Archives for Self-Help


You’re An Earworm Away From Happiness

Don't get trouble in your mind.

“Don’t get trouble in your mind” is the cheery refrain of a bluegrass chestnut, performed in the video below by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

I’d never heard the song until a friend posted this video on Facebook the other day, and it just hit me in a sweet spot. Since then, it’s been an earworm.

But unlike most earworms, this one could prove useful.
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The Greatness of Good Enough (Part II)

My good enough is great.

This very excellent quote comes from the friend mentioned in my last post, who wondered why she shouldn’t strive for perfection. She and a friend of hers came up with the above saying, which she posted over her desk.

This friend struggles with procrastination, a common symptom of perfectionism. And so she is having to learn to let go of her fear of falling short of perfect and to trust her own talent, which is prodigious.

Like the previously discussed Voltaire quote, you could interpret this quote as aspiring to mediocrity, eh…good enough is good enough. And if you’re a lazybones (and you know who you are) then maybe it is aiming low.

But genuine half-assery tells eventually. I am assuming you are hard working and have high standards for yourself.

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In Defense of Denial

Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy. -- Kurt Vonnegut.
Ah yes, the little white lie. I'm all for it. You're haircut looks great! The party was a blast! No, I don't mind doing you a favor at all!

Life is indeed nicer with harmless untruths like those.

But this quote also makes an argument for what I think of as benign denial.

I grew up in a family mired in unhealthy denial, which convinced me that denial must be avoided at all costs. Denial can be a terrible problem. It keeps people in unhealthy relationships, reassures them that lung cancer only happens to other people, causes financial ruin, and all kinds of other bad things.

But  there are other kinds of denial that are no big deal.
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That’s Your Problem

“The best years of life are the ones where you decide your problems are your own.” -- Albert Ellis

Oh yeah. I love it when the problem is mine.

Sure, it can be lots of fun to point fingers and heap blame on other people.

It’s nice to imagine that we are perfect and that the only thing standing between us and whatever it is we want are all those other annoying people. Or our parents. Or the government. Or society. Or The Man. Or whatever other scapegoat we have chosen to keep ourselves from success.

But there’s one big problem with that approach: You can’t change anyone else no matter how much you whine or rant or rage. The only thing that each of us has the power to change is ourselves.
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Arguing with Audrey Hepburn

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible." —Audrey Hepburn

Nothing against the lovely, late Audrey Hepburn. I love her movies, her look, her philanthropy. But this motivational quote? Not so much.

This is one of those clever sayings that sounds great until you really think about it.

Nothing is impossible? OK then—flap your arms and fly.

No, not even Audrey Hepburn could do that.
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Wish All You Want, It Can’t Hurt

"Be careful what you wish for."

“I hate that one,” a friend said. “Life is so difficult already, and they’re saying you’re not even supposed to wish?”

That little aphorism is so old and musty and familiar, I never gave it much thought until my friend said that. But now that she mentions it…what the hell?

What kind of crippling curse is that to put on someone? How can you wish for anything when you are told that there’s a damn good chance that wish will blow up in your face?
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Why You Should Suck at Everything You Do

"You’ve got to dare to suck in order to be great”—Ricky Martin

As I said before, you never know when you'll stumble on wisdom. You remember Ricky Martin, don’t you? Formerly of the boy band Menudo, had a hit with Livin’ La Vida Loca, swiveling hips, cute as a button, bubblegum pop star? Yeah, that Ricky Martin.

Not exactly Socrates. But I came across this quote in the newspaper many years ago, cut it out, and posted it on the bulletin board over my desk because it’s so damn wise.
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Health and Fitness

What Works for Workouts?

"Suit up and show up."

This is a widely used mantra to get yourself to exercise. I even have a fitness-related blog with that as its title.

Theoretically, it’s a good motivational mantra. No matter how much I don’t want to exercise, if I force myself to put on my workout clothes and get started, I’ll get a good workout in. Suiting up + showing up = working out.

If only they were magical words, though. If only correlation was causation. If only suiting up actually caused showing up. But it doesn’t.
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Motivation and Inspiration In A Nutshell

"A short saying oft contains much wisdom."—Sophocles

Who knew there was a pithy quote about pithy quotes? Perhaps Sophocles was a fan of that Aesop guy, who may or may not have existed. Maybe Sophocles had “Slow and steady wins the race” chiseled into the bulletin board over his writing desk. Haven’t you hung motivational quotes where you can see them when you need a nudge? I have. Lots.

I love those short sayings, when...
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