WHAT IS YOUR PRESCRIPTION?πŸ’Š

I would like to relay another story to you. This one also drove home a great point people may have a hard time grasping emotionally. Inside this story is the secret to an amazing life. It is a difficult and uncomfortable secret, but a powerful one. If you get the lesson in this story (don’t worry we will talk about it after) then you will have what you need to begin transforming your life starting today. I warn you, that you might not be ready to read this story. Although it will provide you the potential to positively impact your life, it will require a few things on your part. These are things that people may find difficult and uncomfortable. The payoff is that if you do make the sacrifice, you will have less stress and worry. You will also have a much greater feeling of control over your life. It will require you to be brutally honest with yourself. It will require you to get rid of your excuses and your ability to blame. In their place, you will need to take on a feeling of responsibility and accountability.

Are you ready? Here we go. A man goes to visit the doctor. The doctor inquires as to the nature of his ailments. The man goes on to describe a list of issues he seems to be having in his life. The doctor listens to the seemingly unrelated issues the man is having. After he has finished explaining everything that ails him, the doctor replies, “I need to write you several prescriptions.” He proceeds to scribble on a tablet of paper, rip the sheet off, and start on the next. He does this for 5 or 6 sheets. The man assumes he will be getting 5 or 6 medicines. The man asks for his prescriptions so he can be on his way. “Oh these are not for you.” The doctor replies. The man looks confused. “This one is for your mother-in-law. This other one is for your boss. This third one is for the rude person at the coffee shop.” He continues this for each of the medicines.

This story may strike you as crazy. How is this man ever going to get better if all of the treatments go to the other people in his life? Great question. How do we ever expect our lives to change when we are blaming and waiting for everyone else to change? If we truly want our lives to change, it is us who has to do the changing. Wayne Dyer once said, “When we change the way we look at things; the things we look at change.” This could not be more true. Some of you may argue, “Why do I have to change when it is my stupid boss who treats me unfair? He is the one that has to change!” Let me ask you this, whether it is your boss, your spouse or the driver who cut you off in traffic, while you wait for them to change, how is your own life improving? How long do you think you will have to wait until they change so your life can begin improving? My guess would be somewhere between a really long time and never.

This may make the situation seem hopeless, but that could not be further from the truth! When you stop blaming others and waiting for them to change, you take back control of your life. I will give you one tool and one strategy to start using today that has helped me and will definitely help you. First the tool. I recommend the book Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. These two former Navy Seals show how they used extreme ownership to become great leaders in the world of combat. Which, I would guess, is far more intense than most of what we are going through. Pick yourself up a copy. Whether from Amazon or the public library.

Here is the strategy. This does not require you to read anything and you can begin to use it as soon as you finish reading this blog. I get this idea from Rhonda Byrne in one of her great books. I think it was The Power, but do not quote me on that. People who irritate you, vex you or cause some other unpleasantness in your life can be hard to put up with. I certainly have a few of my own. She recommends viewing them as ‘Personal Emotional Trainers’ or P.E.T.s. This gives you 2 distinct benefits. Frist, like a physical trainer, who pushes you when you feel you are on the brink of death, you know in the end you will be a stronger better person. I know after a hard workout, you do not usually feel like taking your trainer out for a cocktail. You might look at them wondering what kind of sadistic tendencies make people do that to other people. Maybe that is just me. You don’t say any of these things because you know their goal is to make you a better person. Guess what? Those annoying people you would be tempted to say something to? You just hired them as your trainers. In this case it is for your emotions and your behavior. When you may look at someone with anger or even road rage, just know they are your trainers. You don’t want to fail in front of your trainer. Not to mention, I think many of them get some sort of sick pleasure out of seeing that happen. Nope, you are going to thank them (Don’t worry you can do that part in your mind) and know they are making you an emotionally stronger and more resilient person.

I know I told you 2 benefits. I did not forget the second one. Although, that has been know to happen on occasion. Here is the best part. When you feel like your new personal emotional trainer may have pushed you a little too hard, remember the acronym – P.E.T. Just know they are your pet. When you think of a pet, is it like the cute little dog above? Maybe imagine walking that person on a lease through the park may make you feel better. Whatever works to help you take their negative behavior and let it turn you into a better person.

