TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

This is me, reading at Starbucks. Usually when I’m here I am busy writing these blogs, working on my next book or enjoying the company of good friends.

Not on this day though. No, I was enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin and the great book we spoke about yesterday. The great thing about doing this is that in addition to being very relaxing, it also helps the time I’m working.

When you relax it gives your brain a chance to straighten everything out. That way when you focus again, your focus will be so much better and your productivity will be that much better!

So don’t feel guilty taking time to relax. In fact, know by doing so you will be making your work time even more productive!

WE ARE ALL TEACHERS

Recently, as in moments ago, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, Kenny, about him becoming a history teacher. I am a big fan of history so we had a very good conversation about learning from history and the cyclical nature of history. Kenny has a great love of people and a terrific personality. The fact that he will be in charge of educating our youth fills me with both great excitement and great joy.

I recall thinking to myself “I wish all the great people I know would become teachers”. No sooner had that thought popped into my crowded head then it was followed by another.  “We are all teachers”. If you are a supervisor at work, perhaps a parent at home you are teaching. We teach our friends, our families and even those we just come in contact with. How and what we teach them depends on the situation and a great deal on us.

So how do we teach and what on earth are we teaching? We teach in many ways. There is of course the direct way of telling and showing people how to do things we know. Trust me, you know a lot more than you think. The other day I had to help someone order at Starbucks using all of their crazy lingo. We also teach in subtle ways. We teach by example. Children learn a great deal by watching their parents, but it is not limited to children. We can learn by watching and listening to our spouses during a disagreement. They are showing us what bothers then and how they need to be loved. How soon we get that lesson will determine how many of these ‘teaching opportunities’ we will have to go through. That’s not just for spouses either. It holds true for friends and coworkers alike. When you fail a class, you have to retake it. The same holds true for life. If we don’t learn from a situation we are doomed to repeat it.

Speaking of coworkers and spouses, mine happens to be one in the same. She has thought me the skills I needed to go from being a bartender to a dj. Hopefully along the way I brought something new to the table that she might have learned.

The takeaway is this,  in life we are all students and we are all teachers. I think there is a moral obligation to pass along what we know to others. If we do not that knowledge becomes useless. By doing so we often sharpen our own knowledge and learn something new. The other night I watched my lady convey the finer aspects of the law of attraction to her son and our good friend. In doing so I think she reminded herself of a lot of that knowledge.

So learn all you can, and pass along what you do learn!

HOW THIS MAN CHANGES THE WORLD AND HOW YOU CAN TOO

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This is my friend Kyle. As you may be able to tell he works at one of the Starbucks I frequent. So how does this barista change the world? How can one man serving coffee change the entire world? More to the point what lesson can we take from him that can allow us to do the same? Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more.

Here is one great thing about Kyle, his customer service may be second to none. So does that change the world? In short, yes. Not only does he craft amazing beverages, one of which I am currently enjoying, but he does it with a flair and a kindness far beyond what is asked and expected of him. This is just how Kyle is. He has a good heart and likes to leave people with both a smile and a great drink.

So how does being so fun and friendly change the world? The countless number of people that flow through this Starbucks come in all races, shapes and with different stories. Some may be having a great day already and Kyle’s service may just put them over the top. Some may be on the verge of a bad day and having the pleasure of being served by him may turn their day into a great one. Still, the most important thing is there are people who certainly come in contact with Kyle who are having a bad day. They may even be having the worst day they have had. Seeing how much the local employee at the coffee shop cares for them and their order may go a long way into changing their state. They will then be able to react better to those they encounter. It is a ripple effect. Kyle never knows how much his kindness may affect people, and that is not why he does it. Still it has a ripple effect that blesses the lives of a great many people. It may even save the lives of a few who think nobody cares.

