I have just returned from the Luxury Bahia Principe in Jamaica. It was an amazing time. In the course of planning this trip I learned 3 amazing ways that vacations change your life before you even leave your house.
If you use these same 3 elements you can instantly add more joy to your life starting today! By the time your toes hit the sand your heart will already be full of happiness. Click the link below and watch the 2 minute video right now. By the time the video is over, you will know exactly what to do to start adding joy to your life right now!
I have had countless conversations where people ask me which of the five senses I could most easily do without, but recently I was asked the question, “Which sense do you think you would keep if you could only keep one?” Slightly different question, but changed the entire way I look at the situation. Instead of pondering what sense I valued the least, this made me consider which of the senses I valued the greatest. This caused me to ponder several things which could serve me well.
The first being which sense did I rely the most on. My first inclination was to say sight. After all being an writer it is rather an important one. Then I considered there have been blind writers in the past. Helen Keller not being the least of these. She not only did quite well, but brought very important messages to the world.
Secondly, as I continued to ponder which of my five senses was most important, I thought of things I teach in my book. The chapter ‘A Happy Playlist’ came to mind. In it’s simplest form it is about creating a playlist of songs that bring you joy. These can be accessed when life puts you in stressful or difficult situations. I thought of my love for music and the emotional power it can bring. There were also deaf musicians such as Beethoven, who did great things musically.
As I continued to go through my senses I thought of my beautiful Margie, the love of my life. I appreciate her beautiful face and can’t imagine not being able to stare lovingly at it. Her smile and goofy faces can transform the darkest of days for me. I thought of her angelic voice. Her singing is one of the reasons I fell in love with her. I couldn’t imagine not hearing her say I love you, which melts my heart each and every time. Not being able to feel her warm and reassuring hugs or smell her perfume as I hold her close or even the scent of her shampoo as I lay next to her on the pillow. Being able to enjoy the taste of the delicious dishes she creates is one of the many joys of being her man. Not to mention the taste of her lips in a kiss for dessert.
This was just one person, one example albeit the most important one, in my life. I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude and new-found appreciation for all of my senses and the fact that I did not face the daunting task of having to keep just one. I began to appreciate how much they work in unison and how dependent I am on all of them. Each one of them bringing me joy in an entirely different way.
Then I just began to feel gratitude and appreciation for my beautiful Margie and how she blesses my life in each of the five senses. (and some senses I can neither explain, or would be fit to mention here) I also admired all those brave souls I mentioned above and those that I did not mention who have not only overcome the physical challenges life has gave them, but went on to excel in areas that would seem impossible. It was not only inspiring, but motivating. If Helen Keller can become a best-selling author without having the use of her vision, why can’t I, who has fairly good vision do great things as well. If Beethoven did not let his deafness stop him from transforming the world of music, what excuse do we have for giving in to our limitations?
Here is the latest issue of See Beyond magazine. It is a informative and fabulous issue filled with great articles. March is dedicated to Women’s Month, but there is something for every gender inside. My article, The Birth of Belief can be found on page 34. It is a great look at how some of my philosophies of life developed, but more importantly, it is a great look at our legacy and what we can do to make sure we leave behind a legacy worthy of us. I encourage you to take a look and let me know what you feel about it.
After you have finished reading the article, I invite you to scroll to the back of the magazine and read the tremendous review of my book that can be found there. All together See Beyond is a magazine that offers inspiration and many different perspectives. I am honored to be a part of it, and wish to thank Aura, the Publisher, Stefanie, the editor-in-chief as well as Rachel, one of the amazing artists in See Beyond. Working with these creative and talented ladies is something I am grateful for not only during Women’s Month, but each time our paths cross.
Click the link below to be taken to the magazine and appreciate all that it has to offer. I look forward to hearing how this amazing publication has touched your heart!
By the time you read this I will be higher than you can imagine! Ok, a little bit of clarification as it does say Jamaica and I did mention being high. As this post will be released I will be in an airplane at roughly 30,000 feet in the air on my way to Runaway Bay Jamaica to stay at the Luxury Bahia Principe resort. My beautiful Margie and me will be putting all of our endeavors on hold for the next 5 days to simply enjoy life and sharing it with each other. There will still be a blog post every day so I encourage you to come visit this site while I am gone.
