Ways you are preventing success.

By David Joel Miller.

Roadblock to goal

Roadblock to Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many ways are you standing in the path of becoming successful.

Some people rack up a lot of successes in life, other people find that mostly they fail.  Successful people always have a few failures.  But if you find that mostly your life has been a string of failures with few successes you may want to look at what is causing that.  There are some habits, which some people have, that we sometimes call self-sabotaging.  Some people are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  If you find that the dominant theme in your life is failure you may be engaging in some of these success preventing behaviors.

You blame others for your failures.

The road to success involves taking a lot of personal responsibility.  If you find that when you fail you are always blaming someone else, your lack of looking at your own part in these failures may be creating a repeating pattern.

You spend a lot of time doing things you don’t care about.

To be successful you have to put in the work.  Doing the practice that is required to develop skills takes time.  If you find that you are spending a lot of time to doing things that aren’t important and you don’t really care about, you are wasting valuable practice time on things that don’t add to your success.

You let your fears keep you from trying.

It’s possible to try and fail.  But you will fail at 100% of the things that you don’t try to do.  You will never have any big successes if you let your fears keep you from trying things in the first place.

You make a big deal out of your failures.

The more time you spend focusing on the things you fail at, the less time it leaves you for planning and executing possible successes.  Don’t stay focused on the things that didn’t succeed.  Devote your energy, your time and your thinking on planning for the projects of the future.

You spend a lot of time regretting the past.

People whose life theme is failure spend a lot of time rehashing the past.  To increase your success percentages, focus your time on planning for the future and work on your projects in the present.

You constantly worry about future.

It’s important to consider the future, to plan for it and to plan for all eventualities.  But there’s nothing you can do today but today’s work.  Worry doesn’t keep you safe.  Working, planning and preparing for the future increases your chances of success.

You can see the negative in everything.

The pessimist sees the negative everywhere they look.  Pessimists don’t create grand successes.  If you spend all your time focused on the negative, you have no time to create a positive.

You try to please everyone all the time.

Trying to please everyone all the time is playing to the lowest common denominator.  You can’t please everyone.  Innovative ideas require taking chances.  If you are creative few people will have thought of your idea before you.  Successful people get off the beaten track and do new novel things.

You believe goals are waste of time.

If you believe that goals are a waste of time you are not going anywhere.  Successful people have goals to direct their path.  The goals keep you from spend most of your time wandering aimlessly.  If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t recognize it when you get there.  Is your failure to plan a planning for failure?

You have forgotten how to have fun.

If the life you live is a life of drudgery, nothing will make you feel successful.  Life has its ups and its downs.  Make sure that you enjoy the journey or you will arrive at the destination worn out from the road.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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How to become more positive.

By David Joel Miller.

Want a more positive life, try these happiness tips.

Happy man

Happiness tip – be positive.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Positive people are a lot happier and more productive than people who see everything in a negative light.  Pessimistic people like to say they’re just being realistic. It is possible to be very positive and still see life in a realistic manner.  Being positive also has the side benefit of making you more fun to be around.  Take a look at some of these positivity tips and see if applying them to your life would be beneficial.

1. Be kind to yourself to become more positive.

Cruelty makes the world an awful place.  Being cruel to yourself is a very unhelpful practice.  Begin your efforts to be more positive by being kind to yourself.  As you began to treat yourself better it will become easier and easier to treat others well.  Kindness is a close cousin to positivity.

2. Use positive affirmations to multiply your positivity.

The things you say to yourself, about you, have a habit of coming true.  Adopt the practice of using positive affirmations.  Each day tell yourself something positive about you.  Find positive sayings that will motivate you to do your best.  Make sure these positive affirmations are things you really believe are possible.  Positive affirmations can do a lot to motivate you.

3. Giving yourself credit for things well done builds a more positive outlook.

Make sure that you recognize the things that you do well.  Believing in yourself and accepting credit where credit is due are parts of becoming more positive.  Are you one of those people who find it hard to accept a compliment?  There’s nothing wrong with accepting praise and compliments when they are deserved.  Becoming willing to recognize when you’ve done something well is one of the steps along the path to a more positive life.

