30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #26)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Another one of those “I have never thought of that before.” moments. Form of expression? There are so many ways in which we can express ourselves. Vocally, literarily, musically, physically, artistically, through dance and a million different ways. With the advent of the internet we can express our thoughts and opinions to individuals halfway across the globe.

Personally, I am grateful to be able to express myself in the written word. Although not really introverted, it is a great way for individuals that may have difficulting expressing themselves publicly to still be able to share the important stories they have. Our friend Nicole expresses herself through drawing. Fortunately for me, I was able to employ that talent to provide Margie with an amazing and heartfelt gift. Speaking of my lovely Margie, she expresses herself in a million different ways. Through her cooking, painting, singing, the way she arranges her flowers, the way she decorates around the house and many other ways. I think the more you pay attention to someone, the more you will observe them expressing themselves in everything they do. This can be extremely helpful if you are relating to someone who may have reservations about expressing themselves openly. With a little extra effort, you will still be able to deduce their feelings and desires.

How about you? What is your favorite way to express yourself? Where do you channel your emotions and feelings?

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!! ūüôā

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #21)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

For anyone who has read my books or followed this blog for any length of time, you know music is a very powerful tool for self-transformation. It is also a medium that conjures up a lot of emotion. When you are feeling down, listening to the right song can give you just the strength you need to carry on.

I have several playlists on my phone for different occasions. I have a list of songs that bring a little cheer to me. That was how I started. I also have a list of songs for working out to give me energy. These, along with a few other playlists are available to change my state at a touch of a button. There are many different artists and genres that I enjoy.

To the specific question as to what song I am grateful for, that could change daily. We will look at the ones I am grateful for as I write this. The song Lush Life performed by Nat King Cole is one of my favorites. Lately, I have been enjoying a lot of songs by Chris Janson including the appropriately titled Good Vibes. The song Born for Greatness by Papa Roach can always motivate me as well. If you ask me tomorrow, or maybe even later today, what songs I am grateful for, the list will probably be a little different.

All of that being said, I am grateful for songs that artists have taken the time to write and perform. Songs that I can relate to. Songs that make us happy, songs that make us think. Songs that make us fall in love. Songs that pick us up or motivate us. If you haven’t already, I suggest you take ful advantage of the benefits of great songs. Find a few that you are really grateful for and make a playlist.

I would love to hear some of yours as I am always looking for new songs to add to my own playlists.

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

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #11)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

It is ironic I suppose that this post comes out on Friday the 13th. Not exactly a holiday, but a day people either fear or celebrate. What holidays are your favorite? My quick answer would be Thanksgiving. There is no other holiday that involves no gift exchanges, no rituals or dogma set in stone. Just a simple gathering for a meal and to celebrate all that we are thankful for. This year Margie and I had a small and wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Here is another interesting fact, I love to learn about and celebrate holidays outside of the beliefs I grew up with. An example would be the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah celebrates the creation of the world and includes 10 days of introspection and repentance. Who among us couldn’t use some of that? Yom Kippur, also know as the Day of Atonement, where individuals are encouraged to make amends and ask for forgiveness. Once again, who couldn’t use a day like that in our lives? The Muslim holiday known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, is a celebration of the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. It is celebrated with not only enjoying a good meal, but also giving zakat al-fitr or charity in the form of food. What a great tradition this is! There are certainly more to both of these holidays and I do not mean to not give them their full explanation here. Rather, my purpose is to introduce you to some amazing holidays you may not be familiar with.

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate? Why do you enjoy celebrating it? Are there some fun traditions or rituals that make it special for you? Let us all learn and maybe incorporate some of your ideas into our holiday celebrations. 

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

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!!

FROM SURVIVE TO THRIVE

I stole this wonderful picture off the Facebook page of my coworker Rachel. It grabbed my attention because I think it is something we all fall victim to once in a while. We can become so busy worrying about working and paying bills that we forget to worry about the big picture.

