CELEBRATE OUR ANNIVERSARY!πŸ₯³

Today we celebrate 10 years of this blog! I began this journey in 2012 with just a desire to share with others the tools and strategies that helped me positively impact my life. I never dreamed it would turn into what it is today. There are many things that I have learned in the past decade of sharing ideas with you. First of all, I am still learning and sharing. Self-improvement is very much like physical fitness. You are never ‘there’. There is always maintaining and learning to do. You will mess up. You will have bad days. Life will throw a whole lot at you and you will need to develop new ways to handle new problems. It is the learning and growing that develops from that which is so rewarding.

I also learned how similar we are. When I started I had…well…zero followers. That was never the goal. Still, my desire to share with and help as many people as I can, allowed this blog to now be followed in over 200 countries and by over 50,000 people. I learned a fellow in Italy and I not only like the same music, but are both dedicated to improving ourselves and have had some of the same influences.

Another thing we are celebrating today is Thanksgiving. It is no coincidence that I started this blog on this day. One primary secret to an amazing life is Gratitude. In my own life, it has done the most to positively transform my life. As I reflect on the last 10 years of my life, one thing I am most grateful for is my lovely lady. Margie has been pushing me outside my comfort zone for as long as I can remember. One of the first examples was putting flyers up for my first book signing. We were in the village of Greendale where I worked for the Post Office. The book signing was to be held at a local coffee shop. I had 2 businesses in mind to put flyers at. One of them being the coffee shop. Margie looked at me and simply said, “No, we are going to ask to put them up at every business in the village!” I was tempted to tell her that I thought she was on the brink of insanity, but she was so cute and so insistent. What I thought was going to be a five minute ordeal inside my comfort zone, ended up being a half a day where she would say, “I’ll go in with you.” Then she would push me towards the counter and disappear and make me promote myself. It made the book signing the success it was. Not much has changed two books later.

There is so much in my life to be grateful for. Just today I was recalling how my grandmother used to make pans of barbeque chicken. The whole family would come over and eat all of the delicious food she would make. These days I am grateful for walks in nature and trips to the gym with my mom and wonderful meals created by my beautiful Margie, who is an amazing cook. I think my Grandmother would have really loved her. I know I do. Come to think of it, that is another secret to an amazing life. Find someone who will love you, but push you outside of your comfort zone and make you develop into the best version of yourself. It doesn’t hurt if they are lovely like my lady.

Today, there is lots for me to feel grateful for. The ability to share with you for 10 years. The ability to reach over 50,000 people in over 200 countries. The fact that my partner also happens to be the most beautiful lady in the world and I get to see her on the pillow next to me every night! That fact that we have wonderful memories to reflect on and the possibility to create even more! Today, I would be so grateful if you would share this website with at least one other soul you think could benefit from learning secrets to an amazing life. Together we can reach many more souls. Maybe in the Congo? Maybe in Greenland? Maybe in the town next to yours. We are all one global family of 8 billion.

THEY DID IT FOR YOU!πŸŽ„

Anyone who knows me even a little, and most of you who read this, are aware that I do not like winter, the cold or anything associated with it. In my neck of the woods, everything looks dead and brown. As winter progresses, the snow turns grey and black with pollution and dirt. This means, everywhere you drive, you see dead brown trees. Dirty snow with brown grass underneath. These are not the most inspiring sights.

Any indication these things are on the way tends to dim my enthusiasm. So, when on November 1st, I see people putting up Christmas decorations I mumble to myself as I am driving by. That is until I read this picture above. It made me think how much putting up decorations may improve the mood of those doing it. In addition, their efforts bring light and a sense of joy to the afore-mentioned dark and gloomy atmosphere. I always saw winter decorations as a sort of harbinger of doom. I know, not very cheery for a motivational author. Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder in a state with 9 months of winter will do that to you. Now, however, I see them in an entirely different light. Pun intended. These decorations, while alerting me to the frosty temps and snow about to come, add a splash of color and cheer to a bleak environment. Some of them are even rather humorous.

