WHY ME??? WHY YOU???

The other day I had a discussion with my friend Terri. We discussed how both of us have bought ‘new to us’ cars that have proven to be lemons. Mine is a PT Cruiser who in the first 5 months of owning has cost me $2000 in repairs and still runs rough. Daily I am looking forward to going back to driving an SUV. Terri’s plight is much the same. She bought a car and now things have started to go south.

What does our car trouble have to do with living an amazing life? Terri asked me a very thought-provoking question. That question was this, “How to keep calm, cool and collected when life is throwing me disappointment and struggles?” This is an excellent question and one I think we have all asked at some point or another. No matter who you are or how together you have your life, at some point life will hand you a bunch of lemons in the form of challenges and disappointments. This is never fun.

How do we stay calm, cool and collected as Terri so wonderfully put it? The first point I suggest is to gain perspective. In our situations, we bought a car that turned out to be not what we had thought. This can be especially hard when you are truly excited and then get let down. By her sharing her story with me, we found out neither of us were alone in our troubles. This can be a healing itself. The next thing we need to do is work on what questions we ask ourselves, or more importantly, what answers we give ourselves. It is all to easy to ask the question “why me?” when things go wrong. God knows I asked this when I found out all that needed to be repaired on my car. What you answer is more important. I am a fan of putting everything that happens to me in my life to work for me. When I asked myself, after my last vehicle was totaled while parked in front of my house by a elderly man visiting from Greece as I was sleeping, why did I get a car that was filled with issues? Truly neither of them were my fault. I could focus on how unfair it all was and how much of a victim I was, but that would not serve me and only serve to make me feel helpless and terrible.

Here is another secret, what you focus on in any given situation can literally transform that situation. What should we focus on? Here are two things I suggest; first, what you have to be grateful for. In my case, I was not in the car when it happened. His car was so badly damaged he could not drive away and not be held responsible. He and everyone else was safe for the most part. Let me be perfectly clear right here, this is not an easy habit to do. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for in the middle of a challenging situation takes practice and patience. When you master it, however, it will soften the blow of disappointment you encounter.

The second thing I recommend focusing on is what is positive about the situation, or another way to word it is how to use what happened. What did I find positive about my car being totaled while I was inside sleeping? Like I mentioned, I was inside sleeping for one. Another is maybe there was an impending problem with my car that could have surfaced while driving 70 miles per hour on the freeway, that now will never happen. Another great thing that happens when challenges arise is you find out who really supports you. This is something that can only happen during a challenge. Someone can tell you they will be there for you, but until the ‘chips are down’ you never know for sure. In this case there were so many who were. There were also other benefits of this awful situation. I became better at dealing with rental car companies. Something I just would not randomly do. Also got practice researching used vehicles to purchase. Obviously I still have a way to go on that one. There was the extra practice in asking for and receiving help. I have written about that in the past, but allowing others to help you can be giving them a great gift as well.

All of those skills I would not have had a chance to learn if my car had not been unfairly totaled. Did it inconvenience me? Absolutely. It happened in the coldest month of the year. Did that suck? Yes indeed. Still I gained valuable skills and appreciation for both patience and people. My love and I had to learn new fun ways to entertainment which serve us to this very day. Even having the new car problems has put me into contact with some truly amazing people.

We all will have challenges in life. Remember you are not alone. Take time to focus on what will serve you. Be grateful for the lessons and look for the positive. This will not be easy, but if you keep at it the rewards will be a far happier, and yes more amazing life.

THINK OF THIS…

Here is a quote I have always enjoyed. So much so it is in my book A Happy Life for Busy People. What I am encouraging you to do today is stop and think about this for a minute. Let us picture taking one of those wonderful long hot showers. Maybe in one of those spa showers where water comes at you from every angle. Using your favorite body cleanser lathered all over. Before I lose you in a blissful shower fantasy, let me ask you a question. Even after this amazing shower how would you feel 3 days later if you didn’t bathe again? Probably not so fresh. Why not? Well as we go through life working, playing or even sleeping there is dirt, sweat and even oils from our own bodies that start to collect and make our appearance, if not our smell unpleasant to be around.

The same holds true for our emotional well-being. Even if you just finished reading an amazing life-changing book (please see above) or attended a seminar by said author, things may not last so long. Is that because the material didn’t work? Absolutely not, no more than the soap did not work in the afore mentioned shower example. You could leave the book or seminar very motivated filled with great tools to positively change your life. That might last 2 days, or even a week. Eventually, however, you will get ‘motivationally dirty’ again. Just like the dirt that collects on the body, there is emotional dirt that collects in our spirits. Negative coworkers, the media, traffic jams. They can all chip away at the feeling of happiness and motivation we have. That is why it is so crucial we replenish our emotional and happiness reserves.

