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Finding Internal Happiness: The Happiness Investment Strategy

Internal Happiness The Short Advice

Happiness Starts at Home

Not your literal home, but the figurative one inside of you. You are in charge of your happiness, and solely relying on others to provide it for you is unwise. Whilst you might be able to influence the life choices of the close people in your life, you cannot entirely control them. And nor should you! Rather, consider the things that you can control in your life that bring you happiness. If you haven’t been practicing this, then it’s time to find something that you are passionate about. Something you are so grateful for that no relationship could ever take from you. Hypothetically, if all of your meaningful relationships fell by the wayside, how would you fill your time? Please don’t say ‘cry’, that’s not the answer we’re looking for here… In other words, what would you do that would make you happy if the closest people in your life were no longer around? A difficult question to contemplate, but a necessary one if you are to be a sound investor of happiness…

Purchasing Shares in Happiness

If you are lucky enough to have some strong family bonds, good friendships and a romantic relationship, you are probably not as lucky as you are a good friend, relative and partner. That is to say, you have earned these relationships, and the benefits that come along with them. All of your positive attributes that have helped bring you happiness have put you in a buyers position. The question is, how will you spread your wealth? Too many people make the mistake of investing their life savings of happiness chips into a romantic relationship, and expect to put their feet up and sip cocktails on their figurative island in the sun. When their relationship ends, they can’t even afford to pay the mortgage on their happiness, and so, depression becomes their new form of currency. Continuing with this metaphor, lets consider an investment strategy to better manage our happiness:

1. Diversify Your Happiness Portfolio

Smart investors spread their wealth, so do the same with your happiness. Don’t invest it all in your romantic relationship, and neglect your friendships. Don’t forget to spend time with your family, because your financial success has become an overbearing focus. This point is all about creating balance. Not just between the people in your life, but also the activities you undertake. 

2. Invest in Others Wisely

Every now and then, investors take a leap of faith based on some good information. Sometimes we will over-invest when an opportunity presents that seems almost too good to be true, and sometimes it is. Remember the importance of finding the right balance, and check your insecurities at the door. Try to judge every opportunity on its merits, rather than comparing each to your last investment. This can be said of people, business opportunities or other. 

3. List Your Own Company

Invest in yourself! Happiness shouldn’t all be passive income, so get involved in your growing portfolio. Put time aside to find and develop your passion, and excel in areas of interest. This might be a hobby, business opportunity, or both. Whatever it is, it should add value to your life, and hopefully other lives as well. Two important criteria that will help you generate a strong revenue stream of happiness. Get out there and achieve your goals

4. Ride the Peaks and Troughs

Heres where the analogy gets a bit tricky… You can’t sell at the peak of your happiness, and then reinvest when you hit rock bottom. A financially sound idea, but one that doesn’t translate well in the context of happiness. Instead, the point we’re getting at is that you can’t always be happy. When we invest in our passions, and in people, we’re generally in it for the long-haul. Naturally, we’ll have ups and downs. Relationships experience conflict, and the motivation that drives our passions can waver. This is the leg-work behind ‘happy’ that is necessary for it to be sustainable. So, enjoy the good times, and make the tough times better. 

5. Know When to Buy/Sell

Buy when you have the wealth to buy. That is to say, once you have developed some internal happiness. When we are unhappy within ourselves, our insecurities can have too-strong an influence over who we choose to invest in. And when that person’s stock opens significantly lower than when we invested, it can be difficult to sell. Put simply, unhappiness can land us in unhappy relationships. And the same insecurities that saw us settle for these relationships, has us trapped inside them. If you don’t remember how to be happy alone, and are too heavily invested in a negative relationship, it can be much harder to end it (sell). So get back to focussing on point three, and invest in yourself first! You’ll make a better partner in the long run.

Final Note

Happiness is in infinite supply, just like sadness. It is, however, a little harder to find. With the right motivation, resolve, and a sound happiness investment strategy, you’ll be on your way in no time. So get up off the couch, and get stuck into whatever makes you happy, and adds value to other lives as well. If you’re not sure what that is yet, go and find it! As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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Managing The Pressure Of Finding A Relationship: 3 Golden Rules

Relationship Easter Bunnies

If the thought of being single has ever worried you, then read on. Today, we explore the origins of our emotions, and the societal pressures that can influence our decisions when it comes to seeking out a life-partner. Following this, we’ll analyse the circumstances and influences of men and women in the various stages of their ‘relationship years’. We’ll also cover the 3 Golden Rules of managing pressures that can influence our decisions.

Men vs Women

Equal? Yes. The same? Absolutely not. Men and women have various strengths and weaknesses that can both compliment one another, and also be the cause of many an argument. It’s reasonable to assume that these complimentary differences were an evolutionary tactic to ensure survival, and reproduction. Were the physically stronger men supposed to protect mother and child? Were the emotionally intelligent women supposed to teach the children how to love, and nurture? It seems a reasonable assumption, but what does it look like in today’s society?..

