DECIDE FOR YOURSELF

I hear many people discuss how they have decided to remove certain people out of their lives because they want to reduce the amount of negativity/drama/disrespect that these people bring. Good plan. I actually heard no less than 3 examples of this last night. What I find ironic is that this is usually followed up by how much they are concerned that these people are upset with them. This is just another part of the drama and disrespect. If you truly want peace in your life, you may have to deal with some folks not being happy about that. Rest assured they will find another soul to peddle their drama with. They are just upset at the prospect that their audience has decreased by the size of one. This is no longer your problem.

I love this quote because it is quite true. If you were to be asked directly, “What would you give up your peace of mind for?” the answer would be quite high or maybe even nothing at all. Yet, when done indirectly, we settle for some quite low sums. We give up our peace of mind so our coworkers will like us. We give up our peace of mind so we will not look foolish in front of others. We may not look at quite this way, but that is exactly what we are doing. When we engage in needless gossip at work or in a social setting just to fit in, we are giving up our inner peace. There is nothing that will destroy our inner peace like speaking ill of others. When we don’t speak up when we disagree with something that is happening or being said around us, we are giving up our inner peace just so others will not think us as different or rediculous.

Here is another way we negotiate our peace of mind for a price far lower than we should – we react to others. This is one I can be guilty of myself. If someone does something to upset you it can be hard to let that go. It might be bouncing around in your head for some time after. Those pressing thoughts like “Why on earth did they say/do that?” If asked, “Is it true that all someone has to do is say or act in a certain way and you will let them decide your emotional well-being?” Most of us would certainly respond that there is no way we will give them that kind of control over us. Still, isn’t that what we are doing when we let the actions of others upset us? Especially long after the event has occurred. It is a thought worth considering. Next time we find ourselves upset at the actions of others we should ask ourselves this very important question, “Am I negotiating my peace of mind at a price far lower than I deserve? Am I also giving this person’s words and actions control over my mental well-being?” Reframing it this way can change how much importance we place on the poor choices others make and how we let it affect us.

Next time you find yourself concerned that certain people may be exiting your life and taking their drama with them, realize this is the price they are paying for your peace of mind. Is having this person in your life worth the unnecessary drama they bring? All of our friends have problems and down times that we must support them through, but being someone who fills your life with at constant stream of negativity is something you do not need. If you find yourself being upset over the words and actions of these folks it is time to make a change. If they are owning to much space in your head or your heart raise the rent or evict them.

DON’T HIDE

Growing up, many of us did things we thought were silly just to fit in. We wanted to be part of that certain peer group. Looking back some of these things may seem kind of foolish. One thing that we may have done as well is hide aspects of ourselves we thought people might not like. Perhaps we worried about not seeming ‘cool’ enough. We liked a movie we thought everyone might make fun of us for. Maybe there were even certain friends we didn’t speak to because they didn’t fit that cool group we were looking to be a part of.

I did a lot of stupid things while I was growing up. I think we could all claim that statement to some degree. One thing I was proud of is that I never let anyone decide who I should speak to or be friends with. Even at an early age I realized that all of us have value in different ways. To my everlasting joy this has brought more to my life to most anything else I can think of. The gift of relationships I had formed back then and since have brought me countless blessings.

One thing I did do, and continued to do through adulthood is keep some of who I am to myself. We may worry that revealing too much will leave us vulnerable and open to criticism. It is something I suppose we begin in our teens and carry with through adulthood. We don’t want those at the office thinking we are some kind of weirdo. As we grow older it seems more difficult to make new and deep friendships. I am not 100% certain as to why that might be, I suppose there are several reasons that factor in. So we hide little bits of ourselves in hopes we may not offend too many. We also do want the added drama that comes with showing our true nature. There are times when this is prudent. If you know someone has passionate and opposing views on politics or religion for example, it may be wise to avoid broaching those subjects.

