YOUR ONLY COMPETITION

Today at my day job I tried to wash windows. I learned something that until today had escaped my attention – I am not good at washing windows! I see the hardworking individuals with their buckets and squeegee making it look so easy.

Here I was up on a ladder, squeegee in one hand, rag in the other. “This should be quick and fun.” I thought to myself. As I was alone atop a ladder I may have even said it out loud. I began to work my magic on the windows.

Approximately 2 hours later I was soaked and they windows had less dirt, but far more streaks. Convinced the window cleaning folks have some actual magic to not only to clean windows but to stay even remotely dry.

Just as a spell, or at least a few select colorful words, was about to leave my lips, I stopped. I was reminded of two very important lessons that life had seen fit to remind me of.

First, every occupation has an art to it. This was first brought to my attention by a gentleman washing dishes at a meal program I help at. He not only could fit more dishes than one thought possible, they all came out perfectly clean. That may seem unimportant until you eat off a dirty plate, or can’t eat at all because there are no clean plates.

Second thing I remembered was that I am a writer, not a window washer. When I changed my focus from trying to be perfect like the professionals, to just getting better every window not only did I, but I enjoyed the process so much more.

This is key when working on improving any aspect of ourselves. There will always be someone smarter, in better shape, more popular, wealthier or whatever else we are trying to accomplish. That’s fine, they are different people than we are. We should not try to be anyone else but the best version of ourselves.

THIS CHANGED MY LIFE

The above quote changed my life! I had found myself at a point in life when it seemed every area of my life was in turmoil. My job had cut my hours to next to nothing, there was a lot of turmoil in my personal life and I had just been informed I had a problem with my heart. My life seemed to be in a very dark place. It was then that I was introduced to this quote. Ironically it was on an envelope asking for money from a charity I have forgotten.

Dealing with all of the darkness I was in at the time and doing my fair share of cursing, I found myself asking how on earth I could light a candle of positivity. A question you may have asked, or maybe are even currently asking. It was then I began my life-long journey to find the answer to that question. A lot of those answers can be found both on this website and in my book.

It is now that I would like to point out what should obvious. No amount of cursing the darkness will make it any lighter. If you don’t believe me lock yourself in a room, turn off the light and begin yelling, “I hate the darkness!!” Do this over and over. It should be apparent this is not going to make the room any lighter. This may sound silly, but this is often the same approach many of us take to like. Cursing our problems, complaining about this and that will do little if anything to make our lives better.

What can we do? It is really as simple as the dark room example. We need to shed some light on our life. Here is another thing I have learned, when you shine a light in a dark room, it does not matter how long that room has been dark. Whether it has been dark a day or several years, when you shine a light the room will brighten. The same holds true for life. It makes little difference how long someone’s life has been full of darkness, when you bring light to it you will brighten it. Whether that life belongs to a friend, a complete stranger or even yourself.

Today let us begin to stop cursing our darkness. Let us bring light to our life and the lives of others. If you need suggestions on how to do that feel free to read other posts on this website, or even ask yourself what would brighten your own life and do that for others.

ARE YOU THE CANDLE OR THE MIRROR?

It took me a while to truly grasp the power of this quote. The candle represents sources of light in the world. It could be good-looking and charming authors who double as postal workers, social workers, emergency workers, great parents and teachers, religious and spiritual leaders or anyone else who inspires us or makes the world a better place. In some ways I think we are all candles, or at least have the ability to be so. In being the best at whatever we do we set an example for the world to follow. Even the shyest and most reserved of us have opportunities to be kind to others.

The mirror represents those who promote those who are candles. This can range from sharing a motivational website that inspires you with others, to showing appreciation to wonderful people who make a difference in your life. Did a teacher or coach push you to be the best you can be? By telling others that story you bring to light how special they are. This holds true for talking good about anyone. Did your spouse do something thoughtful for you? By sharing the joy they gave to you it brings more light and positivity to the world. This is a double-edged sword. Imagine what we do when we complain and share with others the terrible things people do?

I find by both being a candle to inspire others as well as a mirror to reflect the flame of the fabulous people I come across is the way that I can bring the most light into the world. Starting today, do your best to not only be an inspiration to others, but to recognize and help share those that inspire you as well.

3 LEVELS YOU MUST MASTER

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What you are about to read will change your life. That is not hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration. If you are to really understand what I am about to share with you it will transform the way you view the world. It applies, and can be utilized in every area of your life. Personally, I am just beginning to grasp the power and magnitude of what I am about to share with you. Since coming across this knowledge only a short time ago, it has revolutionized how I write and teach.

