Archive | December, 2014

Favorite Songs I downloaded in 2014

31 Dec

These are songs I just happen to download in 2014, but may have been released back in the 60’s or 70’s.

  1. Radiohead- Bloom Simply an awesome track with its fantastic syncopated and difficult to play drum parts! This like many Radiohead songs has a strong jazz influence to it. Watch a live version on youtbe of this song to appreciate this beauty.
  2. Siddartha-Naufrago  So catchy. Reminds me of Moenia blended with Zoé. Even the bass and synthesizers parts are highly Zoé-ish. Too bad the rest of the album is just average.
  3. Logic ft. Shadia Mansour- So Serious  Hard core British hip hop with a metal twist to it and led by the female vocals of Shadia Mansour. Logic’s rap is so slow and mellow that yes its possible to completely digest all of his rhymes.
  5. Shadia Mansour ft. M-1 of Deaz Prez- El Kofeye Arabeyye  Sung/rapped in Arabic by Shadia with an English language rap by M1 towards the end. Sounds like very early and basic hip hop with an Arabic twist. Its about being respectful to the kefiyyeh as a cultural symbol and not as a fashion symbol.
  6. Lady Gaga- Aura and Applause   Because its true. I live for the applause. This album was considered a flop for Gaga. Its highly abstract even for Gaga, but it does have a few gems in Aura and of course Applause.  Aura starts out with highly dissonant guitar chords that turn into a chromatic solo blended with Gaga’s voice and blends into EDM.  I like Aura because its so different that evolves and does not stick to the average pop formula. Applause is just Gaga sticking to mainstream pop, but thats what makes this song so great. Its good straight forward pop. Two gems in one album for Gaga.
  7. and 
  8. Marina and the Diamonds- Happy  I’m predicting this album as one of the best of 2015. This song is amazing and strikes an emotional nerve. Just awesome and I know this song will explode in 2015.  
  9. Iggy Pop and the Stooges- Penetration  Combine the raw vocal Howlin Wolf inspired vocals of Iggy with melodic keyboards and punk rock.  
  10. J.lo ft. Iggy Azalea- Booty – Big big booty. Watch you got a big booty. Don’t like the exaggerated sexuality of this video, but the song is catchy. OK so its kinda cheesy. Ok its meh and super cheesy. But its a song that is fun to sing to.  
  11. Sam Smith and Disclosure- Latch  I heard this song way before Sam Smith became a staple on the radio. The music in itself is great with great dreamy vibe, but add Sam Smith and you have a hit. 
  12. Mariachi Vargas- Mexico de Noche  Modern mariachi instrumental piece at its best. Modern chords, modern ending, rhythmically unique and a very catchy trumpet. Loved played this song back in my mariachi day. Written by the late Bebu Silvetti.  

Favorite Albums I downloaded in 2014

31 Dec

Ana Tijoux- Vengo (2014) Already named among the best of 2014 by  NPR, the LA Times, and tons of other places. I am predicting she will join Quetzal and La Santa Cecilia in taking home a Grammy in February. Its hip hop with live instruments en español sung yes SUNG and rapped by a socially conscious Latin American WOMAN. YES!

Pepe Aguilar-MTV Unplugged (2014) – Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you are a fan of Latin Alternative, mariachi and pop then its an absolute worth while of listening. The concert/album as whole  does not flow well, but each song individually is a jewel. They are fantastic. The whole CD is arranged by none other than Meme from Cafe Tacuba. Also consider the guests in his album: Saul Hernandez, La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia, Miguel freakin Bose, Natalia Lafourcade and her highly matured voice, Amandititita (brought out of semi- retirement/exile after her feud with Sony), Reyli and Pepe’s incredibly talented children.

