1 MORE MOVIE SECRET TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Last post we discussed ways in which fashioning your life after a movie director would be beneficial. There was one item I left out that can go a long way in helping us out. It has been featured in my book A Happy Life for Busy People. That is creating a soundtrack for your life.

In my book I refer to it as a ‘happy playlist’. You can create one in a few simple steps. Compose a list of songs that bring joy to your life. Then just create a playlist on your MP3 player or other device. I have several in my cell phone thanks to YouTube. I have playlists for working out, meditation and motivation as well as of course being happy. It is amazing what a song that strikes a deep emotional chord with you can do to change your state. Why leave the soundtrack of your life up to the whim of the DJ on the local radio station?

In a movie, songs are chosen to give the film more dramatic flair and set the mood in various scenes. Wouldn’t you like to be able to do the same in your life? You can! Simply create a soundtrack for all areas of your life. You will be amazed at the difference it can make. What are some of the songs that will be on your soundtrack?

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

BECOME A MOVIE DIRECTOR. YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!


This is a picture of one of my favorite directors, Jerry Bruckheimer. I learned something amazing about him lately. It is not only the fact that he has an uncanny resemblance to actor Kevin Bacon. What I learned is that I am a lot like him…and so are you. No, it is not the fact that all three of us have directed some of the best action movies ever made. No, it is not the fact that all three of us are millionaires. Although maybe you are but I am still working my way there. What I learned is that Mr. Bruckheimer, you and myself are all movie directors.

At this point you may be saying “Wait a minute Neil. Other than the Facebook live video I did and that quick thing for Snap Chat I am would not consider myself a director.” Not knowing the length or effort you put into your social media posts, I am here to tell you we are still all directors. It just so happens the movie we are directing is called Our Life.

Whether you are conscious of the fact or not, you are directing your own life. Still do not believe me? Let us Google the job of a movie director and see what it says.

There are so many good things here let us take this bit by bit. The first line, “A film director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects.” Everything we do in life can be a work of art. Some of you may remember the story I shared of the man at the homeless shelter I help at showing me how there is even an art to washing dishes. Dramatic Aspects? Believe it or not, you control the drama in your life. Before I start hearing the cries of “This person or that person creates drama in my life.” Let us be clear it is your choice to not only respond to that drama but have that person in your life. (more on that later). Every good film needs a little drama or it tends to be boring. Your source of drama can be chasing a goal and the excitement that comes from that. Even challenges can be drama that your star (that would be you) has to face and overcome.

The next line, “Visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in fulfillment of that vision.” Do you have a vision for the movie of your life? If not, how do you know if you are making the right moves? Are you moving closer to success or further away? Once again we are reminded of Earl Nightingale’s quote on success, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” How can you know you are progressing if you do not know what the goal is? Can you imagine directing a movie that has no plot or end in mind? Let us take a look at the second part of that line, “Guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision.” Leaning on and learning from the people in our lives (the actors) and employing the use of outside experts when we need them (the technical crew) can help us achieve the screenplay for our life that we are seeking.

Lastly, “The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking.” This can be likened to the people we choose to both bring into our lives and eliminate from our lives. It can be the job we choose, how we have our house and the way in which we approach life. If you are a director of a movie and a particular actor seems not to fit the role, they are replaced. The same can be true of spouses, friends and business partners. On occasion an actor will walk out on a picture. This is like when a break up happens, or a friend leaves our life. We are forced to recast the part. We can do so with a better idea of what may fit the film. Production design. This can refer to what car we choose to drive, how we choose to decorate our house, wordrobe..etc. All of these can be broken down to a blog post themselves. For the sake of brevity, just imagine how they all affect the movies you have seen. Can you imagine a western where the outlaws are riding horses wearing suits? Creative aspects of filmmaking. This is the manner in which you live your life. Is it a comedy full of laughs? Is it a dark drama? A tragedy? It also refers to how you chose to tackle obstacles and challenges.

