We all have them, people on our holiday shopping list whom we don’t know what to get for them. Perhaps they are one of those people who have 3 of everything? Maybe it is a person who really has nothing and you wish you could give them the world? If you are anything like me. You to love to give a gift people will not only treasure, but will certainly make them happy.
So what can you do? Spend endless hours searching countless crowded stores often in terrible weather? I have the simple answer. What if I told you there was a gift you could give that would take a lot of the stress out of the holidays for anyone who received it? Not only that, but they would be filled with a peaceful happiness they may have never experienced in their life before. Every morning they woke up with a smile on their face and joy in their heart they would know it was you and your thoughtful gift that changed their life from that day forward.The best part? This gift will only set you back $10 but the rewards will continue for the rest of their lives. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. What can do all this? A copy of my book “A Happy Life for Busy People” available at with shipping times running long during the holiday, don’t delay! Order copies for everyone on your list today. Get them in time and I would be happy to sign them as well. There is no better gift than to fill one’s life with joy. They will be not only thanking you this year, but every year for years to come. Think of the stress that will save you. Truly the perfect gift for anyone. Don’t delay order today!




“How much better than wine is your Love”

Song of Solomon 4;10

Ok, yesterday’s post became a little wordy. Good news is this one is short and sweet. To some of you this idea may sound a bit cliché’. That’s OK, try it anyway. Toast your love each time you and your loved one are both holding wine glasses. Why? you may ask. Simple, love is something worth celebrating. You are still together when countless other couples have thrown in the towel. Your relationship is something worth toasting. You both work hard to keep it going and that should be celebrated. Another thing you should toast is the person you are with. It is a simple and fabulous opportunity to honor them. Don’t go on about it, keep it short and simple. Are they a creative person? Say “here is to being with such a wonderful and creative soul” or something to that effect. Do you admire their choice in music? Their adorable laugh? Perhaps you are just grateful they put up with you. It is amazing how a “thank you for always being so patient with me” sounds when clinking a wine glass. Perhaps your partner drinks Jameson? works just the same. I even know of an elderly couple who toast each other with their morning coffee cups. It doesn’t have to be alcohol. Whenever the mood strikes you and you are your partner happen to have glasses in your hands, take the opportunity to grow your love.

On a side note, this works amazingly well with friends as well. Do you have a trait you admire in a particular friend? Next time you are out having a few cold beers toast them on it and watch the friendship grow.



“That which is Loved is always beautiful”

Norwegian Proverb

Here is a common theme in relationships. You meet someone new and they just start that fire burning deep within. Your amorous feelings can’t be contained. Their kisses are like a drug you become addicted to. Every second you see them thoughts of passion race through your mind and your body. You can wait to wrap your arms around them, and to hold and kiss them. Making love to them is like your own reoccurring fantasy.

Fast forward five or even ten years. This same person may have gained a few pounds. You have seen them first thing in the morning a hundred times. You have seen them sick and perhaps after one to many cocktails. Perhaps their beauty has just become common place to you. Suddenly you find yourself in an odd situation. You love this person with all your heart, but somehow those carnal, lustful thoughts have either become extremely rare or worse seemed to disappear altogether. There is a saying “That which is familiar we take for granted” Maybe even seeing the same beautiful person day after day has you numb to their true attraction. So how do we get those feelings back? How do we fall back in lust with our own partner? The simple answer to this is to fall back in love with them. Now before you say “Neil that is just some crazy romantic nonsense you are spreading. I do love my partner I just don’t find them as attractive anymore” Well, let us look at another secret passion thief, resentment. In addition to seeing each others worst physical sides often people tend to remember a lot of the not so pleasant emotional sides of the dream person you are with. That is only natural. The brain tends to remember events that are linked to powerful emotions. What is more powerful than having your feeling hurt by your partner? Well, if you have followed the exercises leading up to this point you are well on your way to healing a good deal of those bad memories.

