I seize the opportunities around me.

The opportunities I require to live my dreams are all around me. I take advantage of these opportunities and make the most of them. Whatever I want to accomplish, everything I need is right there.

I keep an open and curious mind. This allows me to see all the possibilities I can use to my advantage.

I am grateful for all the help the world provides me. However, I avoid relying on it. I know I can create my own opportunities with my creativity and hard work. I can bend reality to my will.

It is my responsibility to make the most of my gifts. By demanding the best from myself, I can leverage my opportunities to the fullest.

Opportunity is always knocking, and I enthusiastically answer the door.

I avoid having a passive attitude. Assertiveness is required to get the most from life. I know what I want, and I know that have a responsibility to do my part.

Opportunities are just potential. It is my job to turn that potential into actual results.

Today, I am willing to see all the possibilities before me. My mind is focused on finding opportunities and utilizing them to the best of my ability. I seize the opportunities around me.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. When did I take full advantage of an opportunity? How did I find it?
  2. When did I fail to take full advantage of an opportunity? Why did that happen?
  3. What opportunities do I currently have that I am failing to take advantage of?

13 Ways to Say “Thank You”

One of the most powerful phrases in the English language is “thank you.”

With those two words, you can express appreciation for a kind gesture or service someone has done for you. These words have the power to make someone’s day. When you want to go the extra mile in expressing gratitude, try one of these 23 ways to say “thanks.”

Try these gratitude expressions to get you going:

  1. Smile. Express your gratitude with a smile and the other person will almost always smile back. If that person is having a bad day, a smile could be just the thing that turns their day around.

  2. Send a note. If you’re shy, you may find it easier to express yourself in writing. If writing intimidates you, simply write a short note expressing your gratitude. Your heartfelt words will mean more to the recipient than the most beautiful prose or poetry.
     
  3. Buy a unique gift. Look for a small item that you can give as a token of your appreciation. If you’re unsure of what to get, try buying them coffee or sending them chocolates. You can also ask their friends for ideas.

  4. Invite them out. Say “thank you” with a dinner or time together doing something fun that you both enjoy.

  5. Share your story. Brag to others about what someone has done for you. They’ll likely hear about how highly you’re speaking of them. Better yet, brag about them to others in front of them. This will improve their reputation and their confidence at the same time.

  6. Offer a favor. Let the person choose what kind of favor they’d like from you. A small favor can often help someone out in a big way.

  7. Buy them a ticket to an event. Find a local concert or show that they would enjoy and buy them tickets.

  8. Contribute to a charity. Find out what your recipient is passionate about and then make a donation to an appropriate charity in their name.

  9. Add a personal touch. Say “thank you” with a homemade gift. The person will recognize your thoughtfulness and appreciate the gesture. You can hand craft a card or make a photo slideshow. Create something sentimental that truly shows your appreciation.

  10. Phone call. Sometimes a simple phone call is all you need to get your message across. In addition to a phone call to say “thank you,” call on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. Offer your friendship.

  11. Give them a “Gift of the Month.” For someone who’s always doing nice things for you, consider a gift subscription to their favorite magazine. You can also prepay for a subscription to a “book of the month” club that features books that interest them.

  12. Give a gift certificate. If you’re having trouble figuring out the perfect thank you gift, consider a gift certificate to a local mall or online store that sells a variety of different merchandise. That way, they’re sure to get something they like.
     
  13. Bake some cookies. If you love to bake, your talents can be a sweet way to show your gratitude. Everyone appreciate delicious, homemade desserts.

The only limit is your imagination. If you go the extra mile to show someone you’re genuinely grateful, the gesture will be remembered for a long time to come. Strengthen a significant relationship in your life today. Choose one of these ideas or come up with your own, and say “thank you” to someone special in a meaningful way.

Listening promotes informed action.

There are very few things that I am able to create on my own. Each project relies on the input of multiple sources to be successful. I am willing to consider the ideas and advice of others to help me decide the wisest course of action.

I continue to listen to the wisdom of my parents although I am now grown. Their experience in life far exceeds mine, so I take their words to heart.

My mother is my example of the value of showing patience. Hearing her reasons for being patient with difficult people is eye-opening. I learn from her that allowing others to vent enables them to eventually come to a point of calmness.

I keep her advice in mind when I am dealing with difficult people at work. Although I am tempted to lose my cool, I remain calm and allow them to release their emotions.

After they vent, they are ready and open to listening to my perspective. My end goal is achieved when I open my heart to what others have to say. Their actions provide an indication of how best to proceed with them.

Although I am educated and experienced, I accept that there is much that I lack knowledge of.

My teachers are those people who have any knowledge that I may be missing. I respect their genius and use their teachings to show me the way forward.

