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!

WE CAN STILL SMILE OUT LOUD

Earlier this month we did a post on the importance of a smile and the power it has to change the world. Speaking of the world, we find ourselves in a world that has made sharing a smile very difficult when it would seem the most needed. Due to health and safety practices we must follow in order to get the world coronavirus pandemic under control, masks have become a feature of many people’s lives. The city I live in just made wearing a mask mandatory.

Whether you go out for coffee, a quick trip to the grocery store or even a quick walk in the park, you may see many people with masks covering a good deal of their face. This is needed to help us get back to being safe and healthy. On top of quarantines and stay at home orders, not being able to see another person’s smile is a sad way we may feel more disconnected. As with every great challenge in life, this one also provides a great opportunity. While it may be true that we cannot see each other’s physical smile, we can still hear each others smile if only we choose to smile out loud.

What do I mean by ‘smiling out loud’? In the time I have spent in the Caribbean, in the southern part of the United States and even to some degree in the western part of the United States, people are more likely to greet you. In the Midwest, where I live now, it would seem not as much. As we are feeling more and more separate from each other and as the time we must endure physical distancing, it is more important than ever to treat each other with dignity and respect.

A simple greeting is a way of smiling with your voice. When we pass someone say “hello” or “Good morning” “Good afternoon” or whatever pleasant greeting you choose to use. In a world where we are all longing for not only a sense of normal, but some face-to-face human interaction, that small, seemingly insignificant greeting can be like a dose of medicine. There are plenty of people who are feeling lost and alone. We need to bring a smile to these people even if we can only do so with our voice for the moment.

As an added bonus, do your best to say your greeting with a smile on your face. What good does it do to smile if you have a mask covering it? Just because someone cannot see your mouth does not mean they cannot see your smile. You see it in someone’s eyes, you can even hear a smile in someone’s voice. Every step we can take to make the world a brighter place during this trying time we should. If you have any addition suggestions on how to share a smile when someone may not be able to see your face, please leave them in the comments below. We must all stick together to make life better for everyone.

AN ACTION OF LOVE, A GIFT AND YOU CAN DO IT IN SECONDS

In this blog in the past we have discussed the power of a smile and the effect it can have on both those receiving and those giving it. We are going to tackle this subject again for several reasons. One, the world could really use more smiles now. In an age where people are either feeling persecuted, or concerned about how what they say may be misconstrued, a smile can be a welcome sight. If you are a person who may feel that they are judged for their race, their religion or any other reason, can you imagine how much more at ease you would feel when you walk into somewhere being greeted with a smile?

Another great reason to remind ourselves to smile more is because we are never quite aware of what a person may be going through. The smiling person you passed in the grocery store may be hiding some of the deepest pain. A smile makes someone feel valued, it makes them feel important. That is why if you have any job that deals with the public you have a great opportunity to change people’s day, and perhaps more, with a smile. To this end, a smile can make your job a lot easier as well. If a customer in a bad mood approaches the counter and you greet them with a smile it can be quite disarming. If they are already in a good mood it will certainly make the transaction go more smoothly. It will make your work day a lot more pleasant and their day as well.

That brings me to my final point. In reading this quote you may assume, like I did, that it was talking about others. In fact, this can be directed at yourself as well. Smiling and being pleasant can change our world for the better. I have personally witnessed this in my own life. I did not used to be as positively focused and certainly did not share that feeling as often as I do now. When I do, I noticed that it has brought me more friends, a better reputation, better customer service and most importantly – I feel an inner peace that I did not feel when I was angry or focused on what was wrong in the world. Being a part of the solution, that is spreading more love and positivity instead of adding the overwhelming amount of negativity, has allowed me to feel like I am making a difference. To me, there is no better feeling than that of making a positive difference in the world and those you share it with.

Do not take my, or Mother Teresa’s, word for it. I encourage you to test this theory out for yourself. I encourage you to share a smile with at least 5 strangers today. Better yet, try this for a week. Say “Hello!” or “Good morning” or some sort of thing. Say it with a smile on your face and see what a difference it makes. Then, feel free to share the results with us!

6TH DAY OF HAPPINESS

Today’s post is one that is simple, not complicated. It should be easy to do then, right? I have learned in my over 2 decades of work in the self-improvement field you should never confuse the word simple with the word easy. Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most difficult to do on a regular basis. Even if we know what to do, having the strength and will to do so can be a different story all together.

