It is time to start the week. I always do so on little or no sleep. We can’t start dragging our feet. We have to focus on why we are going to work, and what dreams we are chasing.
As you start the week off, what dreams are you chasing?
It is time to start the week. I always do so on little or no sleep. We can’t start dragging our feet. We have to focus on why we are going to work, and what dreams we are chasing.
As you start the week off, what dreams are you chasing?
A few posts ago, we examined two secrets to a great relationship. If you are looking at strengthening your relationship with that special someone, or really anyone in your life, I suggest you give it a look. After I published that post, there was a lot of reaction. It always makes me happy to have engagement with anything I write. One particular comment brought to attention another very important aspect of a great relationship. If you seriously implement this one relationship tool, it will improve your outlook on your partner and their outlook on you. There will not even be a need for any awkward conversations.
There was a particular comment that brought up a really good point. The young lady shared the secret from turning frustration in her relationship into appreciation. Sounds like it could be an impossible task, but it is easier than you think. In fact, it only takes learning one thing. One of the most frustrating things in a relationship is when you feel your partner does not show enough affection. When you feel you are saying or doing all the right things and they seem unaffected. The only frustration that ranks a close second is when your partner says you are doing the same thing. Quite often, it is not affection that is missing from these relationships, but communication. Even if there is a lot of talking going on, we can often be speaking different languages. Can you imagine trying to solve a problem in a relationship if you spoke Zulu and your partner spoke…let us say French? How easy to you think it would be to understand and appreciate each other’s point of view? How about making each other feel loved or feeling loved yourself?
You might be saying, “Neil, both my partner and I speak the same language, but there still feels like a lack of love.” You might speak the same language, but do you speak the same Love Language? There is a great book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I don’t get a commission on sales, but I would recommend getting your hands on a copy. You will learn a lot about yourself and your partner. You will learn the five ways in which people express love. Maybe you are someone who is more verbal (Neil) and you are good with putting your feelings into words. Perhaps you are someone who is more physical (Margie) and instead of some long-winded monologue comparing your growing love to a blossoming flower, you just want to come up and wrap your arms around the person you love. They are both expressing love, but in different ways. Add to that the other 3 languages and you can see how tricky this can get. Do you want to really blow your mind? People do not often express and receive love in the same language. They can express their love verbally, but like to feel it physically. Maybe it is the opposite? Maybe it involves acts of service? How about spending quality time with your partner? Maybe even receiving a gift? If your partner and you speak different love languages, it can often seem as different as Zulu and French.
Just like personality, where your partner can be more silly and you express your humor in a more stoic fashion. Once you realize and acknowledge your differences, you can help balance each other out and help grow and discover different parts of yourself you may have neglected. When Margie and I discovered our different love languages, it really helped us not only understand the communication coming from each other, but how best to communicate with each other. Doing the little exercises in the book The Five Love Languages did involve a little amount of work, but it was fun and exciting work. Discovering how both you and your partner speak and receive love can be one of the most rewarding experiences. It can also help you avoid many miscommunications in the future and help you remedy any disagreements a lot quicker. Imagine having the knowledge of “I know how to make my partner feel loved.” in your head? What a great tool to have!
Here are good friends of Margie and me, Chris and Nicci. Also, the couple that provided the inspiration for this post. Something that Nicci said in her comment is so true. It really made the difference in their relationship, it really made a difference between Margie and I when we implemented it, and I know it will help take your relationship to the next level. She mentioned when they really experienced joy and contentment in their relationship was when they stop looking for each other to express love in specific ways and turned their attention to finding the way that each other was already expressing love that they might be missing. It is important to both look for how your partner does express love and letting them know, lovingly I might add, how you really feel love. If your partner brings you flowers to show they love you and that works for you, great. If they change the oil in your car so you are safe and don’t have to worry about having it done, that is expressing love and caring too. I cannot express how much fun discovering each other’s love languages can be. It worked for Margie and I. It worked for Chris and Nicci. It will work for you as well. Instead of feeling frustrated your partner isn’t exactly as you would like them to be, look for the treasure they have that is already there. You might be missing a lot of love they are expressing.
Remember each day has a treasure buried inside of it. Our adventure should be to unearth it, and it should be a daily adventure!
