A FISH, A RACING PIG AND ALBERT EINSTEIN

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid” – Albert Einstein

This quote from Albert Einstein is one of my favorites. It demonstrates a very important fact that we all could benefit from remembering. We must remember that every person we meet is amazing a special in their own way. Every job is very important. I believe in was Mother Teresa who urged us to do small things with great love.

This point was brought to my attention as I indulged in 2 of my favorite past times. Watching a pig race while attending the Wisconsin State Fair. Pigs are some of my favorite animals. They almost always seem to be enjoying life to the fullest, are the consummate underdog, and are very intelligent. When you are at the fair you can see pigs in many different fashions. Some are in barns on display. These are usually checked out by animal lovers and looked at with distain by city folks sensitive to certain smells. They can be found smiling on many signs and shirts advertising a million different foods and products. A smiling pig is a hard thing for many people to resist. Speaking of food, you can also find pigs in some fashion on a breakfast sandwich, on a burger, or even on a stick.

These definitions are where most people classify pigs. A humble, yet adorable animal. If you put a racing sash on them such as the one above and have them race each other for Oreo cookies something else entirely different happens. Thousands of people pack bleachers to standing room only during the 11 day run of the fair. During their 5 performances a day one can hardly find a seat if you do not get there early. They yell, jump and cheer for their favorite pig to make it around the track first.

What happened? This is the same pig many of those very people would not even go into a barn to see because of the smell. In a different role, however, they became something to cheer for. Something to sit in the hot sun just to watch. People can even buy souvenirs after the race.

In life we all can be like the pigs. Sometimes it can seem the world is against us. It may seem like there is nobody in our corner cheering for us. If it is because we live in a place that resembles a barn and we have an unpleasant odor, the solution is fairly obvious. Most of us, however, are just living the wrong role. Investigate your strengths. think of what you do well. Know what gift you bring to the world and live that. Before long, you too may very well have people lining up to cheer for you.

SURROUNDED BY GREAT FRIENDS 

People are forever asking me how I am able to keep my positive attitude. The first thing I tell them is that it has taken years of consistent actions to get to this point. The payoffs have been more than amazing. There is the practice of focusing on gratitude, there is meditation and journaling. In short, it is not just one thing, but a million little things. If you wish to change your outside, you must first change yourself. Until you change yourself, nothing will change. Once you change yourself, everything changes. Read those last two lines again slowly. Working on yourself is not only the best and quickest way to change your life, but it is the only way.

There is one thing I want to share with you today that can make the journey to self-transformation not only easier, but a lot more enjoyable. Surround yourself with great friends. When I was at my lowest points I looked around and noticed the people I was surrounding myself with were not people one would aspire to be. Your friends need not be perfect, and expecting that of anyone does not make you a good friend. That being said, there are a few qualities you may wish to look for in the people you choose to invite into your life.

First, they must be people genuinely interested in bettering themselves. Often, people who are not improving themselves may attempt to bring you down or hold you back. This is not done with any malice, and maybe not even consciously. The reason is there is a fear that if you do become better you may move away from them. To be honest this is a rather legitimate fear. When you are trying to lose some weight and be healthier you would not want to go out drinking every night. That is not to say you would be leaving your friends, just that you might start having less in common. I was guilty of thinking “I will help my friends improve too.” Here is the problem with that, change has to come from within. If they do not want to change it will be painful at best, impossible at worst. A side-effect might be that they will resent you for ‘trying to change them’. If you surround yourself with people looking to better themselves they may be able to provide you secrets to help your own journey, or at the very least understand the struggles you are going through.

Second, you would want to avoid people who gossip. Instead focus on those friends who do their best to try and see the good in everyone. Sharing your world with people constantly giving you the latest dirt on everyone not only drags you down emotionally, but sooner or later you end up being the one talked about to others.

Here is a little secret I have employed. I have become friends with some of the most famous people in the world. We talk right before bed, they ride along with me on the way to work. How does all this happen? Through books, and audiobooks. Imagine having the words of your favorite sports coach to pep you up on the way to a job interview? Having a hard time forgiving someone? Read the words of Mother Teresa. I am a big fan of Tony Robbins and have purchased several of his products. Tony speaks directly to the listener and it is almost as if he is sitting in the car next to me as we drive along. By the time we get to work I am inspired and ready to go.

So pick some good people and hang on to them. Think of famous people who inspire you and add some of their material to your motivational library. Feel free to mention some of the people who inspire you in the comments below!

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.

LET THE BEAUTY SHINE THROUGH

I took this picture the other day. Immediately I noticed the daisy. It is as if it were growing straight out of the rocks. You could say it is the rocks that made the daisy stand out. If this flower had been in a meadow it may not have grabbed my attention so much. This struck a chord in me. Beauty can often best be appreciated where there is none. For those of you who are a fan of rocks, I apologize and am not calling them ugly. Even if you are a fan of stone formations, you must admit the daisy does jump out in the picture.

This is not a blog about gardening, rocks or flowers, but one about improving our lives and ourselves. So, how do the two come together here? If we pay attention to the media at all we are filled with stories of hate crimes, war and other not so fabulous information. I don’t even watch the news, but see these things as I log into my email. It can make you feel there is no point in trying to be positive, that the world is going in the wrong direction. Even in our daily personal struggles life can seem overwhelming. We take one step forward and can fall three steps back. You can be tempted to throw in the towel and give up. Your life can seem like…well…a pile of rocks.

