This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.
In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.
The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?
A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.
Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.
It is amazing how people will but more effort into a work project than a life project. I have the honor of dealing with plenty of entrepreneurs on a daily basis. I see these people take so long to decide who they want to work with, who they will surround themselves with and work 12 to 16 hour days perfecting and growing their business. Which is great. It shows they have the spirit and determination to succeed.
The funny thing is I seldom if ever see these or any other of my friends work this hard and give this much thought to their personal lives. Maybe it is time to treat our lives a little more like a business. This does not mean having our lives devoid of any emotion. Quite the opposite. Emotion is the currency of a successful life.
Let us look at a business. A successful business has a lot of features to it. Successful bottom line, fulfills a need to people, invests in research and development as well as marketing. A good deal of the success of any business has to do with the people in it, especially in charge of key positions.
Now let us look at a successful life. A successful life is measured by peace of mind and heart. We do that by helping others, or fulfilling a need. If we want our life business to grow we need to invest in research and development. That means reading things that will improve or expand us. We also need to market ourselves and our ideas. We also need to make some shrewd decisions as to what people we have in our life business. Remember some people belong in your heart, but not always in your life. Do not sacrifice your emotional well being out of a feeling of social obligation. We only have this one life we need to make the most of it!
Feel free to share your ideas for a successful life business in the comments below.
Here is a man I encountered during a recent event at the local historical society in West Allis where I live. His name is David HB Drake. As you can see in the photo he plays several unique instruments and sings as well. What makes Mr. Drake special is that a lot of what he plays and sings are songs from the past. He also knows the story behind what he sings and passes it along to those who listen to him. To attend one of his performances is both educational as well as entertaining.
I am not sure of Mr. Drake’s age, but he is what we consider a senior citizen. In this country often that designation comes with an impression of helplessness, or someone who is passed their prime and does not have a lot to offer. The sad thing is that by taking that view we miss the great gifts these people have to offer us. The knowledge Mr. Drake has gathered has taken him a lifetime. To learn, practice and perform all of the songs he does can only be done with years of actually doing it. The passion he delivers it with is special and unique to him. A young person could not come in and do what he does. We could read books to learn the facts he delivers, but we would not experience them. The sparkle he has in his eye while telling you about what life was like in logging camps of the 1800’s cannot be read, but must be felt.
There are stories and gifts like this in every senior we know. I personally recall my grandfather telling me stories of his time in the south pacific during the second world war. Those stories could not have been read in any book on the subject and give me a personal perspective to add to what I do read about that period. Wisdom comes with time and experience and is something money cannot buy. So please treat your elders as the living treasures they are. Mine all of the ‘gold’ you can from them before they are gone. Ask questions, listen to their stories. You will not only be helping them understand and feel how valuable and treasured they are, but you will also be learning and helping yourself.
Feel free to share this post with as many as you can so we will not lose any more living treasures without experiencing the gifts they have to offer.
In reflection it has come to my attention how many moments that seemed insignificant at the time ended up being life-changing. Here is what I mean. When a friend suggested in 2006 I see the movie ‘The Secret’ I thought it would be just another movie. It turned out to change the way I look at the world. When I ordered my first Tony Robbins product off an infomercial I thought it would end up on a shelf collecting dust. Now I practice a lot of what I learned from that. In addition I have made my life’s mission to help others learn how to better their lives and the world around them. When I started this blog which is going on 500 posts ago, I thought it would merely be an outlet for my philosophical musings. It has turned into a book A Happy Life for Busy People as well as several speaking engagements.
Even when my boss at the time told me that my hours at the post office were going to be cut from 45 a week to 10 due to down-sizing I thought that was going to be a major negative moment. It was that event that pushed me into the self-improvement field. So never underestimate the effect that things can have on you. Keep your ears and mind open. Also stay present in the moment to be able to take from life what you can. Each moment presents its own lessons and its own opportunities. Make sure to grab them all.
Lastly, some moments may not become important until long after they have passed. My grandfather was a very important figure in my life and taught me many things. Some of which I thought were crazy or even disagreed with at the time. He passed away years ago, but often I find myself thinking of things he said and appreciating them in a whole different level. He is still teaching me long after he is gone. Sometimes there are things you have to experience, or a place in life you have to be before the lesson can be fully appreciated.
The takeaway here is to soak up everything in life. It may seem insignificant at the time, but you never know when it may be just want you need!
If you read this post even semi regularly or know me personally, you know how much I enjoy our local state fair. Last year I saw the classic country western singer Kenny Rogers. There were a lot of families there. He sings such classic songs as ‘Islands in the stream’ and ‘Love’s got a hold on me’. Last night I saw the rock band Halestorm perform. Not so many families there as there songs include such titles as ‘Love bites and so do I’ and ‘I get off on you getting off on me’. So other than the fact that my musical interests are quite varied what are we to get out of this story?
