Just a quick question that we should pause mid-week to ask ourselves. What answer did you get?
I’ve always been a fan of Bob Marley. Well, at least since my friend Kevin introduced me to him many years ago. Although we may differ in our recreational habits, I admire a great deal of his philosophy. Like the quote above. There is one caveat I would add to Mr. Marley’s quote. integrity and positive influence, you couldn’t buy it for all the money in the world. If you do not believe me, try walking into Walmart and asking what aisle integrity is in. I would love to see the look on the face of the employee trying to help you with that one. No, I believe these things are true wealth.
As this week draws to a close, try shifting some of your time spent focused on material gain to increasing your integrity. Not only with others but with yourself. Think of the standards you have. Do you always live up to them? I would say it is difficult to do all of the time and that there is always room for improvement. That is one of the great things about being a human being, there is always room for improvement. Do you always keep your word with others? What else could be included in your definition of integrity?
How about your ability to affect those around you positively? How much do you work on that? Do you just do so in the moment or do you spend some time thinking of it? Do you try to incorporate being a positive influence in every area of your life? That is something I can honestly say I am proud of is that I work very hard to be a positive influence on all of those I come in contact with. Whether that is at the Post Office during my day job, as a writer here on this website or in my books, or even when I am simply ordering a pizza. As mentioned above, there is always room for improvement. I keep trying to find new and better ways to bring joy and positivity to others. Perhaps that is why I order so much pizza, but I digress.
I can honestly say that when I feel I am being my authentic self or a affecting those around me positively, that is when I feel the wealthiest. The better I find myself in these two categories, the wealthier I feel. How do you measure wealth? How do you feel your bank account would add up by Bob Marley’s definition? I would love to hear your answers.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had treasure all around us? If you have an overflowing bank account would you leave that money in the bank or would you put it to use to make your life better and more enjoyable. If your answer is ‘yes’ you are like most of us walking around this earth. If your answer is ‘no’ feel free to place that money in my bank account I would be more than happy to give you a demonstration on how this all works.
Most people desire money so greatly because they believe it will make them happy. You may be tempted to disagree, but if you follow the trail it always ends in happiness. If you want money to ease your stress of finances, that would make you feel less stressed and happy. Perhaps you are noble and would like to make money to help feed and cloth children in poverty. Knowing that you helped those who may not be able to help themselves would make you feel like you did something good and in turn that would leave you feeling…yep, you guessed it, happy!
Some people chase happiness in more spiritual realm. They find happiness in some sort of enlightenment. In the end their accomplishments, even in the spiritual realm, will lead to happiness. Some people enjoy serving others. Some people enjoy overcoming obstacles. There are a million different things that all of us do to mine for the treasure of happiness. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a tool that would allow us to carry those fleeting moments of happiness with us? In effect, extending the duration of happiness. Good news, there is and I am going to share it with you. In fact, you may use portions of this tool unconsciously right now. Switching to doing so with a purpose will allow you to have, and be surrounded by an inner feeling of joy even in the darkest of times.
This tool was brought to my attention by a story shared from a coworker. Weekly, I am scheduled to visit our friends at the post office in the city of South Milwaukee in the state of Wisconsin where I live. On this particular day, I was greeted by an employee named Michelle. She was excited to share some recent photos of her son’s engagement. They had traveled to the romantic city of Savannah in the great state of Georgia under the premise of a family photo so that the future bride-to-be would not suspect anything. Tears of joy flooded the faces of all parties involved and you could tell that mom was quite proud of her son and excited for her future daughter-in-law. She had several pictures in her phone that she was going to have printed out and could recall all of the details of this great story. You could see the emotions flood her as she relayed it to me. I couldn’t help but feel happy for her.
In parting, I remarked how wonderful it was that in the middle of all the insanity that is occurring the world, it was great she had such a wonderful memory to carry with her. As I began to walk back to my postal truck for the trip back to the post office I normally work at, I was still struck my how much joy she had. It was if she was still in sunny Savannah despite the fact that she was clearly in the sunshine-challenged city of South Milwaukee. I note this phenomenon often telling others that “There is no law of physics that say your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” Quite often while shoveling snow here in Wisconsin during the winter, my mind is on a tropical beach drinking out of a coconut.
