How many of these 3 steps will you be able to accomplish? I suggest adding a little meditation 🧘♂️ in the mix to help your mind. Be sure to rest, work a little and laugh a lot this weekend!
This is not a post about breaking up with a lover. It is not a post about quitting your job or any other act of finality. It is about an act that we all do at least once, sometimes several times a day. Changing how we end this act can have a very positive impact on our life and those we share it with. Today we will be learning how to end this act so that both parties leave with a smile and a desire to get together again. Doesn’t this sound like something that could be useful in your own life? This ending we are speaking about is the end of a conversation.
This is something we often give little or no thought to. Most of the time, we just let conversations end themselves. Here is a somewhat morbid, but never-the-less true statement. At some point, the conversation you are going to have with someone will be the last. What would you say and how would you like them to feel if that were the case? It might not be this week, it might not be today, but then again…it might be. That is part of the craziness of the world; we never know.
While you are keeping that sobering thought in mind, I encourage you to ask yourself a question as well. This may seem like a lot of work, but stick with me. Not only will this pay off with both better conversations as well as better relationships. Ask yourself, “How do I want this person to feel when they leave me?” Have you ever encountered people who after you are done talking with them you want to take a shower to wash off the negativity? I have. Have you also left someone and just felt inspired and like their company was a real breath of fresh air? I think it would be safe to say we have all had our share of both of those situations. Now, think of how many times you have consciously acted to affect a conversation you are having? You have that power!
I would love to give you a personal example. The other day my mother and I met for coffee. Both of our schedules are usually pretty busy and walks or coffee are welcome escapes. They always come with great conversation. On this evening as our time together was drawing to a close, we found ourselves discussing the somewhat absurd nature of political ads. The fact that they spend great amounts of money to tell you how terrible their opponent is without actually telling you what they will do for you or any solution they may have. If you don’t believe me, feel free to check your mail or turn on the television. As with any conversation to do with politics, this started to leave us feeling drained and frustrated. The thought occurred to me, “Is this how I want us to go home feeling?” The obvious answer was “No”. I began to make a conscious effort to steer the conversation to a more inspiring and positive tone.
We all have the power to do this. Even with people that enjoy each other’s company, such as my mother and I in the example above, the conversation can take an occasional downturn. The more we make an effort to keep our conversations uplifting and encouraging, the more people will want to have them with us. That is not to say we should be ignorant or fake, but to find ways to see the positive side of even the darkest subjects we discuss. We should also make a point to end our conversations in such a way that both parties leave with joy in their hearts and a smile on their face. How do you end your conversation to make sure everyone leaves with a smile?
Throughout the years I have started many habits that, at this point, almost unconsciously allow me to live a positive and amazing life. I encourage you to do the same. Yours will not be the same as mine, but that is the fun of it. There are little things that only you may know about, that will bring a smile to your face. The goal is to add so many to your life that on any given day you are doing several of them. I realize this may seem a bit vague, so allow me to give you a few of my personal examples and it may help you get the ball rolling.
Like many of the tools that I use and teach, many of these “Little things” came to me by accident. One of the first ones that I can remember doing involved working at the post office. One of the busiest times we had when I worked up front with the customers was tax filing time. Unlike the holiday season, when people usually have a little joy in their heart for what they are mailing, tax time has very little of that joy. One elderly lady was giving me a personal history of how the government took advantage of her. This may or may not have been exaggerated on her behalf. The government does a lot of strange things. Whether they focus on elderly women in the village of Greendale Wisconsin is hard to say. After listening to this our entire transaction, the time came to affix the postage. I looked in straight in the eye and asked with a serious expression, “Would you like to me use love stamps on this?” I thought this would be a fun and sarcastic form of silent protest. She, however, was not in on the joke. She suggested several suggestive drawings that I would not have guessed would come out of the mouth of an elderly woman. I mentioned this might lead to being audited and we left it at that. The idea of putting love stamps on bills seemed so ironic and silly, I started doing it. The few bills I mail now would get one.
Whether your “little things” involve throwing coins in a wishing well, or saying hello to a large statue of a rooster (things I may or may not admit to doing) you should find small things that bring you joy. In my first book, I mention I used to say hello to a heard of cows as I drove to the rural office I was postmaster of. Of course the cows did not understand me, but that was not the point. It was a “little thing” that I did that brought me joy. For myself, little things involving nature seemed to bring an extra amount of joy. You don’t have to do these out loud if you are worried about people questioning your sanity. At this point I am far from worrying about such a thing, so I say “Hello” to animals I meet, and have other fun actions that make me smile.
If you have enough of these in life, you are always doing something that makes you smile inside. Another thing that is almost guaranteed to work, is to make someone else smile. Even if they do not appreciate your attempts, knowing you did your best to bring a smile to the face of someone else will put a smile in your heart. It also has a funny way of coming back to you. In addition to finding the people you are nice to return the favor, people around you will begin to see how you treat others and this will begin to spread. Find your “little things” and start doing them today. If it brings you joy and does not harm others, do it as often as you can!
