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Questions to Ponder, for Teens (and Anyone Else!) Who Want New Devices

10 Aug

It’s hard.  Everyone has the latest phone, or TV, or tablet, or…?  Will having the latest and greatest device make you happy?  Perhaps. Or…

If you want another new iPhone, Galaxy x, MacBook, tablet, or whatever new device “everyone else has,” taking 1 minute to ask yourself these questions might just make you a better person.  And happier whether you upgrade, or not.

(If you answer more than 15 of these questions “Yes,” you probably do not need a new _____ (fill in the blank).)

  1. Do you have water available for your family without walking more than a mile?
  2. kids getting water
  3. Do you have electricity?
  4. Have you ever been to a doctor?
  5. Have you ever been to a dentist?
  6. Are you safe from dying from almost-eradicated diseases that kill children in countries without proper vaccines and treatments?
  7. Do you have a toothbrush?
  8. Do you have a toilet?
  9. Do you know how to read?
  10. girl reading
  11. Do you go to school?
  12. Do you have a safe place to sleep, with a roof?
  13. Do you have heat and/or fans or air conditioning or covering in extreme weather?
  14. Do you know where your next meal will come from?
  15. vegetables
  16. Do you have a parent/guardian/ loved one who takes care of you?
  17. Can you do basic math?
  18. Are you relatively sure you be alive a year from now?
  19. Do you feel confident that terrorists will not storm your house, your village, or your town in the next year?
  20. Do you feel safe going outside of your home?
  21. Do you feel safe speaking your mind, or telling people what you think?
  22. kids sharing
  23. Do you feel you can share your ideas online?
  24. Do you have friends/ people you care about, and who care about you?
  25. Can you imagine doing almost anything you want in the future/doing any job you want in the future?
  26. Are you free to tell people your opinions on religion or politics?
  27. Can you be friends with anyone you want?
  28. Can you love anyone you want?
  29. Do you feel safe expressing any opinions about the government, including ideas that aren’t supporting the government?
  30. Do you feel free?
  31. freedom

Most importantly, do you feel grateful? Please do.

So many other places in the world do not have nearly (or any) the advantages available here, now. Please realize the blessing, the honor, the privilege we all have today, being born in the United States.

We have the honor of being safe, healthy, wealthy, wise, and kind (to various extents). Let’s please appreciate it.

And while we’re being grateful, let’s also make it a mission to share by volunteering, and pay it forward by helping people around the world who have less.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Any mentions of organizations within are due to my knowledge of them and appreciation of them only.  No organizations were involved or had knowledge of my mentions, although I do support the organizations mentioned, amongst many others.

A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

16 Jan

Will this year be the best one yet? Of course it will! As Sophocles once observed, “Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.”

These are a few quotes to provide some delicious food for thought in 2015. Enjoy them in tasty bites anytime! (Feel free to pin, post, tweet and otherwise share them and use them on your blog; all the photos are mine and so are free to use under creative commons.)

And as you go about each glorious day, remember: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

(If you love quotes, please also download my free “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation” for 150+ positive and inspiring quotes at your fingertips!)

Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation - social good quotes book  by Amy Neumann

Free downloadable collection of quotes!

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~ William James #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion." ~ Richard P. Feynman #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"It matters if you just don't give up." ~ Stephen Hawking #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it."  ~ Edith Wharton #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"I'm always doing things I can't do. That's how I get to do them." ~ Pablo Picasso #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." ~ Voltaire #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Don't raise your voice; improve your argument." ~ Desmond Tutu #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared." ~ Buddha #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Action expresses priorities." ~ Gandhi #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Smile at a stranger, and make two people happy." ~ Amy Neumann #quote on http://charityideasblog.com "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." ~ James M. Barrie #quote from http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." ~ James M. Barrie #quote from http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

Every day of the year can be a best day. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

(That brings us to 15 quotes for 2015. Make it spectacular!)

Amy Neumann is a passionate fan of social good, and is dedicated to leveraging technology to change the world. Follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas and Pinterest as CharityIdeas.

Amy Neumann’s (@CharityIdeas) NEW book, “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude…” #Gratitude #Quotes

5 Sep

Yay!

“Amy Neumann’s new book, “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation” is here!” 

My new book, “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation” is here! 150+ of my personal favorite quotes on gratitude, kindness, and social good.

