PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND!

People use the phrase “They have their head in the sand.” to describe people who are willfully ignorant to problems around them. I think we all know people whose life could be going straight down the commode and they would be the last one to admit there was anything wrong. Something a little less severe would be those souls who act as if ignoring the problems in their lives will make them go away. Not so I am afraid. It was described wonderfully by Tony Robbins as someone who sits in their garden, closes their eyes and chants “There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” While they may believe that to some degree, and it even may help them feel a little better about their current situation, the problem is when they open their eyes, they will be looking straight at a garden full of weeds!

I find it amusing that people think that is what I do personally and even worse, that is what I teach others to do. In no uncertain terms do I tell people to ignore their problems or the sometimes ugly truth of life. If you have read either of my books, that is abundantly clear. How do people come to this conclusion and why I am telling you to bury your head in the sand in the title of this post? There is a big difference between ignoring challenges and things that are negative in our lives and not dwelling on them. In fact, noting what is not working in our lives or what we find unpleasant can be a great tool to help us discover what we would like. Spoiler alert – it is usually the opposite of what sucks.

When people tell me that I have my head in the sand I reply, “You are damn right I do. I also have my toes, my butt and everything else.” Other than the joy of seeing a confused look on the face of someone who has thrown some shade either directly or indirectly at you, there is a point I am making hear. I realize things are not all sunshine and rainbows in my life. Here is the secret, I focus on what is working and the solutions that I am working towards. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of focusing on negative things in your life? Focusing on a problem does not solve it. As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” Not only that, focusing on what sucks in your life…well…sucks. It makes you feel lousy.

You may be thinking, “That’s all well and great Neil, but what I am supposed to do, just ignore what is going on?” Not at all, then we are back to being the people in the first picture. We want to be more like the baby in the second picture. When you focus on what is not working in your life, you feel miserable. While you are walking around feeling miserable, what kind of people, events and circumstances do you seem to find yourself in? 9 times our of 10, it would be miserable people events and circumstances. Here is what we should do instead. Take a second and become crystal clear as to what the challenge or negative event you are facing is. Then decide if there is actions you can take to correct or deal with the situation. If there is, focus on those and the solution you are working towards. If there is nothing you can do about the situation, turn your focus on something that is working in your life.

Here is a personal example from my own life that may make everything a lot more clear. All of my regular readers know of my affection to warm weather and sunshine. Most of you also know of my aversion to the cold and dreary weather we experience this time of year where I live. Can I do anything to change the weather? Not at all. I am good, but not good enough to change mother nature. There are two aspects I can use that we talked about. Begin saving for a vacation to a sunny destination (already in the works) or choose not to focus on the fact it is so cold some days that animals choose to stay home. Am I burying my head in the sand to the fact that the temperature is below freezing out? No I am imagining burying my entire body in the sand of a nice tropical beach. I have said this a million times, but it is a very important truth – there is no law of physics or biology that states your mind and body must be in the same place at the same time. When you choose to focus on the positive in your life instead of dwelling on the negative, it puts you in a positive emotional state. Like our example above, when you are walking around in a positive happy state of mind, what situations will you find yourself in? What kind of people will you surround yourself with? Chances are they will be positive as well.

Next time life throws a lot at you, and don’t worry it happens to all of us, don’t bury just your head in the sand, bury your whole body! Take yourself on a mental vacation. Maybe even throw on some tropical music and dance around. Change that state while you work on solving your challenges in life. Ponder them if you must, but do not dwell on the problem, always focus on the solution!

WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU COMBINE WINNIE-THE-POOH WITH TONY ROBINS

For those of you who may not know, I am a big fan of Winnie-the-Pooh. Always have been. Whether it is his east going nature, or his loyalty to his friends, he is just a good…um…bear. To this end, I usually read whatever Winnie-the-Pooh books come out (Winnie the Pooh on Problem Solving and The Tao of Pooh are two of my favorites) I also see whatever Winnie-the-Pooh movie comes along.

A few years ago a movie called Christopher Robin came out and Margie was sweet enough to take me to see it. For those of you not familiar, Christopher Robin was the boy who played with Winne-the-Pooh as a young child. This movie shows Christopher Robin as an adult. He has become wrapped up and all consumed in his work much to the detriment of his sanity as well as that of his family. Through a series of adventures, or should I say misadventures, he is reunited with the loveable bear to be reminded of all of the important lessons he learned as a young child.

