BECOME A MOVIE DIRECTOR. YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!


This is a picture of one of my favorite directors, Jerry Bruckheimer. I learned something amazing about him lately. It is not only the fact that he has an uncanny resemblance to actor Kevin Bacon. What I learned is that I am a lot like him…and so are you. No, it is not the fact that all three of us have directed some of the best action movies ever made. No, it is not the fact that all three of us are millionaires. Although maybe you are but I am still working my way there. What I learned is that Mr. Bruckheimer, you and myself are all movie directors.

At this point you may be saying “Wait a minute Neil. Other than the Facebook live video I did and that quick thing for Snap Chat I am would not consider myself a director.” Not knowing the length or effort you put into your social media posts, I am here to tell you we are still all directors. It just so happens the movie we are directing is called Our Life.

Whether you are conscious of the fact or not, you are directing your own life. Still do not believe me? Let us Google the job of a movie director and see what it says.

There are so many good things here let us take this bit by bit. The first line, “A film director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects.” Everything we do in life can be a work of art. Some of you may remember the story I shared of the man at the homeless shelter I help at showing me how there is even an art to washing dishes. Dramatic Aspects? Believe it or not, you control the drama in your life. Before I start hearing the cries of “This person or that person creates drama in my life.” Let us be clear it is your choice to not only respond to that drama but have that person in your life. (more on that later). Every good film needs a little drama or it tends to be boring. Your source of drama can be chasing a goal and the excitement that comes from that. Even challenges can be drama that your star (that would be you) has to face and overcome.

The next line, “Visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in fulfillment of that vision.” Do you have a vision for the movie of your life? If not, how do you know if you are making the right moves? Are you moving closer to success or further away? Once again we are reminded of Earl Nightingale’s quote on success, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” How can you know you are progressing if you do not know what the goal is? Can you imagine directing a movie that has no plot or end in mind? Let us take a look at the second part of that line, “Guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision.” Leaning on and learning from the people in our lives (the actors) and employing the use of outside experts when we need them (the technical crew) can help us achieve the screenplay for our life that we are seeking.

Lastly, “The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking.” This can be likened to the people we choose to both bring into our lives and eliminate from our lives. It can be the job we choose, how we have our house and the way in which we approach life. If you are a director of a movie and a particular actor seems not to fit the role, they are replaced. The same can be true of spouses, friends and business partners. On occasion an actor will walk out on a picture. This is like when a break up happens, or a friend leaves our life. We are forced to recast the part. We can do so with a better idea of what may fit the film. Production design. This can refer to what car we choose to drive, how we choose to decorate our house, wordrobe..etc. All of these can be broken down to a blog post themselves. For the sake of brevity, just imagine how they all affect the movies you have seen. Can you imagine a western where the outlaws are riding horses wearing suits? Creative aspects of filmmaking. This is the manner in which you live your life. Is it a comedy full of laughs? Is it a dark drama? A tragedy? It also refers to how you chose to tackle obstacles and challenges.

Here is a fun way to play with this. Begin to write your own screenplay now. Cast certain roles. Perhaps you want your star to be tough with a soft and humorous edge? Maybe they should be dating a driven and beautiful cake designer? Maybe they are struggling through a day job while pursuing their passion? What would you write that they do to get out of that trap? This can help us add vision and purpose to our lives and have a little fun at the same time. For quick motivation, think of what the title of your life’s movie would be? Feel free to share yours in the comments below.

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MASTER THE STORMS

While looking for a photo for an entirely different blog post I came across this picture. I found it captivating. You see a man standing on some high ground surveying the distant horizon. Between him and the far point at which he gazes there exists several rock formations, hills, valleys and it could be clouds or waves rather hard to tell.

I began to see a parallel between this picture and lifeĀ in general. If we are to undertake a long journey as this man seems like he may be about to commence, it serves us well to get up to some high ground and survey the land. We are able to take in the obstacles and plot a course that would seem the most sensible. It is true once we begin our journey we can discover challenges that may cause us to alter our course that we could not discern from afar but overall we stand a much better chance of getting where we are going that if we were to set off blindly.

The modern version of this would be planning a road trip. First you would pick your destination and then look at a map to discover what roads would get you there in the quickest or most scenic way depending on your purpose. You may even consider heavy traffic, construction and any other obstacle you may face to plot your course better. Much like the above example, once you start driving you may encounter some detour you were not expecting and have to adjust your course but you would still be far better off than if you just started the engine and began to drive.

