WHAT I LIVE BY

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This is, by far, my favorite quote. It is a lesson I find we should all live by. There are two ways I enjoy looking at this quote. The first one is about ‘walking the walk’. One of the worst things we can see is someone who professes one thing, but then does another. If you want your life to be filled with less drama, but you spend your afternoon writing on social media about how filled with drama everyone else is, you are only adding to that. If you want the world to have less drama, start with yourself. There is only one person that we can have complete control over in this world and that is ourselves.

That brings me to the second way in which I enjoy this quote, as sense of hope. This is why I am writing what I do today. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, it was at the depths of darkest despair that my journey of positivity started. I was facing many negative situations in my personal life and was desperately seeking a solution from outside of myself. Everywhere I looked it seemed as if I saw one negative thing after another. The newspaper was full of negative news meant to sell and shock. The evening news on television was more of the same. I saw posts on social media that were certainly less than inspiring.

All of this negativity everywhere was not only frustrating, but had me enraged at times. It may be how some of you feel. I felt angry at politicians and celebrities that seemed to have no regard for human decency. The media only reporting these stories caused more frustration. Seeing people treating each other with hate and prejudice made me so mad.

I wanted to change governments to be more responsible and caring towards the people they serve and less driven by profit. I wanted celebrities to use their fame and position for good. It would also be nice for more of them to respect the people that allowed them to achieve that status. I wanted more people to live in light and love and treat each other with respect and compassion.

Do I still want all of these things? Absolutely. The difference is I decided to be that change. I joined political causes I believe brought about unity and positive change. I made sure I did my best to be an example of treating people with respect and compassion. Daily I work to spread positive news and keep the negative things I hear to myself. I wished more men acted as gentleman, so I do my best to treat my lady as I want to see all men treat theirs. In every way I strive to lead by example. I realized the best thing I could do to reduce the amount of negative people in the world was not be one of them.

What change do you wish to see in the world? Ask yourself honestly, do you embody that change? It may seem like changing yourself is only a small change, but doing so has caused several big changes in my own life. First, by focusing on being positive and not adding to the negative, I have felt more positive myself. I have attracted into my life people who have the same goals and aspirations as I do. Changing yourself has a ripple effect that touches the lives of so many others. If every one of us focused solely on being the change we wished to see in the world, the world we see would change.

THE BEST ACCESSORY 

Last year people spent over 55 billion dollars (yes that is billion) on cosmetics. Jewelry and fashion were both multi-billion dollar a year expenditures as well. We spend time and money reading and perusing fashion and style magazines. Presidents and other leaders in both politics and business pay people to write speeches for them and even pick out what they are going to wear. Why? Everyone, whether you are a leader or a follower wants to look good.

Still, the number one thing we can do to look good is often over-looked and does not cost a thing. What is this accessory? A smile. When we meet someone and they are wearing a smile we are more likely to believe what they have to say. We are more likely to trust them. When you are wearing a smile people are more receptive to your ideas and what you have to say. Not to mention wearing a smile feels good and makes those we come in contact with feel good.

With all these benefits why is everyone not wearing a smile? It’s free, it is emotionally and physically healthy, it encourages others to listen to you and makes them more receptive to what you have to say. You would think every job interview, every first date, every important business deal and appearance by a public official would all contain many smiles.

Why do more people not smile? I guess there are several reasons. One, is they simply don’t realize they are not. I used to be guilty of this in the past and to some extent are still in the present. We get lost in our thoughts or what we are doing and may unintentionally find ourselves wearing a blank look, or even worse a scowl when really our inside emotions do not match. Eventually our physical actions affect our emotional well-being. If you are feeling down, try putting on a smile and leaving it there for 2 minutes. Slowly you mood will begin to shift. Try also looking at pictures of people (or animals) smiling. I have several pictures of people smiling on my phone. My screensaver is my lady wearing a bacon hat with the biggest smile on her face. Looking at these pictures will also help bring you out of that funk.

