DO NOT WASTE YOUR ENERGY ON THIS

Here is something that does not serve us – being jealous of someone else. We touched on this a few posts ago when we explored comparing our private struggles with other’s public successes. If we were to be given their lives and their problems, quite often we would long to have our own back.

More to the point, jealousy is a nonproductive emotion. If I were to be jealous of Michael Jordan’s ability to play basketball, that would not change the fact that I am vertically challenged and not well-versed in the sport of basketball. If I were to constantly compare myself to him while working on my own skills I would leave disillusioned and disappointed. Staying focused on how I have improved my own skills and noting those improvements will keep me excited and pushing forward.

Here is another thing to consider, the best person you can be is the best version of you. If you try to be someone else, the best you can do is come in second. They are the original and you will be nothing better than the best copy. Doesn’t sound too impressive does it? I am an author and a coach. There are many authors and coaches I admire. Although I learn from and on occasion borrow from them, I do not want to be them. I want to be the best author and coach Neil can be. Not to mention if an inspiring author and coach were to send me a book I certainly would take the time to get back to them.

Be the best version of you that you can be. It will be the greatest gift you can give to the world and large and those you love. Most importantly, it will be the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Never spend your time and energy being jealous of other’s lives. Instead, spend that time and energy improving your own.

A ROCK STAR WRITES AN AUTHOR

Every so often I send a celebrity a copy of my book. These are also usually accompanied by a letter explaining who I am and why I am sending them a book. These folks can range from people who have inspired me, professionals whose work I admire and those who I feel personify the kind of life I write about. The list has included Johnny Depp, Bill Bryson, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, Nikki Sixx and many others.

Out of the countless people I have sent books to, a few have taken the time to send a nice response. Tony Robbins and Nikki Sixx sent emails and Sammy Hagar sent a nice letter. I appreciate these busy artists taking time out of their schedules to not only let me know they got the book, but to thank me as well. I am not famous by any means, but I still have a hard time getting back to everyone in a timely fashion. I suppose having 7 jobs will do that.

Recently, I sent a letter to a gentleman who I think fits all of the categories described in the first paragraph, the musician and actor Huey Lewis. Mr. Lewis is facing some intense personal challenges of his own and I thought it would be fitting to let him know how he and his music have motivated and inspired me. If you have not read my book A Happy Life for Busy People, allow me to share a portion of its content with you. One of the secrets I recommend to help deal with the daily stress we all face is to have a ‘Happy playlist’. This is a group of songs that put you in a positive state of mind. While it may not to anything to help fix the situation you are going through, it will help you show up in a better state to deal with the challenge.

With all of the insanity going on in my life presently, I had not given much thought to the books I had sent out recently. Then I check my P.O. Box and find a handwritten letter from Huey Lewis thanking me for the book and the words I had sent with it. Several things impressed me about this. First, that he took the time to send a reply. Second, he did so in a handwritten fashion. Not an email or form letter, but sat down with a pen and paper. Lastly, that he did all of this while facing his own struggles and while working on an album of new material.

What this shows me is the kind of character this man has. It would be easy to dismiss the work of a relatively unknown author. It would be easy to just send of thank you form letter. Instead this man took time to let me know he appreciated my gesture. I think that speaks volumes. I encourage all of us to include some ‘Huey Lewis and the News’ on our happy playlist. Not just because the music makes it very hard to maintain a bad state, but because it was created by a very thoughtful gentleman.

 

THE 1 QUESTION TO ASK TO IMPROVE YOUR CITY

I recently filmed a video at the West Allis city hall explaining the one question you can ask to improve your city.

No matter what your complaint about your city is, asking yourself this one question will go a long way to improving it.

Click the link below to watch the video. You will not only discover what the question is, but more importantly how you can use it to improve the quality of your city.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

HAVE YOU LOST THIS?


