BE AWARE OF THIS

As our Monday begins, let us keep this thought above in mind. It often seems to many, myself included, that as soon as we start getting somewhere in life – BAM!!! Something crazy happens to bring us back to earth. Maybe you finally saved up enough for that vacation and something goes wrong with the car? Often, when we seem to be getting a handle on living a more positive and rewarding life, that is when some unforeseen challenge pops up. Does that sound familiar to you? It can be viewed as life testing us. “Are you sure you want to be positive?”

It is easy to be happy when the sun is shining, the dog and the kids are fed and everything is going your way. It would also be logical to think that your friends would be the happiest for you at this point in time, would it not? Yet, it seems that when you start to excel in life strangers, and even some friends, seem to go out of their way to sabotage you. Why are earth does this happen? There are many theories as to why it does, but we are going to look at two that when understood, will help you make it through this tough period.

The first is a societal reason. When your friends, family and coworkers to some extent, see you succeed a certain amount of fear strikes them. Why fear you might ask. People can worry, sometimes even subconsciously, that once someone attains a certain level of success they will leave them behind. This fear can come from past experience, they own lack of desire to improve themselves or a million other reasons. Funny thing is, this can apply not only to financial and career success, but to things such as peace of mind, spiritual awakening and any other area of accomplishment you have. They believe that if you achieve a certain level of success that you may leave them behind for “Better” results. This could be your boss believing you would leave for a better position, better job or better department. It could be your family believing you could forget about them if you fall in love with the person of your dreams. It could be your friends worrying that if you achieve a level of financial success you may not want to hang out with them anymore.

The first step is to make sure that this isn’t true. If you are moving on to a better job, or you do foresee less time to be available for your family or friends, be honest with them. You can encourage them to join you on the journey as well. Reassurance here is key. While you might be dedicating some time building your relationship with the person you love, and you should, that doesn’t mean you care less for your family. In fact, when you are around them, chances are you will be in a happy place. If you are achieving and dedicating a percentage of time to bettering yourself financially, spiritually, or any other area, you will find yourself needing to spend a good deal of time on it. You may even meet a new group of people and want to spend some time with them. This should not cause you to leave your friends behind.

Another, perhaps more metaphysical reason, is the power struggle between light and darkness. This can be viewed in a spiritual context, but I think it can be best explained by an outward example. Let us say there is a group of people you used to gossip with at work. Now you want to focus on what is good about everyone and the world in general. How do you think these folks will react? Maybe a few of them will be encouraged to do the same, but I guess you may soon find yourself the subject of the gossip when you are not around. It can make people feel less about themselves, and maybe it should. Rather than ponder if they could stand to raise their own standards, they would rather make you look bad. Ever try to leave a group of people who are filled with drama? Same thing will happen here. Just like our picture of the crabs above, they will try to pull you back in. Don’t fall for it.

When you improve yourself, you leave others two options. First, they can improve themselves. This works great if those around you are self-motivated. The other option is they can bring you down to their level. These are the people you do not want to surround yourself with. Remember, it is important to reassure those around you that they will not be left behind, but it is even more important to NOT leave yourself behind for their comfort. As you ascend, forces will rise against you. They are not there to stop you, but to make you stronger. The choice is yours.

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT!

First post of the new month! Last full month of summer. We want to finish this month on a really healthy diet. Don’t worry, if you have been working on that summer body since you were 12, we are talking about an information diet. This is so important, because like our regular diet, sometimes we consume information without being conscious to the fact that we are doing it. Sometimes it just becomes the norm and we do not realize that we should be a little more selective on what we feed our minds.

One of the issues that arises is that we are so often surrounded by things that are toxic to our mental well-being that we are unaware they are affecting us. It is like the analogy of the frog in the pot of boiling water. If you turn the temperature up quickly the frog will jump out. If you turn it up slowly and gradually, the frog will boil to death. Not a really cheery analogy, but it works for our point here. If you were to through a person into a group of gossiping back biters, chances are they would say “Get me out of here!” If, however, it happens to be the same talk around the water cooler, it can slowly become the normal. We must stand guard at the gate of our minds as Jim Rohn used to say. Quite often, this negative influence will come from friends, family and even coworkers we don’t mind sharing time with. They may be well-meaning, but it will affect us just the same.