Another reason I have heard people do not smile is they are afraid. Afraid of smiling? You bet! Why would people be afraid of smiling? I have been told they are worried people will think they are up to something. To me this is foolishness. We are all up to something and if us looking happy makes people nervous that is on them. I’ve also been told that “I’m afraid people will take it as an invitation to start talking to me.” Yes, this sometimes does happen. As long as you do not make it a habit to smile at the strange man on the corner in a clown suit holding a knife what is the worst that could happen? In fact, some people are lonely and looking for someone they can share their stories with. You never know, sharing a smile with someone may even save their life. When you feel that nobody cares a smile from a friend, or even a stranger can turn your day, and your world around. Think of how you feel when someone shares their smile with you, why would you not want to give that gift to others?

So let us all do our part to share a few more smiles. Still nervous, uncomfortable or afraid? That’s ok start slowly. I suggest begin with the person in the mirror. Give yourself a smile every morning with a positive affirmation like “Let’s make this a great day!” Then, begin to branch out. Start with loved ones, maybe move on to friends, coworkers, the person helping you at the coffee shop? When you see how good it makes people feel and how they react to you, trust me, you will be tempted to share more. Also try practice wearing a smile while you are engaged in work. I have started this when I am writing and notice I feel a lot less tired when I am done. I am going to close this with a quote from the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln “Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” I am sure Mr. Lincoln meant to include woman in that statement as well.

I would love to hear about your experiences sharing a smile in the comments below!

WHY WE ARE ALL TIRED 

This quote comes to us courtesy of the movie “The Green Mile”. In todays world of extreme politics and social conflict there has been a fair share of ugliness. On social media everyday we see conflicting opinions which are healthy when presented in a healthy way. We also see our share of name calling, and sarcastic portrayals of those who have a different opinion than that of the person doing the posting.

Let us take a step back and look at what this accomplishes. Some may say it causes the person posting to be a little happier and that may be true, only temporarily. You see in order to post something like that the person has to focus on this conflict and the low opinion they have of that group. How “Stupid” there are or how “Hateful, Racist or evil” they are. Try saying these words out loud three times, “Stupid, hate, racist and evil”. If you are unable to try even saying them to yourself. Do it now, I’ll wait….Ok, how does that make you feel physically? Did you notice an effect? Even focusing on things we strongly dislike and thinking about them make us feel sick. It can even make us feel helpless. Plus, remember what we said about the RAS and how the brain seems to begin to notice more of what we focus on?

So should we ignore all the injustice we see? Absolutely not! What we should focus on is solutions we can think of. Perhaps find examples of people or situations that are the opposite of those that upset us. We will still be victim to reading how wrong we are for feeling what we feel, but understand as much as we may disagree with someone they have a right to feel as they do too. Again going back to the golden rule, we no more want to hear that we have no right to feel as we do or are stupid, evil or any other negative term for doing so than anyone else does. Not to mention by attacking others we only add to the feeling and atmosphere of hate and conflict.

Here is what I suggest. Does racism bother you? Then promote everyone getting along. Does war leave you feeling sad? Then promote peace. Poverty leave you feeling sick and helpless? Promote an atmosphere of giving and everyone having enough. It was this very thinking that caused me to embark on the life path I am on now. It was my disgust at the vast amount of negativity in the world that had me determined to begin to promote positivity and to provide tools to help others do the same.

So next time you catch yourself saying “Did you see what that person/politician/company did?” ask yourself, “What am I doing?”. Sure maybe we cannot make as big of a difference as the president of the United States, or Walmart, but all of us doing little acts of kindness and love can counterbalance those doing that which we disagree with.

I invite you all to share groups that do good or even your own ideas to promote love instead of bashing hate. Let us all work to be a little less ugly to each other and make the world a little more beautiful.

THE COMMON THREAD

This week we are going to look at inspiration from a few different spiritual beliefs. This page is not about telling you what to believe spiritually, i believe that is between you and your creator. This page is, however,  about living an amazing life. My life’s mission is to help people see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. It is the last two this week will be focused on. 

