This is a good rule of thumb. 3 hobbies. One to keep you creative. I use this blog to do that and soon will add a podcast. One to keep you in shape. I walk and hike with my mother as well as go to the gym for that. One to make you money. For that, I write books. I would add one to fulfill your spirit. For that, I meditate daily and spend time reading books in nature.
What are your 3 hobbies? What do you do to stay creative? What do you to make money? How about stay in shape? Do you have a hobby that fulfills your soul? Is there another category you can think of?
I cannot count the times that I have heard someone say “You are so lucky because _____.” This could refer to many things in my life. I have heard how lucky I am that I have such a great relationship. I have heard how lucky I am that I was able to write three books. I even heard how lucky I was to make it through covid and my open-heart surgery. I will admit that there was a good amount of amazing people and grace involved in all of those situations. Do you know what else was involved in those situations? A hell of a lot of hard work.
When I had the good fortune and grace to meet Margie, I treated her with respect and worked on learning about her and improving myself. Do you know what the result was? I was lucky enough to have a great relationship with the most beautiful lady in the world. If I was a jerk, didn’t care about her wants and needs and didn’t work to improve myself, then I wouldn’t be so lucky. Even though she would still be an amazing and beautiful lady. It was, and is, both of our hard work that makes us lucky enough to have such an amazing relationship.
Lucky enough to have written three books? Unless you have written one yourself, in which case I cannot imagine you saying that, you would have no idea the hard work that goes into creating a book. To be honest, I didn’t either when I wrote my first one. I thought you just put some words on paper and someone turns them into a book. Oh no, there is editing. There is formatting. There is choosing fonts, covers for images, titles, pricing, promoting and a million other aspects that may have changed my mind into pursuing being an author had I known about them. Just one of my books took 5 years from start to finish. The last one caused me to give up most of the very short Wisconsin summer to create. That meant sitting inside looking at the warm weather and sunshine while I sat inside typing away. Anyone who knows me would understand what a torture that was.
Lucky enough to make it through open-heart surgery? Once again, I will admit some very talented, and when it came to me patient, people in the medical field. Still, there were 5 days a week spent at the gym. There is oatmeal for lunch every day, when there is doughnuts sitting in the break room. There is a 4-mile walk in the park with your mother after working for 9 hours. If I would have ate how I want (Pizza every day) and just worked out when I felt the urge (That would be next to never) the odds I would have been so lucky to recover from my surgery would have been next to nothing. If I did, it would have been longer and a lot more painful.
In any area of life, if you want more luck there is one way to assure that will happen. That way is to work your butt off. You will find yourself surrounded by more opportunities and luck. If you know someone who seems to turn anything they touch into gold, you might want to look at how hard they work behind the scenes. With that in mind, I am going to leave you with this quote from Thomas Edison. It also speaks about how to create more opportunities in your life.
There are people in everyone’s life that seem to serve no other purpose than to make life miserable. Call them haters, gossipers, enemies or any other term you like. They can make our life more difficult and prevent a lot of the good we deserve. One of the best ways to handle these people is to use them. Nothing frustrates one of these people more than to know their actions actually went to serve the greater good. How annoying would that be? Here you are, just doing your best to bring some negativity to the world and someone finds a way to turn it into something good. If that keeps happening, it might not even be worth spending your energy on anymore.
So, how do we use our enemies? Listen to what they say. Often they are the first people to let you know some area in which you are slipping. That is why I always recommend using these people if you are working to improve any area of your life. Say you want to start working out, or maybe quit smoking? Tell these people who would love nothing better than to find you not keeping your word. They will watch you closer than any life coach you could pay. They will do it for free and be happy to. They will actually be exciting to catch you laying around eating a doughnut or out back lighting up. Can’t you just see the joy on their face when they mention it to you (and anyone else in earshot I would imagine) Now don’t you just want to smack the smirk off that face? After all it is hard enough to make a change without them taking relish in your struggle.
Before you give into the warranted violence, there is a better option. I know, it can be hard to imagine something that would feel better than knocking the block off some soul who lives to point out the faults of others. Here is what I suggest, put a big smirk on your face and say something along the following lines, “Thank you. It is hard enough to do this, but with your help I know I will succeed. Thanks again.” First of all, they were not trying to help you and will find it terrible to know they did. Second, their grin will usually fade into a look of confusion or contempt. Both of these will feel better, at least in the long term, than physically wiping their grin off yourself. It also gives you more motivation on your own journey. In the back of your mind will be the thought, “I better not light up or that jerk Mark from accounting will tell everyone and take delight in my failure.” Then Mark goes from a pain in the butt we might be trying to work on, to an unpaid employee that will gladly work for free. We also know if we view Mark’s delight in our struggle as something that works for us, it will take a great deal of joy out of it for him.
