GOODBYE TO A DEAR WRITING COMPANION

It is with great sadness I have to announce the passing of a close writing companion… my laptop. A good portion of these blog posts as well as my second book was composed on this fine machine. Sadly, one day we discovered my companion and I have different tolerances for heat. Since then this computer has went to the great computer store in the sky. As we wait for the replacement to arrive (a switch from HP to Lenovo) there may be a slight delay in our daily motivational material. I look forward to returning to you once again and appreciate your patience during this difficult time.

ARE YOU A KING OR QUEEN?


These days on social media people have pictures of lions and phrases “I am a king” or “I am a queen” At the gym there are t-shirts with phrases like “train like a beast”

Everyone wants to seem like a ruler and conqueror. It is powerful to conquer fitness and weights, or maybe even your business. The most difficult struggle and yet the most essential is to control one’s emotions. Being able to conquer your mind and control your loss focus allows you to do everything else better.

If you are trying to seem powerful, I suggest working to gain control of the man in the mirror. It may be one of the most difficult yet rewarding challenges you’ll ever face.

YOU ARE MY HERO

In today’s world it seems a different superhero movie comes out every week. Add to that the countless sports that seem to hold championships. Recently I even saw a video game championship played out in front of a completely filled stadium! I’ve always questioned watching people play poker on television, I can’t bring myself to watch other people play video games on TV, much less stand in a packed stadium to do so.

It would seem the world is in great need of heroes. Guess who my hero is? It is you! The irony of all the hero worship I see is that heroes surround us everywhere and every day. You are one of these heroes!

How can I say you are a hero when I haven’t met a lot of you? I know you’re a hero because we are all struggling to get through this life. You might be a kid in the West Bank trying to get a great education while your country is being torn apartby civil strife. It may be you are a farmer in the Congo trying to make a living. Perhaps you are a single mother working three jobs just trying to support your family.

It is not always life challenges that make you a hero. Maybe from the outside your life looks great, but inside you are battling depression. Today might be another day you gave in to an addiction and you are trying not to lose hope. There are health challenges, financial challenges, social challenges and a mmillion other issues we are all doing our best to make it through.

When you see the employee at Starbucks keep their smile as a customer screams at them because their coffee has 2 ice cubes instead of three. That takes patience and they are my hero.

Whether you are working on keeping your faith or healing a broken heart, keep going because you are my superhero. Remember everyone we meet is working to overcome something. Treat them as the hero they are. That includes you.

THIS LOSS IS OK

Another one of those times I read a sign and had to stop and ponder. There is a great amount of truth in this statement. When you are your authentic self, what you have is based on truth. When you do your best to be someone you are not, you may pull that off for a while but anything you gain will be based of that lie.

The same holds true in situations when your priorities change. It pays to be upfront and honest about that as well.

If anything in your life is currently based off of a reality that is less than true, what you have is weak. It will only last as long as you can manage to keep up the deception. Not only is this bad karma to put out in the universe, but it creates a large amount of undue stress in your own life. Having to not only remember who we are supposed to be , but then also acting on that mirage is stressful.

Do yourself a favor and be the real you. Not only will it strengthen the relationships you have, it will also reduce the stress you have in your life.

YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE

It is easy to look in the mirror and see all of our faults. Not only is this easy, but it seems to be a trait of human nature. If you are lucky enough to either not own a mirror or be one of the rare few who are not focused on your faults, fear not there are plenty of others, the media included, who will be happy to point them out for you.

I am here to tell you something you do not hear enough. You are perfect the way you are. I know that may seem hard to believe, but you are. Yes, there is always room for improvement. Yes, things might not be as you wish them to be. If this is true how can I say you are perfect? Simple, the life you were given was made for you. You may have been born with a physical or mental challenge or limitation. Certain situations may have happened to you that are beyond your control. You may have experienced terrible loss. You may have financial troubles. You may have went through physical, emotional or sexual abuse. These things are all terrible and should not happen to anyone.

