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Mind Connections


Jonathan Hilton


MY 12 SECRETS TO HAPPINESS! S IMPLE S OLUTIONS TO C REATE H APPINESS IN Y OUR L IFE D AY TO D AY J ONATHAN H ILTON Copyright Š 2016 by Jonathan Hilton. All Right Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of very brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Dedication This book is dedicated to all the people who have had faith in me throughout my life. I have learned the lessons and am fortunate to share them. 2|Page


Contents Why I Wrote This....................................................................................... 5 ~Secret 1~ ............................................................................................ 8 ~Secret 2 ~ ....................................................................................... 12 ~Secret 3~ ......................................................................................... 17 ~Secret 4~ ......................................................................................... 22 ~Secret 5 ~ ....................................................................................... 27 ~Secret 6~ ......................................................................................... 32 ~Secret 7~ ......................................................................................... 38 ~Secret 8~ ......................................................................................... 44 ~Secret 9~ ......................................................................................... 49 ~Secret 10~ ........................................................................................ 55 ~Secret 11 ~ .................................................................................... 58 ~Secret 12~...................................................................................... 64 Final Thoughts ................................................................................ 69 Follow me: .......................................................................................... 70 About The Author ................................................................................... 71


WHY I WROTE THIS A note from the Author It never ceases to amaze me that so many people are, for the most part, unhappy. They aren’t happy with the amount of money they make, the time they spend with their family, the time they have to themselves, their jobs, where they live, who their friends are, their past or the prospects of their future. I was once one of the people who trudged unhappily from one day to the next. It was my unhappiness that provided the momentum for me to begin to seek a more satisfying existence. I wanted to be happier. How to accomplish this was a mystery. There was not a simple model to follow. For much of my life I blindly believed the things that I was taught by family, teachers, religion and the mainstream media to tell me what was true and what was not. The collective story that society teaches controlled my life and I followed the path laid out for me. I went to college, had fun, graduated, and started a career that should have been meaningful. According to all that I had been taught, I should have been happy. Yet as the years went past, it became clearer and clearer that I was not feeling the way I should. I was following the plan, but it was providing me with income, friends, activities, and a life that should have been most satisfying, but I became more and more aware that I was not enjoying my life on any significant level. I was becoming more and more unhappy.

5|Page I had lost focus on the things that should have mattered in life and started to spend time trying to feel better by filling my life with things, shallow activities, and unhealthy intimate relationships. After awhile I was simply trying to drown out the noise in my head and my heart that I was unhappy and unfulfilled in my life and needed to change. What these changes would look like, I didn’t have a clue, but I was well aware that it was time to get busy with living and to do the things I had to do to change. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have a plan to follow. I didn’t know anyone who could guide me. I was starting from scratch and making it up as I went. The lessons I learned were all valuable to me and I feel they can be helpful to others. I would like to help other people learn these lessons without having to experience the sharp pain that mistakes can bring. It was then that I started to realize the simple truth. Happiness is a state of mind which we have the power to control, and so whether we are ultimately happy or unhappy it is our own thoughts that determine this. Much of the content of this book is based on my own life and understanding of the things I have experienced in life that led me understand and be happier. Not everything you read here is guaranteed to change your life but I will guarantee that if you are searching with a true heart and are willing to look at your life honestly and openly, you will find something of value. I hope

6|Page that reading this has helped you in the smallest of ways. Please enjoy My 12 Secrets to Happiness.


~SECRET 1~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Accept Responsibility, Avoid Excuses “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt One of the behaviors guaranteed to rob you of happiness in life is feeling sorry for yourself. When things go wrong, as they inevitably will on occasion, there are several choices that you can make which will determine your enjoyment level of your life. One choice is to play the victim and feel sorry for yourself and the circumstances that you are in. We have all done it because it can feel good to blame all of our problems on someone or something else out of our control. Our thoughts tell us that we would be doing just fine if it wasn’t for the interference of these other things: our boss, coworkers, or the economy. The second choice is to accept responsibility for all of the things that you experience. Things don’t always work out but looking for choices that we made, which could have been different is a good start. Being happy isn’t hard if you just stop feeling sorry for yourself. This means that you will accept responsibility for where you are in life, your

8|Page choices and what you are experiencing right now in your reality. Self-pity is the type of emotion that taps into your core and takes all power away from you. When you point the finger at someone or something outside of yourself for what you are experiencing then you have lost all of your power to change it. This is true when you make any type of excuse for anything. That power always exists in you, with your ability to make choices about everything. Life will occasionally deal you a significant setback. Often these circumstances are completely out of our control. What is totally in our control is how we react to any situation. This personal responsibility is going to provide us with the power to control our lives and what happens in it. You can choose to bury your head in the sand, cry or give up if you want to. However, the opposite of these choices is also always available to you at any time. Accepting responsibility can be a difficult thing, especially when there are mitigating circumstances that might be out of your control. Feeling sorry for yourself about your circumstances or someone’s poor behavior toward you is only going to hold you back and not allow you to understand where you need to go in order to make your experience better. It will be difficult to be happy in life without throwing out the victim mentality. But the bottom line in life is that if you spend your time pointing the finger at other people, situations or God for your misery, then you are going to spend a lot of time feeling like a victim and not being happy.

9|Page Never Ask, “Why Me?” Bad things are inevitably going to happen. Sometimes they come in such a volume that we feel overwhelmed and start to ask, “Why me?” This is the moment that you start to lose control of your happiness. It is much better to ask yourself, “How can I solve this problem?” Or even better, “What is potentially good about this situation?” Either of these questions will allow your energy to become more positive and that energy will lead to positive solutions. All challenges come with a built-in opportunity to learn something new, grow in a new direction, or to become a better person. Without challenges people, atrophy and slowly fade away. Do away with excuse making in all aspects of your life because excuses do absolutely no good. Do they take away the event? Can they change the past? Do they alter reality in any way? No! Their only function is to appease someone else about your behavior and choices. When things don’t work out the way you want, accept responsibility and the positive attributes of a situation will naturally enter into your life. Happiness is a result of carrying a sense of selfdiscipline and responsibility for ourselves and the things we do. Don’t rob yourself of happiness and the ability to make choices by making excuses. Face your challenges with honesty and integrity. The results will surprise and most often amaze you. Fear is the only reason that people make plausible excuses, to justify poor attitude, behavior or performance. It wasn’t that I was inadequate it was the other people, weather, act of God,

10 | P a g e etc. You are better than that, and your life will reflect it when you accept responsibility for your situation. “Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.” ― Confucius “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.” ― Theodore Roosevelt


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~SECRET 2 ~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Choose Your Words Wisely “It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.� ~Lawrence G. Lovasik~ The words you choose to speak are going to have an impact on the world. It seems that people speak a lot without any real thought for the impact or consequences of their words. However, each and every word we utter has an energy to it, which radiates from us and within us long after the words are spoken. If you are not mindful of what you speak then your negative words can haunt you and those you speak to for a long period of time. Watching the words you speak and the thoughts behind them will make you happier. The Negative Things to Avoid Spreading gossip and talking about others negatively is one of the most negative languages a person can use. Gossip has the power to draw almost anyone in and drag them down as well. This is an activity that causes

