HOW TO BEAT THE REAPER

Death, the grim reaper, the final curtain whatever you wish to call it, at some point it comes for all of us. Millions of dollars are spent every year trying to defeat it. 

So how can we defeat the reaper at his own game? Eat more vegetables? Drink more green tea? Exercise more? While all of these things may extend your life they won’t prevent it from ending. In fact, as far as i know there is no way to permanently put off one’s own physical demise.

There is a secret that can help you live forever. I can just hear a few of you saying “wait Neil, didn’t you just say there is no way to prevent death?”. Physical death yes, but life is more than length,it is width as well. As the saying goes “life isn’t so much about the years in a life, but the life in the years”. 

The secret to beating the reaper is to remember 2 very important things. First, live each day as if it were your last. Why? Simple, it very well might be. We never know when the end is coming. We could do everything in our power to prevent it and circumstances just don’t favor us. There is a Native American saying that goes “today is a good day to die”. What this saying means is we should live each day with no regrets. Tell everyone we love them. Try all the new things we were dreaming of. That way if death comes knocking we can answer the door with a peaceful heart knowing that today was a good day to die. 

The second thing we must remember is that what we get doesn’t last forever, but what we give can. If we buy a new car, when we pass on that car becomes someone else’s. They may or may not even know who we were. If we inspire someone or create a good memory with them that will live on forever. That is why I tell everyone to focus on what they want their legacy to be. Create something that will live on. A sculpture, record that cd, write that book. Get your message out there! When i am gone these posts along with my book A Happy Life for Busy People will be there so i can continue to influence and inspire.  

So live your life to the fullest! Share your gift with the world! Also feel free to share your ideas for beating the reaper and feel free to share this post!

DROP YOUR BUCKETS 

“Neighborhoods are going down hill.” “things aren’t what they used to be.” How many of us have heard, or even said things like this? Do you believe these statements to be true? Accepting these statements as true can leave us with a feeling of helplessness and despair. After all crime is on the rise in a lot of both rural and urban areas. In my own fabulous city of West Allis Wisconsin homicides went from a mere one in 2015 to 6 last year. Burglaries were up almost 100 in the same time frame. That is what the news will tell you. Still, in the same time robberies fell by 37%, assaults fell by over 14%, and theft of vehicles by 11%. So the news is both good and not so good. There is also news of them adding a new off-road ambulance and several businesses with more on the way.

Is this about seeing the glass half-full when it comes to your home town? In a way. It is also reminding us to look a little deeper when we are given certain facts, they may not be the whole story. (see the crime statistics above)

This is but a small fraction of what we can do to restore our faith and outlook in our hometowns. I highly suggest contacting your local government and finding out what their plans are. In West Allis for example, the mayor coupled with other local politicians and business leaders have launched a strategic 5 year plan to improve the quality of life in the city. Knowing what is being worked on behind the scenes can often give you a feeling of hope for the future.

What happens if you are not satisfied with what you discover the local government is doing to improve your fine city? What can you do? That is the very question you should be asking, but let us type it in a slightly different way. What can you do? Sure we can all find things maybe we think local law enforcement could be doing better, but how many of us would be a part of a neighborhood watch program? People are quick to complain how rundown their neighborhood may look, but are they keeping their own property up to serve as an example and to inspire their neighbors? If you really want to make an impact, perhaps you should consider becoming a part of the solution. By that I mean becoming a part of your local government. Something I plan to do in the near future. Not only will it allow you to have a bigger impact on positive change, but also allow you to see the challenges the city faces from angles you may not have considered or knew of.

While speaking to a local alder person I learned one of the best things you can do to improve your neighborhood. Sit on your front porch. Really? I can hear you ask. Yes, by making a presence you will be able to not only better observe things that might need attention, but also get to know more of your neighbors and create more of a sense of community. One of the major complaints people voice is that neighborhoods are not as close as they used to be. It is up to all of us to change that. Attend local block parties or inquire at your local chamber of commerce. Most of all support and frequent local businesses. I do most of my writing at coffee shops located in my fine city because I want them to succeed and to continue to employ the fine people they do. I also DJ 2 out of 3 nights at places located in my hometown.

