Why on earth would a blog about living a fulfilling and positive life be encouraging fear? Two reasons. First, it is Halloween and it is generally a time when spirits and ghost stories receive front page press. Second fear plays a great deal in determining the quality of our life. Fear of death and illness can keep many people from stepping outside their comfort zone and trying things that may bring amazing things into their lives. Fear of differences and personal rejection may stop people from starting conversations with new and unique people who could bring a great deal into their lives. Fear of failure can often paralyze people from pursuing their dreams and bringing not only joy to their world, but light and beauty to the world in general. Feeling inspired yet? Ok, neither am I, but the truth is that is only the dark side of fear. That is only half of the picture. Fear has another side as well. Fear can be protective. Fear of injury keeps most of us from driving reckless. Fear of hurting another person’s feelings can often keep us from saying hurtful things and finding a more productive way to resolve conflicts. That same fear of failure can motivate us to better prepare. When you hear news your job may be a victim of a layoff it can motivate you to search for additional sources of income or examine your budget and spending habits. The fear of suffering the same health issues that plagued your family can inspire you to live a healthier life. The point here is simple. Fear, like many other emotions can either be our servant or our master. It all depends on how we handle it. Does a fear of public speaking cause you to freeze up or to review your notes one final time? Does the fear of a culture you do not understand prevent you from associating with those people or does it motivate you to educate yourself on aspects of that culture to demystify your thoughts? Think of some of your fears, do they control you or do you employ them in your journey toward a more rewarding life? We all have a mix of both, but the goal is to start attacking our fears one by one and making them serve us instead of the other way around. The earlier we face our fears, before they have a chance to take hold in our minds the easier to conquer them. Of course the feeling of overcoming a life-long free gives us freedom that is almost unequaled. So this Halloween while enjoying your favorite ghost story or scary movie ponder your own fears and how you can use them to assist you.
“If you are not involved in something you truly care about, anyplace can seem like a prison”
-Darren Hardy editor of Success Magazine
Another great thing about the subject we discussed yesterday, having and developing a life-long dream, is the freedom it creates. Think of how you feel at work the day before vacation. Oh, the coffee maker is broken? That’s ok I’ll be in the tropics tomorrow. The boss is in a very bad mood and headed your way? Well he can only yell at you for a few hours and then you will be on a plane with a cocktail in your hand. Things just seem to bounce off you. Why is that? To answer that let’s look how you would feel in those same situations the day after you return from vacation. The coffee maker is broken? Damn! Why can’t there be one of those white-gloved servants to just bring me another cup like at the resort? The boss is mad and headed your way? Why can’t you just be back on the beach listening to the waves? What really is the difference? The same situations, but totally different feelings. The answer is obvious right? If you are just about to escape to your version of paradise be it in the woods, the beach or wherever it is easier to tolerate the ‘minor inconveniences’. yet, when you don’t have that vacation right around the corner the issues become far more trying and major. So what is the solution here? Take a vacation once a month? If you are like most of us that may not be in the budget. Even when people retire in the good financial situation to travel after a while they too seem to settle. Why is that, and what can we do if we don’t happen to be lucky enough to have our own private jet and gold bars in the living room? I found this answer in a rather depressing and disturbing statistic, On average men who retire die approximately 3 years later. Women fair a little better, but not much. Why is that? people are generally more relaxed, have more time to focus on recreation and enjoyment. So why to they fall apart so quickly? The answer to that question cannot only prolong your post retirement lifespan, but give you the secret to living a life of passion instead of one that seems like a job. Purpose. That terrible routine that causes us to leave that comfy bed and brave that commute to get to a place most of us would rather not be serves a very important role. it gives us a reason to do so. Now I am not advocating working a day longer than you have to. In fact, I plan on leaving myself as soon as I am able. No, the idea here is to find a purpose, a reason that fills you with passion and joy at the mere thought of it. The secret here is to find something that capitalizes on the abilities you naturally posses. In doing so you increase your chances of success and enjoyment. You are also most likely to bring something important to the world. People who find math easy and enjoy it tend to make better engineers. To me they are also slightly odd, but that is only because I cannot grasp the idea of enjoying math. I rather enjoy speaking in front of groups of people and entertaining them which tends to make me a fairly decent bartender. I also enjoy doing it and tend to bring joy to those I am serving. Of course the idea of speaking in front of large groups of people usually ranks right up there with death in people’s lists of their greatest fears, adding further proof to the fact that I am also odd. The fact here is by doing things we are naturally good at and enjoy will also bring us in contact with like-minded people who tend to make better friends. You do not have to make this your career, but by incorporating some aspect of this into your life it will tend to give you something to look forward to and make those daily challenges a little easier to handle. Of course if the coffee maker ever breaks where I work I still may need that trip the tropics. So begin to think of things you are naturally good at and enjoy. Discover new and fun ways you can make them more a part of your life.
