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Sad Sack just made crappy decisions.Sad sack

We’ve all said it: “Adjust your attitude.” “Make that frown turn upside down.” “Don’t worry. Be happy.” “Why are you always in such a bad mood?”

And then, of course, comes the classic response, “I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am.”

What that means is, “I can’t change. I’m just being me, and the me I am is a sad sack.” (How can a sack be sad, anyway?*)

Well, turns out, that’s not entirely true. Turns out, actually, that we have more control over our attitude than we ever thought. Who says? Social Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky says, that’s who.

And just who is Sonja Lyubomirsky, and why does she think she knows so much? Because she’s Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.d., researcher at Stanford University, super-smarty-pants, recipient of numerous grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, and author of the book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Books 2007).

And it’s not just her. Many social psychologists have studied the mystery surrounding what it is that exactly makes us happy, or un-happy as the case may be. Dr. L’s bibliography in her book is 45 pages long! That’s a lot of books, articles, speeches and research on the how’s and why’s of happiness.

If you don’t want to read all the research, here’s the Cliffs Notes:

There are three things going on when it comes to a person’s happiness or contentment:

  1. Genetic predisposition. Yep, you got it. A person’s genes (and not the 501 kind either) sets out his or her baseline on the Happy-o-Meter (a highly technical piece of scientific, specialized, calibrated, opinionated measuring equipment). Dr. L. says that 50% of a person’s contentment comes from their parents, and their grandparents, and their great-grandparents, and on and on—and not in the way you think, like the nagging, the guilt, the “I just hope you’re wearing clean underwear,” kind either. (What’s with all the underwear references, anyway?). In other words, your inherited temperament or personality does account for 50% of your happiness.

  2. Life circumstances. You know what these are. How much money you have; what kind of family were you born into; how good or not-so-good is your health; do you have a sick spouse, or naughty children; whether you live on top of a Superfund site; whether your underwear is clean (just kidding); you know, those kinds of things. Turns out “those things” have direct impact on how happy we are, but not, interestingly enough, a lot. These mostly out-of-our-control type of life circumstances have an approximately 10% impact on our happiness level, says the Happy-o-Meter.

  3. How we think and what we do. That’s the final thing. Our attitude. Our thoughts. Our outlook. If you’ve been doing the math, it turns out that 40% of our happiness is dependent upon our attitude.

Wow! That’s a lot of percents!  Our attitude, which we do get to control, accounts for 40% of our happiness according to the Happy-o-Meter. (The Happy-o-Meter is good at third grade math.)

The Best News to Hit Your Attitude All Year Long

This is fabulous news. We can’t control some things, but good old number three on the list up there, we can control. Even big things like tragedy or winning the lottery only dictate 10% of what makes us happy. (Well, in my case, winning a 10 million dollar lottery prize would make me 100% happier, but Dr. L. never asked me.)

Happiness Speaker Brad Montgomery at Lockheed Martin

What?! you say. That can’t be true. Winning the lottery would make anybody really, really happy, including all the people Dr. L did ask!. Probably 200% happier. (Ignore the frown from your fourth grade math teacher.)

But guess what? Dr. L says, things settle over time. People can be wildly unhappy or happy for moments in time, but after a while they settle and their happiness level goes back to baseline. Even if they win the $10 million. Even if a satellite crashes into their backyard ruining the newly installed patio. Or even if their chihuahua falls into a pothole and has to be retrieved by a fireman.

Good news is that we can control the 40%. How we think and what we do. For me this is excellent news. Forty percent is enough to take a really horrible day and make it only “bad.” I have the power to turn my day from horrible to bad. From bad into average. Or from average into outstanding. I have the power! (Remember that song? Sing it now. You have the Power!)

So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, turns out your grandma was right: you can turn your frown upside down. (Grandma would have been awesome in the workplace.) You can listen to reggae: Don’t worry. Be happy. You can adjust your attitude almost as much as you can adjust your underwear. (I can adjust my underwear 40%, no problem.) Right now if you want to be happy, remember how much is up to you. Stop whining. Start smiling. Focus on what you do and how you think. Not rocket science. Common sense.