Homo sapiens (Modern humans) vs Neanderthals

You’re probably not living the survivalist lifestyle that your neanderthal ancestors once did. Emotions, feelings, and relationships served a purpose that was far more transparent – survival. Our feelings still work to ensure our survival, but it looks much different in a society full of rules. You can no longer expect to wield your club, shout “UGG!”, and leave with a suitable mate (although we are told that this does still happen in nightclubs around the world). Times have changed, as have the roles of men and women. But thats not all. The influential pressures that can set us into a mad panic to find ‘the one’ have also evolved. Just as we have considered the origins of our emotions, and the purpose thereof, we can also consider the origins of the societal pressures that evoke these emotions.

Overcoming Societal Relationship Pressures.

Societal relationship pressures can influence people to make rash decisions in order to secure a life-partner. For men and women, our circumstances and influences at particular stages of our lives will vary. The following analysis is quite broad, so it won’t apply to everyone. However, the process of analysing your environmental influences and circumstances is never a bad idea. Hopefully it will provide a point of reference on which to compare your own experiences. Lets start with the late adolescent years:

Teens to Early Twenties.

Boys and girls are beginning to develop feelings for one another, and already our emotions are leading us astray. In the school environment, one of the largest influencing factors will be peer-pressure. This factor will be present in just about every stage of your life, although perhaps never as powerful as now. We are desperately trying to find our purpose in the world, and being somebody’s ‘squeeze’ doesn’t have to be it just because that is what your friends are doing. There has never been a better time to abolish yourself of relationship pressure, and pursue your interests towards becoming a valuable member of society. In summary, peer-pressure and insecurity are the most influential factors of societal relationship pressure at this stage. Recognise it, and don’t fall victim to these new, and sometimes overwhelming emotions.

Mid to Late Twenties.

At this stage, you might have experienced a relationship or two. The smelly teenage boy with acne is now a young man with serious career prospects. The beautiful young female, is now a beautiful young woman pursuing her chosen career path, too. The pressures of finding your way into a committed relationship have eased somewhat, although are still very dependent on your peer group. However, you are beginning to understand your place in the world. Considering all of this, the insecurities of your adolescent years have probably lessened too. But after a couple of failed relationships, you might be left wondering if you’ll ever find ‘the one’… The best piece of advice at this stage would be to let them come to you. Leverage your strengths, indulge your passions, and grow and develop.

Late Twenties to Early Thirties.

Yep, theres a bit of an overlap. This is generally around the time when we throw ourselves back into the midst of school-yard pressures. Our peers have found partners, our insecurities are encouraging us to make poor decisions. There is a stigma that comes with being single past a certain age. And to add to all of that… Time. This is now one of the biggest pressures we place on ourselves – “If I don’t find some one by X years old, I’ll be alone forever!”. Take your hand off the panic button, and ask yourself, “how did I get here?”. If 10/10 people say ‘bad luck’, then some of them are probably mistaken. Perhaps some critical self-reflection is on the menu. This doesn’t mean you should blame yourself, it simply means you should seek understanding. If we accept responsibility for our situation, then we also recognise the responsibility we have to improve it. The advice again, is to focus on personal development, rather than continuing the desperate quest for a life-partner. Don’t de-value yourself, re-find your value.

The 3 Golden Rules of Managing Pressure.

In order to combat any sort of influential pressure, consider the steps below…

1. Deconstruct Your Emotions

When we are pressured, it makes sense that we will experience some negative emotions. Although an influential factor might pressure us to reach a positive outcome, the negative emotions associated with pressure itself, can do the opposite. So, slow down, and think about why you feel the way you do.

2. Critically-Reflect

You’ve considered your emotions. Now examine how you have responded in the past. Did you reach the outcome you’d hoped for? If not, why? The last thing you want to do is continue making the same mistakes. Reflect, so that you may refine.

3. Take Action

This refers to the process of taking steps towards achieving a desired outcome. If the influential factor creating pressure was encouraging a positive outcome, then putting a plan in place to achieve this outcome is a great idea. Goal setting might be an important consideration as part of this step. If the negative emotions of pressure were causing you to make poor decisions, perhaps steps towards improving your decision-making skills would be a good place to start.

Final Note: General Advice Reminder.

Trying to generalise the common relationship experiences of an entire population obviously has it’s limitations. However, it does allow a platform to explore the emotions and experiences that can go hand-in-hand with relationships, and the societal pressures that can influence our decisions. As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

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Conflict Resolution: The 5 Essential Skills

The Short Advice Conflict Resolution

Conflict management is an extremely important consideration for the well-rounded individual.

Simply avoiding conflict is not a viable solution in many circumstances, and certainly not one that is recommended. The longer we let our problems stew, the less likely we are to manage them in a rational, and solution-focused manner. And that brings us to our first essential conflict resolution skill:

1. Address the issue early.

Nobody is perfect. People will make mistakes and they will inevitably upset you. But communicating your feelings earlier, rather than later, can save you (and others involved) much heartache. A dangerous assumption that people often make is that their feelings are known, without them ever having communicated those feelings. “She knows what she’s doing, and she knows its upsetting me.” Hmmm, this may be so, but then again, it is equally as likely that the person is unaware of the stress they are causing. Or maybe there is an underlying issue contributing to their behaviour that you are unaware of. Either way, if you raise the issue early you allow the chance for everyone to better understand the full scale of the situation, and people’s emotions towards it.

