Me and my little sister decided to go hiking at Crystal Cove in Newport Beach, CA the other day, and it was amazing! I definitely recommend going if you love overseeing the ocean from a higher elevation.
We all long for genuine human connections, and even in a busy life with lots of people around us, these genuine connections can be hard to find.
In the last year or two, I’ve made it a point to have fewer friendships, but with deeper connections … while also being open to the miracle of a random encounter with another human being. This philosophy has paid off in more genuine connections with my family and friends, but less busy-ness.
Today I’ll share a few reasons for creating genuine connections, and my strategies for creating them.
Why Genuine Connections Are Important
There are many reasons, but these are the ones that strike me as important:
We need it to be happy and fulfilled. All the money in the world, and the best job in the world, and all the material possessions in the world … won’t matter much if you’re alone and have no genuine human connections. We have a human need for this kind of connection, and there’s no doubt that it makes us happier, even if it complicates our lives a bit.
It boosts creativity. I find that working in solitude is the best way to create, and having some time for solitude is important for reflecting on ideas … but having a genuine discussion with someone is really important for expanding on those ideas. When I get together with a friend, or with a family I inevitably walk away with several new (or reinvigorated) ideas that excite me.
Life is better when you make genuine connections. You are happier, less isolated, more creative, with new opportunities.
Let’s look at how to make these important connections.
How to Make Genuine Connections
Here’s the thing … you can’t just force a connection to be what you want it to be. Many people make this mistake in different ways: they try to create a connection with someone who doesn’t want it, or hope the person responds in a certain way, or want the other person to be something they’re not, and so on. The key to an unforced, genuine connection is openness.
So here’s what works for me:
Be open to random connections. While I accept fewer invitations these days than I did a couple years ago, when I randomly meet someone, I try not to be closed to them. This means opening up, wondering who they are and setting aside any prejudgements that happen, sharing who I am openly and with a smile. I don’t know if this will be a connection to last a lifetime, but it can be one to brighten a moment.
Make time for the important relationships. While work is important, it’s important to me to make time each day for them. Even just reading a book, or taking a walk, or sitting down and talking about something — if the relationship is important, I’ll make time most days for it. But it also extends to a small circle of friends who I might not see every day, or even every week — if I can, I’ll make time for them.
Be open to who they are. Try to notice your expectations of the other person, and let them go. Don’t pigeon-hole them, don’t try to make them someone they’re not … just explore who they are without knowing what you’ll find. Be curious. You’ll find the real them this way, and it’s much better than finding what you hoped to find.
Be open to what happens. Many people go into a meeting with someone else with an agenda, and try to get that done. Like it’s a task that needs to be accomplished. But it’s not — a connection with someone else isn’t about productivity or goals. It’s about connection. It’s two very different human beings spending time together and merging their random personality traits into one experience. That’s true even if it’s a business meeting. Let your personality come out, and allow theirs to come out, and see what happens. It could be talking about a project, but it could be random topics and ideas, it could be a discussion of what’s been going on in your lives and what you have in common, it could be helping one or the other of you with a problem that you have, it could be a debate of ideas, and so on. Don’t try to force it.
Be open about yourself. Often we try to present a certain good side of ourselves. We try to come across as competent, knowledgeable, interesting, accomplished, funny, smart, etc. But that’s a front. It’s only a part of who we are — the good part. If it’s true at all. Why bother trying to connect with someone when we’re just going to give them a false identity, just a façade? Might as well stay home. Much better is to open yourself up, to show the real you. This is scary. It means being vulnerable, and being willing to be embarrassed. That’s a huge amount of trust to put into a human being, especially if it’s not someone you know well. But it’s totally worth it. When you become vulnerable, you risk a lot, but you also get much, much more. You get trust from the other person. You get a deeper connection. You get a better friendship. They open up more too. And when you’ve done this a few times, you realize — there isn’t that much risk, because it never really ends up in a bad way. It’s pretty much all upside.
