QUICK! DO IT NOW!

One of the greatest challenges about showing people how to reduce their stress and increase their joy is convincing them of the importance of doing it now. After all, if your life is fairly happy why would you worry about techniques to handle stressful situations? You have enough on your plate with your job, the kids and figuring out if your favorite show is on Netflix. You will worry about it when life becomes stressful. The analogy I often use in my seminar is this, when would the best time to learn to swim be? While you are safe on the shore or when you are in the middle of the ocean in a boat that is sinking? When you are on shore it may seem silly to worry about swimming, but trying to learn as sharks are grabbing bottles of meat tenderizer is not ideal in anyway.

This became very apparent to me this past week. A lady I had been in a relationship with for 20 years, and then remained friends with for 4 years after passed away after losing her battle with cancer. It was a very hard and trying moment for me. Lots of feelings came up that were not fun, regret, sadness, frustration and lots of other not so pleasant emotions. All of this is natural and certainly ok to feel when someone passes away. Thankfully, I am blessed to be in a relationship with a lady who really knows and cares about me. Not only was she supportive, but gently reminded me of everything I have learned, teach and believe. The tools I have learned and developed that help the spirit stay resilient and to help heal sadness.

Before we continue, allow me to share a few of them with all of you as someone may be going through the same thing, and most certainly we all will at some point in time. When someone passes away we are all left with the question as to how to carry on their memory in both our hearts and the world around us. Personally, I have never been a fan of sorrowful days of mourning or candlelight vigils. Not that there is anything wrong with those, but I believe the best way to honor someone who has passed away is to try and rekindle some of the light the world has lost with their passing. Did they have a good sense of humor? Work on sharing yours a little more. Did they love animals? Maybe you can contribute to an animal charity?

I am grateful for two things in this very trying time. First, that I have a loving and wonderful lady in my life who can walk the fine line of being supportive and reminding me to use what I know to help myself as well as others. Second, that I have spent the last two decades learning and developing techniques to help keep a positive outlook in the face of trying times. If I had waited until after the funeral to try to discover ways to help me heal, I would be swimming with the sharks.

I encourage you to learn now. You never know when life will give you something major to deal with. Losing someone close to you, losing a job, or maybe even a relationship ending. If at that time you already have some tools in place, recovering from those situations will be a little less painful. There is always a sense of loss and sadness, and that is certainly more than ok. It means you cared for that relationship, job or the person who passed away. We must learn how to not only heal ourselves, but help others to do the same. I encourage you to start now. Feel free to click on the link below to order my book A Happy Life for Busy People, read the posts featured on this site or take other steps to learn effective ways to reduce stress, increase joy and become the best version of yourself. Love and light to all of those struggling.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF MY BOOK

WILL YOU LET IT SURVIVE?

This is one of this quotes I read and immediately had to step back take a breath and say “damn, this is a good one!” (This actually really happened)

Have you ever thought about this? Fear is an inside job. When you are young you are afraid of the dark. This usually passes unless you are some politicians, in which case it becomes being afraid of the light.

Why did this change? Something inside of you decided the dark was not that scary. Sure, you had influences from your parents and others assuring you that there was nothing to worry about, but ultimately you have to make that call.

Does this only hold true for children? Not at all. In fact, as a rule children are better at overcoming their fears than adults. Some of are afraid of dying, some public speaking still others are afraid of not being loved. Others say “when my time comes I’ll be ready. ” Some people can talk to anyone. I have heard people say, “If people don’t love me that is their loss.”

The difference is the meaning and inner conversation people have with themselves. In order for fear to continue to exist, we must continue to feed it. We do so by finding examples that back up our fears (in my case John Wayne Gacy was a clown) or continue to play mental movies in our head of worse case scenarios.

What it boils down to is that without our active participation, our fears simply could not exist.

WRITE YOUR OWN EULOGY 

I promised you a powerful activity and here it is. A while back i recorded a very powerful video you can watch by clicking the link at the end of this post. Today we are going to revisit the principles discussed in that video. 