4. Develop a positive support system.

The more you hang out with people, the more you begin to adopt their habits and attitudes.  To be one of the positive people make sure that you hang out with other positive people.  Work on enlarging your support system.  Surround yourself with people who will support you in being more positive.

5. Take responsiblity for your life.

There may be many things in your life over which you have no control.  Two things you do have control of are your attitude and your actions.  No one but you can truly make you happy.  While they may set situations in motion, situations better to your liking, you will choose whether to be happy or to be disappointed with what they have done for you.  The happy positive life is a matter of personal responsibility.

6.  Please yourself first for a more positive life.

No matter how hard you try there are some people you will never be able to please.  Work on doing the things that will please you.  If you don’t please yourself no amount of doing and pleasing others will make you happy.  Being positive enlarges your happiness.

7. Get clear on your yes’s and no’s.

Do the thing you want to do. Say no to the things you don’t wish to do.  Get clear on which is which.  Positive people stay positive by eliminating that negative and those no’s from their life.  Spend your time on the things you really want to accomplish for a more positive life.

8. Focus on the lesson you learned not what you did wrong.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing all your attention on your errors.  Part of the process of learning is making mistakes.  It is OK to be less than perfect.  What you do need to do is make sure that you learn from the mistakes as you make them.  Positive people believe that mistakes are them learning another way that won’t work.

9. Plan, not ruminate, to be more productive.

Don’t spend a lot of time going and over and over things that happened in the past.  Avoid a lot of time worrying about things that might happen in the future.  Keep your focus on the present moment and on planning for what you are going to do.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Life lessons you need to learn.

By David Joel Miller.

What life lessons do you need to learn?

Learning lifes lessons

Life lessons you need to learn.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You probably went to school for a while or you wouldn’t be reading this. You learned your alphabet, reading and some math. Maybe a little history, very little history if you are typical. What most of us missed out on were the lessons about the required emotional skills. How you get through this life in one piece.

By life lessons I am not necessarily talking about how to cook a meal or wash some clothes, though those are useful skills. What I am talking about is how to go about really “living” this thing we call a life. What do you do to create a happy life out of the raw material that will be thrown at you?

Below are some of the life lessons you may not have gotten enough training in. There are things counselors work on with their clients all the time. If you see any of these life lessons you feel you need to work on, consider some therapy or a good book on self-improvement that covers the part you still need to learn.

Stress reduction will keep you from stressing out.

Life is stressful. There is good stress and bad stress. Much of this thing we call stress is the result of our anticipating what will happen, not the actual happening. In another post about stress I wrote about how people who are going through a really difficult time can be less stressed out than those who are afraid they will have to have that experience.  Accept that stress is a required part of living.  Learn to reduce the impact of that stress on your life.

Emotional Regulation is a skill that will keep you out of trouble.

It comes as a surprise to many people that they can regulate their emotions.  Most of us started out having feelings and then either getting in trouble for those feelings or being told we shouldn’t feel the way we were feeling.  Turns out that learning to regulate your emotions is an important life skill.

Many people end up having to take anger management classes where they learned that it is not other people who are “making them angry” but it is the way they view the situation that creates their anger.  Anger is not the only emotion you need to learn to regulate.  You will feel sadness and emotional pain. People who are good and regulating these emotions feel them but don’t get carried away.

Interpersonal communication is a make or break life skill.

Interpersonal communication is a skill that many people need to work on.  Some people get this skill wrong and develop the belief that interpersonal communication means learning how to tell other people things.  The biggest part of the interpersonal communications consists of learning how to accurately listen to others.  When you get a clear picture of what other people are saying you will discover that there are far fewer things you need to argue with.

Developing a support system isn’t always an easy skill to develop.

Having the support of people in your life makes life a whole lot easier.  For most people, friends were something that just happened.  In the early school grades anyone that you spend time with could easily become your friend.  As we get older it becomes harder and harder to make real lasting friends.

