Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Ultimate Key to Happiness and Success

High Self-esteem

There is one necessary and essential ingredient for happiness and success. It is high self-esteem. In previous newsletters, I have explained how your self-concept controls your performance. Simply put, if you think you are a loser, you will perform as a loser. If you think you are winner, you will perform as a winner. If you think you are mediocre, your performance will be mediocre.

High self-esteem is your armor against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as Hamlet might say. High self-esteem is your armor against rejection, disappointment, and criticism that we all experience in our daily lives. If your self-esteem is high, you will shrug off rejection, disappointment and criticism. You will forge ahead to reach your goals and succeed.

The Answer to Attaining High Self-esteem

To have High Self-esteem you need ongoing positive attention from others. It is essential. Positive attention is called a positive stroke. Eric Berne coined the term "stroke" to denote a unit of human recognition.

Why It's Called 'Strokes'

Here's a true story that explains the source of the term, 'stroke.' An orphanage in Romania had 50 infants with only two nurses to care for them night and day. It took all the nurses time and energy to prepare the formula and feed the babies. They had to prop the babie's bottles up on a pillow, insert the nipple in their mouth and go on to the next baby. The babies were well fed, they were warm and kept clean. Outside of this, they received no attention. The mortality rate was enormous.

A solution was found When Renee Spitz studied the problem at this and similar orphanages. Autopsies of deceased infants revealed that the baby's spines were shriveled up. The doctors prescribed physical stroking for new babies. Volunteers came in and simply stroked each infant. These babies survived. From these studies, the term 'strokes' was conceived. Although the strokes given the infants where physical, the term was expanded to include psychological strokes because they have effects similar to physical strokes. A psychological stroke is any kind of attention -- a greeting, a look, a word, a gesture, or any act that says "I know you're here."

Strokes are essential Not only for high self-esteem, they are essential for emotional and physical health. The power of strokes varies from a weak nod from a stranger to intense love between lovers.

People hunger for strokes And will go to surprising lengths to satisfy that hunger. You need to have your stroke hunger satisfied to feel good about yourself and have high self-esteem.

Positive Strokes and Negative Strokes

Strokes are either positive or negative. Positive strokes are honest, direct, appropriate, and relevant to the situation. They leave the person feeling good, alive, alert and significant.

Positive strokes can be an expression of affection or appreciation: "You saved the day by finishing that report." "It's a pleasure to work in the same office with you."

Positive strokes can be complements: "Your proposal is clear, concise, and what we need." "Your flowers brighten up the office."

Negative Strokes Some strokes are negative. A slap in the face, a criticism, a rejection are negative strokes and invite low self-esteem.

Someone can use positive words to give a negative stroke. For instance, if someone says, "Your proposal is clear, concise, and what we need," in a sarcastic tone, the effect is a negative stroke. Many people say they fear and hate rejection. Taking rejection as a personal discount of yourself diminishes your self-esteem. You feel less okay about yourself. That hurts. No wonder people fear and hate rejection.

In the business world, you cannot avoid getting negative strokes. The reality is that people have their own agendas. They may not want what you have to offer. Another source of negative strokes that you should understand is that there are a surprising number of people who make themselves feel better by putting others down. Sometimes you become their target through no fault of your own.

One defense is to withdraw and not be active. Obviously, this guarantees No action means no results, no business. A better defense than withdrawing is to have very high self-esteem so that you can shrug off negative strokes and continue doing business.

Building Positive Self-esteem with Strokes One of the ways to build your self-esteem is to put yourself into situations where you receive strong positive strokes. A loving supportive relationship with your mate is a great help. Choosing positive friends and colleagues is another good source of positive strokes. Joining a support group is an excellent strategy. This is the power of mastermind groups. You can hire a coach. A business coach is trained to give you positive strokes in the form of honest feedback and encouragement.

Giving positive strokes to others will also do wonders for your own self-esteem. Take every opportunity to acknowledge someone. Thank people. Give sincere complements and honest positive evaluations of colleagues' performances. Countless studies have shown that focusing on positive behaviors results in higher performance than focusing on the negative.

Avoid giving negative strokes. It can be very seductive to give "constructive criticism." Engage in this only when asked and you are sure the request is genuine. Avoid the "I'm only trying to help you" game like the plague.

Losers build up their self-esteem by tearing down people. Winners build up their self-esteem by building up people.


