TRY NOT TO FREAK OUTūüėģ

I have heard a lot of people expressing how crazy the world seems lately. I put that word in italics for a great reason. A lot of our world is based on our perception. We have all heard the clich√© ‘Perception is reality’ The reason that it is a clich√©, is because there is a great deal of truth to it. The world does seem to be filled with dramatic and rapid change. The same was probably true during the industrial revolution. Also during the dark ages, when any day you could be killed if your neighbor said you were a witch. That must have been some stress to live under. I honestly believe that the amount of stress doesn’t change, just the name and form of stress.

Whatever form stress may take, there is one thing we can say about being stressed out – it sucks. Feeling overwhelmed or out of control of our own life never feels good. There are a lot of new tools to help us deal with this stress. There are meditation apps. I even saw an app where celebrities can read you bed time stories. These are great, but I believe there is a tool that has been around for centuries that can do a better job. In addition to helping us get a handle on our stress, it can do so much more. It can give us a greater sense of mental clarity. It can also give us a great insight into our thinking patterns, acting as a cheap and readily accessible therapist. That way when life is getting at you, or like our poor chap in the picture above, you get a bad phone call, you can use this tool and help avoid overwhelm and burn out.

You might think a tool that can do all of this would be expensive. You will be pleased to know you can get this tool as cheap as a couple of dollars. I wrote about this tool in my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. I also wrote about it a total of three times on this blog in 2013. Oddly enough, we haven’t spoken about it since then. I think it is long overdue that we bring up the topic again. This amazing tool is the journal. Before you are tempted to dismiss this idea because of its simplicity, let me caution you against doing so.

I am going to share with you some of the reasons this tool is so effective. First of all, a handwritten journal forces us to slow down and record our thoughts. Second, we are…umm… well…recording our thoughts. Trying to keep all of our thoughts in our head can be equated to plugging more and more things into an outlet. Eventually, the circuit will blow. This could be a feeling of anxiety, a panic attack or a full-blown nervous breakdown. These are expensive physically, mentally and with the cost of healthcare, financially as well. The cost of a journal can be as cheap as a pen and a spiral notebook. This takes some of the load off that circuit. It also gives us a record to thoughts we have and what may trigger them. Often, when we write down how we are feeling and read it back later, we can feel a little foolish for how we may have reacted to a certain situation. It is good to have that record.

A journal can be a safe place to share our feelings, even if it is only with the paper. It can be a place of emotional release. A journal can be the cheapest therapist we can hire. Beautiful thing is, this therapist doesn’t have office hours and is always available. In order to keep life from becoming overwhelming for you, might I suggest picking up a journal and just begin recording your day. Getting things out will take the burden off of your mind and will help you from having a melt down, or just blowing a circuit. I would love to hear your stories about how journaling helped you. If you want to learn more about journaling, feel free to check out my book, A Happy Life for Busy People, available on Amazon or wherever fine books are sold. You can also go back and read the posts from 2013 or listen to the episode on my podcast at the link below. Whatever you choose, I would love your feedback!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE AMAZING CONTENT ON MY PODCAST ūüėÄ

THERE ARE ONLY 2 WAYES TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.

Only seconds ago, I just completed my third book. My hope us to have it edited and in your hands by my birthday on July 29th. We will do our best to make sure that happens.

In the closing chapter, I came across this quote from Albert Einstein. Nothing could be more true. It is a shame most of us never realize this until we are facing a severe health challenge, or worse yet, facing the end of our life. We do not have to let it come to that. There are so many Miracles that come into our lives we have become desensitized to them. Merely breathing and how our bodies transform the air we breathe into a source to keep us alive. Don’t even get me started on changing food to energy and raw material. As an author, my body can change caffeine into words on paper or a keyboard! Trust me when I tell you that is a miracle.

Many people journal. I think it is one of the most powerful tools to positively transform your life. People do everything from gratitude journals, to just keeping a diary. What if we kept a miracle journal? Just record everything we considered a miracle in our lives? It would not only help us better notice the Miracles, but be able to feel the joy in realizing they are there.

I would LOVE to hear what miracle you have experienced or noticed today? Feel free to share with everyone in the comments below. My miracle is that I can turn my recent open heart surgery into a book that will hopefully positively impact the lives of countless people!

A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SECRET OF VACATION

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.

