WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR LIFE SUCKS?

Today’s post may sound rather negative on the surface. We here at Secret2anamazinglife.com do more than just share knowledge. This website serves as an online community. We share ideas, we share challenges but most importantly, we share solutions. We also share encouragement. We share inspiration. We share motivation. The posts themselves are only one part of the equation. The comments on this website and its corresponding social media pages form a collective group of people determined to live the most positive and rewarding life they can. They are also compassionate souls that understand life is not a competition. They understand that one of the secrets of an amazing life is the ability to help others and the joy and peace that gives us. At the end of this blog, I am going to provide a link to our Facebook page Fall in Love With Your Life. I would encourage anyone wanting to be a part of this wonderful group of people to join.

This brings us to the subject of today’s post. Has your life ever sucked? I would be bold enough to assume the answer is yes. Even in the best of lives, the world can sometimes get the best of us. We may be focused on gratitude and using the power of positive thinking. We may be able to see the beauty in ourselves, others and the world around us. We may meditate, walk in nature, practice altruism and live a life a spiritual fulfillment. We may be doing everything right and out of nowhere life can sucker punch you right in the gut. I am not saying this to sound negative, but instill a sense of urgency in you. Urgency for what? I am so glad you asked. Knowing that at some point life will deliver a challenge that may momentarily get the best of you, it is important to prepare for such an occasion. How do you prepare for life sucking? That is a million dollar question. Let us get into it.

Recently, I had the honor of being on the television show Positively Milwaukee. This is one of my favorite shows and it was quite an honor. One of the things I shared with the viewers is the importance of preparing for emotional challenges. As I told the wonderful host Carole, the time to learn to swim is on the shore, not when the boat is sinking. Let me explain what I mean and then I will relay to you a personal example of what a big difference this can make.

Every month you know you will have bills to pay. In order to prepare for that, you save some of the money you bring home from working. What if you just spent as you pleased on whatever you wanted and said, “I will worry about those bills when they come.” I would venture you would find yourself sitting in a dark house pondering how to heat Ramen noodles without electricity. The same can be said for emotional challenges. That is why working on ways to reduce stress and increase joy in your life should be a daily endeavor. If we just wait for the moments when our joy is challenged to create a solution, life will be a far more difficult and dark place. If, however, we are always on the lookout for, and putting into action ways to fill our life with some emotional sunshine, when the darkness comes we will be far more prepared to return to the light.

This may sound good in theory, but let me show you exactly how it works in practice. Today I had a really great day. I began work at 5 a.m. Okay, that part was not exactly great, but I was on time, the day went by pretty much without any major problems. After work, I was able to come home and kiss the lips on the most beautiful face of the woman I love. While she readied herself for our evening together, I enjoyed a walk in nature with my mother. The weather was warm and sunny, just the way I like it. After the walk I picked up my lady and took her to the cinema. We have not been to the movies, which we love, since the beginning of the corona virus. We watched a movie we both loved and enjoyed each other’s company. We then went to Starbucks to meet a very nice couple that were having Margie make their wedding cake. When the details were worked out, I dropped Margie off to shop while I wrote.

Driving home to grab my laptop the oddest thing happened – I became extremely sad. It was as if a wave of sadness had washed over me. The really frustrating thing was that I had no idea where this feeling came from. By all accounts I had one of the best days I have had in a long time. How can you deal with a negative feeling when you don’t even know the source of that feeling? Sure, it would be easier if I knew what caused me to become overcome with such emotion, but it was not entirely necessary to change it. Here I was, home alone and feeling down. Margie had bought me one of those ‘Happy Lamps’ that mimic sunshine for my seasonal affective disorder. Although today that shouldn’t have been an issue as it was warm and sunny, I plugged it in next to my laptop. Behind me I noticed my daily motivational calendar. Everyday it displays a new and inspiring quote. Todays? “Every day may not be good…but there is something good in every day.” I decided to enjoy some tea as I wrote. I looked at our rather vast selection of tea we have and found some called Cup of Sunshine. As you may have guessed by the name, it is a mood-enhancing herbal tea. As I sat in the ‘Happy Light’ sipping my cup of shine pondering my daily dose of inspiration my mood slowly began to shift.