How can we do that? Keep something motivational to listen to in the car. Maybe subscribe to one of the free apps on your phone that sends you inspiring quotes every day. I certainly recommend signing up to follow this site daily to fill your inbox with tips to improve the quality of life every day.

So next time you find yourself feeling a little down, remember to take your motivational shower and wash off all that negativity.

FOREVER YOUNG

I’m sure we all know some old 18 year olds and some young 80+ year olds. What is the secret to staying young? Mindset. Ok, that sounds easy but how does one keep a young mindset? This can be a challenging thing to do the older we become. Pain, heartache all can leave one feeling older by the minute.

In my life there have been three great keys to staying young. First, surround yourself with people who have a young mindset. There is nothing better than a friend who encourages you to laugh and to live. Take chances, try new things.

The second key to staying young has been learning to take care of my body. To live life to the fullest you need energy. The best energy can come from being physically fit and healthy. You do not want to run out of gas climbing the mountain of success. Incorporate a daily walk in the park into your routine. Even 10 minutes of exercise can get you on the right path. Eat healthy meals more often. Trust me, some of them taste amazing.

The third and final key to staying young may be the most important. Grow and maintain your sense of humor. There is no anti-aging product that works as well as laughter. It truly is the best medicine. Taking life too seriously is the quickest way to grow old before your time. Watch a funny movie with the one you love. Draw a silly picture. Learn one new joke a day. Just keep that smile on your face.

Feel free to share any tips you have for staying young in the comments below.

LIVE LIKE YOU’RE ON VACATION

If you can belive it, this is me at work. Why on earth am I wearing a tropical shirt and hat from Jamaica? It was all inspired from a line in a song by the rock band Kiss. The line is this, Don’t need to wait for an invitation . You gotta live like you’re on vacation. This line was the beginning of a great quest for me. Personally I love tropical vacations. Literally I am transformed into a different person when I step off the plane. It is a different mindset. Anyone who has went on vacation knows exactly what I am talking about. Working on my upcoming book Living the Dream the question foremost in my mind was how can we take this mindset back with us like a valuable souvenir? How can we tolerate bosses who insult us or workplaces that are negative? One I have been working on lately. How can we tolerate freezing temperatures with no sun when we would much rather be at the beach?

While pondering this question for months on end I discovered a great and powerful secret. One I am going to share with you free of charge right here in this blog post. Those of you who will be able to wrap your head around this secret will at once understand the freedom it provides for anyone who uses it. I have personally used this secret everyday since I discovered it. Not only has it provided me a great sense of freedom, but it has made my life so much more enjoyable. Here is the great and powerful secret.

There is no law of physics that states your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.

I encourage you to read that statement again slowly. Ponder what that means for you. Cleaning the toilet? Why have your mind focused on the task at hand and all the not so pleasurable things that go with it. Working out? Think of how great you will feel with your new body on the beaches of Fiji. That is why a lot of us listen to music or other such things while we workout. I am in the gym 5 days a week and I can promise you that would not be possible without the encouragement of Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas or the music of Motley Crue and Shabba Ranks.

When we realize this power, it is important to note the two sides of it. When you are in a not so pleasant situation. Say working at the post office with a boss who walks the thin line between sane and insane, hypothetically. Then you can imagine being on the vacation that job allows you to save for. What beach will you go to? What will you see while snorkeling? Before you know it, the time clock will tell you it is time to go.

Here is the other fun part of this. It can really benefit you to be fully present during the good times. Once my lady had a bath with scented bath salts, a few candles and a glass of wine waiting for me. (yes I do have one amazing lady and don’t I know it) Now I knew this was going to be a great experience so I tried to soak it in with all of my senses. I felt the warm water relax my muscles. I took a deep breath and enjoyed both the scent from the bath salts as well as the steam. I took time to really enjoy the taste of the wine, the glow of the candles. I hope you are getting the idea. Do this with every pleasure, big and small, that life gives you. How many times have we driven somewhere only to park and wonder who drove when we were the only person in the car? This can be good if we are fighting rush hour, but if we are taking a drive to the grocery store via the parkway, take time to enjoy the scenery. Enjoying a great meal? Take time to savor every bite. The smell, the taste, the texture of the food in your mouth. We are preparing to go on vacation to Jamaica in November and I am already excited to soak that all in.

Here is my advice to you. Be present when life is pleasurable. When it is not, send your mind on vacation. Go skiing, or camping. Think of an especially good memory you have or maybe something you really are looking forward to.

Remember, your mind and body do not have to be in the same place at the same time.

NEVER LET THEM GET YOU DOWN!

This is a rather silly picture, but can give us a great idea. What if we only took the good out of every negative situation we were faced with? Turned every insult into a compliment? I can tell you it would drive those insulting us crazy. Someone calls you lazy? Thank them for encouraging you for being more active. Someone calls you unattractive? Thank them for keeping you humble and reminding you that your special beauty does not appeal to everyone. If someone dares to tell you that you will not amount to anything, I dare you to high five them (in the hand not the face) and say with all the excitement you can muster “thank you for motivating me to be all that I can be!”

