SURROUNDED BY GREAT FRIENDS 

People are forever asking me how I am able to keep my positive attitude. The first thing I tell them is that it has taken years of consistent actions to get to this point. The payoffs have been more than amazing. There is the practice of focusing on gratitude, there is meditation and journaling. In short, it is not just one thing, but a million little things. If you wish to change your outside, you must first change yourself. Until you change yourself, nothing will change. Once you change yourself, everything changes. Read those last two lines again slowly. Working on yourself is not only the best and quickest way to change your life, but it is the only way.

There is one thing I want to share with you today that can make the journey to self-transformation not only easier, but a lot more enjoyable. Surround yourself with great friends. When I was at my lowest points I looked around and noticed the people I was surrounding myself with were not people one would aspire to be. Your friends need not be perfect, and expecting that of anyone does not make you a good friend. That being said, there are a few qualities you may wish to look for in the people you choose to invite into your life.

First, they must be people genuinely interested in bettering themselves. Often, people who are not improving themselves may attempt to bring you down or hold you back. This is not done with any malice, and maybe not even consciously. The reason is there is a fear that if you do become better you may move away from them. To be honest this is a rather legitimate fear. When you are trying to lose some weight and be healthier you would not want to go out drinking every night. That is not to say you would be leaving your friends, just that you might start having less in common. I was guilty of thinking “I will help my friends improve too.” Here is the problem with that, change has to come from within. If they do not want to change it will be painful at best, impossible at worst. A side-effect might be that they will resent you for ‘trying to change them’. If you surround yourself with people looking to better themselves they may be able to provide you secrets to help your own journey, or at the very least understand the struggles you are going through.

Second, you would want to avoid people who gossip. Instead focus on those friends who do their best to try and see the good in everyone. Sharing your world with people constantly giving you the latest dirt on everyone not only drags you down emotionally, but sooner or later you end up being the one talked about to others.

Here is a little secret I have employed. I have become friends with some of the most famous people in the world. We talk right before bed, they ride along with me on the way to work. How does all this happen? Through books, and audiobooks. Imagine having the words of your favorite sports coach to pep you up on the way to a job interview? Having a hard time forgiving someone? Read the words of Mother Teresa. I am a big fan of Tony Robbins and have purchased several of his products. Tony speaks directly to the listener and it is almost as if he is sitting in the car next to me as we drive along. By the time we get to work I am inspired and ready to go.

So pick some good people and hang on to them. Think of famous people who inspire you and add some of their material to your motivational library. Feel free to mention some of the people who inspire you in the comments below!

GRATEFUL FOR THE CHALLENGES 

This is my condition at present. I have a dislocated shoulder. Although on the surface this really sucks. Ok, maybe slightly deeper than the surface. Still, it is a reminder of the many blessings I have. My friend Bret was grocery shopping, but stopped to come drive me to the hospital. Sadly, due to the pain it wasn’t possible and an ambulance ride was required. In the ambulance staff I met 3 very genuine and caring men. I also discovered one cannot put one’s shoulder back in place without pain medicine. Then at the hospital the ER staff were very caring and courteous. The doctor, managed to get my shoulder back in and talk to me about tacos. Something I guess I did under the influence of the pain medicine I was unaware of.

Even more so, the gratitude group I started online sent so many good thoughts and vibes I am truly overwhelmed. Friends who were not part of the group also set messages of well-being. My lovely lady’s friend drove her to DJ when I couldn’t. The people at the show sent a lot of well wishes for my health and return. Even today when picking up medicine I met some fun people at the pharmacy and received a $25 gift card for bringing my prescription there.

Last, but by no means least is my lovely Margie. She has been making sure I have everything I needed. Even helped me tie my shoe before I left to write this. She even did our DJ show all by herself while I recover. She has drive, love and caring.

The point is that this situation, as unfortunate as it is, has brought to light, and reminded me of the many blessings I sometimes forget to notice as well as many I did not even know where there. They say you can only see the stars when the night is the darkest, and I sure do have a lot of stars that came to shine in this dark period.

There are challenges in this situation to be sure. Try, for example, using the other hand when you use the bathroom. Should be the same right? Not so much. While that is a problem I have to work on by myself, there are plenty others I can ask for help with. Myself, like many of you I am sure, are not big fans of asking for help. We are, however, big fans of giving help to those of our friends who need it. Why is that? It feels good to know we helped someone. I am glad to be able to give that pleasure to those who are helping me now. Not to mention, it gives me an extra chance to show my appreciation not only for their help, but for their friendship.

I would not recommend dislocating your shoulder (trust me this is #3) but if you find yourself in a situation you need help, remember that is a blessing too. Feel free to share some of the blessings you have noticed in your time of need or thank those who have helped you in the comments below.

MAKE IT EASIER

 

All week we have been discussing ways to help us along the great journey we began with Monday’s post. Again, if you have not had a chance to take part of this amazing 7 day transformational event it is never too late. Feel free to click the link below to see how you can get started today!

