The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Knife or Spoon? Choose Your Weapon

The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.

Charles Buxton

When you disagree with someone or have a point to make, do you whip out a “knife” and make that point with as much venom and damage as possible or do you gently offer a spoon filled with warm suggestions and a taste of vanilla? Both ways are certainly effective at making a point or offering a criticism but why use a knife when a spoon works just as well?

Here’s the thing, there are going to be plenty of times in life when you disagree with someone, need to make a point, need to correct someone or stand up for yourself. What matters is how you do it. There are plenty of people who I’m not incredibly fond of (and who probably aren’t very fond of me though how this can possibly be true I’m really not sure but I digress…) Anyway, back to those people I’m not fond of. Even though I might not like them or particularly respect them, I do have to deal with them or work with them throughout my day. I have found that learning how to handle people and how to offer up suggestions and changes with honey instead of vinegar always gets me to where I want to end up.

Think about your approach to people especially as you head back to school and, may I gently offer, as you deal with your parents or other figures in authority. Rather than attacking and rolling your eyes and muttering under your breath (which is what we really want to do when we’re frustrated or disagree right?) take a deep breath and think before you speak. Control those emotions for a minute and try to  have a conversation instead of a battle. Spoon a little honey into your conversation instead of threatening them with a knife. A little kindness and understanding will go a long way to not only helping you achieve your goals, but also to create rather than destroy relationships. Trust me on this.

Afraid of Change? Here R Five Ways 4 Teens 2 Deal With It

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. -Einstein

If you don’t do well with change you likely aren’t going to do well with being a teenager. It sounds harsh I know but change is pretty much the only thing we can be certain of in life and your teen years are chock full of it. Everything changes when you are a teen. Your body changes, your mind changes (sometimes several times a minute it seems), your friends change, your interests change, your viewpoints change and it definitely seems like your parents change their minds all the time (though at some times they likely won’t budge and you wish they would change their minds!).

Here’s what I want you to remember though when you are struggling with some kind of change in your life.

Change is good. I promise, it really is.

Here’s a few tips to help you deal with changes when they pop up.

1. Take a deep breath, step back and really look at what’s happening. It might not be as bad as you think.

2. Try to look at change as an opportunity rather than a challenge. How you view change impacts how you deal with it.

3. Say yes instead of no. Fighting change might not work but being open to a new path can be invigorating & exciting.

4. Stay in the present moment. Change feels scary so we immediately start trying to predict what the future is going to look like. Why? The only future you can imagine is based on your past experiences and that might not be the best predictor of the future.

5. Realize, like Einstein did (and he was a really smart guy) that how you deal with change is a reflection of your intelligence. Smart people deal with change well so why not be smart about it? Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to work so suck it up and face change with confidence, calm and peace. You got this.

Now you tell me. How do you deal with change? What are some big changes you’ve gone through during your teen years that seemed monumental and life changing? How did you deal with it? How can I help you live happy (yes, even when change is in the air!)

A New Tool 2 Help U B Grateful

If you read this blog at all you know that I’m passionate about practicing gratefulness as a way to be happy. I’ve always liked the website but they launched a new site and I highly recommend that you check it out. There are lots of tools, links, resources and even a place to start a private online journal where you can record your gratefulness journey. As I’ve discussed before in this space, I have a gratitude journal that I write in every night. I list three things I’m grateful for that day and I’ve been doing it for about two years. I have to say, now that I look back on it, I really do think that it’s helped me to be a more positive person and to appreciate my life more. It’s hard to be cranky when you force yourself to sit down and take stock of three good things in your life or in life in general. Heck, sometimes I’m just grateful that I got through another day but that counts too! Check out the new site today and start to live happy!

Want 2 Live Happy? Be Willing 2 Lose Control

Throughout your life you will discover that many of life’s painful moments end up being the ones that teach you the most. My parents are in their 80s and both have serious health issues so every day is filled with stress, sadness and the very strong desire to be in control of the situation because I can obviously fix everything and make it right, right? Ah, that’s the thing. I’m learning that I can’t make it right. I’m also (slowly and painfully) learning that I can’t control the situation. I can’t make my mom rest. I can’t make them get the help they so desperately need. I can’t make them move to a place that would be safer and more comfortable for them. I obviously have all the answers! Why don’t they seet his? If only the world would listen to me, it would be a better place.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Throughout out lives and even throughout the day, we are constantly examining other peoples’ behaviors and actions and coming up, in our oh-so-perfect minds, with better ways of doing things. If only he would drive faster. If only she would study more. If only she would break up with him. If only he would eat healthier. If only she would listen to better music. If only, if only, if only, if only the world would listen to me, it would be a better place!

