DAY 8 IN OUR HAPPINESS CHALLENGE. ALMOST TO THE TOP

Day 8, you can almost see the top of the staircase now! If this is your first day joining us, a quick reminder we are starting from the bottom and climbing up the stairs. That would mean that today’s step to happiness is Take less, Give more. It is ironic that today’s lesson revolves around the effect that giving has on happiness. As happens every so often, this idea was actually in my head today before I knew I was going to write about it. It was a sunny and 90 degree day. If you know anything about me, this is just my kind of weather. I was riding around on the lawnmower and pondering material for my next book. It was then I began to muse on the thought of the power of altruism. Let us look a little deeper at that subject.


Altruism is loosely defined as doing something for others with no return for you. I do not believe such a situation exists. Here is why. Doing something kind for someone else has within it a reciprocal aspect. When you so something kind for another soul it makes both of you feel good. When I was at some of the lowest points in my life it was this very skill that brought me back up. Being able to give to others. If we spent an entire day doing nothing but trying to do nice and helpful things for others, there would be two guaranteed outcomes. First, we would feel great. Seeing the smiles on the faces, hearing the thank you and just knowing in our hearts that we did something good for someone else will have our vibrations high. Second, that good will come back to you. It may not come back in the same manner or even from the same people, but it will come back to you. It is the law of reciprocation. You put good out and good will return. It will do so at its own pace, but it will do so.

The next question that people often ask me is, “What can I give?” They may worry that they don’t have enough time, or as so often happens in the crazy world, enough time. There is one single thing that is not only one of the easiest to give, but also has the greatest impact – giving of yourself. I spoke of this is a not so distant post. What the world needs is people who are in living their passion. This can be difficult to do in the job market. I am still searching for that elusive talk show host job. Where it can be easy to do is in giving. Everyone is good at something. When you use the skills that come naturally to you, that is when you give the greatest. Some people are great listeners. That is something everyone needs these days. With everyone trying to be heard, having a friend to really listen is rare and a great gift. I happen to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. I am a good talker. When I give, I tend to do so by talking to the lonely and those left out. When I helped at the homeless shelter I was told my greatest gift was taking time to relate and talk with the people there.

What is your skill? How have you used it in the past? How can you use it more in the future? I can promise you from my own experience, the more that you give in life, the more that you will gain. Not only in a material sense, but your inner peace and joy will explode. I would love to hear your stories of when you gave and the effect it had on your life.

WHO IS YOUR HERO? WHAT IS A HERO?

I was watching an interview with Sammy Hagar, I’ll share the link at the end of this blog, and these two questions came to mind when it was over. Think what you will of his music. ( I am personally a fan) or which version of Van Halen you like better (I am a fan of both) but after listening to this interview you can’t help but love the guy. Small bits of information I picked up are how he donates to food banks in every town he plays in and often goes down in person to help. Why? As he says, “There is much more to charity than just writing a check.” Not to mention he set up an entire business (Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar and Grill) where the entire profits go to help children with terminal illnesses and their family. That, to me, is a stand up guy.

As I drove home I thought about the word ‘Hero’. Lately, a lot of attention has been given to that word. For once I am happy to say I think we have our head on straight as to how we are thinking about it. Perhaps because a lot of the folks we usually give those titles to, such as professional sports players and reality show actors are out of the picture and deemed ‘Not essential’ that we are able to focus on those who really make a difference. A lot of those in the medical profession, lower paid employees who show up daily just to make our lives easier, and anyone who puts themselves in danger so that our lives may be easier. Are these people your heroes? What makes them a hero? These are the questions that popped in my head as I drove home.

I thought about those whom I consider a hero. A name that comes to mind is Fred Rogers. Host of the television show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I admire him for his deep-rooted care and concern for youth. How he worked so hard to use the medium of television for something good. His ability to find the positive in even the darkest situation. One of my favorite things about both the man and the show was the importance he placed on what I refer to human fundamentals. I am pretty sure that is a term I just created, so allow me to expand on it. Human fundamentals are basic skills we all should learn to be a good…you guessed it, human! Many think of Fred Rogers as someone who just spoke to children, but I think his messages resonate just as much, if not more, with adults today. How many of us know someone who might benefit from the episode “What to do when you are mad”? There are many adults who are afraid to talk about their feelings and even if they could wouldn’t know the first thing about how to do it. He used to end each show by saying “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” How many people, ourselves included, could stand to hear that message?

Another name that comes to mind when I think of heroes is Mother Teresa. She was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. I always admire those who dedicate their lives to a spiritual pursuit even if I do not necessarily agree 100% with the dogma that comes with such things. What makes Mother Teresa special in my eyes is her social work that was done with a spiritual motivation. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity. It was a group of nuns that were active in over 133 countries as of 2012. They did far more than just preach and share their religious beliefs. They managed homes for those unfortunate souls dying of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis and many others. They also ran schools, medical clinics, soup kitchens and a host of other useful services. What really impresses me about her is that she encouraged and let everyone know we are all capable of doing great things. We do them by doing even the small things with great love.