As I wrote the notification sound on my cell phone went off. It was from a motivational YouTube channel I subscribe to. They had just uploaded a new video. I decided I could do worse than to listen as I wrote. The video was all about the importance of how we view things. It was rather striking as that was what I had just wrote about. Like a sign I was doing the right thing. I began to not only lose my feeling of sadness, but it was being replaced by a feeling of purpose and inspiration. My mood was rescued by the tools I had put into place long before the feeling ever arrived. You can do the same starting right now. Do you like unicorns and rainbows? Subscribe to a social media page focused on those. Do you enjoy stand-up comedy? Subscribe to a YouTube channel that features different comics. Fill your life with things that inspire and move you. Take actions such as meditating, reading inspiring material and maybe even purchasing some artwork that inspires.

The most important decision I made that changed my state was choosing to have people in my life that are kind, compassionate and inspiring. Throughout my little ordeal I was messaging Margie at the store. Her words and ideas of encouragement and love did more to change my state than the amazing tools mentioned above. I received another notification on my phone. My friend Alisa had commented on something I wrote that added so much more to help even more people than the post itself. You may think I am lucky to have a loving and caring woman in my life. You may think it was a stroke of good luck that I have a like-minded and intelligent friend to comment on my post. Although that is true to some extent, the more important fact was that I chose to include these people in my life. Margie and I work at our love and relationship in such a way that way have a closeness and can understand what will help each other when we are feeling down. Alisa and I share through comments and conversation ideas that not only help each other, but those who read what we write as well.

Know that you too will have times when life gets the best of you. There is not much we can do to entirely prevent these from happening. By preparing and having inspiring and stress reducing tools and people already in our life, we can shorten the duration and intensity of these episodes. That will make our entire life more amazing. I would love to know what you do when life sucks and you find yourself in a funk. The more we share and learn from each other, the better all of our lives will be. Speaking of sharing and learning from each other, remember if you are interested in joining our online Facebook group of caring people, click the link below!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP ‘FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR LIFE’

TAKE IT EASY WHILE YOU’RE PUSHING

Today’s post is one of simple reassurance. If you subscribe to a blog like this, you are undoubtedly a person who is driven to learn and utilize secrets to an amazing life. It is worth noting and something we must be careful of when working to improve our lives, we must enjoy the process. This can be difficult to do during the best of times, but takes special care when we feel like we are failing or even moving backwards.

When we are trying to improve any aspect of our lives there comes a time when we face an obstacle or a set back. It can seem as if we are trying to push a giant marshmallow up a hill. Maybe we are doing our best to improve our physical fitness and we sustain and injury. After weeks of rest, going back to the gym and having to ‘start all over’ can be quite deflating. Perhaps we are working on completing our next book and accidentally hit ‘delete’ instead of ‘save’, wiping out weeks or more of work. (I did this once, it was followed by feeling of being nauseous) All of these moments can lead to doubt. What can doubt do? As Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” There is a lot said in that one line, and all of it is true. Doubting ourselves can lead to giving up too soon or even failing to try.

Once returning from injury to the gym, I remarked how deflating it was to have to lower the weights so far from what they were prior to injuring myself. I was told something that not only applies to the gym, but to every other task in life – “You are still further ahead than everyone who is just sitting on the couch.” Unless your job is a professional couch tester, this is quite true. Were you supposed to write 1000 words and only could come up with 750? That is better than sitting on the couch (which is where I am writing this ironically) not writing anything.

Some days you may fail all together. What about those days? There are expected too. If you are striving to be your best, that is what counts. We often do not succeed at the level we wish to. We can use it for motivation to work harder the next day. We can recall days that we crushed it more than we expected and realize it all balances out in the end. We can also realize that we are going to have days that we try and fail and even a few where we fail to try. As long as they are the exceptions and not the rule, we should not be too hard on ourselves. Just make sure to get back up and kick butt again!

I HAD A DAY OFF THAT I NEED A DAY OFF FROM

It all started innocently enough on Sunday morning. I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee as I prepared for a good day at the gym. I kissed the lovely Margie goodbye and stepped out on the porch. I took a deep stretch and said out loud to nobody in particular, “oh look, it is raining outside.” I took the first step on the porch stairs and that’s where it all went wrong.

