30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #28)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Just like yesterday’s post about small objects we use, small things that happen may get quickly forgotten if not overlooked entirely. I’m not sure about you, but I find myself guilty of doing that myself more often than I care to admit. The most wonderful thing could happen to me, perhaps the nicest twist of fortune, and I could forget. Have just one thing go wrong, however, and it seems to stick with you. Why is that? I think we are so determined to avoid pain that the emotion tends to be a little more pronounced.

Isn’t it true if we stuck with the small things that we could be grateful for as long as we stuck with our small irritations that life would be a lot more enjoyable? The answer to that is obvious. We would all like our lives to be more enjoyable or else we would not be reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife. Then why is it so difficult for us to do? It certainly is not complicated. Just remember and think about the good stuff more than the bad.

The answer, I believe, is not only emotional as mentioned above, but practical as well. Gratitude is a habit, a way of living that needs practice just like anything else. Ever try eating healthy after years of consuming pizza and rum? It is not that easy, trust me on this one. Again, not that complicated. Just eat more healthy food and less junk food. Why does it seem to be so difficult? We are used to doing things in a certain way. We are used to complaining about the boss or coworkers when we get to work. We may be used to complaining on social media. We may even be used to focusing on how upset a certain person or situation has made us.

This is why this 30-day gratitude challenge is so wonderful. It has us focus daily on one small area of our life to be grateful for. It is my sincere hope that when the 30 days are complete all of us, including myself, will live life in spirit of more intense gratitude. The payoff will be a happy disposition, more inner peace and hope, and a more amazing life. If that is not motivation to answer these fun questions daily, I don’t know what is.

As for my answer, my small thing was a fairly good experience at Walmart. I am not sure how Walmart is where you live, or if they even have one, but here they can be quite an adventure. The one I usually stop at in Greenfield Wisconsin has me dodging carts in the parking lot, walking over and around things laying in the middle of aisles and enduring some of the worst customer service one could possible experience. Today, however, none of that happened. The parking lot was relatively clean. I even parked fairly close for it being a busy time of day. I found the item I was looking for and had eye contact with my cashier. All together a rather positive transaction. Tonight, I will have dinner with Margie, her daughter Siraya and my mother. That should be a good time as well.

I am always suggesting journaling for a million different reasons. It serves as an excellent way to develop an attitude of gratitude. Writing one thing you are grateful for each day and why will force you to stop and think of something you are grateful for. There are several other tips for developing this grateful attitude in my books. Feel free to click the link below to get your copy.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

EARNING MY BUSINESS


In several industries with the blur of different options it can be hard to see a difference. That holds quite true in the grocery industry. In my city alone there are giants such as Walmart, Meijer and a version of Kroger. In bigger box stores such as these, speed and cost cutting seem to be the focus. Customer service tends to be an afterthought, if even a thought at all. The Walmart in my neighborhood has me thinking they are doing their best to push people out of their stores with their service. There was one moment I recall where items in a locked cabinet were all facing backwards making it impossible to see what they were. When I brought this to a managers attention her answer was, “It makes it easier for us to do inventory.” In other words, they knew the customers were not able to see the products and that was ok.

Purchasing items such as books, media and other such items has largely switched to an online affair. I must confess to ordering a good deal of stuff off Amazon myself. The advantage here is there is little or no option for bad customer service, the prices are more reasonable and you don’t even have to leave the house. During a Wisconsin winter this can be worth its weight in gold. There is this great book on happiness you can order to make your winter a little brighter as well.

That is why the 2 experiences I am about to share with you stand out so much. The first is one I had at a local grocery store. I had looked for a seasonal surprise at some of the larger grocery stores in town, but they did not have what I was looking for. It was suggested that I try Rupena’s. A small, independent grocery store located not far from my house in West Allis. When I entered the store I was greeted right away and asked how I was doing. After replying that I was living the dream, the conversation continued with some discussion of gratitude and an inquiry as to what I was looking for. I was directed to the section of the store where the product could be found. Sadly, they were sold out by this time of the evening. The lady in that department offered me samples of other products that might interest me. Then, finding some other items in passing I returned to check out with the lady who greeted me. She asked if I found what I was looking for and apologized I had not. She also gave me other suggestions and shared some humor with me.

A few days later, I decided to use a gift card I had received for Barnes and Noble. While there a friendly young lady in a giraffe shirt saw I was looking lost and asked if she could help. I told her the book I was looking for and she looked it up and then lead me to it. On a side note, it happened to be right next to my book on the shelf which felt kind of cool. Then when I went to pay for my books, the lady at the cash register joked with me and her coworkers as the transaction continued. I left happy with my purchased as well as entertained.

