Whatever you do, don’t take life so seriously. I often sit and watch others expressions on their faces as they walk pass me. Whether I’m in a crowded subway or a quaint and cozy coffee shop, most people never take the time to smile. You can absolutely tell who is having the worst day of their lives just by their facial expression. You truly only have one life to live so why not enjoy it while you’re here.
Life is too short to be angry. There aren’t too many things in the world that upset me. In fact, I can’t think of one. You may be thinking, “C’mon Joe, nothing upsets you?” My answer will still be no. Here’s why. We are not responsible for others actions towards us. However, we are responsible for how we react to their actions. I simply choose to react sensibly, reasonably and with the idea that I cannot let someone else control my feelings. I am in complete control.
A very good friend always says, “You attract more bees with honey than you do with a fly swatter”. If you aren’t attracting the right kind of attention, it is because you are not projecting that which you seek. A smile always attracts a smile. It takes little to no effort to smile. If you want to be happy, you must choose happiness and the rest will fall into place.
Take a moment right now to smile. See how good that feels? I challenge you to smile more often despite what your circumstances may be. I smile even when frowning may be the “normal” response to a particular situation. Remember, life is meant to be lived to the fullest; you can’t do that if you’re unhappy.
Smile; it’s contagious and it’s attractive.
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Some people are automatically predisposed to think negatively. They never seek to find the silver lining that surrounds the dark cloud because they are intently focused on the cloud itself. At times, it is difficult for them to understand the fact that after the rain a beautiful rainbow typically follows. The truth is some people are wired in such a way that they always think negatively. The good news is all networks are capable of being rewired.
When you focus on the positive you can do amazing things in life. The wonders of life are not reserved for a few, you too can benefit from them if you simply shift your focus from the negative to the positive. It is as simple as turning a light switch on and off. When you start thinking negatively about a particular situation, stop immediately and refocus your attention on something positive. This is not a simple task yet it is not impossible. It will take some mental conditioning to rewire your programming but it can happen if that is your desire.
Most people have difficulty understanding that the negative things that continue to occur in their lives are a direct result of the negative thoughts they harbor in their heads. Much like a computer, if you click on a negative site, your computer has a higher propensity to catch a virus and eventually shut down. Our minds work the exact same way. Negative thoughts will always create negative things. Positive thoughts create beautiful and amazing things.
You deserve the very best that life has to offer and it all starts with what you focus your mind on. At all times, focus on the positive and watch as your life begins to positively benefit from such thoughts.
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Don’t ever turn down a challenge. One summer while conducting my annual leadership summit for our Summer Youth Leadership Internship program, one of the organization’s senior leaders suddenly walks in and says “I need a volunteer”. Without hesitation, one of my star interns raised his hand having no clue of the challenge at hand yet accepted anyway. She didn’t tell him what she wanted done before asking for a volunteer but he accepted anyway. That’s what winners do, we accept challenges without the specific knowledge of the task at hand yet are confident that we can execute it to the best of our abilities.
About a half-hour had passed before he quietly eased his way back into the large conference room. Once he returned from his “secret” mission, our entire group was eager to hear about what she had asked of him. Before he could answer that question, I asked him a different one. I asked him, “why did you say yes to something without the specific knowledge of the details?” His reply made complete sense. He said “I accepted because I figured whatever she was going to ask me to do, she clearly felt that one of us had the ability to do it”. And I thought, Bingo!
Accepting a challenge even if you don’t know the specifics is essential to your growth as an individual and as a leader. By accepting new challenges you are able to learn new skills and strengthen your abilities overall. Never turn down an offer to be better. What doesn’t kill you will certainly make you stronger.
Learn to recognize the life lessons that are learned by accepting challenges and learning as you go. I challenge you to start saying “Yes!” to opportunities that increase your overall value.
Do you accept this challenge?
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There may come a time when you look over at the sidelines and no one is there cheering you on. Unfortunately, there may be more times than you or I would like to think about but know that they will come. When that happens, learn to be your biggest cheerleader.
Sometimes we look to others to provide us with encouraging words and motivation when all the while we should be consulting the person who knows us the best; yourself. It is imperative that you understand the importance of being your biggest fan. You cannot reasonably expect everyone to celebrate you every time. However, you can choose to celebrate yourself as early and often as possible.
