WHAT TO DO FIRST.

While engaged in conversation with my good friend Johnny from Mexico the other night we came upon what I consider a golden question. We were discussing my upcoming book Living the Dream. In this book there are a few stories of people who have overcome great challenges in live and have discovered and maintained a healthy and positive outlook. Both Johnny and I share quite a few of the same philosophies in life, so when he began to tell me how he turned his life around I was listening.

Before we get to what his story was, let me tell you that what he did was almost exactly the same thing I did to turn my life around. In some fashion, the same thing is what I would recommend anyone else take as a first step towards turning their life around as well. Even if you have a great life and are extremely happy you can use this method to increase the intensity and frequency of that joy. Does this sound like something you would like to have in your life? It should.

The great thing about this method is that you need no special tools, it is free to do and everyone is capable of using it. You can do this method anywhere. You can use it on the train or bus, in line at the grocery store, during your morning commute or even walking down the street. I touch on this method in my first book A Happy Life for Busy People in the chapter called ‘Thinking Backwards’.

Here is what Johnny did and what we can all do. While going through some personal struggles Johnny was employed as a Mail Carrier for the Postal Service. As he walked along his route he began to ask himself some very important questions. “Why do I feel this way?” “When did I begin feeling this way?” “When was the last time I remember feeling good?” This introspection led Johnny to take some action and get to the core of what was really troubling him. It did not happen right away, but it did get his subconscious mind to begin to work on the problem in a constructive manner.

If this method seems a bit oversimplified for you, let me explain there are some caveats. It is more than just spending time thinking about yourself and asking questions. I hear people daily asking themselves all kinds of questions that do not serve them. Questions like “Why does this always happen to me?” “How come things always go wrong for me?” Even when the brain does come up with answers to these questions, they will not be helpful to the individual.

What we need to do is ask ourselves specific kinds of questions. We need to ask ourselves solution oriented questions. What I mean by that is questions that will serve us. Ones that will either help identify a problem, or create a solution. Instead of asking yourself “Why does this always happen to me?” change it to “How can I stop this cycle from repeating in my life?” that gives your subconscious mind something constructive to work on. Asking yourself this question often enough will let your mind know it is important. The answer may pop in your head days later when you least expect it.

How can this help us if we are already feeling good? Asking yourself why it is you are feeling so joyous right now and what contributed to that will allow you to identify components that bring joy to your life. Once identified, you can add these more often thus, giving yourself more joy. Working backwards to consciously recognize what was happening when your state changed can help you identify things that cause you to both feel good and not so good. That will be worth its weight in gold.

HOW TO DO IT ALL

The title of this blog post may seem a bit vague, but it is true. To do anything in life all we have to do is be good to each other. In a world that is ever shrinking due to technology, everything we do will involve and go through people. In my life whenever I have shown kindness to others it has always been returned to me. It may very well not be from the person I have shown the kindness to, but it definitely returns to me. Sometimes the payoff is in the great feeling I get knowing I helped someone.

As the week draws to a close and many of us have the next 48 hours to do with as we please let us spend it finding ways in which we can be kind to one another. Even those of us, like myself, that spend the weekend working we can still discover new and wonderful ways to share love and happiness with each other.

Ironically, it seems that when our lives are the darkest we can become the least helpful of others. It may seem logical on the surface. Why worry about helping someone else when I am facing my own bucket of problems? Funny thing is, helping others is one sure way to feel better about your own problems. When my life was the darkest I spent the extra hours I was using to feel sorry for myself or worry about my own life to help at a local meal program. Doing so not only forever changed my life, but blessed it in ways I could only begin to tell you. It gave me the stark reminder that others had it far worse than me. It also showed me how my gift of helping others see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them can do so much good.

It has been moments of being good to others that has created this website, wrote my book, filmed videos on my YouTube channel and gave me this career. In everything I do, I strive to show kindness to others and without a doubt, that kindness has always returned to me. If you want your life to be filled with joy and blessings, the best way to achieve that is to fill other’s lives with joy and blessings.