What can you do in these situations? You can’t just tell a person to “Shut up!” Well, I suppose you could, but I can safely tell you that will not lead to quality friendships, which in turn will not lead to an amazing life. We can do some other fine things. We can do our best to remove ourselves from that situation. Excuse ourselves to go to the restroom, for a walk around the block, check the food in the kitchen or the goldfish in the living room. What happens when someone is in the restroom, it is raining outside, the food is gone and the goldfish has a babysitter? One, your luck wouldn’t be too good that day, but there are other options. You can try injecting a positive comment in the mix. Do your best to turn this into a game. I have found this makes it easier. When the gossip train makes a stop at your friend Phil’s station, try thinking about the best thing you can think of about Phil. Throw it out there and see what happens. I can tell you 2 things I know for sure. You will immediately make everyone else a little uncomfortable. That’s ok. If they are gossiping, they should be uncomfortable. The other thing is that you will quickly become known as the person who says nice things about people…behind their backs. That’s a good reputation to have. People trust people like that.

There are times when to paraphrase a popular cliché, ‘drama happens’. You do your best to avoid it, but it sits next to you at work, on the bus or even at home. You throw a life preserver of compliments into this ocean of negativity, but the waves keep coming. Repeated exposure to situations like this can leave you feeling worn out at best, dejected and hopeless at its worst. That is why we need to prepare! I stress having as many positive influences in your life as possible. Inspirational calendars ( I have a day by day one) Something inspiring as the screensaver on your phone. (mine is the cutest picture of the woman I love) You can even subscribe to an inspiring magazine. (I have a local one that only includes positive news) I also recommend having a list at the ready of things that give you a dose of positivity. Is there certain places you like to go? The zoo? A certain park with a great view? How about people that put you in a good mood? Write their names, phone numbers, emails or whatever contact information you have down. How about foods that make you smile? Songs? Movies? I say write these all down now. Eventually, there will be a time you need a negativity detox. It also serves as a good preventative. When someone asks me “What can I do to fight off all the drama and negativity I am exposed to?” It can be as simple as “Read three pages of something inspirational and call me in the morning.”

Let us remember as we are working on our nutritional diet, that we should work on our emotional and spiritual diet as well. Feed your body something good for sure, but do not forget to nourish your mind and soul as well. You never know when you might find yourself in an environment that would leave you starving.

REPELLING CAN BE POSITIVE

This post kind of follows a little in the footsteps of our last discussion, only it is a little more proactive. One way to reduce, if not eliminate, most negative souls in your life all together is to become a light of positivity. When sunshine-challenged people, or those with a negative disposition, encounter a positive soul they do one of two things. They either decide right away that this is not a person they want to be around or they work to destroy and bring down the positivity. These two actions have a similar motivation behind them – fear. As unpleasant as living as they do may be, that is their comfort zone. Giving up that negativity and embracing a more positive outlook is not only uncomfortable, but can be downright scary. These thoughts are usually subconscious, but exist just the same.

Let us explore the first option and why it may happen. They decide to that you are not a person they want to surround themselves with. This can lead to individuals no longer wanting to be a part of your life, or in some strange cases, people you meet picking up on your positivity right away and deciding to remain distant. Again, this comes from fear. If you live your life from a standpoint of negativity and encounter a positive person, you face the prospect that they may shed light on what a poor choice living in a negative state can be. Suddenly, you would be faced with the realization that living more positively would lead to a stronger immune system, fewer aches and pains and a lot more friends. Who wouldn’t want that right? Unfortunately, to get there requires admitting that the decisions you have been making up to this point were the incorrect ones. It also requires challenging many of the established beliefs you have such as life being against you, everyone is out to get you, life not being fair, etc. This would leave you feeling lost and a little unstable. It will also be a lot of hard work. Of course the reward would be a much healthier and more fulfilling life than you are living now, but it would be a lot easier and safer to just find a circle of people who reinforce your negative beliefs.

