WHY BOTHER?

We just finished up a 30-day Gratitude challenge. Many of the people out there may ask, “Why bother?” With all the challenges life throws at us, why bother challenging ourselves and pushing ourselves to do more? The answer is simple – you don’t have to. Not doing so is the difference between just surviving, that is working, paying bills and dying or actually thriving and getting every last drop of juice out of life.

It is natural to fall into a rut sometimes. I do so more than I care to admit. That is why it is so important to follow a blog like this one. I follow several pages on social media and connect with other like-minded souls that will help me expand and grow. Those that do not, such as people who have lives filled with drama or busy themselves with trivial things such as political debates, I silently send them love, delete them and move on.

Soon we are going to begin a new process of ways to fall in love with our lives in 30 days, spending just 2 to 5 minutes a day. Each day we are going to look at simple rituals we can put in place to do just that. If this sounds like a tall order, I encourage you to give them a try. They will take no complex tools or talent. At most you will need a pen and a notebook.

Most of them require no tools at all. If you are like me you may be tempted to start all of them, but I recommend picking one and trying it out for 30 days. Although all of them are quick and easy to implement, trying to add too many rituals at once may leave us feeling overwhelmed. Once you try one of the tools we explore for 30 days you will gain momentum and that will allow you to add another ritual and then another. Slowly your life will change as if by magic!

As you go through this you will have company – me. I will be putting these rituals into place in my own life as well. I hope you are as excited as I am. We begin tomorrow with an idea that extends the 30 days we have just completed.

A word of wisdom, if one idea doesn’t speak to you, that’s ok. Wait until the following day and see if the next idea better fits you and your life. 

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #30)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Our last day of gratitude posts. I am already missing sharing this experience with you. We have covered some interesting areas of life that we may often forget about. I have enjoyed rediscovering how much I have in my life to be grateful for. Throughout the course of this challenge I have learned a lot about myself, my friends and even a few strangers. One of these days even gave me the motivation for my next book. Which one? That you will have to wait and see.

Today’s subject delivered two pleasant surprises. When I first glanced at this question (I always wait to do so until right before I begin to write) the answer that popped in my head was “the skill has to be writing of course!” With only a few more seconds of thought, the answer changed. The skill that I have that I am most grateful for is being able to help others feel good. When I DJ my goal for each person I call up is to help them either laugh, feel good about themselves or the one they love. Usually I can do at least one of those three. Daily, I do my best to treat others as I would love to be treated. This includes being polite and letting everyone know the things that are amazing about them. To know that I have positively affected someone’s life, or even just to see a smile spread across their face, is the greatest reward for me.

This post does not stipulate that we must pick one or the one we are most grateful for. To that end, I am going to mention a few other skills I am grateful to have. I am certainly grateful for the skill of writing as mentioned before. Being able to put thoughts and emotions into words is just something that comes natural for me. I never thought of it as much of a skill, I am guessing because it does come so natural. As the years go by I am learning new ways of putting it to use in serving others. I am very grateful for the skill of learning. I have a fairly decent retention that makes learning easier for me. (Although it does exasperate Margie at times) I am grateful for my skill in seeing the positive in most situations. It has not only made my life more pleasant, it has allowed me to help others.

How about you? What amazing skills do you have that you are grateful for? Share them with all of us.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #29)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Another list that could be quite long. How do you pick just one? The good news? You don’t have to pick just one! If you are anything like me, there are just people you are grateful for. You think they are awesome and they make your life amazing. You just know that, but how many times have you sat down to actually say that? Better yet, how often do you tell them? I once had someone tell me, “I would tell somebody that I am grateful for them, but it just feels so weird.” That may be true for the reasons we mentioned last post. We are out of practice. I always respond by asking those people how they would feel if someone told them how grateful they were to have them in their lives. “I guess it would be a little weird, but it would feel good.” is usually the answer I get. If it would make you feel good why are you depriving someone else that same feeling?

