LEAVE A LITTLE EVERYWHERE

Leave a little everywhere? A little what? There are certainly things we shouldn’t leave behind us. If we suffer from a lack of hygiene, we leave a little odor of ourselves behind as a reminder we have been there. Not good. If we discover our Ford Escape has a leak in the rear differential, hypothetically, we leave nice little puddle behind in the drive way. Also not good. There are many things in which we should not leave everywhere these days. Our information on the internet, for example. We shouldn’t leave our cup of coffee on the roof of our car as we drive away. I must confess to being guilty of a few of these myself.

What should we leave behind and where should we leave it? Kindness is what we should leave behind. Before you roll your eyes and think that this sounds like one of those corny new-age statements, stay with me a second. In today’s world of division and hostility a little kindness can be like coming across an unexpected flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk. Wait, that sounds like we are going even deeper in the new-age rabbit hole. Let me use the picture above as an example. It was on the inside of a door to a mailbox on which I had to install a new lock today. The person had placed a little heart that said “Smile” on it. This was handy considering the lock was really messed up and I had to break it off to fix it. Yet, it serves as a good reminder. That little sign did make me smile. I trust it is a nice thing for the mail person to see when delivering the mail. The person who goes out to check the mail? They get a daily reminder to smile as well.

Here is a sign that I saw the table at Inspired Coffee. That is a coffee shop that hires individuals with Physical and mental disabilities to give them an opportunity to improve their position in the work world and in life. Great place, I highly recommend checking them out. That one simple sign has inspired everyone who sat at that table and took the time to read it I would imagine. One sign and it can make a huge difference in the life of many people.

In looking for secrets to an amazing life, one of my prerequisites is that there should not be that much work involved. It is not that I am lazy. Ok…maybe a little…sometimes. The reason I think there should not be a lot of work involved is because we are less likely to use those secrets and if we do it will be less often, when we ‘have the time’. To me a great secret to an amazing life should be one that can work on auto pilot. That is why we can set up our lives for success in just such a manner. Little work, big return.

Think of how many places there are to place some inspiration. Above is a picture of my laptop that I write a good deal of these blogs on. There is also a Nitro brewed coffee, that is just something that helps me write these blogs. On my laptop you will see that I have a picture of myself and my beautiful Margie. Every time I turn on my computer I am reminded of our love. That gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside and is a pretty good way to start writing. Plus, this picture has her flashing that lovely smile that melts my heart. I have a blog 5 days a week, imagine what seeing this amazing picture 5 days a week does for me and my love for my lady? Especially because writing can be a very solitary venture. This way, even though we are apart, she is still with me. I have inspirational quotes in my locker at work (along with more pictures of my love) that help my mindset on the job. There are screens on cell phones, the dash board on your car, next to the coffee maker and a host of other opportunities. Find a quote, picture or something that inspires you and place them in all of these places. Every day you will be hit with many little doses of inspiration and motivation. Add that up over a year and it can really positively affect your life.

Another way to give yourself that warm fuzzy feeling is to leave these notes for others. I am not talking about bringing a sharpie in the public restroom, but something positive and creative. Perhaps you could purchase some Post-it notes, you know the pieces of paper with sticky on the back, and leave a nice note with the next tip you leave. Perhaps it is as simple as posting something positive on your social media page. Sending random inspiring texts to friends and family can really make someone’s day. What about leaving an inspirational sign in the break room at work? It could be the start of a more positive work environment! Who wouldn’t want that?

The secret to an amazing life is to find little ways to remind and inspire ourselves daily. If you think of all the areas in which you can do this, some were listed here, the possibilities are nearly endless. Add to this little places in which you can inspire others and you will have increased the joy in both your world and the world at large. We have discussed some ideas here, please share your ideas for opportunities to inspire yourself and others in the comments below!

