August 27, 2015
ALL ABOARD! Welcome Passengers! As I help you off the platform and onto the train I remind you that you can listen to some great music as you ride the LifeTrain today, (SEE BOADCAST BUTTON UPPER RIGHT). The next thign i do is hand you a white business card with lack lettering. It reads:
How to Experience the Kind of Love You See in the Movies
1. Save the cat.
In his definitive guide to screenwriting, the late Blake Snyder instructs writers to introduce their movie hero with a “save the cat” moment—meaning the hero does something kind, which makes
Save The Cat….
the audience like and sympathize with him or her.
While there’s no one whose sympathies we need to earn, because we’re (hopefully) not being watched, we can all create a better, more loving world by looking for these “save the cat” moments.
It’s when you step in to defend someone who’s being bullied, or grab an extra sandwich for the homeless person sitting outside, or take a little time out of your busy day to help someone who’s struggling—with anything; homework, a heavy bag, or a heavy heart.
The best way to experience love is to be willing to give it. We can do this every day—no field of flowers required.
2. See the good in people.
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with bad news, it’s easy to become jaded. It’s tempting to assume the worst in people and live behind a metaphorical suit of armor, ever ready for someone to do something that justifies our cynicism.
But when we constantly look for the worst in others, we miss out on the best.
You can certainly find your fair share of cynics in the movies, but for most Scrooges, there’s a transformation—a shift in their fundamental beliefs that changes how they engage with the world, thereby changing the world they experience.
If we want to see a world of beauty, hope, and kindness, we need to be willing to look for these things.
This doesn’t mean we should ignore the harsh realities of life; to create positive change, we need to first acknowledge what needs changing.
It just means we open our eyes to see those “save the cat” moments when they happen. People do good things every day. If we want to nurture a loving heart, we have to recognize and appreciate them.
3. Inspire the best in others.
My goal here on the Train…
We’re more likely to see the best in others if we proactively aim to inspire it. It’s not always easy to do this; unlike in the movies, the Jerry Maguires of the world don’t always get the business and the girl in the end.
But we’re all drawn to people with visions—people who put other people before profits, people for whom integrity is more important than notoriety.
When someone stands for something good—something that benefits not just that person individually, but the world at large—it touches something inside us, and motivates us to devote ourselves to a purpose that can help create a better world.
Choose a purpose—maybe not for your lifetime, but for this time in your life. Write your “mission statement.” Wrap your love around a cause. Aspire to make a difference, no matter how big or small, and you will.
4. Check your ego.
I’ve noticed that in the best movies, the protagonist starts with an ego-based desire—to get the job, or revenge, or adoration and admiration—and ultimately reevaluates their goal to better serve and connect with others.
It’s when Bruce Almighty stops obsessing on being a successful news anchor and instead, becomes a loving, attentive partner to his fiancé, and someone who actually appreciates reporting on good people doing good things.
We all have goals and ambitions, even those of us who consider ourselves spiritual. For some of us, those ambitions might be more about making a living or making ends meet than making a name for ourselves.
But many of us are chasing a feeling, whether we hope to feel worthy, valued, or important. Ironically, the things we chase, when caught, often leave us feeling emptier than when we started.
To truly feel fulfilled, we need to set goals that reflect not only what we want to gain, but what we want to give.
I used to think “you get what you give” referred to reciprocity, but I now know this means that the giving itself is the getting. If you’ve ever experienced profound joy after helping someone else, you know this too.
5. Believe in love (and love yourself).
In the movies, a protagonist might not believe in love from the get-go, but if not, that’s his or her journey—to open to the possibility of love again, despite having been hurt or betrayed.
Believe in Love…
Then there are those heroes who start their journey obsessed with finding love, much like my former self, only to realize they first need to heal and learn to love themselves.
We’ve all been wounded in some way, and most of us have learned to either push people away or cling to them in attempt to lessen our pain.
Real love is neither fearful nor needy. It’s not about broken people completing each other. It’s about coming to each other healed and whole, ready to complement each other.
To experience this kind of love, we need to let go of how we’ve been hurt in the past, and believe that there are people out there who will treat us with care, kindness, and respect, if only we give them the chance.
And we need to show ourselves we’re worthy of this kind of love by treating ourselves the same way, and letting go of people who don’t.
Real love isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s so worth it, and possible if we work for it.
I still like to think of my life like a movie, but not because I’m waiting for someone to ride off into the sunset with me.
I think of my life like a movie because I want to be inspired. I want to be kind, I want to see the best in people, and I want to do my part to create the kind a world where we all inspire the best in each other.
The goal isn’t a happy ending. It’s to live a happier story. And that starts with how well we give and receive love.
August 18, 2015
ALL ABOARD!!! As you board today, as usual I hand you a white business card with black lettering. It reads:
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.”
REMEMBER: You can listen to LifeTrain radio (see above right) AS YOU RIDE (READ)….
Two years ago, reading this quote, I would smirk and think, “What a cliché.” In the last two years, I would read this quote and be in utter disbelief that anything can be learned when one is in the
depths of hell. Today, I read this quote and resonate confidently, that yes, even though tragic events occurred, loss of my Mother being the major major,, good has come out of my negative experiences, and I have learned the lesson to take care of myself and listen to my body, albeit the hard way.
