Today’s reminder is that we must start each day with a positive attitude.
With the world as it currently is, this can be a great challenge. I start my day with a hot cup of coffee and my daily inspirational calendar. I would love to hear what simple rituals you use to start your day out right.
When I look back at my formative years, I am not sure there is too much that I am extremely proud of. As the years went by a lot of things seemed to change as happens with most people. Some seemed to improve, such as my ability to use humor in a constructive and healing way. Some things seemed to go in the opposite direction. When I was in third grade the teacher kept my stories when the year was over because she liked them so much (This is true. My mother will vouch for me) By my senior year in high school my English teacher informed me she prayed to God I would never have a career in writing. Some things didn’t change. Once, on a Facebook post people were asked what they remembered about me. A lot of them said my hair, but some said that I always seemed positive and nice. (who would have guessed I could’ve turned that into a career) In my yearbooks people made mention that I was always questioning everything and that I asked too many questions. I guess that didn’t change either.
One thing I am very proud of is that I never heard I was a bully to anyone. In my memory, I never thought of myself above anyone. There was enjoyment to be had in the company of almost everyone I am came in contact with. The same holds true of me as an adult. I do my best to find the good in every person I meet. There are a few who make me work harder than others. If I can’t find something to like in someone I find that to be my failure, not theirs.
Growing up all kids were not like me. I am grateful for that or it would have been pretty boring. Unfortunately, some kids were bullies. Especially when I was very young, there were kids I would dread even seeing and do my best to avoid. As I grew older I realized the best way to avoid having to deal with bullies is confront them. Not in a physical way, but by realizing bullies are generally people who have more problems than those they attack. It is by accenting the flaws of others they hope to hide flaws of their own. In many ways their insults and hurtful behavior are nothing more than a cry for help. This is hard to imagine, especially as a young child whose last name resembles that of a Disney character. When I would confront them it would usually be with a question as to why they say such unpleasant things. I would often follow that up with a compliment, which is what most bullies crave most of all. I would say something like, “I really admire your _____ and can’t understand why you feel the need to be so mean.” Even if that didn’t stop the action at that moment it usually provided food for thought at the next encounter.
As I started to mention earlier, I did not have much trouble with bullies. In part, I guess that was because I genuinely cared for everyone, even most of the bullies. When I ask you how things are going, I stop and listen to the answer. It was hard to pick on someone who cared about your well-being. I also understood that usually their cruel actions were nothing more than a thinly veiled mask for their own insecuries. I would usually find something good about them and pay them a compliment. Many times instead of picking on me they would open up and share some of their issues with me. I enjoyed helping even if it was just really listening to what they had to say. I truly hoped by relieving some of their pains, it may reduce the pain they inflicted on others.
Well, that is all done and over with now that I am older right? Wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. I recall when I first started working for the United States Postal Service. In the office I worked there was an undertone of anger and hostility. Some of the rudest most insulting people were sad and lonely. In the world of being a DJ, I see it every night. Add alcohol to the mix and people’s insecurities are heightened that much further. The more insecure they feel? You guessed it, the more they seem to take it out on others. Some do not even realize they are doing it.
The sad part is they never healed from childhood. What they have failed to realize is that the pain they are inflicting cannot help them at all. Sure it may feel good in the short term. It may even hide some of their flaws they are so afraid of revealing. What it will not do is help them heal. Sadly, the effect it has on those they act out against can also be negatively life-transforming. It also trickles down. When they hurt others, those people either withdraw or then go on to hurt others. If you extrapolate this over time, the trend and amount of bullies will only increase.
Why are some children and some adults so mean and cruel? I believe the answer can be found in two words – fear and ignorance. It can be scary to face our own insecurities, much less share them with someone who may be able to help us. That takes a great amount of courage. What takes less and almost no courage is to find someone we perceive as weaker or in a lower social standing and put them down to make ourselves feel better. At the end of the day when we are in our beds, those actions will only intensify our feelings of guilt and inadequacy. The other side of the coin is ignorance. Even if we develop the courage to express ourselves, to show others our faults and be very strong as to ask for help with them, how do we do that? Those answers are best left to professionals and can be as complex as the people asking them and the problems. What we can do to help stem and stop the spread bullying is to be kind to everyone we meet and make an effort to listen to and provide a safe space for people to share their feelings and problems. I am going to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers to end this on an uplifting note.
