Who Makes You Happy?

(Published in The Unity Community in June 2018)

Last year (2017) I discussed here some aspects of happiness and its causes (hint: look in the mirror). 

This week, we’ll take another look at what leads to happiness from a slightly different perspective, and arrive at the same conclusion. You can choose to be happy…or not, independent of outside factors. Sure, you won’t feel very happy when a loved one has a bad accident or dies. You’ll react to such events from a much stabler base, though, if you’re a fundamentally happy person. And you can decide right now to be that person.

In large part being internally happy is the result of living life with integrity, knowing you’re doing the right thing in your own honest opinion. 

Not someone else’s opinion

Not because it looks good to someone (or everyone) else

But because you know it’s right.

Do you enjoy your own company? That’s a pretty good test!

Your reaction to external factors (relationships with people, things, or achievements) are the  results of true internal happiness, rather than the causes.

Want to be Happier?

Here’s Rose Walker, a coach I recently “met” on LinkedIn,  discussing the “proper” source of happiness

Many people tend to depend for their happiness on their significant other, their friends, their parents, their children, even their compatriots at work.

Get this! In all things in life, YOU are responsible. Other people, possessions, achievements, travel experiences, etc, can certainly add spice to life.  Those enhancements are the icing on the cake. If the cake is not good, all the sweet icing in the world won’t make it good. 

Life is the same way. Adding nice relationships and experiences is great if you have a solid foundation as an internally happy person. Otherwise they’re empty and fleeting. No amount of them will make you happy. You’ve got to be happy first.

Entrepreneur? Or Just Another Business Person?

(Published in The Unity Community newsletter in January 2019)


Norm Brodsky
, who writes a regular column in Inc. magazine, has a very interesting story for us for this issue

He and his wife stopped by a store where Linda Pagan manufactures and sells ladies’ hats. 

Linda makes some very broad-brimmed hats that many people like for outdoor events. Since she includes boxes with all her hats, she needs larger than normal boxes for these hats. 

She took the “bull by the horns” and helped her box supplier develop the capacity  to produce these outsized boxes. The supplier hadn’t identified the market for such hat boxes. She did, and stepped up to make it happen, with benefit to herself and other marketers, the box supplier, and the customers.

This is the way business should be done – win-win-win! It’s how a market economy generates wealth. 

Through cooperative effort, everybody benefits. Linda, the box supplier and other milliners earn a profit by selling their wares for more than it costs to make them. The customers get the hats worth more to them than the money they pay for them.

So here’s the difference between an entrepreneur and another business person. Many people start a “business” which is really just a job for them. They don’t answer to a boss per se (except their customer), but they’re selling what others sell, with few if any unique features.

Those who identify and fill a gap, or space for a product or service that nobody is offering, are entrepreneurs. Others compete with existing suppliers without offering anything new. They must compete on price, delivery time, or other mundane features of their product or service. They have much more competition than the entrepreneur does.

Enjoy Norm’s story about entrepreneur Linda Pagan. This insight may be useful to better understand and explain the difference between entrepreneurs and other business people.

What Makes Experience a Better Teacher?

We’ve talked a lot about mindset in the last several issues of this letter. I’m sure some among you think all this mindset talk is “woo-woo” pointless chatter. 

“Just get on with the program!” you may say. I assure you, there’s abundant science supporting the idea that mindset affects performance. It also affects life satisfaction and happiness.

Effective “getting on with the program” requires a positive mindset. Are you working with an abundance, rather than scarcity, mindset? Focusing on solutions, rather than problems? If so, you’re in the most effective mindset. If you’re focusing on scarcity and problems, you’re not as effective as you may think! For sure, not as effective as you could be.

A few mindset-related concepts this week:

  • Reflection makes the most of experience.
  • Worry does nothing to fix what you’re worrying about. We have a quick recipe for dispelling worry.
  • Happy positive people are happy whether they’re materially wealthy or not.

Here’s Karyn Danielle on the topic of reflection. She begins by citing this quote:

We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on our experience.” – John Dewey

Careful reflection can bring to light: 

  • What went well. 
  • What we can improve upon. 
  • Where life worked against us despite our best effort. 
    • Celebrate that effort, even if the outcome was less desirable than you hoped for. You gave it your best shot!

Karyn expands on that idea – all part of the concept of a positive mindset. 