A SECRET TO AMAZING…HAPPINESS

Today so many people are chasing happiness. The look for it in books, retreats, people, relationships, money, cars and a host of other outside influences. The truth, as you may have heard, is that happiness is an inside job. Even my book, A Happy Life for Busy People, teaches you ways to find your inner happiness. Here is another hard truth. If you place your happiness in someone or something else, you are also handing over control of your happiness. They can decide to give you happiness or take it away. If that person or thing should ever leave your life, your happiness will go with it.

Taking all of this into account, how do you gain inner happiness? There are several key components to accomplishing this. Gratitude is one of the quickest and easiest ways to accomplish this. Becoming grateful for what you have in your life, good and bad, is a great key to happiness. We have devoted many posts to this and I invite you to search for some posts. Another great key to happiness can be summed up in one word – PROGRESS. That is why goal setting can be such a strong tool toward happiness and success in life. We once again refer to the quote from our great friend Earl Nightingale – “Success in the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” There is that word ‘progress’ again. Working on losing weight and becoming healthier? Maybe you went for a short walk after dinner – progress. Doing your best to write that book that you’ve kept inside you for most of your adult life? Write 500 words – progress. In these and many other examples, you are certain to feel happier once you complete these tasks and become one step closer to your goal.

Another great way to harness the power of progress is through continuing education. Before you begin to worry about student debt, transportation or if you are too old to go back to school, let me put your fears to rest. There are more ways than ever before to educate yourself. I am very interested in the second world war and the psychology behind it. I can pull up videos on YouTube, order books and DVDs from Amazon or look for material on the internet. In addition, there are great sources at my local library. No matter what subject you choose to pursue, gaining knowledge gives us a feeling of accomplishment, or said a different way, progress.

If you add to this gaining knowledge in the field of self-improvement, you will be progressing in two areas simultaneously! You will be both gaining knowledge as well as improving your position in life. Double the progress; double the feelings of joy and happiness. Even if your goal isn’t exactly knowledge based, such as living a healthier lifestyle, gaining knowledge on the subject could be progress. I say could be because it must be followed with action. If you do pair this gaining of knowledge with action, every bit you gain will be progress. Look up what foods have the greatest thermogenic effect? Progress. Viewing and the picking a new workout to try? Progress. Picking out those cute new running shoes and then actually using them to run? Progress.

We are all looking for secrets to an amazing life. One of the key components is happiness. The secret is that to find happiness, look for progress. There are so many avenues in which to do so. Set a goal. Work to increase your knowledge base or combine the two and feel twice the feeling of progress. What in your life are you progressing toward?

TAKE IT EASY WHILE YOU’RE PUSHING

Today’s post is one of simple reassurance. If you subscribe to a blog like this, you are undoubtedly a person who is driven to learn and utilize secrets to an amazing life. It is worth noting and something we must be careful of when working to improve our lives, we must enjoy the process. This can be difficult to do during the best of times, but takes special care when we feel like we are failing or even moving backwards.

When we are trying to improve any aspect of our lives there comes a time when we face an obstacle or a set back. It can seem as if we are trying to push a giant marshmallow up a hill. Maybe we are doing our best to improve our physical fitness and we sustain and injury. After weeks of rest, going back to the gym and having to ‘start all over’ can be quite deflating. Perhaps we are working on completing our next book and accidentally hit ‘delete’ instead of ‘save’, wiping out weeks or more of work. (I did this once, it was followed by feeling of being nauseous) All of these moments can lead to doubt. What can doubt do? As Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” There is a lot said in that one line, and all of it is true. Doubting ourselves can lead to giving up too soon or even failing to try.

Once returning from injury to the gym, I remarked how deflating it was to have to lower the weights so far from what they were prior to injuring myself. I was told something that not only applies to the gym, but to every other task in life – “You are still further ahead than everyone who is just sitting on the couch.” Unless your job is a professional couch tester, this is quite true. Were you supposed to write 1000 words and only could come up with 750? That is better than sitting on the couch (which is where I am writing this ironically) not writing anything.