2. Stick to the point.

Perhaps someone that you are not particularly fond of is doing something that you are also not stoked about. Always remember that the issue is with what the individual is doing, not who they are. It’s still okay not to like someone. There are a lot of people in this world, and we can’t be expected to get along swimmingly with everybody. But, we do owe all of these people a certain degree of respect, that is ultimately theirs to lose. So, set the example and treat the person with dignity as you address the actions that you have taken exception to. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be stern, or direct. Each situation will have to be judged on its merits of course, but you should always be mindful of presenting a factual, and less-subjective argument where possible.

3. Mind your delivery.

To ‘stick to the point’, is to focus on the actions and facts, not the individual’s personality with whom your qualm is with. To ‘mind your delivery’ is to be conscious of the way in which you communicate this message. Now, there are a thousand ways to deliver the same message, but only a few ways to deliver it well. Even the right message can be counter-productive if not delivered tactfully, so always bear this in mind when making your point. Whilst sarcasm can be heaps of fun, it’s generally not a good way to let someone know that they are in the wrong. Nor is yelling and berating. Rather, you should aim to take an informative, and educational tone (without being condescending). You are not assuming knowledge, but rather, informing them of the situation as you see it, and your emotions towards said situation. This is information that would be reasonable to assume this person does not know. Your calm and informative tone will hopefully encourage them to respond in a similar manner. We do all of this with the aim of creating a constructive conversation, rather than an emotion-fuelled argument.

4. Stay rational under emotional duress.

When we are trying to manage situations of conflict, we must also manage our emotions at the same time. It can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions when we are under such pressure, and so it is important to recognise that there is a tendency for people to become irrational during times of conflict. Unless you are made of stone, you have experienced this phenomenon before. You’ve said things you wished you hadn’t. You’ve done things you wished you hadn’t. So, as stated in a previous post about sustainable change, learn from your mistakes. Take a breath, and refer back to skills one, two and three. It’s okay to slow down and take your time. You don’t need to rush to a solution, because it may not be the right one. Next time you feel yourself becoming a bit agitated, change your tact, and remind yourself to be solution-focused.

5. Know when to walk away.

You can’t win them all. Well, it’s really not about winning or losing, is it? The right outcome for a situation of conflict might see you having to take responsibility for some wrong-doing. That is perfectly reasonable. But every now and then, we may find ourselves butting heads with an individual who is not as well-versed in conflict resolution as ourselves. Some people may simply be unwilling to allow you the chance to address your issue properly. Or maybe you are unable to appropriately manage your emotions in order to remain rational. Whatever the case, it is important to recognise when you are figuratively ‘banging your head against a brick wall’. In other words, you need to recognise when an argument is no longer constructive. Walking away might mean suggesting that the conversation be continued another time, after both parties have had a chance to consider the situation. This all depends on your relationship with the person in question, and the weight of the issue. If it is someone close, and likely to bother you in the future, it needs to be revisited. Don’t leave the matter unresolved.

Final note…

We hope you enjoyed reading about our 5 Essential Conflict Resolution Skills. If you have a specific matter of conflict you’d like some help with, head over to the homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll reply within 24 hours with the short advice. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

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Effective Teamwork: 5 Teamwork Traits

Effective Teamwork

There’s No ‘I’ in Team

Teamwork describes the actions of a group of individuals who are driven by a common goal. Effective teamwork describes those actions which ultimately end in a successful outcome for the team. Whilst intentions may be genuine, not all teams practice effective teamwork skills, and their successes are often limited as a result. Throughout history however, there have been many highly functioning teams that have shown us what effective teamwork looks like. The Chicago Bulls won 6 championships in the 90’s, The Brisbane Lions won 3 consecutive premierships in the early 00’s, and Leicester City won the Premier League in 2015-16 with odds of 5000-1 at the start of the season. So, why did these teams experience such success? Keep reading…

Effective Teamwork Traits

The following list highlights our top 5 most effective teamwork traits to create a successful team environment. Teamwork of course is not exclusive to sport, but sport can provide great case studies from which to draw inspiration for other team environments, like the workplace. So, throughout the list below, we’ll be drawing some examples from the aforementioned teams as well a few others, to have a look at what drove them along the road to success.

1. Leadership

Michael Jordan is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time. He was a leader in his own right, leading by example through hard work and consistency. But Phil Jackson, the coach of the Chicago Bulls throughout their 90’s success, had the job of ensuring team cohesion. His ability to create an environment that was conducive to teamwork was a major contributing factor to the Bulls’ success. Phil Jackson also happens to be a big believer in the power of teamwork… An important consideration for all leaders. Leadership skills involve conflict resolution, communication, managing personalities, and clearly outlining expectations. So much of a team’s success relies on the effectiveness of it’s leaders, and so it is a crucial part of team success. After all, “the head wags the tail”.

