It would seem most of us would love to change the world for the better. Certainly, if you read a blog such as this you are looking to lead a more amazing life. Everyone is looking for that grand gesture that can affect millions of people. I think that is a great thing and I would certainly encourage you to keep doing just such a thing. There is, however, a much simpler and quicker way to change the world – start with just one person.
I recall hearing how a Jewish family gave Louis Armstrong his first trumpet. In this case they not only changed the world for Mr. Armstrong himself, but he in turn changed the world for both musicians and everyone who listened to his music. There are countless stories like this one. By changing the world for someone, we are, in a way, planting a seed. That seed of kindness can sprout and grow in that person and they can go on to change the lives of others.
This means that by doing something truly kind for someone will not only change their life, but they could go on to change others who will go on to change others and that can continue for a lifetime. This ‘ripple effect’ of kindness is one of the quickest and most impactful ways to change the world. It is the best and most honorable legacy we as humans can leave behind – positively impacting the lives of others.
Have you ever tried teaching someone something you know how to do rather well? It can be frustrating and take a great deal of patience. The other evening I had the great pleasure of sharing coffee and conversation with my friend Nick. As so often happens when the two of us get together the conversation turned to personal development and growth. I had to confess something to him and I am going to share it with you now in hopes it may help a lot of you.
One of the greatest struggles we can endure is maintaining a sense of compassion and understanding of our fellow humans we share this planet with. Some of us can refer to this as judging others. If you were to ask me if I were a judgemental person, for the most part I would have to say ‘no’. I have friends that I care deeply for that belong to many different races, religions and other such groups. I really understand that we never know what happens behind the scenes or what someone’s story may entail.
One of the areas that does tend to upset me is those who are not evolved emotionally and spiritually. Those who tend to judge others or carry a rather negative attitude into life. I guess that is because the information is available and it is free. Books can be had at any library. Videos are a click away on YouTube and Google can tell you anything you need to know from the Law of Attraction to enlightenment. Still, there are those who are even ignorant to these facts. Hopefully, the fact that you are reading this blog signifies that you do not fit into the afore mentioned category.
There are even those who are aware of personal development and know they, and their life, could be so much more but choose not to pursue that. I even heard someone brag once about how they avoided making more of their life. To me this is very hard to understand. It is my desire to help everyone create more joy, passion and success in their lives. When I find someone who displays an ignorance for universal laws or an obvious lack of emotional maturity it is both frustrating and a seeming cry for help. It is my struggle to understand and also respect the fact that they might not be intrested in or desire improving their lot in life.
This is a struggle I face whenever I try to reach someone who may not have had the years of experience in the field of personal development I have. It must be the same for those who have so many more when they are teaching me. We all learn at a different pace and learn different things. Share all the good you can, but do so with patience and compassion. If you become frustrated with spiritual ignorance of those around you, feel free to refer to this quote.
As most of you know, this blog is all about discovering ways in which you can live an amazing life. If you were not aware of that, you could ascertain that from the name of said blog.
One of the simplest ways to begin living an amazing life, yet for a lot of us very difficult, is to celebrate ourselves. It is the middle of the week. Hump day as some us say. It is time to take a step back and tell the world what is great about you. If this makes you uncomfortable that is a sign you need to do it even more.
A great way to live an amazing life is to grow our strengths and give of ourselves to the world. In order to do that most effectively, we need to know what we are good at, or put more simply what we rock at. If you are not sure, feel free to ask around. This does not make you self-centered or egotistical. Quite the opposite really. By learning what you are good at you can discover how you can best bring joy to others. Not to mention let others know what they can come to you for.
To help you get a idea of some things you can use I will list a few of mine.
I am good at putting thoughts and feelings into words.
I am good at discovering ways to turn even the most negative situations to our advantage.
I am a good bartender.
I love to bring joy to those around me.
