IT IS REALLY THAT SIMPLE

For most of us, despite our differences, would fit into these categories. Ironically, often we search until we can find something that makes a person different from us. It is almost as if saying, “That person is a lot like me.” Somehow diminishes either one of you. When we understand that we all share the same basic needs and wants, judgment and hatred become all but impossible.

If you are a person who loves others and does not want to harm them, and reading a blog like this it would be a safe assumption you are, then it would serve you well to surround yourself with other like-minded individuals. Does it really matter where on this planet they are from? By writing these posts I have met and befriended many other like-minded souls from over 100 different countries. They have brought not only a unique perspective, but a great deal of joy to my life. Does it really matter what color they are? I am blessed enough to have friends of every race. Not only does it include many great and loving people, but our pictures together are a lot more colorful. Politics? Ooh…that is a good one. Quite often we can almost be at each others throats because of different ways to address the same problem. Instead we should focus on the fact that we are both trying to solve the same problem. Maybe their solution takes into account something we overlooked? Maybe a combination of both solutions would work the best? We will never get to that point if we busy ourselves with such low level minutia such as what political party is the correct one.

Even my wonderful friend Nick who sent me this picture, and by doing so inspired this post, has different opinions than me on a wide array of different subjects. Do you know what? That is great to me. Often when we talk he will bring to my attention a way of looking at things I had not considered. Even on subjects where we just ‘agree to disagree’ we still have the same respect and admiration for each other. Not only is it ok with us that we are different in some regards, but it is quite cool that we are also the same in many ways. It is that similarity that prompted him to share the above picture with me and allowed me to share it with you.

Today, celebrate the fact we are all a little different, and when it comes down to the core of who we are, most of us are really the same. Both of those should be reasons to celebrate with your fellow humans.

CONTRADICTION OF INFLUENCE 

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.

SUNSHINE WARRIOR 


After learning and teaching ways to be more positive in life I have come to a important conclusion – it is a constant struggle – for anyone who has embarked on this journey this is not too shocking. When you make the decision to live a more positive, loving and passionate life something strange happens. At first people pat you on the back and say things like “good luck” and “that’s great”. It all starts off well and good. Fast forward at most a week or so and things change. People begin to get less comfortable with your decision. I’m not sure why this is.  I have a theory or two. Perhaps they realize how much their own lives are not full of joy and fulfillment. Perhaps in some strange way they feel if you succeed it somehow means they fail.  Another interesting thing people tend to do, even well-meaning people, is they begin to show you examples of how dark the world can be. You begin to hear things like “How can you be positive when ___ happens?” or look how bad the world is getting and they sight some recent negative event the media is feeding off of. The truth is there is good and bad in the world. Light and dark. Positive and negative. Whether you are spiritual, or not that is easy to see. You meet nice people and experience nice things and you also face challenges and meet people so unpleasant conversations with them leave you wanting a shower.

So what side are you going to be on? Make no mistake, what you choose to focus on decides a great deal of your life. What meaning you assign to things decides how they make you feel. This is the most important decision you can make in your life. Why? It determines how you feel. There will always be wins and loses what they mean to you will determine how they affect you. If you believe the world is out to get you and always to expect the worst you will feel one way. We all know some people who actually do not allow themselves to be happy even when something good happens. They always look for what could go wrong. I knew a man who won an all-inclusive vacation. I was happy for him, but he did not seem so happy. “Yeah, but I have to pay the taxes” he informed me. The taxes amounted to $100. He, and his wife, were going to Jamaica airfare, hotel, meals and cocktails for a week for $100 and he was sad. These are the people who fall victim to the world around us. The negative mind programing we see on TV, online and in the papers everyday. Still, we all know people who remain happy no matter what. If they get a flat tire they muse that it may have prevented them from being in an accident further down the road. Some people call this naïve, but it is no more fanciful than focusing on the negative.

So what side do you find yourself on? Daily in the news we hear of tragedy, hateful speech, how the environment is falling apart, how morals are decaying and a host of other dark and negative events. Seldom to we hear about the people that come together to help the victims of violence, a new inspiring speech that was given, or how some high school students are coming together to clean up a river. These things are not ‘good news material’ they do not sell.

