6TH DAY OF HAPPINESS

Today’s post is one that is simple, not complicated. It should be easy to do then, right? I have learned in my over 2 decades of work in the self-improvement field you should never confuse the word simple with the word easy. Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most difficult to do on a regular basis. Even if we know what to do, having the strength and will to do so can be a different story all together.

That brings us to today’s step in our ’10 steps to happiness’. That step is Frown less, smile more. There are many studies from some of the most prestigious universities that prove the physical act of smiling can go a long way to improving your emotional state. There is even one study where they took clinically depressed individuals and had them do nothing but smile in a three-way mirror for a scheduled amount of time and the results they experienced either rivaled or surpassed the prescription medication they were on. Of course, the economic ramifications of this will reduce the chances that we will see more such tests.

The results are there. From a personal standpoint, how do we feel when someone smiles at us? Even if they have the audacity to do that to us when we are trying to remain in a bad mood, it will, if only for the moment, bring us a certain amount of joy. Often, the act of receiving a smile will cause us to return one of our own. Get one from a puppy dog or small child and you can all but kiss that bad day goodbye! How does it feel when you receive a genuine loving smile from that special person in your life? I can tell you that nothing gives me a greater sense of pride or accomplishment than to see a smile on Margie’s face and knowing I had put it there. (Not to mention her beauty shines through the most when she smiles. It is like a ray of sunshine)

If all of these smiles feel so good, if there is even scientific evidence to back up the physical benefits of smiling, why do we not smile more? Some of us are self-conscious of our smiles. Maybe we even have dental reasons to feel so. Keeping that in mind, you don’t have to flash your teeth like you are a used car salesman or a star on an infomercial. Although, it does bear mentioning that a smile can even be an effective business tool. Even an upturn at the end of our lips and a little sparkle in the eye can be joy to anyone’s soul. Someone who smiles is automatically more attractive. Don’t believe me? Think of those weight loss commercials. The have a before and after picture. Guess which one is smiling? The one after they have used the latest miracle pill.

Sometimes the act of smiling takes effort. There are many people, myself included, who when concentrating or otherwise involved have a stern look on their face. If we were to take a deep breath and smile, it would not only undoubtedly make us feel better, but would also refresh our brains so that we may better concentrate on the task at hand. Whatever you are doing today, make sure to take a few moments out of your day to offer a smile to as many folks as you can. it will help increase both your happiness and theirs. That is what you call a win/win situation.

BUILDING THE WALL

A quick disclaimer. This post has nothing to do with Donald Trump, a border wall or any political opinions. What is does have to do with is how to build a successful life without a mountain of stress. I think that is far more useful than the afore mentioned.

Most people do not know this about me, but I listen daily to other success and motivational videos. I am continually learning and growing myself. When I come across something particularly useful I come here to share it with all of you. In this case I was listening to a video by Will Smith. He told a story about his youth that I believe all of us can put into practice in our own lives. When he was young his father told him and his brother they were going to build a wall in front of his fathers store. When they began, his father gave both of them this incredible advice. Do not set out trying to build the best wall ever. Start out with trying to lay the perfect brick. Make sure that brick is placed as perfect as a brick can be. Do the same with the following brick. You repeat this over and over again. If you do this with every brick you will have built the perfect wall.

Some of you may not see the amazing power of this advice. In our lives we hopefully have some grand goals. Perhaps we want to start our own business? Maybe our goal is to finally get in shape and lose those unwanted pounds? Another popular goal is to get our finances in order. All of these are great goals and I commend anyone who has them on their list.

The problem many of us run into is the overwhelming nature of all of these problems. In other words we try to build the perfect wall. Changing our eating, going to the gym every day and meditation? Instead, do your best at the gym…today. Eat healthier than you did yesterday. Perhaps try to be more mindful than the day before.

Trying to get all of your financial affairs in order? Instead, pay $5 extra on your credit card bill. Make coffee at home once a week instead of going to the coffee shop.

Starting the perfect business can be difficult to say the least. Instead, search logo advice on YouTube. Maybe draw up a business plan. Order business cards.

In other words, focus on one brick at a time. Instead of attempting to solve the problem in its entirety, work on one aspect of the problem. This will not only prevent overwhelm, but give you many moments of accomplishment.

DO YOUR BEST NOT TO

This month is generally a month of love. It includes the holiday of Valentines Day. You can see hearts almost everywhere you look. I am going to ask we do our best to love all of our fellow human beings. (and dogs, bears, monkeys…etc) Do your best this weekend to be free of judgement.

