WHAT ARE YOU TAKING TIME FOR?

When I first read the above picture I had to take a second and appreciate how profound that actually is. Sure, we all like to vent and sometimes that is very helpful, but how far is too far when it comes to venting? If you find yourself spending more time finding ways to complain and share your pain and unpleasant emotion state with the rest of the world than actually working on a solution to change your situation, that is too far.

If you look at the above example we could learn a lot. The first thing, feel like sh*t, some people like to just stay in this state. I could never understand that. If I am upset, angry, sad or any other unpleasant emotion I will do anything to change that state.  If it doesn’t work, then I will do something else, if that doesn’t work… well you get the idea.

The second item is complaining. Again, venting is one thing, but dwelling on it is certainly another. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and speakers put it this way, “Don’t bother telling other people your problems. 80% don’t care and 20% are glad it’s you.” This sounds cynical, but it is true. Unless you think the person you are telling your problems to can help you, tell them something you are grateful for instead. It will help both of you feel better.

The third item, checking social media. If you are already in a bad mood adding the drama of others, or reading any unpleasant news would only serve to bring you down further. You would be better served visiting a motivational website, or reading a good book.

Let us look at the solutions they offer. Meditate. It can help you feel more relaxed and think clearly. It can offer a different perspective on your situation. It brings down your heart rate, releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals and creates an overall sense of well-being. Going hand in hand with meditating is writing in your journal. Anyone who knows me even a little knows how much of a fan of journaling I am. A journal is like a therapist that is always open and does not charge a great amount of money to listen to you. Much like meditating, it can offer clarity and a sense of release.

Writing down what you are grateful for and your goals can work in two amazing ways as well. Focusing on what you are grateful for can change your feeling from lack to abundance and from sadness to joy quicker than just about anything else I know. Goals will not only change your focus on whatever crappy situation you are in presently to the fabulous situation you want to be in, but will also get you moving. Instead of focusing on where you don’t want to be, which is feeling bad, you can focus on where you want to be. By doing so actions that will bring you closer to that will come in to focus as well. So, next time you find yourself tempted to do any of the first three things on the list, try instead to do one of the last three and notice the difference.

WHEN LIFE IS A PILE OF…

This is an emoji of… well… a pile of poo. This is insanely popular for some reason. Margie has even received several orders for cupcakes in this design. I am using it for when our life feels just like a pile of poo. Your car breaks down, a relationship ends, you lose your job or even worse, you lose someone you love. Sometimes the poo really adds up in a hurry. At this point, life really starts to stink, both literally and figuratively.

We all have these periods. Even though it may not seem like anybody is having a worse time than we are, there are people out there who have it worse. Certainly not what we want to hear when the poo hits the fan in our life, or even worse, when we feel like the fan. However, a change in perspective can give us pause to think. So, your car broke down? There are people who cannot even afford a car, much less repairs. There are people, lots of them in fact, who have to walk miles every day for clean drinking water. It was Gandhi who said, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” No matter how dire our situation, there is always something to be grateful for. Your relationship ended or someone you loved passed away? Remember they say It is better to have lost in love, than never to have loved at all. There are people who never find that special someone to love. There are people who never have their parents in their lives. Be grateful for every day you experience love. Even if that love changes it does not mean it has to stop. Try finding just one thing to be grateful for. It will lead you to find another and then another.

Even if you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, you can still use the poo in your life. How on earth do you use poo in life? Here we are obviously speaking in metaphors, but using a literal comparison can help. We are talking about poo situations in our life as we discussed above, but we can use the same logic as we do for the organic matter itself. I do not recall if it was Meijer, Walmart or somewhere completely different, but I found myself strolling through the garden center fantasizing that I had the ability to grow things when what did I see? Poo! bags and bags of the stuff. Ok, here it was called manure and did not have an emoji on it, but the contents was the same.

That is when the light bulb went on. If we literally use poo to grow stuff in our gardens, why do we not use it for growth in our lives as well? Just like our last post when we discussed failure, if we just dwell on the poo in our lives it would be like sitting in that manure. Just try and picture sitting in a pile of manure and complaining how awful it is. If you were to plant a few seeds in that manure instead of just complaining about it what may happen? You would grow new and wonderful things! Things that would smell far better than the poo itself.

