How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About

How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About

Developing Success in Business and in Life

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Introduction: A Business Book About Smiling — Really?

Chapter 1: The Science Behind Your Smile

Chapter 2: What’s That Voice in My Head, and How Can I Make It Stop?

Chapter 3: Our Automatic Thinking

Chapter 4: How to Move Beyond Your Automatic Thinking

Chapter 5: Designing Your Next Level

Chapter 6: How to Achieve Your Next Level

Chapter 7: Why We Do What We Shouldn’t and Don’t Do What We Should

Chapter 8: The Key Ingredient to Taking Control of Your Life

Chapter 9: Letting Go of Your Past and Moving Forward

Chapter 10: Be Kind to Yourself—You Deserve It

Chapter 11: How to Conquer Fear, the Killer of Possibility

Chapter 12: A Setback Is a Setup for a Comeback

Chapter 13: Turning Breakdowns into Breakthroughs

Chapter 14: Powerful Communications at Home and at Work

Chapter 15: Create a Positive Work Environment and Love Your Job

Chapter 16: Reverse Polarity: Turning Negative People into Positives

Chapter 17: The Attitude of Gratitude Philosophy: Your Secret Weapon


Introduction: A Business Book About Smiling — Really?

Did you know it’s been scientifically proven that smiling can improve your mood, outlook and attitude, leading to increased success in your career and personal life? Take it a step further … what if smiling (and happiness in general) isn’t your reaction to great things that are happening in your life but instead is the CAUSE of these great things?

This is a 2-part book. In the first section, motivational speaker and success coach Darryl Davis shares scientific evidence about how smiling actually helps you have more success in all aspects of your life. In the second section, Darryl shares his proven, no-nonsense approach for making strategic changes to dramatically improve your life and increase your sense of purpose, giving you more reasons to smile. Based on this unique and powerful combination of brain science, timeless wisdom, and good old common sense, How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About helps you:

  • Identify negative automatic thoughts and take control of them;
  • Replace bad habits with good ones using scientifically proven methods;
  • Take full responsibility for your life, helping you feel more in control of your circumstances;
  • Form relationships with positive people;
  • Free yourself from the fear of change and let go of the past;And the best part is, this is all a lot easier to accomplish than you think! You just have to take it step by step—and Davis serves as your personal guide to every point in the journey

What would make you smile? Starting your own business? Taking your corporate career to the next level? Spending more personal time with family and friends? Better communication with the important people in your life? If you are looking to pro- duce a breakthrough in your life, this book is a must read for you.

Darryl Davis is a renowned speaker, life coach and creator of the nationally recognized term Next Level®. He is also the founder of the year-long coaching process, The POWER Program®, which has proven results of doubling people’s income over their previous year. As a speaker, Darryl’s contagious enthusiasm, hilarious sense of humor, depth of expertise, and flawless delivery are all jam-packed into a dynamic presentation of real world skills and techniques. He strives to bring his students to their “Next Level®” of success by training them on how to have more fun and less stress in their business and personal lives.

Chapter 1: The Science Behind Your Smile

When I began working on this book, I had an inkling that smiling was an important element of people’s lives – that it was an expression of joy and affected how others perceived us and responded to us. What I wasn’t aware of was how much research had been done on the topic. Just a quick online search yields thousands of results, from scientific experiments published in medical journals, to light-hearted articles in health publications. And, let me tell you, I soaked it all in.

Smiling is crucial to our well being. Each smile triggers the release of what I’ll call the four “feel-good chemicals” (I remember them with the acronym DOSE): Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphin. These are released from the limbic system, an ancient part of our brain that is responsible for emotion, motivation and many instinctive responses. This is important to understand because a lot of our behavior in this area is automatic, given to us by our ancestors and related to our survival as a species.

If you’re like most people, you probably believe that you have to wait until you feel something good, and then smile. After all, it’s only natural. But research shows that smiling actually makes us feel good. So, the “formula” we’ve been following is scientifically backwards! It’s important to understand why we smile, the different types of smiling, the impact that our smile has on those around us and on ourselves, and specific action steps that we can take which can make us happier in life … which, of course, leads to more smiling!

What’s interesting to learn is that the very act of smiling, when done purposefully and proactively, can impact our success both at home and in the office.

In Chapter 1 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Learn how you can instantly change the way you feel, regardless of what’s happening around you, by simply smiling.
  • Understand how to recover from stress quicker, therefore becoming more effective in your daily life.
  • See the different types of smiles, and discover the smile that will help you most to feel better in the face of adversity.
  • Find out how to communicate much more effectively with the “Facial Feedback Theory.”
  • Learn how Botox can dramatically impact how you feel … for better or worse.
  • Realize how smiling has a direct relationship to your bottom-line – vital news if you’re a business owner.
Chapter 2: What’s That Voice in My Head and How Can I Make it Stop?