“If you don’t have a dream, there is no way to make one come true”
ok, not only is Aerosmith one of my favorite bands, but Steven Tyler has a most unique look on the world. Here is a man who went from having it all to the depths of drug addiction and being close to death and back again. conquering not only addictions, but the numerous doubters that told him it couldn’t be done. His secret here was he had a dream, or more precisely a vision of what he wanted from his life. It is also proof our dreams must evolve. Being someone who has been in several bands myself I know achieving the “Rockstar life” can seem like a great goal, but look at this man who achieved just such a thing. It lead to a life of excess and self-abuse. It wasn’t until he realized life was almost being taken away from him that what was important became obvious. His love for music and entertaining people. Knowing that he could not continue doing that in the state he was in caused him to become sober and increased his passion to a point where he has more energy than most people half his age. I cannot begin to stress enough how important knowing your end game is. I equate it to playing a game where you do not know the rules or how to win. How on earth would you hope to succeed? I have had several people approach me and inquire about goals they find unrealistic. “I’m 55 years old, and I have always wanted to be an astronaut. Don’t you think it is a little late to make that happen?” So what does happen if the odds of achieving a specific goal seem like a long shot? Try looking at the essence of the dream. The essence of the dream? what is that? Well let’s take our example above. This man did pick a later time in life to start pursuing a goal that may require time and physical traits he may no longer pursue, although with private space travel becoming closer to reality every day that also may not be out of the question. Let us assume this man is not a multi millionaire ( I know him and trust me he is no more than I) So what to do if you cannot afford to purchase a ticket to space? Well this is what I mean by the essence of the dream. Why is it he wants to go to space? Is it urge to travel to exotic places? An interest in celestial bodies? Certainly there are other avenues to explore there. Keep searching for everything that excites you about your dream. Provide as many answers as you can. This will not only give you several different arenas to explore, but also help fire up your passion and provide you additional motivation to chase that dream and achieve that goal. Ok, so listening to the song “Dream On” may not hurt either.
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
James Allen from the book As Man Thinketh
Raise your hand if you have heard the acorn and the oak analogy before. Ok, now put it down as reading your computer with one hand in the air looks rather silly. Stop and think of this; if an acorn stands in your way how hard is it to move? You can pick it up and give it a toss or even just kick it away with your shoe. Same with the egg. you could easily crush the fragile shell. Now what if that hatched to a powerful eagle? The force is a lot more intimidating. This is why we must pay attention to our dreams, or more accurately our mental focus. If it tends to fall on the negative side, which as I recently discovered can be far easier to do than I remembered, we must address these thoughts while they are still an acorn, while they are still an egg. For if we continue to feed our negative focus with worry, fear, anger and other such emotions they become the oak. A far more difficult opponent. Conversely we must also closely watch our dreams. When they are in their infancy they are like the acorn, like the egg. Easily crushed by the opinions of others. We must feed them with positive thoughts. Feelings of expectancy. We must surround ourselves with others who support us and our dreams. Then as the acorn becomes the oak, our dreams become immune to the negative thoughts of others…and more importantly our own doubts. Quite often we can crush our own dreams when there are in the fragile acorn/egg stage. So just remember to keep yourself focused on the thoughts and pictures we keep in our mind daily. Destroy doubt and fear as soon as they are recognized and feed dreams as often as you can.