“It’s a challenge and test, to make you stronger,” I’d say. I would give myself examples of all these great leaders of the world who had to go through trials and tribulations to get to where they were. There was something in store for me, and it would end up a positive life changing experience, that reassured me.
I fleshed out my negative thoughts, amidst pain and dissappointment as I recounted my worst days of major losses. I searched within my soul. I asked myself again those fundamental questions on what I wanted in life, what would make me happy, and what my passions were.
Through my self-reflection and bloging, I finally learned, painstakingly, in no particular order:
- Don’t ignore warning signals in your body. Frequent petty colds, stomach aches, and headaches may all be a sign of stress.
- There is no need to be strong all the time, and even less of a need to maintain an image of strength in front of others.
- Achievements and titles mean nothing if they’re not something you’re passionate about.
- Creativity is therapeutic, and it’s in everyone, just sometimes suppressed.
- We need to matter the most to ourselves—over any job promotion, meeting, excel spreadsheet.
- Not replying to emails immediately is not the end of the world.
- We all need spare time for ourselves—time for solitude and reflection.
- It doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks, if we know in our hearts something isn’t right.
- Most petty worries aren’t serious. So save some energy.
Sharing mirror moments…
- Everything will be okay in time.
- Health is the most important thing in the world.
- Sometimes it’s best to stop doing so many things, and instead spend more time enjoying what we have.
- There is no point in being afraid of the uncertainty because it doesn’t change that the future is uncertain. Leap.
- We don’t have to worry about being a disappointment to anyone, because we do not need to live according to anyone else’s expectations of us.
- We will all hurt. Embrace the pain, and know that suffering is a choice.
I do not purport to have learned everything there is to learn about adversity. Yet, my mind has opened welcoming experiences that might seem negative, now and in years to come.
Whatever befalls, positive or negative, embrace it with open arms, experience it, and learn from it.
We’ve all had our fair shares of struggles, and we’ll all have more—which means we’ll have new opportunities to learn, grow, and share it.
What are some of the wisdom you’ve reaped in your challenging times?
All ABoard…The LifeTrain!
August 11, 2015
All Aboard!!! Welcome aboard the LifeTrain. As I help you up into the train I give you a black on white business card. It reads:
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” -Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)
Share this post with someone you know that might need it…
As much as we love smooth waters, as much as I would like for you to think I am immune from hard times, there is an old proverb that states smooth waters do not make skillful sailors. In this journey called life, the question is not, “Will storms arise?” Rather, the question is, “When will the next storm arise?” And even more important than that question is, “What type of person will I be when the next storm arises?” Advanced life skills are needed to navigate these sometimes treacherous waters.
As I was pondering the topic of skillful sailing through this thing called life, I thought about a book I read a while ago. The name of the book is The Resilient Self: How Survivor’s of Troubled Families Rise Above Adversity (Villard, 1993). For too long, an impression that many have had of psychologists is that they tell people to ruminate on their past, blame others, and live as victims, without ever rising above adversity.
Sharing mirror moments…
Unfortunately, the argument of insanity or of an abusive background would be used to condone criminal acts. This is an extreme perception, but the truth is that the study of people who have come through adversity with key strengths has given us insight into some important life skills we can harness as we face adversity on a daily basis.
The study of resilience has identified us to some of these advanced life skills that I’m going to introduce to you. Think on these resilience factors so that we can be ready to successfully navigate the next storm in our liives.
The life skills here involve learning to ask tough questions and to give honest answers. It’s about asking yourself hard questions — about your strengths and weaknesses, for example, or about the role you play in your own problems — and giving yourself honest answers. When going through hard times, the questions you choose to ask yourself are key to how what you will focus on and how you will handle the storm. Passenger’s this is not a sermon…Just some thoughts.
At the next storm ask yourself (as I do):
- “How did I manage to get up this morning and get through the day?”
- “What’s kept me going day after day despite feelings of hopelessness?”
- “How is it (“What have I done so) that things are not worse?”
- “What’s kept me from completely giving up?”
- “How did you learn to cope with such an awful situation?”
In Part II we will look at some additional coping skills…so come back soon!
All Aboard! The LifeTran!
August 3, 2015
ALL ABOARD!!! MERRY MONDAY!!!
As you board the LifeTrain I give you the standard black and White busines card with today’s quote on it. It reads
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” ~Tony Robbins
***Just reminder before you get rolling. You can click on the radio broadcast button in the upper right hand corner to listen as you read ***
Do you ever have to deal with negative people?
Do you ever have days where everybody seems to want to bark at you all day long?
Under those circumstances, we struggle to keep your spirits up, don’t we?
Well, I know the feeling—all too well, unfortunately.
I worked in a department where part of my employees and my duties included collecting unpaid debts of tenant renters. Trying to obtain debt was like pulling teeth. But both the customer and I equally felt the pain for one undeniable reason …
People hate debt collectors, period.
