Today’s post is one of simple reassurance. If you subscribe to a blog like this, you are undoubtedly a person who is driven to learn and utilize secrets to an amazing life. It is worth noting and something we must be careful of when working to improve our lives, we must enjoy the process. This can be difficult to do during the best of times, but takes special care when we feel like we are failing or even moving backwards.
When we are trying to improve any aspect of our lives there comes a time when we face an obstacle or a set back. It can seem as if we are trying to push a giant marshmallow up a hill. Maybe we are doing our best to improve our physical fitness and we sustain and injury. After weeks of rest, going back to the gym and having to ‘start all over’ can be quite deflating. Perhaps we are working on completing our next book and accidentally hit ‘delete’ instead of ‘save’, wiping out weeks or more of work. (I did this once, it was followed by feeling of being nauseous) All of these moments can lead to doubt. What can doubt do? As Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” There is a lot said in that one line, and all of it is true. Doubting ourselves can lead to giving up too soon or even failing to try.
Once returning from injury to the gym, I remarked how deflating it was to have to lower the weights so far from what they were prior to injuring myself. I was told something that not only applies to the gym, but to every other task in life – “You are still further ahead than everyone who is just sitting on the couch.” Unless your job is a professional couch tester, this is quite true. Were you supposed to write 1000 words and only could come up with 750? That is better than sitting on the couch (which is where I am writing this ironically) not writing anything.
Some days you may fail all together. What about those days? There are expected too. If you are striving to be your best, that is what counts. We often do not succeed at the level we wish to. We can use it for motivation to work harder the next day. We can recall days that we crushed it more than we expected and realize it all balances out in the end. We can also realize that we are going to have days that we try and fail and even a few where we fail to try. As long as they are the exceptions and not the rule, we should not be too hard on ourselves. Just make sure to get back up and kick butt again!
Prayer. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, prayer is usually a very important part of it. I recall as a little fellow I was taught to pray to God for what you wanted and needed. Almost as if the almighty were some kind of Santa Claus in the sky. As I grew a little older and found myself in high school, prayer showed up a little less regularly. It was usually the day before a big exam. One of those, “Please God let me pass English class so I can graduate.” sort of things.
It always seemed a little odd to me to approach the supreme being in such a begging type fashion. It wasn’t until I pursued my quest of spirituality outside the walls of the building of organized religion that I really came to understand prayer. One book I recall reading at a young age was The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. I was always a student of science and often struggled with melding both science and religion. This book went a long way to helping that process. Inner dialogue, of which prayer is even though it is directed at a supreme power, utilizes the subconscious mind. If you are a spiritual sort, you must ask yourself why did the power that be give us such a mind?
Another thing that I have learned by being exposed to many different spiritual beliefs is that you should not pray to change others or the outside world. One, this is trying to project your will and beliefs on others, and that is just not nice. Instead, I focus on the one person I can change – me. Instead of praying others were more polite and considerate, I focus on becoming more compassionate and understanding myself. Instead of asking the Great Spirit to give me an easier life, I pray that I may have a stronger soul. When life becomes overwhelming I focus on finding the beauty and learning the lessons. A little divine intervention is often needed, and I feel is a fair thing to request in suplication.
This may sound odd to many of you, but one of the areas in which this pays the biggest dividends is in my romantic relationship. First of all, it is my opinion that the divine placed in my life a woman who is beautiful, creative and easy to love. In order to never lose that ‘honeymoon phase’ and let little annoyances grow over time, I pray to see the beauty in those too. If there is any area of our live that serves as a merciless mirror to see the parts of ourselves we may not be the most proud of, it is our intimate relationships. The person closest to us sees all sides of us at all different times. That is why I pray daily to be the best man I can be for the woman I love. There are also thoughts and prayers that I may never miss the beauty in all that she does. Whether that is her love of family and friends, her silly sense of humor or her spontaneity, I never want to miss the beauty she shows.
There are so many things partners can do that may be cute at first, but grow to really grind on us and begin to tear away at our love and passion. You may get annoyed at the many loud sounds arising from the person slumbering next to you, but that means you have them in your life. You may become frustrated when they fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and you lay awake counting more sheep than exist in all of Ireland. That means they feel safe and comfortable enough around you. Your partner asks you to run to the store after a grueling day at work? They rely on you and you have a chance to do something to make their life easier.
