USE YOUR EYES AND YOUR MOUTH!

Last post we looked at how our focus determines a great deal of how we see the world. That goes with the first half of the quote above, keeping our eyes positive. Seeing the possibilities and not just the obstacles. Seeing what is working while working on what could use some fixing. Looking at the good in a situation and just the bad. Changing how we look at the world will change the world we look at a great deal whether that is positively or negatively. That is why it is so important to keep our eyes positive.

Let us now look at the second half of that statement. Keeping our tongue positive will have the world loving us. Some of you may say “I don’t care how the world sees me!” or “The only person’s opinion that matters in mine!” To that I would say you probably have yourself fooled about other things as well. It is true that we should not live our life predicated on what other people think of us and what we are doing. That being said, if your friends, your family and your spouse go to bed thinking what a jerk you are every night, that is going to weigh on you no matter how self-centered of an individual you may be.

Considering you are reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife, I assume you have a good deal of affection for your fellow humans. Not to mention, it always feels good to hear a kind and encouraging word throughout the day. Think of how you feel after you have been the recipient of some love and praise. Perhaps you feel energized? A little more confident. You feel believed in and supported. How would this affect your productivity? Would this affect the way you treat others you come in contact with? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone came from a place of feeling energized, loved, believed in and supported? Wouldn’t it be great if you came from that place…daily?

The truth is your world can be this way. Those you meet can, eventually, come from a place of love, appreciation and positive energy. You can come from this place and you can do so on a regular basis. Not only can this happen, but it is easier than you may think and all it takes is one decision from you. This is not some self-improvement hype or positive thinking theory I am giving you. It is the truth.

All we have to do is to decide to use our tongue to spread positivity. Let us look at how this will play out. First of all, if you know someone is walking up to you and, through past conversations you know the conversation is likely to be a positive one, how will you treat them? Chances are you would greet them with a smile, and genuinely welcome their company. When you share positive conversation with others it will make them feel loved and appreciated. That will positively impact their lives and in turn will positively impact how they act in association with you. Can you imagine if you did this with everyone in your life? Would that mean everyone in your life would be positive? Not exactly. We would be fooling ourselves if we didn’t admit that we share the world with people that see the rain in every rainbow. I know a person that if I gave them a golden goose would complain it poops on the sidewalk. Still, these people would certainly be the exception and not the rule.

This may sound like a fantasy world, but it is not. It is a simple mathematical equation. If people are exposed to positivity and encouragement, they tend to be more positive and encouraging. Not every day. We all have times when life gets the best of us. The more you spread positivity, however, the more likely you are to receive it as well. Here is the great bonus in all of this. The more you receive this positivity in return, the easier it is to go on spreading the positivity. It continues to grow in both frequency and intensity the more this equation is put into place. The exciting part is it is all up to us to start it. Use your tongue to spread positivity today and watch your life change in the days to come.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY ANSWERING ONE QUESTION…DIFFERENTLY

The picture above is of my friend Travis and I. It was taken before a seminar I was giving in Franksville Wisconsin. We were “Backstage” if you will. At this seminar he went out to introduce me and to warm up the crowd. Travis, who goes by Treezy, has been my friend for many years. We met when I was serving drinks at a place called ‘6500 bar’. Local corner bar, lot of fun people. I leave the story of how we met for another day, but I will tell you it involved 2 watches, a hotel room and a girl named Sarah. Before long Travis and I had discovered we had a mutual passion for learning how to be positive and helping others do the same. We started working as a team at the bar and before long it was standing room only.

Once I left that establishment I lost touch with my friend for a while. In the meantime, I started working at a new place called ‘The Hideout’. I was only a few days into my employment when I heard the door open. I had been busy washing dishes and without looking up said some version of “How can I help you?” The reply came with a hint of laughter in his voice. “I will have a bottle of Budweiser my old friend.” I had to look up to see who could possibly be my friend at a place I just started at. Well, time and fate had reunited our two souls for some reason once again. As I transitioned from bartender to DJ and met the love of my life, Margie, all three of us became fast friends. Travis, or more to the point Treezy, has a great gift of performance and using that to lift the mood of a show and keep it positive. To this day, him, Margie and myself work to run positive shows that leave you feeling better when you leave than you did when you came in.