Even the people who are the biggest pains in our lives can serve to be a great asset if we find a way to use their behavior to our advantage. This will also take a lot of stress out of our lives and help us to live an amazing life.
I had the most amazing day, the other day. The picture above gives the answer why. It is not only that I really like Winnie-the-Pooh and his attitude towards life. There was much more that went into this amazing day. Have you ever had a moment that changes your whole day? I had one of those. Normally, this would have to occur early for this to happen. That is one of the many things that made this day different. It happened late at night. Still, it transformed the entire day. The other different thing about this day was that it involved the three things mentioned in the title. Parks, pizza, and weed killer are normally not the recipe for success. Please allow me to explain.
My day began at 4:45am, as it does most weekdays. I woke up to my alarm and prepared to go to my day job at the post office. Once there, I went through my normal routine. Towards the end of the day, I noticed the weeds were getting out of hand and decided to take care of the matter. There were some containers of weed killer. This particular kind had a sprayer that allowed for a continuous spray. I walked around the entire post office taking care of all the weeds. This took roughly an hour. It was nice out and there were plenty of birds to keep me company. I listened to an audiobook as I sprayed.
Later in the day, my mom and I went on one of our nature walks. We choose a path that we both enjoy, but had somehow avoided the entire year. The weather was perfect. There was green growth everywhere. Plenty of birds of all different kinds. Everywhere we looked, nature seemed to be providing a scene that could be turned into a jigsaw puzzle. The picture above is just one example of what we saw as we walked along. We ended up doing a little more than 4 miles when neither one of us thought we would be able to walk very far when we started. My mother even mentioned just doing a mile. We were so caught up in enjoying the scenery we forgot to stop.
After our walk in the park, we stopped at the grocery store. Margie had found a good sale and my mom and I were going to pick up some things we needed. It ended up being more than just a few things. This often happens when you go to the grocery store with an appetite worked up by a 4 mile walk. By the time our shopping trip was done and I returned home, it was a little to late to prepare the delicious meal that Margie had been planning. I was a little disappointed until we settled on ordering….a pizza! Little not so secret about me – I could eat pizza every meal, every day of the week if given the chance.
As we both sat enjoying our delicious pizza and salad, it happened. I was thinking how delicious the pizza was. It was fresh, the perfect temperature and had all the ingredients I love on it. Then, I looked up and thought how delicious the lady next to me was. She looked so beautiful, has all the ingredients I enjoy and is always hot. I thought how lucky I was to be enjoying such a moment. Then, I thought about the walk through the park. I literally was beauty in every direction. My mother and I shared some great conversation and got some exercise in as well. Even the trip to the grocery store was fun. I saved a lot of money and got some good deals. I was grateful I could afford to do so. I pushed back even further and thought about the morning spent with the weed killer, the birds and the audiobook (another possible title for this blog) and thought what a wonderful day this had been.
The feeling that overcame me was one of extreme gratitude. Not everything worked out as I was hoping. I would have liked to be able to sleep in and not have to go to work. I would have liked to have seem some deer on the walk. I would have enjoyed the wonderful meal Margie and I had been planning. If I had thought about all of that, the day would have felt like a miserable failure. What changed everything, was focusing on what I was grateful for. I had a nice day at work that included time outside to myself. We had a great walk that included beautiful scenery and plenty of birds. I was able to afford the groceries I did get. We did end up eating pizza which I love and I have that amazing meal to look forward to tonight. Plus, I get to enjoy them both with the most beautiful woman.
The fact here is that the power of focus and the power of gratitude can transform any day. Had my focus been on what the day lacked, it would have turned a great day into one that felt like a failure. By focusing on gratitude, it transformed my day into one of the greatest I have had in a long time. It also allowed me to enjoy everything and everyone in the day more. I wrapped my arms around Margie and slept more peaceful than I can remember doing in quite some time. Now, thinking about that, I am already looking forward to today! It is amazing how powerful gratitude and focus can be. I am grateful for this reminder!
In every day, there is a reason to smile. Sometimes we have to search harder than on other days. I would love to know your reason for smiling today. If we all share we can discover many more reasons to smile. So, what is your reason for smiling today?
