The struggle between parents and their teenagers over cleaning up their bedroom has been going on since bedrooms were invented. And for most of you parents out there, you were probably on the teenager side of that argument at one time. I know I was. Check out the at the link below.
Now, we have the greatest reason to clean your bedroom... ever. If you clean your room, you could win the lottery. Or at least find that fill-in-the-blank that’s been missing for months!
This is a great story about a kid in Scotland who had been arguing with his mother over cleaning his room for weeks. When he finally did, he found an old lottery ticket, and instead of tossing it in the trash, he checked the numbers and won 50,000 pounds!
So clean your room, kids. You may just strike gold!
“Have an attitude of gratitude.”
It’s a great phrase that speaks to the concept of not letting your happiness hinge upon the circumstances around you. I know this may seem counter-intuitive when you’re having a really bad week. The shower drain clogs up right before you’re about to leave for the airport to go on vacation? How on earth do you have an attitude of gratitude at that moment? Be thankful you have indoor plumbing. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who don’t. Be thankful you can take a vacation. Many people can’t afford it.
Brian Kessler, an advertising creative director, composer and creator of oneword.com, recently wrote a blog post under the headline “Rock Star Parking.” Have you ever seen a space right in front of your destination and thought, “Cool... Rock Star parking!”? Well, it may be Rock Star parking to you, but for someone else who’s destination is three blocks away, it’s just a parking space, and not a particularly good one.
I believe that so much of the happiness of life is based on your perception of the world around you. Think about your problems for a second. The only reason they have the power to make you unhappy is because you judge them as “bad.” When your shower drain clogs a half hour before you’re ready to leave for vacation, it’s only a negative because of how you perceive it. In reality, you can leave it until you get back and there’s no real harm done. I’m not telling you to judge the situation as a good thing. But why judge it at all?
According to Kessler, however, you need the negative times in order to appreciate the good times. They are the shadow that allows you to see appreciate the light. Kessler’s view seems to be that you should fully experience the negativity of your clogged shower drain with full understanding that it will make your vacation that much better.
I think either approach is a positive step, and certainly preferable to obsessing over your bad luck indefinitely. But one message is clear in both: The key to being happy is in your mind’s ability to perceive the world around you, and to do so in a way that helps you appreciate what you have, to have that attitude of gratitude.
How often do we wish we could make a small difference? Giving money to charity is one way to make a difference, but you don’t always know exactly where the money goes. So you write a check now and then, or have your employer take the contribution directly from your paycheck. And even though many charitable organizations do great work and make good use of the contributions they’re given, it’s often difficult to know who actually benefits from your generosity.
So if you really want to make an impact with your charity dollars -- oh, and by the way, actually get paid back -- consider making a microloan at Kiva.org. This non-profit organization serves as a clearinghouse for lenders willing to make loans as small as $25 to borrowers around the world who would otherwise not be able to get small business loans.
Who are these borrowers? We’re talking about hardworking people throughout the world who need a small loan to enhance their agriculture business or purchase inventory for their shop. These loans typically range from $500 up to a couple of thousand dollars, assembled from contributions made by lenders of as low as $25. According to statistics posted on www.Kiva.org, the rate at which these loans are repayed, is 98.91%
Here’s how it works: if you’re interested in becoming a Kiva.org lender, you simply go on the site and read the profiles of borrowers requesting loans. Once you select the loan you want to finance, you follow the directions on screen and provide the funds with your credit card. As the loan is repaid, money is put in your account. After the full loan is repaid, you can either lend it out again, or withdraw it for your own use.
So make a difference at www.Kiva.org.
Yes, it’s election season and that means a whole lot of arguing is going on. It’s quite a dilemma for me, as a member of LifeIsFantastic.com. Every time I check my Facebook page, someone is posting negative thoughts about a candidate or politician they don’t like. On top of that, all the news outlets on TV, radio and Internet are broadcasting election coverage and what the candidates are saying about each other. None of which is positive.
Clearly, there’s a reason so much negativity ends up in campaigning. For starters, the candidates and political parties have figured out it’s the quickest way to get people passionate about the outcome, which means it’s a great way to raise contributions. And the media has figured out that, by emphasizing the conflict between candidates, parties and ideologies, they can draw more viewers, which means more money for them. (By the way, have you ever noticed that the news coverage of elections is primarily about the campaigns, and not so much about the issues? That’s because the conflict is in the campaigning.)
So here we are, a bunch of positive people, hanging out on LifeIsFantastic.com, surrounded by all this arguing and negativity. What are we supposed to do?
It’s tricky because we’re all taught that we should vote and that’s just part of being a responsible citizen. However, to vote, you need to know about the issues and the candidates, and the only way to stay informed is to watch the news and expose ourselves to all the anger and negative thoughts that go along with it.