We only have one more day of this 30-day gratitude challenge left. Perhaps you could start a 30-day challenge of telling one person a day that you are grateful for having them in your life? Who would you start with? Are there certain people you have in your life that always make your day a little more pleasant? Sometimes we may not even encounter these people, but just knowing they are there or reflecting on memories we have with them makes our lives better. Stopping for even 10 minutes to think about the people we are grateful for in our lives will definitely change our state for the better. It will also help us to realize how many amazing people we have in our lives. Journal about it and it will become even more powerful!

I am going to include the smallest of lists here. Trust me if I wrote everyone I was grateful for this would turn out to be my third book! If you don’t see your name on this list, trust that I am still very grateful for you. I am grateful for my friends Russ, Nick and Kelly (a.k.a. Kaitlyn Sr.) for having deep and insightful conversations. I am grateful for my friends Kelly and Sonny who do so much to help the victims of child abuse and their families. I am grateful for my friend Shannon who turns me on to great books to read as well as helps answer many of my questions on nature. I am grateful for my friend Kurt who is always available for a conversation. I am grateful for the coworkers who make my day job more amusing. I am grateful for my friends Alisa, Mary and Amelia who are brave enough to share their answers of what they are grateful for on Social Media. I am grateful for my new friend Eduardo who not only provides insightful comments on my website, but offers compliments as well. I am grateful for my mother who is not only up for most adventures, but keeps the attitude “It will be ok.” 

No gratitude list of mine would be complete without mention of the most beautiful, wonderful person in my life, Margie. Not only I am grateful she is in my life, but there are so many reasons I am grateful she is. She provides encouragement when I need it. She pushes me when I might not want to do what I should. Margie loves me even at times when I probably do not deserve it. I am grateful for the delicious meals she cooks. I am grateful for all of the crazy things that she does that make her one of the most unique people I have ever known and give my eyebrows a chance to get some exercise. I am grateful (and very proud) to have such a beautiful and sexy lady to call my very own. I am grateful I am having to cut this list short or this could be my fourth book. How grateful to have a partner so wonderful that listing all of the reasons you are grateful for them would fill an entire book!

How about you? Who are some of the people you are most grateful for? Call them out! Let them know right here and now how grateful you are for them! It will make you feel grateful and them feel great!

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #28)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Just like yesterday’s post about small objects we use, small things that happen may get quickly forgotten if not overlooked entirely. I’m not sure about you, but I find myself guilty of doing that myself more often than I care to admit. The most wonderful thing could happen to me, perhaps the nicest twist of fortune, and I could forget. Have just one thing go wrong, however, and it seems to stick with you. Why is that? I think we are so determined to avoid pain that the emotion tends to be a little more pronounced.

Isn’t it true if we stuck with the small things that we could be grateful for as long as we stuck with our small irritations that life would be a lot more enjoyable? The answer to that is obvious. We would all like our lives to be more enjoyable or else we would not be reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife. Then why is it so difficult for us to do? It certainly is not complicated. Just remember and think about the good stuff more than the bad.

The answer, I believe, is not only emotional as mentioned above, but practical as well. Gratitude is a habit, a way of living that needs practice just like anything else. Ever try eating healthy after years of consuming pizza and rum? It is not that easy, trust me on this one. Again, not that complicated. Just eat more healthy food and less junk food. Why does it seem to be so difficult? We are used to doing things in a certain way. We are used to complaining about the boss or coworkers when we get to work. We may be used to complaining on social media. We may even be used to focusing on how upset a certain person or situation has made us.

This is why this 30-day gratitude challenge is so wonderful. It has us focus daily on one small area of our life to be grateful for. It is my sincere hope that when the 30 days are complete all of us, including myself, will live life in spirit of more intense gratitude. The payoff will be a happy disposition, more inner peace and hope, and a more amazing life. If that is not motivation to answer these fun questions daily, I don’t know what is.

As for my answer, my small thing was a fairly good experience at Walmart. I am not sure how Walmart is where you live, or if they even have one, but here they can be quite an adventure. The one I usually stop at in Greenfield Wisconsin has me dodging carts in the parking lot, walking over and around things laying in the middle of aisles and enduring some of the worst customer service one could possible experience. Today, however, none of that happened. The parking lot was relatively clean. I even parked fairly close for it being a busy time of day. I found the item I was looking for and had eye contact with my cashier. All together a rather positive transaction. Tonight, I will have dinner with Margie, her daughter Siraya and my mother. That should be a good time as well.

