HOW WE VIEW MONDAY

Take a look at the picture above. These runners are about to begin their race. What do you think is going through their minds? Excitement? A good deal of nerves I am imagining. Perhaps even a little bit of fear mixed in. They have trained months, years, maybe even their whole lives for this moment. If they win, all of that will be worth it. If they lose? It may crush some, and others may strengthen their resolve to push harder, to practice longer. What is fueling their excitement is possibilities.

This type of emotion holds true for the start of a race, competitions of any sort, vacations, adventures and many other things. For the beginning of the work week, however, we fill ourselves with emotions such as dread, boredom, gloom and many other unpleasantries. Why do we view the workweek in such a manner? There are, of course, many things that we don’t enjoy and many challenges. Same can be said for vacation. Raise your hand if you like going through airport security. I am guessing there are few, if any, of you with your hand raised right now. Who likes going through customs in a foreign country or looking for your transportation at the airport? Again, probably not many of you. How come those do not cause dread?

The answer is in what we choose to focus on. As we take our shoes off and wait to pass through the metal detector, our thoughts remain focused on tropical shores and Pina coladas. The challenges we face are just obstacles to overcome so that we can enjoy the destination. At the starting line of a race we do not focus on how hard the hills will be, how our breathing will be labored or a host of other things we must go through. No, our thoughts are focused on the feeling we will have crossing the finish line. Can we be faster than we were last race? Did we train the right way? Did we hydrate enough? There are a million steps we have taken to give us the best chance to succeed and now they will pay off.

Imagine if we applied this same thinking to the workweek? Keep our thoughts on the fun plans we had that weekend. Focus on the feeling of punching out that Friday. This may very well keep us from punching out anything, or anyone else. The boss yelling at you with bad breath? That is just like airport security. Your coworker filling your ears with useless gossip? Like going through customs. These are just things we have to make it through to get to the weekend. Weekend to far away for you? focus on the feeling of leaving work for the day. That feeling of freedom as you turn off your computer, close your locker or the door of your workplace shuts behind you. When you experience these things, celebrate! You have earned it!

Let us change our perception of Monday. It is not the end of our weekend freedoms. It is the beginning of a race to overcome challenges to make to the next weekend. Can we do it while finding more joy than last weekend? Can we be happier than we were the week before? Can we make it through all the challenges? Keep our focus on the goal and I know we can!

THE ONE THING YOU SHOULD DO TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

The most common question I am asked anywhere I go from my day job, to book signings, to live events is this, “What is one thing that I can do to improve my life?” In a society where people are used to quick universal solutions, it can be hard to understand that the solutions can be as varied as the individual. That being said, there is one thing that I would recommend to everyone looking to improve their life. It is at once both universal and customizable. This may sound crazy, but let me assure you that it is 100% true. How can the same solution work for both neighbor Bob and me if I am trying to get in shape and he is trying to fix his relationship?

Let us take the example of getting in shape. Although this can work no matter what area of life you are working on, from parenting to going to a job that seems to suck your soul out of you. If you were to ask someone what the best thing to do to get in shape is, you would, no doubt, receive a million different answers. Some people, like my mother, say walking is the best exercise. I have read that a rowing machine uses roughly 87% of your muscles. Throw swimming, bicycling and other such things in the mix and before long your head starts to spin. If I seek the advice of my friends at peak physique, Jodi and Ricky, I may hear weight lifting, cardio or yoga. So who is right in all of this? They all are. What determines success in fitness, as well as self-improvement, is consistency. While it is true that certain activities use more muscles that others, they do not use any unless you do them. Therefore, the great secret to improving your life? Find something you enjoy. Why? Because you are more likely to keep doing it. Maybe you like battle ropes like the people in the picture above? Let me say, for the record, I have never seen anyone smiling while doing battle ropes, especially while being ‘encouraged’ by a trainer as seems to be the case here. While rowing or walking may use more muscle groups, if you do not like those activities, you are less likely to maintain doing them.

What does all of this have to do with the broad topic of self-improvement? Everything! What events are more likely to change your life? I think fostering an attitude of gratitude is number one on the list. How can you do that? The way that works for you. Do you like keeping a gratitude journal? Then do that because you are likely to stick with it long enough to make a difference. How about carrying a little talisman in your pocket to remind you of something you are grateful for? Then do that. The secret is maintaining a behavior long enough to see results. Relying on will power sets you up for limited success at best. The best chance at success in whatever area of life you are trying to improve is to find something you like and start with that. As things improve, which they will, you will find it easier to add things that may be more beneficial, but would have been harder to stick with in the beginning. You gain momentum by doing an activity that you enjoy. You can use that momentum to make sticking to the more difficult activities that might be needed to accomplish your goals. I would love to hear some of your favorite activities that you use to improve different areas of your life.