12 | P a g e people to vibrate on a low level and that will lead to unhappiness. Gossip is attractive because it allows people to feel included in a secret group of thoughts that only a select number are aware of. It allows the opportunity to judge someone, their actions and their lives without knowing anything as a fact. Even if you know the fact, it doesn’t do you any good to judge someone else. All worry should be directed within. The choice to gossip will bring negative energy into your life, in fact, there is nothing good that can come from practicing this. One of the main reasons that we gossip though is to make ourselves feel better about our own situation by demeaning the choices, actions, and circumstances someone else is experiencing. Rather than be accepting and understanding, you pile on and point out the perceived misfortunes to direct attention away from your own problems. Even if the facts you speak are 100% true, it isn’t any business of yours. We are all doing the best we can to get through life, don’t make it harder on others by talking about them behind their backs when they are not present. If you have an issue with someone, speak to them and address it. Negativity sticks with you and will sap you of happiness. If you are speaking with and spend time with people who thrive on gossip, guess who they are talking about the moment you are not around? That is right you. Each time you speak negatively about someone else’s life, you are diminishing your own. Most importantly, you destroy your integrity and lessen your overall positive

13 | P a g e impact on people. All that you say, do and think is going to affect all the people that you come in contact with. Our behavior tells the world what we are and our thoughts define and accentuate that. When you participate in negative talk like this, then your life will be decidedly negative and it is difficult to experience happiness when we are constantly looking at and talking about the negativity of others. The person we are really having a problem with is ourselves.

How to speak positively The great thing is that we all have a choice about the way that we speak and the things that we speak about. It starts by paying attention and making good choices. The simple way to manage your words is to be consciously aware of all the words that you use and what energy they bring with them. Learn to T.H.I.N.K. about what you are going to say, this little acronym will allow you to look at all of the things you say to yourself and others. Use this before you say anything about anything and it will allow you to speak more positively about yourself and others which will make your energy and life more positive. T- Is it true? That is a very important factor in speaking about you or someone else. If it isn’t true, don’t say it. Be impeccable with your word.

14 | P a g e H- Is it helpful? If you are about to say something that is not helpful, to yourself or someone else, then make the choice to not say it. I – Does it Inspire confidence? If you are about to say something that does not inspire confidence in yourself or others, then you should choose not to say it. N – Is it Necessary? This is important to consider as we speak, often the answer is no, a thought is not worth expressing through your words. K – Is it Kind? One of the most important considerations that we should consider when we are looking at the way we speak about others and ourselves. Speaking with kindness is positive and builds positive energy around yourself and others. By following this simple guide and evaluating your thoughts and being mindful of the words that you speak, you can make your life and the lives of those around you exponentially happier. Our words stick with people each and every day. They can sink into someone’s mind and motivate them to do better, be more honest, find the right path or accomplish new and better goals. Or if they are negative they might just start a limiting belief in someone else that will lessen the ability of another to be all that they can be. Notice your words and speak only those messages you want to last for eternity.

15 | P a g e “Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.� ~Don Miguel Ruiz~

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~SECRET 3~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Be Physically Fit

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.� ~Hippocrates~ Feeling happy is a reflection of how you feel about yourself overall. Physical fitness is a part of life that is neglected by many as they face the business of life. Work, family matters, and leisure activities can prioritize our time and make neglecting our physical fitness easy. We only have one body we are moving through life with and the manner that we treat it with will determine the type of trip we are taking. It can be very difficult to be happy when we are experiencing physical pain and limits because our body is too heavy for our frame, or our organs are not functioning properly because of our unhealthy habits. There is no debating the fact that more exercise will improve our health, our mood and our level of happiness in life. There is a direct ratio between the amount of exercise we participate in and the level of enjoyment we have in life. It is clinically proven that

17 | P a g e getting regular exercise can provide positive energy to your life. Exercise will make a person feel happier about themselves and the energy they bring to life. Weight Loss, Of Course Of course, losing weight will make you happier. We live in a society that influences people to eat an unhealthy amount of sugar and processed foods. Besides eating better, a regular exercise routine will allow a person to lose weight. Being at a more optimal weight increases energy, flexibility, ambition and of course self-esteem. Our bodies were not designed to carry around an unlimited amount of extra weight and when your body is happy, you are happier as well. This is not a judgment of anybody. There is no one body type that a healthy person has. However, the activities that a person regularly takes advantage of will determine this. All people have the ability to choose to be healthier. There is a two-part formula that will allow you to get your weight to a better level. First, increase physical activity each day. It doesn’t have to include a 10-mile run, but adding a little walking to your day can be an extremely positive influence on your health. Simple, consistent exercise will lead to weight loss. Secondly, watch what you eat. It is well known that highly processed foods that contained sugar are going to be less healthy than those that are natural and organic. It doesn’t mean that you can’t eat any sugar, but it does mean that you should cut down. Your Health is Better

18 | P a g e Another epidemic in our society is poor heart health. This can also be alleviated by instituting a regular exercise routine and a better diet. As you increase your cardiovascular work each day, you increase your heart health, lower high blood pressure and lowers cholesterol. All of these conditions will combine to allow you to not only live longer but to live better. It is easier to be happy when you know you are making choices that are positive for your health. There is a wide range of illnesses that can become much less likely for you to experience with a little exercise: stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, some types of cancer, and arthritis. All of this should be motivation enough to make some positive lifestyle changes. There is only one trip around this ride called life and when it ends, it is all over. Make it as enjoyable as possible with positive health choices. Feeling unhappy? Then some basic exercise may be just what you need in order to improve your mood. Stress can be a killer for your health and your mood, and exercise has long been known as a very effective stress reliever. You don’t have to run a marathon, but a brisk 30-minute walk can help get your endorphins flowing and they are the chemical that is released into the brain and makes you feel good. Once released, not only will you feel in a better mood, but you will also feel much more relaxed. Over a long period of time, you may develop higher self-esteem about your appearance from regular exercise and that, of course, will boost your mood. Exercise leads to happiness.

19 | P a g e Do you find it difficult to find the motivation to complete household chores, or to work on that project with your kids? Regular exercise can be just what you need, a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and sitting around just watching television isn’t the same option when your heart and lungs are operating at peak capacity. It will be much easier to be more physical and your energy level will rise and of course, you will be happier. Sleeping problems plague many people but it is difficult to be at your best when there is never enough time to recharge your battery. Getting regular exercise can make sleeping through the night easier and the sleep you get is deeper and extremely rejuvenating. Even the effects of sleep apnea can be lessened by regular exercise. To be happy, your body needs enough sleep to allow it to heal, rest and recuperate both physically and mentally for the new challenges ahead. Exercise helps you sleep more soundly and get greater benefits from the process. If you are just not feeling as great about physical intimacy, then regular exercise just might be the cure. You will feel better about your appearance and feel more desirable to your significant other. You will also develop more stamina and of course, all of this type of thing is going to increase your level of happiness. It is also proven that increased physical activity leads to a more sexual arousal in women. Men also benefit significantly especially decreasing the effects of erectile dysfunction.