When you are too close to things you miss the big picture.

One important life skill that an adult may still need to develop is the ability to look at things from different perspectives.  Often when people are caught up in the moment things look a very set way.  Learning to step back and analyze situations from other perspectives can help you solve life’s problems.

You can’t be objective about you.

People often work with coaches. counselors and therapists, because they can’t see their own behavior.  Even when it’s painful, it can be really helpful to have someone who will give you an honest version of what they see about you and your behavior.

Encouragement helps you change.

To really grow and progress people need positive reinforcement.  Many people grew up experiencing mostly negative feedback.  The belief in the past was that in order to get people to do better it was necessary to point out every single one of their flaws.  We’ve since learned that if you never hear anything positive it is easy to become discouraged and give up trying.

You need to learn being real can be scary.

Really young kids find it easy to be real.  Young people find it easy to spot people who are being fake.  As we get older, more and more we are likely to hide our real selves.  Often it’s easier to present a false image to others in the hope of being liked.  People who are able to be real have to take risks.  While being real involves taking some scary risks it also results in people being a lot happier.

Are any of these life lessons that you still need to learn?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Free happiness hacks.

By David Joel Miller.

Add to your happiness a little at a time.

Happy Life

Happy Life.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Being happy doesn’t require a lot of money. It requires developing a few happiness skills. Happiness doesn’t come from accomplishing one grand goal.  You build happiness a little at a time each day.  Try adding a few of these happiness hacks to your life each day, and watch your total happiness grow. Which of these happiness skills should you be practicing.

Get adequate sleep.

People who fail to get enough sleep become irritable and grouchy.  Lack of sleep is a prime cause of mistakes.  People who get enough sleep are better able to handle life’s problems as they come along.  People who are chronically sleep deprived are at increased risk for depression and other mental health issues.  You will spend more time sleeping than you will expend on any other activity in your lifetime make sure you do a good job of sleeping.

Love what you do.

Second behind sleeping will be the amount of time that you will spend working.  All other activities will receive smaller amounts of your time.  If you enjoy what you do for a living it will go a long way toward making your life happy. Don’t expect those few other hours of your life to generate enough happiness to make up for working at a job that makes you miserable.  People who work a job they enjoy are doubly blessed.  They get to enjoy what they do while at work and they get to enjoy the things that the money they earn at work will provide for.

Become a happiness expert.

Happiness is one of those emotions that may be hard to spot if you haven’t made a habit out of recognizing it.  There’s a thing called the expert effect which says that it’s hard to recognize something if you don’t know what it is.  To have more happiness in your life, make it a project to study happiness so you will recognize it when it crosses your path.

Make lists of what you have, not what you are missing.

Many people have long lists of the things that they don’t have.  If you stay focused on the things that are missing in your life you create a life full of scarcity.  The happiest people are the people who spend the time to notice all the wonderful things they do have.  Make it a point to develop a gratitude list.  Give thanks for the wonderful things that you do have in your life no matter how small those things are.  People who are grateful for what they do have, find that they can be happy even in tough times.  Those who are focused on what they don’t have will find that they will never have enough things to make them happy.

For more happiness be yourself.

Happy people are fully themselves.  Learn to accept yourself the way you are.  Do not try to be someone else.  People who are genuine and authentic find it easy to be happy.  Those who are constantly trying to be someone are something other than themselves find the task impossibly discouraging.

Let others be who they are.

Happy people are able to accept others as they are.  If you’re constantly insisting that other people need to change for you to be happy you are creating your own unhappiness.  Accept other people as they are.  That does not mean that you need to let everybody into your life or associate with them.  Just accept people for who and what they are and stop upsetting yourself when they don’t meet your expectations.

Plan on having a good day.

If you tell yourself that you will have a bad day you will create that bad day.  Tell yourself that you plan to have a good day and no matter what happens you are likely to recognize those small pleasant events.

Stop comparing up.

Stop comparing yourself to other people.  There will always be someone richer, more powerful, or smarter.  Be OK with who and what you are.  Let other people be who they are.  You should not compare yourself in your gardening outfit was someone dressed to attend a fancy event.

