This past Friday, I celebrated the release of my third book, The Beat Goes On, which is also available on Amazon. I was fortunate enough to host this event at an amazing place called Urbal Tea. The owner, Nick, was kind enough to offer me the space. There was enough room for everyone in a very pleasant atmosphere. As you can see, I had all three of my books available and was able to share and meet many new friends.
In addition to all of the new friends that I met, there were plenty of familiar faces. I had friends, family and coworkers. Margie made cupcakes that were so delicious, I think a few people came just for them. I am hoping this new book will help people understand the importance of self-improvement. By reading it, you will be able to witness how it affected one of the scariest and intense moments of my life. In this book it shows the tools and strategies that I personally used and that worked for me. There are moments of laughter, drama, tears and triumph.
I can’t thank everyone who came to share this amazing evening with me enough. There was so much to be thankful for and I hope I did my part to serve those who attended. In a world that can so often seem crazy, it is great to have an evening like this to look back and be grateful for.
This is a powerful concept that is easier said than done. However, realizing this point may help us a great deal. I know many people, myself included, that can be paralyzed to inaction by memories of the past or worries of the future. Having this quote printed out may do a great deal to help us move forward. Although the past can really cause us a great deal of pain, realizing that it is not the actual event that happened that is causing us pain, but our memory of it, may aid us in understanding how to heal that pain and move forward. After all, we cannot go back in time and change events, but we can work on a change in perspective or thinking moving forward. We may need help of a good friend or therapist to do this, but it can be done.
The same holds true with any worry we have of the future. The best thing we can do is take action to prepare for the future. Beyond that, there is not much we can do. I once heard a saying that said, “Worrying is like riding an exercise bike; you get really tired, but you do not actually go anywhere.” Use any apprehension you may have for future events to motivate you to take action in the present. When you have done all that you can do, relax knowing that you have given it your best and you will take further action as the future reveals itself.
By understanding that it is not actually the past or the future that is causing us pain, but our thinking about it, will allow us to put our effort where it will do the most good – between our own two ears. This is a simple concept, but one that may not always be easy. If we remember to focus on our own thinking, we can work through an issues we may be having. Whether this requires time alone in meditation or the help of a friend or professional, it can be done.
Here we are at Monday again. The start of a new week and lots to accomplish. While we have a lot of projects to work on, we must not forget the greatest project we should devote our life to, that being the improvement of ourselves. Many people may consider this a selfish venture, and in some way I guess that could be correct. After all, if you are in better physical shape, you can do this easier with less pain. You improve your financial outlook and you have a lot less stress. Speaking of stress, that is one area we really benefit by getting under control. Almost every malady in our life is brought on by one stress or another.
All of the above is true, but we must remember something else. Those around us benefit greatly when we become the best versions of ourselves. If you are fit and healthy, you can imagine that would be a benefit to your spouse. It would also benefit your employer and coworkers as you will call in sick less often. If you are manage to get your stress under control you are more likely to treat those around you with a great deal of compassion. The importance of this cannot be overstated. If the world was under less stress and everyone treated each other with a greater deal of compassion and understanding, can you imagine what that would be like? This may sound like a fairytale to many of you, but the interesting point is that it is entirely possible. There are two very important things we can do to help this become a reality.
The first thing we can do is get to work on ourselves. Becoming the best version of yourself is a lifelong commitment. There is always more to learn. We can and must continue to work on being healthy. If we wish to have a better world, one of the most important things we can do is make sure we are bringing a better person to it. We will bring joy and improvement to three different areas. We will be helping ourselves, others and the world around us. Not bad for one action. Next time you think placing time and effort on improving yourself is a selfish action, this might be something to remember.
The other thing that we can do to help bring about a better world, is to help others become the best version of themselves. It is VITAL to mention here this does not mean telling others what you think they should do better. It is being a supportive and encouraging friend to whatever self-improvement action they are working on. Knowing that we have the support of others can help us with any goal we are working on and give us the strength to improve that area of our lives.
If you wish to give a gift to yourself, those you share life with as well as the world at large, just work on becoming the best version of you. This does not only have to include effort we put forth, but making sure we take time for self-care and stress relief. It may seem cruel to say ‘no’ when someone asks you to do something, but if it will cause you a great deal of stress, or you are feeling like you need some time to heal, it would be far better to take that time. Become the best version of yourself and help others who are struggling to do the same. It is the best thing we can do to create an amazing world.