Here is a fun way to play with this. Begin to write your own screenplay now. Cast certain roles. Perhaps you want your star to be tough with a soft and humorous edge? Maybe they should be dating a driven and beautiful cake designer? Maybe they are struggling through a day job while pursuing their passion? What would you write that they do to get out of that trap? This can help us add vision and purpose to our lives and have a little fun at the same time. For quick motivation, think of what the title of your life’s movie would be? Feel free to share yours in the comments below.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING

LIFE…TAKE TWO!

Today is another example of a picture being worth a thousand words. Picturing a clapperboard (do not worry if you did not know that is what this is called. I did not either before researching this post) like the one in the picture above as you go through life can be so helpful. I am personally pondering purchasing one or at the very least printing out this picture.
We all make mistakes in life. After seeing this picture I am going to start referring to them as mis-takes. Did you make a mistake and say something that upset your friend/coworker/spouse? Turn it into a mis-take In your head you might want to do what directors do, as you are the director of your own life, and yell “Cut! Let us try that scene again.”
In the movies when they do this they can then approach the scene with a better idea as to what they would like from the actors. You can do the same in life. Think I would like my star (that’s you if you are not following this analogy) to approach this scene with more compassion and understanding for the other actors involved. This works great if you said something that was not quite received the way you intended it. This happens to me more than I would like to admit. Just yell out loud or to yourself whichever happens to serve you better, “Cut! Let us try that scene again.” and try a different line. Famous actors in Hollywood and Baliwood do it all the time.
Forgiving ourselves can not only be difficult, it can keep us from moving forward in a lot of areas of our lives. Using this movie analogy can certainly make that a lot easier. Viewing our mistakes as mis-takes will allow us to move forward a little easier. By making mistakes we will move forward with more knowledge as to what doesn’t work and thus be more likely to find what does.
For those of you who do not know, I also have a YouTube channel I welcome you to check out and subscribe to. ( The link will be at the end of this post ) When I make videos when we do a second or third take I usually know a lot better how I want to approach the message I want to convey. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to research ‘clapperboard key chains’ on Amazon.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

WATCHING YOUR DIET

People are so careful about their diets today. Gluten-free, Paleo, low-carb, high-fat. It seems every day there is another healthy way that we should all be eating. Then there are the new allergies that people have to look out for. Some are allergic to nuts. Some people cannot consume dairy products or shellfish. In other words, these days people are being far more discerning as to what they put in their bodies. All this is good. It is good that we are eating with the idea of helping our bodies function at peak efficiency.

Ironically, and somewhat tragic to me, is that is where the discernment stops. We spend our days listening to music that is sometimes filled with violence and a total lack of respect. We watch television shows where characters try to get laughs by putting each other down with sarcastic barbs. We read stories in the newspaper, online and social media (more about that tomorrow) that are filled with harsh judgments, political rancor and other drama. Then at the end of the day we wonder why our energy is drained and we feel stressed out.

Like the picture above mentions, we need to mindful of the things we put into our body emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We will do our best to avoid that sweet treat that will only end up giving us cavities and some extra pounds to carry around with us. We should take the same approach on deciding if what we are going to consume with our eyes, ears, mind and spirit will serve us or contribute to our daily downfall. Will reading that article about the latest mass shooting really bring anything good into our lives? Does being inundated with the latest chapters of what is wrong with the world give us anything but a sinking feeling of depression and a sense of hopelessness?

Am I saying we have to be worried about every little thing we watch, read, listen to or even people we hang around? Not at all. That will only cause you to be stressed out about the things that can be unconsciously stressing you out. That would be…well…very stressful. What I am asking you is to be more aware of what is going into your body. In the beginning especially it can be hard to think of I have to get rid of that or I have to stop doing that. That can leave you feeling like your brain is fighting you and with a feeling of deprivation. As I do in all of my practices, here I advocate increasing the positive to decrease the negative.

How do we do that? Do your best to include reading a few pages of something inspirational. Those Chicken Soup for the Soul books work well. Filled with short inspiring stories that fill you with joy, they can add a little something special to your day. On this site and in my book we talk about creating a Happy Playlist of songs that bring cheer to your day. Spend time with people who make you laugh, smile and bring your spirit to life. As far as social media, we will delve into that tomorrow. If you have any other suggestions for things to add to your Diet feel free to leave them in the comments below.

