One of the Greatest Gifts You Can Give

Our feelings communicate through what we do and often come to be felt by a community extending far beyond us, even to people we will never officially meet.

I believe that our happiness is one of the greatest gifts we can give others.  Others feed on and are nourished by our happy energy.

(Now, Jason, is that any way to begin a blog?  Can I give a gift of reality?  It sounds like you are frolicking in some utopian, sugar-coated, obnoxiously bright-colored land of FLUFF.)

Thank you voice in the ( ), you always keep me honest.  Let me give you a concrete example.

Say you are given a choice between two different elegant seven-course meals.  The waiter tells you the description of each meal and they sound exactly the same.

You say, “I don’t get it.  Both options you described are identical.”

The waiter grins and says, “Not quite, Meal # 1 is being prepared by a chef who’s really happy with how his day is going.”

You ask, “What about Meal # 2?”

The waiter offers, “Meal # 2 is being created by a chef who happens to be bitter, angry, upset and downright sad with how his day is progressing.”

You consider this and ask, “Which chef has more experience?”

“Good question,” the waiter exclaims, “both chefs are very creative and have comparable skill levels.”

Would you choose Meal #1 or Meal #2?

Neither chef has ever met you, AND THE FEELINGS THEY ARE PRESENTLY FEELING HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, yet how they are feeling could well have an impact on the quality of your food.

(So the chef having a bad day prepares an awful meal for me.  So what?  I have had some bad tasting food before and I survived. How could his mood affect the people he has never met?)

Good question, ( )!  Say you choose Meal #2 and now are frustrated and even downright angry at how poor your meal tasted.  So you tell the manager, who apologizes and gives you a lousy five dollar coupon off to be used the next time you dine with them.

Now you’re really mad because you had expected the manager to give you this meal free, plus a coupon for an additional free meal.

Then you run some errands and are cranky with the bank teller, the grocery store clerk, the lawn mower repairman, and the gal at the hardware store.

At the end of the workday, they all go home and complain about having such a cranky customer and it just goes on and on.

And it all started because a chef working behind the scenes in a kitchen was having a bad day. 

(Of course, I would just let the bad food and the manager’s response go, and be extravagantly nice to all the rest of the people I interacted with that day.)

That’s so good, ( ).  But do you see that many people might not choose your approach, and instead carry the chef’s bad mood that appeared in his food with them through the rest of their day?

(Yes, I see how it works.  I guess our unhappiness really does affect others, even possibly people we will never actually meet.  But it still sounds a bit cheesy.)

I know, ( ).  It does.  But in practice I’ve found it to be very true.

And the opposite is true, too.  When we choose to create happiness in our lives, that happiness can ripple out to touch people we will never even meet.

(It’s truly phenomenal how powerful our moods are.)

Say ( ), you remind me of a Muppet like Grover.  Can I start to call you Grover?

(Now Jason, I am practically agreeing with the point you are trying to make.  Don’t push your luck!)

Game of the Day

When you are happy, how can you best appreciate the impact your happiness has on the world?

When you are experiencing a time that is more difficult like it was for the chef preparing Meal #2, how do you handle that situation in a way that both respects your feelings and at the same time respects those around you?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

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Friday One Minute of Excitement

Be the Smile You Want to See In the World

Click on the link to watch the video for a one-minute inspirational blast!

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

5 Questions I Would Like To Ask Presidential Candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

1.      How do you find joy on the campaign trail?

2.      Where do you notice beauty in the world?

3.      What would you tell a group of first grade kids to look forward to in their future?

4.      What are five things you truly admire about your opponent?

5.      If you are elected president, how will you role model joy and happiness for our nation and the world?

Game of the Day

What questions would you like to ask Mitt Romney and Barack Obama?

Passing Through the Cloud of Procrastination to Action

(Let the record show that I did a fair amount of procrastination while writing this post, but I finally acted and hence now you can read it.)

In the Heroic Yes! Blog, I often write about creating ways to live our dreams by spending more time doing exactly what we want to do.  However, I’ve found that, ALAS, sometimes there are simply things we don’t want to do that seem to be required of us to live the lives we want.  These things can really pester us.

I learned this from being assigned homework in grade school.  I loathed homework and found it an affront to my free time.  But I also wanted to learn, progress, excel, and make good grades.  So I did the homework. (Often after much procrastinating and a minor tantrum or two.  My parents can well attest to this!)

While the last homework I was officially assigned came during my MFA program back in 1998, I realize that even now I still have homework, often in abundance.  I still have things I don’t want to do that need to be done to live the life I want.

You know the things that really engage your procrastination muscle; the things you keep putting off…and putting off?

When we think of completing activities like paying parking tickets, gathering paperwork for taxes, or going to the dentist, we are often more inclined to drag our feet than dance for joy.  We love the results of these activities, having clean teeth and staying on the right side of the law, but the activities themselves often leave something to be desired.