Pooh on the train

In the film, there is an adorable scene where Pooh is forced to amuse himself while Christopher Robin is again consumed by his work. They happen to be riding a train at the time and Pooh decides to play a game he calls “Say what you see”. The game, much like most things Pooh does, is very simple. All it consists of is Pooh saying out loud what he sees. As Christopher Robin is doing his best to focus on work, he hears a small voice saying things such as “cloud…tree…cow” Irritated this is interrupting his work he yells at Pooh to play the game to himself.

In the movie, this game serves as an important reminder to be present and notice what wonderful things are around you. Oddly enough, I was reminded of this while listening to a great experiment Tony Robins does. To prove how much our minds can see what we are focused on much to the detriment of what we are not (just like Christopher Robin focuses on his work and cannot see the detriment he is causing his family) Tony has everyone look around the room for what they see that is brown. He does this for about 60 seconds reminding everyone to “see what is brown. Look for what it brown” Feel free to try it yourself right now. Then he has them close their eyes and think of everything that is…red. Most people can think of only a few things if anything at all.

I tried using this technique one day on the way home from work. As I drove along, I tried to see everything that was certain colors, say yellow for example. I was amazed to find how much I missed in my everyday commute. I decided it might benefit me even more if I were to notice things that made me happy. Cars that looked fun, houses that I enjoyed, great scenes of natural beauty or anything else. Again, it was shocking how many things you drive by day after day and never notice.

The other day I combined this game with that of Winnie-the-Pooh. I started saying out loud things I noticed at first. As I drove to work at 5am, finding myself saying things like “Dog, birdhouse, tree” out loud not only made me aware of my surroundings, it gave me a little chuckle at that. Recalling what I did with the Tony Robins idea, I decided to say out loud things that I saw that I enjoyed. Who cares anyway? I was in the car alone and the time of my commute was my to spend however I chose. If you carpool or use public transportation, you might want to do this in your head. You will be amazed how even a mere few minutes of this can alter your mood.

Combining the knowledge of a personal-improvement expert and a loveable bear can lead to great discoveries. I encourage you to try this yourself one day. You will be surprised at not only what you miss, but the positive effect it has on your mood. Here is a great side effect I have noticed in playing this game myself. After the initial playing of the game, where I happen to notice things that I enjoy that I might have missed before, they then become ‘present’ to me even when I am not playing the game. For example , on the route I drive for work while playing this game I noticed a particular tree that had a quite unique look about it. Now, when I drive route for work, I notice that tree even when I am not playing the game. This is one of many examples. Can you imagine if your ride to an from work, the grocery store or any other places you go were suddenly filled with things that make you happy? It can be by playing this game brought to us by a “bear of very little brain” as Pooh refers to himself. Do it for 5 minutes or so on different parts of your journey. You will be amazed at what you discover. It will have a positive effect on that days journey and every day to come.

As a special bonus, I have included a link to the very busy Christopher Robin telling Winnie-the-Pooh to amuse himself so he can work in the link below. I highly recommend seeing the entire movie. It is a great reminder for busy adults not to forget the things that are truly important.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ADORABLE SCENE FROM THE MOVIE

I’VE BEEN A THIEF FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS! (and why you should be too)

In the last two decades of my self-improvement career I have become quite a thief. Some of the greatest people in history are thieves as well. Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, and both Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn. When I say that both myself and these greats of history are thieves, I do not mean stealing ketchup when you are three years old and your mother has to take you back to the store to explain and return it. For that you would have to get some clarification from my lovely Margie. When I say that myself and these other wonderful folks are thieves, I mean of the information variety.

As you can see Mr. Einstein gave credit to those who have went before him and used it as motivation to further his work. Can you imagine if everything in the scientific and mathematical community had to be relearned every generation? If we had to go back to square one? Relearn Newton’s laws of physics? Rediscover the periodic table? This would have ripple effects on the medical profession, meteorology, zoology and many other ‘ologies’ that I can’t even think of. What we do is build on and learn from the knowledge of the generations before us. We learn their discoveries and make our contribution. Different generations can look at the same information each from their own unique perspective. They can also present it in their own way and with their own words. This will bring the information to light in a whole new way to an entirely different audience. Without stealing this information, very little advancement or new discoveries would be made.