Hopefully you are getting the idea. Please list some of yours. Let us know why you rock! If anyone wants to add to each other’s lists go right ahead! Let’s all build each other up to finish the week strong! If anyone can think of something I missed on my own list feel free to mention that as well! I can’t wait to hear all the awesome things about each and every one of you!!
I saw this picture on the Facebook page of my local neighborhood association. (That would be the East Allis Neighborhood Association.) I found it to ring so true. A lot of us can fall into the rut of thinking there is nothing we can do to change the world. This is far from true.
One of the problems that can generate such thinking is having us think we need a grand gesture in order to make a big difference in the world and the lives of those in it. It is the little things that make the big differences. To prove this is more than a cliché saying that you can find on a Hallmark greeting card, I am going to share two personal stories with you that reflects how this can work both positively and negatively. I think once you see both sides of the equation you will begin to not only intellectually appreciate this, but understand it emotionally as well. This is important because once something gets into our spirit we are more likely to act on it.
I am going to start with the negative example for no other reason than we can end on a positive note. The other day at work I was checking with a group of mail carriers to see if they had anything to go to the other post office to which I was headed. That day I happened to be wearing a new colgne that I just purchased. I am not sure how you are, but I am always a little nervous when trying a new fragerance for the first time. As I passed one of the carriers she expressed her displeasure on how it smelled to her. Not that big of a deal. Normally that would just be a valuable source of feedback. It was, however, they way it which she did so that made all the difference. Instead of letting me know she did not find my new scent pleasing one on one, she began yelling to the whole post office about how terrible it was. To her this was no big deal, but it threw my day for a loop. Considering I have never said anything but compliments to this lady, it really got under my skin. Her small act had a rather big impact on my day.
On the exact opposite side of the coin, I would like to share a great example of how a simple act can make someone’s day. I was at home and had just stepped out of the shower. Wearing just the bare essentials, shall we say, I was digging in the closet for a shirt to wear on a special date I was taking my beautiful lady on. That very lady stuck her head in the room I was in to check on my progress of getting ready. Observing me looking for my shirt in the closet she remarked, “You look very sexy my love.” Mind you her and I always do our best to make sure we point out things we love about each other often. She doesn’t often use the word ‘sexy’ and that really made me feel good. I work hard to look appealing for her and to know that was working really meant a lot. For the rest of our date I had a smile in my heart thanks to her off-handed compliment.
Whether it is paying someone a compliment, picking up a piece of trash to help the neighborhood look better or making a small charitable donation, it is the little things that make a big difference. You may think how can picking up one piece of trash make my neighborhood look better? If we extrapolate that over a few hundred neighbors that is a lot of trash! Now what if those same 200 or so neighbors decide picking up one piece of trash is not worth the effort? Now you have 200 pieces of trash floating around the neighborhood. The same works for the charitable donation. I have roughly 40,000 followers for this blog in about 100 countries. The thought of what it would be like if each one sent me $5 has not escaped my thinking. To them $5 would most likely not be that big of a deal, but multiply that times 40,000 and it becomes substantial. If they all decided that donating $5 would not make much of a difference, no money would show up at all. Think of how this works for your favorite charity next time you ponder if your small donation would make a difference.
We may all not be able to do the grand acts we desire, but we can all do something. By doing even a small something we become part of the solution. If we decide that a small act is not worth bothering with, we remain part of the problem. Do what you can with what you have today and know even your small acts can have a great impact.
Boy this is a confusing title! Then again, trying to understand life can be a little confusing as well. How can you both be your past and yet not be your past? We are going to be taking a look at both of those. By the time we are done I have confidence you will be better prepared to make your life an amazing one.
Let us start by looking at how you are your past. I believe we touched on this a few posts ago but it bears repeating. One example is your physical body. Let us say you find yourself a few pounds north of ideal. Let us say you have also recently started a new workout program. You may look in the mirror after a few weeks and not see the results you expected or desired. That is because you are your past. Your present is that you have comitted to a workout routine and a healthier lifestyle. The past few years may have included way too many pizzas and Boston Creme doughnuts. Not only can I understand that, but I can empathize as well. Perhaps you are not that good with keeping up with your oral health and you end up with a cavity. You can start bushing and flossing like someone obsessed and you still will have the cavity.
