IF IT ISN’T 1 THING…

Here I sit at Starbucks writing my second book (and presently this blog post). You will notice a copy of my first book on the right, and a double espresso and a green tea on the left. In addition there is a card from my lovely lady that encourages me. I keep in in my keyboard so the first thing that enters my mind as I begin to write is the wonderful lady I have at home. It also helps me stay connected with her as writing, even in a crowded coffee shop, is a fairly solitary endeavor.

This is not a story about coffee, or even the wonderful lady I have in my life…well…kind of. The title of the book I am working on is called Living the Dream. It has been in the works for roughly 3 years. A good portion of it is complete, but there still seems to be some work to do. Allow me to share with you something I have learned in the creation of this book. One of the biggest secrets to living the dream is understanding you already do. What on earth does that mean? Look at my set up, I have a laptop, coffee, tea, a woman who loves me and I am working on my dream of helping to inspire the world. All of this is a dream come true.

Let us spin this a different way. It may also be said after two decades in the self-improvement field which has included writing a book, writing posts on a website five days a week for over 5 years, appearances on several podcasts and radio and television shows, book signings, author festivals and live seminars. After all of this I am still not close to where I want to be. This is all true as well and I must confess is my outlook more often than it should be.

The secret is looking at life the first way. At this point you may very well be thinking “Neil, this sounds like one of those ‘glass half full’ speeches!” In a way you would be right. Both situations are true, but depending on which one we focus on life has an entirely different feeling and flavor. When we focus on what we have we tend to feel more abundant and joyful. When we focus on what we lack we feel depressed and poor. A successful life is about feeling good. If you find yourself thinking it is more about the fancy cars, big house and large bank account you are only partly right. Why do we want those things after all? It is for the feelings they will give us. The fancy cars may make us feel powerful, the big house significant and the large bank account may give us a sense of freedom or at the very least security. There is nothing wrong with the goal of having all of those, but what if you could work on developing the feelings they would give you while you pursue them.

Think of this, if your emotional well-being is tied to material objects or situations than it can disappear as quick as it came. Maybe even quicker. While you are saving up for the fancy car and big house perhaps you can begin to feel significant by creating joy in the lives of others. While looking to better yourself financially, find security in the relationships of your family and friends. What good are all of the ‘things’ in life if by the time you have them you have no peace and joy in your heart to enjoy them?

By all means write down your goals. Get an image of that car or house. Start your vision board to help create that reality. It will keep you moving forward and give purpose to your life. While you are doing that do not forget to find joy in the process and stay grateful for that which you do have. We spend most of our lives in the journey if we can enjoy that it makes the destinations that much more rewarding when we get there.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN VEGAS??

It is a little past noon as I write this. I’m sitting in Urban Joe’s, a quaint coffee shop in West Allis, Wisconsin where I live. Curtis, a very charming and congenial young man is working with his wife Danielle. It would seem to be the prefect Monday, with one exception – Las Vegas.

Last night was the deadliest shooting in US history. 58 innocent people lost their lives. People on the television as well as in the coffee shop are musing as to what the motive may be and how could this even happen. Questions you may be asking yourself.

Routinely I am asked if the world seems to be getting worse. We hear about terror attacks across the globe and right next door. The level of divide between people seems to be growing.

To me the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I believe, sadly, this sort of violence has been around nearly as long as mankind has. If we review the pages of history we can easily find examples of that. What has changed is the ‘closeness’ of the world. We can hear what happened across the globe seconds after it has transpired. We also hear about every incident. News that used to be relegated to the town it occurred in can now be viewed online by someone half way around the world.

There are two things I would like point out at this time. First is not to give in to the going of fear being pushed on us by the media. Let us not start treating each other with harshness based on judgements we have come to from world events. When we hear about certain groups of people perpetrating crimes it is easy to fall victim to the temptations to pass that judgement on to others who may belong to that group. The only way for us to overcome the social challenges that face us is through treating each other with love, respect and compassion. An “eye for an eye” mentality can only lead us to a blind world.

While we are on the subject of solutions, let us explore how we can help ourselves not feel overwhelmed by all the negative news we are exposed to. This is something I first wrote about in 2012 and several times sense. I refer to a story shared by one of my favorite philosophers, Mr. Fred Rodgers. He once shared a story of asking his mom about the negative news on the television. His mom gave him advice I think we could all use today. She told him, quite simply, “Look for the helpers.”

In the wake up both this tragic event, the recent hurricanes and earthquakes we have seen a flood of people rushing to help from across countries, to across the globe. These heroic efforts can get lost in the deluge of reporting on the Loss of property, lives and love for our fellow humanity. I encourage you to dig deep and read a few of these. See even in the darkest hours of humanity there are always beacons of light. Stay in love and light my friends.

WHY THIS MAN IS MY HERO 

 Ok, this actual man is not my hero. He does share a resemblance to the man i am about to tell you about. 

