WHY ME??? WHY YOU???

The other day I had a discussion with my friend Terri. We discussed how both of us have bought ‘new to us’ cars that have proven to be lemons. Mine is a PT Cruiser who in the first 5 months of owning has cost me $2000 in repairs and still runs rough. Daily I am looking forward to going back to driving an SUV. Terri’s plight is much the same. She bought a car and now things have started to go south.

What does our car trouble have to do with living an amazing life? Terri asked me a very thought-provoking question. That question was this, “How to keep calm, cool and collected when life is throwing me disappointment and struggles?” This is an excellent question and one I think we have all asked at some point or another. No matter who you are or how together you have your life, at some point life will hand you a bunch of lemons in the form of challenges and disappointments. This is never fun.

How do we stay calm, cool and collected as Terri so wonderfully put it? The first point I suggest is to gain perspective. In our situations, we bought a car that turned out to be not what we had thought. This can be especially hard when you are truly excited and then get let down. By her sharing her story with me, we found out neither of us were alone in our troubles. This can be a healing itself. The next thing we need to do is work on what questions we ask ourselves, or more importantly, what answers we give ourselves. It is all to easy to ask the question “why me?” when things go wrong. God knows I asked this when I found out all that needed to be repaired on my car. What you answer is more important. I am a fan of putting everything that happens to me in my life to work for me. When I asked myself, after my last vehicle was totaled while parked in front of my house by a elderly man visiting from Greece as I was sleeping, why did I get a car that was filled with issues? Truly neither of them were my fault. I could focus on how unfair it all was and how much of a victim I was, but that would not serve me and only serve to make me feel helpless and terrible.

Here is another secret, what you focus on in any given situation can literally transform that situation. What should we focus on? Here are two things I suggest; first, what you have to be grateful for. In my case, I was not in the car when it happened. His car was so badly damaged he could not drive away and not be held responsible. He and everyone else was safe for the most part. Let me be perfectly clear right here, this is not an easy habit to do. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for in the middle of a challenging situation takes practice and patience. When you master it, however, it will soften the blow of disappointment you encounter.

The second thing I recommend focusing on is what is positive about the situation, or another way to word it is how to use what happened. What did I find positive about my car being totaled while I was inside sleeping? Like I mentioned, I was inside sleeping for one. Another is maybe there was an impending problem with my car that could have surfaced while driving 70 miles per hour on the freeway, that now will never happen. Another great thing that happens when challenges arise is you find out who really supports you. This is something that can only happen during a challenge. Someone can tell you they will be there for you, but until the ‘chips are down’ you never know for sure. In this case there were so many who were. There were also other benefits of this awful situation. I became better at dealing with rental car companies. Something I just would not randomly do. Also got practice researching used vehicles to purchase. Obviously I still have a way to go on that one. There was the extra practice in asking for and receiving help. I have written about that in the past, but allowing others to help you can be giving them a great gift as well.

All of those skills I would not have had a chance to learn if my car had not been unfairly totaled. Did it inconvenience me? Absolutely. It happened in the coldest month of the year. Did that suck? Yes indeed. Still I gained valuable skills and appreciation for both patience and people. My love and I had to learn new fun ways to entertainment which serve us to this very day. Even having the new car problems has put me into contact with some truly amazing people.

We all will have challenges in life. Remember you are not alone. Take time to focus on what will serve you. Be grateful for the lessons and look for the positive. This will not be easy, but if you keep at it the rewards will be a far happier, and yes more amazing life.

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

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Last post we discussed having something to look forward to. This post we will give you some ideas on just how to do that. Is there something you particularly enjoy? A hobby? Do you enjoy reading? Fishing? For me it is the Wisconsin State Fair. Write down a few of yours. Let us take fishing for example. Do you have friends who enjoy your hobby as well? If so, make a point to get together with them to discuss the ideas we will mention here. If not, perhaps it is time to look into making some fun and fabulous new friends? This can be done by joining local fishing clubs, or perhaps an even online forum.

Now begin to think about how you can enjoy this hobby all year long. I recommend setting up things throughout the year to celebrate your passion. In the case of fishing, perhaps you can gather a group of like-minded friends to plan a yearly fishing getaway? Even breaking this down to planning meetings to get you excited. Taking time to read up on new places to fish. A shopping trip to stock up on new equipment you may want to try out.