BECOME A FISHERMAN

As you well know this is not a career website. We are not actually going to teach you how to be a fisherman in the literal sense, but in the metaphorical. I love the quote in the picture above. In the last post we talked about planting the seeds of inspiration in the souls of those we met. In other words, becoming farmers of inspiration. Today we are going to look at a different option. A lot of people think what I do is motivate and inspire people, but that is only partly true.

A few of my posts are pure inspiration, and sometimes that is what we need. Still as Zig Ziglar pointed out, “Motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That is why I suggest both daily.” Motivation is like the fish in the quote in the picture. It may feed our spirit for a period of time. Maybe that motivation will last a day, maybe even several days. Sooner or later though you are going to need another dose of motivation to get you through. Reading that it almost sounds like a drug. I guess it kind of is. A drug that does not have any negative side effects.

I do not just want to be a ‘motivational dealer’ so to speak. I want to teach others how to fish, not just give them a fish. This website, my books and my seminars provide the tools that individuals can use to help themselves. I will teach you how to foster an attitude of gratitude, but it is up to you to put in the work. Once you do you can feed your spirit for the rest of your life. I encourage you to balance life between inspiring others and teaching them how to live an inspired life.

BECOME A FARMER

On any given day life can find us short on feelings of motivation and inspiration. A good deal of my work involves helping people become the best versions of themselves. One of the biggests hurdles is remaining motivated and inspired to keep working on improving yourself. For that very reason, this blog focuses on helping to motivate and inspire, but today we are going to take it a step further. How can you take inspiration and motivation a step further? We will do so by finding something that will increase the length and intensity of being inspired. This seems like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to feel inspired more often and to a greater degree? I think we all would.

My family two generations ago were mostly farmers. This is Ironic as I struggle to keep my house plants alive. As you read this I have a spider plant that is nearing the end. One of the great things I admire about farmers is how much their work can affect so many. One farm can grow enough food to feed the entire community or more depending on the size of the farm. Taken on a smaller scale, even one apple tree can yeild many apples to be enjoyed by others. Both of those examples started with one person planting a seed in the ground. In this way I have learned that I could still carry on my family legacy of farming. By planting seeds.

This may all sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. The great secret I have discovered in my 20 plus years working in the self-improvement field is the greatest way to become inspired is to inspire others. When I first got started in the field of self-improvement I did so because my life was the one that needed improvement. I began by listening to tapes (It was 20+ years ago) of Tony Robbins. I liked what he said and so I began to try some of the things he suggested. Low and behold they worked! I began to read more self-improvement authors such as Wayne Dyer, Deepok Chopra and others. I wrote down what worked best for me from each person. Often, it was a combination of principles from several people. Sometimes I tweaked them based on my own personal experience.

It was suggested by a friend of mine to begin sharing these tips on a website. I never thought of myself as a teacher in the beginning. I was simply sharing what I read. To a great deal, this is still what I do today. As the years passed I began to see common threads that ran through all of the teachings I read. I tried to break everything down to these core principles. That began my writing which two years after starting my website lead to my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. This same formula followed as I began to watch motivational videos, then started my own YouTube channel. I attended several seminars and soon realized I should offer one of my own.

In each of the these cases I have learned that the best way to be inspired is to inspire others. To plant the seed of motivation as it was planted in me by people like Earl nightingale, Eric Thomas, Les Brown and more. To watch that seed blossom into something wonderful in someone you have reached is one of the most amazing things that can happen. When we are in each other’s company we are all planting seeds. They can be either seeds of gossip or seeds of joy. Whatever you plant, in others, or even in yourself will grow. Especially if you nuture it. Be a farmer of inspiration today.