This is where the picture comes in. In a world, be it personally or globally, that can seem negative at best, hopeless at worst it is easy to just become another ‘rock’. It is also easy to save expressing our beauty around people that we know we receive it well. There are pluses to that. It helps us gain confidence and expressing our beauty anywhere is better than not expressing it at all. When we express our beauty in a place that truly needs it that is when we truly stand out. In fact, it is the very troubles in our lives that can make our beauty the valuable gift it is. Look at the daisy among the rocks. In a field of daisies we would be hard to pick out just one even though they would all add something special.

A real world example I can think of is Mother Teresa. She could have helped any part of the world. What makes us remember her is her choice to help those who were in some of the ugliest situations. She chose to help the people of Calcutta in India. Her foundation, Missionaries of Charity helps those suffering and dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. As well as soup kitchens and orphanages. Those in the foundation take a vow to provide “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”. Wouldn’t it have been easier to teach children of wealthy parents to read? Absolutely. That would have been a noble deed as well. By expressing her beauty in a place that needed it most she did more than give medical attention to the sick and dying, she gave them something far more valuable. She gave them hope and beauty they needed. She was there daisy among the rocks.

Now you do not have to move to a poor country and help the poor (although the world always needs more of that) to take from this example. Just know when you are tempted to give up in the face of negativity and challenge, whether that challenge comes from abroad or right in your own life, be the daisy. Give beauty to a world that so badly needs it.

PLANT TWICE AS MUCH

Rodent

Rodent (Photo credit: thriol)

I am going to share a story with you that I heard listening to one of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Robbins. This is a story about his former father in law that he heard at the man’s funeral. The man was asked what he was going to do about the rodent population in the area. He was asked if he had found a way to kill all of the rodents so they wouldn’t eat all of his crops. After a moment of contemplation the man answered “I’ll just plant twice as much” This struck a chord with me because it is often the choice a lot of us face in life. When there is something that bothers us we are focused on how to ‘get rid of the problem’. I hear this a lot in political circles no matter the party. “We need to get that guy out of office” I usually ask who they would like to see in office. After some look of confusion I usually receive answers to the like of “Anybody would be better” or even the occasional “Having nobody in office would be better” These people are so focused on the problem they have spent little or any time on the solution. I have been just as guilty of this. Before I began this blog I was focused on eliminating as much negativity from the world as I could. Sounds noble enough at first blush, but if you notice I am still focused on the problem, the negativity. I am focused on getting rid of something and thus, giving it all my time and energy. What did I really want? I wanted a more positive world. I heard a Mother Theresa used to say she would never attend an anti-war rally, but would be one of the first at a pro-peace rally. There is a woman who understood how the world worked. So instead of trying to eliminate the negative I decided to increase the positive! I started this blog. I began to be more positive in every aspect of my life and began work on my first book “A Happy Life for Busy People” which should be out in the next few days. The ironic thing about this, once I began increasing the positive the negative began to go away on its own! So next time you face a problem, instead of focusing all your energy on solving the problem, work more on creating a solution. A subtle difference, but a powerful one to be sure! Remember to plant twice as much!

PICK A HERO..

I was reading a very interesting book entitled “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.  In it they give a great idea for staying motivated and providing us an extra tool in living an amazing life.  Pick a hero, someone you aspire to.  If your goal is to give of yourself to those less fortunate, perhaps a picture of Mother Theresa would be good.  If you wish to be a fine leader of men, maybe George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.  Even a picture of your father or mother if they represent the person you wish to become.  Then when challenges arise, as they must in order for us to grow, pull out your picture. If you have it hanging on the wall so you can see it every day, so much the better.  I might suggest hanging it next to your Vision Board.  That way you can have a double dose of inspiration right away.  If you are not sure what a vision board is I welcome you to read that blog post from earlier.  If you need a picture of me, feel free to use the one from my profile page on this site.  In all seriousness, when you are troubled, look at your picture and picture what the person you have chosen would do.  Of course you may need a few of these ‘heroes’ depending on what advice you are seeking.  You may even ask, the picture “Mr. Lincoln (or whoever you have chosen) what would you do?”  Now obviously the picture will not answer and if it does, come back when you have had less to drink, or seek professional help.  What this does do, however, is get our minds both conscious and subconscious focused on the person, who really just represents a set of ideals and values we aspire to, and our own situation.  An answer will not usually come right that second, but sometime throughout the day it may just pop in your head when you least expect it.  I cannot tell you how many times a day things just pop in my head, but in this case it will be something useful.  You may have to ask several times, or sleep on it, but it will sure keep you focused on the way to act that would best achieve your goals. Enjoy your weekend and I will see you on Monday with more secrets to an amazing life!

SMILE

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa has always been a great source of inspiration to me personally.  Her service to people most of the world would rather ignore is to me the definition of compassion.  Like other aspects of her life, this quote gives us a great way to bring light and love to the world.  A lot of people ask me “what’s the big deal with a smile?” I always tell them, if you feel a smile is no big deal then why not share one with everyone?  Let’s be honest, can’t you remember at least one time when you received a smile at a most unexpected time?  Maybe from a stranger?  I must confess to being guilty of not sharing my smile as often as I should, but when I do, it never fails to amaze what doors it opens.  I have made more new friends with a smile, then with most anything else I can imagine.