I believe that the best way to protect yourself from all the anger and name-calling that you see during election seasons is to not take sides. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote. By taking sides, I mean identifying yourself with a campaign so strongly that winning is the most important outcome. (Personally, I’ll stick to sports to fill that need!) Am I trying to discourage people from getting involved in campaigns for candidates they support? Maybe. I know it’s not something I’m interested in doing because I don’t know how you do it without getting caught up in the anger directed at your opponent.
Second, don’t get addicted to news coverage and talk shows. They try to get you addicted to their programming because it’s how they make their money, so it’s not always easy. However, it’s important because if you are constantly watching all this negativity, it’s almost impossible to keep it from getting inside you emotionally.
Finally, keep living your life as a positive person every day. If you keep a positive attitude as the focus of your life, and then occasionally pay attention to the elections only enough to be informed, you can keep it from taking over your life. And come November, you can cast your vote responsibly and still be a positive, happy person, no matter who wins.
When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, life is simple.
So starting today…
* Stop berating yourself for being a work in progress. – Start embracing it! Because being a work in progress doesn’t mean you’re not good enough today. It means you want a better tomorrow, and you wish to love yourself completely, so you can live your life fully. It means you’re determined to heal your heart, expand your mind and cultivate the gifts you know you’re meant to share. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!
* Stop meaning what you don’t say. – Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication. Someone isn’t being clear.
* Stop wasting time and money trying to acquire more of everything. – Start focusing on quality. High quality is worth more than any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences. Truly ‘rich’ people need less to be happy. Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.
* Stop spending time with negative people. – Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself of negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the simplest way to live.
* Stop trying to change people. – Start accepting people just the way they are. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
* Stop being lazy and cutting corners. – Start avoiding future headaches by doing things right the first time. Always put your best foot forward. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. Why give less than 100%? Life is too short to waste it by living below your full potential. If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.
Stay tuned for PART 2 tomorrow...
Very early in my career, I spent almost two years selling (or trying to sell) life insurance. I was terrible. I was very young and simply didn't have the self-confidence to sit at someone's kitchen table and close the deal. Professionally, it was one of the most painful times in my life. I gave that job everything I had, working nights and weekends, driving hundreds of miles to appointments, and simply could not get over the hump. I remember the day I walked in to that office to quit, and I felt like a quitter.
More than 20 years later, I consider it one of the most valuable experiences of my life. It taught me that it was okay to fail at something. Taking that job was the first time I had ever taken a substantial risk in my life and I went down in flames. And yet, the sun rose the next morning and every morning after that. It taught me that I could have the courage to take a chance and that, even if it didn't work out, I'd be okay.
Seth Godin, a best selling author of numerous books on business and social media, says that the willingness to fail is what leads to innovation and that the time has never been better to give it a try. Watch the video here.
While I don't think I was ever a negative person, developing a truly positive attitude has been a lifelong journey. I'm sure it's ongoing even now. I am ever fascinated by this dilemma: Clearly, a positive attitude goes hand in hand with happiness. So why doesn't everybody choose it? As I conveyed in an earlier blog, I do believe that the first and most important step anyone has to take in order to make this transformation is the decision to do it. It must be important enough to overcome a lifetime identifying with negativity, anger, self doubt or sadness. This isn't as easy as it sounds, especially to people with a generally upbeat demeanor. For people who constantly tell themselves that the worst is yet to come, or that things never work out, it takes a lot of will and strength to get the brain to stop sending those messages.
So, let's say that you've made the decision that you want to drop your old negative mindset and replace it with a positive one, with happiness. Now what?
I think Dr. Jason Selk provides a clear answer to that question in his article called "The Million Dollar Question." Dr. Selk writes that people generally are wired to focus on identifying problems first, and create solutions second. Want an example? In a group setting, he will show an audience a photo of a beautiful landscape with snow-capped mountains in the background. In the foreground is an oil pipeline. He then takes the photo down and asks everybody to write down what they remember most about the photo. Ninety percent remember the pipeline.
So what, right? If that's how we're wired, then why should we tinker with it? Well, many studies have shown that there's a direct relationship between a positive outlook and overall health. According to Dr. Selk, people with a positive attitude experience 30 percent less sickenss and injury, and live on average 14 years longer. Plus, the connection between a positive attitude and general happiness is simply self evident. So there's plenty of motivation.
Dr. Selk's process is amazingly simple and makes all the sense in the world. It's a straightforward way to get your mind focused on solutions quickly once you recognize a problem, instead of dwelling on the problem. Check it out and let me know what you think by commenting below. Here's Dr. Selk's article.
