Further proof that self-improvement tips can come from places you do not expect, I give you the example above. A picture with a lot of great ideas. In these days and times it would seem hate and negativity are gaining a big foothold. These are simple steps in which we can turn the tide. I saw this picture on the Facebook page from an amazing DJ I enjoy from Trinidad and Tobago, DJ Ana. Her great Soca mixes are definitely worth checking out.
Let us look at a few of these and how we can put them to use. I like the idea of “Being kind in the comments.” It would seem that many people do not feel the need to engage unless it falls into the critical category. Sometimes, it is just to disagree with someone’s expressed opinion. Both of those are certainly valid comments, but how you say something can be even more important than what you are saying. I value people who offer me opinions that are different than mine or who have ways in which my writing or content can be improved. If, however, they say so in a harsh and confrontational manner I am less likely to be receptive. Being kind and encouraging in any and all situations can certainly help shred hate.
Spread positive content is another great one. A lot of us think that positivity and social media are opposites. That is a sad commentary in regards to most people’s social circle. When we are on social media, we choose who, and what we will follow. We also choose what we will share and bring to the lives of others. Do you really want to share that click bait negative headline just so people will check out your page? Wouldn’t it be better to introduce your friends and family to something that can help them reduce their stress, increase their joy and become the best version of themselves? Kind of like the post you are reading presently? We here at Secret2anamazinglife.com love it when our content is shared. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the word and help us reach the hearts and minds of those who really need us. Next time you are tempted to share that article about the celebrity failing their sobriety, do yourself and those you share with a favor and share something that will bring something positive to their lives instead. A picture of a monkey or baby bear wouldn’t hurt either.
Follow the good is our last category we are going to look at. This one should again be very simple, but might have been overlooked up until now. If you find something good, someone inspiring, or something useful – follow it. Whether that is a certain podcast you might sign up for, a YouTube channel to subscribe to, a Facebook page to like or group to join. Even this blog you are currently reading. If there is something that will add joy and positivity to your life, make sure to get it in your schedule and in your life right away. Be alerted when new content is posted. That way there is always a little bit of positivity showing up in your life when you need it. How do you know when you might need it? You don’t. That is exactly why it is so important to have it in front of you as often as you can. Find the good and follow it.
If we want to shred hate, I suggest using one of the many suggestions in the first picture. Bringing in as much positivity into our lives as we can is one way. Sharing as much positivity with others is certainly another. I would love to hear your suggestions for shredding hate. Please leave them in the comments below. Your idea could be explored in our next post!
How many of us find ourselves falling into the trap of the first column in the photo above? After over 20 years of both studying and teaching self-improvement, I am confident in saying…I do. Yes, even those of us who should ‘know better’ can still fall victim into letting our thoughts get the best of us. In my book, A Happy Life for Busy People, I equate this to a snowball rolling downhill, it gets bigger and bigger with each passing second. A most recent example for me is when it was near freezing as I left for work in the middle of the month of May. As I am not a fan of the cold at all my thoughts were on the fast track to nowhere good. Thinking about how much I didn’t like the cold, how much I wished I were on vacation or lived somewhere warmer. I began to think about how it didn’t seem fair I had to wake up and go to work when it was so unseasonably cold. If my thoughts were allowed to keep going like that, how do you think I would have shown up for work that day? With a positive attitude ready to face the day and any challenges that would go with it? Not hardly.
You may be thinking, “If this guy who has been in the field of self-improvement for over two decades still has his thoughts run away on him, what hope do I have?” The answer is plenty! Success in life is progress, not perfection. We are always going to slip up. If we continually beat ourselves up over that, we will most likely find ourselves living in the first column of the picture above. The secret to living an amazing life is not to never have any negative thoughts or tough days, but to be able to recognize them and take actions to correct and move on from them. The million dollar question is how do we do that?
Having some self-care ideas and actions at the ready can be the solution we all need. Personally, I love having my ‘happy playlist’ or list of songs I know put me in a good mood. I love having images that remind me of fun, warm tropical destinations. I keep them in my phone, at the calendar at work and on the occasional travel mug. Speaking of calendars, I have a inspirational day-by-day calendar that wakes me up with something positive to think of every morning. If you are low on ideas for self care ideas for your life, feel free to borrow some of mine, or even print out the list above. It can work even better when you combine a few. Using the list above, that can mean dancing to your favorite song while laughing out loud. You could make a journal entry celebrating your wins while relaxing in a hot bath. There are so many options. My only suggestion is to have a list or idea in place before the challenges come along. It can prove difficult, if not impossible, to be resourceful when you are in a bad emotional state.
