Articles in Category: Lists & Lessons

10 Tips To Write Life Stories That People Want To Read

jo_parfitt_cropped.jpgSusan notes: I asked my friend, author and prolific writer Jo Parfitt to share some tips on storytelling and writing. Here are her top 10 for writing Life Stories that people want to read.

When you conduct an interview you will nearly always ask more questions than you need, and spend more time interviewing than is necessary. These tips will help you to conduct an amazing interview:

1) Ask fewer than ten questions and be sure that those questions are open (they won’t get you a yes or no answer).

2) If you do an email interview then encourage your interviewee to write in full sentences. Tell them up front how many words, lines or sentences you expect their answers will be.

An Everyday Checklist For Happiness

happiness.jpgMake happiness a worthy goal - achieving it is entirely within your power. Abraham Lincoln noted, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." It isn't what happens to us that determines how happy we are, it's what and how we think about what happens to us, that determines the state of our happiness.

Let go of what you cannot change: other people, the past, the future. Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote. "Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Only focus on what YOU can change: your thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and behavior. There is absolutely no point in wasting your time and energy in blame or on other people and circumstances beyond your control. Rather than fume at other people's "selfishness" and inconsiderate behavior, remind yourself that you have no control over what others choose to think or do. Simply refuse to turn into a whining child because of situations and events beyond your power to alter or fix.

Appreciate the moment. Notice the good things that are happening to you right now, whether it's a beautiful sky, a happy child, a lovely meal with your friends. Who knows how many years or days one has so live this moment fully. Most of us dwell on the past be it pain or pleasure. We hold on to the past, plan the future and forget the present. However the only moment of truth is this moment. Every time you feel sad or depressed, think about what is wrong with this particular moment. Very often it will be nothing wrong in the moment, only in our thoughts.

Focus on what you have and not on what you want. One of the definitions of happiness that I received said, "Happiness is wanting what you get and success is getting what you want". I read it and ignored it, but now that I am writing about it, it makes perfect sense. We have to accept that we won't get everything that we want. So why insist on making ourselves miserable by wanting instead of enjoying what we have. Do not turn your wants into needs.

Choose to see the best in people and the world. You are the maker of your own destiny. You will always see what you choose to see. Try this- Next time you are out shopping, think of a red car and before you know it you will spot a red car somewhere on the road. Why? It' s because now you were looking for a red car. Unhappy people choose to see the worst. They weigh themselves down with a very dim view of the world and forget the joys of appreciation. We tend to see only the "evidence" that confirms our beliefs, thereby convincing ourselves those beliefs are "facts. So choose to see the best and only the best will appear.

Be grateful and write a gratitude journal. Take stock of all the good things in your life and be grateful. Remind yourself all of the people who have less than you have, whether it is health, resources, family or friends. Every night before going to bed, remember three good things that happened and write them down. Do this exercise everyday without fail. Eventually your brain will get hard wired to appreciation and gratitude and lead to happiness.

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