Even more than your physical body is your emotional and mental state. Your thoughts go a long way to creating your reality. If you have been thinking your life is full of misfortune and your wallet is light while the number on the scale is not, those events will tend to come true. Negative thoughts equal a negative life.
So you are your past? There is not much we can do to change that? Not so fast. While your present reality is a reflection of your past, your future will be a reflection of your present. If you hold firm to your resolution to live a healthier life, a year from now you will have a lot to smile about. If you maintain great oral health, your next visit to the dentist will be filled with less dread and a lot less pain. Your thoughts work the same. Begin to fill your mind with thoughts of positivity and gratitude and watch your life change as if by magic!
What it all comes down to is this, although you are a reflection of your past, you are not a slave to it. Perhaps an emotionally trying situation from years ago has left you scared and unable to move forward? You can begin to transform that situation into a motivational event and begin to move forward. If you need help you can begin to see a therapist. We do create our own futures, but we do so by creating our own past. Today’s prest is tomorrow’s past. As the saying goes, “Do something today your future self will thank you for.”
This is a picture of my beautiful, but silly, Margie and myself out for a late-night breakfast. It was from a while ago as you can see I still have long hair. It is worth noting that we work quite a bit and between that and our social obligations we rarely find time to escape just the two of us. For those of you who have followed my work for any length of time, you know Margie is the thing I love most in my life. For those of you new to the game, now you know as well.
Today’s post is all about not just taking time for the things you love in life, but making sure that time is quality time. Spending time with those you love is a great example. If you are on a romantic date, keep your phone off the table and out of your hand. Look into each other’s eyes when you are speaking to one another. My writing is another thing that I am extremely passionate about and look forward to. When I am going to write I need to have my mind focused on writitng, I need to have a fair amount of time available. If I am bothered by a situation that is upseting me or know that I have to be to work shortly, the writitng will not only suffer, but the time spent doing it will be rushed and not enjoyable.
How do we make sure the time we spend doing the things we love with the people we love is of the best quality? That is a question that we should ask ourselves on a regular basis. Life is short and fleeting. Magical moments we have can happen only once in a lifetime. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we make the most out of them. When you are about to spend time with someone you love or do something you love, take a few minutes ahead of time to ask yourself, “How can I fully enjoy and make the most out of what I am about to do?” The answers will vary from situation to situation, but just by focusing on the situation will increase your odds significantly.
In general there are two things I find that can help you get the most out of any situation. These are not by any means the only things you can do, but are a good foundation. The first thing I suggest is setting a goal for the time you spent. This may sound terribly unromantic and not spontaneous, but hear me out. When my friend Russ came up for a visit from Arizona we had a million things we would like to do. In an effort to accomplish a fraction of them we set goals of what we would like to accomplish. Certainly, we did not get them all done but did make the most of the time we spent together. Having a goal for the time you spend doesn’t mean you have to be regid or not spontaneous. When a long work week has kept Margie and I apart, I always think how much I want to spend quality time in her presence. Sometimes that includes an evening of snacks and a movie at home. Knowing I want to enjoy her more than the movie, I make sure to steal glances at her beautiful face. I appreciate her lovely eyes and enjoy all of her cute expressions as she watches the movie. As the movie progresses, I even enjoy the sound of her sleeping next to me.
Having a goal makes doing the next thing I recommend a little easier. Always do your best to be present in the moment. Let us say you are going for a nice stroll through the park with the one you love. (Something Margie and I are looking to do more often) Instead of spending all of the time on your phone, try looking for animals in the park together. Notice how beautiful the natural scenery is around you. Being present is more than just being physically present. Make sure you are also mentally present. This can be even more difficult, but is even more important. If you are spending time with family and friends but worried about a situation at the office you will fail to enjoy the break you have. Do your best to clear your mind. Often, that is when solutions can present themselves. Meditation exercises can help this.
