Acting On Your Impulses

2001 and 2002 were big years for me.  I’ll never forget when in early 2001 a good friend of mine told me he was feeling down about school, didn’t feel like he was going in the right direction in life and asked for a suggestion where he could study audio engineering.  I had audio myself at a small school in East Detroit.  In the time I was in school and audio engineering jobs I had I had heard about a school in Florida that was the best place in the country to study audio.  So I gave my friend some advice and he immediately booked a flight and scheduled a tour of the school.

I had made it known that my intention was to get my Associates Degree and then find a school to study film at.  Upon returning from Florida (I was living in Michigan where I grew up), my friend said, “This school is exactly what I’m looking for.  They have a film program, if I move there, would you be interested in moving with me?”  There was a feeling that came over me as if I had suddenly been handed a map that showed where I was supposed to go.  I immediately said yes without hardly thinking about it.

It took nearly a year.  We flew down to Orlando on September 1, 2001 and found a place to live and on January 7, 2002, we headed south to embark on a journey that changed the course of both of our lives.

To make a long story short, I now work for a sports network that is on in 74 countries world wide and my friend is a two time Emmy winner.

The point of my story is that him and I both made life changing decisions in mere seconds.  It took me less than five seconds to decide to change my life.  My friend walking in to his winter semester class and decided he couldn’t do this anymore.  It was all about what felt right to us.  He asked, I felt a feeling like a mental nudge and I jumped.

If there is something that doesn’t feel right in your life, make a change.  Ask yourself what the right direction would be.  When you think about what’s right, do you feel like life is giving you a little push in that direction?  If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to act on it.

Be well. Be positive.

Simple Ways To Spread Happiness

Happiness isn’t something you should keep to yourself.  Happiness should be shared.  In fact, most of the time happiness comes from shared experiences. Happiness doesn’t have to come from big extravagant experiences like concerts or vacations, it can come from very small and simple experiences.  The great thing about spreading happiness, even randomly or anonymously is that you share in that happiness.  It comes back to you as well.  Let’s take a look at some of my favorite ways to spread and receive happiness.

Anonymous Texting

Most people have their phone numbers posted on their Facebook profiles.  I’ve found that a lot of people don’t know my number, I’m just not a big phone guy.  So once in a while I’ll look through my phone book, which pulls numbers from Facebook, and text someone and tell them how awesome they are.  I usually get a response like “who is this?” or they’ll politely say “I’m sorry, I don’t have your number saved.”  I’ll respond and say like “just a random admirer spreading joy!”  Often times, as a result, people will post something on Facebook about the kind person who randomly texted them and told them how awesome they are.  In turn, others will reply stating that they took think they’re awesome or how cool it is that someone took the time to do that.  The happiness keeps spreading.  Even if you’re not anonymous, a quick text telling your friends how much you appreciate them is a great way to spread joy.

Some of my favorite texts are “You are an amazing person!” or “You really inspired me today.”  A text to a friend could say “I was just thinking about you, I hope you’re having a great day.”  Keep it simple.

Random Notes

Leaving a random note in public where it’ll be found is a great way to spread happiness.  I remember years ago helping a friend distribute 20 Christmas cards with $20 bills in each one.  One of the cards had $50 and I delivered it to his favorite waitress at a local restaurant for him.  That was an amazing experience that made me feel happy and blessed from for weeks.

You don’t have to go to those extremes.  Most people don’t have that much money to just hand out.  You don’t even have to hand out money.  Writing a little note that says “You really are special” or “This stranger thinks you’re awesome” is a great way to spread joy.  Just leave the note somewhere in public where it will be found.  I like to leave notes for people at work.  We have an area where there are mailboxes for every employee in the company.  Some of the staff that supports my department could easily feel unappreciated, overworked and most likely under paid.  A quick note thanking them for everything they do for us is a great way to put a smile on someone’s face.  I work with a girl who is one of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet.  Once in a while, a guy I work with will leave a note or a trinket on her desk just to make her day that much better.  He likes to be her secret admirer because, after all, she bakes us cookies and is always so kind.

Give Away Freebies

I have a Starbucks gold card.  Every 12th beverage I buy I earn a free beverage.  The thing is, all of my drinks are free anyway.  I use Bing search to earn points to buy Starbucks coffee.  I order small black coffee so it’s inexpensive and I try to only buy when I can earn bonus stars. Every drink is free to me so that free drink I get is one I can pass along.  Going inside and telling the Batista that you’d like to use your free drink on the next person who comes through the drive through is a great way to share that happiness with someone.  Not only are you making their day but you can stand inside and watch them without being noticed.

Passing along coupons for free items while standing in line for something is another great way to spread happiness.  People are always happy to not have to spend money on something they thought they would have to spend money on.

Giving To The Homeless

I like to keep money on me just for giving.  I used to give a dollar or some change to homeless people and they would thank me.  When I started giving $5 to homeless people it was amazing to see their eyes light up.  Most homeless people expect a dollar.  They appreciate it, I’m sure, but it’s normal and nothing shocking to see another dollar handed to them.  I like to hit people in their heart and make them feel something.  The opportunity to give doesn’t present itself very often so I try to just keep some money on hand for such an occasion.   It just makes people feel like someone cares about them.  I usually say something like “I’m really sorry, this is all I have.”  Trust me, I wish I could give them enough to get their lives back on track.  A lot of homeless people will try to strike up a small conversation with you when you hand them enough to buy a meal.  They look like they feel human again.  To me, this is the real gift.

