WHAT CHANGES THE WORLD

The statement above is one everybody should do their best to remember. It is one that everyone should do their best to live by. No matter what kind of leader in life we are, and trust me we are all leaders of some sort, it bears noting that what truly inspires others is not our words, but our behavior. It is even more important that our words and actions are in accord. What is your opinion of someone who constantly says one thing, but then acts in a way contrary to their words? There are lots of names we have for these people, none of which are good. What about someone who feels the need to go around and share their opinion on a topic with everyone who wasn’t even aware they wanted to listen? Again, fun titles we may bestow on these folks as well.

Think of the people who inspire you? Is it the person who is constantly telling you that you ‘should do this’ or ‘should do that’? Especially if they are not doing anything or worse doing the opposite of what they are telling you to do. Do these people inspire you? They inspire me…inspire me to do without their company. How about the people busy working on what they think is important in life? The friend that has been diligently saving and now has enough to buy themselves a new car? Certainly more inspiring than the friend who tells you that you should be saving more while they are out spending their entire paycheck at the local watering hole. How about your boss that tells you to be more dedicated to your work while he leaves early every Friday to work on his golf game? Then there is the boss who is there working when you get in and is still there when you leave. Which one would you rather work for.

The most important category that I can think of where this principle comes into play is being a parent. This doesn’t even have to be a biological parent. It can be adoptive parents, step parents, aunts, uncles, or anyone that a child may look up to. We can spend hours or longer thinking of the perfect lessons to think of for our children. In reality, only one will matter – how we live our lives. Do our children hear us saying things like, “It is no use. I will never be able to do/afford that.” or such dangerous clich├ęs as “Rich people must have screwed people over.” What we say repetitively can be absorbed more than we think. Still, it is our example that will be picked up by children the most. We tell them to always be honest and take care of their obligations, but we are 2 months behind on the electric bill and are trying to buy more time by saying we never received the bill that is sitting on our coffee table. We tell them all people should be treated with kindness and respect but don’t say something when our friends make racist or prejudiced comments. I believe if you want to positively affect a child’s life, whether you are a parent, teacher or just an adult who has influence in the child’s life, start thinking more in terms of “What can I show this child?” instead of “What can I tell this child?”

One of the greatest things we can do is lead by our example. How we conduct ourselves does a lot more to tell the world about us than what we say. How we conduct our relationships tells the world how much we love our spouse than what we say when they are sitting next to us. How we approach our work will tell others what kind of discipline we have. Saying someone’s time is very important to us is a nice gesture, but do you think they will believe us if we are constantly showing up late to meet them? Begin to think what actions we can take to truly express our character and what is important to us. I would love to hear some of yours in the comments below.

THE JOY OF HARD TIMES

The joy of hard times? Were you dropped on your head when you young or what Neil? Actually, that did happen once, but that is a story for a different time. You might think the idea of hard times containing any amount of joy is a crazy notion, but just a little reflection can tell us there is a great deal of truth in that idea.

As the picture with the great philosopher, Winnie-the-Pooh shows us, one of the way hard times bring us joy is the revealing of true friends. How many times have you faced a challenging situation, only to receive an act of kindness from a friend that was completely unexpected and overwhelmingly gracious? It has been my good fortune to experience more of those than I can count. You may know that you have a good friend, but in challenging times we have the ability to feel that we have a good friend.

The revelation of true friends, although one of my favorite, is not the only gift of joy hard times give us. There are others that we need to appreciate. One of them is the gift of resilience. If someone said they consider you a resilient person, would that not be a good compliment? Yet, if we were to think about it, how could one become resilient without facing a good deal of hard times and surviving them? How resilient would you be if everything was provided for you? If you never had to withstand any of the storms of life, how strong would your character be? Many of you might be mumbling under your breath, “Keep your resilience! I don’t want anymore challenges.” I can understand that. It is never a good feeling to have life throw something at us that we were truly not expecting, but that does not change the fact that it contains something that is helpful.

