BECOME A FARMER

On any given day life can find us short on feelings of motivation and inspiration. A good deal of my work involves helping people become the best versions of themselves. One of the biggests hurdles is remaining motivated and inspired to keep working on improving yourself. For that very reason, this blog focuses on helping to motivate and inspire, but today we are going to take it a step further. How can you take inspiration and motivation a step further? We will do so by finding something that will increase the length and intensity of being inspired. This seems like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to feel inspired more often and to a greater degree? I think we all would.

My family two generations ago were mostly farmers. This is Ironic as I struggle to keep my house plants alive. As you read this I have a spider plant that is nearing the end. One of the great things I admire about farmers is how much their work can affect so many. One farm can grow enough food to feed the entire community or more depending on the size of the farm. Taken on a smaller scale, even one apple tree can yeild many apples to be enjoyed by others. Both of those examples started with one person planting a seed in the ground. In this way I have learned that I could still carry on my family legacy of farming. By planting seeds.

This may all sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. The great secret I have discovered in my 20 plus years working in the self-improvement field is the greatest way to become inspired is to inspire others. When I first got started in the field of self-improvement I did so because my life was the one that needed improvement. I began by listening to tapes (It was 20+ years ago) of Tony Robbins. I liked what he said and so I began to try some of the things he suggested. Low and behold they worked! I began to read more self-improvement authors such as Wayne Dyer, Deepok Chopra and others. I wrote down what worked best for me from each person. Often, it was a combination of principles from several people. Sometimes I tweaked them based on my own personal experience.

It was suggested by a friend of mine to begin sharing these tips on a website. I never thought of myself as a teacher in the beginning. I was simply sharing what I read. To a great deal, this is still what I do today. As the years passed I began to see common threads that ran through all of the teachings I read. I tried to break everything down to these core principles. That began my writing which two years after starting my website lead to my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. This same formula followed as I began to watch motivational videos, then started my own YouTube channel. I attended several seminars and soon realized I should offer one of my own.

In each of the these cases I have learned that the best way to be inspired is to inspire others. To plant the seed of motivation as it was planted in me by people like Earl nightingale, Eric Thomas, Les Brown and more. To watch that seed blossom into something wonderful in someone you have reached is one of the most amazing things that can happen. When we are in each other’s company we are all planting seeds. They can be either seeds of gossip or seeds of joy. Whatever you plant, in others, or even in yourself will grow. Especially if you nuture it. Be a farmer of inspiration today.

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

WHAT ARE YOU TAKING TIME FOR?

When I first read the above picture I had to take a second and appreciate how profound that actually is. Sure, we all like to vent and sometimes that is very helpful, but how far is too far when it comes to venting? If you find yourself spending more time finding ways to complain and share your pain and unpleasant emotion state with the rest of the world than actually working on a solution to change your situation, that is too far.

If you look at the above example we could learn a lot. The first thing, feel like sh*t, some people like to just stay in this state. I could never understand that. If I am upset, angry, sad or any other unpleasant emotion I will do anything to change that state.  If it doesn’t work, then I will do something else, if that doesn’t work… well you get the idea.

The second item is complaining. Again, venting is one thing, but dwelling on it is certainly another. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and speakers put it this way, “Don’t bother telling other people your problems. 80% don’t care and 20% are glad it’s you.” This sounds cynical, but it is true. Unless you think the person you are telling your problems to can help you, tell them something you are grateful for instead. It will help both of you feel better.

The third item, checking social media. If you are already in a bad mood adding the drama of others, or reading any unpleasant news would only serve to bring you down further. You would be better served visiting a motivational website, or reading a good book.

Let us look at the solutions they offer. Meditate. It can help you feel more relaxed and think clearly. It can offer a different perspective on your situation. It brings down your heart rate, releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals and creates an overall sense of well-being. Going hand in hand with meditating is writing in your journal. Anyone who knows me even a little knows how much of a fan of journaling I am. A journal is like a therapist that is always open and does not charge a great amount of money to listen to you. Much like meditating, it can offer clarity and a sense of release.

Writing down what you are grateful for and your goals can work in two amazing ways as well. Focusing on what you are grateful for can change your feeling from lack to abundance and from sadness to joy quicker than just about anything else I know. Goals will not only change your focus on whatever crappy situation you are in presently to the fabulous situation you want to be in, but will also get you moving. Instead of focusing on where you don’t want to be, which is feeling bad, you can focus on where you want to be. By doing so actions that will bring you closer to that will come in to focus as well. So, next time you find yourself tempted to do any of the first three things on the list, try instead to do one of the last three and notice the difference.

