The 1 Thing Successful People Do Differently

achieveWhat seperates successful people – however we define success – from the average citizen hobbling along with $10,000 of credit card debt and an extra 20 lbs on their waistline?

This mystery has been the subject of approximately every book in Amazon’s “business” section, world reknowned experts/authors like Malcom Gladwell & Brian Tracy, and a small army of psychologists.

So it may seem rather arrogant to say there’s 1 thing successful people do differently.

Of course, there are a whole host of conditions, many of which we probably can’t succeed without.

That being said, if we were to look at the master list of success factors and pick the one that had the most impact, what would we find?

I’ve read the interviews, the research, and topped it off with a dash of experience, and have come to this conclusion:

It’s not that successful people are action takers, or are able to overcome fear better than the average, or are oozing with charisma and confidence. It’s not that they had rich parents, great mentors, or a particular genetic code – though all these things help.

The critical difference is that successful people minimize the time between getting a new idea and implementing it.

It’s that simple. And that difficult.

Notice I didn’t say they have access to better ideas, they’re smarter, more creative, or luckier. Sometimes they do and they are, but with that being said, we can make up for any perceived lack in intellectual capital with a ruthless adherence to this rule: speed of implementation determines who reaches their goals – in any field, and who gets to shuffle their to-do list and look for motivational witticisms in order to get pumped up enough to actually do something.

The reason this principle is so important – so very important that I’d likely put it before any others – is that no matter how much we’ve read, studied, or planned, none of this comes close to duplicating real life experience.

As soon as we act, the meaning of all our information is irreversibly changed. Our perfect plans which seemed so promising don’t match up with the unpredicable circumstances of real life. The theory doesn’t match up with our personal strengths and weaknesses.

It’s almost as if the world is the playground bully throwing us into the mud and ruining our homework, laughing and saying “try again buddy.”

Though, that’s only if we’re delusional enough to believe that our initial plans are going to be realized without a hitch.

Speed of implementation is the answer to the unpredictability factor. Richard Branson didn’t start out with an airline – he ran a magazing called The Student and ended up selling mail-order records. The path between that start and his billion dollar empire is only visible from the present moment.

I remember being privy to an interesting discussion about “success” literature – books like Think And Grow Rich7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and The 4 Hour Work Week, and how the number of success books in one’s personal library has an inverse relationship to how successful a person becomes (after the first few).

The idea being that most people who spend all their time gathering information aren’t doing any implementing, and conversely, all the people busy implementing have no need for more than a few, seminal tomes to get their ideas flowing.

Now, there are clearly counter examples to this, and plenty of prolific readers of business and success literature also end up with standout careers, but I think the general principle holds true – the majority of people stay stuck in perpetual information gathering mode, dreaming about how wonderful it’ll be when they have a billion dollars in cash, and never do anything to realize their delusions fantasies.

Why Speed of Implementation Wins

The reason that fast action tends to beat “perfect-action” or incredibly detailed, calculated, planning is that by acting fast, we get to test more ideas and see what works for us, in our unique circumstances.

Theory is great, but ultimately, none of it matters if we can’t get it to work for us in the real world.

And no matter where we get our information from – a book, podcast, video, or coach – none of that information is perfectly tailored to our personal view of the world, complete with biases, fears, habits, as well as our external circumstances – what’s actually possible right now.

This isn’t about doing as much as possible just for the sake of it, it’s about finding those few key actions that produce an inordinate, almost unfair return on investment.

When we see someone who has just started a new business that’s taking off like a rocket, or someone who just picked up a musical instrument and plays like a pro, or someone who just started working out and now has the physique of the Hulk – these are people who have found a few innocuous actions

Our newly muscle-bound friend may have happened onto some killer steriods. That’s what speed of implementation is – steriods for life. Minus the weird, freaky, and sometimes dangerous side effects.

Case Study: AJWalton.com

Back when I started this website, I had no idea about how to get traffic in a reliable and ongoing sort of fashion. I just wrote because I enjoyed it, and chalked up my lack of traffic to my business traveling the world.

I contributed guest posts to a number of popular advice/lifestyle sort of websites: DumbLittleMan, PickTheBrain, LifeHacker.org and TinyBuddha – some heavy hitters to be sure – but only the last one provided any meaningful traffic back to my website. (Note that there are other great reasons to guest post beyond getting immediate traffic back to one’s website, but that’s a discussion for another time).

I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was doing what I was “supposed” to do in order to get more traffic, but it wasn’t working. So growth was slow and painful, like that teenage year where you suddenly shoot up 4 inches and have to learn how to navigate the world in an almost-alien body.

