USE THE LITTLE THINGS

Throughout the years I have started many habits that, at this point, almost unconsciously allow me to live a positive and amazing life. I encourage you to do the same. Yours will not be the same as mine, but that is the fun of it. There are little things that only you may know about, that will bring a smile to your face. The goal is to add so many to your life that on any given day you are doing several of them. I realize this may seem a bit vague, so allow me to give you a few of my personal examples and it may help you get the ball rolling.

Like many of the tools that I use and teach, many of these “Little things” came to me by accident. One of the first ones that I can remember doing involved working at the post office. One of the busiest times we had when I worked up front with the customers was tax filing time. Unlike the holiday season, when people usually have a little joy in their heart for what they are mailing, tax time has very little of that joy. One elderly lady was giving me a personal history of how the government took advantage of her. This may or may not have been exaggerated on her behalf. The government does a lot of strange things. Whether they focus on elderly women in the village of Greendale Wisconsin is hard to say. After listening to this our entire transaction, the time came to affix the postage. I looked in straight in the eye and asked with a serious expression, “Would you like to me use love stamps on this?” I thought this would be a fun and sarcastic form of silent protest. She, however, was not in on the joke. She suggested several suggestive drawings that I would not have guessed would come out of the mouth of an elderly woman. I mentioned this might lead to being audited and we left it at that. The idea of putting love stamps on bills seemed so ironic and silly, I started doing it. The few bills I mail now would get one.

Whether your “little things” involve throwing coins in a wishing well, or saying hello to a large statue of a rooster (things I may or may not admit to doing) you should find small things that bring you joy. In my first book, I mention I used to say hello to a heard of cows as I drove to the rural office I was postmaster of. Of course the cows did not understand me, but that was not the point. It was a “little thing” that I did that brought me joy. For myself, little things involving nature seemed to bring an extra amount of joy. You don’t have to do these out loud if you are worried about people questioning your sanity. At this point I am far from worrying about such a thing, so I say “Hello” to animals I meet, and have other fun actions that make me smile.

If you have enough of these in life, you are always doing something that makes you smile inside. Another thing that is almost guaranteed to work, is to make someone else smile. Even if they do not appreciate your attempts, knowing you did your best to bring a smile to the face of someone else will put a smile in your heart. It also has a funny way of coming back to you. In addition to finding the people you are nice to return the favor, people around you will begin to see how you treat others and this will begin to spread. Find your “little things” and start doing them today. If it brings you joy and does not harm others, do it as often as you can!

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?πŸ˜•

One of my favorite exercises to have people do is to write their own eulogy. I feel it helps people get clear, often for the first time in their lives, what kind of person they want to be remembered as. It also makes it pretty clear if there are on track to be remembered as that kind of person. Going forward, it gives them a pretty good set of self-enforced guidelines. If you know what kind of person you would like to be remembered as, are the actions you are taking going to lead to that? If not, change them. If so, do them more often. It makes life simple and helps steer the rudder of our ship of life, if you will.

There are many people who have an issue with this exercise, or in some cases flat out refuse to do it. They have a hard time getting past the death part. Les Brown said it best, that you can’t get out of life alive. He also said, “Most people die at 25, but don’t get buried until they are 65.” Death is a natural part of life, but I do not want someone’s fear of it to get in their way of success. It is just this thought that I was pondering, along with what the subject of my fifth book will be, when the answer to both questions came to me!

Let me ask you a question that I really want you to think about. If you were to write your autobiography, that is the story of your life, what would the title be? I have been encouraged to write one myself. The best title I could come up with is The Amazing Life of an Ordinary Man. I will explain that in a future post. What I want to plant in your mind is the seed of what story you will leave behind. Will it be one of someone who inspired others or who was only out for their own gain? Will it be of someone who gave or someone who was always looking to take? A “What is in it for me?” sort of attitude. Let me give a clue to those people. As Denzel Washington once said, “I have never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.” You can’t take it with you. Think of the title of your story. How will it read? Even if you find yourself down and out at the moment, that can be where your story changes. How many of us like to go to a movie or read a book where the main character rises up from the ashes to achieve a level of greatness? The story wouldn’t be as good without the struggle.

