USE YOUR PAIN

This man is Inky Johnson. I highly recommend you look up his story, but I will give you a brief outline here. Inky was born into challenging situations to say the least. A very poor neighborhood, 16 people living in a two bedroom house. He had to sleep on the floor. Once a week he got to sleep in a bed…with 5 others. He was surrounded by family and friends going in and out of prison. Truly a recipe for disaster.

Inky decided to take a different path. At the age of 7, with some help from a coach, he decided he was going to play professional football. He practiced every day. Often running light pole to light pole with no shoes on. Eventually he received a scholarship to the University of Tennessee. With 8 games to go he was told he was going to be a first round pick. Imagine being told finally you will be able to erase generations of hurt, pain and financial suffering for your family. He immediately called his mother and grandmother to inform them they would no longer have to live in poverty.

Two games later while making a tackle that all changed. Inky felt like he had the wind knocked out of him. He woke up in the hospital where he was told he had to be rushed into surgery or he would die. Waking up from  that the doctor said he had some bad news. Considering he was still alive, Inky was confused. The doctor explained he had sustained nerve damage and would no longer be able to play football again. Imagine being that close to helping your family, having worked all your life, never cheated and it is stolen away in one play.

The reality of what he was left to deal with sank in when the doctor informed him “Son, you will never be able to use your arm again. You will never be able to use your hand again.” Inky’s reply?  “No disrespect sir, but I am going to use this arm and hand everyday. I am going to use it to inspire people. I am going to use it to help people not give up.” Today Inky Johnson is a motivational speaker and has several videos on YouTube.

When I heard that I had to fight back tears. Wow. I pray that I would be able to see things that way. Which is ironic, because that is what I am challenging all of us, myself included, to do here today. We have all had pain in our lives. Most of us not to the magnitude of the story above, some even worse. My question to you is this, what are you going to do with that pain? My answer is this, you went through the pain, put it to use for you. Use what you have went through to inspire and push you. Use it to motivate and give hope to others. DO NOT WASTE YOUR PAIN.

Maybe someone broke your heart? Use it to not only motivate you to make your next relationship your best relationship, but to help those who are also heartbroken. You lost your job? Use that as a tool to motivate you to chase a job you would enjoy. Do so while maybe helping at a meal program helping those who are in an even tougher situation. Turn your pain from a liability into an asset.

BECOME IMMORTAL

Our time here is finite, our influence does not have to be – Neil Panosian

Ah to be immortal. To live on forever. This has been the goal of countless civilizations. Some individuals claim to have conquered this feat, such as Count Saint Germaine. Science has pushed us ever closer to unlocking the keys to extending life longer than we dare dream. Theologians of every belief speak of the souls eternal wanderings.

You do not have to be a famous alchemist to conjure up a spell to preserve youth. Nor do you have to rely on some miracle of modern science or medicine to unlock the secrets of the human genome. You do not need to have faith or belief in eternal life to become immortal.

Immortality can be accomplished in one word – legacy. What will you leave behind. One of the great truths in life that many never realize is this – what you get in life dies with you, but what you give will live on long after you are gone.

My grandfather was an amazing man. He taught and inspired many great ideas in me. Some were passing comments that only now am I appreciating the full value of. He continues to teach me years after his physical passing.

I’m sure all of us have someone like that in our lives. They have left us with lessons that keep them alive in our lives and hearts.

I also recall some of the great givers in history. Andrew Carnegie, who gave us the modern library system allowing even the poorest to educate themselves and bring to light their own gifts.

The poet Rumi, whose words bring both contemplation and inspiration. His words can be found daily on the internet even though he has been dead for hundreds of years, his words live on today.

Mother Teresa whose acts of selfless kindness have not only touched the lives of all those she helped, but who have inspired and gave hope to those in need. She also set a great example of what compassion in the modern world can do.

If you wish to be immortal, begin to ask yourself today, what is my legacy? Am I focusing more on what I am getting, or more on what I will leave behind? If you wish to be immortal, write a book, compose a beautiful piece of music. Inspire others with your gifts of kindness, love and laughter.

Most importantly, remember what we get dies with us, but what we give lives in forever. Think of someone you know that will be, or is, immortal. Feel free to mention them in the comments below.

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN

Fear not. This is not a picture of me. As I write this the temperature outside is a pleasant 60 degrees. Very warm for Wisconsin on the 4th of December. As you are reading this, however, the reading will be 30 degrees less. Yes a drop that big in the space of 24 hours. What is really challenging is the fact that the week ahead features high temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s. Those are average for this time of year and living here most of my life I should be used to that by now, but I am not.