So I did another thing successful people tend to be good at: I stopped. And I looked for a different idea to test out.

Then I stumbled upon Brian Dean’s article about the “Skyscraper Technique” for getting traffic.

The premise was simple: Find a hugely popular, preferably outdated article – one that had gotten a ton of social shares or backlinks from other blogs, and write an updated version that’s better in every way: more content, more resources, cooler multimedia, more thorough, more practical.

It was like a sign from the gods, because I had been thinking about an article with which I wanted to do something similar, I just had never seen how all the pieces fit together before.

So I executed – immediately. The same day, I wrote a 5,800 word beast of an article called 29 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

My traffic stats tell the story:

So as you can see, that was a nice bump in traffic. far outpacing my previous best from a TinyBuddha guest article. 1505 visits vs 634 on the peak day. You can also see how long it took me to give up on my ineffective strategy and try something new (the little bumps you see around March are a collection of guest posts that went up around the same time, with limited success).

Then, to top it off, the final key: doing more of what works.

My article had been a relative success, albiet not the stand-out social media sensation of the origional.

So now it was time for the final step, improving on and duplicating my first effort.

I can’t believe how often people – myself included, try something that either A – works flat out or B – sorta works, but being the first effort is sub-optimal, and quickly revert back to their old ways.

I’ll admit it – I got stuck there myself, feeling unsure how to proceed. But when I finally got back on my horse (over 1 month later), I built a whole, thriving center of “skyscrapers” that have flooded my site with traffic, even overloading and crashing my server a number of times – I had to upgrade my hosting plan to accommodate the increased user load.

Sky2

So, even though this wasn’t, by a long shot, perfect “speed of implementation” in action, we can see how implementing a new idea quickly can have an incredible impact. Same-day impace, even.

And if I had continued building on my first success immediately, I’d be several months “ahead” of where I am today.

Even so, my new best day clocked in at over 3,900 visits, a whopping 600% increase over my guest posting efforts – plus the results lasted longer too, with over 10,000 total visits when all was said and done.

Your particular situation is probably different – it always is. See past the specifics to the underlying principle. Think about how often we miss opportunities like this in our day-to-day lives?

Chances are it’s more often than we like.

So here’s a quick recap of the general principles:

1. If it’s not working, stop doing it. Immediately.

2. Find another idea that seems promising

3. Ruthlessly implement that idea

4. Track your results. Odds are your first implementatin wasn’t perfect. So you may have to try variations, mix and match pieces – depending on your results.

5. Do more of what works.

Information in Action

Now, you may not be trying to grow a blog – but that’s not an excuse to let this powerful idea go untested in your own life.

Where else might it work?

If you’ve been trying to lose weight through restrictive diets and punishing exercise regimes, maybe it’s time to try something a bit less extreme.

If you’re trying to get a date, maybe it’s time to drop “pickup lines” and try something else.

If you’re trying to save money, maybe it’s time to stop pinching pennies on your morning latte and looking at your mortgage, insurance, etc.

The only limit is your creativity. And your desire to get real results and not merely pay them lip service.

So what are you going to do – right now – in order to start moving towards the unrealized goals burning inside you? Let me know in the comments below.

What to Say When Someone Dies: 10 Messages of Sympathy

sympathy message

When the heartbreaking befalls a friend, silence is not an option.

Whether we choose to share our message of condolence in person, or to write a sympathy card (or both), we have to figure out what to say when somebody dies.

And in creating our message of sympathy, we have to be careful not to say things that will make our friend feel worse.

The Best Traits Of Someone Who’s Trying to Help

Knowing what to say is just half our responsibility when we share a condolence message. Equally important is our intent. We love our friends dearly, but in any attempts to try to “fix” their loss, we will only create more grief.

Therefore, it’s important to know the best traits we can display as a compassionate, empathetic friend:

  • Awareness: Recognizing the loss without trying to fix it
  • Accepting: Not asking for our friend to change their feelings
  • Patience: Giving our friend time to grieve, mourn, and heal on their terms
  • Proactive: Not waiting for our friend to reach out to us when they might not know how. Offering active support, even if that support is silent.
  • Focus on their Feelings: Not trying to rationalize or explain the loss, not comparing things to our personal experiences.

What To Say in a Sympathy Message – And What NOT To!

It’s important to remember that the purpose of our words isn’t to try to change how a suffering person is feeling. They have to work through their grief at their own pace.

As a supportive friend or relative, our role is to support them through it, not to force them through it.