20 | P a g e All of these factors combine to make you a whole lot happier. Have Some Fun Believe it or not, exercise can be fun and can improve your social life. It doesn’t matter if you go to a gym or head out running on the road by yourself, the time you spend exercising can be some of the most positive times during your day. It is your time to mentally unwind, relax and rejuvenate your thoughts and feelings about life. Having this time to yourself is fantastic and allows your emotions to rebound as well, making happiness increase. Exercise can improve your social life. It is easy to make connections with people who share a love of yoga, lifting, running, or any other exercise you choose to partake in. These are just some of the positive benefits of exercise that will increase the happiness in your life. Find an exercise that you love doing and then do that in the way that you enjoy. If you develop a passion for what you do and love doing it, there will be very few motivation problems of going to the gym or getting out on that run. If you are physically capable, then start today. Exercise and be happier. “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” ~Bruce Lee~

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~SECRET 4~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

BE Fearless “The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror!� ~ Joyce Meyer All situations in life can be broken down into a simple choice between love and fear. Will you think and act out of fear? Or will you think and act out of love? It makes sense then to imagine that when you choose thoughts and actions of love you will be happy, and thoughts of fear will make you unhappy. I believe that EVERYTHING you think will make a difference in your life. I believe this because of a lifetime of experience and entertaining the wrong types of thoughts. I lived much of my life under the influence of fear but have chosen to make a change and look at things with thoughts of love. It has helped eradicated moments of unhappiness from my life.

How You Think Leads to How You Live This is my basic belief that I have developed later in the game of life. If you are thinking judgmental, mean, sarcastic or hateful thoughts about other people or

22 | P a g e groups of people, there is no doubt that you will experience those things in your own life.

These are negative thoughts which lead to unhappy experiences If you choose to focus on accepting, kind and loving thoughts then that is going to be the general experience of your existence. How do I know? I used to think the former and now focus on the later and although I am the same person, the experience of life has been completely different and much more positive and enjoyable in all ways. Yes, Happier. Fear is the chief motivation of those who are critical. A person rejects any thought or action that will lead to change or be different from comfortable beliefs long held. Even if things are currently going badly, people avoid change because the fear is that the changes might make things even worse. There is nothing wrong with experiencing fear itself because fear is a natural emotion that everyone

23 | P a g e experiences but if you focus on that and allow it to move your actions from day-to-day, your experience will suffer. We all face fear every day, but how you choose to deal with it, fear or love is important to our enjoyment of life. Each moment comes down to this simple choice between fear and love, the one you choose is going to define the experience for you.

Change is Always Possible The most daunting task for anyone to accomplish is to change the way that you think. We have spent a lifetime accumulating experiences which come with mental programming which has managed to keep us safe and alive. But to be happy, change has to come. Yet at some point even though we are safe and alive, our life needs value. Once you start to pursue happiness and caring, you start to notice the fear-based thoughts that have been making you unhappy. What is it that makes you hang your head with worry? What makes you afraid to speak? What makes you hide your individuality? What makes you hide who you are? Fear alone does this. Fear that you won’t be accepted, or fear that someone is going to take something from you that you love. Fear that someone is going to harm you or those that you care about. These fears are fed by the mainstream

24 | P a g e media to gain ratings and Madison Avenue to earn consumer dollars. The reality is that fear is just a thought and an illusionary thought at that. What you are afraid of is not real, it is a thought and that is it. What if? What should? What Might? Questions that provide these thoughts, they are not real they don’t exist yet they provide very real suffering for people. There are many dangers in the world and those should be avoided because they can hurt you, but fear of them will only stop you from doing what you truly want to do.

Getting Out of Fear Getting rid of fear in your thoughts is simple but it is not easy. Stop thinking fearful things. Period! Now that would be easy if we could control all of our thoughts, but you really can’t. Thoughts pop into your mind at a rapid pace, representing your lifetime of experiences. Bias, prejudice, hatred, fear are all a part of your experience and they are all associated with people, places, and things. You can’t stop them from slipping into your mind, but you can control how much you pay attention to them. Simply noticing the thoughts of fear as what they are, fake, surprisingly releases you from their power. All of their power over you comes from inside your head and your thoughts. Let the negative go and replace them with something more positive. It is important to remember that danger

25 | P a g e and fear are not the same things. Danger is something that can hurt you physically. Fear is the worry about something hurting you. Danger is real, fear is not.

Replace thoughts of fear with thoughts of love Once you recognize and admit what your fears are and let them go, it is amazing how easily the good thoughts and feelings flow. It feels better to be happy, it is healthier to love and it is more enjoyable to live without fear. It takes some time to develop this skill and you have, to be honest with yourself, but it can be accomplished by anyone. Recognizing your own weaknesses can be painful and difficult, but you have a simple choice here. Keep living your life in fear and be unhappy or admit to your negative thoughts and recognize that you have the ability to just let them go and think in a healthier, positive manner. Caring over callousness, kindness over being mean, understanding over judgment. The choice is up to you! Visit Jonathan Hilton Mind Connections for more thought provoking material.

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~SECRET 5 ~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Practice Mindfulness “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Where do you spend most of your time during a day? Many people are unhappy because they have a focus that is not on what you are doing or where you are right now. How is this possible? It is possible because people are spending their thoughts reliving and idealizing their past or worrying obsessively about their future. That leaves no time to enjoy the present and that does not make a person happy in the present. Practice mindfulness and be appreciative of the awesome things that are in your life at this very moment. Living in the Past

27 | P a g e Everyone looks to the past. It can be a very healthy practice when it comes to evaluating lessons learned so that you don’t repeat mistakes and repeat successful habits. The past provides great lessons, but when you idealize the experience of life in the past, it robs you of the happiness of the present. Time has a way of affecting your memory, the difficult, uncomfortable or challenging things are forgotten and the positive things in your memory are idealized. This works to make you unhappy now because of how can this moment make you happy if you are focused on an idealized past. This moment is naturally going to pale in comparison to a perfect, idealized past. You will be unhappy if you look at your life this way. How could you not? You are thinking of what you lack. Worry for the future People spend a lot of time also worrying about what might happen in the future. It is good to plan and prepare for the future. The unhappiness will come when you are continually playing out doomsday scenarios in your mind. These take up an awful lot of positive energy and allow each and every negative possibility come to light in your mind. People spend hours worrying about things that never would happen, never could happen, and never will happen. But what if they do? Those types of thoughts are a waste of time. How many great things in your life, right now are you ignoring because you are worried about some future issue? The future is going to come and with it bring its own list of experiences that will color your life. There will be

