THE GREATEST GIFT 

It has been a year already. It has been a year since I was able to celebrate the birth of this wonderful lady. The woman in the photograph is my lovely lady Margie. As you are reading this we are enjoying ourselves in Las Vegas. It was a trip I planned for sometime. Every year I do my best gift ever. This year I finally have it all figured out!

So a trip to Las Vegas is the best gift ever? In short, no, but then again…yes. Please let me explain. This is something I would like to share with all of you gentleman out there. The best gifts you can give to the lady in your life are not the most expensive, the most elaborate or the most material. So why a trip to Vegas and what is the greatest gift ever? A trip to Vegas is because with the exception of when she was a toddler my lady has only been to the states surrounding the one we live in. She has not been on a plane since she was one. Why is this the greatest gift?

Here is what is important. As a gentleman I realize the greatest gift I can give the lady in my life (this applies for friends and family too) is the gift of the experience. The greatest gift you can give is one of respect, time, attention and love. So this was not just a trip to a city that sparkles like my lady, but a chance to give her experiences she has not had. A chance to expand her world. An opportunity to bring something new into her life. The greatest souvenir we will both take home from this trip? It is the greatest gift. The gift of loving memories.

Happy birthday baby. That is the gift I wish to give to you today. The gift of my time, my attention, my respect and my love. I would wrap up all the memories we are going to create on this trip if I could, but since I can’t I will just wrap you in my arms and tell you I Love you.

THIS IS IMPORTANT 

As you are reading this i will be in sunny Las Vegas. In doing so I am taking a break from being a Postal worker, a DJ, a bartender and to most extent an author and blog writer. In past posts I have stressed the importance of taking a rest and the ability it provides us.

In today’s world the importance of self care is often overlooked. There are commercials about getting ahead in business, in finance, in taking care of your loved ones and many others. These are for sure all important, but everything you do, including taking care of others can be done better when you take care of yourself. As I often say an empty pitcher can never fill anyone’s cup.

When taking care of yourself you need to provide yourself the undivided attention you would for a family member or important client. I have friends who have diligently carved out time for themselves and tell me they still feel stressed and overwhelmed. On occasion we will all feel these feelings, that is just a part of life. Here is what is important – when you take time for yourself, make sure you are really devoting that time to yourself.

These next few examples may sound silly to some, but they really have happened. I know of a friend who interrupts his meditation when he hears his text message alerts go off. People use their visualization time to plan and think about that nights dinner. This is really not our fault. Today we try to accomplish 25 hours of work into one day. Sleeping? Only if there is time for that. Trust me, I am as guilty as anyone of this. If we are wise enough to take this time to recharge let us use it wisely.

There are a few steps you can take that can greatly increase the success of your recharging time. One, let others know not to disturb you. This is especially effective if you have a routine time of day you set aside to take care of the important person in the mirror. Tell the kids every day from 6-6:30 is “mommy time”. Also dispose of any guilt associated with taking this time. Remember by taking care of yourself you will be better to help assist the needs of others and do so with less stress and more effectiveness. It is really a win/win situation. Next, turn off all devices. Put your phone on silent. You deserve this time. Finally, look into some clearing exercises that help you empty your mind before you begin. Simply paying attention to your breathing and focusing on that can work. Another fun and easy way to approach this is purchasing CDs that guide you through this meditation. All you do is relax, push play and you are on your way. This can be especially helpful for people just beginning. Another perk is usually they last 30 minutes to an hour so when the cd ends, your time is up. One of my favorite site is brain sync they have several different choices depending on what you are after.

The point here is to start the new year devoting time to the most important person in your life, you. Improved mental and physical well-being will increase your productivity and reduce your stress allowing you to be better at life and enjoy it more. Feel free to share how you set aside time and what you do to recharge your batteries in the comments below. Also feel free to share this post.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE 

Yesterday we discussed one way in which people are able to meet and overcome challenges . Today we are going to look at another way. As a bonus this will not only help you not get overwhelmed by your challenges, but also give you some motivation. Sound too good to be true? Let us take a look.