This is something that we, like our friend Michelle, can do with the events in our life. Capture those beautiful moments with pictures, video and anything else we can think of. Put those cell phones to good use. Then share your joy with others. Maybe print out some of those pictures and keep the frame on your desk. Every so often, take but a few quick moments to travel back there in your mind. Use as many of your senses to make it real. Remember what the tropical flowers smelled like. Feel the warm sun and the cool ocean breeze on your skin. Taste the wonderful rum cocktails (remember, as tempting as this may be, we are still only doing this in our minds) Hear the birds and the rustle of the palm trees in the wind. You will be amazed at how much good a mini mental vacation will do you.
Throughout our time together in these posts, I am often reminding you of how much impact the language you use (especially in conversations with yourself) has on the outcomes of your life. It is a subtle, yet powerful influence people often overlook. Sometimes, however, the actual layout of a word can answer some very deep and difficult questions we have. Today’s post is one such example. If you keep this post in mind it will help you improve your repour with others. It will help take your health and fitness to the next level and will do the same for your business or career. How to we go from being just like everyone else to having a life that is full of passion, excitement, good health and abundance. In other words, what is the secret to an amazing life?
Let’s take a look at the word ordinary. As you can see it is an adjective meaning not unusual or special. The part that really hits home is the second definition, “Neither very good nor very bad: not very impressive” There are certainly worse things than you can be than ordinary. As the definition reads, you would not be very bad. Such as if you receive ordinary service. It is certainly better than bad service. Of course, as the definition continues, it is not very impressive either. If someone asked to describe any facet of our lives, I do not think we would want someone to say we were not very impressive. How is this employee’s work ethic? “It is neither very good, nor very bad: not very impressive.” Maybe you don’t really care what your boss thinks of you? Try this one. Perhaps that special someone is getting together with their friends and they are asked, “How is your relationship?” or even a little more of a personal subject, “How is your spouse at making love to you?” Hey, I don’t know how personal you and your friends get. In either case how would you feel if your spouse answered either of those questions by saying, “It is neither very good, nor very bad: not very impressive.” Yeah, that might sting a little.
I think we have established that fact that we do not want to be ordinary. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that. If you are reading a website called Secret2anamazinglife.com, you are not looking to be ordinary. We do not want our careers, our health or certainly our relationships to be defined as “Neither very good nor very bad: not very impressive” No. We want to be….
We want to be extraordinary! It is defined here as 1. very unusual or remarkable. 2. unusually great. If someone asked a customer about the service they received at your business, how happy would you be to hear that it was “remarkable”? If your spouse was asked about your love-making or relationship acumen, how would it make you feel to hear that they told your friends you were “unusually great”? That certainly would be better than hearing that you were “Not very impressive”. What about our physical health? Our stress levels? Our financial health? How about our ability to get along with others? What if your boss was asked about your work ethic? What if your spouse was asked about your work ethic in the relationship? Would you be not very impressive or would you be remarkable and unusually great? Would you settle for ordinary or would you want to be extraordinary?
How do we get from not very impressive to unusually great? How do we take our level from ordinary to extraordinary? The answer is in the very word itself. To go from one to the other, just add a little extra. In your relationship instead of giving flowers for birthdays and anniversaries, give them because your spouse is beautiful and they deserve it. Even better yet, give them for no reason at all. In your job, do not just do your job. Do your job to the best of your ability and with a great attitude. This is not so your boss is pleased, but so you will go from being a person and worker who is described as “remarkable and unusually great” and not one who is “Not very impressive” When it comes to our health, let us put in that little extra. You got your 10,000 steps today? Great. How about adding a healthy meal to go with that. We certainly want our health to be remarkable. How do you think it would impact your life if your mental and physical health were neither very good or very bad and not very impressive? Would you have more or less energy and vitality as someone whose health is remarkable and unusually great? The answer is obvious.
