Swan Fall in Love, Birds Couple Kiss, Two Animal Heart Shape

Truth and happiness. The real answer to the question: “What is happiness?”

Swan Fall in Love, Birds Couple Kiss, Two Animal Heart Shape

I’m surprised that so many people search for “What is happiness?” About 70,000 people a month are asking Google that question. What are they looking for? Do we not know when we are happy? Or, more likely, do we wonder how we can be happier? 

As I see it, there are two kinds of happiness: a giddy emotion, and a comforting peace. 

The first is fleeting, usually a reaction to a thought or an occurrence. The second is long-lasting, and can grow over time, to the point where you are always peaceful, no matter what is happening around you. 

The source of that peace is truth. 

There is so much evidence for this, on both the negative and the positive sides of the equation.  Read more

phillip zhivago posing in his shop

Dealing with grief. And the power of love.

phillip zhivago posing in his shop

Well, it’s been a good long while since I was able to write an article here. Those who know me know that my life changed radically on August 16, 2021. My husband of 45 years, my best friend, my every day and every night companion, died. He took his own life, even though on that day, as all days, we were still in love. 

As he said in the note he wrote to “the authorities,” after battling cancer for 16 years, his illness finally had him in a corner. Unable to walk from one room to another without being completely out of breath, unable to eat (we were feeding him through a tube), and using oxygen constantly, he knew that even if by some miracle the cancer went away, his lungs were too far gone.  Read more

Happily Ever After is Spectacular fireworks show at Cinderella`s Castle on dark night background in Magic Kingdom 43

How to overcome fear and live happily ever after

Happily Ever After is Spectacular fireworks show at Cinderella`s Castle on dark night background in Magic Kingdom 43

It is so easy to be fearful. The signs and thoughts of impending disaster are all around us, every day, on our screens and even in our own lives. Even as we do the simplest tasks, we worry. “What if I screw up?” is the general theme. There is also fear of loss, being alone, being broke, being sick . . . the list is endless, if you want to live there. But you can overcome fear and be a brave, positive person for your entire life, basically living happily ever after. How?

By simply doing your best, every minute. 

After all, isn’t that the best you can do? And doesn’t that mean that, when all is said and done, you will look back knowing that you did the best you could? Yep.

What does that mean, though, in our day-to-day, real life? How do we put this into practice?  Read more

Is your mental selfie robbing your peace of mind?

Is your mental selfie robbing your peace of mind?

Is your mental selfie robbing your peace of mind?

A deep, unshakable peace of mind comes from knowing who you are and being OK with how you see yourself. The surest way to upset that peace of mind, and to be in a constant state of mental turmoil, is to base your self-image on what others think of you. Or what you think others think of you. It’s like living your life in a perpetual “selfie state,” seeing yourself through their lens. 

So if Mary is envious of your success, when you’re interacting with Mary you will feel like you are not worthy of that success. That you somehow cheated to get to where you are. 

If Morgan is a liar, when you’re with Morgan, you will feel that you can’t be trusted. 

If Sandy is super insecure, believing that she doesn’t measure up to others, when you are talking to Sandy, you will feel like you are somehow conceited and hurting Sandy’s feelings.  Read more

The most direct way to build your self-confidence

The most direct way to build your self-confidence

The most direct way to build your self-confidence

Wikipedia defines self-confidence as “a state of being clear . . . that . . . a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a Latin word fidere, which means ‘to trust’; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one’s self.” Sums it up nicely. But the source of that trust is the truth—about yourself, the situation, and the people involved. 

Internal peace—that calming, desirable frame of mind—comes from knowing the truth. It’s also the basis of the best decisions. 

If you know the truth about yourself, the situation, and the people involved, your course of action is clear. 