At last!  I am so excited to share 150+ of my favorite quotes to inspire and show gratitude.  My new book is here!  On paperback, or eBook version.  Makes a great little “Thank You!” 😀

More details here!

Whether you’re a business or nonprofit professional, or simply like to feel inspired and share your positive outlook with others, this handy book provides quotes to help show your gratitude, compassion, and bright view of the world.  

To follow up after a great client meeting, interview, or event, or as an anytime thank you to colleagues, donors, customers, family, or friends, this book has the perfect inspiring quote for the occasion.

This book is a lot like life:  open it up anywhere, and be amazed at the serendipity!

Thank YOU so much for being you!

Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation By Amy Neumann

Paperback: $8.88
Ships in 3-5 business days
Whether you’re a business or nonprofit professional, or simply like to feel inspired and share your positive outlook with others, this handy book provides quotes to help show your gratitude,… More >
Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation – Downloadable By Amy Neumann

eBook (ePub): $1.88
Download immediately.
Whether you’re a business or nonprofit professional, or simply like to feel inspired and share your positive outlook with others, this handy book provides quotes to help show your gratitude,… More >
© 2012 Amy Neumann, Good Plus Tech LLC.
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – CC 3.0
ISBN:   978-1-300-16079-3

Unleash Your Happiness – 10 Tips on How To Be Happier!

9 Aug

This post originally appears in The Huffington Post

Unleash Your Happiness

This post was co-written by Lotay Yang and Mahei Foliaki.

“Think,” “believe,” “dream,” “dare”… these four words represent the foundation of Walt Disney’s inspiring legacy. But, they can also assist in creating the conditions for one’s lasting happiness. This is true. Consider this phrase: Think and visualize it. Believe it’s possible. Dream big. Dare yourself to make it happen.

All of the writers on this post are dedicated to promoting and living a positive life, so we understand just how powerful those words can be. Humanity has been on a perpetual search for the ideas and realities that help us navigate around anything blocking our progress. And no matter how long that takes to achieve, happiness is (and will always be) a non-stop journey.

It is also “an inside job.” Yes, it starts with how you feel about yourself. A spoken word, a favorite recipe, and a road trip are among the millions of things that can spark the fire within us that says, “I am worthy.” We must build on that feeling, and let our light shine, brightly and consistently. As the advocates of optimism remind us, happy people make others happy.

Readers will notice that each of our tips are complemented by the colorful, eclectic artwork of international artist and designer Isa Zapata. Indeed, her artistic brilliance gives vision and voice to our words. So feast your eyes, continue to celebrate the good, and unleash your happiness!

Smile more
1  of  11
And why not?! Make your smile authentic, and give the world a window into your positive thoughts. As an Oprah Magazine articleby Jennifer Margulis points out:

When someone smiles out of genuine delight, a facial muscle called the orbicularius oculi involuntarily contracts, crinkling the skin around the eyes. Most of us are incapable of deliberately moving this muscle, which means that when a person fakes a smile, [the] orbicularius oculi likely won’t budge.

So be real! As your life can be your message, your smile can be your signature.

Posted: 08/09/2012 10:26 am

Art , Happiness , Inspiration , Love , Happiness Tips , Finding Happiness , Happiness Advice , Joy , Kindness , Positive Outlook , Positive Thinking , Self Esteem , Self-Improvement , Photo Galleries , Smile , Healthy Living News

For more by @2morrowknight, click here.

Follow Amy on Twitter @CharityIdeas & check out her other site, GoodPlusTech.com!

Gratitude: 77 Things To Make You Smile

18 Jul

Recently, driving in the glorious Ohio countryside on a very hot, sparkly, sunshiny day, I started thinking about all the wonderful things there are to smile about.  Here are 77 to start with, and if you have more to add, please do!  The things that make us smile are limitless.  Next time something makes you smile, think about how amazing that is, and smile a second time.

