MY FAVORITE GIFT

Every year I have 2 interesting challenges, my mother’s birthday is February 13th, the day before Valentine’s day. The love of my life, my beautiful Margie, seen in the picture celebrates her birthday on today, December 15th. Which, if you are keeping score at home is a mere 10 days before Christmas.

I used to quip that December and February were my poorest months. That may seem true for obvious reasons. In reflection they are actually 2 of my richest months. How can that be? Allow me to explain.

It took the love of this beautiful woman to remind me that the greatest gifts are people and not things. While I would love to give this woman the world, but budget is somewhere closer to a plastic globe.

By celebrating her birthday today (as with my mother 2 months later) I realize I am celebrating the greatest gift I ever received, this beautiful woman sharing her life with me.

As Christmas comes around it is a good reminder how no material item, no matter how expensive or even how thoughtful would be more valuable than the life and love I have with my Margie.

I would love to say happy birthday to you my love. No matter what gift I can come up with, I will still feel like the one who is getting the best present. Today we are celebrating the birth of the woman who brings so much joy into my life. I love you baby.

WALKING THE WALK

Not long ago I posted a video about the glass being half full or half empty. If you haven’t seen it yet I encourage you to watch it on my YouTube channel Neil Panosian the job Margie did filming it is fabulous.

In a nutshell, the video states that the glass is both half-full and half-empty. So is life, there are ups and downs. To prove life often imitated art, my week followed this pattern. Now I got to practice, first hand, the principles I shared with all of you.

Tuesday while at the movies with Margie and her grandchildren someone stole my cell phone. Not that shelling out $175 to T-Mobile right before the holidays is fun, but what really bothered me was the loss of memories in terms of videos and pictures. I think there is a special place in the pit of Hades for people who do this.

The next day, however, I was greeted with a great article about me in the Shepherd Express a local publication. You can read the article by clicking the link at the end of this post.

As you can see life can give you quite the thrill ride! We must focus on the positive and learn from the negative.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE ABOUT ME!!

ANOTHER MILESTONE!!!

Five years of writing this blog? Where does the time go? It was thanksgiving day 2012 I wrote my first post. That post, fittingly enough, was about gratitude. It is a subject often revisited throughout the years and hundreds of posts I have had the honor of sharing with all of you.

Why is gratitude such a hot subject? Why do I not only chose to revisit it so often, but it seems to be the buzz word on the lips of celebrities such as Oprah, Jim Carrey and others. It was one of the main pillars of the blockbuster movie the secret. This is why – very little, if anything, can change your life as much, or as quickly as gratitude. This may sound new-age or esoteric, but there I scientific reasons behind this. First, your mind can only focus on one thought at a time. You cannot feel stressed out, overwhelmed, angry and grateful all at the same time. Do not believe me? Try thinking of your favorite animal and the statue of liberty at the same time. Go ahead, I will wait. You will find your mind can bounce back and forth between the two, but cannot hold two different thoughts at the very same moment.

Another reason is it helps activate a super-power you have in your brain. Yes, you, the one reading this right now, you have this power. Like all powers, it can be used for good or for evil. This power is called the reticular activating system. For the reason it is hard to remember three such scientific sounding words and because super-powers need cool names, we will now refer to this as the RAS. In a nutshell what the RAS does is eliminate anything your brain says is not important and makes things you consider a priority stand out. The amazing thing is your mind does all of this without you having to do anything. It is like a computer program that runs in the background.

This still sounds like we are either in biology or a computer programing class. Let me give you an example of how this happens in your own life. You buy a new outfit or car. Suddenly, you see that outfit or car everywhere! Let me ask you, did the rest of the world see how cool you were, run out and buy the very same thing so they could be just like you? As awesome as all of my secret2anamazinglife readers are, unless you are Kim Kardasian, who may or may not read my blog, chances are the answer is no. So why do you suddenly see that everywhere? Once you purchased those items your brain said “Hey, we like this car/outfit let us find more!” or whatever language your brain uses to talk to you.

Most of us either are not aware we can control this power, or we do so for negative reasons. Such as “See, I told you I have bad luck.” or “I told you the world is getting worse!” Listen, whatever you focus on becomes your reality. If you focus on how much your life sucks right now, your brain will help you find examples of how much that is true. If you want to focus on how terrible the world is, it will help you find examples of that too. Sounds like our brain is out to get us? Not so fast!

We can use our powers for good! This is where gratitude comes in. Begin to foster an attitude of gratitude say through a daily gratitude journal or one of the many other ideas featured in my book A Happy Life for Busy People and your brain will begin to find examples of why you should feel grateful. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!

Back to the milestone we are celebrating here today. When I began this website I was just looking for a way to capture the best secrets in self-improvement I came across, which is still what we are all about, but never would I dream I would have gotten so much out of it. I began being followed by a few friends and family. Now I am followed in over 100 countries, with thousands of people who have read what I have shared here. I have had the great honor of connecting with people across this great planet of ours. To celebrate our 5th year at secret2anamazinglife.com I invite you to share who you are, where you are from and your favorite thing about this website in the comments below. It will not only help me know what you enjoy, but we all just might make some new inspiring friends!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to share my motivation and inspiration with you these last five years. I look forward to the next five!

MY APPEARANCE ON THE ‘BOLD MOVES’ PODCAST!!

I had the great fortune to appear on the ‘Bold Moves’ podcast. We discussed a wide range of topics from my personal story, my upcoming books to secrets that can turn your life around. Click on the link below, but only if you are prepared to be positively inspired!

CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS AMAZING PODCAST

ARE YOU IN CONTROL, OR BEING CONTROLLED?

Another picture I saw, read and had to take a deep breath and appreciate. This man has mastered what Earl Nightingale referred to as the magic word. This word, more than any other thing will control not only how successful we are in life, but how much we enjoy life as well. It will determine how well people and the world treat us. It has the greatest bearing on our physical and mental health as well.

What is this magic word? The word is attitude. A positive attitude will yield a positive life. As you can see in the picture above attitude has less to do with outside circumstances and far more to do with inside circumstances. We all know people who seem to have nothing, but remain positive and upbeat. We know people facing every sort of challenge you can imagine but seem to overcome them not only with ease, but we joy in their hearts and on their faces. How on earth are they able to do this? That was the question I kept asking myself when I began to get involved in the field of self-improvement.

These people have a good attitude not always because of their situation, but quite often in spite of their situation. That’s all great, and maybe your situation sucks too, but how the heck can you still manage to be happy? First of all, I am not discounting whatever you are going through. We all have struggles that others can’t begin to comprehend. That is one of the keys, remembering we all have struggles. How can we go from feeling defeated, sad and depressed by our challenges to empowered, motivated and positive? Asking that question is the first great step. I am going to give you one very important thing to remember – Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% what we do with it.

Sounds all warm and fuzzy right? You want to know how we turn the crap life gives us into something good? What if I told you that we have the ability to have complete control over our lives? Sounds a little too good to be true? What if I also told you that you routinely give that control away to others, your emotions or just choose not to use it at all? Don’t get upset, I still do this sometimes too. How do we take complete control over our life? By using two very important super powers you have. Yes, I said super powers. Don’t worry, you don’t need to wear a cape and you can keep the underwear on the inside of your pants. Why are they super? They are super powers because these two items control both the direction and feeling of our life and we have complete control over them.

The two super powers are focus and meaning. In any situation we choose both of these. Sure it may be hard to focus on anything other than the fact the person who cut you off in traffic is a rude jerk, but that is only because instead of choosing how to act, we are used to reacting to life. Which means in short that person is going to leave us angry, frustrated, frazzled or just plain pissed off, depending on how you want to score that.

Another world for focus can be perception. Is what really happened to us that bad? It can seem so in the moment for sure. Again, not to discount anything you may be going through, but changing our focus onto what we may be grateful for in the situation can do wonders and we can choose to do that. It is here I would like to insert a quote here for you to ponder.

“I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi

What if we chose to decide the reason that man cut us off was to refocus our energy on our safe driving practices? Maybe it means he was rushing to a family emergency we should be grateful we don’t have? Maybe he just received some terrible news and is so upset he is having a hard time focusing on driving? Maybe the meaning of it is he really is a jerk, but if we run into someone else who is in an upset mood maybe they had the displeasure of sharing the road with him earlier? Does this sound like some pie-in-the-sky or Pollyanna? Look at the other option. We could decide this man was a jerk, be super upset and let it ruin our whole day. In other words, react to him and give him complete control over our emotions.

Is this limited to a stranger on the road? Not at all. It can happen with a boss who is in a bad mood. It can happen by watching the evening news, reading the paper or some other not so inspiring action. Those of you who work with the public have a chance to practice taking control of your emotions and not reacting to the influence of others far more than you probably would like. Just the same, if a customer treats you rudely and you let it ruin your mood, in effect this is what you are saying, “You, my totally rude and disrespectful friend, your opinion means so much to me that the fact you have treated me poorly will affect my emotional state for the rest of the afternoon, day, week…etc.”

Why give anyone else control over how you feel? It is time to stop reacting, and time to start choosing how you want to act! Will it be easy? Not at all. New habits and wrestling control of your mind after you have let it run its own course for years can be compared to beginning dog training when the dog is two years old. It will take some patience and perseverance on your part. Will it be worth it? To never let your emotions, and thus your life be controlled by anyone other than you? I can’t think of anything more deserving of your efforts.

So next time life gives you a big pile of crap to deal with, remember you have a choice. You can let it sit around and stink up the place, or you can use all of those lessons and so called failures as you can manure, as fertilizer to help grow something bigger, better and more beautiful!

A GREAT LESSON

Yes, you are about to witness another post involving the Wisconsin State Fair. It is my favorite place after all. Even while ‘on vacation’ I still notice things that we can all gain motivation from. Take the example in the two pictures above.

I found this display behind one of the barns housing animals. It was a place where the people exhibiting their animals could thank those people who helped them on their journey to the fair! A lot of the signs you could tell were composed by young people. What a great lesson to teach these children? Instead of focusing on whether or not your pig or cow came in first, to appreciate all the work that went into just getting there. To remind them of the sacrifice of a lot of people made so their chance was possible.

Not all parents reading this have children in 4H or FFA, but in any case it is a good lesson to impart. Starting children out in the practice of gratitude early not only helps the parents have a more grateful child, but as the child grows into an adult it will help them to remain focused on what they have instead of focusing on what they lack.

What a great gift to give to a child, a tool to help them remain positive even in tough times. There is nothing, in my opinion, that can transform a life for the better than fostering an attitude of gratitude.

What if you don’t have any children or what if they are grown adults? The same holds true for friends and coworkers. Helping anyone become more grateful will make their life so much better. It will increase joy and decrease stress. A regular reminder of what we all are grateful for will help us all. What a great conversation to have as well. I would much rather listen to someone telling me what they are thankful for rather than listening to them complain. Let us all work together to help each other become grateful.