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Aha! Moments (49 posts)
-52-year-old Ex-Marine Angela Madsen, who became paraplegic, homeless, and now, a Paralympian.
"I started taking responsibility ... and started making the changes and decisions to move positively forward in my life. I didn't row across my first ocean until I was 47. I have six Guinness World Records for rowing oceans. I've circumnavigated Great Britain ... I've been places on this planet that no human being has ever been before. A thousand miles from land in any direction ... it's been a pretty amazing life."
"A goal is arguably just a random something that is sufficiently far away. A caprice. But somehow, if taken seriously, if treated as fate, a goal can make an odyssey out of what would otherwise just be the small hours of life. One sets out to fulfill the prophecy no prophet ever professed, and the drama of how to get there from here makes meaning out of what might otherwise be just meanderings."
--From an ELLE magazine profile of one of our heroes, Diana Nyad, who will make another attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida this summer.
"Even a smile is charity."
--2012 Manitoba Humanitarian of the Year winner, Albert El Tassi, philanthropist and businessman, on how anyone can contribute to helping others.
Just about a month before his death, Yauch spoke with Project Happiness about the true meaning of -- and way to find -- happiness. He explained how his work for the people of Tibet had contributed to his own sense of happiness and peace: "I guess one way to look at it is that if one wants to create more happiness in their life in the future, then working towards doing more altruistic things or things to benefit other people, that’s the way to get there."
The interviewer asked him what everyday, non-celebs can do to make the world a better place. I love Yauch's response: "Everything we do affects other people... Every way that we interact with other people, even if it’s like, you’re at the store and buying something, and it’s the way that you interact with the clerk at the store. EVERY action that we take has some motivation of either being selfish or altruistic. All that adds up."
To Yauch happiness was looking outward, whether that translated into making music that meant something to people or getting involved in a large-scale human rights campaign. And looking outward, as he put it, can be a part of every day, every interaction. You don't have to make a number one hit, but you can make music to entertain your friends or family or self. You don't have to save all of Tibet, but you can be polite to the clerk at the store. According to Yauch in this interview, everyday kindness was the way to long-term happiness. And if you're looking for short-term happiness, a shot of pure silly joy in the moment, you might just have to listen to some Beastie Boys.
Read the entire interview, and learn more about Project Happiness, here.
Meet Mr. Happy Man
Revelations From the Happy Movie
How to be Happy
"I still walk around some mornings and look at the world and think, 'Oh my God. This is so fantastic, and there's so many opportunities to do good and to be happy.'"
--Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Anna Quindlen on growing older and living a spiritual life.
"Thinking of that little boy pondering the inevitable and the unknowable, I was even more grateful for a family legacy that taught me, and allowed me to teach him, that not everything has to be useful, not everything has to lead to something more—that sometimes, for no reason and with no purpose, you can just curl up on the couch, feel the soft breeze, and drift into a soft, delicious sleep that leads to nowhere in particular, and back again."
--Author Cathleen Schine, on her family's love of napping and how she passed it on to her son, though he was afraid to go to sleep.
I happened upon this blog post by Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons called "The Scary Ordinary Man That Was Mike Wallace," in which Gibbons writes, "Wallace was considered a lightweight for years...in 1962, he had a game change moment." His game change moment? The accidental death of his young son Peter while on a hiking trip in Greece. "Stunned, he...reassessed his life. He didn't want to be what he considered a lightweight anymore. He wanted to do serious news. He wasn't sure what that meant, but he knew he couldn't continue what he was doing. "
Who knew that this thing no one should ever have to experience, the death of a child, was what inspired Wallace to get serious? Who knew he was ever not serious? It seems that the skilled seeker of secrets was harboring one of his own. As is, we are reminded (again), almost everyone.
A Guide to Confessing Your Deep Dark Secrets
The Accident That Was Anjelica Huston's Aha! Moment
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
"I've said many times to myself, 'I can't imagine that happening to me.' It was the unimaginable to me. But guess what, it happened and I got through it."
-Actress Jennie Garth, who is getting divorced after 11 years of marriage.
"Don't be afraid to go ahead and try. It's hard, but once you get the hang of it, you'll enjoy it."
-James Arruda Henry, an illiterate lobster boat captain who learned to read—and became an author —in his '90s.
"We want to send the flowers while people can still smell them."
-Nick Cannon, on saying goodbye to Whitney Houston and his own brush with death.
Every day we squinted up at it. It was kind of ugly, like an aggressively modern, metallic stalactite. It kind of looked like The Terminator if The Terminator were a ceiling fan. Then it stopped working properly, sometimes just randomly shutting off. So that was annoying (and, we didn't realize, ominous)."We should replace it," I'd say, decisively. "Wait, maybe we should have someone look at it. I mean, it's already up there. Wait. No, we should get a new fan. Wait, no, I know, just a light." I was going to decide what to do, soon. Eventually. Weeks passed.
Then the ceiling fan burst into flames.
After the fire department left, after the charred hunks of fan were disposed off, after the soot was scrubbed from the ceiling, after every one was settled back at home, safe and sound, after we'd counted our blessings and told ourselves how much worse it could have been and how actually lucky we were, my husband knew just what to say to make me feel better about the whole thing: "Well, at least that makes that decision easier."
It was true. But it got me thinking. While it was, um, decisive, this was not actually probably the best way to make a decision. What other choices am I putting off, to everyone's detriment? What else in our lives is ticking away, waiting for us pick one way or another? Let's assume that every procrastinated decision will not resolve itself in a ball of fire...but you never know. Better to just take down that ceiling fan, or whatever it is in your life, and move on. As a wise man I know likes to say, "There is making the right decision...and then there is making the decision right." Which is why I decisively love my new, simple non-exploding kitchen light.
7 Steps To Making Better Decisions
Decision-Making for a Stronger Life
"It’s okay for people to have opinions. It’s a discussion. Everyone has an opinion about something. Maybe you don’t agree, but it doesn’t mean it was anything more than that."
-Lucy Liu, on what can happen with strong personalities at work
"And are we only physical forms? Is it wise to focus so much attention on our shell that we lose our connection to the greater source that animates us all?"
-Filmmaker and activist Susan Hess Logeais, on plastic surgery
"I am the person I am today because of the values she instilled in me and the guidance and love she showed me," he said of his mother. "It's definitely unfair and stigmatizing to say a mother and son can't be close."