Have you ever seen those cartoons where the character goes straight up in the air and comes crashing down to earth in a rather intense and abrupt manner? That was me… on the porch stairs. I let out a sound that let the neighbors, 3 blocks down, know I was not ok. I lay there for want of anything else to do. Feeling the mist of the rain on my skin.

Shortly, Margie came out with great concern to see me laying motionless on the stairs. This, in all my pain, melted my heart. To know how much she cared really meant the world. She wrapped her arms around me and helped me up.

I felt things out. A few dull throbbing pains, but nothing seemed broken. I decided to continue my quest to work out. I did put an hour in at the gym, but had to make some modifications. No treadmill as my heel was bruised. No bicep machine as my elbow was bruised and swollen. I made it through and felt proud.

Later that evening Margie and I did our show and had a great crowd. Everyone seemed to have a good time for the most part. At the end of the evening we were supposed to take our friend home, but she made other plans last second. Margie and we driving home looking forward to finally collapsing in each other’s arms after a long work week.

Suddenly, there was a popping sound and then an odd noise from the rear wheel of the car. A flat i feared. Only a few blocks from home I decided to go slow and bring it in. Margie looked out the window and informed me the tire looked, “wobbly. Like it might come off.” This was grave news indeed.

We managed to park. I got out to inspect the tire. More full of hot air than my aunt telling me about her latest diet. I slid under the car and did not see anything. While watching a yellow sac spider crawl above my head, I heard Margie inform me she had discovered the source of the problem.

This indeed was startling news as Margie has not been a driver her entire life. My thought as I pulled my still sore body from under the car, was what fabulous news awaited me. It turns out some soul had removed all of the lug nuts, save one, on our wheel. The popping noise? That was the studs snapping off with the weight of the wheel. I would not be making lunch with Margie and her daughter the following day.

Most people would think i had a terrible day off. It is true I would try a different warm up than falling down the stairs next time before the gym. Yet, I did not dislocate my shoulder for the fourth time and nothing seems to be to badly damaged. No, I would not choose to snap lug nuts and studs off my tire again. However, Margie and I were not on the freeway and made it home safely. I also had the cool experience of looking through childhood pictures at my mothers house as her husband fixed the wheel.

There are things that stuck in life, but there always seems to be ways in which they could be worse. So when you have a day off that you need a day off from, keep your head up my friends. Don’t let the world erase your smile!

YOU MUST MAKE TIME FOR THIS

Most of you know I am an advocate for physical fitness. Personally, I work out 6 days a week on a regular basis. It provides me a feeling of a win each morning. It also helps reduce stress and allow me to face the day with a feeling of confidence. When I begin talking about fitness to people who attend my self-improvement seminars they are a little surprised. They shouldn’t be. Physical fitness does as much for your mental well-being as it does for your body. There are numerous studies showing the benefit to regular exercise. You do not have to do it 6 days a week like me. You don’t even have to go to the gym. What is certain, is that we must make time to keep our bodies in the best shape we can. It strengthens our immune system, it allows us to heal from injury quicker and can go a long way to avoiding that injury in the first place.

This was brought home to me with my experience having the corona virus. My symptoms were not as bad as they could have been considering I have asthma and a heart condition. My doctor told me, off the record, that he believed that fact that I had kept my body in decent shape helped it deal with the virus better than had I not. This seems like an obvious conclusion. Same if you injure yourself. Your body’s muscles, tendons and the like will be better able to heal if they were in a good shape to begin with. We could go on for an entire post about what you choose to eat and how it affects you not only physically, but mentally as well.

As important as all of the things we talked about are, they are not what the main point of this post is. The physical sets a good example that is easy to understand. If you don’t take care of your body you will get sick and injured more often. However, taking care of your mind and your soul is even more important. Look, I am as guilty of this as anyone. I have had experiences where I meditated twice a day for 20 minutes. My mind was sharp, I had a lot less stress and just felt better all the way around. Guess how many times I have meditated in the last week? That would be none. I know the benefits I would receive. I have even experienced them! Why haven’t I taken the time to sit down and practice some form of meditation? The same reason lots of us do not do the things we know would improve our life – I didn’t have the time.