One of the things that became evident when looking at the difference between those who maintain a positive disposition and those who find their mood at the mercy of their circumstances is whether or not they have one thing. This one thing can make the difference on what you feel like when you get up in the morning, how everything that happens to you during the day, be it good or bad, feels. What is this powerful secret that can give you inner strength and motivation?

A COMPELLING FUTURE.

Stop and think about what that means to you. Do you have a compelling future? Of all the people I work with at the Post Office I would say 90% of them do not have a compelling future. When I asked them their plans for the future I received such answers as “I just want to make it to retirement”, “I want to get out of debt for once”, and the ever popular “I just want to make it through today”. With future plans like that it is hard to live an inspired life. If you notice most of them are focused on their challenges. Whether the years they have left to work, the debt they have or even the challenges of the day. They are pushing their way to their future. Think of pushing a boulder up a hill, not even knowing what is at the top of that hill. When I asked these people what happens when they do retire, or get out of debt or even make it home at the end of the day most of them gave me some version of the same answer, “I don’t know. I guess I will figure it out then”. They didn’t even know what completion of their goal would bring them. Not very inspiring to say the least. When you do not have a clear and compelling goal for the future and suddenly you face a challenge it can seem overwhelming.

Now let us look at the other 10%, the group we become part of with a compelling future. When I asked them about their plans for the future I received answers such as “I am saving to buy a ranch to raise horses on when I retire” and “I plan on opening up my own travel agency”. One person even have a different take on the ‘make it through the day’ answer. They said “I’m looking forward to going on a date with my wife tonight”. Notice the difference. These people all had a goal, or ‘prize’ if you will at the top of the hill. Instead of pushing that boulder up a hill not even knowing what they may see when they get there. These people knew clearly what would be there and it pulled and compelled them to keep going. Although what they were doing presently may not have been that enjoyable for most, which included driving around in the snow delivering mail. Those who had a clear goal of why they were doing it were better able to make it through and do so with a more positive disposition.

So what about your future goals? How can we stay inspired and use them to keep going when the going gets tough? I asked the man who was wanting to buy the ranch did he just think of the ranch when needed to be inspired? Obviously he didn’t have all of the funds he needed right now. He told me another little secret. He told me he did little things he could do now. He thought of names for his ranch. He looked at designs for cabins he might like to have there. He even drew maps with the layout of the ranch. He also had decided what part of the country he wanted to locate his ranch. He also began pricing the things he would need fences, lumber etc. I asked him if that became overwhelming and depressing when he added it all up? He told me it actually inspired him to contribute to the savings account he set up for just such a purpose. He also told me it inspired him to work harder and not mind extra hours that he sometimes had to put in, knowing he was getting closer to his ranch.

This would obviously work for the person wanting the travel agency or any other goal you might have. Do the little things you can at the moment. Design a logo, develop a business plan, set up a saving account, do your research and make connections with people who could help. Even the man who was looking forward to his date told me he thought about his wife, how beautiful she was, how much he was looking forward to the meal and the relaxing time they would share. My only caution here is the motivation will only last the day, but that is better that not having any at all.

So feel free to share your compelling future plans as well as the things you do right now to work towards them. As always feel free to share this post as well.

STRENGTH TO OVERCOME

What are the secrets that allow some people to overcome challenges while others are sunk by them? This is one of those questions that are at the very core of what I do, helping people live an amazing life.

The truth is this, whether rich or poor, tall or short whether we are from Fiji or Greenland we all have ups and downs in life. Maybe that doesn’t sound so profound, but when we stop to think of the amount of time we spend on finding ways to ‘get rid of problems’ or ‘avoid problems’ it becomes evident we are trying to create a state that will never exist. Instead of trying to live problem free, we should try to not only limit the effect problems have on our lives, but learn from them and actually put them to work for us.

Ok, so how come some people can seem to do this and some people just keep fighting against life? There are quite a few things we can do to move ourselves from the second category into the first. The first is an understanding that problems will always be a part of our lives. Not to inspiring to hear at first is it? This revelation can actually be quite liberating. When we know longer spend our physical and mental energy fighting against problems, we free up that energy to constructively use them.