Embrace your flaws, stop trying to be perfect.

You are a human being.  You are required to do things, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.  Nowhere in the rule book on being human does it say that anyone is expected to be perfect.

Stay in the present.

Avoid focusing on the past, it is gone.  People who stay stuck in the past are unable to live in the present.  The more you ruminate about the past, what shouldn’t have happened, the more depressed you become.  People who are constantly thinking about the future, what might happen, become highly anxious and unable to be happy in present.  People who are successful and living in the present are the happiest people.

Do more of what’s working.

Unhappiness comes from not learning from your mistakes.  Happiness is a result of discovering those things in your life that are working and doing more of them.  Constantly be on the lookout for those things that you are doing that are creating positive results.

Find your passion.

In your work, your relationships, their hobbies and all other activities pursue your passions.  People who devote themselves to the things that they feel passionate about derive great pleasure from doing.  Whenever it is that turns you on, as long as it does not harm others, do more of it.

Allow others to be wrong.

Happy people are content to allow other people to be wrong on occasion.  Keep open the possibility that there are times you will believe something which later turns out to be incorrect.  Let other people be wrong also.  Don’t feel the need to correct others.

Pick wise goals.

Before you give a lot of time and effort to pursuing a goal make sure that goal is worthwhile.  Turns out that happiness is more about achieving good goals than about accomplishing everything.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  When your goals are good and wise, any progress you make towards them will make you happy.

Keep your life in balance.

A happy life is a life that is in balance in all areas.  No one part of your life should take over.  Keep your work, your family, your self-care, and all other parts of your life in their proper balance and you make it easier to have a happy life.  In other posts we will talk more about the various parts of your life and how to keep those all in balance.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

How to be more creative.

By David Joel Miller.

How do you keep the creativity flowing?

Increasing Creativity

How to be more creative.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you work in a creative field, then you know how important it is to find ways to spark your creative flow. Every profession these days could use a little creativity if that person or firm wants to prosper and grow. Sometimes to create the life we want we need to be more creative in our homes and leisure as well.

So how do those super creative people do it? No the answer is not drugs, nor is it working longer hours. More effort put into doing something the routine way will not result in creativity or new approaches. If you need some inspiration to spark that creative fire of yours, here are a few suggestions.

Look for inspiration in new places.

If you keep looking in the same place you keep seeing the same things. Two possible solutions, look in new places or look in the same place with new vision. Travel exposes you to new surroundings and customs. It can give you a fresh perspective.  Visit a place you haven’t been to before or a place you haven’t been to recently.

Consider how someone from another occupation might look at the problem your working on.  Writers are encouraged to read other genre. A designer might look at natural history specimens to find inspiration.  A walk in nature can inspire other ways of looking at things.

If you continue to go to the same places, with the same people, you see the same things. Expose yourself to novelty to see the world with a new set of eyes.

Spend time with creative people.

Creative people in any discipline are on the lookout for new ideas and they are almost always willing to share. Some great ideas for innovation in business came from watching what was going on in other industries.

Artists in one medium can find inspiration by looking at the work of artists in other mediums.  A photograph can be an inspiration for a short story or setting for a novel. Getting out of your comfort zone and having new experiences can free up the mind from the same old way of seeing things and get that novel way of looking at the problem to come into focus.

Ask better questions.

Having a problem with a creative issue? Try asking other questions. How might a biologist approach this question? How would an accountant or lawyer see the creature you are creating? If you are not getting answers to questions requiring creativity ask different questions.

Work the process, put in the hours.

Some creative projects require you to get moving and do something. Writers with so-called “writers block” are well advised to write, write anything. That first effort may not even be worth saving but it will get you started working in the direction of the finished result.

Sometimes creativity includes experimenting with things that won’t work until you have eliminated all those possibilities. Approach each new attempt at creativity with the mindset that you will discover all you can in this process.

Take some breaks. Shift gears.