What things do you avoid doing even though you feel that doing them is necessary to achieving the life you want?

From years of struggle around doing things that I feel need to get done but just don’t want to do, I’ve discovered that it’s important to weigh the results of doing the dreaded activity versus not doing the dreaded activity.  When you weigh these results, try to do so with the open mind.  Always remember that you never actually have to do anything. If you like the results of doing the dreaded activity better than the results of not doing it, I encourage you to come up with a strong and joyful purpose for doing it.  Having a strong and joyful purpose for doing an activity you would rather avoid can pierce through the fog of procrastination. This purpose can help you shift from focusing on, “I don’t want to do this” to “I’m doing this because I have a strong and joyful purpose for doing it.”

(The following example seems almost too simple, even to me, but I like it because it illustrates a powerful way to clear the fog of procrastination.)

Say you’re shopping and suddenly you remember that you are parked by a meter and your time is about to expire.  So you leap over people to sprint out of the store only to find the meter three minutes past due and a yellow ticket envelope with a forty-five dollar ticket in it neatly tucked under your driver’s side windshield wiper.

You are mad as can be.  Hasn’t the parking authority heard of a ten-minute grace period?  You first instinct is to deposit the parking ticket in the nearest trash receptacle.

Then you quickly think, “No! I have to pay this ticket.  It’s the law.”

But then with equal speed you think, “Do I actually have to follow the law?  Well no, people break the law all of the time.”

So now you calm down somewhat and begin to contemplate the results of not paying the parking ticket versus the results of paying it.  The results of not paying the ticket are attractive.  By not paying it, you would save forty bucks plus the time of paying it.  This all sounds great, so then you start thinking of additional possible results of not paying the parking ticket, which might include a far bigger fine, eventually going to court, feeling some guilt about breaking the law, and experiencing a high level of stress every time a police officer is driving behind you.

Then you think of the results of paying the parking ticket, which include following the law and getting it over and done with.  The second course of action seems much simpler and like it will bring you more joy in the long run.  So now you have the information you need to form a strong and joyful purpose for paying the parking ticket.

You proudly declare, “My strong and joyful purpose in paying this parking ticket is to make my life simpler and find joy.

(“Proudly”, “strong” and “joyful” may seem like unusual words to use in relation to paying a parking ticket.  But doesn’t the above phrase seem more relaxing and empowering than being as mad as heck about paying a parking ticket?)

In the grand scheme of things, paying a parking ticket is small potatoes.   You can force yourself to quit procrastinating, write out the check, put the darn thing in the mail and be done.  Not that big of a deal, right?

But really thinking about the bigger reasons why you choose to do something as simple as paying a parking ticket and then creating a strong and joyful purpose for doing it can give you invaluable practice in passing through the cloud of procrastination to action.  This practice is great so that when bigger things that you don’t want to do come up, you are ready.

Game of the Day

What is your game plan for the next time you feel like procrastinating?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Keep Discovering More Things You Love To Do

My name used to be “HAVE TO” Freeman.  In junior high and high school, I lived my life in a way I thought I SHOULD to be well-liked, to be successful, to be one of the cool kids and, as I grew up, to be one of the cool adults.  I had a long “SHOULD LIST”for being a highly successful man and was determined to follow it.  (I still have this “SHOULD LIST” in the back of my mind.  But am much less determined to follow it these days.)

What is on your SHOULD LISTfor being a highly successful adult?

As I love to say in this blog, (along with the love and teachings of my parents and many others), Laughter Yoga, hatha yoga, creative writing, and countless miles of walking are some of the miracles that have allowed me to move from experiencing a life of disability to experiencing a life of radiant ability.

Part of the miracle of these activities is that I Love To Do Them.  However, none of these activities were on my “SHOULD LIST” for being a highly successful adult.

For example, I have been known to take fourteen hatha yoga classes a week at Pilgrimage of the Heart, the studio where I’m a member.

Do I do this because I wake-up in the morning and think, “Oh there are so many things I would rather be doing, but I better go to two yoga classes today because people say it’s supposed to be good for me.  I SHOULD REALLY GO!”

No, not at all!  I go to two yoga classes a day because I LOVE yoga, I LOVE the benefits I see from yoga, I LOVE the studio I go to, and I LOVE my teachers and my fellow students.

Yoga has become a miracle in my life because I have done it over and over again.  IN A WAY YOU COULD SAY I’VE ALLOWED YOGA TO BE A MIRACLE IN MY LIFE BECAUSE of MY PARTICIPATION IN IT

Another part of this miracle is that yoga brings me JOY AS I DO IT.

