The Story of the Crystal Balls
A Beautiful Way to Live!

Imagine life is a beautiful adventure in which you are juggling lots of balls.

Each of the balls represent different parts of your life—work, family, health, friends, character, career, etc. And you're trying to keep them all very high in the air.

You are exhausted!

But then, a miracle happens. You finally come to understand that many of those balls are rubber balls, meaning that if you drop them, they will bounce back (probably with a little help).

The other balls—your family, health, friendships, and spirit are made of beautiful crystal. If you drop one of these balls, it will be forever scuffed, chipped, or worse—shattered.

Once you truly understand the beauty and significance of YOUR crystal balls, you will have the foundation for a perfectly, wonderful lopsided life.

And you will not be tired anymore…just joyous.

What's the difference between being kind and being nice?

Kindness comes from a place of inner compassion. Niceness, however, springs from a desire to please others, even if it's at our own expense. Kindness is always in fashion never leaves us. It stays with us wherever we go, reminding us that we can be both tough and gentle at the same time.

If you want to figure out what you value and prioritize in life…

Look at how you spend your time.

What activities might be more worth your time?

This is a personal exercise. Everybody values different things; but, here are some good activities:

1. Working out
Both cardio and strength training is important. Being strong is one of the most useful things in life. Sitting behind your desk for hours, traveling, playing with your kids/grandkids — your life will be a lot easier when you're strong.

2. Spending time with people you love
It doesn't really matter what you do. It's more about being around people you genuinely care about. That will exponentially increase your joy and give you energy.

3. Journaling
It's always nice to sit down at the end of a day and reflect. What did I do today? What did I learn? What am I going to do tomorrow? Did I help someone? Did I ask for help?

4. Learning a skill
Always be learning a new skill. It reminds us that we are always students.

5. Watching good movies/documentaries/television
They can inspire us, teach us, comfort us, and make us laugh. It's even better to do it with others.

6. Listening to music
It gives us inspiration, energy and a little zip to our step! The best thing is to listen to music that fits your mood.

7. Reading new books
Start and close your day with reading.

8. Laughing
Life is hard and if we don't laugh with each other and make others laugh, it only makes it harder.

9. Working on your goals
Every minute you spend on advancing your life is time you don't regret spending.

What makes us happy in life (hint: it's not winning the lottery)?

It seems like a straightforward question, but it's one that we find ourselves asking every day. Here are four things that may make a difference:

1. Friends and family
Developing a close bond with people we trust to confide in is essential to our overall well-being. "Choose your friends wisely and celebrate everything small and good with them," research says. "Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day," whereas friendships can "reduce the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases and can speed recovery in those who fall ill."

2. Forgiveness
The ability to forgive frees you from the burdens of hate and other unhealthy emotions that can negatively impact your happiness quotient. Research found that it can also lower the risk of heart attack, improve cholesterol levels and reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

3. Giving
Getting involved with charities and donating your time or money to help others is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time and money.

4. Gratitude
Taking time to think about what you're grateful for makes you more aware of the positive things in your life. As a result, it makes you less biased by the fewer negative things in your life.

What's YOUR definition of high performance?

Think about whether you measure your performance in relation to someone else's, or by your own standard. To be a high performer, do you have to be the best in the world, or better than you were before? If you think it means being the best in the world, that's an easy definition — you're either the best or you're not. But if you interpret high performance as working to be better today than you were yesterday, that's going to take some thought and action. Remember, high performance is a dynamic concept, changing with failures, successes and insights.

Why do my feet hurt so much?
Here are a few ways you might be putting extra wear-and-tear on your feet without realizing it:

• You've been buying the same shoe size since college.
If you haven't gotten your feet measured recently, there's a decent chance you're squeezing into the wrong size out of habit. "Feet can increase in size with age or pregnancy, so a proper shoe fitting is always important," says Robert Raines, MD, TriHealth Orthopedic Surgeon, Foot/Ankle Specialist.

• You went shoe shopping in the morning.
Not only do your feet grow over the years, but they also swell throughout the day—so a pair that fits perfectly in the morning may be uncomfortably tight by the time you leave work. "Try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen," Raines says. When you're standing (not sitting!) in a pair of shoes, you should have a half-inch between your toes and the front of the shoes, and you should be able to fit your index finger between your heel and the heel counter.

• You believe in fashion over function.
It's basically Shoes 101 that high heels can hurt your feet, but you also have to be careful with flats: If the toe box is too constrictive, it can cause problems. "Avoid shoes with pointed tips, which can cause crowding in the forefoot," Raines says. "This can lead to callus formation, bone spurs, inflamed nerves, or even promote toe deformities."

• You've gained a few pounds.
While a little bit of scale creep is normal, especially around the holidays, it can put extra stress on your feet. "Your feet bear 2 to 3 times your body weight when walking and up to 5 times your body weight when running," Raines says. So while a few extra pounds may not make a huge difference in how your jeans fit, it has a much bigger impact (literally) on your feet.

• You wear the same shoes for every workout.
Running shoes, walking shoes, cross-training shoes—it may seem like a clever ploy to sell more sneakers, but different types of workouts really do require different types of support to avoid injuries.

• You hurt your back (or knee, or hip).
If you're nursing an injury that makes walking painful, your feet will pick up the slack. "Your body will naturally guard an injured area, and the resultant limp will place added pressure on the next-best joint," Raines says.

Can you choose to be happy?

Happiness is a choice. Happiness is a verb. Go get it. Research is clear: Happiness, resilience, connection, and kindness are skills that can be taught and developed over time—with practice. Happy people choose to focus on the positive aspects of life, rather than the negative. They are not held hostage by their circumstances. "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."- Abraham Lincoln

If you're having trouble waking up in the morning, should you set your alarm earlier so you can hit the snooze and wake up gradually?

Our bodies do better when they can get used to a single clear rule. Get out of bed the moment the alarm sounds. When we play with the snooze button, our bodies get a confused message. So just bite the bullet — it won't be fun in the beginning — and get out of bed when the alarm tells you to. Do this faithfully for a few months and the condition should start to kick in. Better yet, plan to meet someone for a morning run. Accountability is a great wakeup call.

Should you have a mentor?
"Mentors can make a huge difference in your business and personal life," said Alvin Roehr, CEO of The Roehr Agency. Here's how to make it meaningful:
• It's up to you to execute.
"Even if you score a mentor as great as CEO, he is going to challenge you to do work on yourself and your professional endeavors," said Roehr. "And that responsibility ultimately falls squarely on your shoulders."

• Your mentor isn't perfect.
We are all human; we make mistakes. Be sensitive enough to filter the advice you receive, and show compassion and empathy when you don't always get your mentor's brilliance. "They face demands and challenges, too," said Roehr.

• Working with a mentor is like getting in shape — patience is required.
Working with a mentor is like working out and eating right; one day won't make much of a difference or bring instant results. "But the total net effect can be huge," said Roehr.

• Even the best mentors aren't clairvoyant.
Communicate your goals consistently and candidly, so you both are getting the most out of the relationship. "Good mentors thrive on feedback — after all, your success is their success," said Roehr.