So here are some bacis templates and guidelines you can use to structure your communication in a supportive and compassionate manner. Then, it will be up to your judgmment to decide what and in what combination to use these ideas:

1. Don’t draw comparisons!

Even if you have also suffered a loss, right now a person in grief doesn’t want to hear about it, no matter how similar. Why? It may make them feel guilty about their feelings – here you are, doing fine despite your loss, while they’re hurting. This is like saying, “Hey, it’s no so bad – you’re gonna be just fine! After all – look at me!”

Instead, focus on the person and their feelings. Or alternatively, on something else they’re interested in such as a hobby or other activity that can give their mind some time to be in a state f relative-normalcy.

2. Don’t say: “I know how you feel.”

Because we almost certainly don’t. Even if we have suffered loss ourselves, our minds are programmed not to hold onto the most severe pains we face (just think about the last time you cut yourself or burned yourself – you can remember the pain was bad, but not the pain itself) as a means of protecting our psychological well being.

Instead try saying: “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” This is closer to the truth – we can recognize the pain we might feel, but we can’t truly imagine it. A grieving person doesn’t expect or even want us to understand – because understanding doesn’t reverse the loss. Therefore, that’s not what we need to be expressing. Here we are acknowledging where they’re at and supporting our core goals: to provide the space for the grieving party to fully feel and come to terms with their feelings.

3. Don’t say: “I know know what to say.”

Odds are, they will be hearing a lot about how “there are no words to describe this” and how there are no sufficient words. Of course, this is true, but likely not very helpful to someone in grief.

Try instead: “…just know I care” or “I’m here with/for you. Our ability to calmly accept the suffering of another person is one of the best gifts we can give during a challenging time. Even in silence, our presence can be powerful. In times like this, there often aren’t words to say. In north American culture we’re often uncomfortable with prolongued silences and feel the need to fill all the space. Resist that urge. Be present.

4. Don’t say: “He’s/She’s in a better place.”

 Putting aside the fact that the person grieving may not believe in a better place, this phrase doesn’t address their loss. The fact that their loved one is in a better place in no way lessens their loss or hurt.

Instead try: “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Which directly acknowledges the pain point – the grieving person’s loss.

5. Don’t say: “You’re so brave/strong.”

Someone in grief or experiencing loss has often had their world turned upside down. Things are confusing, uncertain. Strong is probably the last thing they’re feeling. By saying this, instead of creating a safe atmosphere to express themselves honestly, we’re putting pressure on them to act and feel a certain way.

Instead try: “You don’t have to be strong right now.” or “We all need help at a time like this. I’m here for you.” Not for every person or every situation, this idea can be helpful for someone who is trying to put on a brave face and not show their pain. Remember, we’re trying to provide a safe environment for them to honestly express their feelings and confront their loss. Ideally, this thought can be communicated without words, simply by how we behave. But it can be difficult to feel calm and secure when we’re close to somebody that’s hurting – so the words can serve us well too.

6. Don’t say:  “S/he lived a full life.” or “It was too soon.

More phrases that fail to address the griver’s loss. Of course it was too soon. And maybe they did live a “full” life. But they’re still gone and it still hurts.

Instead try: “What is your favorite memory about [name]? By spending less time talking and more time listening, we can help someone who is suffering from loss to acknowledge their feelings at their own pace. Importantly, asking for a favorite memory also uses the present tense, and the griever can think about something they still have – their memories.

Notice the contrast between this question and “What did you love most about [name]?” – which in the past tense highlights the fact that this individual is now gone.

7. Don’t say: “Call me if you need anything.”

…or “I’m here if you need anything”

First of all, we’re putting the burden on the grieving person to think of something, “anything” being completely open ended. Note that this is different than when we said “I’m here for you” earlier. “I’m here for you” means I’m here now, present, compassionate, supportive. “I’m here if you need anything” is about the future.

Instead try: “I’ll be by at noon to take you to lunch.” This great suggestion from Prevention.com is specific and doesn’t require any extra effort on behalf of the grieving party. We may worry that our friend doesn’t want to join us or want our help, but if that’s the case, they can express their disinterest. It’s still up to us to be proactively supportive. It doesn’t have to be dinner – we could help with housework, babysitting, or anything else that’s a part of their normal routine.

8. Don’t say:  “There’s a reason for everything…”

or “God chose them/It was their time/They brought this upon themselves”

All of these phrases fail to address our friend’s feelings, and frankly they’re all insenitive. Never say or imply that the person deserved it in any way – whether you’re framing it positively or negatively. We’re dealing with the loss and grief of our friend, and that’s what we need to address.

Instead say: Anything else. Or nothing at all.