It took us a lot of rescheduling and saving to accomplish this goal. It will be Margie’s first time both out of the country and to Jamaica. I could not be more excited to be able to bring both to her. For those of you who either know me personally, read this blog or have read my book, you know that I am happiest when I am somewhere tropical. To be able to do this while being joined by a woman who has brought so much to my life and loves me in a way I have never been loved before will be an experience I can’t wait to have. If I thought I enjoyed the tropics before, I know sharing that with her will only make it better!
Other than giving you a reason to wish you were me, (and when I think about going on a tropical vacation with the most beautiful woman in the world I must admit to being a little bit jealous of myself) why am I sharing this experience with all of my readers? I am doing so because this it represents several aspects that are vital to living an amazing life. I am going to highlight just a few below and encourage you to make them a part of your life right away!
The first thing a vacation does for you is give you something to look forward to. This may seem like a no brainer but let us take a little closer look at how that benefits us all. Having a goal in the future can motivate us in the present. While saving up for this vacation, I never knew how much money I could possibly save. While working hard to save lose change, take on extra DJ jobs, and working hard to sell more books, I was amazed at how financially motivated I could be. The same held true for my workouts. Greg Plitt(R.I.P), who has some amazing fitness and motivation videos, said having a goal in the future makes the present more accountable. In other words, I know it is all too easy to say, “I don’t feel like working out today. I’ll work out extra hard tomorrow.” If you have a goal in the future, however, you have just lost 1 day you could work towards that. I am no way in beach shape yet, but I wouldn’t be this far if I didn’t have a goal.
Another thing having an event like this planned brings to your life is a feeling of hope. In the dark and dreary days of Wisconsin winters I would lay in bed at night and Margie and I would watch videos of Jamaica and our resort. I even put the weather on my phone so I could switch to something more pleasant. One day that difference was actually -26 degrees for where I was to 84 degrees where I was going. Knowing what I have to look forward to kept me motivated. Even if you can only save a few dollars a month and it may be quite a while before you go, this will still bring joy and hope.
Lastly, this was fun! In addition to watching videos, Margie and I would talk about what we wanted to eat, what we were going to wear and what events we wanted to do while we were there. Sharing this fun and enjoyable conversation sure beats discussing what we saw on the evening news that night.
I encourage all of you to plan a vacation with someone you love right now. It could be family, friends or that special someone. Doing so will bring so much joy to your life even before your toes hit the sand!
Welcome to Monday, a day most people dread. The work week is ahead of us and as many people fear, the opportunity to make mistakes. Personally, I don’t mind making mistakes. There are three wonderful, yes I said wonderful, things that come from mistakes.
First, like the picture said they are proof you are trying. There is no way to live a mistake free life. Sure, you could sit around and not do anything, but then you don’t live at all and in my mind that is the biggest mistake. We might misjudge, need to improve physically, mentally or emotionally. There are a million reasons why we might make mistakes. Maybe we just didn’t have all the information needed to make the correct decision or take the correct action.
Not only is it proof we are trying, but it is an opportunity to learn. When we make mistakes we often think to ourselves such disempowering things as, “I can’t believe I did that!” or “I was so stupid for making that mistake!” What if you replaced those statements with ones such as, “Next time I know how I will do that!” or “I am so glad I learned how to do this. I will be better next time!” It is a totally different mindset. Mistakes are some of the best teachers.
The third thing I think is wonderful about mistakes is that is provides us a unique opportunity to show our character. Owning up to mistakes and not letting them get you down shows that you have a strong character. You cannot display this unless you do make a mistake. Through showing what kind of character you have you can earn respect from others. Everyone loves and respects someone who owns up to their mistakes, don’t they?
From now on let us put mistakes to work for us. It sucks when they happen, but we can turn them from a negative to a positive using the three examples above.
If you would like to be considered truly great, never stop learning. This quote from Michelangelo at the youthful age of 87 proves just such a thing. It would have been understandable after all that he had created to rest on his accomplishments. Being truly great in any field takes a great deal of obsession. It becomes less of what you do and more a part of who you are. In this vein of thought I am close to being a great consumer of pizza, but I digress.
With the rapid pace of change in nearly every field, it would be foolish for anyone to think they know everything about…well…anything.
