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“Society tells us the only thing that matters is matter – the only things that count are the things that can be counted.” – Laurence G. Boldt

Many people go through life with their “eye on the prize,” focused on their goals at the expense of everything else. Bigger, better, more is their motto. But achievement, getting ahead, and becoming a master of the universe aren’t what will bring you lasting happiness. Rather, long-term fulfillment comes from discovering what makes your heart sing, what matters to you–regardless of how it is judged by society.

Instead of mindlessly being a part of the rat race, commit to those pursuits that will bring you long-term fulfillment. What truly matters to you?

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“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” – Henry Ward Beecher

It’s no secret that a heartfelt belly laugh can positively transform our mood. Today we know that laughter has both physical and emotional health benefits. So why do so many of us take so many situations so seriously? Why does gravity often come with age? We need not lose our childhood wonder and levity in order to become an adult. We can lighten up, by appreciating a good joke, finding humor in day-to-day situations, or just decide to laugh like a child, just because.

Do you treat life with too much gravity or do you try to inject humor and lightness where you can bring humor and lightness to it? What can you do, today and everyday, to bring more joy and fun into your life?

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“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” – Jack Welch

The late singer Dusty Springfield was pining for a lover when she sang: “Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming…” With these words, she could just as easily have been singing about how many of us live our lives, fantasizing about what could be, instead of dealing with what is. There is no doubt that life is challenging and even difficult at times. No wonder it’s tempting for us to check-out mentally and resort to wishful thinking. But avoiding the reality of our lives is not a good strategy for living fully and richly. Facing reality head on, with open eyes, open heart and open mind, is.

Where are you refusing to accept reality? What can you do to accept and act on reality?

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“A no uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a yes merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Overstretched, taxed, burdened, spread thin, stressed-out, angry, resentful. These are just some of the feelings that may arise when we say “yes” when we really mean “no.” Yes to another committee, yes to assisting a colleague at work, yes to any number of things that friends and family members often request and expect. It isn’t easy saying no, as you risk disappointing or upsetting others. But spending your time and energy doing what others want, leaves you less time for the things of your own choosing. Learning to say no can be a courageous first step that will help you choose the life you want.

When something is asked of you, do you usually refrain from saying no or do you say yes only when your vision is served? What can you do to help yourself say yes only when appropriate?

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“We say we want the truth; what we mean is that we want to be correct.” – Mihnea Moldoveanu

While it is true that truth can set us free, it is also true that truth can hurt. It isn’t easy to be censured or receive critical feedback. But when we reject other points of view and ideas, we close ourselves off to learning new approaches and possibilities. Our way isn’t necessarily the only or the best way, and by letting down our armor and opening ourselves up to others’ points of view, we can benefit a great deal.

When faced with criticism, do you tend to be defensive or open to suggestions? What can you do to open yourself up?