It would seem most of us would love to change the world for the better. Certainly, if you read a blog such as this you are looking to lead a more amazing life. Everyone is looking for that grand gesture that can affect millions of people. I think that is a great thing and I would certainly encourage you to keep doing just such a thing. There is, however, a much simpler and quicker way to change the world – start with just one person.
I recall hearing how a Jewish family gave Louis Armstrong his first trumpet. In this case they not only changed the world for Mr. Armstrong himself, but he in turn changed the world for both musicians and everyone who listened to his music. There are countless stories like this one. By changing the world for someone, we are, in a way, planting a seed. That seed of kindness can sprout and grow in that person and they can go on to change the lives of others.
This means that by doing something truly kind for someone will not only change their life, but they could go on to change others who will go on to change others and that can continue for a lifetime. This ‘ripple effect’ of kindness is one of the quickest and most impactful ways to change the world. It is the best and most honorable legacy we as humans can leave behind – positively impacting the lives of others.
Have you ever tried teaching someone something you know how to do rather well? It can be frustrating and take a great deal of patience. The other evening I had the great pleasure of sharing coffee and conversation with my friend Nick. As so often happens when the two of us get together the conversation turned to personal development and growth. I had to confess something to him and I am going to share it with you now in hopes it may help a lot of you.
One of the greatest struggles we can endure is maintaining a sense of compassion and understanding of our fellow humans we share this planet with. Some of us can refer to this as judging others. If you were to ask me if I were a judgemental person, for the most part I would have to say ‘no’. I have friends that I care deeply for that belong to many different races, religions and other such groups. I really understand that we never know what happens behind the scenes or what someone’s story may entail.
One of the areas that does tend to upset me is those who are not evolved emotionally and spiritually. Those who tend to judge others or carry a rather negative attitude into life. I guess that is because the information is available and it is free. Books can be had at any library. Videos are a click away on YouTube and Google can tell you anything you need to know from the Law of Attraction to enlightenment. Still, there are those who are even ignorant to these facts. Hopefully, the fact that you are reading this blog signifies that you do not fit into the afore mentioned category.
There are even those who are aware of personal development and know they, and their life, could be so much more but choose not to pursue that. I even heard someone brag once about how they avoided making more of their life. To me this is very hard to understand. It is my desire to help everyone create more joy, passion and success in their lives. When I find someone who displays an ignorance for universal laws or an obvious lack of emotional maturity it is both frustrating and a seeming cry for help. It is my struggle to understand and also respect the fact that they might not be intrested in or desire improving their lot in life.
This is a struggle I face whenever I try to reach someone who may not have had the years of experience in the field of personal development I have. It must be the same for those who have so many more when they are teaching me. We all learn at a different pace and learn different things. Share all the good you can, but do so with patience and compassion. If you become frustrated with spiritual ignorance of those around you, feel free to refer to this quote.
Last post we discussed ways in which fashioning your life after a movie director would be beneficial. There was one item I left out that can go a long way in helping us out. It has been featured in my book A Happy Life for Busy People. That is creating a soundtrack for your life.
In my book I refer to it as a ‘happy playlist’. You can create one in a few simple steps. Compose a list of songs that bring joy to your life. Then just create a playlist on your MP3 player or other device. I have several in my cell phone thanks to YouTube. I have playlists for working out, meditation and motivation as well as of course being happy. It is amazing what a song that strikes a deep emotional chord with you can do to change your state. Why leave the soundtrack of your life up to the whim of the DJ on the local radio station?
In a movie, songs are chosen to give the film more dramatic flair and set the mood in various scenes. Wouldn’t you like to be able to do the same in your life? You can! Simply create a soundtrack for all areas of your life. You will be amazed at the difference it can make. What are some of the songs that will be on your soundtrack?
This is a picture of one of my favorite directors, Jerry Bruckheimer. I learned something amazing about him lately. It is not only the fact that he has an uncanny resemblance to actor Kevin Bacon. What I learned is that I am a lot like him…and so are you. No, it is not the fact that all three of us have directed some of the best action movies ever made. No, it is not the fact that all three of us are millionaires. Although maybe you are but I am still working my way there. What I learned is that Mr. Bruckheimer, you and myself are all movie directors.