In every day, there is a reason to smile. Sometimes we have to search harder than on other days. I would love to know your reason for smiling today. If we all share we can discover many more reasons to smile. So, what is your reason for smiling today?
Today is a day that I look forward to all year long. It is the first day of our state fair. Just something I have always enjoyed since I was a young child. I prepare for this all year long. I buy tickets ahead of time to save money, plan what day I’m going with who. We even plan what new foods we are going to try. This extends the joy even longer.
What event do you have in your life that you look forward to every year? Are there ways you can extend the enjoyment of it? Maybe take videos while it is happening to watch later? Look at pictures? Wear a t-shirt? Whatever it is, use that to extend your joy and live life to the fullest!
Oh, and if you happen to be at the Wisconsin State Fair, stop and say “Hello” to Margie and me!
As we look to finish the week strong, let us remind ourselves to keep our perspective fresh and positive. That does not mean pretending the challenges of life are not there. It simply means focusing on the blessings. It also means having faith that those challenges will eventually turn around.
Keep a mind full of joy and a heart full of faith my friends
This weekend, do as many things as you can think of to make you feel good about yourself. As long as it doesn’t harm others, go right ahead! Even if they seem silly, do them anyway.
Spend as much time as you can making yourself feel good. Notice how much better you will feel come Monday!
While it is important to focus on what we put into our bodies in terms of food, the is a lot more to our daily diet than that. What do I mean? What is your daily diet of self-care? What is your daily diet of activities to improve your physical health? How about improving your mental health? How about your spiritual health? What about your daily diet of information?
Above you will find some good suggestions to include in your daily diet. However, I suggest taking a look at your own diet. What is your daily diet for self-care? If it is nothing, you may find yourself feeling drained and uninspired. How about your daily diet when it comes to physical health? If it is not good, you will feel tired and may find yourself sick more often. This holds true on mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well.
What about your daily diet of information? Do you spend your morning commute listening to some political talk radio that gets your blood pressure boiling? Maybe you spend and hour every night watching the news and feeling depressed and hopeless? What if you spent that hour listening to something that would give you tools and strategies to succeed? You could include something that would inspire you and make your heart soar!
What does your daily diet look like? Could you benefit by including any of the items listed above? Please share what items you are going to add to your daily diet to improve your life in the comments below.
With all of the negative news on television, it is easy to get trapped and bogged down with feelings of negativity, overwhelm, and hopelessness. Ask yourself this very important question – what has watching, reading or listening to something negative and fear mongering ever got you? Chances are it was the three emotions mentioned earlier.
These negative stories come to us everywhere! On our television sets, on our computer screens, they even go with us courtesy of news alerts on our cell phone! My suggestion? Turn them all off! Replace them with something positive and motivational.
You may say, “but Neil, I need to know what is going on in the world!” Two things of note here. If it is important enough, it will make its way to you anyway. Also, it is more important to focus on what is going on in YOUR WORLD. You can always get a weather app to know if it is going to rain. Why let others decide what you are going to focus on? Especially, if it doesn’t bring you joy? Just turn it off!
When was the last time you asked yourself the very important question, “how can I enjoy life?” I mean actually sat down and mapped out a plan to enjoy life more. It has been quite a while for me. Considering the extent our emotional well-being affects our quality of life, you would think it would be something we ask ourselves often. Yet, it is a question we not only rarely map out an answer to, but hardly ever ask.
I believe the reason we do not place more of our focus on what brings our hearts joy, is because we have been trained to focus on getting things done. Especially in Western society, the focus has been more material. Get that good job. Get that promotion. Get that new car. I’m not here to tell you that having a goal you are working on is a bad thing, quite the opposite. I just believe you should also focus on enjoying the process.
Would you feel that you were a success if you had a great job, a great car, a fancy house and all that money could buy but were miserable? I’m guessing the answer would be no. Material gains are of little value if we are bankrupt emotionally and spiritually. One of the secrets of being happy is being grateful for what you have. Combine this ‘attitude of gratitude’ with the desire to have something better and you have a successful formula for most areas of your life.
Take your relationships for example. If your sole focus is “This relationship should be better.” You are going to feel miserable. Conversely, if your thought is “I am so grateful to be in this relationship. I wonder how I can make it even better?” That will give you an entirely different feeling!
Same holds true for your job. If your thought everyday is “This job sucks!” I can tell the morning commute will not be that much fun. If,however, you say yourself, “I am grateful to have a job. I wonder how I could enjoy it more?” Even if you really want a different job, you can still say to yourself, “I am grateful to have a job while I am pursuing a vocation that speaks to my soul”
In all areas of your life,please remember to include enjoying the process. We spent 80% of our life in the process. If we can find a way to enjoy that, we quite possibly come close to enjoying 100% of life. Try asking yourself today, “what can I do to enjoy my life more?” I would love to hear some of your answers in the comments below!