To achieve ultimate happiness and success, you need to have a winner mindset. A winner has high self-esteem that enables him to overcome rejections and negative strokes. An important way to build your self-esteem is to get and give positive strokes. Wishing you ultimate happiness and success,

High Self-esteem There is one necessary and essential ingredient for happiness and success. It is high self-esteem. In previous newsletters, I have explained how your self-concept controls your performance. Simply put, if you think you are a loser, you will perform as a loser. If you think you are winner, you will perform as a winner. If you think you are mediocre, your performance will be mediocre.

Stan Mann, C.P.C. supports business owners, top executives and commission salespeople to substantially grow their business and have a balanced life. He is a Certified Professional Coach. For additional articles and resources please visit


What is Life Happiness?

Everyone wants to be happy, but what does happiness really mean? How do we know if we're happy? Can anyone be happy all of the time? How do we find happiness? When we talk about life happiness, these are the questions that we ask.
Our perception of life happiness is as individual as the way we perceive hot or cold. For all of us, it's sort of the same, yet it's also different. Every individual person is different, and therefore each persons description of what makes a life happy will also be different. says happiness is:
1. Characterized by good luck; fortunate
2. Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy

Webster's Dictionary says happiness is: A state of well-being and contentment

So, if we use these definitions, in order for us to say we are happy we would be fortunate, showing pleasure and feeling content. That makes sense. Most of the people that we think are happy usually show these characteristics, so lets use this definition and go from there.

Can I have life happiness if I don't think I'm fortunate? Hmmm, that's an interesting question isn't it? Most people are happy when they feel fortunate or blessed by good luck, and most people who feel unfortunate or feel like they have lots of bad luck are unhappy. BUT, perception is everything. A person can break their leg in a skiing accident (bad luck) and still be happy and smiling because they feel blessed and fortunate (probably because they didn't break both legs!). They could be happy because they know they will heal, and because they had such a great time right up until they ran into that tree! Get the picture?

Or a person could have what most of us would call good fortune and still seem not to have life happiness. There is an art to happiness, and some of us know it and some of us don't, but we all can learn.

Is life happiness the same for everyone? Probably not, even though the normal signs of happiness listed above in the dictionary definitions probably show up in every person who is happy. Different things make different people happy, so happiness and the pursuit of happiness cannot be the same. For example: I am a quiet type of person who loves to work from home and socializes only once or twice a week. You may be a very gregarious person who works in an office full of people and lunches with a different person each day and goes to a party every Saturday evening. We're both happy, but our lifestyles are very different. Besides that, what you view as something that would produce happiness may not be a priority for me. Maybe it makes you happy to go on wonderful ski vacations twice a year. It might make me happy to go on wonderful vacations in my back yard and to squirrel my money away. Both situations are right, and we are both happy.

How do you know if you're happy? The best way to tell if you are happy is to ask yourself how you are feeling. Really feeling. Do you feel at ease, relaxed and OK with how things are going on a pretty consistent basis? Then you're probably happy. Feel your body. Is your body relaxed, does it feel calm? You're probably happy. Remember, happiness doesn't come from anywhere but inside. If you are in tune with what is right for you, you will be happy. If you are trying to live someone else's definition of authentic happiness, you probably won't be.

Can anyone have authentic happiness all the time? Yes! Well, OK, if a terrible tragedy strikes, you probably won't be happy at that time. But, you can work through the tragedy and the accompanying emotions knowing that life happiness can and will return when you've taken time to properly allow healing. Otherwise, yes. You can be happy all the time. Maybe not jumping up and down and laughing happy every moment, but peaceful content happy, certainly, and that's equally valuable. Life's small irritants come and go each and every day. We have a choice whether we greet them with a calm smile or with an angry frown. Either is fine, but the calm smile will help you navigate life in a more happy state of being, and help you find happiness on a consistent basis. Remember, the art of happiness has a lot to do with perception.

Recent research on happiness shows what many of us have long suspected. Happiness, and the pursuit of happiness has more to do with an individual's perception and what's going on inside that person, than money, fame, or power. Even though those things may bring a feeling that is like happiness, it is attached to those things. Authentic happiness seems to be much more attached to how a person looks at life. Fortunately, if you find yourself with a constant "glass half empty" outlook, you can teach yourself to have a "glass half full" attitude and gain happiness.

Being happy is the meaning of life for us humans! This is what many of the great masters believe. We all want to be happy. But what is happiness? Is it the same for everyone? How do we know if we're happy? And can anyone be happy all of the time? How can we find happiness?

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