At this point you may be saying “Wait a minute Neil. Other than the Facebook live video I did and that quick thing for Snap Chat I am would not consider myself a director.” Not knowing the length or effort you put into your social media posts, I am here to tell you we are still all directors. It just so happens the movie we are directing is called Our Life.
Whether you are conscious of the fact or not, you are directing your own life. Still do not believe me? Let us Google the job of a movie director and see what it says.
There are so many good things here let us take this bit by bit. The first line, “A film director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects.” Everything we do in life can be a work of art. Some of you may remember the story I shared of the man at the homeless shelter I help at showing me how there is even an art to washing dishes. Dramatic Aspects? Believe it or not, you control the drama in your life. Before I start hearing the cries of “This person or that person creates drama in my life.” Let us be clear it is your choice to not only respond to that drama but have that person in your life. (more on that later). Every good film needs a little drama or it tends to be boring. Your source of drama can be chasing a goal and the excitement that comes from that. Even challenges can be drama that your star (that would be you) has to face and overcome.
The next line, “Visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in fulfillment of that vision.” Do you have a vision for the movie of your life? If not, how do you know if you are making the right moves? Are you moving closer to success or further away? Once again we are reminded of Earl Nightingale’s quote on success, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” How can you know you are progressing if you do not know what the goal is? Can you imagine directing a movie that has no plot or end in mind? Let us take a look at the second part of that line, “Guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision.” Leaning on and learning from the people in our lives (the actors) and employing the use of outside experts when we need them (the technical crew) can help us achieve the screenplay for our life that we are seeking.
Lastly, “The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking.” This can be likened to the people we choose to both bring into our lives and eliminate from our lives. It can be the job we choose, how we have our house and the way in which we approach life. If you are a director of a movie and a particular actor seems not to fit the role, they are replaced. The same can be true of spouses, friends and business partners. On occasion an actor will walk out on a picture. This is like when a break up happens, or a friend leaves our life. We are forced to recast the part. We can do so with a better idea of what may fit the film. Production design. This can refer to what car we choose to drive, how we choose to decorate our house, wordrobe..etc. All of these can be broken down to a blog post themselves. For the sake of brevity, just imagine how they all affect the movies you have seen. Can you imagine a western where the outlaws are riding horses wearing suits? Creative aspects of filmmaking. This is the manner in which you live your life. Is it a comedy full of laughs? Is it a dark drama? A tragedy? It also refers to how you chose to tackle obstacles and challenges.
Here is a fun way to play with this. Begin to write your own screenplay now. Cast certain roles. Perhaps you want your star to be tough with a soft and humorous edge? Maybe they should be dating a driven and beautiful cake designer? Maybe they are struggling through a day job while pursuing their passion? What would you write that they do to get out of that trap? This can help us add vision and purpose to our lives and have a little fun at the same time. For quick motivation, think of what the title of your life’s movie would be? Feel free to share yours in the comments below.
I would like to begin this post with a mea culpa of sorts. In my books I advocate using the separation of mind and body to our advantage, especially in stressful situations. In fact, I have been quoted as saying “There is no law that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” This is indeed true and can be helpful when you are in a stressful situation. It can also be used for motivation. Please allow me to explain both.
Let us say your boss is pressuring you for a deadline, or just being the pain bosses can be on occasion. As you practice patience and compassion in an effort to remain employed, you can go somewhere else in your mind. I transport myself to a beautiful beach in Jamaica sipping out of a coconut. It also reminds me that the job I am working will help me get to that destination. When I am working out at the gym feeling like I am going to have to start breathing through a brown paper bag and wondering if I wouldn’t be better off at home laying on the couch eating a pizza, I think of that same beach. This time I imagine how I would look sitting on the beach in my current shape. Usually, that is enough to help me power through the remainder of my workout.