How about the second group of negative people? The ones who attack your positivity. They do it out of the same fear that their negative way of thinking may be incorrect. They also usually have a fair amount of jealousy. After all, you are happy and enjoying life despite often facing the same challenges they are feeling miserable about. They will often call you foolish. They will say you are wearing rose colored glasses or have your head in the sand. What should you do when attacked by such a person? Let them be. The more you respond to their attacks and negativity the more motivated they become. Being positive doesn’t mean not acknowledging the negative in life, it just means not focusing on it, or only focusing on it long enough to create a solution for dealing with it. Deflecting their negative criticisms with deflate their motivation for attacking you and they will search for someone who will be easier to tear down and join them in their world of negativity. There is a great deal of truth to misery loving company.

When it comes to negative people and their place in your life, take their breath away as the quote above says. Understand their desire to tear you down comes from a place of fear. Do your best to be a shining example of positivity. They will either decide that you will not allow their negativity to be an influence in your life and move along, or they may surprise you and seek to join you on the road to positivity. If this is the case, keep in mind all of the changes we discussed earlier this person will have to go through. Be patient and encouraging to them. They are trying to overcome a lifetime (or sometimes generations) of limiting beliefs and negativity. Just continue to be a shining example of the light of positivity. You will draw the ones who are ready to you and repel the ones that are not.

USE YOUR EYES AND YOUR MOUTH!

Last post we looked at how our focus determines a great deal of how we see the world. That goes with the first half of the quote above, keeping our eyes positive. Seeing the possibilities and not just the obstacles. Seeing what is working while working on what could use some fixing. Looking at the good in a situation and just the bad. Changing how we look at the world will change the world we look at a great deal whether that is positively or negatively. That is why it is so important to keep our eyes positive.

Let us now look at the second half of that statement. Keeping our tongue positive will have the world loving us. Some of you may say “I don’t care how the world sees me!” or “The only person’s opinion that matters in mine!” To that I would say you probably have yourself fooled about other things as well. It is true that we should not live our life predicated on what other people think of us and what we are doing. That being said, if your friends, your family and your spouse go to bed thinking what a jerk you are every night, that is going to weigh on you no matter how self-centered of an individual you may be.

Considering you are reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife, I assume you have a good deal of affection for your fellow humans. Not to mention, it always feels good to hear a kind and encouraging word throughout the day. Think of how you feel after you have been the recipient of some love and praise. Perhaps you feel energized? A little more confident. You feel believed in and supported. How would this affect your productivity? Would this affect the way you treat others you come in contact with? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone came from a place of feeling energized, loved, believed in and supported? Wouldn’t it be great if you came from that place…daily?

The truth is your world can be this way. Those you meet can, eventually, come from a place of love, appreciation and positive energy. You can come from this place and you can do so on a regular basis. Not only can this happen, but it is easier than you may think and all it takes is one decision from you. This is not some self-improvement hype or positive thinking theory I am giving you. It is the truth.

All we have to do is to decide to use our tongue to spread positivity. Let us look at how this will play out. First of all, if you know someone is walking up to you and, through past conversations you know the conversation is likely to be a positive one, how will you treat them? Chances are you would greet them with a smile, and genuinely welcome their company. When you share positive conversation with others it will make them feel loved and appreciated. That will positively impact their lives and in turn will positively impact how they act in association with you. Can you imagine if you did this with everyone in your life? Would that mean everyone in your life would be positive? Not exactly. We would be fooling ourselves if we didn’t admit that we share the world with people that see the rain in every rainbow. I know a person that if I gave them a golden goose would complain it poops on the sidewalk. Still, these people would certainly be the exception and not the rule.

This may sound like a fantasy world, but it is not. It is a simple mathematical equation. If people are exposed to positivity and encouragement, they tend to be more positive and encouraging. Not every day. We all have times when life gets the best of us. The more you spread positivity, however, the more likely you are to receive it as well. Here is the great bonus in all of this. The more you receive this positivity in return, the easier it is to go on spreading the positivity. It continues to grow in both frequency and intensity the more this equation is put into place. The exciting part is it is all up to us to start it. Use your tongue to spread positivity today and watch your life change in the days to come.

