On a cold day in December of 2013, my first book A Happy Life for Busy People, was released. It featured some of the best blogs I had written to that point. Focused primarily on happiness, that book was my first dive into the vast ocean of writing. In reflection, that seems like a lifetime ago. My life was different, and I was a different person.
Before that book was even released for sale, I had begun writing the follow up book. The idea was to live a life that felt like you were on vacation, no matter where you were physically. The first step was learning to do this myself. There was much research involved. I interviewed people who seemed to keep a positive resolve despite the most negative of circumstances . I also read and researched countless books and articles on positivity, productivity, spirituality and many other topics related to life satisfaction. I gave many seminars and spoke with those who attended to see what their experiences and challenges were. Through this very blog, I have had the pleasure of connecting with wonderful people from around the globe. I even took a trip to Jamaica with Margie to reconnect with how it feels to actually be on vacation. All in the name of research of course.
Over the next 8 long years, I began to write, rewrite, and try out many of these ideas. In the course of discovering how to turn my own life into something I loved, I had to overcome many of the obstacles we all face from time to time. Loss of a job, loss of those we love, loss of friendships and even the addition, loss and addition again of some extra weight. Realizing life is multifaceted, I began to work on improving one area at a time. Doing so allowed me to gain momentum for improving my life. I began to discover what worked in each one. Some worked in several areas, some methods had to be employed differently depending on the situation.
As you can imagine, this also required making many mistakes. Each one was a valuable learning opportunity. I knew the more mistakes I made and learned from, the less you, my reader, would have to endure. I discovered not only what worked, but how to put it to work in your own life. Imagine instead of waking up with dread, you wake up with a sense of passion and purpose for the day? As you’re going through the day, the feeling of being stressed replaced with one of inner peace? Imagine being able to do all of this without switching jobs (unless you want to), partners or even winning the lottery? Imagine being able to do all of this by using simple secrets that take mere minutes a day and are enjoyable too! You will watch your life improve like magic all while enjoying the process! You may be thinking, “Neil you are living a dream!” I would tell you that you are correct! You too can be Living the Dream by getting your hands on my new book! It can start the day you read the very first page!
Last book we showed you how to have a happy life, even if it is a busy one. In this new book you will learn many amazing secrets including, but not limited to the following. You will learn the three levels of life you must master. You will learn how to develop a champion’s mindset. You will discover the essential keys to success and how to use them to unlock any door in life you please. You will be given the magic pill that will transform your life and learn how to become immortal. I will share with you the four-letter word that used to offend me, but now helps me transform my life for the better and accomplish great things with amazing speed. How about relationships? You will learn the one word the will allow you to get inside anyone’s head and know what makes them happy and what does not. Would you like inspiring stories filled with secrets about how others created the life of their dreams? You will find that in your copy of Living the Dream as well! I am so excited for you to get your hands on this life-changing book and begin to turn the life you have into the life your love! Do yourself a favor and click the link below and order your copy today. I look forward to hearing all of the great things it will allow you to do in your own life.
The last eight years have been one crazy journey. Eight years ago in December of 2013 my book A Happy Life for Busy People was released. I think back to where I was, and more to the point, who I was, back then and it seems like a different life entirely.
When I set out to write my first book it was to capture the feeling you have when you are on vacation. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting an exotic tropical location, allow me to explain. When you step off the plane and make your way through the airport a change happens. Once you are on the bus headed for your resort, a different vibe and mindset over take you. Kenny Chesney explains it best in his song “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem” the islands change who you are. Life problems either cease to exist, or are greatly reduced in their importance. A sense of calm and inner peace take over. All of this before you have even had your first cocktail!
All these thoughts might explain the cover of the upcoming release as seen above. I asked myself “Why can’t you keep that feeling of “Living like your on vacation” as the lyric from a song by the band Kiss so eloquently states. That might be the first time someone used eloquent and the band Kiss in the same sentence. I was inspired by a friend of mine, Samantha. When asked how she was doing as she worked at a local restaurant, she would, with a large dose of sarcasm, respond, “Oh, you know, living the dream here at ________” You could fill in the blank with the name of whatever job you hold. My goal was to make that statement not mere sarcastic fodder, but reality.
Over the next eight years I read, researched and tested many tips, secrets, hacks and tools to discover what really made that difference. I even took a trip to Jamaica with my lovely Margie just to recalibrate how that emotion feels. The things I am willing to suffer in the name of writing a great book. I recorded things in notebooks, on my blog and at my live seminars. I tested them out both myself and with my friends and followers. We kept what worked, threw away what didn’t and tweaked what needed to be. As I began to incorporate each of these secrets in my own life, the result was nothing short of magic! I can safely say I am now living the dream. Do I still have challenges? Sure, but I face them with a smile, peace in my heart and a smile on my face.