Let me share a truth about you that you already know: There are things we should do that if we did them, it would make our lives better, and there are things we shouldn’t do that if we didn’t do them, it would make our lives better.

So, here’s my question: If it’s that simple, then why oh why do we continue to do the things we shouldn’t and not do the things we should?

There’s a voice inside your head that talks to you non-stop throughout your life. Don’t believe me? Stop reading right now. Can you hear it? Yeah … that’s it. The one that just said, “Why did I stop reading? What’s supposed to happen now?” These thoughts actually carry on a running dialogue with you, a con- versation that only you yourself can hear. This inner voice affects your feelings, tells you what to think about other people and situations, determines what actions you decide to take … or not to take. In short, your life is controlled by the voice inside your head.

And, further, what if I told you that the chatter in your head is not something you can control, no matter how hard you try. You see, your mind is like a jukebox and your thoughts and feelings are like songs that are stored in the jukebox. When we’re in difficult situations or someone does something that upsets us, it’s like they pressed a button that causes us to play the same old song. Maybe you’re caught in traffic and your mind fills with thoughts of complaints and grievances. Perhaps you have a fight with your spouse about an old, familiar topic. Maybe a pet peeve of yours plays out right in front of your eyes and you just can’t help but get annoyed, as if someone scratched a blackboard with their fingernails. It’s like you’re pre-programmed to react.

If you don’t recognize these patterns and take concrete steps to change the way you deal with them, you are likely to find it difficult to move forward and accomplish all that you want to. You see, without even realizing it, you may be stopping yourself from achieving something terrific in your life – like getting a promotion or meeting that “special someone” – because you are listening to that same old chatter in your head that says “you can’t do it.” You may perceive that the things that are stopping you from having what you want in life are “real” … and that these obstacles can’t be overcome … when, in fact, much of the problem is literally inside your own head. Understanding this for what it is will begin to give you the freedom to do something about it.

In Chapter 2 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Clearly see that your life circumstances are not holding you back, but your thoughts about these circumstances are definitely getting in your way.
  • Learn why you keep doing the things you do, even when you know it’s bad for you.
  • Discover how you can be in action towards the things that are important to you, even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Find out what the “wall of thoughts” is, and see how it holds you back from having a joyful life.
  • Realize how to separate your thoughts from actual facts so you won’t be controlled by your feelings anymore.
  • Learn to take a constructive approach with people or things that “annoy” you.
Chapter 3: Our Automatic Thinking

When something happens to you again and again, your brain recognizes the pattern and starts making “predictions” that these outcomes will repeat in the future. The thing is, these predictions don’t seem like “best guesses” or “probabilities” to us – they seem like “facts.” We accept them as such and act accordingly. For instance, you have a co-worker “Susan” who frequently shows up late for your weekly office meetings. You’ve therefore generated an opinion about her that she’s unreliable and disrespectful. When you’re assigned to work with her on a crucial project, your mind automatically – without conscious consideration – generates thoughts that tell you Susan won’t pull her weight and you can’t trust her. Thus, you go into the project “knowing” what’s going to happen, which influences the way you treat Susan, which changes how she treats you, then causing certain results to happen … all of which likely confirms your original negative opinion. And we now have a full-blown self-fulfilling prophecy at work.

You see, your “automatic thinking” limits the possibilities for your achievement. After all, why bother to pursue something … especially if you already know it won’t turn out good? The trouble is, your conclusions are not facts after all, and you’ve just shut down what would have been a very positive opportunity.

What if I told you that there’s a whole world of possibilities out there that you cannot even fathom? These are opportunities and destinations that you would never even conceive of achieving – because you either don’t know they exist or you can’t imagine getting there with your current thought process. By you learning more about your Automatic Thinking and how it holds you back, you will be able to access many more possibilities in your life.

In Chapter 3 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Learn how to recognize when your automatic thinking that holds you back, and begin to glimpse what’s possible beyond the “wall” your mind has erected without your conscious permission.
  • Realize where you have “written off” others in your life based on thoughts that aren’t necessarily true … and see how you can act to correct this.
  • Discover how to prevent “Automatic Thinking” of killing off possibility in your career.
  • Find out how to implement a plan to achieve results far beyond what you currently see as possible.
Chapter 4: How to Move Beyond Your “Automatic Thinking”

When we listen to our “automatic thoughts” and take action based on them, we are sure to bring our past (which formed these thoughts to begin with) into our present. Not only does this limit what’s possible for us, it also leads to a very repetitive, dull existence. And I know this is not what you want for yourself.