All throughout high school, I participated in organized sports and extracurricular activities. For a number of reasons, my parents were not able to attend any of my games or ceremonies. During those times, I developed and strengthened the “cheer yourself on” muscle. Sometimes you have to motivate and encourage yourself. Although no one was there to cheer me on, it did not prevent me from winning.
Be your biggest fan.
To The Top,
There is extraordinary power that lies within this three letter word. If practiced, this word can open doors you had no clue even existed. The opposite of this word will yield a particular set of results; most likely unfavorable. The overuse of this word has been known to build bridges that will lead to the discovery of your dreams. The magic word I speak of is – Yes.
Saying yes to a challenge, especially if you are not prepared and/or are unaware of the details of the task at hand, tests your tenacity. You truly never know what this simple gesture will lead to but you must practice saying it more often. For the past few summers, I’ve facilitated a leadership and internship program for underprivileged youth. During one of the leadership sessions, the Vice President walks in and shouts, “I need one volunteer who can help me with a project?” Without hesitation, one student jumps up and enthusiastically says, “I’ll do it”! The young man had no clue what the project entailed but was willing to accept the challenge without that knowledge. That risk turned out to be one of the best decisions he has made in his young life. When he completed the small project and submitted it to the Vice President, he had an opportunity to speak to her about his aspirations. Once the conversation was complete, she informed him that she was a part of a group that selected students for full college scholarships and that she would like to nominate him to be a recipient of the award. He was beside himself, especially since he had no plans to attend college prior to this experience. That’s the power of Yes!
The power of yes is a simple gesture that leads to extraordinary outcomes. Learn to understand the power in that word and what it means to say it often. We all have examples where saying “yes” began a chain of events that eventually lead to a miracle. Are you committed to being the best? Do you deserve the very best life has to offer? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get what you desire? I am convinced that you know the answer to these questions.
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Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Being yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and to the world. Accept the fact that you are truly unique in every aspect of the word. I want to stress the point of emulation; it is ok to emulate someone successful. The goal is to reap the benefits of and yield similar results that the successful person has by emulating or imitating their actions. This type of imitation is healthy. The imitation I speak of in the first sentence deals specifically with those of you who choose to live your life based on someone else’s standards and expectations. You can choose to change that today.
It is imperative that you write your own story. As I mentioned before, many people make the mistake of trying to mimic the actions of the wrong person. You will know the person you are choosing to imitate is not the “chosen” one when the results you are producing are less than favorable. Your mentor is producing results that benefit them as a result of being themselves; you need to do the same. Everything that makes them great is precisely what can and will make you great if you put your personal spin on it.
Learn to trust, love and accept yourself for who you are and what you can give to the world. Commit to memory the fact that you are uniquely gifted; allow the world to benefit from your gifts. The one song that kept playing in my head as I shared this word with you is Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. The final verse of that song, in so many words, epitomizes the walk of a leader; “For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself – Then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.”
You already have the roadmap to success, now all you have to do is do it your way!
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If you would like to accomplish any goal you set forth you must first be dedicated to seeing it through to the end. Seeing it through to the end is a mere fraction of the entire equation; your attitude is another critical piece. The truth is, your attitude ultimately determines your altitude. Simply, how far you go is determined by how you respond to the world around you. If your heart is filled with disdain then the world around you will respond reciprocally.
Your attitude can mean the difference between winning and losing. I once worked with a person who was a hard worker and fairly productive. This person must’ve been very familiar with the definition of success because they always showed up. We all know that a great percentage of winning comes from you simply showing up. This makes clear sense because if you don’t show up, you can’t compete and if you can’t compete, you can’t win. Now showing up isn’t enough, what you do once you’re there is what matters most. This person would show up but their attitude overshadowed the great work they were doing and thus this person was replaced with someone with a better attitude. A bad attitude serves as an overcast to your sunny disposition; most people prefer the sun over the rain.
Your attitude is exactly what can open some doors and close countless others. Commit to memory the fact that you attract more bees with honey not a fly swatter. You must be the honey in this example if you are going to attract the right attention from the right people. One of those bees you attract can mean the difference between you accomplishing your goals or not. It is never too late to adjust your attitude.
People deal with people because they like them; if you are not well liked then you must adjust your attitude.
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