There are always differences between people and normally that is not a big deal. This person had long hair, this person has short hair. This person is tall and that person is short.  So why when it comes to religion and politics do differences have to divide us so? This week we are going to look at various quotes from sources in several different beliefs and what we can learn from them. We ate going to end this week with something that may surprise some of you, so check back at the end of the week for that. 

For the rest of today begin to look at the common thread that ties all of us together no matter where or how we pray. 

IT’S TIME TO VOTE FOR SOMETHING FUN!

Forget all our differences for Trump and Hillary! Forget empty campaign promises. I’m humbly asking for your vote for best Milwaukee author. So, if you enjoy what you read in this blog, or have read my book A Happy Life for Busy People I ask that you be kind enough to cast your vote for me.

You do not have to live in Milwaukee, you do not have to show an ID and you do not even have to leave the comfort of your own home! There is no political agenda to worry about and nobody will unfriend you if you do. So if you enjoy what I write here is all I am asking you to do. Go to http://www.shepherdexpress.com/bom16 or click the link at the bottom of this post. Then go to the arts and entertainment category and select Milwaukee author where you will see the screen above and click on yours truly!

When I found out that I was voted one of the four finalists for this year there was one emotion that came over me. It was not pride, even though to be so recognized is truly something to be proud of. It was not arrogance, although once again being selected as one of the four best authors in the city made me feel pretty good!  The one emotion that popped right into my head was gratitude. I cannot explain how grateful I feel enough wonderful people cast their votes to get me that far. So if you were one of those people I do wish to thank you. With you vote again and with the help of others we will come out on top.

Throughout my life my mission has always been to help others see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. I strive to do that very thing in this blog, in my books and in my live seminars. With the exposure that winning would grant me I feel that I could help even more individuals reduce the stress and increase the joy in their lives and I can only do it with your help. So I wish to say I big thank you for those of you who have already voted, and thank in advance all of you who will vote.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!!

PS While you are there voting if you would be so kind as to click on the ‘out and about’ tab and vote either place I DJ at (HD hideout or Graingers) for best karaoke bar I would be further in your debt.

PARETO MUST WIN THIS ELECTION !

As you’re reading this i can only imagine the questions you are asking.  “Neil don’t you know the election is over?” and “who is this Italian guy your talking  about?”

First things first. Yes I know the election is over. Donald Trump is now the president of the United States. Shocking to some, wonderful news to others. So why am I saying another person should win the election and who is he?

Vilfredo Pareto was a French economist who died in 1923 in Switzerland. So am I advocating dead people to not only vote but win? Not at all. Mr. Pareto was known for many things including a principle named after him. In a nutshell the principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.

There are many adaptations of this principle including my favorite that states when faced with a challenge we should allocate 20% of our time, energy and focus on the problem and 80% on possible solutions. This has served me very well both in business and in personal relationships. How many times have you wasted time disagreeing with someone about something trying to decide who’s fault it is, who is to blame and why things are bad? Once you decide who takes the blame you are often nowhere nearer to solving the problem than when you began.

As this election unfolded several issues were brought up and people became divided and hateful. After the election is over these issues still remain and some may save have only become magnified. So now what do we do and what can we take from a dead Frenchman?

First, the 20%. We need to all get together and spend 20% of our time on these challenges. There are several challenges facing this fine nation. The first step to solving any challenge is getting clear as to what the challenge is. This may sound silly at first, but how many times have you seen or even been a part of a disagreement only to discover the two parties (or more) were disagreeing about completely different things. The next step is to discover the cause of these issues. Now here is where a lot of people turn to blame. First of all it is very seldom, if ever, only one party’s fault. Often there is a failure to communicate clearly. Perhaps there is a lack of knowledge on a subject or even person. Often if we really spend more time getting to know each other at our very core we would find it a lot more difficult to disagree.

That brings us to the 80%, the solution. When you find yourself faced with a challenge it is very important to know what both sides desire and ask yourself “what is a solution that could make both parties happy?”. Sometimes this is not possible, but when you approach a challenge this way you are far more open to hearing both sides. Explore every option, hear every opinion. Spend 80% of your time on the solution verses the problem and we will be amazed and what we can accomplish.