28 | P a g e victories, defeats, happiness, sadness, joy and sorrow and worry about what shape they will take is a great way to ruin absolutely everything in your life today. When you think about it, all you really have and are guaranteed is this moment, right now. Everything else is a promise that can be taken away in a moment. 5 Steps to Mindfulness 1. Practice doing one thing at a time. In a world that wants to create nothing but dedicated multitaskers, be different and focus on one thing at a time, do it very well, enjoy it, then move on to the next thing. 2. Don’t rush what you are doing. Almost as bad as multitasking is rushing through one experience to get to another. It is hard to savor the taste of the moment if you are hurrying through it. Slow down and enjoy what you are doing, it will enrich your experience. 3. Make a schedule and stick to it. Making sure of course that all of your tasks have the right amount of time scheduled to do them well. This will stop you from hurrying from one place to another. If you can’t fit everything in doing this, that tells you that doing less is an answer that might work. Productivity should be measured in quality and not with quantity. 4. Learn to practice some form of meditation. There are no rules to follow, except to find a time during the day when you are doing nothing at all for at least 5 minutes. The benefits are well

29 | P a g e documented, greater creativity, more focus, and of course, you will be happier. 5. Slow down your activities. From eating to having a conversation, slow down and get a chance to savor the food or the company. Don’t spend the time in a conversation thinking about someone else, but focus on what is in front of you. One thing at a time. Be mindful and you will enjoy it more, each experience will have a new life and texture to them. Mindfulness is a way of life that will allow you to take the same experiences you are having right now and appreciating them more. That appreciation will allow you to be happy about the same things that are in your life. A wise person once told me that you should find ten minutes every day to practice meditation. If you can’t fit in ten minutes then you need to do thirty. Focus on your life, your friends, conversations, food, thoughts, car rides, loved ones, all of the things that fill your lives and they will be better experiences and make you happier.

Visit Jonathan Hilton Mind Connections!!

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~SECRET 6~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Practice Kindness “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” ~William Arthur Ward~

One of the simplest gifts we can give to others is the gift of kindness. It cost no money to be kind, and it takes no talent. In fact, all you have to possess, to practice kindness, is a willing heart that undertakes the action and is kind. Kindness makes the experience of all people that experience it happier in life. There is probably not a better method for improving a person’s outlook on life than to treat them with a little kindness. All people deserve your kindness, and like most things in life, the more willingly this gift is given the more it is given back. Be a giver of kindness today.

Kindness is Contagious

One of the great things to see is that one act of kindness provides a happiness that will be shared with someone else, one way or another. You can’t help it when someone is kind to you, there is a feeling of warmth inside that you want to share with someone else. And most people do. There are people who practice random acts of kindness and bring a light to the world. There are

32 | P a g e also people who are just kind to others all of the time. It must be a wonderful way to live! We can only be responsible for our behavior and choices and the example we set for other people to follow. Take control of your actions today and practice kindness with each interaction that comes your way. You will be amazed at how much difference it will make in your life and of course the lives of others that you come in contact with during the day.

Unkind People Need This Experience the Most

It is important to practice kindness with those who are unkind. They absolutely need it most. To be moving through your life and to consciously be unkind to others, there must have been some awful experiences in their lives. Kindness can break through the darkness, and bring light into those spaces where meanness and desperation are currently residing. Mean people, who do not practice kindness, have probably forgotten how it feels when someone takes the time to extend a kindness to them. Once they experience kindness there is a chance that they will develop a more positive outlook and perhaps begin to practice kindness toward others. It will definitely improve their level of happiness which will improve your level of happiness as well. Again it is important to stress that you can only be responsible for your actions. Others are responsible for theirs, if they choose to be mean, hateful, spiteful and unhappy, that is their choice.

33 | P a g e Your choice is to not treat them like their condition is permanent. Smother them with kindness that is all you can do. Your choices and actions belong to you.

Five Reasons Kindness Makes You Happy No matter where you are in the journey of life, there are going to be opportunities today to practice kindness of some sort, which will enhance someone’s experience on this Earth in a positive way. If you need any convincing that taking this action will improve things than I wanted to provide you with 5 reasons that prove kindness creates happiness and you can be the catalyst for this today, right here and right now.

Kindness Can Change The World How we see the world is unique to each of us. Kindness allows us to share a positive view of others, simply and easily. Simple acts of kindness show others that they aren’t in this journey all alone. We are all in this together. That understanding of connection that kindness brings can allow someone having a bad day to have a good day. One small act of kindness can lead to another small act of kindness, which leads to another and that chain reaction can change the world.

Kindness is Free All people in the world can afford to practice kindness because it is absolutely free. There is no limit on how much you can show in a day either. It is truly limitless. What kind of world would it be if everyone was looking

34 | P a g e for ways to be kind all through every day? It would be a much happier place. Think about that the next situation that you find someone annoying you at work, home or anywhere else. There is an opportunity for you to practice kindness in thought and in action. Perhaps all that annoying co-worker needs is a kind word from you to turn their day around. The price is the same for everyone, kindness is free and the results in smiles and happiness are priceless.

Kindness is Contagious

Just as a small pebble can cause an avalanche on a mountain side, one act of kindness can lead to a significant change in the world. When you practice your acts of kindness they may not seem all that great to you. However, each action we take results in a reaction somewhere. Just as a pebble thrown into a small pond will result in ripples on the water, so does your kindness influence life. When we put all of the small acts of kindness together, then you can have a significant change in the world. Each act, inspiring another and then another until the world is covered in kindness. It certainly beats the alternative. What a happy place that would be to live.

Kindness Makes Us Happy

When you are kind to another person, it makes a statement about who you are and what you stand for. This statement is not only to the world but also to yourself. There are enough things in the world today designed to make us feel bad about who we are. Practicing kindness lights a spark of happiness in your

35 | P a g e soul and allows you to feel great about yourself. All things which build self-esteem and create happiness in life should be pursued. Kindness is one of these and there is no downside. The only problem with kindness lies in the hearts of those who choose to ignore it. Be kind and be happy. There is also some scientific evidence that proves that when you are kind, your brain experiences a chemical reaction that makes you feel better. True or not, there is no doubt that being the reason that someone else smiles today is a good thing and that can’t be debated. Kindness will make you feel better.

Kindness Makes Us Easier To Live With Is it easier to deal with someone who is difficult and self-centered or someone who is looking to do things that make your life better? Obviously, it is the latter and kindness provides us with that opportunity all the time. Our relationships will only benefit from the practice of kindness. A supportive comment, a compliment, understanding of a problem, or just a supportive hug can change the energy of those you love and make your relationships stronger. How many relationships could be saved by the practicing more kindness? Putting the needs of those you love as a priority and soothing them with kind words and deeds could end many of the fights and misunderstandings that end relationships today. Kindness is never the wrong thing to do.

36 | P a g e The bottom line is when you are looking for ways to be kind to others and make their lives a little bit better, you improve your own as well. This will change the experience that you are having in life for the positive. It really just involves making the happiness of others a priority. Enjoy your day and make a point to create kind experiences for others and for yourself.

