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Tip of the Week

The 5 Secrets of a Happy Life

By: Dr. Tomi W. Bryan

Gallup research shows that 70% of employees in America are unhappy. Thus, I paid attention one recent morning when my husband was in a good mood as he prepared to go to work. I asked what was up (since 7 out of 10 people aren't happy at work in the U.S.). He said he had just listened to Faith Hill's song The Secret of Life. He proudly repeated a few lines of the song and then announced, "There is no secret." I said, "Oh, but there is hombre. And there is more than one." In fact, there are 5 secrets to a happy life. Using them can make work and lifeless frustrating and stressful:

1. Embrace the mystery of life.

Life is a mystery. Our lives are treks up the mountain, and somebody keeps moving the summit. We can be disappointed that we never get where we want to go, or we can embrace the twists and turns life presents us and enjoy the ride. When we embrace that life is a mystery, not a problem to be solved, we allow ourselves to enjoy an adventure that lasts a lifetime. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy. 

2. Clear away interference.

Tim Gallwey, an author and former professional tennis player, developed a formula for simplifying tennis performance:

Performance = potential - interference

This formula represents Gallwey's believe that your performance on the tennis court is equal to your potential, less the interference that limits or detracts from your ability to tap into your tennis potential. This formula applies to happiness in life also.

Life is more fun and people are happier when they are living as their best and most successful selves. When we resolve the personal and structural interferences that face us every day, it allows us to tap into more of our potential and live as our best selves. 

3. Leave the past in the past. 

The past calls the shots until you make peace with it. Dr. James Hollis, a Jungian psychologist and author, observed: "the past calls the shots, at least until it is flushed out into the full light of consciousness."

I call this past the energetic karmic scrap heap. It contains childhood wounds and traumas, family stories and past life contracts and vows. To be free of this scrap heap, we are required to shine a light on it, inquire into it and love it regardless of what we see. 

4. A happy life demands emotional maturity. 

I cringe every time I see the movie Jerry McGuire and watch Tom Cruise say, "You complete me" to his girlfriend. Why? Because no one can complete you but you. When we want the people in our lives to be responsible for our happiness, we abdicate responsibility for our own lives and for our own happiness.

Emotional maturity demands we enter any relationship as a whole and unique person. Relationships are so much better when we step into them whole than when we step into them looking for someone to be those things we aren't, can't be, or won't be. 

5. Follow the 24-hour rule.  

This 24-hour rule is about feeling what you feel when you feel it. Many of us try not to feel our emotions; we stuff them back down and deny them. When we avoid our feelings in the moment, they tend to surface at inopportune times and create unnecessary drama. 
Allow yourself 24 hours to wallow, cry, drink champagne, yell, beat your fists on your chest, or dance by the light of the moon. Do whatever you have to do to feel the emotion. Then, when the 24 hours are up, you leave the hurt or pride in that moment and take the lessons learned forward with you.

Author, marketer, and entrepreneur Ryan Holliday wrote, "Remember that this moment is not your life, it's just a moment in your life.

Use these 5 things and take your happiness - and success - to the next level. 

Dr. Tomi Bryan, a System Dynamics Expert, helps high achievers find their next gear. Discover the champion within! Schedule a coaching session with Dr. Bryan at or connect with Dr. Bryan via Linkedin, twitter (@champdyn) or facebook (Championship Dynamics). Permission granted for use on   

Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Health, Mental Health, Personal Responsibility, Stress, Tips
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