If this is the case, how can our lives be perfect? Those challenges and limitations were not given to us to stop us, they were given to us to either serve us or help us serve others. Often times both. Some of the most inspiring people I know show me how their physical or mental challenges do not stop them. Not only does it allow me to feel grateful for my own health, but reinforces the fact I should not allow any of my health limitations serve as an excuse.

Some of those closest to me have went through terrible situations. Things they, nor anyone else, deserve to go through. Not only have many of them served as a great example of how to overcome those challenges, but they offer a hand in helping others facing challenges of their own. This is help that would certainly not be as beneficial had it come from someone who had not faced that situation. It has made them emotionally stronger. Some of them had to work through a great deal of pain, both physical and emotional. Through these struggles they have learned so much about themselves and help come out as stronger individuals.

No matter what you are facing at the moment, understand it was given to you for a reason. You are perfect. Even your mistakes can provide you examples in forgiveness and humility. Please feel free to share this message with those who need to hear it.

A GREAT DAY IN A GREAT CITY

Most of you know how much I enjoy my city of West Allis Wisconsin. Yesterday was an exceptional day even by those standards. It began when a poem I had written was to be stamped in the sidewalk outside of liberty heights park. As Margie and I arrived, we were joined shortly by our friend Terri, which was a pleasant surprise. As we waited for the city crew to arrive with the concrete we were also joined by our friend Carol. Soon the city crews arrived as did my mother.
As Margie filmed, the city crew began their amazing work preparing and pouring the concrete. In what seemed like a matter of seconds the concrete was both poured and smoothed. Barricades were set up and our crew as well as the city crew gathered around the barricades to wait for the concrete to dry. Innocently walking down the street looking at her phone was one of our neighbors. As she walked around our group, then the city workers and finally the barricades only to plunge her foot into the newly poured concrete garnering shocked expressions from all in attendance. As the city crews came to repair the damage and the concrete continued to settle, we decided to pay a visit to the Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli. There we were greeted by my long-time friend Jodi. We got freshly brewed, wonderful hot coffee. We shared some conversation that included the hilarious events that had just occurred. Before we knew it, the time had arrived to return for the actual stamping.

After a brief interview and some remarks of congratulation, Margie, my mother and I began to head to lunch. On the way there, Margie, as she can sometimes do, mentioned to a neighbor that my poem had just been stamped in the sidewalk. This gentleman, who introduced himself as Israel, was pleasant and engaging. After informing him we almost decided to put the hammock on his porch to use, the conversation turned to the changes in the neighborhood and how it can be improved.

We left with well-wishes all around and headed to one of our favorite spots, Urban Joe’s Café. There we were greeted by another amazing neighbor, Curtis. In addition to being a great neighbor he is also the face of and great customer service provider for this establishment. We regaled him,as well as our server Carol, with all of the afternoon’s adventures. We enjoyed a wonderful selection of more coffee (a poet/authors source of inspiration) as well as a delicious breakfast sandwich and salad.

My evening was finished off with a workout at the local Xperience gym and a pizza from the West Allis location of Marco’s Pizza. (Please pause to appreciate the irony of the last two events happening back to back) It is very few cities that can foster appreciation for art by placing poetry throughout the city, have amazing city workers who cannot only create this, but repair the actions of inattentive pedestrians. The city is also home to a deli that features the art of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a café that features great food and coffee, both locations also have great customer service. Top that off with a state-of-the-art gym and tasty pizza place and you can see why I am so happy with the city I live in.

In closing I want to express a large amount of gratitude. First for my friends Terri and Carol who took time out of their busy day to share this event with me. Next to the great city workers for all of their hard work and understanding. I also want to thank the neighbor who stepped in the concrete. Without her we would have had a lot less laughs and memories. Thanks to Jodi, Curtis and Carol for providing friendly and caring service to highlight an already amazing day. Thank you to our neighbor and new friend Israel for his great conversation and excitement over my poem. I am grateful for my mother for not only showing up in support, but paying for lunch to help celebrate. Finally, a great deal of thanks for my lovely Margie whose excitement rivaled that of my own. Her support makes everything I go through worth it. I hope wherever you are reading this, your city has amazing people like this.