This may sound easy at first. Two days without judging anyone? It is harder than it may seem. Some of our judgements are so ingrained in us we may be unaware we are even doing them. We see and senior and assume they are frail. We may see a person with blue hair, or a mohawk, and assume they are a rebellious rule breaker.

Some judgements may come from social conditioning. We see a person who is overweight and assume they are lazy or do not have any physical stamina. Maybe we have been taught certain beliefs about those of a certain race or religion? How about those of a certain political affiliation? Those who live in a particular area? All of these beliefs are actually judgements.

Some judgments we may feel we have a right to hold. A fellow driver cuts you off, passes you illegally and speed off into the horizon. This person is a rude, dangerous and unsafe individual right? Maybe they are someone who is rushing to the bedside of someone they love who is passing away? Maybe they just have to poop?  Someone snaps at you at the grocery store? They are just rude and impatient? Maybe they just lost their job or had a disagreement with their spouse?

The truth is we really never know what everyone’s story may be. Even the people we know to be mean or insensitive can be so for reasons we may never know. They could have been abused growing up. They could be plagued by feelings of inadequacy and doubt. Most actions we consider mean or rude are veiled cries for help. That certainly does not excuse or justify their behavior, but it may give us pause before we judge.

This weekend, let us do our best to remember everyone has a story including us. Everyone has something they are judged by, including us. Let us do our small part to remove a little bit of judgement from the world starting today.

NO PATIENCE…. MIGHT BE A GOOD THING


“When waiting for your goal to manifest, don’t count the days, make every day count.” – Neil Panosian.
This is a quote from my upcoming third book. Before we get to the quote, let us take a second to discuss the title of this post. Why on earth would I advocate not having patience? After all, isn’t being present, mindfulness and meditation all involve patience? I have posted the analogy about the farmer planting his crop and then not walking outside the very next day expecting a harvest. Personally, I really like that analogy. It not only shows how insane expecting certain things to happen before their time, but also because many members of my family were farmers.
All of those great examples considered, how can I advocate for not having patience? Here is why I say that. The word patience itself can often conjure up feelings of being passive. Some people, when they hear the word patience think of someone sitting in the lotus position waiting for the world to change. Instead of counting how many days are passing and your goal is still not arriving, focus on making each of those days count.
I think this manner of thinking is best illustrated with personal examples. Take physical fitness. You have been in the gym for months now and you still do not look like those people on the red carpet. Rather than wondering how long it will take, focus on making each workout count. When my beautiful Margie was waiting for her cake business to explode, she focused on making each of the cakes she was working on a masterpiece. Not only did she succeed in that, but her cake business is off the charts now. While I am waiting for both my writing and videos to go viral, I work on creating the most valuable content worth sharing. In doing this we create the best chance of success.
What are you working towards? What goals are you working to accomplish? Ask yourself today, “How can I make every day count as I wait for my goal to manifest?” As Earl Nightingale mentioned, the time will pass anyway.
Even in regards to your life mission, making each day count can be so valuable. Let us say your mission is to be a more positive person. Each day you could add some kind of positive influence. Maybe a picture to hang by your bed that says “grateful” that you can see each morning upon rising. I use a day by day calendar that I can read an inspiring quote as I am leaving for work at 4 a.m. Maybe your goal is to help leave the world a more positive place. That certainly can’t happen overnight, but each day you can make it count. If you make a concerted effort to add positivity to the people around you than you have made that day count!
Remember my friends, as you are waiting for your goals and blessings to make themselves known, don’t count the days, make the days count!

