Category Archives: Self Development

Happy and don’t know it? Clap your hands!

After talking to people over the years, I’ve heard people say they feel like they’ll never be happy. That begs the question, “What is your definition of happy?” Most people don’t know how to answer this question. Over the years, part of my job was to develop person centered plans. In these plans you discuss people’s short term and long term goals. Most of the time people say, “I want to be happy.”

If you’re always searching for “happy” how will you know when you get there if you don’t know you’re definition?

Exercise #1

I believe it’s very beneficial to find happiness daily. Have you ever gone to buy a car? You look around and find something you like. You think it’s great and there aren’t very many of them around in your city. When you get it and start driving it, you see them every where you look. Happiness can be like this as well. Your subconscious looks for what we train it to look for. Another way to say this is that you see what you want to see.

So if you see what you want to see, then decide what you want to see. Didn’t see that coming did you? J I suggest writing down little things that make you happy. Thinking on paper is a great habit to get into. So, what makes you happy? A baby smiling? A funny movie? A certain movie genre? Music? Playing an instrument? A sunset? A sunrise? That new car smell? Thai food? Spending time with friends and/or family? Your children? When your children leave for a while? If you’re always looking for things to make you smile instead of things to tick you off, you’ll notice a difference. Don’t get me wrong there are always things that will come up that make you unhappy as well…but overall do your best to look for the good.

Exercise #2

Next I would recommend thinking about what you’d like your life to look like when you are “happy.” When you reach this ideal, what does it look like? Do you live on your own private island with a few million dollars in the bank? Do you live in the country? How much money do you make? One exercise I’ve done is written down your ideal day. What will you do on your ideal day? What time will you get up? Will you be alone? If not, who will you be with? Then you just roll through your day.

This sounds like an odd thing to do, but it really helps you get a clear picture in your mind. If you have a picture of what you’re aiming towards, your subconscious can be working towards it. Of course, you have to take action to get to that spot. It’s your subconscious, not a magic wand. Take action! Do something daily to move you towards your definition of happiness!

So I made it through this whole post without quoting that Bobby McFerrin song. Bonus points for me.

GURU Boot Camp Weekend

Friday, July 10, 2009 I flew out to LA for the Guru Boot camp. The traffic to Charlotte Airport wasn’t bad at all. Once I arrived at the parking deck and noticed the huge crowd waiting for the shuttle, I knew there would be a lot of people flying that day. There was a huge line at the security checkpoint. Luckily the security guards were very gentle. Just kidding. The flight went to St. Louis in a smaller plane that I did not have enough room to stand up fully. On the way to LA, I’m not sure where we were flying over but there were tons of huge circles and semicircles. What was the deal with that? The best I could figure was that’s how they were irrigated…but there were so many. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know in the comments. The flight was cool. I had a window seat so I noticed we flew over LA for a long time before getting to the airport. That is a huge city.

The next morning I was down stairs ready for the boot camp at 7:30 am. I was very surprised by the number of people that were there. There were about 425 people there. Around the first break I met Jason and Nandi Moore ( that are students in Eben Pagan’s Ignition program with me. They were very cool. Eben had us play a game called matchmaker all weekend (which I do my best to play always). The way you play is talk to people all weekend, find out what they need, who there customer is, and what people they need to meet and then try to find people to link them with. This was an awesome exercise. It was great to get you focused on the needs of others and providing value to others. I highly recommend doing this everyday. During the first break, I was introduced to Dean Gates. Look him up on He’s a makeup artist and has worked in the movie business for years. He knows tons of people in the industry and is a super cool guy as well. The boot camp was awesome because Eben had us do exercises and actual work while we were there. He had several guest speakers as well. One was a presenter during the Ignition program named Lou D’Alo ( He spoke twice at the boot camp. We ended up sitting next to each other Sunday and he had a lot of great advice. You should definitely check out his site. He’s a really sharp guy with lots of great information!

Later that evening I was able to meet Eben, get my picture, and give him a guitar pick. I talked to him a little more at the pool side party after the event as well. There were so many cool people there. Dean Gates and I talked about movies and film making quite a bit that night as well. Talk about a guy with tons of cool stories!

The next morning we hit the ground running as well. The boot camp started at 9am and I think I left the conference room close to 11pm. We heard from Joe Polish ( on good marketing and positioning. Next Andrea Albright spoke about using video online. Lou D’Alo spoke again after that about busting traffic myths. Rose Cole ( spoke about how she built her online business and that it is all virtual. She had good information about using affiliates and communicating with customers and developing products to meet their specific needs. Laura Roeder ( went on next. She taught us how to use Twitter effectively. She showed us how blogs can help build relationships with people. She did a great job as well. Don Crowthers ( and Stompernet) jumped up and told us some ways to build expert status with Twitter in a few weeks. He was sharp.

