What is the one word that would change our world? It is the kind word that Mr. Rogers mentions in the quote above. Would it be fair to say that our ‘neighborhoods’ in which we spend our time make up our world? We have our ‘work neighborhood’ made up of our coworkers, bosses, customers, clients and whoever else we come in contact with. These folks make up our neighborhood 40 hours or more of our week. We also have what some would consider our ‘actual neighborhood’ be that our block, our city or however we choose to define it. We even have our ‘family neighborhood’ that consists of the people we share our household with.
Imagine to what degree we could increase the quality of these neighborhoods not just for ourselves, but for those we share them with? A simple kind word could change a cold, uninviting neighborhood to one filled with love and acceptance. Do you think that would make a difference? Do you think it would change how productive that neighborhood would be? How about how supportive and encouraging? Do you think people would act different when they feel more loved and accepted? I believe they would. I also believe we have a moral obligation to offer words of kindness in all of our neighborhoods and to make them the best they can be.
Do your part today. Take Mr. Rogers challenge and offer a word of kindness in your neighborhood. Do it in all of your neighborhoods! Offer one kind word a week and you can positively affect your neighborhood a little. Offer one kind word a day and you can have an even greater effect. Offer words of kindness to everyone you meet and you can be a catalyst for change in any neighborhood you find yourself in. I would love to hear how you positively affect your neighborhood.
I’ve always been a fan of Bob Marley. Well, at least since my friend Kevin introduced me to him many years ago. Although we may differ in our recreational habits, I admire a great deal of his philosophy. Like the quote above. There is one caveat I would add to Mr. Marley’s quote. integrity and positive influence, you couldn’t buy it for all the money in the world. If you do not believe me, try walking into Walmart and asking what aisle integrity is in. I would love to see the look on the face of the employee trying to help you with that one. No, I believe these things are true wealth.
As this week draws to a close, try shifting some of your time spent focused on material gain to increasing your integrity. Not only with others but with yourself. Think of the standards you have. Do you always live up to them? I would say it is difficult to do all of the time and that there is always room for improvement. That is one of the great things about being a human being, there is always room for improvement. Do you always keep your word with others? What else could be included in your definition of integrity?
How about your ability to affect those around you positively? How much do you work on that? Do you just do so in the moment or do you spend some time thinking of it? Do you try to incorporate being a positive influence in every area of your life? That is something I can honestly say I am proud of is that I work very hard to be a positive influence on all of those I come in contact with. Whether that is at the Post Office during my day job, as a writer here on this website or in my books, or even when I am simply ordering a pizza. As mentioned above, there is always room for improvement. I keep trying to find new and better ways to bring joy and positivity to others. Perhaps that is why I order so much pizza, but I digress.
I can honestly say that when I feel I am being my authentic self or a affecting those around me positively, that is when I feel the wealthiest. The better I find myself in these two categories, the wealthier I feel. How do you measure wealth? How do you feel your bank account would add up by Bob Marley’s definition? I would love to hear your answers.
We have discussed in the past that we can have multiple identities, but still be just one person. We have to be one person at work, another at the gym and yet another at home. Still, at the end of the day we are still us. The same can be true of where we live. We must also take a great care of all of the places we live. We are going to look at three of them and, as we do here at Secret2anamazinglife, we are going to give you a bonus location to think about as well. Let us get started.
Your Body. Let us start with this one. No matter where you are sleeping, in a mansion, in a loft in the city or even on the streets, you are sleeping in your body. When you walk or have to do something physical, you are in your body. We take many measures to make our homes the best it can be. We call in a plumber if our pipes are not flowing correctly. Do we do the same for our cardiovascular system? The body’s plumbing? If our power goes out it is a an emergency, but do we make sure to eat and hydrate enough to maintain our body’s energy level? Our body is the home we live in until the day we die. We cannot trade it in for another it would make a great deal of sense to treat it the best we can.