FIRST THING YOU SHOULD DO EVERY MORNING

Today is Tuesday. Usually, for people Monday is the roughest day of the week. Back to work after a weekend away. The usual responsibilities come pouring back into our lap. We have to get up at an hour earlier than we would like. By Tuesday morning we are usually back into the mindset of a working person. If we are not careful we can spend our weekdays in a “Pay bills and then die” kind of mindset.

The question I get asked a lot is how can I change my life to one full of passion and joy? One of the things I recommend is changing your focus. Specifically, I advocate becoming a gratitude focused individual. Starting your day with an attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful things you can do to transform your life quickly. At my seminars, and in my upcoming book, one of the exercises I have people do is to start a gratitude journal. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook and a pen, or a fancy journal and a fancy pen. Simply write down 3 to 5 things a day you were grateful for and why. Then review that list right before bed and first thing upon waking.

What a lot of people get hung up on is where to begin. No matter what challenges you are facing, realizing you are here to face the world is the first thing we should all be grateful for. When I hear individuals tell me how terrible their life may feel because of health challenges, career or relationship concerns or any other reason, I have to remind them that they are at least here to complain about them. Being alive gives us one very important opportunity – to begin to make things better. A few weeks ago a lot of us made New Year’s resolutions with the coming of the new year. You do not have to limit this to the first of the year. Every day that you open your eyes is a chance to start to improve your life. This is true no matter how bad things may appear. This is also something to be extremely grateful for. As long as we open our eyes we have another shot to create a life we love.

This morning before the thoughts of dreading work fill our brains, or we start to plan the seemingly endless list of things we have scheduled that day, let us try something else. When we open our eyes let us say, “Thank God I have another shot at this life!” or “I did it! I made it to another day!” This may seem corny or make you laugh at first, and that is ok, laughter is a good way to start the day as well. Still, try doing this for 21 days straight and see what a difference it makes. I would love to hear your inspirational lines you are going to use in the comments below.

TRADITIONS

The Holiday season is almost upon us. At local stores decorations are starting to go up, I even heard a Christmas song on the radio the other day. With the holidays coming up we can find our minds turning toward traditions. There are many different kinds of traditions. There are traditions based on our different faiths. This can encompass many different things from fasting, praying, style of dress and many more. These traditions are very important for cultural reasons. The connect us as a faith-based community and refresh our spiritual nature. There are also different family traditions. These can include shopping for holiday gifts together, creating a holiday meal together or just gathering at a certain family members house for great times. The traditions here can be as unique as the family itself.

The tradition I would like to discuss today is more individual. It can be between spouses, brother and sister, friends or even an individual tradition. The picture I used for this blog post is one of Margie and me at one of our favorite breakfast places. We have been going there since shortly after we met. Sadly, this day we missed another tradition of ours which was an event called ‘Cider Sunday’ in which a local nature preserve celebrates all things apple. We also have other traditions that we have began. Most of them both add love to our life, as well as keeping that love fresh and fun. Do you have something like this with the love of your life? Maybe a special place you go on a birthday? Maybe an event you look forward to attending every year? Do you celebrate the first day of spring by having a picnic in the park for example?

If you do not have a romantic tradition, or would like to include more, why not get together with your love today and discuss that? This also works with brother and sisters, friends, coworkers and anyone else you would like to include. My suggestion is this, create traditions that help that relationship grow. Maybe something that fosters a feeling of gratitude and appreciation in the relationship, or perhaps a way to grow and learn together? In the case of romantic partners, use Margie and me as an example. Create traditions that feed love and keep it fresh and growing.

Personal traditions may be something that is not as familiar with a lot of you, but I think they can have a great impact on our lives. Perhaps start a tradition of keeping a gratitude journal every night or at the very least once a week. A daily or weekly meditation practice could serve you as well. They can be traditions that add joy to your life. I do things to celebrate the first day of spring and summer each year. I also attend a bicycle expo every year as it helps me look forward to spring and being able to get out and ride.

Feel free to share any traditions you have with us in the comments below. Whether they are Faith, family, romantic or personal. This way we can all inspire each other with great ideas!

 

PICK YOUR WHAT?

In my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, I had a section titled “Pick your posse” which discussed the importance you should place on the people you choose to surround yourself with. I approach it again in my second book with an updated and expanded look. Again, look for that book to arrive February 2019. We are going to give it a fresh look today.

