Happiness Habits is an inspirational guidebook to help readers achieve the life they have always dreamed about. A little book with a big idea, this helpful how-to features assessments, stories, and practices for inner exploration and expansion. Each of the 52 topics ushers readers from a just extra ordinary existence to an extraordinary life, with inspiring stories from real people. Filled with encouraging quotes, moving examples, tips and tools, this book reminds us all that we must keep exploring ourselves and our world to live to our fullest potential. Selected chapters include "Daydreaming is Essential (And Makes Your Smarter!)," "Stand for Something," "Your Differences Are Your Greatest Assets," "Love With No Regrets," "Be a Great Friend," "The Tao of Dishes," "Inoculate Yourself With the Positive," "Listening – The Quality of Our Attention," "Forgive, Forget, and Delete," "Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor," and "What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?"
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Brenda Knight is a publisher and editor who writes about women's history and issues affecting women's lives today. The author of Sheroes, Wild Women and Books, and the American Book Award-winning Women of the Beat Generation, Brenda also does volunteer work with women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Brenda believes everyone does have the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness and lives in one of the happiest places on earth, the San Francisco Bay Area.
Your Differences Are Your Greatest Assets
When I first moved to foggy California, my best friend Kimberly and I had driven straight from West Virginia and crossed the country in only three days. We took turns driving our beat-up little car; I would sleep while Kim took a shift and vice versa. I remember being aggravated that I couldn’t get her to wake up and see the Great Arch of St Louis as we hurriedly drove by, the first rays of the morning sun glinting and sparkling all around us. The next night, I remember feeling immensely grateful she was a deep sleeper as we almost slid off the road at 3 am in an unseasonal Rocky Mountain blizzard. We didn’t have money for hotels so we two hicks hastened to what we knew was surely the land of milk and honey. Kim’s friend, Jeff Westbrook, lived in San Francisco and we were promised a basement floor with two pieces of foam for sleeping. In other words, paradise!
Our hosts, themselves Appalachian expats, had transformed themselves into glamorous urban creatures of enormous sophistication long dyed-black hair, black jeans, vintage garb, piercings in odd places. It was very exciting and extremely intimidating, all at the same time. My first day, I was actually wearing a blue gingham patchwork dress, pretty chic for back home, which I now realized was not even good enough for a pillowcase in San Francisco. I was also shocked to discover the cost of living and what it would take to get by. I felt like an utter hayseed. Kimberly wasn’t feeling well and took to her foam. So, I was left to get to know Jeff, his cool girlfriend, and the punk rock band that lived at 808 Haight and practiced in the basement (Turns out the foam was excess sound proofing.) They were very nice but I could see the pity in their eyes as they extracted tales of growing up on a dirt road and my whole life story of about 90 seconds. They had lived in the largest city in West Virginia, so my farm girl accent was pretty pronounced, even to them. They were very kind and patient and took me out and around to parties and their regular hangouts. Upon being introduced around, people invariably commented on my accent and seemed terribly amused by it.
The $500.00 I had saved for the move was rapidly evaporating and I was realizing I needed to get a job as quickly as possible. I walked to the financial district to save the bus fare and applied for a temp job. As luck would have it, I got placed and started working the same day for Morgan Stanley, a fancy financial outfit. Relieved to have work, I threw myself into it and filed, answered phones, typed memos, and ran errands. I would have scrubbed the floor if anyone has asked. Interestingly, my newly arrived Appalachian Alien status seemed to be helpful at my new job. They didn’t even seem to notice my fashion failures and we quickly fell into comradely routines with quick lunches, not too much chat but just enough, and I felt like I belonged. As receptionist and all around office helper, I spent a lot of time on the phone and a funny thing happened- stockbrokers from New York and the like, seemed to LIKE my funny accent. Once I had that figured out, there was no stopping me, I was an out-and-proud hayseed! I confess to working it” and finding my dirt-road origins to be an unfailing asset in business and in every other part of life. I now work in The Lower Haight, about a block from the famous foam-filled basement. I made a little movie with my fellow expats, Lower Haight Holler” in which we celebrate being hicks in the city. I learned to not only appreciate but to treasure that what made me different was one of my greatest strengths.
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