And guess what else? If you’re going through a difficult time, a tragedy, a medical crisis, or fielding any of the rotten tomatoes life throws, knowing that you can control your response to it helps. You will get through it, you will heal, and you will rise back up to your average norm for happiness. It’s your response, your willingness to hit that Reset Button on the Happy-o-Meter, that really counts.

Extra Credit Question: What are you doing with your 40%? Are you making the right choices? Our control is greater than we would guess. Get up and start being happy now.

Motivational Speaker & Happiness Speaker

Book Brad to speak at your meeting, convention or event. — He’s a happiness speaker; and he’s funny. Are you looking for a motivational speaker who speaks about happiness and who gives specific tools and strategies for boosting your psyche, then consider Brad Montgomery, controller of his own 40%. He’s the only happiness speaker he knows.

* According to Wikipedia, The Sad Sack is an American fictional comic strip and comic book character created by Sgt. George Baker during World War II. Set in the United States Army, Sad Sack depicted an otherwise unnamed, lowly private experiencing some of the absurdities and humiliations of military life. The title was a euphemistic shortening of the military slang “sad sack of shit”, common during WWII. (Do you really want to be known as a “sad sack of shit”? I mean, really? Your grandmother would NOT approve.)

Looking for a Funny speaker who is motivating AND is an expert in how to be happy at work? for your event? Contact me here.

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker on Happiness, Humorist, Seminar Leader

In Wyoming recently, motivational speaker Brad Montgomery had a group of Construction Engineers lined up at the door waiting to hear him speak.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0MjjFsGLDc

Here’s a transcript of Brad’s video of his conversation with Jim and Russ at the Wyoming Dept of Transportation Construction Meeting.

Jim:     Doing this he is going to leave the best impression I’ve ever had out of all eight years; he is top notch.

Brad:    Hey this is Brad Montgomery from Brad Montgomery.com.  I’m on the way home, just having worked for the Wyoming Department of Transportation.  They asked me to be a motivational speaker; do some breakout sessions.  It was a blast.  It went really well and let’s see what they have to say.  Glad you’re here.

Jim:     Hi, my name is Jim Messing. I’m with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.  We are finishing up our 2011 Engineers Construction meeting and we’ve had Brad Montgomery as our main speaker and out of eight years of doing this he is going to leave the best impression I’ve ever had out of all eight years.  He is top notch.  If you ever have a chance to watch him, do it.

Brad:     Awesome, can you tell them a little bit about what we did yesterday and today?

Jim:     He did a two hour presentation, opened it up, kind of loosen everybody up, then he did a couple of one hour sessions with us and how to take laughter into your workplace, your family life and everything like that.  And everyone came out laughing.  We had people lined up at the doors waiting to get in to his session.

Brad:     Thanks.

Jim:     You’re welcome.

Russ:     I’m Russ Howe with the Wyoming DOT Construction Staff.  I’m a staff technician.  Just had the opportunity to see Brad Montgomery do three presentations or performances, whichever you prefer, for our 2011 Engineers Conference and boy if you need a good guy I’d definitely get him.  Very, very enjoyable.  Very pertinent things to say; made us laugh.  Made us feel good.

Brad:     How did it go compared to other years?

Russ:     I’ve only actually been to one other one and we had another guy similar to Brad and he was good but I have to say I really enjoyed Brad more.

If you want to get your staff lined up out the door to hear a keynote speaker at your next event, contact me here.

Three Reasons To Hire a Colorado Speaker

1) If your event is in Colorado, you can lower your stress by booking a speaker who is already there.  To be honest, after doing

Colorado Speaker

Colorado Speaker Brad Montgomery

 

this job for two plus decades, I’ve NEVER had a problem getting to a job.  (Ok, one time…but only once.)   But nearly every time my meeting planner clients are worried about my travel.  Will the plane take off on time?  Will there be a glitch with the travel?  Will the weather cause cancellations?   But when they know that I’m already in town, they can take a deep breath and worry about more important things.

 

2)  You can save some real money on expenses and travel if you book a speaker who won’t have any.   My travel and expenses range from $400 to $1200.  That’s enough money to at least consider.

3)  I live in Colorado, and I’m a darned good speaker with a long and solid track record.  If you decide to book a Colorado speaker, you can book me.

