Happiness is a choice.

by Jamie Sanford on August 5, 2015

A different topic today, but something I’ve been more and more aware of in recent time.

It’s taken me many years but I know now that happiness, for the most part, is the result of a series of choices.

I have to say for the most part, because of course there are many people in our world who have such major obstacles and problems to overcome, and I cannot imagine the overwhelming nature of something so significant. I’m speaking more to people who, like me, get up, go to a job, come home, watch some TV, sleep, and do it again. I know that a lot of people are miserable in that pursuit, as it seems like the neverending push towards our demise. Which it pretty much is.

However, I know now that you don’t have to sit there and suffer through all of it. I intend on squeezing every last bit of joy I can out of this existence. These are the things that help me focus on what is important, which has led to a happier life.

This is so huge, and so many people don’t seem to get it. Every single thing can be broken down into “will this affect my life in any big way tomorrow” or NOT. So many things that you overreact to right now DO NOT MATTER. So many people waste energy and invite unhappiness into their lives by freaking out over things that are not going to make any impact on them in the future in any significant way. If you only spend time losing it over things that don’t matter, you close yourself off to laughing at something you won’t notice because you’re too busy being aggravated.

An extension of step one. People will disappoint you, do things incorrectly, screw things up. There is a time and place to be upset about that, but take a quick second before you launch into it to think about intent. If you can tell that the person is sorry or upset about what happened, or they simply aren’t malicious, they likely didn’t intend to do something wrong. The next time you get upset with someone for buying the wrong thing at the store or ordering you a regular soda instead of diet, take a moment to stop and realize that it was probably not intentional. If it helps, think about how crappy it makes you feel when someone lays into you about something you didn’t intend to do. It sucks, right?

Forgiveness is divine, when something actually needs to be forgiven. If you only allow yourself to be affected by things that matter, or where someone was intentionally behaving horribly, you will reduce the drama so, so much.

If you do the same thing every day, every weekend, you cannot expect anything to magically change and increase your happiness. It does require work, but the best kind of work. During the week with working, etc, its a bit harder to fit things in, but when I go out on the weekend and do something, even something small like go to the park for a few hours, I am more productive, I sleep better, and am generally in a better mood.

This one is so huge! Gala has been telling me to write a gratitude list for years, and while I’m not good at the actual listmaking, I have trained myself to be present in gratitude. There are many things I could have in life, I would like to own a house, I’d like my retirement fund to be bigger, but my present life is incredibly blessed and I am focused on being aware and grateful for that. I have a job, I have a husband who is a wonderful partner, I have a roof over my head, I am not hungry, and these things make me privileged. There are no guarantees that you will be alive tomorrow, and even if you live until you’re 100, you won’t be on your deathbed saying “I’m really glad that I spent years being miserable instead of being happy with what I had.” (Please read this post on the 5 regrets of the dying.)

Share your happiness tips in the comments!

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Happiness is a Word Cloud of Praise

by Jamie Sanford on November 19, 2010

Word Cloud of Jamie

Christopher S. Penn sent along this idea in his recent email newsletter.

Here’s a personal branding tip to help you clarify who you are and what you do. Collect all of your recommendations from LinkedIn, all the complimentary tweets about you on Twitter, and any other place you’re likely to have nice words about you. Stuff them all into Wordle and see very clearly the words other people use to describe you. This is very powerful, especially if you’re at a loss for words to describe yourself on resumes, web sites, etc.

So, I used my LinkedIn recommendations to create the cloud you see here.  I’m really pleased with it.

What would your word cloud look like? Will you be happy with the words that show up?

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Curious Tuesday 009

by Jamie Sanford on July 11, 2010

I am answering these questions as part of Gala Darling’s Curious Tuesday project.

Curious Tuesday 009

Love 'n Happiness.

The Little Store, in Provincetown, MA.

1. What was your first kiss experience?

I don’t remember if it was my actual first kiss, but there was a certain experience during high school when I went to kiss someone on the cheek and he did the head turn so it was a real kiss. I had fluttery stomach for days afterward.

2. If you could work for — & learn from — anyone, who would it be & why?

I’m going to say Lady Gaga. Besides the fact that I think she’s a pop genius, she’s also a marketing genius, which is right up my career alley. I feel like working with her would be very open, where ideas get shared and things are never seen as too crazy and that would be fun and amazing.

3. Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs test? (If not, do it here, it’s quick & easy!) What was your result? Do you think it was accurate? (Also, TypeLogic is a great resource for finding out more information about your type.)

I am apparently an ENFJ. I took a different test than the one Gala linked to but I think the questions on these tests are mostly the same.


  • E – Extraversion preferred to introversion: ENFJs often feel motivated by their interaction with people. They tend to enjoy a wide circle of acquaintances, and they gain energy in social situations (whereas introverts expend energy)
  • N – Intuition preferred to sensing: ENFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities
  • F – Feeling preferred to thinking: ENFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic
  • J – Judgment preferred to perception: ENFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability

It seems pretty accurate in general, although reading the more lengthy description has me disagreeing with some of the finer points.

4. What is your favourite thing about your best friend?

Shared humor, laughing with someone at the same thing, especially when that thing isn’t particularly funny to someone else? I love that feeling.

5. What makes you happiest?

I have the best times when traveling. I love going to different places. I especially love is that the traveling that we’ve done in the past 2 years has all been within the US.  We go on seemingly random trips, but I just feel blessed to be somewhere new and beautiful with my favorite person. I know it’s sappy but it’s so true.  Those are the happiest times.

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