I was watching an interview with Sammy Hagar, I’ll share the link at the end of this blog, and these two questions came to mind when it was over. Think what you will of his music. ( I am personally a fan) or which version of Van Halen you like better (I am a fan of both) but after listening to this interview you can’t help but love the guy. Small bits of information I picked up are how he donates to food banks in every town he plays in and often goes down in person to help. Why? As he says, “There is much more to charity than just writing a check.” Not to mention he set up an entire business (Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar and Grill) where the entire profits go to help children with terminal illnesses and their family. That, to me, is a stand up guy.
As I drove home I thought about the word ‘Hero’. Lately, a lot of attention has been given to that word. For once I am happy to say I think we have our head on straight as to how we are thinking about it. Perhaps because a lot of the folks we usually give those titles to, such as professional sports players and reality show actors are out of the picture and deemed ‘Not essential’ that we are able to focus on those who really make a difference. A lot of those in the medical profession, lower paid employees who show up daily just to make our lives easier, and anyone who puts themselves in danger so that our lives may be easier. Are these people your heroes? What makes them a hero? These are the questions that popped in my head as I drove home.
I thought about those whom I consider a hero. A name that comes to mind is Fred Rogers. Host of the television show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I admire him for his deep-rooted care and concern for youth. How he worked so hard to use the medium of television for something good. His ability to find the positive in even the darkest situation. One of my favorite things about both the man and the show was the importance he placed on what I refer to human fundamentals. I am pretty sure that is a term I just created, so allow me to expand on it. Human fundamentals are basic skills we all should learn to be a good…you guessed it, human! Many think of Fred Rogers as someone who just spoke to children, but I think his messages resonate just as much, if not more, with adults today. How many of us know someone who might benefit from the episode “What to do when you are mad”? There are many adults who are afraid to talk about their feelings and even if they could wouldn’t know the first thing about how to do it. He used to end each show by saying “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” How many people, ourselves included, could stand to hear that message?
Another name that comes to mind when I think of heroes is Mother Teresa. She was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. I always admire those who dedicate their lives to a spiritual pursuit even if I do not necessarily agree 100% with the dogma that comes with such things. What makes Mother Teresa special in my eyes is her social work that was done with a spiritual motivation. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity. It was a group of nuns that were active in over 133 countries as of 2012. They did far more than just preach and share their religious beliefs. They managed homes for those unfortunate souls dying of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis and many others. They also ran schools, medical clinics, soup kitchens and a host of other useful services. What really impresses me about her is that she encouraged and let everyone know we are all capable of doing great things. We do them by doing even the small things with great love.
These people did not do any of what they did for fame and fortune. Although they did realize that the fame allowed them to do even more good. I am just a humble author and blog writer, but I do must best to use my gift with words to help as many people as I can and to make the world a better place the best I can. Those mentioned above, along with a host of others, inspire to do so. To me, what makes a hero is genuine integrity. Fred Rogers was the same person off camera as he was on camera. His concern for youth and for the world in general was genuine. Mother Teresa dedicated her life to helping the souls that many looked down upon. Sammy Hagar used his fame and fortune to help those less fortunate. I am sure all of these people have flaws, as we all do, but to me they are heroes for their integrity. Their desire to do the right thing. More importantly, wanting to it not for fame or fortune, but simply because it is the right thing to do. To me that is a hero and all of you out there doing what is right, simply because it is right, you are a hero in my book.