Margie, Travis and myself forming our version of the Triangle offense

I can hear you thinking to yourself, “Neil, this is a very touching story about you and your friend, but how does this help me improve my life?” That is a good question. Recently, Treezy showed up ready to perform at one of our shows. I inquired as to how he was doing. Nothing out of the normal here. How many times a day do you ask, or are you asked, how you are doing? I would think several times a day. It happens at restaurants, work, coffee shops and yes at shows at clubs. Most of us either say “Good” “fine” or perhaps we have a standard answer we give. Treezy has one too. When I inquired as to his state of being his answer was “I am blessed, highly favored and positive. How are you my friend?” This is, by all accounts, his standard answer. As with most of his performances, he delivers this line with a feeling of passion and sincerity.

The reason this line comes out with such passion is because he believes it to be true. It is true. For most of us, we live in a country that allows us certain freedoms. We have a roof over our heads and food on our table. Those circumstances make us ‘Blessed, highly favored and should make us positive’. Here is the power about working on your standard answer to “How are you doing?” You will say this line several times a day. That, in essence, is an affirmation my friend. What you proclaim yourself to be out loud several times a day will greatly influence your life. Why not spend several minutes putting together several positive and empowering answers to the question “How are you?” Have fun trying them out. Try each one for a week. See if it doesn’t have you feeling a bit more positive. Perhaps it will increase the amount of gratitude you have in your life. If that one doesn’t seem to work, try another. Decide on a line that really resonates with you.

Take a lesson from my friend Travis and use the power of words to positively influence your life. “How are you doing?” is as close to a rhetorical question as most people get. Your answer can inspire both you and them if you craft it right. Put this seemingly mundane daily exchange to work for you. As a side note, to our group we have recently added our friend Terri. She brings her own insight and positivity. Having the four of us in a room working to improve everyone’s outlook to be a little more positive than when they got there can be a powerful force indeed.

HAVE YOU LOST IT?

Although this photo may sound a bit harsh, it is still very true. It never ceases to amaze me how many of us will sit behind our keyboards spewing words that are not only negative, but can be both mean and hurtful. It seems almost daily I read comments on people’s political or spiritual beliefs that I would imagine would not be said in a face to face meeting.

That is not to say you have to agree with everything that everyone says. Quite the contrary. It is the variety of opinions and beliefs that make this world a beautiful place. Ask yourself, if this person expressed this opinion in person what would I say? Even if it is something you disagree with, would you even bother expressing that? If so, would you do so in a hurtful angry way?

The same holds true about what you post. If you have a negative opinion about something will you feel the need to share it with every person you come across? Would you do it by calling those people names to their faces? It is very important to remember that seeing your words in black and white can be even more hurtful to someone than hearing them in person. Before you type that phrase or respond to that post or comment, ask yourself, “Would I say this if we were in person?” Chances are the answer would be ‘no’. Let it go. The world has more than enough anger and hate.

If there is any advantage that we can use behind a keyboard, it is to overcome the shyness of expressing our love and appreciation for each other. It may seem awkward for some of us to tell someone how much they mean to us. In today’s society this is not often the norm. Sad, but that is the case. Let us use social media and our online presence to remove some of the uncomfortable feelings associated with that. You can tell your friend how amazing they are or how much you love them online without having to worry about being uncomfortable. The great part about sharing positivtiy online is it can be reviewed at a later date should the receiving party need to hear it again. (That being said, you can also see the danger of posting hurtful things online)

Having a reputation of spreading the positive online will have people wanting to have you as an online presence in their lives. After all, there is no shortage of negative things available to read online. Having even a brief positive thought to read is a pleasant escape. Even if the positive thought expressed is not about the person reading it, just the fact that there is a positive post can make them feel good.