Nowhere is this more true than in the field of self-improvement. One of the gentleman in the photo above most of you know. That would be Tony Robbins. My self-improvement journey and consequently career was inspired, in part, due to Mr. Robbins. I found myself staring at the television in the very early hours of the morning while getting ready for work at the post office when one of his famous infomercials came on. Perhaps it was lack of sleep, or maybe it was just the right moment, but I felt the desire to order one of his tapes and see what all of this was about. Over 20 years later and I find myself speaking and giving my own seminars. The more of a teacher or mentor you become in the field of self-improvement, the more of a student you become. Every day I read, listen to audio or watch video of other teachers. On an ambitious day I do all three. The other man in the photo is Jim Rohn, the gentleman who taught Tony Robbins. When you listen to Tony, you hear a lot of what Jim would teach, but with Tony’s flair and added knowledge. Jim, on the other hand, learned from a man named J. Earl Shoaff.

All of these gentleman ‘stole’ a little from each other. Perhaps a better word would be the modeled them. They listened to the words earned through years of wisdom each man had. It gave them knowledge that would have taken them years to learn on their own. Les Brown, another one of my favorite speakers, quotes so many other teachers and mentors that my head starts to spin. Oprah Winfrey has had the unique opportunity of interviewing some of the greatest minds of our time. She gladly shares things she has learned from them.

And then there is me, who has stolen knowledge from all of these men and more! I have learned discipline and overcoming odds from the likes of David Goggins, former Navy Seal. I have learned the art of being a good interviewer as well as the knowledge from all the great guests on Impact Theory ( I highly recommend looking that show up) Hosted by Tom Bilyeu. I even try my best to steal nuggets of wisdom on nature from my good friend Shannon, philosophy from my friends Nick, Amanda and Russ, the benefits of nature and rock-n-roll from my friend Eduardo and of course my beautiful Margie and I spend every day sharing and learning from each other.

I am encouraging you to become a knowledge thief now. Whatever field you are interested in or pursuing, there is information out there. Your library is full of books, YouTube has millions of videos. There are podcasts, webinars, seminars and audio available. Search out this information that is being shared and steal some for yourself. Here is the best part. When you share that knowledge with others, you will do so in your special and unique style. It will reach people who may never have been touched by a Tony Robbins or Les Brown. Your words might touch a special place in someone’s heart that nobody else could. Before long, people may begin stealing from you.

WELL WATER CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE… AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO DRINK IT!

I’ve been in the self-improvement industry, professionally, for 2 decades now. Everyday, I listen to motivational recordings, I watch motivational videos and I even have a day-by-day motivational calendar. You would think after 9 years of motivational blogs, writing 2 books and teaching many seminars I would not need to learn more. Why continue to expose myself to so much self-improvement material? In fact, with so much self-improvement material out there, why do I feel compelled to continue to add my own contributions? The answer can be found in the graph above on well water.

Here is a saying that most of us have probably heard before. “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” I used to think this line was a bunch of nonsense. Now, it is one of the axioms I live my life by. How else do you explain the same situation happening to two different people, one is devastated and the other shrugs it off and keeps going? Some people allow challenges to make them bitter, some use it to make them better. Yet another self-help cliché. A man’s father is an alcoholic so he becomes one too. Yet, just down the block a woman watches her mother lose her job, her relationships and slowly drink herself to death. The pain this woman sees and feels makes her never desire a drop of alcohol her whole life through.

Here is another saying that used to annoy the hell out of me. If I stand on my head and look at the jerk in the office, he still is a jerk…only upside down. How about those people who can look at someone who is constantly putting them down, or saying rude things to everyone and all they can manage to say is “That person must be my personal emotional trainer who is helping me strengthen my patience.” No Sally, that person is just an ass. Funny thing is, Sally could be around the office jerk and remain completely at peace. That’s when I began to see the power in this. One of my favorite life coaches is Tony Robbins. I recall him saying something about reality not being reality in actuality, but reality to the individual. That is not it word for word and if anyone can find the quote please share it in the comments below. What it does mean is that reality is how we choose to view things. In our example of our jerk office worker, to me they were a jerk that was upsetting. To Sally, they were an emotional trainer helping her increase her chance at nirvana.

