NEVER CUT DOWN A TREE IN WINTER

This is a very important statement to ponder. You may even wish to print it out and keep it somewhere as a reminder. As I write this I am sitting in a newer Starbucks that has windows almost everywhere. This normally would be ideal, except it is like winter in Wisconsin where I live. Add to that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this disorder, more commonly known as S.A.D., is allow me to explain. S.A.D. is a condition that physically changes a person during the dark dreary months of winter. There are changes in hormonal levels that cause irritability at best and can bring on seasonal depression at worse. 

As you may imagine, this can be quite a challenge for someone who lives for inspiring and encouraging others. That challenge is compounded by living in a state that seems to have winter 9 months out of the year. We are working on changing that. (San Diego stay tuned) I can be in moods that are less than ideal in the coming months. Fortunately for me, the passion I have leads me to look for solutions instead of just acknowledge the problems.

It has also instilled in me a passion for controlling my emotional states. This can be helpful all year long. It is often tempting to make a decision when we are in an extreme emotional state. Especially when we are angry. The adrenaline these emotions give us can leave us feeling more powerful and motivated. Generally, this is a positive aspect of life and can be great if we use it to go to the gym and have an intense workout for example. This is why it is so important to have a healthy way of dealing with anger put in place before it occurs.

Extreme emotional states can twist our perception of reality. We tend to see things different than they really are and very often worse than they really are. Remember just as we have days that are meant to challenge us and make us grow, so do others. A good portion of the world has not learned to use challenges for growth. Sometimes their ignorance may manifest as poor treatment of you. Instead of getting mad and treating them harshly, why not use their treatment of you as an example of how to use challenges for growth. In my past, I did not always respond to challenging situations in a healthy way. It was those who responded with patience and understanding that taught me far more than those who responded with anger of their own.

Here is another reason, albeit a bit more selfish one, to not respond in anger. It saves you from looking like a fool. We all know a couple that personifies this. One day they are posting how terrible each other are on social media. They next day they are madly in love. Not only does this make you look silly, it weakens your relationship and calls into question the integrity of your character. Although having it in black and white for the world to read is pretty dramatic, the same holds true for what you say in person. If you are having a disagreement with someone be it your friend, spouse or coworker and you proceed to share the details and bad mouth them to everyone you see, it does not reflect as poorly on them as it does on you. Imagine what the person you are talking to will think when you have a disagreement with them? Fight to master your emotions. It will serve you, it will serve those who are in your life. 

ONE OF OUR GREATEST PROBLEMS

There are lots of crazy things I do from day to day. Often when going into a public restroom I never think to make sure I locked the door until after I am indisposed. Forgetting to make sure there is toilet paper is quite another. Still, one of the worst habits any of us can get into is talking about our problems. For many of us it has become an addiction. Like any addiction it can be extremely hard to break. Why is it important to break this habit? We are going to look at two very good reasons why we should switch from being addicted to discussing our problems to being addicted to discussing our dreams and joys.

First, there is the obvious reason – it feels terrible. Talking about and thinking about your problems can be exhausting phyisically, mentally and emotionally. The goal in our lives should be to live where we feel fulfilled in all of these areas of our lives. Talking about our problems ad nausem will not leave us feeling fulfilled in any way. When we feel down and drained emotionally and spiritually, our energy levels and immune system usually follow closely behind. This can not only make our existing problems worse, but add additional problems of sickness and lack of prodcutivity. Not only do they leave us feeling this way, but they can also bring down those we are talking to. Would you enjoy being around someone who is endlessly discussing everything that is wrong in their lives? I know I wouldn’t. Thus, you may find yourself starting to be very unpopular.