WHAT ARE YOURS?

This is a simple truth we don’t always appreciate. Our strongest thoughts, which we can call our beliefs, tend to lead our lives.

Scientists estimate we think 60,000 thoughts per day. Ironically, they also estimate that 95% of those thoughts are ones we thought the day before. When you consider we often drive the same way to work, sleep on the same side of the bed and a thousand other habitual things every day, it is not that surprising.

Here is another interesting fact, a lot of our thoughts are contrary. We are taught haste makes waste, but we are also taught he who hesitates is lost. Is it any wonder our lives can seem chaotic at times?

Of the thoughts that fit into the subconscious 95% we repeat everyday, how many are positive and empowering? This is another reason create a positive life mission statement or at the very least, print out an inspiring quote that you can read to start your day. If our life goes in the direction of our strongest thoughts, let us think thoughts that make us the strongest we can be.

WHY IT WORKS: VISION BOARD

To discuss this point we must bring in your refrigerator. Yes you heard me right. I need you to think  about your fridge. What color is it? Does it have two doors? Do they open left to right or right to left? Now think about your car. What color is your car? What color is the interior? When I asked you to think of each of these items you had a picture in your mind, didn’t you? You did not think of “I drive a Honda CRV.” You actually pictured your car.

The reason this happened is because we think in pictures. Now if I were to ask you what your mind looks like most of us would conjure up a thought of the brain. Why? Nobody knows what the mind looks like. The mind is not the brain, but it is the closest thing we can come up with.

What does all this have to do with vision boards and living an amazing life? Let us think of what success looks like for us. Do you have a clear picture? For you it may include more money, a bigger house, a fancy car or a million other different things. If they are just abstract thoughts that your brain does not have a picture to correlate with, it will be a thought of very little power. This is why we need to get clear as to exactly what we are looking for. What does ‘more money’ look like? What would you like your house to look like? Brick? Field stone? How many bedrooms? A hot tub maybe? What kind of fancy car would you like to drive? What color would it be?

This may seem like trivial details to some. If you are familiar with the law of attraction, however, you will understand how important this can be. From a scientific standpoint, without a clear picture of your goals in your subconscious mind your brain will not know exactly what to work towards. You may have periods of productivity followed by what seems to be regression and chaos. It is the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ situation.

Enter the vision board. In a nutshell a vision board is a board with pictures of all of your goals on it. Not only will this help you see your goal (it is hanging on the wall in your hallway) but it will do so with no work on your part. You just walk up and look at it. This helps program the images of success into your subconscious mind. Now, even when you are unaware, your brain is laser focused on your goal and will be constantly on the lookout for things that match it.

When you wish to put your mind to work for you, the first thing you have to do is speak its language. As we discussed earlier, we think in pictures. By showing you brain pictures of your goals daily (you standing by the car of your dreams, the house you want to build, etc.) you are speaking them into your mind. That my friends is how a vision board works.

WHY IT WORKS: REREADING THE SAME BOOK

It is important to know more than just what works, but why it works. If you are anything like me, knowing why something works provides more motivation to actually do it. If you are like me you also like to crank 80’s glam metal at 4am on your way to work, but our post today is more about the first point.

I have been advocating reading powerful books for years. Personally, I read my favorite book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, at least once a year. People may think I’m crazy. “You’ve read that book like 5 times already! You are good at making friends so why read the book?”

After I inform them I have read the book 8 times and that is why I am good at making friends, then they assure me that I am crazy.

My sanity not withstanding, there are several reasons I do this. First is because my mind tends to wander. I read something and start thinking about it. Before you know it, the next few pages have gone by and I don’t recall much of what I read.

Here is another reason that was just made clear to me this morning. When we read a book for a second time it is not just because you may have missed something, but because you are someone different.

This may sound absurd but it is true. Since you have last read the book you have had countless life experiences that have forced you to grow and evolve. It doesn’t even take that long. As it was said about Napoleon Hill’s great book, Think and Grow Rich, the hand that turned the last page is not the same hand that turned the first page. The person has learned, has experienced more of life. They are a different person.

