5 ways we can keep the Christmas spirit going year round

5 ways we can keep the Christmas spirit going year round

Christmas was always my favorite holiday as a kid and still is to this day. There really is something magical in the air and from about December 1st to the day after Christmas, we all behave just a bit differently. We are more patient in lines at the grocery store or in traffic. We toss in a few bucks to the guys with the bells and red kettles at the mall entrance. We put in extra effort to spend time and talk with family and we tend to be much more giving. There is something about this time of year that just exudes the true meaning of family. Even the way we communicate with strangers is different. A few years ago, a couple of friends and I made a trip to New York City for the annual ball drop on New Year’s Eve. We were staying on the east coast for 10 days and were also spending Christmas there. We thought it would be a more “Christmassy” trip if we made a point of saying “Merry Christmas” to as many strangers as we could on the trip, starting with the plane ride. The goal was for each of us to say it to at least 100 strangers in the span of the 10 days. We had a blast and the conversations I had with complete strangers were incredible. So much so that I began to wonder why I couldn’t continue to be so open and friendly with people year round. During these last 25 days or so, I am again reminded of the need for us all to find...
Don’t listen to speak, listen to understand

Don’t listen to speak, listen to understand

Being polite means waiting for the other person to pull their hand out of the Doritos bag before you reach in for a handful. Nobody likes your cheesed fingers brushing up against their hand. There just isn’t enough room in a potato chip bag for two adult hands. Just like waiting for the other person to finish speaking is also “polite” but that’s not what it means to really listen in a conversation. I thought I was a great listener. I finally learned to shut my mouth and let the other person finish speaking before I jumped in and rambled out my two cents and I was proud of myself for that. Previously, whether I was arguing with my lady, discussing football or politics with a group of friends, or dissecting business plans with my partners, I was always interrupting people because I either thought I already knew what they were trying to say or felt like my point of view was just more important. Turns out, I am still a terrible listener. I did not become a better listener as I had originally thought, I just became more polite. Good communication starts with listening but there is much more to the “listening” part than just waiting for your chance to speak.   Conversation is not always communication When I talk about the importance of listening, I am not talking about in the day to day conversations here, I’m talking about the ones where real communication needs to occur. When your marriage, your business, your job, or your friendship may be on the line. The problem rarely comes from...
6 ways you can tame your “Monkey Mind”

6 ways you can tame your “Monkey Mind”

If someone were brilliant enough to create a device that could hear and record ones thoughts, they would only prove that we are all a bit insane and I don’t know if that would be a good thing. The average person has about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day and that comes out to about 35-48 thoughts per minute. By the time I finished those two paragraphs I have already checked my Facebook notifications twice and checked up the status of my football team’s injured star player… seriously. The struggle is real. You would think this wasn’t that big of an issue as long as when you need to focus on something, all of your thoughts turn focus to that one particular task but that’s where we are wrong.   Our mind works sort of like a computer. When you start and run multiple programs on a computer, it runs them simultaneously. Even if the one you are currently on is being used, the other programs continue to run in the back ground until they are completely shut off. This causes lag in your computers performance. Your mind works the same way. The thousands of thoughts that run through your head throughout the day never really shut off. They just cycle through and your mind focuses on the most current thought but the others stay in the subconscious. This is why you continue to be caught in an endless loop of thoughts all screaming for attention and the more you think, the more gets piled on. Your mind begins to slow down and operate much slower. You are giving...
Sunday night preparation to set you up for success

Sunday night preparation to set you up for success

Sunday evenings are one of those times where sometimes you just need a little extra boost. A little extra motivation to start the upcoming week. Over the weekend we tend to put our hustles aside for a bit. We take care of errands, spend time with family, and just relax a little more in general. This often leads to a slower start on Monday morning. If we don’t take a little time on Sunday evening to settle down from the weekend and get ourselves focused and prepared for the week, we start the week playing catch-up. We start from a place of reaction versus being proactive and hitting the ground running. Start your week off right tonight with a little motivation from a book I have been reading and re-reading for the past few months. The author, OG Mandino, of “The greatest salesman in the world” encourages the reader to read daily from the “scrolls” of success and the scroll marked “III” is a great reminder of PERSISTENCE. Read this through and remember that PERSISTENCE is the only difference between success and failure!   The Scroll Marked III “I will persist until I succeed. In the Orient young bulls are tested for the fight arena in a certain manner. Each is brought to the ring and allowed to attack a picador who pricks them with a lance. The bravery of each bull is then rated with care according to the number of times he demonstrates his willingness to charge in spite of the sting of the blade. Henceforth will I recognize that each day I am tested by life...
5 “Golden nuggets” we brought from the Soviet Union

5 “Golden nuggets” we brought from the Soviet Union

My family migrated to the United States 25 years ago and coming from the Soviet Union, things were different. Many things can dilute a society and the only way to maintain strong principles is instilling them into our lives at a young age. Times are always changing and along with that comes the change in the culture. Principles that we lived by 10 years ago may not be valued today and principles that we live by today may not be valued in 10 years. My father knew that as kids, we would adapt to a new culture quickly and even though adapting was necessary, he wanted to make sure we held our family values above all else. No matter what we saw around us, we were always taught to stay true to these 5 principles, or “Golden Nuggets” as I will refer to them from this point on. Currency may rise and drop but gold never loses it’s value. Carry these 5 nuggets with you for the rest of your life and you will have success in all that you do.   Golden Nugget #1: Someone being bullied is YOUR responsibility. This is especially true for men. Even if you don’t know the person being bullied, it now becomes YOUR problem. If someone is getting their butt kicked, you get yours kicked with them. If someone is getting unfairly treated, you speak up. “DO NOT EVER walk away from someone being bullied”. This is rule #1 for all of humanity, LOVE EACH OTHER above all else! “Evil prevails when good men fail to act” – Edmund Burke Golden Nugget...
The world will hold you back only until they see that you refuse to quit

The world will hold you back only until they see that you refuse to quit

“You have broken world records and you have established personal bests. Some of you have even soared like an eagle.” It’s the closing ceremony of the 1988 winter Olympics and president of the Organizing committee, Frank King, singles out Michael “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards out for his contribution to the games as an athlete in front of thousands attending and millions watching on TV. “Eddie the Eagle”, was a name that took everyone by storm on this particular Olympic year in the Ski jumping event. Some hated him but the world was inspired. Most Olympic athletes have been practicing their sport since the age of 6. Although he was a good downhill skier, a short time prior to the Olympics Michael decided to enter the games as a Ski jumper because he was broke and it was much cheaper to practice for Ski jumping.   First, they will hold you back Don’t get any ideas, I thought the same thing, maybe I should join the Olympic team in some sport! Immediately after the 1988 Olympics, the committee created the “Eagle” rule which kept any future amateurs from following his lead. Michael was considered an “embarrassment” by many fellow athletes and by the committee. They tried relentlessly without success to prevent him from being able to join as an Olympic athlete for the British team because of his “lack of experience and professionalism” but under the rules, he was able to qualify. He was clumsy and so broke that during training he lived out of a mental hospital because he got a good deal on rent. During tournaments he borrowed...

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