Some days you may fail all together. What about those days? There are expected too. If you are striving to be your best, that is what counts. We often do not succeed at the level we wish to. We can use it for motivation to work harder the next day. We can recall days that we crushed it more than we expected and realize it all balances out in the end. We can also realize that we are going to have days that we try and fail and even a few where we fail to try. As long as they are the exceptions and not the rule, we should not be too hard on ourselves. Just make sure to get back up and kick butt again!

THROW BACK THURSDAY… FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT?

This is a picture of a very young me. Appropriate for a post with the title of ‘Throw Back Thursday’. In case you are not aware of the premise of such a day, allow me to explain it in a nutshell. Often, on a Thursday, people on social media post pictures of them from some time in the past. This can be a fun exercise to engage in. A brief window into the past or some happy memories. On occasion it can contain a little solemn nature to it. Perhaps you remember someone who has passed on, or a business that has closed, people who have moved away or the like. In general, despite the mention of this, the memories are usually focused on the good times. You are reflecting on the way things used to be and celebrating the good about them.

Here is the thing about throw back Thursday, by Friday things are usually focused back on the present and/or the future. How on earth can some fun activity we engage in on social media teach us about life and self-improvement? I find there are lessons to be found almost anywhere if we look hard enough. As for the lesson of throw back Thursday, it can teach us a very important lesson. It can certainly be fun to reflect on the past, but we should do so on a limited basis. Once a week might not be a bad plan. It is also helpful when we look back at things and even people we have lost it can be painful. I think looking at and sharing those pictures with an accent on the fun memories we shared while sharing our sadness of missing them can be quite healing.

The best thing I think about throw back Thursday is the fact that on Friday we return to the present. The past can be a great teacher, but a merciless jailer. How many times have you let the sting of regret from something you did in the past ruin several days of your present? I know I have thought a million times over things I should have done better and wished I would have done differently. Do you know what I got out of that? A focus and motivation to do things better. A good reminder of how important it is to be the best version of yourself. Do you know how long that took me to get out of my past memory? About 5 minutes give or take. The rest of my time I just spent beating myself up and making myself feel terrible which did absolutely no good. If I would have just visited that memory, gotten the lesson and returned to the present that would have served me.

Living your life in the present while focused on the past is akin to driving a car looking exclusively through the rear-view mirror. You will be focused on everything that is behind you. How will you think this will affect your immediate future? I think the results could be very costly in terms of pain, finances and the impact of where you are going. The same can be true in life. Much like driving, it is advised to glance in your rear-view mirror and see if there might be anything coming to affect you from behind, but keep your focus on where you are going.

Much like ‘Throw Back Thursday’, limit the time you spend focusing on your past. If you can try to focus on the positive aspects of even the saddest aspects of your past. Maybe even use one day of the week to reflect. We can gain wonderful lessons from our past. What succeeded, what did not work and who was there for us. Being jailed by the past will prevent us from creating an exciting and rewarding future. Just as you wouldn’t drive your car looking through the rear-view mirror, don’t determine your future through the lens of your past. Glance at it every now and again, but keep your focus straight ahead.

SO YOU WANT TO SMACK PEOPLE?

The above quote may sound funny, but in most cases of ‘enlightened’ people in rings true to some degree. I have been working in the field of self-improvement for over 22 years now. Most of that time is spent working on, fittingly, improving myself. You would think if you worked on something for 22 years and still haven’t perfected it that you might become frustrated. That is why it is so important to fall in love with the journey and not the destination. The field in which I work is called self-improvement, not self-perfection. It is about getting that little bit better every day.