A study of children from 2 to 4 revealed 95% to be considered highly creative. This means these children are imaginative, innovative, they are curious and have tremendous capacity for abstract reasoning and for creating imaginative images. Those very same children were tested again at the age of 7. Only 4% were now considered creative. Between the ages of 4 and 7 children are repeated told things like “Make sure you only color between the lines.” “Don’t touch that!” “That is not the way you are supposed to do that.”
When I heard the numbers involved with this study I found it alarming, but not entirely shocking. Looking back on my formative years I can recall some of these same lessons. Without abstract thinking, however, most of the great solutions and leaps of growth would not have occurred. It is the ‘out of the box’ thinking that allows our scientists and entrepreneurs to bring some of the most wonderful things into the world
The wonderful news here is that creativity is not lost if you do not use it. What happens is that is becomes a latent talent, waiting to be dusted off and used again. Your creative muscles may have atrophied a bit, but fear not you can begin to strengthen them today. With the advent of things such as adult coloring groups, which I was just made aware they have at our local library, it is once again cool to be creative.
What is the big deal about being creative? It is really a two-fold win. First, it helps to create what scientists call brain plasticity. In layman’s terms, this means the ability for your brain to continue to grow. I do not think I need to go into much detail about why this is beneficial, but I will touch on a few of the big points. Exercising your brain in such a fashion can help keep degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia from gaining a foothold or at least slowing their advancement. It also leads to an increase in the ability of problem-solving. The applications for this is only as good as the areas of your life that have problems…that usually ends up being most of them.
An increased ability to solve problems and continued learning lead to our next benefit – increased self-confidence. Keeping your wits sharp will make you feel good about yourself. Tony Robbins, the famous life coach, said “It is progress that will lead to happiness.” If we think about that, isn’t it true? As we are working on and making progress towards a goal, isn’t that when we are happiest?
The final reason for being creative is equally important. IT IS FUN! As we grow older and take on additional responsibilities, it is the fun that often takes a back seat. That fun almost always includes the creative arts. This may stem from hearing “You can draw when your homework is done.” or “You will have time to play when your chores are done.” I can’t speak for all of you, but my chore list is often several days long. If I were to put off any creative or fun time until all of them were completed, my fun time would be far and few between.
Fortunately, the importance of play has come to the forefront once more. Those who have what we like to call a ‘work/life balance’ are often some of the most mentally and emotionally well-adjusted individuals. It is important to include some creative individuals in your inner circle. My beautiful lady, Margie, reminds me how important creativity is every day. I don’t know how she would test out in the well-adjusted scale, but I can tell you she has great taste in who she is dating.
If you don’t have creative friends in your circle, maybe you will have to take the lead and become one. Host an art night. Maybe form one of those adult coloring nights? Get a group together for one of those wine and painting nights. Margie and I host board game nights with friends that are not only creative, but always lots of fun. Your heart, your stress level and of course your brain will thank you.

YOU ONLY GET ONE


Listening to people who have accomplished what you would like to accomplish is certainly one way of succeeding. It is called mentoring or modeling. Not only do I advocate this as a great idea, but use it myself. Daily, you can find me listening to those I admire. Whether it is while I am working, working out or just relaxing, you can find greats such as Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, Earl Nightingale and others flowing through my headphones.
After years of listening to and reading greats from all walks of life you begin to notice common threads that make up each of their teachings. They may not be presented in exactly the same way, or spoken about using exactly the same words, but the core ideas are basically the same. This is why I suggest listening to many different sources of motivation and inspiration. Something worded in a slightly different way may be exactly what it takes to resonate with you. I listen to a podcast called Metal Motivation which blends heavy metal music and motivation. I also listen to Bishop T.D. Jakes who receives most of his inspiration from the bible. Both have benefited me greatly.
Here is an idea that I first heard from Warren Buffett. He asked the question, “If you could have any car you wanted what would you choose?” I am sure cars like those in the picture above may leap into your mind. Before you give your answer, let me tell you the caveat he added to that question. You can have any car you want, but that will be the vehicle you have to have for the rest of your life. I have heard the same analogy used for a house and other things as well.
I am not going to get into the importance of selection, because that is up to you. Here is what I am going to ask, once you have that house, vehicle or what ever it is we use as an example, how good would you take care of it? Would you put in the cheapest oil and gas into your car or would you spend a little extra for the good stuff? Would you drive with reckless abandon or would you do your best to avoid an accident? Would you share your one house with people who would party and destroy it or would you only invite those over who would be fun, yet respectful?
These seem like simple no brainers, but let me tell you a little secret. You can always buy a new house or car. There are things in life you only get one of. These include your mind, your body and…well…your life. Think about that for a moment. You only have one body, are you treating it with the care it deserves or are you out partying every night? Do you eat to fuel and feed your body or do you just shove anything that tastes good into your mouth? What about your mind? Do you read or watch things that will inspire and motivate you or do you spend countless hours watching reality television?
What about your life in general? Do you spend your time more concerned with what others are doing with their one life or are you focused on getting the most joy and love out of your own life? Have you thought about the people you have invited into your life? Are they the party and destroy it kind or those who would value the time you share with them? Do they bring out the best in you or the stress in you?
There are a few things in life that we only get one of, are we paying enough attention to them? Take a few moments to realize how you treat your mind, your body and your life. Remember to make the most of them because we will not get another.