So what do I believe? What does the man who brings these words to you think? Here is what I believe. Make no mistake, your joy, your well-being, your very spirit is under attack. We are in the eye of a hurricane of hate and negativity. The world has become darker in many ways. I think a lot of that is owed to the focus on what is wrong in the world. It has dimmed the light of hope in the hearts of many. Which is why my motivation for writing only grows stronger. We need more people to spread joy, to focus on what is just, good and right. We need more healers of all kind. We need people to bring us together to stand against those trying to tear us apart. Before you jump to sign up let me assure you of one thing, this is not for the faint of heart. In order to be a source of light in a dark world you must be brave. You will find yourself ridiculed. You may often find yourself being attacked by those closest to you and on occasion even standing alone. Many souls find themselves negative and uninspired because today that is the easy way. To be an inspired soul and even greater to inspire others takes courage, takes inner strength and not everyone is up for that.

If you find yourself disgusted with both what you read and see in the news as well as on the streets I urge you to become a sunshine warrior. Put on the armor of positivity. Be warned, however, we are out numbered and the fight will be both long and difficult. You will not come out unscathed. The reward for this fight is your life, and the lives of those you care about and come in contact with. Whether we live in a world of darkness or a world of light depends greatly on whether we choose to join this fight. There will be many who will complain about the world as is, but there will be very few who are brave enough to do their part to change it.

If you find yourself tagged in this post you are a sunshine warrior. Do your part and share and tag those you feel show the courage to bring light to our world.

ONE OF MY BELIEFS 

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!

WHY THE DOG IS HAPPIER

Although this picture pretty much says it all, there are some important points to touch on. The first is obvious, the dog is only thinking about one thing which brings him a lot less stress. The man, as is so common in our world today is multi-worry-tasking. Yes, this is a term I just came up with, but it accurately describes what many people to today. Not only do we waste time worrying (which has zero transformational value) about one thing, quite often we have several worries on our mind all at once. What we do not realize is that we are not doing ourselves, or the situation any good by occupying our mind with what could go wrong.

Another more subtle point here is the dog is the only one present in the moment. They are both out it what appears to be a rather pleasant relaxing setting. The man, preoccupied with his thoughts, is unable to fully appreciate the good he is literally sitting in the middle of. The dog, however, is in the moment. His thoughts are on what is happening at that very second. My confession here is I am often the man myself. In this crazy world it is hard not to be mentally a million places all at once. There was a time I focused on just being in the now (see the post ‘Relish the now’ april 19th) My lady had a hot bath with scented salts, candles and wine all ready for me. I purposely noticed every detail, every sensation using every sense I could. Another thing I did was make sure my thoughts were not somewhere else. Next post we will explore how this can be a good thing, but for right now we will continue. Truth is I was doing all of this because I wanted to write a blog about the whole affair. That is the mind of a writer for you. Still what a great gift that was and the memory is so much more clear, and what a great memory that was.

So how can you begin to stay focused? How can you begin to limit all the mental chatter and needless worry? My number one recommendation is meditation. For those of you who think this involves hours of sitting in an odd position chanting think again. There are plenty of good books, cds and videos on simple meditations. In fact if you go to YouTube and search ‘guided meditation’ there will be several you can just listen to as they walk you through. Next, try journaling. I know I constantly suggest it, but truly giving your thoughts an outlet can often relieve them of their power and help your thinking become more clear. Lastly, and probably the most fun is watch the masters. Watch those who can remain focused on the now and stealing every ounce of joy out of the day. Who are these wise teachers? Pets and children. Watch kids on the playground. Watch your pets. See the joy they experience in the simplest of things. Feel free to share this with anyone who could enjoy life more if they could just live in the present. I believe it is a skill we can all work on.

PROOF YOU CAN DO IT!

This is a tattoo on the arm of my lady. It says “sing”. Recently she has faced some pretty tough personal challenges that have left her not only drained, but wondering if she can even make it through. We were laying down discussing this idea when I noticed her tattoo. What does her tattoo have to do with her daily challenges? Let me catch you all up to speed.