That brings us to today’s step in our ’10 steps to happiness’. That step is Frown less, smile more. There are many studies from some of the most prestigious universities that prove the physical act of smiling can go a long way to improving your emotional state. There is even one study where they took clinically depressed individuals and had them do nothing but smile in a three-way mirror for a scheduled amount of time and the results they experienced either rivaled or surpassed the prescription medication they were on. Of course, the economic ramifications of this will reduce the chances that we will see more such tests.

The results are there. From a personal standpoint, how do we feel when someone smiles at us? Even if they have the audacity to do that to us when we are trying to remain in a bad mood, it will, if only for the moment, bring us a certain amount of joy. Often, the act of receiving a smile will cause us to return one of our own. Get one from a puppy dog or small child and you can all but kiss that bad day goodbye! How does it feel when you receive a genuine loving smile from that special person in your life? I can tell you that nothing gives me a greater sense of pride or accomplishment than to see a smile on Margie’s face and knowing I had put it there. (Not to mention her beauty shines through the most when she smiles. It is like a ray of sunshine)

If all of these smiles feel so good, if there is even scientific evidence to back up the physical benefits of smiling, why do we not smile more? Some of us are self-conscious of our smiles. Maybe we even have dental reasons to feel so. Keeping that in mind, you don’t have to flash your teeth like you are a used car salesman or a star on an infomercial. Although, it does bear mentioning that a smile can even be an effective business tool. Even an upturn at the end of our lips and a little sparkle in the eye can be joy to anyone’s soul. Someone who smiles is automatically more attractive. Don’t believe me? Think of those weight loss commercials. The have a before and after picture. Guess which one is smiling? The one after they have used the latest miracle pill.

Sometimes the act of smiling takes effort. There are many people, myself included, who when concentrating or otherwise involved have a stern look on their face. If we were to take a deep breath and smile, it would not only undoubtedly make us feel better, but would also refresh our brains so that we may better concentrate on the task at hand. Whatever you are doing today, make sure to take a few moments out of your day to offer a smile to as many folks as you can. it will help increase both your happiness and theirs. That is what you call a win/win situation.

RAISE YOUR VIBRATION


Those of you well-versed in the Law of Attraction know how important it is to raise your vibration and keep it high. It serves us well for manifesting what our hearts desire. For those of you who may not be that well-versed in the Law of Attraction, raising your vibration means raising the state of how you feel. Simply put, the higher your vibration, the better you feel.
When we feel good all sorts of things open up to us. We are more likely to try new things and talk to new people. Both of these can lead to wonderful new adventures. We take better care of ourselves and those we love. We are more likely to wear a smile and spread joy to others. To, of course, the obvious – life is a lot more fun. After all, that is what living an amazing life is all about, feeling good.
If you are thinking there is more to life that just feeling good, I challenge you on that statement. It is important to help others, yes. When we help others how do we feel? We feel good. It is important to do good for the world around us. When we do so how does that leave us feeling? It leaves us feeling good. When you are enjoying life you are far more productive and pleasant to be around. Who wants to sit next to a ‘Debbie downer’? Not me, and I would venture a guess not you either.
Do yourself a favor and try to fit in as many things as you can in the first list while limiting or eliminating as many things as you can from the second list. Do not stress about it for that would defeat the purpose. Work to raise your vibration, or feel as good as you can for the next 21 days. Make it a focus and watch the miracles begin to unfold in your life!

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS FOR MAKING YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!

HOW TO MAKE 2019 YOUR YEAR

Let us clear something up going into the new year, we need to act. I am a big fan of the Law of Attraction. I know it works and personally use it. What some people who see the movie The Secret, or read books on attraction misconstrue is the fact you have to act. You can use vision boards, recite affirmations, journal and meditate, but if you do not follow that with inspired action nothing good will happen. Kind of a bummer I know.

The good news in all of this is once you do the things mentioned above, it will be come more clear and easier to know what actions to take. Those listed in the pictures above would be a great place to start. I particularly like the ‘smile more, be excited’ line. A smile can not only improve the lives of those around you, but will elevate your mood as well. Even when you don’t feel like smiling, give it a try anyway. Often by changing our physical state we can influence our mental and emotional state as well.

