Welcome to post number 1000 on Secret2anamazinglife.com. I never imagined I would get here. It has been many countless hours of reading, research and writing to get there. This has been time away from sleeping, relaxing and most importantly time with those I love. Writing happens to be one of the more solitary professions.
As I reflect on the time that has passed since the beginning of the website you are reading, I am amazed on how much my life has changed. I am also amazed at how much of my life was wasted. Wasted on negative emotions such as worry, anger, frustration. Don’t get me wrong, all emotions have their place and can be useful for personal growth and learning. It is when we do not use those emotions in a healthy manner and instead stay in a negative state that we are quite honestly wasting our lives away.
In this milestone post, we are going to change our life in 60 seconds. I suggest writing or printing out the above quote. You would be amazed at how much a printed reminder can turn our thinking around. I don’t expect you to trust me on this one. Prove it to yourself. Print this quote out, or write it in some colorful ink and place it somewhere you will see it several times a day. Put it in the car, by the coffee maker or across from the toilet. Wherever it is you will see it and read it.
What next? Begin to try to be in a state of complete joy for just 60 seconds. How do you do this? That is a personal choice. Look at a picture of your spouse…or your dog…or the spouse or dog you wish you had. Read a funny joke. Remember a great moment you had with a friend. Think of an upcoming vacation you have planned. If you are reading this on the toilet think of how good you are feeling now. Just stay in joy for 60 seconds. The more often we do this the more our lives will improve. Joy attracts Joy. Without going to much into the law of attraction, like attracts like so it will do you good to feel as good as much as possible.
The real challenge is being able to do this when you find yourself in a challenging situation. That will come in time. For right now just experience joy 60 seconds at a time. These minute-long mental vacations will change your life! It will all happen in 60 seconds.
On a personal note, it gives me great happiness to celebrate 1000 posts with you and I look forward to sharing ideas, inspiration and motivation in the next 1000! This will be something that will give me many 60 seconds of happiness. From the bottom of my heart, I want to send a big thank you to those of you who both read and support my efforts!
It is the end of the first week of 2019. As I write this I am sitting in a local Starbucks watching a young lady pace back and forth as she waits for her coffee. The line for the drive-thru was quite extensive. Everywhere people are in a hurry to get what they need and where they are going. I must confess to falling victim to this myself from time to time. The question is when do we stop? You need to get your coffee…on the way to work, let us say. Then you hurry to work to be on time, an issue I seem to have more often than I would like. When you arrive at work you are in a hurry to have the work day end and be on your way home. During the ride home you are in a hurry to just get home so you can relax. Once at home, then we relax right? We hurry to make dinner so we could catch our favorite program, hurry through our household chores so we can finally get to bed and get some well deserved rest. When, at last, we finally find ourselves between the sheets our minds are still racing with thoughts of all we have to do tomorrow. It seems we just drift off into blissful slumber when the alarm clock beckons us to do it all again.
I don’t know about you, but I feel tired just reading that paragraph. The ironic thing about this whole mess is that we do it to ourselves. Time, as Einstein reminded us, is just a stubborn illusion. A better way to explain that is a thought I read on the bottom of a sales ad. how long 3 minutes is depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on. Of course, in at least one of those situations you are still in a hurry. Back to our example of the typical work day. It would seem the adult mind always races to what is next. While it is good to have a goal in mind and be focused on where you are going, it can certainly lead to increased sense of stress and anxiety.
Another thing we do that can leave us chasing time is multitasking. While it may seem like trying to accomplish as many things at once would leave us with more time, the opposite is generally true. The list of tasks in life is always growing and the only thing doing multiple things at once does is diminish the quality of job that we do on each task. It can leave us feeling overwhelmed and looking to ‘catch up’.
What is the solution for all of this? SLOW DOWN. The best way to slow down is to work on being present. Keeping our focus on what we are doing can help us appreciate all that is good about each moment. It will also help us feel less rushed. I know it may seem contrary to think that doing only one thing at a time will lead to more time, but it can. First of all, you do a better job by focusing on one thing at a time. This reduces the amount of time you have to redo things or correct mistakes. By focusing on one thing at a time you decrease the time each task takes. Not to mention it reduces the stress of overwhelm. Less stressed people are more productive people.
There are many ways in which we can learn the art of being present. There is one of my personal favorites, meditation. There are tons of free apps available. Some take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. There are also guided meditation videos on YouTube as well as available on CD. All you have to do is pop on a pair of headphones and relax away. You will emerge from that experience refreshed on more centered.
Another source of teaching on how to be present are children and animals. When we were young, we were much better at being able to appreciate the moment. A child could be lost in a moment of play for hours. As they grow older we teach them not to daydream and to focus on what needs to be done. Turning them into stressed out smaller versions of ourselves. Do yourself a favor and get lost in a moment of play yourself. Better yet, bring along a child to show you how it is done. Animals are the other half of this equation. Pet owners are generally less stressed than their pet-free counterparts. In addition to the love animals give us, they also remind, and sometimes force us to take moments to pause and totally live in the moment. I have watched a dog smell a tree for several minutes, every surface just to get the full story. While I wouldn’t recommend doing this as the neighbors may begin to refer to you as “That neighbor who smells trees” just taking a moment to fully appreciate what we are engaged in will reduce our stress and give us more time.