THE MAN (OR WOMAN) IN THE MIRROR

This week is all about areas that affect our lives in a major way. Today we are going to talk about the person looking back at us in the mirror. It is time to give them a fresh look. When you see yourself in the mirror, what do you see? More importantly, how did you come to that opinion? If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? What if you could change that description? Even change parts of you that you may think could never be changed?

It is amazing when I hear people tell me “I am a procrastinator.” or “I am just not a happy person.” My first question is “Really? When did you decide that?” They will either give me one of those looks people give you when you ask thought provoking questions they do not expect, or I receive answers that include the following, “I didn’t decide, that is just who I am.” “I don’t know I have always been that way.” Sometimes an especially introspective individual will share with me some event from their childhood, or maybe their last relationship that prompted this belief. I listen carefully and calmly tell them, “Actually you did choose to be that way and you did so this morning.” Again, more crazy looks.

Here is the uncomfortable truth a lot of us do not like to consider. We choose daily who we are. If you are a person who is always running late, when could you decide to change that? If you are a person who was hurt by an uncaring person in your last relationship, when can you begin to deal with and heal from those experiences? The answer is right now. Let me assure you, I am not trying to make light of anything you have been through. I know a lot of you have been through very painful experiences. Allowing them to continue to hurt you, or to force you to live your life stunted, not experiencing the fullness of joy and love that is available to you is a choice we must make, consciously or unconsciously, every morning when we wake up. It may take seeking professional help or just reaching a point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, but you are the one who must choose who looks back at you in the morning.

Some of us have even allowed others to tell us who we are. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and motivational speakers was told throughout his childhood he was educable mental retarded. It took an embarrassing moment of having to tell the teacher he was too ‘dumb’ to solve a problem on the chalkboard to change his life. What the teacher told him not only changed his life, but can change ours as well. The teacher walked around the desk, looked right into his eyes and said, “Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” Read that statement a few times. You may even want to print it out and hang it somewhere.

A lot of us were told by well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) teachers, parents and others growing up that we were not so good at this, or never will amount to that. I personally recall my senior year in high school my English teacher telling me, “I hope to God you never have a career in writing.” I have a website with about 800 posts and am about to publish my second book. More importantly, I have touched the lives of countless of people and will reach even more in the future. What if I listened to that teacher, and several classmates I might add, what would have happened? I never would have attempted to set up a website. I never would have believed I could write a book let alone more than one. All the lives I have helped? I never would have been able to reach them. Just thinking of that gives me a sadness in my heart.

Here is what I suggest. Take some quality time by yourself and think about who you would wish to be. Write down the ideas you come up with. It is vital you do NOT consider your current situation when coming up with this list. If I had done so back in my senior year, becoming a best-selling author and speaker would have never made the list. When you come up with your list take a good hard look at it. Then, take a look at that person in the mirror. Read this list to yourself every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to bed.

Next time you reach for that twinkie, think of your list. If ‘I am a healthy vibrant individual’ is on there, you might want to give that a second thought. If you choose to eat that twinkie, remember you have made that decision. If you need help, seek help. Remember you and only you should define the kind of person you wish to be. It is time to take control of the person we see in the mirror. Tomorrow we look at another way in which we can gain leverage on ourselves and help move us in the direction we are wishing to go.

HELP ME, HELP YOU

Here’s what I love – INSPIRING AND HELPING PEOPLE!!

How do I do that? There are live events, but if you have a busy schedule, like most of us, or don’t want to travel, FEAR NOT! You can benefit from my years of wisdom without leaving your home!

HOW?

there is – http://www.secret2anamazinglife.com – where you will find over 700 articles to learn from and be inspired!

Don’t like, or don’t have time to read? Check out my YouTube channel Neil Panosian. I invite you to subscribe for videos that are entertaining, inspiring and may enlighten you to new and exciting possibilities! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh7SnwBeP_wFq7YBQnLv-QA

Here is the link for my channel

Help me help you. Subscribe to one or both of the FREE sources listed above and begin to change your life for the better!

EASY(ER) SUCCESS

This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?

Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i  ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives. 

What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our  actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people. 

These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help. 

Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.