Guidelines for Making Friends
In my experience, people (generally) want to be friends with other people who follow these general guidelines:
Be positive, not negative. While it’s OK to share your struggles with people (I recommend it), if you’re complaining all the time, and are generally negative about other people and life in general, then people get tired of the complaining and negativity. We have enough trouble in life without having friends who are negative all the time. That said, a good friend will always listen when you’re in need, so don’t take this as “never complain.” Instead, just generally try to be a positive person, and if you have struggles, also try to show how you’re tackling those struggles with a positive outlook.
Be interested & a good listener. Be interested in other people! Don’t make the mistake of only wanting to talk about your stuff, and being bored and unimpressed with what other people are doing. I try to find the interesting in everyone, even if they lead a relatively uneventful life, there’s something fascinating about them. When someone wants to talk, listen. If they only talk about themselves all day and don’t want to hear your stuff, then they probably aren’t going to be a great friend, but still give them a chance and be interested for as long as you can.
Be excited about life, have energy. We generally don’t want a friend who is bored all the time. Someone who is excited about life, interested in things, has good energy … that’s someone you’d by hyped to be around. Not super hyper, necessarily, but just containing a positive energy.
Do interesting things. If you’re excited about life, you manifest that by doing new things, learning, creating, exploring, trying out new experiences, meeting new people. If you are this kind of person, you’ll be interesting. If you shut out life, people might not be as interested.
Tell good stories. No one wants to listen to someone who tells long boring stories. After the first two such stories, people generally start tuning you out. So try to keep your stories shorter, unless you can tell people are interested. Find something interesting to hook their curiosity, and then draw them in with that curiosity until you satisfy it with a good ending. Practice your storytelling when you meet people, and try to get better at it. It’s not one of my strong points, to be honest, but I recognize that and am trying to be better.
Smile. I’m not saying you should have a fake smile, but a smile puts you in a friendly mood, versus frowning at someone. Don’t smile all the time, or at inappropriate times. Just generally have a smiling disposition, as it signals that you like the person (also try to genuinely like the person, moving away from tendencies to judge them or complain about them).
Put yourself out there, be willing to try things. Sing in public even if that scares you. Try new food, new experiences, new ideas. This open-mindedness attracts others who are looking to get the most out of life.
Be calm, not overly dramatic. While it’s great to have a lot of energy, people who are overly dramatic about little things can be a turn-off. So learn to react to most problems as if they’re not a big deal (because they usually aren’t), and handle them with calmness instead of overreacting.
Be authentic, don’t try to show off. All of the above recommendations might seem like I’m recommending that you be someone you’re not. I’m not recommending that at all. Instead, I want you to be an authentic version of yourself (there are lots of versions of ourselves) — but choose the version that is more in the directions recommended above, in general. If there is a positive and negative version of you, generally choose the positive version. But most importantly, don’t try to impress people all the time — if you’re confident in yourself, you don’t need to impress. Instead, be a genuine person, not just the “best you.” When this recommendation is in conflict with any of the above recommendations, choose this one.
Be happy with yourself & confident. This is just something that’s good to do for yourself. Be happy with who you are, even the flaws. If you are, you can be confident that you’re good enough when you meet someone else. People generally don’t respect someone who is constantly harsh on themselves. How can you learn to be happy with yourself? That’s a whole other post, but in general, become aware of any tendency to be harsh and critical of yourself, and don’t let yourself stew in those kinds of thoughts. Start to see the good in yourself, the genuine heart and caring nature, and let that be the story you tell yourself about yourself.
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
– Eric Fromm
The recent death of my uncle’s mother Auntie Jackie put me in a state of mind that I think we all go through at different times in our lives: the feeling of utter isolation, of complete loneliness.
There are times when we feel that even if we are surrounded by other people in our lives, we are alone. We must go through this difficult journey called “life” by ourselves, no matter if we’re married or if we have children or close friends. And that’s a very lonesome prospect.
How do we overcome these feelings of loneliness and despair? While common, these feelings can be dangerous if we let them go too far — they can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, or just a slump in our lives.
The answer is in connecting with other human beings.
When we connect with other humans, we are no longer alone. We share our suffering, our experiences, our common trials. The misery we face is no longer insurmountable when we have someone to face it with us.