One word can help to remind us how we can take every area of our lives to the next level. How we can transform our lives from the blah state of “Neither very good or very bad: not very impressive” to one that can be described as “remarkable, unusually great”. We can stop living an ordinary life and start living an extraordinary life. All we have to do is add a little extra.
There is so much great information out there I wish I had three lifetimes to consume it all! There is information on developing wealth, discovering and pursuing your passion, how to increase the quality and quantity of your network as well as anything else you would like to pursue.
Want to be more charming? You can learn that. Want to discover how to get healthy and lose those last couple of pounds? Yep, that’s out there. Want to know how much we have learned from the ancient Egyptians? It’s out there. Want to discover why your aunt has no manners while out in public? Well…I am sure you can discover something about behavior in public.
In the not-so-distant past, like when I was a child, you had to go to the library and look up a book on the subject you wished to learn. At the very least you would have to hunt through an encyclopedia. For you younger people that is a collection of printed books that were like Wikipedia. These methods would take you hours,if not days.
Fear not! Today,as most of us know, information is a mere click away. We don’t even have to read if we don’t want to. There are services like YouTube where we can watch videos that teach us everything we need to know. Videos on avoiding bear attacks, how to build your own log cabin,or even how to politely approach your family member about those manners.
Yet, with all of this information out there, most of which can be accessed from a device in our front pocket, how come we use it mostly for discovering who sang that song we can only remember one line from? I get that, nothing can be more frustrating than singing the same one line over and over again.
With all of the information out there and knowledge to be had, I challenge you to pick something grand you would enjoy learning. Embark on a fun quest to fill your cerebral library a little more. Don’t worry, there will be no grades or even tests to take. You can learn through articles, books, audio books on the way to work or even videos in the comfort of your own home.
By increasing our knowledge base we set ourselves up to not only be a far more entertaining guest at holiday parties, but increase our chances at earning a fortune as well!
Wealth can be defined many ways. One that I really think matters is relationships. Let us face it, if you have all of the money and possessions in the world but nobody to enjoy them with you are about as broke as they come. I have been wanting to write about my outstanding wealth of great relationships in my life for a while and thought that now would be as good of time as any. I wanted to do so in some sort of orderly fashion. I knew there was no way I would be able to include everyone. If you are not mentioned in today’s post please do not take it as a slight in any way. There are so many great friends I am blessed to have it would take a whole post just listing their names.
First, I wanted to talk about some of the people I have known the longest. These people have been in my life so long it has me wondering if I am that good of a friend or if I just happen to befriend patient and forgiving people. In reflection I would say it is a little bit of both. My friend Matt, or ‘Big Sexy’ as those close to him know him, has been in my life since the age of 7. Matt is not only a fun and entertaining person you would love to have at any party, but one of the most caring and honest people I know. Whenever I am asked to describe him, my answer is always the same. “Matt is one of those people you would give the keys to your house, go on vacation and not worry a second.” My friends Amy and Jon I have known since kindergarten. Both of them have went on to raise amazing families and are a great example of what a parent should be. I am lucky to still have both of them in my life. My friend Jeremy I have known the longest. I believe we met when I was 4. His mom and mine were close friends. Although I don’t have the pleasure of talking to him that much these days, I can admire his passion for his beliefs and for the arts.
The next group of people I have known quite some time as well, but I am only now able to appreciate how wonderful they are. My Friend Kelly and I went to high school together and interacted a little. Later, I discovered her wonderful ability to cut hair and she began to be the one to cut my hair every time I needed a haircut. It was Kelly that I went to when I decided to go from decades of long hair to a mohawk. I can still remember the combination of shock and excitement when I told her that is what I was looking for. My friend Jodi and I also had went to the same high school. We really didn’t talk much then, but reintroduced through a mutual friend Russ (more on him later) we reconnected and she has been so sweet to both myself and my lovely Margie (more on her later as well) My friend Angie has been in my life for a long time as well. We still run into each other at local functions. It has been a true blessing to see what a great mother and example for her children she has become. My friends Jennifer and Scott are both amazing people. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them for years. Scott I have always admired for his integrity. He has always been a man of great character. Jennifer and I started out on the wrong foot to say the least. When we met we were told the other was the cause of a host of different situations that was not true. Fortunately for me, I met Jennifer again through her father Dale, who was one of the nicest men I have ever met. We were able to discuss the misinformation we both received and have become fast friends. I admire the work she does with foster animals. Another great things about Jennifer and Scott is they got married and are raising a wonderful family. Great when 2 wonderful friends come together.