Let us not lose our basic human decency just because we do not face immediate consequences for the words we type. Fight the urge to respond to every negative post and comment. Do not add to the problem. Do not say anything you would not say if you were face to face. If you are going to use your social media for anything, why not use it to express thoughts of love and appreciation you may be uncomfortable doing in person. They will make the receiving party feel good and you will not have to worry about feeling awkward. If each one of us reading this would take these actions we would go a long way to making the world a more positive place.

IT IS ALL IN HOW YOU LOOK AT IT

This was actually on the end of the string of a tea bag I was enjoying before writing this. It made me stop and think. Life really is 10% what happens to us and 90% what we do with it. This includes what meaning we assign events in our life. We lost our job. Does that mean we are a failure like our parents told us we would be because we didn’t go to college? Does it mean that the universe is pushing us in a different direction where we can better serve others and in turn be more fulfilled ourselves? The answer to both is the same – yes and no.

Are you confused so far? The reason why it can mean two entirely different things is because things mean what we decide they mean. This is why the old adage Never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion is so important. What we decide things mean can be swayed a great deal by the emotional state we are in. Another reason that maintaining a sunny disposition can serve us in many more ways than just feeling good. Let us use the popular situation of having a disagreement with our spouse. Perhaps it is a big one. It may seem at the time that this person has entirely different values than we do. It may seem like they do not care or respect our values. Going on that assumption, it would seem a rather pointless endeavor to pursue this relationship further. After we give our chance to cool off and engage in some calm communication, we are likely to discover this is not the case at all. Maybe our partner misunderstood what the situation meant to us. Maybe they do have a value that appears to be in conflict with ours in this situation. Instead of saying it is hopeless, ask yourself how both of your values could be honored.

One of my favorite quotes right here. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” I think Mr. Shakespeare was on to something here. Trust me when I tell you that I thought this statement was filled with more fertilizer that a farmer’s field in spring. “Easy for you to say Billy! I just lost my job and my family is depending on me. You have been dead for hundreds of years!” I figured once you have passed on you no longer have to worry about gainful employment or, more to the point, of losing said employment. While this may be true, I’ll have to get back to you on that from the great beyond, it doesn’t change the truth of the quote. In the job loss example from above there are two ways of viewing what happened and they are pretty close to the opposite. Either one could also be right.

If this is true, and unless someone can convince me differently, it most certainly is. What is the point of doing our best to view things in a positive light? Why be one of those people. You know the ones. Everything seems to be going from bad to worse for them and they act as if they are about to open their birthday presents. What do we say about those people? They have their heads in the clouds? They are wearing rose-colored glasses? It is not that they are denying that there are possibilities that things could be bad, because they can. They are focused on the fact that things could have happened for a good reason. Is that possibly true? Could it be possible that the reason we stepped in little gift our neighbor’s dog left us on the sidewalk could have been for a good reason? What if it ruined our favorite dress shoes? The ones we just bought…for a whole lot of money? How on earth could all of this be a good thing? Let me ask you this question. Is it possible, not 100% certain just possible, that the time we spent changing our pair of shoes and cursing at the neighbor’s dog despite the fact he does not speak a human language, saved us from something worse? Could it be possible that time put us a bit behind which caused us to miss the driver who went through a red light 2 miles down the road where we would have been? Is this possible? Of course it is. There are a million other reasons why it could have happened. Some good, some bad.

We are again faced with the question, “Why choose to focus on the positive reasons for a negative situation?” For one, it really pisses off our negative friends, which is always kind of fun. More importantly, it helps us maintain a healthy emotional state. Why does that matter? In our first example of a job loss, the positive explanation was the universe was pushing us to do something that would be more personally fulfilling and serve the greater good. If we were to believe this what actions would we take? We would begin to think what we are passionate about. We would consider how we could pursue that interest that may benefit us from an economic position. We could look for ways to use our passion to solve a problem or serve others, which would lead to an economic opportunity. Even if we needed to take some other employment while we thought about these things, we still would have a driven and optimistic attitude. This could help us weather continued challenges.