What does that all have to do with our lives when they seem…well..in the toilet? Plenty! If a relationship fails, you can use what went wrong to improve your future relationships. If you did something that brought about the end of the relationship, do not do that thing again. Maybe you were just connected to the wrong person. Going forward be aware that you may wish to start a relationship with someone more aligned with your goals and values.

Did you lose your job? Use that to brush up on your interviewing skills. Perhaps you should consider going back to school? Maybe taking that time to finish the book you have always wanted to write? When you start looking for a new job, apply in a field you enjoy and not the one that just pays the most. In that way the loss of a job can serve as the growth of a new and more rewarding career!

Did you lose someone you love? That is always hard and very painful. If you find yourself sad a great deal of the time, remember that is ok. If your heart feels broken, that just meant it has loved. Be grateful for all of the moments you shared with that person. I have an article coming out next month on this very subject. I can tell you one of the best ways to ease burden of loss is to try and replace some of the light that person brought to the world. Did your grandmother always make people feel welcome? Then you should do that. Did your brother have a great sense of humor? Then focus on bringing laughter into the lives of others. Another emotion that comes up when we lose someone we care deeply for, and I speak from experience, is regret. We find ourselves uttering the all too common phrases “I would’ve/I should’ve/I could’ve” Use this to motivate yourself to live in the moment and put all your love and effort into the relationships you have now. That person may be gone, but they can certainly help you make the most of those you love that are still with you.

Use the poo in your life my friends. Just like the manure in the garden center, use the poo situations in your life as fertilizer to grow new and wonderful things. Pain and challenge can be one of the best catalysts for growth.

CELEBRATE THE OVEN, EVEN WHEN YOU WANT THE MICROWAVE

Success is a funny thing. Earl Nightingale defined success the best I have ever heard it done. He said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Meaning if you have a worthwhile goal and are working towards it, by definition you are a success. This is all well and good, especially in the 1950s and 1960s when Earl made that statement. Today’s world is a lot different. We can do everything in a nanosecond and with the push of a button.

This can make focusing on the big picture rather difficult. It can feel discouraging when you are working towards a ‘worthy ideal’ as Mr. Nightingale so wonderfully described, and you do not seem to be getting anywhere. How do you keep going? How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Allow me to use myself as an example. My goal is to become a best-selling author. I would love to get my books in the hands of as many people as I can. In this way, I can share, teach and inspire people to reduce their stress, increase their joy and become the best version of themselves. It is my dream to have a world full of people who can see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. To that end, I have done author festivals, started this website, and even started making YouTube videos for all of those who are not that keen on reading. Still, some days it feels as if I hit a plateau and that nothing is working. What do you do then? You celebrate!!!

Celebrate? Yes, make sure you take time to celebrate each and every little success along the way. For example, that is a copy of my book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. (the bright yellow one) Even though my book is available online there is something special about seeing it on the shelf of a major retailor. It is my hope that people who need this book the most will be drawn to it and it will benefit their lives as they need. Even celebrating your so-called failures will help. Approaching them with a “I’m glad I got that lesson out of the way.” spirit will go a long way to helping you keep your chin up. Remember even a mistake, as awful as it may seem, is one step closer to success.

Success can be like cooking something in the oven. It takes a while, but cones out so delicious. A lot of us would like to throw our success in the microwave and have it come to iss right away. Much like microwave food, the reward for that can be not worth having.

Celebrate each and every day leading up to the achievement of your final goal and you will reach it quicker than you can imagine and you will do so with a smile on your face!

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T READ MY BLOG

On Monday I wrote a post titled MY MOST IRONIC POST YET however, beginning a post with a picture that reads “Don’t read this” may be even more ironic. Do I want you to read my posts? Of course I do. I research all these self-improvement tips to help anyone who is looking to improve their life and those they care about. What is with the picture above?

My friend Curtis and I were having a conversation they other morning. He mentioned something very interesting. He asked me if I ever worry about people becoming co-dependent. After a little more explaining I discovered he was asking if I thought people may become dependent on me for their motivation. After some contemplation as it was a subject I had not seriously considered, I felt the need to address it. What we do here in this blog as well as my books and live events is empower people and share tools. In essence we plant seeds. I would much rather inspire a group of individuals who then take the information and use it to inspire others.