CELEBRATE OUR ANNIVERSARY!πŸ₯³

Today we celebrate 10 years of this blog! I began this journey in 2012 with just a desire to share with others the tools and strategies that helped me positively impact my life. I never dreamed it would turn into what it is today. There are many things that I have learned in the past decade of sharing ideas with you. First of all, I am still learning and sharing. Self-improvement is very much like physical fitness. You are never ‘there’. There is always maintaining and learning to do. You will mess up. You will have bad days. Life will throw a whole lot at you and you will need to develop new ways to handle new problems. It is the learning and growing that develops from that which is so rewarding.

I also learned how similar we are. When I started I had…well…zero followers. That was never the goal. Still, my desire to share with and help as many people as I can, allowed this blog to now be followed in over 200 countries and by over 50,000 people. I learned a fellow in Italy and I not only like the same music, but are both dedicated to improving ourselves and have had some of the same influences.

Another thing we are celebrating today is Thanksgiving. It is no coincidence that I started this blog on this day. One primary secret to an amazing life is Gratitude. In my own life, it has done the most to positively transform my life. As I reflect on the last 10 years of my life, one thing I am most grateful for is my lovely lady. Margie has been pushing me outside my comfort zone for as long as I can remember. One of the first examples was putting flyers up for my first book signing. We were in the village of Greendale where I worked for the Post Office. The book signing was to be held at a local coffee shop. I had 2 businesses in mind to put flyers at. One of them being the coffee shop. Margie looked at me and simply said, “No, we are going to ask to put them up at every business in the village!” I was tempted to tell her that I thought she was on the brink of insanity, but she was so cute and so insistent. What I thought was going to be a five minute ordeal inside my comfort zone, ended up being a half a day where she would say, “I’ll go in with you.” Then she would push me towards the counter and disappear and make me promote myself. It made the book signing the success it was. Not much has changed two books later.

There is so much in my life to be grateful for. Just today I was recalling how my grandmother used to make pans of barbeque chicken. The whole family would come over and eat all of the delicious food she would make. These days I am grateful for walks in nature and trips to the gym with my mom and wonderful meals created by my beautiful Margie, who is an amazing cook. I think my Grandmother would have really loved her. I know I do. Come to think of it, that is another secret to an amazing life. Find someone who will love you, but push you outside of your comfort zone and make you develop into the best version of yourself. It doesn’t hurt if they are lovely like my lady.

Today, there is lots for me to feel grateful for. The ability to share with you for 10 years. The ability to reach over 50,000 people in over 200 countries. The fact that my partner also happens to be the most beautiful lady in the world and I get to see her on the pillow next to me every night! That fact that we have wonderful memories to reflect on and the possibility to create even more! Today, I would be so grateful if you would share this website with at least one other soul you think could benefit from learning secrets to an amazing life. Together we can reach many more souls. Maybe in the Congo? Maybe in Greenland? Maybe in the town next to yours. We are all one global family of 8 billion.

LOSING YOUR KEYS CAN MAKE IT SO CLEAR πŸ”‘

This blog post was influenced by a story I heard relayed by Wayne Dyer. I like Wayne. He was a great guy. This story really helps clarify a point a lot of us have a hard time visualizing. Come along for this little story, won’t you? It begins with a lady who loses her keys in her apartment. As she begins to look for them, the power goes out. It is completely dark. She looks out her window and notices that a street light is on. She thinks to herself, “Why am I looking in here in the dark? I am going to go outside where the street light is on.” So, she proceeds to begin to look in the street for her keys. Soon, the neighbor sees her looking and comes over. “What are you looking for?” He asks. She explains she is looking for her keys. He offers to help and they continue to look for roughly half an hour. Trying to get a better idea where to look, the neighbor inquires where she might have dropped them. “In my apartment.” she replies calmly. He asks her why on earth she would be out here looking for them if she knew they were in her apartment. She explains the power outage and how it is too dark and difficult to look inside, so she came out there where the street light was on.

This story may sound crazy, and it is. Why would someone look outside for something they know is inside? Yet, is that not what we do when we are trying to fix a problem in our life? We know the work needs to be done on the inside, but it is often to dark and difficult in there. We then switch to the outside world where things are far easier to tackle. Just like the lost keys example, we can search all we want for a solution, but unless we look inside, we will never find what is missing. Much like the approach Western medicine takes, if you will allow me to mix my metaphors, we are merely treating the symptoms and not the cause. There is no way that we will ever have a cure.

