Taste the Caribbean without leaving the county! Click below to learn about one of the most delicious places I have visited in a long time!
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.
Sound, like smell we covered earlier can connect with such emotion. For the sake of clarity, I am going to separate sounds from music. One of my favorite sounds is birds chirping as I make my way to my car in the morning. A voice coming over an intercom saying, “Welcome to Montego Bay Jamaica.” is always a great sound to hear. I love to hear Margie laugh and say I love you. I love the noise she makes when she yawns and stretches. I love the sound of trains in the distance. I love the sounds of crickets on a summer night. There are so many sounds I am grateful for. Ocean waves are relaxing. People cheering as I hyperventilate my way through a 5K is always inspiring.
How about you? Do any of these sounds resonate with you? Do you have some other sounds that you are grateful for? I would love to hear all about them.
I would like to begin this post with a mea culpa of sorts. In my books I advocate using the separation of mind and body to our advantage, especially in stressful situations. In fact, I have been quoted as saying “There is no law that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” This is indeed true and can be helpful when you are in a stressful situation. It can also be used for motivation. Please allow me to explain both.
Let us say your boss is pressuring you for a deadline, or just being the pain bosses can be on occasion. As you practice patience and compassion in an effort to remain employed, you can go somewhere else in your mind. I transport myself to a beautiful beach in Jamaica sipping out of a coconut. It also reminds me that the job I am working will help me get to that destination. When I am working out at the gym feeling like I am going to have to start breathing through a brown paper bag and wondering if I wouldn’t be better off at home laying on the couch eating a pizza, I think of that same beach. This time I imagine how I would look sitting on the beach in my current shape. Usually, that is enough to help me power through the remainder of my workout.
So far this all sounds pretty good doesn’t it? There is one word of caution. In using this I have become a little too good at it. What do I mean by that? There are times when it serves us to have our mind at body in the exact same place and time. For sake of continuity and because I love writing about the tropics when it is below freezing here in Wisconsin where I live, we will stick with the Jamaican beach example. Let us say you finally reach that fabulous vacation you have been saving for. Now you are on the beach with the one you love enjoying the sun and frigate birds. It would serve you well to be both physically and mentally present in the moment. Paying attention to all that is transpiring and soaking in the ocean water and the memories. You should make an effort to not only remember, but relish in the sun on your skin and the joy in your heart.
What do we as humans tend to do? We do the exact opposite. When the boss is yelling, everything is in chaos and you have only been at work for an hour, what do we think about? How little your pay seems to match what you have to put up with? How many hours you have yet to struggle through? Wait….is that clock actually going backwards? Why are there not more windows in this office? When we finally make it to vacation or even just home from the office do we focus on all of the great things we finally have in our grasp? Often, the answer is ‘no’. We then think of how much the vacation is costing. We worry about the pet we left back at home. Or worse yet, we begin to have thoughts of having to go back to the office.
We can do a lot to correct this lack of being present with exercises to take control of our mind. A daily practice of meditation, even 5 minutes a day to start, can be very helpful. If you are unsure or just not familiar with meditation there are several CDs you can purchase (Brain sync is one of my favorite companies) or even just look at guided meditation on YouTube. Then you just pop on some headphones, sit back, relax and follow along.
Even more simple is taking time to be fully in the moment. As I write this I am sitting at a coffee shop. I can pause and notice the mingling of music and the blend of voices. I can feel the fabric of the chair I am sitting on. I can smell the aroma of fresh ground coffee beans. I can even pause, take a sip of my coffee…feel the texture of the cup against my lips, notice the temperature, smell the scent of the coffee and taste the mix of the slight bitterness of the coffee mixed with the mellow flavor of coconut milk I added.
Try doing this while engaged in a host of different events. You could try it while you are at a stop light. Notice the feel of the steering wheel in your hands. Smell the air in your car. Do you have the windows open? Can you smell fresh air? Can you feel a breeze? Maybe you are in a cold climate like me and can feel the heat coming out of the vents? Notice the sound of the engine, the passing cars, the birds chirping outside. Just make sure you notice when the light turns green again or you might also be able to notice the sound of the horn of the driver behind you.
Start practicing the separation of mind and body at the appropriate times. When you work, work hard. When you play, play hard too. Soak in the joy when it is there and escape back to it when it is not.
Earlier this month I had visited Runaway Bay Jamaica. On the way back to the airport from the hotel I saw this sign above our bus driver. My job retention depends on my positive attitude, great service and the customer’s satisfaction. In my experience, most people I encountered in the country of Jamaica may not have had this sign, but generally followed this thinking.