Arpia/Cecilia Toussaint- 25 Años de Arpia en Vivo (2010) : Before Julieta, Andrea, Ceci Bastida and the like there was Cecilia Toussaint. Not only does her work with the band Arpia sound like real El Tri inspired rock with the crazy guitar solos and ZZ Top sound, but she also knows how to sing. Its the closest I have heard to women singing harder rock in in español in quite a while. My favorite is “Tres Metros Bajo Tierra” which I found is actually a cover of an acoustic song. “Prendedor” is also a great opening track along with “En Esta Ciudad.”

Makiza- Casino Royale (2005)  Ana Tijoux before she went solo partnered with a male MC and 2 DJs. Its quite awesome to hear male and female voices that can sing and rap interchangeably. Where is all the amazing hip hop en español? I mean that none overly aggressive like Cartel de Santa and Control Machete. Sigh. My absolute fav is “Cosas de la Vida” “Amar es solo Amar” and “Todo Va Mas Lento”

Jorge Drexler- Bailar en la Cueva (2014)  If Ana doesn’t take the Grammy then Jorge should take it. “Universos Paralelos”  rightfully won the Latin Grammy for Record of the Year. Each song on this album is genius with the brass arrangements and very rhythmic guitar. It sucks the listener in that world. Absolutely worth the listen.

Jumbo- Alfa Beta Grey (2014) Ahh Clemente oh Clemente oh Clemente. Oh wait are we focusing on the music or the looks of Clemente? Its great to hear these guys still rocking a very solid sound. “Sin Respuesta” was nominated for Rock song of the Year for the Latin Grammys. They can still rock and its always soothing to listen to Clemente’s voice. “Bala Perdida” and “Invisible” are fabulous to listen to .

Los Lobos- La Pistola y Corazon (1988) – Their own take on mariachi and old school corrido classics. It sounds like it was recorded just yesterday at a family gathering in their backyard. Impressed with how great their covers sound. “Las Amarillas” “Si Yo Quisiera” and an acoustic cover of “Que Nadie Sepa de Sufrir” (La Sonora Dinamita” are standouts.

Quetzal- Quetzanimales (2014)-  Funded by Quetzal’s fans (including me), Quetzal released an abstract album based on the lives of urban animals and how similar they are to us humans. “Hormiguitas Divinas” and definitely “Palomo Vagabundo” are definite standouts the later with a weeping violin that makes you sing along with Martha. “Roster” is also wonderfully written with a very modern take. Its a more acoustic album for Quetzal full of violin and cello, but still with the jarana and cumbia twist to it. And we all know that Martha’s voice is just one of a kind.

Trio Ellas- Noches Angelinas and Con Ustedes… (2014)- oh yes! These ladies always wowing crowds wherever they go. They harmonize well, play well, do covers of Spanish and English rock songs, dress very fashionably and are the official trio of the Dodgers. They do typical trio songs, but also cover Cafe Tacuba, the Bee Gees, a Spanish version of “I will Follow You into the Dark,” Soraya and Miguel Gallardo.

 and also

Maya Jupiter- Maya Jupiter (2010) – Maya Jupiter is Aloe Blacc’s wife. She was already making a scene as a Mexican raised in Australia and influenced by hip hop (hi  Iggy!) and son jarocho when she met and married Aloe Blacc. This CD is a bit hard to get into, but what impresses me the most is the ability to blend so much into each song. Its clearly a reflection of her identity and I admire that. There’s hip hop, son jarocho, rock, soul, and so much going on here. “I am” is an uplifting song about finding identity while “El Secreto” is a great tug an everyone’s heart as an open discussion to the secret of having a successful marriage. Oh yes and Quetzal Flores (from Quetzal the band), Juan Perez (from Quetzal the band), Martha Gonzalez (from Quetzal the band), and of course her hubby Aloe Blacc make several appearances. I really recommend her live performances on youtube as I feel that the studio album limits the listener to the intensity of her music.


Iggy Azalea vs. Azalea Banks: My Thoughts

30 Dec

By now everyone has heard that Iggy Azalea made some insensitive remarks towards Azelia Banks. Both are in the hip hop world mainly dominated by men. They have a feud going back to a few years and of course it has to do with race. AB says that IA is making fun of black culture and hip hop. AB compares it to blackface hip hop and a minstrel show. Then she posted a picture of a man in blackface saying “IggyAzalea this is you.” Ouch.