There are three levels to every person. You, me, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa all have three levels. How we use and become aware of these three levels will affect every area of our lives. Want to be a great parent? There are three levels to that. Want to get healthy? Three levels there too. Want to have a great relationship? Three levels of love. I am going to share with you what these three levels are, how I came across this information and then we are going to scratch the surface of how we can put this to use to transform our lives. I say ‘scratch the surface’ because I could write and entire book on this subject. I also say that because I am only beginning to work with this information and I am continuing to learn and find new and exciting applications for it daily.

Without any more build up, here are the three levels you, me and the rest of the world share.

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional/Spiritual

This may not sound too profound at first, but stick with me and I think you will become as excited as I am.

First, allow me to share with you how I came to understand this principle. On a Wednesday at my Post Office job I had a very physical day. Sadly, that night I had to work as a DJ as well. Fortunately for me, my lovely lady was kind enough to put together a dinner as I took an hour nap. I slept well the physical nature of the work was exhausting. Thursday work at the Post Office was slightly less physical. I left and went to write and work on my upcoming book. I tried to do some self editing, which I enjoy slightly more than getting a root canal. I also created and worked on some posts for this website. I came home feeling even more tired than the night before. The following day, Friday, I planned to have a nice relaxing day. I arrived at work only to be told my job was looking at being eliminated. Something the Post Office seems to like to do rather often. I was informed by a coworker that not only was this the case, but the boss had also called into question my work ethic. Which, next to my integrity, is one of the most important things to me. You can imagine how frustrated, disappointed, and to be quite honest angry I was feeling. I few hours later the boss returned from lunch and I asked if I could speak with him. Knowing the discussion he had with our coworker he informed me that he expected to talk with me. To make a long story short, he cleared up that both issues were not at all true. My job was safe, for the time being, and he appreciated the job I did. You can imagine the change in emotions then. I went to back feeling relief, gratitude and a sense of pride in my work. I also felt something else – exhausted!!!

While pushing around a pallet jack, I stopped to share what I noticed with a coworker who happened to be standing there. I inquired whether she had noticed you can be tired in three totally different ways, physically, mentally, and emotionally or spiritually. Being that she is what we could safely say as not the most self-aware person, she stared and said, “Umm… I guess so.” Being that I was just kind of thinking out loud, I nodded and moved on.

As I was letting this information bounce around in my head as I worked, one of the benefits of having a job that does not tax me to mentally, a quote suddenly came to mind.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Suddenly, the light bulb started to glow. I would say it lit up, but sometimes information takes a moment to develop in my brain. I thought to myself, “If there are three forms of exhaustion, there must be three ways to energize!” This simple thought has began to change my life. Here is what I came up with. Let us say you are having a day where you are sleep walking through everything you do. You could stop at your local Starbucks and grab a double espresso, the caffeine would give you a little boost. If you are anything like me, there are days where I swear my body laughs at my feeble attempts to bring it to life. Perhaps that same day you come across an article on a subject that really interests you, or you have a conversation with a friend about a project you are working on. Now you are mentally stimulated. The body will more than likely come along for the ride. Here is where things get interesting to me. If, on this day of working with an energy deficit, you come home to find your spouse has surprised you with tokens of affection you totally did not expect. Maybe a friend calls you to tell you how much they appreciate you. Suddenly, your soul is on fire! Nothing can top that. Sleep? Who needs it.

This applies to more than energy. Trying to lose weight? If you just try to eat better foods (Physical) your chances of success are slim to none. If you study the effects of being overweight (mental) such as less years in your life, complications that can arise as you age, your motivation will be better. If you really want to improve your odds of success, you may want to look at your children or grandchildren and realize you might not see what they will become in life. Maybe you will think about how much you will miss doing with them while you are here because you will not be able to keep up with them physically. This will cause a powerful emotional response. Your motivation then becomes part of your spirit. When that happens, you will change your thinking (mental) and change your actions (physical)

This works for healing too. Let us say you were in a car accident. Your cuts, scraps and bruises will heal. It may take a while for you to remember that your odds on being in another accident are rather slim. Still, in a traffic jam it may take you a while not to have your heart race and your nerves be on edge.

There are so many more areas of life and examples we could touch on, but I wanted to introduce you to this principle and allow you to begin to work with it in your own life. I would be elated to hear what areas you can think of where you could use the knowledge of the three levels and how you can put what we are learning into practice.

WHAT YOU ARE MISSING

I live in a nice city called West Allis. I work in a different city about a 40 minute drive away. This can make for some exciting days especially in winter. In many ways I have learned to relish the drive as it gives me time to think, or listen to audio books. I love learning and am grateful for the time the drive affords me to do so.

Recently, I have been listening to the book The Power which is the sequel to the popular book The Secret. Both are books on the law of attraction. I recommend both of them. Not to ruin any plots for you, but The Power is about the power of love. Not just of the romantic variety, but how to apply and reap the benefits of the power of love in your own life.