The Greek philosopher, Plato, said, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Meaning that sometimes we don’t think of something or break beyond what we perceive as limitations in our lives until we feel that we absolutely have to. In the movie Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard, the folks at Mission Control come up with outside-the-box solutions to a never-before-thought-of problem because, literally, they have no other choice. They are totally committed to saving the astronauts – best illustrated by the famous line: “Failure is not an option.” And they have the conviction to achieve their goal because they’ll do whatever it takes to bring their comrades home. What if you had this constructive sense of urgency in your life?

Great athletes speak of being in “the zone” when they achieve their greatest success. It’s as if all thoughts, feelings and opinions disappear, and all there is for them is the action they’re taking. They aren’t thinking about what they’re doing, they’re just in action. Actively pursuing your goals with commitment, conviction and confidence is an unstoppable combination.

What if you could move beyond what you already know, think and believe? What if you could create a life where failure was not option? Where instead of consistently working AT your life trying to finish another item on your to-do list, you were living from a “zone” of unbelievable confidence and achievement, just like a successful athlete. That’s what a life looks like when you move beyond your automatic thinking.

In Chapter 4 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Learn about “unfolding what already is” in your life become more excited to be in action towards what’s most important to you.
  • Discover the secret ingredient that already lies within you that will help you move past your automatic thoughts. (You’ve had moments in your life where you accomplished great things in a short period of time, and when you did, you were applying this secret ingredient, though it may have been by accident. This chapter will show you what that ingredient is so you can use it on demand.)
  • Grasp how to stop working so hard at accomplishing things in your life and start to produce more results with less effort.
  • Be able to harness the power of “being” vs. “doing.”
Chapter 5: Designing Your Next Level

There are certain key moments that occur in your life when you know you’ve reached a new plateau. You can’t turn back; and you wouldn’t want to anyway. When you reach that plateau, that new level, your life will never be the same. For instance, I’m talking about when you graduate college, land your first job, get married, have your first child, etc. These are not merely goals – which are important in their own right, to be sure. These are life-altering moments that change who are as a person. When you accomplish these goals, you’ve achieved a Next Level.

When you purposely plan for and create your Next Level, it’s imperative that you seek to achieve something that you truly love – something that energizes you, makes you get up early in the morning ready and rarin’ to go, and puts a big smile on your face just thinking about it. Yes, money and security and recognition are important in life, but what we’re talking about here is following your heart. Most successful people accomplish something they truly loved. Confucius said “Make sure your work is something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.”

Ah, but unlike popular wisdom, you’ve got to “believe it before you can see it.” In other words, you must envision what you’re seeking to attain. Feel it, touch it, smell it in your “mind’s eye” before you can bring it into reality. This is just like when you were a child. Do you remember when you were growing up and you thought you could be anything you wanted to be – an astronaut, a doctor, a cowboy or cowgirl, etc. And when you were playing with your friends, you could clearly see the whole scene. You weren’t just playing; you WERE the person who you pretended to be.

While it’s nice to think about what your life would be like “if and when” you achieve x, y and z, most people never put a plan into motion to get to where they want to be. You need to be hands-on, be “unreasonable” and dream big. We’re talking about getting somewhere so fulfilling that your life will never be the same. So before you create a plan, you have to get clear about what your Next Level is. The most important ingredient of a leader – whether a leader of a company, nation, sports team, etc. – is they are able to create a vision that everyone’s excited about bringing into reality. Well, look at yourself as the leader of your own life. Get crystal clear about what you want you to accomplish and move forward in that direction.

In Chapter 5 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Discover the life-changing moments that have already helped define who you are today.
  • Break away from thinking that has held you back when considering your future.
  • Get in touch with your “inner child,” and learn how to create a specific Next Level that fills you with joy and excitement.
  • Tap into the areas of your life that interest you most now, and begin to use this enthusiasm throughout your life.
Chapter 6: How to Achieve Your Next Level

You’ve heard the so-called “definition of insanity,” right? In a nutshell, it’s continuing to “do what you’ve always done while expecting a different result.” So, if you’re not already at the Next Level that you’ve declared for yourself, you need to change something about how you go about your daily life in order to reach that higher rung on your life ladder. However, it’s not always easy to make the changes necessary to blast through the inertia of your day-to-day life and gain the velocity you need to move upward.