If, however, we really want to develop deep and lasting friendships we should be our complete and full versions of ourselves. As long as we are not hurting others, we should let our light shine as bright as it can. This does two very important things. First, it lets people know who you really are. You may find people who share the same interests that you have you may have considered weird. Like to go ghost hunting? Do you enjoy visiting classic diners? Perhaps you have an interest in bird watching? (these are all true of me btw) The more you put this information out there, the more people will know and you will find yourself crossing paths with those who have similar interests. Even friends who might not share your exact interests, may have a different friend who does and introduce you. Attending events that center around these interests can introduce you to a whole new group of friends. This is something that seems to be difficult as we grow older. Will there be a few who still may give you a hard time or even belittle you for your interests? I am not going to lie, the answer is ‘yes’. There are simply those who haven’t grown up yet. It could be that they are doing so because they are afraid of revealing who they truly are. It could also be that they are just jerks when it comes to that. Which is information that is good to know as well.

The second, and perhaps more powerful thing that being your authentic self does is provide freedom. It can give those around you the freedom and courage to be their authentic self. Margie does this for me to this day. I can still be slightly guarded, and with her free spirit and silly humor can give me the courage to open up a little more.

What I think living life as the truest version of yourself does the best is give you personal freedom. It allows you to live life with a passion and inner joy that those who hide who they are will never fully experience. It also helps you grow and blossom to become even more of what you were born to be. If there is one thing this world needs it is people living the life they love.

In a personal example, I used to keep my self-improvement studies and interests to myself. I figured “who would be interested in this anyway?” I thought it may be to ‘new age’ for some people. I was right, but to a much smaller degree than I anticipated. This is true for almost any interest. What was interesting was that I began to include a circle of new and wonderful people from around the world who share this passion. I have been able to offer them some insight and they have done the same for me! The more of myself I let show, the more free I feel and the deeper the sense of inner peace I experience.

It takes bravery and courage to show the world who you are. The payoff is a group of friends that you can truly connect with and who when they like you, will be liking the complete and true version of who you are. It also helps you bring the most to the world in the time you are here. What is the most beautiful thing is that is provides a sense of inner peace and freedom knowing you can be loved for who you truly are. Be yourself my friends! There is no greater gift you could give yourself or the world.

WELL WATER CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE… AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO DRINK IT!

I’ve been in the self-improvement industry, professionally, for 2 decades now. Everyday, I listen to motivational recordings, I watch motivational videos and I even have a day-by-day motivational calendar. You would think after 9 years of motivational blogs, writing 2 books and teaching many seminars I would not need to learn more. Why continue to expose myself to so much self-improvement material? In fact, with so much self-improvement material out there, why do I feel compelled to continue to add my own contributions? The answer can be found in the graph above on well water.

Here is a saying that most of us have probably heard before. “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” I used to think this line was a bunch of nonsense. Now, it is one of the axioms I live my life by. How else do you explain the same situation happening to two different people, one is devastated and the other shrugs it off and keeps going? Some people allow challenges to make them bitter, some use it to make them better. Yet another self-help cliché. A man’s father is an alcoholic so he becomes one too. Yet, just down the block a woman watches her mother lose her job, her relationships and slowly drink herself to death. The pain this woman sees and feels makes her never desire a drop of alcohol her whole life through.

Here is another saying that used to annoy the hell out of me. If I stand on my head and look at the jerk in the office, he still is a jerk…only upside down. How about those people who can look at someone who is constantly putting them down, or saying rude things to everyone and all they can manage to say is “That person must be my personal emotional trainer who is helping me strengthen my patience.” No Sally, that person is just an ass. Funny thing is, Sally could be around the office jerk and remain completely at peace. That’s when I began to see the power in this. One of my favorite life coaches is Tony Robbins. I recall him saying something about reality not being reality in actuality, but reality to the individual. That is not it word for word and if anyone can find the quote please share it in the comments below. What it does mean is that reality is how we choose to view things. In our example of our jerk office worker, to me they were a jerk that was upsetting. To Sally, they were an emotional trainer helping her increase her chance at nirvana.