I am always suggesting journaling for a million different reasons. It serves as an excellent way to develop an attitude of gratitude. Writing one thing you are grateful for each day and why will force you to stop and think of something you are grateful for. There are several other tips for developing this grateful attitude in my books. Feel free to click the link below to get your copy.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #27)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

What small thing that we use daily are we grateful for? I love these questions that cause us to think about things that may slip our minds in the regular course of life. A popular answer to this question I assume would be ‘cell phone’. After all, we can use it to listen to music, check our email, enjoy social media, navigate and read great blogs like this one. Quite a powerful tool for something that can fit into our pockets. The folks at Google, Samsung and Apple are always giving us new and improved ways to put this pocket-sized device to work for us.

What other small things that we use daily can we be grateful for? How about our credit/debit cards? We can have access to our money without carrying around a bunch of bills or ending up with a pocket full of change at the end of the day. There is no counting just a slide of the card and we are off. We can use them to pay for things online or over the phone. This allows us to order things that may be out of reach for us and certainly allows us to get them quicker.

How about something as simple as a travel mug? Being able to have a container that allows me to take a cup of hot coffee with me when I leave for work at 4a.m. is a God send. The fact that many of them keep this coffee warm for hours, or at the very least until the car warms up, makes them worth their weight in gold. Imagine trying to hold a regular mug while driving. Not only would your mouth not be able to enjoy your hot coffee, but your lap probably would. Yes, travel mugs are a small thing I use daily that I am grateful for.

I’m sure given a few more minutes of thought I could easily double this list and then some. That is the beauty of this 30 day gratitude challenge. If asked out of the blue what small thing you use daily that you are grateful for, many of us would struggle to answer, or give the quick answer such as ‘cell phone’. If we sit for even a few minutes and think of answers the list becomes quite extensive.

This is true not just for some objects we use daily, but for life in general. If you give it a little thought you will discover just how many things in life there are to be grateful for. 

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #25)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This day of gratitude happens to fall on a Monday. That is actually perfect for us. As we read these words, think back to the week prior. What moments are you grateful for that happened the week proceeding this one? Sure there were ups and downs, but let us start this week by thinking about last week and what went right for us. There is no better way to start the week than to do it in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, that is the best cure for a case of the ‘Mondays’ I can think of.

What are your moments of gratitude from last week? Mine was being able to spend the new year at home with those I love for the first time in many years. Being a bartender and DJ, your services are usually in high demand this time of year. Especially if you are good at what you do. It is also one of the least enjoyable times to work in those professions. This year I was able to relax with some excellent food that Margie had cooked and enjoyed watching a great movie with her, my mother and her husband. I wook up the following day feeling well rested. It was great.

How about you? What in the previous week has brought joy to your heart? I look forward to hearing all about it.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #7)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Memories…songs have been written about them, movies have been made about them. They can cause us to shed tears or to beam a smile. When we think of memories the first thing to come to mind can often be times with those who have already passed on. I recall times spent at Military reenactments with my grandfather and late uncle. I can also recall summer trips to the Iola car show with my uncle. Those are nice memories and they cause me to smile. I am certainly grateful for them.

What about the painful memories? I recall a day when my grandfather had asked me to go to this communal rummage sale called ‘Rummage-o-rama’. Every single time we went he would pause to look at stuff that I knew he had no plans on buying. He would often spend a great deal of time talking about farming, the military or nothing at all really to a vendor. We would leave with either nothing or some mismatched things like a phone cord (these used exist) a razor blade and a dish towel. As a young man it was frustrating and seemed to last forever. I usually tried to find some excuse as to why I might not be able to attend. On this day, however, he asked me 3 days in advance. I had no excuse. After hanging up the phone with him I spent the next day thinking of ways to make the experience less painful or to get out of it all together. 2 days later, my grandfather passed away.

