I did not have a camera handy then.  So this is actually a “re-enactment” video.  Note that the banner reading “PlYSE” is supposed to read “Please” (not bad for a 7-year old learning to write in French), as in PlYSE support the 12 for 12K Challenge.


YouTube is not embedding this correctly, so here is the direct link to the video: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=ajimCKvI6-E

I’ve just sent my $10 donation; why not send yours now?

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Tweet for better self-esteem

There is another excuse – oops, I mean another “reason” – why you should spend some time on Twitter or Digg or FaceBook or MySpace.

A recent study of 268 Michigan State University students reveals that those who use Facebook.com have higher self-esteem than students who don’t because they keep in closer touch with their friends.

Not surprisingly, the benefits of social media participation were most pronounced for thsoe who experience low self-esteem.  Social media gives them a means of entering into more productive interactions than they sometimes encounter in real life.  In fact, it allows them to easily make friends.

Does that mean that virtual friendships should take the place of real friendships?  Not at all.  But a healthy dose of virtual socialization makes a great supplement for people who are not already overly socially extended in real life.  In fact, it’s ideal for people like me who work from home.  But before heading out to Twitter or FaceBook or Digg, you might want to read this work-from-home fasion Q&A.  After all, you don’t want to meet new friends on Twitter wearing the wrong pattern pajamas, do you?

You can read the complete report on social media and self-esteem at http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html .

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Laughter for weight loss

You can diet.  You can work out at the gym.  You can take up martial arts.  But why bother, when laughing is such a fun way to shed those pounds?  And so little equipment required!

A burst of hearty laughter can give your body what neuroscientist Dr Helen Pilcher calls a “mini-aerobic workout”.  It makes your heart beat faster.  It makes your chest heave.  It makes your belly muscles tighten.  Facial muscles tighten (good for keeping the skin looking young). It’s a good all-round workout – a belly laugh can help shrink the belly.

There is some bad news and some good news in this.  The bad news is that you have to laugh heartily for an hour to burn off 100 calories.  The good news, is that an hour of extra laughing each day would be good for us party-pooper adults who forget to laugh throughout our day.  How can we add more laughter?

  • Sign up for some humorous email broadcasts.
  • Follow some funny people on Twitter and befriend some funny people on FaceBook.
  • Get up from your desk every now and then and drop in on the office clown, or anyone with whom you have found you can share a laugh.
  • Tickle somebody (probably best to do this one at home); it often can end in getting very playful.
  • Have kids.  Yes, they also can cause a lot of stress, but they give you someone you can repeatedly tickle.

How would you increase the laughter in your day?  Please let us know in the comments below.

By the way, you can tweet this post by clicking here: ReTweet this 

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Motivational songs – music that motivates

Some songs have the power to motivate.  The lyrics can be as powerful as any motivational speech.  The music can get our hearts pumping.  The words and tune can play in our heads all day long.

Below is a list of some of the best motivational songs (mostly English, some French and Spanish).  It is far, far from being a complete list, so feel free to add your favorites to the list using the comments form at the bottom.

Man in Motion (from St. Elmo’s Fire)

Makin’ It (from the short-lived TV show of the same name)

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The Greatest Love of All (the ultimate self-esteem song of all time)

Have a Happy (yes, Elvis)

Change of Habit (yes, also Elvis)

I Have Been Blessed (by Martina McBride)

Point of Light (the Randy Travers classic)

My Way (the ultimate classic motivational song by Paul Anka)

Et C’est Pas Fini (the theme song from Star Académie, 1996)

Peace of Mind (by Boston)

Standing Outside the Fire (by Garth Brooks)

Closer to the Heart (Canadian motivation )

Do You Know Where You’re Going to? (from the Mahogany)

There You Are (by Clink Black)

Une Promesse (by Cindy Daniel)

Lean on Me

Dream Never Dies (more Canadian Motivation)

Hold On (by Triumph…the song that helped me in my teen years)

Believe it or Not (from the Greatest American Hero TV show)

Una Cancion (RBD)

Living Out Loud (by Aaron Lines)

The Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky III, I believe)

All Fired Up (Pat Benetar)

Don’t Stop (another one that helped me during those roller coaster teenage years)

The Kid is Hot Tonight (by Loverboy)

If I rummaged through my MP3s, my CDs and my old record collection, I am sure I could find dozens of other motivational songs and possibly even some music that motivates without lyrics.  The one listed here are the ones that come to mind first for me.  But now, over to you.  What songs do you find most motivational?

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…added January 20, 2009:

What a Feeling (from the movie Flashdance)

I’m Alive (by ELO)

Hold on Tight (also by ELO)

Walk On (by Rea)

Swing on a Star (was that Bing Crosby)

On Top of the World (by the Carpenters)

I Will Survive (Gloria Gayner’s anthem)

Light in Your Eyes (by Leann Rimes)

We Are the Champions (by Queen)

Winning (by Santana)

Don’t Forget to Dance (by the Kinks)

We Shall Be Free (by Garth Brooks)

Free Will (by Rush)

The Rose (by Bette Midler)

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