Our World. This one may seem a little too big to control. In some respects that is true. We cannot control what a farmer in the Congo does, or how the market is run in Iraq. Unless, of course, that is our job. Even in that case, there would be lots of other things we could not control. How can we take care of our world then? We can do our part. This may seem like a small thing to do but in reality it is everything. If we recycle in our household it may not stop the pollution of the oceans but what if every family just recycled in their own household? Even if have the families made that one simple step? How big of a difference would that be? You want to live in a cleaner world? Pick up one piece of litter a day. Doesn’t seem like it would do a lot, but that is 365 pieces of garbage a year. If you and your spouse did that it would be 730 pieces of trash. That still may seem like a small amount when you look at the streets about you, but try dumping 730 pieces of garbage on your front lawn and you will see what a difference you are making. Can you imagine if half of the people in the city you live in picked up one piece of litter a day? You would live in the cleanest city ever. You never realize what a great change seemingly small actions make.
Our Mind. Much like the body, we are only afforded one mind in our lifetimes. Despite how many people you feel could really benefit from a lobotomy, they are just not that common. When our minds start to fail us, it is not only hard on us, but on those we love. Wouldn’t it make sense to take the best care of our minds that we can? I am not just talking about learning and keeping them sharp, although that is a big part. When it comes to our mind, rest and fun are just as important. Mixing knowledge with humor is one of the best ways I can think of doing this. I spend hours a day learning and researching, but then Margie and I share jokes with each other and watch a funny movie. Just like any machine, if you push a mind too hard it can burn out. Just like a well-running machine, you need the right fuel as well. If your diet consists of snickers and Mountain Dew or beer and cigarettes exclusively, you will certainly not be operating at your best mental capacity.A healthy nutritional diet with a good amount of physical exercise will help keep us mentally sharp as well.
We have many more homes than the house we live in and it is important we take care of all of them. As I promised here is a bonus location to ponder. We also live in the hearts of others. Think of how you leave people after you have spent time with them. It is important to take care of our homes in the hearts of others. Tell people they are loved and appreciated. Show them love, respect and genuine interest. If we take care of all of our homes, we will feel right at home no matter where we happen to be.
When asked how he continued to work well into his 90s, this quote was the answer that George Burns gave. “Fall in love with what you do for a living. I don’t care what it is. It works.” I came across this quote as I was at work, ironically. I began to think how the vast majority of us, 87% according to surveys, dislike what they do for a living. Several years ago I took this test that was supposed to reveal what it is you should do for a living. There were around 300 questions or so that were to reveal the inner you. Results showed that I was supposed to be a woman of the religious order. I double checked and ‘male’ was checked in the gender box. I do not think it is likely I would succeed as a nun. I wondered how the people I work with not only felt about the job they were doing, but what they would do if given the chance.I decided to ask several of my coworkers that very question, “If money were not a factor and you could do any job you wanted, what would it be?” Their answers not only surprised me, they taught me a very important lesson.
The answers were not at all what I expected. Some people stared at me blankly. Others replied with the standard “I don’t know” Those who took the time to really contemplate the question came up with answers I didn’t expect. You might think everyone wanted to be a famous actor or rock star. In this age of celebrity, you might even think people just wanted to be famous. Not the case at all. Some of the answers I heard were chef, sculptor, and even meteorologist. Personally, my dream job would be a talk show host. Two of my favorite things are drinking coffee and talking to people. As you can see not only were the answers varied, but they also were jobs that others might not find enjoyable.
Here is the conclusion that these answers gave me. People really just want to be happy. It isn’t about the fame or fortune for most of us. We all have different reasons, but we all just want to do something that makes us happy. What I thought was really interesting is that everyone wanted to do something different. If we did all do what it is we loved, we would live in a world that was a much better place. Going to work every day doing something you loved would put you in a great emotional place. As these answers showed me, jobs would be filled, just by people who really had a passion for them. I would encourage each of these people to begin to look at how they may be able to do a version of what they like on the side at the very least. Sculpt something at home, read books and study weather or, in my case, I am going to look at starting a podcast, which is kind of the modern version of a talk show. I would love to hear your answer to this question – If money were not a concern and you could do any job you wanted, what would it be?
Here at Secret2anamazinglife, we always look for simple methods that will have a great positive impact on our lives. One of these easy things to do is to change your perspective. There is so many things in our life that we do almost unconsciously. We drive the same way to work everyday. We tend to frequent the same restaurants. We even tend to see the same people for the same events. We go out to dinner with these people, we go to the ball game with this group of people. Don’t get me wrong, if it works that is a great thing. Sometimes, even when it comes to things that seem to work just fine, it is worth exploring other options. Can you imagine if at the turn of the century people said “These horses seem to be working just fine. Why would we want this automobile thing?”
Another great reason to explore different options is that often our hands are forced. A personal example for me is that I always tend to drive the same way while working at my day job. Recently, they closed the main road I used. I wasn’t sure what roads went through and which provided the smoothest streets, least traffic and best scenery. Why? Because I always drove the same way. The first day I spent a few minutes extra detouring and trying to figure out where I was going. This could have all been avoided had I bothered to try a new route every once in a while. The same is true about people. If you always go to the games with Fred and then Fred moves, then what? There is another important reason to switch this up we will get to next. How about going out to eat? Sure, you always go there for Italian, but what if that business closes or just has a day off? It is good to have options. When you need pizza, you often need pizza!
Another reason to switch things up? It can change the entire experience. One of my favorite places to go is our zoo here in Milwaukee. I have been to many different zoos, and I feel it is one of the best I have been to. The zoo is usually open from 8am to 5pm currently. On this day, they switched it up and had night time hours. Margie and I went and we were able to see things that we normally didn’t see. The animals that were usually active were a little more relaxed and those that were usually sleeping were up and about. We even saw some behaviors not often exhibited during the day. Take the elk going for a swim in the first picture or this bear which not only stood on top of its platform, but ended up climbing the tree. Same zoo that I have been to thousands of times, but I was able to see it in an entirely different light. Do you tend to order the same thing when you go to a certain restaurant? Maybe you are missing out on a dish that you would love even more? What if you went out to the ball game with your friend you usually go out for coffee with? I bet it would be an entirely different experience. Would you agree that the people we do something with often have a greater impact on us than the event we are doing with them? There are people who could almost make going to the dentist fun and then I know people that could even ruin a pizza for me.
Today’s lesson – add a little twist to your life. Change up the route you drive to work. If where you live is anything like where I do, one of the roads is bound to be under construction soon and it would make your life less stressful to have a workable back up plan. Change where you eat, what you eat and who you eat it with. It could open up new worlds for you! Experiencing things in a new way can open up worlds of knowledge and often change the way we look at the world entirely. Even a little shift can be healthy to dust of the cobwebs in our brains. I would love to hear about what things you do to gain different perspectives.
This picture was taken in July of 2013. I just learned that thanks to my beautiful Margie. (She is the breath-taking lady in the photo) It was the day of my very first book signing. That day I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing. Today, July 15th of 2021, will be the book signing for my second book. This time…well I still have no idea what I am doing. What I do know is that it will be a fun event and the lady that I love will once again be right by my side. I am expecting a lot more readers will show up and I will be blessed to share my books with even more wonderful souls.
I am certainly going to share with you how everything turns out, but there is one thing I wanted to mention. I find it interesting how important moments like this serve not only as an opportunity to celebrate, but to reflect as well. Sometimes we need to look back if only to see how far we have come. This book signing was done outside a local coffee shop in the village I used to work in. It was outside and could have been wiped out by some bad weather. Didn’t think of that I suppose. Book signing 2 will be inside of a local brewery and will be immune to the weather.
When I look back, what impresses me most is not that I figured out an inside book signing might be a good idea since books don’t do well in the rain, but all the other things that have changed. When I think about that day of my first book signing, it seems like a completely different lifetime. Not only has the world changed a great deal since then, but more importantly, so have I. Using a lot of the tools I shared with all of you in my first book A Happy Life for Busy People, I transformed my life and myself into something I can be a lot more proud of. I hope to be able to say the same thing in my blog post for my third book signing. My second book, Living the Dream, has so much more information including everything I have learned in the 8 years since my first book.
