TIME TO ESCAPE

This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.

In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.

The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?

A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.

Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.

WHAT ARE YOU TAKING TIME FOR?

When I first read the above picture I had to take a second and appreciate how profound that actually is. Sure, we all like to vent and sometimes that is very helpful, but how far is too far when it comes to venting? If you find yourself spending more time finding ways to complain and share your pain and unpleasant emotion state with the rest of the world than actually working on a solution to change your situation, that is too far.

If you look at the above example we could learn a lot. The first thing, feel like sh*t, some people like to just stay in this state. I could never understand that. If I am upset, angry, sad or any other unpleasant emotion I will do anything to change that state.  If it doesn’t work, then I will do something else, if that doesn’t work… well you get the idea.

The second item is complaining. Again, venting is one thing, but dwelling on it is certainly another. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and speakers put it this way, “Don’t bother telling other people your problems. 80% don’t care and 20% are glad it’s you.” This sounds cynical, but it is true. Unless you think the person you are telling your problems to can help you, tell them something you are grateful for instead. It will help both of you feel better.

The third item, checking social media. If you are already in a bad mood adding the drama of others, or reading any unpleasant news would only serve to bring you down further. You would be better served visiting a motivational website, or reading a good book.

Let us look at the solutions they offer. Meditate. It can help you feel more relaxed and think clearly. It can offer a different perspective on your situation. It brings down your heart rate, releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals and creates an overall sense of well-being. Going hand in hand with meditating is writing in your journal. Anyone who knows me even a little knows how much of a fan of journaling I am. A journal is like a therapist that is always open and does not charge a great amount of money to listen to you. Much like meditating, it can offer clarity and a sense of release.

Writing down what you are grateful for and your goals can work in two amazing ways as well. Focusing on what you are grateful for can change your feeling from lack to abundance and from sadness to joy quicker than just about anything else I know. Goals will not only change your focus on whatever crappy situation you are in presently to the fabulous situation you want to be in, but will also get you moving. Instead of focusing on where you don’t want to be, which is feeling bad, you can focus on where you want to be. By doing so actions that will bring you closer to that will come in to focus as well. So, next time you find yourself tempted to do any of the first three things on the list, try instead to do one of the last three and notice the difference.

WHAT I LIVE BY

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This is, by far, my favorite quote. It is a lesson I find we should all live by. There are two ways I enjoy looking at this quote. The first one is about ‘walking the walk’. One of the worst things we can see is someone who professes one thing, but then does another. If you want your life to be filled with less drama, but you spend your afternoon writing on social media about how filled with drama everyone else is, you are only adding to that. If you want the world to have less drama, start with yourself. There is only one person that we can have complete control over in this world and that is ourselves.

That brings me to the second way in which I enjoy this quote, as sense of hope. This is why I am writing what I do today. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, it was at the depths of darkest despair that my journey of positivity started. I was facing many negative situations in my personal life and was desperately seeking a solution from outside of myself. Everywhere I looked it seemed as if I saw one negative thing after another. The newspaper was full of negative news meant to sell and shock. The evening news on television was more of the same. I saw posts on social media that were certainly less than inspiring.

All of this negativity everywhere was not only frustrating, but had me enraged at times. It may be how some of you feel. I felt angry at politicians and celebrities that seemed to have no regard for human decency. The media only reporting these stories caused more frustration. Seeing people treating each other with hate and prejudice made me so mad.

I wanted to change governments to be more responsible and caring towards the people they serve and less driven by profit. I wanted celebrities to use their fame and position for good. It would also be nice for more of them to respect the people that allowed them to achieve that status. I wanted more people to live in light and love and treat each other with respect and compassion.

Do I still want all of these things? Absolutely. The difference is I decided to be that change. I joined political causes I believe brought about unity and positive change. I made sure I did my best to be an example of treating people with respect and compassion. Daily I work to spread positive news and keep the negative things I hear to myself. I wished more men acted as gentleman, so I do my best to treat my lady as I want to see all men treat theirs. In every way I strive to lead by example. I realized the best thing I could do to reduce the amount of negative people in the world was not be one of them.

What change do you wish to see in the world? Ask yourself honestly, do you embody that change? It may seem like changing yourself is only a small change, but doing so has caused several big changes in my own life. First, by focusing on being positive and not adding to the negative, I have felt more positive myself. I have attracted into my life people who have the same goals and aspirations as I do. Changing yourself has a ripple effect that touches the lives of so many others. If every one of us focused solely on being the change we wished to see in the world, the world we see would change.

