WHO’S DRIVING?

This post is going to be very simple. This picture was captured at a red light. I sent it to my lady in an attempt to bring a smile to her face. She told me to her it looked like the dog was driving the car. To me that made the picture even funnier.

I encourage you to be on the lookout for funny scenes like this. Trust me, they are everywhere. You don’t have to take pictures of them, but you might want to so you can smile at them later. Share them with friends. This will do a few things. One, it will give you an album of pictures that can make you smile when you need it, which is always good. Second, it will get your brain in the habit of seeing the silly side of life. With reminders on every corner of all the trouble in the world, this can be a great skill to have. I bet after doing this for a while, you will see your mood get better and better!

Feel free to share what you do to stay focused on the silly side of life and feel free to share any fun silly pictures you have in comments below.

WHY I SHOP AT MEIJER MORE AND WALMART LESS

Here is a picture of the new Meijer store that opened not far from my house. For years my lady and I shopped at Walmart. Mostly because we are DJs and it is open 24 hours a day, has very reasonable prices and a pretty good selection. 

So then Meijer opens up. They are closer to home, also have a wide selection and are open 24 hours for our convenience. Although their prices are slightly higher, I prefer to shop there. Why? Is it because it is closer to my house? That’s convenient, but not the reason. Is it because it has a Starbucks inside? Fun, but again not the reason. 

These stores, although seem similar, have one major difference. This point was driven home to me today in my recent shipping trip when I returned to Walmart for something. 

When you enter the Meijer store, like Walmart there is a greeter. At Meijer they greet you and ask if you would enjoy a copy of the latest sales flyer. Every employee you run into says “hello” and a few even ask if you need help finding something. 

When we used to shop at Walmart the customer service there was so poor that is became the subject of many jokes. Cashiers not only skip any greeting or conversation, but quite often any eye contact as well. Employees can be found huddled around the front door smoking and using language that would make a sailor blush. On my most recent trip I saw roughly 20 employees. Cashiers, people stocking and even a ‘greeter’ at least in title, not actual action. None of the employees spoke a word to me and only one out of the entire group managed a smile. 

Now I am not putting down employees of Walmart in general, or even the ones at this store. What I am questioning is what certain corporations make a priority. Perhaps the powers that be at Walmart assume people will go there whether their people are friendly or not as long as the prices are low. Which could probably be true in several cases. Maybe they don’t focus enough on the well-being of their employees to keep them smiling? Whatever the answer may be, today was a stark reminder as to why I  will continue to spend my hard earned dollars (even if it happens to end up to be a few more) at Meijer. Dignity, happiness and respect are free, but to me they are more valuable than any roll back at the store founded by  Sam Walton. 

FOREVER YOUNG

I’m sure we all know some old 18 year olds and some young 80+ year olds. What is the secret to staying young? Mindset. Ok, that sounds easy but how does one keep a young mindset? This can be a challenging thing to do the older we become. Pain, heartache all can leave one feeling older by the minute.

In my life there have been three great keys to staying young. First, surround yourself with people who have a young mindset. There is nothing better than a friend who encourages you to laugh and to live. Take chances, try new things.

The second key to staying young has been learning to take care of my body. To live life to the fullest you need energy. The best energy can come from being physically fit and healthy. You do not want to run out of gas climbing the mountain of success. Incorporate a daily walk in the park into your routine. Even 10 minutes of exercise can get you on the right path. Eat healthy meals more often. Trust me, some of them taste amazing.

The third and final key to staying young may be the most important. Grow and maintain your sense of humor. There is no anti-aging product that works as well as laughter. It truly is the best medicine. Taking life too seriously is the quickest way to grow old before your time. Watch a funny movie with the one you love. Draw a silly picture. Learn one new joke a day. Just keep that smile on your face.

Feel free to share any tips you have for staying young in the comments below.

THE BEST ACCESSORY 

Last year people spent over 55 billion dollars (yes that is billion) on cosmetics. Jewelry and fashion were both multi-billion dollar a year expenditures as well. We spend time and money reading and perusing fashion and style magazines. Presidents and other leaders in both politics and business pay people to write speeches for them and even pick out what they are going to wear. Why? Everyone, whether you are a leader or a follower wants to look good.

