IS IT ME OR IS IT THEM?

This is one of my favorite quotes. In my quest to improve myself and share what I learned with others there have been quite a few detractors. I have actually been asked to not share my positive posts on certain sites (Nextdoor comes to mind) because people found them offensive. There are folks who believe that encouraging others to have hope and take control of their lives is unrealistic and counter productive. There are those who probably could use the information we share here together the most and just do not want to improve their lives. I have been called names, I have been told to keep my opinions to myself.

There were times, especially early on, when all of this would hurt and even times when it would begin to fill me with doubt. I even recall a gentleman who posted over 20 anger filled comments on one of my posts. Why? I used too many capital letters for his liking. One of the moments I recall from that episode is the frustration Margie had. She could not believe someone could be so offended by a post encouraging people to believe in themselves because it had too many capital letters. Indeed, it was rather absurd. I have always asked myself two very powerful questions. How can I use this? and What is good about this? In this case, I could use this to demonstrate restraint to this fellow who was eager to have me engage in low vibration discussion. I found the challenge rather exciting. Could I do it? I also had the unique challenge of calming the love of my life down. Speaking of Margie, she helped answer the second question. When thinking about what was good about this, her displaying such love for me and my message made my heart happy.

DO THEY HAVE YOUR PERMISSION?

It amazes me how many people do not understand that their feelings are generated inside of them. They blame the news, their spouse, their boss, their coworker or the cat down the road for ruining their day. In essence, you are giving these sources control over your mental well-being. You are actually giving them permission to ruin your day by reacting to their actions.

This is all very easy for me to say logically. Emotionally, this takes a lot more practice to live and understand. The closer a person is to you, their control over your emotions increases to a greater extent. For example, if someone you have never met tells you they find you unattractive, how would you feel? It may sting a little, or you may shrug it off entirely. Now what if your best friend told you the same thing? You might actually become angry. It may feel a little more valid. What if you came home one night and your spouse told you the same thing? You would feel deeply hurt, perhaps devastated.

I am not advocating that you become a heartless person. I am not telling you to deny your feelings. Just consider whether what these people have to say has any justification. Some people say terrible things when they are hurting. Some less evolved individuals do not anyone to be happy if they are not. The whole ‘misery loves company’ sort of thing. Considering the amount of people we come in contact with today, both in person and online, the chance one of them may say or do something that could bring us down is rather high. I suggest having a mantra written down that says “I am not going to let anyone bring me down.”

It is your day. Do they have your permission to ruin it?

AN ACTION OF LOVE, A GIFT AND YOU CAN DO IT IN SECONDS

In this blog in the past we have discussed the power of a smile and the effect it can have on both those receiving and those giving it. We are going to tackle this subject again for several reasons. One, the world could really use more smiles now. In an age where people are either feeling persecuted, or concerned about how what they say may be misconstrued, a smile can be a welcome sight. If you are a person who may feel that they are judged for their race, their religion or any other reason, can you imagine how much more at ease you would feel when you walk into somewhere being greeted with a smile?

Another great reason to remind ourselves to smile more is because we are never quite aware of what a person may be going through. The smiling person you passed in the grocery store may be hiding some of the deepest pain. A smile makes someone feel valued, it makes them feel important. That is why if you have any job that deals with the public you have a great opportunity to change people’s day, and perhaps more, with a smile. To this end, a smile can make your job a lot easier as well. If a customer in a bad mood approaches the counter and you greet them with a smile it can be quite disarming. If they are already in a good mood it will certainly make the transaction go more smoothly. It will make your work day a lot more pleasant and their day as well.

That brings me to my final point. In reading this quote you may assume, like I did, that it was talking about others. In fact, this can be directed at yourself as well. Smiling and being pleasant can change our world for the better. I have personally witnessed this in my own life. I did not used to be as positively focused and certainly did not share that feeling as often as I do now. When I do, I noticed that it has brought me more friends, a better reputation, better customer service and most importantly – I feel an inner peace that I did not feel when I was angry or focused on what was wrong in the world. Being a part of the solution, that is spreading more love and positivity instead of adding the overwhelming amount of negativity, has allowed me to feel like I am making a difference. To me, there is no better feeling than that of making a positive difference in the world and those you share it with.

