A NEW AVENUE EXPLORED

Recently, I had the honor of being part of an inspiring publication. See Beyond is a wonderful magazine that tackles the gritty issues facing our youth and does so while encouraging and inspiring them.

In this issue, I had the great pleasure of joining other authors while sharing the challenges I face in my career as a writer. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such a unique and thought-provoking publication. I am already looking forward to contributing more.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO READ MY ARTICLE ON PAGE 32 OF THIS MONTH’S ISSUE

SPEAK THROUGH THE 3 GATES

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!

IS NOW A GOOD TIME?

Our last post was a little lengthy, so we will try to keep this one short and to the point. Today is Monday, the beginning of a new week. Time to start to be refocused. It is also August 14th, a great time to start to be refocused! What makes today so special? Everything and nothing. Confused? Let me explain.

We often wait for moments like New years day, our birthday, or even the start of the week to begin our new goal whether that be a healthier life, a more positive attitude or any other journey worth embarking on. The truth is by waiting we are just losing momentum. If you were offered to start your dream job on a Thursday would you decline because it wasn’t a Monday? If you were to win the lottery on the 3rd, would you pass because it was not the first? Of course you would not. The same holds true with anything we wish to begin.

Most of us have heard the expression “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.” Meaning anytime is a good time to begin to celebrate. I couldn’t agree more! I want to remind you of another expression, “There is no time like the present!” If you have the urge to begin to eat healthy for example, capture that feeling by at least doing one thing towards that end right then and there! If you wait until New Years, your birthday or even next Monday, a lot of things can happen to drain that enthusiasm. Let’s make August 14th the day we turned our lives around!

BEAUTY IN THE STORM

This was the sky in front of my lady and I as we walked on the trail the other day. We certainly turned around and went back to the car. As you can see, before we did that I had to take a picture of how beautiful the coming storm was.

There were people out walking like we were. Some people were jogging or on bicycles. We even saw a few golfers rushing off the golf course as the storm came in. When it did arrive it was fierce and intense. Does this make storms the ultimate party killer? Not exactly. Without the rain there would be no nature for us to enjoy as we walked. The same would hold true for those walking, jogging or biking. Even the grass on the golf course could not be there without the rain.

This got me thinking about the storms of life and how the same holds true. As I write this I am currently dealing with a terrible sinus infection. Today is also the first day of summer. A day I traditionally party and celebrate. Not today, however. I spent the whole day in bed. Still, this sickness has forced me to get some rest. It also reminded me how lucky I am to enjoy good health most of the time. Perhaps I needed that reminder not to take things for granted.

How about you? What storms in life have you recently went through or are going through? Can you see the beauty in them? What lessons are they teaching you? Feel free to share yours with our readers in the comments below.

LET THE BEAUTY SHINE THROUGH

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.

STRENGTH TO OVERCOME

What are the secrets that allow some people to overcome challenges while others are sunk by them? This is one of those questions that are at the very core of what I do, helping people live an amazing life.

The truth is this, whether rich or poor, tall or short whether we are from Fiji or Greenland we all have ups and downs in life. Maybe that doesn’t sound so profound, but when we stop to think of the amount of time we spend on finding ways to ‘get rid of problems’ or ‘avoid problems’ it becomes evident we are trying to create a state that will never exist. Instead of trying to live problem free, we should try to not only limit the effect problems have on our lives, but learn from them and actually put them to work for us.

Ok, so how come some people can seem to do this and some people just keep fighting against life? There are quite a few things we can do to move ourselves from the second category into the first. The first is an understanding that problems will always be a part of our lives. Not to inspiring to hear at first is it? This revelation can actually be quite liberating. When we know longer spend our physical and mental energy fighting against problems, we free up that energy to constructively use them.

Now it is time to get into the nuts and bolts of how we can do just that. First is to change our language in terms of how we refer to our challenges. This may seem trivial and even silly on the onset but remember the words we use is how we speak to our subconscious mind. Rarely do I even use the word problem. I prefer challenge as life is challenging us to grow and become something more in order to overcome the situation in front of us. Another word I tend to use is ‘obstacle’. The word itself gives you the feeling of something to be met and overcome.

This also applies in specific situations as well. Instead of saying “I am having a terrible day” or whatever not so pleasant description you care to use, say “I am having a character building day”. At first this may sound like saying the same thing but using different words. Which, in essence we kind of are, but words have power and create feeling. Say the two statements separately 3 times in a row. Notice the different feeling you get. This is important for 2 very important reasons. One, when we feel better we do better and two, when we phrase the situation in such a way that we can see potential in it (i.e. character building day) we know we are going to get something for the pain we are feeling at the moment.

So try this in the coming weeks. Try changing how you refer to the problems in your life. Begin by calling them challenges. Look at situations and see how you can word them constructively. Make a game out of it. That demanding boss that says mean things to you can go from being an ass to being a patience building trainer. Again, this may sound silly to you at first and that’s ok. Laugh at it. After all, laughter is a good feeling. Try this for the week ahead and see if you notice a difference.

Feel free to share this post with everyone you know. Also feel free to share some of your more creative word changes below. You may help the rest of us.

IT IS FUN TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT

Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly according to plan. Sometimes life ‘throws you a curve ball’ as they say. The great secret to living an amazing life is to not let those detours throw you off course, and to enjoy them whenever you can. Take the picture above. Last Friday I told you about a beer garden that my lady and I went to. The park it was in was beautiful, the weather was perfect for her (a little chilly for me) and time together is rare and was appreciated. Still there were a few challenges. The food offered was limited at best. It was also very pricey. Image our dismay when after we paid they informed us they had no buns to match what they were selling so they put the brat and hot dog we ordered on a hamburger bun. They were also out of most of the condiments they offered. Keep in mind this was not at the end of the evening either.

Ok, so what does my terrible food service experience have to do with living an amazing life? It is what happened next. We all know far to many people who would have stood there complaining to the workers, who should have informed us before we paid about being out of so many things. Worse we all have witnessed people who would have let this ruin their evening and spent the rest of the day complaining about it ignoring the weather, the scenery and all the other amazing aspects I mentioned. How do I know? In the past I was all too often one of those people. Before beginning my quest for improving my own life I even let things ruin some of my time on vacation! For those of you who know how much I love the tropics this was a really stupid and costly mistake on my part that prevented me from living an amazing life. There are still times it is tricky to deal with all of the crazy things that pop up in life.

So how can we not let circumstances that are less than ideal steal our momentary joy? Take a new perspective. One, understand that everything is temporary. Even the worst minute of your life only has 60 seconds. Also know making through the tough times can give us a great feeling of accomplishment. We can also learn a lesson. In this case, we make want to bring some food with us next time to both save money and make sure we have something good to eat. Try seeing the humor in the situation. In this case, the way the combination looked was hilarious. Not to mention the worst situations usually make for the best stories after they are done. Speaking of Story (my lady’s last name) she did another valuable thing, she got creative. This happens to be one of her many skills normally but applied to this situation it turned a bad into a good. She cut the sausages in half and we made a sandwich out of them. Not only did they fit the bun better, but we each got to try what each other was eating. This is a solution that would not have come to us if we were focused on how unfair or awful the situation was. Anger and frustration not only steal your joy, but they steal your peace and creativity as well.

So next time things do not go according to plan try adjusting your plan. If that is not possible, try adjusting the way you are looking at what is going on. Being upset only hurts one person and that is you. Feel free to like, comment and share this post with friends.