DO NOT WASTE YOUR ENERGY ON THIS

Here is something that does not serve us – being jealous of someone else. We touched on this a few posts ago when we explored comparing our private struggles with other’s public successes. If we were to be given their lives and their problems, quite often we would long to have our own back.

More to the point, jealousy is a nonproductive emotion. If I were to be jealous of Michael Jordan’s ability to play basketball, that would not change the fact that I am vertically challenged and not well-versed in the sport of basketball. If I were to constantly compare myself to him while working on my own skills I would leave disillusioned and disappointed. Staying focused on how I have improved my own skills and noting those improvements will keep me excited and pushing forward.

Here is another thing to consider, the best person you can be is the best version of you. If you try to be someone else, the best you can do is come in second. They are the original and you will be nothing better than the best copy. Doesn’t sound too impressive does it? I am an author and a coach. There are many authors and coaches I admire. Although I learn from and on occasion borrow from them, I do not want to be them. I want to be the best author and coach Neil can be. Not to mention if an inspiring author and coach were to send me a book I certainly would take the time to get back to them.

Be the best version of you that you can be. It will be the greatest gift you can give to the world and large and those you love. Most importantly, it will be the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Never spend your time and energy being jealous of other’s lives. Instead, spend that time and energy improving your own.

MONDAY PROOF


Welcome to Monday, a day most people dread. The work week is ahead of us and as many people fear, the opportunity to make mistakes. Personally, I don’t mind making mistakes. There are three wonderful, yes I said wonderful, things that come from mistakes.

First, like the picture said they are proof you are trying. There is no way to live a mistake free life. Sure, you could sit around and not do anything, but then you don’t live at all and in my mind that is the biggest mistake. We might misjudge, need to improve physically, mentally or emotionally. There are a million reasons why we might make mistakes. Maybe we just didn’t have all the information needed to make the correct decision or take the correct action.
Not only is it proof we are trying, but it is an opportunity to learn. When we make mistakes we often think to ourselves such disempowering things as, “I can’t believe I did that!” or “I was so stupid for making that mistake!” What if you replaced those statements with ones such as, “Next time I know how I will do that!” or “I am so glad I learned how to do this. I will be better next time!” It is a totally different mindset. Mistakes are some of the best teachers.
The third thing I think is wonderful about mistakes is that is provides us a unique opportunity to show our character. Owning up to mistakes and not letting them get you down shows that you have a strong character. You cannot display this unless you do make a mistake. Through showing what kind of character you have you can earn respect from others. Everyone loves and respects someone who owns up to their mistakes, don’t they?
From now on let us put mistakes to work for us. It sucks when they happen, but we can turn them from a negative to a positive using the three examples above.

THEIR GAME IS OVER

In working in fields that are highly social it is interesting to note how many perfectly amazing people allow themselves to be held hostage by the opinions of others. While it is ok to value the opinions of others, it is important to put greater importance on what we think of ourselves. I am not talking about conceit or arrogance. For deep down, those souls seem to have the lowest opinions of themselves. I am not talking about treating others harshly or that they are less than you. If you are a person that acts like that, could you honestly have a great self-image?

What we are talking about is a healthy respect for the person in the mirror. You have good qualities. What are they? Yes, you have flaws and it is important to really own them too. By doing so it will allow you to know what you have to work on. While you are working on it, know that each day you will improve a little more. Give yourself some patience as well. Saying such things as “I know I am not where I need to be with my _____ but I am working on it and getting better each and every day.” This can do wonders.

For reasons that are completely beyond my understanding there are those who live for nothing other than to point out others faults and shortcomings. Perhaps it is to deal with their own deep-seated insecurities. Perhaps they just feel bad about where they are in life and this helps them deal with it. Maybe they even made a deal with the devil. Who knows and who cares? It is hurtful when they do so. We must remember that what people say about us speaks more about them than it does about us. This may matter little when someone puts us down in public, but that is where a healthy amount of self-love can help.

When we are honest about who we are and can find ways to love ourselves despite what people may view as negatives, the insults of others lose their power. I have heard people put down for their height, weight, lack of hair, over abundance of hair and a million other things. They can sting and again I encourage all of us to focus on complimenting people on their strengths, for we all need to hear that more. It is getting to the point of not relying on the opinions of others, whether good or bad, that will give us true freedom.

