I ran into my friend Linda at my day job today. For those of you who may not have read the post about Linda that we shared some time ago, she is a wonderful lady that stops in the Post Office I work in. Linda lost her grandson a while back and we shared some thoughts and tears on that subject. She has not only become a great supporter of my writing, but a muse of sorts as well. She is one of those friends that every time I talk to them, I leave with many more ideas to write about and share with you.
On this particular morning, we were talking about books we enjoyed. I don’t even recall how we got on the subject, if I am being honest. The interesting thing we discovered we have in common, was that we both reread books. My favorite book is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. My best guest would be that I have read it seven times. Why on earth would I do that? Do I just have that bad of a memory? No. The reason why I read that book so many times is simple. I am a different person who is reading it. Before you think that I am referring to the multiple voices who take up residence in my head, let me explain. As we go through life we are shaped by many different life experiences. Hopefully, we use them to grow and we are ever evolving. If you are reading a blog like this one, I venture to say that is probably the case for you. Therefore, when you pick up a book a year from now, the person who opens the cover will be different than the one who did so last time you read it. In fact, the hand that turns the last page will belong to a different person than the one who turned the first page.
In life there are many circumstances that deserve revisiting. Whether that is a book, a skill you are trying to develop or a course you wish to take. You are a different person than you were last time you did any of those things. You are a person who has grown, evolved and experienced many different things in life. Even reading the same book, you will appreciate it in a new way and get something new out of it. What things could you revisit that you might learn even more from now than the last time?
It is important to know more than just what works, but why it works. If you are anything like me, knowing why something works provides more motivation to actually do it. If you are like me you also like to crank 80’s glam metal at 4am on your way to work, but our post today is more about the first point.
I have been advocating reading powerful books for years. Personally, I read my favorite book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, at least once a year. People may think I’m crazy. “You’ve read that book like 5 times already! You are good at making friends so why read the book?”
After I inform them I have read the book 8 times and that is why I am good at making friends, then they assure me that I am crazy.
My sanity not withstanding, there are several reasons I do this. First is because my mind tends to wander. I read something and start thinking about it. Before you know it, the next few pages have gone by and I don’t recall much of what I read.
Here is another reason that was just made clear to me this morning. When we read a book for a second time it is not just because you may have missed something, but because you are someone different.
This may sound absurd but it is true. Since you have last read the book you have had countless life experiences that have forced you to grow and evolve. It doesn’t even take that long. As it was said about Napoleon Hill’s great book, Think and Grow Rich, the hand that turned the last page is not the same hand that turned the first page. The person has learned, has experienced more of life. They are a different person.
The more you learn and live life the more valuable information becomes to you. The more you are exposed to it, the more it becomes a part of your life. Do yourself a favor and pick up your favorite book again. Trust me when I tell you the person who reads it will be entirely different.
It is important to note this works even more in regards to audio books and programs.
It is no secret to anyone who follows this website and my work in general that I have spent over 20 years in the field of self-improvement. One thing that I must remind myself of every so often is the fact that not everyone else has. This may sound silly and an obvious point, but it can be a fact that gets away from me.
When I hear someone constantly complaining about how unfair life is or how terrible their life is, I am tempted to remind them how they do a great deal to create their own reality. We all have challenges great and small. That is part of life. It is really how we respond to life’s challenges that does a great deal to determine how life treats us. There are a lot of people who are ignorant to even that basic equation. I was fortunate enough to be raised in an environment where reading and thinking where encouraged. In the course of reading hundreds of books, listening to just as many CDs and videos as well as attending seminars and listening to as many people as I can I have learned a great deal.
One of the greatest challenges to me is having the patience and understanding to realize although most people have the opportunity to do the same, many have not. When I speak to people about ways they can reduce stress, increase joy and become the best version of themselves, I am often met with resistance and sarcasm. On a rare occasion even violent resistance. It would be easy to come off as condescending, but it serves as a great reminder of many things for me. First off, I am so grateful for all I have been given and all I have learned. My life is far from perfect, but I am constantly discovering new ways to reduce stress and have more happiness in my life. I am also grateful that I do have the life I do. I have friends who love me, a beautiful and loving lady, and supporters from over 100 countries who read what I write.