What do I mean by the big picture? It is changing our mind from simply surviving to thriving. The easiest example of this and the one that comes to the mind of most people is financial. When we focus on having enough to pay the bills, that will be all we ever seem to have. Why not find a bigger goal? Focus on having enough to go on that vacation or look for that new car. When you are trying to find ways to discover additional income your mind will be working on the problem even when you are asleep! Suddenly, ideas will pop into your head when you least expect them to. Opportunities you may have missed will suddenly come into focus.

Here is the even greater thing about this change in mentality, it work s for everything. Why is this important? Think of what it can do for your relationship. Is your relationship in survival mode? Are you just happily coexisting with your spouse? Why not be thriving? Find new ways to change the world. Find new ways to take the love you have for each other to exciting new heights! How about your health? Go from simply surviving and feeling dead at the end of the week or even the end of the day, to living a life of energy and vitality abundance!

One of the greatest areas to explore this change of mentality is in your emotional or spiritual well-being. Imagine living a life driven by purpose and gratitude rather than waking up uninspired every morning. Learn to apply the thrive mentality to every aspect of your life.

WHY IT WORKS: HAPPY PLAYLIST

In this picture is the lead singer of the rock band Jackyl and myself. You will notice that Margie has artfully cut her beautiful face out of the picture. I rather enjoy this band’s music and their live shows even more. Their music puts me in an energetic and fun frame of mind. Their lyrics may not be for everyone, but they work for me.

In my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, as well as in my upcoming book, I strongly advocate putting together a ‘Happy Playlist’. This is exactly what it sounds like. Songs you enjoy that put you in a happy frame of mine. It just so happens my playlist includes several songs by the band Jackyl. In addition to their music bringing to mind enjoyable thoughts, they have also been fun and wonderful people every time that I have met them.

What does having a happy playlist accomplish? What it can do is facilitate a state change. An example is as follows. Let us imagine a position at your job opens up that will allow you to work more hours and earn more money. After coming back from a well-deserved vacation you discover your boss has decided that not only will you not have this job, they are going to do their best to eliminate it. This leaves you feeling not only under appreciated but disrespected as well.

Now, every time you come into work you know how little your boss values your contribution. This could leave you feeling less than motivated and rather dejected… I mean I would imagine that is how you feel. In order to approach your job and everything you need to accomplish you cannot come from that state or you will not do your best.

If you put on your headphones and turn up so 80’s hard rock (or whatever music does it for you) suddenly your mood shifts to something better. Will this change the fact that your boss is taking food off your table to make the situation more convenient for them? Of course it¬†doesn’t. What it¬†does¬†do is allow you to approach your job, and your coworkers in a more healthy and objective state. This will prevent your¬†bad mood and trying situation to grow like a snowball rolling downhill.

I suggest having a happy playlist stored in your phone, MP3 player or somewhere else handy.  The wonderful thing about this tool is that it works not only for unappreciative bosses, but for flat tires, traffic jams or anything else you face in life. It may not do much if anything to change the actual situation, but it will allow you to face that challenge in a much healthier state. That, my friends, can make all of the difference.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE MOON

Inspiration can find us anywhere. The other night I was walking in the house after parking my car when I happened to look up at the moon. On this particular night the moon appeared as if it had been cut perfectly in half. I thought to myself how it was interesting that it looked as if half of the moon were completely missing. Thanks to science and astrological knowledge we know that is not true.

Here what occurred to me, if someone had told me there was half a moon in the sky they would be right. If someone told me the entire moon was in the sky they would also be correct. Depending on where this moon was viewed, there would be lots of other distinctions. If there were clouds, a person would say you could not see the moon tonight. Speaking to a person who was looking up through clear skies they would disagree.

Two very important distinctions came to mind through this observation. The first being the unique aspect of reality. When we stare up at the sky and see half a moon all of our senses would tell us there is only half of the planet up in the sky. We could take pictures and video and it would prove us to be correct. From an observation of the facts presented us that would be reality. Life can be like that sometimes. We can see the facts in front of us and be certain of something. Things can seem impossible looking at what is in front of us. Facts, figures, pictures and videos can all tell us something is impossible. Just like half of a moon, there can be something that is there that we can just not see. Reality can be different than all of the facts we have before us.