WISDOM FROM A BULL

Sitting Bull is one of my favorite philosophers. This particular statement is very profound. A good amount of people spend very little time thinking about the world past today. In this wake up, pay bills and die type culture, we are focused on how to get through the day. If we do spend time thinking about what is best for our future, we come to the realization that it is our actions today that affect our future. You want to retire? You have to begin saving today. You want to live a long and healthy life? It is the dietary and exercise choices we make today that will determine that.

How often do most people spend contemplating the generations to come? If you are a parent, you have a vested interest in how the world will turn out. Even then, life can get in the way. There are so many things to keep track of that thinking of how your actions will affect future generations might not be the first thing on your mind. Really, it should be. All of our actions affect the future because they affect the present. How you treat someone will affect how they treat others later in the day, and perhaps even further. throwing garbage on the street not only makes the world look terrible in the present, but can affect the water supply, animals may eat it or get tangled in it. Everything we do trickles down and affects everything else.

Starting this weekend, ask yourself how it will affect the future. Will it affect the attitude of the person who helps you at the coffee shop if you vent your anger on them? It may ruin their mood and they may treat the next customer poorly. That next customer will walk away with a negative attitude of the coffee shop or at the very least the person who served them. Will that piece of garbage you throw on the ground do damage to more than just the appearance of city? Conversely, if you compliment someone, how will that affect their day? If you pick up garbage on the ground, could you save an animal? Could you do more to positively affect the world for the next generation? Let us work together to create a better world for our children? Let us have a constructive conversation about this topic.

AN AUSTRALIAN, A SPY AND A COWBOY

The title of this post may sound like the beginning of bad joke, but it is a focus on another thing we have to be thankful for – childhood heroes. When I was growing up, I admired many people for many different reasons. This is natural as you are growing and looking to establish your own identity. One of the first people I can recall thinking was ‘cool’ was Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of the Australian band INXS. He was the singer of a popular band, he was kind of dark and mysterious, dated models and appreciated good food and wine. Then I remember seeing a James Bond movie. Other than wondering why a British spy would have a Scottish accent (Sean Connery) I admired the cool that dripped off him. Always dressed to the nines, enjoying a martini, “Shaken, not stirred.” He stopped the bad guy, got the girl and never seemed to get his suit dirty. Lastly, there was John Wayne. What young boy back in the day didn’t play cowboys? It wasn’t the shooting and horse riding that I admired about this cowboy. No, I admired that even in the stickiest of situations, he managed to stick to his principles and always do the right thing, even if it wasn’t the easiest thing.

As I grew older I appreciated my heroes for an entirely different reason, their faults. I could learn from their mistakes. The Aussie fell victim to many of the excesses he enjoyed. As well as a fateful argument with a taxi cab driver while intoxicated. This lead to bouts of depression and ended with his assumed suicide. I learned there are limits to even the finest things in life. It may have taken me a while to learn this lesson, but I got there. I also learned that physical altercations while intoxicated never have good outcomes. Still, I enjoy good food and wine. On a side note, I am also dating a lady that should be a model, but chose baker instead. The spy certainly had his faults as well. Too many martinis does not help you catch the bad guy, it usually turns you in to the bad guy. Seldom, if you are doing any kind of work, you will get your suit dirty. I don’t wear a suit, but I have plenty of adventures and did end up with my very own Bond girl. Lastly, John Wayne. I do my best to always do the right thing especially in tough situations. If I don’t, it isn’t because of my intentions but my lack of knowledge. I don’t settle things through physical means as The Duke was sometimes known to do. One thing I did get from John Wayne, as well as my favorite book How to Win Friends and Influence People, is to always afford the other party a chance to save face. Especially if you are right or have come out ahead in a particular situation. Embarrassing or humiliating the other party only makes your ego happy. The side-effect is you come out looking like the jerk. Not to mention you create an enemy. This isn’t the wild west, but you never know when the two of you may cross paths again. If they remember the respect you showed them when you were on top, that can go a long way. This lesson has paid off several times in my own life.