HAVE YOU LOST IT?

Although this photo may sound a bit harsh, it is still very true. It never ceases to amaze me how many of us will sit behind our keyboards spewing words that are not only negative, but can be both mean and hurtful. It seems almost daily I read comments on people’s political or spiritual beliefs that I would imagine would not be said in a face to face meeting.

That is not to say you have to agree with everything that everyone says. Quite the contrary. It is the variety of opinions and beliefs that make this world a beautiful place. Ask yourself, if this person expressed this opinion in person what would I say? Even if it is something you disagree with, would you even bother expressing that? If so, would you do so in a hurtful angry way?

The same holds true about what you post. If you have a negative opinion about something will you feel the need to share it with every person you come across? Would you do it by calling those people names to their faces? It is very important to remember that seeing your words in black and white can be even more hurtful to someone than hearing them in person. Before you type that phrase or respond to that post or comment, ask yourself, “Would I say this if we were in person?” Chances are the answer would be ‘no’. Let it go. The world has more than enough anger and hate.

If there is any advantage that we can use behind a keyboard, it is to overcome the shyness of expressing our love and appreciation for each other. It may seem awkward for some of us to tell someone how much they mean to us. In today’s society this is not often the norm. Sad, but that is the case. Let us use social media and our online presence to remove some of the uncomfortable feelings associated with that. You can tell your friend how amazing they are or how much you love them online without having to worry about being uncomfortable. The great part about sharing positivtiy online is it can be reviewed at a later date should the receiving party need to hear it again. (That being said, you can also see the danger of posting hurtful things online)

Having a reputation of spreading the positive online will have people wanting to have you as an online presence in their lives. After all, there is no shortage of negative things available to read online. Having even a brief positive thought to read is a pleasant escape. Even if the positive thought expressed is not about the person reading it, just the fact that there is a positive post can make them feel good.

Let us not lose our basic human decency just because we do not face immediate consequences for the words we type. Fight the urge to respond to every negative post and comment. Do not add to the problem. Do not say anything you would not say if you were face to face. If you are going to use your social media for anything, why not use it to express thoughts of love and appreciation you may be uncomfortable doing in person. They will make the receiving party feel good and you will not have to worry about feeling awkward. If each one of us reading this would take these actions we would go a long way to making the world a more positive place.

THIS WEEKEND, WALK AWAY

Some people, for the life of me I don’t know why, must attend every drama party they are invited to. Another thing that leaves me scratching my head is that when people try and walk away from drama, others treat them poorly. On occasion, this causes them to reconsider their decision to remove themselves from the stressful situation. As if the people who created the drama opinion matters. They are just afraid they will have no reaction to their drama.

When you walk away from a negative situation, expect there to be drama. Expect the offending party to put up a great amount of resistance. You may lose some friends, that is okay. If someone is willing to stop talking to you because of your refusal to participate in gossip, drama or any other negativity they are not worth being concerned about. Understand your inner peace is worth more than other people’s opinion of you. You owe it to yourself to remove yourself from any situation that does not serve you.

One of the reasons people cannot break the cycle of participating in drama is they let their emotions rule their thoughts. Remaining calm in a stressful situation is worth working towards. It will allow you not to react to others but to choose your actions. If you are looking for a secret to an amazing life it would be developing an ability to ACT and not to REACT. This is not easy by any means, but the payoff will be worth it.

This weekend, do yourself a favor and practice emotional self-control. You will benefit by having more inner peace and control of your life. That is a priceless secret to an amazing life.

CONTROL IT OR IT CONTROLS YOU

Doesn’t it suck when you are having a great day, minding your own business. Maybe you are even whistling a happy tune, talking to the birds. Whatever you do when you are full of joy. Then you get a text, a phone call, someone drives by and yells out of their car window or maybe someone posts something not so nice about you on social media. In other words, somebody does something to rain on your parade. Suddenly, you go from whistling a happy tune to growling unpleasant wishes to the offending party.