Action does another great thing for us, it gives us joy. Tony Robbins said progress equals happiness. I have found that to be very true. If you are working towards a goal and taking steps you are being successful. Another favorite author and speaker of mine, Earl Nightingale, defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. The word to notice in that definition is progressive. You are not just a success when you achieve your goal, but even as you are working towards it. In other words, if you know where you want to go and are working on getting there you are a success. Even if the steps you are taking do not work out this time, you have just eliminated something that would not work.

This year let us put our minds to work, but we cannot forget to get off the couch and make it happen as the picture above reminds us. Try a few of the items listed above and see how they change your life. I would love to know what action steps all of you are going to take in the new year!

BE THAT PERSON

Be that kind of person. What kind of person am I talking about? The one who always has something good to say about someone. The person who always has a smile to share. It may not seem to make a difference, but it does. As I write this I am sitting at a local coffee shop a few blocks from my day job at the United States Postal Service. I am reflecting on the countless times I have been in this exact situation. The service I receive from the person behind the counter can really help, or maybe distract from my writing. To the person helping me behind the counter I might be just another face in a sea of people wanting some kind of beverage and that is understandable. Even if they knew that their service may add a little extra step to a author doing his best to inspire the world to become the best versions of themselves it may or may not make a difference.

The truth is we all have this power. We do not know what the person we run into in the grocery store is up to. It could be a surgeon worried about performing open-heart surgery on an infant the next day. It could be a person struggling with personal loss that could use a bright spot in their lives. It could be a person struggling with depression and thinking about taking their own life. It could even be someone full of rage and thinking about taking the lives of others. The cases do not have to be this extreme and may not be, but we may never know. It could simply be a former bartender and current postal worker looking to better themselves and the world around them.

This is all about the power of a smile, of a simple ‘hello’. In all of us there lies a great power. It is a generally untapped power for the most part. That is the power of kindness. It makes a difference. It may be a big difference, it may just be that added inspiration the person needs. Chances are we will never know the effect that it has. Trust me when I tell you it has an effect on every single person you use it on. They probably will not even know you are using it. The more you practice this random acts of kindness the bigger effect you will have on the world.

I warn you that there is one side-effect you must be aware of. This kindness will come back to you. It may not come from those you have shared it with, but it will and must come back to you. That is a universal law. As you sow, so shall you reap. Before long you will notice those smiles and ‘hellos’ coming your way. You may find yourself with new friends and connections you never would have met. In addition, some people report a second side-effect. That is an increased sense of well-being. Seeing the positive way you affect others can only serve to put a smile on your face.

I would love to hear ways that you use the power of kindness. It would be great for all of us to learn simple ways that we can positively affect the lives of those around us. Share your ideas in the comments below!

MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR!!!

As you are reading this post I will be at the Wisconsin State fair. Today is the first day of the 11 day long festival. It is by far my favorite thing to look forward to all year. In the past I have stressed how important it is to have events to look forward to throughout the year. This is by far the one I look forward to the most. There is also a winter vacation, the bike expo, the first day of spring and many others, but the state fair is the biggest.

If I were someone who sat back and let life happen to them I would enjoy  this festival to the fullest for 11 days straight and them be sad when it is over. To some extent that is what happens, but I advocate and practice getting every last drop of joy out of life you possibly can. How do I apply this to the Wisconsin State Fair and how can you apply it to activities you look forward to in life? Let us take a look and start coming up with a few ideas.

First, as you can see by the photo above, spend the activity you love with the people you love the most. This is a picture of my lovely Margie and I on the sky glider last year. Margie and I have a wonderful relationship and both work hard to keep it that way and improve it all year long. We are always on the way to increase the amazing love we already share with each other. Being with her at one of my favorite places where I am extremely excited and happy provides a great opportunity to create life-long memories that will keep us smiling for a long time. It also increases the love and connection I feel with her. Having happy and joyous memories at my favorite place with my lady just leaves me with a feeling of love and gratitude for who I share my life with. In addition to Margie, I plan to enjoy days at the State Fair with my mom, and many of our friends. Together we will all create happy and joyous memories.

Then there is the planning. There is so much fun in just exploring and seeing what we discover. Making sure there are a few things we know we will enjoy is important as well. To that end we always look at the preview guide that comes out a few weeks ahead of the fair. There we discover bands we may like to see, food we may like to try and many other fun things to look forward to. This year we are even planning on an art walk they have to see many artistic displays featured in the park. There is also a garden walk in which you are shown different displays of greenery and how they are cultivated. Both walks feature a prize upon completion and are completely free.