Let us start loving ourselves more today. Whether that is through affirmations, therapy, writing down what we love about each other or just working harder towards our goals, let us all increase the love we have for the person we see in the mirror every morning. When we realize what a challenge this can be after years of neglect, negative self-talk and opinions of others, we may more inclined to point out the good in others and overlook their faults. 

ONE THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE PAST

The past…it can be many things. When used intelligently, the past can be a teacher, a healer and a great place to escape. If we are not careful, the past can also be a depressant, an anchor and a jailer. It is the latter of the two options we are going to discuss today. We are going to look at how our past, and our story about it, can often stop us from achieving the greatness and joy we so rightly deserve.

Have you ever heard others, or maybe even caught yourself saying things like this? “Every time things start going right in my life they end up going wrong.” or “I can never get ahead something always goes wrong for me.” While this may have been true to some extent in your past, my guess is that there was plenty of times when everything did go right…at least for a while.

We have all heard sayings such as life is a marathon not a sprint or do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? I actually did a great video about these on my YouTube channel Neil Panosian, you will find the link at the end of this post. The truth is life is both a marathon and a sprint. The glass is both half-full and half-empty. The only difference is which one we focus on. By focusing on the good it does not make the bad any less true, just as when we are focused on the bad it does not make the good any less real. The only difference it makes is how it makes us feel. I made that statement a different color for a reason, I would like you to read that again and really think about it. When we consider the truth of that statement we realize the power we have in our lives.

It is important to consider the sprint verses marathon view as well. If we focus on life in the short term we fall victim to the ups and downs of life. If we feel our life is generally one of misfortune and bad things we will see that. They exist in every life I know of. If we feel our life will always turn out, that will be true. We just need to focus on the marathon. Eventually good things happen. Yes, eventually bad things happen as well, but again how we feel is based on which one we focus on.

Just because things have always gone a certain way does not mean they cannot change. When we focus on the negative we tend to notice that. When we focus on the negative that we experienced in the past we tend to avoid taking actions that can lead us to different opportunities in the future. Let the past be a teacher, not a jailer.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE VIDEO

DO YOU DO IT IN THE RAIN?

Hunting in the rain. I equate this to putting in the work when it is not convenient. Do you go to work after staying up late and not getting any sleep? Do you put in time for your passion even after working 8 hours at your day job? Do you attempt things even when the path ahead looks difficult and you are not sure you will succeed? If so, then you hunt in the rain. You are one of the rare people I enjoy spending my time around.

What is the big deal about hunting in the rain? There are a few things that make this so special. First of all, it shows how committed you are. Anyone can go to the gym when they got enough sleep, the sun is shining and they feel good. What happens when you wake up to temperatures well below freezing and a great deal of snow outside? Do you still lace up and give it your best? If so, then you hunt in the rain.

People who hunt in the rain have strong ‘whys’ They know exactly what the reason is for them doing what it is they do. It is that health challenge that gets them to the gym. It is the thought of supporting their family that makes them go to work even on days they don’t really feel like it. They are generally people aligned with their true purpose.

Hunting in the rain sucks. It is not easy, so why do it at all? If you are a person who is determined to get ahead in life, hunting in the rain is for you. Given that hunting in the rain is uncomfortable and unpleasant many will not do it. That means while you are hunting your competition is sleeping or staying where it is warm and safe. It is by doing the hard work, by hunting in the rain that you get ahead. You take advantage of the extra time they are wasting. Because not many hunt in the rain, the field is always less crowded. People will remember who was there for them when the going was tough. Bosses will remember who showed up when there was a blizzard. If you want to stand out and make a good name for yourself, you must learn to hunt in the rain.

How can we be motivated to hunt in the rain? Print out the picture above would be a good start. Remember your why, have it written down somewhere you can see it. If you add a picture too that would make it even more powerful. Also, stay focused on the advantages of hunting in the rain that we mentioned here. Note that an animal that hunts in the rain has access to prey those who stay where it is warm and safe do not. Show up every day and do the best you can. Before long, you will be the king, or queen of your own jungle.