Which brings us to the last gift that hard times bring us – manure! You may be wondering what the product that comes out of the wrong end of an animal has anything to do with our life and our suffering? Plenty! There are things that happen in life that happen to us that are a complete pile of…well…let us say manure to keep the censors happy. Much like the organic product itself, these life problems stink and we wish they were not a part of our lives. That does not mean we cannot put this to work for us. One of the main uses of manure is for fertilizer. The same is true of the manure in our lives. Our challenges, our set backs and all of the manure type events in our lives can either make our life stink, or we can use it to grow some wonderful blessings. A seed that is buried in the ground and covered in…manure, which can be how our lives feel at certain points, grows into a tough and sturdy plant. Let the manure in our life do the same for us.

Hard times never feel good and it is my sincere wish that all of you never experience more hard times than can be helped. As much as I wish that, we are all bound to experience some times that really challenge our ability to smile. It is that deep knowing and understanding that even in the darkest of times there is light to be found, that can keep us moving forward. Look for the gifts in the hard times my friends. Notice the friends that reach out and help. Feel the strength of character and resilience you are building by just withstanding the storm. Use all of the manure situations in life as fertilizer and grow blessings out of the dung that life throws at us.

PLUG YOURSELF IN

Many of you wrote in to express how much you enjoyed our posts on self-care. With that in mind we decided to do another and bring you a little something different. I think the picture above is a great example of why we need to recharge our batteries, as well as that of our cell phones. In fact, if you need a good reminder to take care of yourself, every time you plug in your cell phone let that be reminder to charge your own batteries as well. Most of us cannot even imagine taking as much time for ourselves as we give to let our cell phones charge. Writing that just sounded crazy to me. Most of us take better care of an electronic device than we do of our own bodies.

What happens as our cell phone battery begins to get low? We may drop a call. Our connection to the internet may be spotting or may not exist at all. Perhaps our applications we are running slow down. We look at our phone and realize it is because the battery is low. We not only know this, but we expect it. As the energy in the phone becomes lower, so does its performance. How come this does not transfer to our thoughts on people, most of all ourselves? We realize our phones run best with a full battery. Wouldn’t it make sense we would too? We often feel guilty for saying no to someone or for taking time for ourselves.

Let us look at what happens when we let our battery run low. This can be skipping sleep, working extra long hours or not addressing stress in our lives. What are some of the symptoms? Let us first look at the physical or ‘outside’ manifestation of this. It often first appears as general fatigue. Much like our phone slowing down, so do we. Just like an electronic appliance, if we keep going at this rate we will eventually stop. Either by passing our or passing away. We also can get headaches. There are even specific pain relievers marketed as “tension headache relief”. If Madison Avenue can figure out stress can cause us physical discomfort, how come we can’t? Add muscle cramps or pain. This can come not only from stress, but not practicing other self-care methods such as staying hydrated.

Many of us “battle through” these symptoms. Some even consider them a badge of honor of sorts. Let us look at how this can affect our mental state or our mood. Stress can bring on feelings of anxiety or even paranoia in extreme states. Even milder cases can drain our motivation. This can cause us to get less done which can stress us even further. Talk about an equation for disaster! How about feelings of restlessness or overwhelm? Those are fun aren’t they? You may be tempted to say “So what! As long as I am making the boss happy, who cares if I am a wreck?” This brings us to our next reason taking time for self-care and to recharge is so important.

We may think being continually stressed and running ourselves on empty only impacts us, but we could not be more incorrect in that thinking. Being both physically and mentally drained can cause our behavior to change as well. We can be prone to angry outbursts. Have you ever found yourself snapping at someone who did nothing wrong except to cross your path when you were stressed and burnt out? Not only is this not good for our relationships, it also adds the stress of having to repair the damage your stress did in the first place. We can begin to overeat or even under eat when we are not taking time to focus on our well-being. We certainly wouldn’t be eating the stuff that will fuel our body and allow it the best chance of coping with what we are putting it through. Some people even turn to drug or alcohol abuse to help them cope with the stress when they are no longer able to do so physically or mentally. This often can be true of high-achievers, who have a hard time taking time out from chasing their goals to focus on themselves. Can you imagine how one or several of these behavior changes would impact the lives of those close to you or even those depending on you?

Most of us charge our phones at least once a day. Make sure you do at least that much for yourself. As you can see your cell phone is not the only thing that performs poorly when its battery is drained or it has too many programs running at the same time. Make sure you are getting enough rest, eating and drinking the right things to fuel our brains and bodies. Lastly, make sure you are taking steps to address stress. This can be meditation, exercise, talking with a professional or even a friend. Make sure you do not have too many applications running in your own life. Keep the batteries charged and you will keep yourself running smoothly.