Kindness is indeed awesome! “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” ~Audrey Hepburn~ “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain~ Thank you for reading please visit Jonathan Hilton

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~SECRET 7~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Choosing Gratitude and Appreciation "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust~ If you are not happy with your life experience, look to add more gratitude and appreciation and the level of happiness and appreciation in your experience will grow. No matter what life brings you, everybody has the ability to either be grateful and appreciative of the experience or they can be angry and disillusioned by it. This choice will bring the energy to your life. Positive or negative, right or wrong your decision to be grateful or not will directly affect the abundance you experience in your life.

Things Go Wrong Sometimes, Be Grateful This is an easy idea to practice with when things are going well. When you have plenty of money to do whatever you want, all of those you love are healthy and happy and the biggest decision that you need to make is what form of entertainment is in store for your evening. Of course, you can be grateful and appreciative of this situation. Yet I know many people in just such a predicament and there is very little gratitude or

38 | P a g e appreciation expressed. Rather than being happy for what they have, they perfect the art of feeling bad about what they don’t have. It seems like so many are focused on what they don’t have rather than what they do have in their life. They have a house, but the problems with that house seem to stand out to them and they focus the lack rather than the gift of a home. No wonder many are unhappy. When things are going badly, many people get discouraged by the pain, trouble, worry or inconvenience. It is hard to see the positive and be grateful and appreciative when the cellar is flooded, possessions are being ruined, things need to be moved, and the plumber can’t come for two days. However, there is always something to be grateful for. Appreciate something that wasn’t ruined or lost. Appreciate that the plumber will be coming and the problem will be solved. Life sometimes makes it difficult to be appreciative, but with practice, the positive can be seen if you choose to look for it. No situation is inherently good or bad except for the label that we decide to apply to it. That label comes directly from our level of gratitude.

Appreciate the Good Things Practicing gratitude is a decision that will allow your outlook on life change. Be grateful for the things in life you enjoy each day. They can be as small as a good cup

39 | P a g e of coffee in the morning or as large as the country that you live in. Everything that you are truly grateful for is going to provide a positive energy in your life and allow you to be open to more. Being appreciative for the simple things in life is much easier when they are taken away for even just a short time. For example, when we lose power for a part of the day, we are lost. But you sure as heck have an appreciation when the power is back on. There is a power that comes with expressing gratitude for what you have. When you have heartfelt appreciation for what you do have, I believe that it opens the door for more of the same to show up in your life. Be grateful for the comfort of life we are provided each day. Enjoy the people who make your life the wonder that it is each day. The family and friends who provide the delightful flavor to your life. Being grateful is always a choice to appreciate what life brings you. Not for what it is, but for what it allows you to be and feel. All events can be positive life altering events if you choose to make them so. The Reward of Gratitude I have often considered being truly grateful is an important step in bringing more of what you want in your life into your life. Each and every day I am more and more convinced this is true. Where your focus lies, increases that element in your life. If you are focused on lack then more lack is what you experience. If you have a focus of thanks on what you have, more of that

40 | P a g e will come to you as well. If you can develop the mindset of gratitude, for each and every experience in your life, you can’t help but to be happier about your life and appreciate the blessings that come your way. Developing a process of gratitude should be a vital focus for each person who would like to have a happier life. Decide on a way to build that consistent gratitude and then turn it into a daily practice. By practicing this daily, you will be aware of what is in your life and how really grateful you should be for those blessings. I always try to have my notebook with me, so when I have a moment each morning I jot down my list of things I am grateful for. I would suggest this for everyone for three reasons. 1. Your focus on gratitude will bring more “good stuff�, into your life. 2. It creates a positive mindset of abundance. 3. It makes you look for new things to be grateful for in your day.

Gratitude Changes Things Things can change quickly through gratitude because often it is the focus that we need in order to help us gain what we are looking for. Making a gratitude list will become something real and powerful and create more happiness. Being grateful makes you happy because it allows an attitude that is accepting of new things entering your life.

41 | P a g e If you are lonely, look for the times when you don’t feel too lonely during the day and be thankful for those. If you are poor, be grateful for the things you do have, if you are not feeling well, find the moments you don’t feel as bad and be grateful for them. If you are particularly down, find the little things around you all the time, the weather, a smile from a stranger, flowers, an unexpected fortunate turn of events. Whatever you come in contact with, be grateful for it. A momentary contemplation of thanks is all it takes. The worst thing that will happen is you will feel better about life. The best thing that will happen is that you will open yourself up to more of the same kind of positive experiences. It doesn’t really matter if you believe what I am telling you or not. Just contemplate what will happen if you don’t do anything different? Nothing different will happen. If you are lonely, sick, poor, or just generally unhappy, what do you have to lose? Give it an honest attempt and see what it does in your life. Start your gratitude journal today and honestly see what it does for you. You will be happier with very little effort.

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder~

42 | P a g e “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.� ~John F. Kennedy ~ Please come visit Jonathan Hilton Mind Connections for more thought provoking material

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~SECRET 8~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Happiness Comes From Forgiveness “It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.� ~Maya Angelou To live life is to be let down. Disappointment just seems to come with the territory sometimes. Life gives us a few simple choices, carry around the anger of being hurt or to forgive and move on. Sometimes the actions are so painful that it seems impossible to forgive. It might feel like you will be letting the person that wronged you off the hook. That is the exact attitude that keeps you suffering and under the control of the person or event that hurt you for a long time. There are many benefits of forgiveness the will make your life a more enjoyable experience but most of all it will allow you to be happy .

Forgiveness Improves Your Health

Practicing forgiveness will improve your health and make you feel better physically. Letting go of the negative emotions surrounding any grudge holding or hurt is not debatable. They include lower blood pressure, a lower risk of depression, decreased anxiety, improved relationships, better heart health, and a stronger immune system.

44 | P a g e All of these coming from making the choice to forgive someone. The alternative is to hang on to the grudge and has all of the physical things above become a problem as in increased anxiety, higher blood pressure, poorer relationships, worse heart health and weaker immune system. Seems like a no-brainer for your health to forgive others or yourself and let go of the negative emotions surrounding an event in your life. Your health will be better for it and of course when you are healthier, you are happier. Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Forgiveness Nurtures Growth The size of the event doesn’t seem to matter.A relatively small event that you can’t forgive someone for or a huge mistake, when you maintain the grudge you are remaining stuck where you are. Think about it, any event that has happened in the past exists in the past and as long as your focus is on the past, that is where you will stay. To forgive and let go of the anger is going to allow you to move forward with your life. Using the knowledge of the mistake to move grow as a person. Forgiving those that have hurt you is the only way to become unstuck and move forward. Events in the past are not going to change, they are what they are. Only your attitude about them can

45 | P a g e change and you have total control over them. The person who gets the benefit of your forgiveness is going to be you. You will find that you have the capacity to create, be positive about the future and leave the weight of the past behind you. You will see the capacity to grow and be happy. It will surprise you how much you can do without all the extra weight of blame, anger, hatred and lack of forgiveness weighing you down. You can begin to grow again. Without growth life ceases to exist. Happiness becomes a part of your life.