Next are people I have met through my career in writing. It is my passion and meeting these people have certainly impacted my life for the better. My Aussie friend Kaylene and I initially met discussing music we both enjoyed. We became good friends and remain so to this day. We have exchanged gifts with each other and I really look forward to visiting her some day. She is doing an amazing job raising her two boys. Andrada is a friend of mine in Romania. She is also an author and a host of an amazing podcast. She is a great example of how to put all of your skills to use. Aura is my Romanian friend who lives in the United States. She is the publisher of See Beyond magazine. I will be forever grateful to Aura for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with her audience. Carole is another amazing and driven woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Carole is an accomplished journalist and now hosts a show called Positively Milwaukee. The show highlights positive things in our community. She put together an amazing piece on me and my writing. I was so grateful for all of her hard work.
Then there are the people I have met in my bartending/DJ career. My friend Bret is truly one in a million. Confident to be himself, but always caring about others. He has a great talent singing and performing as well as an amazing brother in Bart and sister in Alisa, both who also belong on this list. My friends Kelly and Steve not only look good together but are both amazing people. Steve has offered Margie and I some very helpful advice when it comes to our shows. Kelly is amazing behind the bar as we DJ, and does so much to help so many others. My friend Kelly (blushes) always has a smile for those who need it. She has a caring heart that can be seen in her work with the victims of child abuse and their families. Finally, my friend Travis. I met him when we both were in a club I was working at. Immediately we clicked and discovered my much our values aligned. Working together we not only helped a lot of people, we started a movement.
Even the Post Office, as dark and dreary as it can be, has offered some unique friendships for me. My friends John, Tom and Don all have been great to have in my life. From exploring culinary offerings to pondering the cinema, they have always brought a great deal into my world. My friends Jim and Tony are both great people. Tony and I have discussed music and Jim and I have went on road trips to experience great music. We even appear in a music video together. My friend Laura adds much needed comic relief to a serious atmosphere. Her wit and humor make the day more enjoyable. My friend Chris and I always have a lot to discuss. Whether that be just finding the humor in our work day or discussing some Native topic, it is always a better day when Chris is at work.
Then there are the people I really have close and lengthy conversations with. You have heard me mention my friend Nick before. We meet for coffee, although not nearly enough. We never know what the subject will be, but the conversation is always deep and thought-provoking. My friend Shannon has been in my life for a rather long time. We share many amazing deep conversations. We have many of the same literary tastes, love nature and both have a fondness for sunsets. We actually refer to each other as soul-friends, because ‘friend’ seems like to shallow of a term. My wonderful sister Michelle. Although we found each other late in life, we have made up for lost time. We have shared many great adventures and always have each others back. My ‘brother from another mother’ Russ is one person I really treasure. Friends since I was 13, we have been in bands together, we have been in trouble with the law together. We have seen each other through heartache and loss. We do our best to talk every week. When we do, something great always comes out of it. Although he was smart enough to move away to a warmer climate we still travel to meet each other.
Then there is my mother. She may never forgive me for putting her picture in here, but I couldn’t leave her out. We have developed a tradition of taking walks and exploring nature together. What amazing adventures we have had including getting stuck in the rain several times at my favorite state park. Speaking of which, every year we attend the state fair together. We have so much fun it would be hard to explain. Whether it is a fun dinner out or in, or even a game night, I am always thankful and grateful for times with my mom.