BE PREPARED FOR THE LONG ROAD AHEAD

Here we are. Another Monday, the beginning of another work week. I know that may excite some of you and some of you may be less than enthused. If you are reading this post on the site “Secret2anamazinglife.com” it would be a fair assertion that you are looking to make your life…well…more amazing. The secret to living a more amazing life is having less stress, more joy and working to become the best version of ourselves. This should seem fairly obvious. The real question is how do we do this.

I have dedicated over 20 years to exploring this question. Many of the answers can be found both on this blog as well as in my two books, A Happy Life for Busy People and Living the Dream. One of the greatest areas the influences the amount of both stress and joy in our lives to a great degree is our relationships. This is such an important area that I have dedicated a section to it in both of the afore-mentioned books. “Picking your Posse” as the sections are called, is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Forming your ‘Spirit Tribe’ as the quote above calls it, is something far too many of us do without any or much thought. Instead of making a conscious effort to choose who to have, or in some cases eliminate, from our lives, we let circumstance decide. For an area that has such a great impact, and that we have a good deal of control over, why are we leaving such a good portion of it up for chance? We have to take advantage of our ability to both bring in and let out people in our lives. Here are a few examples of how to do that. If you would like to dive deeper into this subject, please click the link at the end of this post to be taken to my author page and order one or both of my books.

The first step in “picking your posse” is to decide who you would like in it. This could be specific people or even the type of people. If you know the specific people you would like to spend more time with, the answer is pretty straight forward. Call them up, shoot them an email, or better yet go up to them in person and make some plans. Grab some coffee, get dinner, go the the gym or for a walk. Whatever you would desire to do, reach out and make it happen. What if you know the type of people you would like in your life? Think of the qualities of the people you would like in your life. Would you like encouraging people? People who are driven? People who like to work out? People who like to visit art museums? Write that down. If you look at your list and can think of people you know who have those skills, just follow our earlier example and make some plans with them

What if you do not know people with the traits, skills or attitudes that you are desiring to be more a part of your life? In that case, thank the powers that be you live in the time you do. Picking a posse has never been easier. With the internet and social media we can join groups, follow pages and join discussion groups in any area of interest we have. There we will find many people who also share that interest with us. It goes without saying you should always exercise caution and common sense when meeting someone new for the first time. There are also groups who meet regularly at libraries, coffee shops and many other places in town. They are definitely worth exploring.

The added bonus of adding all of these great people to your life is that it will leave you less time to be stuck with people you do not desire. This can be a Godsend for those too polite or even scared to eliminate the negative people from their lives. Think about who you would like in your posse, or spirit tribe today. Reach out, do some research and start spending time with them. The right people can transform our lives for the better and do so in a hurry!

CLICK HERE TO BE DIRECTED TO MY AUTHOR PAGE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MY BOOKS TODAY

THE BEST REPLY TO A FOOL

The weekend is right around the corner. A lot of us are breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to not having to answer to the alarm clock…or push snooze a million times. Whatever your morning habit is, it usually is more relaxed on the weekend. We switch from focusing on our jobs to more fun and social activities. This can be time with the family, friends, going out for coffee or perhaps some cocktails. Our stress levels begin to decrease as well.

One thing this can do is give us a lot more time to think. In the mad rush of the workweek, we are often too busy to be bothered with petty things going on around us. It would seem one of the side effects of having time to ourselves is knowing how to make constructive use of it. We also tend to place additional importance on the actions of others and how they impact our lives. This can be a positive if we are feeling grateful for our spouse and all they do to keep the household going. Feeling grateful for time with friends that allows us to blow off some steam and stress built up during the work week is certainly a plus as well.

There are, however, those individuals who give us a little less to be grateful for. It can be the rude server or cashier when we are doing our best to have a relaxing night out. It can be the person who likes to speak gossip and start drama that ruins an otherwise good time for everyone else. How to we respond to these folks? In what sort of way to we spend our energy addressing their nonsense? If you read the picture above, I think you can guess the answer. We don’t. We don’t engage them. We do not waste our time or energy on them.