77  Random Things to Smile About

  1. Sunshine
  2. That happy feeling of love
  3. Giggles
  4. Ice Cream cones
  5. Traveling somewhere you don’t speak the language and being able to communicate anyway with something akin to charades or Pictionary, proving we’re all human and love the same things
  6. Helping a nonprofit for a few minutes online with Sparked
  7. Cozy thunderstorms
  8. Uplifting quotes
  9. Smiling at a stranger and them smiling back
  10. Donating miles or rewards points with Kula Causes
  11. An elderly lady lovingly tending her garden
  12. Driving on a barren stretch of highway where you can see rolling hills for miles
  13. Old-fashioned town squares
  14. Funny road signs
  15. Fireworks
  16. Jumping into the deep end of a cold swimming pool – 30 seconds later
  17. Tofurkey. Just saying it.
  18. Cows
  19. Dollar store treasures
  20. Babies laughing
  21. Hawks gliding like kites in the air
  22. The smell of Play-Doh
  23. Bubbles. All manner of bubbles.
  24. Dogs who look like they’re smiling
  25. Bacon
  26. The impact a $25 microloan on Kiva makes in changing someone’s life
  27. Finding a four-leaf clover
  28. The first sip of ice-cold water on a scorching-hot day
  29. That pucker face you make when you bite a lemon (or maybe a pickle)
  30. Real hand-written letters in the mail
  31. The friends you make on Twitter
  32. That moment when you smell something that evokes some very pleasant memory, but you can’t quite place it, but then later you remember it fondly
  33. Doing something you thought was “impossible”
  34. Empathy
  35. Laughing fits that make your eyes water and your stomach muscles hurt
  36. Realizing how lucky you are
  37. Serendipity
  38. An America flag with the sun shining behind it so it’s almost glowing
  39. Rainbows
  40. The mesmerizing colors and flight of hummingbirds and dragonflies
  41. Stand-up comedy
  42. Getting lost and stumbling on an adventure
  43. Walking barefoot on grass, or soft sand
  44. Compassion
  45. Doing something good for the environment
  46. Being prepared for anything
  47. Describing to any 10-year-old that we didn’t have the internet, or even cell phones, when we were their age
  48. Family
  49. Running into someone you know in a big city you don’t live in
  50. 30 Rock
  51. Really cool bugs — as long as they’re not on you
  52. Picnics on a whim
  53. Frozen lemonade
  54. Trying to stay clean when it’s muddy, then finally getting a little muddy, then what the heck, just going for it and getting all mud-licious
  55. Smelling roses when they’re warm in the sun
  56. Venice Beach
  57. Curiosity
  58. Optimism
  59. The sound of rain hitting a tent or maybe a window if it’s really quiet
  60. Festivals
  61. Food items presented on sticks
  62. “Puffy clouds”
  63. Walking in the rain, splashing in puddles, and getting soaking wet even though you don’t have spare clothes
  64. Learning a new language so you can eavesdrop in cafes in other countries
  65. Wagging tails
  66. Any moment when you think, “Life is good.”
  67. Farmer’s markets
  68. Walking in the woods
  69. Hearing from a long-lost friend
  70. Quirky little factoids you never knew
  71. Whistling in a store, then hearing someone else start whistling, and knowing they’ll shortly wonder why they just started whistling
  72. Helping a nonprofit for a few months with Taproot or Catchafire
  73. Spotting unexpected wildlife
  74. Sparkly things, especially disco balls
  75. Smartphones
  76. People
  77. Adding your own  smile-inducing things to this list in the comments 😀

 

Positive Belief Energy – The Inspiration of @LinkedIn’s Bryan Breckenridge

5 Jul

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

~ W. Clement Stone

Being around positive and optimistic people, in person or online, is something that inspires me on a regular basis.  People like Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight) with his Awesome Blog, Ann Tran (@AnnTran_) with her inspiring blog, and countless others.  One of those people is Bryan Breckenridge, whom I first came to know through his amazing social good work with LinkedIn as their “Nonprofit Success Enabler.”  LinkedIn has long been a favorite and often-used site for me, which you can learn more about here.

BeliefEnergy.com is all about positive energy, optimism, and uplifting ideas and stories.                          Photo by Amy Neumann.

Bryan (@BGBreck) spends a lot of time figuring out positive ways to make the world a better place, and shares it on his blog, BeliefEnergy.com, as well as on LinkedIn, where you can find helpful articles like Why Volunteering Is Good For Your Career.  I had a chance to talk with him in a little more detail about Belief Energy, how people can leverage LinkedIn for Good (and business), and how the two complement each other and provide continuous sources of ideas back and forth.