I am amazed at how many people I encounter that do not realize this is true. Whether I encounter people face to face, as I do when I DJ, or virtually as I do with my YouTube videos and writing, I know I must present a positive attitude, provide some form of great service and meet the customer’s satisfaction. This is true from accountants to Zamboni drivers. Three things that seem so simple, but can be so hard to find. Perhaps we should all have signs to remind us as this Jamaican bus driver did.
Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.
By now most of you know that Margie and I enjoyed a well-deserved vacation at the Luxury Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay Jamaica. Here I am at the resort holding one of my favorite books. I presented several copies to different parties while I was there. The manager of the hotel actually called to give me his feedback and inform me that he was going to share several of the tools contained in the book with his staff.
Earlier this week on my YouTube channel Neil Panosian, as well as last week on this very blog, we looked at the benefits a vacation can bring you before you leave. In this post we are going to talk about the benefits you can receive from your vacation, but look at the dangers associated with it.
First the secret. I mentioned that Margie and I had spent time looking at videos and brochures prior to our departure to get our spirits up, and because the Wisconsin winter was especially long and tough this year, to keep our spirits up as well. The same thing will be applied for after vacation. This time the videos and pictures we will be watching will have us in them, because we took them! Not only will these be great for an emotional boost, but they will also be great for creating our vision boards. In my case it will also be a great motivating factor for the gym as well. There were so many fun and great moments on this trip, I was thrilled we could capture them. This includes a great snorkeling video I was able to take thanks to my new waterproof phone case.
This all sounds great, doesn’t it? What possibly could be dangerous about taking pictures and videos? The main danger, other than not watching where you are walking, is that you may miss the event for want of capturing it. With Margie taking cake orders and myself running several internet pages as well as keeping in touch with several publishers, we are both on our phones more that I would like. On vacation we made a concerted effort to limit that. We were also aided by what proved to be sketchy internet service and an issue with Facebook.
There is a thin line between wanting to capture the memory and being able to live the memory. There is nothing worse than going through your vacation photos only to find what you missed out on. What can we do to balance this out? Two things jump to my mind right away, but I would love to hear your suggestions as well.
One of the best things to do is to decide ahead of time pictures you might want to capture. Before Margie and I left on our vacation we knew a few of the things we were going to do. We were going to tour a coffee plantation, swim in the pool and ocean and enjoy several restaurants on the property. We also discussed where we would like pictures of us. I think we did a great job of capturing many wonderful moments. We both also wrote in journals to help record some of our wonderful moments we shared. Dividing the duties up between members of vacation party can make things a little easier as well. That way one person is not always behind the camera.
The second thing that jumped to mind may seem obvious, but is worth noting. Decide on moments that will be ‘phone and camera free’. Time to just enjoy and relax, to be in the moment. After our vacation was done we looked back on our pictures and were able to both savor the memories as well as appreciate the times we did not take pictures. I think it is important to learn from each vacation experience. That presents the opportunity to make each successive vacation even better. Some great examples is knowing what is worth packing and making sure to get rest before you leave. There was not much to regret on our wonderful tropical escape, but one thing we both agreed to do differently next vacation is to get some sleep the night before. Between jet lag and lack of sleep we lost half a day of vacation. It was great to rest in the tropical breeze, but I think we may do that differently next time.
I have just returned from the Luxury Bahia Principe in Jamaica. It was an amazing time. In the course of planning this trip I learned 3 amazing ways that vacations change your life before you even leave your house.
If you use these same 3 elements you can instantly add more joy to your life starting today! By the time your toes hit the sand your heart will already be full of happiness. Click the link below and watch the 2 minute video right now. By the time the video is over, you will know exactly what to do to start adding joy to your life right now!
By the time you read this I will be higher than you can imagine! Ok, a little bit of clarification as it does say Jamaica and I did mention being high. As this post will be released I will be in an airplane at roughly 30,000 feet in the air on my way to Runaway Bay Jamaica to stay at the Luxury Bahia Principe resort. My beautiful Margie and me will be putting all of our endeavors on hold for the next 5 days to simply enjoy life and sharing it with each other. There will still be a blog post every day so I encourage you to come visit this site while I am gone.
It took us a lot of rescheduling and saving to accomplish this goal. It will be Margie’s first time both out of the country and to Jamaica. I could not be more excited to be able to bring both to her. For those of you who either know me personally, read this blog or have read my book, you know that I am happiest when I am somewhere tropical. To be able to do this while being joined by a woman who has brought so much to my life and loves me in a way I have never been loved before will be an experience I can’t wait to have. If I thought I enjoyed the tropics before, I know sharing that with her will only make it better!
