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Simple Secrets of Happiness

Simple Secrets of Happiness

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12 SIMPLE SECRETS OF HAPPINESS

Finding Joy in Everyday Relationships Author: Glenn Van Ekeren Publisher: Prentice Hall Press Date of Publication: 2000 ISBN: 0735201390 No. of Pages: 195 pages

Wisdom in a Nutshell
If you are looking for a guide to human relationships, this is the simple and wonderful way to discover how we can enhance our joy in other people. If you are looking for a way to manipulate others into doing your bidding, this is not the book for you. The 12 Simple Secrets are outlined with clarity, they are: ! Generosity ! Hope ! Kindness ! Friendship ! Empathy ! Love ! Forgiveness ! Acceptance ! Understanding ! Encouragement ! Communication ! Gratitude If you are seeking more out of life and your relationships, this is the book for you. Become the person everyone loves to be around. Loaded with useful advice to help you in nurturing friendships, marriages, family, and work relationships, in easily digestible chapters, 12 Simple Secrets of Happiness is a life manual stemming from the universal rules of unconditional love and respect. Learn to accept people for who they are, identify what people need to feel good about themselves, make your relationships blossom, get along with difficult people, effectively deal with conflict, develop a sincere interest in others, build on people's positive qualities, encourage, and forgive.

Published by BestSummaries.com, Building 3005 Unit 258, 4440 NW 73rd Ave, Miami, Florida 33166 © 2003 BestSummaries.com. All rights reserved. No part of this summary may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying, or otherwise, without prior notice of BestSummaries.com. Copyright © 1997 by Colin Rose and Malcolm J. Nicholl.

12 SECRETS OF HAPPINESS by Glenn Van Ekeren

Generosity
The joy of a giving spirit What kind of person can selflessly give up his or her own success so someone else can reach his goal? In this modern dog-eat-dog world, few people step off the track and allow someone else to receive the glory. Sacrifice something so someone else can be happy. Practice random acts of kindness. "Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life." You can never be too kind. Don't waste time on gossip. If you have nothing good to say about another person, then keep your mouth shut! People tend to indulge in gossip because they want to look better than the person being spoken of. Learn to speak of others graciously as you would want to be spoken of.

and brighten up her day. Make a sincere compliment and offer your support in her current project or congratulate her on a job well done. Every year you have 365 chances to make a profound difference in somebody else's life. It may be so easy to find fault in others, but how often do we pick up that pen or write that email that makes somebody's day? When was the last time you told your kids how proud you are of them?

Kindness
Fault Finding is a Bad Habit! Hard to swallow but true, "Our worst fault is our preoccupation with the faults of others" - as Kahlil Gibran wrote. Before you begin finding fault, why not start with yourself? What is there to improve in your character? How about your general appearance? Criticize yourself as harshly as you would criticize others. We put down others to make ourselves look better in comparison, but when you actually compare yourself to that person you despise, you may just discover something scary: The truth about yourself. Perhaps you need to take a good long look in the mirror before you open your mouth to criticize again.

Hope
How do you make people feel? People tend to avoid those who make them feel inadequate. Be somebody that people simply love to be around. How? By encouraging and supporting their dreams, appreciating their efforts, celebrating their achievements as if they were your own. When we encourage our friends and family to be the best they can be, we nurture them inside and build hope. Giving hope to people will make you a social magnet. Don't think that merely donating some time or money to your charity of choice is the answer. You need to give to people who have absolutely no way to repay you, without ever expecting anything in return. They don't even have to know that you are their benefactor. Give unselfishly and you will see that what you sow today is exactly what you will reap at the end of your days. People will love you because they know you gave of yourself unselfishly. Send a letter of encouragement to someone today! Thank the person for something she or he has done recently. Thank that person for being uniquely herself. Tell her something positive about herself

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
-Dale Carnegie

If you really want to help others, start with a spirit of affirmation. Here are some pointers: ! Uphold people's self-esteem. Be gentle and kind. If you must give negative feedback, start first with offering positive affirmation. ! Focus on abilities rather than vulnerabilities. Find something that person is good at and praise him for it. ! Check your motives. If you take the slightest

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pleasure in criticizing someone -hold your tongue. If it is painful for you, proceed with caution. Keep your attitude in check. Just because you had a terrible day at work or the boss yelled at you doesn't mean you should yell at your subordinates too. Offer to help. Tell yourself to meet one new person each week. Step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone new. You'll be surprised how easy it is to strike up a conversation when you show you are genuinely interested in meeting this new person. Some people make it a point to travel to a new place each year. Expand your circle of influence and see how much you grow as a person. Be the first to say hello and the last to stop hugging. Always say "please" and "thank you” "A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” Allow people to go in front of you in the grocery line, or let others change lanes in heavy traffic. Open the door for others.

!

! ! ! !

Have faith in people Express your love Light up any room you enter And what about marriage?

! ! !

These relationships require a healthy amount of independence from both partners. Spouses must seek to complement each other. The danger lies in one partner becoming too dependent on the other. As much as you need to make a date to spend quality private time as a couple once a week, you also need to book quality time for yourself.

Empathy
Reach out and touch someone, corny as it sounds. It actually works!

! ! ! ! !