We can work hard at achieving health and achieving our dreams by doing things we think we SHOULD do.  The world is full of endless ideas, and endless things that have worked for other people.  People might tell us that we SHOULD do such and such to achieve such and such result.  But the only SHOULD that actually makes us do something is the SHOULD we tell ourselves.

Each one of us is ultimately responsible for finding the activities that we love to do, the activities that bring us both joy and the results we want.

I’ve found that it can be unsettling to pursue the things we love to do because it often challenges and can change our definition of what it is to be a highly successful adult.

As you move from your “SHOULD LIST”to your “THINGS I LOVE TO DO LIST,” I found that life can change and expand in unpredictable ways.  These changes can be exciting and at the same time occasionally daunting.

To keep in mind the direction I want to go, rather than “No Pain, No Gain”, my motto has become “FIND JOY, FIND GAIN.”

The journey from “No Pain, No Gain” to “FIND JOY, FIND GAIN.” is the journey from “I’m doing this because I SHOULD” to “I’m doing this because I LOVE TO,” the journey from struggling with your life to loving your life, the journey from being your own SHOULD-maker, to being your own MIRACLE-maker.

This journey can be a life-long adventure.

Have fun!

Game of the Day

What’s currently on your “THINGS I LOVE TO DO LIST?”

What is your next step to finding more of “THE THINGS YOU LOVE TO DO?”

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Four Ways To Work Productively Without Struggling or Being Miserable

An Atypical Writer’s Note: I would love to tell you that I discovered these principles in ancient texts or through my award-winning research studies on working effectively. However, the fact is I discovered them by doing the EXACT OPPOSITE OF EACH ONE. I have changed the names and exaggerated the details of each example in this post for the sake of protecting the identity of the person involved.  (But let me just say his first name might rhyme with mason.)    

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I have come to believe that working productively involves understanding how to work Consistently, Effectively, Efficiently and Joyfully.

Consistently means not working to the point of exhaustion and then being out of commission for a period of time because of fatigue or sickness, but rather working fewer hours, so that you can work in a steady and productive manner.

For example, Stanley’s boss is focused on productivity and doesn’t care what hours his employees choose to work as long as they get their job done.

Stanley wants to show the boss that he’s exceedingly motivated so he chooses to work 75 hours each week for three weeks straight.

Then at the end of the third week, he falls asleep on the way home. Luckily, he only hits a guard rail, throwing his back out.  This injury puts him out of commission for the two weeks he spends recuperating.

Now Stanley’s total amount of work is 225 hours in five weeks, 75 hours each of the first three weeks and zero hours for each of the next two weeks.  In addition, Stanley was only productive for 50 of the hours during each of the weeks he worked.  During, the other 25 hours he felt exhausted, miserable and strongly disliked his job.

So in grand total, Stanley put in 150 productive hours in a five-week period.  One hundred fifty productive hours, divided by the five weeks equals an average of thirty productive hours of work a week over the five-week period.

So, Stanley could have gotten the same amount of productive work done a week if he had worked just thirty hours a week for the five-week period.  He also could have probably avoided an auto accident, damage to his car, throwing his back out, pain, and recovery time.  If Stanley had worked fewer hours each week, he would have also had ample free time to enjoy his life during those five weeks.

Basically, by working less, but working smarter and more consistently, Stanley could have given himself and his boss a just as productive if not more productive five weeks.  In addition, he could have provided himself with a joyful five-week experience versus five weeks of struggle.

Effectively means you apply your focus to the task at hand.

For example, one of the things Gloria loves about having her own business is the freedom to make her own rules.  A few months ago, she was listening to a mystery book on CD while she did the monthly book-keeping for her business.  Gloria took her time because she was enjoying the audio book and finished her book-keeping in two and a half hours.

Although she is great at accounting, Gloria was so engrossed in her audio book that day a few months ago that she is now finding errors in her calculations, errors which are currently costing her many hours of extra time and a great deal of stress to figure out.

Alternatively a few months ago, Gloria could’ve chosen to totally concentrate on the book-keeping without distractions.  By totally focusing, she could have gotten it done and double checked in an hour and half and avoided all the extra time fixing mistakes, time she could have used to read the mystery books she loves.

Efficiently means that you make use of time-saving technology when it is available.  (The following is an extreme example.  There are many more subtle examples in our work environments.)

For example, Tim’s boss asks him to copy fifty pages of text and doesn’t care how this job is done just as long as it’s accurate.  Tim has the choice between doing this job in ten minutes with a copy machine, or spending a whole day copying the pages long hand.

Whichever way Tim chooses, he will do a great job meeting his boss’s specifications.

However, copying by hand takes seven hours and fifty minutes longer than using a copy machine and would be exhausting, tedious and most likely full of struggle.  Plus, Tim would have missed 7 hours and fifty minutes of opportunities to do other work.