Today, I am blessed to have a heart that is open to actually hearing what others have to say. There are answers out there for me once I open myself to whatever source they come from.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Who are some of my greatest teachers in life?
  2. Who do I turn to when I am facing a difficult emotional decision?
  3. How do I decide when to take my own advice over someone else’s?

What if You Lived Today Over and Over?

Do you have big plans and aspirations for the future? Do you act on those plans and aspirations each day? Exciting goals are easy to imagine. They even feel good. But putting them into action is another story. Too many people live their lives in a way that only preserves the status quo. How happy are you with the status quo?

Live each day in a way that changes your future:

  1. Imagine your average weekday. Use yesterday as an example, unless something unusual happened.
  • Consider what you ate and drank.
  • How much exercise did you get?
  • What did you do with your social life? Did you spend time with anyone else socially?
  • Did you call any friends?
  • If you’re single, did you ask anyone out on a date?
  • If you’re married, what did you do to enhance your relationship?
  • Did you do anything to increase your income or advance your career?
  • Did you learn anything new that would be useful in the future?
  • Consider your average weekend. Ask yourself the same questions.

  • Imagine living those same days over and over for the next 10 years. Where would you end up? Based on your food intake and exercise output, where would you expect your health and body composition to look like in 10 years?
  • Do the same with your finances, social life, marriage, and career. After 10 years of living your average day, what is your prediction?

Let’s use a hypothetical example, Bob.

Bob is 42-years old. He’s divorced and works as a low-level manager at a large corporation. He’s not in bad shape, but could lose 20 pounds. He’s saved some money, but he doesn’t save regularly.

Consider Bob’s average day:

On Monday, Bob stops at Starbucks on the way to work for a café latte and a muffin. Breakfast sets him back $9 and 1,400 calories, but he has a decent job, so he doesn’t worry about it too much. He figures he deserves it anyway.

He arrives to work 15 minutes late. Not late enough to get into any trouble, but he’s always a little late, so people notice. He’s not setting the world on fire at work, but he does enough to keep his job secure. Like most people, he avoids work if he can get away with it. He figures he deserves to be paid more if they want more work.

He eats lunch out of the snack machine and drinks a bottle of water. Water is good for you, he thinks, so it’s not a horrible lunch.

He drives home at 5:00 and watches the news while his frozen dinner is cooking. The meal isn’t healthy, but it’s not too bad either. He eats dinner and surfs the personal ads looking for the woman of his dreams. He finds one woman that appeals to him and he pastes the same introduction email he’s sent to 100 women before.

He watches a little more TV and then reads 20 pages from a science fiction novel. He’s feeling industrious, so he washes all the dishes and pays some bills before getting ready for bed. In bed, he plays on his phone and texts his high school friends.

Tuesday through Friday are similar days.

Where can Bob realistically expect to be in 10 years?

Is your average day remarkably more meaningful and productive? Where will you be in 10 years? Are you living a day that will lead to positive changes in your life? Or are you simply passing the time with short-term comfort in mind?

As you live your day, ask yourself what the long-term implications of your current task are. Does that task matter?

http://www.LifeSomeday.com

I am grateful for the abundance that I experience daily.

I am filled with the joy of gratitude for all that I have. I am blessed to have such abundance in my life.

I take time each day to count my many blessings. I am fortunate to enjoy good health, wealth, and happiness. I deserve these things because I act daily to cultivate them. I make my health, finances, and happiness a priority.

My friends and family are another source of abundance. I am the recipient of great love, respect, and admiration. The people in my life are constant reminders of my value to the world. I am innately important and valuable.

Whatever I require, I am provided. All the resources I require to live an exciting and fruitful life are around me. My biggest task is to identify the resources I need and keep my eyes open. Whatever I need is sure to be found quickly and easily. I know what I need and I know how to get it.

While I enjoy unlimited abundance, I avoid the burden of accumulating excessive possessions. I take what I need and remain free of greedy behavior. Living this way keeps my time and conscience free and unburdened.

Today, I give thanks for all that I have. The bounty of the world is mine to enjoy and use as necessary. I am grateful for the abundance that I experience daily.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What do I have in my life that fills me with feelings of gratitude?
  2. How can I be more open to receiving abundance into my life?
  3. How have I impeded receiving abundance?

I do my part.

I make a positive contribution to the world. I am committed to doing my part. I understand my strengths and skills. I leverage my areas of expertise. I focus on doing what comes naturally to me so I can accomplish more.

I take responsibility for my choices.  I hold myself accountable for using my resources wisely and reaching my goals.

I set a good example. I ask myself whether my actions align with my values. I manage my emotions and treat others with respect. I try to spread a cheerful attitude. I want my behavior to be something that others can copy.