9. Don’t ask: “Are you okay?/”How do you feel?”

This sounds like a compassionate and caring thing to ask, after all, we are concerned with the well being of our friend. But we’re putting them in a difficult, no-win situation here. First of all – of course they feel terrible about the loss. Asking this to someone who is obviously suffering can be a slap in the face, even if our intentions were good.

Furthermore, asking “are you okay” is what journalists would call a “leading question” – in that it has a preferred answer: “yes, I’m okay.” This implies that it’s not okay to suffer and grieve, which can make the recovery process more difficult as it closes us off to the individual that could use our support.

Instead ask: “Do you want to talk?” This way, the person experiencing the pain isn’t forced into a lose-lose situation, and can choose to open up if they wish. Sometimes, a suffering person may not want to say anything, and other times, they may want to feel they’re inn a safe and accepting environment in which to share their feelings.

10. Give a hug instead of saying something.

Sometimes, the best way to connect with another person is through physical contact, not through words. It’s a form of silent but active support that can mean a lot and make a big difference.

Remember, when it comes to comforting, empathizing with, and supporting someone who is suffering from grief and loss – in particular the grief and loss of a loved one, the most important thing is that we remain calm, open, loving and compassionate.

It is often hardest to do this exactly when our loved ones need it most. But learning to do so can go a long way in helping these people move on and continue living despite their loss.

Being a good friend is one of the most important aspects of creating a better world. But our responsibilities don’t end there. Read on to find our more about how you can contribute to our world:

  1. The Start of Happiness
  2. How to Feel Better When Life Goes Wrong
  3. Why The World Needs You To Crack The Happiness Code

How to Feel Better Fast When Life Goes Wrong

Beautiful-SkyEver have one of those days where you just felt like giving up? Where one thing seems to pile on the next, and all of a sudden your whole life appeared to be spirling out of control?

It happens. Even the most self-assured, confident people end up in situations where they just end up feeling badly about themselves.

The good news is: It’s all changeable.

It doesn’t matter if we feel like failures, losers, like we’re wasting our life, or that we’ve ruined our life.

Even if our string of undesirable events has lasted weeks, months – or longer, there are reliable, scientifically-proven ways to feel better. You’re about to find out how.

Why We Keep Feeling Badly

Before we look at how to feel better, it makes sense to first understand why, when we feel badly, we often continue feeling badly – even long after the negative event(s) occured.

After all, it’s not the feeling badly that’s really the problem. It’s when we can’t seem to recover from feeling badly.

 

Just like a doctor tends to find out what’s wrong with us before prescribing medication (or so we can hope), by understanding why it is we feel bad we can make direct steps to feel better.

To show you how this works, let’s take an example most people are familiar with: Christmas Music.

When it comes to holiday classics, people are generally in 1 of 2 camps: love or hate.

Why do some people hate Christmas music?

Because it readily gets stuck in one’s head, and is nearly impossible to remove.

Even long after the music has stopped playing.

Kid’s songs can do the same. Katia has worked in some kindergardens, and sometimes plays a new children’s song that she’ll be doing with her class in the morning. At noon, I can find myself humming “Old MacDonald” without even realizing that it’s there, stuck in my subconscious like peanut butter to the roof of my mouth.

Negative events and negative emotions can be like Christmas music or children’s music: they get caught in a mental loop that can be ridiculously hard to break.

This is often misdiagnosed as an individual having low self esteem. But low self esteem is rarely the actual problem! It’s got far more to do with these mental loops that play over and over – as if we’re stranded at the mall during holiday season without any earplugs.

So now let’s see how to break them.

How to Feel Better: Start With Body Language

Body language is what I’d call the real form of “positive self talk”. The power of body language is well known to anyody with more than a casual involvement with the animal kingdom – for instances displays of dominance and aggression, but we easily forget what an important role it plays in our own lives.

We are biologically wired not only to understand and react to the body language of others – displays of dominance, aggression, empathy, happiness, and others – but our own as well.

In her TED Talk, Amy Cuddy shows that perhaps we are how we stand determines even more than we are what we eat:


I enjoy doing a silly exercise courtesy of a Micky Mouse animation I remember seeing in childhood. Mickey would walk with a bounce in his step, and certainly wasn’t lacking for arm swinging action (think: strutting). So I came up with a facimile: With as much vigor as possible, I’d basically walk with two “bounces” in your legs for every step. Basically, you just have to take a step forward, and then bend your back knee twice before taking another step. Bonus points for a huge grin.

It looks ridiculous, but I can say this much: It’s basically impossible to be upset while doing it.

