ARE YOU A GOOD ONE?

Whatever you are, be a good one. It seems like a pretty obvious statement. After all, we would never want to be a bad one of anything I would guess. Sometimes the simplest statements can be some of the most profound. That holds true in this case as well I feel.

Let us look at ‘what you are’. In life, many of us play several different roles. As a personal example, I am not only the creator and main content provider behind this website, I am also an author of 2 books, I am a food critic for the website Chow Down in Milwaukee, I am a Postal worker and DJ as well as writing for several magazines. Looking at that in print it seems like a bit too much. That is without factoring in the speaking and seminars that I do. How do I not become overwhelmed? I just focus on what I am doing at the moment. If I am writing a book, I do my best at that. Working at the Post Office, I do the same. As I write these blogs I do my best to convey something that is both entertaining and useful.

What are your roles? Are you a CEO? A bartender? A parent? A grandparent? Whatever it is, we should do our best to be a good one. We are all someone’s friend. To that end, do your best to be a good friend. This seems rather obvious but have you ever really sat down to think about how best to be a good one? This occurred to me on the way home from writing the other night. I asked myself, “How can I be a good friend?” Are there ways I could listen better? I could communicate how much people mean to me and how important they are.

One of the ways I have unconsciously used this to make the biggest change in my life is in my romantic relationship. Asking myself, and the love of my life, how I can be a good man for her has brought about some of the greatest breakthroughs. Whatever roles you fulfill in life, stop and ask yourself how you can be a good one.

Two quick closing thoughts. Ask yourself this question often. As we grow and learn in life more ideas will come to us. There is always room to improve. Include others in the asking too. They may offer suggestions to help. Lastly, remember the quote doesn’t say “Whatever you are, be a perfect one.” If you make a mistake that is alright. In fact, mistakes allow us to be good ones by providing us a chance to demonstrate being humble and gracious. Admitting, and better yet working to atone for and correct our mistakes, makes us a good one. We might not be a perfect friend, a perfect parent or a perfect spouse. If we are doing our best to be a good one, we will get better and soon our life will be amazing!

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.

AN ACTION OF LOVE, A GIFT AND YOU CAN DO IT IN SECONDS

In this blog in the past we have discussed the power of a smile and the effect it can have on both those receiving and those giving it. We are going to tackle this subject again for several reasons. One, the world could really use more smiles now. In an age where people are either feeling persecuted, or concerned about how what they say may be misconstrued, a smile can be a welcome sight. If you are a person who may feel that they are judged for their race, their religion or any other reason, can you imagine how much more at ease you would feel when you walk into somewhere being greeted with a smile?

Another great reason to remind ourselves to smile more is because we are never quite aware of what a person may be going through. The smiling person you passed in the grocery store may be hiding some of the deepest pain. A smile makes someone feel valued, it makes them feel important. That is why if you have any job that deals with the public you have a great opportunity to change people’s day, and perhaps more, with a smile. To this end, a smile can make your job a lot easier as well. If a customer in a bad mood approaches the counter and you greet them with a smile it can be quite disarming. If they are already in a good mood it will certainly make the transaction go more smoothly. It will make your work day a lot more pleasant and their day as well.

That brings me to my final point. In reading this quote you may assume, like I did, that it was talking about others. In fact, this can be directed at yourself as well. Smiling and being pleasant can change our world for the better. I have personally witnessed this in my own life. I did not used to be as positively focused and certainly did not share that feeling as often as I do now. When I do, I noticed that it has brought me more friends, a better reputation, better customer service and most importantly – I feel an inner peace that I did not feel when I was angry or focused on what was wrong in the world. Being a part of the solution, that is spreading more love and positivity instead of adding the overwhelming amount of negativity, has allowed me to feel like I am making a difference. To me, there is no better feeling than that of making a positive difference in the world and those you share it with.

Do not take my, or Mother Teresa’s, word for it. I encourage you to test this theory out for yourself. I encourage you to share a smile with at least 5 strangers today. Better yet, try this for a week. Say “Hello!” or “Good morning” or some sort of thing. Say it with a smile on your face and see what a difference it makes. Then, feel free to share the results with us!

IF I WOULD ASK FOR ANYTHING FOR MY BIRTHDAY

Today is my birthday as some of you may know. I really enjoy birthdays as I grow older. I think that is because it becomes less about the ‘stuff’ and more about spending time and receiving love from people who mean a great deal to you. I was lucky to experience that last night due to the efforts of my lovely Margie.

If I were to ask for a gift on this birthday it would be inspired by the quote above. Mother Teresa knew a thing or two about giving. She dedicated her entire life to giving to those who needed it most. It is in this thought that I would ask all of you to do one thing in honor of my birthday – GIVE. It doesn’t have to be something crazy outlandish, just something positive. Give an extra tip to your server, bartender or barista. Give a sincere compliment or genuine smile to a stranger. Give the gift of encouragement to somebody who really needs it.