Just remember when you find your thoughts running away on you that success is progress not perfection. Look at it as a great opportunity to practice some much needed self-care. A good time to pause and focus on what is really important and what really brings us joy. The more you practice this, the better you will become. The one thing that you can be sure of is that life will give you plenty of opportunities to practice.
Many of us can fall into the trap of thinking we are too small to make a difference. I confess to being guilty of this myself on occasion. There really is no such thing as a ‘small person’ in today’s world. Being so interconnected, even one person can have a huge impact on the world. You can do so without even leaving your home. Take it from an author in a small town in Wisconsin who has over 32,000 followers in over 100 countries. This blog has inspired more people than I ever thought possible. It is not only very humbling, but proves that no matter who you are, you can make a big difference.
As the quote from the Dalai Lama shows us, even the smallest of creatures can make the biggest of impacts. Sleeping with a mosquito can be quite a challenge. How can a creature so much smaller than us dictate whether we are able to sleep at night? You have seen one activist take on policies of corrupt corporations. Although, these are positive examples, the truth can go both ways. One match can start a fire that burns thousands of acres and costs billions of dollars worth of damage and many people their homes. One criminal can have an entire neighborhood living in fear. Yes, one person can make a very big difference. Something to keep in mind not only when we are feeling small, but when you are tempted to treat anyone as small or less than.
Another situation where small is powerful is when we are trying to reach our goals. The picture above is worth a thousand words. (which should save you a great deal of reading in this post) Sometimes we chase big change and radical steps, which may often leave us unable to move forward. What we should be focusing on is taking small, consistent steps towards our goals every day. In doing so, we will move great distances. You can cover many miles if you take one step at a time.
Lastly, here is a sign I saw when I actually found a Starbucks that was open. This is one of my favorite quotes. Not only was it demonstrated by the staff working that day, but it was a great reminder to all of their customers. We may find ourselves wondering, “Should I really tell that person their hair looks nice?” “Is it really important to let our coworkers know they did a good job?” The answer to any kind words or acts you are pondering doing is a definite YES!!! Picking up one piece of litter does not seem so powerful, but what if you picked up one piece ever three days? Imagine what one hundred pieces of garbage would look like on your front lawn? The seemingly meaningless compliments Mentioned above? Whether you are Taylor the waitress from the diner or Taylor Swift, we all have days when we are not feeling our best and appreciate a kind word from a friend, or even a stranger. Your coworker might be feeling unappreciated and just knowing that someone notices the hard work they are putting in can make all the difference in the world to them.
What do all of these small acts really add up to? It may not seem like much until we consider the ripple effect. Like tossing a pebble into a pond. The rings, or ripples, spread out until they reach the distant shore. Much like our words and actions do. You may think it only would affect one person, but you would be wrong. Let us take a look at the compliment example. When you lift up someone’s confidence who is feeling down, they are more likely to smile at others. They are also more likely to try new things, it strengthens their immune system. Even your coworker can really be affected. Do you a person would go home to their family differently if they were feeling valued verses unappreciated? So you not only affect your coworker by saying “Good job” but indirectly you affect their family too. You also may affect the barista at the coffee shop, the cashier at the grocery store and anyone else they come into contact with. In today’s world, there is no such thing as a small person or a small act. We are all connected and affect each other far more than we realize.
No matter who you are, or what you are doing in life, you will have negative detractors. These days these people are known as ‘haters’. Especially with the advent of the internet it would seem people are more than happy to offer their negative feedback on you and your life. How do you combat such people? I have found the simplest way is to live the best version of yourself. When you do so you make them look as if they are the foolish ones. When someone says something about you and you are doing the best you can, that says something more negative about them than it does about you.
Let me share a personal story that better explains what I am talking about. A year or so ago, there was a party Margie and I were invited to. When we arrived we were told there would be snacks and people playing games. Margie and I love board games so we figured this would be right up our alley. We could not have been further from the truth. In this particular game, you could write your own answers. As the created answers rolled off the pens of those in attendance, I found myself a mixture of shocked and appalled. From this group of seemingly well-mannered individuals, came answers filled with racism and extreme prejudice. Not at all what I had expected. In a very short time, the answered went from mindless, bigoted stupidity, to advocating violence and other horrific acts against people for their race, religion or orientation. I had had enough. I informed Margie I was leaving.