Just after the Daytona 500 was complete, Danica Patrick went on Twitter and tweeted," I want to thank and apologize to my fans for crashing early." Even though the crash that knocked her and a few other drivers out was clearly not her fault. It was a crazy Daytona 500 by all accounts for all the drivers, but especially for Danica Patrick. It will be interesting to see how she rebounds from this. So far, her apology on Twitter seems to show some humility. It might end up being a great opportunity to demonstrate courage and a positive attitude as she attempts to make a name for herself in NASCAR. Hopefully, she'll come through with flying colors!
I just spent a truly enjoyable ten minutes reading a blog post titled "The Holy and The Plain" by Maggie Lyon. She writes about appreciating the spirit and significance, the depth of life, in ordinary objects. A shoe. An apple. An umbrella. A tree branch. All of these objects are so much more in reality than what we see in our minds when we think about or imagine a shoe, an apple, an umbrella, a tree branch. Close your eyes a second and think about an apple. Is it just a simple shape, mostly red? What about the taste and the smell? How it feels in your hands. The vivid streaks of color variation in the skin. Chances are your mind conjures a pretty weak symbol of what an apple truly is.
Why is this? I think these details get too close to the present moment, what's happening right now, which may include holding an apple in your hands and experiencing it. We often don't like that present moment, seeing it only as a step between the past and the future and never having any value of its own. Take a moment right now, grab any object and spend just 60 seconds studying it, how it looks, how it feels in your hands, how it smells. Let all your senses weigh in on the experience. Even the most mundane objects seem to come to life when you experience them fully in the moment.
By now, we've all heard of flash mobs, where a group of people organize via social media platforms then meet at a specific place and dance or sing or generally make a fun-loving spectacle of themselves. Well, now get ready for "cash mobs." Again, organizing through online communities like Facebook, Twitter and LifeIsFantastic.com, a large group of people select a small local business they want to support, then show up there and spend at least $20. Sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to show your support!
Interesting stories around every corner. John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, was born in 1790. He had a child when he was in his 60s, who had two children in his 70s. Those two children are still alive today, a living connection to American history. This is a fascinating story! Check it out!
Not even 32,000 years buried under a thick blanket of Siberian snow could extinguish the life from a few seeds found by Russian scientists. How often do we let little, insignificant problems drain the life out of us, symbolically speaking? It's good to remember that the life we think is draining out of us is actually still there. All it needs is a little sunshine and warmth to emerge.
This is pretty cool. What a great way to propose and really make an impression! Can you imagine getting this many friends to participate in a wedding proposal? You'd definitely need to rely on your online community connections! Click here and make sure you watch the video. And thanks to Flash Mob America for posting this story.
There is no shortage of good advice on developing a positive attitude. Go ahead and browse the Internet and you'll find millions of sites ready to point the way toward seeing the world in a more positive way.
Get more sleep. Follow your spiritual faith. Try meditation. Get more exercise. Eat healthy. Live in the moment. Forgive. Count your blessings. Be thankful... All of this is great advice. (I particularly like the tips found at this site, by the way.)
However they all seem to be missing the real first step because they assume that the reader even thinks he or she needs to develop a positive attitude. In order to start developing a positive attitude, you must want it. For many people, this is an enormous change. It means giving up a lot of anger and self criticism, responses that can become hardwired into people's brains. The motivation has to be there.
In an article posted on www.OutOfStress.com, there are signs that indicate a negative attitude: “You know when you are thinking negative because you feel it in your body. There will be a sense of restlessness, unease and sometimes a nauseating constriction felt through out your body when you are thinking obsessive negative thoughts.”
Maybe you're there. You realize that you spend a large amount of time imagining arguments with people at work or your spouse. Or you let insignificant problems spin around and around and around in your head until they seem like big problems. If you are, congratulations! You will very likely have the motivation to make the changes you need to make. I promise, it will be worth the journey.
A good start is to avoid the negativity that seems to surround us. For example, as much as we all love Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn, and enjoy connecting with friends and business colleagues, meanness and negativity can easily find its way onto your page. So take a break from it here at LifeIsFantastic.com. Call a friend who always seems to have a sunny disposition and spend time with them. These are initial steps that should lead to positive momentum. And the longer you do it, the more likely it is that the momentum will become unstoppable.
Unfortunately, for people who haven't reached this realization, there's little that can be done until they want to change. You may have a friend or relative like this, someone who is in their comfort zone when they’re dwelling in negativity. You will never convince this person that developing a positive attitude is worth the effort. Eventually, he or she may come around. Until then, simply be the positive person you want to be and set a good example until they do.
Andy Cingolani is a freelance writer and regular contributor for LifeIsFantastic.com and LIFTimes.com who lives in Orlando, Florida.