2. Culture

Establishing a successful team culture is a crucial effective teamwork trait that cannot be overlooked. In the early 00’s, the Sydney Swans began creating a ‘The Bloods’ culture that effectively saw them win the AFL premiership in 2005, breaking a 72-year drought. They used a player-driven model, that focused on the values that were most important to the playing group. They highlighted character traits that they found to be most important, and created guidelines and expectations that would drive their future success. One particularly interesting point about the culture they created was a sense of accountability. Former player Luke Ablett describes this principle, stating that “you were answerable to your team-mates first and foremost”. The Swans continue to be a formidable force in AFL today, with their success proof that team culture is indeed an effective teamwork trait.

3. Togetherness

Leicester City made international headlines in 2016, finishing on top of the EPL ladder. And if you do a Google search for ‘Leicester City togetherness’, you’ll see this as being one of the top reasons cited for their victory. Effective teamwork happens when team members care. When the needs of your teammate are greater than your own. When the team environment is more like a closely knit family. This also breeds a team-first mentality that is crucial to success. Every action should be performed with the intention of bettering the team’s interests, never one’s own. It sounds easy, but it’s also easily lost under emotional duress. Zinedine Zidane, a champion of the game, was unable to control his emotions at such a crucial moment in the 2006 World Cup Final. His personal grievances with his opponent were, in that moment, seemingly more important than winning the World Cup for his team.

4. Trust

Your teammates trust that you’re going to play your role effectively, so that they can concentrate on doing the same. The leader, or coach, or manager, trusts that you’re going to do as you’ve been asked. To follow their instruction however, they too must have your trust. In the early 00’s the Brisbane Lions won 3 consecutive AFL premierships, and are often regarded as being one of the greatest teams to have played the game. Of the coach Leigh Matthews, 3-time premiership player Marcus Ashcroft stated that “He puts a lot of faith in people to do a job and he makes you want to do it.” Matthews trusted his players, and his players trusted him. This on-field trust saw the Lions become one of the greatest teams in AFL history. Effective teamwork requires trust.

5. Work Ethic

A story of both leadership and work ethic takes us back to our first example – The Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan was known for putting in hours of additional training away from compulsory team sessions and match-day. His rejection from his college team, and his reaction to that disappointment has often been a talking point to describe Jordan’s determination. But how did this determination, and supreme work ethic affect the team dynamic? Jordan led, the team followed. If arguably the best player of the current time is also working harder than the rest, how could any other player on the team accept less? Jordan inspired a work ethic amongst his teammates that grew into standard practice for the Chicago Bulls. Effective teamwork has always been a part of his recipe for success – “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan.

Final Note

Effective teamwork is not an easy thing to create, nor maintain. It takes a group of like minded individuals, all working together to achieve a common goal. Personalities need to be managed, leaders need to create an environment conducive to teamwork and success. Everybody needs to buy in to the mission of the team for it to work. With all of the variables at play, and the pressure to succeed, there must be a strong work ethic driving all of the aforementioned effective teamwork traits. It’s also important to remember that these traits are not exclusive to the sporting arena, and can be applied to the work and business environment as well. So, be sure to apply them to your next team setting! Good luck on the road to success.

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Thoughtful Christmas Gifts: A How-To Guide

Thoughtful Christmas Gifts The Short Advice

Thoughtful Christmas Gifts Don’t Grow on Trees

Yet another year has flown by, and you’re faced with the challenging task of finding thoughtful Christmas gifts for your friends and family (again). The good news is, there is any easier way than leaving it all to Christmas Eve, jumping over the crowds of shoppers, and pulling your hair out. If you’re reading this at 11:59am on the 24th of December though, skip straight to point 5, and then checkout our time management tips… Thoughtful Christmas gifts are personalised, and reflective of the unique relationship between ‘gift-er’ and ‘gift-ee’. By putting just a little bit of extra time and thought into a gift idea, you can create a lasting memory of happiness, and really make someone’s day. So, checkout our 5 tips below to make sure your thoughtful Christmas gifts tick all of the boxes this season!

1. Time, Not Money

Don’t be fooled! It’s not all about how much cash you can splash. Thoughtful Christmas gifts require time and effort, not just a Santa-sack full of money. Besides, if you work, study or do a combination of the two, your time is probably limited. And thus, valuable. You can show your loved ones just how much they mean to you, by dedicating the time to create something beautiful for them. Or, if you’re not that way inclined, you can organise a customised gift too. Either way, your time and effort will always be appreciated. After all, true friendship is something that money simply cannot buy.

2. Reflect on the Relationship

What makes your relationship with this person so special? What jokes and experiences have you shared? Think about all of the great things about your friend/family member and build an equally great gift idea. Perhaps they’ve had a rough year, and you’d like to let them know that you’re on their side… Find a gift that represents when you met, and another that represents your relationship now. Remind them that you were there then, you’re here now, and you’ll still be there later. “You can’t get rid of me” – You.

3. Get Them Talking

Finding thoughtful Christmas gifts sometimes involves a healthy and necessary level of deception… If you’re struggling to come up with something, you can try tricking someone into spilling what they want for Christmas! Talk about some of the best gifts you ever received, and some of the things you’d like to receive. Try doing it in front of a group, so as not to raise suspicion… Get them talking about what they really want for Christmas, and then surprise them on the day with everything they ever wanted! A sneaky means to an ends, that might not work two years in a row…

4. Make the Card Count

Cards are an important part of any thoughtful Christmas gift. Pick a card that speaks to the nature of your relationship, but more importantly, write with humour and sincerity! Again, reflect on the relationship. Reference the year passed and congratulate them on any obstacles they overcame that they might have forgotten to acknowledge themselves. Let them know why you appreciated them again this year, and be specific when you can. If humour isn’t your thing, sincerity works equally as well. Make them laugh, make them cry… The art of Christmas card writing – don’t underestimate it!