The second thing I learned was how reality can depend on perspective and experience. Two different people looking at the moon in two different places can see it in two entirely different ways and both of their perspectives would be correct. Life is like that as well. Depending on our reality and experiences we can see the world in a million different ways and all be correct. That is why experience and compassion are so important.

When you feel there is no way you can win and the facts seem to be against you, remember the moon. When you encounter a person who has an opinion that may seem totally against what you think is true, remember the moon. Look up and consider all we can learn from the night sky.

YOU WON’T BE INJURED

Here is a point to ponder – what does it hurt to be positive? I hear all of you pessimists out there screaming that you will constantly be disappointed, and to some extent that may be true. Really disappointment is tied to expectations. If you maintain a positive attitude and strive to find the best in everything it is very hard to have a bad day.

When you first start out it is a little rocky and you could be tempted to give up when life starts to go sideways. We all can feel that way at times. Once you develop positivity as a lifestyle it becomes easier to maintain. It is like anything we start. Take diets and working out for example. If you decide you are going to “Start working out” or “go on a diet” that is a lot different than “Committing to living a healthy and active lifestyle. A diet is not the same as “committing to eating healthier”.

There are two very distinct and important differences. One is a trial. I am going to go on this diet or go to the gym and there really is no long term commitment. As a matter of fact, most diets advise you not to follow them for a prolonged period of time. That should tell you that they may not be the best for your health. Committing to a healthy eating program or a more active lifestyle also gives you a little more freedom. From a psychological standpoint diets¬†usually involve you¬†‘giving up’ something. A workout program entails you ‘having’ to go to the gym. One leaves you feeling deprived, one leaves you feeling forced. When you commit to a more active lifestyle that can start with parking far away and walking to the store.¬†Eating healthier¬†can start¬†by adding more vegetables to dinner. These are¬†things you are adding to your life. This will give you a much better chance of sticking with it in the long term.

It also gives you options. Maybe the gym is not your thing? All of the sweaty people and the occasional grunting individual can be a bit much for me at times. That is why I enjoy taking my bike out and going for a ride. I also enjoy walks around the neighborhood. Not only does it allow me to be active, but get to know some neighbors as well. When it comes to eating healthy I enjoy trying new dishes, learning about exciting meal prep options and a host of other things. I still have my occasional pizza or nacho night because I enjoy those things and feel it is good to enjoy them in moderation.

My main point I would like to make is living a more positive and rewarding life is the same. You do not have to start by walking on rainbows and sprinkling glitter everywhere you go. Start with whatever feels right for you. Maybe smile at one stranger a day? Perhaps mail out one thank you card a week? There are a million different options. Once you add one you may choose to add another because it feels so good. Do it at your own pace and when you feel it is right.

NEVER STOP


Here is something that takes strength to do, but can transform your life! Not being a bad person because of bad people. This is again a reminder that is is crucial that we be selective with who we surround ourselves with. It is a lot easier to not have to guard against the effect of bad people when there are no bad people around. Of course inevitably we will come across that one individual that may be so unhappy with themselves and their own life that they wish to spread that feeling to others.

You know the type, you hold the door for them to be kind and helpful and they take it as an insult that they can’t do it themselves. I have actually witnessed someone at a coffee shop screaming at the employee because they thought their coffee was 3 degrees to hot. I am not sure if they carried a thermometer in their pocket or had some super power that allowed their tongue to take accurate temperature readings to 3 degrees, but either way is that worth treating someone so harshly? I think not. I am just generally happy there is coffee that someone else made for me.
The sad part is when you hear the employee utter something about how terrible working with the public is. It is true there are a lot of sunshine-challenged people in this world, but let us not let them hold more weight than the amazing people we meet everyday. In the case of holding the door, I have been tempted to let the door shut on my ungrateful worldly neighbor at times. What would this accomplish? Adding another unpleasant person to the world is not what is needed in that situation.
I know it can be difficult to maintain a smile when it seems the world is doing its best to wipe it off your face. I do my best to remember if I respond in kind to their unpleasant treatment of me, or worse allow it to bring down my positivity, than I am letting their negativity win. That will not only prove them right in their negative thinking, thus reinforcing it, but also bring down our emotional well-being as well. Considering a negative emotional state can lead to a suppressed immune system as well as heart and digestive issues is this really worth while? Let us be a ray of light to their darkness. Never let anyone take that away from you.