All of us have things in life that we don’t like to do. Cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, waking up early on our day off. Life is full of things that drain our happiness as well as our energy. The crazy thing is we really drag these items out. I am not necessarily talking about the actual act of doing them, although in some cases that might happen too. What I mean is we start dreading them long before we actually begin them. In the course of doing them often we can spend as much time complaining as we do acting. If we don’t do so out loud, we often spend countless moments cursing under our breath.
What I am suggesting? Certainly not whistling and dancing with one hand, toilet brush in the other? Not exactly, but if you can find a way to do that let me know. What I am advocating is striving for a little balance. We can do this in two ways. First, spend time every day on something you enjoy. Whether that is eating a Kit Kat or a taco. Maybe it is sitting down to a nice relaxing cup of coffee or tea. Perhaps listening to your favorite music? Whatever your moment of bliss is, make sure to schedule it. When you do, spend a few minutes getting excited about it before you actually begin. Think about how good that Kit Kat will taste, or imagine what toppings you will get on your taco. Hard shell, soft shell or both? Think about the scent of the coffee brewing or the feel of the warm liquid as you sip it. Then pay attention as you prepare the activity. Get excited as you brew the coffee. Smell the tea bag as you open it.
Lastly, be present while you are engaged in the activity. I can’t recall the times I have been looking forward to a particular dinner and I am half way through before I really slow down to enjoy the taste. With the delicious meals Margie creates that is about as close to a sin as you can get. Slow down and pay close attention to every detail of happiness. Why not? Enjoy it to the fullest. Use as many of your senses as you can. Feel the chocolate melt in your mouth as you eat the Kit Kat. Hear the crunch as you bite into it. Smell the chocolate. Enjoy the look of the perfectly formed wafers. Taste all the mix of flavors with each bite.
Second, try if you can, to incorporate some things that make you happy into some of the activities you dread. Of course you shouldn’t have a Kit Kat in hand and a toilet brush in the other. The potential for disaster certainly looms in that one. If you can however turn up some great music while you work, why not? Maybe treat yourself to a Kit Kat or taco after you finish cleaning the bathroom. I would, however, recommend washing your hands. It may even give you a little joy in what otherwise would be an arduous task.
Let us all schedule some bliss in our day. When we do let us make full use of it. Drink every last drop of joy and happiness out of the situation. Be totally present and treat it as a sort of mini vacation if you can. I would be elated to learn some of your moments of bliss. What activities bring joy into your life? Share them in the comments below!
How many times do we find ourselves grasping to hit the snooze button one more time in hopes for a few more minutes of blissful slumber? I can’t count the cold Wisconsin winter days I ask myself why I am leaving a warm bed and a hot lady to face the prospect of another day at work. Even while typing these words and reflecting upon these events I felt my energy start to drain.
How can we make sure we wake up ready to face the day? Two words – passion and purpose. Being involved in something that stirs your heart and engages your mind will give you much more motivation than even your favorite cup of Jamaican blue mountain coffee. If you don’t want to shell out the money for such amazing coffee then you are going to have to take my word for this.
If you find yourself about to tell me via your computer or cell phone screen that your job is not what your passionate about, let me assure you I understand. Working for the United States postal service does not exactly give me butterflies.
So what then? Pursue your passion on the side. In today’s busy and stressful world this may seem like another thing you don’t have time for. The ironic thing is that adding a hobby or side business that speaks to our passions will reduce the stress of our day job and give us something to look forward to every day.
A great law of physics that i make use of is as follows
Your mind and body do not have to occupy the same space at the same time.
Certainly there are exceptions. If you are a surgeon about to operate on me I would appreciate if all parties were working together. For most of us, however our minds are free to roam as our bodies are busy ‘working for the man ‘. While giving my best physical effort at the post office my mind is often looking for or pondering material for this website, my next book or my next YouTube video. Ok, sometimes my mind is also on a beach drinking out of a coconut, but I digress.
Whether your passion is creating material to help individuals become the best versions of themselves or it is drawing pictures of your dog, begin exploring that passion today. It will provide you a positive reason to get out of bed, fill you with more energy than caffeine and make the stress of the workday easier to handle.
I would love to hear some of your passions and how you work them into your daily routine to stay inspired.
This post was influenced by my friend Heidi. You must decide to be your own best friend. If you have read my blog even a little you know I advocate taking care of yourself first. To some this may sound selfish, but it is only by bringing the best you to life that you can best help others. An empty pitcher can never fill anyone’s cup.
