CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH ONE SIMPLE SHIFT

In a nutshell this is the key to my upcoming book. A lot of people are lost in focusing on improving their relationships, their career, their inner peace and a million other areas of their life. This is all well and good as people should be trying to improve all areas of their life. When you think of all of the areas that could use some work, or that you just want to be operating at the highest level, it can seem overwhelming to say the least.

What many fail to realize, or find hard to believe is that focusing the change on ourselves can accomplish change in all of these areas and more. When we think of focusing on changing and improving ourselves to the benefit of all the areas of our life, a few issues may pop up. One of the things that may come to mind is the thought that why should we change when our spouse/boss/coworkers are the problem? Another issue may be the urgency that we have to change. The funny thing is that my working on ourselves, not only will all these areas be improved, but they will do so quickly and with less stress than if we tried to focus on each area separately.

Here is another aspect to consider. If we are waiting for our boss/spouse/friend/coworker to change, how long might that take? To be honest, it may and probably will not ever happen. Why should they change who they are just to make us happy? If you are anything like myself when I first heard this you may be tempted to reply, “Well Neil, why should I change?” The answer is simple, it will help you. Do you think your boss cares if you go home upset because he belittles you? I am guessing not. Do you think your rude coworker cares that they frustrate you with their actions? No.

How on earth will us changing help us deal with these people as well as improve other areas of our life such as our health, our inner peace? The fact is we can’t change other people, nor should we try. It is not our right or job to decide how everyone should talk or act. What our job is, however, is to decide what their actions mean and will do to us. A great and simple way to do this is by asking ourselves some questions that serve us. I am going to give you two questions that will change your life. Sounds pretty crazy and all of this will be expanded on in my upcoming book, but I want to get this information out there so you can start playing with it and putting it to work in your life right now.

Question # 1: Who do I want to be? This is a question we should ask ourselves everyday, several times a day. I am not just talking about professionally, but physically, mentally and spiritually. How many people do you think have a definition for these areas? I would also recommend taking time at the very least once a week, to write down your answers and take a look at them daily. Seem like a little too much work? Let me ask you this, would you go to the grocery store without a list of what you wanted? Would you just get in your car and start driving without first deciding where you want to go? Of course not. So, why are so many of us living our very life with no direction and then becoming frustrated with the lack of positive results?

Asking yourself this question does one more fabulous thing, it helps guide your actions. Let us say your description of who you would like to be includes a healthy fit person. Now, the way this works is after reading this description we arrive at the job after a stressful commute to find a caring coworker has brought in our favorite doughnut. With the thought of who we wish to become we may very well be less tempted to give in and eat half a dozen. Let us say the coworker is not so nice to us following our stressful commute. If our description includes being a person who does not live in reaction and has a sense of inner peace, we may be less tempted to volunteer to adjust their attitude. We may not always succeed, but knowing what our end goal is will help improve our chances. That also leads us to our other question.

Question #2: How can I use this? This comes in handy with challenges, but can also be used with positive circumstances as well. When we see those mouth-watering pastries after our commute we can use it to remind us that we need to find healthy great tasting snacks. Before you ask, yes they are out there. Have fun researching them. How about the rude coworker? We can use them to practice and build our patience and ability to not live in reaction. Another satisfying aspect is that nothing annoys someone who does their best to bring negativity to people’s lives as someone who doesn’t react to them. Remember, allowing people to get under our skin only negatively affects us, not them. Do yourself a favor and work on yourself for your own good and well-being.

THE MAN (OR WOMAN) IN THE MIRROR

This week is all about areas that affect our lives in a major way. Today we are going to talk about the person looking back at us in the mirror. It is time to give them a fresh look. When you see yourself in the mirror, what do you see? More importantly, how did you come to that opinion? If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? What if you could change that description? Even change parts of you that you may think could never be changed?

It is amazing when I hear people tell me “I am a procrastinator.” or “I am just not a happy person.” My first question is “Really? When did you decide that?” They will either give me one of those looks people give you when you ask thought provoking questions they do not expect, or I receive answers that include the following, “I didn’t decide, that is just who I am.” “I don’t know I have always been that way.” Sometimes an especially introspective individual will share with me some event from their childhood, or maybe their last relationship that prompted this belief. I listen carefully and calmly tell them, “Actually you did choose to be that way and you did so this morning.” Again, more crazy looks.

Here is the uncomfortable truth a lot of us do not like to consider. We choose daily who we are. If you are a person who is always running late, when could you decide to change that? If you are a person who was hurt by an uncaring person in your last relationship, when can you begin to deal with and heal from those experiences? The answer is right now. Let me assure you, I am not trying to make light of anything you have been through. I know a lot of you have been through very painful experiences. Allowing them to continue to hurt you, or to force you to live your life stunted, not experiencing the fullness of joy and love that is available to you is a choice we must make, consciously or unconsciously, every morning when we wake up. It may take seeking professional help or just reaching a point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, but you are the one who must choose who looks back at you in the morning.