I DARE YOU….

The last two days we have looked at ways in which we can remain positive and make this journey not only more powerful, but more fun. We mentioned finding the dessert in any situation on Tuesday. Yesterday we talked about making the most of happy moments and how to use them to also help us achieve our goals.

What is the best way to find the dessert in every situation and have as many special moments as possible? Surround yourself with people doing the same! If your life is filled with Debbie downer and Negative Nancy it will be extremely hard to remain optimistic about the realization of any goal you are focusing on. The best is when you can recruit your partner to join you on the journey to having an amazing life as I have. Even if you want to keep what you are doing to yourself, surrounding yourself with people who are not only positive, but want to make the best of themselves can make all the difference.

Above is a picture of my friend Russ and I. We have been friends for…well…let us just say a really long time. Russ and myself have many different viewpoints and have taken several different paths. What is the same is our end goal. To learn how to squeeze every last drop of passion and enjoyment out of life all while learning to be the best versions of ourselves.

Because, not in spite of, the fact that we are different can we help each other so well. Trying to read every book or try every method for self-improvement yourself is just not practical. There is just not enough days in one’s life. Having a friend, or friends, who look at life differently but have the same end goal can introduce you to a world of different options than you could ever discover yourself. In addition, having someone facing the same struggles and cheering you on can get you through the toughest times. So ‘pick your posse’ carefully. This, more than anything, can make all the difference in your journey to live an amazing life.

IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS 

Angels, what exactly are they? If you look up the definition online it will tell you they are “spiritual beings superior to humans in power and intelligence.” Where do angels come from? You can often hear people say when someone has passed away that they have become their guardian angel. I’m not 100% sure that this is true as I am still alive, but it is something that certainly sounds wonderful.

This post is not about death, what happens after we pass away or even angels in the biblical sense. It is about our daily angels. Daily angels are the people I truly believe bless this world. When you see a young person open the door for an elderly or physically challenged person, to me that person in acting angelic. There will be a section in my upcoming book filled with examples of these people and what we can learn from them. I’m going to include a few of them here as well, both specifically and the kind of people in general that I believe qualify as angels.

The other night I was out with my lady at a friend’s birthday party. A gentleman I have known since I was very young, grade school age, came up to talk to me. Not only was he effusive in his praise, but let me know that he was proud of the life I was living and the accomplishments of both my lady and I. He shared a lot of the good memories he had of us and left me feeling very happy and good about myself. Someone who brings only joy and positivity to others and helps them feel good about themselves fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say Scott is a living angel

My aunt has never really had a high paying job, lived in a glamorous house or even driven a car. On top of this she has had five different kinds of cancer and beat them all. How does she manage to do this? A great (although strange at times) sense of humor. She makes herself and others around her laugh. She never gave in to any of her health challenges, and continues to live on the ‘sunny side of the street’. Maintaining and sharing a positive attitude in the face of such personal challenges fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say my aunt Virginia is a living angel.

One final personal example. Sometimes doing the simplest acts with the certain attention to detail and compassion and love for your fellow human beings makes you an angel in my book. There are two gentleman I routinely run into at coffee shops I frequent. They serve delicious drinks and they do so quickly. If you love coffee as much as I do that can mean the world, but it does not make them an angel. What does is their attention and care for their customers. They get to know you, care about you and are not afraid to show it. When you can make customers feel like friends and bring people joy while you are merely doing your job that fits my definition of an angel. Therefore, Curtis and Kyle are living angels.

Whether you bring light into the world with a smile for those you meet, listen to a friend who is sharing their troubles or a host of other selfless acts I believe that is what makes an angel. Let us recognize all of the people in our lives who fill our souls with love and hope on a daily basis. We are daily in the company of angels.

This post would not be complete without the mention of two very important things. First, my own personal little angel, my love, my Margie. I could tell you all the hard work she puts in around our house in terms of keeping it clean and full of love. I could tell you the countless smiles she has brought with all the effort she puts into her cakes that bring joy to the lives of everyone who orders one, but I need to let you in on something else. Currently I have been going through a lot of personal challenges in my own life. Some that must also make life very difficult for her as well. The more love, patience and understanding she shows me on a daily basis the more I see I am blessed to have my own little angel next to me every day.

The final piece of information I am going to leave you with is this. The world never has enough angels. If you can’t seem to find all that many in your life I encourage you to really begin to look for them. If you are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the angels you see, let them know. Whether you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, do yourself and the world a favor, become an angel. Look for ways you can serve your fellow human beings with love, compassion and joy.

Feel free to recognize some living angels you know in the comments below or by sharing this post with them.

FOREVER YOUNG

I’m sure we all know some old 18 year olds and some young 80+ year olds. What is the secret to staying young? Mindset. Ok, that sounds easy but how does one keep a young mindset? This can be a challenging thing to do the older we become. Pain, heartache all can leave one feeling older by the minute.