Here is the thing. I assume most of you would rather take your families to the first show as one would assume that the influences would be better. Well at Kenny Rogers show he addressed the folks sitting right in front of the stage and said “Was that you singing because in all my years of singing that is the worst singing I have ever heard”. At first I wondered if he was trying some new humor or if he had just starting losing his mind. As the show went on, however, he continued to mock the singing ability of those present. He did all of this while making several mistakes on his own songs. I could not help but asking myself if Mr. Kenny Rogers was aware those were the people who paid the highest ticket prices and thus were the most eager to see him. I left with a little bit of dismay and a lot less respect for the singer.
Fast forward to last night and the Halestorm show. After a few hard rocking songs mentioned in the first paragraph the singer of the band, Lzzy Hale, stopped the show to tell everyone how much it meant to their band and the opening act that all of us attended. She mentioned several other entertainment options we could have explored and thanked us for choosing to come to the show. A theme she repeated several times throughout their performance. She also sat down and the piano and did a song to both thank her parents for their support of her musical career and to encourage other young ladies not to give up if people tell them they can’t do something. I left the show a new fan of the band and with a lot more respect for their singer. Not only for their great performance, but for their show of gratitude.
My point it is this, song lyrics are one thing, but seeing the difference in the attitudes of the performers I would much rather take my family to the second show. What we learn from what we are exposed to has a lot to do with how we are raised and what to look for. I encourage you all to look deeper into the people behind the performance.
How many times have we done something we regret? If you are like me it ranges from weekly when things are going well, to several times a day when they are not. We all make mistakes and do things ways in which to not serve us. If we would know better, we would do better. When we hurt someone they may remind us of that and they may very well have a right. Still if we wouldn’t do the same thing today they are convicting an innocent person. It is the same when we hurt others. Most times they do not mean to hurt us. Reminding them, and ourselves about there transgressions against us only hurt both parties. Do your best to correct each situation and move on to creating joy. If someone constantly reminds you of what you are failing at for the only reason of hurting you then you should move on. There are those who love us and want to help us grow and let us know when we are not living up to our own potential, but these people will also let us know when we do a great job and they are proud of us as well. You need people like that to help you grow. Just remember to practice forgiveness both for yourself and others. You deserve to be happy and so does everyone else. Do not forget that.
This is a picture of my lady and I before a charity run we did recently. It is before we ran as if I shared the one after it may not be safe for me to come home. There are many things about doing a charity run/walk that lead to an amazing life. You take good care of your body, you help a good cause and you meet other souls doing the same thing.
In this post we are going to discuss another important aspect and gift we both received from this event. First let me inform you it was hot…very hot out. Second it involves a distance of over 3 miles. Leading up to this event both of us had our doubts. My lady especially had been through some personal challenges and was not able to train as much as she would have liked. She even mentioned that she was not 100% confident she would make it. That wasn’t her exact words as they tend to be a little more dramatic. I swear she is going to be the next author in our household.
So what was the gift? The gift was the challenge itself. As we both made our way through the course watching others go by, and the heat refusing to do the same another partner joined us on the course. That partner’s name was doubt. Voices in our heads told us how hot it was out, how people would understand if we bowed out. It is funny how when your body is preoccupied with pain and suffering your mind is free to come up with all kinds of things. Keeping the demons at bay when trying to suck in hot and humid air is a very unique challenge.
Crossing the finish line was a victory on many fronts. Testing yourself to limits both physically and mentally draws strength out you in ways nothing else can. The feeling you get when you finish knowing you shut those voices up, when you overcome physical challenges you own your body, you own your mind. Next time those voices come up you know you can tell them to sit down and shut up. You know you can accomplish more than you know so test yourself today!
Feel free to share your ideas for testing yourself in the comments below and feel free to share this post as well.
This picture sums up one of my firm beliefs. No matter what you believe spiritually, or even if you believe anything spiritually, you were put here for a reason. Even if you don’t agree with that much you cannot argue that your time here is limited. People ask me why I think happiness is so important. Why is it worth spending over a decade of my life studying? Why should everyone focus on it? If you go to my seminar I explain why in a lot more detail, but to give you the quick version what I tell people if you are not enjoying your life, you are wasting your life.
It is true in life there are challenges and there are obstacles that we have to tackle and solve. Why do we do that? Daily we face the world and do things because they make us feel good. Now I can hear a lot of you saying things like “going to work is for paying the bills, not to feel good”. In some ways this is true, but ultimately what does paying the bills get you? Less stress knowing that the lights will stay on? Happiness knowing you will be able to afford a good dinner and hopefully take yourself out every now and again. One of the main principles of this website as well as my books and seminars is this – happiness is not a destination, but a decision – read that line a few more times and let it sink in. It is the answer to how some people who seem to have everything can still be miserable, while people who seem to face every challenge show up daily with a smile on their face. They decide to. Sounds great, but it is easier said than done. How can we be someone who makes that decision?