Now we come to the most powerful prayer of all, that of thanksgiving. In this blog I have had countless posts on the power of gratitude. It can change your entire life quicker that anything else I know. There are many ways to develop an attitude of gratitude. You could start a gratitude journal, you can write what you are grateful for each day and why. You could create a vision board with pictures of everything you are grateful for. I like and personally recommend all of these items. That being said, one of the most powerful daily practices is to spend time each day offering up a prayer of thanksgiving for all that you have. This does not have to be anything overly religious or formal. Just make sure it is heartfelt. When you thank the divine power you believe in for what you have in life, magic happens. When you can become grateful and thankful for everything in life, or better yet for life itself, you will know peace.
This is a more spiritual post than I normally have, but I think realizing the power of prayer is important aspect of self-improvement. Do not treat the Divine as a Santa Claus in the sky. Instead use prayer to become the best version of yourself. Pray to develop an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for all that you have. Doing this will not only add to whatever faith you follow, but will bring you a great deal of inner peace.
Always on the lookout for new and fun places to try close to home, I was quite excited to hear that Camino had opened a new location just blocks away from my house. Their first location on south 2nd street has always received rave reviews and I was about to discover why.
What Margie and I discovered was a menu full of unique items, an interior that was airy and clean, food that was hot and delicious and service that was friendly and prompt. You can read my full review to hear about some of the exotic options available at this location as well as our dining experience. This was one of the most enjoyable reviews I have written for Chow Down in Milwaukee. I encourage you to click the link below and see what is in store for you in you treat yourself to a visit to Camino in down town West Allis.
Have you heard of a mastermind group? It is a group of individuals, all with different skills, working together. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich explains the many benefits of having a mastermind group. There are two types of mastermind groups I believe you should have and they both have unique benefits. We will call them a public mastermind and a private mastermind. Not only do they serve completely different purposes, but they are both fun to put together. We will look at them one at a time.
A public mastermind fits the dictionary definition of mastermind group. This category can even be further broken down into personal and professional groups, but we will keep it simple. If you would like to expand and have several mastermind groups in your life that is up to you. Begin by thinking of the purpose for your mastermind group. Is it to further an organization you are part of? Is it to help a cause you belong to? Now decide what kind of people you would enjoy having in your mastermind group. Do you need a person with skills in marketing? Would an accountant benefit you? How about an author/postal worker/DJ who happens to be rather dashing and charming? Totally hypothetical there. The idea is to meet with all of these individuals on a regular basis for brainstorming sessions.
A few things to keep in mind when forming a mastermind group. First, pick people you can count on fairly well. Second, be prepared to give more than you get. What skills will you bring to this group. Here is the best part about this mastermind group. When a group of people gather to work on a common goal, a separate person is formed. It is the collective thoughts of all of the people present. As individuals they may be able to accomplish a great deal, but collectively they can accomplish a lot more and a lot more quickly. You must also keep in mind temperament. People who are easy to get along with make everything run smoothly. You may be a great accountant but if your personality is that of a proper ass, you may not be a good fit for a mastermind group.
This group is a bit more esoteric. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill speaks of having a personal mastermind group. This is one that exists only in your mind. I must confess to being a bit skeptical as to how this could be beneficial. How can meeting with a an imaginary group of people help you? What Mr. Hill advocates is that we have an issue that may be vexing us. Go into a dark room and lay down or sit down. Get into a meditative state with our eyes closed. Imagine being in a conference room, board room, playground or wherever you would think of having your mastermind group meet. Then imagine them entering one by one. The fun thing about this group is these people can be living or dead. Why? This is only going to exist in your imagination. Now, as the meeting is called to order, imagine bringing your current dilemma to the group. Imagine how the discussion would go. What would each person have to say about it? Let your imagination run wild. Then imagine them all leaving one by one.
I must confess I dismissed this idea for quite some time. I couldn’t see the value of having an imaginary meeting with people who only existed in my head. After all, on any given day it can feel like there are several people in my head to begin with. While working on an idea for my second book the power of this hit me. Napoleon Hill alludes to perhaps some ethereal communication. Perhaps that was a bit more than I could absorb at the time. A more logical and sensible application caused me to take a fresh look at this concept. The reason you would select the individuals for your mastermind group is because they have qualities you aspire to have, admire or maybe both. In your mind you would imagine what would this person who has a reputation for being honest for example, have to say about your situation? How about the person who has the ability to work well with people? In that way you can make decisions based on these good qualities.