That brings us right back to our well water example. I have included another graph so you don’t have to scroll all the way back up. Here at secret2anamazinglife we care about you that way. What I learned today was that well water maintains a temperature of 68° (or 20 for our Celsius friends) This temperature stays the same despite the ambient temperature around it. Sunny and hot in the summer? 68°. So cold you could freeze fire? 68°. It is as if well water has reached some point of nirvana where it is unaffected by its surroundings.

In addition to serving as a great example of not changing to reflect your surroundings, this example serves us a two-fold lesson. 68° is the same no matter what, right? Not hardly. Just like our example of the unpleasant coworker who was completely a different person depending if you were talking to Sally or myself, the same is true of the well water. If we fell in the well in the middle of the summer, that water would probably feel cool and refreshing. If, however, we slipped on some us and became a ‘human bucket’ of sorts plummeting down the well at a high rate of speed to water that would seem rather warm all things considered. You see our situation can change how we would view the exact same water. We would still be stuck at the bottom of a well which would suck. Unless, of course, you are Sally who would look at it as a chance to practice her survival skills. Yet another examples of viewing life in 2 totally different ways.

This is why I encourage everyone to keep an open mind. Read all the books, listen to all the speakers and expose yourself to as much motivational material as you can. Someone might say the same thing you have heard for years in just a slightly different way that can make all of the difference. Remember how we view life is 10 times more important than the actual facts of life itself. It can not only help us deal with the challenges of life better, but let us be like Sally, who can maintain her inner peace even in the face of an annoying coworker.

  • P.S. – this is an entirely made up example. Although I have a few annoying coworkers, I do not have any named Sally who can remain in a state of inner peace.

WANT TO RAISE YOUR VIBRATION AND MASTER THE LAW OF ATTRACTION? DO THIS ONE THING

Those looking to raise their vibration and master the Law of Attraction, or LOA as it is often called, listen to and read many wonderful things. The movie The Secret was one that really caused me to adjust my thinking. I recall as a very young man reading the book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. This not only allowed me to glimpse the power of my mind to accomplish things in my life, but gave me some practices to do them. Over the years I have listened to several wonderful recordings such as the life-changing The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. I have discovered such great leaders of thought like Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, and others. As someone looking to master anything, I pursued as many different avenues as I could.

It was the other morning while doing some recreational listening at my day job that another good example of these principles put into action and their success occurred to me. I am a fan of music, almost every kind of music. I advocate having a ‘happy playlist’ on your phone, mp3 player or whatever device you have handy. This is a list composed of songs that just make you feel good. Mine currently has 215 songs. They range in genre from classic jazz, 80’s hard rock, pop, country and the music I am going to discuss today – old school hip-hop.

Growing up, one of my favorite artists in this group included Ice-T. His name was taken from a crime novelist named Iceberg Slim. The song I happened to be listening to at the time was Rhyme Pays, off the album of the same title. Released in July of 1987, it was the first major release of his career. As you can imagine, for someone just getting going fame and fortune were still a ways off. You would never guess it by listening to this track. In it, the hip-hop artist tells about having multiple houses, maids, butlers, private jets and even so many gold chains he has to let the dog wear one. A lot of artists at this time did that. They rapped about the lifestyle they were chasing, in great detail. It is like people who use a vision board today. What happens when you have a song that you have written like this? What happens when you perform this track night after night, repeating these lines of fame and fortune? You end up not only achieving fame and fortune in the music industry, but film and television as well. Currently playing a detective on Law and Order SVU and having a net worth of $60 million, I would say he went on to complete his vision using many of the principles of the Law of Attraction. Whether he knew he was doing that or not is a different matter.

Another trick to succeeding with the Law of Attraction is to raise your vibration. This means improving your self-image to a point you really believe in yourself and the fact you can accomplish anything. If there was something you could always count on in an old-school hip-hop album, it was the individual telling you how great they were. Some of this bordered on arrogance and straight up narcissism. In a world where we are always being told we are too short, too fat and a million other things, a little bragging about yourself might be just what the doctor ordered. One of the great secrets is to believe in yourself so others can as well. You do not have to be a performer in the hip-hop industry to understand that.