If you have spent a fair amount of time on this planet you have no doubt heard a eulogy. Maybe you have even had to write and deliver one yourself? One fact of life is this, when it comes to the end whether you are Bill Gates or a man who lives under a bridge, when you die someone will say something about you. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, black, white or any other color of the rainbow. It doesn’t matter what faith you follow. When you pass on words will be said to describe your life. 

Now this may come across as a dark or morbid thought to many of you. To me, it is just a fact. If you were to leave this planet tonight what would they say about you? What would you, and your life, be known for? Is it what you would want to be known for? Have you done what you wanted to with your life? 

If we are honest, most of us, to some extent would have to answer ‘no’ to some degree. There is always more we would like to do and accomplish. There are lives we would like to touch and things we would like to be remembered for. What would you like your legacy to be? This is a question we don’t spend a good deal pondering. Death is a subject rarely discussed and just as rarely thought of except at funerals. 

As uncomfortable as the thought of our own mortality is, it can serve as a great motivator. There is a Native American saying that goes “today is a good day to die.” Meaning we should live life so that if we should pass away today our soul would be at peace.

A great way to accomplish all of this is to write our own eulogy. When my day comes and people are gathered around remembering Neil, what would I like them to be saying? Sit down and think about that. Write down what you would like to hear about you and your life. Chances are you will not have done, or even be that kind of person yet. Knowing what you want to be remembered for will certainly help you gain clarity and motivation to get there. 

Doing this exercise will change your life. I encourage you to do it and feel free to share what you discovered and how it impacted you. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO 

WHY FIGHT IT?

I hear many people say they don’t like or are afraid of change. This makes as much sense to me as being afraid of breathing. Change has to happen. Learning to embrace change is one of the best things you can do to make your life easier. Sure, it is nice to be able to count on certain things. Sometimes the desire to avoid too much change can cause us to work harder, but then we must understand working harder to have a greater control over our environment is also a change. So was learning how to walk, talk, use the bathroom by ourselves and lots of other things we now take for granted. If we get a raise at work, that is a change.

What most people mean is that they do not like change that does not feel good to them. Children say they wish their parents never got divorced. Would you rather they stay together if they were unhappy? We all have people we wish would have never left us and passed away. Even in this there are valuable lessons on loving the people left behind even more. Change is not always easy and not always enjoyable, but we can always use it to our advantage if we learn and grow from it. Lose your job? Maybe you should look at going to work for yourself, or brushing up your skills. Experience a health scare? Maybe you should take the time to take better care of yourself.

When a challenging change comes know that we can either let it drag us down or use it to push us forward. Change is like a wave, we can either drowned or learn to surf. One way it destroys us, the other way we put it to use for us. Next time you are faced with what seems to be an uncomfortable change, ask yourself “How can I use this to surf?”

COME TOGETHER 

Here is a story i often tell in person that for reasons i am not sure I’ve never shared here. A few years back I had a friend Nick that sadly was killed at a very young age in a vehicle accident. I had the great honor of attending his memorial service.

Here is what I walked away with that I will never forget. Nick’s mom practiced Judaism. Nick’s father was a Free Mason. Nick himself followed the Buddhist path. The service was held at the local Masonic lodge. At the service there was a Buddhist chanter and there were was a Rabbi who shared some very touching words and prayers. I was overwhelmed by the ability for all of these different faiths to come together to honor my friend.

While that was a very good and lasting memory it is sad to notice I have not seen many such examples of faiths working together. Usually the news we hear is of different beliefs battling to show which one is right, which to me leaves me appalled by all of them.

Another more secular example of this that I see daily is when emergency vehicles are coming down the street and everyone pulls over for them. After saying a few quick words for those they are going to help (a tradition left to me by my grandmother) I stop and feel grateful for all of the people doing their part to help them by clearing the way. On occasion there are those who do not get out of the way, which always leave me wondering if they would do the same if it were their loved one in need of help. Still for the most part we all recognize someone is in need of help and do our part to assist by allowing the help to get there in a timely manner.

