Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happiness Guide: 10 Tools For Supreme Joy

So you say you want to be happy huh? 

You want to laugh in the face of frustration?

Stay cheerful, in the presence of confrontation?

Do you think you have what it takes!?


What if I told you, you could have it all? 

What if I told you that YOU could be the lively one in a room full of lames?

I know what you're thinking...

"But Jordan, happiness isn't for everyone!"

Well I'm going to let you in on a little secret....happiness is available to everyone...who CHOOSES it.

Now you're probably thinking...
"Who does this guy think he is? How does someone choose to be happy?? I'm choosing to switch back to my Netflix tab, What a crock!"

Well if that's going to be your attitude then you maybe you should just go ahead and close the window...

...but don't worry, we'll be here when you're ready to try again.

By reading this far you've already demonstrated that you're someone who deserves happiness and you're willing to do what it takes to attain it. 

With this guide and a little bit of practice you'll be able to activate happiness wherever you are.

These ideas have come in many different forms, many times throughout the course of history. This guide contains some of the most consistent tools to manifest happiness as taught by some of the greatest minds the world has ever produced.  The tools are also emphasized by a personal enthusiasm developed from hard learned lessons, life long experience, and a desire to never stop improving.

The way I share that personal enthusiasm is by sharing tools that will help you as the reader to more confidently navigate through life. 

As I was writing this article, the save feature failed to register and I lost 2 hours worth of work. As frustrating as it seemed at the time, it was comically ironic and I was presented with the perfect opportunity to employ some of these steps! 

And you know what, I went right down the list and by the time I'd put the first 5 tools to use, I was back to a blissful state of mind! Try it for yourself and you'll be cheesin' ear to ear in no time!

1. Conscious Breathing:
Everyone together now, deep breath in....1...2...3...4...5 and deep breath out (3x)

For most people, breathing comes automatically and without thought, even though its one the most important aspect of our lives! Breathing consciously has numerous health benefits at the physical,and mental level. Conscious breathing reduces the symptoms of anxiety and gives us increased control of our emotions. Practice conscious breathing for better health and more a peaceful and productive mind.

"To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.” 
― Thích Nhất HạnhThe Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

2. Body Language: 
Non verbal communication is expressed through posture, eye contact, hand/arm gestures, speech, and tone of voice. That is why its so important to stay aware of the non verbal messages we unconsciously send out to the world and interpret internally. Although this is taken for granted by most, it is no secret that body language has a huge impact on your happiness and well being.  

Psychologist Amy Cuddy tells us that a quick posture adjustment can greatly boost confidence in her TED talk presentation 'Your body language shapes who you are'

Yoga groups all over the world know the power of body language and like to have fun with it. What begins as forced laughter quickly becomes contagious and energizing. 

 Remember body language can also be used to Conquer Fear!

Gratitude is an expression of appreciation for what one already has. An attitude of thankfulness does much more for our state of well being than the common consumer-driven 'never enough' mentality. Gratitude is important to practice everyday but becomes crucial whenever we find ourselves in a place of misery. Health, friends, and family come to mind right away but if you need more things to be thankful for, here are a few more.  Take account often, of the things that bring value and joy into your life. 

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie

4.Have A Snack:
This one doesn't need much explanation. If you find yourself falling into a spiral of frustration and irritably, it might just be time for a snack. Try some of these vitamin rich superfoods to quickly boost your mood:

-Fish (salmon, mussels)        -Eggs
-Walnuts                              - Greek yogurt
-Green Tea                           -Honey
-Dark Chocolate                   -Cherry Tomatoes

5.Physical Activity:
The benefits of regular physical activity permeate your whole life. Physical exercise can improve your health, boost your mood, and improve your sex life. Now this is not a suggestion to drop everything and drive to the gym to start a membership, however the new year is almost upon us and that may be exactly what you need to start 2016 on a good note. For the rest of us, even a brisk 30 minute walk/run after a stressful day can do wonders for your mood and state of mind. In any case, do what you can with what you have right now. You'll thank yourself later.

6.Learn Something New:
Our minds thrive when we find new things for them to do. Learning something new everyday sharpens our senses and provides confidence and skills that make us better equipped to make important decisions. Learning something new regularly also expands reality and opens us up to new and exciting opportunities. 