A good way to not be tempted to be sucked into energy-draining behavior is to think long-term. If you boat has a leak and keeps filling up with water, if all you do is bail the water out over and over again, you will not only continue to have the same problem, you will also be very tired. This is just like reacting to every foolish, drama-filled thing that passes through your life. If you respond to every fool and their actions, you will not only continue to have this problem, you will also be very tired. If, in our boat example, you fix the leak, then the problem will cease to exist. This is the same as not responding to a fool. Fixing the problem would be eliminating that person or their actions from affecting your life. Use your energy to improve your life and leave the gossip and drama with the people who created it…the fools.

THERE IS NO REASON TO DO THIS

There are many great things that we can get from having social media in our lives. This site is one of them. Having a resource to share and contribute what makes an amazing life can offer benefits to your life and the lives of others. Far too often, people confuse what they see on social media as the entire picture. You may hear about the amazing self-improvement book published by your favorite author. What you don’t hear is the endless suffering of questions endured by his beautiful cake-designing lady. Most people share their victories on social media and not the struggles they overcame to get there.

This is not only true online, but can be true at work, in the gym and any other place that humans regularly gather together. Let me ask you a question, who is a better singer, Michael Jackson or Prince? Who was a better baseball player, Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson? Before you start lining up your facts and preparing your argument like Perry Mason, who might or might not have been a better television lawyer than Matlock, let me tell you the point of this post – it doesn’t matter.

I think we can all agree that in order to succeed greatly at any endeavor, it takes a great deal of risk. I can tell you this is certainly true of writing a book. What if the people don’t like what you wrote? What if they tell you it is no good? What if you spell your own name wrong on the cover? There are endless risks and doubts you must overcome to succeed. What allows us to overcome these challenges in life? It is one word – confidence. I find a lot of people struggling with this very subject. The chief reason for the struggle? In today’s world, more than ever, people are busy comparing themselves with others. We may have finally been able to trade in our beat up 1980’s sedan for a 2015 SUV. We are happy for a while until we see our neighbor Bill just bought a brand new sports car. We begin to think, “I wish I had a brand new sports car.” or “How come neighbor Bill has all the good luck?” “I wish I made more money than neighbor Bill.” Listen, he might be a nice guy, but in this case, forget neighbor Bill! Great for him he has a nice car, but you know what is better? Improving our own driving situation!

Here are two great secrets for improving our own self-confidence. First, mind our own damn business. That might sound harsh, but why should we concern ourselves with what neighbor Bill is doing, or worse yet, compare ourselves to him? We should be so busy working on improving our own lives that we would only learn about neighbor Bill when he comes up to us to tell us he just bought a brand new Bugatti. The second secret to developing our own self-confidence involves what we do when neighbor Bill tells us about his new ride. We should celebrate others successes as if they are our own. Why does this help our self-confidence? It is hard to start comparing yourself with someone when you are busy celebrating them. Also, jealousy and envy are a complete waste of time and energy. We would be better served spending that time and energy sending out feelings of gratitude and celebration for neighbor Bill.

Another upside of this is it makes you a lot nicer of a human being. The more cynical of you may be asking what does that get me? A lot! It certainly will get you a lot more friends. After all, would you rather be around someone who gets down every time you share some good fortune that happened to you or someone who celebrates with you? Would you want to surround yourself with people who are filled with jealousy and envy when it comes to your success or a person who celebrates your success as if it was their own? I think the choice is pretty clear. With more friends comes more opportunities and more…you guessed it confidence! Stop comparing yourself with others. It does not serve you. Instead, focus on the person you were yesterday! You are one of a kind. Comparing yourself with those of a different DNA, different social circles and just different person over all makes as much sense as comparing apples and oranges!

LEARNING WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW

Last post we discussed addressing some issues we may not have known we had inherited from our family, neighborhood or other influences. It may make some people uncomfortable to think they are changing or God forbid, improving something about themselves. I get it. In today’s world it can be hard to admit we are anything less than perfect, even if it is through no fault of our own. Nobody likes to admit they have something to work on. Do you know what nearly everyone likes? Realizing they are getting better at something. It can be close to downright exciting to think you may be working on mastering something. Here is some great news, there are plenty of areas in which we can do this!