I had to stop by my work to fill out some medical papers today. Right next door is the bank i usually go to. While i was making my way home I saw an old ma’am struggling to get through the door with his walker. I was just about to get out and help the man, but what I saw next both made my heart soar and brought a tear to my eye. 

The doors of the bank are fairly heavy and this man was just standing there with his walker holding it open. Why? That question was answered shortly when an elderly lady in much better shape came through the door only to stop and give the man a kiss. It gets even better! The man slowly made his way across the parking lot to his car. He went to the passenger side and i assumed he was driving. What I saw next made me tip my hat to this man. He walked there just to open her door. 

These days you hear about celebrity couples breaking up just because they can’t agree on colors of paint! Lately I’ve heard more details than I ever care to about Rob K and Blac Chyna.

In the middle of things like the bachelor and revenge porn, it was good to see an example of powerful love. This man, despite his limitations insisted on being a gentleman. To me, that makes him a hero. 

WHAT MOTIVATES ME

Screenshot_20170630-170002

Some things in life are oddly simple yet go completely unaware. Take the issue of personal motivation. Different things motivate different people. There are people who do things for money. There are people who do things to feel significant. The “carrot” is different for everyone.

Allow me, if you will, to share my personal story and then we will look at how we can apply this to our lives and use it to make them even more amazing.

Much like some of you, what motivates me has changed through the years as I have grown older and hopefully matured. What really motivates me now is making a difference in people’s lives as well as the world as a whole. Being able to see that is what keeps me writing. Do not misunderstand me, book royalties, and speaking fees sure are nice, but when I read a comment online about how what I have written impacts someone’s life or hear from someone one in person who shares their story with me that is why I continue to work so hard at researching and bringing you the best tools to reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of ourselves. If I were to make a great fortune doing this and never know that it make a difference there would be no motivation for me to continue.

How does all this affect our lives and how can we use it to improve our lives? Staying motivated daily can give us energy to accomplish great things in our lives, the lives of others and the world we all share. How do we manage to stay motivated, especially on the really tough days? There are a few simple steps taken with some inner reflection that can have us waking up with more energy and vitality than ever before.

The first step is where the inner reflection comes into play. Figure out what is our principle motivation in life. Do we work just for the money? Chances are if you reflect on this for a while the answer is not so cut and dry. Perhaps you work for the freedom the money affords you. The freedom to purchase what you want, or do want you want. Maybe you work because the money allows you to support your family? I was speaking to a friend of mine who has spent their entire life as a server in the restaurant industry. A lot of people would either ask him why he didn’t try to “go further in life” or consider him a failure. When I asked him why he stayed in the hospitality field in the role of a server his answer was simple. He told me he likes the impact he can have on people’s lives. He makes very decent money, but to him that was not what was important. When you do this exercise I suggest grabbing a pen and a piece a paper. Write down what is important to you.

Now that have our motivation a little more clear, what do we do with it? Find a way to make it measurable. This can often be tricky, especially with the less material. How do you measure the job you are doing taking care of your family? Sometimes giving yourself a ‘grade’ or rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 can help. Maybe illicit the help of others. Ask your spouse how good of a partner you are doing. Being honest with yourself here helps. If there happens to be a day you think you did not live up to your own standards, use that for motivation.

Here is the third and final step, put more of what motivates you into your life. Some of that has been accomplished with the second step, but find ways to take it further. In my personal example I encourage others frequently to offer their input on my writing. This post and letting people know that hearing from them and learning how my writing impacts their life is what motivates me will help. Also, knowing the more my writing improves, the greater the chance that I will write something that will touch someone keeps me working to improve my writing. Knowing that I can help someone enjoy their life more and bring a smile to their face and heart motivates me to research more ways of doing just that so I can share them with all of you.

I would love to hear what motivates you and how you plan to include more of that in your life. When we do we wake up with a drive and sense of purpose that makes life a lot more fun to live!

I DARE YOU….

Are you someone who likes to take on a challenge? Are you someone who can’t say ‘no’ to a dare? Then you are just the person I want to talk to! In the following paragraph I have a very unique 7 day challenge, or dare if you will, for anyone willing to try. This idea was inspired from one of my favorite books The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. This book was written in 1962 but is timeless in its wisdom. What I like most about this book is that it reminds us that we do not need to learn any new or secret formulas, we do not need to rely on luck or good fortune, but that the power to change our lives lies literally between our own two ears. The real challenge is learning how to access and harness that power. What you are about to learn is the first very basic steps to doing just that.

We have all heard that we use only a small fraction of our brains. (I have heard anywhere between 2 and 10 percent) What this exercise does is allow you to access and make use of some of that hidden potential. It, in essence, puts your mind to work for you. Your brain can be likened to an iceberg. Only the top 10% of an iceberg is what we see sticking out of the water. The bulk of, or remaining 90%, is under water. Same with our mind. Our conscious, or reasoning mind. The one we use on a daily basis to decide what kind of pizza to order is only 10%. Our subconscious mind the one that keeps our heart beating, our immune system working as well as stores all of our memories is the remaining 90%.

