DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS 

Success, each person’s definition of success is different. To some it is material acquisition, for some it is a sense of joy and peace of mind. This is a challenge to someone trying to come up with formulas anyone can use regardless of their definition. In an effort to discover what makes some people successful at what they do and prevent others from doing so, I have studied some of the greatest minds in the self-improvement industry.

The best definition of success I have ever come across is from Earl Nightingale. Earl is  often referred to as “The dean of personal development” as his scope of knowledge and experience is hard to rival. Earl was on the USS Arizona when it was bombed at Pearl Harbor. 1500 people died on that ship. Earl was one of 100 to survive. He went on to own several business and have his own radio program. He recorded a message to help his salesman called The Strangest Secret. Without much fanfare or advertising that message launched what is now known as the spoken word industry. I cannot recommend highly enough you get your hands on a copy of this valuable message.

This post is not just about Earl Nightingale, but the message he brought the world. His definition of success is “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Read that quote a time or two more. Let it sink in. What it means is that a person who knows who they want to become and is working towards it is automatically a success. Why is that? It is because of goals. Having a concrete definition in mind of where you want to go and putting forth effort to get there. Even if it may seem you are momentarily moving backwards, you are still learning valuable lessons allowing you to move forward.

Once you pick your goal (mine is to help individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves) you will be able to know if what you are doing is working or not. Even if it happens not to be you are still learning what does not work. It was Edison who said “I never failed. I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.” When you goal is clear, confusion is minimal and motivation is maximum.

SCHEDULE YOUR DESSERT 

 

This is me enjoying a ‘Mosaic’. It is a splendid combination of a crepe, mint ice cream and chocolate sauce. Once a year I find this delightful culinary treat at a local festival called ‘Bastille Days’. It is a festival celebrating the French culture. (Notice the Eiffel Tower behind me) Recently I have found an adorable blonde lady who is helping me appreciate the French culture a little more.

The funny thing about this dessert is the place that serves this dessert is about an hour away from my house. I suppose given a little bit of free time I could drive out there and get one most any day. Yet, scheduling it makes this a special moment and something to look forward to. Do you have events planned in the near future? If so, try thinking of every little thing you are looking forward to about them. Our Wisconsin State Fair is coming up soon which happens to be my favorite event every year. I am looking forward to going opening day with my lady and looking at our brick. Also, I am going with my mother on the day they give away awards for the best food. Thinking of, and planning all of these helps the excitement build and the moment more special.

Taking one example and putting it to work for us is what we are going to do here. I have many events coming up. A 5k run I am doing, my birthday on the 29th of this month, vacation shortly there after. Thinking about what I will enjoy about each and every activity will only make me more excited. Try to plan a dessert as often as you can. It doesn’t have to be food, just something special you are looking forward to.

Here is the best part, once you get good at doing this for things you enjoy you can try practicing it for things you do not enjoy so much. Hate going to the dentist? Maybe you can look forward to some books in the waiting room? Not looking forward to going to work? Think about a fun conversation with a coworker you can have. This takes practice, but really can improve your quality of life.

As always, I am interested in hearing your feedback on how this works for you and how you plan on using it.

WHY THIS MAN IS MY HERO 

 Ok, this actual man is not my hero. He does share a resemblance to the man i am about to tell you about. 

I had to stop by my work to fill out some medical papers today. Right next door is the bank i usually go to. While i was making my way home I saw an old ma’am struggling to get through the door with his walker. I was just about to get out and help the man, but what I saw next both made my heart soar and brought a tear to my eye. 

The doors of the bank are fairly heavy and this man was just standing there with his walker holding it open. Why? That question was answered shortly when an elderly lady in much better shape came through the door only to stop and give the man a kiss. It gets even better! The man slowly made his way across the parking lot to his car. He went to the passenger side and i assumed he was driving. What I saw next made me tip my hat to this man. He walked there just to open her door. 

These days you hear about celebrity couples breaking up just because they can’t agree on colors of paint! Lately I’ve heard more details than I ever care to about Rob K and Blac Chyna.

In the middle of things like the bachelor and revenge porn, it was good to see an example of powerful love. This man, despite his limitations insisted on being a gentleman. To me, that makes him a hero. 

WHO’S DRIVING?

This post is going to be very simple. This picture was captured at a red light. I sent it to my lady in an attempt to bring a smile to her face. She told me to her it looked like the dog was driving the car. To me that made the picture even funnier.

I encourage you to be on the lookout for funny scenes like this. Trust me, they are everywhere. You don’t have to take pictures of them, but you might want to so you can smile at them later. Share them with friends. This will do a few things. One, it will give you an album of pictures that can make you smile when you need it, which is always good. Second, it will get your brain in the habit of seeing the silly side of life. With reminders on every corner of all the trouble in the world, this can be a great skill to have. I bet after doing this for a while, you will see your mood get better and better!

Feel free to share what you do to stay focused on the silly side of life and feel free to share any fun silly pictures you have in comments below.

PROTECT YOURSELF!

This is me at work about to do some work in the garage. I am about to kick up a lot of dust so I am wearing a dust mask. Initially, I was told by my boss that wearing a mask when you are around dust makes it worse. How this could possibly be true? I am not entirely sure, but I knew that the mask blocks a lot of the bad things I would be breathing in and with my asthma it was a good idea. A trip to the doctor and a note from him saying that yes, wearing a mask to prevent breathing dust is a good idea.

What point does this make other than that my place of employment often goes in the face of common sense? Here is what this whole event made me think of. In my everyday world I do my best to protect myself against things that are negative and may drain my positive energy. Sadly, you cannot just buy a ‘negative mask’ and it will block all of the bad things in life.

What can you do to protect yourself from these harmful things? Of course you can try limiting your exposure to them, but sometimes that is not entirely possible. Like trying to clean that garage without kicking up any dust. What we need to come up with is a piece of equipment that can protect you. This can be easier than you might think. In my book A Happy Life for Busy People I give you an example of gratitude in your pocket. In a nutshell, it is carrying a talisman of some nature that reminds you of things you have to be thankful for. You can do the same for this. Find something small enough t0 carry in your pocket that reminds you of staying positive. In my book we also mention having a ‘happy playlist’, which is a playlist on your Mp3 player, or I have recently made a list on YouTube so it is always available on my cell phone.

Imagine being able to pull your talisman out of your pocket, or listen to that uplifting music right before a stressful meeting at work? Maybe you will be sitting next to people that just spend the day gossiping? Knowing this ahead of time you can get your vibe on a positive level and have a little escape that can keep you motivated.

So gather your songs, find your talisman. It doesn’t even have to be something tangible. You can imagine putting on your ‘Superhero suit’ before you walk into that meeting. Maybe it is a powerful cape? Magic earmuffs? You can put them on in your mind and change your mindset. It may sound silly, but taking that second to change your mindset can make all the difference.

Feel free to share your ideas for protecting yourself in the comments below.

GRATEFUL FOR THE CHALLENGES 

This is my condition at present. I have a dislocated shoulder. Although on the surface this really sucks. Ok, maybe slightly deeper than the surface. Still, it is a reminder of the many blessings I have. My friend Bret was grocery shopping, but stopped to come drive me to the hospital. Sadly, due to the pain it wasn’t possible and an ambulance ride was required. In the ambulance staff I met 3 very genuine and caring men. I also discovered one cannot put one’s shoulder back in place without pain medicine. Then at the hospital the ER staff were very caring and courteous. The doctor, managed to get my shoulder back in and talk to me about tacos. Something I guess I did under the influence of the pain medicine I was unaware of.

Even more so, the gratitude group I started online sent so many good thoughts and vibes I am truly overwhelmed. Friends who were not part of the group also set messages of well-being. My lovely lady’s friend drove her to DJ when I couldn’t. The people at the show sent a lot of well wishes for my health and return. Even today when picking up medicine I met some fun people at the pharmacy and received a $25 gift card for bringing my prescription there.

Last, but by no means least is my lovely Margie. She has been making sure I have everything I needed. Even helped me tie my shoe before I left to write this. She even did our DJ show all by herself while I recover. She has drive, love and caring.

The point is that this situation, as unfortunate as it is, has brought to light, and reminded me of the many blessings I sometimes forget to notice as well as many I did not even know where there. They say you can only see the stars when the night is the darkest, and I sure do have a lot of stars that came to shine in this dark period.

There are challenges in this situation to be sure. Try, for example, using the other hand when you use the bathroom. Should be the same right? Not so much. While that is a problem I have to work on by myself, there are plenty others I can ask for help with. Myself, like many of you I am sure, are not big fans of asking for help. We are, however, big fans of giving help to those of our friends who need it. Why is that? It feels good to know we helped someone. I am glad to be able to give that pleasure to those who are helping me now. Not to mention, it gives me an extra chance to show my appreciation not only for their help, but for their friendship.

I would not recommend dislocating your shoulder (trust me this is #3) but if you find yourself in a situation you need help, remember that is a blessing too. Feel free to share some of the blessings you have noticed in your time of need or thank those who have helped you in the comments below.

SING YOUR SONG 

My lovely lady and I DJ 3 days a week. There is something I always find fascinating, after singing a few songs people are always on a much better mood. Even those who come in with a terrible outlook. I have also heard my lady’s lovely voice break out in song when she is in a great mood. This leads me to one not so shocking conclusion, people are happy when they are singing.

Above is a picture of Winnie the Pooh and a song he sings. I have always been a fan of this bear from a young man on. Very simple, laid back in short my kind of man…er…um… bear. You would be surprised what you can learn from reading these childhood stories as an adult. In fact, I would recommend checking out the book The Tao of Pooh when you get a chance. Back to the point of today’s post. I suggest we take a lesson from this lovable bear and develop our own song to sing when we need a little uplifting. Don’t worry you can even sing it to yourself if you are self-conscious. It need not be complicated and it only has to make sense to you. What if you are not that creative? Fear not, find a simple song you enjoy and use that. Soon enough you may find your own inner song.

I am Native American and we have songs for many different purposes. Some that give you strength when you feel down, some to honor veterans etc. I suggest trying to write one for yourself. It is easier than you may think. Just try writing down things that make you happy and then just try to work them into a simple little song. Again, this will not be heard on American Idol or by anyone in the music industry it is just for you and your happiness. When life has you down, having a little song to sing either out loud or even hum to yourself about all the things in life that make you happy can do wonders. It may seem silly at first, but even that should bring a smile to your face.

As an extra bonus try throwing in a few things you are truly grateful for. Feel free to share how this works for you in the comments below.

PULL YOUR WEEDS 

This is me. Believe it or not I’m standing next to a weed. Part of my duties that day at work were to pull all of the weeds out that were growing on the side of the post office. 

This particular weed was about as tall as I am. Its stem was thicker than thumb. It took me lots of sweat and effort. I had to wear 2 pairs of gloves so the thorns would not go into my hand. 

If I would have picked this weed when it was small the effort would have been a lot less. The whole plant could have been picked out of the ground with two fingers. 

What is the point of all this? The same holds true for any of your weeds in life. When you attack any challenge at the onset it is a lot easier to do. Once bad habits get formed they are harder to break. 

Take a look at your garden of life. Do you have some tall weeds to pull? If so, roll up your sleeves and handle them. Then make sure to handle those smaller weeds or challenges. Get them out while they are small and easy to handle. 

TRUE FREEDOM 

Today is a day we focus on freedom and for good reason. Respecting the men and women who gave their lives in the line of duty deserves, in my opinion, more than just a day. There are quite a few great things to read in that regard. I not only encourage you to do so, but take time to thank and respect all of the veterans today.

This blog, however, is about a more personal freedom. One that is enjoyed by every human on the planet whether they live in a free country or not. That is the freedom of our thoughts. What we choose to focus on, what questions we ask and what we choose to believe. Those are all up to us. Sure, depending on where we live we might not be able to express these thoughts, but know that we do not have to leave them up to outside circumstances.

What happens to us is not always our choice. How we view life, and what we do with it is entirely our choice. Let us not waste this freedom. Let us use the freedom of our minds to create a better world for ourselves and all of those we share our lives with.