Did you ever wonder why people do that? If you are minding your own business, enjoying life, why do they have to bring their negativity on you? Why do they feel compelled to ruin your day? Here is a secret – I think some people are just jerks. While that may not really be a secret, it is the truth. Some people like to be mean. I never quite understood it. It might have to do with their own self-image. It could be a coping mechanism for their own pain. All I am sure of is it sucks. I would be inclined to guess you agree.

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is both a hard truth and the secret to having a lot more amazing days in life. Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you refused to let these people get you down? After all, we determine how we feel. We decide what certain actions in our life mean. That is why when a stranger says something hurtful about you it is far less painful than if a friend would say the same thing. Why is that? It could be the same words, the same idea. It is because we decide that it hurts more for someone close to us to say something hurtful. If we can, however, practice restrain and emotional control it will only increase our personal power. Next time you read a negative comment about you, get a nasty text or someone just insults you in person. Try repeating this to yourself, or better yet, out loud. In response to what you heard or read say, “No thank you. I am going to have a great day today.” If they follow that with even more intense negativity just keep repeating your statement.

This accomplishes several things. First, it programs your subconscious mind by repeating the positive statement over and over again. Second, it will begin to give you a feeling of control over your own mind and emotions. Once you master your own mind, you can master just about anything. Third, it will give you a feeling of inner peace and strength. Knowing that outside forces cannot dictate how you feel on the inside anymore. Lastly, it seems to annoy the person bent on making you feel negative. This is just an added bonus really. In the future, they will spend their negative energy on someone they can more easily get a rise out of.

WHO IS IN YOUR MOVIE?

Last post we mentioned being the best star you can be in your own movie. We also mentioned when it comes to thinking of your life like a movie, it is important to remember the other roles that we play. One of those roles is that we cast our movie. Sometimes when we feel our life is not what we would like it to be, we need to examine who we have chosen to share it with.

Perhaps our life does not seem very hopeful. Maybe is seems kind of dark and depressing. As we look to improve and develop our own attitudes as discussed in our last post (Which is where I suggest you should begin) we must also take a look at who we are surrounding ourselves with. If we are hoping to develop a more joyous attitude but our world is filled with people who could do a voice over for Eeyore in the classic Winne-the-Pooh stories, it might make our journey more difficult. Maybe we wish to develop a more ‘can do’ attitude. If we are surrounded by people who are dream killers and who have given up on their dreams it will be tough going.

If there happens to be a shortage of quality people in your life, don’t worry. This is an area of great opportunity that can be easily corrected. Putting yourself in the position of a casting agent makes the process fun and easier to do. If you were creating a movie about a life (sometimes forgetting it is your own can make it easier) ask yourself who would I cast in that movie? If I was looking for a open-minded yet health conscious character I would cast my friend Nick for that role. Perhaps I was looking for a character who was very intelligent, but covered themselves in a veil of eccentricity, that would be a perfect role for my friend Bret. If I were looking to cast a beautiful leading lady who was creative and quirky, someone who would keep our leading actor on their toes…well as you know I cast that role to my lovely Margie.

Thinking about this exercise can be fun. It can help writing it down to help keep less in your head. Maybe there is a certain role you are looking to fill that you do not know anyone who has those exact traits. Write down the traits you are looking for in that person. Maybe it is your leading lady or man. Maybe it is just a costar you would like to feature on occasion. Maybe it is a place you would like the star of your movie to work, to play or to spend their vacation? Write that down and review it often. Keeping these thoughts in the back of your mind will help you notice and attract that person, place or thing. Remember, this is your movie cast accordingly. What about certain characters or situations we have in our movie that we might have cast differently? That is an issue we will discuss in tomorrow’s post. Make sure you return.

ARE THEY READY?

Have you ever run into this problem? A friend of yours comes to you for help. You really care for this person and do not want to see them hurting anymore, so you do your best to help them. A week, or maybe even sooner, they are back with the same problem. I know a person who does really ill-advised things when they drink alcohol. They come to me with lines such as, “I wish I would have never said that.” or ” I wish I would have never done that.” With as much compassion as I can muster, I offer the suggestion that perhaps they should stop drinking. “You are right. I should.” A week later…same story. When you mention the fact that they were going to give up the thing that was causing the problems in their life, they have a range of excuses. They were going to. They thought they could control themselves.

