This is a great litmus test to put our words through. How many times a day do we let something escape our lips that we shouldn’t? Having these 3 questions in mind would help prevent that from happening. Remember you cannot unsay something.
How do we keep these questions front and center? Use this picture as your screensaver, pertain jot them down on an index card you carry with you. Then, put it into practice. Try doing this just for a conversation here and there. Eventually, it well become a way of not only speaking, but thinking as well.
So you don’t feel too down on yourself when you first try this, allow me to share my experience. I tried this at work and all I can say is “wow!” I never realized how many useless negative things I say there! Even someone who writes positivity for a living! Although a bit taken aback, I was excited. There is so much room for me to improve my conversation skills.
Try this yourself. I’m about to meet a friend for coffee and am going to try again. I think you will notice different people bring out different conversations. I would love to hear your experience as well!
Every year I have 2 interesting challenges, my mother’s birthday is February 13th, the day before Valentine’s day. The love of my life, my beautiful Margie, seen in the picture celebrates her birthday on today, December 15th. Which, if you are keeping score at home is a mere 10 days before Christmas.
I used to quip that December and February were my poorest months. That may seem true for obvious reasons. In reflection they are actually 2 of my richest months. How can that be? Allow me to explain.
It took the love of this beautiful woman to remind me that the greatest gifts are people and not things. While I would love to give this woman the world, but budget is somewhere closer to a plastic globe.
By celebrating her birthday today (as with my mother 2 months later) I realize I am celebrating the greatest gift I ever received, this beautiful woman sharing her life with me.
As Christmas comes around it is a good reminder how no material item, no matter how expensive or even how thoughtful would be more valuable than the life and love I have with my Margie.
I would love to say happy birthday to you my love. No matter what gift I can come up with, I will still feel like the one who is getting the best present. Today we are celebrating the birth of the woman who brings so much joy into my life. I love you baby.
I took this picture the other day. Immediately I noticed the daisy. It is as if it were growing straight out of the rocks. You could say it is the rocks that made the daisy stand out. If this flower had been in a meadow it may not have grabbed my attention so much. This struck a chord in me. Beauty can often best be appreciated where there is none. For those of you who are a fan of rocks, I apologize and am not calling them ugly. Even if you are a fan of stone formations, you must admit the daisy does jump out in the picture.
This is not a blog about gardening, rocks or flowers, but one about improving our lives and ourselves. So, how do the two come together here? If we pay attention to the media at all we are filled with stories of hate crimes, war and other not so fabulous information. I don’t even watch the news, but see these things as I log into my email. It can make you feel there is no point in trying to be positive, that the world is going in the wrong direction. Even in our daily personal struggles life can seem overwhelming. We take one step forward and can fall three steps back. You can be tempted to throw in the towel and give up. Your life can seem like…well…a pile of rocks.
This is where the picture comes in. In a world, be it personally or globally, that can seem negative at best, hopeless at worst it is easy to just become another ‘rock’. It is also easy to save expressing our beauty around people that we know we receive it well. There are pluses to that. It helps us gain confidence and expressing our beauty anywhere is better than not expressing it at all. When we express our beauty in a place that truly needs it that is when we truly stand out. In fact, it is the very troubles in our lives that can make our beauty the valuable gift it is. Look at the daisy among the rocks. In a field of daisies we would be hard to pick out just one even though they would all add something special.
A real world example I can think of is Mother Teresa. She could have helped any part of the world. What makes us remember her is her choice to help those who were in some of the ugliest situations. She chose to help the people of Calcutta in India. Her foundation, Missionaries of Charity helps those suffering and dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. As well as soup kitchens and orphanages. Those in the foundation take a vow to provide “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”. Wouldn’t it have been easier to teach children of wealthy parents to read? Absolutely. That would have been a noble deed as well. By expressing her beauty in a place that needed it most she did more than give medical attention to the sick and dying, she gave them something far more valuable. She gave them hope and beauty they needed. She was there daisy among the rocks.
Now you do not have to move to a poor country and help the poor (although the world always needs more of that) to take from this example. Just know when you are tempted to give up in the face of negativity and challenge, whether that challenge comes from abroad or right in your own life, be the daisy. Give beauty to a world that so badly needs it.
Here is your weekend homework. I promise this one will be fun! What are you good at? Last post we looked at what was great about us. Now let’s look at those skills and look at what we do great. I mentioned I enjoy talking to people. What can I do well with that? I can help people who feel lonely. I can use that to inspire people. I listed I love reading and learning new knowledge. What can I do with that? I could read to shut ins, I could read to children, I could share what I learn with people who would like to know.
