Motivational Monday: 15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

Hey guys, just like Instagram Fridays, I’m going to do something called Motivational Mondays.  Face it, Mondays do suck but it always help to have a little something on that day to cheer you up and get you through the week :).  Recently, ONE, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness on global poverty, posted this article from Purpose Fairy on their Facebook page.  I’m going to list the 15 things here as stated in the original article and put my own thoughts into them.

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

Some people think that if they have everything, they will be happy.  If they had all the money in the world, a lot of friends, closets of designer clothes, then their lives are complete.  However, giving up a few things is what leads to your true happiness and helps you be the best person you can possibly be:

1. Give up your need to always be right.

How many of you know at least one person that loves to argue for the sake of arguing?  Someone who never listens to what you have to say but instead always insists that he or she is right.  What exactly do you gain from being right?  Maybe the satisfaction that the person you’re arguing with is wrong and you are right?  It’s human nature and totally understandable that you don’t want to be the one who is wrong.  But is being right worth risking a relationship?  Wayne Dyer (who I think is inspirational) suggests that the next time we’re in this situation, we ask ourselves this question: Would I rather be right or would I rather be kind?  Imagine if everyone just for one second decided to put their ego in check.

2. Give up your need for control.

We all have an innate need to have control over our lives.  We may end up controlling other people and situations.  Believe me, I’m a teacher and if I had complete control, my students will be sitting in their desks, working quietly, and being angels.  But guess what?  My students are people who make their own choices too.  They want to have control over their lives in the classroom and if I control them too much, they might resent me.  The point is, things happen that are beyond our control.  People around us may make decisions that we disagree with and we wish we can change our minds.  The article quotes, “Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.”

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning. – Lao Tzu

3.  Give up on blame

You always have a choice on how you react to things that happen in your life.  Start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self talk.

I am totally guilty of this.  I admit to feeling that I would never get hired as an art teacher and that I would sub for the rest of my life (Not that subbing isn’t all bad!  The flexibility is great!) Luckily I have a fiancé that insists that I stop being a defeatist.  But I had to take it upon myself to get over my self-defeating self- talk.  I know that I am a great artist and a great art teacher already.  I remain optimistic that I will find a place to work that is a right fit for me. This took a long time for me to get over.  My suggestion to get over your self-defeating self talk to have someone in your life that insists that you stop your negative self-talk.  Another suggestion is to remind yourself of everything you accomplished, whether it’s finishing your thesis, volunteering, or turning into Batman at night. 😀

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.”- Eckhart Tolle

5.  Give up your limiting beliefs.

Who says that you can’t travel to Africa, get your doctorate, climb Mount Everest, or give up your Wall Street job to be a freelance photographer?  Don’t let your limiting beliefs stop you from doing what you really want to do.  As my friend Marie says, “Leggo!”

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” – Elly Roselle

6.  Give up complaining.

I am guilty of this too.  Sometimes I need to vent and vent until it’s all out of my system.  I may feel better but constant complaining magically solve the problem?  Nope.  I think the article says it best right here:

“Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.”

7.  Give up the luxury of criticism.

We might feel the need to put our two cents in at any situation, especially when it’s something different from what we’re used to.  However, how many times have we criticized someone or something without being asked?  We all want the same things: health, happiness etc.  Just let go and let others be.

8.  Give up your need to impress others.

We all know that first impression is important.  That’s why we wear suits to interviews.  Sometimes we try and try and for some reason that one person doesn’t like you.  We all want to be like but it’s not worth changing who we are.

9.  Give up your resistance to change.

Change happens.  Most change is good.  Believe that it’s all happening for some cosmic reason to help you be the best person you can possibly be.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” –Joseph Campbell

10.  Give up labels.

Most of us may have been guilty of this in high school–labeling others as jocks, popular people, theater geeks, nerds etc.  But those jocks, popular girls, theater geeks and nerds all have one thing in common.  They are all people who simply want happiness for their lives.  Give up on labeling people as “weird” or “different” because they don’t think, act, or dress as you do.  By shutting out people different from you, you might miss out on great relationships.

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” – Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears.

The article says is best, “Fear is an illusion.”  It really is all in your mind.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses.