What if you are not planning a trip or adventure in the near future? This information holds true for any journey, not just those of a physical and geographical nature. If your journey be an emotional, business or even spiritual one, it would help to first seek some high ground and look at the big picture. Having a compelling vision of our final destination will make our journey easier. We can plan for the quickest or most scenic route depending on our intentions. Much like the examples above we may encounter a challenge we did not expect and have to adjust our course. We may even be forced to take a step back and gaze at the horizon several times on our journey.

Getting our bearings in life is something we must do often. Sometimes as we near the horizon we find there is more beyond. There are even occasions as we near our destination we discover it is not where we really wish to go and we must plot an entirely new course. Whatever journey we are on it is important we begin with a vision and a destination in mind. It will make our journey easer and our life more enjoyable. Check your bearings as often as you need.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKIN’ AT?

This ties in with our last post. What we are focused on is what we will see. See if this sounds familiar. You ask a friend where something is, they tell you it is in a cabinet that you are sure it is not in. So, to pacify your friend and because you have no idea where it is you begin to look through this cabinet that you are certain it is not in. You look and look and do not see it. Finally, you yell to the room where your friend is, “I told you it was not in here!” Your helpful friend comes into the room, reaches right in front of you and takes the item out of the cabinet. “I swear I looked everywhere!” You exclaim.

Why did your eyes not see something that was right in front of your face? It was your brain that told your eyes it was not there. Before we delve further into that explanation, let us do one more fun quick experiment. I found this to really make this point clear for me. Get comfortable wherever you are reading this. Now, for the next ten seconds look around and find everything you can that is red….look for red… keep looking… ok now close your eyes (unless you are in your car of course) now with your eyes closed think of everything you saw that was….brown. It may be hard to recall much of anything because you were focused on the red. Same with life. There might be lots of positive things around you that you simply do not see. One more interesting thing, when looking for red things, did your mind make adjustments? Maybe see something burgundy and call it red just so you could have another thing? Our minds do this as well.

How is this physically possible? Our brains create what is called a psychological scotoma. We create a mental inability to conceive even the possibility of seeing that aspect, due to a mentality that lacks any provision for it. In simple terms, if our brain says it can’t be so, our eyes simply say “You are the boss.” and do not see it.

While this is fascinating and a neat parlor trick when it comes to containers of salt in a cabinet or colors of objects in a room, it amounts to something greater. We have proven to ourselves through our little color experiment how we can not only see what we are focused on, but just as important, not see what we do not focus on. If this works with the situations we mentioned above, how do you think this translates to other areas of our life? Like our perceptions of certain races of people? Maybe people affiliated with political parties? How everything in our life is terrible and the world is against us. There may be plenty of evidence to the contrary right in front of our face, but because our brain does not want to be wrong it will literally block it out.

Think of some of your most steadfast beliefs. Maybe it is that some races are all criminals, or terrorists or just plain lazy. Maybe it is that everybody that belongs to a certain political party has a pact with the devil. Try asking yourself could this maybe not be entirely true? Is there maybe one great person in the race you have a negative opinion of? If so, couldn’t there be more? Maybe some of the ideas coming from the opposite political party have some merit to them? Maybe a blending of those ideas with your party could yield an even greater solution?

When our minds open up to see the good and beauty in more of the world, our eyes will follow as well. That will only lead to a more positive and rewarding life for us.

THE POWERFUL

We all know the people with grand dreams. They seem to move through life undeterred by any obstacle facing them. Why do you think that is? It is my belief it stems from having a compelling vision of themselves and what they would like to be. They know what direction they want to move in. If the course they are taking seems to not be taking them in that direction, the adjust the course. If they run into a wall and seemed to be stopped, they back up and begin again with a new plan of action. If they get knocked down by others or even by life in general, they take a moment, pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again. Trying hard, or as I would prefer to say, working hard, seems not to bother them. In fact, them seem to really enjoy it.

Compare that with the way the average work-a-day person goes about their life. Waking up dreading to go into work. Maybe even worried about what could go wrong at work or the traffic they will have to face on the way in. At best they are looking forward to a vacation they have coming up. They have no profound vision to drive their life. It seems as if they have settled into the “Work, pay bills and die” routine. Without a strong vision and reason to get up in the morning, life can feel like a prison sentence instead of the great gift filled with possibilities that it is.

