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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Don't Worry; Be Happy by Joan Reeves

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I create characters in romance novels that have been popular with readers. By the end of each book, my characters have learned how to be happy. Notice I say learned because for many people, happiness is a learned skill.

I spend a lot of time thinking about human nature. One thing that's true for fiction and real life is that most of us seem to make the same mistakes as we bumble our way along the road of life.

Want to be happier? Here are some "rules" I came up with that might help. See what you think of them.

1. Don't take advice from anyone who's more screwed up than you.
Everyone likes to give advice, but always ask yourself if the person dishing out the advice is living life more effectively with less hiccups than you. If not, smile and nod and feel free to ignore what they say. Unless what they tell you is based upon what they learned from their own bad experience of doing the opposite.

2. Do learn from others who have been where you want to go.
Model their behavior. Find out how they did it and adapt their method to your efforts.Unless the way they achieved it was dishonest and goes against your own beliefs and integrity. You can't model negative behavior without far-reaching consequences.

3. Do stop working so hard; instead, learn how to work more effectively.
Unless you assess your efforts and realize you really aren't working hard - you're just giving lip service to the idea of working hard.

4. Do enjoy yourself more.
Unless you're already spending way too much time in the pursuit of pleasure. You have to have a good balance between hard, effective work and play.

5. Do change your attitude about work.
Sometimes when we describe an activity as work -- even though it's something we truly adore doing -- the activity, in our mind, becomes linked to work equals unpleasantness. The more you enjoy something; the less it should seem like work. Unless you already view your work as play so much so that you have a slipshod attitude about what you do. Never forget you want to achieve something with the investment of your time, energy, and brain power.

Post Script

To feel like a success, figure out what success means to you.

(Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at Amazon,, and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free subscription newsletter for writers, and I LUV Books, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Find Joan at her Blog: SlingWords.


  1. Joan. I love this post. I especially love number one. ☺ But Number 3 is the one I'm trying to embrace--work more effectively, not harder.

    1. Thanks, Caroline. All of these fall under the "simple but not easy" category, don't they?

  2. What an excellent post, Joan. I really agree with your points. Especially about, well, work, and not equating it to unpleasantness. Also not being influenced by people more screwed up than you, unless they are learning from their errors. Very thought provoking. thanks!

  3. Joan, what a great post! Excellent advice for life and work!

    1. Hey, Karren. Thank you. I guess we all know these things, but it's hard to keep them in mind sometimes.


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