Worry detracts from performance. Worry is nothing more or less than negative expectations. It’s a negative mindset. If you find yourself worrying about something:

  • Explore what you can do about it. Then do it – take positive steps.
  • If there’s nothing you can do about it, decide to accept the outcome, whatever it is.
    • Be on the lookout for anything you can do to mitigate its effect on you. Do that thing.
    • Then stop worrying.
    • Get on with the things you can do in the rest of your life.

The scare about the coronavirus is a perfect situation for practicing this.

There are many negative people who make lots of money or show other signs of success. Usually their “success” is short-lived, and they lead unhappy lives. 

Annette Bau has studied happy people enjoying life and those who fight it. Each category includes some who have money. And others who struggle financially. In 30 years of study, she’s found it’s all about mindset! Money, or other trappings of “success”, don’t make unhappy people happy. They just result in unhappy people with lots of stuff!

Focus on things you can control – especially your mind!

Need some Inspiration? Who Can You Count on?

Rounding out the month of March 2020, which turned into a “Mindset Month”, Mary Lynn Ziemer has this for us.

It’s a great reminder of the value of celebrating your wins, however small they seem. A genuine compliment from a friend may be more uplifting than closing a big sale! Reminding yourself of that compliment, and other “wins” in your life, makes you your biggest fan. And your greatest friend. Good company to have!

March began with business in full swing and the coronavirus mostly concentrated in China and Italy. Life in the Americas seemed pretty “normal”. Then the virus spread worldwide and governments took action. (Whatever your opinion of their actions, it happened, and we all live with the effect). Seemingly all hell broke loose. 

Heading into April it looks like more of the same for at least a few more weeks.

While all this is going on, the press is, as always, fanning the flames. It’s important for each of us to stay focused. There are things in our lives we can still control, most importantly our mindset. To keep our mindset positive, we sometimes need a source of inspiration.

Who better to count on than our own selves for that inspiration?

Mary Lynn offers wonderful advice for how to provide that self-inspiration. Her main suggestion? When you’re faced with a situation you’d prefer to be different, first, STOP! Give yourself a little break. Recognize what, if any, role you have in the situation. If you can correct your role to improve the outcome, do it. If you truly have no role, think carefully about what you can do to turn the effect positive for you. When you’re dealt lemons, make lemonade. Consider how to avoid negative effects as much as possible. 

In poker, any hand can win! Play the hand you’re dealt. Every hand has something that can make it a winner, if you play it right.

Among other things, stay informed. Follow the most factual, least emotional, sources you can find. When you have the information you need, turn off the news. The hoopla can only make you negative and crazy.

While you’re thinking about the next useful steps for you to take, do it with a positive mindset. You’ll think much more clearly with that positivity. To make your mindset positive – to be the best version of yourself – remember and celebrate your wins. Be your own cheerleader!Make a list of people and things you’re grateful for. Refer to it often. Update it often.

You have greatness inside of you – remind yourself of that and bring it out!

What’s Important Enough for You to Become an Activist?

(This is an article I wrote for my newsletter nearly 3 years ago. Since it’s come up in several conversations, I’m posting it here, which I hadn’t done before.)

My daughter called Saturday. We talked for an hour and a half We don’t talk very often. Our conversations, when we finally get our schedules together, can run to 2, 3, or 4 hours. Since we both have inquiring minds, the more we discuss things the more new questions arise.

About an hour into the conversation, after catching up on our various activities, things started getting philosophical, and soon Tara asked me:


What do you Care Enough About to be an Activist?

My answer? Building and nurturing relationships in my life and helping everyone around me understand the value of relationships in their lives. 

A good way of examining what’s most important to a person is to consider what they say during their final hours or days before death (in cases where they know it’s imminent) that they’re happiest or saddest about in their lives. In most cases they either celebrate great relationships or lament poor ones or the lack of satisfying ones. Only the vainest tout the amount of money or possessions they’ve accumulated, or even their achievements.

Landmark Education is a worldwide company who conducts programs to help people see and understand the “blocks” they put in their own life’s way, and then to remove or work around those blocks so they can live authentic, well-balanced, psychologically healthy lives.  Over the past several years I’ve done some work with this wonderful organization, both as a participant in their programs and as a volunteer to help others benefit from this great work at a reasonable cost.

At Landmark, the entry point to their huge menu of offerings is the Landmark Forum. A hundred people, more or less, assemble in an auditorium with only the vaguest idea of what they are about to participate in for the next 3-1/2 very long days. Early on, the Forum leader asks people what they think defines their lives. During the ensuing discussion, he or she writes a couple of large slate boards full of people’s answers. Sometimes a participant will finally hit on “relationships”, and sometimes nobody gets it until the leader finally suggests it.