This is a bunch of B.S. Not only does it qualify for what that usually stands for, but it also means ‘belief system’. We believe that we do not have time to take care of ourselves. It is true many of us our very busy. I can excuse my lack of self-care by telling everyone in addition to my job at the Post Office, I DJ two nights a week, write blogs 5 days a week and work on writing books. Recently, you can add a television appearance, speaking engagement and other obligations. If I ask myself one question, “Are people who are busier than me still finding time to practice self-care?” Of course they are. It is making it a priority. I have managed to do this with good results with the gym. That hour a day, six days a week belongs to the gym. Why can’t I manage to do it for something like meditating?

The answer is in our priorities. What do we make important? If I told you that if you showed up at my house at 4 am tomorrow I would give you one million dollars, where would you be at 3:55? Another reason is we do not stop and think of what the trade off is by neglecting our self-care. Stress in our modern world is at an all-time high. If we are to remain in a stressed state over a prolonged period of time we will be forced to make time for the results. A nervous break down? Perhaps. Maybe even just feeling burned out and not being able to give our attention and energy to things we might enjoy.

There are other things that may occur that we might not think of. We could snap at some undeserving soul because we are in a state of being stressed out. Then we must not only make time to heal that relationship, there are feelings that may very well linger for quite some time. If we exist in a state of fear or nervousness for an extended period of time we may develop things such as ulcers or high blood pressure. We would certainly have to make time for those.

All of these symptoms could be avoided if we took time to practice some self-care steps. We would end up being more productive, happy and healthier individuals. This would certainly save time in the long term. I get it though, life is busy. In the picture above there are a few 5 minute steps that can serve you to remain full of inner peace. I would love to hear some of the things you do to help your inner health. The more steps we share with each other, the more we can all be healthier and happier people.

WHAT PUTS YOU IN SPIRIT?

This idea came to me through my friend, Eduardo, in Italy. Some of the greatest ideas I have had came through conversations with others, whether that is at my seminars, my book signings or even as I DJ. This discussion started with selecting who would be in our mastermind group. He mentioned Angus Young from the band AC/DC. Not who many people might consider, but Eduardo made a great point. To be inspired is to be literally ‘in spirit’ and their music put him in the spirit to have a more positive outlook and be ready to tackle life. In other words, rock music is one of his secrets to an amazing life.

The Latin meaning of the word inspire translates to “Breathe into”. It has been defined as “fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative.” Music is a great example of something that breathes into us a force or energy. I know at the gym my headphones are a key component to getting my work done. At home cleaning, it is music that often distracts me from my task at hand. Depending on the task at hand I listen to different things. Going for a tough workout, it might be some music from the band Sixx:A.M. (I will include a video at the end if you would like to add them to your workout list.) If I am on the way to walk in nature I may listen to the Native American rock band Red Thunder. If I want to be inspired to relax, it is classic jazz or the violin player Vanessa Mae. Can you think of different music you use to inspire you?

I believe the best way to inspire others is to be wholly, apologetically yourself. When you become the best version of yourself, even people who may not agree with you have to develop a degree of respect. When you are brave enough to show who you truly are you inspire others to do the same. What inspires you to be the best version of yourself? On the way to write this evening, I listened to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. I must have listened to that hundreds, if not thousands of times. It is one of the most life-changing things you could listen to in my opinion. I just finished reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It inspires me to renew my faith as well as keep my focus positive. When I go for a walk in nature it inspires me to feel connected in a way that is hard to relate.

Everywhere in life we look there are chances to both inspire and be inspired. In past posts, as well as my upcoming book, I advocate asking yourself the 2 questions “What can I find positive about this?” and “How can I use this?” They can turn almost any situation to your favor. I might add that adding the question “How can this inspire me?” might be a great secret to an amazing life. When Margie and I recently visited a coffee shop that employed mentally and physically challenged individuals in order to help them improve their place in the employment world, it was easy to feel inspired. When I am at the post office and I am in the presence of a coworker who seems to define what a negative mindset is, how can that inspire me? If you get in the habit of asking that in the face of challenging situations it can make a big difference.

