Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“Chance favors only the prepared mind.”

Louis Pasteur

Read the first problem on my final

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“I won’t worry my life away.”

Jason Mraz, The Remedy

I’m often guilty of worrying too much.  The problem is that I like things to be just right, and I like to be in control.  The fact of the matter is things are not always just right, and most things are not in my control.  I need too work harder at not worrying about those things that I can’t control, and I bet many of you could use the same practice.

Here’s my little exercise for you.  Try to think back a year.  Do you remember what you were worried about?  Besides your hair style or outfit choice, what were the really big concerns?  Are you still worried about it?  Was it helpful to worry the way you did, or did you spend too much energy worrying?  Would things have been different if you didn’t worry so much?

If we’re not careful, we can let ourselves worry our lives away.  When we have legitimate concerns, we need to reach out to our friends and families, our colleagues and bosses, and each other to find reassurance.  When we have small concerns, we needn’t worry so much that we forget to be outstanding.  Never let those worries dull your brilliance.

Indeed, this prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr for worriers like us:

  • grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change,
  • courage to change the things i can, 
  • and the wisdom to know the difference.
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“In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.”

Charlie Brown

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“Ah, gravity – thou art a heartless bitch.”

Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper, Ph.D, The Big Bran Hypothesis

Sometimes you know when you are going down, and there is nothing you can do except brace yourself for impact.  The good news is we have some inspiration to help you peel yourself off the floor.

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What is inspiration?

Inspiration: a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.

What inspires you?

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“If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.”

Lance Armstrong

After his handle bars snagged on a shopping bag near the end of the 15th stage of the 2003 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong fell to the pavement. He got back on his bike and charged forward to win the stage and extend his lead over foe Jan Ullrich.


Even the greatest fall.

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The Rules for Happiness

“Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love,  something to hope for.”

— Immanuel Kant

In many parts of life, it’s understood that there are rules. Rules in the classroom, rules of the road, rules of engagement, rules on how to interpret the rules… it can become a lot to deal with. And while I must say that I don’t like ALL rules, some just seem right. That is my feeling towards this quote.

So many of us dedicate our lives to the pursuit of happiness. Hell, it’s even in The Declaration of Independence. It’s a right that should be guaranteed to every individual. And yet, we seem to struggle to attain it, to maintain it. We set these unreachable goals and we look for happiness in the distance when, in actuality, it is right in front of us. Now, if it were that simple, people would not dedicate articles and studies to the science, history, and psychology of happiness. Is it perhaps that we over do it? We OVER-THINK happiness until, all of a sudden, we are drowning in our own

This entire search led me to yet another quote that seem to hit the nail square on the head. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” Simplicity wins out. And these rules, while still trying to get us to our happy place, simplify the matter at hand.

1. Something to do

Wouldn’t you know it that when you are upset about something, you try to find something else to do to drown out the sorrow. When you want to break up the monotony of your daily routine, you look for something new, fun, and exciting. Without even knowing it, each day, your body yearns for happiness. It reaches into the atmosphere, finds something precious, and holds on for dear life. Perhaps it is not that we cannot find what makes us happy. More likely, it seems that we don’t realize when we find the right thing. Allow yourself something to do, even if that “something” is finding a quiet spot and focusing on your breathing or the sound of sunlight pouring in through the window. Yep, seems pretty crucial to happiness.

2. Someone to love

We all need somebody. That person, those people who make each day bearable. I’m sure you have at least one person that when something great happens, you want to run to tell them about it. When something unfortunate happens, you want to feel their arms around you or their voice consoling you, reminding you that tomorrow is a new day, full of brilliant opportunities. I know I have those people. I have people now. I’ve opened my heart and stumbled upon some pretty great individuals to give my love to. These are the people who stay up with you when you lose the someone you can’t live without. These are the people who in the middle of the night call because they know you can help them work it out. Some of my lowest and most unhappy times were spent with these people because they give me strength. They remind me that everything will be okay, that I will be okay. Happiness is being understood. People who love you do that for you without a second’s hesitation.

3. Something to hope for

Where would we be without hope? Honestly. I don’t want to labor this point as I feel that would only weigh hope down. However, I will say this… with hope, anything is possible (particularly happiness). Give yourself a place to place your heart and your sights. Keep looking for happiness knowing with every fiber of your being that you will have it.

Seems like it took a lot to arrive at a simple conclusion: You set the conditions for your own happiness. In order to survive, people need food, water, shelter. In order to be happy, you need something to do, somebody to love, and something to hope for.

A purpose, love, and hope. Sounds like a recipe for happiness to me.