The actual interview

AB was taking part of an interview and went after IA saying that IA did not care enough about black issues. You can see the interview here:

This is what I took from this controversial interview. As soon as IA is mentioned AB makes the whole issue about race. Yes, everyone in the studio can agree that IA is not top notch hip hop. And yes, maybe IA may have taken ideas from Niki Minaj and possible Azalea Banks herself.  I don’t know enough English language hip hop to know how accurate this is. I also don’t know Niki Minaj’s music because all I see her overly sexualized body all over the teevee and youtube. This is supposed to be real hip hop???? Hmmmm.  Somewhere along the line AB gets emotional because mainstream media choses to focus on Bill Cosby instead of Eric Garner and Micheal Brown. Then she calls rapper TI a “shoe shining ‘coon” and criticizes his wife. WOW!!! The host EBro advises AB to stop blasting on social media and put the emotion into her music just like a true artist and musician.

My Thoughts on the Interview:

Has anybody actually watched the interview? Its so easy to jump to conclusions and make comments about IA and AB. Which side are you on? And if you defend one or the other are you racist? Are you anti-hip hop or anti capitalism? Gasp!

AB is highly immature, irrational, and yes an angry black woman who is playing the race card way too soon. Hip hop is NOT just a black musical genre. Hip Hop is worldwide and should not be confused as ONLY a black genre. You are only making it worse by saying very racist comments towards a black man AND make comments about his wife. We’re talking hip hop and you bring in race. Why don’t you focus on the fact that its really capitalism and the need to “water down” any genre to make it accessible to mainstream America?  Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 music IS CREATED TO BE PALATABLE for mainstream America and make money. The music industry is just that: a business industry designed to SELL albums and make money. That’s the whole point.

And back to the racial component: a black man can’t sing country? A Mexican can’t sell millions of albums in the US? A white man can’t do hip hop and be successful? Oh wait thats been done already: Florida Georgia Line, Los Tigres del Norte and Eminem. We’re in 2014 and music should be uniting us not separating us by some immature people. One race does not OWN a style of music. If your music does not make it to mainstream America, don’t be offended. You may just not fit the traditional plastic mold that mainstream music industry is looking for. Take it as a blessing. Embrace that you are different and throw a huge middle finger by producing amazing hip hop. Are you in the industry for the money? Then sell out and make yourself palatable to mainstream America. Are you not in it for the money? Then focus on your music.

AB, move on and embrace your culture like the millions of Latinos, Asians and minorities in the US. Like Gustavo Arellano says, take a part of your own reconquista by having pride and spreading our own good culture.

Now Iggy Azalea’s response to Azalea Banks:

Special msg for banks: There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude. Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or have self control. It’s YOU! you created your own unfortunate situation by being a bigot and don’t have the mental capacity to realize yet. Probably never will.  Now! rant, Make it racial! make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won’t make you likable & THATS why ur crying on the radio. Enjoy continuing to bang your head against that metaphoric brick wall & Savor this attention. I’m the only way you get ANY.  You’re poisonous and I feel genuinely sorry for you because it’s obvious at this point you are a MISERABLE, angry human being. Regards!

Ay Mensa! You had such a good opportunity to make yourself like the more reasonable of the two. But based on my experience in working with 24 year olds… your immaturity took the best of you. Iggy you got it right up until you said “metaphoric brick wall” because yes there is a brick wall, but I and probably the rest of the world understand it as a racial brick wall. Iggy, you sound like you truly have no regard to black America and that you are not just attacking AB, but African Americans in general. What you really wanted to say is that AB does have talent, but is not mainstream America likable talent. Its the same thing with Latinos: we had to water down and overly cheese out our music in late 90’s to get attention from mainstream America. We have always been talented and creating music worth Grammy’s, but we never had a mainstream America likable person who was a seasoned performer, sang well, danced well, and had a team of music producers ready to sell him out. Our answer: Ricky Martin. Boom. Mind blown. Yes, race had played a role in the past. But we had not produced (yes, PRODUCED) and created a machine so powerful as Ricky Martin backed by Emilio Estefan who is a part of the music industry. In this case Iggy IS the sellout and the nicely produced artist so deal with it. Just don’t write stupid tweets.