Want to take this exercise a step further to help improve your life even more? Imagine someone else was writing your biography, what would they say? What would they title it? Notice how this will be different with each person you think of. If you want to be the best spouse you can be, imagine your better half is about to begin work writing your life story. You certainly would not want them to say you were an inattentive lover. You wouldn’t want to read that you were emotionally unavailable. You want to read how you made their heart sing. You want to read that you made them feel safe both physically and emotionally. Ok, if that is what you want to read, what actions can you take to make that the story? How about if your children were going to write your biography? What would they say about you? Are there ways you could improve that story? Take those actions now.

Think about your own autobiography. Is it what you want it to be so far? If not, what actions can you take to change that? I would start with this first. Then when you are comfortable that you are on track to live the story you would want to write, think of others. What would your spouse write? Your children? Your friends? What actions could you take to make their story one that would make you proud. This should be a fun and insightful exercise. I would love to hear about your experience.

SHARE YOUR STORY πŸ“–

In the next two posts, we are going to look at ways of becoming immortal. Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with magic potions, the occult or some guy trying to sell you snake oil. In fact, I want you to sell me something. If there was one thing that I would love everybody in the world to do it is this – share your story. I used to say I think everyone should write a book, and that still holds true, but writing a book is not for the faint of heart. After three of them, just trust me on that. Fortunately, for all of us, there are so many avenues in which to tell you story, you don’t have to write a single thing. My most recent book is about my heart surgery, but when I wanted to tell my story about the first person in my community to get Covid-19, I used YouTube videos. Now, to reach more people, I have started a podcast. You also have social media and many other outlets.

Nothing frustrates me greater than to hear someone exclaim, “I don’t have a story to tell.” Everyone has a story to tell. When I inform them of this, I hear some replies that leave me speechless. As anyone who knows me personally, that takes some doing. I have heard people say things like, “I am just a server.” “There is nothing special about me.” “I am just a parent.” or “I am not succeeding really well in life.” Those last two really get me. You are just a parent? So you are just responsible for crafting another human life and raising a future generation? Yeah, no big deal. You are not doing so well in life? Despite what you may see on Facebook, how many people would you guess have areas of their lives they are not doing so well at?

There are two VERY important reasons you should share your story. The first is the lessons you can teach the world. Before you tell me that you are not a teacher, or even haven’t been very good at something, let me tell you that you are a teacher. If you have not been very successful in life up to this point. Maybe you have made a lot of mistakes, or you let one big mistake continue to haunt you, do you think there are lessons you could give others in those mistakes? Even if your story consists of “Don’t do all of the stupid stuff I did.” You could very well save someone else’s life by doing so. Think I am being overly dramatic? Maybe that person would not be as resilient as you and would not be able to make it through. People get hung up by things that may not bother us. Let us say you have accomplished some things in life. Do you think there is lessons in them as well? “If you want a good relationship like me do this….” (My advice would be to become an active listener and work on being the best version of yourself)

Second reason you should share your story is that there are a lot of other people just like you out there. Those people may be feeling alone in their struggles. If you think of yourself as just a parent, how many other parents are out there that could relate to your struggles? That is the point, sometimes we just need others to relate to. When I am with fellow authors, guess what we talk about? The struggles of writing! When athletes get together they talk about their sports. Now imagine if you could reach a wider audience. How many people do you think you could affect? If you are a server, would you enjoy reading stories of unique customer challenges other servers have went through? Of course you would! I can just imagine you reading it shaking your head and saying “I know what that is like!” How about a parent going through the struggle of the ‘terrible twos’? I am sure just reading a story about it could help lots of other parents.

Share your stories my friends. You never know who you will reach. You never know who you will connect with. You never know who you will help.

IT IS OK TO START OVER πŸ˜€

I know that most of you following this blog post are aware that I have started a podcast. Being that I had my own radio show for several years, and even my own television show for a short time, I thought it was a natural progression. What I allowed to get in my way was not being up to speed on the technology. I recall having coffee with my friend Nick and giving him the same excuses for the last couple of months. Being that Nick is a good friend, he looked me right in the eyes and called me out. “Isn’t this what you have been telling me four months now?” He was right. I needed to just jump in.

