A FREE CURE FOR ALL

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These days everyone is in the market for an all-in-one product. Hair and body wash, works on your dishes as well as the dog! That sort of thing. Who can blame us? In a world where there seems so much to do and so little time, those types of products can save us not only time and money, but stress and headaches as well.

Did you know there is an all-in-one product for your soul? That’s right! It can not only relieve your stress, put your problems in perspective, but can also do the same for others! That is helping someone with their problems. It may seem selfish to say altruism can do wonders for you, but it is true. Most of you know when I was down and out on my luck and my job had reduced my hours to a mere fifth of what they once were, I spent the extra time helping in a homeless shelter. Not only did that allow me to take my wonderful people skills to those who could really use a smile, but it helped me even more. Having a job that only was supplying me with 10 hours a week at the time seemed like a nightmare. When I saw and was able to help those who may have not been able to work for several years and did not even have a place to call home, I felt rather guilty for worrying about my problem. It seemed rather small in comparison.

Even more profound, was the fact that a lot of these people were happier than I was. They found the joy in something as simple as a smile. They knew what was truly valuable and taught me a great deal about maintaining a positive outlook in a challenging situation. When all was said and done, I can assure you no matter how much I helped them, I was the one who actually received the greatest help.

It doesn’t have to be the homeless or any other challenged demographic, although I would encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It can be as simple as taking time out of a busy day to give your friend some of your undivided attention. Not only will you be doing a great service to your friend and strengthening your friendship as well, but you will leave with a peaceful joy in your heart at the very least. Knowing you are not alone in the problems of the world can help ease your stress and put a little spring in your step!

IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS 

Angels, what exactly are they? If you look up the definition online it will tell you they are “spiritual beings superior to humans in power and intelligence.” Where do angels come from? You can often hear people say when someone has passed away that they have become their guardian angel. I’m not 100% sure that this is true as I am still alive, but it is something that certainly sounds wonderful.

This post is not about death, what happens after we pass away or even angels in the biblical sense. It is about our daily angels. Daily angels are the people I truly believe bless this world. When you see a young person open the door for an elderly or physically challenged person, to me that person in acting angelic. There will be a section in my upcoming book filled with examples of these people and what we can learn from them. I’m going to include a few of them here as well, both specifically and the kind of people in general that I believe qualify as angels.

The other night I was out with my lady at a friend’s birthday party. A gentleman I have known since I was very young, grade school age, came up to talk to me. Not only was he effusive in his praise, but let me know that he was proud of the life I was living and the accomplishments of both my lady and I. He shared a lot of the good memories he had of us and left me feeling very happy and good about myself. Someone who brings only joy and positivity to others and helps them feel good about themselves fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say Scott is a living angel

My aunt has never really had a high paying job, lived in a glamorous house or even driven a car. On top of this she has had five different kinds of cancer and beat them all. How does she manage to do this? A great (although strange at times) sense of humor. She makes herself and others around her laugh. She never gave in to any of her health challenges, and continues to live on the ‘sunny side of the street’. Maintaining and sharing a positive attitude in the face of such personal challenges fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say my aunt Virginia is a living angel.

One final personal example. Sometimes doing the simplest acts with the certain attention to detail and compassion and love for your fellow human beings makes you an angel in my book. There are two gentleman I routinely run into at coffee shops I frequent. They serve delicious drinks and they do so quickly. If you love coffee as much as I do that can mean the world, but it does not make them an angel. What does is their attention and care for their customers. They get to know you, care about you and are not afraid to show it. When you can make customers feel like friends and bring people joy while you are merely doing your job that fits my definition of an angel. Therefore, Curtis and Kyle are living angels.

Whether you bring light into the world with a smile for those you meet, listen to a friend who is sharing their troubles or a host of other selfless acts I believe that is what makes an angel. Let us recognize all of the people in our lives who fill our souls with love and hope on a daily basis. We are daily in the company of angels.