Although I am finding it great to reflect on all that I have learned and how much I have grown, it also serves as a great motivation to realize there is so much more that I know I don’t know. Read that again slowly, I promise it will make sense. When we reflect on the accomplishments we made and the personal growth we have achieved up to this point in our lives, we should be proud. After taking a moment to celebrate all of our hard work, let us realize if we want to be able to have that same feeling in the future we need to work at least as hard in the present as we did in the past, often harder. Let us use the great feelings we have, and deserve to have, to drive us to continue our journey of growth and personal development.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood this evening, Thursday July 15th from 6 to 8 pm, I invite you to join us at the Westallion Brewery for the release of a great book and the exchange of some great ideas. If not, you can still purchase your copy of either of my books from the link below. Stop back to this blog to hear all about how this book launch went.
Today is Wednesday, the middle of the week, so we are going to keep it light. Just because we are going to keep it light does not mean we still cannot share some valuable information. Today we are going to look at one of the main secrets that I use to help keep my life amazing. This is not only something I have read about, there is a great deal of science to back it up, but something I have used, and still use, in my own life. This secret not only provides an amazing life, but it helps you live a long life too. It is why George Burns and Bob Hope lived to be 100. It is why Mel Brooks is not only still alive, but still working at the age of 95. Hopefully, this same secret will have me sharing my thoughts with you for at least another 50 years.
What is this great secret and what on earth does the picture above have to do with living an amazing life? The great secret we are going to talk about was best described by Steve Rizzo, author, stand up comedian and motivational speaker. He calls it “Getting in touch with your Humor being” I will include the link to one of his entertaining videos at the end of this blog. In short, he encourages us to find the humor in our lives. So many situations provide humor that we often take them for granted. Sometimes they require us to stop and think of things for a moment instead of rushing from one thing to another. Very often, if we approach life looking for the humor we will find it.
Now to explain the picture above. This was taken at one of the shows Margie and I DJ. Took the picture myself…in the men’s room. Let me begin by explaining that is not a place you will usually find me pulling out my phone to take a picture. Come to think of it, unless there is some very odd or strange occurrence, you will never find me taking pictures in the men’s room. No ‘bathroom selfie’s’ for this fellow. Here is why I took this picture, and more importantly, why I am sharing it with you. First of all, the obvious. It is a sign urging you to practice social distancing. This is not a problem that often occurs in the men’s room. We are all pretty good about maintaining distance. That was the first thing I found funny about the choice to place the sign there. Then I realized yet another humorous side. Not only is this social distancing sign in a men’s room, but it is taped to a condom machine. It would almost seem as if they are urging you to observe a practice that would make the need for this machine totally unnecessary.
Perhaps you don’t find this situation as funny as I did. Maybe you find it more. The point is that in the middle of this evening, it was a part of reality that I could find the humor in and that added a little bit of joy, no matter how off-color it may seem, to my life. Do this often enough and you will begin to see the humor, often the absurdity of life. This will certainly help when the bad times come. I would love to hear some of your humorous events from your own life. The more we share with each other, the more we can help our humor beings to shine through.
In today’s instant gratification culture, fewer and fewer people take the time to read a book. As an author, this is not only deeply economically troubling, but emotionally as well. “I will wait until the movie comes out.” is a phrase that is heard more and more often. I can certainly appreciate that there are times when we want to experience a bout of entertainment from beginning to end and do not have the time for an entire book. Reading, however, allows us to exercise our minds in ways that watching a film never could. It is the difference between an active involvement and a passive involvement. Using our imagination to picture the story as we read the pages creates a depth (see picture above) that we simply don’t get from watching a movie. I am sure this can take things to a whole different level. I’m thinking Fifty Shades of Grey could have provided some interesting exercises in imagination.
As the old cliché goes, art often imitates life, or is it the other way around? Never was too sure about that one. The point is when it comes to life, especially in this social media driven world, this holds true. We often see people’s profiles online and think we really know everything there is to know about them. In reality, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. It is like watching a highlight reel of an athlete. You would think they never make mistakes. As human beings, we always have the urge to hide our faults, or more to the point, accent our strengths. We also have a tendency to judge based on the thought that we have all of the information. We never know what is happening behind the scene.
This week, I encourage you to take a deeper look and get to know those around you on a deeper level. Also, if you are brave enough, share a little more about yourself. Not just your highlight reel. Be vulnerable. Show the world the pain you struggle with everyday. Help the world get to know you. Just like reading a book will open up a whole other world that watching a movie never will, getting to know people on a deeper level will do the same for your relationships.
Above is my favorite quote. It is a guiding principle that I use when I am sharing in the field of self-improvement. When I first set out on this journey, I had little to no idea what I was doing. After over 2 decades of learning and sharing I realized this quote is still one of the most powerful. At seminars I hold, book signings, or even just in personal interaction, people often inquire as to what they can do to change the world. They come with many different motives. Some people have a great deal of hope and ambition. Others, come from a place of frustration. They see the division and hate on television and in the media and really want to do something to make a difference.
My advice to all of these people is the same – focus on changing your corner of the world. This can confuse some and further frustrate many. After all, they want to make a BIG change. I understand that thinking. Daily, I write these blogs and books to help facilitate change throughout the world. The best way to do this is to focus on what we really can change. Like the quote above, be the change you are wanting to see. You wish for a world filled with more love and less hate? Then be a more loving individual. You would be surprised at the effect that can have on others and how quickly it spreads. You wish more people would volunteer to help worthwhile causes? dedicate some of your spare time to doing the same. This may seem like you are making an insignificant difference, but stop and consider this bit of thinking. What if everyone in your city did the same thing? Focused only on doing what they can in their own lives. I live in a town of roughly 60,000 people. Imagine that many people working toward a positive change? Even half of those people, just trying to bring joy and love to those in their circle.
Proof that you attract the people you need in your life, I would like to share an adventure that happened to Margie and I just the other day. We decided to go out for lunch at a local spot we both enjoy. We asked to be seated in a section that had a fun server. We were greeted by Heather, a very pleasant young lady that confessed to being a bit new. As she took our order the conversation turned to the weather outside. It was a particularly cool July afternoon. Weather a lot of folks would enjoy being out in. There was Mention of the vast number of positions and places that were hiring and how we wished there could be a way to connect them to all of the people standing on the corners with signs looking for work. After a contemplative pause, Heather said, “I would stand on a corner with a sign.” Margie and I looked at her with curiosity. She continued, “Yes, I would have a sign asking for change, but not monetary change, social change!” It was then that I knew the three of us would become good friends.
Heather brought up a very good point. Encouraging others for change of a social nature is another great way to improve our corner of the world. I am speaking of asking for change in an encouraging thoughtful manner. Asking your friends to help you with a cause your are volunteering for. Inviting everyone to send a thank you card to one of their friends. Asking strangers to share a smile with someone they don’t know. The best way to encourage this change and make it most likely others will join you? That is to be the change you wish to see in the world!
I know it can be tempting to look for the biggest way in which you can make a change. Just remember often the most powerful way to make a change is to change your own corner of the world. That could include holding a sign asking for positive social change, volunteering for a worthwhile cause, or just sharing a smile with a stranger. Margie and I are thankful to Heather for the great reminder of this important point. We look forward to many good conversations with her in the future!