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL…


Most of us are familiar with this scene from Snow White in which the queen asks the mirror for answers. In the new year I would like to encourage us all to do something very similar. It may be a bit intimidating for some of us, but it will be well worth it and will lead to an increased sense of self-satisfaction and growth as the year progresses.
Before we get to this fun, enlightening and easy new tool, allow me to share a quick back story on how this came to my attention. Margie and I attended my work’s Christmas party last night. Not only is it rare that my work actually has a get together, but we had the opportunity to meet and talk to some new people as well. It is interesting what topics can come up when you share conversations with new people. Especially at the end of the evening after a few cocktails have been consumed.
One of the people we shared conversation with was the wife of one of my coworkers. After raving about my lovely lady’s beauty, the discussion turned towards what everyone did for a living. When the prospect of motivation and self-improvement came about this young lady shared something she did with her children growing up that could be a great help to all of us at any age. When her children were very young she had them look in the mirror and asked them a very thought-provoking question, “What do you see?”. Initially, the children responded with answers such us their names or “my reflection”. These are answers most of us would give is asked the same question. After pressing them a bit more with the same question the children began to look a little deeper and their answers changed. “A smile” said one. “Strength” said the other. This exercise was repeated as the children continued to grow up, stressing the importance of self-evaluation.
It occurred to me how beneficial this would be for the rest of us as well! I encourage all of us to spend some quality time in front of the mirror. You can do this after your shower or before you head off to work. It can be done in private. Really look at who you see staring back at you. What do you see? For most of us the first few words that will tend to pop up may be less than positive. “Too much grey hair” “wrinkles” “a person who could stand to lose some weight” These thoughts can be constructive in many ways. First of all, it can show us that we really need to change our focus on the positive when it comes to how we see ourselves. If we do not like what we see, we can begin to know what we should work on. The more we do this, the more we could witness the improvements and keep our focus on what we need to do.
That being said, I encourage you to begin to search for the positive in your reflection. Do you see someone with a giving heart? Do you see someone who wishes the best for everyone? Do you see someone who has overcome a lot and continues to push forward? Begin to note all of the good you see in the mirror as you work to improve on what you see. The more comfortable and positive we feel about ourselves, the better and more positive our view of others and the world around us will be. As we start a new year, I can’t imagine a greater gift we could give to ourselves, others and the world around us. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

YOUR VERY IMPORTANT DECISION

This comes to us from one of my favorite authors and speakers Billy Alsbrooks. It is a theme that is universal to many different schools of thought, but is not often acted upon. We need a clear and definite description of who we are. We need to be crystal clear on what we stand for and what we refuse to stand for. We need to establish for ourselves a clear set of values and standards.

Why is this so important? Without this identity, we are at the mercy of the others and the world around us. This would be no problem if the world was a place committed to everyone’s best interests and maintaining a healthy and happy environment. As we are aware this is not the case. There are companies spending large amount of money to tell us things such as we are not cool enough unless we are wearing their particular brand of shoes or we must be a part of a certain social media group. Everything from alcohol to outfits has a definition of what is cool and what is not. Often, this message is backed up by those in the acting and music profession. We hear songs promoting the same brand of shoes or alcohol that the companies would like us to believe is cool. The only thing that is gained through this is an increase in that companies bottom line, and chances are, a decrease in ours.

Corporate influence is actually one of the tamer, and other than financial, harmless sources striving to control our thinking. Media outlets, politicians, and even coworkers, classmates, family and friends can all do the same. Their intentions can be good, or on occasion not so good. Either way what is right for them is not necessarily right for us. Conveying that in a firm, but nonjudgmental way can be tricky but is necessary.

Why is this so important? If we allow ourselves to be at the mercy of corporate, political and social agendas of others our lives will be in a sense indentured servants to their goals and dreams. We can end up saying and doing things that go against our spirit. This will leave us feeling disappointed in ourselves and on occasion with a feeling of distain toward our behavior and who we have become. The ironic thing about this is that it can be hard to diagnose. It will leave us feeling down, dejected and unhappy with our lives. It may not be apparent as to the source of the issue.

The solution is to spend some quality time defining the person looking back at you in the mirror. It will not only reduce the stress in your life, but provide you drive, purpose and a strong sense of identity. This will set you up to live an amazing life!  