Think of your own childhood heroes. Why did you admire them? What positive qualities did you strive to emulate? Do you have them currently or are you working towards developing them? What can you learn from their faults? Heroes or not, nobody is perfect. We can learn from their faults just as we can learn from our own. Life is too short for any of us to make all the mistakes and learn all of the lessons we need to. If you do all of this, you will find your life not only begins to resemble the life of your heroes, but you will look in the mirror one morning to discover you have become your own hero.

PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND!

People use the phrase “They have their head in the sand.” to describe people who are willfully ignorant to problems around them. I think we all know people whose life could be going straight down the commode and they would be the last one to admit there was anything wrong. Something a little less severe would be those souls who act as if ignoring the problems in their lives will make them go away. Not so I am afraid. It was described wonderfully by Tony Robbins as someone who sits in their garden, closes their eyes and chants “There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” While they may believe that to some degree, and it even may help them feel a little better about their current situation, the problem is when they open their eyes, they will be looking straight at a garden full of weeds!

I find it amusing that people think that is what I do personally and even worse, that is what I teach others to do. In no uncertain terms do I tell people to ignore their problems or the sometimes ugly truth of life. If you have read either of my books, that is abundantly clear. How do people come to this conclusion and why I am telling you to bury your head in the sand in the title of this post? There is a big difference between ignoring challenges and things that are negative in our lives and not dwelling on them. In fact, noting what is not working in our lives or what we find unpleasant can be a great tool to help us discover what we would like. Spoiler alert – it is usually the opposite of what sucks.

When people tell me that I have my head in the sand I reply, “You are damn right I do. I also have my toes, my butt and everything else.” Other than the joy of seeing a confused look on the face of someone who has thrown some shade either directly or indirectly at you, there is a point I am making hear. I realize things are not all sunshine and rainbows in my life. Here is the secret, I focus on what is working and the solutions that I am working towards. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of focusing on negative things in your life? Focusing on a problem does not solve it. As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” Not only that, focusing on what sucks in your life…well…sucks. It makes you feel lousy.

You may be thinking, “That’s all well and great Neil, but what I am supposed to do, just ignore what is going on?” Not at all, then we are back to being the people in the first picture. We want to be more like the baby in the second picture. When you focus on what is not working in your life, you feel miserable. While you are walking around feeling miserable, what kind of people, events and circumstances do you seem to find yourself in? 9 times our of 10, it would be miserable people events and circumstances. Here is what we should do instead. Take a second and become crystal clear as to what the challenge or negative event you are facing is. Then decide if there is actions you can take to correct or deal with the situation. If there is, focus on those and the solution you are working towards. If there is nothing you can do about the situation, turn your focus on something that is working in your life.

Here is a personal example from my own life that may make everything a lot more clear. All of my regular readers know of my affection to warm weather and sunshine. Most of you also know of my aversion to the cold and dreary weather we experience this time of year where I live. Can I do anything to change the weather? Not at all. I am good, but not good enough to change mother nature. There are two aspects I can use that we talked about. Begin saving for a vacation to a sunny destination (already in the works) or choose not to focus on the fact it is so cold some days that animals choose to stay home. Am I burying my head in the sand to the fact that the temperature is below freezing out? No I am imagining burying my entire body in the sand of a nice tropical beach. I have said this a million times, but it is a very important truth – there is no law of physics or biology that states your mind and body must be in the same place at the same time. When you choose to focus on the positive in your life instead of dwelling on the negative, it puts you in a positive emotional state. Like our example above, when you are walking around in a positive happy state of mind, what situations will you find yourself in? What kind of people will you surround yourself with? Chances are they will be positive as well.

Next time life throws a lot at you, and don’t worry it happens to all of us, don’t bury just your head in the sand, bury your whole body! Take yourself on a mental vacation. Maybe even throw on some tropical music and dance around. Change that state while you work on solving your challenges in life. Ponder them if you must, but do not dwell on the problem, always focus on the solution!

TELEVISION SET OR MINDSET?

This morning as I was busy working on different errands that were productive, I was also listening to some great motivational/inspirational videos. Not only do they offer encouragement to accomplish the mundane tasks in which I was employed, but they can bring to light new ideas, or old ideas in a new light. This often gets the brain up and working and fosters some of the very posts you read here. This morning I heard a man observe that in today’s world, more people spend time worrying about their television set than their mindset. I do suppose you can replace television set with tablet, cell phone or computer and the fact remains the same, it just doesn’t sound as catchy.