WANT A GREAT LIFE? USE A FOUR- LETTER WORD!

This is a post you can read at work. Although the usual warnings do not apply, this is a post about a four-letter word that used to offend me far more than all the others. It is also about how not only making peace with this word and the concept it represents, but putting it to work for me as well, changed my life in ways that I can’t possibly begin to explain.¬† Although now that I think about that is what I am about to attempt to do.

Would you like to improve every single aspect of your life with the use of just one word? What if there was no required writing or hard work on your part? What if all you had to do was ponder this one four-letter word and your friendships would improve, you would become more productive and the stress in your life would go down? What if using this four-letter word could make you money and help satisfy your partner? I realize this sounds a bit over-the-top but it really is true. The ironic thing is that most of us groan or run the other way when we hear this word. I get it. I’ve been there. When I heard this word growing up and all through school my stomach would twist in knots and I would start to feel sick. Now, when I think of this word I am filled with excitement because I know it will bring everything I desire to me quicker and with less stress.

What is this amazing word already? Before I tell you what this word is I must ask you to do your best to keep your preconceived notions to the side for a few moments. Remember I told you I used to run from this word. Another word of caution is that this may sound too simplistic to be powerful. All the great ideas usually do. If applied correctly, this one small word can have a great impact on every area of your life you apply it to.

The word to which we are referring is goal. When I used to hear the world goal my mind would focus on expectations and the prospect of failure. It brought to the mind the dreaded days of bringing home a report card. In the present day it can bring to mind sales goals at work or perhaps the fitness routine that didn’t last as long after the first of the year as you hoped. Thinking of all of these examples it is no surprise that people have a negative connotation to the word goal.

How exactly can we use this maligned word to transform our lives? By setting and applying our own goals. If that word is still a little to tainted for you we can try substituting the words ‘vision’ or ‘purpose’ in it’s place. For the sake of this post we are going¬†to continue to use the word ‘goal’. By the time we are done here I think you may very well have a different view of the word all together such as I have.

Here is the basic formula for using goals to revolutionize your life. Decide in advance what your goal for any activity can be. This can be helpful for trying circumstances. Let us say you are about to leave for work. Decide what your goal for the drive in is. Maybe it could be to not become overwhelmed with dread. Maybe to enjoy some great music or an audio book on the way? When you get to work what is your goal? Is it to work as hard as you can on a certain project? Is it to demonstrate how valuable you are to your boss? Maybe it is to collect your paycheck without harming your coworkers?

Start small and work up I suppose. This not only helps us with challenging situations, but can help us with enjoyable situations as well. Having lunch with a friend? What is your goal? Is it to just enjoy their company? Maybe to tell them how much they mean to you? Maybe to show them how much they mean to you? Maybe it is just to fully enjoy your pizza? Attending the State Fair? What is your goal? Is it to learn about agriculture? Is it to pet animals you normally do not see? Perhaps take in a great local blues band? Maybe try new craft beers? Enjoy a great evening with friends?

You may be tempted to think, “Neil, do I really have to think of a goal for each and every thing I do?”. The answer in short is ‘no’. By incorporating goals and deciding in advance what your purpose in any action and situation is will help you make the most out of the situation and out of life. Arguing with your spouse? The goal is not to be angry or to get them the same, but to convey and solve and upset. Can you see how having a clear goal in that situation may cause you to take a more helpful set of actions? In the going out to lunch with your friend example. If your goal is to help them feel how much they mean to you, imagine what things you might throw into the conversation and how amazing they will feel when they leave? I would love to hear some of your goals, how you may have used them in the past or how you plan to use them in the future!