As the old saying goes, “money can’t buy happiness.” No matter how much wealth we have, it’s rarely an indicator of personal satisfaction. But still, at the end of the day, wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple extra bucks? A little bit of spending money for your own indulgence? A budgetary boost to keep you feeling safe and secure when the economy isn’t looking too bright? Sure, of course that’d be nice, but finding a dollar on the street corner will only get you so far. The key to a real lasting pick-me-up is in its utility, not in its market value.

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What would life be like if you were following your passions? For many people, living a passionate life went out the window a long time ago. As more responsibility, bills, and time constraints demand the focus in our life it can seem unrealistic to believe we can follow a calling or share our creative gifts with the world. Fortunately, this humdrum day to day life doesn’t have to be a reality.

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Many people tend to make things more complex than they have to be. Even when the answer is right in front of us we may overlook what is already there in search of a more complex approach. The same thing happens when we go looking for self-improvement, or ways to be happier and live a more fulfilled life. Trained to look over the simple explanations, we oversee them by a long shot. Happiness doesn’t have to be complex and difficult.

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No matter how exciting we try to make life there will probably be times when it seems mundane and boring. There will be things we don’t want to do and we’ll have to learn to make the most of them. Even things that were once exciting can lose their luster if we do them over and over again. People are attracted to novelty and variety and it’s easy to end up seeking more and looking for something new. That’s why I took the last week off from writing. I wanted to make more time for relaxation, recreation, and family. If what used to give you pleasure and enjoyment has become ordinary and dull it’s time to get your joy and enthusiasm back.

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Happiness can be an elusive topic. Many people seek this state through pleasure, entertainment, and other materialistic pursuits. This makes sense, as we live in a civilization where pleasure and mass consumption is at our command, and we’re presented with messages to have more and more, whether it be sex, food, sports, or shopping. It seems that with access to all of these pleasures we would be the happiest people, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and we may have even become less happy in the process.

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Creation is constant this day in age, and things change by the minute, so having great ideas matters more than ever. There are so many different ideas popping-up on a daily basis, it can be easy to overlook them. How can you come up with creative ideas to boost your career, change an organization, or ramp up the value on a project?

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What personal traits and characteristics do you have that fill you with energy and excitement? What activities enhance your sense of meaning and engagement in life? The answer to these questions can give you some insight into your strengths of character. We all have unique character strengths that when incorporated into our daily life allow us to flourish and function more optimally.

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As Valentine’s Day approaches it offers a wonderful opportunity to enliven and blossom your relationship. It’s a time to reevaluate and review how you’re living up to being a life partner. Are you doing your part to make the relationship fulfilling, meaningful, and lasting? Even if you’re not currently in a relationship, these tips can still provide you an understanding about how to deepen and grow future relationships.

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