SECRET LANGUAGE

There are things we do as children we could stand to do more as adults. Playing outside, using our imaginations to solve problems come to mind. I am going to share another one with you today. Once again I am going to use the two people in the picture above as an example. That would be Margie and myself. Before we get into the idea I want to share with you, allow me to give you the all important back story. When Margie and I met and after we started dating we initially saw each other at work. Work in those days saw Margie behind the DJ booth and myself behind the bar. It was at a place called The Hideout. It was a small corner bar but between the two of us we packed the place most nights. This was great for business and for our pocketbooks, but not so great for being able to love each other.

The dilemma we faced was the only time we really got to see each other was when we were both so busy it was hard to even say ‘hello’ to each other. Both being creative souls, we came up with a unique solution – a secret language. Something you may have used as a child when playing games or forming secret clubs. Margie and I came up with hand gestures that we could use with each other across the bar to say simple things like “I love you” or “I’m missing you”. We continue to develop our secret vocabulary to this day. Thankfully, we no longer work separately. We DJ sitting right next to each other. Although still working in the bar industry which is a challenge to even the best relationships, we have moments where we cannot hear each other or may have to be away from each other. There are also moments when we are out with friends, or at social events where we may be across the room wanting to let the other know we are thinking about them.

Developing this unique form of communicating allows us to keep loving when it may otherwise be a struggle. It is also a fun way to be creative in our relationship. Having something that is uniquely between us also creates a special bond. Create signs that can communicate with your loved one. It is fun, creative and can really come in handy at certain times.

TRADITIONS

The Holiday season is almost upon us. At local stores decorations are starting to go up, I even heard a Christmas song on the radio the other day. With the holidays coming up we can find our minds turning toward traditions. There are many different kinds of traditions. There are traditions based on our different faiths. This can encompass many different things from fasting, praying, style of dress and many more. These traditions are very important for cultural reasons. The connect us as a faith-based community and refresh our spiritual nature. There are also different family traditions. These can include shopping for holiday gifts together, creating a holiday meal together or just gathering at a certain family members house for great times. The traditions here can be as unique as the family itself.

The tradition I would like to discuss today is more individual. It can be between spouses, brother and sister, friends or even an individual tradition. The picture I used for this blog post is one of Margie and me at one of our favorite breakfast places. We have been going there since shortly after we met. Sadly, this day we missed another tradition of ours which was an event called ‘Cider Sunday’ in which a local nature preserve celebrates all things apple. We also have other traditions that we have began. Most of them both add love to our life, as well as keeping that love fresh and fun. Do you have something like this with the love of your life? Maybe a special place you go on a birthday? Maybe an event you look forward to attending every year? Do you celebrate the first day of spring by having a picnic in the park for example?

If you do not have a romantic tradition, or would like to include more, why not get together with your love today and discuss that? This also works with brother and sisters, friends, coworkers and anyone else you would like to include. My suggestion is this, create traditions that help that relationship grow. Maybe something that fosters a feeling of gratitude and appreciation in the relationship, or perhaps a way to grow and learn together? In the case of romantic partners, use Margie and me as an example. Create traditions that feed love and keep it fresh and growing.

Personal traditions may be something that is not as familiar with a lot of you, but I think they can have a great impact on our lives. Perhaps start a tradition of keeping a gratitude journal every night or at the very least once a week. A daily or weekly meditation practice could serve you as well. They can be traditions that add joy to your life. I do things to celebrate the first day of spring and summer each year. I also attend a bicycle expo every year as it helps me look forward to spring and being able to get out and ride.

Feel free to share any traditions you have with us in the comments below. Whether they are Faith, family, romantic or personal. This way we can all inspire each other with great ideas!

 

THERMOSTAT OR THERMOMETER?

A thermstat verses a thermometer, which one are you? Obviously I am not speaking literally. Both of those devices are inanimate objects and could not be reading this article. In a more figurative sense, each one of us is either a thermostat or a thermometer. Usually we are a little bit of both. In order to better understand what I mean let us look at each device and the service they perform.