Pick up a book, or hit YouTube to learn something new today!

7.Service to Others:
Focusing your attention on helping someone else with their problems can make your situation seem much less severe by comparison. Always remember no matter how bad you're situation is, some poor soul's got it way worse. Helping someone else allows you to step away from the negative thoughts surrounding your situation. It can also give fresh perspective on how to address your problems.

Service to others not only improves the mood of everyone involved, but the extent to which we serve others, we open ourselves to receive.

8.Create Something:
Creating art, music, writing, or building something is highly rewarding. It can help release negative feelings in creative ways and help express creative aspects of your personality people may not know about. The feelings of pride and satisfaction that come from creating something from nothing will undoubtedly result in improved self esteem.  

"Life isn't about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself"
-George Bernard Shaw

9.Accomplish Something: 
Setting, pursuing, and achieving goals are among the most fulfilling set of actions in life.
Goal setting and pursuit allows you to see recorded progress as you move closer and closer to the prize.

Grab a pen and some paper and come up with some goals. After you have your goals down, come up with the path to achieve one goal today, one this week, one this month, and one this year. Visualize and feel yourself accomplishing each one. 

Another aspect of this tool is recalling some of your greatest previous accomplishments.   
Remember how transformative the feeling of accomplishment can be

 Reflection is a crucial component in exploring the trajectory of your life, from where you've been and where you are headed. Reflection can help you learn from your mistakes, it can help you give advice to others, and can give you a clearer perspective (hindsights' 20/20). Reflection is best utilized for the purpose of seeing how far you've come! 

There you have it! 10 Tools to foster supreme joy in your life! Hopefully you found some value in this guide and will put a few of these tools to work anytime you're facing frustration!

Friday, April 18, 2014

What's In A Name



A play on the famous words of cosmonauts to "boldly go where no man has gone before". Spoken as man faced his earthly limits and then traveled beyond them to step foot on the moon, propelling mankind further than we'd ever been--toward the infinite.   

This is the  essence of Boldly Grow

It means to face the boundaries of our individual limits (physically, mentally, spiritually) and transcend them. In doing so we unconsciously encourage our fellow man to do the same. 

I hear by challenge you, the reader:
Break free from the imaginary shackles of limitation and boldly grow toward the ultimate version of yourself. 

The world needs you. 

-Peace & Happiness-

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Pratfall Effect: Clumsy Makes A Comeback



Have you ever tripped and fell in front of someone you liked then felt that wave of embarrassment wash over you? 

Of course you have. We all have. 

Well there's good news! Your stumble actually increased your chances of that person liking you back!

How, you ask? 

Well in 1966, psychologist Elliot Aronson discovered that making a small blunder in front of someone increases a persons attractiveness and likability. 

Just think about it. When you first meet someone what are the more likeable qualities?

Is it the person who seems to never have had a bad day in their life and never makes mistakes? Or is it the person who through good intentions has made slip-ups but is able to recognize them and laugh them off?

For me, it's the person who is willing and able to laugh at themselves that is more appealing. I know nobody is perfect and a little self deprication can be a strong selling point. Funny too! (just don't over do it). 

If you do find yourself in a nervous situation, trying to come off as 'perfect' might in fact work against you. 

So remember to relax and don't worry so much about slipping up. It's no doubt easier said then done but knowing that making a small mistake in the eyes of an observer is a GOOD thing should definitely help. 

Don't believe me? Just try it for yourself!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Don't Be A Dick: A PSA

I was recently in a coffee shop and witnessed an unfortunate but all too common situation take place. 

It's around 9am, the morning after a night of considerable drinking with a couple of friends who were from out of town. We've just ordered our coffees and are standing at the cream/sugar station topping off our drinks. As we replace the lids on our cups, a commotion comes from back in the line.

Causing this disturbance is a pompous older white man, wreaking of entitlement, going off on the barista. I observe the old guys chest begin to puff out as his tone of voice and obvious sense of righteousness grows. I also notice the barista shrinking down in a mix of embarrassment and the need to bite his tongue.

Having been on the receiving end of a similar tongue lashing myself in the past, I knew that sense of embarrassment and decided I had seen enough.

"C'mon sir is that really nessecary? It's pretty early to be yelling at someone like that don't you think? Why don't you just drink your coffee and move on, I bet you'll feel better when you do."