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS


Before I began writing this post I put the word ‘success’ into Google and this is what came up. I am calling B.S. on this definition! While it is true a part of success is the obtaining of goals, it is by far not the whole picture. In both of my books and on this post we have pointed out that the gain of material things does not bring happiness. Can your life truly be considered a success if you are unhappy? I think we can all agree the answer to this is ‘no’. We have witnessed countless celebrities end their lives in what seems like the world of their dreams. They have “achieved their desired aims and attained prosperity” as our definition above leads us to believe is what success is all about.
What is the problem? What part of success is missing? What is left out of this definition that makes all of the difference? Much like fitness, nutrition, love and relationships, spirituality and every other area of life, success and its definition should not be about obtaining an end. If you got in the best shape of your life and then stopped taking care of your body would you stay that way? If you wow your partner with the most beautiful romantic moment ever but cease to put anymore effort into that relationship, how long before it fell apart? I think the point has been made.
What is the solution? How can we achieve a success that leaves us fulfilled and full of joy? Once again, I want to refer to the definition given by one of my mentors, Mr. Earl Nightingale.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Earl Nightingale
There are two very important words to note in that profound statement. First is the word progressive. Success, much like fitness and love in the examples above, should be a life-long pursuit. Your goal should include certain ends but not be defined by such. This will accomplish several great things for you. First, it will allow you to experience several wins. Let us say your goal is to get into great physical shape. As you are progressing towards that and every time you take an action that gets you closer to that you are a success and should celebrate. Once you get in great shape, the same will hold true. Every day at the gym, every healthy meal you chose…success! In your relationship the same is true. Every romantic gesture you show is a success. Every action you do that makes your partner feel loved and appreciated…success! The more you do to get better, the more reasons you have to celebrate. The more you make them feel loved, the more you can celebrate.
The second word of note is worthy. It mentions pursuing a worthy ideal. Is the accumulation of material goods and wealth the exclusive ideal to pursue? On a personal level, I would love to be a famous best-selling author. That type of goal only serves to get you out of bed so well. It is the deeper ‘why’ that accomplishes that goal. I really want to be someone who can positively affect others and make positive changes in the world we all share. By accomplishing my goal of becoming a best-selling author I would be more likely do that. It is not the wealth or notoriety that drives me, but the desire to make a difference. That is a goal that is larger than myself. That is what we all need, a goal larger than ourselves.


One other key that speaker Steve Rizzo does a wonderful job in describing is ‘Falling in Love with the Process’. This is vital. We spend the majority of our lives in the process and very little time reaching goals. Which would you rather attach your happiness to? Yes, being able to fit in that pair of pants that used to be too tight is a great feeling, but so should be working out in the gym knowing you are getting closer. Seeing the smile on your love’s face is amazing, but so should be putting together the very thing that will bring it out. Recalling our definition of success, remember if we are progressing towards a worthy ideal we are successful. We should celebrate every step closer we get.
As a bonus, I will tell you how I have come to learn how to celebrate even the failures. When I eat a huge meal that I know was no good for me, I either use the feelings of guilt and disappointment I have in myself for motivation to eat healthier in the future. ( a “remember how bad you felt?” sort of thing) or if the meal is not that bad, I celebrate that fact that eating healthier and working out at other times gives me the freedom to eat a little crazy every now and again. Same for my relationship with Margie. Try as I may, I am not always the perfect boyfriend. (I know I found this hard to believe at first too) Seeing the upset or disappointment on her face is a terrible feeling that drives me to never take such actions again. Not to mention, I relish in the fact that I learned a way in which NOT to behave/talk/cook/clean etc. when it comes to our relationship. Yes, of course I would rather have everything be sunshine and unicorns (that in itself would be a great compromise) but then I could never celebrate growing and learning to become an even better version of me. Fall in love with the process. It will add immeasurably to your experience of success and the amount of joy you have in your life.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS FOR MAKING YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!

DIET VS. HEALTH

This is a great comparison in different thinking. Although this is obviously written for physical health and weight-loss, the same can be said for going on a mental diet. Changing from a life filled with stress and pleasing others to one of inner peace and spreading love can be just like the diet verses health comparison.

The circled part of the two words is an important element to think about as well. When you go on a diet, what you are doing to both your body and your mind is stressful. You focus on things like ‘cheating’ on your diet. You think of all the food you are restricted and forbidden from eating. It becomes about suffering through this period so you can go back to eating the terrible way that got you this way in the first place. Focused on more healthy eating is entirely different. You don’t restrict yourself as much, you just think, “would this help my body or hurt my body?” If you have a day where you do not eat as healthy as you should, you focus on reducing them while increasing the amount of healthy meals. This in turn lowers your stress which can help you lose weight anyway.

When embarking on any lifestyle change, whether that is diet, exercise, attitude, gratitude or a host of others there is one thing you should keep in mind. It is not so much about a specific process as it is about progress. Working on being a little better than you were the day before. Print this picture out if you like or even just print out the two words circled as they are for a powerful reminder. 

YOU MUST DO THESE 3 WORKOUTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL

While mowing the lawn the other day something profound occurred to me. In these blog posts I occasionally use physical fitness as an analogy to self-improvement. What occurred to me is that there are three parts to an individual and all three of these must be worked out and in top shape for us to have an amazing life. The three parts of a person are the body, the mind and the spirit or soul. To keep all of these in shape requires some of the same principles. Let us look at each one briefly to get an idea of what we may need to do.