Last post we discussed 2 actions we could take to help us live an amazing life. If you haven’t read that, I highly encourage you to do so. Today we are going to focus that even further. We are going to look at 2 things you can do to have an amazing relationship. People often ask Margie and I what the secret to our amazing relationship is. In a nutshell, we tell them lots of hard work. That may turn some people off. “I don’t want to be in a relationship that is hard work.” We hear them say. If you want any relationship to be the best it can be, even the relationship with ourselves, it takes work. That work can be some of the most enjoyable and enlightening work you will ever do in your life. The payoff? It is more valuable than gold. The question then becomes what kind of work should we be doing? Let us look at just 2 things you can do daily that will have a huge positive impact. There are endless ways and actions you can take to improve the quality of relationships, but let us start with just 2.
Before we jump into the first secret to an amazing relationship, let me ask you a question. If you worked really hard to get in the best shape of your life, and got there, then stopped working out, what would happen? Would you maintain that physique? Of course not. If you work really hard to create the relationship of your dreams, and you even get there, what would happen if you stopped working on it? Would it remain the relationship of your dreams? If you learned all there was to know about computers, and then stopped learning, where would your knowledge be 2 years from now? Computers are a rapidly changing and advancing field. You would be little better informed that someone who has never turned a computer on. Do you know what changes more rapidly than a computer? People! Specifically, in this case, your partner. You need to grow and develop in this field just to maintain the love that you had, not to mention, growing it to new heights.
The first secret to an amazing relationship may sound basic, but it is not. That first secret is to listen. Not just to formulate a response to what your partner is saying, but to learn. Ask yourself, “What is my partner sharing right now?” or “What is my partner really feeling right now?” Do what is called ‘active listening’. Do not just passively absorb words, but really listen to understand. In an age where everyone is looking to get noticed, how valuable of a gift is it to help someone feel significant and noticed? Why would you not want to do that for the most important person in your life? When we listen to our partners with a desire to increase our knowledge about them, there are so many gifts that come with that. We learn what makes them happy. We learn what does not make them happy. We learn what would make a good gift for them. We learn their hopes and dreams. If we put effort into our listening, we will end up making our life easier and our relationship better.
That leads us into our next secret for an amazing relationship. That is to learn something new about our partners everyday. You may think that you have been together so long, there is nothing left to learn. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many ways to learn about your partner. You can do so by listening with the intent to learn. Keeping the question in your head, “What can I learn about my partner from what they are telling me?” will help you listen intently. You can also learn by observing. When you are out at the grocery store together, notice what brand of ketchup they like. What kind of tortilla chips do they like? Are they the same kind you do? (this is a big one in our house and I can tell you the answer is no.) When you are out celebrating together, notice what dishes they like to order. What do they like to drink? All of these bits of information can serve you and your relationship later. Here is both the gift and the frustration. Once you learn all of these things, a lot of them will change. People learn and grow and their tastes change. That means you will never have your partner 100% figured out. This sounds frustrating, but it is a good thing. You always have an opportunity to learn.
There you have it. Two little things that will make a big difference in your relationship. Imagine learning one thing a day about your partner. In a year you will have learned 365 new things. Even if they are little things, that will make a huge difference in your ability to be a good partner and to create a loving relationship. Many people may think this sounds like too much work. They think they can’t be so disciplined everyday. It is a lot of work, but it will be fun and enjoyable work. Unwrapping your partner and relationship is much like solving a great mystery. When you don’t feel like putting in the work, think of our fitness and computer analogy. Even if you have an amazing relationship at the moment, if you don’t continue to put in effort, it will not stay that way for long. As for being disciplined to work on your relationship everyday? I will just leave you with the quote below.
People ask me what things I do daily that makes a difference in my life. There are a few, but 2 of them I would like to share with you. I cannot urge you enough to add these to your own life. When you hear what they are, you might wonder if I, and more importantly you, have to do them every day. I would respond with a question of my own – Do you really want an amazing life? Do you want less stress and more joy and fulfillment? Do you want to love deeper and laugh more often? Then yes, than you should absolutely do these 2 things every day. You can even do them several times a day, if you are very driven and ambitious. That is not necessary, but will speed up any improvement you will experience.
Just like the picture at the start of this post says, these are small improvements. They are of the 1% variety. You may not think they will make much of an impact or difference. Again, like the picture above, 1% everyday over the course of a year really adds up. It is not, however, 365%. If you know about compounding interest, you are improving 1% on someone who is 1% better than yesterday, so it compounds. Over the course of a year, you will end up 37 times better! All from making small, almost imperceptible shifts once a day. That is a lot of return for not a lot of effort.