Here’s the thing. If you really want to live happy, you need to give up trying to control or wishing you could control the decisions, behaviors, choices and actions of others. Sometimes you might actually be right and that person’s life would improve if only they would stop drinking 6 sodas a day but you can’t change them and, in order to be happy, you need to stop trying.

Focus on you. Focus on your own happiness. Focus on what you can control. Focus on your own behaviors. Focus on living your own best life. I promise if you do this, you will be happy and, you never know, by setting a positive example for others, you may just end up changing some of those things you’d like to change!

Dream Big Because No One Else Can Dream for You

Alexa von Tobel (be sure to click the link watch the video!) is a leading CEO (and yet another Harvard drop out…maybe it’s just me but there definitely seems to be at least a slight link between big dreamers who drop out of Ivy League schools but I digress…) who pursued her dream and started her own company. I love her advice to recent grads and young people: Dream big because no one else can dream for you. What you also see in Alexa’s story and the story of many entrepreneurs and dreamers is that success wasn’t easy and it didn’t come over night. These things take hard work, time, patience, the ability to take some risks (and fail and take some risks again) and perseverance. Let this little story be a reminder to you that no dream is too big if you’re willing to work hard and not give up. Not stop reading this and go do something to kickstart YOUR dream!

A Tool 4 School: Be Open


A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open.  – Frank Zappa

With a new school year starting your mind and body are going to be inundated with lots of new experiences, people, places, opportunities and challenges. It can all sort of be overwhelming as you get pushed and pulled in so many different directions.

Here’s one tool for dealing with all this newness: Be Open.

– When you meet someone new be open to who they are and don’t judge. Don’t make a decision about someone before getting to know them based on the way they look, dress or the way others have categorized them to you. Make up your own mind.  You might make a new friend or, at the very least, there will at least be another friendly face to say hi to as you move through your day.

– When you encounter a new concept in class be open to learning it and don’t shut down because it doesn’t mesh with your previous ideas of what you think you know. The greater the diversity of ideas you entertain, the more your mind grows and the more you grow as a person.

– When you’re given a new opportunity to try something new like a class, a sport, an activity or even a new way of thinking, be open to at least trying it once. So often we miss out on opportunities because the little voice in our heads tells us ahead of time that we won’t like it, we won’t be good at it or that people will laugh at us if we try and fail. How will you know any of this is true if you don’t at least try? Who knows, you may actually be an incredible basketball player but if you never pick up a ball, you’ll never know.

Never assume. Try. Be open.

I leave you with this quote to sum it up:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov


Forgive Yourself: Let it go. Fall down. Meet the real you.

blond teen

It’s hard enough to forgive others when they’ve hurt you but it’s even harder to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself means admitting you’re not perfect, that  you’re not 100% innocent and that you have some things to learn. These are tough concepts to wrestle with even on a good day never mind when you’ve actually done something wrong. And let’s face it,  sometimes you just think you’ve done something wrong because sometimes we haven’t even done anything wrong but it still feels that way because we’re so tough on ourselves.

Similar to forgiving someone else, forgiving yourself doesn’t make what you did right, acceptable or ok. Forgiving yourself just means owning it. It means letting it go and accepting that it doesn’t need to define who you are or who you want to be. It means you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself (which your ego really really hates to do.)

It means falling down.

Here’s the thing about falling down though. When you fall down, you actually meet the foundation of who you really are. The ground, the bedrock, the bottom – that’s where your feet should be planted and forgiving yourself actually helps you to get back to this place. It helps you to meet the real you.

So how do you forgive yourself? You cry. You feel bad. You sit with it.  You accept that you can’t change it. You accept that it’s in the past.

You let it go.

You meet the real you.