So far this all sounds pretty good doesn’t it? There is one word of caution. In using this I have become a little too good at it. What do I mean by that? There are times when it serves us to have our mind at body in the exact same place and time. For sake of continuity and because I love writing about the tropics when it is below freezing here in Wisconsin where I live, we will stick with the Jamaican beach example. Let us say you finally reach that fabulous vacation you have been saving for. Now you are on the beach with the one you love enjoying the sun and frigate birds. It would serve you well to be both physically and mentally present in the moment. Paying attention to all that is transpiring and soaking in the ocean water and the memories. You should make an effort to not only remember, but relish in the sun on your skin and the joy in your heart.
What do we as humans tend to do? We do the exact opposite. When the boss is yelling, everything is in chaos and you have only been at work for an hour, what do we think about? How little your pay seems to match what you have to put up with? How many hours you have yet to struggle through? Wait….is that clock actually going backwards? Why are there not more windows in this office? When we finally make it to vacation or even just home from the office do we focus on all of the great things we finally have in our grasp? Often, the answer is ‘no’. We then think of how much the vacation is costing. We worry about the pet we left back at home. Or worse yet, we begin to have thoughts of having to go back to the office.
We can do a lot to correct this lack of being present with exercises to take control of our mind. A daily practice of meditation, even 5 minutes a day to start, can be very helpful. If you are unsure or just not familiar with meditation there are several CDs you can purchase (Brain sync is one of my favorite companies) or even just look at guided meditation on YouTube. Then you just pop on some headphones, sit back, relax and follow along.
Even more simple is taking time to be fully in the moment. As I write this I am sitting at a coffee shop. I can pause and notice the mingling of music and the blend of voices. I can feel the fabric of the chair I am sitting on. I can smell the aroma of fresh ground coffee beans. I can even pause, take a sip of my coffee…feel the texture of the cup against my lips, notice the temperature, smell the scent of the coffee and taste the mix of the slight bitterness of the coffee mixed with the mellow flavor of coconut milk I added.
Try doing this while engaged in a host of different events. You could try it while you are at a stop light. Notice the feel of the steering wheel in your hands. Smell the air in your car. Do you have the windows open? Can you smell fresh air? Can you feel a breeze? Maybe you are in a cold climate like me and can feel the heat coming out of the vents? Notice the sound of the engine, the passing cars, the birds chirping outside. Just make sure you notice when the light turns green again or you might also be able to notice the sound of the horn of the driver behind you.
Start practicing the separation of mind and body at the appropriate times. When you work, work hard. When you play, play hard too. Soak in the joy when it is there and escape back to it when it is not.
As we begin a new week let us put our energy where it can really make a difference. Lots of us, myself included, can find our energy focused on where we have no control. We complain about how our boss is treating us. We wish our spouse we be more appreciative. We wish the weather would be warmer, our car would run better, time would slow down. You get the idea. There are a million things we fret and worry about over which we have no control.
This great quote from Jack Canfield, one of the creators of Chicken Soup for the Soul, really breaks it down for us. There are really only 3 things we have control of, our thoughts, the images we hold in our heads and our actions. I suggest this coming week we focus only on them. I also suggest taking them one at a time. Trying to fix all three may be overwhelming. Let us take them one by one and use the example of having a boss that is unpleasant.
We start with our thoughts. When our boss comes down on us unfairly and without reason, what is our first thought? How unfair it all is? How over emotional and unfit they are for the position? How truly this might be a violation of how they are supposed to act and treat people? While that might all be true, does it really serve us? I would have to say no. In fact, thinking this way can only increase our anger and make us feel worse. Not only with this leave us emotionally exhausted, but held on to long enough can leave us with a host of physical symptoms as well. This means we are not only treated poorly by our boss. but we are treating ourselves poorly on top of it. The solution? Reframe our thoughts. Does our boss have some outside problems we are unaware of? We should be grateful we are not in their position. Maybe they could really use some anger management and stress therapy? This turns our feelings from anger to compassion. To some of you it may sound like you are letting your boss ‘off the hook’ or giving them a pass. It is actually helping ourselves. Whether we are angry or compassionate about our boss’ actions does not affect them nearly as much as it does us.