You can tell a great person by the number of people who come to mourn at his funeral. How many days would go by before anyone noticed you were missing? When you reach out and invest time and energy in helping others, being kind to others and simply welcoming others, you will see a profound difference in the quality of your relationships, and you will have gathered around you people who truly love you because of how well you treated them. On getting even. When someone deals you a harsh blow, dumps trash in your backyard, or shows you cruelty, repay him with a noble gesture. Give him something he needs or speak well of him. That person will feel embarrassed by how he has behaved, while you walk away looking like a class act. Collaborate. It takes two people to make a marriage work. It takes a team effort to win a championship. It takes a staff to bring in bigger profits. Life is about collaboration. In anything you do, you will have to deal with people. Human beings have evolved as social animals. We were designed to help each other out to survive.

"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people- your family, friends, and co-workers, even strangers you meet along the way." -Barbara Bush

Friendship
Your best friend is the one who brings out the best in you. Success and fulfillment in life are in direct proportion to the investment we make in people. If somebody spent one whole day with you, would he feel filled up or sucked dry? ! Show your gratitude ! Encourage and give positive reinforcement
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"The purpose of life is not to win. It is to grow and to share. You will get more satisfaction out of life from the pleasure you have brought into other people's lives than you will from the times you outdid and defeated them."
-Rabbi Harold Kushner

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Love
There will always be problems in a marriage. The way you handle these problems will show the test of your commitment. Nourishing a relationship takes work; there will always be problems and IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT to work through these problems. ! Say, "I love you" often. ! Kiss and hug often. ! Compliment your spouse sincerely. ! Always treat each other with respect. ! Go on weekly dates and vacations, without the children. ! Husbands, do that extra household chore. With other human beings respect and courtesy apply, as well as: ! Be persistent in showing your love. ! Don't expect a return.

is right, at least until the air is calm. Wait until you can both discuss the matter rationally. When you think about arguing back, is it really worth it to disrupt the wonderful Friday evening you reserved for her? Give in. Take up the subject when she is no longer agitated. A gentleman always allows the woman to win the argument. And if you can't let it go, think again, is it really worth it to make such a fuss and cause disharmony? Will it matter tomorrow? ! How to create a relationship masterpiece: ! Give more than you get ! Allow people to have their space ! Maintain confidentiality ! Give supportive and positive advice ! Be loyal ! Listen! ! Treat others with dignity ! Say "please" and "thank you" ! Be agreeable ! Accept other people's opinions ! Forgive wrongs committed

Forgiveness
Keeping bridges in good repair

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

If you cannot forgive, you cannot move on. It takes a bigger. stronger type of person to forgive. Be the first to ask forgiveness. Don't dwell on the hurt. Pray. Write a letter and show a desire to resolve the conflict Focus on the future Replace selfishness with unconditional love Make time to keep relationships in good order Be willing to say "I'm sorry" without conditions To mutilate a child's spirit is a grave sin. · Let go. Forgiving an enemy puts you above everyone else. Revenge puts you at par with the enemy. Being the first to strike makes you less admirable.

"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight dinner, soft music, and dancing. She goes Tuesdays. I go Fridays." – -Henny Youngman

Understanding
Speak their language No amount of intelligence, talent or education will replace the gift of being able to understand the other person. People will do things for their own reasons, not for yours.

Acceptance
My wife is always right Sometimes you need to say perhaps the other party

When you listen, practice staying silent until the other person finishes speaking. See things from the other person's point of view. The

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child is different from the adult. A woman sees things differently and feels things differently from a man. An Asian has a different experience from a European. Consider how others might be feeling in order to reach a clearer understanding.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Encouragement
Create high expectations for people and let them know you believe in them more than they believe in themselves. Rent the movie Stand and Deliver, it's a true story about how calculus teacher Jaime Escalante motivates the high school kids to prove their value. The next time you hear criticism hurled at you: ! Consider the source. It is the person who can't dance who complains about the uneven floor. A frustrated person likes to pick on others. ! Smile. Disarm your critic. ! Expect it but don't accept it. The best way to silence your critics and not waste energy is to agree with them and get on with life. ! Don't take it personally. ! Ponder the benefits. Maybe that critic hit a button that needs to be addressed.

Keep an open mind. Be silent. Take notes. Prepare your reply only after the person has finished. Nod, smile, agree and lean forward. Ask questions to clarify. Don't allow how something is said to distract you from the essence of the message. Paraphrase to see if you have an accurate picture of the message.

Conflict Resolution 101 ! Strive for mutual benefit ! Seek understanding ! Focus on the facts ! Avoid insults ! Find a point of agreement ! Generate solutions ! Determine a win-win plan of action

Gratitude
Show it! Here are some phrases to get you started: ! I appreciate the way you… ! I'm impressed with … ! You are terrific because… ! Thanks for… ! One of the things I love about you is… ! I admire your… ! Great job with… ! I really enjoy working with you because… ! Our team wouldn't be successful without your… ! Thank you for your… ! You made my day when… ! I am proud of you and how you handled… ! You did an outstanding job of… ! I like your… ! You deserve a pat on the back for… ! You have gift for… ! I believe you can do it ! I enjoy being around you because… Value your friends ! Your friends will support you through failures and celebrate your successes ! Your friends will love you no matter what an idiot you made of yourself when you drank

Communication
For men only! A doctor marked a distinct difference in the listening skills of men and women. Women are wired to listen and can hook into another person's emotions and needs. Men are not wired that way. They can't read subtle signals. Messages have to be spelled out for them. ! Develop a willingness to listen ! Be open-minded ! Be attentive, think about what she is saying, not what you want to say when she's done. ! Maintain comfortable eye contact. Don't stare. ! Don't guess what she'll say next. ! Refrain from interrupting. ! Be patient. ! Listen for the unspoken message.

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too much Choose your friends well because you will become like them A true friend knows everything about you but loves you just the same.

! !

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