These people did not do any of what they did for fame and fortune. Although they did realize that the fame allowed them to do even more good. I am just a humble author and blog writer, but I do must best to use my gift with words to help as many people as I can and to make the world a better place the best I can. Those mentioned above, along with a host of others, inspire to do so. To me, what makes a hero is genuine integrity. Fred Rogers was the same person off camera as he was on camera. His concern for youth and for the world in general was genuine. Mother Teresa dedicated her life to helping the souls that many looked down upon. Sammy Hagar used his fame and fortune to help those less fortunate. I am sure all of these people have flaws, as we all do, but to me they are heroes for their integrity. Their desire to do the right thing. More importantly, wanting to it not for fame or fortune, but simply because it is the right thing to do. To me that is a hero and all of you out there doing what is right, simply because it is right, you are a hero in my book.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SAMMY HAGAR INTERVIEW THAT INSPIRED THIS BLOG

ALTRUISTIC IS SELFISH… AND THAT’S OK


The definition of the word altruistic is as follows – showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish
How then, can I claim that being altruistic is selfish? For one simple reason. When you are down, when life seems to kick you as you are down, nothing can lift your feelings as much as helping someone else. Certainly, that is not the only time you should limit your acts of helping others, but it still holds true. Most of you know my story about how my life was turned around by helping at a meal program feeding the homeless. It not only gave me a new and refreshing perspective, but the act of being able to do something for someone else feels good.
That should not be your only motivation to do good, but keep that in mind. The more you do for others, the better you will feel. Thus, being altruistic is both unselfish and selfish at the same time. Why do I think that is ok? If, in an attempt to help yourself feel a little happier you go around doing random acts of kindness for others, the world would be a significantly better place.
As with anything we share here, do not take my word on this. Feel free to test the theory yourself. For 21 days, do one act of kindness with no expectation in return. Not financial compensation, not a promotion, do not even worry about getting a simply ‘thank you’. You may even want to record your acts to make sure you do not miss a day. After 3 weeks notice if your own happiness has improved.

FLIP THE SCRIPT

Bad days, we all have them. One day both the air conditioning and driver’s side window in your car decide to both stop working. You have just worked some overtime and are thinking how best to enjoy the extra cash you worked so hard for when your license plate renewal notice comes in the mail. You are at the gym training for a 5k charity race you have coming up and next thing you know you are laying in the hospital on the brink of open heart surgery. It is highly unlikely all of this would happen to one person in a single week, but it happened to me… last week.

It would have been easy to think of throwing in the towel at some point and feeling depressed. To be honest for a second I did. That all changed on a rainy day hot day after I was discharged from the hospital. Wanting to take a break from the fabulous cardiac diet I was enjoying at the hospital, my mother, lovely lady and I all went for a taco pizza at a local establishment. On the way there I say a man dressed for a warm sunny day standing in the rain at the bus stop. There was no shelter and he had no choice. Hopefully after being drenched and having to get on a cold bus, he was on his way home to change into something dry, but I cannot be sure of that. Suddenly, my car troubles did not seem that bad.

The more I thought about that the same applied to all of the other challenges my week had thrown at me. I had a job to pay the extra bill that came in, I was still around after my heart scare. It is more than just finding the light in the dark though. How often have we all sat and thought extensively on what it is that is wrong or lacking in our life? I am know I have and I am guessing you may have too. I always use the analogy at my seminars if you are on a all expense paid vacation with the one you love and then you get a toothache things can go from great to bad in a blink of an eye.

Here is what I am going to ask you to do this weekend. It is a challenge for you and for me. This weekend let us pick two areas of our life and focus on everything we love and are grateful for. Let us do this for 24 hours for each one. To make it even more powerful you might even want to write them down. At the very least, write down what particular area of your life you are focusing on that day. Is it your relationship? Sure, it might not be perfect, but there are reasons you love it or you wouldn’t still be there. Maybe your job? It would be easy to complain about how we wish we were paid more, had more time off, better hours or even a better boss. How often do we do that? For at least 24 hours, let us solely focus on the good about that. Keep it in the back of your mind for the entire day. Ask yourself at various times throughout the day, “What do I love or am grateful for about this area of my life?” Maybe carry a small notebook around and write down your answers? Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share how you felt and what, if any, results came of doing this.

GREAT PEOPLE DOING GREAT THINGS

We interrupt our usual material to bring to your attention a great opportunity to help impoverished children in both India and the U.S.

My amazing friends Sonny and his wife Ami are taking part in an event to raise money for children needing help in both Atlanta, where they live as well as India. I encourage you to click the link below to help them out as well as sharing this article to reach more people who can help. My heartfelt thanks in advance.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND TO DONATE

CHANGE A CHILD’S LIFE!