What if we believed that we have just grown to become the failure we were told we were going to be? What actions would be take then? We may take whatever job is first offered to us. We would not do so while looking for better opportunities such as the first example. No, we may think that is what we deserve for being a failure. We may think thoughts such as, “Why even bother looking for a job I would love? I will just fail at that too.” or “Nobody will hire a failure like me so why should I even bother applying?” If we feel that this happened for a negative reason such as the world is a cruel place, we have bad luck or some other less than inspiring thought, how motivated would we be to take action? Not very. After all, if the world is a cruel place and we always have bad luck why bother trying. Guess what happens if we take that road? If we stop taking action towards improving our situation, it is 100% certain that our situation will not improve. Then, at least we can feel that we were right about that. In fact, as long as we feel that way about our situation, we will act that way. If we continue to act that way, our situation will be that way. It is some sort of suck-filled, self-fulfilling prophecy.

I hope you can see the power in how we chose to perceive the world and our place in it. It should be apparent why deciding to focus on the positive possibilities is far more helpful at resolving a negative situation than focusing on the negative possibilities. Life is hard enough, do not work against yourself. By choosing to focus on positive possibilities, we see everything as a gift. That kind of mindset will have you feeling as if every day is a chance to open birthday presents. Oh, and if somebody accuses you of having your head in the clouds? Just tell them they should really join you because the air is so much better up there. If they say you are wearing rose-colored glasses? Ask if they want to try them on. Tell them how much better the world looks through them.

BACK TO BASICS

In our quest to discover as many secrets to an amazing life as we can, there are many things that can get in our way. One of them is overwhelm. There are so many things to incorporate into our lives that it may prevent us from even beginning. There is meditation, visualization, positive self-talk, getting into the right mindset and a million other secrets and tools we can use. Much like my motivation for writing A Happy Life for Busy People, today I want to take it down to the basic principles that we can use to begin our life transformation. Sure you can deliberate over how to create the perfect vision board or what affirmations will bring about the biggest positive change. Before getting hung up on these details, we should just start with the basics. Oh, and if you are already on your self-improvement journey, trust me, you will benefit from going back to basics.

We are going to use the picture above for our guide. The four principles listed are not only good basics to start with, but they play off each other just like it shows in the picture. Let us start on top with Positive Thinking. If we approach life with the right mindset it can make all of the difference. There are so many ways to develop that mindset feel free to explore what works for you. One of the ways that has helped me the most is having more gratitude in my life. It is very hard to feel grateful and not be positive. No matter what is going on in our lives, there is always, always something to be grateful for. What if your life is a total mess right now and you are just deciding you have to do something because you find yourself on rock bottom? That your journey is just beginning and you will be improving your life a little each day (even though it is important to remember there will still be ups and downs) that is something to be not only grateful for, but excited about. Another great way to start to develop a positive mindset is to try and find the beauty in everything. As you drive to work you can notice the flowers growing in your neighbors yard. Have a coworker who really gets on your last nerve? Be grateful there is someone to help you strengthen your patience and positivity. Not to mention, they help you be grateful for all of the nice people in your life.

Starting to think positively brings us to our next basic tool – Feel Good. When you begin to think good thoughts, you begin to have good feelings. Nothing too tricky there. What is important to think about is what does feeling good do for us? On the most basic level, that kind of is the whole purpose of life. Think about why we do anything in our lives, it is either to feel good or avoid feeling bad. You may be thinking, “If that is true Neil, how come I go to work every day at a job that doesn’t feel good?” because the feeling of not paying your bills and living on the street would feel a lot worse. Even altruistic activities we do fit into this category. I used to help at a meal program once a month. The main reason I did so was because I wanted to give back. Why did I want to give back? I felt it was the right thing to do. Guess what? Doing the right thing had me feeling good. When we feel good we are also far more likely to try new things. This can lead to an expanding of our life. Which can, in turn, lead to more things to have us feeling good. To me, the most important reason to feel good is because it makes it easier to take actions that lead to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. Think about your own life, when are you most likely to stray from your healthier eating or exercise routine? When you are stressed? When you find yourself feeling down?

