YOU’RE READING THAT BOOK… AGAIN?! ūüďö

I ran into my friend Linda at my day job today. For those of you who may not have read the post about Linda that we shared some time ago, she is a wonderful lady that stops in the Post Office I work in. Linda lost her grandson a while back and we shared some thoughts and tears on that subject. She has not only become a great supporter of my writing, but a muse of sorts as well. She is one of those friends that every time I talk to them, I leave with many more ideas to write about and share with you.

On this particular morning, we were talking about books we enjoyed. I don’t even recall how we got on the subject, if I am being honest. The interesting thing we discovered we have in common, was that we both reread books. My favorite book is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. My best guest would be that I have read it seven times. Why on earth would I do that? Do I just have that bad of a memory? No. The reason why I read that book so many times is simple. I am a different person who is reading it. Before you think that I am referring to the multiple voices who take up residence in my head, let me explain. As we go through life we are shaped by many different life experiences. Hopefully, we use them to grow and we are ever evolving. If you are reading a blog like this one, I venture to say that is probably the case for you. Therefore, when you pick up a book a year from now, the person who opens the cover will be different than the one who did so last time you read it. In fact, the hand that turns the last page will belong to a different person than the one who turned the first page.

In life there are many circumstances that deserve revisiting. Whether that is a book, a skill you are trying to develop or a course you wish to take. You are a different person than you were last time you did any of those things. You are a person who has grown, evolved and experienced many different things in life. Even reading the same book, you will appreciate it in a new way and get something new out of it. What things could you revisit that you might learn even more from now than the last time?

YOU CAN DO IT TOO!ūüėÉ

Not long ago I posted how I was the most unlikely candidate to be a multi-book author. Passed English by the skin of my teeth. Bartended for 23 years. Worked at the Post Office for 25 years and counting. Yet, here I am! Three books published and more on the way. Why? Because I was passionate to share what I have learned.

This Saturday, I’ll be a part of an event featuring many great authors. The place it is at has even been promoting me. This all seems like a dream, but it couldn’t be more true. When you combine your passion with a desire to use it to serve others, great things will happen.

Whatever your passion may be, think of a way in which you can use it to serve the world. Soon you will find that the universe is moving to help you. If you are in the neighborhood this Saturday, stop by to say hello. If you can’t make it, feel free to click the link below to check out all of my books and blog!

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL MY BOOKS AND MY DAILY INSPIRATIONAL BLOGūüėÄ

WHEN IT COMES TO PEOPLE, DIG DEEPER

I find this picture to be very true

In today’s instant gratification culture, fewer and fewer people take the time to read a book. As an author, this is not only deeply economically troubling, but emotionally as well. “I will wait until the movie comes out.” is a phrase that is heard more and more often. I can certainly appreciate that there are times when we want to experience a bout of entertainment from beginning to end and do not have the time for an entire book. Reading, however, allows us to exercise our minds in ways that watching a film never could. It is the difference between an active involvement and a passive involvement. Using our imagination to picture the story as we read the pages creates a depth (see picture above) that we simply don’t get from watching a movie. I am sure this can take things to a whole different level. I’m thinking Fifty Shades of Grey could have provided some interesting exercises in imagination.

As the old clich√© goes, art often imitates life, or is it the other way around? Never was too sure about that one. The point is when it comes to life, especially in this social media driven world, this holds true. We often see people’s profiles online and think we really know everything there is to know about them. In reality, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. It is like watching a highlight reel of an athlete. You would think they never make mistakes. As human beings, we always have the urge to hide our faults, or more to the point, accent our strengths. We also have a tendency to judge based on the thought that we have all of the information. We never know what is happening behind the scene.

This week, I encourage you to take a deeper look and get to know those around you on a deeper level. Also, if you are brave enough, share a little more about yourself. Not just your highlight reel. Be vulnerable. Show the world the pain you struggle with everyday. Help the world get to know you. Just like reading a book will open up a whole other world that watching a movie never will, getting to know people on a deeper level will do the same for your relationships.

