“Every silver lining has a cloud.”

“Every silver lining has a cloud.”

—Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Image from Unsplash by Jacob Mejicanos

Living in Michigan for over 30 years, I have come to fully appreciate all four seasons. For many who live here, the joke goes that there are only two: Winter, and Construction.

I also see the down side of this perspective, yet most Michiganders are a pretty hearty, upbeat bunch.

Folks around here seem to find a good number of silver linings on a day-to-day basis despite those cloudy days and episodes in life. We are pretty good at making lemonade and of course experience gratitude for all the good things around us.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully notice and appreciate the silver lining moments in your life? Looking for clouds may be a good place to start.

“There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?”

“There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?”

—Sophocles, 4th Century BC Greek Writer

Image from Unsplash by Daniela Diaz

Our delightful grandson Weston stayed with us recently to give his mom and dad a break, and give us a treat. He has a particularly robust appetite and often makes messes, as if many children were having a food fight.

With the latest and greatest in bottles and cups, the incidents of spilled milk have gone down considerably.

We all expect to deal with the messes made by young children, but how well do you deal with your own mistakes, or those of other grownups in your world?

How easy is it to accept these mishaps and move on rather than ruminating or beating yourself up?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what matters would a “Done is Done” approach to your day help you lead a calmer, more satisfying life?

“You should not decide until you have heard what both sides have to say.”

“You should not decide until you have heard what both sides have to say.”

—Aristophanes, 4th Century BC Greek Playwright

Image from Unsplash by Ehimetalor Unuabono

Do you ever say — aloud or perhaps even more often to yourself — “My mind is made up” or “I know!”? How often do you get the impression that others in your personal or professional communities express similar thoughts?

If these scenarios sound familiar, you are probably dealing with what I call “Shortcut Listening.” This happens when an individual or group gathers just enough information to fill in the rest of the word puzzles based on their own opinions, experiences, and biases.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would taking the long road of listening help you and others make far better decisions at work and at home?

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

—Ralph Marston, 20th Century professional football player

Image from Unsplash by Glen Carstens-Peters

The critical word in today’s quote is “can.”

There is, of course, no guarantee that today will improve all, or perhaps more realistically, most of your tomorrows.

With the right attitude, planning, and of course, inspired effort, the likelihood of a more positive and successful future is inevitable.

EXERCISE:

What attitude-enhancing efforts will you bring into your day today?

What planning did you do yesterday, or this morning, to assure you are working on your top personal and professional priorities?

What inspired and committed actions will you take today to guarantee many better tomorrows?

“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.