Some of us have even allowed others to tell us who we are. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and motivational speakers was told throughout his childhood he was educable mental retarded. It took an embarrassing moment of having to tell the teacher he was too ‘dumb’ to solve a problem on the chalkboard to change his life. What the teacher told him not only changed his life, but can change ours as well. The teacher walked around the desk, looked right into his eyes and said, “Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” Read that statement a few times. You may even want to print it out and hang it somewhere.

A lot of us were told by well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) teachers, parents and others growing up that we were not so good at this, or never will amount to that. I personally recall my senior year in high school my English teacher telling me, “I hope to God you never have a career in writing.” I have a website with about 800 posts and am about to publish my second book. More importantly, I have touched the lives of countless of people and will reach even more in the future. What if I listened to that teacher, and several classmates I might add, what would have happened? I never would have attempted to set up a website. I never would have believed I could write a book let alone more than one. All the lives I have helped? I never would have been able to reach them. Just thinking of that gives me a sadness in my heart.

Here is what I suggest. Take some quality time by yourself and think about who you would wish to be. Write down the ideas you come up with. It is vital you do NOT consider your current situation when coming up with this list. If I had done so back in my senior year, becoming a best-selling author and speaker would have never made the list. When you come up with your list take a good hard look at it. Then, take a look at that person in the mirror. Read this list to yourself every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to bed.

Next time you reach for that twinkie, think of your list. If ‘I am a healthy vibrant individual’ is on there, you might want to give that a second thought. If you choose to eat that twinkie, remember you have made that decision. If you need help, seek help. Remember you and only you should define the kind of person you wish to be. It is time to take control of the person we see in the mirror. Tomorrow we look at another way in which we can gain leverage on ourselves and help move us in the direction we are wishing to go.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T READ MY BLOG

On Monday I wrote a post titled MY MOST IRONIC POST YET however, beginning a post with a picture that reads “Don’t read this” may be even more ironic. Do I want you to read my posts? Of course I do. I research all these self-improvement tips to help anyone who is looking to improve their life and those they care about. What is with the picture above?

My friend Curtis and I were having a conversation they other morning. He mentioned something very interesting. He asked me if I ever worry about people becoming co-dependent. After a little more explaining I discovered he was asking if I thought people may become dependent on me for their motivation. After some contemplation as it was a subject I had not seriously considered, I felt the need to address it. What we do here in this blog as well as my books and live events is empower people and share tools. In essence we plant seeds. I would much rather inspire a group of individuals who then take the information and use it to inspire others.

I would like to share with you the story of the lion and the gazelle. On a plaque in my office I have this saying “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up knowing he must be faster than the fastest lion or he will be killed. That same morning a lion wakes up knowing he must be faster than the slowest gazelle or he will starve to death.” I used to think the gazelle had the better motivation. After all, if he fails, he will die. If the lion fails he will have to find a new gazelle to chase. Here is the caveat to that, without the lion the gazelle has no motivation to run. The lion, however, is motivated by an inner hunger that will remain even if the gazelle were not present.

The point? Ask yourself what motivates you. Is it the words you read here, or is it the desire to better yourself that has you pursuing the information you read here. Do you workout to impress the people at the beach or because you want to be the best healthiest version of yourself?

I often preach about the importance of your why. Having not only a strong enough why, but one that is not interdependent on the influence of others. You should use the information not only that you find here, but other sources you routinely use, to serve you as you strive towards your why. If one source happens to disappear, your motivation and drive will not disappear with it. I invite you to share your ideas for being self motivated in the comments below. Everyone reading this could always afford another idea in this regard.

THE ESSENTIAL CHANGE

My second book opens with the statement –

unless you change yourself, nothing will change; once you change yourself, everything else will change

This is a very important thought for several reasons. First, saying, or even thinking things like “I’ll be happy when…” hands over control of your life to other people and situations. Why would you let others decide whether or not you can enjoy your own life?

Another reason to realize you are the only person responsible for the quality of your own life are problems. When I hear people who consistently blame others for the situations they find themselves in, I know these people will never live a happy and successful life.

Let us be honest here, people can be jerks. They can say rude and hurtful things to us. They can put us in uncomfortable situations. What control do we have over that? A great deal. We can take a hard look in the mirror and see if there may be any truth to the things they are saying. If so, we can use it as constructive criticism.

What if there is no truth to what they say and it is just mean? Then we can raise our standards as to who we have in our lives. What if this person is our boss or some other person not so easy to dismiss? We can use that person for our own development. Practice our patience, controlling our anger, or having compassion for those who don’t deserve it. We can do all this while working to improve our situation.

Sometimes they are there to teach us a lesson. Such as no amount of money or job is worth our dignity. No amount off affection is worth any amount of abuse. These are all very difficult situations, but waiting and relying on the other person to change will most often result in no change.

Working on myself has lead me to my greatest improvements and my greatest joy. When I became a better man, my job became better, my relationships improved. I noticed when I treated others better and gave more to them, I received more in return.

To this day, I spend the most time and effort working on myself. Every improvement in myself touches and improves every area of my life.