Just to make sure that I had opportunity to test how effective these tools are and whether they would still work under the most trying of circumstances, life gave me just that. Over the course of two years, I lost several family and friends. In that same year I spoke at 5 different funerals. Not a record I care to try and beat or even repeat. What did get me through was the support and encouragement of countless individuals. When it comes to having people in my corner, I am truly blessed in abundance. From friendly people I meet at the coffee shops I write at, to family, soul friends and certainly my lovely and supportive lady. Who, just for good measure, had lots of struggles of her own as she was writing the foreword to this book. I am proud to say she persevered and did an amazing job. You will be able to see for yourself as that will be the first thing you read as you open the cover of this life-changing book. I was also blessed with several friends who were brave enough to share their stories and the tools they used to make it through some of the toughest trials anyone could imagine. The words of Stephen King above are so true. Writing is a very lonely job. It can take you away from friends and fun for countless nights on end. It does reveal the people who love you the most to be patient and understanding.
This book has taken a lot of my blood, sweat and tears as well as eight years of my life. I am so proud of the result and all of those who played a part in it coming to life. From December of 2013 to June of 2021, we have learned, shared and discovered so much here together, I think you will enjoy reading the end result in your copy of Living the Dream. It will be available by the end of the month. I will be happy to sign your copy should we meet in person! Just for fun I have included a video that Margie made as we pushed the button to make it official. It is short and silly. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to sharing Living the Dream with all of you. I promise it will help take you from the life you have to the life you love!
Growing up, many of us did things we thought were silly just to fit in. We wanted to be part of that certain peer group. Looking back some of these things may seem kind of foolish. One thing that we may have done as well is hide aspects of ourselves we thought people might not like. Perhaps we worried about not seeming ‘cool’ enough. We liked a movie we thought everyone might make fun of us for. Maybe there were even certain friends we didn’t speak to because they didn’t fit that cool group we were looking to be a part of.
I did a lot of stupid things while I was growing up. I think we could all claim that statement to some degree. One thing I was proud of is that I never let anyone decide who I should speak to or be friends with. Even at an early age I realized that all of us have value in different ways. To my everlasting joy this has brought more to my life to most anything else I can think of. The gift of relationships I had formed back then and since have brought me countless blessings.
One thing I did do, and continued to do through adulthood is keep some of who I am to myself. We may worry that revealing too much will leave us vulnerable and open to criticism. It is something I suppose we begin in our teens and carry with through adulthood. We don’t want those at the office thinking we are some kind of weirdo. As we grow older it seems more difficult to make new and deep friendships. I am not 100% certain as to why that might be, I suppose there are several reasons that factor in. So we hide little bits of ourselves in hopes we may not offend too many. We also do want the added drama that comes with showing our true nature. There are times when this is prudent. If you know someone has passionate and opposing views on politics or religion for example, it may be wise to avoid broaching those subjects.
If, however, we really want to develop deep and lasting friendships we should be our complete and full versions of ourselves. As long as we are not hurting others, we should let our light shine as bright as it can. This does two very important things. First, it lets people know who you really are. You may find people who share the same interests that you have you may have considered weird. Like to go ghost hunting? Do you enjoy visiting classic diners? Perhaps you have an interest in bird watching? (these are all true of me btw) The more you put this information out there, the more people will know and you will find yourself crossing paths with those who have similar interests. Even friends who might not share your exact interests, may have a different friend who does and introduce you. Attending events that center around these interests can introduce you to a whole new group of friends. This is something that seems to be difficult as we grow older. Will there be a few who still may give you a hard time or even belittle you for your interests? I am not going to lie, the answer is ‘yes’. There are simply those who haven’t grown up yet. It could be that they are doing so because they are afraid of revealing who they truly are. It could also be that they are just jerks when it comes to that. Which is information that is good to know as well.
The second, and perhaps more powerful thing that being your authentic self does is provide freedom. It can give those around you the freedom and courage to be their authentic self. Margie does this for me to this day. I can still be slightly guarded, and with her free spirit and silly humor can give me the courage to open up a little more.
What I think living life as the truest version of yourself does the best is give you personal freedom. It allows you to live life with a passion and inner joy that those who hide who they are will never fully experience. It also helps you grow and blossom to become even more of what you were born to be. If there is one thing this world needs it is people living the life they love.
In a personal example, I used to keep my self-improvement studies and interests to myself. I figured “who would be interested in this anyway?” I thought it may be to ‘new age’ for some people. I was right, but to a much smaller degree than I anticipated. This is true for almost any interest. What was interesting was that I began to include a circle of new and wonderful people from around the world who share this passion. I have been able to offer them some insight and they have done the same for me! The more of myself I let show, the more free I feel and the deeper the sense of inner peace I experience.
It takes bravery and courage to show the world who you are. The payoff is a group of friends that you can truly connect with and who when they like you, will be liking the complete and true version of who you are. It also helps you bring the most to the world in the time you are here. What is the most beautiful thing is that is provides a sense of inner peace and freedom knowing you can be loved for who you truly are. Be yourself my friends! There is no greater gift you could give yourself or the world.
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.