John F. Kennedy once said the famous line “Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” This is true at the local level as well. It is only by working together we will reclaim and improve our communities. Feel free to share this post as well as share your ideas in the comments below.

YOU MAY NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS

“The rich get richer,while the poor get poorer”.  How many of us have heard this saying before? Lord knows I must have heard it a million times growing up. Not to inspiring especially if you find yourself in the latter of the two categories. It doesn’t sound fair does it?

It would be great if I were here to tell you that isn’t true, or some secret method to beat the system, but I am not. In fact, quite the opposite. I am here to show you how this is not only true in the world of finance but in most other areas as well. Great you might be thinking, just what I need to hear today. Do not become discouraged. Knowledge is potential power and what you are going to learn here today is something that you can use to your advantage. It will not change much of what you may be doing to improve any area of your life by itself.

So why read any further? What are we going to learn here today and how will it serve us? We are going to learn why the axiom above is true in so many areas of life and how we can use that to increase our drive and commitment to obtain our goals. We will learn why that skinny person at the gym barely has to brake a sweat and we just look at a slice of pizza and gain a pound. Why they can workout 30 minutes and stay as fit as a fiddle, while we can spend our whole day in the gym and not notice a single improvement. We will also learn why that happy person in the office just manages to stay bubbly even if the world is falling down around them and how stress just seems to pass them by while we feel like we are dragging a lead weight behind us.

I am going to start with the fitness example first, but as you will see they are actually all interchangeable. I am working out at the gym, because like some of you I cannot say ‘no’ to any slice of pizza offered my way. While doing so I listen to different things to inspire me and keep me moving when my body is begging to quit. One of those things is videos by the late Greg Plitt, who was a fitness model as well as a great motivator. He taught me something I never knew and always wondered. I am going to share it with you here because unless you are really into fitness this may also be news to you. So why does that person who is already fairly fit not have to work as hard to maintain that level of fitness as do those of us who are trying to obtain it? It has to do with Muscle verses fat. Fat is stored energy and does not require the effort by the body to burn as does muscle. At first this sounded great I don’t have to work as hard to burn fat? Not quite. What this means is to move muscle and fiber requires more effort and calorie usage than moving fat. Meaning if a fit person and a person who is not so fit walk a mile at the same pace the fit person will actually burn more calories. Not before you succumb to the urge to knock the skinny person off the treadmill in front of you let me explain what this means. As we continue to get more in shape our ability to burn calories efficiently will also continue to improve. It is like trying to mold clay. When you first start and the clay is cold the clay is not easily molded. As the we keep working the clay and it heats up the rate in which we are able to shape it also increases. While this may seem to really suck as we begin a fitness routine, it may also keep us in the gym well past when most people quit because they are not seeing results.

Ok, so what does this have to do with living an amazing life and maintaining a positive attitude? Plenty! The same principle applies. A lot of people tell me “It is easy for you to not let things get you down because you are so positive”. In a way that is true, but it was not always that way. As the years went by and I have practiced a lot of the principles I teach on this site, at seminars and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People I began, in essence, to build my positivity muscle. Through practices like being grateful and asking how I can use challenges I learned to be more positive and as a result more resilient. So, the more positive you are, the easier it is to remain positive in the face of challenges.

Here is what we have discovered. The rich get richer, the fit have and easier time staying so and being positive helps you stay the way when the world throws you a curve ball. This news may not seem that great if you are financially challenged, overweight or negative. Again, knowledge is potential power, so what you do with this information is up to you. You can let it get you down, or provide proof the world is stacked against you. You can also use it to keep you chasing your fitness goals knowing the more you help your body, the more it will help you. You can use it to work on developing that positive and grateful attitude now so when you face a challenge in life you are better prepared.