5. Amazon Gift Finder

If you’re still out of ideas (or time), you can use Amazon’s gift finder tool to browse through a collection of items, filtered by gender, age group and interests. You might just stumble across a whole bunch of thoughtful Christmas gifts in the process! Theres a pretty impressive variety of categories, and you can checkout whats been trending too. This is particularly handy if you’re buying for a child, who’s interests are dependent on channels that you are just not tuned in to anymore!

Final Note

In the true spirit of Christmas, everyone should just be happy that you’ve thought about them. But, if you really want to leave an impression, you can find all of the thoughtful Christmas gifts you need using the tips above. Also, don’t forget to checkout our store too! Our road to success goal map is a great gift idea to help people plan for success in the new year. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your Christmas shopping! Merry Christmas all!

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Losing A Loved One: 5 Guiding Points

Losing A Loved One The Short Advice

Losing a Loved One is Hard.

The below 5 tips are not a definitive list or professional opinion, but rather a general set of guiding points to help you deal with losing a loved one. The sort of loss we are discussing in this article specifically is death, and if you’ve ever lost somebody you love, then you already know how difficult it can be. Coping with loss, in it’s many forms, is a topic that has been researched thoroughly, as loss has been known to cause illness if not properly dealt with. Medical research suggests that professional advice, or simply a hug, can assist those who are trying to cope with losing a loved one. So, don’t deny yourself a life of happiness… That is the last thing your loved one would want for you!

1. Allow Time to Grieve

Cry. Don’t cry. Be sad, be angry, ponder the future. Everybody will have their own different experience with grieving, and thats okay. Allow yourself to experience the emotions that you need to, in order to rationalise, and make sense of the very difficult and trying circumstances that losing a loved one presents. It takes time, and there are a number of stages in the grieving process that you may need to experience in order to move forward with your life. Also, while you are grieving, make sure you consider your own wellbeing too, as stress can mount during this time.

2. Celebrate Life

Sadness, devastation, shock, grief, despair. All emotions commonly associated with losing a loved one, and rightly so. You don’t have to suppress these emotions, but it’s also important to remember the good. As difficult as it is, these emotions are the perfect example of balance. To be so unfathomably upset in loss, the presence of your loved one must have brought much elation. So don’t be afraid to reflect on this happiness, and speak their name. Smile, laugh, joke and marvel at the priceless memories they’ve created. You’ll have negative emotions surrounding the loss itself, but you can also be thankful for your time together.

3. Honour The Memory

Losing a loved one is hard – but why? What was so fantastic about this person that makes their loss so difficult to bear? Consider their best attributes, and how you can add value to your life, and other lives, by being the embodiment of their great qualities. In doing this, their legacy can live on through you. The impact and influence that your loved one has had on your life, can continue doing good for you, and others, even after they’re gone. Were they strong? Summon this strength when you need it the most. Were they compassionate? Take the time to selflessly help somebody, as they would have.

4. Find Meaning and Purpose

When you lose somebody, particularly earlier than their due time, the common question one asks is “why?” The answer to this question is something we may never find out, similarly to the meaning of life. But we can find meaning and purpose in their passing if we choose to, although easier said than done. Is there something you can do to ensure that your loved one’s passing could save another’s life? Can you raise awareness for a charity, or donate, or simply urge friends and family to have the difficult conversations that so many avoid? Perhaps you can find purpose by embodying their best attributes, as stated above.

5. Accept

Sometimes its hard to believe that it has really happened. Shock and confusion is a normal part of losing a loved one, and often precedes the grieving stage. And, part of the grieving stage is trying to figure out how to move forward, without the presence of your loved one. Acceptance is a hurdle that needs to be overcome in order to move forward with your life, and be happy again. It is also considered to be the final stage of the grieving process. Nobody expects to be happy about what has happened, or even be okay with it. But in order to continue living, and remembering the good, and honouring the memory, one does need to accept the difficult realities of losing a loved one.

Final Note

Loss can take many forms, and each presents its own challenges. Losing a loved one can create a sense of hopelessness, which makes it seemingly impossible to continue your life as you used to know it, and you probably never will. Because the reality is that the experience has changed you forever, but it’s not all bad. Remember your loved one, and all of the great things about that person that caused the pain of loss in the first place. Honour their memory, and celebrate their life. It’s never as easy as it sounds when it’s written, and everybody will have a different experience. Remember that there are people to talk to, and others struggling with similar circumstances. You are not alone.