As an author one of the most difficult parts of the world today is that coffeeshops are closed. I usually write most of these blogs and my books at Starbucks or some other local coffee shop. Lately, I have been putting my K-cup brewer through the paces while doing the same to Margie as well. It can be easier to get distracted at home, especially with such a silly and beautiful lady in the next room or even sitting next to me. So how do I keep my focus and motivation to write when the world is so crazy? There are a few answers I am going to share with you so that you may be able to use them to keep motivated on whatever projects you may be working on in your own life.‘
The first thing to establish is your ‘why’. Why is it that you do what you are passionate about? For me it is helping others see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. When life seems to be going good, I want to share that with others. When life seems to be crazy and difficult like it is now, that makes me feel like what I do is even that more important and I am driven that much more. Find your ‘why’. It is one of the most important discoveries you will make in your life. I promise you.
Another area to explore is what benefits you gain by doing what it is that you do. In the case of writing, I find an area of creative release. Not to mention I get to enjoy a tasty hot beverage in my wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh coffee mug. Remember the beautiful lady we discussed earlier? You can see her creative creation in the upper right corner of the picture. As I sat and wrote, she sat and sketched. It is important that in a relationship, even though your release might be different, to allow room for each other to explore. It is fun if you can occasionally do this together, but remember to respect the fact that everyone needs their time. Another great benefit I achieve by writing is I am able to connect with people around the globe. This excites me more than I can convey. I love meeting people from different locations and cultures and learning what they have to teach me. The fact that I can do this all while inspiring and motivating them is amazing! That may be the greatest benefit of all – happiness. Whether it is my joy at connecting with them, or their joy that I can play a part in, the fact that together we create and share joy makes the world a better place.
I hope these two items will help you to stay focused and motivated despite what may be happening around you. I would love to hear more of what you do to stay focused and motivated in the comments below. By sharing our great ideas with each other we can all be more productive and happy together!
In this day and age there is a lot we cannot control. It can leave some people feeling scared or uncertain. Then again, others seem completely unfazed. Do these people shelter themselves from what is going on in the world today? Are they more ignorant to the news and the other scary and negative information the rest of us are being fed? The answer is ‘no’.
We see it in our friends, family and coworkers as well. It seems people fall in one of two categories. Either they break a nail and the day is over. You know the type. Over-emotional. Stress out something terrible. It is worse when those people seem to take it out on others. It is even worse if you have a boss like that. So I have heard anyway. Then there is the other side of the coin. There are people that nothing seems to get them down. They get a flat on the way to work and they take it in stride. They lose a job and somehow find the positive in the situation. These people used to drive me crazy, that is until I became one.
There is one axiom that helped me turn it all around and I am going to share it with you in hopes it can do the same in your life. That pillar of knowledge is not only true, but is worth printing out and hanging in every corner of your house. Maybe putting one in the car for when some less enlightened soul cuts you off in traffic. Need one at work? I would imagine that would be the case. This nugget of knowledge may be hard to believe at first, but use it and you will find it is true. Almost everyone has heard this statement before but not many agree with it. They almost seem to fight it even though it is the key to adding both joy and opportunity to your life. Why would someone fight something that could be so powerful? When you understand and make this statement part of your life you not only feel more in control, but you are more in control. Who among us would not want more of that in their life? Here is the reason why more people do not subscribe to this belief. Along with joy, opportunity and control this statement requires you to take responsibility for your emotions, your inner peace, your sense of joy and the current state of your life.
Yes my fine friends, that is the secret. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Before I start hearing all the excuses as to why this isn’t true, let me share a personal story with you. I was employed through a temporary service that was supposed to let me know after 30 days if the company I was working for would like to hire me. If they did, it would mean a raise of $4/hour. Thirty days came and went and no news. I called every day and was told they had not heard anything. After 3 days of this I called the company I was working at. They told me that they had asked to hire me but the temp service had not gotten back to them. When I confronted the service about it I was told they did it so they could keep me because I was a good worker. I will spare you the details of what happened after that except to say that I kept my head and looked elsewhere. The job I would’ve gotten moved to Mexico 6 months after I would have been hired. I then got a job that put me in position to get the job I have now, making more than I would have.