And if you want to add to the effect, could could always…

Put on Upbeat Music

Music is deeply connected to how we feel. If you ever get the chance to watch a movie with the sound track removed you’ll know what I mean. Music is often the thing that drives our emotions in scenes of suspense, surprise/fear, and romance.

And in our lives, music can quickly and drastically alter our mood. That’s why it’s important to choose upbeat music, not slow, sad, themes that would fit in at a funeral march or an angsty-teen party. There’s a good reason so many athletes listen to pumping techno tracks while they work out.

From Scientific American:

“Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency.” and that “one could think of music as ‘a type of legal performance-enhancing drug’.”

So when it comes to driving a wedge into a negative pattern of thought, as well as helping us achieve a much desired endorphin-release, our favorite tunes can go a long way.

Now, we could do this in the comfort of our basement with the blinds drawn and the lights dimmer, but for even better results, it’s better to think of this like a cake recipe and combine this ingredient with…

Moving Your Body

In a detailed article about the link between mood and exerise, the American Psychological Association quotes Dr. Michael Otto,:

“Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” and “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact”.

And if you don’t dig psychology, then maybe it’s time to get your heavy-duty shovels out and consider the anthropological angle: We evolved to cope with a wildly different type of stress than the modern ones we face today: gridlock traffic, a sluggish economy, and sedentary lifestyles.

Throughout human history, whenever people felt fear, anxiety, worry, and other negative emotions, it often meant there was an immenant threat of some sort.

And that usually meant one of 2 things: Fight. Or flight.

In any case, you were about to become fully physically engaged, and a short time later, the situation would be resolved.

A simplistic explanation, but the underlying truth is this: we are built to move both in order to feel good and to stop feeling bad.

Personally, I prefer short, intense bursts of activity to long, drawnout ones (like running marathons) – which I consider different sorts of chronic stressors that will wear out our bodies physically over time. But different strokes for different folks. Some people find a 2 hour jog to be rather relaxing and meditative.

Of course, you don’t have to run. Movement is the key: dance, swim, ride a bike, do parkour, gymnastics, yoga, tai-bo. Whatever it is that turns your crank.

And you can make this technique even more powerful when you…

Spend quality time with a friend

While I’m on the anthropology kick, we may as well take a look at the fact that, in addition to being built for movement, humans are also programmed to be social.

Evolving in tribes of up to 150 individuals, we have every reason to believe that the well being of our ancestors was strongly tied to the strength of their social ties, just as it is today.

When we’re feeling badly about things, we often want to have someone to vent our feelings to. That has a time and a place, but it’s not what our goal is here.

Here, we want to keep our focus away from our problems, and friends are one of the surest ways of doing this. The fact that we’re spending time with someone we trust and relate to is the most important factor – it could be at a restaurant, playing a sport, or anything else where we are engaged with our friend(s).

That is to say, where we’re spending our time not just in the presence of another person – while watching a movie, playing video games, or the like – but having a real interaction.

Of course, when we feel down, it’s possible to feel like we don’t have anyone who wants to spend time with us, or that we want to spend time with.

In that case, it might be better to meet up with some new people through a hobby, volunteering, or a community event. CouchSurfing, where I often go to find affordable (read: free) accommodation in new cities and get a local perspective on things can also be a great way to meet new & interesting people in your own city, as there will often be meetups for members at any given locale.

If that’s too intimidating and you’re not so keen on meeting strangers, then I’d like you to…

Remember, you don’t have to FEEL good in order to take positive action:

Maybe you don’t feel like doing a single thing on this list. Maybe you find yourself saying “that will never work” to every suggestion that’s crossed your path. Fine. Pick something and do it anyway.

We often let our emotions be in complete control over whether or not we get into action. If that’s the case, then there will always be the potential that we fall victim to cirumstances outside our control.

Of course, if we can have a strong positive emotion driving us, things are easier. But if not, we can use the practice of being mindful in order to overcome the resistence generated by our negative emotions.

Usually, when we feel negative emotions – the conversation is over. “I don’t feel like it” says the mind, and we stay stuck. By being mindful – literally, the simple act of noticing and accepting our feelings without ascribing quality or passing judgement, lets us act freely in spite of them.

During my travels, there have been countless times I’ve felt frustrated – by bureaucratic nonsense & red tape, by people, by stores or offices being closed at the wrong times, by unexpected expenses & delays, and a host of other friends. If not for the fact that I’m incredibly grateful for my lifestyle and value even the difficult times (at least – in hindsight), I’d say frustration has been one of my closest travel companions.

And yet, now, when I feel frustrated, it rarely causes my to lose my cool. I’ve learned that it’s possible to act in my best interest regardless of the color or heat of the ichor pumping through my veins.