I would love to hear what steps you take to make sure the time you spend is quality time. Let us share with each other and we can all begin to live amazing lives!
One of my favorite books for improving relationships is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In this book Mr. Chapman explores the different ways in which people both show and receive love. A quick example can be where one person enjoys the physical intimacy of touch, while another needs verbal appreciation. This can challenging when two people in a relationship express love in different ways. It can seem at times they are speaking two different languages. In essence, they really are.
While this can present a host of unique challenges, it can also present plenty of great opportunities. We may be missing plenty of expressions of love that surround us every day. People today, men especially it would seem, tend to be indirect in their appreciation. What do I mean by that? It would be most unlikely that someone may call or email you and say directly, “I just wanted to contact you and tell you how much I appreciate you.” They may, however, tell you how much they enjoyed your company the other night at dinner or even how much they enjoy your company in general.
A fair amount of time, things may not even be that direct. Your husband may help put away the dishes. Your wife may sit down and watch a show that you know she has no interest in just to be next to you. When you are having cocktails at your local watering hole and the bartender politely suggests you also enjoy a glass of water, they are showing they care about your well-being. When you drop your friend off after a fun night out and they tell you, “Text me when you get home.” It is a way of saying “I love and care about you and your safety. I will be a lot more at peace when I know you have arrived at your desitination unharmed.” I am going to venture a guess all of that thought will not have went into their statement and may not have crossed their mind in exactly that way, but that is the sentiment behind it.
Whether it is parents offering you food when you stop by to visit, or a small child giving you a craft item they have made, these are statements of love. In their own way they are saying, “This is what I have to offer. Please take it because you are special to me and I want you to feel that.” Again, these thoughts may not play out in such a complete fashion, but if you were to break it down, that is what would be conveyed.
What is the point of all of this? Simply this, we live in a world where love is all around us. Quite often negativity and hate get all the headlines, but stopping to notice and appreciate all of the love is esential to living an amazing life. In these examples, as well as countless others, love can often live in disguise. By noticing all of the subtle ways in which people tell us we are loved, we can realize that there is more goodness in this world than we often appreciate. As a side effect, we will realize how many people feel and show us love on a daily basis. Even though that is not what they may call it directly. Feeling all of this love can go a long way to helping us deal with the constant stream of challenges we face.
What you are looking at is a picture of a cup of coffee (in the background is my new laptop) Earlier today I was focused on the why of what I do. If you have read any self-improvement material, my own books included, you will know how important a why is. When your outside motivation is no longer present you why is the inner fire that keeps you going.
As I was pondering my reason for writing, something that was obvious became a strong why. I write to insipre others. On the surface that does not seem so extreme or complex. I write a motivational blog. I write self-improvement books. I teach seminars. I have an inspirational YouTube channel (just search Neil Panosian) With all of these resources it should be apparent that I enjoy and am passionate about motivating and encouraging others. Still the question remained in my mind, “Why do I enjoy doing this?” I am going to answer that question as well as why we started this post with the picture of a cup of coffee.
When I think about the cup of coffee I am drinking a lot of people are involved in making this situation possible. There is the obviously the Barista who crafted this coffee. There are the managers that keep the coffee shop running. There are the delivery drivers who transport the coffee. Of course the coffee growers who grow the product. If we look closer there are endless others involved as well. Who invented those crazy cardboard sleeves that keep your hands from being burned while holding your cup of caffeinated goodness? There are those who were involved in the production of the cup. How about the lid? Design with the vent hole and everything.
Ok, we get the picture. There are a lot of people involved in the creation of my cup of coffee. What does that have to do with writing and inspiring others? A great deal. If just one of these people were absent from the equation it may very well fall apart. What we do in our daily lives affects a great deal of others whether we know it or not. Everyone struggles. Everyone could use a little reassurance from time to time.