You may be thinking that it worked for me, but it wouldn’t work for you. When you decide what things mean and how to use them in your life, you are greeted with a lot more happiness and inner peace. When you choose how to act, instead of letting your emotions choose how you react, you win. This is simple, but it is not easy. The more you practice this, the better you will become. Then when the next challenge comes, ask yourself “How am I going to choose to react to this?” When you ask yourself this question it will go a long way to helping you go from reacting…to acting. You make the decision, not your emotions. Again, this is not easy but it is so worth it. You will find yourself slowly developing a positive mindset and discovering ways to turn negatives into positives.
In today’s Covid-19 world things can feel like they are coming undone and it can happen quickly. Everywhere we turn there is news of death and the failing economy. This all happens while we are stuck in our homes left staring at the television for want of anything better to do. This can leave us feeling a multitude of ways. It can have us feeling drained, scared, angry, uncertain and ultimately depressed. Sometimes the news of, and thoughts of, this scary event in our worlds history can affect more people than the virus itself.
How do we turn this around. The picture above gives us our first solid piece of advice – turn off the news. I once heard Jack Canfield say something I found rather profound. He said, “You can be informed but you do not have to be inundated.” If you are thinking, “Neil, I have to know what is going on. I have to protect my job and my family.” I will be the last one to argue with you. What I am going to tell you is that first and foremost you have to protect your sanity. You can do little to secure your income if you find yourself depressed. It is also highly unlikely that your family will take their cues from the insane person in front of the television. If you really want to stay on top of the latest news, try looking at websites once a day. Just do not sit at the computer for a length of time.
Giving yourself a limit can be a big help. Saying “I am going to fill my head with all of this doom and gloom for an hour.” Then research to your hearts content for that time, but cut yourself off after. You may even want to set an alarm in case you are locked in to the latest study from Antarctica on the effect of heat on the coronavirus. If you can’t help yourself from wanting to watch oddly dressed scientists or politicians who think they are scientists on television, then choose your format and your time. Again, limiting yourself is key. Trust me when I tell you that you are not going to miss the next crucial development by not staying glued to the screen all night. If you do miss something, don’t worry someone will call, text or tell you on social media.
Ok, you have limited your exposure to the chicken little world of 2020. You pull yourself away from the television or computer. Sure, you’re not being exposed to any doom and gloom, but you are still feeling the effects of it. How do you shake that off? I recommend two crucial steps for this cure. They are what work for me. Please mention some of your own in the comments below as I am always open for and looking for suggestions to raise my vibration. My first suggestion is not only metaphorical, but also practical – take a shower. No, really. Taking a shower not only cleanses our skin and hair (a good practice to keep up during quarantine) but it also can be a symbolic cleansing. Try picturing all of the negative vibes and news you have been exposed to being washed down the drain. As you are scrubbing off the dirt, picture scrubbing off the negative feelings you have. This will serve you after all of this has passed as well. Have a tough day with the boss at the office? Take a shower. Spend hours during a holiday listening to your aunt describe, in detail, her medical maladies? Take a shower. Not only will you get a feeling of spiritually cleansing, you will smell a lot fresher and be more of a pleasure to be around.
This last suggestion is my favorite. I use it every single day. No exception. Not an exaggeration. Crank up your favorite music. If you listen to the late news you might want to use some headphones. Music has healing powers we do not often take advantage of. In my book A Happy Life for Busy People, I suggest creating a happy playlist. A list on YouTube or your MP3 player of songs that bring you joy or get you out of a funk. I have one on my cell phone (which I almost always seem to have with me) It started with 10 songs. It now stands at…let me look…192 songs. Each time I think of, or hear a new one I add it. Then when moments get me down, I put the headphones on and turn the volume up! Can you imagine how many times this has helped me? It may not fix a challenge you are facing, but it can change the state you are in when you deal with it. A personal suggestion is the new Huey Lewis and the News album, Weather, not a bad song on it. Some of the latest stuff Sammy Hagar is doing…great stuff. I have the entire Space Between album on my playlist. Obviously your list will speak to your individual interests.
