IF IT ISN’T 1 THING…

Here I sit at Starbucks writing my second book (and presently this blog post). You will notice a copy of my first book on the right, and a double espresso and a green tea on the left. In addition there is a card from my lovely lady that encourages me. I keep in in my keyboard so the first thing that enters my mind as I begin to write is the wonderful lady I have at home. It also helps me stay connected with her as writing, even in a crowded coffee shop, is a fairly solitary endeavor.

This is not a story about coffee, or even the wonderful lady I have in my life…well…kind of. The title of the book I am working on is called Living the Dream. It has been in the works for roughly 3 years. A good portion of it is complete, but there still seems to be some work to do. Allow me to share with you something I have learned in the creation of this book. One of the biggest secrets to living the dream is understanding you already do. What on earth does that mean? Look at my set up, I have a laptop, coffee, tea, a woman who loves me and I am working on my dream of helping to inspire the world. All of this is a dream come true.

Let us spin this a different way. It may also be said after two decades in the self-improvement field which has included writing a book, writing posts on a website five days a week for over 5 years, appearances on several podcasts and radio and television shows, book signings, author festivals and live seminars. After all of this I am still not close to where I want to be. This is all true as well and I must confess is my outlook more often than it should be.

The secret is looking at life the first way. At this point you may very well be thinking “Neil, this sounds like one of those ‘glass half full’ speeches!” In a way you would be right. Both situations are true, but depending on which one we focus on life has an entirely different feeling and flavor. When we focus on what we have we tend to feel more abundant and joyful. When we focus on what we lack we feel depressed and poor. A successful life is about feeling good. If you find yourself thinking it is more about the fancy cars, big house and large bank account you are only partly right. Why do we want those things after all? It is for the feelings they will give us. The fancy cars may make us feel powerful, the big house significant and the large bank account may give us a sense of freedom or at the very least security. There is nothing wrong with the goal of having all of those, but what if you could work on developing the feelings they would give you while you pursue them.

Think of this, if your emotional well-being is tied to material objects or situations than it can disappear as quick as it came. Maybe even quicker. While you are saving up for the fancy car and big house perhaps you can begin to feel significant by creating joy in the lives of others. While looking to better yourself financially, find security in the relationships of your family and friends. What good are all of the ‘things’ in life if by the time you have them you have no peace and joy in your heart to enjoy them?

By all means write down your goals. Get an image of that car or house. Start your vision board to help create that reality. It will keep you moving forward and give purpose to your life. While you are doing that do not forget to find joy in the process and stay grateful for that which you do have. We spend most of our lives in the journey if we can enjoy that it makes the destinations that much more rewarding when we get there.

LAW OF ATTRACTION MADE EASY

I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. Not just for the metaphysical aspects, but the scientific reasons behind it. It has been proven ‘Where focus goes, energy flows’. Like when you buy a new car and suddenly you see that car everywhere. The cars were always there, it is just that your brain has made noticing that more of a priority.

Still a lot of people have tried the Law of Attraction without much success, or may even be confused as to what exactly it is and how to use it. I highly recommend watching the movie The Secret. Not only will that answer a lot of questions, but it will introduce you to a lot of different individuals who can be of a great help in your journey to improve your life and manifest your desires.

Above is a simple flow chart I invite you to print out and make use of. It will begin to change your minds focus from what you are worried about, to what you desire. Go ahead and take a few seconds to read it. In my opinion number 3 and 4 are the most important. If we just ‘see’ in our minds what we desire it does not generate the power needed to ingrain that thought into our subconscious mind and begin to manifest it. What is needed is emotion. Want a new car? See yourself in that car. Feel the new steering wheel in your hands. Smell the ‘new car smell’, hear the new sound system, see the beautiful interior. The more emotion and more senses you can use the more powerful your thoughts will be.

Step 4, feeling grateful, can seem challenging when you are focusing on what it is you are trying to manifest. Achieving and maintaining a positive attitude also makes your thoughts more powerful. If you have access to the internet and are reading this, you have many things to be grateful for. Plus, when focused on gratitude we foster a feeling of abundance. That helps us visualize what exactly we are working towards.

I hope the chart and this brief explanation helped answer some of the questions you may have had. Again, you may really want to watch the movie The Secret to gain further insight into the Law of Attraction, how it works, and how you can use it.

YOU MAY NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS

“The rich get richer,while the poor get poorer”.  How many of us have heard this saying before? Lord knows I must have heard it a million times growing up. Not to inspiring especially if you find yourself in the latter of the two categories. It doesn’t sound fair does it?