Joyfully means striving to be happy as you work.  This is a gift to yourself, as well as those around you.

Susan just doesn’t like end of the month inventory.  Her co-workers know the end of the month is coming because Susan is cranky, angry, and critical for the whole week before inventory.  And on the day of inventory, watch out!   Stay out of Susan’s way!  If one of Susan’s co-workers forgets and makes even the smallest joke within the range of her hearing, the outcome isn’t appealing.

Alternatively, Susan could focus on smiling and laughing on inventory day, as well as the week leading up to it, even though she knows that in the past these times have been tedious and stressful for her.  Then as Susan’s co-workers see her smiling and laughing, they are more likely to smile and laugh, which would empower them all to work as a team to lighten this task.  This jovial atmosphere would probably eventually result in inventory day being less tedious and stressful for Susan.

Game of the Day

What ideas in this blog could you use to make your workday more productive and enjoyable?

How can you begin to use the ideas that you like today?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Five Tips For Vacation Ease

Vacations are awesome!  We look forward to them for weeks or sometimes even years.  The thrill of traveling is exhilarating- savoring new places, meeting new people, having the opportunity to experience new situations, and most of all FOCUSING on HAVING FUN!

I used to think that spending time to stay organized and maintain healthy practices on vacations was too much work.  I was supposed to be on vacation from ordinary life after all!  But I’ve found the opposite to be true, the more I stay organized and maintain healthy practices, the more I enjoy my vacations.

Over the years, I’ve discovered some great tips for staying organized and healthy while on your vacation so that you can enjoy it fully and have amazing amounts of fun.

1. Prepare For Fun: Organize Before You Go

While it can be tempting to put off packing until the last-minute and then run around throwing things in bags, I’ve found that taking the time to pack well really paves the way for having the most possible fun on a vacation.  For example, I find it easy to leave my cell phone charger at home and the last thing I want to do when I’m in Hawaii is be at Wal-Mart at 2 AM asking a clerk what aisle cell phones chargers are in.

To make packing really easy, I like to start making a list about three or four days before I’m scheduled to travel of things I might forget.  Simply put a catchy label on your list like “Items to remember to pack for my blissful vacation.”  Then take ten minutes to write down things you want to pack like, “ten shirts, razor, sunscreen, my laptop, etc.”  Then over the next few days when you think of things that you didn’t remember to put on the list when you first made it, write them down.  After that when you go pack, simply follow your list.

2. Feed Your Fun: Nourish Your Body

When traveling, I have found that I’m very drawn to eating great quantities of foods made tasty by sugar, by frying, and by salt.  Fast food has a special draw because I want to eat fast so that I can get back to seeing the sites (and also because it can taste SO GOOD)!  Unfortunately, after eating too much of it, I just don’t feel good.

So now when on a trip, I attempt to take the time to relish sit-down meals full of yummy, nutritious food, IN ADDITION to savoring the fried, the sugared, and the salted IN MODERATION.

What mix of foods do you want to eat when you are traveling?

3. Be Well Rested For Fun: Get Plenty of Sleep

While vacationing, there’s so much fun to be had that it’s sometimes tempting to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, night after night.  I find this somewhat enjoyable for a day or two, but then I just want to take a nap at inconvenient times like when my tour group would be headed out to see the pyramids.  (And that’s not a story that I would want to tell for the rest of my life – how I was in the hotel room sleeping instead of seeing one of the most amazing sights in the world.)

So now when I am vacationing, except for the rare event, I plan on getting between six and eight hours of sleep a night.

Don’t miss the sights!  How much sleep do you want to get a night to feel your best?

4. Fun On The Move: Make Sightseeing Your Exercise 

This one comes naturally to me.  I always feel much better when I engage in some form of physical activity during the day.  So when I’m in a new place, one of the main things I love to do is explore on foot.   I’ve found that the details of a place, whether it’s a city or a National Park can be best experienced through walking.  I find that when in a car or even on a bike, I’m simply moving too fast to appreciate all the subtleties of the architecture and the vegetation.  (Of course use common sense, and only walk in places where you feel safe.)

Maybe walking isn’t your thing, but biking or running is.  Then do that.  The trick is to incorporate your exercise so that it’s a natural part of your sightseeing.

5. Reenergizing For More Fun: Enjoy The Freedom To Take Breaks

Sometimes when visiting even spectacular places, I’ve found that I can get too much of a good thing.  Maybe I’m walking around a fascinating art gallery.  After about two or three hours, even though I’m loving it, I find I just want a break.

Have you ever had a similar experience of doing something enjoyable and then wanting a break from it?

The solution to this situation is simple.  Just have fun taking a break.  You are on vacation after all!

Game of the Day

Think about your next vacation.  What can you do to stay organized and maintain healthy practices, while at the same time, thoroughly enjoying your vacation?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.