If all this sounds a little like putting on ‘rose colored glasses’ or looking at the glass as half full, well it is. We must realize the very power in doing just that. Unfortunately, what the world may give us is not 100% in our control. How we react to it, or what we do with it is. If we let insults or situations to hurt us or bring us down, we let those situations win. Frank Sinatra, the famous singer and performer once said “the best revenge is massive success.” That is so true. Let us begin today by taking every negative thing that comes in our life and turning it on its head. It will take some practice, but I promise you will be smiling more and crying less. Not to mention, those cruel souls saying those mean things may give up in frustration.

I FINALLY GOT IT!!

This is me…I believe that I am lost in thought here. At least that is what I am telling myself. If you have read my book or followed this blog for any length of time you know that I am an advocate of filling your life with motivational and inspirational things daily. In addition to that I recommend listening to them over and over again. Why would we want to listen to something we have already listened to? Wouldn’t we be better served listening to something new? Actually we should do a mixture of both. As to why we should listen to the same message several times, it is to get the most out of it.

Depending on our mood at the time we can hear and look at things in an entirely different way. Another reason is that as we experience different things in life we can appreciate things differently. Getting married changes our perspective on relationships. Being in a different economical bracket can change our opinions on what places to eat at. It doesn’t have to even be such major changes. Meeting new people, learning new things can all change how we view the world. Sometimes it takes hearing something several times for it to click.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but just the other day a concept I had understood on an intellectual level finally made sense emotionally. You could say I finally got the message in my spirit. That message is you have to give to get. The first time I heard it the message sounded like a paradox. How can you give the very thing you wish to receive? If you are looking for financial freedom how does giving away some of your money help? This was made clear through the help of many of my mentors. First, Earl Nightingale, the dean of personal development. Earl described the life some people live as sitting in front of a woodstove saying “Give me heat and then I will put in the wood.” It just doesn’t work that way. Zig Ziglar, another great speaker, put it this way, “You can’t pay anyone to do your pushups.”

Still the one that finally made it click was a video by Greg Plitt the late fitness model and motivator. I was close to hyperventilating on a treadmill while watching one of his videos. In this video he talked about people who go to the gym for the month of January and then give up because they are not seeing any results. He used a very great analogy. Imagine your body as a lump of cold clay. You place that clay on a pottery wheel and begin to try and shape it. You put some water on it as well as the friction and heat of your hands. What happens? At first not much. The clay has been sitting like that for quite some time, so even if you push very hard it will not move much. Now, keep spinning it and rubbing it with your hands and the clay begins to warm up. That is like starting to go to the gym when you are out of shape. Your body has not moved for years, now suddenly you are moving and working. It is like pushing on the cold clay, it doesn’t change very much. After the clay begins to heat up, however, it begins to get easier and easier to mold. If you stop and let the clay get cold again, you have to start all over. Most people just get to the place where they are about to see changes, or when the clay is warm if you will, and then stop. If only they had pushed on a little longer they would have seen the beginning of the results they were seeking.

Ok, great story, but what does it all mean. I realized then and there (maybe lack of oxygen had something to do with it) that everything truly worthwhile in life I had to give something to get. When I learned to bartend I studied great communicators as well as drink recipes. When I was getting in better shape I had given up some of my free time to the gym.

If you are looking at a specific goal take some time to think what you may have to give up to get that goal and start giving!

PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST

This is a picture of me on the flight to Las Vegas this past December. I took my lady there for her birthday. Even on vacation my mind looks for ideas for improving the quality of my life that I can share with others, including you who are reading this at the moment. 

Here is the idea that came to me in this particular situation. If you have ever been on an airplane you have received the safety talk. This consists of direction on complicated matters such as how to fasten a seat belt, or notice where a sign that says ‘exit’ is located. I have heard this educational talk many times and can almost give it myself.

 One of the last things they talk about is what to do in the event of a ‘water landing’ which sounds very much like crash to me. In discussing how to put on the oxygen mask that will fall from the ceiling they make it very clear “you must put your mask on before attempting to place one a child.” 

This addressed an issue that can sometimes be difficult for a lot of people, including myself. Those who really care about the well-being of others can often do so to the detriment of themselves. When we do not take care of ourselves we end up not having as much, or being able to give our best to others. I use the analogy of trying to fill a glass from an empty pitcher, just doesn’t work. The reason they tell you to put your mask on before attending to children is that you can only help them if you are alive to do so. 

Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it serves a point. Always remember to take care of yourself. Only by being your best, can you give your best to others. 
If you will excuse me that picture inspired me to take care of myself by getting some rest.