THEY DID IT FOR YOU!πŸŽ„

Anyone who knows me even a little, and most of you who read this, are aware that I do not like winter, the cold or anything associated with it. In my neck of the woods, everything looks dead and brown. As winter progresses, the snow turns grey and black with pollution and dirt. This means, everywhere you drive, you see dead brown trees. Dirty snow with brown grass underneath. These are not the most inspiring sights.

Any indication these things are on the way tends to dim my enthusiasm. So, when on November 1st, I see people putting up Christmas decorations I mumble to myself as I am driving by. That is until I read this picture above. It made me think how much putting up decorations may improve the mood of those doing it. In addition, their efforts bring light and a sense of joy to the afore-mentioned dark and gloomy atmosphere. I always saw winter decorations as a sort of harbinger of doom. I know, not very cheery for a motivational author. Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder in a state with 9 months of winter will do that to you. Now, however, I see them in an entirely different light. Pun intended. These decorations, while alerting me to the frosty temps and snow about to come, add a splash of color and cheer to a bleak environment. Some of them are even rather humorous.

I once heard Tony Robbins list in his grateful journal going to the movies. Some people grumble at the price of a ticket, which could be understandable. He told us to focus on something else. There were people who spent days, months and often years, not to mention millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of dollars to create 2 hours worth of entertainment for you. Actors studied and practiced their lines. They spent countless hours on set, in make up chairs and more. Directors searched and tried countless camera angles and dialogue. Make up artists worked to get looks just right. Set designers. People in the computer graphics department. Writers and story board creators. Audio people. Lawyers. There are so many people involved it is crazy. Sit through the credits once and look at the people involved. Those are just the ones listed. There are countless others whose names did not make it on the big screen. The janitors who cleaned up after. The security who guarded the set. All of this so we could laugh, cry, scream or be held in suspense for a few hours. I had my own television show for a while. Trust me when I tell you, there is so much more that goes into creating content than you can imagine.

The one thing that changed my whole experience with both of these situations, and thus my level of joy and happiness, was a change in perception. When it comes to living an amazing life, is not joy and happiness what matters? Wayne Dyer once said, “When we change the way we look at things; the things we look at change.” I think this is true in both of these occasions. Next time you see a feature film, or your neighbors Holiday decorations, send them a thought of gratitude for their efforts to bring you joy. They are making our world a better and brighter place.

THE ONE IMPORTANT THING πŸš•

Listening to an audiobook by Joseph Murphy this morning and heard this gem. For those of you who do not know who he is, allow me to enlighten you. Joseph Murphy is the author of the book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. (among many others) It is one of the 3 things I give people when they are looking to turn their life around. Definitely in my top 5 books. This was another one of his books, but I think it is a powerful story that drives home a very important point.

In my second book, Living the Dream, I devote a whole section on the importance of having a life mission statement. If you would like to know more about that, I invite you to check out that book for that, and many other life-changing tools and strategies. One thing that I hear a lot at seminars and book signings is “I am not too good at being a multi-tasker.” I assure people that is a good thing. The human mind was designed to focus on one task at a time. When we busy our selves with trying to do many things at once, we end up doing many things half-ass, if you will excuse the language. It would serve us far better if we were to take one task at a time, focus on and complete it, and then move on to the next. It also usually ends up taking less time as well. Why do you think the most efficient manner of getting large projects done is an assembly line?

Many people have a hard time grasping or believing this as we have been fed the ‘multi-tasking lie’ for far too long. The story Dr. Murphy shares in his book is a great example. I will give you the abridged version here. A man hails a taxi cab. Climbs in and tells the cabby he wants to go to the airport. About 5 minutes into the drive he asks to be taken back home because he forgot his passport. Cabby turns around and takes him there. Back on the way to the airport he stops him again. “Can we stop at my work? I forgot my wallet.” he says. So, the cabby again turns around. Leaving his work, the cab driver asks him if he is sure he is ready to go to the airport. “Oh yes.” the man replies. No sooner do they start off, the man stops him again. “Can we stop and see my mother? I forgot to tell her goodbye.” Cab driver checks the meter and again turns around. Hopping back in the cab after his mother’s house, the man proceeds to give the cab driver multiple other locations to go to. Finally, the cab driver drops him off at the police station because he realizes he is insane.