DON’T LET THE DEVIL LIE TO YOU

Ah the devil… Satan… whatever you care to call him. Some refer to this as negative side of the universe. Some just call it negativity. The name we attach to this power of evil is not important to what we are going to discuss today. What we are going to discuss is the lies we have all been fed. These come from all kinds of places, the media, coworkers, history, even well-meaning friends and family. Sometimes the voice seems to come from inside our own head.

The messages may seemed varied, but they all serve the same purpose, to lower our vibration. Whether it is politicians doing their best to convince you that a certain group of people are bad because of their skin color, religion, political belief or maybe even just based on where they live. Maybe the message is coming from the media telling you the world is going downhill fast. There is more violence than ever, there is more hate than ever. Convincing you that you have to live and walk in fear. Even our friends and family telling us not to get our hopes up about that dream we are saying or not to venture away from that seemingly safe career we have because we will fail if we try to do it on our own. They mean well, they are wanting us to be safe.

It is my belief these messages all come from the same source and are intended for the same purpose; to create a world full of fear and devoid of love. When we are divided against ourselves, when we are so busy finding reasons to hate each other it is difficult if not impossible to work together to solve the real problems that exist. Two people’s ideas put together may do a great deal to end world hunger or bring a cure to a certain disease, but if they are refusing to talk because they look different or worship or vote in a different way the world will remain darker.

I propose working together and finding the reasons to come together in a spirit of love and community to solve issues. This does not mean ignoring the problems that plague us all, but working together looking towards creating a solution instead of assigning blame. Is there more violence today or is the world better connected and we can hear about each and every incident? Are guns the problem or is it the promotion of lack of respect and sanctity of life promoted in movies, television, music and video games? I don’t pretend to know those answers. What I do know is this, by focusing on how terrible things are without an accent on finding solutions and healing the hearts and minds of people everywhere, we are letting the powers of darkness win.

So next time you hear the ‘devil’ whisper in your ear about how bad the world is, how truly bad people have become and how hopeless both you and your life are, next time you hear him whisper that you cannot withstand the storm. You need to face that demon, whether it is the media, a negative coworker or even a voice in your own head and reply with conviction that you indeed are the storm! You are a storm of love and compassion that will not be defeated. Even though you are hearing how scary and bad the world is, you will do your part to bring love and brighten a stranger’s day. When you hear about anger leading to violence and death, you can use it as a reminder to respond to hurt with empathy and compassion.

No matter what you hear about the world and people around you, the fact is that the power to change that world lies in each and every one of us. Your act of kindness and of love, no matter how small will have a ripple effect that will affect far more than you will ever know. What you may not think about is so will your anger and negative actions, even your apathy. Do not let the devil lie to you. It is you who are the storm, you who have the very power to change the world and we do so through love and compassion.

THE EASIEST WAY TO DECREASE NEGATIVITY IS INCREASE POSITIVITY

THE ESSENTIAL KEYS TO SUCCESS KEY #2

One of the things I am asked the most is “How can I quickly change my life?” Such a tricky question because your life up to this point has taken years to develop. Still, I understand we live in that nanosecond world where we expect change instantly. It is with this understanding that I have distilled my essential keys to success. These represent the pillars that most of my teachings are based on. Each one is a powerful belief that you can adapt into your life that will have a profound effect.

Trying to eliminate negative things from our life can be so difficult. Getting rid of that extra weight, getting rid of that addiction, and of course removing negative people from our lives. The problem is with the act of getting rid of something. Our brains are hard-wired against depriving ourselves. It is actually a survival mechanism. Consider it like an anti-starvation method.

This information makes for good trivia, but amounts to little unless we can find a way to use it. That brings us to the second key to success, the easiest way to decrease the negativity in our lives is to increase the positivity. In short, add something positive. One of the areas this is most useful, but certainly not the only one, is our social media. We all have that one person who sent us a friend request and we accepted with complete ignorance to the amount of drama or negativity that they bring with them. Sure, we could eliminate them, but that may only bring more drama especially if it is someone we see on a regular basis. I am specifically thinking of family and coworkers. There is usually an option to ‘hide’ the information we are exposed to from them. If we do this you know aunt Betty will ask if we have seen pictures of her latest medical procedure. It would seem this is a lose/lose situation, but there is a solution!