Now it is time to get into the nuts and bolts of how we can do just that. First is to change our language in terms of how we refer to our challenges. This may seem trivial and even silly on the onset but remember the words we use is how we speak to our subconscious mind. Rarely do I even use the word problem. I prefer challenge as life is challenging us to grow and become something more in order to overcome the situation in front of us. Another word I tend to use is ‘obstacle’. The word itself gives you the feeling of something to be met and overcome.

This also applies in specific situations as well. Instead of saying “I am having a terrible day” or whatever not so pleasant description you care to use, say “I am having a character building day”. At first this may sound like saying the same thing but using different words. Which, in essence we kind of are, but words have power and create feeling. Say the two statements separately 3 times in a row. Notice the different feeling you get. This is important for 2 very important reasons. One, when we feel better we do better and two, when we phrase the situation in such a way that we can see potential in it (i.e. character building day) we know we are going to get something for the pain we are feeling at the moment.

So try this in the coming weeks. Try changing how you refer to the problems in your life. Begin by calling them challenges. Look at situations and see how you can word them constructively. Make a game out of it. That demanding boss that says mean things to you can go from being an ass to being a patience building trainer. Again, this may sound silly to you at first and that’s ok. Laugh at it. After all, laughter is a good feeling. Try this for the week ahead and see if you notice a difference.

Feel free to share this post with everyone you know. Also feel free to share some of your more creative word changes below. You may help the rest of us.

STAY COMMITTED 

This can literally change your life! Earlier this week we discussed the importance of what to focus on. When you are chasing a dream or working on a goal you can meet with all sorts of obstacles. Do not let this distract you. Perhaps you have labored for several days, maybe even weeks and all your efforts were in vain. It can be a tall challenge starting over. That is why it is very important to have a strong ‘why’ or reason to begin. When life throws you a stop sign do just that, stop access the situation learn what you can and move on.

Often we are tempted, myself included, to throw in the towel after what seems like a defeat, but we cannot view life that way. Take the light bulb for example. Mr. Edison tried over 1000 different objects for a filament. If he would have just thought to himself “How can I get cotton to work?”. I might be writing this to you by candlelight or maybe not at all.

Sometimes the way we think is the best is not always so. We often push so hard on the journey we forget to focus on the destination. So keep your goal in mind. If you run into what seems to be a dead end ask yourself “How else could I try this?”. That is why it is often helpful to ‘sleep on it’. Perhaps there is something we missed, a lesson we have yet to learn. Either way if your goal is something you are passionate enough do not give up. Perhaps you need more time, more information or to meet someone new. Just keep trying and keep an open mind. Success is sure to follow. Remember it took Edison over 1000 times, but he changed the world because he didn’t give up and so can you!

Feel free to share this blog post as well as your ideas for staying persistent in the comments below.

 

IT’S YOUR CHOICE

Choice is one of the greatest powers we have. The choice we make as to what we eat and how much we exercise will have a determination as to how healthy we will be. The choice we make as to what people we surround ourselves with will have a great deal of influence on what kind of day we will have. 

Our choices are not always easy, but make no mistake, they are always ours, as are the consequences. Take my present circumstance, it is 4:30 in the morning, i can’t sleep and i have a terrible headache. i could just lay there and lament , but instead i am choosing to share these thoughts with you. I don’t always make such healthy choices. In fact, as I write this I’m eating chips and salsa. Probably not the best 4:30am dietary choice. 

One of the most important choices we can ever make is what to focus on. We make this choice whether we know it or not several times a day. It starts first thing in the morning. Where as Eric Thomas puts it,  “most of us are waking up on accident”. That is to say we don’t really have a point of focus. let’s start there. Tomorrow morning decide what your focus will be. Write it down now because if you are anything like me, first thing in the morning the mind is a little fuzzy. It could be practical such as “I’m going to focus on thoughts to improve my business”. It could even be something less material such as “I’m going to focus on what to be grateful for” or “I’m going to focus on things to be happy about”. This gives your mind a target for the day. 