“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.”
– Michael Leunig
It’s hard, from within the storm of every day life, to see things with real perspective, to know what’s important and what’s simply pressing on our consciousness right now, demanding attention.
We have people emailing us for information and requesting action, we have phone calls and visitors and a long to-do list and a million chores and errands to run and all of the slings and arrows of our daily reality … and yet, what is important?
Ask yourself this: if you suddenly found out you only had 6 months to live (for whatever reason), would the thing in front of you matter to you?
Would those 20 emails waiting for a response matter? Would the paperwork waiting to be processed matter? Would the work you’re doing matter? Would the meetings you’re supposed to have matter? Would a big car and nice house and high-paying job and cool computer and mobile device and nice shoes and clothes matter?
I’m not saying they wouldn’t matter … but it’s important to ask yourself if they would.
What would matter to you?
For many of us, it’s the loved ones in our lives. If we don’t have loved ones … maybe it’s time we started figuring out why, and addressing that. Maybe we haven’t made time for others, for getting out and meeting others and helping others and being compassionate and passionate about others. Maybe we have shut ourselves in somehow. Or maybe we do have loved ones in our lives, but we don’t seem to have the time we want to spend with them.
When was the last time you told your loved ones you loved them? Spent good quality time with them, being in the moment?
For many of us, doing work that matters … would matter. That might mean helping others, or making a vital contribution to society, or creating something brilliant and inspiring, or expressing ourselves somehow. It’s not the money that matters, but the impact of the work. Are you doing work that matters?
For many of us, experiencing life would matter — really being in the moment, finding passion in our lives, seeing the world and traveling, or just seeing the world that’s around us right now, being with great people, doing amazing things, eating amazing food, playing.
These are just a few ideas … but what would matter to you?
I highly recommend that you spend at least a little time now, and regularly, thinking about this question … figuring out what really matters … and living a life that shows this.
How do you live a life that puts a great emphasis on what matters? Start by figuring out what matters, and what doesn’t. Then eliminate as much as you can of the stuff that doesn’t matter, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Make room for what does matter.
Make the time for what does matter … today. Put it on your schedule, and don’t miss that appointment. Make those tough decisions — because choosing to live a life that is filled with the important stuff means making choices, and they’re not always easy choices. But it matters.
Spend time with your significant other, show them how important they are. Take the time to cuddle with your child, to read with her, to play with her, to have good conversations with her, to take walks with her. Take time to be in nature, to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Take time to savor the little pleasures in life.
Because while you might not have only 6 months to live, I’m here to break the news to you: you really do only have a short time to live. Whether that’s 6 months, 6 years or 60 … it’s but the blink of an eye.
The life you have left is a gift, so enjoy the present. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.
It’s always great to be a part of history once in a while. I got to spend my Wednesday afternoon celebrating Disneyland’s 64th Birthday, alongside Splash Mountain’s 30th Anniversary as well.
Other than being a creative and designing for different brands outside of Disney, I actually work for the Disney Live Entertainment department and became a part of the Mickey Soundsational Parade this year and also back in 2017. Today was also the last day of the parade… It’s a bittersweet moment, but it was a great show and I got to work with a lot of different amazing folks from it.
Most of us have spent our lives caught up in plans, expectations, ambitions for the future; in regrets, guilt or shame about the past. To come into the present is to stop the war.” ~Jack Kornfield
I get emails all the time from people who are struggling with very common difficulties:
Wanting to overcome anger
Wanting to deal more calmly with stress
Hurt by other people’s inconsiderate actions
Getting stuck in resentment and thinking about how others have wronged you
Struggling with change because it’s hard
Struggling with letting go of clutter because of various emotional attachments
Finding all kinds of obstacles to taking on a project, side hustle, new business, writing a book/blog, etc.
And I completely understand these difficulties, because I struggle with them too. Here’s the thing — there are just two things stopping us from being present or taking the action we want to take:
The stories we have in our heads about other people, what’s happening, and ourselves
Our habitual pattern of staying in those stories instead of being present or taking action
It’s really one thing: our mental habit of staying stuck in the stories in our heads.