As a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder, my mood tends to dip with the temperature. Knowing this can fill me with a sense of tread as the days get closer to the end of the year, but it also gives me time to prepare. I know I am not likely to see a day like the one we are having today until the month of May. So what can I do for the next 5 months to avoid slipping to a further degree of insanity than my normal state? One cannot certainly change the weather. Closing my eyes and chanting “I think it’s warm” over and over again wouldn’t get me very far either.

If cursing mother nature doesn’t help, what does? When you are faced with challenges you cannot change, then the only option is to change yourself. I am going to begin to plan fun things with the love of my life. Being the budget of an aspiring world-famous author doesn’t include money for many tropical vacations, I plan to visit the local horticultural building here (called the Domes) where there are living plants all year around. There will be more movie nights indoors. Maybe a bundled up adventure in the woods. While this does not replace the joy of riding my bike in the sunshine, these activities will bring me great joy.

Another option is to plan for when the weather is warm in order to make the most of the nice weather. Trips we want to go on. Maybe a road trip when the snow and ice is off of the roads. Getting in shape so I can better enjoy the warm weather when in comes. I have a calendar that I actually mark each day I go to the gym. It will keep me motivated in the cold weather.

The point is this, even if you are faced with a challenge that seems to be insurmountable you can always find ways to adjust. Winter will never be my favorite season, but that does not mean I cannot find ways to discover happiness while it is here.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION?

Have you ever thought about the quote above? Most of us live our lives trying to meet the expectations of our boss, our peers, or even our family. This can often leave us trying to meet goals that do not align with our values. This cannot only make it very difficult to achieve, but leave us feeling defeated and like we failed. Not only are these feelings unpleasant to experience, they can dampen our ability to push forward. It was Winston Churchill who defined success as “Going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” I am rather found of that quote. If we can keep our enthusiasm for another day, to me, that is a success.

My favorite quote about success comes from Earl Nightingale which reads, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Meaning if we have a clearly defined goal and are working toward achieving it, we are, by definition, a success. If you googled ‘success quotes’ you would uncover a million more. What matters most is what you consider a success? Is it pleasing your boss? Is it living up to the goals of your friends? Or is it something bigger?

To me, a successful life begins with successful days. Put enough together and you have a successful life. What defines a successful day? Perhaps you did something to make your spouse feel loved and beautiful? Then the day was a success. Maybe you did something stupid that upset your spouse, but you learned from it and now you can do better in the future? Again, that day would be a success. If you are like me, you might even do both in the same day.

The point is here that you get to define what success is for you. The more you look for accomplishments, the more you can develop a mindset to chase bigger and better ones.

EVOLVE, DO NOT INVOLVE

Here is a simple question I have learned to ask myself that has reduced my stress by a great margin. In addition to the stress reduction, it has kept me focused and helped me improve almost every aspect of my life. What is this amazing question? Will this help me evolve in any way? Now this can be financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically or any other way in which you might come out a better person.

Routinely I see and hear about people concerning themselves with things that do not matter in the slightest. They argue passionately (and sometimes even hold grudges) about things such as sports or politics. They get involved in gossip. They worry about celebrity activities. The ironic thing about all of this is it seldom affects the people they get so passionate about. The political landscape will not change because you and your coworker are no longer on speaking terms. Your team will not change its approach to the game because you and your best friend end up screaming at each other. In fact, they probably will never even know or care that the discussion happened. How will it affect you? It will stress you out, put a little wear and tear on your nervous system and probably a lot of your relationships.

Then there is the matter of gossip. Margie and I go to great lengths to keep this as far away as possible. Working in bars as a DJ, however, I have the unfortunate displeasure of seeing this more often than I care too. People who have no involvement in an issue throw their opinion and quite often themselves into others business. I cannot think of a time when this has resulted in anything but more of a mess.

Begin this week to ask yourself “Will this help me evolve as a person?” Maybe the book you are about to read will help you learn something, or maybe it will give you a laugh or some heartfelt entertainment. Will voicing your disagreement as to how your football team played verses how your friends played do anything but start a disagreement?

While thinking of this, be careful to know the difference between instant gratification and evolving. Sure screaming at your spouse when they make you mad may allow you to blow off some steam, but will it do anything to help your relationship evolve? Will giving a not so friendly gesture to the person who cut you off in traffic really do anything to help the situation?

This takes a little practice and we all have moments that we do things that have us asking ourselves, “Why did I do that?” If we make a practice of asking ourselves “Will this help me evolve?” more often, we can avoid asking ourselves the first question.