Most people know that my lady is my best friend. She is smart, talented, loving and always supports me. This being said, if I didn’t have a healthy self-love I wouldn’t be able to be the man worthy of all of this.
So how does one become their own best friend? There are a million little things that have been listed in this blog and I would invite you to go back and read a few, but today we are going to touch on the major way. The most important thing in life we must decide is where to spend our wealth. I am not talking about where to spend our hard earned dollars we earn 40 hours a week or more. Of course that is important, but I am talking about how we spend something even more valuable than our money – our time.
Think about this, you can lend your friend your car and they can crash it. You can buy another. They could watch your house and burn it down. You could buy another. Still, if you decide to give someone your time and they turn out to waste it with drama, or gossip about others you will never get that time back. So be careful who you spend your time with. What do they bring to your life? This is not to say friendships should come down to “What can you do for me?”. Friendships are give and take. They say you have two hands for a reason. One is to reach out for help when you need it, the other is to reach out to others to help them when they need it. It is the friends who only call when they are in need that you must be careful of.
Last post I wrote about everyone sharing their gifts. This is true in relationships. My friend Russ for example shares his gift of deep philosophical thinking with me. My lady shares her artistic and creative ability with me. I do my best to share my gifts with them. So be careful with who you spend your time with. Remember no matter how much money you have you cannot buy more time. Your time is valuable, treat it as such
I’d like to share a fun memory with you. Do you have one amazing friend that you feel you have known forever. In fact, what you stop to reflect on your history together it seems hard to imagine you at one point in time didn’t have each other in your lives? Well this is such a story, and it comes with a very valuable lesson as well. I had met a this person through a long time friend of mine. As far as first impressions go it was an interesting one. In an attempt to cheer up our friend who was having relationship problems she went on to tell stories of why she didn’t care for men and how insensitive they can be. Being the only man at the table I learned it was probably wise just to not say anything at this point then say the wrong thing. As it turns out throughout our friendship I have made up for that plenty of times by saying the wrong thing, quite often at the wrong time. I dare not repeat the parting words of this conversation, but it did end with a toast.
Fast forward a few weeks and the same friend asks if I would like to me her and a few lady friends out for martinis. Well never being one to turn down such an offer I was excited to go. Well, this poor friend was still having relationship issues shall we say. As I got there I noticed the same girl who had voiced her displeasure with my gender was in attendance. She seemed extra joyful this evening. I was later to learn this is her normal state of being and the ‘man hating’ if you will was just an attempt to make our friend feel better about the certain situation. I soon learned part of the reason for the joyous atmosphere was they were celebrating my friend Angela getting a new job. Now maybe it is because I don’t have friends who either switch jobs or are too worried about being employed, but I had not been to such a celebration for a while. Not that I need a reason to enjoy a good martini, but I began to think of reasons I could be celebrating. First I started with the obvious, I was with 3 beautiful women drinking martinis. Then I thought about the fact that I am employed, I was meeting new friends…the list went on. Now I know this sounds close to finding reasons to be grateful and it is, but there is a very distinct difference. I am grateful daily for my beautiful friend Angela who was the one celebrating that evening. I am grateful for all the adventures we have had. Every time we get together (although those times are rare now that she moved out of state) we always seem to be celebrating something. That is truly how life should be, one continuous celebration. So next time you find yourself with a cocktail in your hand, or a cup of coffee, tea or whatever else you may be enjoying, even if you are by yourself, raise your glass and propose a toast. Even if all you can manage is “here’s to me because I am amazing” celebrate my friends because every day of this life we enjoy is a gift. I want to thank Angela for showing me that and for providing me one of the greatest gifts to celebrate our friendship
Many people ask after reading this blog, “well what is the secret?” “How do I start living a positive rewarding life?”. First things first, there is no magic formula to wake up and start living a positive life. In fact, I’m going to be honest it may take a week, maybe a month, maybe more. The closest comparison I can draw is getting in shape or learning to play an instrument. You don’t pick up the violin one time and suddenly become a master. Neither do you go to the gym once and expect to be in shape for the rest of your life. Developing a positive attitude is a lifetime journey. Just like playing and instrument or becoming physically fit different ways may work for different people. Now before this starts to sound too much like work or just another challenge you may not have time for. Remember that the journey to a positive rewarding life, although a struggle, brings with it rewards of a far greater proportion than the effort it takes to obtain them. Not to mention they continue to compound on each other. There are times people ask me, “ok how do I remain positive when ‘x’ happens?” The answer to that is two-fold. First, there are times when it is certainly ok not to be happy. Nobody is happy all the time and nobody should be. There are moments in life that try our souls and make us cry. Yet out of our sorrow we can even come to appreciate our joy more. The second part of that answer is that is a lifestyle change. When something goes wrong in our lives is not the time to start to be concerned with focusing on joy. Although I have seen tough times refocus some people. No, the perfect time to begin our journey is today, right this very second. That way when tough times come, as they will, we can face them with a more hopeful spirit and a positive outlook.