These days my lady and I work together 4 nights a week as DJs. Not only is she a wiz with the computer and the sound equipment, but she can sing like an angel. There are several songs she sings that take my breath away. In fact, often people will request she sings certain songs because they like her singing them better than the original. It was this very skill that stole my heart and brought us together in the first place. Here is where things get interesting. One fine evening I inquired as to how she began her career as a DJ. As we discussed how she began she told me an interesting story about the first time she sang. A good friend of hers, who was “Looking out for her best interests” told her that she was terrible and should not sing again. Thankfully she did not listen because not only would we not have fallen in love, but she would not have been able to bring the joy that she has to countless of people with her voice.

Let me tie this all together and give you something you can use immediately to grow your confidence and help you make it through any challenge you are facing. So my lady’s tattoo says ‘sing’ if she would have listened to her well meaning friend she may have never discovered one of her most amazing talents. She worked through the criticism and nervousness that she faced the next time she sang. By doing so she gave life to one of the most beautiful things about her. I told her whenever she doubts she can make it through something to look at that tattoo and remember how she turned what seemed to be a failure into a great skill and success.

So what does this all have to do with you and I? Each one of us has had challenges we thought we could not make it through. In fact, you may be going through one as you read this. The fact that you are reading this means you have made it through every challenge you have faced in your life so far. This can be very difficult to remember when we are going through something emotionally and/or physically trying. That is where a symbol comes in. In my lady’s case it is her tattoo. What is it in yours? Perhaps a trophy you earned? A picture of a goal accomplished? A talisman from a meaningful place you have been? Even journal entries come in play. By reading your thoughts as you went through a challenge in the past, perhaps maybe even one you thought you were not going to make it through, you can see the parallels to what you are currently going through. More to the point, you can see that you did make it through.

So pick your symbol today! Carry it with you as a reminder of how strong you can be. Then when a challenge comes you can look at it and remember you can do it. Feel free to like/share and comment on this. Show it to anyone you know is facing a challenge so they may have the strength they need.

THE MAGIC KEY

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When I first saw this picture I thought “that is kind of redundant”. Actually it is quite profound. Seeing the best in the world, or the ‘glass half full’ is a good part of what keeps me happy. Does that mean denying the half of your glass that is empty? Not at all. It is merely focusing on the part that is full.

In my own life there have been countless situations that could certainly look terrible. If you need an example please see the previous post about the pigeon. I know that in life whatever you look for you will find. Stop and read that last line again, maybe even a third time. Let it sink in. This is really the key to both happiness and success in your life. If you are focused on what is working in your life and what there is to enjoy and be happy about you will find it. Truth is that it is there all along just waiting to be noticed.

My law of attraction friends will tell  you that whatever you focus on expands. I believe that, but I also believe this: the more you focus on something the better you get at finding it. It may seem like more of what you are focusing on is appearing, but I also think you are also noticing more of what is already there.

Why is this so important? Let’s recap. What you focus on both expands and you tend to notice that thing easier and more often. That means you get to choose what your life will be filled with! Want joy and prosperity? Start to look for all the opportunities for both joy and prosperity in your life. Now, before you say “Neil, I try but there are still problems” that is true, we need to focus on them only enough to develop and begin working on a solution. After that, switch to what you have to be grateful for.

If you are anything like me, you may still have some lingering doubts. That’s good, do not accept what I am saying without proving it to yourself. I have a little experiment for you. Try this for at least 3 days, more if you like. Pick a color you enjoy. Mine would be blue, but pick whatever color you like. As often as you can for the next couple of days try to notice all the things of that color when you enter a room. By about the end of the third day you should notice something. Things of your determined color seem to jump out at you. They seem to be all over the place. This experiment works easier because there is no emotion attached. Changing to a positive focus takes a little more work, but you can see how it will happen using this little activity. Do it with a friend. Compare your results and discuss them with each other. Share this post with others and get them involved as well. Remember you create your own life.