Whatever you give, do so with love. Pick something or someone that means a great deal to you or who you appreciate and give from the heart. It is what the world needs more of and that is what I would ask as a gift from you on my birthday. I am going to let you in on a little secret. This giving has a very interesting side-effect. I promise you giving with love will leave you with a heart filled with joy.

I recall two such examples in my own life. I helped at a meal program once a month for several years. When I was there I used all my customer service and people skills to provide the patrons there with the best experience they could have under the circumstances. Recently, at the coffee shop I write at there is a man who is destitute and sits outside by himself. I have watched him pick up garbage and throw it away. He even picked up my coat for me once. This is a good soul who has found himself on hard times for reasons that are none of my business. One day I inquired if he would like something to drink. He informed me how much a hot chocolate would mean to him. I happily got him one. Here is a man who spends his time making the place look better and is kind to everyone who passes by him. It felt so good to be able to do something nice for him. The next time I saw him there I just ordered an extra hot chocolate and brought it out to him. He was so overjoyed. Not with the hot chocolate, but by the fact I  remembered him and what he drank.

Doing something for someone who can do nothing for you is not only a good thing to do but personally gives me a feeling of joy and inner peace that not much else can match. I wish for you that same feeling. Give something today. Again, it does not have to be a big something, but do so with a great amount of love. That is what I would ask of all of you for my birthday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

YOUR WEEKEND HOMEWORK

Homework….I used to hate that word in school. Truth be told, it still conjures up a few bad memories. I promise you not only will this homework be painless, but actually enjoyable and improve your life.

Your homework is to notice the little miracles in your life. If you stop and think of how much life has really blessed you with, you may be surprised.

In my own life for example, I think my lady is a miracle. More to the point the situation between us is. Here is a woman who is creative, silly, smart and sexy. We somehow live in the same country, in the same state, in the same city. Not only that, circumstances brought us together and guess what? She found me attractive for reasons I still can’t explain, and we feel in love. When you think of the odds of that happening it is a miracle.

Even tonight I planned on a nice stroll this evening with my mom. As we looked up it was a full supermoon. The sky didn’t have a cloud and the stars shined in all their glory. The odds of us choosing to walk today, the moon being so big and full and the sky clear are slim to none. All those events on the same night?

This may sound a bit rose-colored glasses to some, and I suppose to some extent it may be. When you stop and think of all the odds that had to line up for your life to be the way it is, you will realize there is no shortage of miracles. Even a simple flower you notice as you pass by…a miracle.

So look out for miracles this weekend. Feel free to share your favorite miracles with us here at secret2anamazinglife.com!

IT MAKES YOU THINK

Today I looked down in my car and what did I find? A DVD I had rented from the West Allis Public Library on Bob Marley that was supposed to be returned days earlier. As I happened to be out driving around, I decided to return the movie and take care of any fines that may have accumulated. As a dedicated life-long reader, I absolutely love going to the library. You have access to almost every piece of information you can desire and it does not cost you anything. Unless of course you forget a Bob Marley biography in the back of your car for two weeks, and then it runs you $5.

My point is that the library is a goldmine when it comes to individuals seeking knowledge of any kind. The library I use in my hometown of West Allis Wisconsin is particularly amazing. They have a separate floor just for children’s learning. They have several computers you can use to access the internet, print documents or anything else you may need. There are also conference rooms available to rent, educational programs on a wide variety of topics not to mention the volumes of different media available to rent, including an amazing book called A Happy Life for Busy People.

On this day, however, I learned something far more important. After paying the fine for my forgetfulness I was on my way out of the library when I noticed a mother and son behind me. I stopped to hold the door for them. It was then I noticed the young man had down syndrome. His mother was leading him by the hand informing him it was time to go. “We have had enough learning for one day.” she informed him. It was his reply that stopped me in my tracks. “I love to learn mom!” he reminded her.

It was then I began to think of all the different students of life the library caters to. I must confess I had not stopped to consider those with special needs and how eager they thirst for knowledge. It was then I felt a great sense of appreciation and respect for those who spend their time and have the patience to bring the world of knowledge to those who may have extreme difficulty in assimilating it. This mother had taken her son to the library and helped him increase his knowledge and expand his mind. Which happened to be the same reason I was there. I thought of the patience it must take parents and special education teachers. They are helping empower those others may cast aside. They are not only helping them learn, but giving them reasons to be proud of themselves. I know how great it feels to learn something new and obviously, this young man felt the same.

It gave me a great sense of pride to have such a brave and hard-working young man as a part of my community. Last post we spoke of not giving in to your limits and this young man was doing just that. It made me so happy and proud to have amazing parents, teachers and young men like him in my community. It also made me appreciate the Public Library in yet another way. If you know a parent or teacher of a child with special needs, please take a moment to thank them for their work and dedication to make the world a better place.

TRAIN YOUR MIND

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. I used to think quotes like this were a bunch a new-age nonsense. I also used to be a pretty angry and depressed person. Personal perception can do a lot to change your life. This may be hard to believe, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever read about, or perhaps even known someone personally, who seems to have the worst situation but has the best attitude? I am sure we all have. In my upcoming book Living the Dream I have a collection of interviews with people who seem to have every reason to be depressed, angry, jaded or a host of other unpleasant emotions, but yet are some of the most positive and inspiring people I know.