One of the people who did this best and with the most class was Will Smith. Whether it was back when he was known as ‘The Fresh Prince’ or after he started going by his given name, the heightened self-image was there. It was done with humor, class and very little if any cursing. What has this African-American man, born in 1968 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania been able to to using humor and a positive self-image along with a love of people? Smith has went on to be nominated for five Golden Globes, two Academy Awards and has won 4 Grammy Awards. Impressive to be sure, but there is more. He has also married the woman he loves, had a family which he adores and has a net worth of an astonishing $350 million dollars. In April of 2007, Newsweek called him “The most powerful actor in Hollywood.” The actor has went on to record numerous motivational videos and help several charity concerns.

My point is that you never know what you can accomplish. There are so many great examples of using the principles of the Law of Attraction that we may not even consider. I am not advocating you run out to purchase a large gold chain and an over-sized boom box, but a little practice in speaking your fantasies, fostering a positive self-image and using humor and a love of people can propel you to heights you may have never dreamed possible. It wouldn’t hurt to listen to some old-school hip-hop as a reminder.

IT’S SUCH A GOOD FEELING

People laugh when I mention that Mr. Rogers is one of my favorite philosophers. They say things like, “You mean the children’s television show guy?” While it may be true that Fred Rogers was the host of a television program meant for children, I am going to show you an example of why his knowledge is just as good, if not better, for adults. We are going to explain this fact using the song that was sung at the conclusion of every episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

We will start with the first line. It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive. How many of us start the day like that? When we wake up, what is the first thought in our minds? Is it “Another day of work again?” or “I would have had much better sleep had they just stopped snoring?” When really these are all great gifts. Many people would love to have a job. Sure, the one you have might not be your dream job, but you are getting paid and in many cases have things like insurance or retirement. Snoring might not be the best sound to fall asleep to, but it is also an audible reminder that you have someone who loves you enough to not only sleep next to you, but accept you with all of your imperfections. To lastly, the greatest gift of all, the gift of being alive. Our lives, bodies, relationships and jobs may not be exactly what we want, but by waking up every morning we have a chance to improve them and to bring joy to others.

Now let us tackle the second line. It’s such a happy feeling you’re growing inside. One of the people who started my journey into self-improvement was Tony Robbins. He says that happiness can be summed up in one word – progress. When we feel like we are progressing, or better put, growing inside, we feel happy. This brings us a sense of pride. What many of us fail to realize is that we are always growing inside, or at least we could be. Everything from painful experiences to the mistakes we make can help us grow. This is only true if we learn from them. Next time you find yourself feeling bad, just ask, “What can I learn from this situation?” By doing so you will be progressing to become a better version of yourself. You will not only feel a sense of pride, joy and accomplishment, you may actually feel yourself growing inside.

And when you wake up ready to say,”I think I’ll make a snappy new day.” I love this line! I once did a video for my YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) called waking up in Neutral. One of the most important things we can do when we wake up is set a positive intention for the day. What do 90% of us do, however? We wake up in neutral. That is we let the world decide what kind of day we are going to have. If we are late, spill our coffee, get stuck in traffic or a million other little things go wrong, our day is shot. How different would it be if we woke up and said to ourselves, “I am going to have a great day no matter what!” or more simply “I think I’ll make a snappy new day.” Even though those other things may still go wrong, they will not affect us as greatly.

It’s such a good feeling, A very good feeling, The feeling you know, that I’ll be back, when the day is new. The last part of that is very important. I’ll be back when the day is new. Having something to look forward to is a key ingredient to having a happy life. Knowing that you will have a friend (or television neighbor) that will return to your life is a very intense joy that many of us fail to treasure as much as we should. After waking up and deciding it will be a snappy new day, the very next thing we should focus on is what we have to look forward to in the future. It could be something that afternoon or further in the future When the day is new.