Perhaps you can’t always get away? How about subscribing to a fishing magazine? Once a month you will have something to look forward to and enjoy even if you may not have time to grab a rod and reel. Spending an afternoon to read up on the latest equipment, stories of great fishing trips and pictures of all the fish waiting out there for you to catch.

You could also consider starting a blog on the subject of your choice. Not all about setting up your own blog? Join an online forum. You can check in and chat with others while sharing fishing (or anything else) stories. Learning and living the life even while you are stuck in the 9 to 5. You can make new friends, learn new facts and just enjoy hearing new stories.

Doing this will give you several things to look forward to all year long. Do you have a particular passion you enjoy? How do you enjoy it, or could expand to enjoy it more often? Feel free to share it with all of us in the comments below!

IT IS A GOOD DAY

IT IS A GOOD DAY

FB_IMG_1491490829567I like this picture. “today is a good day for a good day”. Seems pretty logical, but how many of us actually wake up and decide, that is declare in a determined fashion, that today is going to be a great day? I suggest we all try that. Print this picture out to remind yourself. If you are anything like me, first thing in the morning remembering anything is a little tricky. I wonder how much I know before my first cup of coffee.

Ok enough about me and my ability to function without caffeine. Back to the matter at hand. When we begin the day determined to have a positive outcome and then face the day we give ourselves the advantage of starting out the day right. Even if we are faced with challenge after challenge, even if it turns out to be less than a great day, if we start with a determination to make it so we will surprise ourselves with how much control we have over this.

Not to mention, what makes a great day? Sure everything going smoothly and receiving only good news that would count. Winning the lottery? Check. Waking up with the body of our dreams either our own or next to us would work. What about things not going well and hearing some troubling news? Do not answer too quickly. If those challenges could teach us a valuable lesson and help us grow that would be good. If hearing some troubling news allowed us to be help to a friend or even a shoulder to cry on, could that be good? Being able to show someone we care in their time of need is a good day even though it may not make us feel like grinning ear to ear. What about finding out we did not get that raise, or as so often has been happening in my case an unexpected auto repair? We can be grateful and appreciate the money we do have that although would much rather be applied to our Fiji vacation fund will at least still allow us to take care of our obligations. It may also show us new ways in which to make a little go a lot farther. Maybe we didn’t wake up with the body of our dreams, but we did wake up with the possibility to improve that. Maybe we still do not eat as healthy as we should, but we ate one less piece of pizza than we used to. Still working on the one myself.

The point being is this, Everyday can be a good day. More to the point, there is some good in each and every day. Does this sound like I am looking at life as the glass half full? Maybe. Is it true there is also bad in each and every day? Perhaps. Still, how does focusing on that make us feel? It is easy to do and everywhere we look we are reminded of such, but we have a choice. I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand and pretending there are no challenges, but to make the most of them. Begin to develop a habit of asking yourself, “What good can I find in this?”. At first it might be difficult, especially in the face of what seems to be a dark day. Ask this question enough and you will be amazed as to what answers your brain will come up with. Just keep asking “What good can I find in this situation?”. Do so with both positive and challenging situations. It will give your mind some good practice and help you feel the sense of accomplishment.

So this weekend let us determine to have a good day each and every day! Feel free to share this with your friends. Get them in the habit of finding the good in every situation as well. Working together you can help each other. Sometimes it takes an outsiders point of view to see some good you may be missing.

YOU MAY NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS

“The rich get richer,while the poor get poorer”.  How many of us have heard this saying before? Lord knows I must have heard it a million times growing up. Not to inspiring especially if you find yourself in the latter of the two categories. It doesn’t sound fair does it?

It would be great if I were here to tell you that isn’t true, or some secret method to beat the system, but I am not. In fact, quite the opposite. I am here to show you how this is not only true in the world of finance but in most other areas as well. Great you might be thinking, just what I need to hear today. Do not become discouraged. Knowledge is potential power and what you are going to learn here today is something that you can use to your advantage. It will not change much of what you may be doing to improve any area of your life by itself.

So why read any further? What are we going to learn here today and how will it serve us? We are going to learn why the axiom above is true in so many areas of life and how we can use that to increase our drive and commitment to obtain our goals. We will learn why that skinny person at the gym barely has to brake a sweat and we just look at a slice of pizza and gain a pound. Why they can workout 30 minutes and stay as fit as a fiddle, while we can spend our whole day in the gym and not notice a single improvement. We will also learn why that happy person in the office just manages to stay bubbly even if the world is falling down around them and how stress just seems to pass them by while we feel like we are dragging a lead weight behind us.