I’m not going to get into the fact that Iggy Azalea made racist tweets before she was famous. I’m not even going to get into the fact that one of her songs has a reference to a slave master. Thats a whole different story. I’m simply putting in my two cents share out of a controversy that seems to be putting Iggy on blast for being a white Australian rapping in a black Southern US accent.

Iggy is racist and insensitive for not sounding Australian??? People, language is the most free flowing aspect of culture. If you hang out with someone long enough, you will start to sound like them. There’s all kinds of academic proof of this. If you listen to a certain singer for a long time, your voice will change to sound like them. Again, tons of academic proof of this. So if Iggy is listening to black male southern rappers, don’t you think she’s going to sound like them? What the heck does a rapper with an Australian accent even sound like? Would she hit it big time if she sounded Australian? Nope. So therefore she sold out by making sure her rapping style fit in what mainstream America would find acceptable. Duh. People are incredibly ignorant for saying she is racist and doing blackface for sounding like her influences. Iggy Pop sounded like Howlin’ Wolf in some of his recordings. Does that make him racist? Ana Tijoux sounds like the rappers from Harlem. Is she racist? Mick Jagger also sounds like a Howlin Wolf blend. Racist? Nope. So I am offended that if you google “Iggy Azalea” that the word “racist” with many people calling her out on her accent.

Forbes magazine, the Grammy’s, all acknowledge Iggy Azalea for her work in hip hop. That’s where mainstream America has gotten it all wrong. She is not the best and I can tell you that without being a fan of hip hop.

I haven’t heard much of either of these artists in this post, but I can tell you a few things:

#1 the music industry is here to make money. If you want to be famous do what they tell you and get famous. If not then stay true to your roots, keep on being original and become a source of empowerment for your followers.

#2 Music is worldwide and transcends any kind of linguistic, economic, social and political barriers.

#3 Hip hop is everywhere and not owned by anyone

#4 If you don’t like a certain kind of music then don’t listen to it.

#5 Think before you tweet or post anything on social media

#6 Don’t cry and sound overly emotional and immature on a radio show that can then be posted on youtube. Never cry in public.

#7 Just because you sing in a genre of another race, it doesn’t mean you have to sing and act like them or take their social issues.

#8 Have you ever considered that Iggy doesn’t want to get political to avoid any controversy? She’s got to protect her mainstream America likability factor.

#9 Ana Tijoux is my absolute hip hop standard and how to sing, rap, and speak in a public interview WITHOUT selling out. Her music went from being great to being named as one of the best female MC in the world all while staying true to herself.

#10 Peace I’m out.

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional

29 Dec

From: Marc and Angel’s Facebook posts

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. Although it may sound risky, the strongest type of love is the love that makes you the most vulnerable. It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and fully disclosed over the long-term.
So open yourself up. BE with the person you love. Allow yourself to experience them authentically. Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and feel every exquisite emotion, both good and bad. – read:

9 Good Signs You’re in the Right Relationship

It’s not always where you are in life,
but who you have by your side that matters.

“How do I know if I’m in the right relationship or not?”

This is one of the most common questions our coaching clients ask us.  And after Angel and I listen to the specifics of their situation, we often toss a question back at them to further clarify their thoughts and expectations.  For instance:

“What do you think a “right relationship” should provide for the people in it?”

Although the answer here is obviously subjective, in all relationships, romantic and platonic alike, there are some clear signs that things are going well.  So today, let’s take a look at some signs you’re in the “right relationship,” and corresponding tips that could potentially help you make a “wrong relationship” right:

1.  No games are being played.

Far too often, we make our relationships harder than they have to be.  The difficulties started when… conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word “love” fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution.  Stop running!  Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.