One of the fun things the book advocates doing is finding what you love about certain situations. In doing so you remain more present and aware of your surroundings. One of the ways they mention in the book is asking yourself the question “What do I love?” Asking questions is a great way to take control of your thoughts. Giving your brain a question to find an answer to can give it direction and keep it from going somewhere you might not want it to go.

I was interested in giving my brain the positive task of finding things to love and bring me joy. The 40 minute drive to my day job at the Post Office seemed like the perfect time to give this idea a try. Certainly, the prospect of showing up at work in a great mood was appealing. Let me voice a disclaimer here. Although the idea did appeal to me, I had never really made a conscious effort to do this and kept an open mind. I figured it may be rough going at first and I may find it difficult to find things to love. I could not have been more incorrect! One thing after another seemed to leap to my attention and I could not notice them fast enough! Despite the unexpected nature of this, it was not the most surprising development on that trip.

Every day I take pretty much the same route to work. I reached my decision on 60th street, which at the moment closely resembles a demilitarized zone. Here is what I found so surprising. Even though I take that street at the very least 5 days a week, I was amazed at how much I miss! I decided to try again on the way home. The same result followed. Even just being on the opposite side of the street a whole world I had been missing unfolded before me.

When I got home I began to ask Margie, “Have you seen that building on 60th with the multi-colored bricks?” and a million other things. After taking a few moments to make sure I had not stopped off for some rum after a hard day at the Post Office, Margie had to confess that she too had missed most of these things as well. I then began to tell her about what I have been doing and how the idea came from the book I was listening to. It is here I must tip my hat to Margie. While she also loves to learn, she is very patient and does not complain about the seemingly endless stream of audio books I have playing in the car as we travel here and there. She has even given me the gift of one of my favorite audio books A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors.

Here is my suggestion for you. As you travel along today, ask yourself, “What can I find that I love on this journey?” You will be surprised at how much we miss. I have found new restaurants I would like to try, stores I would like to shop at and even a nature trail I would like to hike on. I would love to hear your results in the comments below.

8 LINES = 1 TRANSFORMATION

What do you think when you first get out of bed? If you are like me it can range from “It is really that time already?” to “Maybe the post office is closed and will pay me to stay home?” Ok, that last one may be a little personal, but I think the point has been made. A lot of us wake up with not only our pillow, but also a good amount of stress.

Above you can see 8 affirmations that would really help get our day moving in the right direction. I would love to see all of us print this picture out, place it by our bedside and read through them first thing in the morning. Maybe pick one a day? Maybe read all eight? How long would that really take us? Imagine saying these eight lines with conviction first thing in the morning? It probably wouldn’t hurt to do it again right before bed.

Less than a minute and we could change the outlook of our day. Who is with me? If you think reading eight lines to change the course of your day would be worth it, please let me know in the comments below. Also, feel free come back and share your results to help keep us all inspired.

HOW DUTY IS JOY

Here is a reminder of how important finding our passion is and how it can make all the difference in our lives. A few posts ago I wrote about finding myself in a funk. I called that post ‘When it all goes wrong’. If you like it may help to go back and read it. In addition to the tools I used in that post one more powerful tool helped turn that day, and my life at that moment around – I wrote.

Some people may think that writing a post five days a week, while working on my next book in addition to working at the post office and as a DJ may be a bit overwhelming. Nothing could be further from the truth. Discovering and subsequently sharing information on how to live a more positive, rewarding life is my passion. Seeing and hearing about the positive difference I can make in the lives of others is not what feeds my ego, it is what feeds my soul. I want to truly leave the world a better place than I found it. In short, it is my passion.

So, the other day when I found myself feeling down as so many of us do, I wanted to share how I was feeling and what I was doing about it with all of you. Little did I know that doing so would make such a great difference in my own well-being. This I believe was accomplished for two reasons. I am going to share those two reasons with you and invite you to use them in your own life as well.

First, when you find yourself overwhelmed with your own problems one of the best things to do is to try to help others with theirs. There is something very healing about altruism. It may help you realize someone always has it worse than you, or even that you are not alone in having problems. By sharing my struggles and allowing others to see that I still struggle and what I do to overcome that challenge I hope will be very helpful.

Secondly, I was doing what I firmly believe I was put on earth to do. There is nothing that can compare to doing what your purpose is. When you do so time seems to disappear and so does your trouble. Whether your passion is painting, working on cars, being a great parent or anything else, living that passion is what truly brings us joy.

I want to leave you with a poem that captures today’s thought perfectly. It is from the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who won the 1913 Nobel Prize for literature.

“I slept and dreamed that life was joy,

I awoke and saw that life was duty,

I acted, and behold duty was joy.”

Doing your duty, or passion will bring you joy. If you are not sure what your purpose in life is, I recommend you spend some time to discover that. There are tools both on this blog and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People to help you do this.

I also invite you to share with other readers your experience of living your passion, or life purpose and how it makes you feel in the comments below