Still, the number one thing we can do to look good is often over-looked and does not cost a thing. What is this accessory? A smile. When we meet someone and they are wearing a smile we are more likely to believe what they have to say. We are more likely to trust them. When you are wearing a smile people are more receptive to your ideas and what you have to say. Not to mention wearing a smile feels good and makes those we come in contact with feel good.

With all these benefits why is everyone not wearing a smile? It’s free, it is emotionally and physically healthy, it encourages others to listen to you and makes them more receptive to what you have to say. You would think every job interview, every first date, every important business deal and appearance by a public official would all contain many smiles.

Why do more people not smile? I guess there are several reasons. One, is they simply don’t realize they are not. I used to be guilty of this in the past and to some extent are still in the present. We get lost in our thoughts or what we are doing and may unintentionally find ourselves wearing a blank look, or even worse a scowl when really our inside emotions do not match. Eventually our physical actions affect our emotional well-being. If you are feeling down, try putting on a smile and leaving it there for 2 minutes. Slowly you mood will begin to shift. Try also looking at pictures of people (or animals) smiling. I have several pictures of people smiling on my phone. My screensaver is my lady wearing a bacon hat with the biggest smile on her face. Looking at these pictures will also help bring you out of that funk.

Another reason I have heard people do not smile is they are afraid. Afraid of smiling? You bet! Why would people be afraid of smiling? I have been told they are worried people will think they are up to something. To me this is foolishness. We are all up to something and if us looking happy makes people nervous that is on them. I’ve also been told that “I’m afraid people will take it as an invitation to start talking to me.” Yes, this sometimes does happen. As long as you do not make it a habit to smile at the strange man on the corner in a clown suit holding a knife what is the worst that could happen? In fact, some people are lonely and looking for someone they can share their stories with. You never know, sharing a smile with someone may even save their life. When you feel that nobody cares a smile from a friend, or even a stranger can turn your day, and your world around. Think of how you feel when someone shares their smile with you, why would you not want to give that gift to others?

So let us all do our part to share a few more smiles. Still nervous, uncomfortable or afraid? That’s ok start slowly. I suggest begin with the person in the mirror. Give yourself a smile every morning with a positive affirmation like “Let’s make this a great day!” Then, begin to branch out. Start with loved ones, maybe move on to friends, coworkers, the person helping you at the coffee shop? When you see how good it makes people feel and how they react to you, trust me, you will be tempted to share more. Also try practice wearing a smile while you are engaged in work. I have started this when I am writing and notice I feel a lot less tired when I am done. I am going to close this with a quote from the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln “Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” I am sure Mr. Lincoln meant to include woman in that statement as well.

I would love to hear about your experiences sharing a smile in the comments below!

NOT WHAT I THOUGHT

This picture shows that I now have 1000 likes on my blog. That alone is a thought that is very humbling. 1000 people all like the same thing and it happens to be the content that I put out on this very blog you are reading. This is the subject I fully intended to write about this fine day. As happens often with writers and inspiration, something went left when I thought it would go right.

What am I talking about? A new fun and exciting thing we can all try together that will not only put a smile on our faces and hearts but make our life far more amazing. Are you in? This simple exercise requires three things. 1. a pen 2. a small journal or notebook. 3. a fairly good sense of introspection and observation. That’s it. No complicated tools, no degree from a famous university, no occult secret and no magic formula.

Ok, so what on earth is this activity. Here is the story of how this post came to be and this idea came to me. For the last two or three days I have not been feeling well. Some sort of stomach flu or something. Spent most of that time laying in bed. My car issues are on the way to a wonderful conclusion and things around the house have been crazy. What I really needed was some relaxing quality time with my lady. So we decided to go to the mall today for lunch and she was going to shop while I wrote. She is actually there now so I better make this short so I can pick her up.

We decided to check out a new brew pub that just opened up there. We were greeted friendly and could feel a very positive vibe right off the bat. We saw a few friends while we were there and I exchanged information with a gentleman also on the path to self-enlightenment. It was a marvelous experience. Not to mention after lots of stress physically and emotionally both my lady and I were smiling and actually had some time together. As I left to write this, the sun was shining and it was not to insanely cold, which for Wisconsin this time of year is a win. I began to just think of all of these things and then it hit me. A great idea! A fun idea! A life transforming idea!