And of course, if you feel like someone is playing games with you, speak up.

2.  Everyone is on the same page.

If a woman starts out all casual with a man and she doesn’t tell him that she wants a committed relationship, it will likely never become a committed relationship.  If you give someone the impression that casual, or whatever, is okay with you, that’s what will be assumed going forward.  The bottom line isthat you have to be straight from the start, or at least as soon as you know what you want.  Don’t beat around the bush.  If someone gets scared and runs away because you were honest and set boundaries, that person wasn’t right for you anyway.

3.  The line of communication is open, honest, and clear.

You can’t be afraid to have certain conversations.  It’s better to talk and find out the truth, than to keep going and get nowhere.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Don’t expect the important people in your life to read your mind, and don’t play foolish games with their heads and hearts.  Don’t tell half-truths and expect them to trust you when the full truth comes out – half-truths are no better than lies.

Listen without defending and speak without offending.  Communication isn’t just an important part of a relationship, it is the relationship.  Relationships often fail because of trust issues, commitment issues, and above all, communication issues.  So be honest, commit, and COMMUNICATE always. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  Loving deeds consistently reinforce loving words.

Nurture your important relationships so that when you tell the people you love that you love them, it’s merely a ritualistic validation of what you have already shown them by how you treat them on a daily basis.  Do little things every day to show your loved ones you care.  Knowing that the person you’re thinking of has you on their mind too means a lot.

Truth be told, you can say “sorry” a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t.  If you can’t show it, your words are not sincere.  It’s as simple as that.  And there’s no such thing as a “right” relationship that isn’t sincere at both ends.

5.  Expectations of perfection are strictly forbidden.

Any relationship that’s real will not be perfect, but if you’re willing to work at it and open up, it could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Your best friends and your soul mate may be far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you.  Give them a chance to show you.  When you stop expectingthe people you love to be a certain way, you can start to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are.  What you need to remember is that every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect in the end is when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even when times are tough.

6.  Honesty, vulnerability, and presence are held sacred.

Although it may sound risky, the strongest type of love is the love that makes you the most vulnerable.  It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and fully disclosed over the long-term.  It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most.

So open yourself up.  BE with the person you love.  Allow yourself to experience them authentically.  Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and feel every exquisite emotion, both good and bad.  This is real life.  This is how you welcome a sincere connection with another human being.  (ReadDaring Greatly.)

7.  There is a healthy blend of freedom and teamwork.

Keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to be with us or love us.  We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.  And likewise, we should never feel trapped in a relationship.  In fact, if either person feels trapped, the relationship doesn’t really exist.  Because that’s what relationships are all about: freedom.

Relationships are also built on a solid foundation of teamwork.  And since relationships are one of the greatest vehicles of personal growth and happiness, the most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting someone else halfway.  You will achieve far more by working with them, rather than working alone or against them.  It really is a full circle.  The strength of a relationship depends on the strength of its two members, and the strength of each member in the long run depends on the quality of the relationship.

And remember, relationships are rarely 50/50 at any given instant in time.  You can’t always feel 100%, or a full 50% of a relationship’s whole – life is simply too unpredictable for that.  So on the days when you can only give 20%, the other person must give 80%, and vice versa.  It’s never been about balancing steady in the middle; healthy relationships are about two people who are willing to make adjustments for each other in real time as needed, and give more when the other person can’t help but give a little less.

8.  Personal growth is embraced, celebrated, and shared.

It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in, it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in.  When you connect with someone special, a best friend or a lifelong partner, this person helps you find the best in yourself.  In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.

When you honestly think about what you and your closest confidants add to each other’s lives, you will often find that instead of giving or taking things from each other (advice, answers, material gifts, etc.), you have chosen rather to share in each other’s joy and pain, and experience life together through good times and bad.  No matter what, you two are there for one another, growing and learning as one.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)

9.  Outsiders aren’t calling the shots.

Relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.  So don’t let outsiders run your relationships for you.  If you’re having a relationship issue with someone, work it out with THEM and no one else.

