The Gift of Laughter doesn’t cost you anything to give or receive!

Have you ever laughed so hard tears were rolling down your cheeks and you could barely catch your breath? So hard you couldn’t stop?  It has happened to me a handful of times when something just triggers waves of laughter  that leaves me breathless and my cheeks hurting from smiling so hard!   

Laughter is a gift from God and I love to laugh as often as I can.  I seek out happy, funny people.  I will wade through lots of comedy to find that one laugh out loud unexpected explosion of hilarity.    They say that “laughter is the best medicine” but they never say for what illness.  Did you ever notice that?  That’s because laughter is the best medicine for just about everything.  It makes you feel better about the sorrows in your life and the absurd unfairness of the universe from your tiny perspective.  Laughing releases a flood of chemicals that make you feel better all over.

“Finding the funny” in your life is a skill that can be developed, but only after you stop taking yourself and your so called problems so seriously.  I have spent most of my life looking for the left turn, the absurd, the path less taken in just about every conversation I have ever had.  When you train yourself to listen and view everything from a new perspective, the laughter and comedy appear.    

A while back, I was eating dinner with my family at an out door cafe and a point of conversation was brought up, and my son conceded the point by saying “Touche’!”  Now all my life when I heard that word my brain said “that’s French from the sport of fencing, and it means “touch” or in a wider meaning “one point for you”.    

But because my mind is always trying to nail together new things, this time my mind said “That sounds like a hairpiece for your butt.”  Toupee, Tush, Tushee.  I cracked myself  up and after laughing uncontrollably for a while I finally managed to share my new word with my family, who then joined in and we  all laughed hysterically!  I am sure a few people around us were wondering what could have been so funny.   We then each “riffed” on the idea using the new word in various forms.  “Is that natural, or is it a Tushee?    It’s absurd I know.  But that silly idea triggered one of the best laughs my family has had, and we refer back to it now and then, and it cracks us up all over again!

Finding smiles and laughter in your world depends solely on you.  You have to look  for and expect happiness to come bounding out at you.  It’s like a game of hide and seek.  If you don’t know anyone is hiding, you will never look, and they will not be found.  Laughs and smiles are all around you, in every nook and corner.  All you need to do is start looking, and once you train yourself to find the happy, you will have a never ending supply!

At my last family gathering which was filled with laughter and stories,  I was joking around to make everyone else laugh, and hit my own funny bone.  It had been a while since I had laughed uncontrollably, and it was such a wonderful release.   Understand that at this same gathering, we shared our concerns about aging parents, painful accidents, major surgery and life events and choices that had sad and terrible consequences.  There were no perfectly happy people at the table, but for that afternoon we were perfectly happy thanks to the gift of laughter.

So if you want to start seeing the funny in your world, here are my action steps for you to try:

Watch some stand-up comedy from your favorite comic.  After you laugh, stop for a second and try and see the new perspective the comedian just gave you.  

Find a free web service that will send you a joke a day.

Make a list of your top ten favorite  funny movies – and have a movie night with your family or friends and share them.

Start looking for funny.   Find out what makes you laugh consistently.  Then find more of it! 

 Stay away from comedy that has ego or hate at it’s center.   If the joke basically is “that other person is a moron and I am better than they are” you will not find the best funny.   Guess what? YOU are the funniest person, and you have to laugh at yourself and the stupid things you do should amuse you constantly, otherwise you are taking  yourself too seriously.

Find some funny people, and listen to how they think.  New ideas will start coming to you faster and faster, and before you know it, you will be “riffing” with the best of them.  Until then, enjoy letting them do most of the mining for comedy gold!

