FOR EVERY LEVEL, THERE’S ANOTHER DEVIL

I recall a few years ago having a discussion with my friend Travis. At the time we both wondered why it seemed that people who are trying to good end up with some of the worst things happening to them. It is a question that millions have pondered since the beginning of time. Why do bad things happen to good people? While pondering this I was struck with a line of inspiration, as if I was receiving an answer to that very question. It is that very answer I am excited to bring to all of you. This single answer, which Travis and I discussed at length, has changed my life and helped me survive what has been a very rough year. I hope by hearing the answer I was given, it may do the same for you and the ones you share it with. Here is what came to me after years of asking this question –

The devil doesn’t bother with you unless you are a threat

Now I am not telling you what to believe, mere how the answer was conveyed to me. Feel free to call it negative source energy, the universe whatever allows you to digest the point here. For years I looked around and saw some of the hardest working people I know faced with economic challenges. I have seen some of the most enlightened and compassionate people I know faced with illness, sickness, death of loved ones, job loss and every other imaginable obstacle you can think of. To be honest, it frustrated me. Ok,, it actually did more than that, it pissed me off. How unfair was it that all of these people who were trying to make the world a better place by either helping others, or just being a great person themselves face such tough times? Meanwhile, those who seemed not even to value the life they were given, not to mention others seemed to catch breaks? Reading that you can catch a glimpse as to the spirited conversation my friend and I were having.

Let us get back to the answer to this question. Think of politics. The parties usually argue and put down only those they feel stand a chance at costing them the election. Sports teams put the most effort into developing a plan to beat the teams that will prevent them from winning a championship. The same is true when you are trying to make the world a better, more positive and rewarding place, whether that is by directly helping others, or leading by working to be a positive example yourself. Let us think of what the world would be like if we had more kind, compassionate and enlightened leaders in the world. There are certain people who would not be very happy with that.

Sometimes it has to do with profit, sometimes it has to do with jealousy. When people succeed in anything be it financial or even inner peace and joy, it shines a light on the fact others have not succeeded in that same field. Instead of asking or working to find a solution as to how they did it and use their success for inspiration, a lot of people find it easier to tear them down as it somehow helps them feel better about their own position. Sound a bit harsh? Check out the tabloids in the grocery store. Do they ever tell you the story about the soon to be world-famous author who went out and partied and ended up wearing his girlfriends glittery top? No, his life may be no better, or even worse than yours. Achieve any kind of success and people start looking for you to fail.

This is why, when you meet a positive person understand they may have had to overcome some of the greatest struggles you have ever heard of. It is easy to be cynical or negative. It takes no courage, no persistence, no faith. Remember the title of this post, for every level, there is another devil As we make our way through life working to grow and better ourselves we will be faced with an ever increasingly difficult ‘devil’. It is there to test our resolve, to help us grow our resolve. It would be easy to just throw in the towel and resort to being negative. That is the easy way out, and that is what some are just waiting for you to do. The more you wish to do, the more you are going to have to face. It may seem like a sign to give up, but it is actually a sign that you are getting ever closer to your goal. DO NOT GIVE UP

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN

Fear not. This is not a picture of me. As I write this the temperature outside is a pleasant 60 degrees. Very warm for Wisconsin on the 4th of December. As you are reading this, however, the reading will be 30 degrees less. Yes a drop that big in the space of 24 hours. What is really challenging is the fact that the week ahead features high temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s. Those are average for this time of year and living here most of my life I should be used to that by now, but I am not.

As a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder, my mood tends to dip with the temperature. Knowing this can fill me with a sense of tread as the days get closer to the end of the year, but it also gives me time to prepare. I know I am not likely to see a day like the one we are having today until the month of May. So what can I do for the next 5 months to avoid slipping to a further degree of insanity than my normal state? One cannot certainly change the weather. Closing my eyes and chanting “I think it’s warm” over and over again wouldn’t get me very far either.

If cursing mother nature doesn’t help, what does? When you are faced with challenges you cannot change, then the only option is to change yourself. I am going to begin to plan fun things with the love of my life. Being the budget of an aspiring world-famous author doesn’t include money for many tropical vacations, I plan to visit the local horticultural building here (called the Domes) where there are living plants all year around. There will be more movie nights indoors. Maybe a bundled up adventure in the woods. While this does not replace the joy of riding my bike in the sunshine, these activities will bring me great joy.