Buckminster Fuller created a scale known as the “Knowledge Doubling Curve” which as you might have guessed is how long it takes human knowledge to double. Here is what he discovered. Until 1900 the scope of human knowledge doubled every 100 years. Fast forward 45 years to the end of Word War II and knowledge doubled every 25 years or in a quarter of the time it took less than 50 years before. While that was impressive, here are the current numbers – as of 2013 knowledge doubled every 13 months! That is roughly 1/25th of the time it took in the 1950s. By the year 2020 it is estimated knowledge will double every 12…hours! In case your knowledge of math has not doubled recently, that is twice a day! By the time we wake up tomorrow the entire scope of human knowledge could be four times what is was when we went to sleep the night before!
If you are currently enrolled as a student, or trying to learn a new occupation this rate of change can sound scary. What it really represents is opportunity. With the internet people are sharing and connecting information faster and easier than ever. You could be reading this shortly after I wrote it and doing so halfway around the world. I live in a small town called West Allis in the United States, yet some of my most ardent followers come from India, Canada and various tropical islands I did not know existed, but are not on my travel list. With Artificial intelligence we are learning to predict and map human behavior in many different ways.
To some, this may sound intimidating and even a little ‘big brotherish’ but with knowledge comes responsibility. We can use this knowledge to serve and create or to enslave and destroy. That is why I encourage all of you reading this blog to learn as much as you can. Effort and knowledge are the two great equalizers. With today’s technology change is right around the corner and it is at the fingertips of every person with access to a local library.
Be like the great artist above. When your 87th birthday rolls around let us hear you proclaim, “I am still learning.”
Building on what we learned last post – that fault and responsibility are not related – here is a prime example. Viewing life through these two different examples can make a world of difference. It can be related to the old adage “What people do to us is up to them. How we react to it is up to us.” This is easy to both read and understand intellectually, but try and live this way emotionally and you will discover it is not so easy.
What is vital to remember is that it is possible. We have control of our minds. For most of us we have relinquished that control, but we can get it back. Next time you find yourself upset due to some outside circumstance or some socially challenged individual, try saying to yourself, or better yet out loud, “I am really pissing myself off through this person!” If you are anything like me, you might chuckle at the absurd sounding nature of that statement, but sooner or later you will see the grain of truth in it.
Another great thing to follow up with is to imagine what possible reason that person could be acting like that. For example, when Margie and I are driving along, (Ok I am the driving and she is the along) and someone cuts us off to get that one car ahead before the red light, I often look at her and say, “Maybe they have to poop.” Certainly not the most eloquent option, but I am sure we can all relate having to hurry for just such a reason.
It helps you give the other party a certain benefit of the doubt. It doing so, it helps us get a little less upset. This is not to say you should let people treat you anyway or do whatever they like to you. What we are trying to do is lessen the effect their actions have on us.
Taking control of your mind and emotions is neither quick or easy, but with time and effort it can certainly pay dividends with reduced stress and mental anxiety. Try these simple tools to get started. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!
Here is an uncomfortable truth – what is wrong with you might not be your fault, but fixing it definitely is your responsibility. This may not seem to be fair, and I suppose it really isn’t, but that does not make it any less true.
You may have had a rough and troubled childhood. That was not your fault. It may have made it hard for you to trust other people, not entirely your fault either. Fixing that, however, is your responsibility. The people who made your childhood, and perhaps your adulthood to this point, a living hell are not going to come back, apologize and help you work through issues you developed because of them.
If there is some tragic event that you believe is holding you back in your life, it is actually you who are holding you back. You may be tempted to shout, “That’s not fair! It was them who did this to me!” Like we mentioned earlier, you could be right and I am sure you can make a very good case, but you would affectively be arguing for your limitations at this point.
The takeaway here is that fault and responsibility do not go hand in hand. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it is not fair. If we want our lives to move forward we must claim the responsibility to fix the issues that others were at fault for putting in our lives. You could refuse that responsibility because it was not your fault, and you would be right, but the only person to suffer would be you.
The definition of the word altruistic is as follows – showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish
How then, can I claim that being altruistic is selfish? For one simple reason. When you are down, when life seems to kick you as you are down, nothing can lift your feelings as much as helping someone else. Certainly, that is not the only time you should limit your acts of helping others, but it still holds true. Most of you know my story about how my life was turned around by helping at a meal program feeding the homeless. It not only gave me a new and refreshing perspective, but the act of being able to do something for someone else feels good.