There we have our first days suggestions for keeping a high vibration during low vibration times. Take a nice relaxing shower and scrub both dirt and negativity off your shoulders. Don’t forget to wash behind the ears in case any are hiding there. Crank up the music and dance like nobody is watching. (If you dance like me it helps if nobody actually is watching) and most importantly – STEP AWAY FROM THE SCREEN. Remember you can stay informed without being overwhelmed. PLEASE if you have any suggestions that bring joy to your heart share them with us in the comments. I might even write my next blog about your idea!
As the thought of quarantine ending is in the back of our minds, a lot of people are becoming nervous. Blondes have become brunettes, brunettes have become grey. Some people are even trying their best to impersonate a hair stylist. Not recommended. Myself, I am getting to the point of needing a nice little trim as well. Then there are all the snacks we have ate while staying home for movie night…or game night…or let’s look in the refrigerator to see if anything has changed night. Suddenly, our love handles have become far more romantic than is good for us. We haven’t been to the gym in weeks. The gym hasn’t been open for weeks so this time it is not our fault. Combine those two realities and we certainly have our work cut out for us. Not to mention it is going to be summer time and we will be laying by the pool in our bathing suits. That might all sound a little intimidating.
For the ladies there is the issue of beauty products. Have you been able to get the ones you normally do? The malls have been closed. Nail shops are closed. This forces several options. You can try new products from say the grocery store or pharmacy. Maybe you can do your own nails like you were in Junior High. You could just skip the whole mess all together and just pray nobody sees you out the first day the world opens up again. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business. There is high-end shampoo, skin-care products, lotions, potions, lipstick, chap stick, nail polish and a host of other items all thoughtfully designed to enhance the beauty we have or help us disguise the things we wish we didn’t have.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a secret weapon, if you will, it the battle to look our best? I have some great news for you. There is. Not only is there a secret weapon guaranteed to make you look more beautiful, but it will work for anyone regardless of your situation! Are you a blonde whose roots are beginning to show? This will work for you! Are you a size 12 who now finds that number who now finds that number a lot closer to 20? This will work for you! Are your nails professionally done to look perfect, but now you are resorting to the method above? This will work for you! This beauty secret will work for anyone, man, woman or child! It is also available right at home! Are you interested yet?
Before I share this amazing beauty secret with you, I must tell you a few more amazing things about it. Although it takes some effort (the amount of effort will vary from person to person) it will not cost you a dime! That’s right it is free and you already have it in your house! The more you use this secret the more beautiful you become! You can use this time when you are stuck at home to practice and put this secret to work. By the time you are ready to grace the public with your presence, you will have become irresistible! One word of caution before we lay this secret on you – Do not dismiss it based on its simplicity or any preconcieved notion you may have. If you reflect on some of the people you know personally, you will be able to see how this secret works. Another word of warning – This secret works in reverse just as well! That’s right ladies and gentleman. If you do not master this secret and use it in reverse (which a lot of our neighbors may be doing during this trying time) you become very unattractive. In fact, even after hitting the nail salon, the hair stylist and treating yourself to a day at the spa, you may still be given a sideways glance.
That is right, the secret we have been talking so much about it happiness. You might tend to think something such as, “Oh yeah, I’ll just be happy and nobody will notice any physical difference.” Scientists say that as much as 90% of our communication is nonverbal. Think of people you know who always have a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their lips. Don’t you feel drawn to them on a certain level? If someone makes your soul come alive, does it matter if they may not be the “type” you usually go for? Happy people are more fun to have around. They make us feel good and therefore we are more attracted to them.
If this may seem hard for you to completely wrap your head around, try thinking of it in reverse. If you see someone you find beyond beautiful, but when they open their mouth everything that comes out is rude and hurtful, do you not suddenly find them a LOT less attractive? Would you be attractive to someone who is always gossiping about and putting others down? Of course not. Being stuck in our homes and not enjoying good social interaction can dampen our spirits. How do we deal with this? How do we increase our genuine sense of joy when we are in a situation that seems to drain us of it? We will be looking at a few ideas in the upcoming posts. For today just remember if you want to come out of all of this a more beautiful person, while working on your abs, work on your smile and your laugh. It will pay off a lot more in the long run.