Confession time. I am really terrible when it comes to planning and hosting events. First, I rather enjoy my peace and quiet time. Margie and I have very social and interactive jobs. We are always dealing with groups of people. I am also very low maintenance. For reasons of party planning, I guess that is not always a good thing. That is another reason that Margie and I make such a great team. Let me give you an example. We are at the store and the love of my life is looking at dishes. “We have dishes.” I inform her. “We need a matching set of six.” She replies as if it is something I should know. In the confusion, I mention that at our house there are only 2 people, her and I. “What if we have company?” Still confused as to what the issue is I offer that if there are more than four people we could just use different plates or bowls. After all, they should be happy that we invited them over and they are getting delicious food. That is how I would feel I guess. By the shocked look of horror on the face of the woman I share my house with, I surmised that this was not the correct answer.
I never realized what goes into planning a party the right way. Margie showed me that. From cleaning, matching dishes, matching placemats (again, something I had no clue of) cleaning the house, finding what everyone likes to drink, decorations and a million other details that I can’t even remember. People go through a great deal of planning to throw the perfect party. Well, people other than me. If you look at the list in the picture above, you can see how much details and planning can go into a celebration. Planning over one month out? Sounds pretty crazy to me, but if you want an epic party that is what you have to do.
Why all the talk about planning a party? While my birthday is this month, I am not expecting any of my followers to throw me a birthday party. Unless of course you are reading this in the country of Fiji, I will stop by, we will have a great time. No, it is the subject of my upcoming third book, Life is a Party, Put Your Name on the Guest List. Does your life seem like a party? For most people it does not. Maybe it does on the weekends when we are not working. Maybe only 2 weeks a year when we are on vacation? What if our life could feel like a party as the general rule? Seem unlikely? I put forth life would be a lot more like a party if we planned it like one. Look at the list above. It is a lot smaller than our first example, but holds many clues as to how we could live our life more like a party. Let us take a look at just a few of them.
First up, guestlist. I find it how much time people will spend thinking of what people to invite to an event that may last a few hours or at most an entire day. Most of us, however, will not compose a guestlist of people we want in our life. If your life was a party, who would you invite? Ever have a party where there is someone who is a ‘Debby downer’ and brings down the entire party? Probably not a name that would be on top of the guestlist. What about people who are rude or insulting? Again, not the people who we would invite to a party, but somehow they show up in our lives!
How about decorations? Am I suggesting you fill your house with party decorations? Not exactly…but then again, kind of. Think of what the idea behind decorations at a party are? They are there to create an atmosphere. Either to go with a theme (Tiki party anyone?) or to just create a fun and festive atmosphere. What would make a good party to you? You may even just want a relaxing party of one. Maybe some nice spa colors and scents? Maybe a bath bomb or some bubble bath? Why not surround yourself with a fun and festive mood or even a theme you like? I have a friend who likes the ‘Day of the Dead’ decorations and has their house filled with things like that. Maybe you are a fan of a South Pacific look, or beach or lake. Whatever kind of party may work for you, try to include some decorations.
Food and Drinks. This is a good one. When people think of parties, they generally think of party food and alcohol. You can’t really spend every evening sitting at home having a personal party with a glass of rum in your hand, can you? When it comes to having a cocktail, pacing yourself is the idea. Nobody likes a drunk at a party, and you certainly do not want to be the drunk at your own party, but having a glass of wine or a nice coconut rum drink (or whatever you may like) while cranking up your favorite party soundtrack with some great friends can do a lot to fire up a Wednesday. Food is another interesting animal. If you want to feel like a you’re living life as a party, you don’t want to fill up on chips and dip or lay around feeling bloated. No, you want to dance, you want to laugh. Party food can be fun and fairly healthy. I am thinking some guacamole right now. Maybe a homemade taco night? Even trying new fun festive healthy foods can make it feel more like a party.
What other aspects of a party could you include in your life? What about a party soundtrack? Push play on that fun list on the way to work and you could spend the day thinking about Margaritaville or singing your favorite dance tracks before you notice the boss is in a bad mood again. If so, just don’t invite them to your personal party. How about dressing for a party? There are so many ways to approach this. You could dress like a formal party one day, a party at the club the next or just a fun party outfit the next! Think about how much the right outfit can change the way you feel about yourself. Life can be a party, we just have to plan for it!