Other than giving you a reason to wish you were me, (and when I think about going on a tropical vacation with the most beautiful woman in the world I must admit to being a little bit jealous of myself) why am I sharing this experience with all of my readers? I am doing so because this it represents several aspects that are vital to living an amazing life. I am going to highlight just a few below and encourage you to make them a part of your life right away!
The first thing a vacation does for you is give you something to look forward to. This may seem like a no brainer but let us take a little closer look at how that benefits us all. Having a goal in the future can motivate us in the present. While saving up for this vacation, I never knew how much money I could possibly save. While working hard to save lose change, take on extra DJ jobs, and working hard to sell more books, I was amazed at how financially motivated I could be. The same held true for my workouts. Greg Plitt(R.I.P), who has some amazing fitness and motivation videos, said having a goal in the future makes the present more accountable. In other words, I know it is all too easy to say, “I don’t feel like working out today. I’ll work out extra hard tomorrow.” If you have a goal in the future, however, you have just lost 1 day you could work towards that. I am no way in beach shape yet, but I wouldn’t be this far if I didn’t have a goal.
Another thing having an event like this planned brings to your life is a feeling of hope. In the dark and dreary days of Wisconsin winters I would lay in bed at night and Margie and I would watch videos of Jamaica and our resort. I even put the weather on my phone so I could switch to something more pleasant. One day that difference was actually -26 degrees for where I was to 84 degrees where I was going. Knowing what I have to look forward to kept me motivated. Even if you can only save a few dollars a month and it may be quite a while before you go, this will still bring joy and hope.
Lastly, this was fun! In addition to watching videos, Margie and I would talk about what we wanted to eat, what we were going to wear and what events we wanted to do while we were there. Sharing this fun and enjoyable conversation sure beats discussing what we saw on the evening news that night.
I encourage all of you to plan a vacation with someone you love right now. It could be family, friends or that special someone. Doing so will bring so much joy to your life even before your toes hit the sand!
In a mere few weeks I am going to begin work on my third book. I suspect this book will be released sometime in 2020. The tentative title of that book is How to Live Forever It is not a lesson on increasing one’s biology beyond known workable levels. In fact, it has nothing to do with the amount of years we live at all. How can a book, owning that title, have nothing to do with living longer?
In 2017 I gave four eulogies. I lost 5 people that were close to me. In 2018 that trend continued. This is quite a lot for someone in their early 40’s. I am honored to be asked to say parting words at such an important and difficult time in a family’s lives. I struggle for just the right words to do the person they lost the greatest amount of honor I can. In every case it seemed to come back to the same word – legacy.
From the moment I had to begin to deal with death on a personal level, I developed a way that I could honor the memory of the individual while at the same time helping myself deal with the pain and loss. My way of doing both of these centered around replacing some of the light the world had lost with their passing. I believe it started with my grandmother. She was always very hospitable and made everyone feel welcome. I did my best to be better than I was in those categories. As the years, and sadly the people, continued to pass, so did my working to replace the lost light.
At the end of last year I lost two aunts in a weeks time. I began to think about what I would say and what I could do to replace the light that was lost with their passing. Then something occurred to me, we all have the same legacy. This may sound crazy and it did to me at first as well. Looking out in the crowd at my aunt Virginia’s funeral it hit me. Whether your skill was hospitality like my grandmother, or humor and caring like my aunt, what really matters is that you touched the lives of others. At every funeral you attend the reason people are there is because of one thing – the person who passed away touched their lives in some way.
This second quote is what it is all about. How we touch the lives of others is what they will remember and what will keep us alive in their hearts. It relates to the first quote as well. One might ask, “Why plant a tree that I will never be able to enjoy?” My first thought would be that person is not a parent. Most parents would love to leave the world better for their children. For those of us who are not parents, you may ask yourself what the motivation would be? This is the same motivation that leads people to sponsor a bench in a park, or leave an endowment fund for a cause they believe in. They wish to leave some good behind in the world and give part of themselves to the positive things they enjoyed.
This is why I am called to write. I wish to give of myself to a cause I believe in and some motivation and inspiration to a power that can change the world long after I am gone. What is that cause I believe in? What is the power that can change the world that I so wish to inspire and encourage. The answer to both of those questions is YOU. Those of you who reading this blog right now and in the future. I believe in you. I want you to understand inside each and every one of us lies the seeds of greatness to change the world. It is my sincerest desire to help as many people see and understand this as I can. I want to touch as many lives as I can. I do not wish to limit this geographically so I make my writing available from Greenland to Jamaica.