Do not take my, or Mother Teresa’s, word for it. I encourage you to test this theory out for yourself. I encourage you to share a smile with at least 5 strangers today. Better yet, try this for a week. Say “Hello!” or “Good morning” or some sort of thing. Say it with a smile on your face and see what a difference it makes. Then, feel free to share the results with us!

THE FINAL DAY OF OUR CHALLENGE!

Today is our final day of our 7 day challenge. This challenge was to begin the month of July by posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive a day. The hashtag they recommend using is #7daysplus. Meaning it does not have to end here. For the sake of this challenge we are going to take a look back through the week and see what hopefully we have accomplished. My week began with the eager anticipation that many of you would join me on this challenge. In this way we could start a ripple effect of positive throughout our communities and throughout the world. We would start to change the narrative on the social media sights we belong to and begin to turn it to one of positivity and hope.

My positive thought for the day is that to some degree this has happened. In my own community, a childhood friend of mine named Jason took up the challenge and it has really generated some loving and supportive comments from family and friends on his posts. In Italy, a follower has offered me some great compliments and insights into this challenge and my blog in general. There have been new friends and followers made in the countries of Kenya and Finland. In a small way I feel as though I am doing my part to make this world a little more positive place than had I not have been here. In the big picture, I feel this should be a part of all of our life goals – to leave the world a better place than we found it.

I am filled with such gratitude for all of you who have participated. For those of you who did not, or maybe discovered this post a little late to do the first week of July, why not start today? Do your best to go a week without posting a single negative thing and at least one positive thing a day. It will truly help those in your social media circle, but it will also help you to change your focus to that of a more positive world. I cannot convey the peace of mind and heart this will give you. I know it was a great reminder for me to keep my focus on the beautiful things this life and world have to offer!

For those of you who did participate, please share what effects this challenge had on your life. Is there anything you would suggest to make it better next time? If you have an idea for a positive challenge that we can create on this blog please let us know in the ‘contact’ section or in the comments below!

DAY 6 OF OUR POSITIVE WEEK!

As we wind down our week of posting no negativity and at least one positive thing a day, there is something I was reminded of that I would like to share with you. In my upcoming book, Living the Dream, I explain the science behind the power and importance of a grateful and positive mindset. In a very brief explanation, keeping this mindset activates a part of our brain called the reticular activating system or RAS for short. This part of our brain modulates our sensory information. In other words, out of the information we take in, it decides what is important and worth noticing. The best way I can explain this is through an example. Have you ever noticed when you buy a new car or outfit, you suddenly see that car or outfit everywhere? Let me ask you, did everyone see that you bought it and then went out and bought it themselves? Unless your last name is Kardashian or some other internet influencer, I am sure you know the answer is ‘no’. So why are you seeing those cars and outfits all of sudden? They were there all of the time. Your brain has now decided, “Hey this is like our car/outfit and worth noticing!”

The ‘secret’, if you will, to all of this is that this area of your brain is always working. Most of us, however, have it in the default setting. It notices whatever we are focused on at the moment. Been watching the news and seeing the world go down the drain? Yep, you will notice examples of that everywhere. Researching that new puppy you would like to buy? Suddenly you will notice your neighbors out walking their puppies. The dangerous part of this is that is works whether what we are focused on is positive or negative. We can all agree at any given moment in time there are both positive and negative things going on in the world. What we are focused on will determine what we experience to a greater degree. Some people may confuse this with becoming ignorant of all the challenges the world is facing. This is no more true than knowing there are other cars on the road and outfits on people other than yours. It is what we are focused on and feeling most intensely.

Knowing every day that I would need something positive to write about, my brain started to be on the lookout for such an event. This happened even when I was consciously engaged in something else. This is one of the great side-effects of developing a habit of devoting a portion of your morning focused on gratitude. If you do this first thing every morning you brain will begin to lookout for things you could record in your ‘gratitude journal’. Imagine all day having a mind that is on the lookout for things that are positive or that you should be grateful for. These posts have reminded me what a powerful thing this can be. Our life improves greatly when we take control of our mind and put it to work for us.

DAY 5 OF NO NEGATIVITY, ONLY POSITIVITY

Many followers of this blog have heard me speak of my friend Scott. We happen to share the same office, which is the local Starbucks in West Allis were we live. This gentleman is always a great source of conversation. Although this may limit the amount of progress I can make in a given evening, I always leave with an inspiration for a future endeavor. Such is today’s post. In case this is the first day you happened upon this, we are spending the first week of July refraining from posting anything negative online and instead finding at least one thing positive to share.