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5 Great Songs To Help You Deal With A Break Up

How to deal with a break up The Short Advice

How To Deal With a Break Up

There is no definitive set of guidelines to help you to deal with a break up. Each relationship you have is unique, and you and your partner are both individuals. But you can draw some wisdom from relatable situations. That is to say, you’re not the first to experience a break up, and you won’t be the last. The lyrics we hear in a song can help us to make sense of our own situations, and sometimes encourage critical reflection. It can be comforting to know that other people have felt what you’re feeling, and have still managed to move on and find happiness. You will be sad, and so you should. You may feel guilt, you may feel insecure and vulnerable. These feelings and emotions help us to learn and grow. So don’t ignore them, but rather, try to understand them.

Our ‘Deal With a Break Up Mixtape’

The list of songs below aim to help you make sense of your emotions while you deal with a break up. You’re not the only person in the world feeling the way you are, and sometimes it can help to share your experience with the musicians performing these songs. Some of them are from the perspective of angry, fragile minds. After all, it’s okay to be angry and upset. Others focus on gratitude and moving forward. Notions that we can all benefit from. We’ve tried to include a range of genres, and eras. So be open minded as you share your emotions with the artists listed below. Please note, the title of each song is a clickable link that will redirect you to youtube. Enjoy!

Is This Love by Cake

This track explores the anger and denial that can arise when you are trying to deal with a break up, and it does it quite well. At one point in the song, the artist confesses that they are wishing for their estranged spouse to actually be dead! Immoral, and not recommended, although it certainly paints a picture. The anger, and feelings of hurt and rejection are relatable, and sung over the top of a running bass line that is anything but sad and somber. It’s a great way to reflect on your own situation, without being a tearjerker.

Storms by Fleetwood Mac

In contrast to our first track, this one is sad and somber. Sadness, and self-pity are no stranger during the break up process, and Stevie Nicks definitely feels your pain. The real strength of this song in helping one deal with a break up, is the reflective nature of the lyrics. Stevie notes that whilst she would like to leave the relationship amicably, she’s never been quite so composed. “I’d like to leave you with something more… But never have I been a blue calm sea… I have always been a storm”. So, learn from this line, and don’t act regretfully. You can communicate your emotions, of course. Just try to do it as ‘blue calm sea’, rather than a ‘storm’.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by BJ Thomas

Ahhh the good old days… Too corny for some perhaps, but the message is one that can be applied to many of life’s trials and tribulations. Regardless of what negative experience you’re facing, “…Crying’s not for me, ’cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining”. BJ Thomas goes on to sing about how grateful he is to be alive and free, despite facing a challenging circumstance. The same principle can be applied when you deal with a break up. A trying time, yes. But you still have so much to be grateful for, so don’t allow yourself to despair for too long.

Love’s Been Good To Me by Johnny Cash

Originally by Frank Sinatra and Rod McKuen, this song is another reminder about being grateful for the experience. The end of anything good is always going to be difficult to accept, but the truth to remember is that it was good. Johnny Cash’s version is also great as it is performed in his later years, and sung with experience and nostalgic tones. Hopefully it encourages you to accept the end, but still be grateful for the good times that you shared with your old flame. Everything has an end, but hopefully upon reflection, “Once in a while, along the way, loves been good to (you) me”.

Caught Out There by Kelis

Kelis’ ‘Caught out there’ speaks of her hurt, denial and anger towards an unfaithful partner. Sadly, too many people can relate. Like the first track on our list, Kelis doesn’t hold back when addressing these emotions, stating quite plainly “I hate you so much right now!”. Her words are simple and honest, although her path of destruction not advisable. So listen and relate, but try to exhibit slightly more composed and logical behaviour when managing your emotions as you deal with a break up. Theres also a pretty raw and amusing film clip to match, so check it out!

Supplementary List

Song For Mutya by Groove Armada ft. Mutya Buena

Another fun break up song. Up beat and Groove Armada-ry, this track confronts the reality of seeing your ex-partner with a new person. The great part about this track, is that Mutya is being coached by the voice in her head to act responsibly despite her emotional fragile state “don’t panic (panic) Mutya, don’t act erratic”. Good advice inner-self!

Beautiful World by Coldplay

A melancholy tune, this gem by Coldplay encourages reflection on the fact that despite things not being perfect, we still live in a beautiful world. And to exist in it, is grand. When you deal with a break up, this is something that you might forget to remember… So look toward to tomorrow, and the opportunities of this beautiful world!

Final Note

Music heals all wounds. It is a form of communication that can evoke a different response from each listener, as they interpret it in a way that makes sense to them. There is a song for every situation, and the above list is just a few that hopefully you haven’t heard before (or in a while). If you have any songs that have helped you deal with a break up in the past, please share them with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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5 Reasons To Engage in Critical Self Reflection

Critical Self Reflection The Short Advice

Why Critical Self Reflection?

Critical self reflection is an essential, and necessary tool for the improvement of oneself. And it’s free! It can help us to improve across many facets of our lives, and plays an enormous role in achieving self-actualization. You can view the 12 characteristics of a self-actualized individual here. Included in this list of characteristics is the acceptance of oneself, particularly those attributes seen as weaknesses. In order to identify these areas, we first must engage in critical self reflection, and here’s why:

1. Awareness of Strengths and Weaknesses

Nobody is perfect, so don’t try to be. Sure, there may be some areas of your person that you would like to change, and that is fine. But however much you improve, you will never be perfect. And so, it is important to accept both our strengths and weaknesses. But first, we must be aware of what they actually are. That is where critical self reflection plays such an enormous role. Failed relationships, successful endeavours, job satisfaction and general happiness. Each scenario provides valuable lessons about our strengths and weaknesses, areas to improve, and sometimes the inter-dependent nature of our positive/negative attributes. That is to say, sometimes our greatest strength, can also be our greatest weakness. Consider how honesty, as a positive attribute, could also land you in some negative situations… But then, you are who you are.