So, what do you do? There are many specific actions that you can take to put yourself on the proper path and keep yourself there. I’ll share just a few of my favorites with you here. These include: writing your commitment down (sounds so simple, yet many never bother to take this beginning step) … making your commitment public and holding yourself accountable (subjecting yourself to the scrutiny of others is one surefire way to keep yourself on track) … removing obstacles in your path (and creating new habits in their place) … and paying attention to little successes along the way rather than the end goal (the process can be overwhelming, so taking one step at a time is a big help).

It’s one thing to “dream big” about the Next Level in your life. It’s another thing entirely to take specific and continuous action to get you there. If you are serious about experiencing the joy that comes from altering your life for the better, you have to get in motion and stay in motion.

In Chapter 6 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Learn how to overcome “paralysis by analysis” and take constructive action.
  • Stop having your emotions control you and live from what you’re committed to achieving rather than how you feel at a particular moment.
  • Discover the exact steps you need to take that will enable you to stay focused on bringing your Next Level into reality.
  • Find creative ways to remove old obstacles from your path and replace them with habits that will help you to achieve your ultimate goal(s).
Chapter 7: Why We Do What We Shouldn’t and Don’t Do What We Should

To some degree, we’re all “creatures of habit.” The formation of habits is a very effective way for us humans to manage our daily lives; it’s like programming a toy or a remote control Can you imagine if every single day you had to think about and re-learn how to brush your teeth, get dressed and drive home after work? Yet, this useful form of “auto-pilot” can become a real hindrance when the habits we’ve learned don’t support our efforts to reach our Next Level. The solution is to purposefully create positive habits that reinforce what we want to achieve and become instinctive for us.

The trouble is that in addition to creating new habits, we must first break our old behavior patterns … and that’s not so simple. There are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate the difficulties we face in overcoming old neural pathways that we’ve formed, pathways that cut deep like a well-worn path in the forest or the grooves on an old LP record. Learning to retrain the brain in this manner is essential to your success. One key factor to be noted is willpower; how to recognize your own limitations and nurture the self-discipline you’ll need to move forward.

To create a life worth smiling about, you must first recognize the obstacles that you’re going to face along the way. Taking positive, recurring actions is necessary to attain your Next Level, and to the extent that your current behaviors don’t support your new commitments, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Without paying attention to this and consciously following a plan to attack it, you can easily fall back into old self-destructive habits.

In Chapter 7 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Read about scientific research done on the formation of habits. This will help you understand why you tend to fall back into the same bad habits, thereby empowering you to break the cycle.
  • Learn the most effective way to replace “bad” habits with new ones that work for you.
  • Discover how long it takes to form a new habit, helping you stay committed to the process until it “sticks.”
  • Recognize that you have a finite amount of will power and find out how to manage this delicate resource.
Chapter 8: The Key Ingredient to Taking Control of Your Life

We all know that you’re not supposed to lie, cheat or steal (at least I hope we know this!). But what about those “little things” in life? The so-called “white lies” that some people tell? The promises that are broken or the excuses that are given to justify not doing what a person said they would do? When it comes to moving forward powerfully in your life, you must develop a strong sense of (and commitment to) integrity. And, when it comes to integrity, it’s the little things that count.

Having integrity doesn’t mean that you become a “goody-two-shoes” or never make mistakes. But it does mean that you stop blaming others, or outside circumstances, for your errors. When a person takes responsibility for their actions, or inactions, they start to be the cause of their life and not at the affect of what happens outside of them.

Before you can truly move forward in having a life you always dreamed of having, it’s helpful to “wipe the slate clean” in key areas of your life. This might take the form of handling some longstanding issues with relationships past and present, or even with actually cleaning parts of your home or office. You have to stop avoiding items and start being proactive in creating your new reality.

One of my favorite sayings by George Bernard Shaw is “You better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world.” Having a high standard when it comes to integrity is more about your own power than it is what people will think of you. Each time you cut corners or avoid doing the right thing, no matter how big or small, you rob yourself of a little bit of power. By doing an “integrity checkup” and paying attention to the actions you take and the words you speak, the results will start to flow as if a floodgate of success was just opened up.

