When I was nine years old, my father left us. We were three boys, and I was the youngest. The responsibility to raise and support us was then on my mother’s shoulders. She worked very hard, sometimes three jobs at a time.

When my two brothers got older, they got involved with drugs. The oldest one has some Psychological problems and was always a difficult child.

I left home as a teen in search of greener pastures. My brothers’ problems continued-they dropped out of school, kept doing drugs, and my mother had a tough time raising them.

What do I remember the most? She always had a smile on her face.

She was positive, always looking at the good in the worst of situations-ready to forgive and forget, prepared to give you another chance. Slow to criticize or condemn-she complimented and appreciated any little good thing that you did.

The greatest lesson I learned from her was to be positive and kind. I always wondered how she could do it; was it in her genes? Her upbringing? Or was there just no choice: she had to be brave to set the right example for us kids?

Since those days, I have been in all kinds of situations. I have seen many different types of character in the people I associated with through the years.

Here are some points I’ve learned to have a more positive and happy life:

1- LOVE:

Love is the most significant force in the world: Love your parents, your spouse, and your kids. Love your partners, your boss, and your coworkers. People don’t have to be perfect to deserve your love.

It is hard to be negative when your heart is full of love. Love your neighbors, love those hard to love, and love yourself most of all. Love starts with your attitude, and kind actions start with loving thoughts.

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”. Oscar Wilde

2- Persist:

Never give up! Never give up on yourself, on your job, on your husband or wife. Don’t give up on your kids, your friends, just don’t quit! Keep fighting, and in the end, you will succeed!

How do you walk a thousand miles? One step at the time. Break big goals into small doable acts. Remove from your vocabulary such words as “impossible.”

As long as you can breathe, you can persist.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston S. Churchill

3- Appreciate your uniqueness:

Appreciate the fact that there is only one you in this world, and that you were born with a destiny. You have the potential for greatness. Embrace your uniqueness and be comfortable with who you are.

There is a role you must play, a movie you must direct, a song you must sing. And only you have the talent and the calling to do it. If you don’t, nobody else will do it the way you could have done it, because there is only one YOU in this world.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” — Judy Garland

4- Learn to control your emotions:

Don’t give in to anger and frustration. Let go of the things that bother you and hold on to the good stuff. Decide to be happy and fight to retain a positive state of mind.

If you master your emotions, you will learn life. Depressed? Sing. Sad? Laugh. Inferior? Put on some new clothes. Defeated? Think of past successes. Master your moods — and you will control your destiny.

“One of the best things you can do for yourself and your relationships is to learn how to take control of your emotions.” — Michael Barbarulo

5- Laugh:

Make enjoyment a priority in your life. Laugh with your friends, coworkers, children, parents, spouse. A good laugh is like medicine; it reduces tension and stress. It is hard to smile and frown at the same time.

Do you take yourself and the world too seriously? Have you forgotten that joy is strength? Have you forgotten to be happy? The world looks brighter when you wear a smile. Laughter is nature’s greatest gift for you.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” — Charlie Chaplin

6- Grow and make progress:

Why not be the best you can be — why not challenge yourself to be the best at whatever you have chosen to become? Progress is happiness! For things to change, you must change. For something to get better, you must get better.

The natural world teaches us that growth is the essence of life. Be the best doctor, the best accountant, the best bartender, the best whatever. By growing professionally and as a human being, you will find happiness and meaning.

“Always be a work in progress.” — Emily Lillian

7- Be a doer:

Whatever you plan, dream, or wish: do it! Don’t procrastinate! Life is too short to waste time! Do it! Take action! It will produce results, and that will give you confidence and faith in your abilities. By taking action, you will increase your potential as a human being.

What is the secret of getting things done?: Do it right now. When you believe you can do it, the how-to-do it-develops. But disbelief attracts doubt and final failure.

“One of the differences between some successful and unsuccessful people is that one group is full of doers, while the other is full of wishers.”
― Edmond Mbiaka

8- Watch out for the little things:

These are the ones that usually destroy your life. The seemingly unimportant negative and bad things we do every day, that we don’t even notice but years later can come back to destroy us.

Compounded over time, little things become big things. So it is with good little things. Take the time to appreciate the small things that make you happy such as the beauty in your life, the moments that you can’t buy: the laughter of your kids, the aroma of great food, the gratefulness of just being alive.

“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.” — Epictetus

9- Pay attention to your health:

Don’t wait till tomorrow or the perfect trainer: RUN!!! Exercise and eat properly. Success can only be defined entirely when your health is part of it. Don’t spend your hard-earned money on hospital bills. Stay healthy!

Good health is your capital asset. Don’t become the richest man in the hospital. Exercise, eat healthy, sleep well, and do not neglect your mental health as well.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.Mahatma Gandhi

10- Don’t waste money:

Save money and invest. Don’t spend more than you earn, or you will end up living on credit all your life; that’s not the right way to live. Money is not everything, but have you tried living without it?

When you do get it, buy experiences, not things. Give and contribute to society to find purpose and meaning in your life. Money is not the only asset; there are mental, spiritual, moral riches, which lead to contentment, peace, and happiness as well.

“First Rule: Never waste money. Second Rule: Don’t forget the first rule.” — Warren Buffett.

11-Your story:

Work towards closing the gap from where your life is right now, to where you want your life to be. If your story corresponds with your reality, you will be happy. If not, you will have misery and pain.

The story you have about yourself will empower you or will disempower you. Keep in mind that your past does not define you and doesn’t equal your future. You have control over what life means to you.

“Divorce your story. Marry the truth.” Tony Robbins.

12- Do not judge and criticize others:

You only know half of the story. Do the opposite: learn to see the good in people and situations. Be generous with your praise. Negativity has the power to destroy relationships! Don’t let it happen to you.

We all have our problems, and we all have room for improvement. Do not spread rumors; be encouraging. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember that, most of the time, it is none of your business anyway.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” — Mother Teresa

13- Work hard:

Take action, and do more of what life requires of you. Take time to rest and enjoy, but never leave your fortune to chance. Be the master of your destiny.

Success equals hard work, commitment, and discipline. Laziness and procrastination are the enemies of your potential as a human being. It is not what you achieve, but what you become in the process; that is important.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” — Thomas Jefferson

14- Have Faith:

Faith in yourself, Faith in others! Faith in GOD or a higher power or whatever you want to call it. Faith moves mountains. All things are possible if you believe.

Fill your mind with positive, encouraging, and faith-building ideas. The impossible becomes possible when you believe and take action on your thoughts, plans, and goals.

“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last amid the blackest storm.” — Mahatma Gandhi

15- Don’t forget to give:

I have never met any successful person that was not generous and always ready to give to help! Giving love and meeting the needs of others may sometimes seem like a waste of time, but in reality, it is one of the best uses of your time.

It should start with your family, relatives, anyone in your circle that needs your help, then it should extend to your coworkers, team, friends, and last but not least, society in general. The secret of living is giving.

You don’t have to be rich to give; you can also give your time, your love, your smiles, and your words of encouragement, appreciation, and love. Giving money is a part of giving, but giving of ourselves, is the most excellent giving!

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ―Anne Frank

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Vitin Landivar