So the question remains, what can we do to rekindle the passion we had when we first met the love of our lives. Well it is honest best not to lose it in the first place. Lot’s of very loving and well-meaning couples end up as friends or even roommates after several years because they did not nurture the passion in their relationship. There are several ideas on how to achieve this and I encourage some self-study outside of this blog which usually ends up to be a fun time anyway. Here I will give you some of the best I have picked up from the experts in this field and from the mistakes I have made and lessons I have learned. First thing you need to know is you should never stop charming your partner. Lots of couples and in general it tends to be mostly the men, although women can certainly be guilty of this too, assume once they have won the heart and soul of their lover the deed is done. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I relate it to getting in the best shape of your life and then you stop paying attention to your body. Eventually you will end up out of shape and having to start all over again. The good news is that much like your body, you can start over in your relationship and work your way back to the top.  Making your partner feel loved and desired seems to be easy in the beginning but fall further down the ladder as the years go by. Here is the sad truth. First, that is the opposite of how it should be. Love is fun in the beginning. Everything is new and fresh. Your partner has not gotten on your nerves yet. As the years go by make no mistake you become equally as unattractive to your partner so keeping their feelings high will help both of you as well. Here is the good news. As the years go by you have more information and experiences to build on. You know more of what your partner likes, more of what makes them feel attractive. Use that to your advantage.

Another simple and fun thing you can do that will not only make your partner more attractive to you, but will also make them more attracted to you is focus. Now normally focus does not sound like the sexiest of all the words, but let me assure you it can be. A wonderful person made me something with the word focus as the center piece. It has not only done wonders with my writing, but also with many areas of life, relationships included. You know well if you read my blog with any regularity that what we focus on we tend to multiply and intensify. Why not focus on what you find attractive about your partner? Do their eyes sparkle like diamonds when they are happy? Does their whole face light up when they smile? Do you even find it cute when they spill ice cream on the front of their shirt? Whatever it is pay attention to it. Now here is the key, say it out loud. Let your partner know. Write it in a card. Leave a voicemail letting them know. Call them on lunch just to tell them. This accomplishes two things. One, you get into the habit of looking for things you find attractive in your partner. Two, saying they are beautiful, handsome or whatever word you care to use will get your mind in the habit of associating the two. Three, after an initial skepticism and thinking you have either done something terribly wrong or have the urge to do so, your partner will start to associate you with the good feelings they get from hearing how attractive they are. Let’s be honest who doesn’t like to feel desired. The key here is to find a mix of both physical and emotional things you find attractive about your partner. The more emotion behind it the better. Have fun with it.


line graph photo

As you can see in the graph most prices has both its ups and downs. Just stay focused on your goal and keep moving forward. Whether your goal is to improve your financial situation or your relationship there is very seldom a straight line up. Nor should there be. The beautiful thing about the downs is that is forces us to refocus. If everything is going along smoothly there is little motivation to think about improvement. When things start slipping away then we often are forced to take things seriously and work harder. It is quite often after someone suffers a heart attack or some other health scare that they suddenly adopt a healthy lifestyle they have been avoiding. When someone loses some of their income they often start to review their budget. We grow from our challenges. A set back is only a failure if you give up. Any growth or goal you are working toward is never a straight line from A to B but is quite often a crooked line moving in that direction. If you are able map your goal. Keep an eye on your budget, if you start to spend more than you should or income should decline and the graph go down use that to motivate you to positive action. If you are trying to keep track of how many positive days you have with your spouse and one week you have 5 and the next week you only have 3 use that to examine the difference. Sometimes it can be circumstances you hadn’t expected or even ones beyond your control. Your car breaks down, your spouse is sick and in a bad mood. Still keep your goal firmly in mind and remember where you are heading.


What does building a bonfire have to do with living an amazing life? It serves as a very good metaphor. What does it take to build a good fire? Let’s assume you were never in boys or girls scouts and we will break it down for you. You will need a safe place to do so. Making sure your fire burns only where you want it to. You will need kindling, or small pieces of wood or other flammable material that lights easy but burns quickly. You will also need successfully larger and larger pieces of wood to burn more intense and for longer periods of time. You will need to arrange these in such a way that they burn in the proper order. If you try to light the big log first, chances are your match will burn out far before the log catches fire. This brings us to our last needed element, an ignition source of some nature to start the whole thing burning.