Secret number one to creating an amazing life is listen to or read a little something that will help you improve yourself everyday. This doesn’t have to be an entire book. It can be something as simple as a YouTube video. Keeping yourself inspired and motivated is not a one-time event. Zig Ziglar said it best, “People say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” You can listen in your car. You can wake up 15 minutes before the rest of the house to read a few pages of something inspirational. You can listen to an audiobook on your morning commute. There is always time to sneak something in. I cannot convey in words strong enough what a difference this has made in my life. Do not take my word for it. Prove it to yourself. For just one month, listen or read something everyday that inspires or motivates you. I challenge you to prove this to yourself.
The second secret? You guessed it. Learn something, at least one thing, everyday. This can happen in so many different ways. The world and its experiences are teaching us something all of the time. What makes this even more powerful, is if you do some focused learning. Pick a subject that is very important to you and add to your base of knowledge about it. Today, I decided that I should listen to some videos that offered ways in which you could improve your intimate relationships. Now, I think I am a fairly good man to my beautiful Margie. I actually work very hard to be so. That does not change the fact that I do not know everything. If I could improve my wonderful loving relationship by 1% a day for 365 days, how loving would we be? You can spread this knowledge growing around to several subjects. One day it could be videos about improving your relationship. The next day, an audiobook on the way to work about how to increase your self-discipline. The following day? How about a book of parenting tips? The word is full of knowledge to be gained. Even a little bit everyday will make a huge impact.
People ask me if they really have to do this everyday. My answer? No, you have the gift of opportunity to do this everyday. You don’t even need to spend any money. There are resources online, not mention a library in almost every city with thousands of books. Can you imagine having the knowledge of just 1% of those books? Can you picture the positive impact that would have on your life? These are 2 things that I do, without fail, every day. The difference in my life cannot be understated. Do it today!
I go to the gym roughly 3 to 5 days a week. I do so more for mental than physical reasons. I find working out to be one of the best stress relief tools. Breaking a sweat releases endorphins which make us feel good. I do my best to hit every area of the body, but I discovered I am missing some of the most important muscles.
This is CJ Fletcher, one of the fitness people I enjoy listening to. He, like myself, had open-heart surgery. He, like myself, died on the table. He did it 3 times, however! When he came back he was more determined than ever. He blends fitness with motivational and educational messages here.
This is Tony Robbins, the man who first got me interested in self-improvement over 20 years ago. CJ and Tony both mentioned working some muscles we don’t think of. When you work your arms, the more you do it, the stronger it becomes. When that happens, it can handle a bigger load. The same is true for your legs, your abs, your back and any other of the physical muscles. Most of us know this.
What we might not think of is the same holds true of our spiritual, mental and emotional muscles as well. The more we practice being patient, the better we become. The more patient we become, the bigger load our patience can handle. In our modern world, that’s a good thing. Before you run out to wait at the DMV, be aware there will be plenty of opportunities to workout this muscle presented to you. At the grocery store and the little old lady ahead of you has 50 coupons? You are working out. Waiting for your coffee and the person ahead of you has been arguing that they did not get 5.78 ice cubes? Yep, you’re working out.
It is not just patience that you can workout. Controlling your temper? That’s a good workout. Learning how to love your partner better? That’s a workout! There are so many muscles to be worked out that we might not think of. When life seems to be giving us a hard time, step back, take a breath and say, “thanks for the workout! I’ll be stronger next time!”
I am an advocate of making lists. In my first two books, I discuss creating a happy Playlist of songs that put you in a good mood. How helpful to be able to just push play and positively affect your emotional state. You can expand this list to include other media that put you in a good mood such as movies, books, restaurants and even people. Having this list done ahead of time allows you to save valuable time and effort when you want to turn things around.
The same can be said of today’s list. What fires 🔥 you up? What gets you motivated? When energy is lacking to you reach for another cup of coffee or energy drink? Do you turn up some fun music? Go for a walk in nature? What do you do to get your juices flowing? I suggest creating a list now so when your energy dips, there is no thinking you just grab your list and start implementing items to move your energy needle.