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil”
James Allen from the book As Man Thinketh
Here we see the importance of why we must stay focused on our dreams. We must be careful what mental movie we play in our mind. The first and most important step is to know and understand what our dream is. Many times I ask people what their dream is and get surprising answers such as “Just to make it through the day” “To be able to never work again” or even just “I don’t know” If your goal is as simple as to make it through the day and you meet your goal how excited can you honestly be? Setting goals and dreams that are not that lofty or hard to reach provide us with an easy target to hit, but how much of a sense of accomplishment can you feel? Not to mention if your goal is just to make it through the day, you will be ever pressed to repeat this goal for little or no feeling of joy. Now on the flip side if your goal is to never work again. This may sound pretty good especially if your job does not inspire you or you have had a particularly uninspiring day there. If your legacy is to be the person who just sat and took up space because that is all they had to do, that does not lead to a great sense of fulfillment either. We must discover a passion. Something we bring to the world that will inspire us and inspire the world. So what if all this does sound really great but you have no idea what your dream is? What if you have already been beaten down by the prospect of reality and given up dreaming? There are two amazing ways I recommend reconnecting with those long-lost dreams. First, remember what you always dreamed you would be as a child? Perhaps the goal itself is not 100% reachable, but then consider why it was you wanted to be that? did you want to be a singer in a famous band? Maybe your goal and desire is to entertain people? Wanted to be a Zoologist? Maybe you wanted to be involved in a career that helped animals. So think of what you wanted to be as a child and why you wanted to be that. Second, and this one I love because it can not only add a great amount of joy to your life and make it seem easier, but it can bring about the greatest changes to the world. What is this secret tool to discover your goals and dreams? Simple, take a look at what you are naturally good at and what you enjoy. do you doodle while thinking? Maybe start your own online comic strip? Love telling stories? Perhaps you could begin reading to shut-ins and those in a hospital. I know a lady who loves grocery shopping and now helps people who are unable to leave their home. She does something she enjoys, helps others and makes a few extra dollars at the same time. Even if you cannot find a way to monetize what you love. An increase in joy and decrease in stress will pay huge physical and mental dividends in your life. So discover that dream now and begin to focus on it. Make sure to do so in a positive and cheerful way. Do not focus on what you may all have to go through, focus on how great you will feel when you arrive!
“THE dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as they realities which it shall one day see and know.”
James Allen from the book As Man Thinketh
The first few days of this week we are going to look at quotes from the book As Man Thinketh by James Allen. Today’s quote emphasizes the importance of dreamers. How many people’s lives are now better because of the dreamers? Whether we are talking about Martin Luther King jr’s quest for equality or Bill Gates vision to bring affordable computing to the masses. Dreamers always affect far more than themselves. As the quotes says, dreams often sustain us through all of our trails. What exactly does this mean? Let me cite a personal example. Recently I have been faced with losing my position at the Postal service and having to train the person who will be taking my job. Not only is this bad enough, but my future whether with the company or not is a mystery. Today I collected my personal effects from the office. A sad moment that made the reality of the situation very clear. In moments like this I am forced to examine my own skills at remaining optimistic. When life seems to have knocked you down, do yourself a favor. While you are down there contemplate what it is that keeps you going. For me it is a dream of what I wish to become. An author who can make a living bringing joy and a better life to others. Without this dream, without taking daily focused action towards its accomplishment I would feel at the mercy of my employer. In these hard times those who can inspire us become our saviors. The help us take one step further when we think we cannot. Even then we are at the mercy of their dreams. Do yourself a favor and focus on your own dream with certainty and positivity. Become your own savior.
Diets, Botox, plastic surgery, supplements, 90 day fitness plans. They are over. They promise each of us the result of a more beautiful appearance. The marketing companies spend untold amounts of money playing on our fears and our dissatisfaction with our lives and ourselves. The only more amazing thing is the amount of money, in the billions yes that is Billions with a ‘B’ that we spend trying to find a cure that honestly lies within each of us. What is this secret? How do we turn we use it to transform ourselves and our lives into something extremely beautiful? To answer that let me use an example of two beautiful women in my life. My amazing and lovely friends Stephanie and Kim. What makes these two women so special? Great Question. Both a hard-working women at the jobs they do. both are full-time parents to their children and take great pride in the job of raising their children in the way they believe to be best. They also spend times working on improving themselves through various self-improvement activities. The add physical fitness when time affords. They learn new things that allow them to be even more amazing parents as well as spouses to the men in their lives. Now each of the things mentioned above alone could qualify them as beautiful people and I would certainly say it does. Do they sometimes have issues in all the issues mentioned above? I am sure they would be the first to admit they do. Try as we may nobody is the perfect spouse, they perfect parent or even the perfect employee. So what secret do they use, knowingly or not to be the beautiful