My question is this, why do we seem to come together only at these times? Truly this proves we as people are more than capable of working together for the greater good. Personally I would like to see more of different faiths, beliefs and cultures working together to not only better understand each other, but for the greater good of us all.

Feel free to share examples you have seen of different people working together as well as any ideas you may have for that in the comments below. Also feel free to share this post as well.

HOW TO BEAT THE REAPER

Death, the grim reaper, the final curtain whatever you wish to call it, at some point it comes for all of us. Millions of dollars are spent every year trying to defeat it. 

So how can we defeat the reaper at his own game? Eat more vegetables? Drink more green tea? Exercise more? While all of these things may extend your life they won’t prevent it from ending. In fact, as far as i know there is no way to permanently put off one’s own physical demise.

There is a secret that can help you live forever. I can just hear a few of you saying “wait Neil, didn’t you just say there is no way to prevent death?”. Physical death yes, but life is more than length,it is width as well. As the saying goes “life isn’t so much about the years in a life, but the life in the years”. 

The secret to beating the reaper is to remember 2 very important things. First, live each day as if it were your last. Why? Simple, it very well might be. We never know when the end is coming. We could do everything in our power to prevent it and circumstances just don’t favor us. There is a Native American saying that goes “today is a good day to die”. What this saying means is we should live each day with no regrets. Tell everyone we love them. Try all the new things we were dreaming of. That way if death comes knocking we can answer the door with a peaceful heart knowing that today was a good day to die. 

The second thing we must remember is that what we get doesn’t last forever, but what we give can. If we buy a new car, when we pass on that car becomes someone else’s. They may or may not even know who we were. If we inspire someone or create a good memory with them that will live on forever. That is why I tell everyone to focus on what they want their legacy to be. Create something that will live on. A sculpture, record that cd, write that book. Get your message out there! When i am gone these posts along with my book A Happy Life for Busy People will be there so i can continue to influence and inspire.  

So live your life to the fullest! Share your gift with the world! Also feel free to share your ideas for beating the reaper and feel free to share this post!

THE MOST DIFFICULT SITUATION YOU WILL FACE 

This is me at one of my favorite stands at the state fair.  It is called krautland. They serve a lot of tasty things many of which include… sauerkraut. Ron,the owner, and his family are some of the nicest people you will meet.  If you are going to the Wisconsin state fair I highly suggest stopping by. 

Ok, other than looking at this fabulous picture of me, what does all this have to do with the most difficult situation of your life? Let’s get into that. 

When giving my seminars on success and happiness one of the greatest challenges people have, and the question they ask the most about is how to deal with the loss of a loved one. I am no expert in grief consoling and to me there is no ‘getting over’ the loss of a loved one. What I have learned both by study and personal experience is there are things we can do to make the person we lost live on in our hearts. Again, let me say this is what had helped me and I encourage and welcome you to leave your suggestions in the comments below. When someone close to me passes away, one of the first things that go through my mind is what that person brought to the world. What light has been lost with their passing? For example when my cousin was tragically killed at the age of 22 I realized the world had lost a great artist and vowed to do my part to help the art community that much more. When my grandmother passed away the world lost a great hostess and conversationalist. I do my best to be amazing at those two things. 

Another way that I keep those I have lost alive in my heart is by doing things that I always have done with them.  My grandfather was very close to me and when he passed away there were lots of memories I cherished. One of which I indulge in every august. My grandfather, like myself, was a huge fan of our state fair. Every year we would go together and sit and eat at the stand krautland. To this day once a year, at least, I visit that stand and recall the good times I shared with him there. It keeps his memory alive in my heart and puts a smile on my face as well as my soul. 

These two acts help me accept and process the loss of a loved one.  I hope they may be of help to you.  I invite and encourage you to share what helps you so that we may help others.