SOMETIMES WE NEED IT TOO 

Last post we talked about encouraging others. We hopefully came to an understanding of how important that is. I think by doing so others are also more inclined to do the same for us. Still it is very important to make the conscious effort to include encouraging people in our inner circle. Sometimes the critics will often get the best of us. It could be a demanding boss with unreal expectations. It could be a condescending parent or spouse. It could be a jealous coworker. It could even be the worst critic we all have – the inner critic -. Let me give you two examples of how important having someone who believes in you can be.

First, I want to talk about Les Brown. For those of you who do not know Les Brown he is one of my favorite motivational speakers. He has spoke to over 100,000 people in Atlanta. He has spoke to several corporations and celebrities. What does any of this have to do with us and having people believe in us? A lot. Les Brown said the hardest thing he has had to do in his life is believe he could do what he is now doing. He was born in a poor part of Miami on a floor and given up for adoption at 6 weeks old. He was adopted by a single mother who could barely support herself much less her children. In school he was labeled mentally challenged and failed 2 grades. So how did he succeed? Two very important people came into his life. A high school teacher who told him something I love – “Never let someone’s opinion of you become your reality” – think about that for a moment. Also he had a friend named Mike Williams who kept encouraging him to become a speaker. Les kept arguing the reasons he could not. He had no college education. He had never worked for a major corporation, and so on. One day Mr. Williams hung up on his friend Les. When Les called him back to inquire if they had accidentally become disconnected, Mike Williams told him indeed he had hung up on him and explained as long as he argued for his limitations he might as well keep them. After that Les thought about it and tried his hand at speaking. Today he gets paid more for one speech than most of us get paid in a year thanks to a principle he describes this way, “Sometimes you have to believe in someone’s belief in you until you can believe in yourself”.

The second example is a little closer to home. I knew a man who worked 2 jobs both in the retail and bar business. He had a genuine desire to make people happy and did just that with the jobs he had. It was then suggested to this young man that if he could perhaps write down and share his ideas on either say a blog site or in a book he could touch a lot more lives. Although the idea of helping people beyond the scope of his immediate influence really appealed to him he told himself that a simple postal worker and bartender could never write a book that would influence people in a positive fashion or that any of the online content he could come up with would interest anyone around the corner much less around the globe. Still with the belief and pushing from a few close friends that man has a book published and available on amazon called A Happy Life for Busy People and his blog is followed in over 60 countries at last count. In addition that young man met a supportive and encouraging young lady who was creative in her own right and recognized this man’s talent and continued to push and encourage him to start his own YouTube Channel and begin teaching seminars and public speaking? What happened to those two? As you read this I am attending the best of Milwaukee awards to hopefully collect the award for best Milwaukee Author for which I am nominated. I am doing so with my lovely lady who next year will assuredly take home the award for best wedding cake designer.

There is no doubt in my mind neither Les Brown or myself would not have shared any of what we had inside of us if it were not for the wonderful souls who pushed and encouraged us along the way. So make sure you include several folks who believe in the best in you and will push and encourage you to bring it out.

A QUICK REMINDER

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Let us take a quick break from the ‘P’ words today to touch on a subject that has been showing up a lot in messages and a comments on here and my Facebook and YouTube channel. The subject is this, what do you do when you are pushing to just get by, or maybe even doing something truly great and wonderful for society and the bottom falls out? You are on the edge of success and then you fall back to rock bottom.

This feeling sucks. There is no other way to put it. So what can we take away from this situation? Remember two very important things. One, you are further along than you were yesterday. Oh sure the outside evidence may seem contrary. You may have less money, be further away from your goal, your relationships may seem more distant. The truth is you now have gained experience. You now have went through the failure. That gives you new information and motivation you did not have before. Even if it is only how bad it feels and how much you want to get out of it.

The second thing to remember is sometimes we cannot get out of our own way so someone must push us. What do I mean by this? We may be trying really hard to succeed at what we are currently working at, but there are bigger plans for us. Let me give you two examples from famous authors and speakers I admire. Les Brown, who has inspired millions with his words was once a radio DJ. Imagine if he would have just focused on succeeding there? Eric Thomas who reaches millions on YouTube channel and through his books and CDs was once a bus boy at Olive Garden.

The point is this. When you’re at the bottom remember the only way from there is up. You might just being pushed in a new direction. Feel free to share this message with those who are struggling.