We will start with a thermometer. What is the function of a thermometer? It matters little difference if it is used for meat or medicine. The main purpose of a thermometer is to measure the temperature of its surroundings and read accordingly. It is what we would call a reactionary device. If the temperature is hot the thermometer will read accordingly. If the temperature is cold it will show that. The thermometer has little effect, if any, on what is is measuring. We all know people like this, don’t we? If they find themselves in a room full of people who are productive and happy, they will be productive and happy. If they are in a room full of people who would rather stand around and gossip than work, that is what they will tend to do. These people, much like a thermometer, have little or any impact on their surroundings. If you are looking for a leader you would not want a thermometer. If you are looking to be productive you would not wat to rely on a thermometer.

This is not to say there are not times when adapting your behavior to the situation is appropriate. You certainly would not want to wear a tuxedo to the corner tavern any more than you would want to show up at the opera in ripped jeans and a flannel shirt. There is a big difference between adjusting to the current social situation and changing the very essence of who you are. Let us look at our above example of being in a room filled with individuals more content to discuss the actions of others than to take any action themselves. In this case it would not be a good idea to adopt the current culture. What should we do if we find ourselves in just such a situation? That will bring us to our next point.

A thermostat. That funny shaped device on the wall that regulates our inner enviroment. How does a thermostat work? Simply put, if we set a desired temperature it will utilze the heating and cooling systems to acheive that temperature. Should the room drop to far below the set temperature the thermostat will engage the heating systems to warm the room to the desired condition. Should the temperature rise too far above the set number it will utilize the air-conditioning to bring it back down. The thermostat not only has a great impact on its enviroment, it actually sets the enviroment.

We all know people like this too, don’t we? There are people who can light up a room as soon as they walk in. There are also people who can bring everyone down with a simple conversation. In other words these people set their enviroments. I know a person who never seems to have a bad day. I asked him his secret and he told me quite simply, “I just decide to have a good day.” Much like the thermostat, he adjusts as the day goes along. If things start to go bad he kicks in his ‘heating system’ to bring the level of joy up. If he finds himself getting upset over traffic, the acts of a rude cowoker or anything else he turns on his ‘air-conditioning’ to relax and cool himself down. Thermostat people are action people. If they see a situation that does not suite them, they take actions to change the situation.

Ask yourself today if you are a thermostat controling your enviroment, or are you a thermometer just reacting to whatever the world is handing you. If the sun is out and traffic is great you are happy. If it is raining and the car won’t start you are unhappy. Why put control of your emotional well-being in the hands of other people and things. Be like my friend and decide to have a good day. If challenges do come up as they always will, ask yourself two very important questions, “What else can this mean?” and “How can I use this?” These two questions will allow you to be in control of your enviroment.

THE END OF THE DAY

With all of the outside stress that is heaped on us throughout the day courtesy of the media, coworkers, other drivers and a million other sources, we need to control our own. What I mean is at the end of the day, and at various points throughout the day, we can often find ourselves filling our own head with negative talk. We can end up beating ourselves up over events and decisions that happened throughout the day.

It is natural to have thoughts of “I wish I would have not hit the snooze button again.” or “I should not have gotten so upset with Sally at the office this morning.” None of us are perfect. That simple fact should give you a feeling of solace at the end of a hard day. If you were doing the best you could at the time, realize that too. If you didn’t act as you should have, you have the right to feel a little disappointed in yourself. What we need to do then is learn from that and commit to making better decisions in the future. If you know better and commit to doing better than getting upset with yourself is like convicting an innocent person. You have grown and are not the same person who did the action even earlier that day.

Some things seem not to turn out no matter how hard we try. That is because there are always lots of other variables. Weather, cars, other people and even rabid squirrels that may jump in front of our cars. You never know what you will face when you step outside your door to face the day.

Give yourself a break this week. If you approach life with the purest of hearts and the best of intentions you have done the best you could. If you did not approach life that way you have learned, which is the best you can do in that situation. They say an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind, let that be true for us as well. Let us conduct ourselves in the best way we can and fall asleep knowing we did the best we could and that was enough.