In the not so hypothetical example of the post office, it has made a huge difference. I used to get upset and discouraged at our sunshine-challenged friend. Then I asked myself what she can inspire me to do. When I put it that way to myself, it changed my entire outlook in the situation. I was inspired to match her negative comments with positive ones. Not directed at her, but to share with those at the workplace who may have been affected by her negativity. Also, knowing that there exists such negativity motivates and inspires me to write and research more about the art of happiness. (The Art of Happiness is a great book by the Dalai Lama)

Another great way to be inspired is to surround yourself with inspiring people. This may sound like an obvious solution, but it is one we usually pay little attention to. How many people in your inner circle inspire you? As I mentioned at the start of this post, a wonderful person in Italy that I consider a friend, inspired the very words you are reading. My friend Shannon inspires me to read great books and increase my knowledge of nature. My friend Jon, who is both an amazing DJ and musician, inspires me to take care to use entertainment to bring joy to others. To, of course, my beautiful Margie. She inspires a lot of different things in me. Some of which are to learn new ways to express love and be romantic. She inspires me to become the best man I can be. Her beauty inspires me to workout so that she can have the most attractive man that she can be proud of. She inspires my drive to succeed at my career so I can whisk her away to beautiful exotic locations.

What inspires you? What music inspires you? What do you need inspiration to do? What do you think would change in your life if you started asking yourself the magical question, “How can I use this for inspiration?” Remember in life there are always opportunities to both inspire and be inspired. What are some of yours?

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY FAVORITE SONG BY SIXX AM

SO YOU WANT TO SMACK PEOPLE?

The above quote may sound funny, but in most cases of ‘enlightened’ people in rings true to some degree. I have been working in the field of self-improvement for over 22 years now. Most of that time is spent working on, fittingly, improving myself. You would think if you worked on something for 22 years and still haven’t perfected it that you might become frustrated. That is why it is so important to fall in love with the journey and not the destination. The field in which I work is called self-improvement, not self-perfection. It is about getting that little bit better every day.

You can do everything right and still fall victim to your emotions every once in a while. It is not only understandable, but is fairly predictable. Plus, in this world there are people who may very well benefit from a good smacking. People who purposely do harm to children, animals and those who cannot defend themselves. People who act with no regard to others feelings or rights. A prime example. My mother and I had went for a nice walk through the park. It was fairly warm and by the end we decided we had earned stopping for a nice ice coffee. Wanting to enjoy our iced coffee on the outdoor patio we sat at a table under a nice tree. It became apparent in a short time that we would not be enjoying the fresh air sitting under this tree. Sitting right under the ‘no smoking’ sign at a table that had a ‘no smoking’ sign on it was a man who was…smoking. This man was smoking a cigar that was only slightly smaller in circumference than a baseball bat. He sat at this table with four other adults and one child. They were all dressed nicely and I venture a guess that at least one of them could either read or make sense of the sign of a cigarette in a circle with a slash through it. Still, he sat and puffed away. Probably, deserved a smacking.

Yes, at the time this guy was puffing out fumes like a coal furnace in a non-smoking area the thought of a rap in the back of the head did occur. Maybe his friends did not mind the smell of smoke that resembled garbage on a hot day, but realizing there were others sitting in this non-smoking area that might have would have been considerate. Here is the ironic thing; my thoughts of smacking him were just as bad as his actions that gave me those thoughts. It is true that what he was doing was rude and not very thoughtful, but it is not my place to judge him or his actions. Getting upset over his actions did not bother him or encourage him to be more thoughtful. All it did was upset me.

We all have moments where other people can set us off into anger. What we really need to realize is that it is not them who make us feel the anger. What we feel and how we react to a situation is 100% determined by us. When you find yourself saying, “That person made me mad.” Rephrase that to, “That person made me decide to be mad.” After all, isn’t it true that a person can still do something unpleasant or even mean and we cannot let it upset us? Of course it is. Is it easy? No. That is why they call it self-improvement. This does not mean we should let people walk all over us or act in a way that is demeaning to ourselves or others. What it means is that we should not let their negative action cause a negative emotion inside of us. That is only multiplying the negativity in the situation. Take what actions are necessary to address the problem and send them thoughts and prayers of being more thoughtful in the future. When you do this, make sure to say a prayer for yourself that you may remain patient and understanding of others as well.

