Three Keys to a Happier Life

Do you think three words can change your life? No? Come on, have a little fun. Play with me. I have three keys that will make your life happier.

Acceptance The first key is: Acceptance. Do you think that is passive or weak? How many of you think acceptance is running away from the struggle? What if acceptance was a springboard to the rest of your life? I know it’s true. I’ve lived it.

I came from a crazy family. I mean, we’re talking crazy! I know I’m not alone. How many of you know what I mean? They were so crazy I ran away to the circus. Well, I ran away to the opera, but since they both have elephants, it’s easy to get confused. I was on the world’s stage from Carmen to Family Guy until I hit 50 going about 90! I crashed and burned.

The first thing I needed to do was get out of my denial (Who me? I’m fine. How are YOU?) and accept exactly where I was. I couldn’t define myself as a glamorous opera singer anymore. I had to accept that I felt like an absolute failure. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. The only way I could get out of that hole was accept I was sitting in one. I had to become conscious of the reality of my situation. Once I did, I began to change.

Ask The second key is: ask. Do you know that most of us don’t ask for what we want? We only ask for what we think we can get. Why? Because we don’t want to lose face. We want to be cool. Oh, how I hate that four letter word! Stop being cool - be real. It’s riskier, but it’s more fulfilling.

Jack Canfield, my mentor and teacher has a chapter in his new book The Success Principles titled Ask! Ask! Ask! First, stop making assumptions and have the guts to ask, what did you mean by that? We are afraid to look dumb so we assume – it is deadly. We’ve trained ourselves for so many years to settle for less, that we let go of what our hearts really want. Let me explain.

Unclaimed gifts A man died and gets to heaven and knocks on the pearly gates. St. Peter welcomes him. “John, I’m so glad you’re here.” The man walks in, looks all around and sees a huge pile of boxes to the right. “What are all those boxes?” St. Peter says, “Go take a look.” He goes to the boxes and on each one, he sees a gift tag, To: John. Love, God. All the boxes are labeled the same way. He runs back to St. Peter. “I don’t understand this. All of these boxes have my name on them.” St. Peter says, “They are all your gifts, except you never asked for them.”

It gets better. My husband and I had just looked at a really hideous apartment. I mean hideous, rotten floors, filled with trash, you could barely get through the halls. She told me the story I just told you. I asked my landlord for help. He lowered our rent for 6 months! This wonderful man is in my meditations every night. The lesson? Ask for what you want. Even if you think you won’t get it. Risk looking like a fool, lose the cool.

Perfection The last of the three keys is: Perfection. One day my husband got angry at me. He slammed his hand on the table and yelled, “Living with you is like living with Joan of Arc.”

It took a while, but I got rid of that costume. Perfection is not something wonderful. Perfection is just a shield.

  • Trade in your perfection for a willingness to be wrong.
  • Trade in your perfection for your vulnerability. I promise you’ll enjoy your life more when you take off the armor.
  • Trade in your perfection and fail fast. Make huge mistakes, learn and move on.
  • Trade in your perfection for personal excellence. Compete with yourself. There will always be someone better than you are and someone worse than you are. Accept that. You will feel the stress roll off your shoulders when you can say, I did my best.

The three keys You are your own boss. You are the artist of your life. How many of you think of yourself as artists and creators? You don’t, do you? Do you realize you create your life with every word and every thought? You are the one who write your script. If you don’t like it you can re-frame what you wrote. You can write a new script! Create a happier, more satisfying life right now.

1. ACCEPT where you are right now without denial.

2. ASK for what you want, not just what you think you can get.

3. PERFECTION Erase it and replace it with excellence.

The red ribbon that ties up the whole package is, take yourself lightly. We are as unique and magnificent as tiny kittens. Drop the grandiosity. Drop the self-importance.

Your life will change because you are the artist of your life. You wrote your script, and you have the power to rewrite it. The greatest work of art you will ever create is your own life.

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