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over and getting nowhere, try working on another project. Take some short breaks and do something else. While you are washing the dishes or emptying the refrigerator the solution to your who-did-it or how the murder needs to take place may pop into your brain as if by magic.

This taking the break is not an exception to the rule before putting in the hours. Taking short breaks to shift your thoughts is part of the putting in the effort process. Be careful here to avoid things that are just distractions and find ways to get your mind into neutral during these breaks.

Identify the things getting in your way.

Identify roadblocks to creativity. Are there distracting noises? Change locations.  What others things might be impeding your creativity.  Is your work area uncomfortable?  Consider what other supplies or equipment might help you improve your creativity.

Are you lacking the information you need to do the job you’re trying to do?  What other information might be helpful and how will you go about finding it?

Sometimes it’s as simple as your mind is occupied with something else you will need to do at another time.  Plan for when you will do these other activities or consider writing them down and making a list so you can free up the space in your brain to get back to the task at hand.

Forget the rules and use what you have.

Rules about how things need to be done get in the way of being creative and inventing a new better way to do or make them.  The overly rigid about how things have to be done, what tools are needed or how to use them can get in the way of creativity.

Try using new tools in new ways.

Often creativity comes from trying out new tools, ones you’ve never seen or used before.  Try to get out of your reaching mindset and use the tool you do have in new or different ways.  Tools and working your tools can be used in a great many ways beyond what we initially think.

Consider what new tools you might want to try or how you might want to use your existing tools in a new way.

Creativity is all about moving outside your comfort zone, seeing things in new ways while being willing to try new options.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Is your life is out of balance?

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to get your life back in balance.

Life in balance

Staying Balanced.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It is easy to get stressed out. Getting ahead is getting more and more difficult. People tell me all the time that they are overwhelmed and that they just can’t keep up anymore. In the quest to be successful at work or competitive activities one of the first things to suffer is your work life balance.

Trying to be and do more results in relationships that get neglected. In extreme cases people find they have neglected self-care and their physical and mental health have suffered. If you find your life has gotten way out of balance here are some tips on how to get that out of balance life back in balance.

Try doing less for a more balanced life.

The first step in a balanced life is to review the things on your plate and decide which are really necessary. There are plenty of things you could do but just because you can does not mean you should.

Set a bed time for a more balanced life.

There are times you can cut corners and squeeze a little more out, but giving up sleep time in the quest of success is a really bad idea. You can only get so many miles out of an unmaintained vehicle and the human body will not function well without adequate rest. Try cutting corners on sleep and you will find you will begin to make really bad decisions.

Make up a daily schedule to maintain balance.

Having a daily schedule all written out helps you chart a course for your day just like a road map will help you get to your destination. Writing out your day’s schedule will point to the times you have more to do than could possibly be accomplished. A schedule can also help you see that you need to be across town two minutes after you started a meeting with your boss. Use the schedule to even out the work flow.

Reviewing that daily schedule at the end of the day may help you spot where you filled time with a water cooler session or a video game binge. It is those diversions that drag on and on which rob your day of a lot of potentially productive hours.

Allow adequate meal times to keep yourself healthy.

You can’t run your car on an empty tank nor can you run your body on substandard nutrition. Rushing through meals results in eating fewer healthy foods and more of those over-processed ones.

Investing more time in yourself keeps all aspects of your life balanced.

If you are too busy to learn a new skill then you are far too busy. Invest in your body and mind and they will still be serviceable when you reach the rewards of your life. Do you want to be one of those people who worked hard to have enough in retirement and find you are too sick to enjoy it? If you work yourself to death someone else can enjoy your efforts fruits.

Include social – friend time in the schedule for better work and life balance.

Humans are social creatures. You need positive supportive people in your life. Investing in friendships and socializing for the sake of enjoyment are not wastes of productive time. Having a good social life is the asset that will get you through those tough times in life.

Break up big tasks – chunking.

Life gets off kilter rapidly when you throw yourself at a task that is too big to complete all at once and you stay with it beyond the point of making progress. An occasional all night work binge may be part of life in this millennium but if taking on huge tasks and wearing yourself out in the process is your modus operandi try breaking that task up into smaller sub tasks and doing one of these tasks each day.