Bryan sees the world through an energetic enabler’s eyes.  In his career, Bryan has helped thousands of nonprofits operate better using online platforms.  Bryan is also helping people from all over the globe experience more optimal living.  In 2011, Bryan joined LinkedIn to launch their LinkedIn Nonprofit Solutions  program.  Bryan also launched his personal development think tank at that time, Belief Energy .  Belief Energy, LLC is committed to helping people experience more optimal living.  Thousands of people from around the world have joined the Belief Energy conversation on facebook.

Your vibrant energy and passion for positive change also extends to your personal life.  Can you talk about your site Belief Energy and how your work at LinkedIn and your personal mission intertwine?

Yes, I bring all of myself to work.  It’s not work for me, it’s a calling.  I intentionally integrate my professional and personal life.  It improves both in my experience.  Especially if I follow a surge and rest approach.  Nobody can go 110% all-out in all categories forever.

Belief Energy, LLC is a personal development think tank that I created in March 2011 after reaching a personal plateau in my personal and professional life.  I knew I could live a more optimal life and roll a significant career upgrade into it, as well.  I’d done it before.  Here’s a video I created for more context on Belief Energy and my quick personal and professional reflection on 2011:

I would not have written the LinkedIn Nonprofit Solutions program business plan if Belief Energy didn’t exist.  I knew what I did next in my career had to enable the enablers.  I knew what I did had to tap into my inner and outer life (my soul/belief and action/energy selves).  When I interviewed with executives at LinkedIn at the beginning of last year I could have sworn many of them were reading entries from the Belief Energy blog word for word.  I couldn’t believe it.  They let me pitch my passion infused business plan for nonprofits.  They loved it and have supported it from the start.  LinkedIn has been 100% supportive of my Belief Energy work, as well.  LinkedIn supports personal and professional transformation more than any company I’ve ever been a part of.  In fact, I plan to host a global Belief Energy workshop in LinkedIn’s global meeting rooms this year.

LinkedIn is a great place to share your volunteering and giving passion. Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero (Flickr).

Your passion for helping your community professionally started in the mid-90s and led to helping nonprofits on one of the world’s largest social networks:  LinkedIn.  Last  year you helped launch the new “Volunteer Experiences & Causes” profile feature.  Do you have a couple tips on how individuals can leverage this?

The “Volunteer Experience & Causes” profile section was one of our most requested Profile enhancements.  It became available to all our members in September 2011.  Everyone knows that volunteerism is good for the world. But according to a recent LinkedIn survey, we now know that volunteer experience also can make candidates more employable. Intrigued?  Consider this:

·           41%* of professionals surveyed state that when evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid experience.

·           20%* of hiring managers say they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.

·           *Based on a U.S. audience.

What you can do to help spread the word?

1.       For starters, please complete the Volunteer Experience and Causes section on your LinkedIn profile with past/current volunteer experience, causes you care about, and organizations you support.

2.       Share the new section with your network and encourage your connections to update their profiles too. You can also point them to our blog post for more information.

3.       Finally, ask the nonprofits you support or work for to encourage their support base to do the same.  Some organizations like Green Peace, The Nature Conservancy, Samaritan’s Purse and may more are asking their LinkedIn Followers to populate the section and highlight their organizations.

What resources are available for individuals and nonprofits who want to make the most of LinkedIn?

Two excellent resources:  Our nonprofit YouTube channel and a group I’d invite everyone to join called, “Nonprofits In Success.”

To learn more about how LinkedIn can help your nonprofit or cause here are 7 short videos about using LinkedIn for Non-Profits.

2011-12-29-BryanBreckeridgepic.jpg

Bryan Breckenridge

You can learn more about Bryan at BeliefEnergy.com or on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter @BGBreck.

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

19 Ways To Be More Optimistic

30 Jun

This adapted post originally appears in The Huffington Post.

19 Ways to be More Optimistic

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to see the sunny side of things? How missed flights can turn into adventures, bad directions can deliver them to exciting new locales, lost opportunities lead them to new learning, and unexpected changes in plans leave them feeling more spontaneous than flustered? How does that work, exactly?

Perhaps it’s like Henry David Thoreau once said:

“It’s not what you look at that matters,
it’s what you see.” ~ H.D. Thoreau

The same people tend to see the glass as half full.