Another option is to plan for when the weather is warm in order to make the most of the nice weather. Trips we want to go on. Maybe a road trip when the snow and ice is off of the roads. Getting in shape so I can better enjoy the warm weather when in comes. I have a calendar that I actually mark each day I go to the gym. It will keep me motivated in the cold weather.

The point is this, even if you are faced with a challenge that seems to be insurmountable you can always find ways to adjust. Winter will never be my favorite season, but that does not mean I cannot find ways to discover happiness while it is here.

 

EEYORE SYNDROME REDEFINED

This is an exciting post for me to write. Why? In doing so I am able to share with all of you how wrong I was in my way of thinking in a certain are. Why is that exciting for me? Because when you learn life takes on a whole new exciting feel. This is beginning to sound confusing so let us get right into the story I want to share with you.

Above we have the loveable character Eeyore  from the children’s book series Winnie the Pooh. I must confess here that I have been, and continue to be, a big fan of this loveable bear. He embodies to me a lot of the traits I strive to have in myself. A laid back, go with the flow attitude, the ability to get along with pretty much everyone, a good imagination, and a generally positive attitude that things will turn out for the best. It is perhaps this early childhood influence that helped shaped the person I am today. Certainly his appetite and general physical build has also found its way into my life. Difference being as a general rule I do wear pants most of the time.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading one of the House at Pooh Corner stories, let me explain who Eeyore is. He is a donkey with an attitude the opposite of Pooh. He tends to see the worst in a situation and assumes most things will turn out bad, which for him they often do. This could be an early example of the Law of Attraction, but I do not wish to speak for the author’s intent.

Eeyore, although a good friend, is one of those people (or in this case donkey) that will find the single cloud on a sunny day. Do you  know someone like that? Maybe a friend in your life? When I encountered people in life with a sunshine challenged disposition I referred to them as having the Eeyore syndrome. It was my way of giving a not so nice character trait a less offensive title. This went on for about 25 years or so of my life.

Enter my friend J.D. who is not only an amazing singer, but a great aspiring author and a man who spends a great deal of life using the ability the Creator gave him between his ears. We were discussing Eeyore one evening at one of the shows Margie and I do. When I told J.D. how I think of negative people as having the Eeyore syndrome, he pointed out a great fact I had missed. In the stories Pooh, Piglet and all the other characters who have a generally more positive outlook still accept Eeyore. More importantly, they do so without trying to change him. They do point out the positive side of life to this lovable donkey, but then instead of trying to get him to think like they do, they just lead by example remaining positive in the face of the most challenging situations.

I had to take a moment and reflect. Not only did I miss this point in the story itself, but I had missed it in life as well. Often, when I see somebody who has difficulty finding the light in life, I do my best to show them a better way of thinking. Perhaps a better approach in the future would be to just accept them as they are and lead by example. By seeing my mistake, I now have a new and perhaps better way of reaching more people. That is why it pays to surround yourself with great friends and fabulous childhood stories!

DON’T WAIT, CELEBRATE TODAY!!

In past posts we have discussed the importance of not waiting to be happy until. In today’s post, I would like to add a caveat to that, do not wait to celebrate yourself until.

We all have people we know who are chasing worthwhile goals, or really working hard on improving themselves. These are both very noble pursuits. Ironically, these people can be the hardest on themselves, refusing to give themselves any acknowledgement or reward until the have completed the goal or reached their desired improvement.

This can actually be contrary to helping you achieve what you are attempting to do. By denying yourself reward until the very end, or being hard on yourself if you slip up can leave you feeling like a failure.

Examples? Your trying to lose 30 pounds and you eat better for a week and then you slip and enjoy a ‘taco tuesday’. Sure giving yourself a little pain will serve well to get you back on track, but beating yourself up can leave you feeling like you will never succeed. On the contrary even a verbal acknowledgement of the great week of eating could help instill pride and keep you motivated. Sure, you are not down to your goal weight, but you took steps toward a healthy lifestyle, that’s good work!

What about success goals? Maybe you want to write a book to help people live a more positive and rewarding life. You write the book, but then run into problem after problem promoting it. It is important to remind ourselves of our why. Knowing if you help a few people you could start a ripple effect and maybe change more lives than you thought.