Lists are great because you can always add to and change them. They are always ready so there is no thinking involved. Have you ever tried to think of where you want to go eat right before dinner? Suddenly, all of those great places you wanted to try have left your head. If you would have had a list, you would have been set! What would be on your list of things that fire you up and get you motivated?
Today is Monday! This doesn’t have to be a day to struggle. Look at the breakdown of the word Monday in the picture above. Just a little something to think about as we start the week. Tomorrow, we will look at more ways to keep our energy at a peak as the week goes on. Until then, feel free to share with us what you do to get fired up on a Monday.
Scarcity is something I normally would not recommend focusing on. After all, where focus goes, energy flows. Today, we are going to have an exception for this. Today we are going to find out how to use Scarcity to help us live an amazing life.
The picture above, which would be a personal nightmare for me, shows when there is only one piece of pizza 🍕 left and several hungry people, it becomes more valuable. The same can be said of so many things in our life. A depreciating supply results in an increasing value. You should probably read that last line again.
Margie and I have conflicting feelings on several topics. That’s what keeps the spark in our relationship sometimes. One of those is the ticking sound of the clock. I find it soothing. Margie, on the other hand, says that it reminds her that her life is ticking away. That is literally true I suppose. Everyone of those ticks of the clock is a moment in time we shall never have back. She is also right about something else. Everyone of those ticks is also bringing us ever closer to our end.
Many people cannot bear this thought and do their best not to think about it. By doing so, it is my firm belief they are leaving one of the best motivators on the table. Yes, everyday the grim reaper gets one step closer. It is my hope for all of us that he is a very slow walker, but we never know. He could catch us in 20 years, one year, or tomorrow. Knowing that any day could be your last should motivate you to make it your best.
I’m hoping we are all taking care of our mind, bodies and spirits. Maybe we are not to concerned about our end approaching. There is one very important thing that Margie can remind us of. The most valuable asset we have in our life is a depreciating asset. That is time. In essence, our life is a depreciating asset. As we discussed earlier, this makes it ever more valuable. Like the pizza, every day we have one slice less.
To many this could seem doom and gloom, but it shouldn’t. Let me share with you what I thought of when I heard this. My mind, as it often does, thought of Margie. I always remind myself that on any given day, it could be my last opportunity to tell her that I love her and remind her how beautiful she is. That is why not a day goes by where I do not do that. Hearing her thoughts on the clock and thinking about the disappearing pizza made me realize two things. One, that it is national pizza month and I could really go for a slice. Two, and more important, is that our time together is depreciating. That means with every second that ticks off the clock, there is one less opportunity to say “I love you” to each other. That also means, every time that we do so, each one becomes more valuable because there is less of them left! Think of that when hugs, kisses, and “I love you” begins to become taken for granted.
All these thoughts are not limited to romantic relationships. It could be one less second to teach your children valuable life lessons. One less second to share your gifts with the world. One less second to be mindful and take in that sunrise you are enjoying. Life, our life, is a depreciating asset and every second it becomes more and more valuable. Next time you hear a ticking of a clock, or watch a second hand moving around, or the minutes pass by on your cell phone, remember this. Use it to motivate you into making the most of your every more valuable life.
Almost all of us know the cliche “the struggle is real.” I think all of us have struggled, or are struggling currently with at least one thing in our lives. That says that all of us will suffer and will continue to do so, to greater or lesser degrees, for the rest of our lives. Not very optimistic sounding, but certainly true.
How come some people seem to float through one struggle after another, while others are paralyzed? It is preparation and mindset. Our mindset, or attitude, about life has a greater impact than anything else. I heard a song lyric today that said, “You say the struggle is real. I say the struggle reveals. ” What does struggle reveal about you? Are you preparing your mind for the struggles that are coming?
That brings us to the next obvious question, “How can we prepare our mind for struggle?” Les Brown, when asked why he didn’t give up when he was diagnosed with cancer said, “I just decided cancer wasn’t going to beat me.” That is a powerful mindset. I determine to find the gift and lesson in every struggle. It is like saying to the challenge life has thrown at me, “You tried to destroy me, but I used you to help me grow.” In short, it is like giving a middle finger to struggle, but far more productive.
It is time for you to think how you handle struggle. None of them are easy. All of them suck. We have the choice to decide if the storms of life will use us, or if we can find a way to use them. PLEASE share any ideas you have for not letting struggle get you down. I think we could all benefit by working together on this subject .