You can do the same. You can greet your feelings, acknowledge them, and then carry on.

It’s like this: We often spend our time looking for something to make us happy. Instead of this approach, we can ask ourselves “if I were already happy, what would I be doing?” In a pinch, this is the fastest way to find some positive action to take.

So now the floor is yours. What do you do to feel better when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 100 Tiny Buddha Articles – The Definitive Self Improvement Collection

TinyBuddhaTinyBuddha.com is one of the world’s best loved personal development blogs, with over 4 million readers visiting every month.

Founder Lori Deschene developed a large, passionate community of readers and authors, and as she says herself, “Though I run this site, it is not mine. It’s ours.”

I’ve contributed several articles myself, and the website was part of the inspiration for my own website, Cracking The Happiness Code.

One of the things I love about TinyBuddha – it’s a perfect example of how the internet has and is democratizing access to knowledge and information. No longer does the student of personal growth have to shell out $5,000 bucks to have a hotshot guru have us walk over fiery coals, blow even hotter air up our collective colons, and leave us with little but a scorching sensation in our wallets.

Now, we can pop online, fire up good ol’ Google, and be inundated with delectable personal development ambrosia in a matter of minutes.

There just one problem – there’s so much material available it can be hard to know where to look, and we can get mired in a sea of mediocrity instead of riding the glorious waves of personal progress.

Even on a site such as TinyBuddha, where the quality has remained high for years – it’s nevertheless the case that almost 1000 writers have contributed guest posts, and there are over 40,000 indexed pages to sift through.

TB page count

 

I don’t know how many lifetimes you have available for that, or if you employ a team of highly trained, erudite, and ambitious chimpanzees to help sort best from the rest.

So I decided to take it upon myself to create a list of the best personal development blog posts ever to be published on TinyBuddha.

It took over 8 hours to put it all together, but at last – we have it.

Selection Method

In order to objectively pick the most popular articles, I needed data from those 4-5 million monthly visitors. So instead of a team of genius chimps, I went to my friends from SEMRush and Moz – whose SEO tools I employ while wearing my SEO consulting hat.

I was able to discover how many people had shared a given article on social media, like “votes” for that article.

I was also able to see how many people had linked to each article from their own blogs – much stronger votes in my opinion, as clicking “like” or “Tweet” is a rather less dedicated action than intentionally putting a reference in one’s writing.

mozshot TB

So, after the votes were all tallied, I filtered out the other 39,000 pages and was left with the top 100 posts on Tiny Buddha.

I’ve grouped them into categories to make it easier to find articles on the theme your most interested in: overcoming negative emotions, being present and mindful, love & trust, change, happiness, relationships, and passion & purpose.

So without further ado, here’s the list:

Overcoming Negative Emotions

Life is easy when things go well, the real challenge is how to react when things don’t go as we expected and planned. How quickly we recover from setbacks, how well we cope under pressure, how we think and act when the unexpected occurs – these are the things that set happy people apart.

  1. 40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain by Lori Deschene
  2. 6 Secrets to Moving On From Serious Struggles by Beth Burgess
  3. 10 Tips to Overcome Negative Thoughts: Positive Thinking Made Easy by Michelle Uy
  4. 20 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Angry with Someone by Lori Deschene
  5. Dealing with Uncomfortable Feelings & Creating Positive Ones by Lori Deschene
  6. 10 Ways to Complain Less and Be Happier by Lauren Stewart
  7. 10 Ways to Let Go and Overcome a Bad Mood by Lori Deschene
  8. 3 Reasons to Stop Worrying About Your Negative Thoughts by Lisa Esile
  9. 4 Lessons on Conquering Fear and Living the Life You Want to Live by Ashley Johns
  10. 40 Ways to Give Yourself a Break by Lori Deschene
  11. 5 Tips to Stop Stressing About Being Perfect So You Can Enjoy Life by Ken Myers
  12. Accept Imperfection: Making Peace with “Pieces in Progress” by Melanie Edwards
  13. Finding Joy in the Ruins of a Crushed Dream by Jen Saunders
  14. Healing Depression by Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Spirit by Andrea Lewis
  15. How to Forgive Someone When It’s Hard: 30 Tips to Let Go of Anger by Lori Deschene
  16. The Power of Patience: Let Go of Anxiety and Let Things Happen by Cloris Kylie Stock
  17. Uplifting Depression: 15 Unexpected Lessons from Adversity by Noch Noch

Purple-Sky

Being Present

Life is only lived in the present, and as much as we may like to plan for the future or reminicse about the past, the experiences that make our life full, vibrant experiences only happen now.

