Creating Happy Moments for Others

I was sitting at the bar at my favorite restaurant having chili and wine on Friday night. I started talking to Mila and her Husband Robert. Mila is a very sensible woman. She is half Bolivian and half Spanish. After some minutes our conversation got very deep. I asked her what motivates her. She said, “Making people happy”. She knew a lot of people in the bar. She hugged them like if they were best friends. She gave her smile away without hesitating. She made people feel important and loved, even for few seconds. She inspired this post.

Last week, I also listened to the Tim Ferris podcast with Adam Robinson. Adam. talked about creating magic for others. He said that in interactions with someone else “the purpose is to delight another person”. Adam told a story about him getting a special gift  to his friend Warren Buffet. Warren earned his first cents  when he was 6 years old by selling Bemoans gum. Adam planned to find a Bemoans gum pack, frame it, and send it to Warren. The interesting part is the way the story unfolds . He finds along the way people that help him to pursue his plan.

This reminded me of a book I read recently Love Does by Bob Goff. Bob helps others achieve their dream by creating fun and magic. It is a very inspirational and almost unbelievable book. One of the first stories is about a guy planning  to propose to his girlfriend using Bob’s Backyard near the coast. Bob have never met this guy. He found the guy to be very passionate about it. Bob decided to help him. As the date gets closer,  the plan gets more sophisticated. Bob, to delight the young man plans a big surprise by getting the coast guard to shoot of canons  from a firefighting boat when the new fiancée said yes.

Lewis Howes at the School of Greatness has a great short podcast about focusing on giving. He provides a great example about how small actions can impact people  lives, like a man taking his shirt  putting it on  a shivering man on a street  He recalls that one of the happiest moments was going to a third world country helping build schools with the Pencils of Promise foundation. Making people happy makes you happy!

So, my take away:

For my future interactions, business or social, I will try my best to:

  • delight the other person
  • make him or her feel good
  • be a great listener and ask details about what the other person is expressing
  • understand better his or her needs
  • sincerely complement
  • create acts of kindness (KindSpring provides great ideas)

I will also try to give 10% or more of my income to my church or a good cause.

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” ― Zig Ziglar

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson




Purposefully crafting your daily yeah moment

lalisI was looking at my daughter swinging on a tire last Sunday afternoon. She was playing. She was enjoying life, rejoicing in the moment. I heard her say “yohoo” several times.

Kids don’t have any concern about what’s next, no big responsibilities. I think this is the reason they are free to just enjoy and don’t worry. They can craft dozens of yeah moments in a day.

We as adults don’t swing as much anymore. We get dizzy faster, or at least I do. We are thinking about how much time we have left to go home to do stuff. I thought, well at least we should try to craft every day a precious moment, a yeah moment. They can come in randomly, but I think it needs to be purposefully planned.


The feeling of a yeah moment is like the sensation you experience when you hold your baby minutes after born, receive an award because of your achievement, or when you kiss someone for the first time after a long anticipation. Your heart beats faster. Dopamine levels go up. You face gets red. You cry.

It is hard to get events like this every day. But, what if there is an activity that we can often do and we can give ourselves a pad in the back for the job well done? So I sat down and jot ideas to craft a yeah moment:

  • Business: Succeeding in getting new members for my organization, getting more people compliant to OGC standards, giving great talk or giving a great class at UMBC.
  • Personal: Writing a blog post that can help a lot of people, sing a song, dance salsa, get into the mountains with my bike, and run.

You need to be thoughtful about this. And even before it happened think about the yeah moment. I went home after teaching yesterday night and while having the late dinner I said to myself: “Thank you God because you allow me to give a great class, students laughed, they were all able to install and run Python, they learned about Big Data and I finished on time. Yeah !”. Yes, I purposefully finish with a “Yeah”, felt happy, and took a zip of wine.

I also decided that I will write at least one blog post per week and run. I want to create as much yeah moments I can in a day. And, I have found I get a higher yeah moment when running.