A second reason is slightly more metaphysical. Anyone who knows the slightlest thing about the law of attraction knows the saying “Where focus goes, energy flows”. In other words, what you focus on becomes more a part of your world. This has much to do with a part of your brain called the reticular activating system. This is discussed in more detail in my upcoming book, Living the Dream. As an example, have you ever bought a new car or even a new outfit and started to see it everywhere? Do you think many of the people in the world just started buying the same thing you did? Of course not. What happened was it became something of consequence to your brain. The RAS acts as a filter of sorts. It brings to our attention and into our realm things that we focus on and that our important to us. If you are focused on your goals and what makes you happy, you will tend to see opportunities and reasons for joy. If we are constantly talking about and focused on our problems we will not only notice more of them, we will receive more of them.

The reason talking about problems can be an addiction is because a lot of people tend to do it. Stop and listen to a conversation at work. Read posts on social media. Watch the nightly news. They are a constant stream of problems, problems, problems. If you hear someone start to say things like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “I always have the worst luck.” You might want to consider walking in the other direction. Get into the habit of discussing your joys. What makes you happy? This may seem difficult or even awkward at first, but stick with it and notice how much better you feel. After you become a ‘joy discussion expert’ you will notice people will want to talk with you. Maybe even new social opportuinites will present themselves to you. As a bonus, you will feel better and begin to attact even more of what makes you joyful! Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

WHY I DO WHAT I DO


What you are looking at is a picture of a cup of coffee (in the background is my new laptop) Earlier today I was focused on the why of what I do. If you have read any self-improvement material, my own books included, you will know how important a why is. When your outside motivation is no longer present you why is the inner fire that keeps you going.

As I was pondering my reason for writing, something that was obvious became a strong why. I write to insipre others. On the surface that does not seem so extreme or complex. I write a motivational blog. I write self-improvement books. I teach seminars. I have an inspirational YouTube channel (just search Neil Panosian) With all of these resources it should be apparent that I enjoy and am passionate about motivating and encouraging others. Still the question remained in my mind, “Why do I enjoy doing this?” I am going to answer that question as well as why we started this post with the picture of a cup of coffee.

When I think about the cup of coffee I am drinking a lot of people are involved in making this situation possible. There is the obviously the Barista who crafted this coffee. There are the managers that keep the coffee shop running. There are the delivery drivers who transport the coffee. Of course the coffee growers who grow the product. If we look closer there are endless others involved as well. Who invented those crazy cardboard sleeves that keep your hands from being burned while holding your cup of caffeinated goodness? There are those who were involved in the production of the cup. How about the lid? Design with the vent hole and everything.

Ok, we get the picture. There are a lot of people involved in the creation of my cup of coffee. What does that have to do with writing and inspiring others? A great deal. If just one of these people were absent from the equation it may very well fall apart. What we do in our daily lives affects a great deal of others whether we know it or not. Everyone struggles. Everyone could use a little reassurance from time to time.

I never know who my words reach. I have been in contact with people in Italy, the Middle East and countless other locations. I know each one of these people, including you reading this, can accomplish great things. Perhaps all that is needed is a bit of motivation and inspiration.

Kindness and encouragement are gifts that are easy to share with others. We never know what their impact will be. I have done some work with the American Federation of Suicide Prevention. The statistics are frightening. In 2015, suicide and self-injury cost the US $69 billion. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. What is even worse is that there were 1,400,000 attempts that same year. In fact, in the U.S. suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. If we talk veterans the numbers skyrocket. A big part of my why is to help these numbers plumet.

Whether it is inspiring someone directly or providing others the tools they need to help those they care about. This why keeps me writing no matter how the stats are going or how many likes or comments I get. Find your why and use it to drive you. As you do, remember to be kind to each other. You never know what demons we are all facing.

THIS LOSS IS OK

Another one of those times I read a sign and had to stop and ponder. There is a great amount of truth in this statement. When you are your authentic self, what you have is based on truth. When you do your best to be someone you are not, you may pull that off for a while but anything you gain will be based of that lie.

The same holds true in situations when your priorities change. It pays to be upfront and honest about that as well.

If anything in your life is currently based off of a reality that is less than true, what you have is weak. It will only last as long as you can manage to keep up the deception. Not only is this bad karma to put out in the universe, but it creates a large amount of undue stress in your own life. Having to not only remember who we are supposed to be , but then also acting on that mirage is stressful.