I still am figuring everything out. The podcasts are rough, but we already have 4 done. I am learning new things with each episode. You can see the email I received above. It is congratulating me on 10 plays. For someone who has a blog that has over 1700 posts and is followed in over 187 countries, this was a little humbling. After all, if I only got 10 views on my blog, I would be disappointed.

There are 2 things that I had to keep in mind. If I went back to 2012, when I began my blog, I believe I had 12 views the first 2 months. I was followed in one country…mine…by one person…my mom. To think I have over 32,000 followers now all across the globe. It has taken 10 years to get to that point. I had to remember to be patient. I also had to keep in mind my why for doing this podcast in the first place. The reason was to reach and help inspire many more people. In today’s world, there are plenty of people who would rather listen to a podcast for 30 minutes than read a blog for two. I should know, I live with one. There is nothing wrong with that. If I wanted to reach these people, I had to adapt. It would also allow me to reach people on a more personal level. Many have never heard my voice, or the inflection that adds to my writing.

I invite you to also check out my podcast at the link below. You will not only have another avenue to be inspired and learn tools and strategies to turn the life you have into the life you love, but may be able to do so at times that reading is not convenient. Check out and subscribe to the “Living the Dream with Neil Panosian” podcast at the link below. I would love your feedback as I continue to grow in this field as well.

CLICK HERE TO BE A PART OF THE “LIVING THE DREAM WITH NEIL PANOSIAN” PODCAST!πŸ˜€

THE TIME TO PREPARE IS NOW!😲

Above is a picture of the Mitchell Park Domes. They are 3 giant green houses, for lack of a better description. They are only a few miles from my house. They are an important part of today’s post. Before we get to what the 3 giant glass domes have to do with living an amazing life, let me share a personal fact with you. I strongly dislike the winters here in Wisconsin. It gets so cold some animals sleep through it, many leave the state entirely. Unfortunately, at this time, I am not an animal that fits into either category. Therefore, I must make certain adjustments. This post will focus around that. Just like a lot of what we learn here, it can be adapted to your situation.

The winters here also lack sunshine and things that are…well…alive. The trees look like dead sticks, all the plant life is brown and shriveled up. I don’t mean to sound negative, especially after last post about the power of positive thinking. These are facts and they can make it difficult for someone, like myself, that has Seasonal Affective Disorder. That is where the lack of sun and such throws your hormones all out of wack and can cause feelings of depression. This used to pose quite a challenge for someone who writes blogs and books about living an amazing life. Especially since winter seems to last roughly 9 months here. Then I began to put into action many of the things I learned and began to teach. I would love to share with you what I came up with for my situation, in hopes you can apply it to your own.

I realized one of the most dangerous things about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any condition, is the feeling of hopelessness you can fall into. Although I am not able to move south for the winter just yet, I realized there are other things I can do. Plan a vacation to the sunny Bahamas with my beautiful Margie, like I am this winter. That helps. Let us face it a tropical vacation is not always in the cards. That is where The Domes, as they are locally known, fit into the picture. As you can see in the picture above, they have living plants all year! They must also have some kind of light that allows them to grow in the gloomy Wisconsin winter. Spending time in these places are like a mini vacation. We also have an amazing museum that has displays of places like Bali, Fiji and other tropical locations I would like to visit. I can at least escape mentally for the time I am inside the building.

Add to this things like coconut scented oils, shirts with the Jamaican flag, pictures of past vacations and many other ways to at least take me away mentally. I also was given a ‘Happy light’ that mimics the sun by Margie. I often use that when I write. Even a little time in front of it, helps my spirits stay up. Plus, I read and research on other things that might help. Taking Vitamin D, listening to ocean waves. There are many options to employ and more I am learning every day.

I encourage you to take the same approach to whatever life challenge you are facing. I realize that I am not able to change the weather and make the sunshine at will. What I can do is some of the things that I mentioned in the paragraphs above. I also use this ‘winter dread’ to motivate me to save for a vacation. Having things to look forward to makes challenges a lot more bearable. I would love to hear how you approach and prepare for the challenges you are facing. Oh, and if you happen to have more suggestions to make winter bearable for me, I am all ears!