Ok, so we have established what it takes to build a good fire, but what does this have to do with living an amazing life? Here is the answer, your motivation is much like building a fire. You will need to properly keep the fires of passion burning hot and big if you want to be able to push through obstacles toward the amazing life you reaching for. This is true of any goal or project you are working on. You will need kindling, which represents small goals that are easier to obtain as you are on your way to achieving the ultimate goal. The feeling of triumph you feel is like the burning of the kindling that will slowly start the larger logs, also known as bigger goals ablaze. You will need the right amount of this kindling. To little and your passion will fizzle long before you are able to reach your bigger goals. Just as you will need successfully larger more daring and scary goals as you get closer to your prize. You will also need an ignition source. Now many people in life, myself included, have waited for a situation to get so bad that it forces you to take action. Desperation can be a great motivator. So should we sit around waiting for our lives to fall apart so we can give ourselves a big kick in the ass to take the actions needed? Not necessarily. Another great way to motivate your self and ignite your own personal bonfire of passion is to look at what you are missing by not taking action. Grab a pen and paper and start to make a list. What will you lose or are you currently losing by not taking action? How worse off is your life being made by your procrastination? Here is a good time to be brutally honest. Trying to lose weight? How does it make you feel when you go clothes shopping and nothing fits? How does it feel when you look in the mirror? This may seem harsh but emotion is the strongest human motivator. So in addition to this ‘push’ of emotion you can double your chances of success by adding a pull. What I mean here is on another piece of paper, or the other side list how much better your life would be if you did take action. Using the above example, how good would it feel to look in the mirror and like what you see? Write it down, but even better take time to close your eyes and picture this. Really add the element of emotion. How could would it feel to get attention from a person you find attractive? If your goal was financial freedom how good would it feel to not worry about paying the bills or if your job is safe? Write it all down and picture it in your mind. Really add as much emotion as you can.

Now if you have done this all correctly you will have created an unstoppable force that will literally burn through and fear or doubt that stands in your way. Still even after you have created your bonfire of passion for success there is more work to do. Let me ask you if you have a fire going and leave it unattended what happens? Eventually you burn through all the logs you have. So the secret to keeping motivation going is to keep adding logs. Now this doesn’t mean only to keep adding new goals, although that is not a bad idea. Other logs you can add include gathering friends who both motivate you and hold you accountable. Purchasing new books or motivational CDs, taking pictures or your fitness progress or bank statements. As you continue to go towards a goal, you must continue to add logs or your fire will burn out.


Last blog we discussed what to do if people have upset us in the past and we are still letting it bother us. Today we will examine a great way to reduce the stress and strain of people upsetting us in the present. How to deal with that face to face anger that sometimes we may encounter.

If you work with the public, or deal with the public or even just deal with other people in your daily life, which should just about cover everybody, one of the greatest and most common challenges is…well other people. We all know if everybody in our lives would just play by our rules and understand that we are always right there would be no issue there. Unfortunately the boss does not always understand how difficult it is to get out of a warm bed on a cold day. Your spouse may not always understand how ‘one more drink’ became three. In other words the bad news is at some point in your life people will be mad at you. On a rare occasion they may even have a reason to be. So what than? How can we somehow not get stressed about someone screaming in close proximity to us? How can we use a person who is practicing replacing our name with different profanities as a growing experience? As I try to improve my own life these are the type of questions I find myself asking. Trust me if you wait until that person is in front of you to ask the question you may decide to distress by closing their mouth for them and the only thing growing may be your legal problems. So here is a little exercise you can get used to and practice that I find turns those experiences literally into a game and often leaves both parties feeling better when parting. A big promise, but I think if you stick with me you will see how it all comes together and thus reduce one of the most common stresses from your life.

here is the ‘magic formula’, it may sound to simple, it may sound like it will not work, but trust me after you master it you will be successful nine times out of ten. There are some people who just have severe social issues and cannot be reached. They are not our concern and really should be used as humorous fodder. So what is the idea already? Here is the plan. First, let the people vent for a little while. I don’t know when I am upset being interrupted can only be equated to throwing gasoline on a fire. When you feel you have a grasp of what ever life threatening event has them ready to start the next world war, then interrupt. Now, there is a very specific way to do this. Even if the event is pretty cut and dry, such as your dog does not understand property lines when needing to relive himself, still recap with a simple phrase showing you are interested in their issue. An example is “Just to make sure we are on the same page…” or “To make sure I understand what is upsetting you…” in addition to showing them you care it forces you to listen to what they are saying as you are pondering just how to word your question. The next thing is something that can totally turn this person who may be picturing you in some terrible compromising position into your best friend. While listening to there list of complaints with the state of the world, look for something you can honestly compliment them on. Do they have a nice shirt on? Are they wearing a nice fragrance? this part takes practice and skill as does bringing it to their attention. I caution you not to try flattery which I am not a big fan of anyway, false praise comes across as such and can often generate further anger. It is even better if you can ask them a question about the compliment. The reason you want to do this is because it forces them to think about what you said. A great example of how to do this would be “I understand you are upset fido fertilized your flowers without asking, but I have to ask you what is that amazing fragrance you are wearing? It smells so familiar but I can’t quite place it?” I have even taken it one step further, but I will get to that in a moment. after discussing a legitimate compliment paid in their favor, and again a stress make it real, you would be surprised how the conversation can change.