Do yourself a favor and be the real you. Not only will it strengthen the relationships you have, it will also reduce the stress you have in your life.

WHAT ARE YOURS?

This is a simple truth we don’t always appreciate. Our strongest thoughts, which we can call our beliefs, tend to lead our lives.

Scientists estimate we think 60,000 thoughts per day. Ironically, they also estimate that 95% of those thoughts are ones we thought the day before. When you consider we often drive the same way to work, sleep on the same side of the bed and a thousand other habitual things every day, it is not that surprising.

Here is another interesting fact, a lot of our thoughts are contrary. We are taught haste makes waste, but we are also taught he who hesitates is lost. Is it any wonder our lives can seem chaotic at times?

Of the thoughts that fit into the subconscious 95% we repeat everyday, how many are positive and empowering? This is another reason create a positive life mission statement or at the very least, print out an inspiring quote that you can read to start your day. If our life goes in the direction of our strongest thoughts, let us think thoughts that make us the strongest we can be.

DO NOT RUN TO THE LIGHT… BE THE LIGHT

I enjoyed this quote a good deal. Think of where light is needed the most? You do not turn on a light in the middle of the day. You do not generally use a flashlight until after dark. Light is most needed when there is darkness. This is true in the world of the spirit as much as it is true in the world of physics. Although giving positivity to people who are already positive is never a bad thing, if you want to have the greatest impact, try bringing light to those in the dark.

Begin looking for situations that could use your light. Is there a group of individuals that constantly gossip negatively about others? Perhaps drop by and share a story of something amazing about someone who is not present. I say ‘drop by’ because although light always shines in darkness, you must make a point to take care of yourself. Make sure you guard your light.

As you continue to bring light to others in need you will become more adept at doing so. It can be easier to begin with something less confrontational. Is there a senior in your community that could use a friendly visit? Maybe a meal or just a nice vase of flowers? Is there a child who could use mentoring? Maybe a meal program you could help out at? The possibilities are endless. We all have some light to offer.

Begin by taking a quick self-assessment. What are you good at? Do you have muscles to help someone? Are you a great gardener? Sometimes all that is needed is being a good listener. Again, we all have something to offer, some light to bring. What is yours and where can it do the most good? Those are two important questions we should ask today.

GOAL VERSES MISSION STATEMENT

One of the questions I get most at my seminars or when I am speaking is “What is the difference between a goal and a mission statement?” This is a very good question. In my upcoming book we address both. Goals and a mission statement are tools that can help you live an amazing life in a lot shorter time than you may expect. Which one is more important and how do they differ? Those are the two questions that we will address here today. I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, Living the Dream, for deeper reading.

To begin, let us look at how goals and mission statements are different. In the simplest of terms, goals define what we are going to accomplish and a mission statement defines who we are. By this definition you may be tempted to think that a mission statement is more important. The truth is goals and mission statements work synergistically. In my book I suggest developing a well thought out mission statement. You could do so using the tool above or many of the great tools online. When you have a great idea of who you wish to become, what you need to become can be broken down into smaller goals. Thus, the mission statement can generate some great goals. Once again, if you would like more information about mission statements or how they will help you pick up my soon-to-be-released book, Living the Dream.

If you were to approach this from the other directions and start crafting goals, you can certainly use those goals to discover who you are trying to become and what direction you are heading. By doing so you can craft a mission statement. Personally I find this way a bit more complicated, but you may enjoy it.

Having a mission statement and goals will really propel you to the life you deserve to have and both should be a part of everyone’s plan of success. One important thing to note is that both goals and mission statements can, and will change and evolve as you do. Knowing this, the most important thing to do is get started. I would love to hear examples of your mission statements and goals you are currently working on. I will leave you the example of my mission statement below. I look forward to reading yours.

“To become someone who helps all individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves.”