You have to live your own life your own way; that’s all there is to it.  Each of us has a unique fire in our heart for certain people.  It’s your duty, and yours alone, to decide if a relationship is right for you.  You’ve got to stop caring so much about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living and deciding for yourself.

Preach it, sister

27 Dec

Posted by a wonderful friend on fb. Nicely said:

Today I want to thank those who came to visit me, text me, return my text, messaged me, spoke to me. Time is what you can never get back, and how you can give something so special.

Words can’t explain the love I feel in return and how grateful I am for friends and friends who are family now. My kids and I are grateful and May God bless those in many many ways!

“Happy” by Marina and the Diamonds

24 Dec

A positive song! A song about feeling good about yourself! A song about loving yourself and accepting yourself for who you are! YES!!!!!!! I heart you Marina for digging deep inside your feelings and creating a song that so many people can relate to. Its touching to already see on the youtube comments people writing “I was contemplating suicide and this song made me think twice” OMG Now this is seriously THAT powerful of a song. I can imagine so many teenagers feeling lost in the world and listening to this song with some hope. I almost cried when I first heard this song because I truly felt her lyrics. They are so raw and realistic that yes I was sucked in by her voice and simple melody. But those lyrics! Just a masterpiece! And wait for the part where she looks directly at you and your soul. You aren’t fooling anyone in saying you have never felt the way she does. Awwwwwwwwww

“I found what I have been looking for in myself”

“I believe someone is watching over me. Finally I have found the way to be happy, happy”

10 Harsh Realities that Help You Grow

14 Dec

Taken from

#9 stands out : “Everything in life is two-sided.  You can’t expect to feel pleasure without ever feeling pain, joy without ever feeling sorrow, confidence without ever feeling fearful, hope without ever feeling uncertain, etc. ”

Character and wisdom are sculpted over time.  They come with loss, lessons, and triumphs.  They come after doubts, second guesses, and exploring unknowns.  If there were a definitive path to happiness and success, everyone would be on it.  The seeds of your progress are planted in your past failures.  Your best stories will come from overcoming your greatest struggles.  Your praises will be birthed from your pains.  So keep standing, keep learning, and keep living.

Over the past decade Angel and I have dealt with several severe hardships, including the sudden death of a sibling, the loss of a best friend to illness, betrayal from a business partner, and an unexpected breadwinning employment layoff.  These experiences were brutal.  Each of them, unsurprisingly, knocked us down and kept us down for a while.  But when our time of mourning was over after each tragedy, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.

So my challenge to you today is this:  Start looking at life’s harsh realities and toughest challenges as friends that are going to help you grow.

Here are some thoughts to consider…

1.  The first step is never easy.

The beginnings to good things are always the hardest, but it’s these hard times that pave the path to greatness.  Be strong and keep the faith.  It will be worth it in the end.  The greatest miracle of your success in life will not be that you finished, it will be that you found the strength and courage to begin.

And remember, it’s not that those who are strong never get weak in the knees, or that they never hold their breath before they embark…  It’s that while their knees are shaking, they force themselves to breathe and take the first step.

2.  Good things rarely come quick and easy.

Life is not easy, but it’s worth it.  If you expect it to be, you will perpetually disappoint yourself.  Achieving anything worthwhile in life takes time and effort.  You must align your efforts with your goals and then start every day ready to runfarther than you did yesterday and fight harder than you ever have before.

Persistence is the single most common characteristic of high achievers.  They simply refuse to give up.  The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor.  Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration.  No matter how hard it seems, the more you persist, the more likely your success.  (Read The Last Lecture.)

3.  You will always have less control than you desire.

The only thing you can absolutely control in life is how you react to things out of your control, and there’s a lot you can’t control.  The better you adapt to this reality, the more powerful your highs will be, and the more quickly you’ll be able to bounce back from the lows.  Put most simply: Living a happy, fulfilling life means being in a state of complete acceptance of all that is, right here, right now.