Next is the images we hold in our minds. These are both the result of, and influence the thoughts we hold. In our example of the terrible boss, we may picture them as a maniacal dictator. We may even have pictures of them as a warden in a prison. Keep this up long enough our thoughts may turn to imagining them roasting over an open spit. None of these are terribly productive. Ok, maybe the last one offers us a little bit of humorous reprieve. Eventually, they will serve to stoke the flames of anger and make us even more upset. Try picturing what it must be like to go home so full of anger and vengence. How well do you think this person is able to sleep at night? How much peace to you think is in their soul? Yes, everyone does have one despite what they may have you believe. How much joy do you think they have in their life? We can also make it a point to keep images of what we enjoy or what makes us happy. Not only is this far more pleasant than any image that has to do with our boss, but will be a great escape to keep our spirits up when they happen to be releasing their anger on us.
Lastly, is the actions we take. These are very often predicated on the the first two. The thoughts we have, the images we hold on to will powerfully influence the actions we take. If we held on to the angry thoughts and images about our crazy boss, we might be tempted to let them know just how much they upset us. If we do this in a very destructive way it may end up costing us our jobs. In essence, we will let their treatment of us make us emotionally sick, eventually physically sick and eventually cost us our employment. If, conversely, we have the images of compassion and understanding in our heads, we will be able to express ourselves in a far more constructive manner. This will not only decrease the chances of the situation ending poorly, but may increase the chance of the situation ending well. It could lead to better treatment from your boss and a better relationship with them.
This week let us focus on the three things we can control and take our energy off the things we cannot control.
This past Saturday in West Allis, Wisconsin where I live there were two great events I was fortunate enough to be a part of. One was a public event held at a local brewery, and the other was a private event. Both Highlighted some amazing aspects of our city.
The evening began with a celebration of the 244th year of the Marines at Westallion Brewing Company, a local brewery right here in West Allis. Call it a birthday bash for the Marines. This included live music, a special beer release with a local Marine sniper named John Matter, a color guard, and a ceremonial cake cutting (Margie worked very hard to create a cake to honor this occasion) and so many more great events. It was great to see so many veterans gather and be able to exchange stories. In times like these, it is great to see a business take time to create an event to honor those who have done so much to serve this country. Westallion Brewing Company does a lot for the local community and to foster the spirit of community.
That brings us to the second event. For the last four years our good friend Carolyn has hosted a Friendsgiving. The event is just what the name suggests, a gathering of friends who are grateful to have each other in their lives. Everyone gathers together and brings a dish to share with the others. There was laughter and a celebration of friendships new and old. The food was all delicious and the memories were even better. Whether they had family to celebrate with or not, this event had everyone feeling grateful to be at such a gathering.
This city is grateful to have amazing people like Kimberly and Erik, the owners of Westallion Brewing Company, who do so much for this great city. We are lucky to have people like Carolyn who value and want to celebrate their friendships. I feel lucky to have my Margie, who worked so hard to get that cake done on what was a crazy busy weekend for her.
This city, and every city, including yours, has many great people. These people do much to make the city more than just a place to work and live. I would love to hear about who you think makes your city great and why.
Recently, I exchanged some wonderful messages with a good friend. They thanked me for the work I do, which I must confess is what drives me to keep writing. They had mentioned they were working on reducing the negative mental chatter in their head first thing in the morning. This is a struggle I think we can all relate to.
I have the great fortune to sleep next to who I believe to be the most beautiful woman in the world, my lovely Margie. My day job requires me to wake up at 4 a.m. At that hour this time of the year the temperature where I live is usually below freezing. Let it be known that if I had my choice I would be living on a remote tropical island. Add to this that the situation at my day job has recently become less than ideal and you have a perfect storm of reasons to wake up negative.
Many days that is exactly what happens. Dreaming I am back at the coffee plantation in Jamaica with Margie when the alarm clock goes off. I look outside to see a blanket of snow while realizing how good the warm blankets and hot woman next to me feel. (Not only is the ‘hotness’ referring to her amazing physical appearance, but she is generally quite warm and great to snuggle with) It takes all of my will to drag myself from that warm cocoon. I then realize nobody has made coffee yet. I also recall the fact I park outside and as mentioned it is below freezing.