In Chapter 8 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • See how, by making some minor corrections in your life about keeping your promises, especially the small ones , you’ll begin to feel more in control of your life.
  • Identify the three most important areas in your life that will be impacted the most when you improve your integrity.
  • Realize the things you need to “clean up” from your past to effectively move forward to the life you’ve always wanted.
  • Understand how to bring your level of integrity up a few notches and gain new insight into how powerful you are at accomplishing what you set your mind to
Chapter 9: Letting Go of Your Past and Moving Forward

As you can guess, my job requires that I travel a lot for my speaking engagements. And as I’m sure you’re aware, the airlines allow a certain number of bags that you can bring with you … but when you bring extra baggage, it costs you more money. Well, life is very much the same way. When you carry too much baggage in your life – such as anger, resentment, grudges about how other people hurt you, etc. – it costs you. Not necessarily monetarily, but it costs you your full self-expression in life, your ability to develop meaningful relationships, and so much more. It’s vital that we learn how to let go of “the hurts” from our past in order to move forward.

To do this, we need to be willing to forgive ourselves and those around us. It doesn’t matter if we believe that a person is deserving of forgiveness. Letting go of past anger is as much about helping ourselves as being of benefit to anyone else. For some of us, part of the process of letting go will help us make peace with those no longer with us. Cleaning up mental noise helps us to focus and feel better about ourselves and what we’re trying to accomplish.

When you let go of the past, you can really appreciate your life right now and be excited about your possibilities in the future. Imagine a life with minimal distractions. A life where you can live in the present with clarity of mind. In order for this to occur, you may need to let go of some things, coupled with communicating with a few people. The end results will lift a burden from you and free you up tremendously.

In Chapter 9 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Identify that one regret or mistake that you made in the past and, once and for all, forgive yourself. This will free you up and make you feel much lighter!
  • Forgive others – whether or not you believe they “deserve” your forgiveness – enabling you to soar even higher..
  • See what is causing you to be distracted when interacting with others, and by understanding it, learn how to control it and have more meaningful conversations moving forward.
  • Recognize when you are not “being present” to your life, and consciously bring your focus back so you can consistently be more effective.
Chapter 10: Be Kind to Yourself… You Deserve It

One of the things that prevents us from having a life that we smile about on a daily basis is comparing ourselves to others. It’s impossible to truly appreciate what we have and at the same time envy something that someone else has. Whether you’re comparing your financial situation, your health, your looks, your career or education – no matter the topic – keeping a mental scorecard or wishing you had someone else’s life is a losing proposition. First of all, to borrow from a well-known phrase, “the grass isn’t always greener.”

I’ve spent my career coaching some very high-powered, outwardly successful people and let me tell you this: folks only show you what they want you to see. They may seem like they have a great job or marriage, or they may seem to make a lot of money by spending it on things like a snazzy car or big house, but if you saw what was behind the scenes, you’d understand that these people have worries that weigh them down, just like you. Looking enviously at others prevents you from appreciating the good things that you have in your own life. The more you divert focus from yourself, the more you’ll be held back. So, it’s imperative that you focus on you, accepting yourself for who you are presently and committing to improve in the areas that will enable you to attain your Next Level. It’s unwise to disrespect yourself with negative messages before you get out of the starter’s block. The key is to believe in your own abilities and to move forward with commitment and passion.

One of the most common areas where many of us struggle to be kind to ourselves is our weight. For some of us, it’s a lifelong battle and we can’t seem to “lick it.” One of the things that I learned in my research for writing this book is that you and I have a Willpower Bank account that we are either making deposits or withdrawals in continuously. If we don’t understand how this works, and learn how to manage this bank account properly, having a healthy lifestyle will always be a challenge.

In Chapter 10 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Do a workbook exercise that will help you realize how fortunate you are because of all the things you’ve accomplished thus far in your life. (This will result in you feeling more empowered and you’ll be motivated to accomplish even more.)
  • Discover the “Willpower Bank Account” and understand the best approaches to maximizing your willpower.
  • Recognize the best changes you can make to your physical well being that will result in immediate dividends.
  • Learn the role that faith plays in your success.
  • Receive a simple one-statement affirmation that will help restore faith in yourself and in your ability to accomplish great things.
Chapter 11: How to Conquer Fear, The Killer of Possibility

Whenever you attempt to stretch out of your comfort zone and accomplish a new goal (especially if the goal is a significant one in your life, like a true Next Level), you’re going to encounter some obstacles. These could be from the outside (such as results not going as smoothly as you’d like, or some key relationships who aren’t quite on board with what you’re trying to do) … or from the inside (such as feelings of frustration, or of being overwhelmed or even fearful).