That should not be your only motivation to do good, but keep that in mind. The more you do for others, the better you will feel. Thus, being altruistic is both unselfish and selfish at the same time. Why do I think that is ok? If, in an attempt to help yourself feel a little happier you go around doing random acts of kindness for others, the world would be a significantly better place.
As with anything we share here, do not take my word on this. Feel free to test the theory yourself. For 21 days, do one act of kindness with no expectation in return. Not financial compensation, not a promotion, do not even worry about getting a simply ‘thank you’. You may even want to record your acts to make sure you do not miss a day. After 3 weeks notice if your own happiness has improved.
Last post I told you about some people I interviewed that had every reason to be negative and jaded about life. You will be able to read all the interviews in my upcoming book Living the Dream. Right now I will tell you their challenges included miscarriages, abuse of physical, emotional and sexual nature. They had major health challenges. Their families were killed and they were forced to flee countries due to a civil war. Despite, and in some cases because of these challenges, they are some of the most positive people you will ever meet. I asked myself, and them, how is that possible?
The secret was they were all able to control their thoughts and thus controlled their lives. How did they do it? Honestly, they all had their own unique ways which you will be able to read about in my book. For today’s post, however, I am going to share one thing they all had in common. If you add this one thing to your life it will do a great deal to help you overcome whatever challenge you have in life. We are going to look at what that common trait was and some fun ways to use it in our own lives.
You may have guessed from the picture that the common trait that all of these people shared was gratitude. In challenges far greater than I had ever faced, each one of them found reasons to be grateful. If they can do it facing the kind of challenges we mentioned above, surely we can utilize gratitude to take control of the thoughts and challenges in our own daily lives.
Finding something to be grateful for in a challenging situation can be difficult, especially in the beginning. Like any other muscle, our gratitude muscle will grow stronger with use. In the beginning, however, it helps to have a few tools and tips to help foster a sense of gratitude. My advice when diving into this is to resist the temptation to attempt to change everything at once. Remember, you are trying to change thought patterns you have built up over years. Pick one topic and start slow. Not only will it be less difficult, but it will actually increase your chances of success. Let us look at a few ways in which to start infusing our lives with more gratitude.
The first method is pretty straight forward and works well for difficult areas of our lives. Pick an area of your life that does not bring you joy. For our example let us say that you are not crazy about your job. At a time where you are not otherwise occupied, such as driving in your car or at the job you dislike so much, grab a pen and piece of paper. Next, get comfortable. Maybe make yourself a fresh cup of coffee or tea if that is your thing. Put on some relaxing or fun music. Now begin to think of everything about your job in which you are grateful for. You may find your mind a little reluctant at first, but stick with it. Maybe you don’t feel your job pays you what you would like, but be grateful it does pay you. It may not allow you to take that vacation to Fiji, but it does allow you to keep the lights on. It gives you a reason to get out of bed and be active. It introduces you to different people. Sure, they may not all be perfect people, but it allows you to be social. It also allows you to practice and strengthen your skills of being hopeful and positive. Just like muscles, these things only grow and get stronger when they are challenged. When you have a pretty good list going put it in a jacket pocket or in the car. Somewhere you can take it with you. Next time you are on the way to work look at and review this list. Read it right before you walk in the door. It will at least help balance the frustration.
The next way to put more gratitude in your life can be looked at as a game to play. I do this one on the way to work as well and find it puts my mind in a great place before I get there. As I drive along I look for as many things as I can that I love. This can be the color of a house I am driving by, or the humor behind someone’s personalized plates on the car ahead of me. Sometimes it is a nice dog walking down the street, or a fun jacket someone waiting for the bus is wearing. A good practice is to say these things out loud. “Wow! I love that jacket!” or “What a fun color to paint a house/door/car!” Even hearing yourself say these things out loud can put you in a better frame of mind.
These are just two ideas for increasing the feeling of gratitude in your life. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below. There are a million ways to add and strengthen the gratitude you already have in your life. I encourage you to try them all. The more grateful you are, the more likely you are to have control of your thoughts.