Today’s post was inspired by the previously mentioned gent. We were discussing the changes in the world we have noticed since the beginning of the corona virus. We discussed the new set ups in places we visit and then the subject turned to masks and the wearing or not wearing of them. Some stores require them, some do not. As we were having this discussion we made mention of the fact that the employees at this Starbucks had to wear them. As they worked behind the counter in a very hot environment, wearing a mask must have been a little south of torture. What we both found fabulous is that you would not have known it by their attitude. Each person who worked there was friendly and helpful. I am sure the amount of tips they are making has declined and they must have their share of disgruntled customers, but still they remain friendly.

The subject turned broader to mention of the employees at gyms, restaurants and other places. As the meat-throwing ladies or viral videos of customers screaming about having to wear a mask for the brief time they are in a store is what seems to capture our attention, it would appear we are missing a large segment of people who actually are appreciating and understanding each other. Our focus should go to that. It may not sell or create viral videos, but it is a great display of humanity.

We have all heard of the examples when altercations and disagreements can turn physical with people of different beliefs both of the virus and politics. What I have witnessed on a greater scale is people being understanding. Some of this can be attributed to the media coverage, some to us living more of our lives online. Here in the everyday real world I find things to be much different. At the gym where I work out people are all very careful to make sure they wipe down each machine before and after use. I see people letting people go ahead of them and doing their best to respect each other’s space. If there is a positive side effect of all of this craziness, I hope a new appreciation of one another’s company and the treasure that is becomes part of the ‘new normal’.

DAY 4 AND STAYING POSITIVE!

Today in the United States we celebrate our country’s independence. My condolences to my friends in Great Britain. This is also the fourth day of our week of posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive. There are so many things I wish to focus on today. To keep this short we are going to stay focused on the world independence.

One of the phrases I have been reciting for years now is, “There is no law of physics that states your mind and your body have to be in the same place and the same time.” On any given day this is no doubt used to help me make it through a situation I would rather not be in. A long tough day at work, using a gas station rest room, stuck in line behind someone of questionable hygiene or a million other circumstances I could find myself in. It takes a little imagination and a lot of effort to try and convince yourself the toilet at the local petrol station is really a beach chair in Fiji, but it can be done.

These days when many of us can find our travel options restricted at best, nonexistent at worst, the freedom of independent thought is something that can’t be over looked! We may be under some form of quarantine, but our mind and our thoughts are not! We are still free to dream, to create and to use our amazing imaginations to soar as we please. As we wait for the day when we can all enjoy cocktails on a beach near the ocean, we can all plan, watch videos on YouTube and maybe even reflect on past vacations. Our focus greatly determines our emotional state. Let me repeat that for those who may have missed it – Our focus greatly determines our emotional state.

If we focus on all of the things that we cannot do as we wait for everything to be sorted out we will find ourselves in a miserable state. The great thing is we don’t have to! We have independence of thought! That is a miracle of the human mind. It may also be a miracle of the animal mind, but they can’t read so this blog does not pertain to them. We can change our focus to what these restrictions are giving us time to do. We can organize that area of our house we claim we never have time for. We can begin to write that book we always knew we had inside us but never had the time to focus on. We can focus on the things we can do. Personally, I have enjoyed spending more time in nature and reading great new books! Take advantage of your independence of thought. It is a great gift and something positive!

DAY 3 OF THE JULY WORLD-CHANGING CHALLENGE!

Today is one of those positive things that just come to you, or in this case me. My day started out like any other, waking up early to go to the gym. On this fine morning I had to get up a little earlier than normal to get my workout in. I had to stop at the mechanic as my battery in my Ford Escape had seemed to have broken free of its confines. I made it to the mechanic with time for them to look at it and still make it to my day job at the United States Postal Service. Fortunately for me, the repair only took a matter of minutes and they were able to correct the problem for the moment.

While this was good on one hand, it left me with too much time to go to work, but not enough time to go back home. I decided I would visit the Starbucks that is conveniently located next to the Post Office I work at. I parked and began to walk up. There were two young ladies already sitting outside enjoying the sunny day. They informed me that only seconds before a lady had rushed to the door and taped up a sign that said “Sorry closed” and locked the door. I chuckled thinking to myself, “Perhaps they knew I was coming.” They only other thing open in near proximity was a sandwich shop. I availed myself to one of their delicious offerings and took it outside to sit in the sun. Only moments into enjoying my unplanned lunch, the manager of the now closed coffee shop came out and inquired if I would be interested in a free Nitro coffee. After affirming quickly she disappeared inside again. When she came out she explained that the hot water heater had exploded and the entire store was under water! She knew I was a good customer and wanted to make sure I still got something. Sitting in the hot sun, the cold coffee tasted ever so good.