The million-dollar question is how do they do it? They control their thoughts. It is not easy and is not something they woke up doing all of a sudden. They ask themselves empowering questions such as, “What is good about this?” and “How can I use this?” I am certain there are times when the first answers that pop into their minds are not the most inspiring, but they keep asking.

The hard truth is that we cannot control all the circumstances of our lives, no matter how hard we try. We just do not have that power. What we can control is how we react to those circumstances. We have all heard the cliché “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The reason things become cliché is because they have some truth to them.

Finding out how to make lemonade out of your particular lemons can be a tricky and ongoing process. The payout, however, is control over your life. Once you can control your thoughts, life can no longer control you. The tough times cannot bring you down because you will be able to both find the good in them, as well as use them to your advantage.

The next post we will look at another way in which all of the people I interviewed for my book control their thoughts. It is one trait they all have in common. Once you introduce this trait into your life and combine it with the two questions we mentioned here, you will be well on your way to controlling your thoughts!

YOU ARE ALLOWED

A lot of people think they can only be considered a success when they achieve their goals. That is not even close to true. Being someone who loves the process is just as important as achieving your goals. You can set a great example in several ways. Let us take a look at a few of them.

First is your ability to stay focused and moving forward. Some people call this ‘drive’ some people call it ‘persistence’. Whatever you call it, managing to go through the process day after day can inspire others to do the same. A lot of individuals I know have a hard time staying focused, especially when they are not seeing results. Seeing someone who continues to put the work in despite the results not being visible right away is inspiring. Think of that person who is struggling to get in shape, but still shows up at the gym every day. Personally, I find those people inspiring.

Another way to  be a masterpiece while you are a work in progress is to show how you handle adversity. Everyone can be smiling and positive when the chips are going their way, but when the wheels fall off and things start going downhill that is when a person’s true character is revealed. Someone who can handle obstacles while staying calm, motivated and positive is a masterpiece!

Lastly, do not give up. It was Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player who said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” If Babe Ruth would have given up every time he struck out, he would not be the masterpiece of professional baseball that he is now. Believe in yourself. Not only will you be a masterpiece, but you may inspire others to do the same. 

WHAT I’VE BEEN LIVING LATELY

As an author and motivational speaker, people often come up to me and ask things such as, “how do I fix my life?” Or “what is the amazing wisdom of the day?” I don’t really mind answering these questions, but find it amazing people are looking for instant answers to problems created over years. I liken it to eating junk food for years then asking a trainer to get you in shape for your wedding… next week. I presume those of you in the fitness field no doubt have stories like this.

Understanding that we live in a nanosecond world where there is an instant fix for almost everything, I do my best to supply individuals with some universally applicable nugget of wisdom. There are a few powerful things that can change a life when applied with conviction.

Lately, I have been thinking about the quote above. All we really have is today. We cannot change the past no matter how hard we try. If we wish to correct something from the past, we must take different action…today.

The future will arrive when it does. If we wish to be prepared, or are worried about some upcoming events, the only way we can affect our future is through the actions we take…today.

This moment is all we have, but it is very powerful. It can help correct, though not undo, our past. It can affect and direct our future. What matters is what we do today. Make sure whatever we do, that we do it to the best of our ability. An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind.

MAKE THIS ONE SWITCH TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER


Today is ‘Hump Day’ the middle of the week. A lot has probably happened to all of us. As we get closer to the weekend and begin to focus our thoughts on all things more positive and weekend oriented, let us make one more important change. The change I am speaking of is mentioned in the picture above. Instead of claiming to be broken and helpless, switch that mindset to growing and healing.
This may seem like an inconsequential change, but it will create a brand-new lifestyle. When we focus on what is wrong in our life, or how it has damaged us, we bring ourselves down. Doing this repeatedly can leave us feeling helpless. Nothing could be further from the truth! Yes, we have all been hurt and many of those hurts can leave us damaged emotionally, spiritually, or even physically. That we cannot control. What we have complete control over is what these scars mean to us.
Being in a victim mode can lead us to think that our scars make us ugly and damaged. In contrast, when we switch our mentality to understand we are growing and healing, then we realize our scars are badges of honor. They show the world, and even more important ourselves, that we have made it through some really tough situations. It also gives us a measure of credibility to help those who might be going through the same things.
Another thing we do that will leave us feeling like a victim is assigning blame on others. “It is their fault that I am ____” Really? If that is the case and you let others control your state of well-being you will always feel helpless. Instead realize that while others may make us angry/sad/hurt or a million other unpleasant emotions, choosing to stay in those emotions is a choice we make. Instead, try this thought on for size, “This person really upset me, but because of that I am now a stronger and more determined person than I was before.” or one of my favorites, “I reacted to you and allowed my emotions to get the best of me in the moment. Now I shall use that to motivate me to take control of my own emotional state and become an even stronger and better person. Thank you.” Feel free to create your own. In fact, I am always on the lookout for new affirmations in this arena and would love to hear what works for you!