Start accepting what is.

One of the biggest time sucks and a waste of energy is time spent on complaining about what is, should be and so on. Do not squander time saying something should not have happened or looking for whose fault it was.

Invest your energy in accepting the current situation as it exists and then focus on how to change it. Hint here. The solution probably consists in changing you and what you do rather than in trying to change others behavior to suit you.

Set time limits on tasks to prevent their expanding.

Ever had a fifteen minute task take four hours? Work can expand to fill the time allotted. So can diversions. Set limits and if you are not done in the allotted time move on down your list. When you create your plan for the next day, or revise today’s, try being more realistic about how much time this supposed fifteen minute task will take.

Invest time in goal setting and planning.

Creating a specific goal and planning the steps to get you there is not a waste of time. Having clear goals can give your project and your life a focus. Developing a clear plan with periodic review points can keep you headed in the right direction. Good plans also prevent leaving out steps and then having to start the project all over again.

Make lists.

Make lists. Make lots of lists. Do what is most important on them and ignore the maybes. List of materials needed can help you avoid having to stop part way through because you are out of “stuff.” Lists that include rest and relaxation can keep you from being the machine that breaks down unexpectedly.

Prioritize – what should you be doing not what you can do.

A lot of time can get flushed away on all the things that you could be doing and result in little or no time for the big major jobs that were the real heart of the project. Let someone else do the optional tasks or delete them from your list all together.

Was this post helpful? You might also want to check out these other counselorssoapbox posts.     Life Hacks     Self-improvement     Success

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Hacks and Life-hacks.

By David Joel Miller.

The meaning of “Hack” has changed.

taxi or hack?

Hacks?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

One of my younger colleagues was talking to me about the desirability of “hacks.” This word like so many others has changed its meaning, not because the dictionaries had it wrong, but because people started using the word differently and then the dictionaries are having to change their definitions to keep up with the way people use the word.

As an old guy this changing my vocabulary and changing my metaphors so as to be understandable to the younger generation is a challenge. Mentions of Milton Berle get mostly dumb stares these days. The word hack, for me, is especially challenging.

I am familiar with Lifehacker.com I even subscribe to their email. It is just that I had no idea how many other areas of life were getting hacked these days.

Hack used to be something else.

Hacks used to be cabs you called to take you somewhere. In that sense I can see the use of the term life hack. These little tips are meant to help you get from where you are to somewhere else, quickly or more easily.

A “Hack” also used to be someone who did things in an unprofessional or half-hearted way. Calling a journalist a “hack” as in writing an uninformed or factually incorrect story was one of the worst things you could say about a member of the third estate. Hack writers were thought of as being unoriginal and mediocre. In that sense I would not want a hack writing my life hacks.

There is also hacking into computers, as in unauthorized entry and hacking things up with an ax, neither of which seems to be related to those other definitions of hack.

Today Hacks, life or otherwise, have become accepted as short, useful ways to do things better, faster and more easily. In an era when there is far more skimming than reading  going on via the  internet, using hacks makes sense. Skimming used to be a bad thing as in taking money out of the till which involved stealing or cheating on your taxes, but today skimming is grabbing the cream off the top of the article without reading every word. See the old guy is catching on.

Henceforth counselorssoapbox.com will be embracing Hacks, – sometimes.

As we look more at how to improve life, wellness and recovery, and less at diseases and disorders, looks like Hacks have their place. It also appears that a number of the posts on counselorssoapbox.com in the past were in fact “hacks.” How to improve your memory, how to be happy, and so on.  I would also include recovery tips in this category. So life hacks will now get their own category.

What about relationship hacks?

Not sure. Some of you youngsters need to let me know how far this hack thing should extend. Do we need friend hacks, memory hacks, etc or can we just lump them all together as life hacks? For now just an added link to the posts that feature hacks and you can sort through them or look in the other categories for hacks.

Here is the link to the counselorssoapbox.com life hacks.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books