When I say “stories,” this isn’t a judgment about whether what we’re saying in our heads is true or not. It’s just what our minds do — they make up a narrative about the world, including other people and ourselves. Our minds are narrative machines. You could see the narrative as true or not, but that’s not the point — the narrative is getting in the way of being present and taking action.
What kind of stories do I mean? I mean things that we make up and spin around in our heads (true or not):
They shouldn’t act that way
If they loved me they wouldn’t be so inconsiderate
This is too hard, I don’t want to do this
I suck, I keep failing, I am inadequate
They keep doing this, I don’t know why they keep doing that to me
They hurt me, they are not a good person
I can’t start my business/blog/project until I learn this, or get to this place in my life, or have perfect peace in my day and am in a good mood
This shouldn’t be happening to me! This sucks!
These stories have some truth to them, which is why we cling to them so much. But these stories block us from being present. They are not helpful.
What would it be like if we didn’t cling to them so much? What if we could develop a mind that clings to nothing?
Dropping the Stories & Becoming Present
We can’t stop the mind from coming up with the stories, as it is a narrative machine. However, that doesn’t mean we have to cling to the stories and keep them spinning around in our heads.
Notice when you’re stuck in a story. Hint: if you’re angry, stressed, frustrated, disappointed, feeling shame or fear, dreaming about the future, thinking about something that happened … you’re stuck in a story.
Notice that the story is causing you to be stressed, angry, afraid, whatever. Notice that you are spinning it around in your head, and it is occupying your attention.
Now see if you can drop out of the story and into the present moment. Become curious: What is happening right now, in front of you? What sensations can you notice in your body? What is the light like? What sounds can you notice?
When you go back to your story (you will), try coming back to the present moment. Stay longer. Come back gently, without judgment.
What can you appreciate in this moment? A feeling of appreciating the sacredness of this moment can counteract the story, and change your way of being.
Dealing with Stress & Anger Without the Story
Stress and anger can be difficult things, because we have such a hard time letting them go.
But what if you could drop out of the stories that are causing the stress and anger (or frustration, resentment, complaining) and just be present with whatever you’re feeling?
Drop into your body and notice what sensations are there.
If you have difficult sensations in your body, see if you can be curious about them and stay with them, rather than spinning around a story about them. Stay with them longer (they might be located in your chest area), as you would try to stay with the sensations of your breath during a breath meditation.
Again, when your mind wanders back to the story, just come back gently. Stay with the sensations. Be present with them.
Touching the sensations in your body, of stress or anger, is a way to transform yourself. It doesn’t necessarily get rid of the feelings — but it changes your relationship to them. You no longer need to get rid of them, because you are fine just being with them. You develop a trust that you can stay present with them, without running or hiding or needing to do anything about them.
Each time you get stressed, each time you feel anger or frustration or resentment … this is an opportunity to practice and develop trust in yourself. Every spike of fear or stress is an opportunity to transform, to open, to stay and be present.
In this way, every stress is making you more mindful, less attached, and more open to life.
Taking Action Without the Story
The stories in our heads also stop us from taking the action we want to take in our lives — from changing habits to eating better to getting rid of clutter to tackling that difficult project.
I don’t feel like exercising, I feel lazy, it’s too hard
I don’t know how to tackle this big project, it’s too complicated
I don’t know how to blog, there is so much I don’t know, I have to learn it all before I can start
There’s too much clutter, and I don’t know what to do with it all, I can’t tackle all of that
Maybe I should do something else, I don’t really like this kind of work, I think I would be better trying one of the other options I like
There is some truth to each of the stories, but the fact is, they are getting in the way of action. They aren’t helpful.
What would happen if we just dropped the stories and took action, staying in the present as we did so?
Imagine dropping into your body when you have a story about why you shouldn’t exercise … and getting present. Then putting on your workout clothes and shoes, staying present without the story. Then doing some pushups or starting to run.
You don’t need the story to take action. Drop into the present, and just act. Stay present as you act. Be curious about what it’s like, rather than thinking you know what it will be like ahead of time. Take a “don’t know” mindset, and find out!
