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.
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.
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!
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!
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”
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.
This little project takes a few minutes, but to be honest can offer years of rewards. Everyone, no matter how positive or enlightened has a bad day. Just the other day I was informed my job may be eliminated. It happens, sometimes outside circumstances throw us for a loop. What to do then? There are steps we can take to ‘soften the blow’ of these less than cheery days. Working with either your gratitude journal, or vision board is far more effective when you are in a positive state of mind. So I strongly suggest in being proactive and having several tools ready for days when we are just not on top of our game, for whatever reason.
Music has a strong influence over how we think and feel. Everyone has different tastes. In fact, my sister and I regularly debate the merits of different musical artists. Weather you like rock or country, jazz or hip-hop, there are songs we all enjoy dancing to and that make us feel happy and alive. Now I’m not talking about just songs like “Don’t worry, be happy” although if that works for you, use it. One of my favorite is “Toes” by Zac Brown as it makes me think of a tropical vacation. Whatever your taste, take time to compile a list of all the songs that inspire you. This can be done in an afternoon or over several days. Then either burn them all onto a cd, or add a playlist to your favorite mp3 player. My only caution is to avoid songs that contain angry or negative lyrics. Not to say that music does not have merit, I certainly find some to be great for working out to, but in this case keep it happy and uplifting. Then when sad, angry or anxious feelings come knocking, as they do for us all, you have an hour or so of music that can alter your state. Now I am not saying this will fix or even change whatever is the cause of your feelings, but it can but you into a better state to deal with them. Combine this with some of the other tools we have listed or that are yet to come and you will conquer whatever life will throw at you! Stay strong, stay positive my friends!