You can do everything right and still fall victim to your emotions every once in a while. It is not only understandable, but is fairly predictable. Plus, in this world there are people who may very well benefit from a good smacking. People who purposely do harm to children, animals and those who cannot defend themselves. People who act with no regard to others feelings or rights. A prime example. My mother and I had went for a nice walk through the park. It was fairly warm and by the end we decided we had earned stopping for a nice ice coffee. Wanting to enjoy our iced coffee on the outdoor patio we sat at a table under a nice tree. It became apparent in a short time that we would not be enjoying the fresh air sitting under this tree. Sitting right under the ‘no smoking’ sign at a table that had a ‘no smoking’ sign on it was a man who was…smoking. This man was smoking a cigar that was only slightly smaller in circumference than a baseball bat. He sat at this table with four other adults and one child. They were all dressed nicely and I venture a guess that at least one of them could either read or make sense of the sign of a cigarette in a circle with a slash through it. Still, he sat and puffed away. Probably, deserved a smacking.

Yes, at the time this guy was puffing out fumes like a coal furnace in a non-smoking area the thought of a rap in the back of the head did occur. Maybe his friends did not mind the smell of smoke that resembled garbage on a hot day, but realizing there were others sitting in this non-smoking area that might have would have been considerate. Here is the ironic thing; my thoughts of smacking him were just as bad as his actions that gave me those thoughts. It is true that what he was doing was rude and not very thoughtful, but it is not my place to judge him or his actions. Getting upset over his actions did not bother him or encourage him to be more thoughtful. All it did was upset me.

We all have moments where other people can set us off into anger. What we really need to realize is that it is not them who make us feel the anger. What we feel and how we react to a situation is 100% determined by us. When you find yourself saying, “That person made me mad.” Rephrase that to, “That person made me decide to be mad.” After all, isn’t it true that a person can still do something unpleasant or even mean and we cannot let it upset us? Of course it is. Is it easy? No. That is why they call it self-improvement. This does not mean we should let people walk all over us or act in a way that is demeaning to ourselves or others. What it means is that we should not let their negative action cause a negative emotion inside of us. That is only multiplying the negativity in the situation. Take what actions are necessary to address the problem and send them thoughts and prayers of being more thoughtful in the future. When you do this, make sure to say a prayer for yourself that you may remain patient and understanding of others as well.

The point we are trying to make is that if you feel like giving someone a gentle physical reminder upside that head that is normal. It is what we do with those feelings that matter. Do we stew on them it get ourselves upset? To we yell at the offending party and threaten a physical action? Do we even walk over and let our hand demonstrate what our emotions are feeling? None of those actions will lead to a positive outcome for yourself, the offending party or the situation. If you have the urge to smack someone, just know that it is a test from the universe and that person is a personal trainer for your emotions. Making your sense of restraint and positivity even stronger.

ARE YOU A GOOD ONE?

Whatever you are, be a good one. It seems like a pretty obvious statement. After all, we would never want to be a bad one of anything I would guess. Sometimes the simplest statements can be some of the most profound. That holds true in this case as well I feel.

Let us look at ‘what you are’. In life, many of us play several different roles. As a personal example, I am not only the creator and main content provider behind this website, I am also an author of 2 books, I am a food critic for the website Chow Down in Milwaukee, I am a Postal worker and DJ as well as writing for several magazines. Looking at that in print it seems like a bit too much. That is without factoring in the speaking and seminars that I do. How do I not become overwhelmed? I just focus on what I am doing at the moment. If I am writing a book, I do my best at that. Working at the Post Office, I do the same. As I write these blogs I do my best to convey something that is both entertaining and useful.

What are your roles? Are you a CEO? A bartender? A parent? A grandparent? Whatever it is, we should do our best to be a good one. We are all someone’s friend. To that end, do your best to be a good friend. This seems rather obvious but have you ever really sat down to think about how best to be a good one? This occurred to me on the way home from writing the other night. I asked myself, “How can I be a good friend?” Are there ways I could listen better? I could communicate how much people mean to me and how important they are.

One of the ways I have unconsciously used this to make the biggest change in my life is in my romantic relationship. Asking myself, and the love of my life, how I can be a good man for her has brought about some of the greatest breakthroughs. Whatever roles you fulfill in life, stop and ask yourself how you can be a good one.