Working in the tavern industry becomes less and less of an appeal to me with what at sometimes seems to be a daily pace. One of the great things about working in this industry though is on occasion you meet really amazing people. Some of them have been featured in my past blogs. Yesterday’s in fact! If you wish to read that one you can check it out here IT WORKS! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Today I wish to discuss another amazing individual my lovely lady and I have the pleasure of seeing as we do our shows. His name is Jerry Musolf, but he goes by Sonny. He is a really great friend by all standards. Friendly, helpful, always willing to lend a hand or a smile whichever is needed. Sonny also rides a motorcycle when the weather in this state allows. As such, you will often see him wearing a vest with patches of different sorts on it. One such patch on his vest looks like the one above. During one show Sonny had asked me to read a fundraiser announcement for a charity he belongs to. Always happy to help people doing good I did. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and another friend of ours was wearing a sweatshirt from the same organization. That prompted me to inquire as to the what the group was all about. I was told to ask Sonny for all the details. What he shared with me is what I am about to share with you.

What influence I have in the world as an author, speaker and the use of this website I try to use for good. One of the causes that always is near and dear to my heart is children. They are innocent victims and often there is not enough support when they need it. If you read my post earlier this month about doing the Warrior Dash to help St. Jude children’s hospital that offers care to sick children and their families.

Another area where children suffer, and often alone is child abuse. Especially if the person doing the abusing is a family member or an adult the child trusts. In addition to the terrible physical aspects of child abuse the emotional and psychological effects can be just as or even worse and last a lifetime. What children need is a sense to feel safe. They need a group of adults they can trust.

This is where Guardians of the Children come in. Let me begin by sharing their mission statement with you. “The mission of Guardians of the Children (GOC) is to recognize and react to child abuse and educate the public to do the same; to serve as advocates to provide strength and stability to families in crisis; and be the answer to the prayer of an abused child or teen for courage, support and protection.” That all sounds good, but what does it actually translate to?

I am going to share both items available in the group’s literature as well as personal stories Sonny has told me. The group partners with other child abuse agencies to raise awareness of the prevalence of child abuse. The use donations they receive for birthdays, basic needs such as clothing and hygiene supplies, literature to promote child abuse awareness as well as activities for the kids. The strive to give these children the same opportunities that your own children have, a normal life and a family that loves and cares for their needs.

The last line is what really impresses me. This group often becomes the family these children so desperately need. The go to court with the children so they are less afraid. They often supply the children with a teddy bear (one that has been hugged by all the members of the group) to hold when they are alone and feeling scared. Each child also receives their own little vest with a patch that says “Little guardian”. The group also provides safe and fun activities for these children such as Easter egg hunts, fishing trips, roller skating and so much more.

In a world where there are far too many innocent child victims it does my soul good to know that such a group exists. On a personal note, I am proud to be the friend of a gentleman who is part of such a community. Below I will share both the national 24-hour child abuse hotline as well as links to both the national and local chapters of this amazing group. It is my sincere desire and hope that many of you will not only share this post, but chose to become a part of this group either through joining or donating. Together we can make this a better world for all of the children

24-hour child abuse hotline 1-800-252-5400

local chapter of Guardians of the Children

Guardians of the children Hawg city chapter

National website for Guardians of the Children

SOMETHING WE ALL CAN DO

This happens to be one of my favorite pictures. Not sure why it just makes me laugh. Here’s today’s quick little thought.

The most important thing we can do for ourselves and others. – giving -. 

When you hear the word giving what do you think of? How does it feel? Growing up I was taught that giving was something we did around the holidays, or to help those less fortunate. It felt like sacrifice. 

Here is the cool thing, we are all less fortunate. What the heck am I talking about? Every person we know is deficit in something. Money? Maybe. Time? We all can be at times. Here is something else all of us are – gifted! We all do something great and enjoy. This is what we should give. 

Do you like telling stories? Perhaps there is a shut in that could use some company. Are you handy? Maybe there are neighborhood projects that you could lend a hand with. Give of yourself where you can.  You will feel good and you will help others!

This weekend look where you can give. Can you give of your time? Your love? Your compassion? You will leave with a good feeling all while making the world a better place!

We all serve a great purpose

Today a lot of us celebrate Christmas. If you are anything like me you are running around last minute looking for the perfect gift. Do you go wine? Gift cards? Coffee? There are a million different options! Still there is one perfect gift for any holiday.

That gift is the gift of help. Being the light in someone’s darkness. The gift of time, understanding and just listening are something that you can’t buy even if you are Bill Gates. It also makes you one of the most valuable people to have in anyone’s life. How valuable is a good friend who listens to you? To me I love gifts that people make and put their heart and soul in, but even better is the gift of time. Those wonderful souls who bring light to my world and make me smile are the gifts I treasure all year long.

So you want to make someone’s holiday? Call them up and ask how they’re doing. Give them time to really tell you. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk. Give your time and money to your favorite charity. Be someone who always brings a smile to a room when you walk in, and to the souls of all you know. Share a smile. Share an encouraging word. Share love and respect with all this holiday season. Thank you and feel free to share this blog.