MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR PROPERTY

This is not a post about real estate. It is not a post about home ownership. It is a post about some property that you own that you could be making money off of right now and be living in soon if that is your desire. How can I say that when I don’t even know you? Each one of us own this kind of property, some more than others, but we all own some. Some are better developers than others, but we all can grow and develop our property as well.

The property I am talking about today is intellectual property. In other words, what is in your head. You have all heard me advocate that everyone should write a book. In case you haven’t, well, there it is. I think we all have a story inside of us. Before you start comparing yourself to Herman Melville or Ernest Hemingway, that is not necessarily the kind of writing I am talking about. Plus, to be honest, I am not a fan of either of those gents. What I mean is your own personal story. Do you have a subject you are interested in? There is somebody out there eager to hear about anything. That should be apparent from the number of views that flying cat toaster video got on YouTube. Whether your interest is computers or aardvarks someone wants to hear about it.

One of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson, wrote about a walk he took in the woods and it ended up becoming a best seller. I highly recommend the audio book for long trips. You will not be disappointed. Maybe you have an adventure? People write about their high school and college days and go on to sell many copies. Do you have a lot of experience working in a certain industry? Think of all the people in that industry who could relate and would love to hear your tale.

In an age where your job could be replaced by a computer at any moment, having a book to sell can offer another source of income. Once a book is written, the only job is to market it. You do not have to rewrite the book each and every time you sell one. Being able to call yourself a ‘published author’ can add something extra to that resume should you be looking. With Amazon and lots of other self-publishing platforms, getting your story out there can be easier today then it ever was.

Writing a book is not just about money, or having a back up source of income. Sharing our stories allows us to help people who just may need what we have inside of us. Your story about the years you worked at Starbucks may just be what the stressed out barista needs to read. It may also bring to light some of the struggles employees at coffee shops go through so that customers may better understand and empathize. Reading books on subjects we know little to nothing about will help us expand our horizons. I know very little about farming, but reading a book could give me a glimpse into what is all involved in the industry. This is of some interest to me because a goodly amount of my family were farmers.

Here are two more quick reasons to write a book. Writing a book also leaves a legacy. Want to become immortal? Write a book. Your story will be kept alive long after you are gone. Writing a book also allows you to explore and live in your passion. This is great if you have an especially stressful day job. Coming home to spend an hour engaged in recording thoughts on your favorite subject can offer a great release. You will leave knowing and feeling you have a purpose greater than the 9 to 5.

Please consider making good use of your intellectual property. What the world needs more of is for people to tell their story. If you need advice from another author I am always right here to advise and encourage.

3 LEVELS YOU MUST MASTER

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What you are about to read will change your life. That is not hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration. If you are to really understand what I am about to share with you it will transform the way you view the world. It applies, and can be utilized in every area of your life. Personally, I am just beginning to grasp the power and magnitude of what I am about to share with you. Since coming across this knowledge only a short time ago, it has revolutionized how I write and teach.

There are three levels to every person. You, me, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa all have three levels. How we use and become aware of these three levels will affect every area of our lives. Want to be a great parent? There are three levels to that. Want to get healthy? Three levels there too. Want to have a great relationship? Three levels of love. I am going to share with you what these three levels are, how I came across this information and then we are going to scratch the surface of how we can put this to use to transform our lives. I say ‘scratch the surface’ because I could write and entire book on this subject. I also say that because I am only beginning to work with this information and I am continuing to learn and find new and exciting applications for it daily.

Without any more build up, here are the three levels you, me and the rest of the world share.

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional/Spiritual

This may not sound too profound at first, but stick with me and I think you will become as excited as I am.