What exactly is a posse? Around the turn of the century a posse was a group of armed men on either side of the law that looked out for and protected each other. Sometime in the 1980s the hip-hop culture used this definition for the people in their ‘crew’ who also had each other’s back. In short, a posse is trusted associates who watch out for each other and share like-minded vision.

I cover the importance of carefully selecting these people in the afore-mentioned two books. Today I would like to discuss another benefit of having a posse. Napoleon Hill, great author and self-improvement guru referred to a posse as a ‘mastermind group’. Loosely defined, that is a group of people with their own unique talents that work together to work on a project or often projects. They pool their own talents with those of others in the group. This helps compensate for weaknesses some members might have.

This seems to all make sense, but there is something far more magical that transpires when a group of people get together to work on a project or common goal. Something else is created. When two people get together and share thoughts and ideas a third person is actually created. That person is the aggregate of the other two people’s thoughts and ideas. By putting their minds together they can accomplish far more that each of them working separately.

Working with positivity and in the field of self-improvement I noticed that those in this field do not work together often enough. It would seem each person is content on developing their own strategy for improving life. It is as if they are leaving the putting the different theories together up to the reader. If two accomplished members of the motivational community were to work together I believe we could discover many more ways in which the average individual could live a more positive and rewarding life.

Recently, I have begun such and undertaking. I joined a Facebook group called Truth for Thought (TFT) This group at its core is about spreading positivity and promoting productivity amongst people who are struggling to find their way. I was happy to share what knowledge I offer to that end on this site with the group as well. I was happily approached by one of the gentleman who run the group, Brian, who asked me to take a more involved role. Currently several of us are setting up a roundtable to discuss our pages and issues that we would feel would be beneficial to highlight. In other words, working together for the good of mankind. We will not only be teachers, but students of each other. Blending all of our knowledge together will most certainly lead to some brand new insights.

I recommend in any endeavor you are working on to form a mastermind group, or more colloquially, a posse, that can help you get there sooner. It doesn’t even have to be anything more formal than a group of friends all committed to the same goal. If Truth for Thought seems like a group you may be interested in, give them a look, as well as my Facebook group Fall in Love with Life for additional motivation and inspiration.

LET US TALK ABOUT YOUR STORY

We ended last week by discussing stories. The stories we tell ourselves to prevent us from trying new ideas and concepts. I shared some of the stories from my life and how they have affected me. We even looked at stories that others tell us about ourselves. We looked at how we view stories, events and people from our past and how that can have an effect on our future. All of these examples can show how important stories are to our development and overall well-being.

Today we are going to look at your story. In the last few years I have learned so much from listening to the stories of others. Whether it is the stories from my friends Cari and Kelly who show me that even people coming from some of the most challenging circumstances can grow into some of the most loving people with wonderful souls. Listening to the stories about my lovely Margie helped me to better understand the woman I love and the people in her life that helped form her into the divine lady that she is today.

I know I could learn a lot from your story as well. That may sound like a bold claim considering the people who read this span the entire globe. You may be asking what can I learn from the individual from Tunisia who read this on Sunday? I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you for sure something. The examples may not be something I can relate to, for example I have friends who were abused, in foster care, divorced, lost children and a host of other challenges I have not faced. In them I can learn the principles of hope, faith, determination and love. I am eternally grateful to each and every person who shares their story with me.

You may think that your life does not offer any inspiration, but I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I have heard stories from a friend in Romania about listening to certain music on the way to work. I have heard stories from my friend in Australia about the way she discovers indigenous medicine by visiting local markets. My friend from Mexico shares challenges that the local economy and health care cause him to face in his country. These are but a few of the countless stories I hear each and every day. Even those who share stories about their love, good fortune or healing give me a joyous feeling in my heart.

Perhaps you still think your story is nothing special? “I am just a person who wakes up and works to pay the bills.” Let me tell you that your story, and your life may be just what someone else needs to hear. It may be the challenges or amusing stories you have to offer about your chosen line of work. It may be amusing stories and episodes you have had raising your children. Maybe it is even the way you have approached a health challenge you have. After more then 20 years in the self-improvement field, I can tell you without a doubt, one of the most common feelings people deal with is feeling alone. Knowing that there is somebody else in the world who is facing the same challenge or has even made it through that challenge, can give their heart a little peace.