And I’ll have more ideas for you. New ideas and thoughts are also something we should both be grateful for, and look forward to. Perhaps the solution to a question that has been bothering us may come to light. Maybe a wonderful poem or lyrics to a song? Perhaps, like in our household, an idea for a new flavor of cake and cupcake or idea for an intriguing blog post. Hearing new ideas from our friends can be exciting too. They have a completely different life and way of looking at things. By listening to them we expand our own world in ways we never could have imagined. I hear from people and Online Neighbors thanks to this blog post. I am blessed enough to hear from people across the country and the world. I may hear from someone in Italy about a great hard rock band I have forgotten about or someone in Peru with a delicious recipe I would like to try. Their ideas make my life better.

And you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about, I will too. Much like the previous line, I am so grateful for the wonderful neighbors I have met through this blog. Having conversations with different people helps me think and know what to write about. A conversation with a good friend can make us feel better when we are feeling down, can help us become inspired when we need to be and can even give us some helpful advice and encouragement when we need it. Realizing everybody has things they will want to talk about can remind us that we should spend equal amounts of time listening as well as sharing.

I hope by breaking down this song from the program has given you a glimpse into why I believe Mr. Rogers can be a blessing and a teacher to all of us. His ability to break down and teach what I like to refer to as Human fundamentals is a rare and valuable gift. How many adults do you encounter in a week who could stand to watch episodes that teach ‘What to do when you are mad’ or just gain knowledge of how to be a better neighbor? Pull up the video of this song online and play it whenever you need a reminder of how to have such a good feeling!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT WAKING UP IN NEUTRAL

1 ANTIDOTE FOR FEAR

As you can see I got this picture from a website I follow called Metal Motivation. I highly recommend you check them out. A lot of good material there. This photo brings to mind a good counter to fear – hard work. When I find myself in a situation that brings a fair deal of uncertainty to my life, I immediately get to work. Not in a crazy random fashion, but by taking steps to either address the fear, or at least improve myself and my situation. Tony Robbins once said “Progress equals happiness.” Not only is that true, but it does a hell of a number on fear too. Let us take a look at a few examples.

Today people have a great deal of fear about the coronavirus. While most of us cannot get to work on finding a cure or vaccine, we can get to work on improving our situation and ourselves. One of the best things we can do is work on our health and strengthening our immune system. Ways we can tackle this are making sure we do our best to maintain our physical fitness, eat healthy and make sure we are getting the proper nutrients. Although this will not make certain that we do not contract COVID-19, it will provide us with a better chance of making it through. Combine this with the recommended safety measures and you will take a great deal of fear out of the situation. After all, fear compromises your immune system.

Another situation many of us are rightfully concerned about is employment. Will our job be eliminated? Maybe it already has been and we are worried what happens when the unemployment runs out. As we wait for the world to reopen, and the economy to get back to fully operational there are many things we can do to put ourselves in a prime situation to thrive once it does. There are plenty of places offering free courses to help expand our knowledge base. If logging in to an online university is not your style there are plenty of free videos on YouTube to aid us in learning a new skill. Perhaps brushing up our resume and applying for new jobs is something we can put our time to use. Networking, making connections, exploring employment sites. Working hard on all of these things can give us a little more feeling of control.

Lastly, after spending some time in quarantine with our significant other, we may worry they might become disenfranchised with us. If this time together has you concerned about your relationship in any way, there is one solution. GET. TO. WORK. Yes, relationships are work, but that work pays some of the highest wages. Keeping the one you love happy will ensure that your castle remains a sanctuary and not a battlefield. There are many books, cds and even DVDs you can pick up to give you some pointers to improve your relationship. Still, with all of the media and online tools available, relationships are not ‘one size fits all’. That is why my main suggestion to anyone looking to help their spouse fall in love with them all over again, or even just to strengthen the love they already have is to listen. This may not sound glamorous, but it is a golden ticket when it comes to love. You can learn so much when you listen from a position of seeking to understand and learn. Perhaps you wife mentions loving fresh cut flowers, pick a fun and cheery bunch up on your way home. Maybe your husband mentions his favorite kind of beer…you are getting the idea. People will generally share their likes, dislike, wants and don’t wants if we just listen closely. Then there is the ultimate, the gift of truly being heard. Just pausing to listen without any other purpose than to let your partner be heard and understood.

Whatever element of your life you may be feeling fear in, combat it with a lot of hard work. It will offer you a feeling of control and you will end up a better person at the end of the day.

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