Looking for a motivational speaker for your event? Contact me here.

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Colorado Speaker, Motivational Speaker, Native Coloradoan

Related Links and Articles:
Brad’s Blog…read about Colorado Speakers there.
Colorado speaker on Brad’s other speaker site.
Colorado Speaker welcome on Youtube
Brad in the Coloradoan Newspaper:  https://www.bradmontgomery.com/states/coloradoan
Colorado speaker
Preview video on YouTube
Brad worked for the Denver Broncos. See the testimonial video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr6chlr27ic
Colorado Speaker Home

How To Be A Motivational Speaker Tips   Choosing a Topic

Here’s another one of my tips on how to be a motivational speaker. Today I talk about how to choose your topic. Questions? Leave them in a comment below and I’ll answer them in a video.

be-a-speaker-labelweb

How To Be a Motivational Speaker

Learn more about how to be a motivational speaker with my audio here.

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Prefer to read the text?

Hey, this is Brad Montgomery from BradMontgomery.com.  Alright, so here’s the continuing saga, “How to Be a Motivational Speaker.”  I promised you some tips, here comes another one.

One of the big questions I get all the time is what am I going to talk about, what could I possibly talk about?  Well, when you are picking the topic for your keynote, there’s a couple of things I want you to consider.

First, if you’re going to be a professional speaker, not only do you have to be good, but you have to be passionate about something.  So what is it that you are passionate about?  You’re going to be talking and researching and marketing and everything, make sure it’s a topic that you actually love, which is my way of saying, if you think you want to speak on leadership or change or some whatever, I’m saying that’s fine, unless you don’t have passion for it.  So, if you don’t, skip it, right now.

The other thing too is make sure it’s something you’re an expert in.  So, as you’re choosing your topic, what are you good at, what are you already an expert in right now?  So for example, if you work in a hospital and you’re a genius about what’s going on with healthcare, maybe that’s your niche.  Or if you know everything there is about energy or whatever or in my case, if you happen to know everything there is about humor at work, bingo, I’m your guy.  See, I have passion about that; I’m an expert in it, that’s why it’s good for me. What are you going to find that’s good for you?

So, to sum it up, when you’re becoming a motivational speaker, if you’re asking yourself how to be a motivational speaker and you’re wondering about your topic, first, find something you have passion in, second, find somewhere where you have some expertise.

Alright, Brad Montgomery, BradMontgomery.com.   More tips on how to be a motivational speaker soon.  Thanks.

Motivational speakers are a waste of time. motivational-speakerLet’s face it, you’ve heard what they are going to say before they even step on stage.

After seeing hundreds of keynote speeches and gazillions (is that a number?) of motivational speakers, I can save you the time and tell you three reasons why NOT to hire one.

1. Your company president is probably just as funny, has really great stories that make relevant points, and knows how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Really. I’m sure he’s great.

2. Why bother?! You could just Google some great motivational quotes or something and have Duane from accounting read them. He has a loud voice and won’t even need a microphone. And you can spend the money you save on bigger cookies. (And besides, you’ll make Duane feel great!)

3. Motivation Schmotivation. People will do what they want at the pace they want. And that’s that. You can’t change yourself, and you can’t change others. So why not save the headache and watch a Bay Watch re-run?

Ok people. In case you haven’t noticed by now I’m joking. There’s a famous comparison between motivation and showers: just because you’re clean once doesn’t mean you’ll never need another shower.

We all need regular doses of motivation: and outside paid professional speakers are able to deliver tried and true messages in a way your internal folks will never be able too.  They can deliver crucial info — stuff your organization already knows — in a fresh way that makes them want to get up and go.   Let’s face it:  your people already have the skills and knowledge to succeed and excel.  But they aren’t succeeding or excelling.  Why?  Lack of motivation.

I’m as tired of crappy motivational speakers as you are. But when  your group is ready for a pick me up, give the president a pass and hire a pro.

Hey, I’ve got an idea. Hire me! Go to the contact page.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Comedian, Genuine Funny Humorous Speaker

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Recently I worked for the Denver Broncos.   They brought in broncos1everybody in the football organization except for the coaches and players… a surprisingly huge group.