Please share your story. It may not seem like much to you and you may not understand how it will help anyone else, but it will. Whether you wish to start a blog like this one, write your own book or start a YouTube channel, please get your story out there. Someone is needing to hear just what you have to say. They may be in Armenia, Brazil or Zaire but they are out there. If you need any advice or suggestions on how to get started you can ask yours truly or make good use of Google which has many helpful tutorials.

I USED TO BE TOO COOL FOR THIS

I recall some of my first exposure to the principles of self-improvement. They seemed hokey and new age at best, far out and ridiculous at worst. I was a singer in a band, I was a bartender. I had no desire to take my inner child on a play date. When I heard someone talk about meditation or keeping a journal I thought they would be someone sitting alone in a tent in the middle of the desert giving advice or something. That was actually a description I gave to my good friend Russ. In short I thought all of this self-help stuff was a bunch of B.S..

My dramatic change from someone who mocked all things that might be labeled¬†‘self-improvement’ to someone who is not only a proponent of such material, but a creator and distributor as well,¬†happened over a period of time. It is like the story of boiling a frog in a pot of water. If you put a frog in¬†a pot of hot water it will jump out, but if you turn the heat up slowly it will sit there until it boils to death.¬†Please know I am not advocating harm to animals,¬†but my life proceeded along a similar path. As life slowly turned the heat up on¬†me I found myself literally boiling to¬†death in a¬†pool of stress.

One of the first stresses I can think¬†of is when I was working at a telemarketing job. For those of you who have never had a job in this field, just consider what you have said, or heard other people say to telemarketers.¬†Now, imagine being the person on the other end of the phone…eight hours a day…6 days a week. I remember listening to Bob Marley’s Legend album on my lunch hour every day. I would close my¬†eyes, push play and picture being on a beach in¬†Jamaica. Little was I¬†aware I was practicing visualizing and meditation.¬†Not¬†that I called it that. At the time I just said I was “unwinding on lunch”. All I was sure of¬†is that is made me feel better and be able to withstand the constant barrage of colorful phrases people share with telemarketers.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself awake at 3a.m. ready to go to the post office job I was thrilled about. This was after working an entire bartending shift I was also growing weary of. As you can imagine this and other stresses also affected my relationships with others at the time. While sitting on the couch putting on my shoes I saw an infomercial. It was for a collection of CDs from Tony Robbins. Being half asleep and feeling frustrated with the direction my life was going at the time, I thought “What the hell do I have to lose?” I ordered the tapes, went to work and soon forgot all about it. A week later they arrived. I listened on my short commute I had to work at the time and soon found myself taking detours to listen to more.

Soon I found myself looking at life from a different angle. Shortly thereafter, my job was downsized and the real test began. I found myself at the local library looking for answers. Those of you who have read my book or followed me for any amount of time have no doubt heard this story countless times. After finding things that helped a former ‘rock star’ and bartender who was too cool for self-help, I wanted to share it with others who thought themselves too bad ass for this material, but were silently, or not so silently suffering on the inside. That lead to the creation of this website, a book, a YouTube channel and seminars. In short, it brought us to where we are now.

If you came across this on accident, or are postponing on taking the leap on learning tools that could improve your life because you are simply too cool, I urge you to reconsider. First of all, get rid of the term self-help. I never liked that term to begin with. It has the feel like you are helpless and can only succeed with the help of someone else. I prefer the term self-improvement. The truth is you don’t need anyone else. What you may be lacking is information and a plan. As long as you have the desire, there are many paths that can lead you to success.

The other thing you might wish to consider is that in the beginning nobody needs to know what you are doing, or that you are doing anything at all. You can read in private. You can rent and watch movies in the privacy of your own home. You can start like I did listening to things while you are alone in the car. Once you see, and more important feel the increase in joy and reduction in stress, you can decide how public you may want to be with your quest to become the best version of yourself.

As a bonus, here are a list of a few recommendations I have for improving yourself after spending over two decades in the field. This is not a complete list by any means and if you would like to add to it feel free.

Books

  • A Happy Life for Busy People
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The Power of the Subconscious Mind
  • The Tao of Pooh
  • The Secret

CD or MP3 Programs

  • The Strangest secret
  • Personal Power
  • Any videos or audio by Tony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, Les Brown or Eric Thomas

HOW CAN I LIVE WITHOUT YOU?

HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOU? For those of us who have lived an appreciable amount of time this is a question we have asked. Maybe to ourselves, maybe to God, maybe to the universe or maybe to those who have passed away. We are left with words we wish we would have said, or things we wish we would have done with those we have lost. Even more often we see things that remind us of those who have passed on and we wish we could share those things with them.

What do we do with all of these thoughts? What do we do with all of this love? Let me begin by saying there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Whatever helps you get through is what you must do, as long is it does not bring harm to yourself or others. What I am about to share with you is what I feel not only helps me deal with loss, but helps others and honors those I am missing. If it doesn’t work for you that is ok. If you are looking for something to help you, it might be worth giving a try.

Why I am sharing this with you today? Last week I attended the Wisconsin State Fair, one of my favorite places to be. I even was fortunate enough to write several articles about the fair, including one for chow down in Milwaukee in which I mentioned going to the State Fair with my grandfather at least once a year. That sure made me miss that. It started to bring to mind people I have lost and what I always do to honor them.

In addition a few of the days I had parked a few blocks away next to a lady I had known for years in the neighborhood. This wonderful lady had lost her son a few years ago and was really having a tough time coming to terms with it. I cannot imagine the pain a parent would feel losing a child. It is something I wish no parent ever had to feel or go through. On a few occasions she stopped me to share stories about her son and how much she was still missing him. These moments often resulted in tears shared as well. She also shared stories with me from support groups she attended and what others in situations similar to hers were going through. Some of them were so painful I am not even going to share them here.

Needless to say, there are far too many parents going through this pain. With the rise of the opioid crisis, sadly the numbers look to be climbing. What solace can we offer anyone who has experienced a loss? That is the question that kept bouncing around in my head as I was hoping to offer something to this lady that would bring her even a measure of peace. What I told her is simply two things that I find work. Again, I am not sure they will help her, although I hope they do.

First, I mentioned keeping a journal in which she could write to her son. When she was having an especially hard night she could sit down and have a ‘conversation’ with her son. Sure, it is really a one-sided conversation, but it can be quite rewarding. From a practical standpoint it can help us get a better handle on what exactly we are feeling. The act of writing something down can bring a great amount of clarity. Especially it such an emotionally charged situation as death and grief.

It can also be a safe and healthy place to share our feelings. Sharing our feelings of sadness and grief each and every second can leave us wondering if we are being emotionally draining to others. Even if we have to most wonderful people in our lives who are extremely supportive, there are things we may not be comfortable sharing with others that we would want to say to our loved one who has left us.

The other idea I shared with her is an idea I began to put into practice when I lost my Grandmother. It has seen me through several moments of loss. That is doing what the picture above advocates. Taking the love that you have for that person you have lost and spreading it around. How do we manage to do this? Make sure you share what you feel with others. Never let a day go by without bringing light to another’s life.

The best way that I have found to honor others while healing myself is to do my best to replace some of the light the world has lost with their passing. I recall my Grandmother being welcoming and hospitable. So now I do my best to be that way. Whether it is when I DJ shows with Margie or even having people over for dinner, I do my best to get them what they need and be a gracious host. Certainly, you will not be able to do everything the person who has passed away could do. That is part of what makes each person in this world such a special gift. My Grandmother made a great cheesecake. I simply do not share her talent for that.

I humbly offered to this lady there might be a way to share some of the light her son shared while he was alive. She thought and mentioned how at his funeral people in a wrestling chat room he belonged to told her how much he always cheered them up. She said, “Maybe I could join that chat room and cheer up those young men.” I told her that was one great idea and she could always come up with more as time went on.

Nothing will ever replace the loss of a loved one, nor should it. We feel sadness and pain because we loved and loved a great soul. If there are ways we can honor our loved ones and bring a measure of joy and happiness to our souls and the world around us I believe it is worth a shot. Again, I put this forth to you with humble suggestion. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, this is merely what works for me and I share it with you in hopes it may help you as well.

If there is another way you use that helps you with the pain and sense of loss you feel, please share it in the comments below. There are a lot of others who are hurting and by coming together we may be able to bring a measure of peace to them. At the very least we can let them know they are not alone.