Let us get a few things clear right away. Making this decision will not suddenly make life sunshine and rainbows. In fact it might just do the opposite in the short term. When you make a decision life usually decides to test you to see if you are serious. Ever decide to start eating healthier only to arrive at work and notice doughnuts sitting on the break room table? You need to be firm, know it will take some time and that you may experience setbacks. You also need a plan. I recommend fostering an attitude of gratitude. Look for the lesson and joy in every challenge. Water heater goes out and will cost money you don’t have to spend? Be grateful up until that day you have always had the option of hot water anytime you want. Know in the future, although it may be a financial drain, you will have it again. A large portion of the world has no hot water or even a place to live with running water. Happiness is largely a matter of perspective.
One last thing, by becoming a happy person and enjoying your life you are giving the world the greatest gift you can. How much better is your day when you encounter a happy giving soul in your daily journey? Be that gift for others and for the rest of the world. Even better, be that gift for yourself!
Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly according to plan. Sometimes life ‘throws you a curve ball’ as they say. The great secret to living an amazing life is to not let those detours throw you off course, and to enjoy them whenever you can. Take the picture above. Last Friday I told you about a beer garden that my lady and I went to. The park it was in was beautiful, the weather was perfect for her (a little chilly for me) and time together is rare and was appreciated. Still there were a few challenges. The food offered was limited at best. It was also very pricey. Image our dismay when after we paid they informed us they had no buns to match what they were selling so they put the brat and hot dog we ordered on a hamburger bun. They were also out of most of the condiments they offered. Keep in mind this was not at the end of the evening either.
Ok, so what does my terrible food service experience have to do with living an amazing life? It is what happened next. We all know far to many people who would have stood there complaining to the workers, who should have informed us before we paid about being out of so many things. Worse we all have witnessed people who would have let this ruin their evening and spent the rest of the day complaining about it ignoring the weather, the scenery and all the other amazing aspects I mentioned. How do I know? In the past I was all too often one of those people. Before beginning my quest for improving my own life I even let things ruin some of my time on vacation! For those of you who know how much I love the tropics this was a really stupid and costly mistake on my part that prevented me from living an amazing life. There are still times it is tricky to deal with all of the crazy things that pop up in life.
So how can we not let circumstances that are less than ideal steal our momentary joy? Take a new perspective. One, understand that everything is temporary. Even the worst minute of your life only has 60 seconds. Also know making through the tough times can give us a great feeling of accomplishment. We can also learn a lesson. In this case, we make want to bring some food with us next time to both save money and make sure we have something good to eat. Try seeing the humor in the situation. In this case, the way the combination looked was hilarious. Not to mention the worst situations usually make for the best stories after they are done. Speaking of Story (my lady’s last name) she did another valuable thing, she got creative. This happens to be one of her many skills normally but applied to this situation it turned a bad into a good. She cut the sausages in half and we made a sandwich out of them. Not only did they fit the bun better, but we each got to try what each other was eating. This is a solution that would not have come to us if we were focused on how unfair or awful the situation was. Anger and frustration not only steal your joy, but they steal your peace and creativity as well.
So next time things do not go according to plan try adjusting your plan. If that is not possible, try adjusting the way you are looking at what is going on. Being upset only hurts one person and that is you. Feel free to like, comment and share this post with friends.
To change your life for the better I am going to give you a secret. When life and is challenges seem overwhelming I am going to give you a secret. When your ups are few and your downs are plenty, there is a secret.
So by now you must be wondering what is this secret? I will share that with you in a second, but first let us all get on the same page here. Have you ever looked at one area of your life, or perhaps even your life as a whole and become overwhelmed with the amount of things you would like to change? Perhaps you would like to quit smoking, but you also want to lose weight, but you would like to begin working on that book you have always wanted to write, but you also would like to spend more time with your family. Whew! Even typing that was exhausting. Still that is how most of us feel. As the years go by the things we would like to change keep piling up. It can seem too large of a task to even begin. So how to do this and make it as fun and painless as possible? I have the answer.
First of all understand you never eat your whole dinner in one bite. What does that mean? When you eat dinner you take a bite of this, then a bite of that. Before you know it you have finished your entire meal. Life is much like this. We must take one step at a time. You could no more climb a mountain in one leap that transform your life over night. So what is the secret? How can we do this and how can it not seem like such a struggle?
The answer is almost revealed in the picture above. I think they actually have it backwards. If we are forever trying to ‘cut this out of our life’ or ‘stop doing that’ life can seem not only like a struggle, but like we are always sacrificing and giving up things in our lives. That does not sound fun at all. I propose the opposite. Make small changes to your life a little at a time. Interested in being healthier? Instead of saying I have to give up candy and soda try adding a salad or some healthier snacks. Try adding water in addition to the soda you are drinking. Eventually when you start seeing progress and momentum you will be more motivated to add even more. Want to have a more positive outlook? Instead of focusing all of your energy on stopping complaining, try focusing on adding compliments and gratitude. This will not only seem like less of a struggle, it will be a lot more fun. The great thing about this approach is the negative things in your life will begin to fade away naturally. One of the best ways to get rid of something negative in your life is by adding something positive. Try this in every area of your life and feel free to let us all know how it works for you.