YOU NEED ALL 3

There are 3 aspects to your life – the past, the present and the future. Each one plays an important role and each one is necessary. We must learn from the past. We must fully appreciate the present. We also must take actions today to positively affect our future. You must guard against putting the accent on one to the fault of the others. We cannot stay stuck in the past, we cannot live in the present with total disregard to how our actions affect the future. We also cannot let fears and concerns of the future paralyze us into inaction. As you can see each one of these times periods plays a role in our lives, but each one must be included.

One area this can serve us greatly is one you may never have thought of – gratitude. When you ask someone if they are grateful or when someone asks you if you are grateful we usually think of being grateful for all of the good that has come into our lives. This is great and there is nothing wrong with it. By focusing on what we have to be grateful for, the good will only expand in our lives. Taking this formula into consideration, it would make sense that the more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for.

An interesting thing about this is the fact we may be ignoring two-thirds of what we can be grateful for. How can this be? By being grateful for all the good things that have come into our life that is focusing on the past. That is one third of what we can be grateful for. It can serve us greatly to find things that our currently in our life to be grateful for. This will not only help us realize that the present is a very wonderful place to be, but it will have us feeling pretty great as well. 

Often, the present is ironically viewed through the negative. For example, are you grateful for the job that pays the bills or do you complain about having to go to work everyday? Trust me, I can understand how hard this can be on any given day. The truth is if you lost your job, had to make it without any income for a while and then were to get that same job back, chances are you would be very grateful. Another example; are you grateful for your relationships only when they are happy or even when they are not exactly going the way you wish they would? Merely having someone in your life to be upset with can be a blessing. It can also be a great learning experience. Being grateful for the present allows us to fully enjoy the wonders of our life as it is today and may wake us up to some great things we have been missing out on.

Lastly, there is the future. Are we grateful for things that are coming to us? According to those in the law of attraction field, it is this very thinking that helps us create our reality. While listening to Michael Beckwith, a great teacher and speaker, he spoke of being able to get to the point of being grateful for the challenges. How does this happen? What on earth would prompt you to think, “I am so grateful some crappy situation is coming my way!”? We must understand that even those are gifts. They will teach us lessons about life and ourselves. They will develop our strength of character and provide us with opportunities to polish our skills in fields like anger management, forgiveness, apologizing and being humble. If this seems like a reach at this point, don’t worry you’ll get there. Start by thinking of all the good things you would like to come your way. Vacations you will experience. Special times with those you love. Maybe meeting that special person you will love.

Make sure you are including the past, the present and the future in your gratitude practice. It will have you feeling on top of the world and manifesting more things your heart desires. 

WHAT DAY IS IT?


Last post we talked about my affection for the stories of Winne-the-Pooh. Today we are going to look at the above quote from this famous literary work of art.

“What day is it?” asked Pooh

“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet

“My favorite day.” said Pooh.
In this quote we are given the gift of great wisdom hidden in what seems to be a silly thought. Today is the best day. In fact, today is the only day. Yesterday has already happened and we cannot change it. If we continue to live in the pain and hurt of yesterday we are doing so at the cost of today. If there is a wrong or hurt that happened yesterday we cannot undo it. The only way to attempt to remedy yesterday is to take action today to undo the wrongs of yesterday.
The same holds true for tomorrow. It has not come yet and will never come. Tomorrow is always in the future. Perhaps you have concerns about future tomorrows? The only thing you can do is act today to help those events in the future. Things such as purchasing life insurance, starting a health regimen, begin a savings account or many other actions that will improve your future. It is the actions we take today that will determine our tomorrows.
Fully enjoying the day we are currently in is the only way in which we can live a truly positive and rewarding life. If we live in the regret of the past we are giving away our peace of today. If we delay our happiness for a future event we are doing the same thing. That is not to say you shouldn’t have things to look forward too, but enjoy the process while you are waiting for them to arrive. Make today your favorite day. Let us all take this great lesson from that friendly bear and his woodland friends.

IT’S WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND

With all the talk of the enviroment and recycling there is a lot of talk on what we leave behind.

Ironically, this thought is little transfered into our personal lives. There is so much importance placed on the here and now, in instant gratification that the absence of what effect we will have on the future is understandable. I have even heard people say, “What do I care about how I will affect the future? I’ll be dead.”

I take a view more akin to one of the great leaders of the Sioux nation – Sitting Bull, who said, “Let’s put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”

In knowing you have done something to make the world a better place for having been here, I think that goes a great way to fostering an inner peace.

Recently, I entered a city-wide poetry contest. I, by no means, am a poet. I am a self-improvement author specializing in stress reduction. Still I wanted to leave a positive mark on the city for years to come. That was fitting because the winner will have their poem stamped in the sidewalk.

