Be One of the Happy People!

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No 37. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 11, 2015

Be One of the Happy People!

The happy people are those who are producing something; the bored
people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing.
— William Ralph Inge (1860-1954 ) English Theologian

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How do you become a happy person? Beverly Sills, the great American coloratura said it this way: A happy woman is one who has no cares at all; a cheerful woman is one who has cares but doesn’t let them get her down.”

Anne Frank quoted this for happiness: “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

What is going to take to make you happy? Money, fame, education, achievement, awards, the perfect body, perfect health, a great family, established faith?

My question is this, what will make you happy after you “have it all?” What will you do then? What will you do if you don’t “get it all?”

I have been happy in my life and sad at other times. I’ve been rich and I’ve been broke. I’ve had ultimate happiness and the deepest sorrow. There have been times I have had a lot of time, and times I live from moment to moment. When was I the happiest?

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I’m happy right now. In the midst of what others would say is chaos, I find peace and tranquility. As problems seem to mount up, I find hope and I’m eager to grow from all of my experiences. The only chink in my armor is my mouth. When thing get tough, I get colorful sometimes. Oh well, I’d rather feel life that be numb from boredom!

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As I get older, I find happiness from helping other grow and achieve their goals. God willing, I have a career from the rest of my life just from the 40 years of experience I have with dancing. I can pretty much fix any dance step or polish any dance sequence. I love seeing others grow and find that the rare person that is passionate about life, that is focused and willing to work hard for what they want in life, the person who is willing to give of themselves to help others achieve their goals. This is the gem of a person that I love to help and mentor. They make life worthwhile as a coach.

Perhaps if you are not happy today, you need to volunteer for something to help others. If you are a dancer and bored, get involved in the dance competition and help out. You’ll find out that your services are greatly needed. Need some motivation, offer your services to lead a group, help others who cannot pay you back, or just find someone that needs a good word and give them your ear and some time to talk.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
— Charles Gordy

Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at
first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.
— Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer

Exercise: My mom had a philosophy of life. She said that when you met someone, you should find what you like about them instantly, and build an empire on that like. It might be their voice, smile, their choice of words, laughter, clothing, their perfume, but find it in the first moment of greeting and say something about it. Let the first words that come out of your mouth be something wonderful about THEM and make them feel special. You’ll find that your smile and kind word will not only make them happy, but will ultimately make you happy as well!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

 

Mistakes 9-4-15

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No 36. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.
— Sophia Loren (1934-  ) Italian Actress

Ever made a mistake? Ever feel really stupid about it. Every had someone else make you feel small and insignificant over doing something wrong? I think this has happened to us all at some point in time.

Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.
— Howard W. Newton

How do you handle it? How is your tact? What do you do when someone catches you in a mistake and they say something?

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I’m a hothead and I have a quick acerbic mouth. It’s not a good thing and gets me into all kinds of trouble. Just because I can speed read you does not mean I should! I have to think before I speak and always take a deep breath before sharing my opinion.

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This I know, I’m going to make mistakes, I just don’t need my big mouth to make things worse. How do I handle mistakes now? Monsignor gave a homily a few years ago. Being a fellow Virgo, he has a quick response and he said he had made a change. When someone came up to him and challenged him, instead of going off, he bowed his head and said “I’m sorry”. He just took another road and had made that a habit in his life.

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I have practiced this for a long time now. When I feel attacked, I bow my head and close my mouth, wait and say “I’m sorry”. You cannot imagine how many times this has turned a conflict into a pleasant conversation and has made me many more friends than enemies. I’m not saying that I’m perfect or that I don’t still go off on people, but that negative approach never gets me too far in life.

If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith,
something good can happen. — Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year. December 19, 1998

Perhaps mistakes are ways we check ourselves. Perhaps they protect us from something worse. My great coach, Miss Pat Traymore, always said to me when I got lost driving, “Don’t get upset, you’re being protected from something bad”. I grew to believe in this and now I find that as I am driving, before me a bad accident has happened, and I just missed it. I have been late and have actually seen accidents happen just before me that would have been in had I been on time.

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Someone got mad at me once and said “Ok, just don’t ever do that again”. I could not guarantee that and I became so blocked that I could not do my work without fear of doing something wrong. What is the answer? Practice and do your task over and over and over and learn your craft so perfectly that you best work becomes your natural way of doing things.

Practice will make permanent and that perfect practice will make you happy in all areas of your life. Live without fear and do your best with song in your heart. I use to be a high-powered ballroom teacher and I use to get so upset with my students when they made mistakes. Now after these 40 years, when my student makes a mistake, we both start laughing and we have some much fun, instead of conflict, that we have a hug and move on. Yes, I still teach a good lesson, but this is now a fun lesson as well.

Mistakes, yes, we’re all going to make them. We might as well have some fun along the way and try to not make the same old mistakes over and over, but not live in fear at the same time.

Ballroom dancing changes your concept of what a mistake is. Sometimes when you are dancing, you do a step in an unusual way that is brilliant and you end up with a new, exciting variation. When you are competing, you have your game plan and you are ready to take the floor. Oops, there is another couple in the way. You have to pause, change plans, redirect, change your amalgamation, even dance a new pattern to follow the etiquette of floorcraft. Mistakes often take on a whole new life and become something altogether magical and fresh.

Exercise: Find someone in your life that has “made it” and ask them what the hardest trial they have ever experienced. Ask them what they learned from that trial and how they became better. I guess the fact of life is that we never truly stop learning and growing in our lives. I’m so lucky, God willing, I will be able to dance, teach, perform and stay a ballroom dancer for the rest of my life; always growing, learning, making some mistakes, and striving for perfection in my life.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury