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.

IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS 

Angels, what exactly are they? If you look up the definition online it will tell you they are “spiritual beings superior to humans in power and intelligence.” Where do angels come from? You can often hear people say when someone has passed away that they have become their guardian angel. I’m not 100% sure that this is true as I am still alive, but it is something that certainly sounds wonderful.

This post is not about death, what happens after we pass away or even angels in the biblical sense. It is about our daily angels. Daily angels are the people I truly believe bless this world. When you see a young person open the door for an elderly or physically challenged person, to me that person in acting angelic. There will be a section in my upcoming book filled with examples of these people and what we can learn from them. I’m going to include a few of them here as well, both specifically and the kind of people in general that I believe qualify as angels.

The other night I was out with my lady at a friend’s birthday party. A gentleman I have known since I was very young, grade school age, came up to talk to me. Not only was he effusive in his praise, but let me know that he was proud of the life I was living and the accomplishments of both my lady and I. He shared a lot of the good memories he had of us and left me feeling very happy and good about myself. Someone who brings only joy and positivity to others and helps them feel good about themselves fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say Scott is a living angel

My aunt has never really had a high paying job, lived in a glamorous house or even driven a car. On top of this she has had five different kinds of cancer and beat them all. How does she manage to do this? A great (although strange at times) sense of humor. She makes herself and others around her laugh. She never gave in to any of her health challenges, and continues to live on the ‘sunny side of the street’. Maintaining and sharing a positive attitude in the face of such personal challenges fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say my aunt Virginia is a living angel.

One final personal example. Sometimes doing the simplest acts with the certain attention to detail and compassion and love for your fellow human beings makes you an angel in my book. There are two gentleman I routinely run into at coffee shops I frequent. They serve delicious drinks and they do so quickly. If you love coffee as much as I do that can mean the world, but it does not make them an angel. What does is their attention and care for their customers. They get to know you, care about you and are not afraid to show it. When you can make customers feel like friends and bring people joy while you are merely doing your job that fits my definition of an angel. Therefore, Curtis and Kyle are living angels.

Whether you bring light into the world with a smile for those you meet, listen to a friend who is sharing their troubles or a host of other selfless acts I believe that is what makes an angel. Let us recognize all of the people in our lives who fill our souls with love and hope on a daily basis. We are daily in the company of angels.

This post would not be complete without the mention of two very important things. First, my own personal little angel, my love, my Margie. I could tell you all the hard work she puts in around our house in terms of keeping it clean and full of love. I could tell you the countless smiles she has brought with all the effort she puts into her cakes that bring joy to the lives of everyone who orders one, but I need to let you in on something else. Currently I have been going through a lot of personal challenges in my own life. Some that must also make life very difficult for her as well. The more love, patience and understanding she shows me on a daily basis the more I see I am blessed to have my own little angel next to me every day.

The final piece of information I am going to leave you with is this. The world never has enough angels. If you can’t seem to find all that many in your life I encourage you to really begin to look for them. If you are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the angels you see, let them know. Whether you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, do yourself and the world a favor, become an angel. Look for ways you can serve your fellow human beings with love, compassion and joy.

Feel free to recognize some living angels you know in the comments below or by sharing this post with them.

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.

FIRM IN YOUR GOALS, FLEXIBLE IN YOUR APPROACH 

Be firm in your goals, but flexible in your approach. That is a mantra i have heard many times! This morning while occupied at my day job a fine example of this occurred to me.

Before I share this example with you let me begin with a question. Have you ever heard somebody say “I’ve tried a million different things but it just won’t work!” It always amuses me to ask them to name the million things they have tried. After which they usually reply “well ok it has been hundreds.” When pressed to name them we usually discover the individual has tried a few things, usually things they have done in their past, and they didn’t work. This always makes me question the importance of the issue at hand. If it is a problem with their relationship you would think they would keep trying until they return to love.

When a baby is trying to walk they just keep at it. Why? Because walking is that important to them. Perhaps it is all the disappointment we experience as adults that lowers our level of persistence.

Here is another way to look at this. As I mentioned earlier, I was working at my day job when I started thinking how much I’d like to go to Fiji. My thinking is my lady and I would fly there first class and spend time relaxing and mixing with the local culture. What would happen if I was invited for a speaking engagement there? Maybe instead of flying I win a cruise? Perhaps Tony Robbins invites me to his resort to work on a project together? Would I say no because it was not exactly what I had envisioned? Of course not. The goal is to get to see Fiji, how it happens could vary.

My point here is you have to keep trying until you find something that works.  It may seem impossible at first, but so did walking as a baby. Just keep trying and you will succeed. Oh, and if you happen to have an extra ticket to Fiji…

WHY ME??? WHY YOU???

The other day I had a discussion with my friend Terri. We discussed how both of us have bought ‘new to us’ cars that have proven to be lemons. Mine is a PT Cruiser who in the first 5 months of owning has cost me $2000 in repairs and still runs rough. Daily I am looking forward to going back to driving an SUV. Terri’s plight is much the same. She bought a car and now things have started to go south.

What does our car trouble have to do with living an amazing life? Terri asked me a very thought-provoking question. That question was this, “How to keep calm, cool and collected when life is throwing me disappointment and struggles?” This is an excellent question and one I think we have all asked at some point or another. No matter who you are or how together you have your life, at some point life will hand you a bunch of lemons in the form of challenges and disappointments. This is never fun.