people they are? It goes by several names, attitude, approach to life, passion. Call it what you will it has many features. One they focus on what it is going right in their world. They are filled with gratitude and express it to the people and situations they feel it towards. They are proud of the people in their lives and let them know it. Instead of complaining about something their children of spouse has done, they are often thanking them publicly for everything that they do for them. They also offer words of kindness and encouragement to others with no expectation of anything in return. Could these ladies complain of the vast amount of obligations and responsibilities they deal with daily? yes and they would have every right. it is their decision to not only endeavor to complete those responsibilities with the best of their ability, but to go the extra mile for others in their lives. In return others are drawn to them and they find themselves on the receiving end of many good fortunes. The best part bringing that positive and passionate attitude to life creates an inner beauty that shines from inside them all the way through to the outside making them two of the most beautiful people The feelings you create in the souls of others will do more for your beauty than a years worth of Botox treatments. Several trips to the spa or any other outer activity we may try. I’m sure you may know people like this in your life. I myself am fortunate enough to have many more. if you happen to meet Stephanie and Kim you will be able to see what true beauty looks like. I am grateful for them and for all of my friends who show me many different definitions of the word beautiful. so if you are looking to increase your beauty before you run to the spa, or order that next miracle product try looking inside or yourself. Your soul is the ultimate beauty product
Just an update on this fine blog here. Recently I decided to see if I could fly by falling off a ladder. The experiment was a terrible failure. I did receive some great parting gifts for my efforts which included a dislocated shoulder, torn ligaments in said shoulder and bruised ribs. I also received some very valuable lessons along the way. There are a lot of things I do on a daily basis I took for granted. Even taking a shower has been quite an adventure. I have also learned the art of patience. What used to take me 5 minutes can now take all day. In addition I have learned to be more comfortable asking people for help and receiving it graciously. Still one of the greatest gifts I have received is one of perspective. I was walking a small ways to a park down the street from my house just to get some fresh air. As I was doing so I was noting with a great deal of humor all of the new challenges this condition brought. Then I saw a gentleman in a wheel chair making his way down the trail in the park. His condition was not temporary and truly he had to make adjustments and develop patience that will last a lifetime. I knew my state was not all that bad, but I am not a patient healer, but this made me thankful for the fact my condition will improve. It also made me think how much worse my fall could’ve been. So it was a good lesson in that no matter how bad things seem to be going for you someone always has a bigger right to complain, and often does not. So appreciate what you have instead of morning what you lost.
Ok, all that being said, another thing that proves difficult is typing. So for the next week or so we are going to look back of the last year and revisit some of my favorite posts from this site. There may be additional commentary and for those of you who are new to this blog may share some things you might have missed. Before long we will be back with new and hopefully enlightening material for you! Until then, stay on the sunny side of the street even if it is just in your own mind!
This was a term coined by Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel kahneman. His original definition was as follows “the sense that you understand somebody and can predict how they will behave” but it has sense been expanded to “A tendency for people to view their own beliefs as reality” Now I am not going to get into the debate on how this can be applied for political and religious purposes, that is not my field of expertise. What we can use if for is self-empowerment. Quite often we use this in a negative way. I know I am not good at speaking in front of groups so I will avoid anything that might cause me to do so. I confess to using it in regards to my dancing ability. I do not think I dance well at all so I seldom if ever do so. Yet imagine what this could do for us if we used it to empower us? What do I mean? Well it is kind of the old “fake it until you make it” principle. What if you just knew you were going to become a success with that new book you are writing. Ok, so that may be one I am currently doing. I had a more mystical friend of mine have the most uncanny luck. I asked her how she always managed to be so lucky. “In a past life a was a princess” she told me “So great things just naturally flow to me” now to be honest I am not sure what to make of past lives, but this young lady firmly believed she was destined to succeed. Therefore her subconscious mind caused her thoughts and actions to be focused on abundance. It can be used for more than financial gain. What if you operated on the theory “It is all going to work out in the end” that was your belief? Would a current challenge seem so overwhelming? How about “Every challenge is only making me stronger and preparing me for greater things ahead” whoa, that is a powerful one. What we believe goes a long way in determining what we experience. If you believe people are genuinely bad, every anger person will stick out more and effect you more than if you believed people were genuinely good. That is not to say that both people will experience some of both kinds of people it is just what we choose to focus on that becomes our reality. If that sounds rather esoteric it really isn’t. If you are running your car on fumes looking for a gas station you are a lot less likely to notice a coffee shop on the side of the road. So choose what you wish to focus on. pick things to be grateful for, things that show beauty. You will be surprised at all you missed. Who knows you may even see me dancing.