And it is a story. A story worthy of a movie, the actual likelihood of which doesn’t sound far fetched. A couple of months ago, I had never heard of Jeremy Lin and I follow the NBA. Today, every SportsCenter on ESPN leads with his exploits. The acrobatic shots. Trick passes. All-out hustle. It’s all on display as he leads the New York Knicks to win after win.
Truly, this guy seems to have dropped from the sky. Right on cue, too, as the NBA suffered some bad publicity with a lengthy lock-out before the season started.
Some big names are taking notice, too, based on what they’re tweeting on their Twitter pages:
“Its crazy! I’m watching Linsanity hoping every shot goes in. Hope I never grow up.” - Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
“I think it’s a great story. It’s a testament to perseverance and hard work, and I think a good example for kids everywhere.” - Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
“It’s great for the league, so you’ve got to love it. And Jeremy Lin is a great kid, so I’m happy for him.” - Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner
"He's playing and they're winning," Lebron James of the Miami Heat said in in an ESPN.com article. “You always want someone to succeed when his back is against the wall.”
And, boy, was Lin’s back against the wall. Sitting on the end of the Knicks bench, having been cut by two other NBA teams in the last year, his back was against the wall when the Knicks ran out of point guards and gave him a start. Since then, Lin has made the most of the opportunity, running, passing and scoring the Knicks to a rejuvenated season.
Some people have said that Lin’s story reminds them of the Tim Tebow story this year in the NFL, and I agree with that. It’s a classic Cinderella story of someone who no one gave a chance to, coming alive and making an impact.
I hope it continues, because I’m enjoying it, and so are a lot of people!
Recently, much has been written about "Facebook addiction," drawing comparisons between Facebook and alcohol or tobacco. A recent article written by Gary Magid in the Huffington Post, however, argues that Facebook and other social media sites like LifeIsFantastic.com simply make users happy. According to Magid, co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization, a more apt comparison would be to chocolate because it's a source of pleasure and joy.
"So, is this a bad thing?" Magid writes. "I suppose some people could interpret anything positive that people return to often as addictive, but if 'intense engagement and emotional enjoyment' is a bad thing, then we have to worry about more than just Facebook, Twitter and chocolate.”
Clearly, many people (myself included) enjoy Facebook as a great way to reconnect with old friends and keep in touch with new ones. Still, by casting such an enormous net, the probability of negativity or inappropriate content popping up on your screen is pretty high. For me, when I want to enjoy the social networking experience without the frenetic pace and questionable content, I head to LifeIsFantastic.com for a refreshing dose of positive attitude!
Watching the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, I was struck by the many tributes made to Whitney Houston, who passed away only the day before. From host L.L. Cool J’s prayer to Jennifer Hudson’s amazing performance of “I Will Always Love You,” and the many heartfelt comments made throughout the evening, it was clear that she had touched a lot of lives. And based on the way my Facebook page (and probably yours, too) filled up with good-byes, it was obviously much more than Hollywood insiders who felt connected to her.
As a young man in the 1980s, my recollection of Whitney Houston was that she was an artist my girlfriend liked, but she was way too girly for me. At least, outwardly. However, I never changed the channel when her videos appeared on MTV and knew all the words to all of the hit songs. Despite my outward preference for other “cooler” artists, Whitney Houston worked her way into the soundtrack of my youth with songs like “I Just Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Saving All My Love For You.” She was pretty, she had an amazing voice, and she recorded catchy tunes, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
The Whitney Houston song that had the most impact on me was “Greatest Love of All,” which she released in 1986. When it came out, I was already familiar with the George Benson version recorded for The Greatest, a 1977 movie about Muhammad Ali. It was a great song with a positive, uplifting message. (Looking back, I’m kind of surprised now that I liked that song at the age of 14, but I did.) Houston’s version was also very powerful, with her gospel roots coming through loudly.
I know Whitney Houston had some problems in her life involving a well publicized tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown and an on-again-off-again drug problem. For me, the cautionary lesson we can derive from her life has been documented as fully as it needs to be. From this point on, I choose to remember her for the positive messages in her songs and her amazing voice.
Check out Clean The World, an outstanding non-profit organization that partners with hotels and resorts to save lives in impoverished areas of the world. Clean The World collects discarded and/or unused soap, sterilizes it and ships it to locations like Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Swaziland, Mali, Mongolia, Uganda, Honduras, and Romania.
From the Clean The World website:
"Hand washing with soap significantly reduces the impact of two fatal diseases: acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease. These are the top two killers of children less than 5-years-old, and represent an opportunity for recycled soap to become the primary ingredient in Clean the World’s global hygiene revolution"
Additionally, Clean The World has successfully kept more than 1.2 million pounds of soap out of landfills. To read more about this amazing organization, visit their website at www.cleantheworld.org.