Last and certainly not least, is my best friend, my beautiful lady, my Margie. My great treasure. Together we have faced some of the hardest situations life can throw at a couple. We have overcome or are overcoming all of them with love. She is always there acting silly and making me laugh. She has brought into my life her fun-loving aunt and uncle, her wonderful children and grand children as well as many friends. Through her I have found a whole new way to love foods I didn’t even think I liked, new ways to enjoy the holidays, and ways to relax and be yourself. Most of all, Margie has shown me how to be a better man and a better person. It is because of her love that I am always looking to push myself to improve. She is always making me proud with her artist creations, the way she cares for friends and how much she loves family.
As you can see, when it comes to amazing people my life is truly abundant. I have been blessed greatly and I can imagine you are too. I invite you to share some of the amazing people you are grateful for in the comments below. Remember, if you have someone to share with in your life, you too have an amazing treasure.
Secrets to an amazing life, what are they? Here is an interesting secret to help you stop wasting your time, be more productive and live a more amazing life. Sounds like a big promise? Stick with me I promise you won’t be disappointed. This secret may shock you at first, it may even make you feel a little uncomfortable. That is okay. Feeling uncomfortable is where growth and positive change occur. It is also okay to feel uncomfortable because you are probably reading this alone. Even if you are not, nobody will know you are feeling uncomfortable unless you start fidgeting nervously.
Here is the secret, it is one we all have in common – you are wasting time. Before you get defensive, just relax. To some extent we are all wasting time. What may shock you is what that wasted time is costing us. According to ZDnet, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone. Millennials spend a little more at 5.7. Just so we all feel better we will round that down to 5 hours a day. Not all of this time is wasted but a good deal of it is. You start out by trying to learn how to spell the name of an important Egyptian pharaoh that you want to use in your blog and end up watching several YouTube Documentaries on Ancient Egypt, plus a video of a cute dog that looks like a baby bear that your lovely lady sent you…hypothetically. Throw in a few episodes of useless television, and a few other things here and there and we can easily get up to 5 hours a day.
So we waste 5 hours a day entertaining ourselves with mind-numbing foolishness, is that such a crime? Yes and no. If you are looking for ways to live an amazing life, you are throwing away a great deal of opportunity and perhaps a great deal of money. 5 hours a day times 7 days a week gives us 35 hours. That is almost a full work week. In essence we waste nearly as much time as we spend at work each week. Over the course of the year that is 1,820 hours. This amounts to 45 work weeks a year! Next time you find yourself scrolling through social media, imagine what our life would look like if we devoted just half of that time toward a project we are working on or a goal we are pursuing? You could still watch 2.5 hours of surfing cats, but put an additional 22 full 40 hour work weeks towards improving your life.
That may not motivate you but this might. How much do you think an hour of your time is worth? Not just what you are paid at your job, but what is an hour of your time worth? Let us just choose an easy number of $20. The real amount is probably a lot more, but we don’t want this to be too frightening. Now we take those 35 hours a week, 1,820 hours a year we waste and multiply that times the $20 figure. What do you come up with? To save you from doing the math, I will give you the answer – $36,400!
If you are working on your own business, or perhaps writing a book the amount of money you could be making putting that time to good use could far exceed the numbers we have mentioned. Maybe money doesn’t motivate you. After all, there is much more to living at amazing life. Can you imagine how much you could improve your relationship if you spent 22 full 40 hours weeks studying ways to improve your love life? How about your emotional and spiritual fulfillment? I shutter to think how much better my life would be with 22 full 40 hour weeks of meditating. How about spending those 2.5 hours a day on exercised to strengthen the mind? Reading a book in your selected field? Even just sitting down with a pen and paper and thinking of ideas toward your goal.
While it may be uncomfortable to think of how much time we waste, acknowledging that will allow us to make far better use of our time. Recreation is very important and I am not advocating we do not spend any time on activities that help us unwind. That is what the other 2.5 hours a day is for. I think you can see if we even spend half the time we waste reading tabloid magazines from the grocery store, how much further ahead in life we can be. I would love to know what great use of your additional 2.5 hours you have in mind.