It would be great if I were here to tell you that isn’t true, or some secret method to beat the system, but I am not. In fact, quite the opposite. I am here to show you how this is not only true in the world of finance but in most other areas as well. Great you might be thinking, just what I need to hear today. Do not become discouraged. Knowledge is potential power and what you are going to learn here today is something that you can use to your advantage. It will not change much of what you may be doing to improve any area of your life by itself.

So why read any further? What are we going to learn here today and how will it serve us? We are going to learn why the axiom above is true in so many areas of life and how we can use that to increase our drive and commitment to obtain our goals. We will learn why that skinny person at the gym barely has to brake a sweat and we just look at a slice of pizza and gain a pound. Why they can workout 30 minutes and stay as fit as a fiddle, while we can spend our whole day in the gym and not notice a single improvement. We will also learn why that happy person in the office just manages to stay bubbly even if the world is falling down around them and how stress just seems to pass them by while we feel like we are dragging a lead weight behind us.

I am going to start with the fitness example first, but as you will see they are actually all interchangeable. I am working out at the gym, because like some of you I cannot say ‘no’ to any slice of pizza offered my way. While doing so I listen to different things to inspire me and keep me moving when my body is begging to quit. One of those things is videos by the late Greg Plitt, who was a fitness model as well as a great motivator. He taught me something I never knew and always wondered. I am going to share it with you here because unless you are really into fitness this may also be news to you. So why does that person who is already fairly fit not have to work as hard to maintain that level of fitness as do those of us who are trying to obtain it? It has to do with Muscle verses fat. Fat is stored energy and does not require the effort by the body to burn as does muscle. At first this sounded great I don’t have to work as hard to burn fat? Not quite. What this means is to move muscle and fiber requires more effort and calorie usage than moving fat. Meaning if a fit person and a person who is not so fit walk a mile at the same pace the fit person will actually burn more calories. Not before you succumb to the urge to knock the skinny person off the treadmill in front of you let me explain what this means. As we continue to get more in shape our ability to burn calories efficiently will also continue to improve. It is like trying to mold clay. When you first start and the clay is cold the clay is not easily molded. As the we keep working the clay and it heats up the rate in which we are able to shape it also increases. While this may seem to really suck as we begin a fitness routine, it may also keep us in the gym well past when most people quit because they are not seeing results.

Ok, so what does this have to do with living an amazing life and maintaining a positive attitude? Plenty! The same principle applies. A lot of people tell me “It is easy for you to not let things get you down because you are so positive”. In a way that is true, but it was not always that way. As the years went by and I have practiced a lot of the principles I teach on this site, at seminars and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People I began, in essence, to build my positivity muscle. Through practices like being grateful and asking how I can use challenges I learned to be more positive and as a result more resilient. So, the more positive you are, the easier it is to remain positive in the face of challenges.

Here is what we have discovered. The rich get richer, the fit have and easier time staying so and being positive helps you stay the way when the world throws you a curve ball. This news may not seem that great if you are financially challenged, overweight or negative. Again, knowledge is potential power, so what you do with this information is up to you. You can let it get you down, or provide proof the world is stacked against you. You can also use it to keep you chasing your fitness goals knowing the more you help your body, the more it will help you. You can use it to work on developing that positive and grateful attitude now so when you face a challenge in life you are better prepared.

All this will not happen overnight. Knowing that once you get to the tackle any challenge it will be easier to maintain those results than it was to achieve them should keep us all pushing.

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.

WHAT IS VALUABLE?

This story was inspired with a conversation I had this Saturday night. We will begin with an odd question. Which of these is most valuable? A rock given to you from a child, a bag of spicy pork rinds or a reassuring compliment? Depending on your love of either geology or fried parts of a pig your answer may very. So what does this have to do with living an amazing life? Let us find out.

Before we craft our answer to the first question, let me throw a second question at you. Which of these two items are more valuable, a diamond or some water? As happens quite often, you may be tempted to question my sanity. It is the diamond right? Not so fast. Sure in our day to day lives if given the choice we would take the diamond. After all how many fancy bottles of water could you buy with that diamond? Well what if you happened to be stranded in the desert? Or what if that water was given to you by someone who was stranded in the desert with no water? You see, value not only depends on meaning but on situation as well.

Back to our original question. After DJing a busy show on a Saturday evening my lady and I had a chance to share a quick conversation with our friend Nicole. She told us of a recent story where her son had given her a rock and told her “I want you to have this”. (It should be noted this generous young man gave me a drawing he created for my last birthday) The reason she shared this with me is that is reminded her of a section from my book A Happy Life for Busy People titled ‘Gratitude in your pocket’. Which basically instructs one to carry a special talisman in their pocket to remind them of things they have to be grateful for. If you would like more info search the blog post of the same title or purchase a copy of my book. What she said next is what really got me thinking. “That was all he had” You see that child could not give her a new car, a diamond or anything else he did not possess, but he gave the one thing he had which was the rock. She saw the value in that and now uses it to remind her of what she has to be grateful for.