Why if I am so dedicated to reaching as many souls as I can would I limit it to my lifetime? For all I know you could be reading this after I have passed. These words, along with my books and YouTube videos will be here long after I am gone and I hope they will continue to encourage and inspire others the way the words of Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglar and others who have passed continue to inspire me today.
What about you? What is it that you do to touch the lives of others? Is it your singing? Your joke telling? The way you tell a story? In this age of technology and social media their are so many ways in which you can cement your legacy. Not sure what your legacy might be? Try doing the exercise I teach in the video linked at the end of this post. With a little effort and heartfelt desire, you too can live forever.
Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time, or who know me personally know that one of the things I can struggle with is understanding emotionally that when you start something new there is a period in which you look foolish. It is not that this is a difficult concept to grasp, or that anyone really thinks people are just born great. The fact is just how to get past the feeling of looking foolish. After all, I can’t think of a single person I know who relishes the idea of looking like they have no idea what they are doing.
There are two concepts to keep in mind when attempting something for the first time. First, do not compare yourself to others. If someone first starting out in baseball compared themselves to say Babe Ruth, they would be discouraged. Another thing to bear in mind when comparing yourself to someone who achieves a great deal of success at anything is that we only tend to hear about them after they have mastered their craft. We don’t hear about the growth and struggles they went through on the way up. The person you are often comparing yourself to has went through a period of looking foolish as well.
The second thing to keep in mind when starting something new is what you may gain by learning this skill and what you will lose by not learning it. At present I am trying to convince Margie to learn to snorkel when we go to Jamaica. I recall when I first learned to snorkel. There were mouths full of salty ocean water, losing a flipper, figuring out how to get into the ocean while having flippers on and a million other things I am sure I forgot. Knowing this ahead of time I might not have ventured to learn how. That would be a shame, because once I learned how it was like a whole other world opened up for me. The quiet underwater world where you could see bright colored coral and even brighter colored fish. I would have missed seeing eels, flounder, and sea horses. This would have been a shame. I also think about the countless hours of joy I have experienced while snorkeling. It is now the thing I am looking forward to doing most when I arrive in Jamaica.
So before you decide not to try something new for fear of looking foolish, remember the two elements to consider that we have discussed here today. First, do not compare yourself to others. They looked foolish when they began too. One day you may very well be at their level, but only if you begin. As the saying goes, “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” Second, think of both what you will gain by learning this skill and what you may miss out on if you do not. Life is shorter than we think. We should embrace all life has to offer.
Has there every been something you really thought could be fun, but did not try because you were afraid of trying it? I think this is something we all have faced. Our minds are designed to keep us in our comfort zones at all costs. There is the fear of looking foolish the first time try something an fail. The sad part about this is what we miss by not trying.
I would like to offer a personal story to illustrate the point. I LOVE going on tropical vacations! Everything about it makes me happy. Sun, beach, happy vibes, rum, fresh fruit and relaxation. One of my favorite things to do is snorkel off the beach. I enjoy diving as well, but snorkeling is quicker and cheaper. Before I went snorkeling for the first time I was not so excited about it. Giving up time relaxing on a beach sipping some delicious cocktail? Learning to breath through that awkward device? No thank you. Trying to put flippers on while being tossed about in the waves? How about putting the flippers on before you get into the ocean and trying to walk across the sand without falling or resembling a penguin? It all seemed like a bit much.
For the longest time I did not do it. When I look back on my hesitation, all the great exercise and scenery I missed it saddens me. Whether it is tropical fish in Jamaica, conch shells in the Bahamas or a rubber duck in the bathtub, I can’t imagine a tropical vacation without time in the ocean. I am very excited and looking forward to the first tropical vacation with my lovely and wonderful Margie this year. You can be sure it will be filled with plenty of fun, sun, love and time in the ocean.
If you are faced with doing something new and the thought scares you as much as sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, do yourself a favor and jump in with both feet! Do so knowing full well that you will make mistakes and may even look foolish at first. That may not sound inviting, but it may help in the long run. I recall spending way too much time worrying that I would make a mistake and look foolish. It often caused me to be rigid and nervous in my approach. This not only increased my chances of making a mistake, but took a lot of the joy out of it. The joy in being absolutely terrible at something is there is a tremendous chance of improvement. Knowing you will get much better than you are now should allow you to shrug off any feelings of inferiority. Have fun. Use it as practice to laugh at yourself.
Start off a new experience with the thought, “I am new at this and will probably make some mistakes and look foolish, but I will sure have fun and get better each and every time!”