The kid behind the counter looks over at me with relief in his eyes and whispers 'thanks'. 

With a bewildered expression on his face the old man leers over at me and replies, " I feel pretty good already.  Probably better than you"

"I doubt it sir, I feel pretty damn good " I shot back. 

Probably not used to being stood up to the old man grabs his coffee and mumbling under his breath brushes past me and out the door. 

This kind of incident happens all too often and it needs to stop. Its our responsibility as a society to stop tolerating retail bullies like the guy in this story. If someone is working, trying to make a living, helping you and happens to make a minor mistake do us all a favor...DON'T BE A DICK about it because in effect you're holding all of humanity down. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mastermind Groups: What The Hell Are They and Why Should I Join One?

It's a dark and stormy night in Philadelphia, 1752.  Benjamin Franklin sits at home procrastinating his work when he hears a knock at the door. He swings open the door to find a cloaked messenger standing in the doorway. In the messengers hand, a sealed envelope. "A message from a mister George Webb, sir", says the messenger as he hands Benjamin Franklin the letter. The rider then quickly mounts his horse and dashes off into the storm. 
Franklin takes a seat at his desk and flips over the letter. On the back is a seal from his dear friend and fellow Junto( mastermind group) member, George Webb. As he breaks the seal on the envelope, Franklin slides the letter out from the envelope and begins to read:

"Hey Ben! Just wanted to check up on you and make sure you're still on track to finish your kite experiment. Let me know if you need any help. 


Did you see miss Mary Lou down at the general store yesterday?? Have mercy."

Franklin then slides the letter into his desk and begins assembling his kite made from strips of cedar and a silk handkerchief. That very night Ol' Ben flys the kite in the storm thus performing his famous experiment. 

...Okay so maybe that's not EXACTLY how it went down...or maybe it is....

The point is this: without the support from his mastermind group, Benjamin Franklin never discovers that lightning and electricity are made up of the same elements, and we live in a much darker world.

Mastermind groups have been used throughout history by entrepreneurs as well as other highly driven people and have consistently led to the massive success of their members. 

So what is a mastermind group, or as Franklin and his team called it, Junto?

A mastermind IS:
-a group based on mutual improvement of its members
-composed of 3-5 people
-primarily aimed at bettering the lives of the members and also their communities. 
-group discussions include intellectual, personal, business, and community topics

A mastermind is NOT:
-a class
-a coaching
-and for that one crazy uncle who's always asking, a cult

Mastermind groups are designed as a support system that promotes accountability. A brain trust or success team if you will. Fellow members help brainstorm new concepts and keep each other focused and on track. Mastermind groups are melting pots for well defined goals as well as fresh ideas. Along with group-wide accountability, the members personal/business lives are set up to propel them farther than they could've imagined if going at it alone. 

Whether you find a local group or start one of your own, the benefits of a mastermind group are soaring. 

The world needs your 'kite experiment'. Find your group and go change the world. 

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leaders Are Readers: 10 book recommendations

1) How to win friends and influence people-Dale Carnegie:
This book sits, deservingly, at the top of these book recommendations. The importance of learning to work with people as a leader or otherwise cannot be overstated. How to win friends and influence people broadens our understanding of human nature. This book is like a how-to on interacting with the people around you. It will also undoubtably boost your emotional intelligence a few points.

2) Think and Grow Rich-Napoleon Hill:
Not to be confused with a 'get rich quick' strategy, Think and Grow Rich contains honest practical application for leaders and entrepreneurs. If you don't think you have what it takes to build wealth this book might convince you otherwise. 

3) The Road Less Traveled-Scott Peck:
In order for anyone to be a true leader they must first learn to understand and develop themselves. Personal development is a key component in developing others. This book covers love, values, and spiritual growth. A trinity of core concepts involved in growing ones self. 

4) Mastery-Robert Greene:
From the best selling author of 48 laws of power comes Mastery. In this book Robert Greene shows us techniques used by some of the most powerful people in the world to embrace their lives and direct their own destinies. This book teaches us that personal mastery is no longer reserved for gurus, mystics, and the elite. 

5) Meetings With Remarkable Men-G.I. Gurdjieff:
This book blends adventure, wisdom, and spirituality nicely in an easy to digest story. It teaches us that in order to do the remarkable, we must first learn to see the remarkable in ourselves and others.