2. Improve Decision Making Skills

Reflecting on past decisions can lay the groundwork for the next important decision. What outcome was I hoping for? What outcome did I get, and why? All important questions to ask yourself as part of the critical self-reflection process. Over time, you will better understand your tendency to make particular decisions, and how well you manage decision making under emotional duress. In the next emotional-fuelled decision making moment, you may recall the last poor decision you made in a frame of mind that was less-conducive to ‘checkmate moves’. If this encourages you to stop, breathe, think, and then act, your critical self reflection has been invaluable… You might just make the right decision this time around.

3. Position of Power

What is it that you really want? Whether a professional goal, relationship goal, or otherwise, it’s going to be a tough road if you don’t regularly engage in critical self-reflection. Empower yourself with the foresight that you didn’t have yesterday. Yes, the past is the past, and it cannot change. But if you don’t learn from the past, then your future may end up looking a lot like it. The point here, is that you can put yourself in a position of value, and a position to succeed, simply through reflection. Do you ever think about how you’d love to make life brilliant for the people that you love? Take their stressors away, and help them achieve sustainable happiness? Well, until you empower yourself with these gifts, you can’t expect to empower others. So, put yourself in a position of power through regular self reflection, and continued improvement.

4. Improve Efficiency/Productivity

Similar to our point on decision making above, reflecting on past experiences, whether successes or failures, can be an invaluable learning tool for the improvement of efficiency and productivity. When engaging in critical self-reflection you may consider the following:

  • Under what circumstances do I best operate?
  • What has worked for me (or not worked) in the past?

These questions of reflection may lead to questions of improvement/innovation:

  • How can I change my environment to improve my efficiency?
  • What adjustments can I make to improve the quality of my output?

5. Self-Actualization

This is the desire for a person to reach their potential, improving themselves, their circumstances and their environment. As described by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs, this is the theory that, once all of our more primary needs are met, we seek fulfillment by achieving our full potential and engaging in creative activities. In other words, we desire to achieve self-actualization. In order to attain this, we need to have engaged in much critical self reflection, and understand and accept ourselves, others and the universe as they each are. Whilst the concept is not so ambiguous, what it looks like to each individual can be tricky to identify. But, the more you understand about yourself, and your own needs, the greater the chance you will have of fulfilling those needs. This is how critical self reflection can put you on the path towards self-actualization.

Final Note

The reasons listed above are just some of the benefits of critical self reflection. The overall personal development we can experience by recognising our behavioural patterns and improving self-awareness can have an enormous positive impact on our lives. You don’t have to write things down to engage in reflection, but you might. Perhaps you best reflect by having a conversation with a close friend who can assist your self reflection, while you assist theirs. However it happens, it’s a good idea to make sure it does, and to take steps towards self-improvement. As always, thanks for reading. If you have a topic you’d like to understand more about, feel free to drop us a line on our homepage.

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How To Be A Good Father: 5 Expert Examples

Good father The Short Advice

What Does it Take to be a Good Father?

We’ve studied some expert opinions and views on fatherhood from some of Australia’s favourite dads. Being awarded ‘Father of the Year’ would be no easy feat, and so these exceptional fathers must have done a few things right. There is no one answer, but rather insightful pieces of ‘dadvice’ from these five experts. So, in celebration of Father’s Day in Australia this weekend, let’s have a look at what it takes to be a good father from some of the best in the country…

Paul Roos

Father of two boys (now adults) and AFL coaching legend, Paul Roos, was awarded the Father of the Year Award in 2008. Leading young men at home and again in professional sport, Roos believes that dads have an “enormous amount” of responsibility to act as role models for their sons. Where some people would react with violence, fathers should demonstrate how to properly react. He also notes that too many parents are afraid to say ‘no’ nowadays. Allowing kids to do whatever they please is no way to raise balanced young individuals.

Steve Biddulph

“Fathers show boys how to be good men” says Father of the Year 2000 and parenting activist Steve Biddulph. He also notes the important role that a good father plays for young women, “Girls who are close to their dads get involved with boys later, and show better judgement when choosing partners”. The underlying message of Biddulph’s ‘dadvice’ is to take an active fatherhood role. Spend more time, pay more attention and make your child feel valued. He encourages fathers to be “warm-hearted” and “involved with day-to-day care”.

Ron Delezio

His ability to “rise above the challenges” made Ron Delezio more than just a good father. He was awarded Father of the Year in 2006. After his daughter’s life-threatening injuries, he worked to raise funds for other burns victims, and had an important message to share about family… Don’t take your family for granted. Delezio also noted how the “love and dedication” he observed from other parents with hospitalised children helped to save their lives. He responded to adversity with resilience, dedication and love, and undoubtedly empowered his family to do the same.