In my life there have been three great keys to staying young. First, surround yourself with people who have a young mindset. There is nothing better than a friend who encourages you to laugh and to live. Take chances, try new things.

The second key to staying young has been learning to take care of my body. To live life to the fullest you need energy. The best energy can come from being physically fit and healthy. You do not want to run out of gas climbing the mountain of success. Incorporate a daily walk in the park into your routine. Even 10 minutes of exercise can get you on the right path. Eat healthy meals more often. Trust me, some of them taste amazing.

The third and final key to staying young may be the most important. Grow and maintain your sense of humor. There is no anti-aging product that works as well as laughter. It truly is the best medicine. Taking life too seriously is the quickest way to grow old before your time. Watch a funny movie with the one you love. Draw a silly picture. Learn one new joke a day. Just keep that smile on your face.

Feel free to share any tips you have for staying young in the comments below.

UNLEASH YOUR SUPERPOWER!

Did you know that you have a super power? Yes you reading this right now. If you find yourself scratching your head, rolling your eyes or any other sign of disbelief let me assure you that you do. This thought occurred to me at the most unique time. Still it is something we can all do that can not only make us feel like a superhero to ourselves, but seem like one to all other we interact with as well. My favorite part? Doing this can take your relationship to the next level and make you a hero to the one you love.

Those are all pretty bold claims, but let me prove them to you. Let us start with the last one because that is the one that I feel this idea can make the biggest difference in. How can we become a hero to the one we love? I am going to give you a clue, the answer has been in front of you all of the time. There are two steps you must take to make this happen. The first step is to listen and observe. You will be listening for something very specific from your partner. The next thing you should do is to write down when you hear these items. I know, I know, another list. Anyone who follows this blog or knows me in person knows that I am a fan of lists. Why? In short, lists work.

Here is what you are going to be listening and looking for. Have you ever done something that just wowed the person you love? It could be something dramatic, like take them out for a fancy dinner at a special place they like. It could also be something simple like helping out with the dishes so they can focus on making a masterpiece cake. (shh…I’m trying to help myself here). Either way, they let you know that really made them happy. Start that list. Things I do to make my partner happy. I suggest doing this list when they happen as it is fresh.

The next items you will be looking for is things you do to make your partner feel loved. Maybe you share a special smile they love. Maybe you buy them a red balloon? Maybe you make them a tres leches cake? (still trying to help myself) Again, these can be big things, but mostly they are little small things. This can often be harder for ladies as men are not very likely to tell the woman they love “thank you baby that really made me feel loved.” If you do have a man like that, hang on to him, but more likely ladies you will have to look for the more subtle signs. Write down everything that fits in this category.

Once you have these lists, and I recommend you update them as often as you can, you have a really great power. Knowing, and more important, paying attention and putting to work things that make the one you love feel happy and loved will make you both very happy. Get into a disagreement? Now you have a few items that can help get things back on track. Your spouse going through some rough times? You can help them make it through and keep their smile.

The best part is this works with bosses, parents, children and anyone else in your life. Pay attention and make your list. Then, at anytime you need to you can be the light in someone’s life. Feel free to share this with everyone you know. After all, they may make a list for you.

SAME..BUT DIFFERENT

As we watch what is going on in our current political climate i am reminded of my great friend Cari. That is a picture of her above. Not only does she obviously have great taste in books (you can get a copy of that very book by clicking this link A Happy Life for Busy People) but she is one of the sweetest people I have the honor of having in my life. Cari literally will help anyone and everyone she can. When her friends are hurting, she is hurting. She is a great listener and has a kind word about everyone. She even bakes amazing cookies. 

Other than the fact I am grateful for my friend and can take a moment to brag on her,what is this post about? Here is something about Cari and I, when it comes to some very important issues we have major differences. We are both very spiritual people and lean heavily on our faith. It is one of the things that I respect most about Cari. She stands by her beliefs even when it is not the easiest thing to do. She also does her very best to not only stand by them, but live her faith as well. She ‘walks the walk’. She also expresses her faith quite openly.

One evening Cari and I met for dinner which ended up lasting several hours. We discussed at length our beliefs and how they would apply in certain situations. We discovered on a lot of issues, important ones, we were miles apart. On others our views were in direct conflict with each other. 

A discussion like that could lead to conflict between the two individuals. How often have we heard never to discuss religion and politics? Here is what came of the evening with my friend. We expressed our views openly and passionately while the other party listened with the intent of understanding and not to ‘correct’ or even contradict each other. On several issues we agreed to disagree and on others even incorporated each other’s belief to gain a more complete understanding. 

The reason i bring this up is to encourage all of us to do the same. We can obviously see on a bigger scale governments having difficulty doing this, but it starts at a fundamental level between two people. I encourage us all to search for common ground and learn to agree to disagree. You can certainly respect someone and their convictions even if you do not agree with them 100%. Feel free to share any ideas you have for doing so in the comments below.