I encourage all of my readers to develop a strong vision of the person they want to be. Write it down and hang it on the bathroom mirror or somewhere you can see it every day. Perhaps even find inspiring quotes or pictures to hang up as well. Find an inspiring vision of the person you are working to become and make life your goal.

WHAT ARE WE MISSING?

The above graph is known light frequency. What it amounts to is this, if all the known light frequencies were the size of Mount Everest, the amount that us humans can see is the size of a golf ball. If you are not a science nut like myself, or a deep philosophical thinker you might find yourself saying, “Who cares?” or something of that nature.

Here is what came to my mind when I learned that. What cannot we not see? There are animals with better night vision, or distant vision. (The eagle comes to mind here) This opens the realm to so many things that could be out there. Energy that could be manipulated to form matter, paranormal manifestations, among many other exciting possibilities. That is only one sense to consider. Dogs, although they may not hear you when you call them, can hear you open a wrapper across a football field. Then there is the sense of smell. There are animals that can smell and taste things underwater and animals that use scent to track people.

The takeaway from this is there is so much possibilities for miracles and things we never knew existed. When you begin to think something is impossible try to picture a golf ball next to Mount Everest. There is so much we cannot see and so much left to explore. Next time you look out over the horizon just stop and wonder what else might be out there.

STOP WAITING!

Last post we discussed enjoying the process. That is, whatever goal you are chasing, whatever you are trying to accomplish, whatever outcome you are working towards, remember to focus on the enjoying the journey. Celebrate small victories. Understand challenges and what may seem as temporary failures are really learning opportunities and stepping stones to where you wish to go.

Why is this so important? It is paramount! Up to 90% of our life is spent on the journey from one point to another. If you catch yourself uttering phrases like, “I will be happy when..” Stop right there. By stating that you will only be happy when the goal is achieved, the destination is arrived at, you are postponing your happiness. Who decides when you should be happy? You do! You do this by assigning meaning to daily events. The difference between happy, successful people and those who feel life is hard are whether or not you do so consciously.

We do not get to decide what circumstances arrive daily, but we do get to decide 100% on what it means to us. It is the difference of life happening to you or you happening to life. If you are living in reaction you are giving up control of your emotional well-being to other people, other circumstances, the weather and a million other sources. It is our decisions, not our circumstances that should control our life. Do not wait for the weekend, do not wait for graduation, to not wait until you are married or get that dream job. Decide to be happy starting today, starting right now.

If you wait to be happy in your relationship until you are married, you may never get there. Decide to create as much happiness in your relationship starting today and when wedding bells chime, your heart will be exploding with more joy than you can imagine. Postpone your happiness until that dream job arrives and you may not only be passed over for a more enthusiastic and cheerful candidate, you may even lose the job you are not enjoying now. Decide to find even the smallest things to enjoy and be grateful for in the job you are in now, and you will find yourself receiving praise from those around you and you will find in a short time you will have outgrown your position!

The most important benefit of this decision will be the improvement in the quality of your life. You will have good days and bad days. What is for certain, when you adopt this attitude, you will grow on each and every one of them. You will also find your hardest days will be your greatest blessings. Develop an attitude that says ‘Either I will win, or I will learn’

TIME TO ADD!

One of the tenets of my philosophy has been adding positive to limit or eliminate negative. In my life this would translate to eating a salad to have a little less room for another slice of pizza. The premise here is that it is easier for the brain to add things verses subtracting them. It eliminates the feeling of depriving yourself and makes change easier and less painful. By doing so, your chances of success are greatly increased.

This does not always have to revolve around achieving a goal, or making a change in your life. Taking a few moments to stop and think of what you would like more of in your life can go a long way to giving you a life you really enjoy. That is the first thing I suggest we do today. Pick a time when you have a few minutes to yourself, it can even be fun to do this with your spouse or friend, as long as you both have your own list. Write down a handful of things you would like more of in your life. They can be things from the picture above, or things you just wish to do.

