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Before looking for ways to become smarter, we should probably take a moment and reflect on what “being smart” actually mean to us? We frequently use phrases as “book smart”, "life smart”, and “street smart”. Then there is “social intelligence”, “emotional intelligence”, and “IQ”. These are very different types of intelligence and it is up to YOU to decide which...

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transform fear of public speakingLast week I was dragged on the stage to talk in front of 200 people. Gulp… It actually started pretty innocent – I was invited to my friends’ American – Italian wedding in Santa Barbara.

The wedding ceremony, held in one of the oldest Franciscan churches of California, was perfect and the bride was, without a doubt, the happiest and the most beautiful girl in the world.

Before the wedding ceremony, I might have mentioned that if the bride and the groom need my help with anything I am willing to give a hand.

Long time ago I’ve read in one very wise book an advice that said, “Never offer help just to be nice and never get frustrated if people will take you up on that offer.”

Probably I should have been more specific, when I offered to help, because the next thing I knew I was on the stage with a mike in my hand surrounded by 3 photographers, 2 camera men and over 200 people who were waiting for me to translate guests’ speeches from English to Italian.

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Stephen CoveyBack in 1989 Stephen Richards Covey wrote a book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and it instantly became a best-seller. Since then this book has sold more than 25 million copies, has been translated into 38 languages and named by Time as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books”.

I just recently found out that Stephen Covey passed away only a few weeks ago at the age of 79 and I wanted to dedicate this post to him and his work. Because besides being a highly successful person, Stephen Covey was one of the most incredible and optimistic person that I have ever known.

I hope that when you and I are 79 we will be able to look back at our life and smile, because we have used our time on this Earth wisely. And because we have lived a happy life. Not ambitious. Not influential. Just happy… It will be more than enough.

7 Habits of Highly Happy People Inspired by Stephen Richards Covey

1. Happy people savor a joy of simple pleasures

Happiness does not come in shiny black cars, Rolex watches or the most exotic homes. It comes in small bursts of joy when we learn to savor the simple pleasures life offers us. You know, those times when you lifted your head to see the birds flying in the light blue sky and life felt so good?

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negative self-talkHave you ever had to say “I’m sorry” for something you said to another person? Yes? Then welcome to the club of conscious people who have the courage to admit their mistakes.

Although, I bet there is one person that you still owe an apology to… This person is YOU!

It is weird how attentive we are not to hurt other people’s feelings and how often we say the most offensive things to ourselves: “I can’t believe I have been so stupid”, “I’m a terrible person”, “I am such an idiot!

Have you ever apologized to yourself? Have you ever taken time to say “I’m sorry, I did not mean it”?
No? Me neither. Not once.

But today I thought maybe it is time we start treating ourselves with the same level of respect, compassion and understanding as we treat others? This includes being conscious about our self-talk and the thoughts we address to ourselves when feeling angry, upset or frustrated.

2 Things You Should Never Say To Yourself

(Also take time to read and re-read “10 Things You Should Never Say to People that You Like”. It might save you a lot of apologies in the future.)

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greatest life lessons“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I turned 30 this year and only now have I started to make peace with this thought.

One third of my life is gone: 10 years have been spent sleeping, 7 years going to school, then to college, then to University, 2-3 years eating and about 4-5 full years working. Which leaves me anywhere from 5 to 7 years of actually experiencing life, discovering my potential, pursuing goals, and (hopefully) doing something worthy.

No wonder I feel as if my life path has just barely begun! Yet every time I have to fill the “date of birth” box on any official documents and surveys, I am reminded of how quickly time flies by and how much I still need to learn, understand, and experience.

Maybe you feel the same way too.

If this is the case, I thought that I would share with you the 50 Greatest Life Lessons that I wish I had known when I was younger. And I bet there are at least 500 more life lessons for me to learn.

So if I miss something, please help me out by listing your insights below this post.

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happinessDon’t put limits on the Universe!” – was the first thought that popped into my mind as I was entering the huge stadium in the suburbs of Milan. I was there to see a press conference given by… you’d never guess… His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama! Himself!

If a few years ago someone had told me that this was going to happen, I’d probably have laughed, thinking that it was the craziest joke I had ever heard. But I am a believer now – if the Universe has a dinner with a Johnny Depp planned for me, so be it… I’ll take it humbly any day!

But back to the Dalai Lama’s lecture on happiness…

There is one concept that I would like to share with you, because I believe it can help you look at many life situations differently, more patiently, more wisely.

This concept talks about the underlying cause of all our unhappiness and misery. And no, it has nothing to do with past failures, lack of money or even a stupid boss.

To the Dalai Lama the cause of our problems lays in our ignorance. Although, it is not the kind of ignorance we usually think about. It is not the “lack of knowledge” or the “lack of education”.

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motivationWe all have 3 choices when it comes to taking action. We can make things happen, watch things happen, or ask, “What happened?” In the end, it is entirely up to us. The only thing that changes is the outcome.

Since you are reading this post, I have a feeling that you are a person who makes or wants to make things happen. You set goals and try to stick with them. But at times you might hit a wall and just don’t seem to find the motivation to get back on track.

Well, you are not alone. I feel that way too from time to time. It is enough to skip a few days of exercise, stay up late watching a movie, have a couple of really busy weeks at work and your resolutions to get fit, to wake up early, to eat healthy are seriously challenged.

Once the habit is broken, it becomes hard to motivate yourself into starting over.

Good news is that it does not take much to spark inspiration and make a tiny effort towards rekindling your motivation. Bad news is that there are a few factors that make it difficult to feel excited and enthusiastic about anything.

When we confront and eliminate these factors, it becomes much easier to stay motivated, boost your productivity and  actually enjoy what we do.

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What does it mean to you to stay optimistic?

A few days ago I stumbled upon “The Optimist Creed” and I got my question answered. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered that this creed was written exactly 100 years ago! It first appeared in Christian D. Larson’s book “Your Forces and How to Use Them” in 1912. Since that time The Optimism Creed has turned into a Positivity Mantra for thousands of people. It has been used in hospitals to help patients recover from illness; in locker rooms to improve athletes’ performance; in offices to help people find their inner drive and motivation.

I hope that it will remind you of all great things that are worth remembering and fill your days with optimism, inspiration and love.

1.

optimism creed

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difficult peopleI don’t like to judge or talk poorly about people and I sincerely believe that EVERY single person possesses at least 3 wonderful qualities.

In fact, it is a game I sometimes play when I get really frustrated with someone. While I am huffing and puffing, I try to find 3 positive qualities about the person, who has pushed my buttons.

Not always an easy task, but 3 good qualities is a realistic number.

So where were we… Oh, yes – people that make our life harder. Not because they are bad people, but because they do certain things that may demotivate us, hurt our feelings or rub our ego the wrong way. Ultimately, it is not their problem but ours.

So here is what we can do to avoid unnecessary conflicts, stress and hard feelings.

1. Teachers that suggest that we might not be talented enough to do something

Years ago psychologists did a classroom experiment. A group of children were randomly divided into two classes. The teachers were told that the students in first class were high achievers that should do well. The second class was labeled as “underachievers” who needed special help.

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