For the advanced degree in finding the laughter, go to an improv show.  It’s the best training in the world for finding the funny, and finding funny people!   For the quickest way I know to start training your brain to see the funny, get my book “THE IMPROV PERFORMANCE MANUAL by Nate Truman” on Amazon.com.    This intro to improvisational comedy and the mindset you need to develop can help you jump start your quest for the funny!  Plus there is a free bonus, right on the cover of the book! 🙂   Only you can choose to see the hilarious, crazy and ridiculous and then enjoy it each day you are given.   The journey of a lifetime begins with a small step and a big smile.     Now picture someone around you wearing their new “Tushee” and it peeking out of the top of their pants or skirt, and I dare you not to smile!     

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Is LOVE on your “TO DO” list today?

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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   

1 Corinthians 13:2  NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is love on your list of things to do today? Probably not.  The “To-Do’s” that seem to be on most everyone’s daily lists are worldly items.   Pick this up at the store, learn a new skill,  buy that item, close that deal, and make that follow up call, and so on. People seem to think that once they have money, power, knowledge and influence they will be a success and their list reflects that.

 

Take a quick look down your list and see if you can find one item you are going to do today that will build a loving relationship you currently have into a closer one.  If you look at your list now with this new focus, you should be able to find an act of service that you are only doing because it is for a loved one.  “Take kids to practice” “Get groceries” “Clean house” “Get oil changed” are all acts of service you do to keep your family’s world running smoothly – but do they know you do those things because you love them? Do you realize now, that is why YOU do them?

We do things and pursue goals for reasons.  If your “To-Do” list has become a weight of guilt around your neck, try finding your root reasons for why you want to accomplish each task. Just implementing this new focus that the unpleasant or repetitive tasks you do each day are to show love to your family, can change your outlook and attitude.  Having a motivating reason for doing something makes the doing a lot easier and more pleasurable as well.  You may also find you cross off a few items, because you have identified the root desire that put the item on your list, and you now no longer want to pursue that goal. 

Love should be at the top of your list everyday.  Add at least one item that is an outward display of love for another human being.  A phone call to a friend who’s having a hard time, a stop for coffee and conversation, a long hug for a spouse or child are good examples.  Then put that at the top of your list, and get at least that one item done today! 

The funny thing about doing this is YOUR day will be happier and more focused when you have love at the top of your list!

Are you productive, or just busy? 4 steps to get back on track!

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Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing

Lao Tzu

 

I am always busy, but I am not always productive.  I think many people take great pride in being busy.  It’s like saying “look at me, I must be important as there is just not enough of me to go around, so many people need me and my time.”  

What I really want is to be PRODUCTIVE, not busy.   If you are addicted to being busy, here are 4 steps  to help you move from just being busy, to getting things done.

 

1. Have a plan!  If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, your day will be spent on distractions.  Email, what to have for lunch, that stain on your clothes, office politics, Google image searches, and shuffling papers can fill your day.  You may even feel like you accomplished something because at the end of your day you are tired, and you were BUSY all day long!   To stay productive you need a short list of items you want to accomplish in plain view taped where you have to look at it all day, and allow that list to redirect you every time you see it.  Check you goal “compass” throughout the day to stay on course!

 

2. Do it completely the first time.  Don’t write or ask imprecise questions that then create new questions.  Ask for specific information or instructions, and then repeat it back to make sure you heard what was said.  Just trading something back and forth is being busy.  Completing the task is being productive.

 

3. Stop giving away your “life gold.”  If you don’t value your time and attention, advertisers, and unfocused people will steal your life gold.  You have so many minutes to live, so start asking yourself before you start taking on a task “Is this worth my life gold?”   Lao Tzu  understood this  when he said “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”  I would rather enjoy the beauty of watching the wind rustle through the trees while letting my mind go blank, than sit in a meeting that I don’t need to be at, or managing email.  When you are dead, no one will say “Wow, her email inbox was almost empty!”    If you can’t be actually productive, don’t wear yourself out with busy work, stop and recharge your batteries. 

 

4. Simplify everything!  Say “NO” to requests if they do not help you focus on your goals.  Reduce your possessions to those that you actually use.  Each possession will take more life gold.  You have to care for it, repair it, polish it, dust it, and remember where you put it.  Choose any new possession carefully, as it quite possibly will be with you for a lifetime.  Say yes to opportunities or charitable requests that will allow you to be productive in areas of interest that touches your heart.  Volunteering for a church or school event isn’t busy work if you heart and mind agree it’s a good use of your life gold.

