ANOTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION…

Ok, this title is kind of a lie. This is more like a frequently heard statement. When I start talking happiness and positivity to some people the response I get is something along the lines of “I’ll be happy when I win the lottery” or “I’ll be happy when I finally get a car that runs decent” more money, more health, more friends. Yes all those things can add joy to our lives. Those things can also be taken from us. True happiness is something that happens within. Positivity is an outlook and a journey, not an event or a destination. I know this sounds rather ‘new age’ and fluffy. In fact before I started this journey myself I would’ve argued happiness can be found at the bottom of a glass of rum. On a tough day at the post office, you may still get that argument. To better explain the theory that happiness is an inside job, let me cite a quote from a great modern-day philosopher

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body”

George Carlin

Does wearing a cross around your neck make you a more spiritual person? No more than wearing your favorite players jersey would make you a great athlete. Our spirituality, our happiness, very few things are more important to us. So why let your happiness be determined by outside factors? If you develop inner joy and then win the lottery imagine how much happier you would be? What if you develop inner happiness and then lose your job? How much better would you be equipped to handle that? Truth be told I may discover one of both of those here in a short period of time. The point here is in order to have a sense of peace and joy you can count on, you must develop it within. You cannot make it dependent on outside factors. You must take control over the important things in your life. Your happiness should be one of those areas.

THE SUPER HERO WITHIN…

yesterday we spoke of appreciating your value. Today we will discuss what is the easiest way to increase your value or like I enjoy saying “your awesomeness” Let us begin by asking a question, what things are you really not good at? Does a list immediately come to mind? Or perhaps some glaring fault that has become part of your identity? let me share with you one of mine. If you are a follower of this blog or perhaps one of my former teachers this next revelation should come as no big surprise. I, Neil Panosian, am a terrible speller. So bad in fact that quite often spell check’s suggestion for me on certain words is “go back to school” I joke about it, but it is true. If it were not for the afore mentioned spell check some of you might very well question what language this blog is in. So what have I decided to do? Become an author and blog writer. Seems kind of silly, but it is slowly improving my spelling. By slowly I mean I can now spell the word ‘experience’ without the use of a dictionary. So why would I decide to become a writer when I am not a very good at spelling. I will answer that in a moment, but first let me share something that many people may not know. There is a glaring flaw in our educational system. We have a predetermined set of principles we decided are important. if a child fails to succeed in any of these principles they are considered a failure, or a slow learner, or learning disabled. I am going to go out on a limb and say Picasso may not have passed a high school math test, yet we do not view him as a failure. Why? here is the secret. He worked at something he was naturally good at and passionate about. So ask yourself the opposite question, What is it, if I really think, that I can do better than most people? We all have something. The sad part is, if it is not what society or the educational system thinks is important we probably have not been encouraged to grow that talent. Well right now I am encouraging you! I tend to be good at talking to and listening to people. it is also a passion of mine. I genuinely care for people, even spelling teachers, and I like to be able to bring joy and happiness to their day. Now, I am currently employed as a postal worker. not a career known for its joyous demeanor. So I found a way to use and pursue my talent and passion. I have decided to make everyone’s visit to the post office the most fun and enjoyable one they have ever had. I have also started bartending part-time. A job whose main requirement is to make sure people are having a good time. So what is your talent? Can you draw pretty well? Buy yourself a sketch pad and some pencils! Can you tell a great joke? Learn as many as you can and share them. The world can always use more laughter. As for why I am writing a book, it is all about brining joy to the lives of others. So this weekend spend a few minutes really thinking about what your talent is and how you can develop and share it with the world. Who knows you may even end up changing your life as well!

ROLLS ROYCE AND BENTLEYS…

have you every noticed that Rolls Royce and Bentley don’t have commercials?

REASON; They know the value of their product brings customers to then

LESSON: When you know your value, you don’t have to beg people to like you, to be your mate, to spend time with you or to love you. Be confident in who you are. Everyone can’t afford the LUXURY of your friendship

So this is something I actually stole off of my sister’s Facebook page. I can’t take credit for it, but what a great way of looking at ourselves. I know a lot of friends involved in online dating and they seem to end up with not the best choices. It is human nature to think to yourself after a while “What is wrong with me that I end up with all the wrong people?” As you can see in the last line of the lesson above not everyone can afford luxury. The dating is but one example. there are times when friends seem to disappear without a trace, leaving us wonder what went wrong. sometimes we run into cruel and abusive coworkers, bosses or even friends who may turn on us. It is important to know and understand your own value going into the world. When you truly understand how amazing you are every undue criticism either bounces right off you or even sounds comical. it brings to mind another saying “people who are trying to bring you down are below you’ There is no other person in this world who can determine your worth than yourself. Yes your boss may decide on how much you are to be paid, but that is not how much you are worth.