This got me thinking about several facts. Are you aware there was a recent study to determine the average time a person in the US spends on their cell phone in a day? Can you guess what that number may be? 3 hours and 43 minutes! That means the average person spends 1/6 of their day staring at their cell phone. Much of this is geared towards social media and entertainment. If we add that to the time spent watching television, playing video games and a host of other sources of recreation, we would be well over the 4 hour mark. Let us just keep it at 4 hours for simple math. Can you imagine if you spent that same amount of time concerned with improving your mindset? Reading, meditating or practicing different mind-enhancing activities? How about half of that time? Say you split the difference and spent 2 hours on your phone and 2 hours reading for example. Do you think that could have a big impact on your life? What could giving up 2 hours of time spent in front of the television or cell phone or playing video games and using it to enhance the gray matter between your ears? You could learn another language. Maybe work on starting your own business? Learn the embalming secrets of the Ancient Egyptians or whatever else would make you smile and put you on the path of success.

Today, ask yourself if you are spending more time in front of the television set (or phone or computer) verses working on your mindset. Is there some time you could allocate to mind-enhancing activities? Just for an hour, put down the phone and pick up a book, meditate or just sit and enjoy some nature. Make sure you are getting valuable ROI (return on investment) from your daily activities. Certainly, spend some time on enjoyable activities, but not to the detriment of accomplishing anything.

ARE YOU A LION OR A GAZELLE?

This is one of my favorite quotes. There are many levels in which to explore it. I have looked at a few on this website already. Such as the location of the motivation. In the Gazelle’s case, the motivation comes from the lion. If the lion were not present, the gazelle would probably be watching Netflix, eating grass and chilling. Lion appears and we are off running. In the lion’s case, the motivation comes from within, specifically, his stomach. He does not need the gazelle to be present. His running comes from an internal hunger. If the gazelle was not present, he may be running after a water buffalo or some other African neighbor of his.

Today we are going to look at this in a slightly different way and see how we can put it to use in our own life. Let us first turn our attention to the gazelle. What is its motivation? Fear. It is afraid the lion will kill it and eat it. If it does not run fast enough this fear will catch up to it and destroy it. In this case fear is the motivation to keeping this gazelle alive. Proof that fear can be a good motivator. Now let us look at the lion. Where does its motivation come from? Hunger, the desire of a goal. In this case that goal is the gazelle in front of it. It knows unless it runs fast enough, it will not achieve it’s goal and very well may go hungry. If it does not eventually catch a gazelle it will starve to death and be destroyed. Showing that passion and desire for a goal is a very good motivator. Which one of these is better in our lives?

Do we let our fears follow us around and keep us running? Do we keep our goals in front of us and keep running after them? The answer is a simple one – YES! When it comes to seeking an amazing life, we should use every tool at our disposal! We should take our ‘gazelle motivation’ and think of what may happen if we do not keep running. What will happen, for example, if we don’t keep on top of our health? We may develop a very serious condition. We may subject ourselves to a great deal of pain or discomfort. We may even pass away prematurely and lose valuable time with loved ones. I say find a symbol of that and keep it in front of us. It is like that lion lurking to catch us to busy grazing on a pizza and too out of shape to run away from it. (Come to think about it, this could work for my own fitness) It may even help to print out a vicious picture of a lion and keep it somewhere that would motivate you. Maybe by your gym bag. Think of what might happen if you don’t maintain your discipline. Would it result in pain? Lose of health? Lose of time with your loved ones? Maybe even lose of your life?

Next, let us look at our lion motivation. What does achieving our goals represent? Will failing to achieve our goals have serious repercussions for us? What might they be? How many times can we miss our gazelle and go hungry before we starve to death? Take our relationship for example. If we fail to show our spouse, or more to the point have them feel, that we love them? How many times can this happen before the relationship starves of love? We need to keep chasing our goals and feed them with a successful ‘feeding’. As in the case of a lion, this could be a process that never ends. We may need to keep chasing happiness in a relationship for the rest of the relationship. If we miss to many ‘meals’ that relationship will begin to starve. Print out a picture of your goals and keep them somewhere you will see them. I like next to the bed so we can see them first thing in the morning to motivate us and last thing at night to remind us what we are working towards. If you worry about people knowing your goals, although if they are in your bedroom they should know your goals, then you can even print out a picture of a gazelle. As long as you know the meaning and it has an emotional connection, it will work.