Ben Roberts-Smith

2013 Father of the Year Ben Roberts-Smith, has played a fatherly role to his entire country, as well as twin girls. A Victoria Cross recipient for bravery, Roberts-Smith made a special note of the “sacrifice” of fathers who have served. Described also as a ‘normal dad who is devoted to his children’ the VC recipient’s message of sacrifice translates to non-military fathers too… A good father prioritises the needs of his children above the needs of himself. The sacrifices that good parents make everyday should not be overlooked. It’s an important way to show children that they are valued.

Ken Done

Australian artist and optimist, Ken Done won Father of the Year in 1989. Reflecting on the wisdom imparted to him by his male role models, Done recalls the saying “look to this day“. Sound advice from a known optimist and fantastic role model. He also speaks very highly of the women in his life. He notes that a very important part of being a man is to understand both masculinity and femininity. Both men and women have the ability to be strong and sensitive. So, perhaps the big message for fathers out of this is not to suppress their sensitive side, as tradition would have us believe.

Final Note

Raising a family can be difficult, and being a good father means something different to everyone. But, perhaps the strongest message that all of the aforementioned super-dads had to share, was about being a good role model. Children will learn how to behave by watching their parents. So, before acting, consider if this is how you would want your children to behave. But even with the best intentions, we’re not always going to get it right. We’re faced with tough decisions everyday, no matter what our role. The important point to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes. Like anything, fatherhood should be a continual process of learning. Be open-minded and adapt when you have to. Recognise your mistakes, and make sure you employ better systems to avoid them next time.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear why your father is so fantastic in the comments section below!

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How To Be A Good Friend: 5 Friendship Tips

Friendship The Short Advice

Great Minds Think Alike

First, we are drawn to people with similar interests. Maybe music, or sport, or work. But the roots of a true friendship are the values and principles that are shared between friends. These are things that you can’t fake, and they’re unwavering. The development of a friendship like this will last for decades. And time will inevitably create opportunities to solidify friendships, and to test them too. But before any of that, the best way to find like-minded and loyal friends is to be yourself. This is our first and perhaps most important tip…

The 5 Friendship Tips

Make, and keep, great friends with these five friendship tips:

1. Be Yourself

Exhibit the behaviours that you look for in a friend, but only if they are natural to you. If you find it tiresome being a great friend, then you might also find it difficult keeping a great friend. Consider what values and principles are important to you, and what you believe constitutes a ‘good person’. If you can be all of those things, you might also be able to find them in a friendship. If you feel as though your friends have let you down in the past, it’s not necessarily your poor judgement. But it could be. So, critical-self reflection is never a bad idea. If the person you are hasn’t produced good results in the past, change might be needed.

2. Effectively Manage Conflict

Like any relationship, the ability to deal with conflict is very important. It can end a friendship, or strengthen one. Either way, conflict has an important role to play. Too often, friends are worried that voicing their concerns might adversely affect their friendship. But if you are afraid that a difference in opinion might see you go your seperate ways, then you’re probably not compatible as friends in the first place. So, talk it out. Listen. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. AND never be too stubborn to admit when you’re wrong. A good friendship is more important than your pride.

3. Make Time

As mentioned above, it’s a two-way street. If you’re someone that is always there for your friends, you’re likely to attract people that will always be there for you too. Selflessness and thoughtfulness are two very important ingredients of a life-long bond, so do not underestimate them. It’s in the little things that friends do for one-another, but also the times when friends are most in need of support. Prioritise your friends during their hour of need, and they’ll remember. It’s not an insurance policy just incase you need the same level of support one day. It’s because you care.

4. Reflect on Your Friendship Skills

Critical self-reflection is something that cannot be overlooked. It’s an important part of the happiness puzzle, as it allows us to evolve into better versions of ourselves (sort of like Pokémon). If you’re someone that tends to go missing for weeks on-end and still expect to keep great friendships, you’ll need to be aware of it. You can’t just be a good friend when you feel like it, so what can you do to counter that absence? This is why awareness is key. Without it, you can’t fix the problem. On the other hand, what things make you a great friend? Do more of it!

5. Be Honest

The answer to the question “do I look fat in this?” isn’t always “no”. Bad example? Well, the point is that good friendships require honesty on all fronts. Friends are often the first point of call for advice on careers, relationships, investments, family and other important life-topics. Trying to protect your friends’ feelings now, will only hurt them later. So tell them straight. Be tactful when you need to be, but don’t paint the picture that they want to see, over the top of the one they need to see. People respect and appreciate honesty. So, don’t be afraid to say the hard things that need to be said. You’ll be doing your friend a disservice if you do anything else.

Final Note

The fantastic thing about friendships is that every single one is unique. Because every single one of us is unique. But that fact also presents challenges… There is no one-size fits all solution to every problem that a friendship might experience. However, our five friendship tips are a good place to start! If you’ve got anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so in the comments section below. Or perhaps you’re experiencing a difficult situation and would like to bounce an idea off of a friendly stranger? Head over to our homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll give you the short advice ;). As always, thanks for reading.