Two quick closing thoughts. Ask yourself this question often. As we grow and learn in life more ideas will come to us. There is always room to improve. Include others in the asking too. They may offer suggestions to help. Lastly, remember the quote doesn’t say “Whatever you are, be a perfect one.” If you make a mistake that is alright. In fact, mistakes allow us to be good ones by providing us a chance to demonstrate being humble and gracious. Admitting, and better yet working to atone for and correct our mistakes, makes us a good one. We might not be a perfect friend, a perfect parent or a perfect spouse. If we are doing our best to be a good one, we will get better and soon our life will be amazing!

YOUR BIGGEST ASSET IN THE WORLD

This picture is worth a thousand words! You can see the people all walking in the same environment, but having completely different experiences. You can also see the difference and the determining factor in the experience they are having is largely determined by what is happening inside their minds. They all have to seem to have their share of problems. Don’t we all seem to have our fair share? Even the man with the ‘flower’ over his head I am sure has his share of issues that need attending in his life.

What makes the difference is what they choose to focus on. It would appear that the others seem to be focusing on what is going wrong in their lives. Some, it would appear, are worried about work, a dominating spouse, and one looks like a rock or gray volley ball. Whatever it is, it doesn’t look good. To some of you, walking around thinking about a flower may seem absolutely ridiculous. That’s quite alright. It doesn’t have to be a flower. I have allergies and thinking of a flower might induce me to think of sneezing. It could be thinking of the person you are in love with. This works best if you are getting along. It could be remembering a fun and sunny vacation during a cold winter drive into work.

When it comes to our physical health there is a great deal of importance, or at least should be, of what we are eating. When it comes to our mental well-being the attention should often focus to what is eating us. When you are taking worry for a walk it can be hard to enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine or just about any other pleasant aspect of life. When we think of having a parasite inside of us eating away it can sound both rather unpleasant and scary. Which, I would imagine it is.

Having that worry, anger and sadness inside us is no different. Think of worry. How do you feel when you are worried? Your stomach churns. your breath is shallow. You are not able to focus on what you are doing. Sometimes you develop a headache. How about when you are angry? Your blood pressure rises. Your nerves are on edge and everything seems to bother you. How about sadness? You can walk around feeling as if a Weight is on your shoulders. You are not able to sleep well. In all three cases your immune system in depressed. How do you think having these physical conditions for an extended period of time would affect our health? Can you imagine having excess stomach acid for several weeks or longer? This is what happens when we walk around in a state of worry. It can lead to ulcers, digestive issues. How about constantly raised blood pressure? That can lead to a serious heart issues. A depressed immune system can leave you open to a host of terrible ailments.

Here is the upside to all of this. Just as we go to a doctor when we have a physical ailment, so should we see someone to correct a concern with our emotional or spiritual side. Whether that is seeing a therapist, talking to a trusted spiritual leader, seeking the company and conversation of a good friend, reading a book, meditating or whatever else we need to do to address our compromised mindset. You would not leave an open wound sit because you were embarrassed to have people know you went to a doctor? The same holds true about addressing conditions that exist on the inside. We all have problems we are dealing with. If they become too much for us to deal with on our own, we should seek outside help. This should not make us feel embarrassed or that we are less than. Quite the opposite. It should make us proud. We are brave enough to recognize and admit we are struggling in an area. (Trust me at any given time we all are) On top of that, we are smart enough to be doing something about it. We are working to be the best version of ourselves.

You wouldn’t feel bad about taking your car to an expert mechanic to be fixed. You wouldn’t hesitate to take your cell phone back to the store if it wasn’t working right. You should feel just as confident seeking professional help to address any issue that may be bothering you. If you do, you have a fully supportive group here on this website behind you. It is not only important to your health, but in the long run will determine the quality of the life you live. Here, we want to live amazing lives. Let us all help each other do so.