One of the most delightful sentences I heard from them when we talked about my fee was, “Would you be interested in bartering for a portion of your fee?”   Heck yeah, I love that question!

In the end, I did a really fun program for some great, fun-loving hard working people who are under a surprising amount of stress.  (When the team doesn’t win, the entire staff feels it, from the janitors to the receptionists to the grounds keepers.)

And happily, it went really well.   (Check out this video testimonial.)

But the fun didn’t end there. They hooked us up with 5 tickets for a broncos2couple of games, and dressed my wife and kids and I in a ton of Bronco’s swag. Jerseys, sweatshirts, hats… the whole thing. It was a blast.

What’s my point? If you’re booking motivational speakers and have something to trade, ask! Perhaps you’re a hotel property, or you make fancy furniture, or…. you’re a professional sports franchise. You might not be able to barter away the entire fee. But, like the Broncos, they got an easy discount and I was thrilled to trade.

Fees for speakers are all over the place. And my fees in particular flex broncos3wildly because what I offer my clients flexes wildly depending on what outcomes they are after and how serious they are about lasting change.

But one thing is certain: barter is cool. It’s fun. And if often makes sense for both of us.  Not sure if it is for you?  Just ask. 

Are you looking for motivational keynote speakers? Care to barter? Or not? I’d love to be your guy. Go to the contact page.

Cheers,
Brad Montgomery
Colorado Speaker, Bronco Fan, Lover of Bartering

Related:

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One of my newest friends just happens to be one of the best motivational speakers in the land.George Walther is a Certified Speaking Professional (as am I) and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame (I’ll be there only in my dreams).

He has a ton of experience, is the author of  a handful of business books which have sold who knows how many gazillion copies, and is generally a “big deal” in the professional speaking world.

I was just at a convention in Arizona for the National Speakers Association and spent some time hanging with George.  What struck me is that in a room filled with plenty of ego (trust me…professional speakers are not short of this commodity) George is the guy that would win “Most Like My Neighbor.”   In other words, in spite of his impressive accomplishments, he is totally down to earth, kind, easy to be with, and well — funny.

But this comes as no surprise.

Iin every industry  the most qualified people are also the very ones who are easiest to like.  And the pompous, self-important jerks are more likely than not to be insecure snobs who often can’t back up their bluster with skill.  

What’s my point? 
If you want to act like a big deal, consider doing the opposite.  Don’t tell us about your credits, your experience, and your prestigious clients.  Just be yourself, and your professionalism will shine through way brighter than if you “act” the part of the pro.

[Hey George! I know you’ll read this: don’t let this go to your head. I happen to know you like Pabst Blue Ribbon, and with questionable taste like that you clearly have at least some things to learn. : ) ]

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Fan of George Walther, Fellow Drinker of Pabst

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Check out this funny video where I break every rule in the book.  

Wearing skate shoes is a naughty nasty thing to do in a grocery store. And no, my kids and I didn’t play with them at any Denver, Colorado area Safeway’s or King Soopers. No. We didn’t.

I’ve wanted to try Heelys for some time, but was chicken. I was afraid that I’d be lousy at them. I was afraid I’d never use them and they would sit in my closet mocking me. I was afraid that even if I did wear them in public, I’d feel like too much of an idiot to actually “skate.”

But like so many things in my life recently, my kids influenced me. They looked like they were having fun… and I love playing with my kids… and … and … and…. hello Heelys!

I have used them. I learned them fairly quickly. I wear them a bunch. I notice that adults to gawk and gape when I skate, but (perhaps I’m a fool but) I think they admire me for having fun. I think they think, “That looks fun but I don’t know if I could ever do that in public.” I imagine that a few people must think, “Look at that rolling idiot!.” But I also imagine that more people think, “Cool… there’s another adult on those cool skate shoes.. I wish I had the guts to try that!”

And the cool bonus is that the skate shoes work right into my philosophy I share as a motivational speaker. Much of what I teach is mental / attitude. But I also talk about the importance of DOING things that help us ramp up the fun at work. I hate to mention the “P” word (play) but let’s face it, it makes sense. Of course the definition of “play” for a business audience is tricky, but the concept is solid.