This will also help you in two other ways. First, it will help you take some time to relax and think in an almost detached manner about your problem. Sometimes we are so emotionally keyed up, that it can be hard to take a step back and spend quality time thinking logically about our problem. The second benefit is that by imagining how all of these different people would look at a situation, you are thinking of your problem from a few different perspectives. Even if the people you picked for your private mastermind group are similar to you, they are not you and probably have some differences.
In closing, I highly recommend forming both of these groups for the reasons mentioned above. A good way to start is with a simple pen and paper. Make two lists, one for each group. List the names of the people you would like in the group and why. Sometimes you might even have the why and need the person. For example you might want someone who is extremely productive and driven yet at the current moment most of your friends spend their free time on the couch playing video games. Then you must be on the lookout for a driven associate you can add to your mastermind group. As for the private mastermind group, think of who you would like to have in that group and why. That way your subconscious mind can create the thoughts of an individual with those qualities.
BONUS: As I work on forming my own mastermind groups I thought I would give you a few examples of just ‘some’ of the people I think would make a good fit. I would include my friend Curtis. He is driven, we think alike and has mastered the skill of interpersonal relations. My friend Nick and I meet for coffee and have great conversations. My coworker Amanda has some great thoughts on self-improvement and spirituality. My friend Sharon, who first taught me the skill of journaling, would be included. My soul friend Shannon and her stimulating knowledge would be a must. My friends Alisa and Anna would offer great insight and help with writing. Of course I would have to include my creative, funny and eager lovely lady Margie in this group.
As for my private mastermind group, I would have an eclectic group of people. Lao Tzu comes to mind as I like his way and manner of thinking. I admire Abraham Lincoln’s restraint and manner of speaking. Nat King Cole is not only my favorite singer, but a snappy dresser, loyal family man and had a great way of looking at life. Several Native American leaders such as Sitting bull, Black Elk and Chief Dan George spring to mind for their outlook on life. Think about all of those folks sitting and chatting with me?
Who would be in your mastermind groups and why? I would love to hear!
Here is a subject on which I feel I can speak with great authority. I say that for two very good reasons. One, I have a relationship, that although is far from perfect, it is amazing and we are working on making it better every day. The second reason is that I have screwed up so much in the past I have quite a few ideas of what doesn’t work in creating an amazing relationship. In this post we are going to unlock two insider secrets that if you put them into play, I promise will not only improve your relationships, but will improve your life. As an added bonus, it will also improve your most important relationship. That is the one with the person in the mirror.
In this blog we explore ways in which you can live a more amazing life. There is no greater area of your life that influences whether your life is amazing or not than your relationships. Although we are going to look at this from the point of an intimate relationship, you can apply these two secrets to any relationship from friend to coworker and watch them blossom into something very special. In fact, if you honestly give these two secrets I am about to share with you an honest try for 30 days, I promise you that your life will be better than it has ever been. One of these secrets will not only make you more popular, but will give you the appearance of having an almost supernatural power to make anyone feel special and appreciated. The other secret will not only take your relationships to a whole new level, but will have you happier, healthier and more full of inner peace than you thought was possible! Sound like a lot of hype? I promise you that it is not. Remember, I have been on both sides of the coin. I know what doesn’t work and have made most of the mistakes. (Sorry baby, but I am sure there are still some I am have yet to get to) and I have also used these tools, and continue to use them, to create some of the most rewarding and dynamic relationships I have even had. Are you ready to learn these simple yet powerful secrets so you can put them to use in your own life? Before we jump in to what they are and how to use them, a quick warning is needed. These secrets are deceptively simple. You may hear them and assume you already are using them. Let me assure you that odds are you are not. You may also assume that since they are so simple they will not work. Not only am I living proof, but the countless people I have shared these two secrets with can attest to their magical quality. Heed these two warning as you read on and I promise you that your life is about to transform.