We never did go to that last rummage sale extravaganza. Guess what? I can often be found wandering through aisles, talking to people about anything and everything. Although I have no use for a phone cord, Margie can always use a dish towel or two. In hindsight, I realize the ‘Rummage-o-Rama’ was less about shopping and more about socializing and spending time with his grandson. At the time I have to confess to being too ignorant to realize what life is all about. Is that memory painful for me? It was, maybe still is a bit. More so, now it is a reflection on how much I have grown and changed. It is also a good lesson on how to keep memories of loved ones alive.

Speaking of loved ones, memories do not just have to involve those who have left us. Last year my trip to Jamaica with Margie produced more great memories than any other equal amount of time. We were just looking at the pictures and watching the videos the other day. I am really grateful for those memories as well.

One kind of memory I am grateful for that we may not think of, is those that haven’t happened yet. This may truly sound confusing. How can something that hasn’t happened yet be a memory? That does sound confusing at first blush. I know being with the lady I am with that we will find ways to be loving and romantic in ways I cannot conceive of yet. The fact that a lot of my relationships in life have grown and evolved as I have also excites me. I can only imagine as I am better able to relate to others what great memories we will create.

As you can see, thinking about gratitude can take you places you least expect. I am grateful for all of the memories in my life because they made me who I am. Mistakes and times that I was not the best person I could be are painful memories, but they motivate and remind me to not do so in the future. How about you? What are some of your favorite memories?

AN EXAMPLE WE CAN ALL FOLLOW

As I so often do here on this blog, I am going to share a compelling and inspiring conversation I had tonight with you. A few posts ago, I detailed how you can change the world by being nice to one person at a time. A gentleman who reads my blog on occasion gave a great example of how this works. I think once you read it you will be able to see not only how easy this is to do, but what a great impact it can have. I hope you will also be inspired to follow in his footsteps.

While writing this evening, I ran into my friend Scott. He and I share some of the same destinations for inspiriation. One of which is the public library here in the great city of West Allis Wisconsin where I live. Before I get to our conversation, I want to say that the library in this city is really one to be proud of. I am constantly informing people not only of the great selection of materials and media they offer, but access to the internet, private work spaces and amazing events. The library is a place I feel not enough of the community makes full use of.

As Scott told me his story, he made me aware of another great aspect of our library. Scott informed me he crossed paths with the janitor of the library. He told him, “I just wanted to thank you for doing such a great job at keeping the library so clean.” This was a point I had not thought of. He was correct. The West Allis Public Library is one of the cleanest and best organized libraries I have ever been in. The chairs are always tucked in, the tables are always clean and everything seems to be as it should. This is something that can easily be taken for granted and I guess that is exactly what I had done.

The more he spoke, the more I thought about how different of a place it would be had this man not done his job so well. (Yes, the picture above is of Rihanna playing the role of a janitor, not the actual janitor) Being in a place that is dirty and unkept would not only be unpleasant, it would also drive people away from using the services. This man’s job may have gone unappreciated, but it was vital to the working of the institution.

There is a second part to Scott’s story. That is the reaction of the gentleman he complimented. I guess the employee in question had grown used to having his work go unacknowledged. Scott informed me he was almost shocked that someone had stopped to not only notice, but voice their appreciation for the great job he did. After finishing the business he came to do and a quick visit to the gents, Scott crossed paths with this man again. Scott informed me he was greeted with a “Have a great day sir!” from the man he complimented. It would appear the good feelings continued to flow in this man long after the compliment was payed. In addition, it had given him a spring in his step and the desire to return the compliment.

I got quite a bit out of this great story that this reader had shared with me. First, was an appreciation for how clean the library in West Allis is. Every time that I go there from now on I will be sure to stop and notice. Second was the importance of complimenting people for the great job that they do. Especially ones that may often go unnoticed or unappreciated. The effect it had on this gentleman was significant. Next, how doing good always comes back to you. Having this man return the compliment and seeing how much it brightened his day only made Scott’s day better. As a side note, I knew Scott’s father before I met Scott. He also was a great man with a kind heart. Proof some of the greatest things we leave our children are not material.