WHY IT WORKS: HAPPY PLAYLIST

In this picture is the lead singer of the rock band Jackyl and myself. You will notice that Margie has artfully cut her beautiful face out of the picture. I rather enjoy this band’s music and their live shows even more. Their music puts me in an energetic and fun frame of mind. Their lyrics may not be for everyone, but they work for me.

In my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, as well as in my upcoming book, I strongly advocate putting together a ‘Happy Playlist’. This is exactly what it sounds like. Songs you enjoy that put you in a happy frame of mine. It just so happens my playlist includes several songs by the band Jackyl. In addition to their music bringing to mind enjoyable thoughts, they have also been fun and wonderful people every time that I have met them.

What does having a happy playlist accomplish? What it can do is facilitate a state change. An example is as follows. Let us imagine a position at your job opens up that will allow you to work more hours and earn more money. After coming back from a well-deserved vacation you discover your boss has decided that not only will you not have this job, they are going to do their best to eliminate it. This leaves you feeling not only under appreciated but disrespected as well.

Now, every time you come into work you know how little your boss values your contribution. This could leave you feeling less than motivated and rather dejected… I mean I would imagine that is how you feel. In order to approach your job and everything you need to accomplish you cannot come from that state or you will not do your best.

If you put on your headphones and turn up so 80’s hard rock (or whatever music does it for you) suddenly your mood shifts to something better. Will this change the fact that your boss is taking food off your table to make the situation more convenient for them? Of course it doesn’t. What it does do is allow you to approach your job, and your coworkers in a more healthy and objective state. This will prevent your bad mood and trying situation to grow like a snowball rolling downhill.

I suggest having a happy playlist stored in your phone, MP3 player or somewhere else handy.  The wonderful thing about this tool is that it works not only for unappreciative bosses, but for flat tires, traffic jams or anything else you face in life. It may not do much if anything to change the actual situation, but it will allow you to face that challenge in a much healthier state. That, my friends, can make all of the difference.

WHY IT WORKS: VISION BOARD

To discuss this point we must bring in your refrigerator. Yes you heard me right. I need you to think  about your fridge. What color is it? Does it have two doors? Do they open left to right or right to left? Now think about your car. What color is your car? What color is the interior? When I asked you to think of each of these items you had a picture in your mind, didn’t you? You did not think of “I drive a Honda CRV.” You actually pictured your car.

The reason this happened is because we think in pictures. Now if I were to ask you what your mind looks like most of us would conjure up a thought of the brain. Why? Nobody knows what the mind looks like. The mind is not the brain, but it is the closest thing we can come up with.

What does all this have to do with vision boards and living an amazing life? Let us think of what success looks like for us. Do you have a clear picture? For you it may include more money, a bigger house, a fancy car or a million other different things. If they are just abstract thoughts that your brain does not have a picture to correlate with, it will be a thought of very little power. This is why we need to get clear as to exactly what we are looking for. What does ‘more money’ look like? What would you like your house to look like? Brick? Field stone? How many bedrooms? A hot tub maybe? What kind of fancy car would you like to drive? What color would it be?

This may seem like trivial details to some. If you are familiar with the law of attraction, however, you will understand how important this can be. From a scientific standpoint, without a clear picture of your goals in your subconscious mind your brain will not know exactly what to work towards. You may have periods of productivity followed by what seems to be regression and chaos. It is the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ situation.

Enter the vision board. In a nutshell a vision board is a board with pictures of all of your goals on it. Not only will this help you see your goal (it is hanging on the wall in your hallway) but it will do so with no work on your part. You just walk up and look at it. This helps program the images of success into your subconscious mind. Now, even when you are unaware, your brain is laser focused on your goal and will be constantly on the lookout for things that match it.

When you wish to put your mind to work for you, the first thing you have to do is speak its language. As we discussed earlier, we think in pictures. By showing you brain pictures of your goals daily (you standing by the car of your dreams, the house you want to build, etc.) you are speaking them into your mind. That my friends is how a vision board works.

WHY IT WORKS: REREADING THE SAME BOOK

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.