The second thing I am reminded of is everyone is working towards becoming the best version of themselves. If you don’t believe me, just walk into a gym shortly after the first of the year. Not everyone has the tools to successfully accomplish all they desire. That would be evident by visiting that same gym 30 days after the first of the year and noticing how many less people are there. Still, everyone is giving it their best shot. There are very few people I know who are not interested in improving their lives. Some do not understand the only way to do that is by improving themselves. That is the main focus of my second book.
Some really wish to improve themselves and their lot in life, but lack the necessary tools. Some do not even know where to look for those tools. That is why I am always happy to share what I learn and am still learning. There are those as mentioned earlier who even when given the tools will refuse to believe them. This could be because they have been raised in a negative environment or are so cynical that they are getting in their own way. Those are people I still try to help. Whether that is leaving a card for them when they are ready, or being an example of what it looks like to live life using the tools I put forth.
Let us all do our best to understand everyone is working towards a better life. Even those seemingly following the wrong path may just be misdirected or lacking hope and direction. When we understand that we are all doing the best we can it is far easier to approach others with compassion and a genuine desire to help.
Above you will find some behind-the-scenes pictures from my new video series 99 Seconds With Neil There are some contemplative looks, some confused looks, a path that had been blocked by fallen trees and a few other gems. One day I may release an outtake video of what goes on behind the scenes, but until then this is as close as you will come to seeing what goes into the creation of this latest video series. WHAT IS ’99 SECONDS WITH NEIL’ AND WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH? Both great questions. It has been brought to my attention that blogs like you are reading can be a bit to lengthy for some. Due to the nature of the content, or the long-winded story telling of yours truly I can see where that might be true. Most of my blogs should take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to read. In todays world of technology and shortage of time many would rather watch a 5 minute video than read a 5 minute post. Personally, I am a fan of reading but I know many are not. The lady in my life being one of them. Margie has the unique benefit of having the author read each post to her before they are published.
99 Seconds With Neil does something similar for you. Every Saturday we look back on two blog posts from the week and spend 99 seconds recapping them. It not only allows you to get a new take on something you might have read, but helps you get the idea behind it in case you didn’t have time to read. It also allows you to hear in my own words and voice how I feel about the subject, thus, allowing you to get to know the man behind these words a little better.
The best way to have access to not only the 99 Seconds with Neil videos, but to the nearly 100 other informational videos on my YouTube channel featuring advice on a wide array of subjects as well as various special guests from other authors, politicians, musicians and many more is to subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Neil Panosian’. There you will find all of this and be the first one notified when a new video is uploaded. You can do all of this by logging on to YouTube and searching Neil Panosian, or simply click on the link below. When you get to my channel, click on the red word ‘subscribe’ and you are done.
I look forward to serving you in both video and the written word as well as hearing your feedback on both
This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.
In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.
The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?
A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.
Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.
On Monday I wrote a post titled MY MOST IRONIC POST YET however, beginning a post with a picture that reads “Don’t read this” may be even more ironic. Do I want you to read my posts? Of course I do. I research all these self-improvement tips to help anyone who is looking to improve their life and those they care about. What is with the picture above?
My friend Curtis and I were having a conversation they other morning. He mentioned something very interesting. He asked me if I ever worry about people becoming co-dependent. After a little more explaining I discovered he was asking if I thought people may become dependent on me for their motivation. After some contemplation as it was a subject I had not seriously considered, I felt the need to address it. What we do here in this blog as well as my books and live events is empower people and share tools. In essence we plant seeds. I would much rather inspire a group of individuals who then take the information and use it to inspire others.