The point we are trying to make is that if you feel like giving someone a gentle physical reminder upside that head that is normal. It is what we do with those feelings that matter. Do we stew on them it get ourselves upset? To we yell at the offending party and threaten a physical action? Do we even walk over and let our hand demonstrate what our emotions are feeling? None of those actions will lead to a positive outcome for yourself, the offending party or the situation. If you have the urge to smack someone, just know that it is a test from the universe and that person is a personal trainer for your emotions. Making your sense of restraint and positivity even stronger.

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.

A QUICK REMINDER TO START THE WEEK

As we begin our week we may face a lot of insecurities. This is a good reminder when faced with feelings of fear, replace them immediately with a faith that you will make it through.

This can seem difficult, but if you are reading this your record for making it through thr challenges of life is 100%! You are still here! Whatever has happened to you, and I am sure there have been plenty of daunting challenges along the way, you are still here!

Considering all that you have faced and the fact that you are still here, do not let worry and fear enter your mind today. Instead, say to yourself, “I have made it through tough times before and survived. This problem has nothing on me!” Believe in yourself because you should!

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A LITTLE BIT OF NOTHING

Some people may incorrectly assume that because I have been in the self-improvement field for over two decades and have written over 1300 blog posts and 2 books on the subject that I have it all together. Nothing could be further from the truth. I occasionally lose control of my emotions, I do not always remember to keep my focus on what I have to be grateful for. In short, I am a flawed and imperfect human just like everyone else. I am a perpetual student of the game. Always striving to learn something new from someone new. Quite often I find that hearing the same information presented in a slightly different way can make all the difference. That is why there is so much room for different people in this field.

All of the learning takes up a good deal of time. I listen to different meditations as I am falling asleep. I listen to motivational speakers at my day job and as I do chores around the house. I am always learning something new. Even if I listen to an hour talk and gain one line of information it is worth it. I do my best to record what I learn to share both on this blog and in the books I write. Even when I am watching a movie my brain is on the lookout for some insightful piece of information I can share with all of my followers. This can, on occasion, drive Margie a little crazy.

I spend mornings at the gym 6 days a week. Then I am off to my day job. After which I eat dinner and run off to a local coffee shop to write these posts and to work on my next book. Combine that with being a DJ every Saturday and Sunday and you can see that free time is at a premium. Throw in a couple of articles for different publications, appearances on podcasts and some social engagements and sleep becomes a luxury I seldom acquaint myself with. Every spare minute is consumed with my passion of gaining and sharing knowledge. You will find me in front of a coffee cup and behind a computer. This is the situation as I am typing this. As you can see in the picture below.

This Sunday, however, I was reminded of something I had completely forgotten. Sometimes you need a little bit of nothing. We had to DJ that evening and Margie was finishing up another marvelous cake creation. The weather was wonderful outside. The sun was warm and there was a gentle summer breeze. I wanted to be outside, but didn’t feel like working. The novel idea that some people just sit and relax came to mind. I grabbed a book I had been reading for about the third time. This may seem like working on gaining information, but reading is my guilty pleasure.

I informed the love of my life that I needed to just get away and relax. I was glad to find her not only understanding, but encouraging. My first attempt failed when the location I went to was closed. Lucky for me there was another coffee shop down the road with a west-facing balcony. I ordered my iced coffee inside, said hello to our friend Scott who happened to be there and took my leave to the patio. I sat for a few moments before opening the book. I listened to the birds singing and felt the nice breeze. As I opened my book and began to read I felt completely consumed. The outside world seemed to disappear and the author’s words came to life. At the end of each chapter I again returned to the world of the coffee shop patio. The birds were there to greet me. (As were the people in the drive-thru)