I would like to share with you the story of the lion and the gazelle. On a plaque in my office I have this saying “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up knowing he must be faster than the fastest lion or he will be killed. That same morning a lion wakes up knowing he must be faster than the slowest gazelle or he will starve to death.” I used to think the gazelle had the better motivation. After all, if he fails, he will die. If the lion fails he will have to find a new gazelle to chase. Here is the caveat to that, without the lion the gazelle has no motivation to run. The lion, however, is motivated by an inner hunger that will remain even if the gazelle were not present.

The point? Ask yourself what motivates you. Is it the words you read here, or is it the desire to better yourself that has you pursuing the information you read here. Do you workout to impress the people at the beach or because you want to be the best healthiest version of yourself?

I often preach about the importance of your why. Having not only a strong enough why, but one that is not interdependent on the influence of others. You should use the information not only that you find here, but other sources you routinely use, to serve you as you strive towards your why. If one source happens to disappear, your motivation and drive will not disappear with it. I invite you to share your ideas for being self motivated in the comments below. Everyone reading this could always afford another idea in this regard.

MY MOST IRONIC POST YET

Going into the new year a lot of us think of things we would like to change about ourselves or our lives. If you follow my work at all one of the axioms I base my work on is that it is far more productive and successful to add positive things to your life, than to work on removing negative. Just how the brain is wired. Recently, I sat down with Margie and discussed things I would like to add to my life in the coming year. This is where this post becomes ironic.

I told Margie there are three things I would like to get better at in 2018. I would like to spend more time both reading and writing, I would like to spend more time in nature (hiking, camping or even just sitting), lastly, I would like to spend more time just thinking.  When composing my last book it was often just sitting in a park watching the birds, or Starbucks sipping a coffee pondering life’s great mysteries that some of my best ideas came to me. As any supportive spouse would do, Margie simply replied (she has a gift of keeping things simple which is very helpful dating someone like myself) “Well you should do that then.”

In an effort to quickly make use of this sentiment of hers before it changed I decided to do that today. I had a survey I had to complete, then I was just going to relax and think. The advantages of this is that it engages your subconscious mind to begin thinking about what you are pondering. This is especially useful if you are spending time on things like worthwhile goals you are aspiring to, ways in which you can be of more service to your world, or even just how to make someone’s day brighter. What happens is your subconscious mind will begin to think of this very thing, and continue to do so in the background while you go about your day. Then, at what seems like an random moment, an idea will pop in your head that is a solution to what you had been pondering. This works especially well if you are an author.

Do you see my dilemma with this? As this idea occurred to me, another voice in my head spoke up. It never amazes me how many there seems to be in there. This voice said, “You should write a blog and let everyone else know this.” Which, as you can tell by what you are reading I decided to follow.

As ironic as writing about taking time away from writing is, it brought to like another principle I spoke about at my last author symposium. When we use our brains the in the same fashion over and over, like finding daily things to be grateful for, we begin to train them to do so on their own. Before long, even if it is subconsciously, the voices in our head (assuming you have more than one like myself) will begin to ask, “What can we be grateful for?” Same holds true with me being diligent in my writing and spending over twenty years looking for ways to improve life and then sharing them with others.

My message for you hear is to take time to just think, but know it may be a struggle with yourself at first. I am going to prepare to DJ now, so I will continue to work on carving away time to think again tomorrow. Have a great week my friends!

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION?

Have you ever thought about the quote above? Most of us live our lives trying to meet the expectations of our boss, our peers, or even our family. This can often leave us trying to meet goals that do not align with our values. This cannot only make it very difficult to achieve, but leave us feeling defeated and like we failed. Not only are these feelings unpleasant to experience, they can dampen our ability to push forward. It was Winston Churchill who defined success as “Going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” I am rather found of that quote. If we can keep our enthusiasm for another day, to me, that is a success.

My favorite quote about success comes from Earl Nightingale which reads, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Meaning if we have a clearly defined goal and are working toward achieving it, we are, by definition, a success. If you googled ‘success quotes’ you would uncover a million more. What matters most is what you consider a success? Is it pleasing your boss? Is it living up to the goals of your friends? Or is it something bigger?

To me, a successful life begins with successful days. Put enough together and you have a successful life. What defines a successful day? Perhaps you did something to make your spouse feel loved and beautiful? Then the day was a success. Maybe you did something stupid that upset your spouse, but you learned from it and now you can do better in the future? Again, that day would be a success. If you are like me, you might even do both in the same day.

The point is here that you get to define what success is for you. The more you look for accomplishments, the more you can develop a mindset to chase bigger and better ones.