I once heard Tony Robbins list in his grateful journal going to the movies. Some people grumble at the price of a ticket, which could be understandable. He told us to focus on something else. There were people who spent days, months and often years, not to mention millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of dollars to create 2 hours worth of entertainment for you. Actors studied and practiced their lines. They spent countless hours on set, in make up chairs and more. Directors searched and tried countless camera angles and dialogue. Make up artists worked to get looks just right. Set designers. People in the computer graphics department. Writers and story board creators. Audio people. Lawyers. There are so many people involved it is crazy. Sit through the credits once and look at the people involved. Those are just the ones listed. There are countless others whose names did not make it on the big screen. The janitors who cleaned up after. The security who guarded the set. All of this so we could laugh, cry, scream or be held in suspense for a few hours. I had my own television show for a while. Trust me when I tell you, there is so much more that goes into creating content than you can imagine.

The one thing that changed my whole experience with both of these situations, and thus my level of joy and happiness, was a change in perception. When it comes to living an amazing life, is not joy and happiness what matters? Wayne Dyer once said, “When we change the way we look at things; the things we look at change.” I think this is true in both of these occasions. Next time you see a feature film, or your neighbors Holiday decorations, send them a thought of gratitude for their efforts to bring you joy. They are making our world a better and brighter place.

GRAFITTI KNOWLEDGE πŸ€”

I saw this quote online and it really started me thinking. First, who brings a sharpie into a bathroom to write meaningful things on the tile. Second, and more to the point, how similar we are. Speaking of quotes, I once heard Tony Robbins say, “Money will only make you more of what you already are.” Meaning, if you are someone who cares, you will have more to care about. If you are a jerk, sadly, you will have more to be a jerk with.

It also brought to the light that at the end of the day, we are all still human. Most of us anyway. When we leave this world, it will not matter the amount of material possessions we have. It also doesn’t change who we are inside. If you are a miserable person who only focuses on what they lack, no amount of money will have you feeling rich. This is actually a good thing. What that means, is that if you develop an attitude of gratitude and appreciating everything you have, you will always feel wealthy. This is not to say you should not strive for more and better things. While you are doing so, being grateful for what you have will have you enjoying the process. As you do gain more and better things, you can be grateful for those as well. In this way, life will only continue to get better. When life does throw you a little setback, being grateful for what you still have will not only soften the blow, but allow you to regroup and start again.

Stay grateful. Stay humble. These are the secrets to living an amazing life. I would love to know some of the things you are grateful for today. I am grateful for a great day I had walking around the zoo and going out to lunch with my mother and the amazing night I am going to have with the love of my life.

AN EVENING OF GRATITUDE πŸ₯°

This past Friday, I celebrated the release of my third book, The Beat Goes On, which is also available on Amazon. I was fortunate enough to host this event at an amazing place called Urbal Tea. The owner, Nick, was kind enough to offer me the space. There was enough room for everyone in a very pleasant atmosphere. As you can see, I had all three of my books available and was able to share and meet many new friends.

In addition to all of the new friends that I met, there were plenty of familiar faces. I had friends, family and coworkers. Margie made cupcakes that were so delicious, I think a few people came just for them. I am hoping this new book will help people understand the importance of self-improvement. By reading it, you will be able to witness how it affected one of the scariest and intense moments of my life. In this book it shows the tools and strategies that I personally used and that worked for me. There are moments of laughter, drama, tears and triumph.

I can’t thank everyone who came to share this amazing evening with me enough. There was so much to be thankful for and I hope I did my part to serve those who attended. In a world that can so often seem crazy, it is great to have an evening like this to look back and be grateful for.

HOW DO YOU CHERISH?

I love this quote by Bob Marley. It causes us to take a step back and reflect how we treat the people in our lives. When you have a person with a certain skill set, do you cherish or use that skill? There is nothing wrong with ordering a cake from someone you know who has a talent at creating them, hypothetically. It is also important to cherish that skill and that person. What is the difference in this case? I think cherish can be replaced by the word appreciate. I think that is what is tricky in this situation. Even those of us, myself included, need a gentle reminder to cherish as well as utilize the people in our lives.