First, let us look at the body. Depending on what shape you are in really depends on what kind of workout you need to do. Is it maintaining or getting in shape? You should spend several days a week working on your physical fitness, while at the same time allowing periods of rest and recovery. To reach your fitness goals may take months or it may take years. It always makes me chuckle how busy gyms are after the first of the year, only to be empty a month later. It would seem that people who have had an unhealthy lifestyle for years think that can be turned around after only a few workouts. Trust me, it can’t. I tried. As Jim Rohn said, “No one else can do your push ups for you.”  To achieve great physical fitness you must put in the work.  Once you achieve your desired state of physical health it is important to institute a regular maintenance routine. If we get in shape and then stop we will begin to decline.

 Next, let us look at the mind. Whether you are a sitting with a college degree or chasing your GED the principles are the same. If you haven’t dusted off the grey matter at the top of your head in a while it may be a little more difficult to get back into the habit of learning. This is very similar to working out. The worse shape you are in, the more sore your body will be when you start. A lot of us do not have intellectual goals like we do fitness goals. It is important to do so. How will you ever know if you have arrived if you do not know where you are going? When you do arrive, you must also have a regular maintenance routine just like fitness. If you think intellect doesn’t fade as fast as muscle, try opening a high school math book to realize how much you have forgotten. With intellectual fitness this can range from reading something inspiring every day, watching an instructional video or even using one of those fabulous brain fitness apps for your phone.

Finally. let us look at our spiritual health. This is the area that most of us ignore, yet is one of the most important. Think of how many celebrities you hear of that have all of the physical tools, they are accomplished in their career and then take their own lives. To be successful and unfulfilled is one of the greatest failures. Luckily, there are steps we can take to keep our spirit in shape the same as we can do for our body and our mind. Interestingly enough, these are more individual than either of the afore mentioned. What helps your soul develop and heal is as unique to you as it is to the next person. To some, it involves going to a house of worship one day a week. To others, it involves spending quality time in nature. Recently, I had a conversation with my friend Kurt. When people and life becomes overwhelming enjoys relaxing in a darkened room for several hours and taking a day to recalibrate. Personally, after often the same exposure to…shall we say the same stressors, I enjoy listening to some classical music and spending time in nature.

 We should also have a regular maintenance to keep our spirit and vibration high. You may think you do not have time for that, but as short and precious as life is, I am here to tell you that you do not have the time not to focus on that. A lot of us think that we should worry about paying the bills and then we will worry about our own happiness. As you can see from the example of celebrities above, that can lead to a tragic ending. I am all for trying to improve your situation, but I strongly suggest implementing a plan to enjoy the process and feed your spirit along the way. As I write this, Margie is having therapy shopping. I am enjoying a good cup of hot coffee. I also need to meditate regularly and sometimes just be alone and read. It allows me to enjoy the rest of my life so much more.

Focus on all three of these workouts to have a life that is completely fit and healthy. I encourage you to write down plans for your physical, intellectual and spiritual fitness today. Feel free to share what some of the items you do to keep all three of these areas healthy in the comments below.

WHAT I’VE BEEN LIVING LATELY

As an author and motivational speaker, people often come up to me and ask things such as, “how do I fix my life?” Or “what is the amazing wisdom of the day?” I don’t really mind answering these questions, but find it amazing people are looking for instant answers to problems created over years. I liken it to eating junk food for years then asking a trainer to get you in shape for your wedding… next week. I presume those of you in the fitness field no doubt have stories like this.

Understanding that we live in a nanosecond world where there is an instant fix for almost everything, I do my best to supply individuals with some universally applicable nugget of wisdom. There are a few powerful things that can change a life when applied with conviction.

Lately, I have been thinking about the quote above. All we really have is today. We cannot change the past no matter how hard we try. If we wish to correct something from the past, we must take different action…today.

The future will arrive when it does. If we wish to be prepared, or are worried about some upcoming events, the only way we can affect our future is through the actions we take…today.

This moment is all we have, but it is very powerful. It can help correct, though not undo, our past. It can affect and direct our future. What matters is what we do today. Make sure whatever we do, that we do it to the best of our ability. An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind.

