A Habit of Mindfulness and Happiness

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am filled with gratitude for the amazing people who took time out of their busy lives to attend the launch of my new book, ‘Wake Up to Your Habits’ at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

I had the privilege to be at Kevin O’Leary’s launch of?’Cold Hard Truth’ just two days before mine.? Mr. O’Leary informed us that Steve Jobs had passed away just minutes before he entered the room.? The next day, I heard a sound clip of Steve Jobs’ commencement address to Stanford’s graduating class in 2005, just after his cancer diagnosis.?? In his address, he said ‘There is an old saying…live every day as though it was your last, and some day you will be right.

Mr. Jobs knew he was going to die, and he reminded everyone there, so are they.? He said, ‘Don’t spend your life living someone else’s life’.? He might also have said, ‘Don’t spend your life living someone else’s story.’

I think a?lot of us are living other people’s stories – about us, about what we can achieve, about what work means – or can mean, about family, about how to be happy.? Who knows where the stories originate – and I don’t think it really matters – the idea is, the story might not be one you would?CHOOSE for yourself.

Wake Up to Your Habits is about being mindful of the stories you are telling yourself – what you are believing to be true about yourself, about others, about your circumstances – and it’s about ‘waking up’ to the opportunity to create a new story.

About 12 years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Robert Brooks speak on Raising Resilient Children.? During that session, he asked the audience of about 300 educators and parents, ‘If I asked your children to describe you, what do you think they would say?’? There was a collective gasp in the room and a whole lot of horrified-looking faces.? Mine included.

I knew that my children would describe me – not in the way I wanted to be described – but in the way I was.? I realized there was a bit of a disconnect there – I knew how I wanted to be, yet wasn’t sure I was ‘being’ it.?

That question from Dr. Brooks got me thinking about something that I had experienced often since becoming a parent.? I had some thinking and behavior patterns that seemed to be automatic, ingrained, and ‘programmed’ in.? I found myself saying over and over…’I can’t believe I did that again!?’, and ‘OMG, I sound just like my mother!!’

I’d noticed that same phenomenon happening for other people, in the workplaces I visited as a speaker and trainer.? Lots of people who seemed to be stuck in a rut, wanting something different for themselves yet not knowing how to make the change.

I was reminded of?the NLP training I had taken 8 years before that day in Dr. Brooks’ seminar, in which I learned that we all, indeed, had personal programs and neuro-pathways that become our mental maps of the world.? One expression that resonated with me was ‘the map is not the territory’.? The map you have of the world is simply that – your map.? It is not the world.? And, the hopeful part is, the programs and pathways can be changed.

We all have ruts – personal programs and pathways that aren’t working for us any more (if they ever did) and we can turn those ruts into healthier, more productive grooves.

Steve Jobs said in his speech at Stanford, ‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.’? He said, ‘…when you know you are going to die (which is true for all of us) it’s the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose…you are already naked…there is no reason not to follow your heart.’

Waking up to your habits helps you to undress, or unpackage, your thinking, feeling and behavior patterns, and start living the story you want.

Kevin O’leary said that he seeks financial wealth because money leads to freedom.? I see it the other way around.? Freedom, from personal and emotional roadblocks – whether self-imposed or a ‘gift’ from someone else – leads to a far greater and more important ‘wealth’.

Goldie Hawn, who appears to be the epitome?of joy and health,?is?on a crusade to help children become more mindful and to cultivate more happiness.? Watch this clip and notice the opportunity to prevent destructive ruts from forming?by practicing mindfulness early in?life.



?No matter who you are or what your story has been, you can create a habit of mindfulness and happiness.?

Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.? www.derilatimer.com


2 Replies to “A Habit of Mindfulness and Happiness”

  1. Thank YOU for this reminder. When I read this blog, it reminded me of what Morrie said in Mitch Albom’s book, Tuesdays with Morrie, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

    I will make that extra effort to work on mindful happiness on a daily basis.

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