Ok, so take the list you created yesterday and look at the things that you feel are great about yourself and think about how you can use them. Even if you can’t come up with an answer right now, start thinking about that. Let the thought bounce around your head. Then as you go through your day look for ways to bring what is great about you to the world. This does two very important things. First, it will bring something beautiful to the world. If it is something you are naturally good at, it will shine. People will appreciate you sharing it with them.
Second, it will make your life seem easier. It is naturally what you are good at so while you are working at it you will feel inspired not obligated. You will work harder than something that doesn’t inspire you. You will excel at a rate that will amaze even yourself. By all of this happening you will hear people begin to compliment you. You will be doing something you enjoy so you will have a smile on your face and in your heart. People will pick up on that. You will be sharing your gift with the world and making the world a better place.
So that is this weekends homework. Be on the lookout for ways to use your talents and passions in life. Is it through a side business? Maybe a hobby? In my case I love helping people see the beauty in themselves and the world around them. I do that through this blog, I do it through my first book A Happy Life for Busy People I will continue to do so in my second book. I also realize I can do that while I am working at the post office with my coworkers, while I am DJing as people perform, while I am bartending and serving people cocktails. Here is the greatest thing, while I am doing so I am not only sharing my gift with the world and helping them feel amazing, guess how I feel when I am doing it? That’s right I am feel amazing. It turns any situation into one filled with passion and joy. So find your talents. Find out what is great about you and then find ways to share that with the world. If you need any help with ideas feel free to post here and we will all work together to bring your beauty to the world!
You are awesome!!! Yes you, right there reading this. Day to day we our heads and ears are filled with news of what we are doing wrong, of what we need to improve in our lives. These are all important things to know, but every story has two sides, and you my dear friend, are your greatest story!
Today we are going to pay ourselves back. This activity will need roughly 30 minutes of your time. So feel free to read through this and set it up for when that time is available. Give this gift to yourself.
Ok, ready? Here is what you will need, time and a pen and paper or other way of recording your thoughts. That is it. First step, title your paper “Things that rock about me” or “things that are great about me” Yes I know this sounds crazy, but stick with me I promise you it will be worth it. Now simply start to think about things you do well. If this seems tricky at first that is ok. We are taught to be humble. We are taught focusing on how great we are sounds arrogant. That is not at all what we are talking about here. We are talking about a balancing of the scales. We will be using this information to improve both our lives and the world around us.
Know this, a person who is aware of what is great about themselves, about what is beautiful about themselves can more easily put themselves in situations that allow them to shine and also bring them joy. What would your life and your future be like if you knew you would daily find yourself in situations where you would be using your talents to the fullest? Where you could accomplish great things and do so with ease? Life would be pretty great wouldn’t it? Well today and tomorrows posts will allow us to do that, so please take time to complete this.
Still staring at a blank page or computer document? Let me give you some ideas on my list.
Things that kick ass about Neil
- I enjoy talking to people and learning about them
- I love to read and learn new things
- I never allow myself to feel like a victim
- I work to empower others
Even if you can only come up with one or two for right now do not worry, you can always add to it. Now take your list and put it somewhere you see every day. Put it by the mirror, the coffee maker on your dashboard. Anywhere you will see it. That way when you hear your boss tell you what you lack in, you can know there is something great in you as well. When you see that commercial on TV about how you should be a size 2, you will know while you are working toward being the healthiest version of you that there is already greatness inside of you.
Ok, next post we are going to look at how to use this list to do more than just motivate you and have you feeling good.