That leads us to the third step in our basic life improvement series – Regular Exercise. While some of you might be cringing or debating about concluding your reading here, rest assured this may not be as tough as you think. Especially if we have focused on developing Positive Thinking and Feeling Good, this will be a little easier. Regular exercise does not mean going to the gym everyday, unless of course that works for you. No, regular exercise, especially in the beginning, can be any physical activity you enjoy. Do you like basketball? Head to the playground and shoot around for an hour a day. Perhaps walking in nature and looking for different kinds of birds is your thing? Then make a trip to different parks several times a week. Maybe you would much rather be shopping than doing any kind of exercise? How about a walk around the mall? You could even get a little resistance training depending on how much you buy. Just make sure to avoid laps around the food court as it may undo all of your hard work. You can even mix a couple of these together in a week. The secret here is to find something that is fun for you, yet requires some physical activity. Another great tool to use here is an activity tracker. You don’t necessarily need to purchase an expensive Fitbit. Most smart phones have free apps that allow you to track much of your activity as well as other healthy aspects. Even a simple step counter can be fun. Set a daily and weekly goal for yourself and then find fun ways to reach it.

I saved this one for last because for many of us, myself included, it can be the most difficult. Eat Better. That sounds simple enough, and it really is. Think about what eating better entails. No crazy diets. No skipping this and having to eat that. It is just eating better in general. Less pizza, more vegetables. I know, writing that line was even a little painful for me. Still, eating healthier is not that tricky and like regular exercise, does not have to be that painful. Let us take the example of eating more vegetables. What is your favorite? Margie’s is corn. I rather enjoy green beans. We try to work in a vegetable with each meal at home. If they are ones we like, we are far more likely to eat them. The more vegetables we consume, the less room we have for stuff that is not so good for us. Think of snacks too. This is a place where a lot of damage can be done to our diets. Try to find a healthy snack you enjoy and make it convenient. Do you enjoy snacking on carrots or cucumbers? Have some washed, sliced and ready to be enjoyed. This is where a little meal prep can make a big difference. The same trick can be used for healthy meals. Think of a healthy dish and prepare it ahead of time.

From my experience, the greatest challenge to Eating Better is time. We are running around with a million different things to do and our diets are the sacrifice. We often settle for fast food because…well…it is fast. Plan accordingly. Perhaps on a board in your kitchen write down meals that are quick to prepare but still healthy. If you don’t even have time for that, make note of some of the ‘healthiest’ meals you can order out. Here is another GREAT way to motivate yourself to eat healthy. Note how many calories you burn doing certain activities. For example, on an elliptical machine I know I can burn 700 calories (give or take) in an hour. If you run a mile you burn, on average, 150 calories. These numbers vary depending on the individuals, but serve as a good example. Next, look at what you eat. There are 563 calories in a Big Mac. Doing the math, you would 3.5 miles to burn off one Big Mac. When you are sweating and near hyperventilating at the end of your workout and find that you burned 700 calories, are you really that keen to replace 563 of them with one greasy sandwich? Now, there are roughly 3500 calories in a pound of fat. Multiply that by how many pounds you care to lose. This is how many more calories you will have to burn than you consume. This may seem like an insurmountable number. A mere 10 pounds is 35,000 calories. This is why it is important to understand that weight loss takes time. You can also understand why losing 2 to 3 pounds a week is a great accomplishment.