When it comes to our goals and to living an amazing life, just like the lion and gazelle, we must wake up running. It would help to use both our fear of failure (gazelle motivation) as well as our passion and desire (lion motivation) to motivate us to run. Whatever we can do to accomplish this goal, we should take advantage of. What do you do to stay motivated and focused on your goals? Do you use both fear of failure and passion towards achievement?

HOW TO GET RID OF THE A.N.T.S IN YOUR LIFE (trust me, you have some)

In the grand scheme of things, ants are pretty cool creatures. They have super human strength. They don’t have lungs or ears. Some ants are both farmers and can swim. They have two stomachs and some species are asexual. If you are anything like me, you probably didn’t know many of these fun amazing facts. Do you know when ants suck? When they are in your house exploring your watermelon, ruining picnics and crawling between your toes as your are sleeping. Sorry for that horrible thought, but it is the month of scary things. Generally, even if we admire all of their cool traits, we would rather not have ants in our lives.

This post is about a different kind of ant. If you noticed in our title, A.N.T. is an acronym. It stands for automatic negative thoughts. These are the pesky little thoughts that can creep into our minds while we are enjoying our watermelon. It can ruin a seemingly fun time we are having at a picnic. For all I know they might even crawl between our toes as we are sleeping. They certainly crawl through our minds no matter what we are doing. Just like the pesky little insects, they can literally come out of nowhere and multiply by the thousands!

Much like the interesting, although annoying, insects, negative thoughts can be tricky to get rid of. If you find yourself having several negative thoughts ruining your picnics or crawling through your toes while you are sleeping, the question is how to rid ourselves of them. We are going to use several mental versions of the ant killer above. In this case, it would be A.N.T. killer. The first is to acknowledge they are there. If you do your best to ignore the ants in your pantry, not only will they stay there, they may very well grow in number. Same holds true of our negative thoughts. Closing your eyes and saying over and over, “There are no ants.” will not get them out of your pantry or your head. What will? We are going to look at a few steps to take that are not only affective, but enjoyable as well.

First things first. Get a handle on the A.N.T.s you have. I recommend doing this for a the very minimum of 3 days. Carry a little pocket notebook with you and jot down any of the negative thoughts you have. We can’t begin to deal with something unless we have a concrete idea of what it is. At the end of each day take a look at your list. Are these thoughts true? Most of the time the answer is ‘no’. In this case the simple solution is every time you catch yourself thinking that thought, counter with a firm dismissal and replacement of a positive thought. An example would be if you are constantly saying to yourself, “I am so stupid!” or some version of that. As soon as the thought enters your mind, say to yourself, “I am not stupid! This is my mind’s weak attempt to hold me back from becoming all I might be!” This is not only true, but correcting yourself and reminding yourself that you are in control of your mind and not the other way around, will go a long way to turning things around. Follow this up with a more constructive thought. “I am intelligent in many ways and expanding my knowledge base daily.” In fact, spend some time thinking of what an empowering statement would be to you. Jot that down in your notebook you carry with you. This may seem awkward at first, but it will feel empowering soon enough.

Another tool is to surround yourself with things that are inspiring. As you can see, I am writing at Starbucks today and this is my screensaver. It is a picture of myself and my lovely lady, Margie. Not only does her cute face make me smile, but the knowledge that there is someone who loves me that I get to come home to is a very positive thought. I suggest using screensavers, as many of us look at them a million times a day, to inspire us. If that is a picture of the person you love, your dog, a special spot in nature or an inspiring quote. Do this on your phone, your computer and any other place you can think of. Print out pictures and place them on your desk, your mirror and here is a great idea, keep one on your dash in your car! We drive almost everywhere these days and having some inspiring picture to look at along with some ‘feel good’ music will make that journey an empowering one. Even if some A.N.T. tries to hitch a ride.

A few last thoughts about A.N.T. or automatic negative thoughts. Just like the insects, they are never going to be totally gone. One will always continue to pop up now and then and be dealt with, whether that means catching it and setting it free, or stomping on it and crushing it into submission. The next thing to remember is just like insects in your home, thoughts in your head are best dealt with quickly before they have a chance to establish themselves and start to grow. If you have an established colony of A.N.T.s in your head, know that it may take longer than if there were just a few strays. Also, remember after extermination, if you don’t keep on top of them they can come back and start another infestation. There are also many ways to get rid of ants, both the thoughts and the insects. Some work better than others and some work better in certain circumstances than others. We have looked at just a few in this brief article. I would love to hear your methods for getting rid of the automatic negative thoughts in your life. If you want to include something for the insects as well that wouldn’t hurt.

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.

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.