Lastly, I am very grateful for my readers sharing inspirational stories. Not only am I able to pass them along to all of you, but it gives a certain validity to the points we share and learn here. I always invite each and every one of you who read this blog to share any thoughts or stories with me at any time. That is the purpose of this community – to encourage and inspire each other. I hope this story has inspired you to think of those you can compliment on job well done.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

56 YEAR-OLD ADVICE THAT IS PERFECT FOR TODAY


I am about to share words with you from a speech that was written exactly 56 years before this post. The crazy thing about these words is they are just what I believe the world needs to hear today. According to a recent survey, 91% of Americans feel we are polarized. 74% say we are extremely so. I believe this holds true not just in the country of the United States, but across the globe. Combine this with studies that say the level of anger people feel is also on the rise. I am not sure if the two are connected, but divided people often lead to angry and sometimes violent confrontation.

Back to the words of this speech. Exactly 56 years ago this speech was written with the intent of it being read at the Municipal Auditorium in Austin Texas. It was to be given to the Democratic State Committee. Let me share an excerpt from that speech with you now.

“Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

Pretty powerful words and a call for unity with a powerful view for a positive future. The reason you have never heard about this speech? It was never given. The man who was to read it, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on his way to deliver it. It is with a sad bit of irony that I wish to include another line from his undelivered speech.

“In today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets.”

Sadly, the killer chose the latter in his quest to bring chaos to freedom. In the coming months we are set to celebrate many holidays both religious and secular. We will gather with friends and family. I want to encourage all of us to take this time to use a power greater than bullets or even ballots, that of love. This may sound a bit silly to some, but there is no greater power than love.

If we want our tomorrows, the next year and the next decade to be filled with more unity and less anger we need to use this power. It all starts with our interactions with each other. If you encounter someone who has an opinion different than yours, no matter how passionate both of you are, do your best to be compassionate and understanding. Agree to disagree as the old cliché goes. Share smiles and good news with those you work with. Join a group…any group. Maybe it is one that shares your hobby? Maybe a book club?

While we are focused on spreading love on a personal level, I would also advocate using the power of the ballot. Vote for those who encourage peace, unity and acceptance. The ability to choose those who hold power is not only a great privilege, it is also a great responsibility. Do not let your emotions and treatment of others be swayed by the media or political climate. Show that your love is stronger than any force doing their best to divide us.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!

HOW TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY…

This picture gives us some great ideas. I don’t think I would trust myself to raise a cup of steaming coffee above my head while laying in bed. That may start the morning out in a not so inspiring fashion. The overall premise here is an important one. As we begin this week, many of us have a feeling of dread over Monday. For many of us it is the first day back to work. It means getting up earlier. It may mean getting children ready for school. It may mean either leaving our loving spouse or having them leave us to head to work. We may not have the income, car or house we want but life still is quite a blessing.

Yes, we may not love our jobs, but we still have one. Imagine how we would feel if we lost that job and were unable to obtain a source of income for several months? How would we feel if we then got that job back? Getting children ready for school may seem like a chore most days, but that means we have healthy children who are recieving a good education and bettering themselves. We are playing an important part in that process. Leaving our loving spouses or watching them leave us to go to work may seem heartbreaking, but that is only because we have someone in our life worth loving.
Even not having the house, car and income we want can be a blessing. First of all, we have a place to live, for most of us some form of transportaion and a source of income. That is a blessing in its own right. Knowing that we could have more and desiring such shows that we would like to better ourselves. That is a healthy sign.

Speaking of health, that is perhaps the greatest blessing. When we wake up healthy we can pretty much do anything we desire. Even if our health is somewhat down due to a cold, flu or some other sickness we should be grateful for all of the conditions we do not have as well as the medicines that can cure the ones we do have. Our body itself is an amazing healer and is something to be grateful for.

What about all of the problems we do have? There are two ways to appreciate them as well. How can you possibly appreciate an unexpected medical bills? How can you appreciate the car troubles you have? In two different ways. First, apprecaite all of the growth and strength you will develop facing and rising to meet those challenges. Some growth can be had no other way. Lastly, let us all be grateful for the problems we don’t have. I remember this quote every time I have the urge to complain.

“I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS FOR MAKING YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!