Ok, spicy pork rinds? How valuable are they? $2.99 a bag? Not in this case. During this same conversation Nicole was telling us how proud she was of the growth she saw in her husband. She mentioned how he knew to take her on their first date to all the places she liked. Then she added “The other day he bought me a bag of spicy pork rinds”. To some if their significant others bought them something like that they may just say a simple ‘thank you’ or even ask “Is that all you brought me?”. Nicole chose a more intelligent way of receiving this gift. She told us “This means he listened to me about what I like and went out and got it”. How valuable is it to you to know someone cares enough to listen to what makes you happy and then go out and take action on it? Certainly more than $2.99 a bag. Admittedly this is a lesson I did not always appreciate, but through the love of my young lady I am now relishing in it.

Speaking of my young lady, that brings us to the last item, a reassuring compliment. I mentioned it was a very busy night that night. My baby being the caring and wonderful DJ and person she is was extremely focused on making sure everyone had their song in and nothing went wrong technically. (sometimes I even wonder what I am there for). A few hours into the evening she stopped and looked right at me and kissed me. What she said next melted my heart. She said “I’m sorry I know I working so hard right now and not really talking to you I just wanted to let you know I appreciate you and love you”. Wow. That meant more to me than if she would have bought me another drink, or even gave me a diamond. Sounds crazy but true. To know that she thought enough to realize that although she was busy making sure everyone of our amazing friends was well taken care of, she knew her man would appreciate knowing he was too.

Did you notice something about what Nicole and I did? We took gifts that on a material level may not seem like much and appreciated the thought, effort and feeling behind them. When you do that not only do the ones giving the gifts feel appreciated, but you realize something even more important. You can be, in fact you are, rich right now. You give yourself the gift of feeling loved and abundant. So when someone gives you a gift, make sure you see the true value in it.

THE RICH GET RICHER . ..

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We have all heard this expression, “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer”. This works for a lot of different situations other than money. At first glance this may seem and sound unfair, but upon closer examination it is actually very helpful.

This was brought home by a conversation I had with a new coworker of mine. We were discussing his online classes and he mentioned how one teacher only dictated and there was no interaction. I asked him what he liked least about that. What he told me really got me thinking. He said the part he liked least was the inability to perceive emotion. He said the lesson could really be interpreted differently depending on what mood he was in. He then gave me the example of how if someone sends you and email and you open it in an anger mood some of what they say could seem confrontational where the same email opened in a pleasant mood would not draw those same conclusions.

Here is the interesting part of all this. The same is true on the opposite side. What really is powerful is the fact that this is a self-fulfilling lifestyle. What do I mean about this? Let us play this situation out. You wake up in a bad mood. You start the day by checking your emails. A friend sent you an email letting you know they can’t make the dinner you had planned later in the week. Great you think, he can’t even call me? You feel a little rejected. You grab your coffee and go off to work. “Damn why can’t the car be warm already?” you find yourself thinking. My coffee won’t stay warm for long you think. You begin to think about everything you dislike your job. Suddenly you just want to turn around and go back home to bed. By the time you reach work you are in a less than pleasant state. As you walk in a coworker greets you with a nod. “can’t even say good morning?” Nobody has time for being pleasant you say. This is just the beginning of your day.

Now let’s look at the opposite. You wake up after a good nights sleep in a pleasant mood. You start your day by checking your emails. A friend sent you an email to let you know they can’t make it to the dinner you planned next week. Nice of them to let me know and not just show up, you think. I really must plan something with Joe you say. Feeling grateful your friend let you know ahead of time. You leave feeling thankful for having such considerate friends. You grab your coffee and head off to work. “Damn it’s cold out here, glad I have a car to drive to work” As your driving you are thankful for your hot coffee until the car warms up. By the time you reach work you are feeling pretty good about how many amazing things you have in your life. A coworker greets you with a nod. “Nice he noticed me” you think. feeling you have friendly coworkers. This is just the beginning of your day.

Notice, none of the situations on the outside changed. Just your perception of them and how they made you feel. This may seem extreme to you but it really is not. Being in a bad mood does more than just color your view of the world, it also may cause you to miss out on certain opportunities that may present themselves or friendships that may be available. This is why some of the most successful people tend to be the happiest. It is not because they are grateful they have everything it is because they are grateful for everything they have! This is why it is important to foster an attitude of gratitude and happiness as soon as we are able. Feel free to use the tools presented in this blog as well as discover your own. Also feel free to share any you have in comments below for other readers.

This is why the happy tend to get happier. If you enjoy what you read here please feel free to let us know and to share this with all of your friends.