Here comes the part that a lot of you may find strange. Pull out your calendar, or put a reminder in your phone of days you would like to do these very events. Again, set yourself up to win by picking a day on which you can fairly depend. For example, Saturdays I work 2 jobs so there likely will not be much time to include new activities. Also, try to plan on the minimal side. What do I mean by this? Perhaps you would like to meditate 20 minutes every day? Start out by picking at least one or two days a week to do so. That way you can gain a feeling of momentum and success. Before long that momentum may carry you to every day. By contrast, if you pick every day and do not make it, it will give you a feeling of failure and that will go against having a more joyous life.

Why is this exercise so important? We schedule jobs, meetings and all sorts of obligations into our lives, it is vitally important we schedule some joy as well. If this seems like a foreign or crazy idea to you, consider how you feel as you are getting close to a planned vacation? Imagine that feeling, although perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, once a week? It will help return the passion and zest to life. Our lives, in addition to being of service to others, were meant to be enjoyed. If you are not loving your life a fair amount of time you are doing it all wrong. Sure, we all go through tough times, but having something to look forward to can even help with those.

Feel free to share with other readers some of the fun things you plan to add in 2018 in the comments below!

HELP ME, HELP YOU

Here’s what I love – INSPIRING AND HELPING PEOPLE!!

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HOW?

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KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO

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This goofy character is me at our local museum which is one great museum if I must say so myself. The other day my lady took me there on a date. For those of you who know how much I love learning that is as good as it gets. Even during a day filled with love and learning I still have an eye out for something I can use to help live an amazing life.

One of the first things I have people do in my seminars is determine where they want their life to go. Sounds simple enough, but really it is not. A lot of people know a lot more about what they do not want than what they do. This time of year I hear a lot of people complaining how it is still cold and dreary where I live. Ok, some of those voices come from the other side of the mirror. I hear people say “I don’t want to live in this state anymore”. The fact is a lot of us approach our life challenges this way. Such things as “I don’t want to be overweight anymore” “I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck”. These statements can be heard by people anywhere and everywhere.

There is nothing wrong with being discontented with where you are in life. In fact, this can be very helpful. What we need to focus on is not where we do not wish to be in life, but instead where we do want to be. When people say I don’t want to live here it is too cold. They could end up in the artic circle. They were not focusing on where they want to go. As you can see in the picture above I have a specific goal in mind, Fiji. I would like to visit there for the sunshine and the friendly nature of the people and culture. Tired of being overweight? Focus on the benefits of living a healthy active lifestyle. It is a lot more productive and fun for that matter to focus on where we want to go instead of where we want to leave.

So how do we do all this? The first step which I do in my seminars in more detail is to create a life mission statement. This contains two parts. The first part is the declaration, or where you want to go. The secret is to make this powerful and positive. Instead of “I don’t want to be overweight” try “I am determined to live a healthy and happy life”. Make the words powerful and positive. If your statement is weak, chances are the actions behind it will be too.

The second part is where we make sure this motivation lasts. The ‘why’ of your statement. Here is a secret about that too. We as humans are really only motivated by two basic principles at our core; the need to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. If you can include both of these in your mission statement it will keep give you  the motivation to keep going when the going gets rough.

How does one include both of those in a powerful and positive mission statement? Let me give you an example. Sticking with a person determined to live a more healthy life. Notice I didn’t say ‘wanting’ or ‘trying’ to live a healthier life. Say “I want to live a healthier life”. Now say “I am trying to live a healthier life”. Finally take a deep breath and say “I am determined to live a healthy life”. You can feel the difference choosing the right words can make. So including the pleasure or what we stand to gain is pretty easy. In our above example it could read something like this. “I am determined to live a healthier life so I will have more energy to accomplish my goals”.

Ok, but what about including pain or what we stand to lose? How can you do that and keep your statement positive? That requires a little creativity, but can be done. In our example if you do not live a healthy life, you may lose time with your loved ones. That is not a particularly fun thought, but you can include it in your statement to add even more motivation. Here is how. “I am determined to live a healthy life so I will have more energy to accomplish my goals and spend the maximum time with those I love” Read that in the mirror every morning or when you are tempted to eat an entire medium pizza and it will keep you motivated and on track!

Again I go into this in more depth at my seminar and in my upcoming book. For right now create your own positive life mission statement using the guidelines above. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just get one down. You can always tweak it as you go along. The sooner you get focused on where you want to go and motivated to do so, the sooner your life will transform before your eyes! Feel free to share this idea with friends. Perhaps get together for coffee and work together on your mission statements.