I am going to start with the fitness example first, but as you will see they are actually all interchangeable. I am working out at the gym, because like some of you I cannot say ‘no’ to any slice of pizza offered my way. While doing so I listen to different things to inspire me and keep me moving when my body is begging to quit. One of those things is videos by the late Greg Plitt, who was a fitness model as well as a great motivator. He taught me something I never knew and always wondered. I am going to share it with you here because unless you are really into fitness this may also be news to you. So why does that person who is already fairly fit not have to work as hard to maintain that level of fitness as do those of us who are trying to obtain it? It has to do with Muscle verses fat. Fat is stored energy and does not require the effort by the body to burn as does muscle. At first this sounded great I don’t have to work as hard to burn fat? Not quite. What this means is to move muscle and fiber requires more effort and calorie usage than moving fat. Meaning if a fit person and a person who is not so fit walk a mile at the same pace the fit person will actually burn more calories. Not before you succumb to the urge to knock the skinny person off the treadmill in front of you let me explain what this means. As we continue to get more in shape our ability to burn calories efficiently will also continue to improve. It is like trying to mold clay. When you first start and the clay is cold the clay is not easily molded. As the we keep working the clay and it heats up the rate in which we are able to shape it also increases. While this may seem to really suck as we begin a fitness routine, it may also keep us in the gym well past when most people quit because they are not seeing results.

Ok, so what does this have to do with living an amazing life and maintaining a positive attitude? Plenty! The same principle applies. A lot of people tell me “It is easy for you to not let things get you down because you are so positive”. In a way that is true, but it was not always that way. As the years went by and I have practiced a lot of the principles I teach on this site, at seminars and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People I began, in essence, to build my positivity muscle. Through practices like being grateful and asking how I can use challenges I learned to be more positive and as a result more resilient. So, the more positive you are, the easier it is to remain positive in the face of challenges.

Here is what we have discovered. The rich get richer, the fit have and easier time staying so and being positive helps you stay the way when the world throws you a curve ball. This news may not seem that great if you are financially challenged, overweight or negative. Again, knowledge is potential power, so what you do with this information is up to you. You can let it get you down, or provide proof the world is stacked against you. You can also use it to keep you chasing your fitness goals knowing the more you help your body, the more it will help you. You can use it to work on developing that positive and grateful attitude now so when you face a challenge in life you are better prepared.

All this will not happen overnight. Knowing that once you get to the tackle any challenge it will be easier to maintain those results than it was to achieve them should keep us all pushing.

EASY(ER) SUCCESS

This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?

Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i  ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives. 

What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our  actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people. 

These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help. 

Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.

WE ARE ALL GUILTY 

Do you ever stress about things you can’t change? I think we pretty much all do. Whether I’m at a show as a DJ,or working at the post office, giving a speech or seminar it just wondering through this amazing life i often hear people stressed over things outside their control. 

Sometimes it is the current political climate or what some elected official did. I have even seen people to the point of tears based on the performance or actions of their favorite sports team. What i find even more unbelievable is the petty personal issues. Who said what about who online, who is dating who, etc. 

Not only do all of these items bring us mental and emotional exhaustion, but acting this way over a prolonged period of time can cause us physical distress as well. Leading to such conditions such as ulcers,lack of sleep and even fatal conditions such as heart attacks  (for which the 1 risk factor is stress and job dissatisfaction)

So what to do about the things that upset us that are out of our control? Let us learn to do what we can and let go. Don’t like what a politician is doing? Write letters, start an online petition or just support his opponent. Your favorite team not doing well? Write a letter to the coach or general manager. Don’t like some personal thing someone is doing? Either let them know if you feel it is a must, or just focus on all your friends doing things that make you happy and proud. 

Constantly talking and complaining about conditions, especially those out of our control, does us no good and plenty of harm. Instead, do what most successful and happy  people i know do,  focus on the person in the mirror. Concentrate on improving their condition and on making them a better person. It will not only reduce your stress, but as you improve and progress it will give you something to be proud of. That will be something worth talking about!

Feel free to share your tips about letting go of what we cannot change in the comments below.