Working on these 4 basic principles can transform your life in big ways. It can also be easy and fun. Looking for things to be grateful for and finding the beauty in everything? That’s fun. Finding different things that make us feel good? Also a fun check mark there. Regular exercise fun? Yes! If it is an activity that we enjoy. Eating healthy can be fun when we understand it does not have to involve restrictive diets and starvation. We need to incorporate more of the healthy foods we enjoy and even experiment with new healthy recipes to dazzle our taste buds while at the same time helping our waistlines. These 4 areas are broad categories and leave plenty of room for customizing it to fit our individual liking.

I HAD A DAY OFF THAT I NEED A DAY OFF FROM

It all started innocently enough on Sunday morning. I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee as I prepared for a good day at the gym. I kissed the lovely Margie goodbye and stepped out on the porch. I took a deep stretch and said out loud to nobody in particular, “oh look, it is raining outside.” I took the first step on the porch stairs and that’s where it all went wrong.

Have you ever seen those cartoons where the character goes straight up in the air and comes crashing down to earth in a rather intense and abrupt manner? That was me… on the porch stairs. I let out a sound that let the neighbors, 3 blocks down, know I was not ok. I lay there for want of anything else to do. Feeling the mist of the rain on my skin.

Shortly, Margie came out with great concern to see me laying motionless on the stairs. This, in all my pain, melted my heart. To know how much she cared really meant the world. She wrapped her arms around me and helped me up.

I felt things out. A few dull throbbing pains, but nothing seemed broken. I decided to continue my quest to work out. I did put an hour in at the gym, but had to make some modifications. No treadmill as my heel was bruised. No bicep machine as my elbow was bruised and swollen. I made it through and felt proud.

Later that evening Margie and I did our show and had a great crowd. Everyone seemed to have a good time for the most part. At the end of the evening we were supposed to take our friend home, but she made other plans last second. Margie and we driving home looking forward to finally collapsing in each other’s arms after a long work week.

Suddenly, there was a popping sound and then an odd noise from the rear wheel of the car. A flat i feared. Only a few blocks from home I decided to go slow and bring it in. Margie looked out the window and informed me the tire looked, “wobbly. Like it might come off.” This was grave news indeed.

We managed to park. I got out to inspect the tire. More full of hot air than my aunt telling me about her latest diet. I slid under the car and did not see anything. While watching a yellow sac spider crawl above my head, I heard Margie inform me she had discovered the source of the problem.

This indeed was startling news as Margie has not been a driver her entire life. My thought as I pulled my still sore body from under the car, was what fabulous news awaited me. It turns out some soul had removed all of the lug nuts, save one, on our wheel. The popping noise? That was the studs snapping off with the weight of the wheel. I would not be making lunch with Margie and her daughter the following day.

Most people would think i had a terrible day off. It is true I would try a different warm up than falling down the stairs next time before the gym. Yet, I did not dislocate my shoulder for the fourth time and nothing seems to be to badly damaged. No, I would not choose to snap lug nuts and studs off my tire again. However, Margie and I were not on the freeway and made it home safely. I also had the cool experience of looking through childhood pictures at my mothers house as her husband fixed the wheel.

There are things that stuck in life, but there always seems to be ways in which they could be worse. So when you have a day off that you need a day off from, keep your head up my friends. Don’t let the world erase your smile!

MY EXPERIENCE ON POSITIVELY MILWAUKEE

Recently, I had the great pleasure to become a part of one of my favorite television programs, Positively Milwaukee. This show airs every Sunday morning on the local NBC affiliate WTMJ. The show is hosted by one of the most talented and passionate journalists I have had the pleasure of associating with, Carole Meekins. In 2012, I created my blog Secret2anamazinglife.com. For the last 8 years I have shared tools and secrets that will help the average individual reduce the stress and increase the joy in their life. In addition, I share stories that show the beauty in ourselves, others and the world around us.