The rest of the entire work of Landmark’s many programs is dedicated to helping people find ways to build, repair, and maintain healthy relationships with those who are important in their lives. The transformations that occur for people as a result of this work are truly stunning. Landmark makes no claims for specific changes that will occur in anyone’s life as a result of this work. Nonetheless, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen several suicides prevented, and certainly many completely different (from when they arrived) people at the end of the Forum and/or follow-on programs. 

In my own case, I’m not aware of changes that dramatic (Quite likely they’re there and I’m not consciously aware of their full significance). I can say that many relationships in my life have improved significantly, particularly notably and importantly those with my children and my ex-wife. I also have many important friends among the people I met at Landmark

Truly exciting…and indicative of the importance of relationships to the human condition!

Need Some Inspiration in This Time of Challenge?

The world is in turmoil. The news media is full of over-blown hype about it. Perhaps you need some inspiration.

A few suggestions:

  • Turn off the TV
  • Put down the newspaper
  • Read, or re-read, my recent posts on The Unity Community. The open rates for these messages currently stand at 18-21%. This tells me there are many of you who have yet to benefit from them. I refer to:
  • Listen to Eric Lofholm’s live (7:45 AM PT every business day) or recorded 15-minute motivational calls. The recordings and the instructions to join the live call are here. Eric is always upbeat and shares valuable business and sales tips, as well as pure inspiration.
  • (For those with children under 20: Eric has just announced he is doing a special daily training for kids. Most schools don’t teach kids mindset, goal setting, effective communication, etc. Eric is filling that space at a time when kids need it most. I just watched today’s episode and recommend it.)

Mindset is vital. It always works best to approach any situation, however dire it appears, with a positive attitude. There’s a positive side to every situation. Focusing on the negatives will only depress you.  It will do absolutely nothing to improve the situation, or your own performance.

You must be positive to perform at your best. 

You can be positive only by eliminating the negative. 

It’s impossible for the brain to recognize positive and negative simultaneously. Focus on the positive.

Fear and faith cannot co-exist (Napoleon Hill). Have faith that you will do what is necessary. Then do it!

Be aware of facts. Intentionally avoid the hype.

When you can do something to help, do it. When the situation is out of your control, worry won’t help. Move on to whatever good you find. Can’t find it? Look harder – it’s there.

In this time, we can appreciate these observations:

  • Some down time is a good thing.
  • Quiet time with family is good.
  • More relaxed interaction with friends is beneficial.
  • More time to think about and plan for our business and life will have long-term benefit.
  • It’s pretty easy to reduce expenses when we’re not moving around much, restaurants are closed, etc.
  • We may learn more effective or efficient ways of working while our mobility is limited. Example: We have essentially 0 commute time and expense.
  • Think of other benefits!

Stay positive! Better times are coming.

What Will Help You Most to Navigate Hard Times?

This month seems to be developing into a time of philosophical exploration. Last week we discussed Wayne Dyer’s wise life improvement suggestions. This week, I go  back a little further in history (about 700 years!) for for some Persian wisdom on life.

Yalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, better known simply as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian poet, faqih, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.

Nikos, who has commented on several of my articles, recently sent me 75 Rumi quotes. Most of them are worthy of thoughtful note. In the list, every 10th one is highlighted. There are many nuggets of wisdom in the entire list. For different people, different ones will have the biggest impact. I won’t try to select for you.

All of this advice, no matter the source, essentially comes down to positive mindset. Travel restrictions, wild stock market fluctuations, etc., can lead one to think negatively. We have no control over those things. One thing we can always control is our mindset. Keeping a positive mindset helps us through the toughest of times. In a positive mindset we are much more effective at addressing what we can control.

Napoleon Hill famously said, “Fear and faith can’t co-exist.” Have faith that you can produce the results you want, and set fear aside.

Be positive and grateful.

Gratitude and Forgiveness are Everything

Dr. Wayne Dyer had one of the most balanced outlooks on life that I’ve ever found. I think he gave me the fundamentals that allow me to make the progress I’m making now.


For many years, while he was still alive, I listened to powerful ideas from Wayne. Though they were usually on cassette tapes, or later on CD’s, they always seemed to be alive. This man was larger than life! Here’s a great quick summary (just over 11 minutes) of some of his most powerful ideas. I just ran across this while viewing other things on YouTube.


