I ended my third book with this quote. It is an interesting truth. Mr. Einstein was one of the smartest people to grace our planet and I have to admit he came up with a good one here. Going through my surgery and brief flirtation with death did give me a new perception on things. Leading up to the surgery, I think was even more profound. I am going to share this with you in hopes that you will not have to be sawed in two like I was to be able to see everything like a miracle.
How do we begin to see everything as a miracle? We take this bit of advice from another wise soul, Dr. Wayne Dyer. Changing the way we look at things is such a valuable tool that many of us do not use often enough. Let us start with a big one – life. In my book, The Beat Goes On, I share a story about being at the movies with Margie 2 months before my surgery. As we were watching superheroes rid the world of a host of evil villains, it occurred to me that I could be dead a mere 60 days from now. That may sound morbid, and a bit scary, to some of you. It wasn’t to me at the time. What it did serve to do was give me a swift kick in the rear end. Time was ticking. The sand was falling through the hourglass. I looked at Margie and realized that every second ticking by was one less I would have with her. If I only had 2 months, what did I want to tell her? What did I want to do together? How did I want to make her feel? Life had never felt so precious to me. If you want to hear more of this story, I highly suggest checking out my book.
It should be pretty obvious, but just in case it is not, I made it through. It would be tricky to be writing this if I didn’t. What I was left with was not only a really cool scar on my chest, but that sense of urgency. What I realized is that every day, every second is still one less that we get to spend with each other. Not just Margie and I, but everyone in my life. We never know how much sand is in the top of the hourglass, or how much time we have left. All we know is it is less than it was before. When you lay down and night, realize one more day on the planet has ticked by for you. Did you use it well? Were there some things you could have done better? Think of what did go right and the fact that you made it through.Give thanks for that. Really feel that sense of gratitude that your ticket was not punched that day.
When you wake up tomorrow, give a big stretch and be grateful that you made it to another day. Then, realize that the sand is still flowing through the hourglass. How are you going to make the most of this day? Are you going to do something to build your legacy? Are you going to take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature? You could explore the world of a new book. How about telling someone how much you truly love them? Time is ticking. Get every drop out of the juice of life. Live your life as if everything is a miracle, because it really is.
We have discussed this many times before. This is not only the key to the Law of Attraction, there is real science behind it. Using the part of the brain called the reticular activating system, which filters what the brain deems important, makes all of the difference in the world. Anecdotally, we see it when we buy a new car or outfit, and suddenly see many people with the same car or outfit. It is just what your brain decided was important.
If we know this happens with cars and outfits, why do we not take advantage of it for more important things? When I urge people to focus on what they have to be grateful for, or what is positive in their lives, this is the reason why. It is not being ignorant to what may not be going well. Indeed, we can use that to better clarify what it is we do want. What it does do for us is reveal more and more things that we have to be grateful for or that are a positive in our lives. It also works in reverse. Every have a bad day at work and when you come home you notice every little annoying thing that your spouse does? Normally, these wouldn’t even bother you. Perhaps you even snap at them when they don’t deserve it? How about if you have a disagreement with your spouse before work? How is the day at the office going to be that way? Productive? Singing kumbaya with your coworkers? I would imagine not.
Enough doom and gloom here. Let us practice thinking positive! What happens when your partner starts the day by showing you a loving gesture? You go into work and don’t even mind if the boss is yelling all day. You are just looking forward to coming home to more of that loving feeling. Maybe you have a great day and work and a relaxing drive home? Then if your spouse seems to be a little more sunshine challenged than you, it might bother you as much. You might even be able to lift them up as well. Why? You were feeling good.
Take having a good start to the day. Maybe you get a hug from that special someone? Maybe your dog snuggles up to you with a cute look on their face? Maybe you just had the perfect cup of coffee? Whatever it is, you leave the house with a smile on your face. You start to drive to work and notice songs you like on the radio. Oh, and what is that new little place to eat that you have never tried? Wow, the trees sure are a pretty shade of green. This may all sound a bit silly, but it is really how our brain works. The crazy thing is that we leave this up to chance most of the time. I did a video on my YouTube channel a few years ago called “Waking up in neutral” We need to act more in life, and react less. Set a determination to have a good day. Read something positive and inspiring. Recite some empowering affirmations. Have your happy playlist set to go. Whatever it takes. Start your day on a positive note and commit to staying focused on the positive. Life will feel like magic.
The above picture was taken in fern Gully Jamaica in 2019. Margie and I had met this very nice lady, I think her name was Stephanie, on the tour we were on. It was truly a wonderful vacation where we met a lot of nice people. I often reflect on what a good time we had and miss being somewhere tropical with my love. We are currently planning on taking another trip in February to somewhere warm and sunny. It is tricky not to have my mind back in 2019, or look forward a couple of months to our next adventure. It certainly helps to do that when the temperature was well below freezing and the weatherman was cautioning you to stay inside.