I never know who my words reach. I have been in contact with people in Italy, the Middle East and countless other locations. I know each one of these people, including you reading this, can accomplish great things. Perhaps all that is needed is a bit of motivation and inspiration.
Kindness and encouragement are gifts that are easy to share with others. We never know what their impact will be. I have done some work with the American Federation of Suicide Prevention. The statistics are frightening. In 2015, suicide and self-injury cost the US $69 billion. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. What is even worse is that there were 1,400,000 attempts that same year. In fact, in the U.S. suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. If we talk veterans the numbers skyrocket. A big part of my why is to help these numbers plumet.
Whether it is inspiring someone directly or providing others the tools they need to help those they care about. This why keeps me writing no matter how the stats are going or how many likes or comments I get. Find your why and use it to drive you. As you do, remember to be kind to each other. You never know what demons we are all facing.
In today’s world it seems a different superhero movie comes out every week. Add to that the countless sports that seem to hold championships. Recently I even saw a video game championship played out in front of a completely filled stadium! I’ve always questioned watching people play poker on television, I can’t bring myself to watch other people play video games on TV, much less stand in a packed stadium to do so.
It would seem the world is in great need of heroes. Guess who my hero is? It is you! The irony of all the hero worship I see is that heroes surround us everywhere and every day. You are one of these heroes!
How can I say you are a hero when I haven’t met a lot of you? I know you’re a hero because we are all struggling to get through this life. You might be a kid in the West Bank trying to get a great education while your country is being torn apartby civil strife. It may be you are a farmer in the Congo trying to make a living. Perhaps you are a single mother working three jobs just trying to support your family.
It is not always life challenges that make you a hero. Maybe from the outside your life looks great, but inside you are battling depression. Today might be another day you gave in to an addiction and you are trying not to lose hope. There are health challenges, financial challenges, social challenges and a mmillion other issues we are all doing our best to make it through.
When you see the employee at Starbucks keep their smile as a customer screams at them because their coffee has 2 ice cubes instead of three. That takes patience and they are my hero.
Whether you are working on keeping your faith or healing a broken heart, keep going because you are my superhero. Remember everyone we meet is working to overcome something. Treat them as the hero they are. That includes you.
It is easy to look in the mirror and see all of our faults. Not only is this easy, but it seems to be a trait of human nature. If you are lucky enough to either not own a mirror or be one of the rare few who are not focused on your faults, fear not there are plenty of others, the media included, who will be happy to point them out for you.
I am here to tell you something you do not hear enough. You are perfect the way you are. I know that may seem hard to believe, but you are. Yes, there is always room for improvement. Yes, things might not be as you wish them to be. If this is true how can I say you are perfect? Simple, the life you were given was made for you. You may have been born with a physical or mental challenge or limitation. Certain situations may have happened to you that are beyond your control. You may have experienced terrible loss. You may have financial troubles. You may have went through physical, emotional or sexual abuse. These things are all terrible and should not happen to anyone.
If this is the case, how can our lives be perfect? Those challenges and limitations were not given to us to stop us, they were given to us to either serve us or help us serve others. Often times both. Some of the most inspiring people I know show me how their physical or mental challenges do not stop them. Not only does it allow me to feel grateful for my own health, but reinforces the fact I should not allow any of my health limitations serve as an excuse.
Some of those closest to me have went through terrible situations. Things they, nor anyone else, deserve to go through. Not only have many of them served as a great example of how to overcome those challenges, but they offer a hand in helping others facing challenges of their own. This is help that would certainly not be as beneficial had it come from someone who had not faced that situation. It has made them emotionally stronger. Some of them had to work through a great deal of pain, both physical and emotional. Through these struggles they have learned so much about themselves and help come out as stronger individuals.
No matter what you are facing at the moment, understand it was given to you for a reason. You are perfect. Even your mistakes can provide you examples in forgiveness and humility. Please feel free to share this message with those who need to hear it.