The obvious next question is how we can do this. I think this is where many of today’s technological offerings can be put to good use. If people only spoke with me when they needed some writing, that can go two ways. On one hand, it certainly is a compliment. You know my skill set and would like to make use of it. If, however, that is the only time you ever speak to me, after a while, I could feel somewhat used. If you were to blend this with a mention on social media, or even a compliment in person, that would mean the world to me.

Cherishing a person does not even have to be limited to professional avenues either. Do you have a spouse that is an amazing cook? A friend that is a great listener? Let them know! Maybe even get them a little card to say thank you. Send them an email. Buy your spouse flowers and let them know you appreciate their hard work in the kitchen. It can be easy to unconsciously almost take people for granted. Whether that is making a cake, writing, being a good cook, a good listener or just a good friend. It is for more likely for us to think, “I need someone to listen to me. I know Jane is a good listener. I am going to call her.” Than to make that same call to thank Jane for being a good listener. We often assume they know how we feel. They may not. Even if they do, it is good to both be reminded and cherished, or appreciated.

How do you appreciate all of the amazing people in your life? From the friendly bus driver to the helpful person at the coffee shop. How can you make them feel like the cherished people they are? We are always looking for good ideas. Please share yours.

REASON TO HANG IN THERE

Isn’t it rough when 2 tough days seem to come back to back? That is what happened to me the other day. Nothing too tragic, just feeling worn out and life putting me through the ringer. We have all had that sort of run of luck. One of the things I do in that situation is refer to my list of things that fill me with energy and joy. The day prior to this one, I had gone for a walk with my mother in the park. We usually see plenty of natural beauty and get a little fitness in as well. The day prior, for some reason, we did not see a single animal. I also seemed to have a tough time with the fitness part. My body seemed to ache everywhere. The weather here is up and down this time of year and I am sure that played into it.

I also love grocery shopping when I am in a funk. For some reason, that seems to lift my spirits. My mother and I had been meaning to stop by this small grocery store for a few months and both decided that this day would be a good one to do so. On the drive there is was raining and traffic was understandably slow due to the weather. No sunshine was to be had. It seemed even a trip to one of my favorite stores would be a trying journey. As we shopped, I did my best to be in the moment. I looked for fun new items to put into the cart to bring home to Margie for us to try. Slowly, the funk of the last 2 days lifted. I pushed the cart out of the store hoping the rain was not too bad. To my surprise, I saw the image above – a double rainbow! The mood started to lift even more. We stopped to take several pictures; as you can see. That had us feeling a little more cheery.

The next day when we decided to try our luck walking in the park, we saw 4 Blue Herons. This is my favorite local bird. Some sightings were rather close and they seemed generally unconcerned by our appearance. We both got to take pictures and spend some time gazing at this wonderful bird. We went on to see some green herons, a muskrat and two deer that seemed just as interested in watching us as we were in watching them! Just the day before, it had seemed if every animal had left the park and now we were able to see several! Proof if you stick out the tough storms in life there will eventually be a double rainbow (or a Blue Heron) to brighten your day. This also had me thinking of another factor. The day before, it was cool and gloomy and our mood was not the best. Did that have something to do with our luck? I am not sure. It does seem when you are in a good emotional state, more wonderful things seem attracted to you.

If you find yourself in a funk, do these 2 things. First, hang in there. The storms of life will come and go. Make sure you do not come and go with them. Stay strong and know the sun will return eventually. Also, do your best to find something to be grateful for and feel good about. Even if it is a little thing, it will begin to change your state. This will open the door to even more good!