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT PLACE TO FIND A FRIEND

Today’s post is the most important of the week. Of all the places to make friends this one takes the cake. Not only is it the closest and easiest to find, but the most important location of all. Dare I say, if you cannot make friends here you will have a very difficult time making healthy and lasting friendships anywhere else. It just so happens to be one of the hardest places to make friends for so many. What is this exotic location? The mirror.

This may sound a bit hokey to some of you, but it still is true. If we don’t enjoy the person staring back at us in the mirror, it is hard to bring true and genuine joy to those we meet. I know we all have hang-ups and problems with ourselves, that is human nature. Learning to love yourself despite the things you see that you do not enjoy will bring you the greatest amount of inner peace and joy. Let’s face it, this is one friend you will be stuck with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We really should do all we can to form the best relationship we can with this woman or man.

How do we make friends with the person in the mirror when we don’t like what we see? That is a billion dollar question. No really. An entire industry has cropped up to help us love ourselves. There are books, CDs, seminars and life coaches to help us along the way. I am going to give you a few quick tips to get you started, but I encourage you to look into more. After all, if you are going to invest in a relationship, this one will give you the biggest return. To this very day I work on improving the relationship I have with myself. By having a healthier and happier relationship with myself I can do better in my relationship with everyone else.

So, how do we increase the joy and love we feel towards ourselves? At first glance this statement may seem self-centered, but we are not talking about ego-driven love. We are talking about learning to appreciate the truly wonderful people we are. It is understanding that we all are beautiful in our own way. Margie put a decal on our bathroom mirror that reads Be your own kind of beautiful. It is a great reminder that whatever you do you should try to be the best, most beautiful version of YOU. “What if people don’t like that version?” I am often asked. It reminds me of a saying I once heard.

You might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but not everyone drinks tea.

Simply put if you are the best loving version of yourself the right people will like you.

What, other than placing inspirational saying somewhere you will see them often, can you do to fall in love with yourself? Another tip is to keep a record of your accomplishments. Many of us will put ourselves down for mistakes we made days, weeks or even years ago. Dragging up these memories will not only leave us feeling terrible, it will leave us with a less than favorable image of ourselves. Taking note of, and keeping a record of things we have done well will remind us that even though we may not be happy with ourselves on a particular day, there have been others where we have really kicked butt.

That leads to my last suggestion. Keep a written statement of your goals. Knowing what on earth you are getting out of bed for can make life a lot more inspiring. Even if you are not there yet, knowing you are working towards a worthwhile goal can give you a little boost of self-confidence.

When you are free of the mental baggage that most of us are carrying around you will bring a lighter, more loving version of yourself to the world. Who wouldn’t want to be around someone like that? It also will allow you to help others see the best in themselves. As you can see by improving the friendship we have with ourselves, not only will our lives be better, but we will be able to bring a lot more the lives around us.

 

VICTIMS OR SURVIVORS?

Perception and definition, things we have control of. As you are currently reading this I can assume you are alive and kicking. No matter what has happened or is happening in your life you have survived it. You have made it through. You have a 100% success rate at surviving whatever it is life has thrown at you. It does not mean you do not have some scars and battle wounds, but you made it through.

It may have changed you. It may have changed the way you look at the world, but how that happens is a great deal up to us. It depends a great deal on whether we view ourselves as victims of what happened to us, or survivors. As a victim, you may feel like because of a situation you have went through you will never be able to trust anyone again. As a survivor you may decide you will learn for additional behaviors that could lead to deception. As a victim you may feel broken because of a challenge life has put you through. As a survivor you will feel stronger for making it through. Victims are left with a feeling they will never be happy again. Survivors realize although life may never be the same, there is blessings in everything and new ways to discover joy they may be forced to find.

Again, this is not to say you will not have scars. It is not to say that life will not knock you down every now and again. The difference between a victim and survivor is whether you stay down or get back up. When we are sad, hurt or angry and going through some very dark period it may help to lock ourselves in a room with a mirror and yell into that mirror, “I am a survivor! You cannot beat me!” It may sound silly, but it will certainly change your outlook. Couple this with some inspiring music of your choice and it will get you through whatever it is you are going through. It may take a few times and it will take some faith on your time, but before long you will come out on the other side as a survivor and not a victim!

REMEMBER WE ARE ALL IN THE PROCESS

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.