This was a positive event for several reasons. First, I got a free delicious coffee. You can never go wrong there. Second, it reminded me how important it is to be nice to everyone you encounter. (More on that tomorrow) Had I not been a frequent and nice customer, I doubt there would have been such an offer made. It was also impressive that the manager took the time to think of me while she was busy trying to salvage items in the face of the oncoming flood. I left with a very positive feeling and it was a great start to the rest of my day!

I hope you are having great luck finding one positive thing you can post. Do not forget to share them online and spread the joy this first week of July!

DAY 2 OF OUR FUN JULY CHALLENGE

Day 2 of our challenge! I hope you made it through day 1 without posting anything negative and remembering to share at least one thing positive online. With most of us still quarantined at home, life exists to a greater degree online. Therefore, the positive changes we are making can have an even greater impact.

I have a great deal of positive to share today. I am going to start with this morning. For the last few years I have had a lingering calf issue. I enjoy jogging despite not being built for such endeavors. After a week or two of jogging I would always get a terrible pain in my calf that would last roughly 2 weeks. This on again, off again training did not allow me to get into much of a rhythm. The last time this injury happened I was alone on a local hiking trail here and over a mile from my car. A long painful limp back, plus the fact that it turned black and blue, prompted me to say, “enough is enough!” I went to the doctor only to discover I had a strain and slight tear in my Achilles tendon. Without physical therapy I risked surgery and weeks of being off my feet all together.

All of this may not sound positive to you, but to me it was. Not only did I finally learn what the problem was, I had a plan to correct it. I found myself at the sports medicine center and in the capable hands of Griffin. After several questions and a complete exam, he developed a plan for my recovery. He informed me that in about 4 to 6 weeks I should really be seeing improvement. I was given several exercises to do at home and soon should be running, jumping and playing with the other kids!

The next bit of great news is that I finally have my ‘office’ back. That was a line I borrowed from my good friend Scott. Since March, the coffee shops here have been closed to inside seating. Recently, they just opened up with social distancing practices in place. Although writing at home with a beautiful lady can be fun, it can also be quite distracting. I always want to give her my attention when I am in her presence. When I am by myself in a coffee shop I tend to disappear in my own little writing world. Sometimes this can be quite amusing as I look up and all of the people around me have changed and I was completely unaware. This is not where the good news ends!

Another great thing about today’s visit is the thoughtful nature of my beautiful lady. When she heard that Starbucks was opening she wanted to buy me my first coffee. She presented me with a gift card at lunch the other day. As I am writing this, I can’t help but think of her thoughtfulness. Not to mention she is on my screen saver. Filled with love, writing just seems to flow.

That is 3 pieces of positive news! I have already found myself looking for things to share that are positive. I hope you are having luck finding your positive news. Feel free to share your positive stories in the comments below, but don’t forget to share them online as well!

DAY 1 OF THE 7 DAY JULY CHALLENGE!

Our first day! 7 days, all positivity, no negativity!! Giving our souls a little vacation. If you are just joining us, for the first 7 days of my birth month we are going to 1.) Cease from posting anything negative and 2) post one thing positive each day. By the end of the week we should have raised our vibration and begun to not only change ourselves but the world around us.

Here is mine. It is my sincere desire these 7 days begin to change the narrative. The more we change the focus to that of love and gratitude, we will inspire others to do the same. In turn, perhaps they may go on to share a smile or kind word to another. Thus, creating a ripple effect of kindness.

Can you ‘catch’ love from another person? I think you know the answer to that is yes. How do you feel when someone pays you a genuine compliment? Let’s you know how proud they are of you, or best of all, says they love you. You chest swells a little and joy seems to radiate from within.

The great thing about love, the more we share, the more we create! Putting more love into the world not only creates a more loving world, but a more loving you! Thunk of how you feel when you tell someone how wonderful they are, how proud you are of them or how much you love them? You feel better inside!

That is my positive thought today let us start a pandemic of love and let us share it wherever we can!