WHAT ARE YOU UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF?

Recently, I have been called a ‘Social Media Influencer’. I see that term a lot lately. It  forced me to take a look at what is influencing me. When you look at what you read, listen to and who you hang out with it is easy to see what may be influencing you. I know a lot of you may be thinking, “Not me I am too strong to be influenced by anything!” Congratulations if that is true, but I believe to at least some degree we are influenced by all of the things mentioned above.

Currently, there is an election going on in this country which means an abundance of ads exploring all of the negative situations that politicians have brought to us. There may be a small smattering of promises of what the candidate will do for you, but mostly just want their competition will not do. With our ears being filled to capacity with such drivel we can find ourselves being a bit drained at the end of the day and certainly not filled with hope.

Influence can be subtle as well. Like the few glasses of wine you had with dinner that do not seem to affect you until you stand up to go to the bathroom. Influence can creep into your life without you even realizing it. Move to another country, or even to a different part of your country for a year and it would be shocking if you did not pick up an accent or dialect from that region.

One of the most difficult things people will admit is the influence the people around them have. “I am my own person!” They proclaim. That may be true and you may be very good at staying true to your values, but as many studies have shown, we are usually a composite of the 5 people we spend the most time around. If you spend your days around people who constantly eat junk food, eating a salad once or twice a week may feel pretty healthy. start hanging around people who take their health and fitness seriously and you may feel differently. This is why it is important to include driven and motivated people in our inner circle.

The great thing about all of this is we have complete control over what may be influencing us. We can turn off that news channel and pick up an inspiring or motivating book. We can stop subscribing to pointless political or drama-filled websites and join sites that will add more to our life, fill us with joy and help us become the best versions of ourselves. I gave you a great example in Monday’s post. If we know we have people in our lives that are not the best influence, we do not have to get rid of them, but perhaps balance the time we spend with them with someone we know would bring out the best in us and not the stress in us.

A great way to begin to change what we are under the influence of is to compile a list of all the major things we do daily. Do we watch a certain television show? Visit a certain website? Talk to certain people? Then on the list, honestly decide if that item is a plus or minus. Write a plus or minus next to that item. When you are done look at what you could do to limit or replace the minus and grow or add to the plus. Become intoxicated with love, laughter and success.

THE MOST IMPORTANT VOTE YOU WILL CAST

Today is election day in the United States. We will be voting for a host of local and state officials. I encourage everyone to vote because it is a privilege that not many around the world have.

Today I would like to discuss a more important vote than governor, senator or even President. This vote is not cast every four years, or even every two years. You don’t go to the polls to cast this vote. It has nothing to do with politics, but affects your life greatly.

This vote is cast daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. It is done at home in bed first thing in the morning. It is done on the job, in houses of worship and in traffic. How you vote on this issue would decide your career, your relationships and your overall sense of well-being.

This is whether or not you will vote for yourself. I’m not talking about running for office, although this certainly requires being a leader. Would you give yourself a vote of confidence? Are you proud of the person you are? Do you fulfill the promises you make to others, and especially to yourself? Do you deserve re-election to run your life?

If the answer is no, make the changes now that you need to. Become the most appealing candidate for the office of your life. Start being a person of your word. Become someone of great character.

If the answer is yes, make sure to give yourself that vote of confidence. Understand that you are the one who has your best interests at heart. Stop being victims to celebrities, social media, your boss or whoever else you are allowing you to tell you how to live your life.

Vote for You and elect to office the one person qualified to run things. Make sure to listen to your constituents such as your spouse, your family and your boss, but know the final vote lies with you. Make sure the person you elect maintains the highest character and makes the best decisions with the information they have. As with any elected official, be tough but fair.

So, get out and vote today. Make your voice heard, but most important cast the important vote for yourself!

SEE THE GOOD!

Look at the Brightside! How many times in our life are we told that? Especially in dark times. I do not know about you, but when that is the lone piece of advice someone gives me when I am feel down I feel like pushing them down. Not exactly, but it is tough to hear and even tougher to do on a lot of occasions. We are often left saying, or at least thinking, “Don’t tell me to look at the Brightside when my life is full of darkness. Show me how to see the good!”

Seeing the good in life is made infinitely more difficult if you subject yourself to mainstream media. Nightly news, online sights, radio and newspapers all seem to fight over telling you the most dramatic and negative stories about the world around you. Fear sells, tragedy sells, and to some degree conflict and hate sell. Throw in an election like the one we have coming up here in the United States and all of that is only magnified.

What is needed in the world today are tools that will show us how to focus on what is right in the world in the face of conflict. Someplace that will not only shine a light on great examples of the positive aspects of life, but help us to find even more examples on our own. Readers of Secret2anamazinglife.com know that we are committed to bring you all of the latest tools that can help you from across the globe.

Enter the website See the Good You will find the link at the end of this post. I encourage you to add this to your list of daily reading. On this site you will find not only stories of positive inspiration, which we could all use more of in our lives, but tools to discover the joy and gratitude in your own life as well. I know I will be reading more from this site during the holidays and in the coming New Year. I encourage you to do the same!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW SEE THE GOOD

POLITICAL AD BURNOUT

Ah election time. Here in the United States it is election time. With this triumphant event comes the onslaught of political ads. These, I am to believe, are meant to sway your opinion from one candidate to another. The amount of money spent on these ads amounts to the income of many small countries. What good could be created if this money was put to a more productive use is frightening. It is my firm belief there is enough money there to allow all the candidates to fulfill their outrageous promises.