I run around a beautiful small lake in Kentlands in Gaithersburg, MD. This is how it looks:

This is what I do:

  • Due to the fact that I am a Lion chronotype (which I discovered after I read the Power of When book) my best exercise is at 5 PM.  I can testify that it is working for me. After years of trying to do exercise first thing in the morning I changed my schedule.
  • I put Pandora, “Happy” station.
  • I start Runmeter. Being a data geek I track all my runs and bike rides. It is a free app and synchronizes with Strava. Strava is fun because it allows you to compare to others. I take it as benchmark app.
  • I run about a 5K at least 3 times per week. It is divided in segments approximately as follows
    • 0-1 miles: Happy warm up with happy music. Normal pace.
    • 1-1.5 miles:  Yeah sprint moments: I try to feel I’m a super athlete. Two to fours sprints (5-10 seconds) to speed as much as I can.  The music helps a ton. These sprints create several yeah moments.
    • 1.5 miles – 2 miles: Gratitude. I disconnect from headphones. I recap the day and give thanks to God about good things that happened during the day, e.g. people I had lunch with, people I have helped, great emails that I got, the great weather, etc.
    • 2-3 miles: Goals recap. I think about my goals and leave the ideas flow. I read my main goal from my phone (See previous post). Creativity pumps in crazy during this 5 minutes period  (ok 8-9 minutes period).
    • 3-3.5 miles. Happy music again. Warm Down.

A screenshot from the Strava app:


Final thought: Will be great to have a yeah moments tracker or a yeah diary.


Think like a winner: Lessons learned from a 5 year old

I have found that board games are one of the best activities to spend time with your kids. It is a great time to talk about life in general, how their day went, who do they played with at recess, what they learned, and what it’s bothering them most. It is a great time to teach them to be patient and to stop and think about making decisions.

My daughter is 5 years old and her favorite game is the matchmaking memory game. Cards are all placed facing down. Players take turns to pick two cards. If the cards match, the player picking the cards keep them. The player that has more matches at the end of the game is the winner.

I try to play hard, to concentrate and to memorize the position of the cards. I repeat the name, the image and create a story around it. They are like 50 cards. It is hard to make a consistent story of the cards spread everywhere. The incredible fact is that she ends up wining most of the times without any effort of internal repetition or effort to memorize any card. This weekend I found the reason.

When we were playing last Friday, she suddenly stopped and said she wanted to write something in her notebook. I said I was fine. While she was writing, I was looking at the cards trying to remember the images of the ones we had turn over in the last hands.








Then she showed me the note and I understood why she wins most of the times. She really wants to beat dad. Her desire is so big she wrote it down “Win the memory game”. She showed the note to me with excitement and really meaning it. Her sparkling eyes told me everything. It is not about how hard you work and concentrate on the details of your job or work. It is more about your desire to be triumphant. That desire will overcome the obstacles, will bring all the energy needed to pursue your dreams, will make you concentrate on the important tasks, and might beat your dad in a board game.

Take your goal and put all your desire on it, write it down, flip the cards and make it happen.



You might guess what happened at the end of the game…  I lost again!



Goals and daily affirmations with Evernote

The book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, written first on 1937, explained the importance of dreaming and having faith in your desires to become rich. An important part of the process is to see your goals 2 or 3 times per day and repeat daily affirmations to engrane in your subconscious mind your desired dream. This will connect to infinite intelligence and open your creative thoughts to get what you want. The Secret Film is great movie to better understand the science behind it.

Most experts talk about how to materialize your goals in  vision boards in physical means like cork or poster boards or even small cards that can fit in a wallet. This blog will outline the technique that have been successful for me to make available goals and affimations in a digital world.

To be able to revise my goals and see my affirmation 2-3 times per day, I needed a digital mean. I travel and go to conference about 20% of my time and I work virtually mostly in coffee shops and shared office spaces. My requirements were as follows:

  • I wanted to be able to look ay my goals from my computer.
  • I wanted to able to look at my goals from my phone, even when there is no internet. I found out that when I’m flying I have the time to mediate about my goals but there is no wifi. Also, some places are still disconnected from the cellular grid (e.g. Shenandoah Valley in VA, where I had  great hike last year).
  • I wanted to be able to keep track of the different revisions of my set of goals.

Solution: Use  Evernote

I have being using  Evernote since 2008 to capture ideas, meeting notes, important receipts, wine labels, scan business cards, etc. It synchronizes almost on real time and you have access to your notes in all devices or via the web site. If you have only one goal note , Evernote will work great. For me, having one note helps me laser focus on a particular goal, that I can also combine with one affirmation.


  1. Create your goal with and affirmation as a note in Evernote.
  2. Create a shortcut based on that note. Here is a tutorial to create shortcuts.
  3. Put the shortcut on the top.
  4. Done.

This is how it looks in my mac:



This is how it looks in my iPhone:


Would love to hear is this works for you and if you have better ideas of how to put your goals and affirmations using other tools.

Here are some links about vision boards and affirmations: