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.
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.
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.
This is a tattoo on the arm of my lady. It says “sing”. Recently she has faced some pretty tough personal challenges that have left her not only drained, but wondering if she can even make it through. We were laying down discussing this idea when I noticed her tattoo. What does her tattoo have to do with her daily challenges? Let me catch you all up to speed.
These days my lady and I work together 4 nights a week as DJs. Not only is she a wiz with the computer and the sound equipment, but she can sing like an angel. There are several songs she sings that take my breath away. In fact, often people will request she sings certain songs because they like her singing them better than the original. It was this very skill that stole my heart and brought us together in the first place. Here is where things get interesting. One fine evening I inquired as to how she began her career as a DJ. As we discussed how she began she told me an interesting story about the first time she sang. A good friend of hers, who was “Looking out for her best interests” told her that she was terrible and should not sing again. Thankfully she did not listen because not only would we not have fallen in love, but she would not have been able to bring the joy that she has to countless of people with her voice.
Let me tie this all together and give you something you can use immediately to grow your confidence and help you make it through any challenge you are facing. So my lady’s tattoo says ‘sing’ if she would have listened to her well meaning friend she may have never discovered one of her most amazing talents. She worked through the criticism and nervousness that she faced the next time she sang. By doing so she gave life to one of the most beautiful things about her. I told her whenever she doubts she can make it through something to look at that tattoo and remember how she turned what seemed to be a failure into a great skill and success.
So what does this all have to do with you and I? Each one of us has had challenges we thought we could not make it through. In fact, you may be going through one as you read this. The fact that you are reading this means you have made it through every challenge you have faced in your life so far. This can be very difficult to remember when we are going through something emotionally and/or physically trying. That is where a symbol comes in. In my lady’s case it is her tattoo. What is it in yours? Perhaps a trophy you earned? A picture of a goal accomplished? A talisman from a meaningful place you have been? Even journal entries come in play. By reading your thoughts as you went through a challenge in the past, perhaps maybe even one you thought you were not going to make it through, you can see the parallels to what you are currently going through. More to the point, you can see that you did make it through.
So pick your symbol today! Carry it with you as a reminder of how strong you can be. Then when a challenge comes you can look at it and remember you can do it. Feel free to like/share and comment on this. Show it to anyone you know is facing a challenge so they may have the strength they need.
This blog is not called “Secret2anamazinggarden” but please allow me to dispense with some gardening advice. First you start with some seeds. Some you may have picked out, some you may have just found in the garage or the basement and thought it may be fun to grow. At least that is how it seems to work in my family. Now you must choose a place for your garden to grow. You pick a fine spot one which has both enough shade and enough sun for a good garden needs the right mix of both. Then you prepare the land for the garden. Clearing away debris, rocks and anything else that may inhibit the plants from growing. Then you plant the seeds, water them and begin the wait for them to grow. You know they will take a few days to a few weeks for the plants to sprout so you do not expect to harvest a crop the next day. Now as the days pass you continue to water and take care of what you have planted to give them the best chance to grow. Soon something starts to grow in your garden. If your luck is anything like mine they are called weeds. Sometimes they even sprout before the things we have planted. So you must work on removing them to allow the plants to grow. The next day you come out and sure enough your plants have started to grow! Unfortunately so have more weeds. You think didn’t I just remove these yesterday? So you water the plants and pull the weeds. Then you notice a small little worm starting to eat the leaves of your plants. Great you got rid of the weeds now you have pests to deal with too? So you take steps to remove the pests, water your plants, maybe even fertilize them a bit and pull the weeds. This whole production goes on for weeks, perhaps even months. After which time you begin to be able to pick some fruits and vegetables. Some plants only give you one harvest, others continue to provide as long as you take care of them.
Ok, so what does all this have to do with living an amazing life? The steps to growing a good garden are fairly easy to understand even though they do take a good amount of time and effort. Honestly so are the steps to growing an amazing life. They are also quite similar. Let’s compare. The seeds are like your skills and talents. Some you are just born with, others you may choose and wish to develop. The spot for your garden is like the life you chose. You need enough sun and shade. Time to shine and time to relax. Even if your plot of ground is not ideal with the right effort you can still grow a very good garden. So you plant your seeds or choose your skills and talents you wish to develop. Now here is where some people get off track. They water them once and expect a crop the next day. Everything in life takes time. Sometimes even longer than it normally should. A plant will take longer to sprout if the weather is cool and there is a lack of sun. So a talent may take longer to develop if some key ingredients are missing. Continue to take care of them both and they will surely grow. Now come the weeds which can be likened to the challenges that arise in our life. Often before our talents had a chance to get started. Now when the first weed pops up do we give up on the garden? I hope not or you will never grow anything. Still if we do not do our best to remove the weed it will continue to grow and take over our garden. The same can be true of our challenges and weaknesses. If we do not strive to improve them eventually they will choke out any chance of a good life for us. So now your plants start to sprout, or in the case of your life you begin to see your talents come to light. If you only focus on removing the weeds or improving your weaknesses and never water your plants or build your strengths they will surely die. This is a curse of even the person with the best intentions on self-improvement. They often see it as just “fixing the problems with themselves” That is only roughly 50% of the plan. You must also grow the good that is in you. Develop it fully so you can bring the most to the world. So we come to the pests. What do they represent in the real world? Well, simply put, pests. They are the negative people who come into our lives and begin to eat our dreams and hold us back from our goals. if we do nothing to eliminate them or at the very least reduce their effect on our lives we will have no garden at all. Now much like a garden more weeds and pests will always come up and at times it might seem frustrating but if we keep watering our plants and pulling the weeds quite often they will provide us with far more fruits than we expected. So work on not only removing the challenges in your life and improving your weaknesses, but growing your talents. Try to at least make that a 50/50 effort, but understand much like in a garden both will continue in order for us to continue you reap our harvest