4 Pieces of Advice My Mother passed To Me When She Turned 75 Years Old
In July, my mother turned 75 and she still runs her business, volunteers to cook meals for her community during large celebrations and lives on her own. Every Saturday, her group of friends go out for a meal, and every Sunday she goes to the cinema. She has never asked for a penny from her children.
When I spent time with her in April, during my trip to Kenya, I was impressed at how happy she was despite having gone through a recent knee surgery (maybe its because her darling daughter was visiting!)
Seriously though, she was one positive, resilient woman and I was in awe of her mental strength, and her attitude of creating happiness for yourself.
Everyday, people buy too much stuff, eat too much food, and waste away their hours chasing after happiness…to no avail. They may find excitement or satiation, butTRUE HAPPINESS still eludes them.
During my trip and after my mother’s birthday, I kept asking her: “You’re always smiling and viewing challenges with a victor mindset. You’re doing more than other women in the same age group, in your environment. What’s your secret?”
She’d give me bits of information here and there laced with stories, but I have pinned it down to four secrets, which help build personal resilience throughout your life.
1. Quit Complaining.
The first step to finding happiness is to stop trying to find what’s wrong with the world around you. There’s plenty to complain about, but if you focus all of your attention there, you’ll never see the good stuff. Focus on solutions instead.
2. Choose To Live In Love.
Falling in love with the world (and people) around you is a sure step toward happiness…and it’s easy. Simply accept people for who they are, and choose to see the good in them. Don’t expect it…CHOOSE it…then express it.
3. Appreciate Everything.
Start expressing your gratitude each day. Think of at least 2 things you’re grateful for every day. Before long, you’ll have more things to appreciate than you can count.
4. Keep Your Mind Busy.
There’s a difference between a worrying mind and a productive mind – even though both could be referred to as “busy mind”. A worrying mind is only thinking about problems and worst case scenarios. A productive mind is churning ideas, ruminating over new learnings, and focusing on innovation. This is the mind you use when you play board games or card games – you’re always thinking about your opponent’s next move and strategizing your next move based on probabilities.
According to my mother, having a productive mind keeps her alert, flexible to change and motivated.
For someone who has gone through the ups and downs of life and business, lived through failures, raised 6 children, runs a successful business when she could retire….there’s some truth to her advice, don’t you think?
The Secret to a Happy Life – A Native American Parable
One day the Creator gathered all the animals and said:
“I want to hide the secret to a happy life from humans until they’re ready for it.”
“Give it to me. I’ll fly it to the moon,” said the eagle
“No, one day soon they will go there and find it.”
“How about the bottom of the ocean?” asked the salmon.
“No, they’ll find it there too.”
“I’ll bury it in the great plains,”said the buffalo.
“They’ll soon dig and find it there.”
“Put it inside them,” said the wise grandmother mole.
“Yes,” said the Creator, “it’s the last place they will look.”