When I got home, I felt so coated in negative energy I had to jump in the shower. Why did this bother me so much? Simple, racism and bigotry are stupid. They are an arcane belief that shows both a lack of culture and a great deal of ignorance in the individual speaking it. In a world where most of us are a mix of nearly everything, it makes absolutely no sense. With the internet and other advanced forms of communication, it takes only the smallest amount of effort to see how similar we are and how small the world truly is. As we are pone to thinking a great deal in the shower I thought of the dangerous implications this gathering could cause. Even in a group of such close-minded individuals there are always a few that are even more morally bankrupt and impressionable than the rest. Where most of them may have found this a sick sort of humor, there are people who think these acts may actually be permissible and proceed to act on them. This is how we end up with the violent acts we recently seen against the Asian-Americans in Atlanta and the attacks on the LGBTQ community in Orlando several years ago. These individuals were undoubtedly exposed to the same sort of racist and violent discussions.
Knowing I had to do something, I used the one platform I had to express my concern and feelings by writing on the issue. There is no doubt that several people in attendance that evening wrote what I had written. Fast forward 12 months and that group was having another party. I was not invited this time. (I was certainly happy with that) At the party one young lady expressed her joy at my absence telling a mutual acquaintance, “It is sure good Neil is not here. He is really offended by this.” While it was her attempt at painting me as a person who was overly sensitive to racist remarks as if that were a bad thing, I received it as a compliment. By speaking up for what I had felt was right, I now, apparently, had a reputation for someone who did not stand for discrimination of any kind. This woman was saying, in essence, “Neil is offended by our humor demeaning and advocating hatred and violence towards others who are different than us.” I stand guilty as charged. I believe everyone deserves respect and compassion. When I see that is not the case I speak up about it. If people think of that as a negative character trait of mine, they are welcome to it.
In this case, by living by the principles I have in my life, I have not only shown the haters for who they truly are, but turned their attacks into compliments in my opinion. They may mock my sensitivity to their racist and bigoted humor, but I will thank them for it. Live the best version of yourself my friends. It is better to be hated for who you truly are than to live a life that does not live up the standards you have set for yourself.
Last post we talked about exposing yourself to as much intelligent content and great leaders as you can. This post comes from such a venture. Recently, I was watching to the Joe Rogan podcast where he was interviewing Kevin Hart. There was a great deal of surprising content on this show. I learned a good deal about both men, especially Kevin Hart.
At one point in the podcast, they were discussing the negativity so prevalent online. It is a reason why we do what we do on this website. It is safe to say this part of the conversation really resonated with me. The focus narrowed to people who feel the need to be contrary. You know the ones. You are having a discussion about a movie or band you like and out of nowhere they pop up and say, “I don’t like them, they suck.” When pressed for a reason, often they don’t even have one. This goes ten times when you post something online. You are sharing a nice romantic date you had with your spouse. A fancy dinner, a show and maybe some quality time together after. No sooner is it posted, the comments begin. “That restaurant is overrated.” “You saw what show? That was terrible and boring!” or even just an attack on your love itself. “Stop with all of the romance already!” or even comments like, “You make me sick with all of that love.”
The million dollar question is why do people feel so compelled to be negative? They could keep their opinions to themselves. They could simply just keep scrolling. Instead, they stop, take time and what to be a cloud to your sunshine. Apparently, they have so much free time that this is possible. Online there is no repercussion for a total lack of manners. You can hide behind a keyboard and say as many negative things as your heart desires. Sadly, I have seen this begin to show itself in person as well. You could be discussing your favorite recipe with a coworker and here comes the sunshine-challenged. “What? I would never eat that! I can’t stand onions.”
While discussing this on the podcast, Mr. Rogan made a joke, but it had a very good point. “Do you think Michael Jordan comments on YouTube videos?” he asked. The point is that Michael Jordan is busy running his businesses and basketball teams to bother with such trivial matters. He is busy improving his life to comment some contrary statement on a social media post. Taking time to leave a little encouragement or motivation on a friend’s post can really do wonders for them. What do you think is accomplished with doing the opposite? What is the point really?
Next time you feel the urge to inject a contrary or negative comment on someone’s post or in their conversation, ask yourself, “What am I going to accomplish by doing this?” “Is there a better way I could use my time?” You can rest assured Michael Jordan, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk or any other driven and accomplished individual is not wasting time on such activities. Let us build each other up, not tear each other down.