This may seem like an amusing and comical story, but it is exactly what we do to our brain when we do not have a clear goal or purpose. If we attempt to do too many things at once, we are like the man in the cab. We are giving our brains multiple locations to travel to at the same time. The brain works best when it does not have to switch focus again and again. There was a study done that stated it takes the average person 23 minutes to get into a zone with a project they are working on. What do you think happens when we are switching things up every ten minutes? The brain is like the cab driver who thought, “I am going to drop this man off at the police station. He is insane.” Terrible thing when your own brain thinks you are insane. If you want to complete multiple tasks, it is better to focus on one and do it to the best of our ability and then move on to the next. They will get done quicker and with better quality. Same with an overall purpose in your life.

WHEN NECESSARY, USE WORDS

On this site, we never push a particular faith. I feel what faith you follow is your business. We have drawn inspiration from many different beliefs through the years. It is my belief there is good in almost every faith. I think they all have great wisdom that applies to all of us. Take the quote attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi above. There is some debate as to whether he actually said this or not, but that is not important for our message today. This site is about the secrets to an amazing life. One of those secrets is living a life of integrity. There is nothing that would trip us up more than knowing we are not practicing what we preach. It will not only make us look like a hypocrite to others, but make us feel like one to ourselves.

I think it is important to ‘preach’ and share your message. In my own life, that has been one of encouragement and self-empowerment. I routinely share a message of living a positive and fulfilling life. How do you think that would resonate if I went around telling people the value, physically and mentally, of living a positive life, while I was always angry and belittling people? What do you think people would say? My guess is something like “Bugger off!” as my British friends say. Yes, it is important to walk your walk, but it is more than that. If you do not live what you preach, is it even worth the words you speak?

This applies to so many areas, but one that comes to mind often is that of a parent. You can tell your children what is right and wrong a million times, but they will learn more by watching what you do. If your words and actions do not match, they may stop listening all together. As a example of the faith you follow, make sure your actions match the moral directive put forth by that belief. For example, if your faith preaches love and acceptance of all (most do) yet, you find yourself telling racist or sexist jokes at the office, or judging people according to their beliefs, you are not preaching your gospel with your actions. As a parent, if you tell your kids it is important to manage their money, but you are sneaking in their piggy bank for the house payment, you are not preaching your gospel as a parent.

This week, take a second to think of the beliefs you share with others. Then, ask yourself, “How can I demonstrate these beliefs with my actions?” This can be your spiritual beliefs, your parental beliefs, your beliefs about being a good friend, or any other belief you may have. Think of the quote above as you make your way through the week. Preach your gospel through your actions, and when necessary, use words.

IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN YOU THINKπŸ€‘

Another post inspired by the late, great Jim Rohn. If you are not aware who he is, I would suggest you look him up. He was a speaker and coach who taught and inspired Tony Robbins, who, in turn, inspired yours truly. This is something I got out of listening to one of Mr. Rohn’s talks on how to master your life. In his example, it was television he spoke about. At the time of the talk, which was given in 1981 if memory serves, the average person was spending 6 hours of their day watching television. To me, this seemed a bit alarming. I cannot imagine sitting in front of the television for that long. After roughly 2 hours of watching a movie with Margie, I am ready to go to bed. That also has a great deal to do with Margie, but that is another post entirely.

Mr. Rohn would then ask people in the audience how expensive their television was. They would give various prices that made sense in the early 80’s. After listening patiently, he told them they were wrong. The television was far more expensive. The cost was the 6 hours of productivity they were losing by watching it. How much is 6 hours a day worth? What if you spent 6 hours a day working on pursuing your passion? Starting your own business? This got me thinking about how we have changed in the last 40 years? Surely we have learned from all of this lost productivity and the cost attached to it. Well…

Remember that 6 hours a day of television in 1981? Let us look at today’s equivalent of the television – the cell phone. According to a study done in 2022, globally, people average 6 hours and 58 minutes of screen time a day. Almost a full hour more than the television in 1981! That figure has increased an average of 50 minutes a day since 2013. At this rate, in another 5 years we will spend half of our day staring at the palm of our head. So much for the theory of evolution. In fact, in the so-called evolved countries, the problem is even worse. In 2022, the average person in the United States spent 7 hours and 4 minutes on their phone! I am as guilty of this as anyone. I often do research, and even write some of these blogs you are reading on my phone. (Fear not, this one was written on my laptop.) If you want some more amusing, but alarming, statistics on cell phone use, read the picture above.