If we stop and think of the very important issues in life, how many were we taught or have we stopped to research? What do you think is important in your life? Where did you learn how to do it well? Did you ever stop to learn how to do it well? Relating to others is one of the most important skills a human can have. How well did you do in your ‘relating to others’ class in school? Do you recall when your parents sat you down and explained some of the many aspects that go into a healthy and sustainable relationship? Me neither. How about communication? The ability to both convey your thoughts, feelings and emotions to others as well as hear and understand theirs is skill that is as rare as it is valuable. How many years did you study that in school? If your education was anything like mine, that answer would be less than one. . What good is learning our alphabet and how to spell words if we are never taught how to effectively convey and use those very words.

It would seem a great deal of important subjects are left for us to learn by chance, or for far too many of us, by trail and error or not at all. The problem with this is that the stakes are far too high for most of us to learn that way. One mistake in how we relate to others can not only cost us a job, it can ruin relationships and cause emotional trauma to others, including those we truly care about. We occasionally get some instruction on interviewing to get the job we are seeking, although even that is limited. Did ever seem odd that nobody ever told us how to ask the right questions to discover if someone would be the right life partner for us? The same holds true with maintaining a healthy mental and emotional state. As far as I know, there exists very little, if any, instruction in public education on this subject. Is it any wonder, as the stresses in life continue to rise, we are seeing a host of people with mental health challenges. We were never even told how to deal with the stress that is all too prevalent in our lives.

We repeat here the axiom from the last post that fault does not equal responsibility. It is certainly not our fault we were never taught how to succeed in some of the most important areas in life. This is not a knock on our teachers and parents. They were never taught these things either. It is, however, our responsibility to educate ourselves on these very subjects. If a healthy relationship is important to us we need to learn what the components of one are and how to get them. If being able to communicate to others and have them understand you may be valuable, don’t you think it might be worth a few hours of research? How much effort is living a life with less stress and more joy worth to you? What other areas are important? Do you think being a great parent to your child is important? Do you think you may have received some bias or incomplete information on that subject growing up? Would you like to give your children the best possibility of success as they grow up?

When I share this information I hear a lot of groaning about having to dedicate additional time learning. “I spent enough time studying in school.” is a refrain I hear all too often. If that is your mindset you must then become comfortable at the thought you will not develop past the person you were when you left school. “I don’t have time.” is another answer I hear. To that I say this – it is not that you don’t have time, it is that it is not a priority for you. If I told you that you could have ten million dollars but I would need 2 days worth of your time starting tomorrow at 6am, where would you be at 5:59?

Dedicating time for study in these subjects is worth more than that ten million dollar price tag mentioned earlier, it is priceless. Being able to better understand, and even more importantly meet, the needs of your spouse? How much would you pay for that? Not feeling so stressed out at the end of every work week, or even every work day, how much would that be worth to you? You see, studying the main topics in life is like digging in a vain of solid gold. The knowledge you get can not only positively transform your life, it can do the same for lives of those you care about. Can you imagine sitting down to share topics like these with your children while at the same time listening to what concerns they may have? How valuable would that be? How about learning how to help people feel good about themselves? Would that be skill that might come in handy with the boss at the office or the one you love at home?

Here is the grand upside to all of this. The knowledge on all of these subjects is readily available and it is free. All it takes is some time and effort on our part. There are literally millions of books available in the public library system at no charge to us. There are forums, articles and experts available online with a click of a mouse. There are audiobooks we could listen to in the car, seminars we can attend, videos on YouTube we could watch while we are in line at the grocery store. There is so much information out there, in so many different forms that there is no excuse not to become an expert in any area of life that is important to us. Learning one new thing a month, which is painless to do, can give us 12 tips to a healthier lifestyle. Can you imagine incorporating 12 new things this year to improve your health? How much of an impact do you think that would have? What if we learned one new way to improve our intimate relationship a week? This is still insanely easy to do. Do you think adding 52 improvements to your relationship in a year would positively impact your love life?

There is no excuse not to begin to become an expert on the important areas of our life starting today! How important is the success of your children? How important is the happiness of the love of your life? How valuable would having extra energy and health be? Decide what is important to you and begin to study today! Your life is far too valuable not to.

THIS IS SCARY!