My poem won! Which of course fills me with a great deal of pride. What is more important to me was the content of my poem. In it I explain what makes a city great is not the buildings or streets, but the people that fill them both. If our desire is to live in a great city, one of the most important things we can do is to be the best person we can be.

I urge you all to think of what legacy you wish to leave behind. What will your life bring to future generations?

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

This blog post created itself last night. After Margie and I had finished our Wednesday night show and found ourselves driving with our friend Kelly. We began sharing defining moments from our childhood that defined who we are today. It caused me to reflect on a few moments that I would like to share with you. More so, it made me think of something far more important that we will get to right after this moment of reflection.

For those of you who may have been reading my writings of late, I have shared the story of my senior year English teacher. On the final day before graduation, she pulled me aside and said in an almost pleading tone, “I pray to God you will never have a career involving writing.” Given the evidence up to that point I would have been inclined to agree with her, but here we are.

Another fun story involved a teacher I had for business. She was a kindly lady. She kind of reminded me of someone’s grandmother from a Norman Rockwell painting. My relationship with this wonderful woman was great. We laughed, smiled and shared many good conversations. I would have said I was the perfect student with one glaring exception. In this class it just so happened I was surrounded by friends of mine. It also happened these were friends that like conversation as much as I did. Daily we shared conversations about life, love and our pursuit of happiness. When the time came out for giving everyone a grade I still recall what this teacher wrote. Written next to my grade was the comment, “Neil will do a lot better in life when he understands you can’t make a living discussing life and its challenges with people.” Once again, here we are. Discussing life and how to positively approach and overcome its challenges. Granted you might be reading this in Greenland, South Africa or Fiji while I am here in West Allis, Wisconsin, but virtually we are engaged in this conversation.

Let me share a more comical example from my youth. Second grade I do believe. I had a good friend who had just moved away and I found myself in trouble for something. That part seems to remain vague. As punishment I was to stand with my back against the wall and watch the other kids enjoying recess and playing on the playground. Sounds a little cruel in hindsight but I guess it served as a lesson – almost. As I was standing there I thought of a joke. One of the kids walked by and I told him my joke. He thought it was so funny he went to bring other kids to hear it. Before recess was over I found myself doing what could be described as a forced stand up comedy routine.

I saved this example for last because it was by far the darkest example. I was part of a group called ‘peer helpers’ in high school. The program was designed to help students who were facing addiction, abuse or any other emotional trauma. To me it sounded like a great idea on the surface. It became apparent very quickly that I disagreed with the approach of the program. It seemed to approach the issues from that of the adults who formed the group and not of the youths facing the challenges. I soon politely left the group. All would have been ok with one exception. I really did have the desire to help and still talked to many of the kids I had met in the program. I tried methods I believed might reach them. This was especially true because most of them had stopped asking for help from the Peer Helpers program.

Again, this would have all been good, but my locker happened to be right across the hallway from the lady who was in charge of the program. Once she noticed that quite a few of the students who left her group were coming up to my locker and asking questions she stormed over. She issued what can only be viewed as a veiled threat. She yelled how dare I think I could help kids better than she could and I better stop what I was doing “or else.” I really wasn’t trying to do anything but help people the best way I thought I could. I continued to do so with a little more discretion. Two days before I was set to graduate I was summoned to the principle’s office. When I arrived the teacher was there along with several police officers. This teacher, this adult, this individual who is supposed to be an example told all of them I had threatened to physically harm her. Not only was that a total lie, but I had no malice towards this woman, merely a difference in philosophy. Luckily, with the support and sworn statements of my character from other instructors I had and her changing her story several times the matter was all but dropped.

What is the point of all of these stories? The point is that anyone of these stories could have had a very negative impact on my life. What made the difference is that I chose what they meant to me. My high school English teacher could have prevented me from ever starting this site which has close to 1000 posts. What she told me could have dissuaded me from ever writing my book A Happy Life for Busy People. My business teacher tried to convince me there was no future in listening to the challenges people face in life and trying to help create solutions, but that is the basis of all I do.

Through my punishment that day in second grade I learned the power of humor to reach people. I also learned that sometimes when the world seems to be taken away from you, the best solution is to make the world come to you. It is a theme that kind of plays throughout the videos on my YouTube channel. It also showed me new and wonderful ways to make friends. The lesson that if you can introduce your material to enough people it can really change your situation didn’t escape me either.

The final dark situation could have steered me in many different directions. I could have decided not to trust authority. Certainly learning that ego can override professionalism and make people act in ways they shouldn’t. I could have decided that it meant if I try to do things on my own in a way I feel will help the most people it will lead to trouble and could land me in jail. Of course it also showed me the value of displaying and acting with the best character and highest standards.