Nobody is Off The Hook Forgiveness is not weighted. That is there are no levels of forgiveness depending on the wrong committed. You will still be weighed down, trapped by an event or person, and unable to grow until you decide to practice forgiveness. Many people I talk to say that what was done to them was too awful or too terrible to be forgiven. When you forgive, you do not condone or make anything morally right. You give yourself permission to leave the experience of the event behind you and to move forward. Nobody is let “off the hook� by your forgiveness except for you. You never have to talk to a person to forgive them. Forgiveness is a mental choice that you make which allows you to direct your thoughts in a more positive direction. It allows a person to create positive new memories and a life full of happiness and joy, rather than to be weighed down by the negative memory of an

46 | P a g e event or person from the path. All of the control in your life will move to you, and away from a negative event. You will become a stronger, more powerful person when you practice forgiveness because forgiveness is proactive. Anger, resentment, grudges and hate are all reactive. Happiness and contentment will be possible for the person who practices forgiveness.

Hard Forgiveness Personally, my struggles with forgiveness and being unhappy have provided some intense learning and personal growth. I have found forgiveness one of the most difficult things for me to muster up from the bottom of my soul at times. For most people who I carried low expectations, forgiveness comes easier. We are all learning the lessons of life. It is when someone who I expect more from has hurt me that I found it extremely difficult to forgive. When someone you trust and have high expectations of lets you down it is extremely devastating. The hurt is somehow more intense and long lasting. It is almost as if withholding forgiveness allows you some measure of control. That is simply an illusion. When you depend on someone to be on your side and to support you, no matter what, it is a hard lesson to find that they are human, and make mistakes too. In fact, their hypocrisy is one of the most painful hurts there is because it is so unexpected. Like a sucker punch from the Pope. It hurts twice as much, and is more difficult to

47 | P a g e forgive, because a trust has been violated, and it is deeply personal. Someone that you could always count on was now gone. If you can no longer trust your most trusted friends and loved ones, then there is nobody that you can rely on left in life. That leads to isolation, loneliness and being unhappy. Forgiveness of the ones that you cared about the most is most difficult to grant, but in the end, it is most important. Your heart will never fully heal until you grant this forgiveness. It doesn’t matter if they deserve it because you deserve it. This forgiveness will allow you to put the negative emotions associated with this hurt in the past, grow, and experience freedom in your life. It is time to sail on to the future, and see what adventure and achievement life has in store for you. Happiness results from forgiveness, it is as simple as that.

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.� ~Marianne Williamson

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~SECRET 9~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Growth is Life “I want to grow. I want to be better. You Grow. We all grow. We're made to grow.You either evolve or you disappear.� ~ Tupac Shakur I was once told that you are either getting better or you are getting worse in life. There is no way to stay the same. This thought often sits in my mind when I think about not doing a workout or finishing some work that I know I should do. It has been proven true in my life, either I am getting better physically, mentally and spiritually or I am getting worse. It would be difficult to continually grow by leaps and bounds each day, but I think we would all be happier if we managed to build a small percentage of improvement in your life each day. It is not too daunting to improve just a small fraction of a percent.

Improvement Physically Physical fitness is vital and even though the aging process makes the evaluation of your activity change, you can still improve your fitness and your quality of life each and every day. This can be done by having a consistent workout activity. Making that exercise important to you and positively participating when you should. Many people spend time comparing their right

49 | P a g e now body and fitness level to where they were in their youth. That is a big mistake because that person is long gone. Now you are a little older, the activity can be modified and adapted. The important thing is to seek growth, not to recapture the past. A person doesn’t have to be a world-class athlete in order to improve each day by a small percentage. A brisk walk on a consistent basis will lower your weight, improve your heart health and most likely add time on to your life. If you hike, lift weights, do aerobics, practice yoga or participate in Tai Chi you are improving your physical self. You are never trying to be better than anyone else in these activities. You only need to be better than who you were yesterday. Don’t worry about being the best, worry about being your best!

Mental Improvement Mentally the improvement is going to come from using that brain of yours to do something new. That is to learn and to think. Find something that you enjoy and start to learn all that you can about it. I learned once that if you dedicated one hour a day learning about something that interested you, you will be an expert in that field in relatively short order. I have applied this to finding ways to be happier and to complete this course. We live in a great time where all of the knowledge in the world is available at your fingertips and can be accessed online for free. You simply have to seek it. There is no reason that you can’t learn about anything your heart desires. If you are a visual learner, then

50 | P a g e Youtube is a channel that was built for you. You can watch people bake, do math, fix computers, work on cars or teach you about consciousness. It is all there for the asking. Mental growth is powerful and beneficial because once your mind grows it will not shrink again. New information and mental stimulation lead to a desire to learn more. At the least, read a book of substance that will teach you a life lesson, or something else valuable to your growth. It is never too late to go back to school if you want to take a more organized approach to things.

Spiritual Growth Spiritual growth is the process of awakening inside and becoming more conscious of your inner being. How a person travels this route is really up to them. I don’t believe there is only one way to get where you need to go. For some, the path of an established religion might be the best method, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, or some other religion might allow this understanding. You definitely don’t need any religion at all to become more aware. Evaluating your life and noticing the voice and thoughts of your true self, and putting aside the conditioned behaviors and beliefs that society has put in your mind is a real path to spiritual growth. Most of the spirituality that has helped me has come from a deeper understanding that there is a connection between myself and the world around me. I call it God, but you can call

51 | P a g e it by any name that you are comfortable with, all powerful, the Universe, or something else. Even if you are an atheist you can improve your spirituality by getting in touch with nature, the world around you and the world that exists inside you. I think that having an appreciation for the way the world works and a respect for all life is a way to improve your spirituality. Remember you are only looking to be a small percentage better than you were yesterday. That can happen in many different and enjoyable ways. Learn to meditate, learn to pray, practice deep breathing, or any other activity which will allow you to look inside of yourself for what truly matters in life will allow you to present this to others . One of the simple things that allow for growth is the practice of counting your blessings. There are always some things to be grateful for, recognize them and be thankful for them. These things make you feel happy and by recognizing them, and their value to you, it will increase that happiness. At any moment you can only entertain one thought at a time, if that thought is positive then you will feel happy, if it is negative then you will feel something else. Spend time focusing on the positive and you will be improving spiritually.

Financial Improvement One of the areas that most people have struggled is financially. Having money is a must in the world today and the more money we have directly related to the number and volume of the experiences we choose to

52 | P a g e participate in. So making more money is often the focus of activities and our lives. There are other important factors in life, that involve knowing what makes you happy and finding a method for getting paid to do that thing. That is the perfect job for you when you work at something that you love then you really never work a day in your life. Financial improvement is going to come from two things. First is to check your mental programming. Many people have beliefs of lack that were created when they were younger, for example: “Money is scarce.” , “Money is hard to come by.” , “Money is the root of all evil.”, “Money corrupts people.” , “You have to work extremely hard to make a lot of money.”, etc. All of these beliefs and many more limiting beliefs about money are just that, limiting beliefs. What you believe that you can accomplish you generally can. Reprogramming your beliefs is about as difficult a process as you determine it is going to be. There are programs out there to help guide you, but many advocate a simple recognition of your belief and a desire to change it. Secondly, I think a person needs to write down their goals. Many people state they have goals, about 3% of all people write down their goals, look at them repeatedly and then work to make them come about. Personally, I think that by writing down goals and looking at them repeatedly, will allow you to take steps to achieve them. Goal setting has been proven to work for people all over the world, in all areas. From business

53 | P a g e to athletics, those who achieve at a high level are generally goal setters who write their goals down. Taking action is the unwritten third factor, without action, nothing will happen. It can’t. Your action creates an energy that creates a response. There can be no response, positive or negative if you don’t do a thing. “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ― C. JoyBell C.