Fear is something that everyone experiences, but you have to remember that it’s just a chemical reaction in your brain. It has more to do with your interpretation of what’s happening than it does with any particular occurrence in the real world. (My acronym for Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real!) Fear occurs as an automatic reaction to something from your past. In fact, you may not even know why you’re afraid of something, because the original cause of it may have happened in your childhood and is buried deep in your subconscious brain. In any case, the important thing is not to try to make the fear go away. So you might ask, “what do I do about it then?” Here’s the answer: allow it to be there, but take it with you while you move forward toward your goals.

You see, whenever you try to achieve great things, it’s almost certain that the road to success will become bumpy. As a response to these challenges, fear may start to build up in your brain and you’ll have automatic thoughts along the lines of: “How am I going to get through this?” … “What if I fail? … or “How will other people judge me?” When this happens, don’t hide from your fear, deny it, or even try to suppress it. Just include it and embrace it. The fear is a sign that you’re stretching beyond where you were and are on your way to new heights! The key is to not let the fear stop you.

In Chapter 11 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Learn a technique that you can use whenever you’re paralyzed by fear. This simple method will help you get past that fear and tackle the issue effectively.
  • Gain a better understanding of where your fear is coming from. This will help you to not be controlled by it anymore.
  • Achieve clarity about where “evidence” from your past is having you hold yourself back… and break free of this self-destructive pattern.
  • Discover a simple language shift that will change your outlook about things that you’ve been afraid of.
Chapter 12: A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback

What do you do when faced with a setback to your plans? Do you complain? Play the victim? Get down on yourself? Actually, obstacles are opportunities in disguise. But you must be proactive and make sure they occur to you in this fashion. So, when problems take place, purposely seek out the life lesson contained within the problem. Believe me, it’s there … but you have to want to find it. Remember: it’s not the problem itself, but rather our thinking about the problem that’s the issue. If we change our perception, we’ll change our reaction. And if we change our reaction, we have an opportunity to grow and succeed.

It’s the struggle that defines us. We’re like an Emperor Moth that must battle to push out of its cocoon in order for its wings to grow properly. Without overcoming obstacles, we never truly grow. There’s an old saying that “success is the worst teacher, because you only learn from your mistakes.” Most of us think that mistakes and challenges are bad, but it’s actually our mistakes and our setbacks that enable us to improve and get closer to our ultimate goals.

You’ve no doubt heard the quote from Alexander Graham Bell that “when one door closes, another opens.” But you’ll never see that other door, let alone walk through it, if you’re too busy “suffering” from the misfortune you just encountered. It’s vitally important to learn how to effectively respond to challenges as they occur. Time spent being argumentative or depressed may rob you of a change to not only turn the situation around but to leapfrog ahead.

In Chapter 12 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Start to train your brain to learn from each of your challenges, making you stronger along the way towards your goal.
  • Learn the four ways to look at problems more as opportunities to advance.
  • Find out how to avoid a “victim mentality.”
  • See how each obstacle you encounter can either weaken you, make you harder and more isolated from others, or enable you to become more skilled at dealing with life’s challenges.
  • Become a magnet to attract solutions to your challenges.
Chapter 13: Turning Breakdowns into Breakthroughs

We all have problems. Things that don’t go our way, obstacles to overcome. But there are times when it seems that it’s all just too much, when a speed bump becomes an impassible roadblock, seemingly preventing us from continuing. What we do at this point goes a long way toward determining our success … and happiness.

For the purpose of discussion, I call this overwhelming barricade a “breakdown.” If you are passed over for a promotion, or if you fight with your spouse every night about finances, these are breakdowns. But there are also the seeds of opportunity here; when dealt with properly, breakdowns can become breakthroughs.

There are several important steps to take which will give you power in the face of immense odds. First, you must take responsibility for what has happened. This does not mean that you accept BLAME. Far from it – being responsible means having control. The second step is to separate your thoughts from actual “facts on the ground.” Your opinions and interpretations are not reality. Lastly, and most importantly, you must tap back into your original commitment … remembering that why you are upset in the first place is because you have a specific end in mind that is now threatened.

When faced with a distressing situation, an obstacle preventing you from getting to where you want to go, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose focus, perhaps even to the point of giving up. It’s crucial, though, that in the midst of a breakdown you are able to reconnect with your original commitment and become “unstoppable” in achieving it, despite the difficulties that lie in your path. After all, nothing great is ever achieved without some sort of struggle, which is the universe’s way of pushing us back to make sure we’re ready to reach our Next Level. The key is to persevere in the face of such setbacks.