These examples are purely hypothetical, but show how delaying recognition of our own accomplishments, even if they fall short of our end goal, can make us feel like a failure and dampen our enthusiasm going forward.

Take time to notice what you have done. Look how much further you are than a year ago, or last week, or maybe even yesterday. When you do mess up? Sure, give yourself a little bit of pain, but then use that feeling to propel you to avoid that pain in the future. Let it strengthen your resolve.

BECOME A PART OF MY SUCCESS

If you recall, a few weeks ago I was skeptical that my writing was having the desired effect. It is my wish that I reach people and help them see the beauty in themselves, others and a the world around them. What seemed to be a lack of engagement had me pondering whether my efforts would be better suited elsewhere. After all, this month we will be celebrating 5 years of this website and 4 years since my first book was published.

When I voiced my concerns I was greeted with what was the greatest gift I could ask for. About a hundred people reached out to let me know that my writing had touched their lives in some way. Each story was unique, but each person was touched and their life was a little brighter thanks to the ideas and words we share here. For someone like myself who would just like to leave the world a little better than he found it, there is very little that could have made me happier.

The good fortune and reassurance that I am indeed living my life purpose continues. I was recently nominated for ‘Best Milwaukee author’ in Shepherd Express magazine. I am hoping this will help me reach and inspire even more individuals. You can certainly help me reach that goal. A win would go a long way to bringing these words of positivity and hope to those who need it most. If this is something you would like to be a part of, I humbly ask you click the link at the bottom of this post and go to the ‘Arts and Entertainment’ category and vote ‘Neil Panosian’. The beauty of this being an online affair is that you can vote from wherever you may be. Whether it is West Allis Wisconsin where I live, or even in India, Jamaica or wherever these words inspire you.

Working together we can certainly bring this message of inspiration and positivity to those who are hurting or who have given up hope and find themselves in a dark place. I will certainly use my title as ‘Best Milwaukee Author’ to help as many people as I can. This can only happen with your help. Together we will make the world a better place for everyone.

P.S. – While you are on the voting site, if you would also go to the ‘Milwaukee made food and beverages’ and vote for my lovely lady Margie Story for best cupcakes I would be most grateful. Her delicious treats bring smiles to the faces of so many, and she puts her heart and soul into each of her creations.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE AND HELP ME TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL

MY RETURN

A week ago I had posted on my personal Facebook page that I had planned to quit writing. Also my Secret2anamazinglife Facebook page was removed as was Neil Panosian author. (They have since returned and if you would like to remain fully informed about all the latest tools to change your life, I highly recommend you like them) The reason I did this was because it appeared to me there was a lack of interest in these posts that I put out. The purpose I have chosen for my life is to leave a legacy of changing the world for the better, helping people see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. I also enjoy showing people how to reduce their stress, increase their joy and become the best versions of themselves.

It was with this intent I began my blog, YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) and Facebook pages. When I was not seeing any interaction it felt as though nobody was reading them. Far from being a “Whoa is me, nobody is reading my stuff” decision, it was more “If nobody is reading my writing, then I am not reaching anyone and certainly not helping anyone” If the energy I spend creating and marketing these posts, which is more than you can imagine, was not helping bring light and love to my brothers and sisters around the world than perhaps that energy and time would be better spent elsewhere. Perhaps although writing is my passion, my way of serving humanity could be found elsewhere.

Allow me to fill you in with a timeline of sorts that followed. First there was the blank stare I received from Margie. When I informed her of my actions and my decision she reacted with what can only describe as stoic and dismissive demeanor. Not sure that she had grasped the gravity of the fact I had just changed my life purpose I repeated the list of actions I had just taken. With a look of a parent who knows there child just did something really stupid, but is far to sweet to say so, she wrapped her arms around me, pulled me close and said in a way only Margie can, “I heard you baby, but I know you will be back and people won’t let you stop. You reach far more people than you know.” The rest of the night we talked. Ok, I talked and she fought to stay awake as it was about 4 o’clock in the morning. (still think being in a relationship with a driven creative person sounds fun?)