First, allow me to share with you how I came to understand this principle. On a Wednesday at my Post Office job I had a very physical day. Sadly, that night I had to work as a DJ as well. Fortunately for me, my lovely lady was kind enough to put together a dinner as I took an hour nap. I slept well the physical nature of the work was exhausting. Thursday work at the Post Office was slightly less physical. I left and went to write and work on my upcoming book. I tried to do some self editing, which I enjoy slightly more than getting a root canal. I also created and worked on some posts for this website. I came home feeling even more tired than the night before. The following day, Friday, I planned to have a nice relaxing day. I arrived at work only to be told my job was looking at being eliminated. Something the Post Office seems to like to do rather often. I was informed by a coworker that not only was this the case, but the boss had also called into question my work ethic. Which, next to my integrity, is one of the most important things to me. You can imagine how frustrated, disappointed, and to be quite honest angry I was feeling. I few hours later the boss returned from lunch and I asked if I could speak with him. Knowing the discussion he had with our coworker he informed me that he expected to talk with me. To make a long story short, he cleared up that both issues were not at all true. My job was safe, for the time being, and he appreciated the job I did. You can imagine the change in emotions then. I went to back feeling relief, gratitude and a sense of pride in my work. I also felt something else – exhausted!!!

While pushing around a pallet jack, I stopped to share what I noticed with a coworker who happened to be standing there. I inquired whether she had noticed you can be tired in three totally different ways, physically, mentally, and emotionally or spiritually. Being that she is what we could safely say as not the most self-aware person, she stared and said, “Umm… I guess so.” Being that I was just kind of thinking out loud, I nodded and moved on.

As I was letting this information bounce around in my head as I worked, one of the benefits of having a job that does not tax me to mentally, a quote suddenly came to mind.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Suddenly, the light bulb started to glow. I would say it lit up, but sometimes information takes a moment to develop in my brain. I thought to myself, “If there are three forms of exhaustion, there must be three ways to energize!” This simple thought has began to change my life. Here is what I came up with. Let us say you are having a day where you are sleep walking through everything you do. You could stop at your local Starbucks and grab a double espresso, the caffeine would give you a little boost. If you are anything like me, there are days where I swear my body laughs at my feeble attempts to bring it to life. Perhaps that same day you come across an article on a subject that really interests you, or you have a conversation with a friend about a project you are working on. Now you are mentally stimulated. The body will more than likely come along for the ride. Here is where things get interesting to me. If, on this day of working with an energy deficit, you come home to find your spouse has surprised you with tokens of affection you totally did not expect. Maybe a friend calls you to tell you how much they appreciate you. Suddenly, your soul is on fire! Nothing can top that. Sleep? Who needs it.

This applies to more than energy. Trying to lose weight? If you just try to eat better foods (Physical) your chances of success are slim to none. If you study the effects of being overweight (mental) such as less years in your life, complications that can arise as you age, your motivation will be better. If you really want to improve your odds of success, you may want to look at your children or grandchildren and realize you might not see what they will become in life. Maybe you will think about how much you will miss doing with them while you are here because you will not be able to keep up with them physically. This will cause a powerful emotional response. Your motivation then becomes part of your spirit. When that happens, you will change your thinking (mental) and change your actions (physical)

This works for healing too. Let us say you were in a car accident. Your cuts, scraps and bruises will heal. It may take a while for you to remember that your odds on being in another accident are rather slim. Still, in a traffic jam it may take you a while not to have your heart race and your nerves be on edge.

There are so many more areas of life and examples we could touch on, but I wanted to introduce you to this principle and allow you to begin to work with it in your own life. I would be elated to hear what areas you can think of where you could use the knowledge of the three levels and how you can put what we are learning into practice.

HOW A HICCUP HELPED MY WRITING

As an author, this statement in the picture is true far more often than I care for it to be. This evening is a fine example. Sitting at Starbucks trying to begin the final stretch in what seems to be the never-ending book, I was drawing a blank. Deciding on trying my hand at self-editing, which will hopefully allow the publisher to return the manuscript back to me with less red than black, I found myself struggling to stay awake.

There must be a special place in heaven for editors. I enjoying coming up with content that is not only useful, but hopefully somewhat entertaining. Spelling all of the words I am using correctly, not so much. Doing this for almost an hour, my brain had reached its breaking point.

Why can’t I seem to break through this wall between my great ideas and my keyboard? It seemed the more I tried, the higher the wall became. Then it happened. An unlikely event that would get me back on track. A hiccup. One of the two ladies sitting across from me developed the hiccups. Something that can certainly draw attention to yourself in a public setting. I glanced up, partly to make sure the lady was ok and mostly because it happened to be one of the most unique hiccups I have ever heard. The young lady excused herself fearing she may have disturbed me. Little did she know I was disturbed already. I assured her it did not phase me.