I offer practical assistance to others. I watch out for my neighbor’s safety and lend a hand when coworkers are overburdened. I provide moral support and encouragement. I offer empathy and compassion when I see someone struggling. I wish others well and rejoice in their victories.

I exceed expectations at my job. I challenge myself to make innovations and deliver superior results.

I build strong and mutually beneficial relationships. I engage in honest, tactful, and positive two-way communication.

I raise my children to be kind and responsible. I teach them to value work and persevere through obstacles.

Today, I take action and strive to be highly effective. I have important and unique gifts to share with those around me. Doing my part helps me to live up to my potential and create a meaningful legacy.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What would happen if I failed to do my share of chores around the house?
  2. How can I play a more effective role in team projects at work?
  3. How do I define doing my fair share in my community?

Express Your Feelings Peacefully with the Help of Gratitude

In his poem, A Poison Tree, the great poet William Blake wrote, “I was angry with my friend. I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe. I told it not, my wrath did grow.”

When you suppress your feelings, both positive and negative ones, you’re keeping yourself from being all that you can be. Not only that but if you internalize your emotions, you are growing into the very same ‘poisoned tree’ that William Blake wrote about.

Don’t Plant the Poison Tree Seed

When you conceal your true feelings, there’s an internal pressure that causes negative emotions like anger, resentment, fear, and hatred to swell up and take on more potential energy within you. The day always comes when those emotions explode outward because of the pressure.

When this happens you might say things you don’t mean that may cause deep pain to those you love the most. The possible negative actions and reactions that stem from your suppressed feelings could fill an entire notebook, which is all the more reason to express your feelings peacefully!

By honestly expressing your feelings you can diffuse the negative energy and immediately start feeling more peace within you. After all, you’ll feel less stress, tension, and anger when all feelings are put out on the table. Expressing your feelings constructively will help you speak more sensitively and rationally and see the good within others.

Gratitude Goes a Long Way in Expressing Yourself

Now, openly expressing your negative feelings doesn’t mean you should go around putting others down and it also doesn’t mean finger wagging or accusing. Instead, find a more constructive way to get things off your chest. You might find it’s best for you to write your feelings down and send them off in an e-mail. If you have the creative ability, write a poem or a song about your feelings. Whatever you do, focus on the problem, not the person. After all, we all make mistakes!

If you think you can’t be that open about your feelings, always express what you are thankful for first. For example, you can start with a positive compliment then gradually express your frustrations.

If you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for, you’re not looking hard enough. There are plenty of joys within your life that your negative emotions often disguise. For example, did you have a nourishing breakfast this morning? Then you have something to be thankful for! Have you ever had a rewarding conversation with a loved one that made you see them with new eyes? Then you have something to be thankful for!

Focus on these positive, rewarding experiences first and foremost, then express your feelings openly and honestly. With an attitude of gratitude for all that you have, you will feel confident in your right to express how you feel.

In his poem, why did Blake readily tell his anger to his friend? He cared about his friend and was grateful to have him, so he wanted to diffuse his anger right away. However, when it came to Blake’s foe, he was not so grateful and, instead, suffered greatly as he became a poison tree within his soul.

Remember, your spirit remains within you and affects how you think, feel, and act. So seek peace within your heart and mind with the power of gratitude!

Why Being Proactive is So Important

Things are going to go wrong. That’s just part of life. Whether these situations have a large negative impact or are merely minor inconveniences depends on how proactive you are. Living a life of reacting to problems in the heat of the moment magnifies challenges and adds undue stress to your life.

Proactivity minimizes challenges and provides stability in life. It’s easier to be calm, cool, and collected if you’re proactive.

Choose proactivity and exercise control over your life:

  1. Proactivity is a way of defusing potential challenges before they become problems.
  • Imagine you have a car with 250,000 miles. There’s a good chance it will break down in the next couple of years. If you’re proactive, you’ll either go purchase a newer car before that happens, or you’ll start saving money for repairs or to make an automobile purchase.

  • The person that isn’t proactive will be begging for a ride or taking the bus in the near future.
  • Give yourself the opportunity to develop more elegant solutions. When you wait until the last minute, most of the possible solutions evaporate. You don’t have the time or the resources to entertain all of the possible solutions. You’re forced to patch together whatever will work in the heat of the moment.
  • Think and plan. To be proactive, it’s necessary to look ahead and consider your likely future. This is more effective than living life by the seat of your pants.
  • Create a better life. Living reactively is a recipe for merely surviving. You spend all of your time putting out fires instead of creating a better life. Proactivity allows the space and the luxury to create something beyond that which you already have.
  • Feel empowered. When you’re proactive, you take responsibility for your life and believe that your ability to choose your actions matters. By waiting until there’s an issue before taking action, you simply react to life instead of designing it.