This also works situationally. One of my favorite questions I use to focus is “how can I use this?”. If it is a success perhaps I can use it to remind myself i don’t always fail. If it is a “failure” I ask myself the same thing. After all if you can use a failure to learn something about yourself or the situation it then becomes a lesson. 

Start by developing a morning focus. Again easiest to do this the day before. You can use the same one for a week or a month. Have fun with this and let us know how your life changes in the comments below . 

LIFE-CHANGING THOUGHT 

I have been involved in the field of self-improvement for over two decades. What I tend to notice is a lot of the great ideas are shared by many different people. The more i study, the more common truths are revealed. Sometimes hearing something one more time, or perhaps in a different wording can bring a whole new level of wisdom. Such is the quote above.

I happen to be a person who loves  knowledge. If there is something that interests me i love to learn all about it. This is overall a trait about myself of which i am very fond. It does, however, come with a few ‘side effects’. One of which is I strongly dislike looking foolish or ignorant. This used to keep me from trying new things. After all when learning anything new there is a period of looking awkward and foolish. Recently with the help of friends and the support of the lady in my life i have been learning to get past that. After all this blog would not exist if I had not started and learned as i went. 

Another trait I am working on is control. We all like to have control over many aspects of our lives and be given what is generally a false sense of security. Inevitably, life will show us how foolish that is by introducing us to things we have no hope of controlling such as the weather and the actions of others. Still many of us, myself included, tend to just find ways to “do better next time” or find ways to limit the effect of outside stimulus.

What all of this can lead to is a lot of stress and disappointment. Trying to “know it all”or “do it all perfectly” is insanity. As I mentioned earlier accepting that has been one of this year’s greatest accomplishments. It has reduced my stress considerably. 

Still, upon hearing this quote from Rumi I believe there is more to it. Approaching life as a willing student wanting to learn, can  teach me far more than trying to know it all. Looking for the miracle in everything I witness will not only eliminate the stress, but full me with a kind of bliss I have not experienced since i was a child.

So I invite you to join me on selling our cleverness for bewilderment, or wonder as I would prefer to say. Look for the divine and the miracle in everything you see. feel free to leave your experience in the comments below.

FIND A FEW. ..

It is winter currently where I live . That is me in the picture above. Even though the holidays come around this time of year and there is lots of gathering of family and friends it can be stressful for a lot of people. For me, add the condition known as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ in which the lack of sun and general terrible weather seem to have quite an effect on my mood. This can be hard for others to understand as well. Sure we are all happier when it is sunny and pleasant, but winter here can really take a toll on a few of us.

The odd thing is, in general I am a really happy person. I love my life, my friends, my lady. I feel really quite grateful. These thoughts are harder to grasp it seems during this time of the year. Even if you do not have this condition, the stress of the holidays, driving in bad conditions and dealing with people who are less than cheery can be challenging at best.

So what to do? The answer is in this crazy picture above. Find things that make you laugh, smile or that bring you pleasure. In my case two of them are penguins and pizza. So much so that I almost capitalized both of those words. In periods you know you are going to be challenged, prepare ahead of time. Have a list of movies that put you in a good mood. I playlist of songs you enjoy. Also, surround yourself with images of things that make you smile. This picture was at a movie theater and my wonderful Margie pointed it out and insisted I take a picture by it knowing how much I enjoy both of those things. I couldn’t take the sign with me, but on a day like today that seems to be a bit challenging for me with all of the snow outside even seeing this picture cheered me up.

So if you know you are entering a challenging period, whether job, weather or anything else related, prepare by gathering up your ‘medicine’ of things that make you happy and laugh. Take it from me, it can be a lifesaver.

POWERFUL, SIMPLE BUT A GREAT CHALLENGE 

What I’m about to share with you is something that can have a tremendous effect on your life. It is simple and may in fact be something you already know. this simple thing, however, is very difficult to master. 

I am often asked for the ‘secret’ to my happy life. How in the face of challenges do i more often than not remain positive. It is through this practice, of which i am still working on, that my inner peace and positivity have been developed. 

Before i share exactly what it is i strive to do, please allow me to put forth a question. Do you know someone, perhaps the person in the mirror who often finds themselves overwhelmed and burned out by their daily lives? Do you also know someone who is always full of life and eager for what is next? In life most of us have experienced a little bit of both. Sadly, most of us live in the former. 