In Chapter 13 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Recognize the difference between a breakdown and a problem. This newfound clarity will enable you to take effective action when you are stopped.
  • Learn, in greater detail, the step-by-step approach to dealing with breakdowns in order to turn them into breakthroughs.
  • Grasp how to have a breakdown get you focused on what’s is truly important in your life. This will result in you actually feeling more empowered and in control of your circumstances.
  • Discover a new way of looking at your life’s stressful situations – whether related to finances, relationships, etc. – so they won’t overwhelm you but will instead empower you to achieve the results you desire.
  • Understand the “anatomy of an upset,” and a simple technique you can use to get unstuck in an instant.
Chapter 14: Powerful Communications at Home and at Work

Growing up, my mom used to say to me “Show me your friends and you show me who you are.” We all need to be careful about who we surround ourselves with. Our friends can be powerful mirrors for us, reflecting back either positives or negatives that exist in our lives. If you want to achieve something beyond where you are now, possibly breaking free of pessimistic vicious cycles that have held you back in the past, you must have a proper support system in place.

Part of building this system is to be able to express yourself in a way that encourages others to “sign up” for what you are committed to. This is obviously useful in a sales situation at work, but is equally important in your personal relationships. How we get people to buy into what we are committed to accomplishing is through powerful and effective communication. Effective communication begins with first being respectful of where other people are coming from – becoming sensitive to their “listening” of what you might have to say. In other words, you must be able to anticipate their internal thoughts and pierce through this so that they’ll really hear you. To do this, you’ll also need to “set the context” when speaking (or writing) so that they’ll perk up and give you their full attention … and interest.

What good is having wonderful, sincere and transformative commitments – at work or at home – if you can’t effectively communicate your intentions with those you care about? It’s imperative that you learn to get others interested and excited about what you’re out to achieve because it will help you to move forward … and also because it may motivate them to achieve great results as well.

In Chapter 14 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Find out how to keep negative outside influences away from you by surrounding yourself with like-minded, positive people.
  • Learn a simple, yet powerful, 3-Step Process to Power Communication.
  • Discover how to focus on how the other person is hearing you, instead of obsessing on what you want to say. This will help you shape your communication more powerfully and make sure your message is well received.
  • Grasp how to listen for what other people are committed to.
  • Learn how you can create “memorable moments” and “life lessons” that will dramatically improve the quality of key relationships in your family – particularly with raising your kids.
Chapter 15: Create a Positive Work Environment and Love Your Job

Building a career worth smiling about can have positive ripple effects throughout all areas of your life. After all, some of us spend more time on the job than we do seeing members of our own family. For business owners and managers, the benefits of having a positive and motivated workforce are obvious. To attain this, you must start by creating a clear vision for your company and then openly communicating it and inspiring others to adopt it as their own.

For those applying for a new job, the importance of having a “winning smile” can’t be overstated. The same holds true for folks working in a sales role; numerous scientific studies show that no matter what you’re selling, you’ll earn more if you’re perceived as a warm, genuine and caring person. Smiling goes a long way toward enhancing this perception.

In your role on the job itself, proactively generating a smile and a helpful attitude can help to transform your work environment. You should always be on the lookout for how you can make a positive difference in the lives of your coworkers (not to mention your customers!). There are also numerous techniques that you ought to be using to stand out in your job and become indispensable to your company. These include mastering new and vital skill sets, enhancing your time management practices, and making smart commitments that increase your likelihood for success.

Aside from a tremendous investment of our time, a good deal of our mental identity and self-worth is determined by the careers that we choose. So it’s imperative that we make the most of this opportunity to enhance our job enjoyment – and earning power – while improving the experience that we provide to our clients/customers and those who work alongside us.

In Chapter 15 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Understand how, as a leader in a company, you can create a work environment that puts a
  • smile on the faces of your team members.
  • Discover what skills you should develop that will make you indispensable at work.
  • Identify simple yet powerful techniques to dramatically improve your time management
  • abilities.
  • See how you can leave your work at work (not bring it home with you), and how to leave your
  • job each day with a sense of accomplishment.
Chapter 16: Reverse Polarity: Turning Negative People into Positives

I’ve previously discussed how important it is to surround yourself with positive influences, creating a supportive environment that can propel you toward your Next Level. While it’s crucial to steer clear of perpetually negative people, there’s a bit more to it than that. For one thing, you must take responsibility for how others in your life behave. You can’t change how people act, but it may be your interpretation of them (and resulting actions) that is partly causing how they interact with you. Being responsible for every interaction you have doesn’t mean that there is blame to be doled out, but rather the opportunity to influence the course of your relationship(s).