We all make excuses for why we can’t or won’t do something.  I get frustrated with students for making excuses for why they won’t do their work, why they’re late etc. Excuses limit us.  Instead, let go of these excuses and work on improving yourself.

13. Give up the past.

You can’t change the past.  The past may have been easier or happier while the future looks scary.  Live in the present moment because it’s really all you have.

14. Give up attachment.

I think this is the hardest one.  The things that we are attached to whether it’s another person, your home or your job, give us a sense of security.  It’s understandable that anyone would want to hold on to those things.  I think Purpose Fairy explains this point the best:

“The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying.”

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

How many of us are in careers that our parents insist on because it will make you money, give you security and everyone else in your family is doing it.  People have questioned my decision to be an art teacher and ask why I don’t go into nursing like most people in my family and in my culture in general.  I think nursing is a very noble career and all nurses deserve more credit.  However, I have never imagined myself being happy as a nurse.  I am at my best when I am in the classroom demonstrating how to wedge clay.  Don’t lose sight of yourself because of what other people expect you to be.  People want the best for you but no one is living your life except for you. 

Don’t forget to comment below.  Let’s open up a dialogue here!

I hope everyone has a happy week :D.


Prints with my Instagram photo? Yes please!

I just discovered this exists!  The little books and stickers are so cute! I can’t wait to take more pictures so I can buy some of the stuff in this site.

In other words, check out my Instagram photos via! Feel free to share your Instagram photos with me as well!

NPR’s National Teachers Initiative: A nice pick-me-up for teachers

I stumbled across NPR’s National Teacher Initiative Today.  With all of the teacher bashing that is out there, it’s nice to hear inspiring stories about how teachers and students affect each others’ lives.

Check out the article here:

NPR’s National Teachers Initiative

Don’t forget to thank a teacher! 🙂

Instagram Fridays: Park Avenue Tulips

Every Friday, I will post a photo from Instagram, either my own or someone else’s.  Today, I will start with my own photograph titled Park Avenue Tulips.


I took this picture when waiting to cross the street at a double crosswalk in Park Avenue in the Upper East Side, Manhattan.  There is a small bit of land where pedestrians wait between two crosswalks.  Beautiful trees and flowers grow in that little bit of land.  I always appreciate any effort to make New York City beautiful :).

If you want to follow me on Instagram, my username is abbyesc.  If you want me to follow you, leave your username in the comments!

My Thoughts on Drive by Daniel Pink

I’ve always believed that if I offered rewards to my students, they would be motivated, hard working, and well behaved. Especially as a substitute teacher, rewards seem like an effective way to get the great behavior I need to have for a good day. Daniel Pink changed my mind about the effectiveness of “if-then” rewards. According to Pink, the “carrots and sticks” method doesn’t work. “Carrots and sticks” such as money often leads to unethical behavior in business. Even in education, there were incidents of cheating in standardized tests. We are moving towards a more creative, purpose driven economy. “If-then” rewards in more complex and abstract work narrows our focus, encourages unethical behavior, and leads to overall frustration and disatisfaction.

Motivation, according to Pink, is based on three elements: autonomy,mastery, and purpose. Intrinsic motivation is what eventually leads to happier and more productive workers.

People want to have autonomy over how they approach a task as opposed to being told what to do. Mastery comes from “flow” which are “optimal experiences when the challenges we face are exquisitely matched to our abilities (Pink, 2009). Finally, human beings have an innate need for purpose— to aspire for something greater than themselves.

As an aspiring art teacher, I feel that the lessons I teach are immeasurable. The arts helps us making something that was originally in our heads into something tangible. Art also fosters a sense of empathy while helping us building connections between ideas. Kids feel a sense of purpose when they create art. If I offer rewards, I would feel like I’m doing them a disservice. Rewards won’t help them reach their full creative potential. The real reward is the satisfaction of your hard work paying off when you feel like you’ve created a masterpiece.

Final question: If you are someone who is in charge of a group of people, whether you’re a manager, teacher or CEO, how do you motivate others based on Pink’s ideas? I would love to hear your ideas!

Here’s Pink’s TED talk about motivation: