A HORSE THAT SWIMS!

Here are two things this author enjoys very much, swimming in tropical waters and learning new things. It is with this two things in mind I write this post. When you can combine things that you enjoy it gives you a whole new sense of enjoyment.

One of the things I look forward to seeing while I am either snorkeling or diving is the sea horse. The sea horse’s scientific name, hippocampus, comes from the Greek words meaning horse and sea monster. Anyone who has encountered these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat know that they are the furthest thing from sea monsters. To that end, I would like to include a few interesting facts about the sea horse.

They are technically fish, but have no scales. Instead they have skin stretched over boney plates. They swim upright and are not very good swimmers. The slowest swimming fish is the dwarf sea horse that swims at a speed of 5 feet an hour, or about the speed in which I move in the morning. They prefer to use they tails to hang out at spots of their choosing. The most amazing fact about sea horses for many is that the female deposits the eggs in the male who carries them around from 9 to 45 days until they emerge fully developed.

One of the things the sea horse does for me personally is shatter a lot of stereotypes. It is a fish, but has no scales. It swims, but does so upright. To, of course, the fact that the male carries the young.  Although the ladies out there reading this may feel it is unfair that finally a male has to carry the baby and it only has 45 days at the most instead of 9 months. Still, the sea horse can show us that we can never be too set in our opinions.

Reading this post again, it is worth note that is sounds better than most school papers I have ever written. If you want an example of how bad some were feel free to read the post we did two days ago on four letter words. This brings us to our next important point. Learning should not stop after school. When you find things that interest you as an adult it can be fun to learn more about them. With the internet, that research should take but a few minutes to accomplish. When you combine what you have learned with what you already know, say for example the life of a sea horse with self-improvement techniques, you can come up with a few new distinctions. As a added bonus, life-long learning keeps our minds sharp and helps us stave off age related mental illness.

I would invite you to share what you have recently learned and how you used that to come up with new distinctions in your own life. Feel free to share with us in the comments below.

EEYORE SYNDROME REDEFINED

This is an exciting post for me to write. Why? In doing so I am able to share with all of you how wrong I was in my way of thinking in a certain are. Why is that exciting for me? Because when you learn life takes on a whole new exciting feel. This is beginning to sound confusing so let us get right into the story I want to share with you.

Above we have the loveable character Eeyore  from the children’s book series Winnie the Pooh. I must confess here that I have been, and continue to be, a big fan of this loveable bear. He embodies to me a lot of the traits I strive to have in myself. A laid back, go with the flow attitude, the ability to get along with pretty much everyone, a good imagination, and a generally positive attitude that things will turn out for the best. It is perhaps this early childhood influence that helped shaped the person I am today. Certainly his appetite and general physical build has also found its way into my life. Difference being as a general rule I do wear pants most of the time.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading one of the House at Pooh Corner stories, let me explain who Eeyore is. He is a donkey with an attitude the opposite of Pooh. He tends to see the worst in a situation and assumes most things will turn out bad, which for him they often do. This could be an early example of the Law of Attraction, but I do not wish to speak for the author’s intent.

Eeyore, although a good friend, is one of those people (or in this case donkey) that will find the single cloud on a sunny day. Do you  know someone like that? Maybe a friend in your life? When I encountered people in life with a sunshine challenged disposition I referred to them as having the Eeyore syndrome. It was my way of giving a not so nice character trait a less offensive title. This went on for about 25 years or so of my life.

Enter my friend J.D. who is not only an amazing singer, but a great aspiring author and a man who spends a great deal of life using the ability the Creator gave him between his ears. We were discussing Eeyore one evening at one of the shows Margie and I do. When I told J.D. how I think of negative people as having the Eeyore syndrome, he pointed out a great fact I had missed. In the stories Pooh, Piglet and all the other characters who have a generally more positive outlook still accept Eeyore. More importantly, they do so without trying to change him. They do point out the positive side of life to this lovable donkey, but then instead of trying to get him to think like they do, they just lead by example remaining positive in the face of the most challenging situations.

I had to take a moment and reflect. Not only did I miss this point in the story itself, but I had missed it in life as well. Often, when I see somebody who has difficulty finding the light in life, I do my best to show them a better way of thinking. Perhaps a better approach in the future would be to just accept them as they are and lead by example. By seeing my mistake, I now have a new and perhaps better way of reaching more people. That is why it pays to surround yourself with great friends and fabulous childhood stories!

THE 4 LETTER WORD THAT NO LONGER OFFENDS ME

For those of you afraid to open this post at work, or to show the children have no fear. As a bartender and DJ I must confess to having uttered my fair share of four-letter words in my day. As an author and motivational speaker I try to find more intelligent and creative ways to express myself today. This post is not, however, about those kinds of four letter words. This post is about a four-letter word that used to frighten me far more growing up.

What is this scary and offensive word? GOAL. When I was growing up and I am sad to admit through a good portion of my early adulthood this word is something I not only shied away from, I ran in the opposite direction! Why? In school goals are things we were graded on. Your goal was to get an A on the test. If you scored a B- you did not meet the goal. Your goal might have been to complete your paper or project in three weeks. If you were a student like myself, the day before at three o’clock in the morning you were up driving your mother crazy as she drove you crazy with such inspiring phrases such as, “You had three weeks to complete this paper. Why didn’t you start earlier!” I actually recall trying to write a paper on ‘Bucky-balls’ or spherical fullerene molecules named after Buckminster Fuller. Working with my good friend Russ, and only after completing his paper and being wired on espresso in the wee hours of the morning I turned in a paper that opened with the question, “Bucky-balls chemistry’s next big thing or kinky sex toy?” This sounded great between Russ and I the night before. The chemistry teacher, however, did not enjoy our humor. I did not do well on that goal.

As you can see my history with the word ‘goal’ has not been the best. Introduce Earl Nightingale. Even a passing reader of this site has heard me mention his name countless times. Earl was a motivational speaker and author among countless other occupations. I encourage you to listen to his great work The Strangest Secret In it, Earl informs us the difference between successful and not successful people is that those who succeed have goals. Naturally, this made me want to assume the fetal position in the corner, but I listened on. He explained goals in a way that helped me not only not be afraid of them, but understand how they can serve us.

Here is what he said, and please understand I am paraphrasing. Imagine a ship about to start a voyage. There is a captain at the helm. He has a destination all mapped out and knows exactly where he is going. In the event he gets off course, he can make corrections and get back on course. The odds are 9999 times out of 10,000 he will get there. Now imagine a ship without a captain at the helm. It has no crew or destination. We just start the engines and let it go. If it makes it out of the harbor at all it will crash or end up on some deserted shore a derelict.

The ironic thing is most of us begin our day like the second ship. We just start our engines and away we go. Imagine if we began our day more like the second ship. With our end goal for the day, week or year mapped out in front of us. If things happened to get off course we can make adjustments and get back on course. With this analogy I could see the power and benefit of goals. I now look forward to coming up with goals and working to achieve them.

I encourage you to do the same. Write down a goal and look at it as you start your day. Notice how you are doing. If you find you have gotten off course, that is ok, just make the necessary corrections and you will be on your way again in no time. If you get completely lost, feel free to utter another four-letter word of your choosing, and start out again.

START BY WINNING

I did a video on my YouTube channel last year about people walking up on neutral. This is actually something most of us do. We wake up with no really opinion of the day. If the coffee turns out ok, our day gets a little brighter. If the morning drive into work is good, so much the better. Boss in a good mood? Then so are we.

This works out great if everything goes as in our example above. What if we discover we are out of coffee? What if there is construction and up late for work? This would certainly put the boss in a bad mood. Then what? Our day goes downhill.

When we wake up with a sense of pride and determination to have a good day things go a lot different. First of all, we feel like we have a lot more control. Second, our mood is not dependent on the circumstances, but can exist despite them.

How can we start our day this way? First, read or watch something inspiring. If you feel you midst watch the news, put that off for a little while. Read a few pages of an inspiring book, watch a motivational video on YouTube. (Personally I recommend the channel ‘Neil Panosian’) even put on some inspiring music.

Second, have your goal written down to view somewhere. Perhaps even write down a goal for the day. Know what you are going after.

Finally, start the day with a win. I like going to the gym, but do whatever works for you. Take the dog for a walk, make your bed. Anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Follow these rules and you will start, and more than likely, end your day as a success.

DON’T WAIT, CELEBRATE TODAY!!

In past posts we have discussed the importance of not waiting to be happy until. In today’s post, I would like to add a caveat to that, do not wait to celebrate yourself until.

We all have people we know who are chasing worthwhile goals, or really working hard on improving themselves. These are both very noble pursuits. Ironically, these people can be the hardest on themselves, refusing to give themselves any acknowledgement or reward until the have completed the goal or reached their desired improvement.

This can actually be contrary to helping you achieve what you are attempting to do. By denying yourself reward until the very end, or being hard on yourself if you slip up can leave you feeling like a failure.

Examples? Your trying to lose 30 pounds and you eat better for a week and then you slip and enjoy a ‘taco tuesday’. Sure giving yourself a little pain will serve well to get you back on track, but beating yourself up can leave you feeling like you will never succeed. On the contrary even a verbal acknowledgement of the great week of eating could help instill pride and keep you motivated. Sure, you are not down to your goal weight, but you took steps toward a healthy lifestyle, that’s good work!

What about success goals? Maybe you want to write a book to help people live a more positive and rewarding life. You write the book, but then run into problem after problem promoting it. It is important to remind ourselves of our why. Knowing if you help a few people you could start a ripple effect and maybe change more lives than you thought.

These examples are purely hypothetical, but show how delaying recognition of our own accomplishments, even if they fall short of our end goal, can make us feel like a failure and dampen our enthusiasm going forward.

Take time to notice what you have done. Look how much further you are than a year ago, or last week, or maybe even yesterday. When you do mess up? Sure, give yourself a little bit of pain, but then use that feeling to propel you to avoid that pain in the future. Let it strengthen your resolve.