Further proof you can find inspiration anywhere; here is a sign I saw in the men’s room while on a date with my beautiful Margie. Yes, I am always on the lookout for something beneficial I can share with all of you. Don’t worry, I did wash my hands.
In today’s world it can seem like there is a new tragedy everyday. We read about war, we see news coverages of mass shootings and rising crime. Here in the United States, we are having an election. That is a time when lots of people try to convince you how terrible the world is, and who is to blame. Here is a news flash for all of us – There is a lot of good and beauty in the world. It doesn’t get a lot of press. It doesn’t sell.
Here is another wonderful fact. Our world is not out of our control. There are very powerful forces that would like you to believe that, but it simply is not so. Sure, there are variables that can provide the unexpected challenge, but even our reaction to those are up to us. There is also a great deal we can do to positively influence the world around us. This sign is a great example. It is a simple and universal message that would leave to a better world. What other signs can you think of that would do the same? I encourage you to spend some time thinking of some. Here is another powerful idea – put these signs up where you can. The more messages of inspiration and motivation we put out there, the more we can change the negative narrative we are being fed. What would your sign say? Where would you put it?
After months of work and hype, today is the day my third book, The Beat Goes On, is released to the masses. I will be hosting a book signing event locally at Urbal Tea if any of you would like to stop down. In addition to celebrating this fun moment in time, I would like to look back at how we got here, as well as look forward to what I hope to accomplish with this book.
Let us begin by looking at how we arrived at this book. I would like to remind everyone what my English teacher told me right before I graduated high school. She looked me in the eyes and said, “I hope to God you will never have a career in writing.” In her defense, I might have said the same thing at the time. I was not the best literary student. I still define myself as the author that keeps editors employed. This does, however, remind us that we should not allow others to define our paths in life. As well-meaning as they may be, nobody knows what is best for us except our own hearts and minds. If this memory would have occurred to me before I completed my first book, the self-doubt that comes with such a task may have overwhelmed me. I was also told by one of my customers at the post office that I should not hope to sell more than 12 copies. To date, that book has sold over 500 copies in several countries.
I would also like to talk about how this latest book is different. My first two books, which also includes Living the Dream, were sharing the secrets I have both learned and discovered in my 2 decades in the self-improvement field. They are instructional, and offer great tools and strategies to help all of us to live a more rewarding and positive life. As I was using those very strategies and improving my life, it was turned upside down. I underwent open-heart surgery and had a brief flirtation with death. This experience was both frightening and enlightening at the same time. It was suggested by the love of my life, Margie, that sharing this experience would not only help others, but do a great deal to keep my sanity during the months of anxiety leading up to the procedure, as well as the frustration of healing.
This latest book is not only the story of this portion of my life, but a reaffirming of what was taught in the first two books. If it were not for everything I had learned in the 46 years leading up to that moment, I would have never been able to make it through. I had a chance to not only share what I went through and calm the fears of those who may have to go through the same procedure, but to also share what tools and strategies I used and how. It is my hope this book will not only entertain you with the stories from the hospital and my life, but convey how important and all-encompassing working on yourself and your life can be. In my case, it actually saved my life. The same might be true for you. As I say in the book, and often in life, the time to learn how to swim is on the shore, not when the boat is sinking. Be prepared for when life throws you a challenge.
In closing, just remember to never let anyone define what you can or can’t do. I think Les Brown said it best when he offered, “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to be your reality.” Read that statement whenever you are experiencing doubt because of what some well-meaning person may have said. Also, remember that sharing your story will help both those who may go through the same thing as well as your own sanity as you make it through. Mostly, I want you to know the time to work on living an amazing life and becoming an amazing person is now. Life seldom, if ever, gives us a warning before it turns upside down. If you wait until then to strengthen your health, your relationships and your inner peace, it may be too late. You can find great secrets to do so in any of my books which are all available on Amazon. Just click the link below to be taken to my author page.
This recording The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, has been one of the 3 items that changed my life the most. I must have listened to it thousands of times. Inside it does reveal a great tool to help you live an amazing life. I highly recommend you check it out. (There is a free audio on YouTube)
Today’s post is not about Earl’s Strangest Secret, but yours. I want to know what is the item of knowledge that had the biggest positive impact on your life?