WHY IT WORKS: REREADING THE SAME BOOK

It is important to know more than just what works, but why it works. If you are anything like me, knowing why something works provides more motivation to actually do it. If you are like me you also like to crank 80’s glam metal at 4am on your way to work, but our post today is more about the first point.

I have been advocating reading powerful books for years. Personally, I read my favorite book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, at least once a year. People may think I’m crazy. “You’ve read that book like 5 times already! You are good at making friends so why read the book?”

After I inform them I have read the book 8 times and that is why I am good at making friends, then they assure me that I am crazy.

My sanity not withstanding, there are several reasons I do this. First is because my mind tends to wander. I read something and start thinking about it. Before you know it, the next few pages have gone by and I don’t recall much of what I read.

Here is another reason that was just made clear to me this morning. When we read a book for a second time it is not just because you may have missed something, but because you are someone different.

This may sound absurd but it is true. Since you have last read the book you have had countless life experiences that have forced you to grow and evolve. It doesn’t even take that long. As it was said about Napoleon Hill’s great book, Think and Grow Rich, the hand that turned the last page is not the same hand that turned the first page. The person has learned, has experienced more of life. They are a different person.

The more you learn and live life the more valuable information becomes to you. The more you are exposed to it, the more it becomes a part of your life. Do yourself a favor and pick up your favorite book again. Trust me when I tell you the person who reads it will be entirely different.

It is important to note this works even more in regards to audio books and programs.

WE CAN ALL DO SO MUCH MORE!

Being an independent author I found this picture most agreeable as you may imagine. Although the picture is specifically geared toward authors, the same would hold true for other artists such as musicians, magicians, cake designers and any other person in the creative arts trying to bring joy to the world.

By helping those of us who are using our creative talents to add to the world you are giving a gift to a great many people. Obviously, you give a gift to the creator itself. Second, by giving the creation whether it be a book, music, cake or anything else you give a gift to the receiver. More indirectly, you give the gift of hope to all the independent artists that struggle to make a living. When considering gifts for holidays or any other reason, consider an independent artist.

When you do make a purchase, if you enjoyed what you purchased, make sure to spread the word by posting reviews and sharing your purchase.

A GREAT FEELING

Here is a picture I took at our local library. I happened to be searching for a few films to bring home when I decided to search for my own book. Imagine my joy when not one, but four copies came up! It gave me a great feeling to know that many people were interested in what I had written.

I do not share this out of conceit, but as a tool. A personal revelation is that I suffer from seasonal affective disorder. This time of year there are times when it is very hard for me to remain upbeat. The lack of sun and cold weather can really sap my energy and my spirit.

As an author, blog writer and speaker on all subjects positive this can leave me with an interesting challenge. I have recently written what I think is a very enlightening and helpful article for the January issue of See Beyond magazine. For today, I will share with you one of the tools I personally use to get me thorough this tough season.

Surrounding myself with reminders of positive aspects of my life good a long way to lift my spirits. Whether it is vacations, race medals or pictures of my book being available at the local library.

Reminders of what we have done right in life are always a good idea to keep on hand. What items do you use to remind yourself what a great person greets you in the mirror every morning?

LET US TALK ABOUT YOUR STORY

We ended last week by discussing stories. The stories we tell ourselves to prevent us from trying new ideas and concepts. I shared some of the stories from my life and how they have affected me. We even looked at stories that others tell us about ourselves. We looked at how we view stories, events and people from our past and how that can have an effect on our future. All of these examples can show how important stories are to our development and overall well-being.

Today we are going to look at your story. In the last few years I have learned so much from listening to the stories of others. Whether it is the stories from my friends Cari and Kelly who show me that even people coming from some of the most challenging circumstances can grow into some of the most loving people with wonderful souls. Listening to the stories about my lovely Margie helped me to better understand the woman I love and the people in her life that helped form her into the divine lady that she is today.

I know I could learn a lot from your story as well. That may sound like a bold claim considering the people who read this span the entire globe. You may be asking what can I learn from the individual from Tunisia who read this on Sunday? I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you for sure something. The examples may not be something I can relate to, for example I have friends who were abused, in foster care, divorced, lost children and a host of other challenges I have not faced. In them I can learn the principles of hope, faith, determination and love. I am eternally grateful to each and every person who shares their story with me.

You may think that your life does not offer any inspiration, but I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I have heard stories from a friend in Romania about listening to certain music on the way to work. I have heard stories from my friend in Australia about the way she discovers indigenous medicine by visiting local markets. My friend from Mexico shares challenges that the local economy and health care cause him to face in his country. These are but a few of the countless stories I hear each and every day. Even those who share stories about their love, good fortune or healing give me a joyous feeling in my heart.

Perhaps you still think your story is nothing special? “I am just a person who wakes up and works to pay the bills.” Let me tell you that your story, and your life may be just what someone else needs to hear. It may be the challenges or amusing stories you have to offer about your chosen line of work. It may be amusing stories and episodes you have had raising your children. Maybe it is even the way you have approached a health challenge you have. After more then 20 years in the self-improvement field, I can tell you without a doubt, one of the most common feelings people deal with is feeling alone. Knowing that there is somebody else in the world who is facing the same challenge or has even made it through that challenge, can give their heart a little peace.

Please share your story. It may not seem like much to you and you may not understand how it will help anyone else, but it will. Whether you wish to start a blog like this one, write your own book or start a YouTube channel, please get your story out there. Someone is needing to hear just what you have to say. They may be in Armenia, Brazil or Zaire but they are out there. If you need any advice or suggestions on how to get started you can ask yours truly or make good use of Google which has many helpful tutorials.

I USED TO BE TOO COOL FOR THIS

I recall some of my first exposure to the principles of self-improvement. They seemed hokey and new age at best, far out and ridiculous at worst. I was a singer in a band, I was a bartender. I had no desire to take my inner child on a play date. When I heard someone talk about meditation or keeping a journal I thought they would be someone sitting alone in a tent in the middle of the desert giving advice or something. That was actually a description I gave to my good friend Russ. In short I thought all of this self-help stuff was a bunch of B.S..

My dramatic change from someone who mocked all things that might be labeled¬†‘self-improvement’ to someone who is not only a proponent of such material, but a creator and distributor as well,¬†happened over a period of time. It is like the story of boiling a frog in a pot of water. If you put a frog in¬†a pot of hot water it will jump out, but if you turn the heat up slowly it will sit there until it boils to death.¬†Please know I am not advocating harm to animals,¬†but my life proceeded along a similar path. As life slowly turned the heat up on¬†me I found myself literally boiling to¬†death in a¬†pool of stress.

One of the first stresses I can think¬†of is when I was working at a telemarketing job. For those of you who have never had a job in this field, just consider what you have said, or heard other people say to telemarketers.¬†Now, imagine being the person on the other end of the phone…eight hours a day…6 days a week. I remember listening to Bob Marley’s Legend album on my lunch hour every day. I would close my¬†eyes, push play and picture being on a beach in¬†Jamaica. Little was I¬†aware I was practicing visualizing and meditation.¬†Not¬†that I called it that. At the time I just said I was “unwinding on lunch”. All I was sure of¬†is that is made me feel better and be able to withstand the constant barrage of colorful phrases people share with telemarketers.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself awake at 3a.m. ready to go to the post office job I was thrilled about. This was after working an entire bartending shift I was also growing weary of. As you can imagine this and other stresses also affected my relationships with others at the time. While sitting on the couch putting on my shoes I saw an infomercial. It was for a collection of CDs from Tony Robbins. Being half asleep and feeling frustrated with the direction my life was going at the time, I thought “What the hell do I have to lose?” I ordered the tapes, went to work and soon forgot all about it. A week later they arrived. I listened on my short commute I had to work at the time and soon found myself taking detours to listen to more.

Soon I found myself looking at life from a different angle. Shortly thereafter, my job was downsized and the real test began. I found myself at the local library looking for answers. Those of you who have read my book or followed me for any amount of time have no doubt heard this story countless times. After finding things that helped a former ‘rock star’ and bartender who was too cool for self-help, I wanted to share it with others who thought themselves too bad ass for this material, but were silently, or not so silently suffering on the inside. That lead to the creation of this website, a book, a YouTube channel and seminars. In short, it brought us to where we are now.

If you came across this on accident, or are postponing on taking the leap on learning tools that could improve your life because you are simply too cool, I urge you to reconsider. First of all, get rid of the term self-help. I never liked that term to begin with. It has the feel like you are helpless and can only succeed with the help of someone else. I prefer the term self-improvement. The truth is you don’t need anyone else. What you may be lacking is information and a plan. As long as you have the desire, there are many paths that can lead you to success.

The other thing you might wish to consider is that in the beginning nobody needs to know what you are doing, or that you are doing anything at all. You can read in private. You can rent and watch movies in the privacy of your own home. You can start like I did listening to things while you are alone in the car. Once you see, and more important feel the increase in joy and reduction in stress, you can decide how public you may want to be with your quest to become the best version of yourself.

As a bonus, here are a list of a few recommendations I have for improving yourself after spending over two decades in the field. This is not a complete list by any means and if you would like to add to it feel free.

Books

  • A Happy Life for Busy People
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The Power of the Subconscious Mind
  • The Tao of Pooh
  • The Secret

CD or MP3 Programs

  • The Strangest secret
  • Personal Power
  • Any videos or audio by Tony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, Les Brown or Eric Thomas

WHAT DO THE SIGNS MEAN?

While going through some of my childhood items my mother found cleaning out a closet in her house, I came across this little item. I found the irony in this because I could not have been very old, I am guessing 6 or so, when I wrote in this notebook. The thought bubble above Snoopy’s head could have very well been a warning from the universe. It could have been I was just a big fan of Peanuts and Charlie Brown. Although personally I think I am more like the character of Linus.

What this made me think of is how perhaps talents we have may be innate. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be at the age of 6, I highly doubt my answer would have been best-selling author and blog writer, but that is what I am on my way to becoming. Did I somehow already know that is what I was destined to do?

To add to the feelings of irony, found with this notebook was a collection of stories I had composed back in third grade. Other than noting my grammar has not improved a great deal since then, my writing style was oddly the same. The fact that these two items were found at this point in my life seems interesting to me. Sometime after receiving an A+ for my writing in third grade, I had transitioned to being warned by my teacher my senior year in high school never to pursue a career in writing. Had I come across these items at that time they would have totally meant something different.

Does timing and current life situations dictate what things mean or are we destined to find and become certain things in life? I guess that falls to a matter of opinion. As for me and my little Snoopy notebook, there are several ways in which I could view this. I could say that perhaps my grammar will never be good if it hasn’t improved in thirty¬† years. I¬†could say that my writing was better¬†received in third grade than it is now. That may very¬†well be true, but there is another way to look at it. A more positive way.¬†I will¬† just take it as a sign from the universe that being an author is really something that has always been a part of who I was. Also a sign and reminder that I am pursuing the write life path.

I think we have a choice as to how we interpret the things that happen to us in life. Whether we view them as positive and inspirational, or negative and foreboding is up to us and has a great deal of influence on the quality of our life.

THESE GIFTS ARE THE BEST

Look at this fun and amazing item! It is a candle that my dear sweet Margie bought for me with our picture on it. When it is burning our picture will be backlit and look even more impressive. When the candle is gone, I can use this as a memory jar or and other fun, romantic idea that will come to mind.

Adding the extra touch of personalizing a gift makes things oh so special. I am so grateful that the lady in my life is not only beautiful, but thoughtful as well. I enjoy having special reminders around of the times and love we share. If you are looking to increase the love in your relationship, or just leave your significant other a pleasant reminder of how much you care for them I would recommend a personalized gift. It doesn’t have to even be something extravagant. It can just be something that lets them know you care and are thinking about them.

The great thing about this is it does not only have to be for romantic relationships. It works great for parents reminding their children how much they love them whether they are away at school, or even living in another country. It also works great for friends and other family members.

It doesn’t even have to be a picture. It can be a keychain engraved with a saying that means something to both of you. Maybe something with an inspirational message just for them. I enjoying giving copies of my book with a person message written on the inner cover. Pick someone special today and find a fun personalized gift you can give them to let them know how special and loved they are. Take it from me, it will make them feel on top of the world. I know mine did.