IT IS JUST WHAT YOU NEEDED

Fun… that’s so childish. What does fun do? Provides us an escape. Fun gives us a chance to use our imagination and see the future we would like to create. On the practical side, fun allows us to sneak in some physical activity while enjoying ourselves. We can learn and develop skills all while having fun.

Let me ask you this, when are we most in need of all of these things? When we are children and have little to no responsibility, generally walk everywhere because our legs are too short to reach the pedals, or when we are adults and face the pressures of work, bills, family and fixing the car we are now able to drive?

Another thing that seems oddly more difficult to do as adults is make new friends and bond with the ones we already have. Margie and I began hosting a board game night and had the great honor of being joined by our friends Beth, Terri, Shawn, Josie, Mimi, Michelle, Beto and others. We laughed, drank copious amounts of wine and rum. The best part? We all laughed, and got to know each other a great deal better through this fun.

What does all of that do? The obvious answer is relieve stress, create good feelings and smiles. Maybe not so obvious is that it allows us to get to know our friends likes and dislikes. It allows us to build the level of trust and connection between all of us. The crazy thing? It’s all fun!

So, make sure you schedule some fun in your life! It will help your physical and mental health as well as strengthen your relationships! Now to get some wine, rum and friends together for the next game night!

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN

Fear not. This is not a picture of me. As I write this the temperature outside is a pleasant 60 degrees. Very warm for Wisconsin on the 4th of December. As you are reading this, however, the reading will be 30 degrees less. Yes a drop that big in the space of 24 hours. What is really challenging is the fact that the week ahead features high temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s. Those are average for this time of year and living here most of my life I should be used to that by now, but I am not.

As a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder, my mood tends to dip with the temperature. Knowing this can fill me with a sense of tread as the days get closer to the end of the year, but it also gives me time to prepare. I know I am not likely to see a day like the one we are having today until the month of May. So what can I do for the next 5 months to avoid slipping to a further degree of insanity than my normal state? One cannot certainly change the weather. Closing my eyes and chanting “I think it’s warm” over and over again wouldn’t get me very far either.

If cursing mother nature doesn’t help, what does? When you are faced with challenges you cannot change, then the only option is to change yourself. I am going to begin to plan fun things with the love of my life. Being the budget of an aspiring world-famous author doesn’t include money for many tropical vacations, I plan to visit the local horticultural building here (called the Domes) where there are living plants all year around. There will be more movie nights indoors. Maybe a bundled up adventure in the woods. While this does not replace the joy of riding my bike in the sunshine, these activities will bring me great joy.

Another option is to plan for when the weather is warm in order to make the most of the nice weather. Trips we want to go on. Maybe a road trip when the snow and ice is off of the roads. Getting in shape so I can better enjoy the warm weather when in comes. I have a calendar that I actually mark each day I go to the gym. It will keep me motivated in the cold weather.

The point is this, even if you are faced with a challenge that seems to be insurmountable you can always find ways to adjust. Winter will never be my favorite season, but that does not mean I cannot find ways to discover happiness while it is here.

 

EEYORE SYNDROME REDEFINED

This is an exciting post for me to write. Why? In doing so I am able to share with all of you how wrong I was in my way of thinking in a certain are. Why is that exciting for me? Because when you learn life takes on a whole new exciting feel. This is beginning to sound confusing so let us get right into the story I want to share with you.

Above we have the loveable character Eeyore  from the children’s book series Winnie the Pooh. I must confess here that I have been, and continue to be, a big fan of this loveable bear. He embodies to me a lot of the traits I strive to have in myself. A laid back, go with the flow attitude, the ability to get along with pretty much everyone, a good imagination, and a generally positive attitude that things will turn out for the best. It is perhaps this early childhood influence that helped shaped the person I am today. Certainly his appetite and general physical build has also found its way into my life. Difference being as a general rule I do wear pants most of the time.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading one of the House at Pooh Corner stories, let me explain who Eeyore is. He is a donkey with an attitude the opposite of Pooh. He tends to see the worst in a situation and assumes most things will turn out bad, which for him they often do. This could be an early example of the Law of Attraction, but I do not wish to speak for the author’s intent.

Eeyore, although a good friend, is one of those people (or in this case donkey) that will find the single cloud on a sunny day. Do you  know someone like that? Maybe a friend in your life? When I encountered people in life with a sunshine challenged disposition I referred to them as having the Eeyore syndrome. It was my way of giving a not so nice character trait a less offensive title. This went on for about 25 years or so of my life.

Enter my friend J.D. who is not only an amazing singer, but a great aspiring author and a man who spends a great deal of life using the ability the Creator gave him between his ears. We were discussing Eeyore one evening at one of the shows Margie and I do. When I told J.D. how I think of negative people as having the Eeyore syndrome, he pointed out a great fact I had missed. In the stories Pooh, Piglet and all the other characters who have a generally more positive outlook still accept Eeyore. More importantly, they do so without trying to change him. They do point out the positive side of life to this lovable donkey, but then instead of trying to get him to think like they do, they just lead by example remaining positive in the face of the most challenging situations.

I had to take a moment and reflect. Not only did I miss this point in the story itself, but I had missed it in life as well. Often, when I see somebody who has difficulty finding the light in life, I do my best to show them a better way of thinking. Perhaps a better approach in the future would be to just accept them as they are and lead by example. By seeing my mistake, I now have a new and perhaps better way of reaching more people. That is why it pays to surround yourself with great friends and fabulous childhood stories!

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

THE ESSENTIAL CHANGE

My second book opens with the statement –

unless you change yourself, nothing will change; once you change yourself, everything else will change

This is a very important thought for several reasons. First, saying, or even thinking things like “I’ll be happy when…” hands over control of your life to other people and situations. Why would you let others decide whether or not you can enjoy your own life?

Another reason to realize you are the only person responsible for the quality of your own life are problems. When I hear people who consistently blame others for the situations they find themselves in, I know these people will never live a happy and successful life.

Let us be honest here, people can be jerks. They can say rude and hurtful things to us. They can put us in uncomfortable situations. What control do we have over that? A great deal. We can take a hard look in the mirror and see if there may be any truth to the things they are saying. If so, we can use it as constructive criticism.

What if there is no truth to what they say and it is just mean? Then we can raise our standards as to who we have in our lives. What if this person is our boss or some other person not so easy to dismiss? We can use that person for our own development. Practice our patience, controlling our anger, or having compassion for those who don’t deserve it. We can do all this while working to improve our situation.

Sometimes they are there to teach us a lesson. Such as no amount of money or job is worth our dignity. No amount off affection is worth any amount of abuse. These are all very difficult situations, but waiting and relying on the other person to change will most often result in no change.

Working on myself has lead me to my greatest improvements and my greatest joy. When I became a better man, my job became better, my relationships improved. I noticed when I treated others better and gave more to them, I received more in return.

To this day, I spend the most time and effort working on myself. Every improvement in myself touches and improves every area of my life.