Love and Light,


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“Nostalgia is the file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”

Doug Larsen

When I am studying in the reading room of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center with my iPad, I almost always put on my beats and use Pandora to listen to music.  This morsel of information is more revealing than you’d think at first glance.  See, with about 20g of music stored on my iPad, there is no shortage of music from any genre that could entertain my ears for a few hours.  The reason I use Pandora is that when I type in a song I like, it plays thousands more just like it, many of which I have not heard before.  Why is that good news?

Well, I love 90’s music.  And when I listen to semi-charmed life, I want to hear thousands more songs like it.  Problem is, I only have hundred of songs like it, and sometimes I don’t want to hear wonder wall or bittersweet symphony, I want something fresh.  But, I was young in the 90’s.  I didn’t know all the great songs born during the .com era and certainly don’t have all the great albums from Blues Traveler.  So Pandora teaches me song after song from the Friends era.

And sometimes, while Pandora plays a particularly melodious tune, I get nostalgic.  How great were the nineties, man?  I mean I start to think about how cool the 90’s were, and I lose it.  Let’s see, besides  Weezer, U2, Greenday, Hootie, The Verve, Pearl Jam, Sublime, the Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray, Everclear, we had Eminem, Ja Rule, Snoop, Dre, BIG, Tupac, Puff Daddy, Shakira, and Christina. Jordan and the Bulls were dominating the Jazz, the Lakers, the Celtics and everyone in their path.  WWF was in its prime with Steve Austin and the Undertaker and the Rock all making their start.  ’99 Lance wins the Tour de France.  We had Gretsky, and our president played the saxophone!

Look, girls wore scrunci’s and butterfly clips and chased Waterfalls with TLC, while boys stole pogs and played pokemon (either the card version or the gameboy version (either the red yellow or blue version)).  My shoes either lit up or had pumps, and I was probably the only child allowed to have neither a gigapet nor a furby.  I did have an N-64, and I beat the legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye 007.  We read goosebumps and tried to rollerblade.  Back to school meant new blinding trapper-keepers designed by Lisa Frank and the end of summer power ranger super soaker wars.  (As far as I knew, the pink ranger and Lara Croft were the world’s only sex symbols.)

Oh what a Golden Age!  We had so much brilliant TV- from Boy Meets world and the complete Nickelodeon line up (that one’s worth clicking) to sitcoms- Friends, Raymond, Fresh Prince, Full House, Family Matters,  and that 70’s show.  MTV had TRL and Real World/Road Rules.  And if you had a computer in the same room as your TV, you could watch while you went online (remember the sound the computer used to make?)  and chatted away in a chat room on AIM.  First we had really big floppy disks, then 3 1/2″, then ZIP, then CD’s.

And as I reminisce, I start to remember all the great things about high school, and then college.  I start to miss it all.  What has the world come to that I have to listen to the Beibs and Selena Gomez or GAGA, who wears meat dresses, on my way to school?  How has TV disintegrated to Duck Dynasty and Jersey Shore?  How is Lebron the best player in the NBA?

This is a very dangerous game to play, for after not too much effort you have spent hours thinking about the past, dwelling on it.  What’s worse is that we remember all of the great parts and forget the horrible things.  It’s some messed up human psychology trick, the same one that makes the grass always greener on the other side.  It’s actually probably a really good thing we remember the good stuff, because let’s see how much of this you remember about the 90’s:

Baseball went on strike.  A pipe-bomb exploded at the Atlanta olympics.  Diana.  Columbine.  Andrew. Anti-globalization protests.  Y2k. LA Earthquakes.  I’m sure there are more.

So what’s my point?  Before you get caught up in how great the past was, think instead about how you might spend your energy making today better.  

Have a great week everybody.


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“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”

— Simon and Garfunkel

Your to-do list today…

  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Eat ice cream (cup or cone– doesn’t matter)
  • Puddle jump
  • See a friend and hug them (a good hug, NOT a peababy hug)
  • Leave a nice note for someone to find.
  • Go on a hunt for something you’ve been meaning to find. (Shopping, Missing Object, etc)
  • Make a t0-do list with easy things just to feel the satisfaction of crossing things off.
  • Find a quiet space and breathe there for at least 10 minutes.
  • Start a notebook of nothing but good quotes and happy thoughts.
  • Give yourself time to simply to smile.

It may seem silly, but think of how happy you would be if you devoted a day (or two) to doing what you love and making yourself smile. Pick and choose some of your favorite things (big or small) and make them happen just to make yourself happier.

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“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

Fred Rogers

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