This post would not be complete without the mention of two very important things. First, my own personal little angel, my love, my Margie. I could tell you all the hard work she puts in around our house in terms of keeping it clean and full of love. I could tell you the countless smiles she has brought with all the effort she puts into her cakes that bring joy to the lives of everyone who orders one, but I need to let you in on something else. Currently I have been going through a lot of personal challenges in my own life. Some that must also make life very difficult for her as well. The more love, patience and understanding she shows me on a daily basis the more I see I am blessed to have my own little angel next to me every day.

The final piece of information I am going to leave you with is this. The world never has enough angels. If you can’t seem to find all that many in your life I encourage you to really begin to look for them. If you are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the angels you see, let them know. Whether you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, do yourself and the world a favor, become an angel. Look for ways you can serve your fellow human beings with love, compassion and joy.

Feel free to recognize some living angels you know in the comments below or by sharing this post with them.

WHO WE ALL SHOULD BE

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe you should do your best to be who you are deep in your soul. So what is up with the title of this post? Well in case you didn’t catch the picture allow me to tell you. Whether you are a farmer or an artist. Whether you work at a coffee shop or the post office. Whether you are short, tall, black,white or some other beautiful shade we should all be somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody. 

What does this really mean? Let give you a great example of this in action. There was a class on successful business being given by a man who was a CEO of a successful company. After several weeks the final exam came. When the students reached the final question they were shocked to see it was worth 50% of their grade. The question? What was the name of the cleaning lady that worked until their class began every morning. 

The point of this was that as a business owner, and dare a day to be successful in any area of life, we must realize every person has great value. If that cleaning lady had not attended to their classroom it would have been filled with dirt, trash, possibly insects and other pests. 

This weekend take the next two days to stop and offer appreciation for the people you come across. Not only will you give them a good feeling, and thus give yourself one as well, but that is how we should treat each other. 

Make this an ongoing habit and you will find yourself surrounded by happy and loyal friends in great abundance. Feel free to share this post to inspire others and share your story of showing appreciation in the comments below. 

ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS TO DO

To me this is one of the most difficult things in life to accomplish. Someone cuts you off in traffic and almost causes an accident. How do you not launch into a monologue that would make a sailor blush? A person is always negative and unpleasant, why waste any of your positive energy on them?

I find there are several reasons why you might want to do this, but I will focus on two of them for brevity. First is obvious and altruistic reason – they need it. Perhaps their angst is caused by people giving it to them as well and your kindness could turn their world around. Perhaps your kind words could thaw a cold heart? Could turn a frown upside down?

All of these reasons lead us to our second reason. It is one of the greatest opportunities you may have to change the world. If you can turn an unpleasant person into a pleasant person, even if only for a moment that can have a ripple effect. Next time they are inclined to give someone a not so friendly greeting or response maybe they will think of the kind way in which you treated them. Maybe it will even have them feeling a little guilty for not passing it along. That is ok, whatever it takes to remove them from their created work of negativity.

With each and every soul we touch we become closer to a world that will be more loving for each and every one of us. Next time you see this person they may even remember how you treated them last time you saw each other and extend to  you a little more kindness thus making your world a little more sunny. So do it for yourself, do it for them and do it for the world. It will not be easy, but it sure will be worth it.

One more thing. Being able to do so will give you a great sense of accomplishment. You will leave with a better feeling about yourself as well as a sense of pride.

THE GRAND SOLUTION

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We all have times when life seems to be handing us lemons.  Sometimes we can even question the purpose or meaning of it all.  I know there are even times when we can feel useless.  I know, I’ve been there myself.  There is a grand solution that can not only help is during these times,  but help others,  and the world at large.

What is this solution?  Before I tell you exactly let me assure you that everyone has access to this solution.  In fact, the worse your life seems to be or the more unpleasant things you have been through the better you will be at this. OK enough of the hype, what is this solution that will help everyone including ourselves?

