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.

HOW TO BEAT THE REAPER

Death, the grim reaper, the final curtain whatever you wish to call it, at some point it comes for all of us. Millions of dollars are spent every year trying to defeat it. 

So how can we defeat the reaper at his own game? Eat more vegetables? Drink more green tea? Exercise more? While all of these things may extend your life they won’t prevent it from ending. In fact, as far as i know there is no way to permanently put off one’s own physical demise.

There is a secret that can help you live forever. I can just hear a few of you saying “wait Neil, didn’t you just say there is no way to prevent death?”. Physical death yes, but life is more than length,it is width as well. As the saying goes “life isn’t so much about the years in a life, but the life in the years”. 

The secret to beating the reaper is to remember 2 very important things. First, live each day as if it were your last. Why? Simple, it very well might be. We never know when the end is coming. We could do everything in our power to prevent it and circumstances just don’t favor us. There is a Native American saying that goes “today is a good day to die”. What this saying means is we should live each day with no regrets. Tell everyone we love them. Try all the new things we were dreaming of. That way if death comes knocking we can answer the door with a peaceful heart knowing that today was a good day to die. 

The second thing we must remember is that what we get doesn’t last forever, but what we give can. If we buy a new car, when we pass on that car becomes someone else’s. They may or may not even know who we were. If we inspire someone or create a good memory with them that will live on forever. That is why I tell everyone to focus on what they want their legacy to be. Create something that will live on. A sculpture, record that cd, write that book. Get your message out there! When i am gone these posts along with my book A Happy Life for Busy People will be there so i can continue to influence and inspire.  

So live your life to the fullest! Share your gift with the world! Also feel free to share your ideas for beating the reaper and feel free to share this post!

SOMETHING WE ALL CAN DO

This happens to be one of my favorite pictures. Not sure why it just makes me laugh. Here’s today’s quick little thought.

The most important thing we can do for ourselves and others. – giving -. 

When you hear the word giving what do you think of? How does it feel? Growing up I was taught that giving was something we did around the holidays, or to help those less fortunate. It felt like sacrifice. 

Here is the cool thing, we are all less fortunate. What the heck am I talking about? Every person we know is deficit in something. Money? Maybe. Time? We all can be at times. Here is something else all of us are – gifted! We all do something great and enjoy. This is what we should give. 

Do you like telling stories? Perhaps there is a shut in that could use some company. Are you handy? Maybe there are neighborhood projects that you could lend a hand with. Give of yourself where you can.  You will feel good and you will help others!

This weekend look where you can give. Can you give of your time? Your love? Your compassion? You will leave with a good feeling all while making the world a better place!

EASY(ER) SUCCESS

This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?

Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i  ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives. 

What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our  actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people. 

These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help. 

Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.

IT’S NOT CRAZY IF IT MAKES YOU SMILE!

Ok here it is, confession time. How many times in your life have you been asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”? For me it has been countless times and until quite recently I have not even known the answer. More about that in a later post.

Back to the picture above. I recall the answer to the first time I was asked this question only because those who love me will never let me forget it. I was a small child, not sure how old when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not really a master of the laws of biology I answered quite simply “I would like to be a whale.”. Thus beginning a long string of thoughts outside the box that continues to this day.

So what is the point of that little anecdote? That I was a strange child who grew up to be a strange adult? If you know me or follow this blog for any length of time that should be apparent. If this is your first time meeting me through this words let me save you some contemplation and assure you that is so. Not the point I am striving for here, however.

The point of our little story is this. Today at the Milwaukee public market, my lovely lady picked this strainer up for me. Obviously she knows the story of me wanting to become a whale. She finds it cute as she does a lot of the dopey aspects of me. One of the many reasons I love her. So she picked this up because it made her think of me and she found it cute. Why would 2 adults spend extra money on a strainer just to have a smiling whale on it? Simply put, because it makes us smile. I have a Winnie the Pooh coffee mug that says “Take an unbotherment break” on it. It reminds me to take time each day to be curious and care free like the loveable bear. I encourage you to pick out and purchase things that make you smile. If other people think you are strange? That’s ok. You will be the stranger that is always smiling!

THE SECRET TO A PASSIONATE LIFE

Everyone wants a life filled with joy and vitality. I believe the quickest way to accomplish that is to increase your passion. How do we do that? Find a ‘why’ to your life. What does that even mean? What it means is finding a reason you want to get up in the morning. Why going through all the tough times will be worth it.

I have asked a lot of my good friends what their ‘why’ is. When asked most of them don’t know. Some give me answers such as “If I don’t I will be fired”. That is not very motivating.  Ask yourself that very question. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning. I must confess there are days not much will get me out of bed. Still most days I have a compelling reason to put both feet on the floor and begin moving. This blog is part of it.

We all need something that stirs our soul. Usually it is something bigger than just ourselves. I am not advocating you quit your job and move to the tropics, although I must admit that thought crosses my mind several times a day. No, you don’t even have to change your career. You may eventually want to, but you can always begin chasing a dream part time. Maybe begin writing that book you have always wanted to? Start your own YouTube channel doing videos on a topic that excites you. (Mine can be found by searching Neil Panosian). There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities. My mother recently retired and will begin volunteering at our local zoo.

The point is all of us, I don’t care who you are, were born to do more than just pay bills and die. We each have a unique gift and passion to share with the world. Nelson Mandela once said “Action without vision is only passing time, Vision without action is merely dreaming, but vision with action can change the world”. I don’t care if your passion is attending state fairs. Perhaps you can recommend ways in which they can be improved. Maybe write a book about your different experiences, or create a photo book? The point is no matter what your passion is, sharing it with the world will accomplish 2 great things. One, it will bring joy and fun to countless people who share your passion and most importantly it will set your soul on fire. These are two things the world desperately needs, people sharing their passions and people living their passions. Once you start, your life will never be the same!