Photo from Selin Jessa

Many things in life are open to interpretation. Luckily, we each have 100% control of our own attitude about something, regardless of how much or little control we have over that something itself. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make the bright side shine a little more often in any situation.

Count your blessings Make a written (or mental) list of things you are thankful for, from very small to very big and anywhere in between.  To really boost your spirits, set a number (like 100) and then just keep jotting everything down til you reach it.  It’s amazing what the mind remembers when focused!

Notice little unexpected things Pay special attention to things you don’t normally “see,” like the expression on kids’ faces when they’re playing, the sound birds are making in the background, or a little breeze.

Your mind maps your path; keep it sunny! Photo by Amy Neumann

Be grateful for the good  Being thankful for what we already have is a tried and true way to feel better.  Sometimes we get caught up thinking of what else is out there, when we have so many big and small things to be grateful for at any given moment.

Help someone else Helping others takes the focus off our own ego and needs, and helps channel our energy into creating a better world for others.  Studies show that helping others has multiple surprising benefits to our health and well-being.  Here are 10 online tools to get you started finding a great volunteer opportunity.

Decide to be happy today  This one is easy.  Change your lense.  Make a conscious decision to see the positive, to be kind to others, to be grateful, and to be nice to yourself.

Smile at a stranger (and make two people happy) Smiling is another time-tested way to feel more optimistic.  Even if you “fake it til you make it,” and smile when you don’t *really* feel like it, your brain thinks you feel better.  People who see others smiling also feel more positive .  Win, win!

Turn a perceived negative into a positive Also know as “finding the silver lining.”  Trip cancelled?  Now there’s time to do that home project you’ve been wanting to do. Raining on picnic day?  Find a creative picnic spot indoors, preferably with candles.  Challenge yourself by filling in this blank:  “One good thing about this situation is __________.”

Read positive news  Proactively look for positive stories and news sources that highlight all the good in the world, like these 15 uplifting, positive sites.

Read uplifting quotes and stories  Social media is great for this.  Facebook and Pinterest are full of fun pictures; Twitter has a never-ending stream of positive #quotes.  Download an uplifting eBook, or borrow one from the library.

Set a small goal, then do it Try something easy, quick, and ideally a bit fun.  Even small chores work.  Make a little list, check them off as you do them, and feel the accomplishment endorphins kick in!

Hang out with positive people  Being around optimistic people helps you see what they see.  Like negativity, positivity feeds on itself, creating more positivity and bolstering that worldview.  Surround yourself with optimism!

Remember that ultimately, almost everything is a choice You can choose your viewpoint, what you focus on, you reaction to a situation, your attitude toward people and events, and almost anything else.  While bigger changes may require more planning and deliberation, they also are choices; you control your destiny.

Laugh The best medicine!  Get a little comedy in your diet.  Here are 8 ways laughter helps with a positive and optimistic outlook.

Move Exercise can be structured, but it’s also great to just grab a quick walk.  Anything to get the blood flowing and more air into the lungs works.  Many people report feeling inspired and even more creative while exercising.

Absorb nature Getting out and about in nature – or even focusing more deeply on everyday things you see outdoors – helps remind us that we’re all in this journey together.  Seeing the amazing intricacies in even the tiniest creatures can help refocus appreciation.

“There are always flowers for those who wish to see them.” ~ Henri Matisse 

Remember simple things  Friends, family, free activities.  Sometimes simpler is better.  The things money can’t buy are often what we remember best.  In addition to doing them, reminiscing through pictures, scrapbooks, or journals keeps happy memories on tap.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

Dive into a passion Let your creative inner child out to play.  Somewhere in your mind is that artist, adventurer, writer, dreamer, explorer, poet, sports star, singer, comic, teacher, actor, do-it-yourselfer.  Find out what they have in mind and give it a whirl!

Write down dreams and goals, and how you think achieving them feels Visualizing positive outcomes conjures up positive feelings, almost as well as actually achieving the goals.  Your mind feels the win, creating a feeling of optimism and hope.  Things like vision boards, writing down concrete goals, and keeping a journal can also contribute to this visionary process and sense of optimism.

“For myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem much use being anything else.” ~ Winston Churchill

2012-06-29-RainyDayOrBestPuddleEver.JPG
Rainy day, or best puddle ever? Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

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