That brings us right back to our well water example. I have included another graph so you don’t have to scroll all the way back up. Here at secret2anamazinglife we care about you that way. What I learned today was that well water maintains a temperature of 68° (or 20 for our Celsius friends) This temperature stays the same despite the ambient temperature around it. Sunny and hot in the summer? 68°. So cold you could freeze fire? 68°. It is as if well water has reached some point of nirvana where it is unaffected by its surroundings.

In addition to serving as a great example of not changing to reflect your surroundings, this example serves us a two-fold lesson. 68° is the same no matter what, right? Not hardly. Just like our example of the unpleasant coworker who was completely a different person depending if you were talking to Sally or myself, the same is true of the well water. If we fell in the well in the middle of the summer, that water would probably feel cool and refreshing. If, however, we slipped on some us and became a ‘human bucket’ of sorts plummeting down the well at a high rate of speed to water that would seem rather warm all things considered. You see our situation can change how we would view the exact same water. We would still be stuck at the bottom of a well which would suck. Unless, of course, you are Sally who would look at it as a chance to practice her survival skills. Yet another examples of viewing life in 2 totally different ways.

This is why I encourage everyone to keep an open mind. Read all the books, listen to all the speakers and expose yourself to as much motivational material as you can. Someone might say the same thing you have heard for years in just a slightly different way that can make all of the difference. Remember how we view life is 10 times more important than the actual facts of life itself. It can not only help us deal with the challenges of life better, but let us be like Sally, who can maintain her inner peace even in the face of an annoying coworker.

  • P.S. – this is an entirely made up example. Although I have a few annoying coworkers, I do not have any named Sally who can remain in a state of inner peace.

THIS WEEKEND, WALK AWAY

Some people, for the life of me I don’t know why, must attend every drama party they are invited to. Another thing that leaves me scratching my head is that when people try and walk away from drama, others treat them poorly. On occasion, this causes them to reconsider their decision to remove themselves from the stressful situation. As if the people who created the drama opinion matters. They are just afraid they will have no reaction to their drama.

When you walk away from a negative situation, expect there to be drama. Expect the offending party to put up a great amount of resistance. You may lose some friends, that is okay. If someone is willing to stop talking to you because of your refusal to participate in gossip, drama or any other negativity they are not worth being concerned about. Understand your inner peace is worth more than other people’s opinion of you. You owe it to yourself to remove yourself from any situation that does not serve you.

One of the reasons people cannot break the cycle of participating in drama is they let their emotions rule their thoughts. Remaining calm in a stressful situation is worth working towards. It will allow you not to react to others but to choose your actions. If you are looking for a secret to an amazing life it would be developing an ability to ACT and not to REACT. This is not easy by any means, but the payoff will be worth it.

This weekend, do yourself a favor and practice emotional self-control. You will benefit by having more inner peace and control of your life. That is a priceless secret to an amazing life.

WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL

I host a group on Facebook called Fall in love with your life. It is a group where we all share stories and strategies that help us…well…fall in love with life. It is filled with all positive stories and no negativity. It is a great place to escape to and to share your joy and accomplishments. I welcome you all to log on to Facebook and join the group.

Recently, I changed the cover photo to the one you see above. I not only enjoyed the message it has, but it is a good reminder of what truly matters. In today’s world it seems we are either focused on how to make ourselves younger, prettier and more beautiful or how to do the same for the world around us. Hopefully both. This statement is not only truth, but a way in which to make both ourselves and our world more beautiful.

I recall in high school noticing many of the ‘popular’ kids treating those around them as less than. Not all of the popular kids did this, but a fair amount. On a personal level, I found these people to not only be unattractive, but had no desire to be friends with them. If your ability to feel good about yourself requires you to belittle others, than you are truly an unfortunate soul. Another interesting fact about these folks was that their popularity did not seem to last or at the very least was limited to a select group of individuals. Sometimes it would fade altogether. It would appear that those they laughed with would eventually ask themselves the question, “If they are making fun of others, what do they say about me when I am not around?”