Take these five principles to heart and live them. Your life will improve. If you’ve learned them before, this is an excellent refresher…From a man who knew them better than most. The 5 principles are:

  1. When life seems to be dealing you a bad hand, look inside. Each of us is responsible for our own life.
  2. There are no justified resentments.
  3. You become what you think about.
  4. Keep your mind open to everything, and attached to nothing.
  5. Don’t die with your music still in you. March to the drummer you hear.

Wayne died a little over 4 years ago. As he said in the presentation, his music was playing as he spoke. At that time I listened to a heartfelt eulogy by Reid Tracy, a long-time Dyer friend. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I just listened to it again. Once again I was overwhelmed. Powerful! 

The eulogy is 2-1/2 hours long. If you didn’t know him, you’ll likely find less impact in it than I did.   

There’s a 15-minute embedded clip (15:05-29:37) in the eulogy. In that clip Wayne tells the story of his life transformation:

He found his father’s grave 10 years after his father died. He hadn’t known of his father’s death before then. His father had abandoned the family when Wayne was too young to remember him. He’d become a drifter, a drunk, a waster. Wayne says, “I went there to piss [sic.] on his grave”. After he’d vented his anger for a couple of hours, he was getting in his car to leave. A voice called him to make peace with his father. He went back and, on the spot, forgave his father for everything. From then on he sent his father only love. 

A direct result: He also found a new direction in his own life and cleaned it up! He wrote and published a book in a year and a half.

The power of gratitude and forgiveness cannot be overstated! Here‘s something I wrote nearly 4 years ago (I found it wasn’t posted on my website, so I just posted it. Hence, the date stamp is from this week.) The style of the piece is not what I’d have written today, but I think the message is clear.

In my brief message here, I’ve referenced a lot of material. I hope you perceive sufficient value to check some of it out! 

At least the two videos of Dyer, linked in the second and seventh(15:05-29:37) paragraphs.

Is the healing power of gratitude and forgiveness new to you? If so, I promise this will be huge for you!

Gratitude can Heal all Wounds! (From 2 May 2016)

In this issue I introduce you to my friend and fellow coach Star Dargin, of Star Leadership, who talks about the importance of gratitude in this message. She finds, in the seemingly unpleasant experience of suffering a broken ankle, many aspects of the experience to appreciate. As she ably points out, expressing gratitude can transform your life into a more enjoyable, more productive, more balanced, way forward.


So what are you grateful for today? What can you discover, in an apparently obnoxious event, for which to thank whatever gods may be? If you become a more grateful person, you’ll find your performance flourishing, and you’ll enjoy life more to boot.


As regular readers know, I always invite your comments via telephone (schedule a call at https://unitycopywriting.com/lets-talk) or email (john@unitycopywriting.com) on any of my work.. Care to talk about something you’ve found to be grateful for in an experience that seems on its face to be disastrous?

Employee: Can I Email You 24/7?

When are you connected to technology? More importantly, when do you disconnect?


Here’s the story of a lady who stayed connected 24/7…until she “blew a circuit breaker”.


The lesson she learned from that was to set strict rules for herself. She decided when she would check email. And when she wouldn’t. Of course she told her colleagues that her email responses might be delayed. She also advised “If it’s a true emergency, text or call.”


Studies indicate the majority of business leaders haven’t made that decision. To their detriment, I’ll wager!


A little aside on decision-making I hope you find valuable:


Dr. Benjamin Hardy has some unique and valuable ideas about decision-making. He contends that willpower is for those who haven’t decided.“Design trumps willpower.” – B. J. Fogg, Stanford psychologist

Ben is one of my most trusted mentors. Since I started working with him several months ago, I’ve found this to be true. Several decisions I’ve made have simplified my life and work considerably. Among the most important are:

  • Rising at 5:00 AM every work day, which also means going to bed before 11:00 PM every night before.
  • In the first few minutes after I get up, I take a quick cold shower and drink 20 ounces (0.6 l.) of water.

When I was first presented with these suggestions, in prospect they looked difficult. Now, having made the decision to follow this routine, it is indeed routine…and easy. No decisions required! No will power required! The decision is made.
The benefits in improved engagement and focus are huge.

To get back to the “lead story”. Mathilde Collin, her company (Front) and her life have realized big improvements. Her new focus on “the important things” (usually not urgent) has brought her many great things.


Read on!