Archive for January, 2009

Who Gains Most?

Don’t want to read it? Click here to listen straight from Brad.

In the transaction of service, who gains the most, the server – or the served? The answer is mathematically obvious. I have two of something and you have none. I serve you by giving you one of mine. It looks to me like I am down by one. I serve you – and lose in the process. Right? It’s simple math.

When I was a small boy, we lived on a farm in Layton, Utah. The Stimpsons were our neighbors. They were an elderly couple who were not very well off. We didn’t have much money either, but we had a large garden and plenty of food. We took to leaving fruit and vegetables, fresh baked bread, etc. on the Stimpson’s doorstep at night. They never found out who made these nocturnal deliveries. My mother wanted it that way. She always said, “To do good – feels good,” and to serve anonymously feels even better.

When I was perhaps six years old, I made my first solo delivery. While Mom waited around the corner in our old station wagon, I nervously placed the basket of food on the door step, jumped off the porch and ran for cover. I was hiding behind an old overgrown shrub in the front yard when Mrs. Stimpson finally creaked open the door.

She looked around bewildered – no one was there. Then she spotted the care package. She stooped over, picked it up and held it like a precious treasure as she peered out into the darkness. In a voice quivering with emotion, she said, “Thank you. Thank you, whoever you are.”

Suddenly I felt it. Welling up inside me from wherever it came from, was a warm wonderful feeling I had never felt before. After Mrs. Stimson closed the door, I dashed to the car and jumped in.

“Momma, what’s happening to me? I feel like God’s inside.”

That’s when my mother taught me this wonderful mathematical law of the universe. What we give away from our hearts returns to us multiplied. That’s real math – that’s real magic.

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Relatively Happy

Don’t want to read it? Click here to listen straight from Brad.

You may think your attentive spouse, your loving children and good friends are affecting your happiness.  But what if there is some deeper magic at work in your life?

According to a new study published last month in the British Medical Journal, the people they are connected with make you happy as well.  The study proposes that happiness is transmitted through social networks, almost like a germ is spread through personal contact.

 

James Fowler of the University of California-San Diego explored how social ties influence our moods and our sense of well-being.  The primary finding: People who are surrounded by happy people are more likely to be happy themselves.  In addition, the people surrounding the people we know make a difference too!

 

Imagine several pebbles thrown into a pond, sending ripples outward. Each pebble represents a happy person and the waves are the impact of that person’s mood on others. This affective impact extends through several degrees of separation, to the friends of a friend of a person’s friends.

 

The study found that happy people form clusters and the happiest people are those most centrally located in the clusters.

 

According to the new study, your probability of being happy rises over 15% if a friend or family member is happy, 9.8% if friends of your friend or family member are happy, and 5.6% if friends of the friends of your friend or family member are happy.

 

Of course, the researchers stress personal factors such as self-esteem, job satisfaction, rewarding hobbies, stress level and marital quality also affect happiness. 

 

Bottom line: Want to be happy?  Make others happy.  How to make others happy?  Be happy.

 

Notice: Reading is not the only option.  Click the link above and I’ll read this to you.  Great fun!

Joy – Right Now

Don’t want to read it? Click here to listen straight from Brad.

What if, along with our next fast food order, we could super-size an extra helping of joy?

I hope that, during the holidays, you have experienced joy in greater measure; some special moments with your loved ones, a little time alone to reflect on a year well lived, the exhilaration of hope for an even better year ahead…

…but, now that we have left the bright, warm, red and green of the holidays and stepped into the bleak cold of January, has your sense of joy dropped? If so, why? Are post-Christmas blues based on reality or perception?

Sarah Breathnach suggests that “Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities… When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [joy]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

Illusion is a wasteland. It negates so much potential beauty and joy. Consider the admonition of the Roman philosopher, Horace, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”

Have a magical year!


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