PARKS,PIZZA, AND WEED KILLER

I had the most amazing day, the other day. The picture above gives the answer why. It is not only that I really like Winnie-the-Pooh and his attitude towards life. There was much more that went into this amazing day. Have you ever had a moment that changes your whole day? I had one of those. Normally, this would have to occur early for this to happen. That is one of the many things that made this day different. It happened late at night. Still, it transformed the entire day. The other different thing about this day was that it involved the three things mentioned in the title. Parks, pizza, and weed killer are normally not the recipe for success. Please allow me to explain.

My day began at 4:45am, as it does most weekdays. I woke up to my alarm and prepared to go to my day job at the post office. Once there, I went through my normal routine. Towards the end of the day, I noticed the weeds were getting out of hand and decided to take care of the matter. There were some containers of weed killer. This particular kind had a sprayer that allowed for a continuous spray. I walked around the entire post office taking care of all the weeds. This took roughly an hour. It was nice out and there were plenty of birds to keep me company. I listened to an audiobook as I sprayed.

Later in the day, my mom and I went on one of our nature walks. We choose a path that we both enjoy, but had somehow avoided the entire year. The weather was perfect. There was green growth everywhere. Plenty of birds of all different kinds. Everywhere we looked, nature seemed to be providing a scene that could be turned into a jigsaw puzzle. The picture above is just one example of what we saw as we walked along. We ended up doing a little more than 4 miles when neither one of us thought we would be able to walk very far when we started. My mother even mentioned just doing a mile. We were so caught up in enjoying the scenery we forgot to stop.

After our walk in the park, we stopped at the grocery store. Margie had found a good sale and my mom and I were going to pick up some things we needed. It ended up being more than just a few things. This often happens when you go to the grocery store with an appetite worked up by a 4 mile walk. By the time our shopping trip was done and I returned home, it was a little to late to prepare the delicious meal that Margie had been planning. I was a little disappointed until we settled on ordering….a pizza! Little not so secret about me – I could eat pizza every meal, every day of the week if given the chance.

As we both sat enjoying our delicious pizza and salad, it happened. I was thinking how delicious the pizza was. It was fresh, the perfect temperature and had all the ingredients I love on it. Then, I looked up and thought how delicious the lady next to me was. She looked so beautiful, has all the ingredients I enjoy and is always hot. I thought how lucky I was to be enjoying such a moment. Then, I thought about the walk through the park. I literally was beauty in every direction. My mother and I shared some great conversation and got some exercise in as well. Even the trip to the grocery store was fun. I saved a lot of money and got some good deals. I was grateful I could afford to do so. I pushed back even further and thought about the morning spent with the weed killer, the birds and the audiobook (another possible title for this blog) and thought what a wonderful day this had been.

The feeling that overcame me was one of extreme gratitude. Not everything worked out as I was hoping. I would have liked to be able to sleep in and not have to go to work. I would have liked to have seem some deer on the walk. I would have enjoyed the wonderful meal Margie and I had been planning. If I had thought about all of that, the day would have felt like a miserable failure. What changed everything, was focusing on what I was grateful for. I had a nice day at work that included time outside to myself. We had a great walk that included beautiful scenery and plenty of birds. I was able to afford the groceries I did get. We did end up eating pizza which I love and I have that amazing meal to look forward to tonight. Plus, I get to enjoy them both with the most beautiful woman.

The fact here is that the power of focus and the power of gratitude can transform any day. Had my focus been on what the day lacked, it would have turned a great day into one that felt like a failure. By focusing on gratitude, it transformed my day into one of the greatest I have had in a long time. It also allowed me to enjoy everything and everyone in the day more. I wrapped my arms around Margie and slept more peaceful than I can remember doing in quite some time. Now, thinking about that, I am already looking forward to today! It is amazing how powerful gratitude and focus can be. I am grateful for this reminder!

IT’S THE WEEKEND. THINK LIGHTLY

This weekend, keep it simple. Fill your heart with gratitude and appreciation. The 3 feelings of gratitude. 1.) Gratitude for everything you’ve been given in your life. 2) Gratitude for everything your currently have in your life. 3) Gratitude for all the blessings on their way.

Keep your focus on being grateful this weekend and watch your heart fill with joy.