ANOTHER MILESTONE!!!

Five years of writing this blog? Where does the time go? It was thanksgiving day 2012 I wrote my first post. That post, fittingly enough, was about gratitude. It is a subject often revisited throughout the years and hundreds of posts I have had the honor of sharing with all of you.

Why is gratitude such a hot subject? Why do I not only chose to revisit it so often, but it seems to be the buzz word on the lips of celebrities such as Oprah, Jim Carrey and others. It was one of the main pillars of the blockbuster movie the secret. This is why – very little, if anything, can change your life as much, or as quickly as gratitude. This may sound new-age or esoteric, but there I scientific reasons behind this. First, your mind can only focus on one thought at a time. You cannot feel stressed out, overwhelmed, angry and grateful all at the same time. Do not believe me? Try thinking of your favorite animal and the statue of liberty at the same time. Go ahead, I will wait. You will find your mind can bounce back and forth between the two, but cannot hold two different thoughts at the very same moment.

Another reason is it helps activate a super-power you have in your brain. Yes, you, the one reading this right now, you have this power. Like all powers, it can be used for good or for evil. This power is called the reticular activating system. For the reason it is hard to remember three such scientific sounding words and because super-powers need cool names, we will now refer to this as the RAS. In a nutshell what the RAS does is eliminate anything your brain says is not important and makes things you consider a priority stand out. The amazing thing is your mind does all of this without you having to do anything. It is like a computer program that runs in the background.

This still sounds like we are either in biology or a computer programing class. Let me give you an example of how this happens in your own life. You buy a new outfit or car. Suddenly, you see that outfit or car everywhere! Let me ask you, did the rest of the world see how cool you were, run out and buy the very same thing so they could be just like you? As awesome as all of my secret2anamazinglife readers are, unless you are Kim Kardasian, who may or may not read my blog, chances are the answer is no. So why do you suddenly see that everywhere? Once you purchased those items your brain said “Hey, we like this car/outfit let us find more!” or whatever language your brain uses to talk to you.

Most of us either are not aware we can control this power, or we do so for negative reasons. Such as “See, I told you I have bad luck.” or “I told you the world is getting worse!” Listen, whatever you focus on becomes your reality. If you focus on how much your life sucks right now, your brain will help you find examples of how much that is true. If you want to focus on how terrible the world is, it will help you find examples of that too. Sounds like our brain is out to get us? Not so fast!

We can use our powers for good! This is where gratitude comes in. Begin to foster an attitude of gratitude say through a daily gratitude journal or one of the many other ideas featured in my book A Happy Life for Busy People and your brain will begin to find examples of why you should feel grateful. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!

Back to the milestone we are celebrating here today. When I began this website I was just looking for a way to capture the best secrets in self-improvement I came across, which is still what we are all about, but never would I dream I would have gotten so much out of it. I began being followed by a few friends and family. Now I am followed in over 100 countries, with thousands of people who have read what I have shared here. I have had the great honor of connecting with people across this great planet of ours. To celebrate our 5th year at secret2anamazinglife.com I invite you to share who you are, where you are from and your favorite thing about this website in the comments below. It will not only help me know what you enjoy, but we all just might make some new inspiring friends!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to share my motivation and inspiration with you these last five years. I look forward to the next five!

YOUR PROMOTION

 

THE ESSENTIAL KEYS TO SUCCESS KEY #3

One of the things I am asked the most is “How can I quickly change my life?” Such a tricky question because your life up to this point has taken years to develop. Still, I understand we live in that nanosecond world where we expect change instantly. It is with this understanding that I have distilled my essential keys to success. These represent the pillars that most of my teachings are based on. Each one is a powerful belief that you can adapt into your life that will have a profound effect.

This is a way to not only leave yourself feeling good, but to affect a great deal of change. This essential key to success is as follows promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate This does a few things for you. One, it has you feeling good because you are focused on what it is you love. How many times have we been victim of listening to someone tell us all about what they are upset about or what they dislike? This seems to happen a lot in politics. There is an axiom that where focus goes energy flows. Therefore, if you are focused on what you dislike you are actually giving it your energy. Have you every heard a celebrity say “Any press is good press.”? That is true, because by focusing on who they had an affair with, or how many times they have overdosed it keeps them foremost in our thoughts.

How much sweeter would life be if we focused on what it is we loved and promoted that? Do not like rude customer service? Make sure to mention and thank the person when you receive good service. This simple change will turn your frustration into gratitude and your frown into a smile. As an added bonus, you will begin to promote what you love and you will find those very things multiplying in your life.