A few moments later her and the lady sitting next to her were sharing a snack. To say their opinions on the quality of the snack differed would be an extreme understatement. The second lady smiled and compared the flavor to dried cranberries. The first lady, the one with the hiccups grabbed her water in a vain attempt to wash whatever flavor still remained of the bite she had consumed. This drew the amusement of the second lady and laughter quickly ensued. Then they both apologized fearing they had broke my concentration.

Glad to be distracted from the task of editing, and always happy to share what I am working on, I explained what I was doing. They inquired as to what kind of books I write. A brief, but pleasant discussion on the topic of self-improvement occurred and we all went back to the tasks in which we were previously engaged.

That little break, and short conversation seemed to open a small crack in the wall. Newly inspired I approached the refinement of my literary work with a far less stressful demeanor. When you look for and appreciate everything in life, it all becomes a blessing. Even something as simple as a hiccup can create a feeling of gratitude.

Next time you find yourself creatively frustrated, take a step back. Laugh a little. Perhaps even reminding yourself why you are doing what you are currently working on will refresh you and give you a new sense of purpose.

MY MOST IRONIC POST YET

Going into the new year a lot of us think of things we would like to change about ourselves or our lives. If you follow my work at all one of the axioms I base my work on is that it is far more productive and successful to add positive things to your life, than to work on removing negative. Just how the brain is wired. Recently, I sat down with Margie and discussed things I would like to add to my life in the coming year. This is where this post becomes ironic.

I told Margie there are three things I would like to get better at in 2018. I would like to spend more time both reading and writing, I would like to spend more time in nature (hiking, camping or even just sitting), lastly, I would like to spend more time just thinking.  When composing my last book it was often just sitting in a park watching the birds, or Starbucks sipping a coffee pondering life’s great mysteries that some of my best ideas came to me. As any supportive spouse would do, Margie simply replied (she has a gift of keeping things simple which is very helpful dating someone like myself) “Well you should do that then.”

In an effort to quickly make use of this sentiment of hers before it changed I decided to do that today. I had a survey I had to complete, then I was just going to relax and think. The advantages of this is that it engages your subconscious mind to begin thinking about what you are pondering. This is especially useful if you are spending time on things like worthwhile goals you are aspiring to, ways in which you can be of more service to your world, or even just how to make someone’s day brighter. What happens is your subconscious mind will begin to think of this very thing, and continue to do so in the background while you go about your day. Then, at what seems like an random moment, an idea will pop in your head that is a solution to what you had been pondering. This works especially well if you are an author.

Do you see my dilemma with this? As this idea occurred to me, another voice in my head spoke up. It never amazes me how many there seems to be in there. This voice said, “You should write a blog and let everyone else know this.” Which, as you can tell by what you are reading I decided to follow.

As ironic as writing about taking time away from writing is, it brought to like another principle I spoke about at my last author symposium. When we use our brains the in the same fashion over and over, like finding daily things to be grateful for, we begin to train them to do so on their own. Before long, even if it is subconsciously, the voices in our head (assuming you have more than one like myself) will begin to ask, “What can we be grateful for?” Same holds true with me being diligent in my writing and spending over twenty years looking for ways to improve life and then sharing them with others.

My message for you hear is to take time to just think, but know it may be a struggle with yourself at first. I am going to prepare to DJ now, so I will continue to work on carving away time to think again tomorrow. Have a great week my friends!

IF IT ISN’T 1 THING…

Here I sit at Starbucks writing my second book (and presently this blog post). You will notice a copy of my first book on the right, and a double espresso and a green tea on the left. In addition there is a card from my lovely lady that encourages me. I keep in in my keyboard so the first thing that enters my mind as I begin to write is the wonderful lady I have at home. It also helps me stay connected with her as writing, even in a crowded coffee shop, is a fairly solitary endeavor.