perhaps you do not feel that valuable? if that is the case, there are two questions to ask yourself that will change that. One, are you listening to the opinions of others? If another person has brought you down, just remember other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. Now, if you are not happy with yourself, that is ok. What you do with that unhappiness makes all the difference. if you choose to criticize yourself, which in moderation can be a good thing, than do so constructively. Not happy with your shape? than use that feeling to eat healthier and work out. use your unhappiness to serve you. Once you start down the path of self-improvement you are already more valuable every day. Still looking to increase your value? begin by thinking of ways you can become more valuable…write some down and begin to work on them. I always suggest reading and learning new things. Another great way of feeling more valuable, help others with no expectation in return. Read to seniors at a senior center. help at your local VA, give blood, help at a meal program or shelter. Not only will you truly be making a difference, you will be more valuable to the world. I will share the easiest and most overlooked way of being valuable in tomorrow’s post!

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING YOU…

In a world where you can be anything, be yourself

this was a random quote I saw on Facebook. It is a great reminder that while people pull us in a million different directions it is vital we stay true to ourselves and our core values and beliefs. We will examine in greater detail how to do this and why it is important later in the week. For today let us just ponder this amazing thought.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING?

Here is a quick and interesting thing you may wish to explore when you find yourself not in the best of spirits. Most people who know me personally know that I do NOT advocate watching the evening news. Now for those of you saying “Well I want to be informed Neil” I would have to ask “informed about what?” if you need to know what the weather is going to be tomorrow they have a channel/website/app for all of that. See if your favorite team won, same answer. Check traffic? by the time the news gets to that you may very well be stuck in it or wasted time you would’ve used to be on your way. Better to check online or again most people can do this on your phone. Why I am so anti local news. Well let’s look what they inform us about. I had a customer who plays the organ, his story was going to be on the news. So I sat down to watch. In the first 5 minutes, not a second longer I had heard about 2 murders, 1 arson and a company that was laying off 250 people. Now by me learning this information how did it improve my life? I certainly and regrettably can do nothing for the people who were killed. Nor could I rebuild the person’s house that burned down, or offer a job to any of the 250 people who lost theirs. No, all it did was make me feel terrible. It also slants our opinion that the world is getting worse by providing us all the examples we need to show that. Thus it gets people’s minds focused on that and when people start to lose hope and optimism the world really does start getting worse. it is a rather self-fulfilling prophecy. If all you hear about is how bad things are, then that is what you will discover in your life. Now, I am not saying we should skip around and avoid reality. No, it is important to see some things that are not working in order to think of ways they could be better, but to be fed a constant stream of negative information we can do little or nothing about only serves to bring us down and weaken our ability to enjoy the world. Another fine example of this principle was demonstrated by the truck driver who picks up the mail at the post office. he came in angry about what he had just heard on the talk show he listens to on the radio. He proceeded to tell me all about what the ‘other political party was doing’ I asked him how that made him feel. I’ll spare you the exact words, but let’s just say ‘very angry’ Here is the funny part, this was something he chose to listen to. It was the political party he agreed with. So I asked him if it makes him feel angry why listen? He looked at me indignantly and said “So I can stay informed, I don’t want to be ignorant like some people” I asked him what he got out of being informed other than being frustrated and angry. Let us just say the rest of the conversation didn’t go so well. I know some people get this way listening to sports programs or talk shows. The fact here is this. If is not information we can use to bring about a positive and productive change and we are actively doing just such a thing and not just walking around telling everyone else what the other political party, religion, or sports team is doing and how terrible it is. If something leaves us angry, sad, hopeless or pessimistic it is time to be honest with ourselves and ask if it is really serving us? Even if we are more informed are we really more use to humanity if that information comes at the cost of our emotional well-being? I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend time with someone who sees the beauty in all people, than one who can ‘convince me’ one religion is better than the other. I would also much rather spend time with someone who can inform me of avenues that are bringing about a positive change than a person who will tell me how to vote so the other party will not bring about the end of the world. So next time you find yourself being upset by something ask yourself, is this really worth it?

