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eric kraus

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The Happiness Myth and 6 Tips to Soar Above It

We still believe that success will lead us to happiness. Financial success, friendships, health, love, etc. etc. We believe by obtaining these things, happiness will follow.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. And in fact, we have it backwards.

Happiness Leads To Success

There is significant research showing that people who are happier tend to demonstrate better work performance, receive more income, have better and longer relationships and even have better health and overcome illnesses quicker.

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“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
—Proverbs 17:22

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vintage scale

Who I Am vs. What I’ve Done

Success.  Are you Interested or Interesting? It boils down to two simple words. We’ll come back to them in a minute.

Happiness

Most successful people will tell you that money rarely leads to happiness. They will tell you, at best, money provides safety, predictability and access to things or places. They will tell you that money makes life easier to focus on what truly makes us happy…but money itself doesn’t necessarily make us happy. They will tell you all these things; but they don’t believe it themselves.

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If you’re trying to build a new habit…Streaking might be for you

I’ve struggled with todo lists my entire life. Like many others, I am very disciplined at entering tasks into my todo list. However, I suffer from “Todo List Blackhole Syndrome” or “Todo List BS”. Tasks go in, but they never come out.

To overcome “Todo List BS”, I’ve added another trick to my productivity arsenal. It’s Streaking.

Streaking

Streaking is a method of tracking the number of times I complete an activity in sequence.  

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Size Matters – The Best Problems to Have

“A big opportunity is better than a small one, but a small problem is better than a big one.” – The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

One of the reasons we have challenges starting work is that we can’t visualize what success looks like in the short-term. As humans, we often don’t do or even start things we’re not good at. Procrastination can be that fear of failure getting in the way. We ask ourselves questions like: Where do I start? Is that the right place to start? When will I be done? What does success look like? How long will it take? etc.

In some circumstances, it is important to perform such planning. In others, it can completely stall our ability to start.

“We are kept from our goal, not by the obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
-Robert Brault

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Focus on impressing yourself

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years reflecting on my strange obsessions with everything from experimenting different diets to my many (many) hobbies. The result of my investigation: self-improvement. I’ve always been a continual learner; I crave information and improvement.

However, through my journey over the last few years, I’ve been alone. Meaning that no one has been pushing me (or pulling me) for these changes. I’ve been doing it because I simply want to improve myself. The thing that has kept me going is an obsession with continually impressing myself.

You Are Your Best Critique

A lot of excellent advice will tell you to get a coach whenever embarking on a new challenge; and generally, I agree.

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My ONE Thing

I’ve been reading The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Rather fitting, the book discusses one main theme: To be successful, focus on ONE thing and one thing only. It’s full of great quotes, useful analogies and anecdotes to apply the principles behind achieving success. About half way through the book I started to think, “What’s my ONE thing?”  which led me to writing this post.

My Challenge

I’ve been blogging on/off for the last couple of years, and have recently tried to improve the frequency and consistency of my content output. I’ve been proud of the work thus far, but always wish I could do more.

Many successful daily bloggers talk about only publishing content that they are truly proud of. Since writing is a in-my-spare-time endeavor, my challenge has been balancing prioritizing between my day job and family and the time needed curate and edit quality posts. I’ve been struggling to find that time needed to write the quality content that I would be proud of.

Quality vs. Quantity

I am conflicted with the advice of these bloggers… to only publish extremely high quality content. For starters, it’s a subjective valuation of the content. Is it my opinion or the readers? Surely, it’s the readers, right? For example, I might be overly anal about grammar, while a reader has mostly ignored my punctuation and is more interested in the story. You get the point.

Also, I believe doing is better than thinking. Rather than spending more time thinking about a single post, I’d rather spend that time working on a second or third post…

The entrepreneur in me says, more/regular posts are better than writing the “perfect” post.

Figure It Out

While the major premise of the book is discussing the idea of focusing on ONE thing, there is an undertone of “getting started immediately” as well. The best quote of the book is found early and is taken from the movie City Slickers. It’s the part of the movie where Mitch and Curly, who haven’t seen eye-to-eye up to this point, leave the group to herd stray cattle. As they ride together alone, they seem to bond over a conversation about life.

Curly: “Do you know what the secret to life is?”
Mitch: “No. What?”
Curly: “This.” [holds up one finger]
Mitch: “Your finger?”
Curly: “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t”
Mitch: “That’s great, but what’s the ‘one thing’?”
Curly: [smiles] “That’s what you’ve got to figure out”

Just Start

This introduces my newest experiment: figure out what my ONE thing is…and I plan to do that by writing more regular posts. Same types of content, just shorter and more regular. My current plan is to attempt to post content every other day or so and focus solely on keeping the schedule.

I’ll be keeping these posts separate, under the category: daily.

Life Lessons From the Movie Inside Out

Having young kids is incredibly rewarding. Not only do you get to watch little replicas of you grow up, you get to learn a lot about yourself along the way. There’s no better way to learn a good life lesson than to watch a Disney movie with your kids. These movies are entertaining for little ones, but are packed full of life lessons for the big kids too.

One of new my favorites is Disney/Pixar’s – Inside Out

Don’t worry, this isn’t a movie review. If you have not seen the movie, no spoiler alerts here. Although, if you haven’t, you should definitely give it a go. It’s the story of a middle-school-aged girl, Riley, that is struggling with her recent move to a new city. All of her fun memories are from her previous home and with all of the change, she is struggling to make any new ones.