This is not a story about coffee, or even the wonderful lady I have in my life…well…kind of. The title of the book I am working on is called Living the Dream. It has been in the works for roughly 3 years. A good portion of it is complete, but there still seems to be some work to do. Allow me to share with you something I have learned in the creation of this book. One of the biggest secrets to living the dream is understanding you already do. What on earth does that mean? Look at my set up, I have a laptop, coffee, tea, a woman who loves me and I am working on my dream of helping to inspire the world. All of this is a dream come true.

Let us spin this a different way. It may also be said after two decades in the self-improvement field which has included writing a book, writing posts on a website five days a week for over 5 years, appearances on several podcasts and radio and television shows, book signings, author festivals and live seminars. After all of this I am still not close to where I want to be. This is all true as well and I must confess is my outlook more often than it should be.

The secret is looking at life the first way. At this point you may very well be thinking “Neil, this sounds like one of those ‘glass half full’ speeches!” In a way you would be right. Both situations are true, but depending on which one we focus on life has an entirely different feeling and flavor. When we focus on what we have we tend to feel more abundant and joyful. When we focus on what we lack we feel depressed and poor. A successful life is about feeling good. If you find yourself thinking it is more about the fancy cars, big house and large bank account you are only partly right. Why do we want those things after all? It is for the feelings they will give us. The fancy cars may make us feel powerful, the big house significant and the large bank account may give us a sense of freedom or at the very least security. There is nothing wrong with the goal of having all of those, but what if you could work on developing the feelings they would give you while you pursue them.

Think of this, if your emotional well-being is tied to material objects or situations than it can disappear as quick as it came. Maybe even quicker. While you are saving up for the fancy car and big house perhaps you can begin to feel significant by creating joy in the lives of others. While looking to better yourself financially, find security in the relationships of your family and friends. What good are all of the ‘things’ in life if by the time you have them you have no peace and joy in your heart to enjoy them?

By all means write down your goals. Get an image of that car or house. Start your vision board to help create that reality. It will keep you moving forward and give purpose to your life. While you are doing that do not forget to find joy in the process and stay grateful for that which you do have. We spend most of our lives in the journey if we can enjoy that it makes the destinations that much more rewarding when we get there.

WE ARE LIVING MIRACLES

This is my friend Kyle and his girlfriend Jamie. Today is Kyle’s birthday. That is not the only reason I bring him to your attention today. Today is a day he will be celebrated by family and friends. They will celebrate his birth, his coming into this world. He will be the one receiving the material gifts, but the simple fact he is being thought of by so many others speaks to the fact of what a gift his life has been to them.

One of Kyle’s best traits is his humility. He may not think his life makes a great deal of difference in the grand scheme of the world. This is like many of us. We often fail to understand how the simple positive things we do affect the lives of others. Kyle, is a prime example. He is a barista at the local coffee shop I often write at. There are quite a few others that work with Kyle, but none that have his positive outlook and demeanor. His compassion for, and attitude towards his customers is second to none.

Being a friendly barista may not seem like something that can change the world, and I know Kyle may not think so, but to me, nothing is further from the truth. What we never know is the story of the people in front of us. Even close friends may not share everything that is on their mind or in their hearts. Imagine a complete stranger in a coffee shop.

How much is a positive word worth to you? How much would a smile affect you if you were having a bad day? They are priceless. You cannot buy genuine caring no matter how much money you have. Kyle gives this freely. He genuinely cares about his fellow man. In the course of career I cannot begin to imagine how many smiles he has brought to the faces of his customers and how much joy he has put in the hearts of those he has met. It would not surprise me if he has directly, or indirectly saved the lives of people who may have came in feeling their lives did not matter. He did all of this by simply being himself.

To be sure Kyle has days when he does not live up to his own expectations, as we all do. I had the honor of interviewing him and Jamie for an upcoming book of mine and learned that one of the reasons they are perfect for each other, is they realize each other is not perfect. The next time Kyle is feeling down, or does something to disappoint himself or others I hope he remembers what a gift his life is and how many miracles he has created simply by sharing the love he has for his fellow man.

Yes, today is Kyle’s birthday and we are celebrating his birth and life, but we only do so because of the difference it has made in our lives. I want to take a second to wish this fine example of a human being the happiest of birthdays followed by many more.

I encourage all of you to tag someone in this post that you feel creates miracles in the lives of others. Let them know what a difference they make.

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.