IS THIS WHERE WE WANT TO GO?

Today is my birthday. 45 years of fun on this planet. Normally, I have a YouTube video for you all, but today my lovely Margie is taking me to some unknown destination. I will keep you all posted as to where that is.

In the meantime, there is something I would really like to discuss with all of you today. As I am sure a lot of you do, I happen to reflect a great deal on my birthday. For many, it is a time to look back at the year. If that is you, I hope you are doing it with a sense of gratitude for all that you have had in your life. The peaks and the valleys. We learn and grow from everything. For some it is a time to look forward. How many more years on this round ball of fun do I have? Some just like to celebrate the present! I made it another year. Still undefeated. I like to do a little of all three.

To begin with I like to look back on the past year and celebrate how much further I am than I was a year ago. It is true not everything may have gone as I had planned, but even the lessons taught me things I needed to move forward. There are things that I had planned to do this year that did not get done. That should do one of two things. Make me decide that may not have been as important as I thought, or increase the passion and sense of urgency to get it done in the coming year. Which leads us to looking forward to the year ahead. I do so by reviewing a lot of my actions. Asking myself the question quoted in our first picture – Does this support the life I’m trying to create? There are some that are indeed moving me in the right direction. Maybe I just need to be persistent in my actions. This could be applied to my going to the gym six days a week. Sure, I am not where I want to be, but I am moving closer to the body I want to create. Then there are actions that may need to be tweaked a little. My book and writing promotions. I will need to do slightly different actions if I would like to expand the influence of my message.

Then there are the actions that I am doing to maybe please others or that just do not serve my purpose. Spending too much time concerned with items at my day job or on pleasing other people. Yes, even someone who has been in the self-improvement field for over two decades can use some reflection and improvement.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a short birthday wish list, if I may. To help me celebrate my 45 years on this planet I would love any suggestions or assistance in helping me to spread the message of positive self-improvement and life-fulfillment that we share here on this blog. Although it is my birthday, I want to leave you the gift of one of my favorite quotes. It demonstrates the kind of thinking I do my best to foster here, and will be looking to build on in the next 45 years.

CONTROL IT OR IT CONTROLS YOU

Doesn’t it suck when you are having a great day, minding your own business. Maybe you are even whistling a happy tune, talking to the birds. Whatever you do when you are full of joy. Then you get a text, a phone call, someone drives by and yells out of their car window or maybe someone posts something not so nice about you on social media. In other words, somebody does something to rain on your parade. Suddenly, you go from whistling a happy tune to growling unpleasant wishes to the offending party.

Did you ever wonder why people do that? If you are minding your own business, enjoying life, why do they have to bring their negativity on you? Why do they feel compelled to ruin your day? Here is a secret – I think some people are just jerks. While that may not really be a secret, it is the truth. Some people like to be mean. I never quite understood it. It might have to do with their own self-image. It could be a coping mechanism for their own pain. All I am sure of is it sucks. I would be inclined to guess you agree.

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is both a hard truth and the secret to having a lot more amazing days in life. Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you refused to let these people get you down? After all, we determine how we feel. We decide what certain actions in our life mean. That is why when a stranger says something hurtful about you it is far less painful than if a friend would say the same thing. Why is that? It could be the same words, the same idea. It is because we decide that it hurts more for someone close to us to say something hurtful. If we can, however, practice restrain and emotional control it will only increase our personal power. Next time you read a negative comment about you, get a nasty text or someone just insults you in person. Try repeating this to yourself, or better yet, out loud. In response to what you heard or read say, “No thank you. I am going to have a great day today.” If they follow that with even more intense negativity just keep repeating your statement.