Today is Friday. Wrapping up the workweek, and preparing for the weekend. Instead of fretting about what we didn’t quite finish, or worse yet, worrying about what we have to accomplish next week, let us finish strong and celebrate what we did accomplish.
A personal example, I did not finish starting my podcast. I did, however, finish my third book and start setting up the podcast. I’m going to finish the week strong and celebrate what I did accomplish. That will allow me to enjoy the 2 days until the next week begins. If you feel you must worry, save that for Monday morning. Have a great weekend my friends! 😃
My third book is at the publisher! It has been roughly 6 months in the making. I tried something new and wrote everything by hand first. This created an extra step, but seemed to work for this story.
The writing cost me several summer afternoons that I would have rather spent relaxing in the sun. It included late nights, early mornings and many long days. In the end it was all worth it. I feel I created a book that will reach and help so many.
Now it is time to take a break and recharge before embarking on my next literary adventure. I’ll keep you posted when this book becomes available. Thank you to everyone who made this all possible!
No complex, thought-provoking post today. Just an encouragement to go out and do one awesome thing to make your week exciting. Go to work in a speedo. Plant a tree… in the break room. Greet the greeter at Walmart. Whatever makes you smile. What one awesome thing will you do today?
I consider myself a person with a good deal of empathy and who genuinely wants the best for others. When I see someone in a situation that is less than ideal, it breaks my heart. When I hear sirens racing to help someone I send a silent prayer for the well-being of parties on both sides of that siren. When I see someone stuck on the side of the road, I say with sincerity, “I hope you have a better day my friend.” As someone who has found themselves on the wrong side of a siren going to the hospital, and stuck on the side of the road, and once in a busy intersection, I can feel for these folks. This also holds true when I see people living a life that is less than they can. I see someone who is always drinking, I feel bad that they seem to be wasting a good deal of their life. When I see someone who exists in a constant state of anger, I feel bad that they will miss a lot of the joy life may hold.
I often feel for and pray for these people as well. Then it occurred to me. Just like sending a prayer for people on both sides of the siren, I need to pray for both people on the side of this situation. In my empathy, I am also doing a form of judging these people. I do not know what caused them to be in this situation. Maybe they have a right to be angry all the time? Maybe that person who is drinking is dealing with far more than they let on? It was then I began to realize I needed to wish that I would be blessed with a little more compassion. It was not my decision to decide what is the best life for anyone. Although it was done with a hope and desire for everyone to live their most amazing life, it was not my place. I realized, in some small way, I was taking the job of God. Then I began to pray for myself to have a great deal more understanding and compassion.
Have you found yourself harshly judging others? Even if we do it with a hope and desire that they may find a way to improve, we need to understand we do not, and will never, know their entire story. May we all wish the best for each other, but may we also do so with the greatest amount of compassion and understanding.
I eat a lot of crazy things. Most recently I tried a gummy bear brat. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, that is a sausage made with gummy bears on the inside as well as topped with gummy bears. This is served on a flavored bun with honey mustard. If we are being honest, it wasn’t that great. The point being, I love to try new and different things. One of those items happened to be anchovies. You know, the little fish they put on pizza. I am a fan of herring, tuna and other such fish. When a friend of mine offered me a piece of pizza (my favorite food) and told me it had anchovies on it, I did not bat an eye. My thought was more how interested I was to try something new. It really did not taste very bad. I actually kind of liked it. I remember thinking how exciting it was to find a new pizza topping I enjoyed.
Then it happened…I got violently sick. It took a while of thinking and one more experience with these little fish, to realize that they just do not agree with me. Oddly enough, I can have ceaser dressing which has anchovies in it. Not sure how that works. You may be wondering what this all has to do with living an amazing life. I know I would be if I was reading this. Here is a quote I heard the other day that reminded me of both this situation and how it relates to life. “Some things can taste good on the lips in the moment, but be bitter in the belly later on.” You see, I liked the taste of anchovies, but once they started swimming in my stomach, my stomach started swimming.
The same can hold true in life. Eating that doughnut may feel good in the moment, but the guilt you feel later will not. Not to mention the effects of too many doughnuts in the long term is not good. How about telling someone off? It certainly can feel good in the moment, but later on? You may end of feeling terrible about some of the things you said. There could be damage to the relationship that is beyond repair. Some things taste good on the lips in the moment, but are bitter in the belly later on. In a world of instant gratification, it is not that common to think long term. As we have seen in the 3 mentioned examples, that can really prevent us from living an amazing life. Can you think of anything that tastes good on your lips in the moment, but is bitter in your belly later on?