People who treat each other well, on the other hand, fair much better in the long run. They seem to rise not only in social standing, but in positions of professional standing. After all, who wouldn’t want to work with, or for, someone who is kind and respectful? Who wouldn’t want this person at their birthday or house-warming party? Would wouldn’t want to share a dinner or even a cup of coffee with a person who treats others kindly and with dignity and respect? As a friend, hearing them talk good about others when they are not present is rather reassuring when it comes to what they say about you when you are not there.

Do you want to become more beautiful? Do you want to be held in high regards in your social circle? Would you like more quality friends? Would you like to be more successful professionally? To accomplish all of these all you must do is treat others the best you can. Speak well of others even if they are not there. It will earn you a quality reputation and people will begin to do the same for you. As an added bonus you will develop some interesting side-effects. Not only will your outside world improve, but so will your inner world. You will feel more at peace. You will worry less. You will begin to feel more loving and more loved. Your self-confidence will improve. All of these benefits from one action – treating others kindly and with dignity and respect.

THE FINAL DAY OF OUR CHALLENGE!

Today is our final day of our 7 day challenge. This challenge was to begin the month of July by posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive a day. The hashtag they recommend using is #7daysplus. Meaning it does not have to end here. For the sake of this challenge we are going to take a look back through the week and see what hopefully we have accomplished. My week began with the eager anticipation that many of you would join me on this challenge. In this way we could start a ripple effect of positive throughout our communities and throughout the world. We would start to change the narrative on the social media sights we belong to and begin to turn it to one of positivity and hope.

My positive thought for the day is that to some degree this has happened. In my own community, a childhood friend of mine named Jason took up the challenge and it has really generated some loving and supportive comments from family and friends on his posts. In Italy, a follower has offered me some great compliments and insights into this challenge and my blog in general. There have been new friends and followers made in the countries of Kenya and Finland. In a small way I feel as though I am doing my part to make this world a little more positive place than had I not have been here. In the big picture, I feel this should be a part of all of our life goals – to leave the world a better place than we found it.

I am filled with such gratitude for all of you who have participated. For those of you who did not, or maybe discovered this post a little late to do the first week of July, why not start today? Do your best to go a week without posting a single negative thing and at least one positive thing a day. It will truly help those in your social media circle, but it will also help you to change your focus to that of a more positive world. I cannot convey the peace of mind and heart this will give you. I know it was a great reminder for me to keep my focus on the beautiful things this life and world have to offer!

For those of you who did participate, please share what effects this challenge had on your life. Is there anything you would suggest to make it better next time? If you have an idea for a positive challenge that we can create on this blog please let us know in the ‘contact’ section or in the comments below!

DAY 8 IN OUR HAPPINESS CHALLENGE. ALMOST TO THE TOP

Day 8, you can almost see the top of the staircase now! If this is your first day joining us, a quick reminder we are starting from the bottom and climbing up the stairs. That would mean that today’s step to happiness is Take less, Give more. It is ironic that today’s lesson revolves around the effect that giving has on happiness. As happens every so often, this idea was actually in my head today before I knew I was going to write about it. It was a sunny and 90 degree day. If you know anything about me, this is just my kind of weather. I was riding around on the lawnmower and pondering material for my next book. It was then I began to muse on the thought of the power of altruism. Let us look a little deeper at that subject.


Altruism is loosely defined as doing something for others with no return for you. I do not believe such a situation exists. Here is why. Doing something kind for someone else has within it a reciprocal aspect. When you so something kind for another soul it makes both of you feel good. When I was at some of the lowest points in my life it was this very skill that brought me back up. Being able to give to others. If we spent an entire day doing nothing but trying to do nice and helpful things for others, there would be two guaranteed outcomes. First, we would feel great. Seeing the smiles on the faces, hearing the thank you and just knowing in our hearts that we did something good for someone else will have our vibrations high. Second, that good will come back to you. It may not come back in the same manner or even from the same people, but it will come back to you. It is the law of reciprocation. You put good out and good will return. It will do so at its own pace, but it will do so.