6) 4-Hour Work Week-Timothy Ferris
Another great book that is often mistaken for a 'get rich quick' scheme. 4-Hour Work Week promotes stepping away from the traditional over the hill retirement. It instead introduces the idea of outsourcing time consuming tasks with little value and establishing mini retirements throught ones life. Very motivating. 

Reaching your full potential. Sounds pretty nice huh? But is it possible? Maxwell thinks so and provides 15 laws that will convince you it is possible and that you CAN get there. Awesome read. 

8) Awaken The Giant Within- Anthony Robbins:
This book was a big one for me personally. So much in the book is relateable and resonant. The message here is that if you want to reach the next level in your life you've already got what it takes. 

9) Outliers-Malcom Gladwell:
An eye opening look at the REAL secrets behind success. That it's not nessecarily  being the smartest or the hardest working that has allowed history's elite to rise but more often their culture and their upbringing. Gladwell also stakes the claim that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Better get started!

10) Art Of War-Sun Tzu
Leadership is often about picking your battles. The wisdom in Art Of War comes from some ancient strategies but maintains its relevance today by teaching us practical ways to deal with conflict. Don't fight if you can avoid it. But if you must fight, you must win.  

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

5 Steps To Fearlessness

A year and a half ago I found myself in a pivotal situation. I had been living in Atlanta for a while when an opportunity to live in Australia and travel the southern hemisphere presented itself. A potentially life changing experience was staring me right in the face when I suddenly found my self clouded by doubt and uncertainty. I'd be alone, in a new country , a world away from everything I'd ever known, and the list goes on. Was I going to let the fear of the unknown keep me from seeing another part of the world?

*Spoiler alert: HELL NO! I didn't let fear stop me and it turned out to be the best year of my life.

As you've undoubtedly learned by now, fear is an inevitable part of life. Some people are completely disabled by fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of...whatever. Fear can be crippling or it can be empowering if you can learn how to work with it. In my year of traveling I was forced into many situations where there was no other option but to face fear. What seemed terrifying at the start has provided me with a tried and tested method for dealing with fear that anyone can use:

Step 1: Accept fear as normal
When it comes to dealing with fear, the first, and often biggest obstacle is embracing that fear. It can be difficult to accept fear but it is an essential first step. Understand that it is normal to feel fear.  Its instinctual. You can't eliminate fear from your life but you can learn to live WITH fear and how to use it to your advantage.

Step 2: Adjust your posture
Biologically, body language has a big influence on your confidence. Confidence, which happens to be linked directly into your nervous system, also plays a large roll in overcoming fear. Don't underestimate yourself. If you believe you can conquer your fear, you can. Even if your not feeling your most confident; when you stand up straight, broaden your stance, and hold your head high your nervous system tricks your brain into thinking confident thoughts. Confident posture (body language, eye contact, deep/slow breathing, speaking slowly) turns into heightened levels of confidence.

Step 3: Put yourself in a position to conquer your fear
Confronting your fears can actually relieve discomfort that fear had previously caused. Write down what you fear and visualize yourself successfully overcoming that fear. Picture things going well and agree in advance to move forward by any means once you are face to face with the situation. By doing this you are increasing your chance for success. Next is to set up a reward for yourself.

Step 4: Reinforce the positive
Just like Ivan Pavlov and his slobbering dog taught us, rewarding positive behavior will condition you to better handle similar situations in the future. Set up your reward in advance if possible. When you reward yourself for facing a fear, you are teaching your subconscious that facing that fear is beneficial. Later, write down your success from the experience. Reflecting on what went right allows us to duplicate success next time.

Step 5: Support system
You're never alone. Reach out if necessary because encouragement can play a crucial role in dealing with fear. Associate yourself with confident people. People that want to help you grow and rally behind your attempt to better yourself.

Now the hard part is over. If you follow these 5 steps and still find yourself having doubts about conquering your fear, ask your self these questions:

-What do I stand to gain from confronting this fear?
-What do I stand to miss out on if I don't deal with this fear?

Fear can be very limiting if you don't learn to deal with it but if I can do it, so can you. Move out of your comfort zone, demolish your fears, and you might just find yourself having everything you've ever wanted.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -Martin Luther King Jr.