So what can Kyle teach us about changing the world? Treat everyone we come in contact with as if they were the most important person in the world. We do this for two reasons. One, to that person they are the most important person in the world and because that is how we should treat each other. Now when we do this that person may go home and be more understanding with their spouse or children. They may pass along this kindness to others. Imagine a world full of this? Does this sound like a fantasy? It doesn’t have to be. A kind world starts with one person at a time, and that person is us. So if you want to change the world for the better the simplest thing you can do is treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Share an encouraging word, a smile and some positive vibes. It not only will brighten their day, but you never know who else it will go on to effect. Be like Kyle, change the world

Feel free to share this post as well as any stories you may have of people you know who change the world.

ANOTHER BENEFIT OF FOCUS

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Yesterday we talked about the importance of focus. Here is a picture of me from last Friday. Why does me sitting in front of a DJ board have to do with focus? Just about everything. Let me explain. I normally DJ with my lovely lady who has been doing just such a thing for over 15 years. When something goes crazy, she knows what button to push, or what plug may be lose. On this evening she had to focus on her goal of creating designer cakes which is another one of her amazing talents. So there I was alone for the first time as a DJ. If I had focused on everything that could go wrong and how much I still have to learn that evening would have been a disaster, but I decided to focus on what I did have and what was working for me. The owner of the bar is also a DJ and could help if I needed. My lady was only a phone call away. The people that attend our shows are very understanding if I were to make a mistake.

When I tell people about looking at what is working instead of what is not I hear a lot of things about living in a fantasy world, or not admitting things are wrong. That is not at all what this is about. It is important to realize what is not working so you can be on the lookout for a solution. Just don’t live there. Once we know what is not right we can begin to work on making it right and begin to look for what is working. We do not have to focus on how terrible things are and what we lack, when all of us, no matter what our situation is, has so much. So is this a fantasy world? No. There is nothing less true about what is working than what is not.

This has more to do with feeling. Seeing what is both bad and good in any situation and choosing to focus on the good not only helps you feel better and enjoy your life more, but also helps you see solutions better and accomplish more. Why? Let me ask you when are you more productive when you are happy or when you are sad?

Here are two examples to prove this theory and an experiment you can try to prove this to yourself. Recently I dislocated my shoulder. I had to miss a few days of work. My job gave me a lot of grief. I have to ask for help doing the most basic activities. If I focus on this, which does happen on occasion, I feel frustrated. I really start to dislike both my job and my boss who has been not very understanding. In that same breath, that feeling has me focused on completing my schooling and moving forward with that. It has me realizing how many great people around me who are willing to help me with all of my needs. Both of those are equally real. Looking at my current situation either way would be true, but one feels a hell of a lot better. That is a big difference between living a life that feels great and one that feels terrible.

Ok, one more example and you can try this yourself with your current situation. Look around and find everything about your situation that sucks. I am writing to you from Starbucks. The door keeps opening because people are coming in and out. It is loud and a bit hard to concentrate. The coffee is rather pricy. They are a corporate giant that can put some small coffee shops out of business. These are all true. If I were to focus on this I would be having a rather uninspired time here. Ok, now look at your situation and find everything good about it. In my case, they have free internet I can use without having to pay for it. The have a reward program where every 12th drink is free. With my reward card I can get a refill on my high quality coffee for less than a dollar. The people who work here including my friend Kenny are both helpful and amazing. They are a corporate giant allowing them to offer these things at many locations which are always close to where I am.

Both of those views are true. One feels good and helps me enjoy life, the other does not. Try it yourself in your current situation.

JAMES AND A CUP OF COFFEE

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Here is my current work situation,  a small table in the corner of a local Starbucks. I was deep in thought with the current post I was writing for this site when an interesting thing happened. A gentleman approached me and asked me if I could help him fix the Facebook messenger on his phone. My knowledge of technology does not rank near the top of the pile, but I told him to go into his app setting and try updating them. A few minutes later I was working away and the same kind gentleman came over to thank me and let me know that it worked. There was something in his approach and genuine sincerity that made his interruptions a pleasure. So as I watched him return to his seat a few tables away I felt the urge to share with him this site. What happened next is proof you should listen to your hunches. I went over there and give him my card. He thanked me and explained he could really use some motivation because in addition to being recently divorced he had just returned from a trip to Syria, where he was from, in which he was lucky to get out of the country. He explained to me the trouble was while he was there he was under suspicion because he was an American citizen. So he finally returns and guess what happens when a person of the Muslim faith returns from Syria? Yes again suspicion. He explained how frustrated he felt because he loved both countries and yet both of them were suspicious of him. We went on discussing our beliefs on compassion and life philosophy. We exchanged phone numbers and he even mentioned he might have an idea for my next book. All of this because I had the good fortune of helping a gentleman with his cell phone issues and trusting my hunches. There are many lessons that can be taken away from this, but I will leave today’s lessons up to your interpretation.

YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION

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This is a picture of me relaxing in the sun at starbucks listening to Bob Marley. By the time you read this i will have been on vacation for about four days from my day job. I have purchased a new laptop to work on completing my second book, held an interview for said book, shot videos for my YouTube channel, and wrote several blogs including this one. Why am I working so hard on vacation? Because I have discovered my passion. To me this isn’t work at all. You know the old saying “if you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well i would like to tweak that a little “if you find your passion, you won’t mind working every day of your life”
All that being said, here is the point I’m making today. Even though I love helping others see the joy and beauty both in themselves and the world around them.  In fact,that is my life’s mission. So what will i do after my iced green tea is goon? In short,  not a damn thing! Wait!  What? Yes, even though I live to do what I do I’m taking the day to recharge. I mention this because I’m addition to meditating you need to take a day off once in a while. Those who know me personally know how hard this is for me to do. Still if you’re running on empty how much can you give to others? If you have set goals and deadlines taking a break can actually help the brain be more productive when you return.  I have had some of my best ideas while on vacation. Hmm.. Maybe i should take more? So you have my permission, take some time for yourself just remember to pay attention and be ready when duty calls

LOVE YOU LIKE A RITUAL..

Ok, this is actually a title of a song I really like, but has a lot to do with today’s topic. One of the questions I am asked frequently is “Well what do YOU do that makes you so happy all of the time” I am always a bit nervous at answering this one, because sometimes if I tell people and they try it and it does not work, two terrible things happen. One, they begin to doubt the information they receive here or from me. They also may begin to question whether there are really things they can do to increase their passion and joy in life. Two, they think they have done something wrong or worse yet that they have failed somehow, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that happiness is not a one size fits all production. What makes me happy may not make you happy for whatever reason. Being surrounded by beautiful women and rum makes me happy, some of my friends may not share this method of happiness. Although I do encourage everybody to try it. Fortunately in my life both things are in ample supply, but alas we are back to the gratitude blog again.

To get back to today’s topic, rituals. This is something that occurred to me is something that I do daily that everyone can do and customize to their liking. Develop a daily ‘happiness ritual’ on the surface this may sound a bit goofy, I know it does to me. So much so that I wasn’t even aware I had several that I do that seem to work well. To avoid further complicating a simple issue let me just give you a few examples. there are a few things I noticed that I do on a daily basis. When somebody asks me how I am doing my answer is never “ok, how are you” or even “pretty good thanks for asking” no if someone is kind enough to inquire as to my daily well-being they are usually greeted with a “Legendary!” or “Living the dream” when you change your answer to that imagine what that is telling your subconscious mind? Not to mention saying and hearing the words themselves. When I stop at Starbucks for a morning coffee I usually toast the lady and say “Here’s to an amazing day” although I wouldn’t suggest sipping it right away, those cups are really hot! You do not have to use the above examples if they sound too crazy for you. After all I am a little different from most. Are there things you do every day? Shower I hope? why not say to yourself, or out loud, “here’s to a clean start” When you get in the car and turn the key maybe have the thought, or even say the words “Driving into my successful future” It doesn’t have to be sane to be a good one. Every morning I drive by a field of cows and I always say “have a great day girls” If anybody was with me they may think I am nuts, and quite frankly it does make me question my own sanity, but do you know what else it does? Make me smile! So develop your own daily ritual. Find something you do that you can turn into a daily smile. If you involve another person…cow…horse or something else even better! Rituals are an important part of any culture, what not make them an important part of your day?