The first amazing tool is to listen. Before you start telling me how you have been listening to your spouse complain for years, let me stop you. This is a different kind of listening. This type of listening will help you get inside your partners head. It is active listening, or as I like to call it, listening with a purpose. The picture above is of myself and my love Margie. Fear not, her tongue is not normally blue. I want to share a quick story about how listening changed my relationship with this beautiful young lady. Early in our relationship I found my self at the grocery store wanting to bring her home a little something to let her know I was thinking of her. The sad part was I did not know what she would like. What kind of cereal did she like? I didn’t know. What fruit might she enjoy? I was clueless. I made up my mind to focus on what she seemed to gravitate towards next time we were at the store together. When I did the information was overwhelming. As we walked and did our normal shopping I suddenly heard her tell me about her passion for black olives and why Lucky Charms should be considered a healthy cereal.
I was so happy and excited with all of my new found knowledge that I couldn’t wait to go to the grocery store again and be able to pick out something she would like. I must confess that I almost missed the true value of this. It does not just have to be limited to the grocery store. I began to listen to find our what made her happy. I watched as she seemed to brighten up around certain flowers. I learned that when she is stressed shopping at the craft store is good for her. Not so good for the bottom line, but I digress. If you listen to your partner to discover what they like and what they don’t, what makes them happy and what makes them mad. Recently, I recall hearing Margie mention she wanted a water bottle that broke down how much water she should drink by certain times of the day. Without saying I word I looked online and found one in colors she enjoys. The effect on your partner is the true reward here. They will not only be happy you are doing more of what makes them happy and less of what makes them mad, but they will feel listened to and valuable. For your benefit, you will now have the ability to bring joy and happiness to your relationship almost at will. The great thing about this is that the more you listen and learn, the better you will be at making your partner feel loved.
BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
This secret I have only really come across recently. When things seem to be struggling in your relationship, focus on yourself. It may be true that your partner is treating you unfairly. It may be true times are just rough. What is a certain truth is you have no control over your partner nor outside circumstances. Trying to get and maintain control over either of those things will not only drive you crazy, you probably will end up a jerk as well. What you do have complete control over is yourself. Why is this important? If you are working on improving yourself, it is pretty hard not to win the admiration of your partner. If you work on getting in better shape and becoming healthier you will have more energy to bring to the relationship. Maybe you could work on expanding your knowledge base (Learning new things). That will provide more stimulating conversation in your relationship. How about working on your relationship skills in general? There are plenty of fun and amusing guides on how to become more romantic, adventurous, charming and whatever else you may wish to be.
What if you do all of this and your relationship still falls apart? Believe it or not, this is the best part about using this tool. If you truly work to become the best version of yourself and things do not work out, you can be confident in two very important things. First, if the relationship did not work when you were the best version of yourself, than it would not have worked at all. The worst thing about the end of a relationship is saying the ‘should of’ and ‘what if’. If you did the best you could, you should have no regrets. The second thing is even better. If you continue to work on yourself to improve every day and things do not work out with your partner, you are going to be in a far better position to start your next relationship. I enjoy learning new ways to make my love smile. Everyday at the gym I know I am working to be a healthier and happier version of myself. On the days I do screw things up, I am always eager to learn something new about improving myself and what I bring to our relationship.
In the end, becoming someone who can listen with a purpose and constantly improving ourselves will not only benefit our relationship, it will make us better and more powerful people. Being able to listen to someone, not to reply, but to learn and understand is so rare it could be considered a super power. Developing the drive to work on ourselves everyday will not only set us up to have our partner falling in love with us all over again, but at the end of the day we will be a better person. Practice these two relationship tools. They really are the secret to an amazing life.
One of the most difficult times in anyone’s life is when someone they love passes away. Two years ago I lost a great deal of people I cared about. As it so happens I was asked to say a few words at several of their services. What an honor that is. At the same time it is a lot of pressure. When you are selected to speak at a major life event a good deal of trust is being placed in you to capture the moment in five to ten minutes of time. These are moments when words fail to live up to the gravity of the situation. How can you possibly do justice with words the feelings that are in the hearts of someone at such an occasion? Everyone is feeling a wide range of emotions from anger and sadness to loss and regret. How can you possibly speak to all of those?