For instance, I get a ton of pleasure out of anticipating my next big tour through Europe, Asia, or South America – in fact, in many ways, the anticipation is probably more pleasureable than many of the events! But we have to balance our desires for the future with the needs of the moment. This is where we find beace, contentment, and happiness.

TinyBuddha provides a wealth of information about meditative & mindfulness practice, as well as other ways to be fully engaged in the moment.

  1. 5 Lessons about Being Present: Freedom is Where My Feet Are by Erin Lanahan
  2. 5 Meditation Tips for People Who Don’t (Yet) Like to Meditate by Sarah Rudell Beach
  3. Let Go of Control: How to Learn the Art of Surrender by Dr. Amy Johnson
  4. Creating an Inner Peace That Endures by Marilyn Briant
  5. The Gift of Anxiety: 7 Ways to Get the Message and Find Peace by Ariella Baston
  6. 20 Ways Sitting in Silence Can Completely Transform Your Life by Samuel Gentoku McCree
  7. 8 Ways to Make Meditation Easy and Fun by Goddess Leonie
  8. 7 Obstacles to Mindfulness and How to Overcome Them by Henri Junttila
  9. 10 Ways to Slow Down and Still Get Things Done by Lori Deschene
  10. 50 Things You Can Control Right Now by Lori Deschene
  11. Realizing You Have Everything You Need by Brian Webb
  12. The Power of Acceptance: Stop Resisting and Find the Lesson by Anonymous
  13. What Gifts Have You Gained from the Pains of Your Past? by AmyKate Gowland

Beautiful-Woman-in-Field

Love & Trust

We cannot be truly satisfied with our lives without loove and trust. First, the love of self, which we can then expand to the people close to us, and later the greater, wider world.

Trust allows us to act in the face of uncertainty. Trust in ourselves, our judgment, and in others. It creates space for compassion, creates space to invest our time and energy in things even when we don’t see a benefit to ourselves.

  1. 5 Ways to Feel More Love & Compassion for Yourself & Others Erin Lanahan
  2. Sharing Yourself Without Worrying About Being Accepted Erin Lanahan
  3. Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself Interview: Erin Lanahan
  4. Following Your Internal Compass and Making Your Own Decisions Greg Frucci
  5. How to Love Your Authentic Self  by Lori Deschene
  6. 5 Steps to Deal with Self-Doubt and Trust Your Self Again Petrea Hansen-Adamidis
  7. 50 Ways to Show Gratitude for the People in Your Life by Lori Deschene
  8. 7 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough Madison Sonnier
  9. Dealing with Loss and Grief: Be Good to Yourself While You Heal Lynn Newman
  10. How Being Vulnerable Can Expand Your World by Wendy Miyake
  11. How to Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin Mary Dunlop
  12. Stop Assuming the Worst: Your Thoughts Shape Your Reality Cloris Kylie Stock
  13. The Greatest Act of Love Is Letting Go Joanna Warwick
  14. The Secret to (High) Self Esteem Susie Newday
  15. Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself Interview: Emma Brooke
  16. You Are Good Enough and You Deserve the Best Alesha Chilton
  17. You Don’t Need to Fix Yourself to Be Healed  Danea Horn

love and trust

Change

It can be scary and uncomfortable, but it is necessary for life and growth. Since change will happen whether or not we want it to, we may as well learn to direct change in ways that create positive results in our lives: learning, growing, connecting, overcoming challenges, and gaining wisdom in different fields & endeavors.

  1. 6 Life Lessons on Embracing Change and Impermanence by Vishnu
  2. Dealing with Uncertainty: 5 Tips to Create Trust and Patience by Erin Lanahan
  3. The Power of Change: How Leaving Home Can Bring You Home by Erin Lanahan
  4. Letting Go and Starting Over When It’s Hard by Tina Robbins
  5. 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities by Lori Deschene
  6. 10 Powerful Benefits of Change by Ani Chibukhchyan
  7. 7 Ways to Deal with Uncertainty: Be Happier and Less Anxious by Lori Deschene
  8. Why Acceptance Isn’t Passive and How It Leads to Positive Change by Cloris Kylie Stock
  9. How to Deal with Criticism Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It by Lori Deschene
  10. How to Find Your Path When Life Suddenly Changes by Cloris Kylie Stock
  11. How to Start a Gratitude Practice and Change Your Life by Helen Russell
  12. How Simple Mini Habits Can Change Your Life by Stephen Guise
  13. One New Year’s Resolution That Creates Lasting Change by Lori Deschene
  14. 10 Ways I Know There’s Nothing Wrong with You (or Me) by Lori Deschene
  15. Speaking Up When You’re Bullied, in School and Beyond by Blair Shackle
  16. Overcome 8 Common Limiting Beliefs That May Keep You Stuck by Victoria Gigante

Uncertainty

Happiness

Happiness, or whatever other word we choose to replace it with: joy, contentment, satisfaction, peacefulness, bliss – is one of the most important parts of leading a full life.