Representing the company, I politely answered calls from those who questioned their outstanding balances. No matter how or what I said to appease the masses, they would retaliate. They’d yell my ear off and curse at me. And boy, did it take its toll on me.
And unfortunately this was only part of the stress. But I’ll just use that one as 1/10 of the daily equation. By evening, I was mentally exhausted and drained and repeatedly asked myself, “How do I cope with the stress but more importantly the negativity?”
It was like clockwork; my mind was battered and bruised daily. I’d arrive home feeling the ill effects from the entire workweek. I didn’t go out or do anything on the weekends. Depression would engulf me, and I would hit a record low once Sunday afternoon arose.
Anticipating work was like approaching the apex of a roller coaster. You know there’s no going back and there’s only one way out … and it’s down this big drop whether I liked it or not.
No turning back…
Back then, my plan still was to move up the company’s career ladder, so as much as I loathed the job, leaving it to find something more fulfilling never even occurred to me. Instead, I tried to find ways to cope with all the negativity.
Eventually, I succeeded. I developed a safeguard. And even though the work experience wasn’t the best, it did have one positive effect.
I developed a shield against negativity, and to this day, I feel much better equipped to deal with negative people in my life without letting them get me down. Here’s how you can do the same:
1. Arm yourself with positives.
Prime yourself before walking out the door. Load up with whatever positives you can get before you tackle a new week. Watch inspirational or funny movies, laugh at jokes, read enriching and influential books, listen to uplifting music, or learn from motivational speakers and teachers.
Stock up as much positivity as you can, because everyday life can sap you of your precious energy. Your commute, job, unexpected challenges, personal problems, and friend and family issues can take their toll if you’re not prepared.
2. Choose not to mirror others.
Sometimes, others’ negative vibes subconsciously influence us. It’s not our fault we’re human. If someone is rude toward us, our defenses go up, and we’ll dish out the same in return. We’ll unknowingly become trapped and mirror their negative energy exactly.
If someone’s being negative toward you, and you realize it’s influencing you for the worst, make a conscious effort to get back in the driver’s seat and be in control.
Don’t rent head space to bad tenants…
Instead of mirroring their energy, try to help them mirror yours. Be glad that you’re in a more positive state, and reflect the desired positive outcome back at them.
If they raise their voice, you speak calmly. If they’re rude, you act politely. That’s the name of the game. Now it’s just a matter of who caves in first.
Maintain your energy, and stay the course no matter what. You’ll know you’ve got them when they start matching your tone.
3. Allow others to talk your ear off without ruffling your feathers.
Let me first preface this by saying it is not healthy to always listen to someone vent.
You’ll need to set boundaries and not let people treat you like a punching bag, but when you’re dealing with clients or customers, you can’t exactly ignore them. In those cases, just let them vent their frustrations without taking it personally.
Realize their problems are probably not with you specifically but with other issues that caused them torment.
Perhaps they need to vent their frustrations about the company you work for.
Whatever it is, taking it personally would be fruitless. Don’t stand in their way and take the brunt of the onslaught. Just step aside and let them attack the problem head-on to redirect the negativity away from you. That’s how you should visualize it in your head.
Remember, they’re not really attacking you. They’re attacking the problem. The problem itself is not a part of you; it’s a separate entity.
If they’re angry with you personally because you made an error, put your ego away, be honest about it, apologize, and move forward. Never hide anything. It’ll just make the situation and your feelings worse off than before.
Create the least amount of friction as possible by shifting the negativity away from you.
4. Kindly compliment others whom you dislike.
If you do find yourself disagreeing with someone, make the best of it by trying to find a point they thought of that you actually agree with. Then genuinely take the time to compliment them for their idea.
Doing so will subconsciously create a small bond. Believe it or not, this micro-connection is a tiny foundation that you can build upon for a better relationship in the future.
It’s always best to come out of a conversation on a good note rather than leave any potential seed of negativity.
Positive over negative!
5. Treat yourself when you feel the negativity getting to you.
A gift to yourself (it doesn’t necessarily have to be material) is the perfect distraction to help shift your mindset and lift your spirits when you’re down.
You should give yourself a reward, even a small one, at the end of the day or week. For example, it could be as simple as pre-ordering a book that’s piqued your curiosity or perhaps scheduling a dinner with someone you’ve wanted to be closer to.
Whatever it is, it gives you something mentally positive to hold onto and think about to make it through a tough day.
Your Positive Actions Make You Your Own Leader, Not a Follower
You’ll have to deal with a certain amount of negativity in your life. You can’t really change that. Negative people exist, and even the positive ones can succumb to negativity on a bad day.
But you can change how you deal with it … if you allow yourself to. You can change how you react. Is it easy? It can be. Is it challenging? It can be. The real answer is actually up to you. At its very core, negativity is how you perceive it.
You can choose to keep your spirits up no matter what negative people throw at you. And maybe you can even change their moods while you’re at it.
Is it worth the effort? Unequivocally yes. I gained this valuable life skill that I undoubtedly couldn’t get anywhere else, and I use this skill to this day.
Take control of your life, and lead it where we want to go. Don’t allow others to dictate how you should feel. That’s something you can do for yourself.
All Aboard!!! The LifeTrain!!!