In both of these examples I left with something more – a desire to return. Great customer service is something that will never go out of style. From the small grocery store a mere 10 blocks from my house, to the brick and mortar book store, there is opportunity to retain and gain customers. The price point might be a little higher, and it does require leaving the house, but the opportunity to be treated to a little extra humor and good service is priceless.

WHEN LIFE IS A PILE OF…

This is an emoji of… well… a pile of poo. This is insanely popular for some reason. Margie has even received several orders for cupcakes in this design. I am using it for when our life feels just like a pile of poo. Your car breaks down, a relationship ends, you lose your job or even worse, you lose someone you love. Sometimes the poo really adds up in a hurry. At this point, life really starts to stink, both literally and figuratively.

We all have these periods. Even though it may not seem like anybody is having a worse time than we are, there are people out there who have it worse. Certainly not what we want to hear when the poo hits the fan in our life, or even worse, when we feel like the fan. However, a change in perspective can give us pause to think. So, your car broke down? There are people who cannot even afford a car, much less repairs. There are people, lots of them in fact, who have to walk miles every day for clean drinking water. It was Gandhi who said, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” No matter how dire our situation, there is always something to be grateful for. Your relationship ended or someone you loved passed away? Remember they say It is better to have lost in love, than never to have loved at all. There are people who never find that special someone to love. There are people who never have their parents in their lives. Be grateful for every day you experience love. Even if that love changes it does not mean it has to stop. Try finding just one thing to be grateful for. It will lead you to find another and then another.

Even if you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, you can still use the poo in your life. How on earth do you use poo in life? Here we are obviously speaking in metaphors, but using a literal comparison can help. We are talking about poo situations in our life as we discussed above, but we can use the same logic as we do for the organic matter itself. I do not recall if it was Meijer, Walmart or somewhere completely different, but I found myself strolling through the garden center fantasizing that I had the ability to grow things when what did I see? Poo! bags and bags of the stuff. Ok, here it was called manure and did not have an emoji on it, but the contents was the same.

That is when the light bulb went on. If we literally use poo to grow stuff in our gardens, why do we not use it for growth in our lives as well? Just like our last post when we discussed failure, if we just dwell on the poo in our lives it would be like sitting in that manure. Just try and picture sitting in a pile of manure and complaining how awful it is. If you were to plant a few seeds in that manure instead of just complaining about it what may happen? You would grow new and wonderful things! Things that would smell far better than the poo itself.

What does that all have to do with our lives when they seem…well..in the toilet? Plenty! If a relationship fails, you can use what went wrong to improve your future relationships. If you did something that brought about the end of the relationship, do not do that thing again. Maybe you were just connected to the wrong person. Going forward be aware that you may wish to start a relationship with someone more aligned with your goals and values.

Did you lose your job? Use that to brush up on your interviewing skills. Perhaps you should consider going back to school? Maybe taking that time to finish the book you have always wanted to write? When you start looking for a new job, apply in a field you enjoy and not the one that just pays the most. In that way the loss of a job can serve as the growth of a new and more rewarding career!

Did you lose someone you love? That is always hard and very painful. If you find yourself sad a great deal of the time, remember that is ok. If your heart feels broken, that just meant it has loved. Be grateful for all of the moments you shared with that person. I have an article coming out next month on this very subject. I can tell you one of the best ways to ease burden of loss is to try and replace some of the light that person brought to the world. Did your grandmother always make people feel welcome? Then you should do that. Did your brother have a great sense of humor? Then focus on bringing laughter into the lives of others. Another emotion that comes up when we lose someone we care deeply for, and I speak from experience, is regret. We find ourselves uttering the all too common phrases “I would’ve/I should’ve/I could’ve” Use this to motivate yourself to live in the moment and put all your love and effort into the relationships you have now. That person may be gone, but they can certainly help you make the most of those you love that are still with you.

Use the poo in your life my friends. Just like the manure in the garden center, use the poo situations in your life as fertilizer to grow new and wonderful things. Pain and challenge can be one of the best catalysts for growth.

THAT FISH IS A GENIUS!!

“Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”

-Albert Einstein

Building on yesterday’s post, this statement takes it one step further.  Mr. Einstein, one of the greatest minds understood that there is genius inside every one of us. Yes, even those people in the ‘People of Wal-Mart’ photos.  Sometimes it is very hard for us to see, but there is beauty and worth in each and every one of us.  So next time you see someone you may be tempted to think less of, remember they just might be out of their element. I have the honor of helping out at a meal program for the homeless once a month, and let me tell you I have learned more about how to survive on very little, how to see the bright side of even the darkest of situations and even the importance of Love, friendship and things we may forget are what is really valuable.  It is sad to see how many people are dismissed just because the treasure in them is either not on display or has not been discovered.  Even Albert Einstein was kicked out of school because they believed he was not smart enough and had problems tying his shoes.  Yet he went on to compose the theory of relativity.  So let us all appreciate the genius in ourselves and each other.