The following morning Margie woke me up with a shower of kisses and shouted with glee, “Get up baby it’s like Christmas with all of the comments!” Still feeling the sort of ambivalence of one who has just decided to change their life’s purpose, but not wanting to disappoint the woman who had been so loving and patient only a few hours before, I decided to pull myself into a vertical position. That is really all I did. My expression was blank, my mind the same. Let me pause here and set the scene a little for you. Margie is one of those rare women who can simply rise about of bed, smile and just capture you heart with her amazing beauty. Add the fact she is excited about something and she can be impossible to resist. Even the days I build the tallest walls around my heart she can melt them with a smile and her love. As I was running late for my day job at the Post Office I promised her to look at the comments as soon as I was able.

Lucky for me I chose a time when I was alone in my car to look at those very comments. Lucky for me as well I chose to do so while parked. They brought tears to my eyes. Not only was every single one encouraging, but to know that I was indeed touching people’s lives and making a positive impact was nothing short of overwhelming. It took far longer to compose myself and begin to regain rational thought, or at least as close as I ever get to that. I cannot express enough Gratitude to those who took time to express their views and to let me know they did appreciate what I did and that it did make a difference. The messages I also received were so touching and personal it began to open up the possibility of picking up the pen again.

A few other things have happened since then as well. At my day job people got wind I had changed my mind about writing and greeted me with such responses as “No you haven’t. I refuse to believe it.” to the more friendly “I’m sorry boss I just can’t let you do that.” If you know how rare anything encouraging is said out loud between workers at a Postal Facility this would be even more impressive. Then as I was on my way home an amazing young lady at a red light rolled down her window and uttered the encouraging phrase “you better put your s$%t back on Facebook.” The decision had been made – I would return to writing. Some authors dream of being recognized on every corner due to the fact there book is on the best seller list. Personally I would not mind being in that position. More importantly to me would be to be recognized on every corner because I had made a difference in so many lives.

Knowing that I make a difference and do reach and touch people’s lives has made me more excited to write than I have been in the last 5 years. There will be some changes going forward including tagging different people in posts (If you would like to be feel free to let me know) as well as doing more video blogs and more work on the second book.

In closing, once again I cannot express my gratitude to everyone who encouraged me to keep writing. My beautiful Margie for disagreeing with my decision because she believed in me and my mission more than I did. Not to mention for looking so beautiful from the time she wakes up until the time she closes her eyes to sleep. You are my muse and the love of my life.

 

BE YOURSELF

Here is a great reminder for the week ahead. Whatever you are, be a good one. We are so obsessed with being thinner, stronger, wealthier, or more popular we lose sight of something very special – us! There is nobody who is put together just the same way you are. Sure, you may desire some of the things we mentioned above, but if we all walked around with what we feel is the perfect ideal, life would be pretty boring.

Here is another wonderful thing to consider. Quite often, what we like least about ourselves can be what someone else likes the most. There are times when I am feeling so unattractive and I find my lady staring at me and then she says “I was just thinking how handsome you are.” I may shake my head in disbelief but it really feels good.

So, what about things we do? Same holds true here. I recall when writing my book A Happy Life for Busy People it took me forever to decide what to put in, and what to keep out. When it was published there were certain things I was thrilled with and certain things I thought people would just find silly, or not enjoy. Here is what happens, often things I write that I may not think are my best work tend to touch the most people and have the greatest impact. I have learned to just be myself and share what I am feeling.

Being genuine is something you just can’t fake. Let that sink in for a moment. Think about receiving compliments. If someone is complimenting you just to gain favor with you or because they feel obligated to do so, you can tell. If someone is genuine in their praise you can tell and it feels really good.

What about all the faults you have? Like a quick temper? Maybe you are not as organized as you would like? Faults provide two important things. First, they allow others to often feel more comfortable around you. Knowing the person they are around is not perfect can often help people feel more comfortable about their own faults and opening up to you. Second, they give you a chance to show you are working on improving part of your life. If you read a blog like this one, I can only imagine you are looking to constantly improve yourself, even the things you are good at.

The takeaway from today’s post is this – fall in love with yourself. Sure there are things you can always work on. We all have those, embrace them. Become ‘constructively discontent’. Use anything you think you could improve on as motivation. Remember, it is what makes you, well…you. If there is one thing that nobody can do better than you it is being yourself. Now I just have to figure why the woman in the picture has the head of a goat.