This morning I listened to a podcast created by author and speaker Byron Katie about overcoming our fears. I realize that writing about fear isn’t always popular. In fact, some people are adamant that they don’t have any fear to begin with. But I’m convinced that much of the current anger, outrage, hatred, and denial coming out of the news, on social media, and in conversation, is grounded in fear. So, when Byron Katie applied her “work” on a willing participant in the aforementioned podcast around the subject of current events, the foundation of fear was evident. I found her solution helpful. And perhaps because it so applied to some of my own shadow thoughts, I thought today was a perfect opportunity to bring them out in the open.
Happiness research by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert teaches that most of us aren’t good at predicting how happy we will be in the future. Not only are our predictions based upon current feelings and events, they also flow out of our previous experiences—none of which necessarily explains what will happen, or how we will feel, far into the future. Instead, Gilbert recommends that we study and learn from those who are living the experience we say we want to mimic. Could it be that only the oldest of old living today can offer us clues about living a very long and happy life? That’s exactly what John Leland suggests in his new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a year among the oldest old. For those of us who see a very long life as a gift we want to embrace, this book is a window into the wisdom of several elders with a great deal to teach.
Have you ever wondered why some people follow rules that are clearly not in their best interests? Have you ever asked yourself why you can’t seem to do better, even when you know better? Why is it so hard for some people to form good habits, especially when it is surely better for their health, not to mention their happiness? I ask those questions—a lot. As a person who is fascinated by human nature and why people do the things they do, I am constantly seeking ways to understand myself and others. Much of that search includes personality tests. Some are helpful. Some not so much. That’s why I was delighted to learn about a new test—The Four Tendencies—by Gretchen Rubin on a podcast this week. If you like learning about habits, motivation, and expectations, you might be interested as well. [Read more…]
A few weeks ago, Thom and I attended a Sunday brunch hosted by a longtime friend. Both Joanne and her husband are in their seventies. Yet, you’d never guess their age by their bright and curious minds. Nearly all their guests were as old or older, but again, everyone was curious, open-minded and talkative. At some point, the conversation touched on how, as many grow older, most seem to shrink back as the years add up. Instead of trying new things and being willing to experiment and explore, there is a strong tendency for seniors to resist the unfamiliar. Many seek safety and comfort rather than possibility and opportunity. Of course, this isn’t just limited to seniors. Lots of people seem stuck these days. So once again it was highly synchronistic when I received a review copy of a book that challenges that outlook, regardless of our age. [Read more…]
A common practice for bloggers and other lifelong learners is to pick one word to focus on as an intention for each new year. For some reason, the word “flexible” or flexibility popped into my mind within the first couple of days of 2018. Ever since then I’ve been playing with the idea. Like buying a new outfit, it’s important to see if your word fits you—to see if it has a hold of you. Now, with January quickly coming to an end, I decided it was time to reveal my word for 2018 to the world. Plus, I want to invite any of you who haven’t yet picked a word, to join me in allowing one word to mold your life in a more positive and SMART way for the remainder of the year.
I recently went to lunch with a friend I’ll call Carol. After chatting for over an hour I told her it was time for me to go because I needed to finish my weekly blog post. She immediately asked me, “So what happens if you don’t?” In other words, does it really matter that every week I spend a great deal of my time and effort writing and publishing articles here on SMART Living 365? Remember, I don’t get paid by writing this blog (other than the sale of my books). So why bother?
The simplified answer is that writing, and what I do with it for now, matters to me and I believe it is my purpose—or you could even call it my dharma. That in itself is more than reward enough. Serendipitously, a few days later I listened to a podcast that further explained how living our “dharma,” offers each of us a path to a meaningful, gratifying and on purpose life. From there I was reminded that whatever unique dharma we have, it’s best not to wait for retirement, or anything else, before finding and living it to the best of our abilities. [Read more…]
We live in exciting times. Some of that enthusiasm comes after reading the book The Longevity Economy—Unlocking The World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market by Joseph F. Coughlin. Why? Even though the book appears to approach the topic from an economics point of view, the vision it paints for the coming years is provocative, uplifting and filled with potential for anyone over 50. While no one can deny that we all face challenges on a global, national and even personal level depending upon individual circumstances, the cresting wave of baby boomers signals something momentous. The question is: Are we going to ride the surge or just sit on the sidelines? Are we going to create a better future, or just attempt to maintain ourselves until we die? Those are questions for business, governments and every single person alive today. [Read more…]
There is something about the beginning of a new year that fills me with even more optimism than usual. I won’t deny that last year was challenging on many levels for many people around the world. But that simple digit change on the end of the date invites the potential for something different—something better—something hopeful. And as a person who believes in the power of affirmations to help direct our thoughts in positive ways—I decided to go through a few of my favorite quotes to see which ones I want to focus on as 2018 gets underway. [Read more…]
Last year I published my first list of the best blogs and websites on positive aging and retirement I could find. A lot has happened since then. Not only did I publish my own book entitled Positive Aging—A SMART Living Guide To Thriving & Wellbeing At Any Age, I’ve also continued to find more great writers and people who are writing books, articles and blog posts about these topics. This year I am even more excited and enthusiastic because the research and news continues to show that nearly every single person who ages (no matter what their current age) can look forward to a longer, more meaningful and yes, happier life as they grow older—retired or not. Want to know more? Then check out my updated list below of the best resources I’ve found from 2017. [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I visited the happiest place on Earth (aka: Disneyland.) Like most who grew up in Southern California, both Thom and I have frequented the park dozens of times through the years. And because 2017 is our 40th Anniversary year, it seemed fitting to go back to a place where we experienced a great deal of happiness in the early part of our marriage. Is it still happy? Yes and no. Sure, the magic of Disneyland cannot be denied. But at the same time, the property is packed in December with mobs of kids and adults. So, is it the place—or our attitude, that makes Disneyland happy? Fortunately, a new book titled, The Blue Zones of Happiness helps to make sense of the paradox. According to the author, Dan Buettner, our individual happiness is more than just our attitude. He goes on to explain how the right communities, combined with a few individual traits, best delivers a happy and meaningful life. [Read more…]