The next question that people often ask me is, “What can I give?” They may worry that they don’t have enough time, or as so often happens in the crazy world, enough time. There is one single thing that is not only one of the easiest to give, but also has the greatest impact – giving of yourself. I spoke of this is a not so distant post. What the world needs is people who are in living their passion. This can be difficult to do in the job market. I am still searching for that elusive talk show host job. Where it can be easy to do is in giving. Everyone is good at something. When you use the skills that come naturally to you, that is when you give the greatest. Some people are great listeners. That is something everyone needs these days. With everyone trying to be heard, having a friend to really listen is rare and a great gift. I happen to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. I am a good talker. When I give, I tend to do so by talking to the lonely and those left out. When I helped at the homeless shelter I was told my greatest gift was taking time to relate and talk with the people there.

What is your skill? How have you used it in the past? How can you use it more in the future? I can promise you from my own experience, the more that you give in life, the more that you will gain. Not only in a material sense, but your inner peace and joy will explode. I would love to hear your stories of when you gave and the effect it had on your life.

LOOK FOR THE SIGNS.

Today will be a quick but powerful idea. Pick an emotion in your life you would like to increase. This could be love, peace or happiness. Then think of a symbol that represents that emotion. This could be a heart for love, a sun for peace or a smiley face for joy. These are just basic examples. Choose whatever symbol makes sense to you. Nobody but you will know what you’re doing. Unless of course you want to involve friends, family members or your spouse. This could be fun, but it not necessary.

Everytime you see that symbol think of and practice that emotion. You may even wish to write down when you come across them and where. It is imploring the universe to help you remember to include that emotion in your day. Try this new routine for at least 21 straight days.

I suggest keeping a journal of this activity for two reasons. One, it makes the sightings more powerful and easier to remember. Two, at the end of the 21 days it is a great way to see your progress!

Feel free to share your symbol and/or the results of your experiment! What emotion are you looking to capture more of in your life?

THE PATH TO INNER PEACE

As I sit here full of bliss sipping my green tea at Starbucks, I know not everyone is this lucky. I have found the key to having an amazing life is being grateful for the life you have. I also have found the quote in the picture above to be very true. A quick glance at most social media accounts will show how much we value the opinions of others. There is a lot of ‘He said/she said’. In person I hear people get so excited about what is being said about them. There are two young ladies in particular who I think live to worry about what is the hottest items on the gossip wire. As they come excitedly to me to relay what is being said about who, I great them with the same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.”

This line of thought when it comes to both gossip and rude people has brought me more peace than almost anything else I do. When you stop and think about it, what other people think about you is really their business. Sometimes you can learn little things you might improve, but generally gossip holds no redeeming value. I recall when one of those ladies I mentioned earlier was concerned as to what people may be saying to me, she could not tell me enough. Again I gave her my same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.” She asked how I could not be concerned as to what people whispered behind my back.. The answer is easy, if they are doing it behind my back, then that is where I leave it – behind me. If those I love and care about have some concern with me and tell it to me personally, I definitely would take the time to discuss it with them. Otherwise, it is not worth the energy and feelings to worry about.

As far as rude, critical, and argumentative people the answer is the same. On one of the Apps I share my positivity on a gentleman became enraged with me. As he continued to place one comment after another on my post becoming more and more angry I did my best to explain that being upset about my writing was not doing him any good. I even suggested he ‘mute’ me on that site so he would not have to see my posts which obviously upset him. He continued throughout the evening to comment and work himself up. He even continued by posting about it the next day. The funny thing about all of this is what he was upset about – my title was in all capital letters. He thought that should be reserved for emergencies, which was his right. My title was 6 letters long. It included the word ‘I’ which should be capitalized as well as the first letter of the title. So, this man was angry for 2 whole days over 4 letters being capitalized.

Margie, in her sweet loving way, always wishes to go online and defend me to these people. Again, I remind her that it really doesn’t matter. The majority of people appreciate what I write and enjoy the content. In fact, in six years, over several social media platforms as well as print there has never been one person to be upset that my title was in all capitals. That is saying quite a bit as I am followed in over 100 countries by over 20,000 people, not to mention the casual viewer.