My point here is not to demonize the cell phone. As I mentioned in the paragraph above, they do serve many useful purposes. You can use them for a GPS device to find your way around. You can find out what movie that was that had Will Smith and Kevin James in it and who the leading lady was. (So you don’t have to use your phone it was Hitch and Eva Mendes respectively) The point here is to think about what those 7 hours of your day staring at your hand are truly costing you. Those people who buy a new phone every year (Can’t imagine this myself) think they are spending on average $370 dollars a year ($555 in the U.S.) are underestimating that price significantly. We work 8 hours a day and demand a fair wage for doing so. Yet, we give away 7 hours of our day to a device that not only does not pay us, but cost us countless dollars in cell phone bills, the building of our dreams and memories we could be creating with our loved ones. I don’t know about you, but that is far too much to pay for a cell phone. It is time we make the cell phone cheaper. Not with our wallet, but with our habits.

ARE YOU SAYING “NO!” TO ANGELS?πŸ˜‡

I am not sure if you heard this story before, but I would love to share it with you. It first came to me while listening to a speech from Jim Rohn. It involves a man who finds himself trapped in his house during a flood. The water is right to his door when a rescue boat rows up and tells him to get in. “No thanks. The Lord will save me.” is the man’s reply. The rain continues and the water is now up to the second story. Another boat comes by and tells him to get in. “I know the Lord will save me.” the man informs the would be rescuers. Things are getting pretty bad and our friend finds himself on the roof of his house. The storm is raging and a third boat can hardly reach him. “This will be your last chance!” They plead with him to get in the boat. “I am not worried. The Lord will save me.” he informs them. Reluctantly, they leave the man. Finally, he is on the ridge of his roof, on his tip toes. His head just above the water he cries out for God to save him. Suddenly, a helicopter appears above him. They start to lower the ladder, but the man waves them off. “God is coming to save me!” He yells over the storm and the helicopter. Moments later, the man drowns and dies. Up at the pearly gates he asked God, “I prayed to you over and over. Why didn’t you save me?” God replies, “I sent 3 boats and a helicopter.”

This story is told mostly to reinforce the axiom “God helps them who help themselves.” To be sure, while praying we need to do our part and take action. No matter what your faith, or what you believe, you need to act and do your part to help yourself. I think it is a humorous and great reminder of that. Another lesson that we should take from this is that help comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and of course people. There are many people I know that have a hard time asking for and accepting help. Whether you believe these people are divinely sent or not, it is important to learn to both ask and accept help with a good deal of grace. Why? Let me ask you this, how do you feel when you are able to help someone? How about someone you really care about? Have you ever been able to help a stranger? How did that feel? If you are someone reading a site about living an amazing life, I am guessing you have done most, if not all, of them. Didn’t it feel good? Especially helping someone you love and care about. However, knowing you made a complete stranger have a little more faith in humanity can give you a little spring in your step.

Now, I ask you this, why would you deny that feeling to someone else? We may feel like we are being a burden to those offering help. In reality, we are providing them an opportunity to feel valued and important. Want to make it even better? When the help has been given, or even before, let them know how much they are appreciated. Again, just remember how good it felt when you were told you were appreciated. There are few things better than being informed how much you, and your help, are valued by the person you are offering assistance to.

When you say ‘no’ to those offering their assistance, you may very well be declining help from those who were sent to you. Whether you believe that is from God, the universe or whatever else that may be, it does not matter. It would be rather uncomfortable, to say the least, to be in the position of the drowning man. To ask God why your prayers were not answered; only to find you turned down angels that were sent to you.