HOW TO MAKE 2019 YOUR YEAR

Let us clear something up going into the new year, we need to act. I am a big fan of the Law of Attraction. I know it works and personally use it. What some people who see the movie The Secret, or read books on attraction misconstrue is the fact you have to act. You can use vision boards, recite affirmations, journal and meditate, but if you do not follow that with inspired action nothing good will happen. Kind of a bummer I know.

The good news in all of this is once you do the things mentioned above, it will be come more clear and easier to know what actions to take. Those listed in the pictures above would be a great place to start. I particularly like the ‘smile more, be excited’ line. A smile can not only improve the lives of those around you, but will elevate your mood as well. Even when you don’t feel like smiling, give it a try anyway. Often by changing our physical state we can influence our mental and emotional state as well.

Action does another great thing for us, it gives us joy. Tony Robbins said progress equals happiness. I have found that to be very true. If you are working towards a goal and taking steps you are being successful. Another favorite author and speaker of mine, Earl Nightingale, defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. The word to notice in that definition is progressive. You are not just a success when you achieve your goal, but even as you are working towards it. In other words, if you know where you want to go and are working on getting there you are a success. Even if the steps you are taking do not work out this time, you have just eliminated something that would not work.

This year let us put our minds to work, but we cannot forget to get off the couch and make it happen as the picture above reminds us. Try a few of the items listed above and see how they change your life. I would love to know what action steps all of you are going to take in the new year!

I WANT YOU TO HAVE MY JOB!

I believe my purpose in life, or at least part of it, is to inspire others to live a more positive rewarding life. In this field I don’t think there is a lot of competition. That may sound strange as motivational speakers and life coaches seem to be every where you turn. I honestly do not view them as my competition. Each one of us shares similar messages, but we do so in our own unique way. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different life experiences. You may hear the exact same message from me, Tony Robbins, Les Brown or any other person involved in the field of self-improvement. Depending on the day or how we word it that message may resonate with you or it may not. Personally, I listen to many different people with what may seem like many different messages. Some days it is TD Jakes, some days it is Greg Plitt or the two mentioned above.

That is why in 2019 I want to encourage you to take my job. No, I am not going anywhere, but I want you to join me. You do not have to write a book, start a blog, Facebook page and YouTube channel or give live seminars. What I would like everyone to consider is what gifts do you have that can inspire and motivate others? Maybe you are thinking “I am just a server.” Or “I am not very positive myself, how could I inspire others?” My answer to all of these statements is this – It is what makes you you that makes you special. Maybe that career you think is not so special provides that exact story someone needs to relate to? The fact that you may struggle with positivity can provide you the patience, understanding and compassion to relate to others who feel the same.

Each one of us has something to offer that the world needs, even if we are unable to see it. So join me today. Whether it is becoming an encouraging voice at your place of employment or just being friendlier to those in the service industry that you encounter, let us all become sources for good. I am going to let you in on a little secret I have learned in my 20 plus years in the self-improvement field. The more you help others, the better you feel. It may be difficult in the beginning, trying to be a positive influence. Oddly, one of the things you may experience initially is doubt, skepticism, and sarcasm. People are so used to being surrounded by negativity that they often resist a positive influence. Remember this when your first few attempts may be met with phrases like, “You’re being so nice. What do you want?” or “Just leave me alone.” You would think people would welcome more positivity in their lives, but remember we are changing something that has been what they have been used to up to this point. That is why more agents of positive change like you are needed.

As you go through your journey, refer back to this website to find more tips you can share with others. If you ever have questions or comments feel free to post them here and we can all work together to solve them. All of us can make the world a better place in 2019.

 

RELATIONSHIP SECRET

Nothing has more influence on the quality of our life and amount of joy we experience, or do not experience than relationships. That is why there are so many books, CDs, seminars and relationship counseling. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. Much like good health, weight loss and stress reduction, people are always looking for that magic pill that will give them immediate success in these areas of their lives.