What is your most useful asset? Are you smart? Are you physically attractive? Maybe you are strong? Perhaps you have a lot of wealth? Maybe you are a good conversationalist? The ironic thing about any of these traits, is that they are of little use unless they are put into the service of others. If you are strong, but do nothing with your muscles how useful are they? If you acquire a great deal of wealth, but never spend anything what good does that wealth amount to?
Each one of us has assets. Maybe it is a nice smile? Maybe a good deal of compassion? As the week draws to a close, let us spend the weekend taking stock of our unique skills and talents. After we do so, let us also find ways in which we can put them into the service of others. The picture above gives us three very good ideas. Let us make sure we approach others with our hearts full of love, our ears ready to listen to all they have to share and our hands ready to help them as they need.
In our modern world many people will do anything for a feeling of significance. What many of them fail to realize is that you do not need to make a video for YouTube of you doing something ridiculous or dangerous. You do not have to prove how important or better you are than anyone else. To be a truly useful, valuable and yes, important person, all you have to do is be of service to others. Who would not want to be around someone who is loving, listens to what we have to say and is always willing to help.
If you still want to make that crazy video for the internet, why not show off your talent in the service of others? Use that amazing smile to brighten the lives of others. Use that wealth to help those less fortunate. Maybe use your muscles to help your neighbor with a project they are working on. The more you help others, the more useful you become.
This is not a post about real estate. It is not a post about home ownership. It is a post about some property that you own that you could be making money off of right now and be living in soon if that is your desire. How can I say that when I don’t even know you? Each one of us own this kind of property, some more than others, but we all own some. Some are better developers than others, but we all can grow and develop our property as well.
The property I am talking about today is intellectual property. In other words, what is in your head. You have all heard me advocate that everyone should write a book. In case you haven’t, well, there it is. I think we all have a story inside of us. Before you start comparing yourself to Herman Melville or Ernest Hemingway, that is not necessarily the kind of writing I am talking about. Plus, to be honest, I am not a fan of either of those gents. What I mean is your own personal story. Do you have a subject you are interested in? There is somebody out there eager to hear about anything. That should be apparent from the number of views that flying cat toaster video got on YouTube. Whether your interest is computers or aardvarks someone wants to hear about it.
One of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson, wrote about a walk he took in the woods and it ended up becoming a best seller. I highly recommend the audio book for long trips. You will not be disappointed. Maybe you have an adventure? People write about their high school and college days and go on to sell many copies. Do you have a lot of experience working in a certain industry? Think of all the people in that industry who could relate and would love to hear your tale.
In an age where your job could be replaced by a computer at any moment, having a book to sell can offer another source of income. Once a book is written, the only job is to market it. You do not have to rewrite the book each and every time you sell one. Being able to call yourself a ‘published author’ can add something extra to that resume should you be looking. With Amazon and lots of other self-publishing platforms, getting your story out there can be easier today then it ever was.
Writing a book is not just about money, or having a back up source of income. Sharing our stories allows us to help people who just may need what we have inside of us. Your story about the years you worked at Starbucks may just be what the stressed out barista needs to read. It may also bring to light some of the struggles employees at coffee shops go through so that customers may better understand and empathize. Reading books on subjects we know little to nothing about will help us expand our horizons. I know very little about farming, but reading a book could give me a glimpse into what is all involved in the industry. This is of some interest to me because a goodly amount of my family were farmers.
Here are two more quick reasons to write a book. Writing a book also leaves a legacy. Want to become immortal? Write a book. Your story will be kept alive long after you are gone. Writing a book also allows you to explore and live in your passion. This is great if you have an especially stressful day job. Coming home to spend an hour engaged in recording thoughts on your favorite subject can offer a great release. You will leave knowing and feeling you have a purpose greater than the 9 to 5.
Please consider making good use of your intellectual property. What the world needs more of is for people to tell their story. If you need advice from another author I am always right here to advise and encourage.