WE ARE ALL VERY TIRED

One thing that I think we can all agree we are growing weary of is what seems to be the growing rate of violent crime in our world today. As I write this there are reports from the great state of Maryland of a shooting at a newspaper office where 5 people were killed and others were injured. It seems every night you turn on the news, or every morning you pick up the newspaper you read about senseless violence where someone has lost their life. Is this a result of better technology in communicating these crimes? Is it the result of the internet making this a smaller world? Are we becoming less tolerant? Are we becoming desensitized to violence and death due to media and video games? I imagine the answer is probably a little of all the above.

With all of the consumption of negativity you can find yourself feeling quite down. With more people reading more stories of violence we could quickly find ourselves living in a world of people depressed and losing hope. It is my belief that this lack of hope and barrage of negative news can push people who are on the edge to slip into a world of violence.

What is the solution? Are we to bury our heads in the sand and pretend all of this is not happening? The answer is both yes and no. Certainly you need to be aware of your world and what is transpiring, but you do not need to be inundated with it. You must ask yourself if reading every article on every mass shooting will do anything to enhance your life? What it will do is drain your spirit. This is why this and many other sites advocate limiting or better yet eliminating consumption of nightly news. There are apps for weather, sports or anything else you may need to know.

Is there something that we can do that is proactive? The simplest thing we can do is also one of the most powerful and also one of the most difficult. Do not let the constant feeding of negativity get us down. Easier said than done, but it can happen. When I hear of stories of great tragedy in the news I always look for the helpers. A secret I learned from Mr. Rogers. Eventually and in some way tragedy has a way of bringing the best out of some people and bringing people together. If you can’t find a helper, or even if you can, focus on being one.

When I hear of violence or some other tragic news story I know there is even more importance in what I do. The world needs more of a balance of positive to the negative. This was the very reason I began what I do. When I hear of violence in the world I use it as a stark reminder I have far more work to do, and urgent motivation to reach more souls. Victims and their families and friends are not the only people who need encouragement. Those committing the crimes may feel there is no hope. If only they knew they were people who care, even if they are half a world away.

This is where you come in. My words can’t reach everyone. Especially Iceland and Greenland who seem to be two countries I just cannot reach. What we need to do is all work on becoming lights to the world. Whether it is meeting your neighbors as discussed in last week’s post, sharing this blog or just encouraging someone who needs it. Let us all remember it is only light that can remove the darkness.

MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS

Recently I was asked a very good question. “Neil, do you ever get angry or depressed?” Reading my material it would be easy to assume I am floating through life on a cloud, and to be honest, that is my general state of being. This is only possible because of the two decades of research and work in the self-improvement field, and even more so because of the continued work I do on improving myself.

There are days, however, that emotions get the best of me. Being an author and speaker does not make me immune to the trials life gives us all. In fact, 2017 might have been the single most trying year of my adult life. One dislocated shoulder, 3 cars, 4 funerals and 3 eulogies makes for a year you would rather not repeat.

A better question to ask is what difference all of this self-improvement work makes when life gives you a challenge. The difference it makes is that the tough times do not last as long, and generally become less intense. When you are focused on increasing the passion and joy you feel in life, you are not focused on anger and sadness.

There are days when both emotions creep up on even the best of us. Just last Saturday I woke up feeling very sad and I couldn’t even figure out why. Talk about frustrating. Here is what made the difference, fundamentals. The picture for this post is of one of my favorite philosophers, Fred Rogers. People always get a chuckle when I mention that, but he was a master of the fundamentals. Such as the title in the picture, “What do you do with the mad that you feel?” How many adults do not have a constructive way of dealing with anger? Quite a few I would say.

Having mastered the fundamentals of what works to calm you down and help you focus when you are angry, or cheer you up and change your focus when you are sad, makes a big difference. These tools can vary from person to person, but should be thought of and practiced before sadness strikes. When you are angry or depressed, you are most likely not in your most constructive and creative mindset. Having developed these tools ahead of time takes the thinking out of the situation which can be very helpful when you are in a state of high negative emotion. Like I tell people at my seminars, the time to learn to swim is on the shore, not when the boat is sinking.

