In honor of my upcoming book, Monday Morning Miracles, I wanted to share a quick inspiring thought to start the week. Monday can be a tough day for all of us. Back to work, back to school and just time away from our family and friends.
If this Monday has you feeling uninspired, here is a solution, inspire someone else! If you woke up feeling unmotivated after only 2 hours of sleep because you had to DJ (purely hypothetical 😉) motivate someone else! Feeling sad and already missing time with those you love? Spend a good portion of your Monday cheering up someone else!
When we help others it not only brightens their day, but it can’t help but reflect on us! Not to mention, it fills our surroundings with inspired, motivated and happy people! OWN MONDAY, DON’T LET IT OWN YOU!
One of the ways to grow that we may overlook is discovering ways to overcome our feelings of upset. Whether that is continuing to be sad over the loses of yesterday or anger over some infraction we were victims of.
This is easier said than done, but the fact that we can see ourselves continuing to suffer the ills of the day before is a sign we have an opportunity for continued growth. This week, let us look for continuing growth opportunities by discovering any ills we continue to be plagued by.
Please share your tips for overcoming negative emotions that continue to haunt you and prevent you to grow.
As we return from a long holiday weekend here in the United States, and as we settle into our week, let us take a second to remind ourselves of something very important.
Often when speaking at seminars and book signings, people ask me why being happy is so important. They feel focusing on health, finances and a host of other issues more pressing. My counter to that argument is that happiness is not mutually exclusive to those issues. In fact, happiness greatly affects your health, your finances and every other area of your life.
Today, however, we are going to focus on an even more pressing reason to be happy – time. We really never know how much of it we have left. If 2020 taught us anything it is that life is uncertain and can often be shorter than we think. If today were your last day, how would you feel if you sacrificed your happiness for some political argument? Would you really let the boss upset your whole day if you knew you might only have a few left?
It is my sincere hope that all of you reading this have plenty of time with those you love. Sad part is, we have over 68,000 in over 150 countries who follow this site. The odds that one of us could be facing some serious crisis in the near future is pretty good. Don’t waste a second of your precious time my friends! If you find yourself getting upset by something that probably doesn’t matter a great deal, just say to yourself “not today my friend!” May you have a day filled with joy!
Another reason to subscribe to positive pages on your social media. I saw this quote and couldn’t help but share it with all of you. Stop and think about this for a moment. A stranger somewhere is remembering your kindness. How does that make you feel? For me, it makes my heart feel warm and happy knowing that I positively affected someone. Not to turn this into an altruistic post, but one of the benefits of helping others with no expectation in return is the fact that it does help us…feel better.
As a matter of practice, I do my best to be as nice as I can to everyone I meet. There are people who are fighting silent battles that we are often unaware of. It is important to help these wonderful folks especially. How, you might ask, are we to help people who are fighting battles we are unaware of if we are, well…unaware of them? The simple answer? Be kind to everyone. This is easy when it comes to those who serve us. This can be the person who takes our order at the coffee shop (this is where this piece is currently being written) to the person helping us find something we are looking for at the store. There are also jobs that we should be thankful for that either get overlooked or looked down on. Have you ever had to pass through security at the airport or going into a sporting event or concert? Is it a pain in the butt? Sure. Are they doing their job and also keeping us safe? The answer is also yes. These folks often get told less than pleasant things. Imagine how much it would mean if someone showed them an act of kindness? What jobs do you think fit this category?
What about those people who seemingly do not deserve our kindness? The people who are quick to anger or just sunshine-challenged to begin with? Should we be nice to them? Absolutely! This can be one of the hardest things to do, but I am going to share two things to keep in mind that might make that easier. The first may sound cliché, but I am going to share a story that really drove the point home for me. Let us do our best to remember that we never know what someone is going through. They could be in the midst of a break up or divorce. Maybe they just lost their job? In the case of Stephen Covey, the author and educator, maybe it would be best to keep this in mind before we open our mouths. There is a story where Stephen was on the subway and there was a father who was letting his kids run around, yell and just cause trouble. At first, Mr. Covey did his best to ignore the children, but as time went on the father seemed to be doing a better job of being oblivious to the children’s actions than he was, Stephen found himself becoming more and more annoyed. Not wanting to spend his entire subway journey this way, he finally spoke up. “Do you think maybe you should do something about those kids?” he asked the father. He did not get the reply he expected. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. Truth is they just lost their mother and I am not sure they know how to deal with it. As a matter of fact, neither do I.” Can you imagine how terrible Stephen felt? He learned a valuable lesson that day. We never completely know why people act the way that they do.
What about those folks who act that way because they are unpleasant human beings? Those people who act miserably for the simple fact that they like others to be miserable? We really shouldn’t be nice to those people should we? Yep! It is my belief that nobody is mean or unkind to others without some story behind it. For the sake of argument, let us just pretend we couldn’t know or find it. This is often the case when the person who is being unkind is a total stranger.