So although this election has divided many of us, I urge all of us to focus 20% on what our issues may be and 80% on how we can solve them for the best interest of everyone. That includes our newly elected president as well as those who came up short.

I will leave you with a final thought from one of my favorite presidents

“A House divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln

SUNSHINE WARRIOR 


After learning and teaching ways to be more positive in life I have come to a important conclusion – it is a constant struggle – for anyone who has embarked on this journey this is not too shocking. When you make the decision to live a more positive, loving and passionate life something strange happens. At first people pat you on the back and say things like “good luck” and “that’s great”. It all starts off well and good. Fast forward at most a week or so and things change. People begin to get less comfortable with your decision. I’m not sure why this is.  I have a theory or two. Perhaps they realize how much their own lives are not full of joy and fulfillment. Perhaps in some strange way they feel if you succeed it somehow means they fail.  Another interesting thing people tend to do, even well-meaning people, is they begin to show you examples of how dark the world can be. You begin to hear things like “How can you be positive when ___ happens?” or look how bad the world is getting and they sight some recent negative event the media is feeding off of. The truth is there is good and bad in the world. Light and dark. Positive and negative. Whether you are spiritual, or not that is easy to see. You meet nice people and experience nice things and you also face challenges and meet people so unpleasant conversations with them leave you wanting a shower.

So what side are you going to be on? Make no mistake, what you choose to focus on decides a great deal of your life. What meaning you assign to things decides how they make you feel. This is the most important decision you can make in your life. Why? It determines how you feel. There will always be wins and loses what they mean to you will determine how they affect you. If you believe the world is out to get you and always to expect the worst you will feel one way. We all know some people who actually do not allow themselves to be happy even when something good happens. They always look for what could go wrong. I knew a man who won an all-inclusive vacation. I was happy for him, but he did not seem so happy. “Yeah, but I have to pay the taxes” he informed me. The taxes amounted to $100. He, and his wife, were going to Jamaica airfare, hotel, meals and cocktails for a week for $100 and he was sad. These are the people who fall victim to the world around us. The negative mind programing we see on TV, online and in the papers everyday. Still, we all know people who remain happy no matter what. If they get a flat tire they muse that it may have prevented them from being in an accident further down the road. Some people call this naïve, but it is no more fanciful than focusing on the negative.

So what side do you find yourself on? Daily in the news we hear of tragedy, hateful speech, how the environment is falling apart, how morals are decaying and a host of other dark and negative events. Seldom to we hear about the people that come together to help the victims of violence, a new inspiring speech that was given, or how some high school students are coming together to clean up a river. These things are not ‘good news material’ they do not sell.

So what do I believe? What does the man who brings these words to you think? Here is what I believe. Make no mistake, your joy, your well-being, your very spirit is under attack. We are in the eye of a hurricane of hate and negativity. The world has become darker in many ways. I think a lot of that is owed to the focus on what is wrong in the world. It has dimmed the light of hope in the hearts of many. Which is why my motivation for writing only grows stronger. We need more people to spread joy, to focus on what is just, good and right. We need more healers of all kind. We need people to bring us together to stand against those trying to tear us apart. Before you jump to sign up let me assure you of one thing, this is not for the faint of heart. In order to be a source of light in a dark world you must be brave. You will find yourself ridiculed. You may often find yourself being attacked by those closest to you and on occasion even standing alone. Many souls find themselves negative and uninspired because today that is the easy way. To be an inspired soul and even greater to inspire others takes courage, takes inner strength and not everyone is up for that.

If you find yourself disgusted with both what you read and see in the news as well as on the streets I urge you to become a sunshine warrior. Put on the armor of positivity. Be warned, however, we are out numbered and the fight will be both long and difficult. You will not come out unscathed. The reward for this fight is your life, and the lives of those you care about and come in contact with. Whether we live in a world of darkness or a world of light depends greatly on whether we choose to join this fight. There will be many who will complain about the world as is, but there will be very few who are brave enough to do their part to change it.

If you find yourself tagged in this post you are a sunshine warrior. Do your part and share and tag those you feel show the courage to bring light to our world.