“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.”

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.”

—William Arthur Ward, 20th Century American Author

Image of a man smiling and pumping his fists

Image from Unsplash by Bruce Mars

Virtually everyone in my office seems to be in a far better mood. We are nearing the end of  spring, and summer is right around the corner. The warmer summer days that last hours beyond the work day are likely a primary factor.

Even on cloudy or rainy days, most folks have an attitude of, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, some people we all know have storms and cloudy days within them, and often try to rain on our professional and personal parades.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you share your sunniest disposition today and throughout the year to brighten everyone’s world?

Make today so awesome that yesterday is jealous

“Make today so awesome that yesterday is jealous.”

—Author Unknown

Most mornings when I work out, if I’m not chatting with one of my fitness friends, I find myself watching ESPN’s Sports Center. I particularly look forward to the show’s Top 10 Plays of the Day, to see the awesome feats of athletic excellence.

Consider your life a sport. What awesome events and experiences would make your Top Ten list for this week, this month, and this year?

If your list is not quite as awesome as you would like, you are not alone. On a day-to-day basis, we all get caught up in our routines and habits. One day seems to run into the next, with few, if any, highlights.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you step up the level of awesomeness today, and perhaps make this effort a new habit, to make all of your yesterdays jealous?

Don’t close the book when bad things happen

“Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life. Just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a page-turning book

Image from Unsplash by socialcut

Did you know that the average Social Security payout for retirees is just 29 months?

Although most of us think of retirement as our “Golden Years,” and while we continue to hear of all sorts of fantastic new medical breakthroughs to extend the quality and length of life, this statistic is shocking. But it improves considerably when three critical factors are present:

  • Friends, family, community
  • Financial stability – a nest egg
  • A future-oriented mindset

The level of engagement and overall life purpose can diminish with retirement. Retirees  often find much less meaning in life and a reason to get up in the morning when their vocational years are over.

EXERCISE:

What relational, financial, and mindset factors can and will you put in place to keep writing each new exciting chapter in your life for many more healthy, and happy years to come?

Your attitude reflects your past

“Your Attitude… Reflects your Past, Describes your Present, and Predicts your Future.”

—Julie Davis-Colan, Author of Getting the Best from Yourself and Others

Image from Unsplash by Kate Joie

Take a few minutes to conduct two personal assessments.

The first pertains to your past:
What has your life been like up to this point, personally and professionally? Describe your efforts, accomplishments, and most importantly, your relationships.

The second pertains to your present:
Explore the same aspects of your life as they exist today. How satisfied and fulfilled are you? What areas delight you, and which disappoint?

EXERCISE:

Consider the idea that your attitude is similar to the purity of the air you breath, or the water you drink. What small – or large – changes can and will you make in your attitude to have an even more wonderful future?

Some of my favorite books you may wish to consider are:
Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist
Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich
Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility
Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements
Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

 

Things do not necessarily happen for the best

“Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but I can choose to make the best of things that happen.”

—Tal Ben-Shahar, Israeli-American Author/Lecturer

Image of a sailboat on rough waters

Image from Unsplash by Alan Meceanu

Take a few minutes to reflect on your day if it is evening, or on yesterday’s events if you are reading this in the morning. To what degree did everything go as planned, and work out exactly as you hoped?

If things did not work out for the best for whatever reason, what consequences did you experience?

How did you react or respond, and what emotions or feelings came up?

EXERCISE:

Consider the metaphor of a sailboat. How might you adjust your sails and rudders of mindfulness and adaptability to the sometime stormy seas of life?

Feel free to reply to this post to share the approaches you take on a daily basis to make the best of things that happen.

Leave them with an afterglow

“Leave them with an afterglow, not an aftertaste.”

Dr. Harry Cohen, Co-Founder of Be the Sun, not the Salt

Image of a sunset

Image from Unsplash by Diego PH

Take a moment to reflect on the people in your life that always brighten your days. Look closely at all of their wonderful qualities, attitudes, and the genuine ways they share themselves and what they have with those around them.

On the other hand, who are the people in your personal and professional communities you avoid when possible, and who often leave a bitter aftertaste that lingers even after they are gone? What characteristics do they display that dampen, deplete, and darken the world around them?

EXERCISE:

Consider reading or re-reading the classic book, FISH, and focus on the concept of “making their day.” Perhaps take a quick read through Be the Sun and Not the Salt by Dr. Harry Cohen, for some extra “brighten their day” strategies, which I guarantee will improve your life as well.

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”

—St. Francis of Assisi

Image of a sunbeam coming through a tree

Image from Unsplash by Darren Bockman

Who are the people in your world that light up your life?

Take a minute or more to make a list of these special people, and note the qualities and characteristics they exhibit that caused you to put them on your list.

On the flip side, note the individuals in your personal and professional communities that cast shadows over your world and reduce your aliveness and life satisfaction. What are their specific behaviors and attitudes that cloud your world?

EXERCISE:

Beyond spending far more time with the first group and less with the second, how can and will you personally bring more sunshine to those around you, for the benefit of all?

This effort will almost certainly attract many more sunbeams from others who also desire brighter days.

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out

“It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.”

—Carl Sagan, 20th Century American Astronomer

Image from medium.com

Who in your personal or professional life do you consider the most closed minded and stubborn? If you are like many of us, you might say, “Where do I start?” and be able to create a reasonably long list in mere minutes. What are the benefits and down sides of having such a closed-minded view of things?

On the other hand, who are the most open and receptive folks you know? Who are those who will try on the views and perspective of others, easily and fully? What are the benefits, and in the case of today’s quote, the downside of seeing the world primarily through the lens of those around you?

EXERCISE:

Imagine your mind is a screen door or window. How would the flow of air on a summer day be similar to the healthy flow of new ideas with a wider perspective foster more quality relationships and life success?

 

A simple Hello could lead to a million things

“A simple ‘Hello’ could lead to a million things.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding up pink balloons spelling "hello"

Image from Unsplash by RawPixel

I see a very kind woman most mornings at my health club. Her name is Pat, and her primary job is to swipe each person’s membership card as they enter the facility.

I know her husband’s name is John, and that she, like me, has a passion for books and reading. Perhaps what is most notable is that she welcomes each person with an authentic ‘Hello!” and a pleasant glance, which in turn generates a reciprocal greeting and kind words from almost everyone.

On days Pat is not at the front desk, the greeting ritual is far less likely, with the front desk person and most of the patrons going through an almost robotic entrance.

EXERCISE:

Where could a few more Hellos, Good Mornings, Pleases, and genuine Thank You’s lead to millions of wonderful things to brighten the day? How can you be more like Pat in your personal and professional communities?

Will you look back on life and say

“Will you look back on life and say, ’I wish I had,’ or ‘I’m glad I did’?”

—Zig Ziglar, late American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

What percent of the day does the average person seem content, happy, or even joyful? Alternatively, what percent of the day do they go through the motions, feel stuck, or experience regret?

Where do you fit on this spectrum of feelings, day-to-day, week-to-week, or even year-to-year?

Someone once shared the thought that life is a bit like a toilet paper roll. The more life sheets you use, the faster it spins.

EXERCISE:

What steps can and will you take at this point in your life to have many more “I’m glad I did” moments in the years ahead?

My daughter Rachel suggested a wonderful book related to this topic, titled A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – How I Learned to Live a Better Story, by Donald Miller.