As your life unfolds, you will often realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected from something good, you were in fact being redirected to something better.  You don’t have to control everything to find peace and happiness.  You just need to do you best, and then relax and have faith that things will work out.  Let go and just let life happen the way it’s supposed to.  Because sometimes the outcomes you can’t change end up changing you and helping you grow to your full potential.

4.  You cannot avoid risk without avoiding life.

As Henry David Thoreau once said, “When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.”

Living is a risk.  Happiness is a risk.  If you’re not a little scared sometimes, then you’re not doing it right.  Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try.  Worry about the life you’re not living and the happiness you’re forgoing, as you merely exist in the safety of your comfort zone.  Give yourself permission to be one of the people who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them and grew into your truest self.

5.  Your biggest problems are often in your head.

The primary cause of unhappiness and defeat is never the current situation but your thoughts about it.  Happiness and success really comes down to two elements: the way you think and the way you act based upon your thoughts.

Human beings become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do great things, right now, without the need for anything more.  When you believe in yourself, you have realized the first secret of success.  Often finding your way is not about going somewhere new; it’s about seeing familiar ground in new ways.  Once you do, you will realize the only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Long-term happiness cannot be bought; it must be earned.

If you’d rather live surrounded by pristine objects of little significance than by the traces of happy, passionate memories, stay focused on acquiring tangible possessions.  Otherwise, stop fixating on things you can touch and start caring about the things that touch you.  Each of us has a unique fire in our heart for something that makes us feel alive.  It’s your duty to find it and keep it lit.

Whatever you do, don’t completely sacrifice your life for your livelihood.  Enjoy the gifts money can’t buy.  Promise yourself that you will stay true to your loves, your values, and your purpose.  Let your heart and mind work as one.  Do what it takes so that one day, many moons from now, you can look back at your life, take one final breath, and crack an honest smile.

7.  Not everyone will support you.

If you take every insult or rude slur of your fellow human beings personally, you will be offended for the rest of your life.  One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to agree with everyone, everyone doesn’t have to agree with us, and that’s OK.  As Bruce Lee once said, “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”  Live by this quote.  Don’t let the opinions of others make you forget it.

It takes a long time to learn how to NOT judge yourself through someone else’s eyes, but once you do the world is yours for the taking.  We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own life, and we will never be happy or successful if we try to live someone else’s idea of it.  So give up worrying too much about what others think of you.  Regardless of what they say about you and your chosen path, remember that the only approval you need in the end is your own.

8.  You are better off without some people you care about.

It’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you.  Notice who sticks around and who doesn’t, and be grateful to those who leave you, for they have given you the room to grow in the space they abandoned, and the awareness to appreciate the people who loved you when you didn’t feel lovable.

Bottom line:  Be okay with giving the gift of your absence to those who do not appreciate and respect your presence.

9.  You cannot have happiness without some sadness.

Chuck Palahniuk once said, “The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Some sadness is necessary.  Everything in life is two-sided.  You can’t expect to feel pleasure without ever feeling pain, joy without ever feeling sorrow, confidence without ever feeling fearful, hope without ever feeling uncertain, etc.  There is no such thing as a one-sided coin in life, with which you can buy a pain-free, trouble-free life.

Life is a series of highs and lows – an adventure that requires you to take chances and actions that have the possibility of both success (happiness) and failure (sadness).  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)

10.  What’s done is done, but life goes on.

If you are carrying strong emotions about something that happened in your past, they may hinder your ability to live productively in the present.  With everything that has happened, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift of knowledge.  Everything is either an opportunity to learn and grow or an obstacle that keeps you stuck.  You get to choose.

Take a deep breath.  It’s going to be OK… maybe not today, but eventually.  There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.  You might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.  Sure the sun stops shining sometimes, and you may get a huge thunderstorm or two, but eventually the sun will come out to shine.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of us staying as positive as possible in order to make it to see the sunshine break through the clouds again