Imagine my utter delight to discover there was a television show, and Facebook page, dedicated to highlighting the positive people and events of the city I live in. It was my new ‘must see TV’. Monday through Friday we may be inundated with the crime, corruption and violence that fill our television screens and social media page. Every Sunday morning at 9 a.m., Positively Milwaukee is there to save us. Like a gentle rain on a hot summers day, it is there to quell the fires of rage that can erupt with over exposure of negative news. Positively Milwaukee brings peace and hope to hearts around the city that have become overwhelmed with fear, sadness and despair.

In my seminars, talks I give to companies and communities as well as the one-on-one life coaching I do, I always advocate that people have 3 things in their life daily. I believe you should have something to be grateful for, something to look forward to as well as something to inspire you. Positively Milwaukee accomplishes all 3 for me. I am grateful to have a resource that not only shows me people and organizations doing great things for our community, but often ways that I can get involved. I look forward each week to discover who or what Carole Meekins has discovered and brought to our attention. Lastly, I find so many of the stories, as well as the job they do putting the show together, quite inspiring. Including Positively Milwaukee in your life can go a long way to helping you become happier and more inspired.

Imagine my feeling of elation when I was asked to be interviewed for this wonderful program! I am always excited to share my message and tools of positivity, and to do so on such a wonderful platform was a great opportunity. It began with a conversation with Carole several days before the filming. Watching her on television you can certainly pick up on the passion she has for the work that she does. Nothing could prepare me for the wonderful and engaging person I experienced in this conversation. From the first ‘hello’ I found her to be funny, insightful and caring. Most importantly, she was genuine. Carole Meekins truly cares about her city and the people in it. When the day of filming had arrived, we met with Jeff who was to do the filming and provide us with a connection to Carole. Our interview had to be done remotely due to the current pandemic. Jeff was not only extremely knowledgeable and great at his job, he was friendly and informative. As Jeff set up the equipment necessary to conduct the interview, he also did a lot to explain how it was going to work and take a lot of the worry out of the process. The actual interview itself was easy and felt as if I was talking to an old friend. Carole Meekins is not only a brilliant journalist, but a thoughtful and divine human being.

Walking away from an experience like that had me both nervous and excited. Not knowing how the finished product will look is always a bit unsettling. Would my message come across clearly? Would the camera add 20 pounds? Would people know that Jeff and I had the same color of shirt on that day? All of those fears were completely unfounded. The job done by those working on the show Positively Milwaukee could not have been any more amazing. Putting my interview together with pictures and videos from both my website and my YouTube channel they created a flawless presentation that was even more impactful than my interview alone. I will be eternally grateful to the hard-working staff of Positively Milwaukee for providing me an opportunity to help those in search of a more rewarding and fulfilling life.

It is my sincere belief that Positively Milwaukee is a treasure to the city and that Carole Meekins is its crown jewel. By sharing the good that is in the hearts and actions of the people of the city of Milwaukee, they give many the urge to better themselves and all of us hope for a better future where we can all be good to each other.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE EPISODE OF POSITIVELY MILWAUKEE I WAS FEATURED ON

IS THIS WHERE WE WANT TO GO?

Today is my birthday. 45 years of fun on this planet. Normally, I have a YouTube video for you all, but today my lovely Margie is taking me to some unknown destination. I will keep you all posted as to where that is.

In the meantime, there is something I would really like to discuss with all of you today. As I am sure a lot of you do, I happen to reflect a great deal on my birthday. For many, it is a time to look back at the year. If that is you, I hope you are doing it with a sense of gratitude for all that you have had in your life. The peaks and the valleys. We learn and grow from everything. For some it is a time to look forward. How many more years on this round ball of fun do I have? Some just like to celebrate the present! I made it another year. Still undefeated. I like to do a little of all three.