What we will do here is begin to but that part of our brain to work for us. That is the part of our mind that is active 24/7. It never takes a break, even when we are sleeping.

How do we access this amazing storehouse of knowledge? I am going to give you and easy and fun way to do just that. I encourage, dare, challenge or whatever word would get you to try this, to do this for 7 days and astound yourself with the results. One word of caution. The method I am going to give you, which is based on the teachings of Dr Murphy, will seem almost too easy. You must remember, just because something is easy does not mean that it is not effective or powerful. In this case that couldn’t be further than the truth. Give this an honest 7 day effort. Not only will you discover a new powerful force, but you will begin to transform your life!

Here is the method. Pick one area of your life that you would like to improve. For these 7 days keep it to just this one area. If we try to do too many at once it is like getting into a taxi cab and giving the driver 6 different sets of directions. Not only will you most likely not get anywhere, you may be kicked out of the cab. So keep it to one area. This could be your job you are unhappy with. Perhaps your financial situation? Is there a relationship that could use some improvement? Actually, it doesn’t even have to be an area that is struggling, but just one you would like to improve. Maybe you love your job, but would like a raise or promotion? You and your spouse love each other but of course there is always room for more love. Trust me, even when I think I am going to explode with love, my Margie finds new ways to bring more love. This works for health challenges as well. Is there a condition you are suffering with? Maybe one you would just like to improve?

Ok, now we have picked our one area, here is where the magic begins. Every evening before bed (you can do this first thing in the morning or several other times but always do it right before you sleep) Get yourself in a very relaxed state of mind. Then begin to picture the solution to your area of concern. Do not focus at all on the problem, but solely on the solution. For example, if it is a health challenge you are working on just picture yourself in perfect health and vitality doing what you would be doing. Play a mental movie in your mind. Make it as real as you can. Feel how you would feel, hear yourself talking as you would should the situation be to your liking. If you are seeking a raise, picture your boss coming up to you with a smile, hear his voice congratulating you. When you have got this movie clear and you can really feel as if it were so repeat the following “My subconscious mind is now bringing this into being. I am so grateful to have this in my life. a river of abundant health, wealth and vitality flows through me. It is so” Feel free to tailor that to your specific desire, but affirm it is so and feel good about it.

Do this for 7 days and feel free to share the results you have gotten back here to help inspore others.

GO BAREFOOT!!!

I learned a great secret! The other day my lady was cooking up a delicious meal and I decided to sit in the sun and read one of my favorite books. About halfway through my time reading I decided to take off my shoes and put my feet in the grass. I had not done that in years. In our busy lives we can become disconnected with some of life’s simple pleasures.

Between the good book I was reading and the feeling of the grass between my toes I felt amazing. What have you not done in a while? I suggest revisiting different aspects we have gotten away from. I also suggest getting back in touch with nature. Is there a favorite tree you like? Get out and walk up to it. Grab the kids or the one you love and go for a walk in the park. Maybe just go for a stroll yourself noticing nature. Hear the songs of the birds. Feel the wind blowing against your skin. See the trees on the horizon and notice how beautiful they are. Literally stop and smell the flowers.

Please share with us things you haven’t done in a long time that you may enjoy. Take those shoes off and walk around the grass!

BE A WORLD CHANGER

If there is one thing I have learned in my two plus decades of talking to people in all different walks of life, it is this – people want to feel significant. This does not always mean being the ‘coolest kid on the block’, but just loved and valuable. Some people like to be the ones who make the biggest impact in the lives of others, some just want to make the biggest impact in one person’s life.

When helping people find their passion in life one of the questions I often ask is “If you had a billion dollars to pursue whatever vocation you want, what would it be?” Lately I have asked individuals to think what change they would like to make that would affect a billion people. I have heard a lot of different answers. I have heard everything from ending hunger, supplying clean water, providing education and comfort to helping people improve their fashion sense.

My suggestion for today would be to answer these two questions. Once you have an idea of what kind of change you would like to make, do it for one person. If your dream is to end world hunger, try feeding one person who needs help. Want to offer comfort and inspiration? Go to your local VA hospital and try reading to, or just listening to some of the great people there.

Mother Teresa advised us to “Do small things with great love.” I can personally tell you in my own life the small things have made some of the biggest difference. With the encouragement of my friends Carmen, Alysa, and Kristina I started this blog and published my book A Happy Life for Busy People Now I am reaching people in over 100 countries. With the encouragement (or more like insistence when it comes to my stubborn brain) from my lady Margie I now have a YouTube Channel as well as offer live seminars reaching an entirely different group of people.

The point of that is these people inspired one person, me. Their inspiration has touched the lives of everyone who reads my blog or book, attends a seminar or watches one of my YouTube videos. When you change the world for one person it has a ripple effect. In essence, the easiest way to positively affect the world, is the positively affect the life of one person.

Change the world today. Begin with the life of just one person and watch it grow. Feel free to share your ideas of ways we can positively affect the lives of others in the comments below to help give other readers some great ideas.