Personally, I have a playlist of songs (you can also burn a CD of songs) that make me happy. I am constantly updating this list as I hear new songs and think of ones I have forgot. I also have a list of movies that make me laugh, places I enjoy going and even people I enjoy talking to. Being able to just push play and hear music to help me change my state, or grab a list of movies and pop one in and be taken away to somewhere happier for two hours without having to think about it has helped me more often than I can think of.

There are lots of other tools that make a big difference. I have a lot of them in my book, A Happy Life for Busy People and at my live seminars. The important thing to remember is that a lot of these should be set up and practiced daily to help you avoid falling into that state. When it can’t be helped, or when life just gets the better of you, then you will have tools you know work and have already practiced. You will have learned to swim on the shore.

One more thing I should mention makes a big difference, your posse. That being the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis. Make sure there are people in your life that know what makes you tick. Even if you have all of the tools, sometimes when you are in an especially dark place, or just one of those funks you can’t get out of they can help you remember what makes you happy even when you can’t. Last Saturday, I spoke with both my beautiful lady Margie, and my good friend Russ. Both of these people know me better than I know myself on occasion. They helped to remind me of what is important to me and what I should be focused on. Having a supportive network of encouraging and loving people can make the biggest difference.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTING LIKE A FOOL

Yesterday we spoke of doing things from our youth and how it can prevent our minds from growing old.  There is another way to keep our minds young and flexible.  Acting crazy.  Now before you think I am going to suggest something that would land you in jail or a nice comfortable padded room with a jacket that fastens in the back, let me explain.  What way to you drive to work?  Have you ever arrived there and not remembered anything about the trip there?  Providing you arrived sober let me explain what happened.  When we travel the same course five or six days a week it becomes almost ingrained in our mind how to get there.  So much so that much of the duty of arriving there safely is delegated to the subconscious mind.  Think of the act of driving itself.  When we first learned to drive our minds were on overdrive. There seemed so much to pay attention to.  How fast are we going, don’t look at that too long, check the review mirror every 8 seconds.  After a few months we pretty much just get into our car and well, drive.  We don’t think about making sure our foot is on the brake before we put it into drive.  It all seems to happen automatically. So what is the problem with this?  Well, when we lose our focus on the present two major things occur. One like physical exercise if we use our brain for the same things over and over again we plateau.  We cease making new pathways in our brain and it fails to get a workout.  How many times has a new business opened up on the path to your work and you fail to notice until somebody else points it out to you?  Just because you are not looking for something you ‘know’ is not there.  The other thing that happens is we fail to appreciate the beauty of the present.  A lot of what we do on a daily basis is nothing short of a miracle and was considered, even by ourselves in the beginning, to be a monumental task.

So, how can we avoid getting in these ruts? How can we keep our brain sharp? I am going to take a lesson from the Shaman.  For those of you who do not know Shamans were spiritual, and sometimes political leaders of indigenous Peoples.  Quite often people would think of them as crazy.  They would do things like walk backwards, eat hot food cold and cold food hot, wear ridiculous outfits, or even say things that seemed to make no sense.  This all was part of the way of keeping the shamans mind from falling into a rut.  Now I am not suggesting you come into work dressed in drag as the boss may frown. What I am suggesting is do a few things to shake up your routine.  Take a slightly different path to work.  Eat a breakfast meal for dinner.  Most of the things we do out of habit are really not all that serious.  It will give your mind a jolt and keep it sharp!

SUNRISE

“There was never a night or a problem that coud defeat sunrise or hope”

-Bern Williams

This quote is almost a ‘secret weapon’ of sorts.  What does it take to keep going when the going gets tough?  What should we do when all seems hopeless and lost?  The answer can be found in this quote.  When we keep our minds, hearts and spirits full of hope, when we focus on the end result (see the post on vision boards) the obstacles and challenges that will inevitably show themselves lose a great deal of their power.  So let us keep our goals and dreams in front of us so that we may keep our drive and motivation.