What is your story? What events have transformed your life? Have you let them decide what you can or can’t do? Are they putting limits on your life or are you using them to motivate you? The story of our lives should not be told through the mouths or actions of others. Realize you are not a victim of your past but a victor over it. You have made it to today despite what you have been told and what has happened to you. Do not let your past or those in it steal your power for a strong future. Find the empowerment in every challenge you have faced, or may now be facing.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE 

Yesterday we discussed one way in which people are able to meet and overcome challenges . Today we are going to look at another way. As a bonus this will not only help you not get overwhelmed by your challenges, but also give you some motivation. Sound too good to be true? Let us take a look.

One of the things that became evident when looking at the difference between those who maintain a positive disposition and those who find their mood at the mercy of their circumstances is whether or not they have one thing. This one thing can make the difference on what you feel like when you get up in the morning, how everything that happens to you during the day, be it good or bad, feels. What is this powerful secret that can give you inner strength and motivation?

A COMPELLING FUTURE.

Stop and think about what that means to you. Do you have a compelling future? Of all the people I work with at the Post Office I would say 90% of them do not have a compelling future. When I asked them their plans for the future I received such answers as “I just want to make it to retirement”, “I want to get out of debt for once”, and the ever popular “I just want to make it through today”. With future plans like that it is hard to live an inspired life. If you notice most of them are focused on their challenges. Whether the years they have left to work, the debt they have or even the challenges of the day. They are pushing their way to their future. Think of pushing a boulder up a hill, not even knowing what is at the top of that hill. When I asked these people what happens when they do retire, or get out of debt or even make it home at the end of the day most of them gave me some version of the same answer, “I don’t know. I guess I will figure it out then”. They didn’t even know what completion of their goal would bring them. Not very inspiring to say the least. When you do not have a clear and compelling goal for the future and suddenly you face a challenge it can seem overwhelming.

Now let us look at the other 10%, the group we become part of with a compelling future. When I asked them about their plans for the future I received answers such as “I am saving to buy a ranch to raise horses on when I retire” and “I plan on opening up my own travel agency”. One person even have a different take on the ‘make it through the day’ answer. They said “I’m looking forward to going on a date with my wife tonight”. Notice the difference. These people all had a goal, or ‘prize’ if you will at the top of the hill. Instead of pushing that boulder up a hill not even knowing what they may see when they get there. These people knew clearly what would be there and it pulled and compelled them to keep going. Although what they were doing presently may not have been that enjoyable for most, which included driving around in the snow delivering mail. Those who had a clear goal of why they were doing it were better able to make it through and do so with a more positive disposition.

So what about your future goals? How can we stay inspired and use them to keep going when the going gets tough? I asked the man who was wanting to buy the ranch did he just think of the ranch when needed to be inspired? Obviously he didn’t have all of the funds he needed right now. He told me another little secret. He told me he did little things he could do now. He thought of names for his ranch. He looked at designs for cabins he might like to have there. He even drew maps with the layout of the ranch. He also had decided what part of the country he wanted to locate his ranch. He also began pricing the things he would need fences, lumber etc. I asked him if that became overwhelming and depressing when he added it all up? He told me it actually inspired him to contribute to the savings account he set up for just such a purpose. He also told me it inspired him to work harder and not mind extra hours that he sometimes had to put in, knowing he was getting closer to his ranch.

This would obviously work for the person wanting the travel agency or any other goal you might have. Do the little things you can at the moment. Design a logo, develop a business plan, set up a saving account, do your research and make connections with people who could help. Even the man who was looking forward to his date told me he thought about his wife, how beautiful she was, how much he was looking forward to the meal and the relaxing time they would share. My only caution here is the motivation will only last the day, but that is better that not having any at all.

So feel free to share your compelling future plans as well as the things you do right now to work towards them. As always feel free to share this post as well.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Recently I was out on the town with a person very close to me and what to me seemed out of nowhere asked me a question in a rather spirited manner. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Catching me a bit of guard, I didn’t quite know what to say. Which, for anyone who knows me is a miracle itself. Although I contemplated beginning to list every short coming I thought I had I guessed they were seeking an answer to a more specific question. After requesting a little clarity I discovered what was bothering them about me that day. This was her reply “we have been to the different places today and you have went out of your way to be overly nice to everyone we have encountered. What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you ever just do your business?” Funny thing is this was the second time this issue has been brought to my attention. It’s true in this busy world people often do not have time for any conversation that is not completely necessary. So why bother being friendly? Great question. Being friendly in the course of interacting brings a host of benefits to both parties. First of all the obvious answer is you make the person you are being nice to feel good. That is pretty straight forward. You also create a foundation for future relations. How is that possible. If you take a few extra minutes to show kindness to a stranger that person is far more likely to remember you. In any future interactions you have with that person they are likely to be far more pleasurable than if you have just conducted your business. You also build a relationship with that person which you never know when that may come in handy. We are all so interdependent it only makes sense to be in good graces with as many different people and as many people as you can. Plus, in any situation you make someone smile, you leave feeling better. Good ahead and be nice for selfish reasons! So if you find yourself not even extending a simple decent courtesy to people you encounter not to mention trying to spread joy wherever you go I must ask you a question, What the hell is wrong with you??