Pictures. This may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes those are the easiest to forget. Taking pictures of the fun activities you experience and the great, and sometimes no so great, food we try will give us something to look back on for years to come. This keeps the great memories alive after the event, and sadly sometimes after the people have passed. In the past year with all of the loss Margie and I experienced, videos and pictures have proved to be a invaluable link to the past and those we care about. This has brought to our attention the importance of capturing all the joy as it occurs.

Being present. In contrast to being behind a camera or cell phone to capture the joy that is occurring, there is the act of being present. Noticing the taste of what you are eating, the people you are sharing the moment with, or in my case the smile on the face of the beautiful blonde lady next to you. There is so much beauty to behold in life that we must remain alert to soak it all in.

These are just some of the ways I will enjoy the Wisconsin State Fair this year. Add to that my new career as a food critic and I will have plenty of chances to practice that. I welcome you to share your ideas on how I, and all of our readers can make their special moments even more special in the comments below.

THE PATH TO ETERNAL BEAUTY

Look in any magazine or watch any reality show and you will run across the same thing, everyone is trying to find the key to eternal youth and beauty. There are ads for creams, lotions, even cosmetic surgery has been refined to an in and out process. There is a new cool laser that can make your fat cells disappear. People spend millions of dollars a year on both hair removal and hair restoration. No matter how many advances or your financial ability to obtain them, one thing is for certain, eventually they will fade.

Do not misunderstand me. I believe there is plenty of physical improvements that make sense to do from not only an appearance stand point, but from a health stand point as well. Having dental work done will not only increase your chances of smiling, adding beauty right there, but help your health in many ways. Engaging in physical exercise will not only have your figure looking fit and trim, but help your heart and circulatory system run efficiently as well. Choosing a healthier way of eating over a crash fad diet will pay dividends for years to come.

Considering the amount of money we spend on items in the first category that serve only as a temporary cover up at best, we certainly could do better. Even the time, energy and effort we spend on items in the second category will only take us so far if we continue to ignore the single most important category to increase our physical appeal. The area of our life we should address first is often relegated to an after thought.

What is the area of our life that will bring us the greatest return on investment in regards to our beauty? It is our spirit, our heart, our inner peace. This may sound a bit cliché to many of you, but it is true. How many times have you come across someone who may not be your normal physical ‘cup of tea’ as it were, but something just attracted you to them? We all like to be around people who make us laugh, smile and enjoy life more. On the flip side, even if the person we are with has graced the cover of a million magazines, if they suck our spirit dry and leave us feeling emotionally drained there is no way we would want to be around them.

How do we invest in this portion of our lives? The answer is simple. Invest in ourselves. When we work to become better as individuals, we have more to offer each other and the world at large. Do something to refresh your spirit. Discover new ways to cultivate joy, engage in activities that make you smile. Foster an attitude of gratitude. Always look for the best in others. If you do these simple things and any others that will lead to an improved you, before long you will become more beautiful from the inside out. The upside here is the more you do this, the greater the beauty becomes. Keep it up and this beauty will never fade. No pills, lotions, fad diets or insane workouts needed.

YOUR MOST USEFUL ASSET

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What is your most useful asset? Are you smart? Are you physically attractive? Maybe you are strong? Perhaps you have a lot of wealth? Maybe you are a good conversationalist? The ironic thing about any of these traits, is that they are of little use unless they are put into the service of others. If you are strong, but do nothing with your muscles how useful are they? If you acquire a great deal of wealth, but never spend anything what good does that wealth amount to?

Each one of us has assets. Maybe it is a nice smile? Maybe a good deal of compassion? As the week draws to a close, let us spend the weekend taking stock of our unique skills and talents. After we do so, let us also find ways in which we can put them into the service of others. The picture above gives us three very good ideas. Let us make sure we approach others with our hearts full of love, our ears ready to listen to all they have to share and our hands ready to help them as they need.

In our modern world many people will do anything for a feeling of significance. What many of them fail to realize is that you do not need to make a video for YouTube of you doing something ridiculous or dangerous. You do not have to prove how important or better you are than anyone else. To be a truly useful, valuable and yes, important person, all you have to do is be of service to others. Who would not want to be around someone who is loving, listens to what we have to say and is always willing to help.

If you still want to make that crazy video for the internet, why not show off your talent in the service of others? Use that amazing smile to brighten the lives of others. Use that wealth to help those less fortunate. Maybe use your muscles to help your neighbor with a project they are working on. The more you help others, the more useful you become.