So how do we fill our life with passion and energy? The answer is at once both simple and perhaps our greatest challenge. In a nutshell there are only 2 thought patterns worth spending our daily energy on. 

First is the present moment and what good we can find in it. This provides its own challenge especially in difficult situations. Staying present can at once allow us to savor good moments and put challenging ones in perspective . 

The second thought pattern is what can i do in the near future to create the outcome i desire or at least move closer to it. 

The past has its purpose in teaching us and noticing patterns of behavior , but to dwell and live in the past (the ‘if only’ thought pattern) robs us of our present moment and the opportunities of joy it contains. Not to mention there is no transformational value to Dwelling on the past. No matter how much we cry over spilled milk it will not put it back in the glass. 

The same holds true with living in the future. True, it is important to know where we want to go and to set goals. Even taking brief trips to the future to visualize what we want to happen is helpful. Then it is time to return to the present and take actions that will lead us in that direction. Living in the future  (the ‘i will be happy when’ pattern of thinking) also robs of the joy in the present moment. 

When sharing this with a recent coworker she remarked how difficult this can be. The passing of loved ones, trouble at work,  an impending divorce all take our attention elsewhere. Momentarily that is ok, but spending a great deal of time there drains our emotional energy and leaves us little if anything to show for it. 

Is this easy? Not at all. In fact daily i am still working on it. One thing is for sure, it is worth it.  When you find yourself able to stay present and focused you will experience a sense of inner peace and joy that is hard to explain. I  welcome your ideas for staying present and limiting worry in the comments below 

ARE YOU PSYCHIC ?

This post has very little to do with the answer to that question . Still let us take a look at the question. Do you even believe in psychic ability? If so, how much do you think you have? How much do you think others have? How developed is it? You have to admit, if you are one of the people who do believe, the amount of people who have developed psychic power is far and few between.

So what does all of this have to do with living and amazing life? Plenty. It is one of the basic fundamentals I teach people in dealing with others. See if this sounds familiar to you. Have you ever heard someone complaining about their friend/coworker/spouse not knowing what they want? My first question to these people who are complaining is “Did you tell them?”. They often respond with a blank stare followed shortly by such phrases as “Well they should know” or “any idiot would know”. A lot of people assume because of their actions people should know. Maybe they have even told this person in the past. Still I remind them that most people do not have the time or energy to walk around pondering what people are ‘trying to tell them’.

How many disagreements or hurt feelings in your own life have arisen out of the fact that the two parties involved just were not clear on what the other wanted? I know in my own life I am victim of this more often then I would like to admit. I assume people know more about my desires than they do. If someone hurts you or offends you in some way because they were ignorant as to your feelings on the matter that is on you. That might sound a little harsh, but remember they cannot read our minds.

Let’s look at situations where you have told someone in the past about a situation that hurt you. In this situation we are looking at two possible scenarios. One, the person knew this would bother you and took the opportunity to do so. If that is so, perhaps we need to rethink their position in our life. The far more likely scenario is they forgot. It slipped their mind. This can only add to the frustration especially if it is something you are passionate about. It is not easy, especially in the moment, but we must remember people have a lot going on in their heads far more than just what upsets us. Again, personally I confess this is something I am still really working on.

Here is the takeaway. If there is something that is bothering you, or even something that would make you extremely happy that someone can do. Tell them. Once you share with them “This is what I like, this is what I don’t like” then the responsibility is on them. When and if they forget that or fail to do what you desire do your best not to get upset. Instead remind them that you told them and ask if there is a better way to communicate your desires or if there is anything you can do to help them remember for next time. Trust me the response you will get is far better than just getting upset.

Also remember to look at the other side of things. How fair do you think it is that people expect you to know everything that makes them happy or upset? Make being around you easy and enjoyable. Be upfront with what you do and do not enjoy. Chances are your relationships will improve and all parties will be happier.

Feel free to share your communication secrets below as well as sharing this post. Most importantly remember to share your feelings with the parties that can do something about them.