 

GRATITUDE IN YOUR WALLET

Every so often an idea comes across me that has me super excited.  This happens to be one of those ideas.  A friend of mine who follows this blog shared with me a trick he uses to bring about feelings of gratitude for his financial situation.  He also gave me permission to share it here with you and in my upcoming book.  Money, let’s face it that has to be one of the most stressful issues for a lot of us.  Especially if you end up with too much month at the end of the money as I so often do.  This young man was in the same kind of situation and it got so bad every time he went into his wallet to pay for something he got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.  He didn’t even feel like eating.  Which, he noted helped him spend a little less, but not the way he really wanted to.  He decided he had enough of feeling that way and developed a process that I felt was ingenious and can’t wait to try.  On a business size card of paper he wrote the word ‘GRATITUDE’ in very colorful letters. He had it laminated at a local office supply store.  Then he placed it in his wallet.  Simple enough right?  Well every time he opened his wallet now he saw the gratitude card which he had placed up front.  He then paused, and felt grateful he was able to make the purchase.  “It was hard at first” he told me. Even though he tried to be grateful for the moments purchase his mind kept reminding him of all the other purchases he needed to make that he couldn’t.  This happens because our brains have operated in the same manner for years.  After a while, this man was able to focus on only the present situation and his ability to be thankful for what he was paying for.  With a little tweaking I believe I have come up with a way to take this young man’s amazing idea and make it quicker, easier and more powerful.  In addition to the word gratitude on the card I suggest adding a special thought/prayer/mantra that evokes feelings of gratitude for you.  It could be a bible verse about being thankful, a quote from a famous person or just some words you have come up with on your own.  An example would be “I am so grateful for the abundance flowing through me now that allows me to make this purchase as well as the abundance flowing to me in the future so I can make more purchases”

This helps in two ways. One, it takes the thinking out of the process so you do not have to worry about coming up with just the right words and can just focus on being grateful.  Two, the words already assist you in feeling grateful and can help eliminate the struggles our friend had early on.  If you noticed I also added a line about being grateful for future abundance.  This helps by focusing your subconscious mind on opportunities for future abundance that it knows must come. In the worst case this idea will leave you with a better feeling about your financial situation.  In the case of our friend he now has a better control over his financial situation and even has started a savings account, which yes, he also feels grateful when he deposits into it.  So who knows, it may even help you turn your financial situation around.  Either way, I am printing out my card today!

driving toward your future

Every Friday I try to leave you all with something to ponder. This came to me ironically while pulling out of my parking space leaving our fine state fair.  I was backing up and looking in the rear view mirror. The I shifted into drive, but before I could start to pull away some people were yelling right outside my window and took my attention away for a second.  When I saw that it was nothing serious I went back to focusing on leaving my parking space.  Forgetting I had already put it in drive, I looked in the rear view mirror and took my foot off the accelerator.  Imagine my surprise when the car began to move forward! I immediately applied the brake and thought “That could have been bad” Mind you all this took a second, but as I did pull out of my parking thought I was struck with what a powerful metaphor this is for life.  Can you imagine trying to drive forward to work, while only looking in your rear view mirror?  First it would take forever and second you would be extremely lucky if you arrived at all.  Now what does this have to do with living an amazing life?  What struck me, which was luckily not another car, was how many of us do this on a daily basis over and over again?  I am not saying the road is filled with crazy drivers, although some days that is debatable.  What I am saying is this, how many of us are striving toward a new future while focused on the past?  It just doesn’t work.  How many times have we heard friends, or even ourselves say “The last person I dated was dishonest so I am going to have a hard time trusting in my new relationship”  You are staring in the rear view mirror focusing on your past hurts until BAM! your current relationship crashes due to your ‘trust issues’. How many future ideas and adventures have you passed on because you were focused on past failures?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from our past and adjust for the future or even just look back to admire where we were and how far we have come.  Just like in driving where you are supposed to ‘glance in the rear view mirror every eight seconds’ I suggest that is what you do with life. You’ll have a lot better results when focused on what is around you and what is coming at you. Remember you can never drive into the future looking into the review mirror.  Oh, and as a side note, please use your turn signal.