WHY ME??? WHY YOU???

The other day I had a discussion with my friend Terri. We discussed how both of us have bought ‘new to us’ cars that have proven to be lemons. Mine is a PT Cruiser who in the first 5 months of owning has cost me $2000 in repairs and still runs rough. Daily I am looking forward to going back to driving an SUV. Terri’s plight is much the same. She bought a car and now things have started to go south.

What does our car trouble have to do with living an amazing life? Terri asked me a very thought-provoking question. That question was this, “How to keep calm, cool and collected when life is throwing me disappointment and struggles?” This is an excellent question and one I think we have all asked at some point or another. No matter who you are or how together you have your life, at some point life will hand you a bunch of lemons in the form of challenges and disappointments. This is never fun.

How do we stay calm, cool and collected as Terri so wonderfully put it? The first point I suggest is to gain perspective. In our situations, we bought a car that turned out to be not what we had thought. This can be especially hard when you are truly excited and then get let down. By her sharing her story with me, we found out neither of us were alone in our troubles. This can be a healing itself. The next thing we need to do is work on what questions we ask ourselves, or more importantly, what answers we give ourselves. It is all to easy to ask the question “why me?” when things go wrong. God knows I asked this when I found out all that needed to be repaired on my car. What you answer is more important. I am a fan of putting everything that happens to me in my life to work for me. When I asked myself, after my last vehicle was totaled while parked in front of my house by a elderly man visiting from Greece as I was sleeping, why did I get a car that was filled with issues? Truly neither of them were my fault. I could focus on how unfair it all was and how much of a victim I was, but that would not serve me and only serve to make me feel helpless and terrible.

Here is another secret, what you focus on in any given situation can literally transform that situation. What should we focus on? Here are two things I suggest; first, what you have to be grateful for. In my case, I was not in the car when it happened. His car was so badly damaged he could not drive away and not be held responsible. He and everyone else was safe for the most part. Let me be perfectly clear right here, this is not an easy habit to do. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for in the middle of a challenging situation takes practice and patience. When you master it, however, it will soften the blow of disappointment you encounter.

The second thing I recommend focusing on is what is positive about the situation, or another way to word it is how to use what happened. What did I find positive about my car being totaled while I was inside sleeping? Like I mentioned, I was inside sleeping for one. Another is maybe there was an impending problem with my car that could have surfaced while driving 70 miles per hour on the freeway, that now will never happen. Another great thing that happens when challenges arise is you find out who really supports you. This is something that can only happen during a challenge. Someone can tell you they will be there for you, but until the ‘chips are down’ you never know for sure. In this case there were so many who were. There were also other benefits of this awful situation. I became better at dealing with rental car companies. Something I just would not randomly do. Also got practice researching used vehicles to purchase. Obviously I still have a way to go on that one. There was the extra practice in asking for and receiving help. I have written about that in the past, but allowing others to help you can be giving them a great gift as well.

All of those skills I would not have had a chance to learn if my car had not been unfairly totaled. Did it inconvenience me? Absolutely. It happened in the coldest month of the year. Did that suck? Yes indeed. Still I gained valuable skills and appreciation for both patience and people. My love and I had to learn new fun ways to entertainment which serve us to this very day. Even having the new car problems has put me into contact with some truly amazing people.

We all will have challenges in life. Remember you are not alone. Take time to focus on what will serve you. Be grateful for the lessons and look for the positive. This will not be easy, but if you keep at it the rewards will be a far happier, and yes more amazing life.

AMAZING LIFE-CHANGING TOOL!

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In my books as well as my seminars gratitude is first and foremost on my list of tools that can change your life for the better. Still developing a grateful mindset can prove to be far more difficult than it sounds. In todays world a lot of the sources we are exposed to point out what is wrong, or even what could go wrong. So focusing on what we have, and what we can be grateful for can prove to be a good challenge.

I recommend people keep a gratitude journal. Simply write down at least five things you are grateful for that day and why. Do this right before bed and read them again upon waking. It has your mind focusing on what is working both as you drift off to sleep and as you start your day. This also happens to be the two times the mind is most available to suggestion. This is a great practice and can change your life in a very short period of time. I know because I use it myself and have experienced the difference.

Still there are days when you find yourself looking for things to be grateful for. Sometimes I look at my list and my mind goes blank. I know I have had a great day. I know there were things that happened that I could be grateful for, but what they are slips my mind. Sometimes I find myself repeating things on my list every couple days, which is not bad in itself, but truly each day presents its own gifts.

In this picture above I have found what I believe to be a great solution. Each day has a little prompt to help you think of what to be grateful for. This is good for both people who are trying to begin to develop a grateful mind and those of us who could use a little refresher. So today is the first of the month, I suggest grabbing the first question and answering it. You could print this out if you like or just refer back to this post. I suggest keeping your answers in a notebook where you can add a ‘why’ to each of your answers. Knowing why we are grateful for something makes it that much more powerful for us. So try this for 30 days and please feel free to leave your results, or suggestions for making this even more fun and productive in the comments below. Also feel free to share this with friends. Having a group of people all writing what they are grateful for can be far more fun than doing it alone.

THE BIG DIFFERENCE

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Several people I know live life with a certain sense of  foreboding. I have even heard them say “I’m just waiting to see what goes wrong next”. My thought is always why?  When I tell them why not look for what is going to go right next,  they mumble something about living in a fantasy world,  or how things always go wrong for them. When I mention it could possibly be because they are looking for them to go wrong I am faced with often disbelief and sometimes anger and indignation.
Truth is whatever we focus on we create.  Now I am not going to go into the science behind the law of attraction,  as there are sites dedicated to just that.  Here is the truth  – in life there will always be ups and downs, positive and negatives – when we are looking to notice what is going wrong that will be highlighted and seem more prevalent.
So what happens,  what changes when we look for, and believe in the good that is going to come?

Two major things happen when you begin to expect and look for good things to happen. First, you start to feel better. You are filled with excitement and joy. People may even begin to comment on how you have changed, or what is different about you. Second, you start to notice the good things. Not only things that are happening, or did happen, but things that may happen, or will happen! You start to notice opportunities that may have slipped passed you before. As an added bonus, the bad things may fade from view. They will still be there because any life has it’s challenges, but they will seem less intimidating and overwhelming.

So there are plenty of reasons to switch to focusing on the good. How does one do this? We will focus on that in depth in future blogs, but for right now begin to write down and note when good things happen in your life. One fun project you can do is start a gratitude journal. write down every day at least 5 things you are grateful for and why a day. Review your list right before you sleep. It will change your life. Feel free to share any ideas you may have for staying on the ‘sunny side of the street’