Starting your day in a positive state is very important. Those of us familiar with the law of attraction know that like energy attracts like energy. If you begin your day focused on all of your challenges, it will only bring more of those challenges to you. For your best chance at an amazing life it is important to start your day on a positive note. Living in a cold climate, suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and going to a job that neither respects or appreciates you on very little sleep makes this quite difficult. What is the solution? Take it out of your hands and make it automatic!
As the coffee machine springs to life, I glance at the calendar next to it. Knowing my difficulty doing mornings I purchased a day-by-day calendar that greets me with an inspirational quote every morning. I peel back yesterday to reveal the wisdom of the day. By then the coffee machine is ready to go and I am greeted with the amazing smell of brewing coffee. We have a great picture that reminds us to be grateful in our house that slowly begins to change my focus. As I fight the elements and get into my cold car cursing on occasion, I do so with a delicious and warm cup of coffee. As I start my car (something to be grateful for in cold weather) I am greeted with either an inspired audiobook or uplifting music. As I drive toward my job I am reminded of empowering principles I can write about later.
Did you notice the two things I did? First, I did not work on fighting against my negativity. Trying to get myself to like the cold simply is not happening. Instead of trying to delete the negative, I focused on adding positive items. Fighting against things is still focusing on them and giving them your energy. Not to mention, trying to eliminate something from our life is psychologically difficult. The more positive items you add, the less room there is for negative items.
The second thing I did was take it out of my hands. It can be very hard to rely on nothing but will to turn your mind around. After all, your mind is already in a negative state. By utilizing things like the calendar and grateful sign I don’t even have to think about these positive influences. I also recommend having an app on your phone that will send you positive quotes. You can even set an alarm with a positive reminder. Having pictures of goals and those you love can certainly do wonders.
Remember if you win the morning, you are setting yourself up to win the day!
“When waiting for your goal to manifest, don’t count the days, make every day count.” – Neil Panosian.
This is a quote from my upcoming third book. Before we get to the quote, let us take a second to discuss the title of this post. Why on earth would I advocate not having patience? After all, isn’t being present, mindfulness and meditation all involve patience? I have posted the analogy about the farmer planting his crop and then not walking outside the very next day expecting a harvest. Personally, I really like that analogy. It not only shows how insane expecting certain things to happen before their time, but also because many members of my family were farmers.
All of those great examples considered, how can I advocate for not having patience? Here is why I say that. The word patience itself can often conjure up feelings of being passive. Some people, when they hear the word patience think of someone sitting in the lotus position waiting for the world to change. Instead of counting how many days are passing and your goal is still not arriving, focus on making each of those days count.
I think this manner of thinking is best illustrated with personal examples. Take physical fitness. You have been in the gym for months now and you still do not look like those people on the red carpet. Rather than wondering how long it will take, focus on making each workout count. When my beautiful Margie was waiting for her cake business to explode, she focused on making each of the cakes she was working on a masterpiece. Not only did she succeed in that, but her cake business is off the charts now. While I am waiting for both my writing and videos to go viral, I work on creating the most valuable content worth sharing. In doing this we create the best chance of success.
What are you working towards? What goals are you working to accomplish? Ask yourself today, “How can I make every day count as I wait for my goal to manifest?” As Earl Nightingale mentioned, the time will pass anyway.
Even in regards to your life mission, making each day count can be so valuable. Let us say your mission is to be a more positive person. Each day you could add some kind of positive influence. Maybe a picture to hang by your bed that says “grateful” that you can see each morning upon rising. I use a day by day calendar that I can read an inspiring quote as I am leaving for work at 4 a.m. Maybe your goal is to help leave the world a more positive place. That certainly can’t happen overnight, but each day you can make it count. If you make a concerted effort to add positivity to the people around you than you have made that day count!
Remember my friends, as you are waiting for your goals and blessings to make themselves known, don’t count the days, make the days count!
Just a quick reminder in the middle of the week. Stay positive my friends. Let us reflect positivity wherever we are so that it may be reflected back to us.
More thoughts coming tomorrow.