I am going to give you two extremely valuable lessons I have learned that will help you in what can be very trying times. Let us first talk about being asked to speak at these occasions. Most of you reading this may never be asked to speak at a memorial or celebration of life event. That is probably a good thing. In recent studies, people placed the fear of public speaking ahead of the fear of even death. Which means, in a nutshell, most people would be more comfortable being the person the service is about than speaking at it. Still, there is questions like, “What do I say to the family and friends of the person who has departed?” and “What could I possibly write in this card that would do any good? In a way all of these questions can be answered using the same idea
When I was about to speak all these crazy thoughts came into my head. “What if they don’t like what I have to say?” “What if I break down and cannot finish what I have written down?” These were all legitimate concerns, but only to me. Realizing I was focusing on my concerns and worried about if I did something wrong how it would be received. What I had to do was change my entire mindset. Whether it is filling out a card, giving a heartfelt words to family and friends or standing up in front of a large gathering filled with emotion to give a speech when you are also filled with that same emotion, the answer is the same. When Albert Einstein was asked why we were here his answer was quick and simple, “We are here to serve others.” That is what we need to focus on during times of sorrow.
When I changed my mindset to one of service and began to ask myself what can I say that can give a little comfort or solace to those who were gathered there, the rest took care of itself. Was I emotional at some? Yes. Did I have to take a moment and compose myself before continuing? Yes. I believe that is of some service too. Knowing that your words come from a place of love and respect mean just as much as the words that are being said. I am generally thought of as a positive chap who promotes motivation and positivity. I thought things like that had no place at a memorial. What I have learned is being yourself and speaking (whether that is in person or in a card) words from the heart is all that matter.
Another thing to remember is that losing someone sucks…big time. This may seem like a no brainer but we must remember death affects everyone differently. We must also remember each of us grieve differently. People will be sad and that is alright. It is not our job to try to lift that sadness. Leave that to a power much great than yourself. Our job as fellow humans is to offer a bit of love and light to those who are hurting and to do so in our own particular way. To let everyone know we care. The way to do so is by being the wonderful caring people we are. We may stumble over our words and even get mixed up and say things completely wrong. That is okay. What matters is the love we have and the service we give. One day we will need the same.
Even the casual follower of this blog, not to mention anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am a big fan of Mr. Rogers. A host of a children’s television program, but also a modern day teacher and philosopher who mastered the art of human fundamentals. That is to say he could break down the most complex subject so that children could understand. Divorce? He had a show for that. Senseless violence? He was able to talk to children about that. In doing so, he took subjects that were multi-layered and broke them down to the most basic aspect.
By doing this to benefit children, I think it had the unexpected result of benefiting adults as well. Just as a star athlete will practice the basic moves in which their sport is made of, we as adults must practice basic emotional and societal actions. There are steps such as finding a way to not only express our feelings in a healthy way, but allowing others to do the same that can make a huge impact on the world. Discovering what to do when you are mad. How to help yourself when you feel lonely. These are lessons that Mr. Rogers taught to children every day on his television show but that many of us have forgotten in this crazy work-a-day world.
The quotes in the two pictures I have featured represent 2 paths to changing the world. Sounds like a bold claim. Follow 2 quotes from a man who used to host a television show for children and we could change the world? Remember how an athlete becomes a star. They practice the fundamentals every day until they can do them without thinking. Let us get back to our human fundamentals. At a basic level all of humans have a great deal in common. We all want to be loved. We all want to be treated well. We all would like to be significant in some way. We want to feel like we make a difference.
Let us look at these two pieces of advice. The first one is to “offering, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.” He implores us to imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like. Can you imagine what your neighborhood would be like if everyone offered just one kind word to another person? If people walking around complimenting each other makes you think of a ‘neighborhood of make believe’, that should tell you how far we have strayed from human decency. How difficult is it to offer a person one kind word? How much effort does that take? Even offering them one kind thought. Is that really that difficult? Of course it isn’t. So why is it that imagining people doing that seems so far removed from reality? What can we do about it? We can let it start with us. When you see your neighbors share with them a kind thought or at least a kind word. Watch the difference it makes. Become that agent of change.
The second quote is a little more complex in both thought and words, but still something even a child could understand and certainly something an adult could do. It really breaks down into 2 sections. The first is, “To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” A few things I would like to point out. First is the word strive. We may not always be successful in our attempts to accept those who are different than us. It takes a great amount of patience and compassion. Not only with the people who are different, but ourselves who may fail to do so. What is important is that we are striving to do so. If our intent is to love and accept our neighbor as they are, more often than not we will succeed in doing so. In the times we fail, we can apologize and even ask for their help in understanding. The second part is to “go on caring through the joyful times and through times that may bring us pain.” Right now a lot of people are experiencing pain and tough times. All of them for their own reasons. It may be difficult to understand what they are facing if we ourselves have not faced similar situations. It is for that reason it is so important that we go on caring for our neighbors.