This man certainly had a right to his opinion. By him getting so upset the only person he really hurt was himself. Buddha had a great quote about anger.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Anger, like worry, causes the release of acid in the system. Have you ever worried so much you actually started to feel sick to your stomach? Same with anger. Your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes shallow. All of those have negative impacts on your immune system as well as your overall feeling of well-being. You must ask yourself, “Is this worth getting upset over?” I can promise you the answer 9 times out of 10 will be a resounding ‘no’. Do yourself a favor. If you are working to be the best person you can and do the best you can, do not waste an ounce of energy on what other people may be saying. If someone approaches you to tell you all about what this person or that person is doing or saying I suggest giving them my response – “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Your sense of inner peace will thank you.

THIS IS ALL A BUNCH OF B.S.

If you have read the post before this one you have heard my story. If not I encourage you to do so. For the sake of this post the abridged version is that due to the stress that life gives us I went from being a bartender and singer in a rock band who was too cool for self-help to an author and speaker on the subject. I originally laughed at all those ‘crazy people’ meditating and looking to increase their inner peace. In short, I thought the whole idea was a bunch of B.S.. The point that never failed to escape me was that I was doing my laughing as I was broke and sitting in my apartment in a not so nice part of town. I was in a job I did not find fulfilling, but most importantly I wasn’t happy myself.

I don’t recall the exact beginning of my journey into self-improvement, but last post I gave my earliest memory. As my life continued to suck I began to read and try more things. The biggest event happened when the fine folks at the United States Postal Service decided I was expendable after over a decade of devoted employment. I found myself at rock bottom. To be a little more accurate, my life was sitting in a pile of B.S..

It was this situation that forced a change in direction. I began to at least conceive that some of the more mainstream ideas could at least be workable. I wasn’t about to perform a ceremony where I marry myself, but listening to a few Tony Robbins CDs I had ordered off television at 3a.m. seemed doable. It wasn’t as if I wanted anyone to know what I was doing, but as I noticed my stress going down and my joy going up, my mind began to open to the possibilities. What was even more important is that I saw others struggling as I had just because they were to intimidated by terms like self-help which to me sounds like you should be laying on a couch telling someone in a lab coat your problems. It was then I decided to devote my life to showing people that improving yourself is not only cool, but helps your life suck a lot less.

It was then I learned that life really is made up of B.S. Rather than the stuff that comes out of the back end of a bull, I mean B.S. as in belief systems. What you believe will dictate what you try and what you do. If you believe you are a late person, you will never be motivated to arrive on time. If you believe life will always suck for you, it will. I am not merely suggesting you start thinking you will have a great life and suddenly people will send you checks for being your awesome self. If it were that easy I wouldn’t be writing you this today. What I will tell you is that what you believe has not only a great influence on your actions, but more importantly on your sense of well-being. Which after all is really how we determine our quality of life. If you were as wealthy as could be, but you were miserably unhappy, your life would suck.

This may seem a bit much to take if you are new to some of these concepts. In fact, when I first heard of things like the Law of Attraction and other such belief systems that was my thought as well. As quantum physics begins to unravel more of the mysteries of the science of the mind we are beginning to understand how powerful our beliefs are. Why not be on the cutting edge and take control of one of the most powerful forces in your life?

For my left-brained friends who may still be having a hard time grasping this notion, allow me to share a real-life example. Most of you know the story of Roger Bannister. For thousands of years it was accepted as a truth that the human body was not capable of running a mile in less than four minutes. On May 6th, 1954 Roger Bannister did just that. While that is the story most people know, there is an even bigger story. Since he completed this historic feet, countless other have also run sub four-minute miles. What happened? Did the human race suddenly get stronger all over the world? Of course not. What happened was now they could believe that it was possible. If one change in belief can alter the course of track and field across the globe, what can it do for your life?