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~SECRET 10~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Surround Yourself with Positive People “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.� ~Oprah Winfrey One of the first rules of doing anything successfully is to surround yourself with great people and the project, assignment or event is destined to become the best success it can possibly be. This is also true for the amount happiness you want to experience in your life. Surround yourself with people who are positive, kind, look at the bright side and are happy, and it will be much easier to be happy. Focus on Removing the Negative How do you know if someone is a positive or a negative influence on your experience? It is simple, but difficult. You need to look at the topics of conversation that you are participating in when you are with them. The first evaluation is to look at the topics you discuss when you are with someone. If you are spending your time talking about someone else and the shortcomings then that negativity is going to rub off on your mood.

55 | P a g e There is a great quote I love that is attributed to Elanor Roosevelt which says, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.� That should be your evaluation of all of the discussions you have. If you are discussing other people then it needs to stop in order to find happiness. If you are the person bringing people up then it is a simple thing to stop it. If it is a friend or colleague then you have the right to steer them in another direction or to be upfront and ask them to stop. Right now all of your acquaintances are up for evaluation. This is not to judge anyone or put anyone down, this is to create an atmosphere in your life that exudes happiness. So start looking at the people you spend time with and the conversations you have. Try to steer the talks toward ideas Find People who are Electric There is a feeling that you experience whenever you meet anyone, it is a charge that you receive. Some people are obviously charged negatively, some are in the middle and some are on the highly positive side. These on the positive side are the ones to build relationships with, work with, and spend time with. You will find that these people are electric and will help all of your projects get off the ground and become the best that they can be. When you find these people, observe the way that they look at the world, challenges and other people and you will have the blueprint for how to be happier. It is the

56 | P a g e choice in thought that allows for the positive energy to flow. These people look at destruction and see the benefits or the bright side. These are attitudes equal to gold. It is easy to be negative and complain all the time, wallowing in a mistake, or in the past is easy to do. Those who can push past those things easily can pull you along with them. Find them, latch onto them, emulate them and spend time with as many as you can find. Being happy is easy when you are surrounded by positive and happy people. Life is too short to wallow in self-pity and judgment of other. “There are people in the world who make things better just by smiling. Some make whatever you are doing fun even if it is a boring or mundane task. Those are the people that you should cling to.�

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~SECRET 11 ~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Practice Positive Kind Thoughts “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ~Abraham

Lincoln Life is such a crazy, wild, up and down ride that it can be difficult to be happy all the time. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason why things happen and dealing with the sudden, quick changes that are thrown at us makes it hard to understand if there is something that we should be doing better. I mean, in the end, shouldn’t we be happy? Shouldn’t our daily routines and struggles bring us personal satisfaction and make us feel valuable as individuals? I think that it should, and one way to do this is to practice positive thinking.

What Positive Thinking Means I do not think that positive thinking means you only have bright, happy thoughts because that would be

58 | P a g e impossible. Everyone has darker thoughts, you almost can’t help it. Our egos have been building protective thoughts our entire lives and we are all equally capable of darkness as we are of the light. Your ego and its voice are designed to keep you safe. It has been conditioned by your experience, so if you gave something your all and failed in the past, ego remembers the pain and discourages you from taking future risks. Often by any means necessary, including destroying our confidence and discouraging you in the most devastating ways. This produces negative thoughts and energy about your abilities and actions. Many of these experiences take place earlier in life and all experiences in life can add to it. Learning to recognize this conditioning and its negative voice and keep moving toward your goals anyway is the key to positive thinking.

It’s Not a Cover Up We all have made choices that we know in retrospect weren’t the best. I know I have, and looking back, I can’t believe how bad some of these decisions were. What was I thinking? I used to beat myself up all the time about them, and they were a part of my daily existence. When you focus on the negative mistakes you made, it will only keep you in that negative space and bring more negativity into your life. You can’t change the past. All you can do is move on with the future.

59 | P a g e Positive thinking does not mean to forget or overlook these negative/poor choices, it is a way to put them into proper perspective. Accept that these things happened, then leave them in the past where they belong, because no amount of second guessing, longing, or fantasy replay in your head is going to change what happened in the past. It is done. It is over. That will not change. All that you can control is what you can learn from that situation and take those lessons with you. This doesn’t mean sugar coat it or ignore it, but deal with it process it and put it behind you and move on. Each choice and experience offer a lesson of some kind. If you can understand that lesson it will bring you knowledge and wisdom to help guide you through future choices in a much more valuable way. This is the development of wisdom. Using this wisdom as a guide the next time you meet a similar situation, you will not choose poorly or do something you will regret. You will be moving in a positive direction and making choices that will honor you.

What is A Positive Thought Positive thoughts come from the emotions we entertain, the words we speak and the actions we take. These all come from a place of love or a place of fear. You can imagine that emotions, words, and actions that come from love bring with it peace, understanding, empathy, sympathy, kindness, hope, truth and of course love. Those that come from fear bring hate, doubt,

60 | P a g e anger, jealousy, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. These are all thoughts that we have control of the level of focus we give to them. Positive thinking is the practice of embracing the thoughts, words and actions of love and paying little to no attention to the thoughts, words or actions of fear. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have them because we all do. Someone makes you mad, or treats you poorly and the thoughts of fear will rise. You will always have a choice at this point, let them rule your actions, or recognize them, experience them and choose the emotions, words, and actions that will bring happiness back to you. This doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you because you can defend yourself and your being without resorting to hateful, violent or unhealthy thoughts. You can do it with understanding, empathy and love.

Another Positive Thought For me, when I started to realize that I could entertain whatever thought I wanted, it changed the way I looked at the world and the people in it. The power of knowing that I was in charge of how I felt was overwhelming. It made me want to learn more because experiencing life through this lens was a much more fulfilling and enjoyable. This led to more social experiments and finding the reaction of others is almost always a mirror of the emotions you show to them. Strangers smile and are friendly when you extend friendship. People appreciate

61 | P a g e you when you show them appreciation. It is not hard to look at what someone else does and appreciate the thought, time, and talent it took to create whatever it is they are doing.