The month of October is filled with scary stories, decorations and Halloween parties. In this blog, I want to discuss something even scarier than your favorite horror movie – continuing the issues that plague generation after generation. What is even scarier is that these issues can be silent killers that are very hard to spot. Why? Simply put, that is how things always were. If you were raised in a family that always said “Children are to be seen and not heard.” It may be very difficult to give time to and respect for the emotional wants and needs of your own children. Grew up in a family where your parents, and perhaps even your aunts and uncles fought and got divorced? It may be more difficult to know the ingredients that make the recipe for a successful relationship. Recognizing these situations for what they are can make them seem a lot less intimidating. They are great opportunities for both growth and ending generations of communication failures.

As if these challenges were not scary enough, there may be lessons we are not even aware that we can improve upon. Perhaps you grew up as an only child, you may have a little more difficult time learning to compromise in a relationship. If that childhood included a single parent as well, it may be even more difficult. Did you grow up in a tough neighborhood? You may feel great for having made it out, and congratulations are in order to be sure, but realize you may have lingering issues trusting the motives of others or have difficulty letting your guard down. What served you in situations past, may hinder you moving forward. Discovering and healing these issues is not easy, but doing so will help you live a fuller, richer and more rewarding life going forward.

Solving these issues can be as tricky as the issues are, but they don’t have to be. Often, just realizing we have them and being aware of them can go a long way. Knowing you have and issue and admitting you have an issue does not solve an issue. Telling someone “I have trust issues because my last partner cheated on me.” can be helpful. It can help your partner understand some of your behavior and even adjust some of their behavior to account for that issue. Telling another party in a relationship that you have ‘communication issues’ and expecting them to just be understanding while you do nothing to change those issues is not only unfair, but it is unhealthy. Admitting a struggle we may have but doing nothing to address that challenge places the onus entirely on the other party. Any relationship involves two or more parties and so should any solution for a challenge in that relationship.

How do we overcome relationship challenges that may have existed in our family long before we were even born? The answer is many faceted as the challenge itself. The first step is always to come to terms with the fact that we have this challenge in the first place. This can take long time of reflection, discussions with our partner or every therapy in some cases. People can be very sensitive when it comes to discovering this. It takes suspending our egos and viewing it as a growth opportunity and not as discovering a fault. This can be easy to understand intellectually, but another to grasp emotionally. It also requires an understanding that fault and responsibility are completely unrelated. Although it may not be our fault that we picked up the bad habits of our parents or friends, it is our responsibility to address those issues.

HOW TO HIRE YOUR OWN BRAIN

One of the most interesting things about being a self-improvement writer is that your mind is always working on noticing ideas to write about. This happens subconsciously a great deal of the time. I will notice several people noticing the same issue in their lives and struggling to deal with it. Sometimes I will read something online or hear it on the news. The reason this works is scientific. It involves the use of a part of the brain called the reticular activating system or RAS. This is the part of your brain that decides what is important and what is not. I liken it to when you buy a new car or outfit and begin to see that very car or outfit everywhere. It would seem obvious that not everyone went out and bought the same thing you did, despite how charming and cool you are. It is just that our brain said “Hey we have one like that. It must be important.”

Why is it important to know that my brain is always on the lookout for great ideas and tools to share with all of you in this blog important? More to the point, how can knowing this benefit you? Glad you asked. Knowing about this phenomenon can allow you to put your subconscious mind to work for you! Once you realize the power of this, it becomes quite exciting. I go into further detail about how to do this in my latest book, Living the Dream, but will give you the abridged version here so you can begin to put it to use. If you would like to delve further into the subject, I highly suggest heading over to Amazon when you are done reading this blog and pick up a copy of that very book.

I have no idea what half of this means

Do not let this complex diagram intimidate you. I have no idea half of what they are showing us. It does show that the RAS is indeed a real part of the brain, but you do not need to know every nuance to understand how it works, or more importantly, how to put it to work for you. There are several ways to impress upon your mind what is important and what it should work on while you are busy doing more important things like binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix. The first is through repetition. An example I like to give is one that happened shortly after Margie and I started dating. I was at the grocery store and wanted to pick her up a little something to brighten her day. Here is the problem – I had no idea what the heck that would be. Although we had been shopping together several times at this point, I never paid attention to what made her smile. Every time we went shopping after that, I would tell myself “Remember to pay attention to what she likes.” It was through this I learned what kind of sugar she buys, what size of egg and things that just make her smile. I kept doing that so often that even now as my conscious brain is busy reminding her that the store does indeed close and we need to wrap up our shopping trip, my subconscious mind is still noting what brand of hot sauce she likes.