All of this may sound unbelievable so let me provide a recent example. A lady walked into the post office with a bill for her post office box that was due on January 31st. She had come in on the 28th to discover that the price had went up 2 dollars from the amount shown. No notice was given to her and she already had her check made out. She wasn’t late, the price had just changed. She had a right to be upset. This woman, however, took it one step further and went on for roughly ten minutes on the lack of intelligence of the lady helping her, how terrible the organization was. By the time I was called up there she had worked herself into quite a stressful state for both her and all of those around her. I calmly asked if I could make sure I had this right. “You are upset because you are paying a pill that you were told would be one amount if paid by the 31st and here it is the 28th and we are asking for two dollars more? I don’t blame you for being upset” That simple act of understanding why she was upset started to calm her down. I explained that our goal was to get her Post office box renewed and that regretfully our computers did not allow us to charge her the old price. She suddenly ‘remembered’ she had two dollars in the car. As she walked out (which gave her time to breath as well as the sales associate) I started thinking I needed to find something nice to point about this lady. When she walked back in I noticed she had black pants and a plain black jacket. No luck there. Her hair was cut short and simple. Again not much to work with. She had no discernible wonderful scent. Then I noticed the rims on her glasses were an awesome red color I had never seen. Keep in mind I went through all of this in about 1 minute. If you just stand there staring at someone who may cause the anger level to rise again. So I said “I thank you for understanding about this unfortunate computer error with our pricing and I wish to get you taken care of right away, but as I am doing so I have to ask where you purchased those glasses I have never seen such an amazing color” She thought for a second and told me the name of the store. I knew there was one close to where I live and asked her if that was the location she went to. She told me no it was the one down the street. I again told her I would love to see what color they have for men and could she tell me what street it was on. (I don’t wear glasses by the way). She thought again and gave me cross streets. I thanked her for the information and began to apologize for the misunderstanding she came in for in the first place. Her reply shocked everyone who was there “No I should have paid my bill right when I got it” I countered with “Truly we will look into notifying people if the price changes in the future. I can understand how upsetting that would be” She replied “It’s not that upsetting. I’m sorry you just caught me on a bad day” So there may have been more to this lady’s anger. She left apologizing to me and I think feeling if she did not have a good experience and least did not have a bad one.

Enough practice with this and you almost feel as though you are playing a game. I felt a sense of accomplishment when that lady left. She felt a little less upset. I think it was a win for all parties concerned.



If you love this blog please feel free to check out my brand new book now available A Happy Life for Busy People is now available online at It is a great way to bring the power of positivity and a lot of the tools we explore here to those you care about this holiday season. It may also be a great gift for those you do not enjoy being around so much as it could help them change their attitudes around as well. So pick a copy up today it is as simple as clicking on the following link A Happy Life for Busy People


Sample mission statement
Sample mission statement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We ended last week talking about goals. Hopefully by now you have developed a set of goals you hope to attain in the coming year. Even though we have shown how important these goals are and how much benefit they can bring to your life there still exists one problem. Time. Now truly taking 5 minutes twice a day to review your goals and cement them in your mind should not be that great of a challenge. Especially considering the great benefits you stand to gain. Today we live in a nanosecond world. If an internet page takes more than ten seconds to download to your phone something must be wrong. So to review a list of several items several times a day just is too much to ask most people. In some ways this sounds crazy to me considering I know what a difference it can make. Still the point of this blog and my mission in life is to help the most people change their lives for the better. So taking the modern person into consideration how can one stay focused and give their life direction without taking time to review goals. First, let me make it clear and am saying you should give up on the practice of reviewing your goals. Try to incorporate it into your life as often as you can. Still if we can get some of the same results and make it as simple as remembering a single idea or theme wouldn’t that streamline the focusing process?