Enough with the story behind the idea, here is the idea. I was going to write about 1000 different people all liking my blog and how that felt like such an honor. These people come from over 70 different countries, across all social, religious and political fields. Then the idea came to me. I bet this one person (that would be me, which at the time I guess I was referring to in the third person) likes 1000 different things. I started noticing the afore mentioned things I was enjoying. The sunshine, the nice people I met, the amazing time with my lady. Guess what? I had me feeling as if I were floating instead of walking. I thought “wouldn’t it be great to feel like this more often?”. Then, as I am want to do I followed that with the thought “How can I?”. The solution my friends is simple, fun and I am going to share it now.

Keep a journal of what makes you happy. That’s it? Yes, that is it. Whatever it may be. Sunshine, balloons, penguins, the way the person you love smiles at you. Write them down in a special journal. Do it whenever the mood strikes you. Just keep the journal handy. Why write them down? It makes it more visceral. Not to mention when you open to write the next time you will be greeted by the last things that make you happy.

What can you do with this information? Lots of things. You can use it when you are feeling down for things to try to turn things around. When loved ones ask you what you might enjoy doing or what gift you may enjoy ideas are there. Looking for things to put in a gratitude journal? How about things that make you happy. Not to mention something else happens that makes life more of an enjoyable adventure rather than a arduous task. You become more aware of the things that make you happy when they occur.

I am blessed to have a lady in my life that has a very unique skill. When I am down and suddenly listing things that all suck in my life (Yes even self-improvement authors have these moments) she is quick to point out things that are going right, or could go right. This can seem slightly annoying when I just feel like complaining, but let me tell you it is an amazing blessing, because it gets me out of that state. I can only imagine doing this fun activity will only make her job easier. Another bonus I just thought of, if she reads my happy journal she will know lots of things that make her man happy.

So please will you try this activity with me? Share this with all of your friends. Let us all be happier in 2017!

LESSONS FROM A BEAR 

As you can see in the caption this is a picture of a bear who waved back to a camper after he waved to the bear on his way out of the campground. What can we get from this article? Bears can do cute things? Sure. Perhaps they can understand basic human communication? Maybe.

Here is what I got out of this picture and article. The bear in question is a Kodiak brown bear from Washington. I don’t know him personally, but they are reputed to be one of bears with the worst temperaments. In this picture however the bear looks quite friendly. In fact, he is acting quite friendly. By waving, or showing paw, he is showing bears can be rather friendly. Now I am not telling you to go up to a bear in the wild and start waving to see what happens. Some bears are not as friendly as this one. The same can be said for people. Still when we wave we become like this bear, friendly and approachable. So as you drive and even walk down the street share your smile or maybe even a wave. It will astound most, please some and confuse the rest. Either way you will be doing your part to make this world a far more enjoyable place. Feel free to even print out the picture of this bear to remind you to wave and be friendly and approachable.

Also feel free to share this post with everyone you know. The more people we get smiling and waving the friendlier the world will become for us all.

YOUR GIFT GIVING TROUBLES ARE OVER!!!

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We all have them, people on our holiday shopping list whom we don’t know what to get for them. Perhaps they are one of those people who have 3 of everything? Maybe it is a person who really has nothing and you wish you could give them the world? If you are anything like me. You to love to give a gift people will not only treasure, but will certainly make them happy.
So what can you do? Spend endless hours searching countless crowded stores often in terrible weather? I have the simple answer. What if I told you there was a gift you could give that would take a lot of the stress out of the holidays for anyone who received it? Not only that, but they would be filled with a peaceful happiness they may have never experienced in their life before. Every morning they woke up with a smile on their face and joy in their heart they would know it was you and your thoughtful gift that changed their life from that day forward.The best part? This gift will only set you back $10 but the rewards will continue for the rest of their lives. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. What can do all this? A copy of my book “A Happy Life for Busy People” available at www.amazon.com/author/neilpanosian with shipping times running long during the holiday, don’t delay! Order copies for everyone on your list today. Get them in time and I would be happy to sign them as well. There is no better gift than to fill one’s life with joy. They will be not only thanking you this year, but every year for years to come. Think of the stress that will save you. Truly the perfect gift for anyone. Don’t delay order today!