HOW THIS ALL WORKS

Law of attraction. Positive thinking. Manifesting. These words have almost become clichΓ©. For a lot of left-brained folks they can also seem a little too New Age. I get it. I am a little left brain myself. Having faith in something that seems spiritual can be quite difficult for many of us. “Can I really just start thinking positive and my life will improve?” we wonder. The answer is both yes and no. I want to introduce you to a concept that will make this a little easier to understand and put into action.

When many of us hear of things like positive thinking and the Law of Attraction, we think of it as just blissing out and our life will change. It is not quite that simple. I have had people watch the movie The Secret and say I don’t believe that all you have to do is think positive for your life to change. They are right…kind of. You have to do more than think positive for your life to change, but if you don’t think positive, your life is highly unlikely to change. At least not for the better. This is not some strange occult or new age concept. There is actual science involved here.

If you google the reticular activating system like I did, you will be greeted with some wonderfully scientific definitions that you will have to read slowly and might not understand. Let me give it to you in terms of an example. Have you have noticed when you buy a new car or outfit that you start seeing that car or outfit everywhere? Let me ask, did everyone realize that you bought it and want to appear cool like you so they rushed out and bought it too? Could be. After all, you are a very awesome person. I don’t want to bring you down, but there is a far more likely explanation. The reticular activating system, among many other things, decides what is important and not important in your world. Here is the truth, those cars and outfits were there all the time, they just were not that important to you. Once they were, your brain began to bring them to your attention.

This is all really cool for new cars and outfits, but what does it have to do with positive thinking and Law of Attraction? When you are focused on positive things, or opportunities, what do you think your brain will bring to your attention? That is why people who say “Hope for the best, but expect the worst.” have it all wrong. Your expectation has a great deal to do with your success in life. Here is where those who argue that you can’t just bliss out and life will magically improve. If you just sit and meditate and all the wonderful things in life without doing anything, people will come and take your furniture. What this positive thinking, and exercises like vision boards do, is let your brain know what is important. Then, when your brain presents you with these situations, you must act. What the positive thinking and Law of Attraction will do is present you with more opportunities. Just like the cars and outfits. It is then up to you to take the inspired action. Here is the good news. It will seem easier and more enjoyable than before.

I hope the science behind all of this will make things a little easier to understand and will make it more likely for you to dip your toes in the water of putting your mind to work for you. Just remember, if it works for cars and outfits, it can work for opportunities and positivity. If you want to learn more about this, feel free to pick up my b, Living the Dream, on Amazon or wherever fine books are sold.

YOU NEED ONE OF THESE

Yesterday, I took a rest day. To be honest, I’m not very good at that. Today, I’m feeling rather healthy, and even more important, happy. In physical fitness, they always recommend you take a day off to let your body heal. I believe the same is true for your mind and your spirit. Even the toughest of us need a chance to catch our breath.

So, go ahead. Take a rest day. You deserve it.

ARE YOU TRULY WHAT YOU ARE?

At first, this question may seem silly. Of course you are who you are. Looking at the quote above, we can dig a little deeper. The quote from Mr. Jung, whom I do not always agree with, brings some good questions to mind. How many of us know people who always seem to be preaching one thing, but doing another? You know the ones. They talk about how you should be healthy, all while they go out and get drunk several nights a week. How about those who tell us they can’t stand drama, but a few minutes later are whispering the latest gossip in your ear? I am sure we all know people like this.

Here is where things can get a little uncomfortable. It many ways, that person could be found in the mirror. On my YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) and in my second book, Living the Dream, I advocate an exercise that can be very beneficial. That is to write our own eulogy. This can sound morbid to some, but it is a very powerful tool for transforming your life. It has certainly made a huge difference in my own. This idea occurred to me while contemplating the death of my cousin in his early twenties. It solidified when I was asked to write 5 eulogies in 2 years. I began to think of what people would say about me when I was gone.

More to the point, I began to think of what I wanted them to say. I quickly scratched a few notes down on paper. I wanted to be known as someone who made a positive difference in people’s lives. I wanted to be a light that caused others to keep going when they wanted to give up. I wanted to be an example for how a man should treat a lady. I wanted to give to the greater good and leave the world a better place than I found it. I had parroted most of these statements for years. Then I had to ask myself a very important question – was I living them? In many ways, the stark truth was that I was not. At least I was not doing so to the fullest. In some cases I was at sometimes, and then not others. No consistency. My actions did not always match my words.

