Wow! I am literally in awe of what has been happening over the past few weeks since I’m made these changes in the way I run my life. About 3 weeks ago my wife said “I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this with you…” That was an incredible wake up call that shocked my system and said, “you better do something NOW or else you’re going to lose everything.” Just that day I was purposefully walking around with a grimace on my face and a feeling of self-loathing, self-pity and a thought that I was owed something from someone, somewhere in the universe. I know, that’s crazy and anyone who knows me would never have guessed, but we all get in that place where we are restless, selfish and unhappy with the cards we’ve been dealt. Well, maybe you haven’t been there, but I sure was. I hide it well, but she saw through me and hit me right between the eyes like David and Goliath! I fell hard and realized, I’d better do something or I’m going to sulk my way out of the best things in my life! Hello!!
Sometimes we aren’t lucky enough to have these wake up calls and we end up crashing hard and losing it all. I was blessed to have the warning and I took it very seriously. I took action and immediately went on a search…now what does that look like? For me, it was staying open for the signs and answers from God. I’m not always the most “religious” person, but I am spiritual, and I believe things happen for a reason, so I knew God was trying to get my attention. In these moments, I believe it’s important to stop talking so much and just start listening and becoming more aware and present.
I did this for a few days and finally, I was led (I know this sounds weird, but if you’ve ever experienced it, this is just how it happens) – yes I was led to
a Target on a sunny, hot day in June. I was wandering around, picking up random items on my list and then I just decided to roam for a few minutes and see where I ended up. You’ve probably done this before…when you’re all alone and just start wandering, looking for something to jump out and inspire or engage you. This was me…the employees were probably watching me wander, saying “I think he’s going to steal something…he’s creepy!” I didn’t care, I was searching and open for answers so my wife wouldn’t end it all and tear my house of cards down.
Finally, it happened. I landed in the book section – now I’m a non-fiction self-help/leadership junkie, so I was looking at all the books like Sheryl Sandburg’s Lean In and Tony Dungy’s Uncommon. Then I stumbled, literally tripped over a book that was on the floor. It was facedown and a bit beat up from me stepping on it. I knelt down, dusted it off a bit, looking around to see if I would be handcuffed. I was good, so I read the front cover:
The Happiness Project. Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun. I was instantly intrigued, I thought:
“I love to sing, I was in a band and studied musical theater in college. I am so OCD that I can’t help but clean my closets and make sure everything is just right. My wife is an attorney, so if I could learn how to ‘Fight Right’ I’m in – maybe I’d win a few bouts and win my wife back in the process. Again, we weren’t on the verge of divorce, but I knew I needed to bring the Right spark back. I love Aristotle – one of my favorite quotes is ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ And I would love to have more fun – I’ve been saying far too often that my kids take up a lot of my energy and I’d stay at the office an extra hour for no reason” – not proud of that, but it was true.
After this string of connections, I opened the book immediately and on the first page I read the words “One April day, on a morning just like every other morning, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life.” BOOM! That hit me like my wife’s words and I almost fell right over onto the book-filled shelves in the middle of Target on a hot, sunny day in June. I dropped my other items and briskly walked to line 5, ran my Target Red card – for the discount – and jogged to my car (no, I didn’t grab a Starbucks – I was on a mission). I read the first several pages there in the parking lot and felt a warmth come over me. Let me tell you, when you have a chilly darkness living inside you, the feeling of warmth is like a long hug that covers your entire body with comfort. I felt like I could breathe. I don’t know why, but certain things free you in ways you can’t verbalize. This had that simple affect on me.
Since I’m not the fastest reader and I’m more of an audio learner, I bought the book that day on Audible and started listening on my commute to and from the office. I began implementing a few of her ideas into my life and all the sudden, more and more warmth started to seep in. The metaphorical hug was getting deeper and longer. I don’t ever know what that means, but it just felt great, you know!
That was the beginning of the happiness discovery and turn around. I’ve been going on strong for 3 weeks and in this video I share a few stories of the Boomerang Benefits I am starting to receive from giving, living and loving more. Since I shot my last video my wife has engaged even more and shown a side I haven’t seen since high school. She gives me a few gifts I mention in the video that were unexpected, yet welcome benefits to my new behavior and outlook. We never give expecting to get anything in return, I’ve just seen major benefits come back unexpectedly and I feel compelled to share.
I am seeing results I wish everyone could experience and I want to share it with you, because through Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, sharing her stories, I’ve found a new dose of fulfillment I wish for everyone.
Also, check out Choose Yourself by James Altucher – he has a brash tone and is a bit out there, but that contrasted with his refreshing, genuine, uplifting message makes me enjoy his book even more. I’m also about to read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve read a bit of it and I’m already captivated by his deep view on presence and mindfulness. It’s a classic and both are available on Audible! Zig Ziglar always advocated for “automobile university” – listening to audio program in your car. Why not read one or two books a month, you pick up so many new ideas and usually one piece of the puzzle is all you need for a breakthrough! It’s well worth it!
Let’s see, should I ask for a comment? I’ve been asking people to leave comments and it doesn’t usually happen. This is expected at the start of anything new – it’s going to be one or two people who start commenting and then everyone else will jump in. If you would comment what you share with me in person or in emails, that would do it. Social proof – so, if you dare be the first – if you like where we are headed share a comment saying anything you’d like on this topic. I’m not in this for the comments, but usually our stories are what lift people the most! Enough said.
Thanks again for the engagement with BEAR Nation! Have a great holiday!!