SORRY TO BE A BOTHER…

There are lots of things that are posted on here that may be issues I am struggling with myself. This happens to be one of them. It is a very interesting dilemma that was brought to my attention by both a coworker and a very good friend. Who do you talk to when you are feeling bad, anxious or nervous about something in your life? Do you have a few certain people you confide in? Perhaps you just write in a journal. let me tell you what I do. The reason I am sharing this is so you will not do it as well. Most people see me as the guy that is “happy all the time” first of all that is not exactly true which is an issue we discussed in the post titled ‘frequently asked question’. The fact remains that shockingly I live in the real world too and sometimes it just sucks. not very inspiring I realize, but true. So what does Neil do when I am in a bad mood? Well the thought process in my head, which can be scary at times, goes something like this. “I’m the guy that likes to make everybody happy, but now I am not happy” “well, you can’t be the person who makes everyone unhappy and brings them down” “maybe you should just not be around people until you are happy again” Let me tell you this is really the wrong way to handle things for several reasons. There are a lot of people who say “I prefer to handle problems on my own” That statement is an excuse. what it usually translates to is “I’m afraid to make myself vulnerable and let other people see me when I am hurting” or in my case and several other giving people I know “Everybody is dealing with their own problems I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie downer'” it is true that nobody enjoys being around somebody who is always down. It is also true that everybody has bad days. When you are more of a giver you tend to see other people’s problems greater than your own. I remember a situation when I stopped myself from sharing why I was having a bad day because of work issues with a friend of mine because they had just broken up with their boyfriend which I figured was truly more painful than what I was going through. I didn’t want to ‘bother’ my friend with my little problem. Then I heard a story about two guys going out for dinner and one fellow who was a little better off refusing to let the other fellow buy. While he felt he was being considerate he forgot to think about how his actions may affect the other man. “How dare you!” yelled the second man. He felt he was being deprived of the honor of treating his friend for dinner. The other man was thinking that since he had more money he would just pay. Unfortunately this only accentuated the other person’s financial situation. it made him feel like he was taking advantage of the fact that his friend had more money. Obviously this was not the first man’s intent at all. I must confess again, I can be guilty of this very crime. When your behavior tends to lean toward being a giver it can be hard to receive yet by graciously receiving a gift from someone with gratitude you are also giving that person a feeling of joy from giving as well. This was a material example, but the same holds true for what this post is really about. Sharing things that may be bothering you. When you keep problems bottled up inside you are depriving your friends of the feeling of being helpful, needed and a valuable friend. Of course that is not our intent, we just do not want to add to their list of things to worry about or be concerned about. Yet, it conveys a feeling of trust, closeness and demonstrates you either value their opinion or just their ability to listen. Now do not get me wrong, sometimes some solitude and time to think come in handy. As does writing in a journal which we discussed last week. But let us remember we must all be a giver and a receiver. When someone never is allowed to help you they may feel uncomfortable sharing their problems with you out of fear of the friendship being one-sided which will only lead to a distance between friends and a weakening of the friendship. Remember sometimes receiving help can be giving a gift to those who offer it. When you accept that gift whether it be dinner, or just the gift of their time with gratitude and humility you are creating a win/win situation and bringing the friendship closer together. So next time I am having a problem I think I will reread this email and do a little better at receiving.

LOVE YOU LIKE A RITUAL..

Ok, this is actually a title of a song I really like, but has a lot to do with today’s topic. One of the questions I am asked frequently is “Well what do YOU do that makes you so happy all of the time” I am always a bit nervous at answering this one, because sometimes if I tell people and they try it and it does not work, two terrible things happen. One, they begin to doubt the information they receive here or from me. They also may begin to question whether there are really things they can do to increase their passion and joy in life. Two, they think they have done something wrong or worse yet that they have failed somehow, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that happiness is not a one size fits all production. What makes me happy may not make you happy for whatever reason. Being surrounded by beautiful women and rum makes me happy, some of my friends may not share this method of happiness. Although I do encourage everybody to try it. Fortunately in my life both things are in ample supply, but alas we are back to the gratitude blog again.

To get back to today’s topic, rituals. This is something that occurred to me is something that I do daily that everyone can do and customize to their liking. Develop a daily ‘happiness ritual’ on the surface this may sound a bit goofy, I know it does to me. So much so that I wasn’t even aware I had several that I do that seem to work well. To avoid further complicating a simple issue let me just give you a few examples. there are a few things I noticed that I do on a daily basis. When somebody asks me how I am doing my answer is never “ok, how are you” or even “pretty good thanks for asking” no if someone is kind enough to inquire as to my daily well-being they are usually greeted with a “Legendary!” or “Living the dream” when you change your answer to that imagine what that is telling your subconscious mind? Not to mention saying and hearing the words themselves. When I stop at Starbucks for a morning coffee I usually toast the lady and say “Here’s to an amazing day” although I wouldn’t suggest sipping it right away, those cups are really hot! You do not have to use the above examples if they sound too crazy for you. After all I am a little different from most. Are there things you do every day? Shower I hope? why not say to yourself, or out loud, “here’s to a clean start” When you get in the car and turn the key maybe have the thought, or even say the words “Driving into my successful future” It doesn’t have to be sane to be a good one. Every morning I drive by a field of cows and I always say “have a great day girls” If anybody was with me they may think I am nuts, and quite frankly it does make me question my own sanity, but do you know what else it does? Make me smile! So develop your own daily ritual. Find something you do that you can turn into a daily smile. If you involve another person…cow…horse or something else even better! Rituals are an important part of any culture, what not make them an important part of your day?