It is the basic things that will allow us to become a united people. It is being loving and caring for each other. In this global world and economy that will live in, it is understand that we are all neighbors. We have the unique ability to affect people not only in our direct neighborhood, but in our world neighborhood as well. Will we use that power to divide or will we use it to show love to our neighbor and bring us closer together?
The above quote may sound funny, but in most cases of ‘enlightened’ people in rings true to some degree. I have been working in the field of self-improvement for over 22 years now. Most of that time is spent working on, fittingly, improving myself. You would think if you worked on something for 22 years and still haven’t perfected it that you might become frustrated. That is why it is so important to fall in love with the journey and not the destination. The field in which I work is called self-improvement, not self-perfection. It is about getting that little bit better every day.
You can do everything right and still fall victim to your emotions every once in a while. It is not only understandable, but is fairly predictable. Plus, in this world there are people who may very well benefit from a good smacking. People who purposely do harm to children, animals and those who cannot defend themselves. People who act with no regard to others feelings or rights. A prime example. My mother and I had went for a nice walk through the park. It was fairly warm and by the end we decided we had earned stopping for a nice ice coffee. Wanting to enjoy our iced coffee on the outdoor patio we sat at a table under a nice tree. It became apparent in a short time that we would not be enjoying the fresh air sitting under this tree. Sitting right under the ‘no smoking’ sign at a table that had a ‘no smoking’ sign on it was a man who was…smoking. This man was smoking a cigar that was only slightly smaller in circumference than a baseball bat. He sat at this table with four other adults and one child. They were all dressed nicely and I venture a guess that at least one of them could either read or make sense of the sign of a cigarette in a circle with a slash through it. Still, he sat and puffed away. Probably, deserved a smacking.
Yes, at the time this guy was puffing out fumes like a coal furnace in a non-smoking area the thought of a rap in the back of the head did occur. Maybe his friends did not mind the smell of smoke that resembled garbage on a hot day, but realizing there were others sitting in this non-smoking area that might have would have been considerate. Here is the ironic thing; my thoughts of smacking him were just as bad as his actions that gave me those thoughts. It is true that what he was doing was rude and not very thoughtful, but it is not my place to judge him or his actions. Getting upset over his actions did not bother him or encourage him to be more thoughtful. All it did was upset me.
We all have moments where other people can set us off into anger. What we really need to realize is that it is not them who make us feel the anger. What we feel and how we react to a situation is 100% determined by us. When you find yourself saying, “That person made me mad.” Rephrase that to, “That person made me decide to be mad.” After all, isn’t it true that a person can still do something unpleasant or even mean and we cannot let it upset us? Of course it is. Is it easy? No. That is why they call it self-improvement. This does not mean we should let people walk all over us or act in a way that is demeaning to ourselves or others. What it means is that we should not let their negative action cause a negative emotion inside of us. That is only multiplying the negativity in the situation. Take what actions are necessary to address the problem and send them thoughts and prayers of being more thoughtful in the future. When you do this, make sure to say a prayer for yourself that you may remain patient and understanding of others as well.
The point we are trying to make is that if you feel like giving someone a gentle physical reminder upside that head that is normal. It is what we do with those feelings that matter. Do we stew on them it get ourselves upset? To we yell at the offending party and threaten a physical action? Do we even walk over and let our hand demonstrate what our emotions are feeling? None of those actions will lead to a positive outcome for yourself, the offending party or the situation. If you have the urge to smack someone, just know that it is a test from the universe and that person is a personal trainer for your emotions. Making your sense of restraint and positivity even stronger.
In the wake of recent events the pace of change is accelerating today faster than it has in a long time. In many respects that is good. Giving those who have not had a voice a platform to speak. Addressing issues like racism and inequality that have plagued our nation for far too long. Unfortunately, there are many cases when people searching more for revenge and less for equality dominate the headlines. Violence and vandalism distract from what is a very important message.