The bad news is that there is no magic pill that requires no work to transform your relationship. The great news is that there is one step you can take starting today. It doesn’t cost a single penny. This involves a change in mindset. Many of you may read the quote above and find that to be ridiculous. “We have jobs and responsibilities now! I can’t spend time worrying about being charming, flirting and all of those other dating things!” I ask you what is really important then?

Fear can be a great motivator for some of us, so I feel obligated to mention this. Relationships, no matter how long they have been, can end at any time. Even if we feel comfortable and secure in how they are. There are countless stories of relationships that people thought were going great until they wake up one morning and find their partner gone. “I thought they were happy. I thought everything was good.” they find themselves saying. Only in reflection they recall they never asked. They just figured that part of their lives was ‘handled’. They were married. They had kids.

I equate this to other areas of life. If you get in the best shape of your life and then stop working out what happens? Do you stay in that shape? Of course not. If you put a lot of energy into getting a job or promotion and then cease giving any effort do you think you will keep that job very long? Then why do so many of us think that relationships are any different? All relationships have their ups and downs to be sure, but they must be worked at daily.

If our relationship is at its best shape, much like our workout example, if we just leave it alone it will begin to go backwards. This may seem like you are in for a lot more work, and to some degree that is true. What is really important to note is that work has the most amazing rewards. The quality of our lives is the quality of our relationships. Therefor, it makes sense that the better quality our relationships, the better quality our lives. This holds true not just for romantic relationships, although those have the most profound impact, but coworkers, parents, children, the boss and other family members. Another great plus is that the more you work on this the easier the work becomes. When you are listening for clues as to what makes people happy and what upsets them, it becomes easier to do the former and avoid the latter. The more information you compile that more tools you have at the ready.

Do yourself a favor and print out the quote in the picture above. Treat every relationship in your life like you are trying to win it. Not only will you make those around you very happy, but your life will improve dramatically as well.

BECOME A FARMER

On any given day life can find us short on feelings of motivation and inspiration. A good deal of my work involves helping people become the best versions of themselves. One of the biggests hurdles is remaining motivated and inspired to keep working on improving yourself. For that very reason, this blog focuses on helping to motivate and inspire, but today we are going to take it a step further. How can you take inspiration and motivation a step further? We will do so by finding something that will increase the length and intensity of being inspired. This seems like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to feel inspired more often and to a greater degree? I think we all would.

My family two generations ago were mostly farmers. This is Ironic as I struggle to keep my house plants alive. As you read this I have a spider plant that is nearing the end. One of the great things I admire about farmers is how much their work can affect so many. One farm can grow enough food to feed the entire community or more depending on the size of the farm. Taken on a smaller scale, even one apple tree can yeild many apples to be enjoyed by others. Both of those examples started with one person planting a seed in the ground. In this way I have learned that I could still carry on my family legacy of farming. By planting seeds.

This may all sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. The great secret I have discovered in my 20 plus years working in the self-improvement field is the greatest way to become inspired is to inspire others. When I first got started in the field of self-improvement I did so because my life was the one that needed improvement. I began by listening to tapes (It was 20+ years ago) of Tony Robbins. I liked what he said and so I began to try some of the things he suggested. Low and behold they worked! I began to read more self-improvement authors such as Wayne Dyer, Deepok Chopra and others. I wrote down what worked best for me from each person. Often, it was a combination of principles from several people. Sometimes I tweaked them based on my own personal experience.

It was suggested by a friend of mine to begin sharing these tips on a website. I never thought of myself as a teacher in the beginning. I was simply sharing what I read. To a great deal, this is still what I do today. As the years passed I began to see common threads that ran through all of the teachings I read. I tried to break everything down to these core principles. That began my writing which two years after starting my website lead to my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. This same formula followed as I began to watch motivational videos, then started my own YouTube channel. I attended several seminars and soon realized I should offer one of my own.

In each of the these cases I have learned that the best way to be inspired is to inspire others. To plant the seed of motivation as it was planted in me by people like Earl nightingale, Eric Thomas, Les Brown and more. To watch that seed blossom into something wonderful in someone you have reached is one of the most amazing things that can happen. When we are in each other’s company we are all planting seeds. They can be either seeds of gossip or seeds of joy. Whatever you plant, in others, or even in yourself will grow. Especially if you nuture it. Be a farmer of inspiration today.