All this will not happen overnight. Knowing that once you get to the tackle any challenge it will be easier to maintain those results than it was to achieve them should keep us all pushing.

YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND

This post was influenced by my friend Heidi. You must decide to be your own best friend. If you have read my blog even a little you know I advocate taking care of yourself first. To some this may sound selfish, but it is only by bringing the best you to life that you can best help others. An empty pitcher can never fill anyone’s cup.

Most people know that my lady is my best friend. She is smart, talented, loving and always supports me. This being said, if I didn’t have a healthy self-love I wouldn’t be able to be the man worthy of all of this.

So how does one become their own best friend? There are a million little things that have been listed in this blog and I would invite you to go back and read a few, but today we are going to touch on the major way. The most important thing in life we must decide is where to spend our wealth. I am not talking about where to spend our hard earned dollars we earn 40 hours a week or more. Of course that is important, but I am talking about how we spend something even more valuable than our money – our time.

Think about this, you can lend your friend your car and they can crash it. You can buy another. They could watch your house and burn it down. You could buy another. Still, if you decide to give someone your time and they turn out to waste it with drama, or gossip about others you will never get that time back. So be careful who you spend your time with. What do they bring to your life? This is not to say friendships should come down to “What can you do for me?”. Friendships are give and take. They say you have two hands for a reason. One is to reach out for help when you need it, the other is to reach out to others to help them when they need it. It is the friends who only call when they are in need that you must be careful of.

Last post I wrote about everyone sharing their gifts. This is true in relationships. My friend Russ for example shares his gift of deep philosophical thinking with me. My lady shares her artistic and creative ability with me. I do my best to share my gifts with them. So be careful with who you spend your time with. Remember no matter how much money you have you cannot buy more time. Your time is valuable, treat it as such

SOMETHING WE ALL CAN DO

This happens to be one of my favorite pictures. Not sure why it just makes me laugh. Here’s today’s quick little thought.

The most important thing we can do for ourselves and others. – giving -. 

When you hear the word giving what do you think of? How does it feel? Growing up I was taught that giving was something we did around the holidays, or to help those less fortunate. It felt like sacrifice. 

Here is the cool thing, we are all less fortunate. What the heck am I talking about? Every person we know is deficit in something. Money? Maybe. Time? We all can be at times. Here is something else all of us are – gifted! We all do something great and enjoy. This is what we should give. 

Do you like telling stories? Perhaps there is a shut in that could use some company. Are you handy? Maybe there are neighborhood projects that you could lend a hand with. Give of yourself where you can.  You will feel good and you will help others!

This weekend look where you can give. Can you give of your time? Your love? Your compassion? You will leave with a good feeling all while making the world a better place!

WHO WE ALL SHOULD BE

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe you should do your best to be who you are deep in your soul. So what is up with the title of this post? Well in case you didn’t catch the picture allow me to tell you. Whether you are a farmer or an artist. Whether you work at a coffee shop or the post office. Whether you are short, tall, black,white or some other beautiful shade we should all be somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody. 

What does this really mean? Let give you a great example of this in action. There was a class on successful business being given by a man who was a CEO of a successful company. After several weeks the final exam came. When the students reached the final question they were shocked to see it was worth 50% of their grade. The question? What was the name of the cleaning lady that worked until their class began every morning. 

The point of this was that as a business owner, and dare a day to be successful in any area of life, we must realize every person has great value. If that cleaning lady had not attended to their classroom it would have been filled with dirt, trash, possibly insects and other pests. 

This weekend take the next two days to stop and offer appreciation for the people you come across. Not only will you give them a good feeling, and thus give yourself one as well, but that is how we should treat each other. 

Make this an ongoing habit and you will find yourself surrounded by happy and loyal friends in great abundance. Feel free to share this post to inspire others and share your story of showing appreciation in the comments below. 

EASY(ER) SUCCESS

This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?

Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i  ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives. 

What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our  actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people. 

These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help. 

Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.