There are a few reasons I keep in mind when I am doing my best impersonation of a sorcerer and trying to conjure up a spell of kindness. It is fun to imagine what happens hours later when these folks are not in our presence. Often, they can end up feeling guilty they were so unpleasant to someone who was still kind to them. Kind of hard to justify being a jerk to someone who is nice. I imagine that their guilt may help them change their behavior in the future. It may also destroy one of the main reasons people try to excuse themselves for treating people unkindly. They believe, or at least say it to justify their actions, that the world is mean, out to get them or self-serving. How can they say that when someone they were cruel to was nice to them? Sometimes they will just be mad that they could not accomplish their goal of making someone upset. I am not going to lie, that does make me smile. Knowing I ruined someone’s plans of trying to make the world a little more miserable makes me a little more happy. Here is a bonus thought. The abuse you took at the hands of this person could have been bestowed on someone who would have been less able to handle. it. Like the father in the story above. Can you imagine being screamed at after you have just lost someone you love? So, if we can absorb that so someone else doesn’t have to, we are doing a most unique public service.
Do what the Dalai Lama advises is to do – always be kind. I think we have outlined several reasons to do so above. If you have other reasons you can think of to be kind, or a story of when you were kind to a stranger, or even when a stranger was kind to you, please share them in the comments below.
Every weekend many of us use this time to unplug and just do nothing. That is a good idea, but we must strike a good balance. Many goal-oriented people have a hard time turning it off. There is a solution for both of these groups of people.
This weekend, let us use our time productively (for my driven friends) but let us be productive in the self-care department. This means adding things like in the picture above. Schedule some silence. This may sound silly, but making time to sit in the quiet with no distractions can be a good challenge in today’s world.
Schedule some exercise. This doesn’t have to be an hour at the gym. Plan a bike ride or walk in the park with the one you love. Schedule some fun conversation. This can be a coffee or dinner date with a friend.
The point here is that we can be productive and give ourself some much needed self-care so that we can continue to serve others. It is all about striking that all important balance. Finish your week and start your weekend strong!
How many of us are quick to criticize, but slow to compliment? Ask yourself, how many times have you thought something nice about a stranger, or even a friend and yet chose to keep it to yourself?
I’ve been told that it feels awkward to give someone a compliment. Many of us feel uncomfortable accepting a compliment. Why is that? Perhaps because it is so rarely given. The funny thing is, there is really no downside to giving genuine compliments, but there stands to be a huge upside. You can make someone’s day, make them smile, make a new friend or, in a rare case, you might even save someone’s life.
Next time you notice something nice aboutsomeone feel free to share it. It may seem a little awkward at first, but with practice you will become a compliment artist! Take the chance here. Leave a comment that is a compliment about someone you know!
No matter who you are, or what you are doing in life, you will have negative detractors. These days these people are known as ‘haters’. Especially with the advent of the internet it would seem people are more than happy to offer their negative feedback on you and your life. How do you combat such people? I have found the simplest way is to live the best version of yourself. When you do so you make them look as if they are the foolish ones. When someone says something about you and you are doing the best you can, that says something more negative about them than it does about you.
Let me share a personal story that better explains what I am talking about. A year or so ago, there was a party Margie and I were invited to. When we arrived we were told there would be snacks and people playing games. Margie and I love board games so we figured this would be right up our alley. We could not have been further from the truth. In this particular game, you could write your own answers. As the created answers rolled off the pens of those in attendance, I found myself a mixture of shocked and appalled. From this group of seemingly well-mannered individuals, came answers filled with racism and extreme prejudice. Not at all what I had expected. In a very short time, the answered went from mindless, bigoted stupidity, to advocating violence and other horrific acts against people for their race, religion or orientation. I had had enough. I informed Margie I was leaving.
When I got home, I felt so coated in negative energy I had to jump in the shower. Why did this bother me so much? Simple, racism and bigotry are stupid. They are an arcane belief that shows both a lack of culture and a great deal of ignorance in the individual speaking it. In a world where most of us are a mix of nearly everything, it makes absolutely no sense. With the internet and other advanced forms of communication, it takes only the smallest amount of effort to see how similar we are and how small the world truly is. As we are pone to thinking a great deal in the shower I thought of the dangerous implications this gathering could cause. Even in a group of such close-minded individuals there are always a few that are even more morally bankrupt and impressionable than the rest. Where most of them may have found this a sick sort of humor, there are people who think these acts may actually be permissible and proceed to act on them. This is how we end up with the violent acts we recently seen against the Asian-Americans in Atlanta and the attacks on the LGBTQ community in Orlando several years ago. These individuals were undoubtedly exposed to the same sort of racist and violent discussions.
Knowing I had to do something, I used the one platform I had to express my concern and feelings by writing on the issue. There is no doubt that several people in attendance that evening wrote what I had written. Fast forward 12 months and that group was having another party. I was not invited this time. (I was certainly happy with that) At the party one young lady expressed her joy at my absence telling a mutual acquaintance, “It is sure good Neil is not here. He is really offended by this.” While it was her attempt at painting me as a person who was overly sensitive to racist remarks as if that were a bad thing, I received it as a compliment. By speaking up for what I had felt was right, I now, apparently, had a reputation for someone who did not stand for discrimination of any kind. This woman was saying, in essence, “Neil is offended by our humor demeaning and advocating hatred and violence towards others who are different than us.” I stand guilty as charged. I believe everyone deserves respect and compassion. When I see that is not the case I speak up about it. If people think of that as a negative character trait of mine, they are welcome to it.
In this case, by living by the principles I have in my life, I have not only shown the haters for who they truly are, but turned their attacks into compliments in my opinion. They may mock my sensitivity to their racist and bigoted humor, but I will thank them for it. Live the best version of yourself my friends. It is better to be hated for who you truly are than to live a life that does not live up the standards you have set for yourself.