Here is what is worth noting. When I returned home from this hour-long moment of relaxation, I felt like I had slept for several hours. My body was refreshed. In addition, so was my mind. Ideas seemed to come to me faster than I could record them. Ideas for my next two books began to take shape. Then it occurred to me. While writing my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, I had done this quite often. That is where a lot of the ideas for the book came. I knew and taught the importance of self-care, I just had forgot to take some for myself. I have decided there will be at the very least once a week where I will leave the computer at home and take a good book, or maybe just a journal with me. I will relax in a coffee shop or at a local park. Taking in the beauty of nature and allowing inspiration to come to me. It is a practice I recommend all of us do.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

Last post we looked at casting actors to play in your own movie. This can go a long way to improving the quality of your life. You can increase your happiness and productivity, you can foster a greater sense of inner peace and you can have a lot more fun and success than you have ever had before. This sounds a little too good to be true? There is, I confess, one caveat.

Just like in the world of Hollywood, there is an executive producer. Call it God, the universe or whatever term you use. Sometimes they put people in our feature picture that we would rather do without. When this happens to me, I imagine the kind of movies I like to watch. Whether you enjoy Disney movies or are more a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, in all of those movies there are challenges and villains the hero has to overcome. It is what gives the movie a sense of adventure. It is what makes your hero stronger and develop greater qualities. Can you imagine watching a movie in which the lead character wakes up, wins the lottery does anything they want, doesn’t age has perfect health and just repeats that over and over again? Does not sound like a very exciting movie to me. Do you think the star of that movie would grow stronger? I am guessing not so much.

In our own life we may have our friendly and fair boss replaced by one that is two-faced and emotionally unable to handle their position, lashing out and everyone the moment they become stressed. Hypothetically. In my own place of work we have a coworker who is quite less than pleasant. For the sake of argument we will call them “Michelle”. This person always comes in with a very negative attitude. The curse, they belittle and they generally bring a dark cloud with them on a daily basis. Is that someone you would cast in a movie you are staring in? I am guessing not. Every great character needs an antagonist. When I think of the negative, or as I like to call them sunshine-challenged, people in my life, I stop and ask myself, “How would the star of a movie handle these people?” This often allows me to handle them as the best version of myself or as the character I would wish to be in my movie. In the case of our previously mentioned coworker, I imagine my leading actor would not only use that to practice and improve their patience, but to remind them of the importance of staying positive. They would use that person’s negativity to remind them how valuable being positive to all of their costars is.

What about challenging situations? This is where thinking of your life as a movie and you as the director may really come in handy. In the picture above we see a director telling the camera person what to focus on. Can you imagine if we had someone to do the same for us? We do, it is ourselves. When a challenging situation pops up, we can decide what to focus on. Let us say we just lost our job. We can focus on all of the disadvantages we have. Perhaps we are too young and do not have the experience someone older would have. Perhaps we are older and lack the energy and long-term investment we think an employer would be looking for. Instead of focusing on what is against us, remembering we are the hero of our own movie and think to ourselves, “What would a hero choose to focus on?” Maybe it is that we have the health to go out and find a new job. Maybe it is the opportunity to begin again and find something that pleases us more?

What about those situations in life that just suck? A loved one passes away or a major health challenge occurs. When we are in the middle of the whirlwind of emotion these can be one of the most difficult situations to handle. Give yourself time to grieve and feel what you need to. Even the bravest heroes and biggest stars have moments like these. I am reminded of Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness. At one point it seems everything is against him. He is unemployed and homeless. He is sleeping in a public restroom with his son and an angry man is trying to get inside to use the bathroom. I am hoping your life is nowhere near that bad. What happens in this movie? The character does not give up and ends up landing a great job and being able to take care of his son. (This movie was based on a true story. In other words someones life that was turned into a movie) In situations that you are under extreme stress it can be helpful to look at it as a director of a movie would and ask yourself, “Ok, if this happened in a movie I was directing, how would I have the star bounce back from their sadness, pain or depression?”

Looking at our life from this emotionally unattached position can offer us creative possibilities that we may otherwise miss. It can also help give us emotional strength we are otherwise unable to find. If the hero in our movie can do it, maybe we can too? Remember, you are the star in your movie. You are the director as well. Write yourself a great plot and do not let your hero be defeated by anything!