Altruism, that is helping others.  If this sounds like an additional effort or some new age idea it really isn’t.  It is easier than you may think and can be backed up by science.  Allow me to explain.  One of the best ways to help others is by sharing our story, our natural talents or just things we enjoy. Recently I have become friends with a wonderful lady named Ann. She shared with me some of her life experiences and asked me what direction she should go in.  After only a few minutes of learning about her it was clear Ann had a lot to share.  She overcame a weight issue,  cared for a love one and learned a lot about health and fitness.  I’m excited to say she is now sharing her story at AnnieOrganic her own website.
My beautiful lady Margie is another example of this.  Her talents are too many to number and she is always eager to put them to good use.  Whether she is making a cake for someone’s celebration,  jewelry to compliment an outfit, or just lending a comforting ear to someone who needs it she is happy to share what she knows and help teach others.

So what if your thinking “I don’t have that kind of talent” trust me everyone has something.  Have you every overcame a hardship in your life?  Then you can share how you did it. Ever suffer a painful experience?  Then you can comfort others and assure them they are not alone.  Have a hobby you enjoy?  Consider teaching others or joining a like minded group.

What does all this accomplish and how does it work?  By helping others we give our life meaning and get outside of ourselves.  It also helps us better understand ‘there is a reason for everything’ when seemingly negative things happen in your life,  you will nite find yourself asking “how can I use this? ” and understand even in just sharing your experience can bring a sense of comfort and peace to someone else.
So next time life seems to be getting the better of you,  get out and find a way to help someone else. Let’s face it, the world needs more of that.

IS HAPPINESS HARDER TO FIND???

“If you want other to be happy, practice compassion. if YOU want to be happy, practice compassion”

-The Dalai Lama

 

Here are some interesting facts I pulled out of this months Success Magazine according to a May report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here are some interesting facts for the years 1999-2010

Suicide in adults age 35-64 rose 28.4%

it rose 48.6% for men in their 50’s

it also rose 59.7% for women age 60-64

So what solution does this article recommend for this issue? Altruism, or simply put, helping others. I know to a lot of you this may sound “new age-ish” but let me assure you it is not. Shawn Achor, author of the book Before Happiness and author of the article cites recent positive psychology research. I am going to cite not so recent Neil past events. There was a time a few years back my life was a mess, my job at the post office was in limbo at best, my relationship had ended and I just seemed more depressed every day. Now of course this is before I started researching and applying lots of the knowledge on display here and in my new book. Back to that time however, I didn’t know which way to go. My friends and family had grown tired of listening to my “woe is me” attitude and quite frankly, so did I. So seeing the post office didn’t care to use my talents I decided to head down to the meal program I helped at once a month. It was not the day that I normally helped, but figured they could always use an extra hand. That simple decision impacted my life dramatically. First, it put in prospective my problems. I still had a job, albeit barely. I was healthy. I had a roof over my head. the people we served that day could only make claim to a few of those, some not even one. Not only that, their expressions of gratitude and genuine wishes of goodwill for me were overwhelming. By the end of the day not only had I pretty much forgotten about my problems I was feeling grateful and even happy. Seeing that you can make someone else smile has a profound effect. Looking back that may have been the beginning of my passion to serve and help others. Which was later brought to the forefront by my amazing friends Carmen and Alyssa. (More on them tomorrow.) The great thing about helping others is it really is one situation in life that is win/win. When you bring joy or just simply a smile to the heart of another person they obviously feel good, but seeing that reaction and knowing you played a part in it brings a joy like nothing I have ever experienced. you do not have to help at a meal program or a shelter to have this effect. Notice people who do not normally receive a lot of compliments. try giving them a sincere and kind word or maybe even just a smile and hello. When, at Christmas time, the post office becomes the personification of chaos I cannot begin to tell you how much the words “Thank you for your hard work during the holiday season” mean. Not to mention all the homemade cookies and candy! So perhaps a kind word to a busy cashier, or an extra tip for a busy waitress this weekend. You may not stay to see the results, but knowing you had a positive effect on a person’s day can make your day as well. So go ahead and be kind for selfish reasons. If we all were this world would be an amazing place!