I would like to see the world begin to create some real change. Peaceful protests are needed to bring the attention to issues that some may have ignored and others may be ignorant to the fact they have even existed. Now that many of the issues are on the table, we need to move forward in a constructive manner to institute real change. Toppling statues of leaders that were cruel and unjust is one thing. A more powerful route is to topple senators that still are. For the world to see real change, for people of every color, creed and sex be treated fairly we must educate ourselves and take action. What can you do? Learn where your elected officials stand on issues that are important to you. Make sure you are registered to vote and encourage, and assist if needed, others to do the same. Vote out of office those that seek to divide us and vote into office those that are pushing for the world to come together as one. Vote for peace, vote for love, vote for what you believe in, but whatever you do, vote.
Enough of this political banter. There is an even more powerful change that I have witnessed a lot more lately. What is that change? LOVE. Throughout all of the violence and negativity we have seen on the news, I have seen a different sort of change. I have seen many more people displaying a love and respect for others who may be different than them. A great example – The other night I had ventured to my local coffee shop to create some of these blogs. There were two young African-American ladies there studying for what appeared to be some exam. They were hard at work but still sharing some laughter. Shortly after I arrived, an elderly white couple came in and began to play bridge. With the social distancing in the coffee shop, there was not many tables to choose from. This created a rather ‘cozy’ atmosphere among the three tables I mentioned. I was lost in the world of my typing, which happens quite often. The next time I looked up the elderly lady had walked over to ask the young ladies what they were studying and to compliment one of them on their outfit.
This story may not seem like anything to mind-blowing, but it was heart-warming. Why? It is the way the world should be. From what I have seen in the past, people from different worlds do not often communicate with each other. Whether this was out of fear, a perceived lack of things in common (trust me we all have a lot more in common than we think) or some other reason, it prevents us from really getting to know each other. In a world where there needs to be some tough conversations, it is vital that we respectfully communicate with each other. If you think of tough conversations you have had in your personal life, you know how difficult that can be.
One of the most powerful ways that we can foster change is to simply love one another. Not only does this make sense from a social perspective but it has been the theme of almost every spiritual belief system as well. The golden rule. Below you will see how that very axiom is promulgated in nearly every spiritual text. Yet again, something we all have in common. No matter what belief we follow, we should all do our best to love one another.
Let us change the world. Let us change it with love. Let us change it now.
Whatever you are, be a good one. It seems like a pretty obvious statement. After all, we would never want to be a bad one of anything I would guess. Sometimes the simplest statements can be some of the most profound. That holds true in this case as well I feel.
Let us look at ‘what you are’. In life, many of us play several different roles. As a personal example, I am not only the creator and main content provider behind this website, I am also an author of 2 books, I am a food critic for the website Chow Down in Milwaukee, I am a Postal worker and DJ as well as writing for several magazines. Looking at that in print it seems like a bit too much. That is without factoring in the speaking and seminars that I do. How do I not become overwhelmed? I just focus on what I am doing at the moment. If I am writing a book, I do my best at that. Working at the Post Office, I do the same. As I write these blogs I do my best to convey something that is both entertaining and useful.
What are your roles? Are you a CEO? A bartender? A parent? A grandparent? Whatever it is, we should do our best to be a good one. We are all someone’s friend. To that end, do your best to be a good friend. This seems rather obvious but have you ever really sat down to think about how best to be a good one? This occurred to me on the way home from writing the other night. I asked myself, “How can I be a good friend?” Are there ways I could listen better? I could communicate how much people mean to me and how important they are.
One of the ways I have unconsciously used this to make the biggest change in my life is in my romantic relationship. Asking myself, and the love of my life, how I can be a good man for her has brought about some of the greatest breakthroughs. Whatever roles you fulfill in life, stop and ask yourself how you can be a good one.
Two quick closing thoughts. Ask yourself this question often. As we grow and learn in life more ideas will come to us. There is always room to improve. Include others in the asking too. They may offer suggestions to help. Lastly, remember the quote doesn’t say “Whatever you are, be a perfect one.” If you make a mistake that is alright. In fact, mistakes allow us to be good ones by providing us a chance to demonstrate being humble and gracious. Admitting, and better yet working to atone for and correct our mistakes, makes us a good one. We might not be a perfect friend, a perfect parent or a perfect spouse. If we are doing our best to be a good one, we will get better and soon our life will be amazing!