I would like to share with you the story of the lion and the gazelle. On a plaque in my office I have this saying “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up knowing he must be faster than the fastest lion or he will be killed. That same morning a lion wakes up knowing he must be faster than the slowest gazelle or he will starve to death.” I used to think the gazelle had the better motivation. After all, if he fails, he will die. If the lion fails he will have to find a new gazelle to chase. Here is the caveat to that, without the lion the gazelle has no motivation to run. The lion, however, is motivated by an inner hunger that will remain even if the gazelle were not present.
The point? Ask yourself what motivates you. Is it the words you read here, or is it the desire to better yourself that has you pursuing the information you read here. Do you workout to impress the people at the beach or because you want to be the best healthiest version of yourself?
I often preach about the importance of your why. Having not only a strong enough why, but one that is not interdependent on the influence of others. You should use the information not only that you find here, but other sources you routinely use, to serve you as you strive towards your why. If one source happens to disappear, your motivation and drive will not disappear with it. I invite you to share your ideas for being self motivated in the comments below. Everyone reading this could always afford another idea in this regard.
This is me, reading at Starbucks. Usually when I’m here I am busy writing these blogs, working on my next book or enjoying the company of good friends.
Not on this day though. No, I was enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin and the great book we spoke about yesterday. The great thing about doing this is that in addition to being very relaxing, it also helps the time I’m working.
When you relax it gives your brain a chance to straighten everything out. That way when you focus again, your focus will be so much better and your productivity will be that much better!
So don’t feel guilty taking time to relax. In fact, know by doing so you will be making your work time even more productive!
Often I am asked what is the easiest way to bring a more positive outlook into your life. I stress doing little things everyday until they become a habit is one of my favorite ways to start. To that end, a good friend brought to my attention another great thing I recommend printing out and placing on the bathroom mirror, next to the coffee maker or wherever you will see it everyday. Try reading this simple 5 line mantra every morning. ideally you should try to feel the emotional truth behind each statement, however even reading it will change the outlook on the day. Again, like all of the tools offered here, I recommend reading it first thing in the morning and last thing before you fall asleep as this when the mind is most susceptible to suggestion. This mantra is from a book by Catherine Ponder a great author I suggest looking into.
I AM health, strength, peace, happiness and prosperity
I AM strong, well, vital
I AM beautiful, peaceful, poised
I AM eternally youthful
I AM happy and free
Now try reading those five lines first thing every morning, and last thing every evening. It should take all of 1 minute, what could be quicker and easier than that? Try it for 21 days and notice what happens when you start to remove years of negative programing. Trust me, you will not want to stop.
This little project takes a few minutes, but to be honest can offer years of rewards. Everyone, no matter how positive or enlightened has a bad day. Just the other day I was informed my job may be eliminated. It happens, sometimes outside circumstances throw us for a loop. What to do then? There are steps we can take to ‘soften the blow’ of these less than cheery days. Working with either your gratitude journal, or vision board is far more effective when you are in a positive state of mind. So I strongly suggest in being proactive and having several tools ready for days when we are just not on top of our game, for whatever reason.
Music has a strong influence over how we think and feel. Everyone has different tastes. In fact, my sister and I regularly debate the merits of different musical artists. Weather you like rock or country, jazz or hip-hop, there are songs we all enjoy dancing to and that make us feel happy and alive. Now I’m not talking about just songs like “Don’t worry, be happy” although if that works for you, use it. One of my favorite is “Toes” by Zac Brown as it makes me think of a tropical vacation. Whatever your taste, take time to compile a list of all the songs that inspire you. This can be done in an afternoon or over several days. Then either burn them all onto a cd, or add a playlist to your favorite mp3 player. My only caution is to avoid songs that contain angry or negative lyrics. Not to say that music does not have merit, I certainly find some to be great for working out to, but in this case keep it happy and uplifting. Then when sad, angry or anxious feelings come knocking, as they do for us all, you have an hour or so of music that can alter your state. Now I am not saying this will fix or even change whatever is the cause of your feelings, but it can but you into a better state to deal with them. Combine this with some of the other tools we have listed or that are yet to come and you will conquer whatever life will throw at you! Stay strong, stay positive my friends!