At this point, we know enough about the art & science of happiness to be able to create it with a decent amount of predictably. Certain behaviors, environments, and social settings are simply more condusive to happiness to others. We can all change how much happiness we experience by learning to change thhese factors.

  1. Life is Happening FOR Us: All Things Are Gifts by Erin Lanahan
  2. Happy Is As Happy Does: Make Your Own Joy in Life by Amy Clover
  3. 60 Things to Be Grateful For In Life by Celestine Chua
  4. 8 Ways to Be More Confident: Live the Life of Your Dreams by Lori Deschene
  5. 40 Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Your Day by Lori Deschene
  6. 40 Ways to Feel More Alive by Lori Deschene
  7. 50 Things to Love about Life That Are Free by Lori Deschene
  8. Are Your Expectations Setting You Up for Disappointment? by Amanda Christian
  9. 7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now by  Lori Deschene
  10. How to Create a Balanced Life: 9 Tips to Feel Calm and Grounded by Jasmin Tanjeloff
  11. Be Stress-Free: Eliminate 5 Common, Unnecessary Stressors by Juha Kaartoluoma
  12. How to Wake up Every Morning on Top of The World by  Srinivas Rao
  13. 3 Lessons from Traveling That Lead to Everyday Happiness by Ehren Prudhel

Happy-Guy

 

Relationships

Humans are not isolated individuals. We are connected to each other in ways we might consider a colony of ants or a hive of bees. Evolving in groups of up to 150 individuals, humans are part individual part group-mind.

Thus, our relationships are one of the most important parts of our lives. Even if we had a difficult upbringing or faced other adverse circumstances, we can develop strong, deep, meaningful relationships with other people. As usual, it all starts with how we run our own mind.

  1. How to Let Go of a Past Relationship: 10 Steps to Peacefully Move On by Lori Deschene
  2. 10 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People by Lori Deschene
  3. 10 Ways to Create a Strong, Intimate Relationship by Lynn Newman
  4. 7 Vital Choices for Happy Relationships by Lori Deschene
  5. How to Feel More Loved: 9 Tips for Deep Connection by Lori Deschene
  6. How to Release and Prevent Resentment in Your Relationships by Anonymous
  7. How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 3 Crucial First Steps by Britt Bolnick
  8. How to Let Go of the Fear of Being Hurt Again by Cloris Kylie Stock
  9. How to Overcome the Pain of Rejection by Cloris Kylie Stock
  10. The Foundation of Love: Releasing Judgments and Expectations – by Carolyn Hidalgo

Love1

Passion & Purpose

Doing meaningful work and making a contribution to the world has been proven to be one of the core factors of leading a happy life. That may mean different things to different people – a career, building a business, doing charity work, or pursuing a hobby or other creative interest.

Whatever it is for us, it’s important not to wait until “someday” to start paying attention to this area of our lives.

  1. 8 Ways to Discover Your Passion and Live a Life You Love by Ashley Wilhite
  2. 5 Questions To Ask Yourself If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be by Katie Manning
  3. 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow and Thrive by Loran Hills
  4. 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Up on Your Dream by Lori Deschene
  5. 6 Powerful Questions That Will Change Your Life Forever by James McWhinney
  6. 8 Ways We Block Our Creativity and Keep Ourselves Stuck by Harish Kumar
  7. Baby Steps: A Simple Guide to Doing Something New by  Harriet Cabelly
  8. Discovering Happiness through Purpose in 3 Natural Steps by Scott Dinsmore
  9. How to Be a Leader without Really Trying by Erin Lanahan
  10. Eliminate These 5 Words to Create the Life of Your Dreams by Victoria Gigante
  11. Freeing Yourself When You Feel Limited or Stuck by Aekta Kapoor
  12. Get Started on Your Dream: Clear the 5 Most Daunting Hurdles by Rashmie Jaaju
  13. How to Grow from Mistakes and Stop Beating Yourself Up by Michelle Ghilotti Mandel
  14. How to Make a Difficult Decision: 30 Ideas to Help You Choose – by Lori Deschene

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That’s the list! If you found it useful, please consider sharing it on social media so other people can discover the incredible resource that is TinyBuddha.