Having these little mental vacations is not only helpful, it is recommended to maintain your sanity. They were only made possible by creating those memories in the moment. In a world where many of us post pictures of every meal we eat, it is just as important to slow down and enjoy the meal as we eat it. What good would it do us to look back at a picture of a mouth-watering meal and not remember what it tastes like? The picture from Jamaica was taken because we really enjoyed this young lady’s hospitality and wanted to remember the good time we had.
Here is another picture from a trip Margie and I went on. This one was to a city about an hour or so from where we live. We did so many fun things while we were there. One of my favorites was discovering a coffee shop that employed people with mental and physical challenges, giving them valuable experience in the workplace and an opportunity to feel how important and valuable they are. I even have a sticker from that coffee shop on the laptop I write on. If I would have stayed focused on how much I enjoyed our Jamaican vacation, I would not have been able to enjoy this one to the fullest. That would have been a shame. Not to mention, I was lucky enough to enjoy both of them with this beautiful lady.
During the holidays, this can be tough advice to follow. Especially, when we lose someone we really care about. Above is a picture of my grandparents. I recall a house full of people. My grandmother, and other relatives, making enough food for at least twice as many people as were present. It seemed the whole family got together. They have long passed away. The family does not seem to gather like it used to. I not only miss them, but those moments. Then I remind myself to do one thing – look around the table. It is very hard not to let our sadness of missing those we love overcome our gratitude for those we still have in our lives. This is brought home every time that I scroll through my friends on social media. I notice how many people, young and old, are no longer with us. It would be a shame to be missing them and not be able to appreciate the long list of those still with us. While our hearts are longing for those who left us, please let us look up and feel a great deal of love and gratitude for those who we are still blessed to have in our lives. Next year the list may be smaller and it would do our hearts good to know that we took the time to appreciate them while they were here. Loss is painful, but it is only made worse by regret.
One way to ease the burden of loss is to know that we lived, laughed and loved with those who meant the most to us. It will not only help us ease the feelings of loss we have for those who have already gone, but help that same feelings of those we will tragically lose in the future. Love who you have as much as you can and your life will be full of joy and peace.
I love this picture for several reasons. First, I am a huge fan of Winnie-the-Pooh. Second, the quote by Hans Christian Anderson is amazing. Last post we spoke about changing perspective. Can you imagine viewing a lot of our everyday things as miracles? To some of you that may seem like a stretch, but really it is not. Take the simple act of eating. Food grows using the power of the sun. It is composed of complex molecules of all different sorts. We mash it up using our teeth and swallow it. Somehow, inside of our stomach it is transformed from a piece of broccoli, or in my case a slice of deluxe pizza, to a source of energy that powers all of the processes in our body. This occurs without us having to learn or do a single thing. Pretty amazing if I must say so myself.
Here is another aspect of miracles, being grateful. When you think of the things mentioned above, they might seem like the basic items of life. It is true that everyone should have these items. It is also true, that the vast majority of people on this planet do not. If you are reading this, it is assumed you have an internet connection in some fashion. Think of the miracles of that! You can access knowledge of the ages in the palm of your hand, in the case of a cell phone. When I was young you had to go to the library and search through volumes of books called encyclopedias. Today you just talk into your phone and access Wikopedia in seconds. 100 years ago, electricity and running water was just beginning to be the norm. Today, in places like war-torn Ukraine, and many rural villages in Africa it is still a luxury. Many of the things we can take for granted can be ripped from our lives in the blink of an eye. As I write this, the western part of the United States is being subjected to a terrible winter storm. 40 people have already lost their lives and thousands more are without power.
This is not meant to be a doom and gloom post. Just a poignant reminder that many of the basic services will become a luxury if they are taken away. A mother in Kyiv would give anything to have a safe roof over her head and a place to raise her children without the fear of a bomb falling on them. Do you have that? Be grateful. Somewhere in western New York, a family was wishing they had heat to be able to stay healthy and enjoy the holidays. Did you have that? Be grateful. There is a tired cliché that we do not know what we have until it is gone. For most of us, that is uncomfortably true. As the year draws to a close, I invite all of us to consider the ordinary things of our lives and how miraculous they truly are. Think of what many of us take for granted that others would be so grateful to have.
Today is my lovely lady, Margie’s, birthday. As we celebrate, I could not be more grateful for her presence in my life. I encourage you to think about all of the joy a person brings in your life next time you celebrate a birthday. It may be their special day, but we are the lucky ones!
Weekends are a great time to refresh and refuel. They are also a great time to reflect on what we are grateful for. Being in a state of gratitude allows us to face the coming week with an attitude of enthusiasm and inner peace.
To accomplish this, let us do this – let’s focus on one thing we are grateful for and why. This weekend. Adding the why makes it compelling. I’ll start. I’m grateful for the ability to create memories with those I love. One year ago I was not sure I would be able to with my open-heart surgery. I’m so grateful 🙏 for that every day.
What one thing are you grateful for this weekend and why? Share and inspire with all of us.
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.
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.
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.