Have you ever had a day where you felt a little down on yourself? Maybe you looked in the mirror and didn’t like what you saw? Too many wrinkles? Too much…umm…You? Maybe you said something you regret and are now kicking yourself for it? Maybe you didn’t get a promotion or achieve a goal in the time you had set for yourself? Whatever the reason may be, you are just not feeling the best about yourself. It happens to the best of us. I once had a book signing and only 4 people showed up. Never mind months earlier I had one where 50+ people showed up, I left feeling like a failure. There are all times where we could use a boost in the self-esteem category.
One group of people who gave the perception they never suffered this problem were old-school hip-hop artists. Before the music involved drugs, violence or demeaning women, it was mostly a “Look how cool I am” lyrical affair. There is actually something to be gained by this type of thinking. You do not have to put out an image that you are better than anyone else, but that you are an awesome person just the way you are. This is true. In every one of us, there is an amazing person. There are certain skills and things we do amazingly. I suggest we start to make a list of them. I do not advocate resting on your laurels and past victories, but visiting them to remind yourself the great stuff you are capable of is not a bad idea at all.
In reference to the music mentioned earlier as well as the picture of ‘The Rock’ that started this post, it would be beneficial to have such reminders placed around for you to see. The music can just be a playlist of songs that make you feel empowered. It can be rock, country, hip-hop or any other genre you enjoy. When you are feeling a little down on yourself or you act in a way that doesn’t exactly make you feel proud to be you, then look at these reminders, push play on your playlist and get out there to kick some butt!
The reason you want to keep your self-esteem high should be obvious. Are you more productive when you feel good about yourself or when you feel defeated? Are you better able to handle challenges when you feel empowered or disempowered? Guess when your health and immune system are more powerful? Any idea which time you are more likely to act in a kind and forgiving manner? Again, I must stress this should not be an attempt to be arrogant or ‘better than’. To be honest, those folks are usually covering up for a poor self-esteem. No, the idea is to get in touch with your inner bad ass, as the author Jen Sincero would say. You are awesome and you have a lot to bring to the world. It is important to have reminders of that. If you wait until you are feeling down to try to think of such things, you will find it near impossible. If you find gathering this list difficult, ask some friends and family why you are amazing. If it makes it easier, share why you think they are amazing in return.
Throughout the years I have started many habits that, at this point, almost unconsciously allow me to live a positive and amazing life. I encourage you to do the same. Yours will not be the same as mine, but that is the fun of it. There are little things that only you may know about, that will bring a smile to your face. The goal is to add so many to your life that on any given day you are doing several of them. I realize this may seem a bit vague, so allow me to give you a few of my personal examples and it may help you get the ball rolling.
Like many of the tools that I use and teach, many of these “Little things” came to me by accident. One of the first ones that I can remember doing involved working at the post office. One of the busiest times we had when I worked up front with the customers was tax filing time. Unlike the holiday season, when people usually have a little joy in their heart for what they are mailing, tax time has very little of that joy. One elderly lady was giving me a personal history of how the government took advantage of her. This may or may not have been exaggerated on her behalf. The government does a lot of strange things. Whether they focus on elderly women in the village of Greendale Wisconsin is hard to say. After listening to this our entire transaction, the time came to affix the postage. I looked in straight in the eye and asked with a serious expression, “Would you like to me use love stamps on this?” I thought this would be a fun and sarcastic form of silent protest. She, however, was not in on the joke. She suggested several suggestive drawings that I would not have guessed would come out of the mouth of an elderly woman. I mentioned this might lead to being audited and we left it at that. The idea of putting love stamps on bills seemed so ironic and silly, I started doing it. The few bills I mail now would get one.
Whether your “little things” involve throwing coins in a wishing well, or saying hello to a large statue of a rooster (things I may or may not admit to doing) you should find small things that bring you joy. In my first book, I mention I used to say hello to a heard of cows as I drove to the rural office I was postmaster of. Of course the cows did not understand me, but that was not the point. It was a “little thing” that I did that brought me joy. For myself, little things involving nature seemed to bring an extra amount of joy. You don’t have to do these out loud if you are worried about people questioning your sanity. At this point I am far from worrying about such a thing, so I say “Hello” to animals I meet, and have other fun actions that make me smile.
If you have enough of these in life, you are always doing something that makes you smile inside. Another thing that is almost guaranteed to work, is to make someone else smile. Even if they do not appreciate your attempts, knowing you did your best to bring a smile to the face of someone else will put a smile in your heart. It also has a funny way of coming back to you. In addition to finding the people you are nice to return the favor, people around you will begin to see how you treat others and this will begin to spread. Find your “little things” and start doing them today. If it brings you joy and does not harm others, do it as often as you can!