Let Things Play Out It never ceases to amaze me that when something happens to you, good, bad, or neutral, almost always it provides an opportunity to grow and develop as a human being. All you have to do is be aware and accepting of the lessons. I have beat myself up and ridiculed myself for years about decisions in my past, only to realize I was wasting my time because those things actually set in motion circumstances that greatly benefited me in the end. I also came to appreciate that those benefits would have never been able to occur in any other way. I think that when I relax and let events play out, and accept what is happening that I can achieve greatness. This doesn’t mean we are off the hook on the action because we always have a choice and we have the ability to act. Don’t be afraid to act, but understand that your action may end up in failure, but that failure may be the step you need to take to reach the highest potential, that you have inside you. Positive thinking and approaching all people and circumstances with loving thoughts will allow you to find true happiness in all phases of your life.

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You Are Great, There is Really Nothing You Can Do About it! Now it is time to stop blaming yourself for the past and believing all the thoughts of fear. You made choices. Accept it, learn from it and move on to the rest of your life. You were not put on the Earth to think about the past with negativity and unhappiness. You are here to be great! Everyone is born with a greatness inside of them, and some easily find it. Some have to work harder because life is full of should haves, would haves and could haves that work to hide your happiness from you in your mind. Remember there are always two sides to the coin of emotion, words, and actions. You choose which side the coin lands on in your life, love or fear. Choosing love will eradicate unhappiness. “Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.� ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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~SECRET 12~ My 12 Secrets to Happiness

Never Worry About What Other People Think “The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” ~Virginia Woolf~

In my life, there are few things that I have spent more time worrying about needlessly than the thoughts about me that are running around in someone else’s mind. I would worry if what I was doing was acceptable to others or what they might think of me if they saw that I liked certain things. All of this is a waste of time that takes away from your individual happiness and becoming happier will be a natural byproduct of giving up the worry about what other people thinks about you, your actions and your life. We all want to be liked, accepted, praised or admired, but all of those things are dependent on the thoughts of others and if you rely on these things to give you happiness, they can be taken away by the choices of another person.

People Believe What They Want To The truth is often a rare visitor to some people, and they choose to believe whatever is most convenient to them

64 | P a g e at the time. If it sheds a positive or negative light on you is of little consequence to most people. No matter how nice, considerate, kind and understanding you choose to be, there are going to be people you come in contact with that simply are not fans. They don’t like your name, the way you talk, the manner in which you walk or something that you said. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. You can’t control this and to let the thoughts and opinions of others dictate your level of happiness in life is simply not a healthy way to live your life. You will not be able to control people with how you think or speak. All you can do is think and speak in a manner that is honest and true to you. Other people will feel how they are programmed to feel about it. I once realized when I was teaching high school that there is about 1/3rd of the people who are going to love you no matter what you do. There is about 1/3rd of the people who dislike you no matter what you do. And the other 1/3rd can be won over or lost due to your behavior. Be who you are, be honest, be truthful, be kind and all of those people that matter will gravitate toward you. Those that are not on your side won’t and you will be much happier for it.

What others think is none of your business All thoughts are personal to each person’s experience of life. There is no reason to put more emphasis on other people’s thought than you would on yours. We have no way of knowing the belief system that another person has developed over their life, and that is just fine. Each person has a right to think however they want about you

65 | P a g e and if it is negative, most often that is because of their own experiences and beliefs that have nothing to do with you. Don’t judge someone as bad because they don’t seem to like you, respect them and their opinion. It really has no bearing on your life at all. All you can control are your thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs, and doing that well will allow you some happiness.

People Don’t Think of You As Much as YOU Think We often see ourselves as the center of attention, and of course to us, we are. To other people, we are simply a bit player in the drama that is their life. We drift into their thoughts from time to time and then not at all. Most often, people are not thinking of you at all and that means that the stress that you put on your own perceptions about these thoughts are going to be wasted energy. There are many times when I was worried about what others thought, only to come to the harsh realization that most people really don’t think of me at all. This is a powerful and enlightening realization. If someone does think negatively about me, then it is more of a reflection of their own shortcomings and character flaws than anything that has to do with me. Learning to not care what others thinks is a difficult lesson but one that is very freeing.

Those who Mind, don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.

66 | P a g e Accept the fact that you are going to be gossiped about, criticized and judged by some people no matter who you are. Especially, if you have something worthwhile to say. Being an interesting and dynamic person is going to attract some of this. Those who are negative toward you are often driven by the negative power of fear. Either jealousy about your freedom of thought or about seeing the honest person you are, which sheds a light on the limits in their own lives. The people who truly matter will not be this way and for every critical, negative, angry, mean person you come in contact with, there are at least two out there who are totally on your side and support you completely. They love everything you think and do. Focus on them, because they are the ones that you want to connect with anyway. The negative ones are going to do nothing but drag you down and hold you there. Let them go, let their thoughts go, let their negative actions go. They are all just a reflection of their own limiting beliefs.

Nobody’s Approval Needed to Be Great I understand how great it feels to be praised and encouraged. Yet it is unhealthy to put your value of a person on the line in order to be these things. There is no way to control the thoughts of others and make them care or be kind to you. Since you can’t control it, then why spend time worrying about it? Be who you are, do what you do, think how you think and let people join you or be against you as they see fit. They have the same freedom to control their lives the same way that your decisions and beliefs are all up to you. There is no

67 | P a g e requirement for anyone else’s approval for you to be the best that you can be. You will be great when you choose to accept the great things about yourself that exist naturally within you. Happiness is the inevitable result of this decision. Mastering this very difficult skill is one of the best ways to increase the happiness in your life right now. Let others think what they will, know yourself and build your experience based on what works for you and forget about the thoughts of others.

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu~

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FINAL THOUGHTS Happiness is important in life because the experience you have each day will be controlled by how happy you are about them. The real secret to happiness is that you really do control all of the factors that make you happy. If you feel you need more money, then you can set goals and take actions to get you there. If a more fulfilling relationship is what you desire then follow the same path. Each day is an opportunity for you to make the choices that will lead to more happiness, enjoyment and fulfillment in your life. Recognize the areas of lack, then make a conscious choice to increase their presence in your life. It sounds almost too easy, but life makes things unnecessarily complicated. Don’t allow this to be the case in your experience. I have read a lot about this topic and the conclusion that I always come to is that happiness is a choice, and we all make it for ourselves. You will decide if at the end of your days, the journey was filled with moments of unbridled joy, pure misery or somewhere in between. Personally I wish you the best on your journey, and that you find exactly what you are looking for.

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Meet Jonathan Hilton, the author of this little book. He is a writer from Maine who has found joy in sharing his thoughts and ideas with others. A lifelong learner and physical fitness fanatic, Jonathan was a history teacher for 14 years but was looking for his niche and found it in writing and creating, especially things that create positivity. Jonathan loves educating and inspiring other authors and entrepreneurs to succeed and live the life of their dreams.

Make sure to check out all of his work at Follow His Facebook Page 71 | P a g e

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us” ~Ashley Montagu

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ~Winnie the Pooh

“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

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Profile for Jonathan Hilton

My 12 Secrets to Happiness  

12 things I try to do each day to create a more enjoyable life experience. They are simple, easy and free for everyone. There is no excuse t...

My 12 Secrets to Happiness  

12 things I try to do each day to create a more enjoyable life experience. They are simple, easy and free for everyone. There is no excuse t...