So the question is, how can you know the truth about these three factors? Read more

business man with angel on one shoulder and devil on the other

A simple approach to getting a self-discipline breakthrough

business man with angel on one shoulder and devil on the other

It’s true. We all have two voices whispering conflicting messages in our heads, at any given moment of any given day. “Oh, what the hell. You can afford to eat that one donut.” Versus “If you eat that donut, you will be a pound heavier tomorrow.” One voice wants us to do what is good for us; the other wants us to do what we know is not good for us. 

If we followed the “good for us” voice all the time, we’d weigh what we would like to, get enough sleep, be incredibly productive, exercise regularly, hold our tongues when we should, and so on. If we follow the “bad for us” voice all the time, we’d end up fat, alone, broke, and unhappy. 

The deciding factor? Self-discipline. Self-control. Or, if you prefer, a less “harsh” term: self-management. 

This is the ability to take the “good” advice and ignore the “bad” advice. Learning how to do this is part of the growing up process.  Read more

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

I’m going to start by telling you a short romantic story. It is 100% true; I know, because I lived it. After, I will explain how this relates to how to be successful in your own life. 

When I was twelve, my stepfather, who was not in any way nautical and had never done this before (or after), took me to a speed boat race being held in Mission Bay in San Diego. Being of an age when one starts thinking about such things, I found myself looking around at the men who were gathered there. Most of them could have come right out of that old “Grease” movie—hair greasy with gel, white T-shirts, with their cigarette packs rolled up into one of their T-shirt sleeves. “I could never marry anyone like that!” I thought to myself. 

Then I turned to my left as I was facing the water, and there were two young guys walking up the hill with their backs to the water. One of them in particular caught my eye. There was something about him that stood out to me, something different, something deep and profound. “That’s the kind of man I would marry,” I thought.  Read more

How to be more productive at work: Urgency vs. intensity

How to be more productive at work: Urgency vs. intensity

We all have endless todo lists, deadlines, and obligations. We are always searching for how to be more productive at work and how to be more productive in life, period. But some part of us wants to simply relax, to actually enjoy life, and to chip away at our personal bucket list. This tug of war creates its own stress, on top of the stress that comes from trying to complete all those items on our todo list. 

Personally, I have found stress to be something we create for ourselves. There actually is an answer to everything, if we apply ourselves and are patient about it. A sense of urgency actually distracts us from success; rather than focusing on the task at hand, it puts the emphasis on a negative thought: “I don’t think I can pull this off! What if I don’t make it?” 

In fact, a certain kind of focused intensity solves many problems, at work and at home.  Read more

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

You don’t see anyone comforting anyone else much anymore, anywhere, unless you are addicted to watching videos where someone super nice rescues a terribly neglected animal, or those videos where animals are snuggling up to people. And every so often, something like this pops up. But overall, it seems that so many are too rushed, too stressed, and too distracted by glowing screens to comfort others. There just aren’t very many good examples. That’s a shame, because the best answer to “how to reduce stress” is learning how to comfort yourself.

I think this is especially important now that we have so much bad news hanging over us. There is strife all around, and many of us are isolated in ways we never were before. If you learn how to comfort yourself, those “terrible” things become minor inconveniences that we know we will overcome. No matter what happens, we will have a friend at hand, ready to help us feel better and carry on. The peace you feel, once you have mastered this skill, will change your life.  Read more

How to Always Have Enough Money | Kristin Zhivago

How to always have enough money

How to Always Have Enough Money | Kristin Zhivago

There are plenty of articles on the subject of budgeting, living within your means, and how to have enough money to live comfortably. They all basically say the same things: Don’t spend more than you make; create a budget and stick to it; learn how to say “no”; and always save a portion of what you make. 

All absolutely sound advice, which, when taken, can help you meet a large part of the challenge. These things keep coming up because they work.

But I want to come at this from another angle. I want to talk about where money actually comes from, and how to make sure that you’re putting yourself in a position to earn enough. If you are not earning enough, even with careful budgeting and sound financial habits, you will always hear the wolf panting at the door.  Read more