The second way to impress upon our subconscious mind what is important is by creating an emotional attachment to it. To me, being able to create a sense of happiness in the life of the woman I love creates such a sense of joy in my own life that my brain knows it is important. You can create an emotional attachment in your own mind by visualizing the end result you are pursuing. The more powerfully you do this, the more engaged the subconscious mind will become. One way to do this is by using as many senses as you can. Looking for ways to fund that next vacation? Picture the beach, but also smell the salt water, feel the ocean breeze, hear the seagulls and best of all, taste that daiquiri. Soon, you will find your mind catching ads for resorts out of the corner of your eye, or overhearing someone mention they are a travel agent.

Your subconscious mind is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we put it to work for us, it is like hiring a person to spend their entire day on the lookout for things that are important to us. I can tell you in the example I have used in my own life, it has paid off big time. Whether it is making up for the extremely rare times I do something upsetting in our relationship, or if it is just used to add more joy, I do so with the knowledge that my subconscious mind has gained for me. Hire your own brain today. It will be the best employee you ever have.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON NONSENSE!

As we grow older we realize what we thought was important in our youth may very well turn out to be quite less important in later years. If we think about our own lives we undoubtedly will realize that this is true for us. I have heard people say “Ask yourself if this will mater 10 years from now.” Some things in life that seem make or break we can’t even remember a year from then. Gossip, even work related issues that can certainly be tricky at the time, can pass by to be forgotten. In looking back, I have been upset by some pretty silly and stupid things. How do we know what not to waste our time on? How do we know if the issue we are currently dealing with will even matter a year from now? After all, in the heat of the moment, most things do seem pretty important. There is a simple way to reduce the time we spend getting upset with, and wasting our time on nonsense. This will not only reduce the amount of time we spend upset, thus reducing a good deal of stress in our lives, but will also allow us to put that formally wasted time to better use.

A great way to make sure we do not spend time on what does not matter is to spend some time deciding what does matter. This is best done when you are not emotional. Being able to reflect on what is truly important in your life will allow you to often see the nonsense of life for what it truly is. This is helpful when you find yourself in a highly emotional state. If what is important to you is your spirituality, your family and your health, does it really matter what foolish thing a politician does? Is it worth wasting your time arguing the point with your coworker or the guy standing next to you at the bus stop? Probably not. Then again, if your politics are very important to you, it might be. If you can spend an afternoon (or whatever time of day works for you) pondering what you value in life and writing it down, this could pay great dividends down the road. When you find yourself greatly upset about something, refer to your list. If it is not on there in some capacity, find a way to let it go.

These are one of those times that recognizing that we are different in this regard will also save you a lot of stress. All of us place importance on different things in life. If it frustrates you why your spouse does not get as upset as you do about a certain issue it may serve you well to consider it just might not be that important to them. Although that might also frustrate you, it could certainly help you to understand your spouse and the situation better. If you are in the market for someone to spend your life with, this is also a great exercise to do. Finding someone who is passionate about the same issues as you do, could save a lot of stress as the years progress. If you are already in a relationship, being able to articulate what upsets you in a clear and concise manner to your partner will be helpful in both reducing upsets, but also getting to know one another on a deeper level. Like most relationship tools, this does not only work in an intimate relationship, but in other relationships as well.

As we grow older it is helpful to realize what is important to us and what becomes nonsense can and should change. As we mature, so does what is worth our time and energy. When I was younger, I placed great importance on solving every issue with people in my life. As I grew older, I began to value my own peace of mind more. When there was an issue that involved a conflict of values, or some unnecessary drama, the question went from “How can we solve this?” to “Is this an issue that really needs to be solved?” Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. On a few occasions, when the other party refused to do so, it was sadly time to let that person go. My own peace of mind was more valuable than maintaining a relationship full of conflict. As a result of getting clear what is most important to me, I have been able to not only reduce the stress in my life, but use the time that would have been wasted on this unproductive conflict to further and deepen the healthy relationships in my life. One secret to an amazing life is periodically checking in with ourselves to ask “Are there some issues in my life that I spending time on that are just a bunch of nonsense?” As the years go by that answer will change and develop as we do.