There is NOTHING more playful than skating through a Wal-Mart. It is impossible to be bummed about the sale that didn’t happen, your over-full inbox crammed with emails, and the super-long To-Do list your fretting over. When you play, our stress goes down, our creativity goes up, and we are better able to tackle whatever comes at us.

My point? If you want to make your life — and your job — more fun, and if you believe that if you enjoy your work more you’ll be more productive, than you need to ACTIVELY search out activites that physically engage you in life. You need to find ways that appeal to you.

I’ve found one that works for me: Heelys. I don’t care if you buy these cool shoes or not, but if you don’t, I ask you this: What are you going to do today to actively ramp up the joy and fun in your life? Come on…. do something!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Parent, Heely Wearer, Rule Breaker

 

PS.  Seriously, do not wear these shoes in public.  It is against the rules.  Seriously.  Don’t do it.  Really.  I’m not kidding.

Ok, so I’m guessing that most folks with a small office often use Starbucks as a second office.  I do.  But in this video podcast check out the reason why I HAD to go to this other office.

 

It turns out that as I was returning calls and answering emails for motivational speaker job here in Colorado, I was totally silenced.  There was some warranty work that had to be done to correct an error on our house.  We were surprised one morning when two huge guys with jackhammers just showed up and created the symphony of chaos.  (Hurry!  Somebody trademark that…. what a great name for a band.)

Anyhow, it cracked me up.  Hope you enjoyed the video.

If you’re looking to HIRE a motivational speaker (with or without the jack hammer) I hope you’ll contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Colorado Motivational Speaker, Home Officer, Love of Jackhammers.

Killed in a good way.  In a “Holy Cow That Speaker Rocked” way.  As in “I have never loved my job more than when I was there with that group from the Department of Defense” way.  Mr. Charlie Williams & Commander Dan Seep

Specifically, I was working with the DCMA – Defense Contractors Management Agency.  I was hired by a Mr. Charlie Williams, their director and a nice man who hired me twice for contracting events for the Air Force.  (Mr. Williams recently changed jobs.)

I always love speaking, but speaking for the military is especially exciting and meaningful.  Especially because we’re at war, and because their job could not be more serious.  Sure, I enjoy working for corporate groups and associations, and those folks are good people.  But their mission is never quite as life-and-death as my military audiences. 

My corporate audiences are stressed out about meeting sales quotas, selling widgets, and their newsoftware.   Military audiences are stressed out because they were just deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, (or about to be) and are supporting their peers who are there right now.  I don’t mean to dismiss anybody’s career or problems, but let’s face it, our friends in the military are in an especially unique work situation.

By looking at the front of USA Today we can easily forget about Iraq and Afghanistan.  But when you walk into a room full of DOD / DCMA folks, you don’t need a reminder.  These are good folks with a serious job.  

So, what was it like? What did we do?  The first thing I did was to (politely) poke fun at nearly everything they did.  I poked fun at how the top “brass” was in the front row, about how they had just sat through HOURS of PowerPoint (which they complicated by calling “Briefing Slides.”)  I teased them about their unending acronyms, the crazy soap stocked in our hotel rooms, and even about their long (and somehow undescriptive) job titles.  (What does an Industrial Specialist do anyhow?)

In my experience as a humorist and business speaker, the groups that are the quickest to laugh are the groups that need it most.  This group really needed a break;  they were extremely fast to catch on to theCheck out Her Shoplifting Tag!humor. 

It is always gratifying to take a group from stressed to “ready to work.”  It is always fun to fun to give them tools to use have and use their senses of humor.  And of course it’s a total blast to make any group laugh until they cry.  But to do this for a group of hardworking cilvilian and military folks who need it most just makes you feel like you’re the luckiest guy with the coolest job ever. 

I’ve heard the words, “I’m honored to be part of your team.”  Heck, I’ve even said them.  But in this case, I couldn’t mean it more.

Hey Mr. Williams:  thanks so much for bringing me in.  It was great to work for you once.  It’s MORE than three times cooler to work for you three times.    And to the good folks at DCMA … you rock!  Keep your chin up, keep the fun-meter on high, and keep up the good work. Your mission is too important to not treat yourself right.

Brad Montgomery
Military Speaker, Fan of the DCMA, Honored to be Part Your Event

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