Don’t have any clarity about a project? Start doing it, and clarity will come as you discover what it’s like.
Afraid you’re not good enough to do the project? Only one way to truly know — take action on it and see!
Feeling overwhelmed because there’s too much clutter to tackle? Declutter one thing. Take action on one spot on your counter. There’s no need for the story about it being too much.
The truth is, even if we can’t avoid generating these stories, we don’t have to get stuck in them, especially if they are unhelpful. Sometimes it’s good to have a narrative that helps us plan and figure things out, but often it’s better just to find out by being present and taking action.
And you can do that very simply: just drop into the sensations of your body and surroundings. Notice. Get curious. Stay. Come back gently. Appreciate the sacredness of this moment.
As we begin this journey, we want to start by explaining why we are calling it Simplified-U.
Our intent is to grow this community into an environment where we will examine and give instructions on different areas that people deal with on a daily basis. We want to be a full service community where you can learn about finances, relationships, building a business and other areas important to your knowledge base. Most important is to “Simplify” these areas.
Most things are presented in a complicated manner. They are designed to seem confusing because your lack of knowledge benefits those that you believe are there to serve you. We want to give people the wisdom and power over their life. This way you make decisions based on awareness and not what makes the most profit for those offering their services.
We will structure topics where we will offer quizzes and examines to make sure you have a clear understanding of the subjects. The same way you would if you were attending school.
The ultimate goal will be to build an environment that is so respected throughout the world, that we will be able to offer a degree program that will hold higher value than a traditional college.
We will accomplish this by bringing in others with the same vision and mission of serving.
So we ask that you be patient with us as we turn this vision into a reality.
Aside from the knowledge that is being hidden, we know people are depressed, unhappy, living unproductive lives and settling inside of miserable relationships.
You are probably aware, all the stats and conversations about people in their life (relationships, work, daily life, etc.) say that most are not happy about their life.
An article from 2017 in Time Health said that 33% of people were happy overall. This means that 67% are unhappy overall. http://time.com/4871720/how-happy-are-americans/
We will do our part to help people “Globally” rewrite the stories in their life that are keeping them in this unhappy state. The rewriting will allow people to attract the things they desire and to regain their joy.
The bottom line for this creation (project) is “We came to the conclusion that if most are not living their dreams, then maybe the problem is not the “Students”, but the “Teachers”.
We know this new understanding will reduce or eliminate the stress, worries, depression and allow people to be “FREE”.
So thanks again for visiting and enjoy the journey.
Your Uplifting Life Partner
Ron Simplified Myers
“It ain’t right. It ain’t wrong. It’s my opinion. – RSM
"OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE BELIEF IN ONESELF, BY
ENABLING INDIVIDUALS, TO CREATE A PATHWAY THAT ENCOURAGES
PURSUIT OF THEIR PASSIONS AND DESIRES”
CLICK THE LINK BELOW!
I’ve been wanting to come and visit the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for a while now. And today I had the time and the patience to sit through LA traffic to see this amazing piece of history. Ever since HS, I’ve been a great fan of “World History” and I find the whole WWII really interesting despite all of the crazy things that happened throughout the war. And the weirdest thing is that, I’am so intrigued with the whole Holocaust history… it’s really sad and gruesome what Hitler had done… That is why it is “history” now. It reminds me to become a better human being towards others and to inspire at the same time.
Blessed to be one of the first ones to get in to the highly anticipated the Star Wars - Galaxy’s Edge in the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. Took my little sis with me to enjoy this brand new 14 acre immersive land that the Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucas Films team have created. It was simply amazing.
‘Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.’ ~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Where Happiness Comes From
It’s worth taking a moment to consider where happiness comes from. Is it from things like having someone love you, or eating a fantastic meal, or having a great body, or relaxing on the beach, or drinking a good cup of coffee?
No, actually. Those things all are phenomena that happen outside of us … and they don’t cause the happiness. They might be correlated with happiness — they happen, and then we are happy at the same time — but it’s not a cause-and-effect relationship. There’s another event that’s happening at the same time.