Happiness can be spread in so many unique and creative ways.  My wife spreads happiness like it’s an art.  I’m always so impressed to see how she always makes people feel good about themselves.  She does things that most people don’t even notice and I consider myself lucky to be able to witness it all.

This year has been a struggle to find sanity.  Probably the biggest factor for my happiness right now is the fact that I helped others find happiness.  Happiness spreads and that joy that you give other people comes back to you in ways you may not realize.  I just got a Halloween card in the mail from someone.  I’ve never received a Halloween card in my life.  But I have a friend who I value and I’ve told her many times this year how much I value her.  Let those in your life know how much you care about them.

Be well.  Be positive.

The Type Of World You Want To Live In

I’ve said before that I have some positive post-it notes on my bathroom mirror.  One of them say “Something Amazing Will Happen Today.”  Indeed, many amazing things happen, but last week I had the opportunity to be a part of something to give back to the “100 Happy Days” challenge and I truly feel blessed.

On Wednesday I received an email from a producer at Headline News.  She stated that she was working on story about the 100 Happy Days challenge and that she had seen my blog (this one).  She asked me a few questions, which I answered.  One Sunday I checked the website out of curiosity and their #7 article was about #100HappyDays.  I clicked on it and started reading, hoping to see my name somewhere in the article.  It was a very interesting read about the guy behind the website.  Near the end of the article was a nice paragraph about me complete with a link to my blog (for real, this one!), pictures from my Instagram and quotes from my email.

I’m blessed to be a part of this.  I’m so thankful for this challenge and cannot think of a better way to give back.  I truly hope that this article gets a lot of exposure for the #100HappyDays challenge.

Speaking of giving back, I’ve decided to create the type of world that I want to live in.  Does this mean that I’m going to try to change everything and everyone?  No, it’s about perspective.  It’s about where I set my focus.  It’s about doing the most good for my community.

A while back, I wrote a post about giving. I recalled how my life was when I was unemployed for an extended period of time, yet I still gave and some how my bills got paid.  Since I wrote that post on January, 30th I’ve been giving randomly to people in need.  I do not say this so people will think I’m a great guy, I say this because I want to share my experience and hopefully inspire others.  I try to carry at least $5 with me at all times.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of money but stay with me for a minute.

In my neighborhood there is a gas station.  Most days there is a homeless man who sits out with his two dogs and a sign.  I haven’t read the sign because his two pit bulls scare me (past experiences has made me afraid of them).  The first time I walked up to him he gave me the standard “God bless” until he sees that I’m not just handing him a dollar but five.  Five dollars to him means a lot more than it does to you and I.  To him, this is hope, this means not going to bed hungry.  His reaction to seeing five dollars is the most sincere “oh my gosh. oh my gosh” you’ve ever heard.  He looked me in the eye and thanked me.

The second time I gave him money he shook my hand and asked me my name.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  I asked him his name and his face lit up.  He told me proudly that his name is “Stormin’ Norman” and then he told me his dogs names.  We took a minute to chat about his dogs and then I had to get to work.  Those few minutes seemed to mean so much to him on a human level.  It wasn’t just money for survival, it was someone who cared to shake his hand and treat him with dignity.  This is the type of world I want to live in where people treat even homeless people with dignity.  Who act as if they are equal in every day.

The joy and satisfaction I get out of experiences like that is amazing.  Those things make me feel true happiness.

Are you afraid to give?  Good, give anyway and when you give and you find joy and good things start happening to you then give more.

Be well.  Be positive

Amazing Things Are Happening

I have a post-it note on my bathroom mirror…. wait, scratch that.  I have several post-it notes on my bathroom mirror.  One says “Something amazing will happen today.”  This little post-it note tells me the truth every day and has never once lied to me.

It started with me following a twitter chat by Pam Grout.  Pam wrote a book that I am about half way through called “E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.”  In her chat, Pam said that she tells herself every morning that something amazing will happen today.  I loved this so much that I added it to my post-it notes.  Because, if I believe that something amazing is happening then I will start to notice those amazing things.  Also, the note has the word “today” on it for a reason.  This means that something amazing is happening every single day, not one amazing thing this week or month or even year or maybe in my lifetime but every day!

Indeed, I could write off a lot of these amazing things as mere coincidence but I don’t believe that to be true because they happen day after day.  Sometimes they’re little things like my cable TV that I asked service to stop at the end of the month I had already paid for being shut off the exact day I needed it to stay on because I got paid that day.  Or maybe it’s feeling God’s strength give me a lift while I’m running and don’t feel like I can go any further.  There have been certain opportunities that I’ve asked to present themselves and having a feeling that they would happen any minute.  Guess what? The did!

I wont say I’ve changed since I started this blog but my perspective has certainly shifted.  By seeing the amazing things in life, I’ve become more positive.  I feel more confident (not a whole lot but definitely a noticeable amount).  I am able to handle stressful situations by staying present and observing the situations instead of being caught up in the stress of them.

Do you know what the most amazing thing is?  The one thing that we perhaps take for granted the most… Nature is one thing.  A tree growing is an amazing. I just grows exactly the way it needs to without anyone telling it how.  Do you know what else is amazing?  You are amazing.  Your body is amazing and your mind is the most complicated thing in the universe.  Go today and witness amazing things and most of all, be amazing.

Be well.  Be positive.