Increase your positivity. While you are on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site you use, search words like motivation, inspiration, happiness or even any subject you are interested in from fly fishing to makeup. Then, in addition to the usual political bickering and personal drama your page will be filled with inspiring quotes, subjects (or people) you are interested in and a host of other fabulous things. It will not only make dealing with the negative a lot easier, but also bring some joy to your day as well.

This works in many other fields as well. Trying to eat healthier? Try adding one healthy meal or snack a day. Notice the difference in how you feel. It will also fill you up so you may be less likely to have another tasty doughnut from Meijer. It works fairly well for that last one, trust me. Trying to get more physically fit? Try going for a walk after dinner. Maybe add a weekly bike ride. This will not only get the muscles stimulated you may find you enjoy it so much you will want to build upon it.

The takeaway is to add instead of fight against. It makes it easier to succeed and requires a lot less will.

WHICH GAME DO YOU HAVE?

Excellence, a habit

Excellence, a habit (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

I heard an interesting story about a philosophy Pat Riley the NBA coach and front office person shared about winning. The same thought can be applied to the even more challenging game of life. He discussed the difference between and excellent game, and game excellence. Which one are you striving for? In order to answer that question I guess we should begin by defining those two terms. Let’s tackle an excellent game. An excellent game means you train for a particular game and give it your all for that one game. Rivalry games come to mind in this example. How does this pertain to life? Think of a first date? You spend so much energy picking out the perfect place to go, or the perfect outfit. You make sure you have your best jokes at the ready, breath fresh and every possible emergency covered. What happens if you happen to have the good fortune of dating that person several years later? “What do you want to do? Order a pizza and stay home and watch television?” How about a job interview or first day on the job? You try to do your best on every little detail. Pay close attention to how you present yourself, the words and things you say at the office. A couple of years down the road? “Damn I don’t want to go to work, one more time with the snooze button” This happens to each and every one of us. Once we accomplish that goal such as having the affections of that attractive person we have been chasing, or finally getting that dream job. Once we have them we kind of let ourselves go. Not always intentionally. Perhaps we take things for granted. The funny thing is if you ask yourself honestly do you still deserve your partner as much as you did during that time you were trying to convince them that you were the one? Are you still the employee for of promise and hard work that company hired that day? If you are, congratulations to be sure! Chances are you mind find yourself lacking in a few areas. We all do. So what is game excellence and how does it differ? an excellent game focuses on massive action to accomplish a certain end and having a great game, which has its place. Game excellence is the constant daily focus on the small details daily to improve the player. How does this relate to life? At home, are you constantly listening to your partner to gather new information and compare it with what you already know about them in an effort to find new ways to make them happy and strengthen the relationship? At work, are you constantly looking for ways you can do your job better and save the company time and money? For my sports fan followers I compare that to watching film. Looking for ways to increase your value as a player or in real world terms as a person. So this weekend ask yourself “Am I shooting to have an excellent game, or to have game excellence? Am I looking to have a great night or to become a great person?” I certainly learned a lot from that interview I hope you did too.

NEW AVENUES TO EXPLORE…

Sometimes a path seems so obvious that you cannot believe you have not wandered down it before. Such is a new Facebook page dedicated to this very blog. In a never-ending search to reach more souls dedicated to and searching for ways to live life to the fullest and bring as much joy to their lives as well as the lives of others, I forgot the ever popular social media giant. So for those of you who may be looking for additional motivational and inspirational ideas, or just feel more comfortable reading a Facebook page I invite you to join our new page. It is simply Secret2anamazinglife. There you can interact by posting your own comments, pictures or inspirational stories. You can also view other followers advice on living the most joyful and positive life you can.

After accomplishing this it caused me to pause and ponder, which I must confess to doing quite often. I began to ask myself some very interesting questions. Unlike the ones I ask when I have had too much rum, these you may also want to ask yourself as well. I began to wonder what other paths have been presented to me that I may have overlooked. New places to meet friends? New places to donate my time and ideas? New places to help? So this week I am going to try to step out of the box and see what I might be missing. I encourage you to do the same. Much like our new online avenue to bring joy to others, where can we do the same offline? Take a look in your own life. Where/what/who would benefit from having a little more of you around. If you have any suggestions for us to share, feel free to leave them in the comments here or on our new page and thank you for all of your support!