How do we stay calm, cool and collected as Terri so wonderfully put it? The first point I suggest is to gain perspective. In our situations, we bought a car that turned out to be not what we had thought. This can be especially hard when you are truly excited and then get let down. By her sharing her story with me, we found out neither of us were alone in our troubles. This can be a healing itself. The next thing we need to do is work on what questions we ask ourselves, or more importantly, what answers we give ourselves. It is all to easy to ask the question “why me?” when things go wrong. God knows I asked this when I found out all that needed to be repaired on my car. What you answer is more important. I am a fan of putting everything that happens to me in my life to work for me. When I asked myself, after my last vehicle was totaled while parked in front of my house by a elderly man visiting from Greece as I was sleeping, why did I get a car that was filled with issues? Truly neither of them were my fault. I could focus on how unfair it all was and how much of a victim I was, but that would not serve me and only serve to make me feel helpless and terrible.

Here is another secret, what you focus on in any given situation can literally transform that situation. What should we focus on? Here are two things I suggest; first, what you have to be grateful for. In my case, I was not in the car when it happened. His car was so badly damaged he could not drive away and not be held responsible. He and everyone else was safe for the most part. Let me be perfectly clear right here, this is not an easy habit to do. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for in the middle of a challenging situation takes practice and patience. When you master it, however, it will soften the blow of disappointment you encounter.

The second thing I recommend focusing on is what is positive about the situation, or another way to word it is how to use what happened. What did I find positive about my car being totaled while I was inside sleeping? Like I mentioned, I was inside sleeping for one. Another is maybe there was an impending problem with my car that could have surfaced while driving 70 miles per hour on the freeway, that now will never happen. Another great thing that happens when challenges arise is you find out who really supports you. This is something that can only happen during a challenge. Someone can tell you they will be there for you, but until the ‘chips are down’ you never know for sure. In this case there were so many who were. There were also other benefits of this awful situation. I became better at dealing with rental car companies. Something I just would not randomly do. Also got practice researching used vehicles to purchase. Obviously I still have a way to go on that one. There was the extra practice in asking for and receiving help. I have written about that in the past, but allowing others to help you can be giving them a great gift as well.

All of those skills I would not have had a chance to learn if my car had not been unfairly totaled. Did it inconvenience me? Absolutely. It happened in the coldest month of the year. Did that suck? Yes indeed. Still I gained valuable skills and appreciation for both patience and people. My love and I had to learn new fun ways to entertainment which serve us to this very day. Even having the new car problems has put me into contact with some truly amazing people.

We all will have challenges in life. Remember you are not alone. Take time to focus on what will serve you. Be grateful for the lessons and look for the positive. This will not be easy, but if you keep at it the rewards will be a far happier, and yes more amazing life.

THINK OF THIS…

Here is a quote I have always enjoyed. So much so it is in my book A Happy Life for Busy People. What I am encouraging you to do today is stop and think about this for a minute. Let us picture taking one of those wonderful long hot showers. Maybe in one of those spa showers where water comes at you from every angle. Using your favorite body cleanser lathered all over. Before I lose you in a blissful shower fantasy, let me ask you a question. Even after this amazing shower how would you feel 3 days later if you didn’t bathe again? Probably not so fresh. Why not? Well as we go through life working, playing or even sleeping there is dirt, sweat and even oils from our own bodies that start to collect and make our appearance, if not our smell unpleasant to be around.

The same holds true for our emotional well-being. Even if you just finished reading an amazing life-changing book (please see above) or attended a seminar by said author, things may not last so long. Is that because the material didn’t work? Absolutely not, no more than the soap did not work in the afore mentioned shower example. You could leave the book or seminar very motivated filled with great tools to positively change your life. That might last 2 days, or even a week. Eventually, however, you will get ‘motivationally dirty’ again. Just like the dirt that collects on the body, there is emotional dirt that collects in our spirits. Negative coworkers, the media, traffic jams. They can all chip away at the feeling of happiness and motivation we have. That is why it is so crucial we replenish our emotional and happiness reserves.

How can we do that? Keep something motivational to listen to in the car. Maybe subscribe to one of the free apps on your phone that sends you inspiring quotes every day. I certainly recommend signing up to follow this site daily to fill your inbox with tips to improve the quality of life every day.

So next time you find yourself feeling a little down, remember to take your motivational shower and wash off all that negativity.

PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST

This is a picture of me on the flight to Las Vegas this past December. I took my lady there for her birthday. Even on vacation my mind looks for ideas for improving the quality of my life that I can share with others, including you who are reading this at the moment. 

Here is the idea that came to me in this particular situation. If you have ever been on an airplane you have received the safety talk. This consists of direction on complicated matters such as how to fasten a seat belt, or notice where a sign that says ‘exit’ is located. I have heard this educational talk many times and can almost give it myself.

 One of the last things they talk about is what to do in the event of a ‘water landing’ which sounds very much like crash to me. In discussing how to put on the oxygen mask that will fall from the ceiling they make it very clear “you must put your mask on before attempting to place one a child.” 

This addressed an issue that can sometimes be difficult for a lot of people, including myself. Those who really care about the well-being of others can often do so to the detriment of themselves. When we do not take care of ourselves we end up not having as much, or being able to give our best to others. I use the analogy of trying to fill a glass from an empty pitcher, just doesn’t work. The reason they tell you to put your mask on before attending to children is that you can only help them if you are alive to do so. 

Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it serves a point. Always remember to take care of yourself. Only by being your best, can you give your best to others. 
If you will excuse me that picture inspired me to take care of myself by getting some rest.