  • Enjoy more choices. Suppose things are a little rocky at work. Your boss doesn’t like you, and his power is growing by the day. If you start looking for a new job today, you’ll have plenty of potential choices. If you wait until you’re fired, you might have to take whatever you can find in the next couple of weeks.
  • You have unlimited options if you’re proactive. You have few if you wait until you’re forced to act.
  • Find greater peace of mind. Live your life with less anxiety. You already know what’s going to happen and you’re prepared for it. What do you have to worry about?

  • When you live reactively, you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s a stressful way to live.
  • Being proactive makes the path forward clearer. Choosing to look ahead allows you to develop a plan for the future. Proactive people have a direction and a plan to get there.

There are many benefits to exercising proactivity each day. Proactive people have control over their lives. Challenges can be nullified before they become full-blown issues. It’s a more enjoyable and effective way to live. Spend a few minutes each evening looking ahead for a day, a week, a month, a year, and five years.

What does the future hold? How can you maximize your opportunities and minimize your potential challenges?

The Magic of Deliberate Practice

Have you ever progressed more slowly than you’d prefer? You might feel that you’re putting in more time and effort than the next person, but you can’t seem to get ahead. Science suggests that the road to becoming an expert is found through deliberate practice. Scientists believe that this is all that’s required to become an expert in any field.

The way in which you practice can have a much bigger impact on your results than how much you practice. Natural talent isn’t considered important within this learning model.

Use deliberate practice to master any skill:

  1. Deliberate practice must be deliberate. Deliberate practice starts with a plan and has a goal. You might choose to focus on driving to the basketball goal with your left hand or work on your minor chord changes on the guitar. Randomly shooting baskets or strumming the guitar while watching commercials isn’t deliberate.
  • Divide your goal into sub-skills. Consider what you want to achieve and then determine the skills necessary to reach that goal.

  • Track your practice. Avoid relying on your memory to track your practice. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or other means to record your results. Then review your practice session and make your plan for your next session. Spend a few minutes on this.
  • The better your plan, the faster you’ll progress. Avoid the trap of working mindlessly. Have a plan and continue to strengthen that plan.

  • Find a way measure your skill. If you’re mastering an instrument, record yourself and listen. If you’re practicing your 3-point shot, determine your percentage of success.

  • Be smart. Deliberate practice, even in small doses, can be much more effective than endless, mindless practice. Avoid believing that you must practice 8+ hours per day to see significant results.
  • Focus on practicing as intelligently as possible, and then worry about how much time you’re putting into it.

  • Turn off all distractions. Turn off your electronic devices during your deliberate practice.

  • Practice near the limit of your capability. You’ll get the best return on your time investment if your practice at the point you make regular errors. Correcting those errors is vital. You don’t learn much while doing things that are easy for you.
  • If you’re constantly making mistakes, pull back a little. If you’re just learning to speak Russian, taking the equivalent of a PhD level course won’t be useful.

  • Keep a regular schedule. Experts believe the maximum amount of deliberate practice that can be completed in a day is 4-5 hours. If you can do more than this, you’re probably not practicing deliberately.
  • Limit your sessions to 90 minutes, or until your focus starts to wander. Use multiple sessions to reach a maximum of hours per day.

  • Seek a mentor. Until you’re an expert yourself, you can’t accurately determine all of your mistakes. You also won’t know the best way to correct them. Find a great mentor and use them effectively. While you might not be able to have a mentor present for every moment of your practice, spend as much time with them as possible.

Give deliberate practice a chance for a month. Resolve to practice at least one hour each day for the next 30 days. Practice deliberately and stretch yourself. You’ll be amazed at the improvement you enjoy in one, short month.

Blessings surround me every day.

Every moment of every day, I see endless blessings around me. I consider everything associated with life to be something special.

When I look into the eyes of my laughing children, I feel blessed to share that joy. I know that many others may not be able to experience that. I treasure every opportunity to spend time with my kids.

I take the time to learn from each experience and feel fortunate to be able to learn life lessons along the way.

Taking in the fresh air at sunrise brings me so much happiness. I feel my lungs expand. That reminds me that I am blessed to be alive. I am blessed to have good health and the chance to feel nature.

I take pleasure in tending to my garden. My family enjoys many meals from that garden. Knowing that I can provide for them makes me feel blessed and honored.

All my senses are alive. My eyes, ears, and nose are able to enjoy all the world has to offer. I am truly grateful to be in this position. I am conscious that everything I am able to do is because I am truly blessed.

Today, I avoid taking things for granted. Even the simple things are truly appreciated because I know others may not have access to them. I avoid complaining about the have-nots and celebrate everything I have. Each day, I look forward to the chance to give thanks!

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Do I encourage my friends and family to give thanks for all the blessings in their lives?
  2. Do I make it a point to share my blessings with loved ones?
  3. Am I able to be a blessing to others, especially those in need?