YOUR MIND…THE GARDEN

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Yesterday we talked about my recent “dropping the ball”. Today I want to share with you another way of looking at it.  This comes from one of my favorite speakers Les Brown. He compared the mind to the garden. In the garden weeds represent problems. So, in the garden of life we will consider weeds to represent the problems. As we can see above weeds, and problems, do not need any help to grow. They can even grow in the cracks in asphalt. If we left our garden to it’s own devices weeds would surely take over. That may sound crazy to a lot of us. Why, after all, would you go through the problem of setting up a garden, planting a garden and then let nature take it’s course. Oddly enough, that is what most of us do in our lives. We wake up like an accident. No purpose, no focus. Oh sure we plan to go to work, plan to make dinner and a few other things, but those are not part of planting our garden.

Think of a garden, you have to choose what you want it to grow by planting the right seeds. What ideas or projects have you planted in your own life? Then, in our imaginary garden let us say  we planted roses. To raise a beautiful rose there are certain things you have to do. Water it so often, make sure it receives enough sun. Perhaps add some sort of fertilizer. Life is no different. If you have a great idea or project you have planted you must cultivate the proper environment for that idea to grow.

One more thing we have to do in our garden. Weed. If we just left weeds in our garden alone and worried about taking care of our plants they would eventually crowd out and kill our plants. Same in life. You must deal with your problems, or pull the weeds, before they grow and kill your dreams and ideas. So what we have here is a balance. You must tend to your plants in your garden, or your dreams, ideas and projects in your life. You must also spend time removing the weeds in your garden, or addressing and eliminating the problems in your life.

So take a look at your life. Do you have a garden with nothing planted in it? Do you just wake up and go through the motions letting nature take it’s course? Perhaps you have some dreams and goals you planted years ago and never tended to. Perhaps you were so busy trying to pull the weeds out of the garden of your life you forgot to tend to .and fertilize what you were trying to grow. Life is a balance my friends. Let us all work to have a more beautiful garden in 2016

ALL ABOUT FOCUS

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Let’s talk about what I consider one of the greatest skills one can master and that is focus. I used to give a passing fancy to the subject of focus but recent events and conversations with friends has changed the importance of focus. When I started thinking of it and reflecting on my past it became clear how much of a role focus played.

Have you ever felt like you could have 48 hours in a day and still not get everything you need done? I am sure we all have. One major reason we seem to resemble the hamster in a wheel just running in place and not going anywhere is our focus, or should I say lack of focus. You are starting to clean the house, but then you think of something you wanted to check on Facebook. An hour and several videos about your friend’s pets you realize pretty soon you have to start dinner. You start making dinner and a friend sends you a text about going to lunch. You tell her about how you spent all day trying to clean the house and didn’t get anywhere. 12 messages back and forth and dinner is on pace to be served at midnight.

We all have days like this. Myself included. We have all had the opposite days though, haven’t we? You know when we get lost planting the garden and are suddenly interrupted and look up and have all the rows planted. How does this happen? Focus. When we are focused on the end goal and keep that in front of us our actions become more focused. So how do we stay focused on committed to our goal? I have found something that works for me. Two things really. First, whether it is cleaning the house or getting in shape, create a strong ‘Why’ this will be discussed in greater detail in my next book, but here is the nuts and bolts. WRITE DOWN both what you will gain by doing what you are striving for, and what you will lose by not doing it. I know what you are thinking “So you are giving me even more to do, that is not going to help” Well taking five minutes to do this step will save you stress and grief going forward. I capitalized the first part of that statement because writing it down, especially when it comes to a goal that needs to maintain focus on for long periods of time it is essential to not only keep your goal in front of you but the reasons you need to get it done. Then when your cell phone starts talking to you send it right to voicemail. As Eric Thomas one of my favorite motivational speakers says “most of us would be more successful if we gave up our phone” So keep your goals and reasons in front of you. do this for a week and see what happens. There is one more thing you can do that I learned from major league athletes.

If I were to ask you, “who is the greatest of all time?” A lot of us, especially those of us who follow sports think of Muhammad Ali. Why would we think that? Because he told everybody. More importantly he told himself. That is what he focused on, being the greatest of all time. That is what we all need to do. We need to tell each other and ourselves that we are going to accomplish our goals. Les Brown, another one of my favorite speakers tells us to let ourselves “you got the right stuff” Put that on the mirror. There will be more about becoming the legends we were born to be. For now, focus on what you have to accomplish and why and enjoy the ease in which it seems to happen.