A powerful technique to turn negative people into positive people is to consider what YOU can do to turn around the situation. There are several ways to do this but consider this one approach: be committed to the question: “how can I put a smile on the face of someone who appears angry or overwhelmed”? When you are committed to answering that question, it forces the focus away from why you are right and they are wrong (which only makes things worse) and helps you zone in on their needs so you can be creative in turning the relationship around.

Now, if you find yourself in a very challenging situation where you cannot turn that person around, it’s important that you don’t allow them to affect your mood. One of the analogies I talk about in this chapter is being a thermostat instead of the thermometer. If you are a thermometer, you’re going to be directly influenced by what’s happening outside of you. Thus, you’ll be at the mercy of what a negative person is doing. But if you behave like a thermostat, not only will this other person not affect you, but you will become a standard for how he should interact with you. In other words, as a thermostat you will set the temperature for how that person should behave when he is around you.

It’s all too easy to get caught in a rut, experiencing the same problems time and again – be they in relationships, career, health or otherwise – and failing to improve the situation. Unfortunately, many of us wind up simply complaining about the situation, which does nothing to improve matters.

If you’re going to achieve success, you must learn how to positively impact your environment. Negative influences have the potential to slow you down, or even cancel any forward momentum you might generate, unless you turn negatives into positives and take decisive action to move you forcefully in the direction of your goals.

In Chapter 16 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Gain a better understanding of how your own opinions may be getting in the way when it comes to how you perceive the attitude of others.
  • Discover specific steps you can take that will improve the outlook and behavior of negative people in your life.
  • Recognize three simple choices you have when faced with a negative situation which will en able your response to be based on logic rather than your emotions, making you far more effective.
  • Learn how to prevent a persistent challenging relationship from ruining your day.
Chapter 17: The Attitude of Gratitude Philosophy: Your Secret Weapon

If you’ve had a series of misfortunes, it’s easy to get caught up in continuously looking at all the things that are not working in your life. When you do this, you begin to act in ways that create a vicious cycle, where your own actions cause more of the misfortunes that keep you trapped. To break free of this, it’s important for you to “come from abundance” in life, rather than focusing on scarcity. In other words, instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, be appreciative of all the good things that exist. When you do this, your attitude WILL change. Why? Because it’s impossible for you to complain about your life while having an attitude of gratitude at the same time. But, for many of us, complaining is all that we’re used to. So, you’ll need to retrain your brain to actively seek out and be aware of things that you like, almost as if you’re a tourist in a foreign country, truly excited about all the new sights, sounds and tastes you’re experiencing.

It all boils down to a sense of perspective. For all that we feel is wrong about our lives, there are others who would jump through hoops just to have what we already have and take for granted. For instance: do you have a roof over your head? … Are you able to obtain the food you need to consume each day? … Are you in reasonably good health? … Do you have people in your life who love you and care about your well being? If you answered, “yes” to any of these items, or likely more than one of them, you have much to be grateful for.

Constructive thoughts about yourself and your situation in life are essential if you plan on creating a positive future. Complaining about your current condition, even if it’s less than ideal, only generates more reasons to complain. To escape a bad situation, you’re going to have to be proactive, plan on where you want to be, and take concrete steps to get there. Along the way, expecting the best from yourself and maintaining positive focus will serve to fuel your fire. Begin by developing an attitude of gratitude as a starting point.

In Chapter 17 of “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About” you’ll:

  • Discover four fun ways to retrain your brain to generate an attitude of gratitude.
  • Find out how to renew enthusiasm for the things you do have in your life but are probably taking for granted.
  • See how acknowledging others will have a powerful impact on you when it comes to appreciating your own life.
  • Learn how to create a subtle shift in your expectations in any circumstance in order to increase your happiness.

Like you, I have spent most of my life focusing on the question, “How does one go about really being happy?” How do we get to the place where we have a life that’s worth smiling about? I’m sure you’d agree that we weren’t born on this planet to live a life of struggle and frustration, worried about money, health, and relationships. In other words, I don’t think we are supposed to be stressed out, freaked out, or zoned out most of our lives.

Although I’ve been doing seminars about this topic for years, it was only when I sat down to write this book on designing a life worth smiling about that I really started to analyze the subject fully. When you spend more than two years constantly asking questions, researching, investigating, and reading on just one topic, you learn quite a bit about it. I tried my best in this book to give you some of the tools and techniques that you can use to succeed in your personal and professional life, along with validating just how important smiling is for your well-being. I hope you found it useful and (dare I say) fun!

If this summary has given you any ideas … if it has helped you in any way … I encourage you to get the full version book, “How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About.” I promise you this will be one of the best investments you can make on reinventing.