Have you ever heard the expression “they look at the world through rose-colored glasses”? It means a person looks at the world through an overly optimistic view. Recently a friend of mine had purchased a mirror with rose-colored glass in it. I had to ask her if that is confusing when trying to decide if an outfit looks good. She laughed and explained what she uses the mirror for is when she is having a bad day or just not feeling overwhelmingly attractive she looks at herself in this mirror and is reminded to see the beauty inside her. Now I am not suggesting everyone go out and purchase just such a mirror, but there is something to be learned here. I am a big proponent of symbolism. In this case the rose-colored glass in the mirror reminds this young lady to see the beauty in herself. So here is our mission for this week; find something that reminds you to appreciate what is beautiful in you. It could be a note from an admirer expressing their appreciation for your beauty. Perhaps a quote about beauty. Even something a little more abstract such as the mirror or a pin with a rose on it. We all have days where we are not feeling overly confident in our appearance or sometimes even our inner beauty. It is important to have that symbol that will strike a chord within us to remind us that we are all beautiful in our own way. The fun part of this, taking it to the next level. What do I mean? When we see the power and importance of having a symbol to remind us of our own inner beauty we will want to share it with others. So if there is a person whom you really admire for their beauty and the unique way in which they express it find a symbol which expresses your thoughts. Include a card with words letting them know what it is for. Examples include “So you may always remember you’re beautiful to me” or “so you always remember you are a beautiful soul” We all have bad days so imagine the joy of giving someone the power to get through those. Not to mention it is important for us all to remember we are all beautiful in our own special way
Diets, Botox, plastic surgery, supplements, 90 day fitness plans. They are over. They promise each of us the result of a more beautiful appearance. The marketing companies spend untold amounts of money playing on our fears and our dissatisfaction with our lives and ourselves. The only more amazing thing is the amount of money, in the billions yes that is Billions with a ‘B’ that we spend trying to find a cure that honestly lies within each of us. What is this secret? How do we turn we use it to transform ourselves and our lives into something extremely beautiful? To answer that let me use an example of two beautiful women in my life. My amazing and lovely friends Stephanie and Kim. What makes these two women so special? Great Question. Both a hard-working women at the jobs they do. both are full-time parents to their children and take great pride in the job of raising their children in the way they believe to be best. They also spend times working on improving themselves through various self-improvement activities. The add physical fitness when time affords. They learn new things that allow them to be even more amazing parents as well as spouses to the men in their lives. Now each of the things mentioned above alone could qualify them as beautiful people and I would certainly say it does. Do they sometimes have issues in all the issues mentioned above? I am sure they would be the first to admit they do. Try as we may nobody is the perfect spouse, they perfect parent or even the perfect employee. So what secret do they use, knowingly or not to be the beautiful people they are? It goes by several names, attitude, approach to life, passion. Call it what you will it has many features. One they focus on what it is going right in their world. They are filled with gratitude and express it to the people and situations they feel it towards. They are proud of the people in their lives and let them know it. Instead of complaining about something their children of spouse has done, they are often thanking them publicly for everything that they do for them. They also offer words of kindness and encouragement to others with no expectation of anything in return. Could these ladies complain of the vast amount of obligations and responsibilities they deal with daily? yes and they would have every right. it is their decision to not only endeavor to complete those responsibilities with the best of their ability, but to go the extra mile for others in their lives. In return others are drawn to them and they find themselves on the receiving end of many good fortunes. The best part bringing that positive and passionate attitude to life creates an inner beauty that shines from inside them all the way through to the outside making them two of the most beautiful people The feelings you create in the souls of others will do more for your beauty than a years worth of Botox treatments. Several trips to the spa or any other outer activity we may try. I’m sure you may know people like this in your life. I myself am fortunate enough to have many more. if you happen to meet Stephanie and Kim you will be able to see what true beauty looks like. I am grateful for them and for all of my friends who show me many different definitions of the word beautiful. so if you are looking to increase your beauty before you run to the spa, or order that next miracle product try looking inside or yourself. Your soul is the ultimate beauty product
Here is a little story I read on-line that started me thinking on the importance of watching what we say to others. Not only is it a great story to share with children, but I think a few adults could benefit from it as well.
A young man was always losing his temper. Finally his mother had enough and told his father something had to be done. The father took the young man out to the back yard and told him, “son, every time you get upset I want you to pound a nail into this fence” Well, the son thought it was ridiculous, but agreed to give it a try. The first day he put six nails into the fence. By the end of the week he was down to three. After two weeks he was happy to report to his father he had not lost his temper one time that day and therefore had not put a single nail into the fence. “That’s great son.” said the father. “but we can’t have all these nails in this fence, so every time you do something kind for someone I want you to remove one nail” Well, merely one week later the son, feeling pretty proud of himself, had all the nails removed. His father stared at the fence with him, but did not seem as happy as the young man had hoped. “What’s wrong dad? I thought you would be proud of me?” asked the young boy. “Son I am proud of you, but remember whenever you lost your temper in anger you pounded a nail into the fence, that represented the hurt you inflicted on that person” “Yes dad, but then I did good things for people and I removed all those nails I put in!” Explained the son. “That’s true son” said the father. “Notice all the holes that were left in the fence. Even though you did good and tried to remove the hurt, a hole or memory of that hurt was still left behind. You need to remember once words are spoken in anger they cannot be unspoken, even by the kindest of deeds”
This story serves a good point. Haven’t we all been guilty of saying things in anger we wish we could take back? Haven’t we even went so far as to apologise to that person and try to make it up to them? I know I have. Think of the fence, however, and the emotional scars we leave behind that can never be forgotten. So let us work on being slow to anger and quick to praise. Once a nail is driven in, even if taken out, the hole will remain.