To begin with I like to look back on the past year and celebrate how much further I am than I was a year ago. It is true not everything may have gone as I had planned, but even the lessons taught me things I needed to move forward. There are things that I had planned to do this year that did not get done. That should do one of two things. Make me decide that may not have been as important as I thought, or increase the passion and sense of urgency to get it done in the coming year. Which leads us to looking forward to the year ahead. I do so by reviewing a lot of my actions. Asking myself the question quoted in our first picture – Does this support the life I’m trying to create? There are some that are indeed moving me in the right direction. Maybe I just need to be persistent in my actions. This could be applied to my going to the gym six days a week. Sure, I am not where I want to be, but I am moving closer to the body I want to create. Then there are actions that may need to be tweaked a little. My book and writing promotions. I will need to do slightly different actions if I would like to expand the influence of my message.

Then there are the actions that I am doing to maybe please others or that just do not serve my purpose. Spending too much time concerned with items at my day job or on pleasing other people. Yes, even someone who has been in the self-improvement field for over two decades can use some reflection and improvement.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a short birthday wish list, if I may. To help me celebrate my 45 years on this planet I would love any suggestions or assistance in helping me to spread the message of positive self-improvement and life-fulfillment that we share here on this blog. Although it is my birthday, I want to leave you the gift of one of my favorite quotes. It demonstrates the kind of thinking I do my best to foster here, and will be looking to build on in the next 45 years.

DO THEY HAVE YOUR PERMISSION?

It amazes me how many people do not understand that their feelings are generated inside of them. They blame the news, their spouse, their boss, their coworker or the cat down the road for ruining their day. In essence, you are giving these sources control over your mental well-being. You are actually giving them permission to ruin your day by reacting to their actions.

This is all very easy for me to say logically. Emotionally, this takes a lot more practice to live and understand. The closer a person is to you, their control over your emotions increases to a greater extent. For example, if someone you have never met tells you they find you unattractive, how would you feel? It may sting a little, or you may shrug it off entirely. Now what if your best friend told you the same thing? You might actually become angry. It may feel a little more valid. What if you came home one night and your spouse told you the same thing? You would feel deeply hurt, perhaps devastated.

I am not advocating that you become a heartless person. I am not telling you to deny your feelings. Just consider whether what these people have to say has any justification. Some people say terrible things when they are hurting. Some less evolved individuals do not anyone to be happy if they are not. The whole ‘misery loves company’ sort of thing. Considering the amount of people we come in contact with today, both in person and online, the chance one of them may say or do something that could bring us down is rather high. I suggest having a mantra written down that says “I am not going to let anyone bring me down.”

It is your day. Do they have your permission to ruin it?

THE FINAL DAY OF OUR CHALLENGE!

Today is our final day of our 7 day challenge. This challenge was to begin the month of July by posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive a day. The hashtag they recommend using is #7daysplus. Meaning it does not have to end here. For the sake of this challenge we are going to take a look back through the week and see what hopefully we have accomplished. My week began with the eager anticipation that many of you would join me on this challenge. In this way we could start a ripple effect of positive throughout our communities and throughout the world. We would start to change the narrative on the social media sights we belong to and begin to turn it to one of positivity and hope.

My positive thought for the day is that to some degree this has happened. In my own community, a childhood friend of mine named Jason took up the challenge and it has really generated some loving and supportive comments from family and friends on his posts. In Italy, a follower has offered me some great compliments and insights into this challenge and my blog in general. There have been new friends and followers made in the countries of Kenya and Finland. In a small way I feel as though I am doing my part to make this world a little more positive place than had I not have been here. In the big picture, I feel this should be a part of all of our life goals – to leave the world a better place than we found it.

I am filled with such gratitude for all of you who have participated. For those of you who did not, or maybe discovered this post a little late to do the first week of July, why not start today? Do your best to go a week without posting a single negative thing and at least one positive thing a day. It will truly help those in your social media circle, but it will also help you to change your focus to that of a more positive world. I cannot convey the peace of mind and heart this will give you. I know it was a great reminder for me to keep my focus on the beautiful things this life and world have to offer!

For those of you who did participate, please share what effects this challenge had on your life. Is there anything you would suggest to make it better next time? If you have an idea for a positive challenge that we can create on this blog please let us know in the ‘contact’ section or in the comments below!