This accomplishes several things. First, it programs your subconscious mind by repeating the positive statement over and over again. Second, it will begin to give you a feeling of control over your own mind and emotions. Once you master your own mind, you can master just about anything. Third, it will give you a feeling of inner peace and strength. Knowing that outside forces cannot dictate how you feel on the inside anymore. Lastly, it seems to annoy the person bent on making you feel negative. This is just an added bonus really. In the future, they will spend their negative energy on someone they can more easily get a rise out of.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

Last post we looked at casting actors to play in your own movie. This can go a long way to improving the quality of your life. You can increase your happiness and productivity, you can foster a greater sense of inner peace and you can have a lot more fun and success than you have ever had before. This sounds a little too good to be true? There is, I confess, one caveat.

Just like in the world of Hollywood, there is an executive producer. Call it God, the universe or whatever term you use. Sometimes they put people in our feature picture that we would rather do without. When this happens to me, I imagine the kind of movies I like to watch. Whether you enjoy Disney movies or are more a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, in all of those movies there are challenges and villains the hero has to overcome. It is what gives the movie a sense of adventure. It is what makes your hero stronger and develop greater qualities. Can you imagine watching a movie in which the lead character wakes up, wins the lottery does anything they want, doesn’t age has perfect health and just repeats that over and over again? Does not sound like a very exciting movie to me. Do you think the star of that movie would grow stronger? I am guessing not so much.

In our own life we may have our friendly and fair boss replaced by one that is two-faced and emotionally unable to handle their position, lashing out and everyone the moment they become stressed. Hypothetically. In my own place of work we have a coworker who is quite less than pleasant. For the sake of argument we will call them “Michelle”. This person always comes in with a very negative attitude. The curse, they belittle and they generally bring a dark cloud with them on a daily basis. Is that someone you would cast in a movie you are staring in? I am guessing not. Every great character needs an antagonist. When I think of the negative, or as I like to call them sunshine-challenged, people in my life, I stop and ask myself, “How would the star of a movie handle these people?” This often allows me to handle them as the best version of myself or as the character I would wish to be in my movie. In the case of our previously mentioned coworker, I imagine my leading actor would not only use that to practice and improve their patience, but to remind them of the importance of staying positive. They would use that person’s negativity to remind them how valuable being positive to all of their costars is.

What about challenging situations? This is where thinking of your life as a movie and you as the director may really come in handy. In the picture above we see a director telling the camera person what to focus on. Can you imagine if we had someone to do the same for us? We do, it is ourselves. When a challenging situation pops up, we can decide what to focus on. Let us say we just lost our job. We can focus on all of the disadvantages we have. Perhaps we are too young and do not have the experience someone older would have. Perhaps we are older and lack the energy and long-term investment we think an employer would be looking for. Instead of focusing on what is against us, remembering we are the hero of our own movie and think to ourselves, “What would a hero choose to focus on?” Maybe it is that we have the health to go out and find a new job. Maybe it is the opportunity to begin again and find something that pleases us more?

What about those situations in life that just suck? A loved one passes away or a major health challenge occurs. When we are in the middle of the whirlwind of emotion these can be one of the most difficult situations to handle. Give yourself time to grieve and feel what you need to. Even the bravest heroes and biggest stars have moments like these. I am reminded of Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness. At one point it seems everything is against him. He is unemployed and homeless. He is sleeping in a public restroom with his son and an angry man is trying to get inside to use the bathroom. I am hoping your life is nowhere near that bad. What happens in this movie? The character does not give up and ends up landing a great job and being able to take care of his son. (This movie was based on a true story. In other words someones life that was turned into a movie) In situations that you are under extreme stress it can be helpful to look at it as a director of a movie would and ask yourself, “Ok, if this happened in a movie I was directing, how would I have the star bounce back from their sadness, pain or depression?”

Looking at our life from this emotionally unattached position can offer us creative possibilities that we may otherwise miss. It can also help give us emotional strength we are otherwise unable to find. If the hero in our movie can do it, maybe we can too? Remember, you are the star in your movie. You are the director as well. Write yourself a great plot and do not let your hero be defeated by anything!