This would not be so bad if these ads contained useful tips on how to better connect with your government or say get that awful smell out of your gym shoes. Instead let us look at what we do get for all of the tax money and other funds allocated for such endeavors. All but a slight percentage of ads actually feature the opposition. If that party is an incumbent it will proceed to explain how everything that has went wrong in your life can be attributed to this individual. Be that the crime in your neighborhood going up, the quality of your life going down or that stain you discovered on your new shirt. If, by contrast, the party featured in the ad has yet to obtain an office the ad will likely feature a doomsday prediction of what will happen if this person is elected. Things such as taxes rising 3 million percent, everyone’s job disappearing and your dog packing up and running away from home. In short, both ads will tell you what a terrible world you are living in.

It would not be so bad if we had an option to avoid all of this negative banter and mudslinging. These ads, however, find their way into every facet of our lives. There are of course television spots filled with images of impoverished neighborhoods, homeless individuals and other dire circumstances set to spread across the land unless you vote the prescribed way. There are radio ads that fill our ears with such inspiring terms as ‘liar’, ‘thief’ and ‘scoundrel’. There are ads that fill our mailboxes that combine both. There are even emails, online ads, and today I received a text to go along with those very effective automated phone calls.

Being exposed to all of this negativity can have several bad consequences. If you are a staunch political opinioned party member they are designed to get your blood boiling and heart rate higher until you are telling everyone you know how they should vote and attacking friendly neighbors even if they display the slightest chance of supporting party. If, on the other hand, you are someone like myself who is focused on your little corner of the world and votes for the best candidate regardless of party affiliation, you can still be left feeling depressed and hopeless. You may become frustrated at all of the negative things you hear and read. Even if you do not vote and could care less who wins, you are still having to take out more garbage and your favorite program is being interrupted with more and more commercials.

What can we do to avoid getting political ad burnout? There are a few things. First of all, remember just like any disagreement, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of the two sides. All parties do some right and some wrong. I say all parties because it bears remembering there are many different parties to choose from so if you have had it up to here with all the negative banter between the two major parties you do have other options. Another very important thing to keep in mind is all you can do is cast your one vote. Sure, you can hold rallies or put a sign in your yard, but when all is said and done we all have just one vote.

Here is another thing that could make this season a little more bearable and even inspiring. Election time inspiring? Yes indeed. Every time you hear, see or receive a political ad say something nice about someone. Maybe send someone some well-wishes. A few of my friends even suggested turning this into a drinking game. Unless you would like to be incapacitated until mid-November I would not suggest this course of action.

Most importantly, remember to respect others. For whatever reason, politics can seem to bring out the worst in people who otherwise seem like fairly normal and even slightly sane individuals. Do not swallow the brainwashing that all people belonging to a certain political party secretly worship the devil and want to eat small children. Although they may subscribe to a different ideology, that does not make them, or you, any less of a person. It is only by working together that we can truly change this world to a better place.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln.

SECRET TO A HEALTHY COMMUNITY

The man on the far right, with the megaphone, is the mayor of my fine city. Every year he holds a 30-day challenge to have members of the community be active for 30 minutes a day. This year the challenge was kicked off with a one mile walk that the mayor led. In politics there is too often examples of “Do as I say, not as I do.” It is refreshing to see a leader who leads by example.

Not only was this an example of a leader walking the walk, but of one who truly cares about the city he leads. Wanting the people who live in the city to be both healthy and happy is an extra step that most officials would not take. The position of mayor is filled with lots of obligations and responsibilities. Arranging both a walk and a 30-day fitness challenge creates a lot of extra work. Including, but not limited to, setting up police presence to make sure the course is safe. Working with sponsors and allocating prizes to be given away, t-shirts printed and what is sure to be countless other details I am forgetting.

Sure, setting up such an event can help you during reelection, but so could just being a great mayor. Why take all of the extra steps? That answer was made clear as we walked along. The mayor did not discuss politics, or as some national politicians are wanting to do, discuss how great of a mayor he was. No, today as we walked along he discussed his son’s love for sports, his family’s like for vacations in northern Wisconsin and an eventful trip they had made to Disney world. Most importantly, the mayor listened. Another sign of a great leader. He listened patiently as people voiced their concerns about aspects of the city, but also when they shared stories of their families as well.

After the walk had concluded, there was a small gathering where water, yogurt and prizes were handed out. Sadly, I did not win any of the State Fair tickets that were up for grabs. I did win, however, by being part of this great community.

I had the great pleasure of talking to wonderful neighbors like Jon and Robin who are also working diligently to foster a sense of community. Even though she wasn’t able to attend, there were plenty of discussions about my amazing neighbor Linda and what a caring neighbor she is. To make the day even better I was able to finally meet several neighbors I had only previously interacted with online including Denise and her fabulous husband. I look forward to chatting more with all of them as we work together to foster a greater sense of togetherness in West Allis Wisconsin.

If your community offers programs such as this I encourage you to join. If they do not, work with leaders to begin some. They not only do a great deal to reduce crime and increase a sense of community, but bring people together for positive and healthy reasons. Leaders, take mayor Dan Devine’s example. Caring about your constituents runs deeper than success at the polls and does not go unnoticed.

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