Maybe you have a friend that is trying to get in shape and wants to work out with you. Meet me at the gym after work and we will workout together you offer. That time comes and they had a tough day at work and just want to relax at home. Maybe they are unwilling to give up eating junk food and drinking soda. Yet as they are slamming Mountain Dew with one had and eating a doughnut in the other, they are also complaining about how they just can’t seem to lose weight. Spending your time developing a workout routine or nutrition plan with these folks may not be the best investment of your time.

The hard truth is this – if someone is not willing to help themselves by letting go what is holding them down, there is little you can do for them. It is like tossing someone a life preserver who is still hanging on to an anchor. A friend that is not intent on getting out of that relationship that is bringing them down, yet they always ask you why they are not happy. Until they are willing to help themselves, you cannot help them no matter how hard you try. It will only end up with you feeling as defeated as them.

There is one caveat to this. If the person you are trying to help is genuinely working hard on changing but is having a difficult time. You can perhaps work with them to develop a plan to help them succeed. If you see a person really desires to change but is lacking the knowledge how, encouragement and working with them is a noble and great thing to do. Just be aware there are those who want others to fix their lives for them. Unless they are willing to let go of the negative in their life, any positive you offer them will be of little to no use.

HAPPENS TO ME ALL OF THE TIME

I am sure some of you think the life of a motivational speaker/author is one of sunshine and rainbows. Although I firmly believe I have found a way to live life with a passion and joy that few are fortunate enough to have, there are still challenges for me. Some happen when major events occur. Some, like we are going to discuss today, happen almost daily.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” You have heard me use this quote of Earl Nightingale quite often. I do this because I believe it is truly one of the truest things ever spoken. I do not believe success is a point to be reached, so much as a way of traveling. I don’t believe we ever truly defeat our demons, so much as live to fight them another day. Sometimes we win, sometimes they do. To be successful, we must identify them and develop ways to outflank and attack them daily. With practice and persistence we shold begin to prevail more than we fall victim.

Case in point for me – negative self-talk and dwelling on the negative. This may sound shocking as those are two things that I preach everyone should work on. The reason I say that is because I do so daily. Recently, on my day off at my day job someone came and destroyed my work area. It took me a good 20 minutes to clean the area up before I could even begin my work day. Yes, this sucks. No, nobody knew anything about it. As I made my way through the projects I had to attend to that day I found myself thinking about this episode. Not even really consciously. It was almost as if my mind was having a conversation about it. “Who would really do such a thing?” “Why would they leave it that way?” and a million other thoughts raced through my head.

The more this happened, the more the event seemed to bother me. This was foolish as it had already been addressed and corrected. Dwelling on it did one thing and one thing only – lowered my emotional state and mental well-being. Then another thought crept into my mind. “If I spent this amount of time visualizing my goals, I would be a lot further along.” For that moment, my demons won. I did not let it stay that way. “Persistence is another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.” Another Earl Nightingale quote I love. At that moment I made up my mind to take control of my thoughts again.

Dwelling on an unpleasant episode can be hard not to do. This was only a mild inconvienence. If you have an emotionally charged episode like a disagreement with your spouse, for example, that can seem insurmountable. It is not. That is not to say it will be easy, but it is possible. We realize focusing on what we have to be grateful for in our partner would serve us far better than dwelling on that thing they said or did that upset us. We also realize that dwelling on that will only increase our anger and make the likelihood of a possible resolution far less…well…likely. We certainly may not be able to shift our thinking away from the upset and towards gratitude, especially in the beginning. As we practice and continue to go to war with ourselves and our demons, we will experience one victory. We can use that and the good feelings it brings to build upon. 

If your demons are negative self-talk, dwelling on negative situations, do not give them power. Be persistent and have faith. Even if some days they may get the best of you, wake up to fight another day. 

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