BE YOURSELF

Here is a great reminder for the week ahead. Whatever you are, be a good one. We are so obsessed with being thinner, stronger, wealthier, or more popular we lose sight of something very special – us! There is nobody who is put together just the same way you are. Sure, you may desire some of the things we mentioned above, but if we all walked around with what we feel is the perfect ideal, life would be pretty boring.

Here is another wonderful thing to consider. Quite often, what we like least about ourselves can be what someone else likes the most. There are times when I am feeling so unattractive and I find my lady staring at me and then she says “I was just thinking how handsome you are.” I may shake my head in disbelief but it really feels good.

So, what about things we do? Same holds true here. I recall when writing my book A Happy Life for Busy People it took me forever to decide what to put in, and what to keep out. When it was published there were certain things I was thrilled with and certain things I thought people would just find silly, or not enjoy. Here is what happens, often things I write that I may not think are my best work tend to touch the most people and have the greatest impact. I have learned to just be myself and share what I am feeling.

Being genuine is something you just can’t fake. Let that sink in for a moment. Think about receiving compliments. If someone is complimenting you just to gain favor with you or because they feel obligated to do so, you can tell. If someone is genuine in their praise you can tell and it feels really good.

What about all the faults you have? Like a quick temper? Maybe you are not as organized as you would like? Faults provide two important things. First, they allow others to often feel more comfortable around you. Knowing the person they are around is not perfect can often help people feel more comfortable about their own faults and opening up to you. Second, they give you a chance to show you are working on improving part of your life. If you read a blog like this one, I can only imagine you are looking to constantly improve yourself, even the things you are good at.

The takeaway from today’s post is this – fall in love with yourself. Sure there are things you can always work on. We all have those, embrace them. Become ‘constructively discontent’. Use anything you think you could improve on as motivation. Remember, it is what makes you, well…you. If there is one thing that nobody can do better than you it is being yourself. Now I just have to figure why the woman in the picture has the head of a goat.

REVISITING A MAGIC FORMULA 

 

Until you change yourself, nothing else will change. Once you change yourself, everything else will change” – Neil Panosian

Last week we examined the fact that change comes from within. Changing yourself can be quite a struggle though. It is not easy admitting something about us could use a little improvement. Self-improvement always involves a little humility. We have to confess to ourselves we are not perfect. What we are doing, however, is creating a better person for tomorrow. That is not to say that the person we are today is not amazing, but that we want to bring an even better version of ourselves to those we care about.  I like to picture those road construction signs you see on the side of the road. Perhaps one that reads self-improvement work ahead or maybe even A better me under construction. I think if people were able to see those signs and know that although things in our life may look a bit crazy, they are really just under construction, they might be a bit more patient. Remember though that they can’t so letting them know we are working on things can help.

It amazes me how much the accent is on removing things in our life today. “Lose all that extra weight” or “Get rid of all that negativity”. Sure, both would be beneficial, but there is an easier way. Instead of going on a diet, or pushing people away, try adding. In my seminars one of the principles I teach is this, “The easiest way to eliminate the negative is by adding the positive.” In other words, forget the diet, try adding exercise and a few healthy foods. If you eat a salad, for example, you have that much less room to eat a twinkie. Spend some time with someone who really feeds your soul? That is time that cannot be spend listening to someone gossip.

As you add these positive changes you may find you have the momentum to start to reduce or eliminate some of the negative things. Maybe you will even discover how much you enjoy the positive and then will have even less room in your life for the negative. It is easier for people to add things into there life than to remove them. Removing things can cause a feeling of being deprived, or a feeling of lack and that something is missing. When you add something to your life it is relatively painless. Filling up on the positive will definitely leave you to full to consume the negative.

Feel free to share any suggestions you have to add positivity to your life in the comments below!

PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST

This is a picture of me on the flight to Las Vegas this past December. I took my lady there for her birthday. Even on vacation my mind looks for ideas for improving the quality of my life that I can share with others, including you who are reading this at the moment. 

Here is the idea that came to me in this particular situation. If you have ever been on an airplane you have received the safety talk. This consists of direction on complicated matters such as how to fasten a seat belt, or notice where a sign that says ‘exit’ is located. I have heard this educational talk many times and can almost give it myself.

 One of the last things they talk about is what to do in the event of a ‘water landing’ which sounds very much like crash to me. In discussing how to put on the oxygen mask that will fall from the ceiling they make it very clear “you must put your mask on before attempting to place one a child.” 

This addressed an issue that can sometimes be difficult for a lot of people, including myself. Those who really care about the well-being of others can often do so to the detriment of themselves. When we do not take care of ourselves we end up not having as much, or being able to give our best to others. I use the analogy of trying to fill a glass from an empty pitcher, just doesn’t work. The reason they tell you to put your mask on before attending to children is that you can only help them if you are alive to do so. 

Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it serves a point. Always remember to take care of yourself. Only by being your best, can you give your best to others. 
If you will excuse me that picture inspired me to take care of myself by getting some rest.