Furiously answering emails and engaging in office politics may seem like you are getting something done, but in the end, if nothing changes due to your efforts it’s just busy work.  Start making small observations and changes each day to focus on what you want to produce with your time and effort.  Visualize a shinny gold coin dropping out of your pocket every 10 minutes when you catch yourself being distracted from your chosen goals.  You can’t have that life gold back, it’s gone.  You spent it!   Now decide what you want to spend your next irreplaceable gold coin on!   Ingrain this mind picture into your daily life and it can help you spend your days more wisely on the goals and people that you have decided are truly important to you.  If you spend your life gold consistently on ONLY those goals and people that are important to you, you will be truly productive every day!

Why Paying it Forward, Pays Big Dividends!

by Nate Truman

1124721_we_have_a_dealLet us not become weary in doing good,

 for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 NIV

 

 

 

“What’s in it for me?”  If this is the first question that pops into your head anytime you hear about an opportunity, you need a new question.   We all know people who always want to get their “cut” before you are finished explaining your idea to them.  Do you want to deal with that kind of person, or better yet, do people think of you as “that guy?”

There is nothing wrong with looking at opportunities, both personal and professional, to see if it’s beneficial for you.  However, if anytime a friend asks a favor or someone at work needs a ride in the other direction your first reaction is “how does that benefit me?” it’s time for you to make a change, and enjoy paying it forward.

The concept has been around a long time with the old adage, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” but most people add to that statement in their heads that others should do something helpful FIRST before you do.  

The idea was dramatized a few years ago in a movie with the title “Pay it forward” starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey.   A young boy decides he can change the world by paying it forward.  He does three good deeds and he tells those three people that they should do three good deeds for others as repayment.  That one gesture of good will ends up spreading good deeds across the country.

So how does this work for you? Simple. You start first!  Volunteer at your favorite charity.  Ask to do an errand for an elderly person in your life, or take them out to lunch.  Start a program in your Church or school that people have been saying “someone should do something about…”    Help a friend or a friend’s friend move.  Don’t just lend someone your tools, go help.  If someone tells you they are out of work, take their resume, and actually help get them an interview at your company, or make sure it gets to someone you know that can help.  Plan a special dinner for your spouse or a fun secret outing for the family.  Before you know it, you will be getting your investment back two or three fold.   

Here is what will happen after just doing a few “no profit” favors for others in your life.  First, those that you did a favor for will start treating you more nicely.  Who doesn’t like that? Next, they will try and return the favor somehow.   Great!   If you don’t need any help from that person, suggest to them to pay it forward to someone else.  It really is infectious. 

You may be saying to yourself right now that people will just take advantage of you. Yes, some will take your help with out even a thank you.  What’s the worst that can happen in that situation?  Now they owe you a favor.  That sort of person will probably try and avoid you so you don’t ask them to return the favor. Great!  You did a kind act, move on. 

I have been investing in PIF (pay it forward) for some time, and the dividends not only keep growing, they show up in the most amazing ways!   People’s lives are happier and deals that never would have happened get done with a handshake.   I have helped people that are just acquaintances buy or sell big ticket items, get a job, get a pass into a special event, help a mother with a special need kid and many other similar favors with absolutely no interest in any return of the favor.  It makes me feel great, and I find myself wanting to do it again.  Often times just knowing you made a difference in someone’s life is reward enough.

The only problem is, the return on my investment keeps coming back in unexpected ways.  After awhile people know you have the heart to help others, and they start offering to help you.  Opportunities strangely crop up because of a favor you did months or years ago.

For me the best payback is seeing someone who has gone from just hanging on, to becoming alive again and is now helping others in their area of influence.  If you want massive return on your investments in life, pay it forward and watch the magic grow.