How about you? Do your actions match your words? Do you honestly think people will describe you as you hope to be when you pass on? In my own life, doing this exercise of writing my eulogy, helped me become clear, for the first time in my life, as to the person I wished to be. It also helped provide me a good course of action as well as a set of guidelines. These were not rules others were telling me, but instead ones that went with the values I had chosen to be remembered as. I can ask myself, is what I am doing an example of how to treat the one that you love? How about be a gentleman? What about leaving the world a better place? If the answer is ‘no’ I know that I need to change those actions to better match the person I am striving to be. If the answer is ‘yes’ I know that the actions I am taking are in line with the values I have and the kind of person I wish to be remembered as. How about you? How do you wish to be remembered? Are you taking actions that will lead others to remember you that way, or are you someone who they will remember as a person who said one thing and did another?

ARE YOU RUNNING WITH THE PACK?🐺

Running in packs sure can have its advantages. Just ask wolves. Their cooperative hunting strategies have allowed them to flourish and be more successful. They same can be said for those of us working on team projects. It certainly can come in handy in our spiritual faith. When we feel that faith faltering, it can be our ‘pack’ that can lift us up. How about our friends and family? That can be an amazing pack! They can check on us and have us feeling loved and cared about. They can also be a great source to lean on when we are down.

Where packs can turn from an asset to a detriment, is when we allow the pack to do our thinking for us. This seems especially true in both politics and faith. As we described earlier, the latter can help us a great deal. I am not sure about the former, but I digress. I have seen, in my own family, people leave their own family behind for no other reason than their faith was different. It is important to be able to step back from the pack, on occasion, and think for ourselves. If your pack is asking you to believe, and act in a certain way, it is ok to question that way. It does not make you a ‘bad’ member of the pack. In fact, you could be the one to lead the pack in an entirely different direction. You can still make good use of the pack, and be able to think and act on your own.

It can certainly be tempting to allow our thoughts and actions to be influenced by the pack. It is something we must stand guard against. If your pack infers, or outright says, that people of a certain group should be avoided, or worse looked down upon, because they are different, ask yourself if that is what you truly believe. In a word that seems to be growing more divided by the day, it is our pack of humanity that must learn to work together. Just like the wolves, we will survive and be more successful if we do.

HOW DO YOU CHERISH?

I love this quote by Bob Marley. It causes us to take a step back and reflect how we treat the people in our lives. When you have a person with a certain skill set, do you cherish or use that skill? There is nothing wrong with ordering a cake from someone you know who has a talent at creating them, hypothetically. It is also important to cherish that skill and that person. What is the difference in this case? I think cherish can be replaced by the word appreciate. I think that is what is tricky in this situation. Even those of us, myself included, need a gentle reminder to cherish as well as utilize the people in our lives.

The obvious next question is how we can do this. I think this is where many of today’s technological offerings can be put to good use. If people only spoke with me when they needed some writing, that can go two ways. On one hand, it certainly is a compliment. You know my skill set and would like to make use of it. If, however, that is the only time you ever speak to me, after a while, I could feel somewhat used. If you were to blend this with a mention on social media, or even a compliment in person, that would mean the world to me.

Cherishing a person does not even have to be limited to professional avenues either. Do you have a spouse that is an amazing cook? A friend that is a great listener? Let them know! Maybe even get them a little card to say thank you. Send them an email. Buy your spouse flowers and let them know you appreciate their hard work in the kitchen. It can be easy to unconsciously almost take people for granted. Whether that is making a cake, writing, being a good cook, a good listener or just a good friend. It is for more likely for us to think, “I need someone to listen to me. I know Jane is a good listener. I am going to call her.” Than to make that same call to thank Jane for being a good listener. We often assume they know how we feel. They may not. Even if they do, it is good to both be reminded and cherished, or appreciated.

How do you appreciate all of the amazing people in your life? From the friendly bus driver to the helpful person at the coffee shop. How can you make them feel like the cherished people they are? We are always looking for good ideas. Please share yours.