ANOTHER WORD FOR FAITH

received_314658125853252950877570566101154.jpeg
Above is a picture of my beautiful Margie and I at the gym after a good workout. Not so glamorous, but it serves the point we are talking about here quite well. One of the most important words in both personal development as well as in spiritual development is faith. This can be a difficult concept for some to describe. To be quite general faith is a belief that everything is going to turn out for the best. Those with a good amount of faith tend to lead a more positive life. Faith can certainly serve us in the darkest of times.
What about living in faith? How can we live a life that demonstrates that we have a good deal of faith? This can be even trickier than defining exactly what faith is to us. Just so we are all on the same page, I am going to being referring to a more secular type of faith, but the principles apply equally to both.
Faith can be a great motivating tool if we use it to better our lives. It is with this thought in mind I would like to explore another word for faith. If we really understand what I am going to say next, I believe it will not only make our definition of faith a little clearer, but help us discover new ways to live a life of faith.
Earl Nightingale is one of my favorite authors and philosophers. If you do not know who he is yet, I would recommend looking him up and listening to his work The Strangest Secret. Earl once said “Persistence is another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.” If you think about it, that is very true. Faith motivates us to keep going when times are tough, knowing there is a greater plan and that things will eventually work out. If we have faith in humanity, we can keep from getting jaded when we read stories in the news of the terrible things people can do to one another, or when we experience some of those things ourselves. To the above example of putting yourself through a workout on the faith that eventually you will be fit and healthy.
Faith is also being persistent when things seem to be going against you. You have faith in your friend and then they let you down. Having faith that your friend is a good person allows you to trust them again and be forgiving. After all, haven’t we let people down before? Even the example of being healthy. Les Brown, another personal favorite author and speaker, once said, “You have to have faith in your plan. I have lost 20 pounds…several times.” In addition to being able to relate to that statement, it serves to remind us of the importance of having faith in ourselves. By doing so, we can persist in pursuing our goals.
Live a life of faith. Be persistent in your efforts for good. Be forgiving and compassionate towards others. Most importantly, use those two statements on the most important person in your life, you. Have faith in yourself. When you make a mistake or let yourself down, know that you will do good once again. You may have gotten off track, but as long as you know what the track is, you can get back on again. By doing so you are demonstrating your faith.

THE ONLY QUESTION YOU SHOULD ASK WHEN TRYING TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

What area of your life are you working to improve? Is it your finances? Perhaps you are working to get in better shape? Maybe you are looking to take your relationship to the next level? No matter what area of your life you are looking to improve, there is only one question you should be asking. That may sound crazy given all of the different topics we touched on above, not to mention the thousands we haven’t mentioned that you may be working on.

What is this million-dollar question we should be asking? The question is simply this – What can I do? That might not sound so profound, but trust me it is. When my job seemed to be on the edge of collapse, my personal life was in shambles and everywhere I looked there seemed to be negativity I asked myself that question. My job had slashed my hours due to corporate downsizing. There were a lot of people in my life that were not treating me well. Everything I seemed to watch on the news, read in the newspaper or see online was filled with negative vibes.

At first I did what most of us do – complain. Why was my job at the post office so mismanaged that they could not come up with a better solution for an employee who at that point had never even called in sick? I even contemplated writing the television stations to inquire why they could not throw in a few more positive items on the nightly news. While it might have helped me vent for the time being, in the long run I would be right back where I started. In fact, I might have been even more frustrated because my job would not change their tactics, the news has to sell and is not likely to get positive anytime soon.

The point of this is that waiting for other people and circumstances to change is not only pointless, but can add to your frustration as well. I’m currently looking to get in shape before my well-deserved Jamaican vacation. I could wish all day that pizza didn’t taste so good and complain that the weather is too cold to do much outside, but none of that will help me get into better shape. I will show up in Jamaica looking like something that should swim in the ocean and not be laying next to it. I had to take control of the situation. I had to limit (because it was national pizza day yesterday) my consumption of delicious pizza. I had to make it to the gym where it is still warm enough to run inside.

This works great for getting in shape, but what about other items? Wish you lived in a cleaner city? You could begin by making sure your own yard looks pristine. You could begin to advocate for tougher laws for littering. Do you have a boss that is less than pleasant? You could complain and maybe even try to ‘get back at them’, but chances are you would only make your situation worse. It would make more sense to find out some of their interests so you could discuss such things with your boss. You could actively search for a new job or position in the company. You could take some classes to advance yourself elsewhere. You could learn and do some new relaxation activities when you get home.

The truth is the only control and power we have is over ourselves. What most of us fail to realize is how powerful that is. Even simply changing a perception can bring a different outlook to your life. You have complete control over your thoughts and actions. We have very little, if any, control over others.

Next time you are faced with a challenge of any kind, begin by asking yourself, “What can I do?” You will be amazed at how much control you have over your own life. By actively doing something yourself instead of complaining and waiting for others will bring you a sense of joy as well.