That event is what happens in our brain between the external event (a good cup of coffee) and our state of happiness.
What is this event? It’s a process. Let’s take a close look:
We drink a cup of good coffee (or read a good book, eat some delicious berries, have good sex, etc.).
We notice the coffee, pay attention to it. If we don’t pay attention, and are reading on the Internet as we drink the coffee, we don’t get the happiness from the coffee.
We appreciate the goodness in the coffee that we noticed. It’s not just the noticing and paying attention — we have to accept it for what it is, and appreciate the good things about it.
This goodness we’ve noticed causes us to be happy about life. We are now happy about the experience of living, about life itself, because this experience is filled with goodness — even if it’s just the goodness of a cup of coffee.
So that’s it: noticing and appreciating the goodness in a cup of coffee causes us to be happy about living. And the more we notice and appreciate about our lives (and ourselves), the happier we are.
‘We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.’ ~Frederick Keonig
Finding It Within
So does this mean that happiness is really about external things, like the cup of coffee or the sex or the love from someone else? No … it’s about the process that happens within. And this process can happen no matter what’s going on outside of us. It can happen even if there are no external stimuli — because there are things inside of us that we can appreciate as well.
Let me emphasize that: all the raw material we need for happiness is inside of us. The good things we can appreciate to be happy — they are always with us, already there. And the tools for turning these raw materials into happiness … they are within us as well. We just need to develop them.
What are the things within us that we can appreciate, that can make us happy? Some examples:
Are you generous?
Do you love? Can you give love?
Do you feel compassion?
Are you good at something?
Are you a good listener?
Do you empathize with the pain of others?
Do you appreciate beauty in nature, in others?
Do you have good ideas?
Are you determined?
Are you good at sports?
Are you creative?
And so on. These (and more) are all internal qualities you might have that you can appreciate, that can make you happy about yourself.
So the happiness process — noticing, appreciating, being happy about living — can be applied to things within us, no matter what’s going on outside. We can learn to notice and appreciate the good things (and the less-than-perfect things as well!) in ourselves, and start to love ourselves.
Appreciating All That’s Around Us
That’s just the start, though. What’s within us is amazing, but so is what’s in everyone else, and life all around us. These might be external things, but the appreciation for them (and the happiness that results) comes from within.
So the key skill is to learn to notice, accept and appreciate everything around us, and everyone we see and interact with.
Look closely at the food you eat, and the coffee, water, tea, or wine you drink … what can you notice? Is there good to be noticed that you can appreciate, that can make you happy to be alive?
What about the room around you? What about the book you’re reading, or the blog post? What about the nature outside? Are there things there that you can notice and appreciate?
Often if we fail to see good in things or people around us (or ourselves), it’s a failure to pay close attention. If the person near you seems rude or uninteresting, you’re not paying close enough attention to the details: are they also funny, or talented, or shy but with hidden secrets? Are they in pain, and in need of compassion? Look closer, and see what you can find.
Once you begin to pay attention, and to look, you’ll find some amazing things. All around us are examples of beauty, creativity, inspiration, triumph, pain, joy, life.
And once you get good at this, you can start to appreciate the “not-so-perfect” things as well. We judge other people’s flaws, and our own flaws, as “bad” … but what if they’re just a part of being human? Then aren’t the “flaws” a celebration of who we are as humans? Aren’t anger and rudeness and mistakes a part of our beauty as human beings?
And this is true, of course, of ourselves. We all have flaws, and we should celebrate them. Notice them, yes, but appreciate them, and use them as reasons to be happy to be alive.
Once we can do this, we can see the wonder in every little thing around us, and inside us. And then we realize that life is a true joy, in every moment, if we simply pay attention and appreciate it.
Don’t you ever give up on yourself. This life is going to challenge you and knock you down, but you can never give up. When you feel like you’ve given it your all, and there’s nothing left, remember your power. You are the creator of your own reality, emotions, and destiny. Your current situation is not your final destination.
I ask these questions to myself and ask these to yourself:
“What if today’s my last day?”
“What if today’s my last week?”
“What am I going to contribute to this planet today? Evil things? Good things?”