How many of you have heard of a mission statement? They are pretty popular with companies and organizations in the corporate world. The main purpose of a mission statement is to define a direction and ethical standard for companies to follow. That way they can easily decide if they or any situation they find themselves in meets their standards. Sound familiar? It is the same thing we have been discussing on an individual basis. Viewing your life as a corporation where you are the president and CEO has great value. that is a subject we will approach tomorrow. Keeping that in the back of your mind begin to think of what would make a good mission statement for the company that is your life? What is your life’s main purpose? Are there any standards you must not violate? What are you passionate about? There is a great website that can assist you in crafting your own mission statement is a site full of self-improvement products you can purchase. Still one impressive thing they have available free on their website is a tool allowing you to write your own mission statement. After you do so you will have one emotionally charged, positive and descriptive statement for the purpose of your life. This statement can be amended throughout your life, but it provides you a great tool to decide if you and any situation in your life is meeting your standards and purpose for being on this amazing planet. I highly suggest beginning to view your life as your own company and do so by crafting your own mission statement. We will examine the benefits of this tomorrow.


Here is an interesting metaphor I learned recently that I would like to share with you.  I am always on the lookout for symbols that can serve to remind me of my goal of living the most amazing life I can.  I like coffee.  Ok that last statement could be a slight understatement.  Frequently I find myself at Starbucks either working on my book or even composing some of these posts.  Now before I get to my next point I have to address the voice of my good friend Kim in the back of my head saying “I don’t drink coffee”.  Trust me this could work just as well with a diet Coke.  Next time you get a cup of coffee, or whatever it is you care to consume, think of it as your mind.  Now while waiting in line at the coffee shop I have heard some VERY specific things people like, and do not like in their coffee.  Funny thing is these same people are not nearly as careful as to what they put in their minds.  We must be diligent as to what we let in and keep out of our thoughts on a daily basis.  If we happen to leave this up to chance what will we be greeted with?  I can only share this with you.  I watched the news to try to catch the weather a few nights ago.  What I saw will seem like an exaggeration, but it was the honest truth.  In the first 5 minutes of the news I heard of 3 homicides and 2 house fires, one that took the life of a young woman.  Never did make it to the weather.  It is not only the media we have to look out for, even some of our closest friends and family.  Sounds pretty mean at first blush, but let me explain it using the coffee method.  If a complete stranger walks up and puts some poison in your coffee what will happen?  Answer, you will die.  Now let’s say your closest friend, even on accident spills some of that same poison in your coffee what will happen?  Same result, you will die.  Now this may sound extreme, but that is exactly what negative thoughts are to a healthy mind, poison.  How many times have you had lunch with a friend who happened to be having a bad day and proceeded to tell you how bad the government is, how the economy is on the verge of collapse and other such inspiring thoughts.  You may very well end up leaving lunch at the very least a little less inspired.  The flip side of this is we must not poison anyone else’s coffee.  Before you start venting all of your negative beliefs on your friends, family or co-workers, look them in the eye and ask yourself “would I want to poison this person?” because that is what you are doing to their mind.  So when you get your next latte from Starbucks, or your next diet Coke from the vending machine, stop and think about what you would let somebody put in there.  Let it serve as a great reminder to watch your own thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Watch your own coffee.


Wouldn’t it be great if we had somebody to follow us around and let us know when doubt, fear, negativity and all those other spirit vampires come calling?  Somebody to follow us around and remind us “look for the good in life”  or  “Don’t let your outside control your inside”.  Well unless you have a lot of discretionary income, or friends who really have nothing better to do, chances are this will not be possible.  So if all your friends have healthy social lives and you can’t afford to hire a ‘personal reminder’ what then?  Employ someone or more accurately something you can afford!  Just what is this crazy guy talking about?  Symbols!  They can be anything.  Something visionary, a trigger phrase, a scent.  Just pick something you may see on a regular basis in your daily life.  Now don’t make it to obvious.  I work at the post office so I wouldn’t choose ‘a stamp’.  It has to be somewhat random.  For example I might choose the phrase “First Class” and it will remind me to live my life in a first class manner, or to have a ‘first class day’.  I’m also a bartender so every time I see a bottle of gin I can think to myself ‘give individuals niceness’ or when I smell coconut rum, I can remind myself to “live like I am on vacation” and enjoy each life to the fullest.  These may all sound a little corny, but one they are off the top of my head, and two, why not put the world around us to work?  I know each day presents its own unique challenges, so each one should come with little reminders to keep smiling and enjoy the life we have been given.  So pick just one or two reminders. Deciding what they can be and what they will mean to you is just the start of the fun!  I must go now, I have the sudden urge for a rum and coke…