The more you learn and live life the more valuable information becomes to you. The more you are exposed to it, the more it becomes a part of your life. Do yourself a favor and pick up your favorite book again. Trust me when I tell you the person who reads it will be entirely different.

It is important to note this works even more in regards to audio books and programs.

YOU ARE SPEAKING A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE


This blog post was inspired by two people. First Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages. If you haven’t read this book yet I highly suggest you add it to your list of books to explore. The second person is my mother who also has not read this book and reminded me that a lot of other people haven’t as well.

Let me give you the summary of this book. Keep in mind this is the very abridged version and there is so much more amazing information to be had by reading this book. The premise of this book is that everyone expresses and receives love in one of 5 ways. This may seem confusing if you have never considered the concept before. It should be crystal clear if you ever done your best to do something loving for that special person in your life only to have them seem to be mildly affected at best, or totally unaware of what you were doing at worst.

Perhaps you have heard “I was trying to show I love you.” and thought to yourself, hopefully not out loud, “Yeah, never would have got that.” It can seem as if you and your partner are speaking two entirely different languages. In some respect you are. Hopefully, it is not shocking for you to learn men and women are different. It should also be noted every person depending on their upbringing and life experiences are different. Certain things mean more to one individual than another. All of this information should be common sense. Why is it so far fetched to think that when it comes to expressing and receiving love we can be equally as different?

In his book, Gary Chapman states that there are 5 basic ways in which people both express and receive love. They are – receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service(devotion) and physical touch. Most people tend to be a mix of these to some degree, but one of them usually takes priority. For example, you may like it when your husband gives you a hug, but you really feel loved if he would help you with the dishes. You may feel loved if your wife brings you home a small gift, but it would mean a lot more if she would take the time to sit down and tell you why she loves you and what it is that you do that makes her feel loved. Maybe your examples are exactly the opposite. The point is everyone is different and that is perfectly wonderful. Complicated, but wonderful just the same.

Why take the time to learn your partners love language? The reason should be obvious, but it case you missed it we will cover it again. When you express love to your partner you want to do it in the most intense and concise manner possible. You also want your partner to feel as loved as possible. There can be very few things as frustrating as trying to be loving to your partner and they don’t feel the love you are doing your best to convey or at least not to the extent you feel your efforts warrant. It is not either person’s fault, you are both just speaking entirely different love languages.

As if this wasn’t complicated enough there is one more caveat to the equation. Nobody said love was easy, just worth it. Everyone not only receives love in a different way, they also express it in a different way as well. To make matters even more tricky, those ways may be entirely different as well. Funny thing is, we may not even realize what language we speak. Luckily, there is a quick and fun quiz you and your partner can take in the back of this book to help discover what your love languages are.

Once you learn what your partner’s love language is you can not only make them feel more loved than they have felt in a long time, but you can do so with less effort and less frustration on your behalf. If that sounds like a win/win it is because it is. As a side bonus, this works with friends, relatives and anyone else in your life, not just your partner. Knowing what makes your boss feel loved and appreciated could really help you out as well. Want to make your mother-in-law or father-in-law feel special and loved during the holidays? Learn their love languages.

There are several ways to accomplish this. Of course you could buy those you love in your life the book The 5 Love Languages. This can be pricey and in the case of your boss may be a little awkward. There are, however, other ways. First, the obvious is pay attention to what lights people up. Does a heartfelt thank you note cause their eyes to beam? Maybe picking up a small something that reminds you of them next time you are out will make them feel very special? Experiment. You will have fun as you learn and you will make people feel good while doing it. Lastly, you could buy yourself the book, learn your love languages and be better able to express what is important to you to the ones you love. Once again, they learn and you can feel more loved, win/win. You can also try working some of the questions in the quiz in your conversation with them and learn that way.

Regardless of what route you choose to go, learning your partners and your own love languages will make life more enjoyable and easier for everyone. I strongly suggest checking out The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Draw your own conclusions. I would love to hear what you take away from this amazing book.