GET PREPARED FOR THE HOLIDAYS!🎁

Here is something many of us are dealing with right now – stress for the holidays. What does this consist of? Is it trying to find the perfect gift? Maybe working extra hours to make sure we can afford the perfect gift? How about shopping in a crowded store filled with crazy people to find that gift? Maybe even stressing about ordering online to make sure our gifts arrive on time? Then there are the get togethers. Will everyone get along? What day can everyone make it? What are we going to eat? Who is going to make it? These are many of the usual stresses. Add to that the extreme weather that is around this time of year and holidays can turn from something we look forward to, into something we dread. It does not have to be that way.

If we are going to stress or spend our time thinking about something for the holidays, I suggest doing so for just one thing. Don’t worry about the perfect meal or what the place settings look like. Don’t even spend too much time worrying about the perfect gift or how hard it will be to find. Instead, let us focus on one thing – creating memories that will leave our hearts full of joy for the entire holiday season. This year, Margie and I already started looking forward to spending the holidays together. I am not thinking about gifts, or even the super delicious food that both her and her daughter create. Those are indeed wonderful blessings to be grateful for. What is in the front of my mind is sharing a cup of hot chocolate with my lady. Holding her hand as we look at holiday decorations. Seeing her sweet smile peaking out from underneath the furry hood of her winter coat. What kind of fun and silly holiday pictures we can take. Christmas cards we can receive and send to friends and family. Watching holiday movies together with a bowl of popcorn or some other fun snack.

From baking cookies together, to religious and family traditions, there are so many ways to make joyous holiday memories. Holidays can be tough for those of us who have lost someone near and dear to us. Nothing will change the feelings of loss and missing them we have, but why not try recreating some of the fond memories you had with them? How about doing something to honor those we miss during the holidays? A special ornament we put out? Maybe making a dish they enjoyed eating? Including others in our holiday celebration can be a good way of making us feel good. In fact, brightening anyone’s holiday is a sure fire way to make us feel better about our own. Why not see how many people you can bring holiday joy to?

One last suggestion. This year, the accent seems to be on how different we are and the things that divide us. Why not learn about some of the holidays our friends celebrate that our different than ours? Here is a bit of a news flash for some of you – celebrating holidays with those who are different than us does nothing to diminish the celebration of our own beliefs.

WHY BE KIND?πŸ€”

How about this for a powerful picture? The point is fairly clear. It is so easy to get upset with our fellow humans. They can certainly give us plenty reasons to do so, can’t they? One of my annoyances lately is reckless driving. It really is on the rise. So much so, our city is now issuing a fine of $10,000 for reckless driving. This may seem extreme, but when you consider the cost in both money and life that this can cause, it is understandable. There is also no reason for it. The streets are not a video game. It used to really upset me to see this, and it still does on occasion. One goofy phrase I have introduced into my vernacular is “Maybe they have to poop.” Let us be honest. We have all been there. Innocently driving home when all of a sudden… nature calls. In an effort to reach a destination where it is safe to conduct our business we may have to bend a few traffic rules. I am not sure if there is a rise in intestinal distress, but I sure find myself using this phrase a little more often these days.

It is not just crazy drivers that this applies to. I recall a story that Stephen Covey once told. He was on the subway with a man whose children were running wild and yelling. As the ride went on the children behaved worse and worse. The father seemed oblivious to their behavior. Finally, Mr. Covey asked the man, “Don’t you think you should do something about your children’s behavior?” The man looked up and looked at his children who were misbehaving and replied, “You are right. The truth is we just left the hospital where their mother passed away. They don’t really know how to act and to be honest, neither do I.” Imagine how he felt after hearing that. It is true that his children were not behaving properly for riding the subway, and Stephen Covey was in his right to speak up and say something. Not knowing the complete story behind someone’s actions can certainly lower the amount of compassion we treat them with. Just like the story above, we never know the full story behind people.

Traumatic childhoods, abusive relationships, and stressful home life may not be excuses to treat someone with no dignity or respect, but it can help us to understand and maybe help that person heal. This is not easy. I still get upset with others and may be tempted to give them something to heal from rather than to help them heal, but stories like the one above are a stark reminder that is not the right course of action. When someone does something to hurt us physically, mentally or emotionally, it can be quite difficult to stop and consider what made them act is such a fashion. If we learn to do so, we can not only reduce our stress, but help others and the world we live in.