Life Lessons

The following are a few life lessons that have come up in conversation with our family after seeing the movie. I imagine there are many more, so I would encourage you to share any fun conversations you’ve had with your family/friends, at the end of this post.

 

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Life Lessons ChangePeople, places and things. They all come and go. Even those things that do “stay” in our lives change as well. The most important part of all of this change is not to prevent it or encourage it. It is important to learn how to handle it appropriately.

Change means growth and it’s important to remember that when we encounter undesired changes in our lives. We can alway look back at the past and remember “better” times, but the future is where all of the new opportunities will be.

 

[tweet_box design=”default” url=”http://erickra.us/1TccUYR” float=”none” excerpt=”‘Don’t avoid anger just control him’ and other Life Lessons from Disney’s Inside Out @erickraus”]Don’t avoid anger, just control him[/tweet_box]

Life Lessons Anger

We all have it. That nasty little voice in our head that takes over in heated situations. Anger can often get us into trouble, but it can also play a positive role in our lives as well.

Think of anger like energy. Too often, anger is released in the form of negative out-bursts of physical or verbal actions, often hurting the feelings of others. However, if it can be controlled and “leveraged”, it can be used for personal gains too, like working out, cleaning the house, etc. Our family get some of its best cleaning done when we’re angry.

 

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Life Lessons Shortcuts

Shortcuts are great things. They are created when people understand a complete process and then create or discover alternative methods to reach the same/similar outcome. The rationalization behind using a shortcut is what makes human minds more superior than any other being.

However, there is always risks associated with shortcuts. Those risks are around understanding the potential known or unknown consequences. This requires analysis of EACH given situation, the context, etc. A shortcut that works one time, might not be the right decision a second time.

Being sure to think and talk through the unique situation with your family or team will help you avoid consequences that could set you back from achieving your goals.

 

[tweet_box design=”default” url=”http://erickra.us/1TccUYR” float=”none” excerpt=”‘Sadness can be an acceleration to happiness’ and other Life Lessons from Disney’s Inside Out @erickraus”]Sadness can often be acceleration to happiness[/tweet_box]

Life Lessons Sadness

Grieving is an important part of life. Trying to be “tough” or avoiding these types of feelings can have a significant negative reaction later in life. Often people who are sad are seen as week, but after seeing the movie, it’s clear that sadness could arguably be the hero.

Forcing ourselves to be happy all the time only delays us from addressing the root challenges we are facing. By addressing emotions when we are confronted as soon as possible, it can often lead to an acceleration of returning to happiness.

 

[tweet_box design=”default” url=”http://erickra.us/1TccUYR” float=”none” excerpt=”‘Great ideas come from unusual places’ and other Life Lessons from Disney’s Inside Out @erickraus”]Great ideas can come from unusual places[/tweet_box]

Life Lessons Ideas

We all know someone that likes to share ideas with us and we, unfortunately, frequently brush those ideas off based on some other factors.

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that they carry a notebook with them and encourage ideas from EVERYONE. It’s not that those ideas are perfect at first blush, but they are real and authentic and for sure already align to someone else’s personal perspective.

Other people have this unique ability to offer a perspective that we (ourselves) can’t see. We are often too close to our own problems to solve them. In other words, we often are THE problem.

 

[tweet_box design=”default” url=”http://erickra.us/1TccUYR” float=”none” excerpt=”‘Running away just temporarily distances you’ and other Life Lessons from Disney’s Inside Out @erickraus”]Running away just temporarily distances you from your problems[/tweet_box]

Life Lessons Running Away

Running from problems only temporarily distances you from them. Eventually the problems, and your emotions associated with them, will catch up with you. And likely, they will be much harder to address in the future too.

Acknowledging problems and confronting them head on can be a much quicker resolution. Tackling them head on can lead to a positive outcome, but it strengthens your ability to handle problems again in the future.

 

[tweet_box design=”default” url=”http://erickra.us/1TccUYR” float=”none” excerpt=”‘Communication is still key’ and other Life Lessons from Disney’s Inside Out @erickraus”]Communication is still the key to solving problems[/tweet_box]

Life Lessons Communication

Through all the changes going on in the main character’s life, she struggles to find someone, even her own parents, to communicate her feelings with. Having an outlet for your thoughts can be a very important part of dealing with life and changes in it.

There are several strategies that can help people with sharing there ideas. People can talk with family, friends or even engage with a professional therapist. There’s no shame in taking control of being successful in your life. Talking to a therapist doesn’t make you weak. Those who just let problems happen to them, and don’t take action, that’s a stronger sign of weakness.

Additionally, many people find value in activities like Journaling. It can be a great private outlet of your emotions and can also be therapeutic by allowing you to later reflect on your thoughts.

 

What about you?

Have you seen the movie? What other lessons have you taken away about life, success, etc?

5 Tips on How to Give Feedback (That People Actually Want to Receive)

Let me just go ahead and say, you are terrible at giving feedback. And… if you want to be successful in this world (which you probably aren’t if you’re reading this)…you have to read this post.

Stop…wait…don’t leave just yet.

Ask yourself: how did that intro make you feel? Maybe sad or disappointed, but more likely offended! We don’t know each other, and I’ve just imposed a baseless opinion on you. The chances of you listening to anything else I say are probably blown.

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