After the boot camp I met up with Dean to talk more about filmmaking (lol) and get some food. Not much was open at 11:30pm. The food at the bar in the hotel was good though. After that (about 1:30am) I went up stairs, packed and slept until 3am. Then it was time to get up and prepare for my flight. (Note to self: Do not EVER get a flight that leaves at 5 something am.) The good thing about flying that time in the morning was that in LAX there was ONE person in front of me in the security line. Hehe. This definitely beat the hundreds in Charlotte. It would have been a nice time to sleep if I didn’t have a 4 year old (or so) constantly kicking me and being hyper. Oh well…I’m sure I would have been the same way at that age. J

Over all it was a great trip. I’m glad I made it out there. It would have been nice to stay a few more days. I would have gotten to go to a real Hollywood make up effects workshop and how cool would that have been?

Self Esteem Lesson

In the mental health field over the years I see and hear a lot of people’s concerns about self esteem. Of course my self esteem wasn’t always the greatest either. While speaking to some folks today about anger management, the topic of self esteem arose. This little lesson popped up in my mind that I’ll share.

Don’t accept second class behavior

Probably around 2004 I heard Eben Pagan say something like, “Don’t accept second class behavior from yourself or anyone else.” This is not an exact quote but close. This quote hit me like a ton of bricks or equally dense material. I had been too much of a “people pleaser” and it was not only was it not helping me, it was hurting me. Don’t get me wrong I truly enjoy helping other but people pleasing can be damaging. After thinking about this quote I realized that it was hurting my self esteem and allowing people to prey on my desire to help people.

Examples of second class behavior

There are many times when we may be a little nicer than we need to be and people take advantage of this. Sometimes they may not do it maliciously but just out of habit. People canceling on plans and not informing you, being late all the time to appointments, not calling when they say, etc… are all examples of second class behavior. The example that comes to mind for me was on a Friday night I was supposed to go out with this girl and she was going to call around 9 and we’d go out. Well 9pm comes and goes. I call and get no answer. Turns out that she didn’t call that night and since I didn’t really find out to late, it limited my plans that night. I live in a small town where they pretty much roll up the sidewalks at 9-10pm.

How should you react to this behavior?

So I thought about what happened that night and how I should handle it. Should I get angry and start arguing or yelling? What would that accomplish? Say I was right, how would that make her feel? Dale Carnegie discusses how no one wins an argument in “How to win friends and influence people.” Should I call and leave mean messages on her voicemail? Again, what would that accomplish? Should I cut contact until she calls me? Well in this case, she called the next day. I would imagine in this case that the person thinks A) I’ll pretend this didn’t happen and he’ll just accept it the way other people do or B) He’ll be mad and he’ll just have to get over it (I’m sure there were many others too…but for simplicity sake J ).

Use the quote

What I did was use the quote from Eben. I stated, “Look, I don’t accept second class behavior from myself or anyone else. I would rather never talk to you again than to accept this type of behavior.” Knowing me, I was probably wordier, but hopefully you get the idea. This worked well for a few reasons I believe.  It shows a firm stance on your rules for yourself and others. It is very difficult to argue because you state that you don’t accept these rules from yourself either. How do you argue this? They can’t argue what you accept. You do or you do not. I threw the second sentence in there from my study of sales. It is a strong negotiation tactic to be able to walk away from the deal. This reminds me of another Eben phrase, “there is no downside.” In this case for me there was no downside. If that was an indication of how I would be treated, then it was not worth my time and effort.

What will the other person say or do?

Some people may be worried about how the other person will react to this. I was lucky in this case because I was at the point where it didn’t matter. If they wanted to treat me in a first class way then that was cool, if not then, “bye!”  Instead of worrying about how they may react, write down some possible reactions. What is the worst that could happen? We already discussed that this would be a hard thing to argue because it’s what you accept from yourself and others. If you’ve accepted a lot of second class behavior in the past and have decided to change, let people know it. If it’s long time friend or family member try this. “I’ve decided to make some changes in my life and I will no longer accept second class behavior from myself or others.” The thing is with this that you MUST live your side of the statement as well. If you say you’ll call someone at 1:30pm then their phone needs to be ringing at 1:30pm (preferably with you on the other end).

Role Play

Don’t worry; you don’t have to dress up like a police officer or a French maid for this part. In mental health I’ve learned how well role playing can help practice a skill before you have to use it in “the real world.” If you are worried about how this may play out on a conversation with a friend, coworker, associate, or member of the opposite sex, meet with someone you feel comfortable around and try it out. If you have fears write them down ahead of time. This can be what you consider to be the worse case scenario. You get you’re friend to be you and give them a script of what you’ll say. You bring up you’re worse case scenario if you feel like it. You could try your side out as well.

Ready for prime time

When you say this a few times you’ll feel more comfortable with it and realize that it is firm and direct but not mean. It just sets up the frame of which you operate. Another example to think of is this. If you have kids (or have seen kids or were a kid) you have noticed that there may be one parent that gives in a little more than the other. This will be the one that the kids ask first for candy or money. Well the one parent set up that frame that they don’t take much off the kids and that they are the authority in the house. Some homes it’s the mother some it’s the father, but it was set up pretty early on usually. I encourage you to try this and notice that it sets up the frame of what you accept and what you don’t. It should help boost you’re self esteem and get you treated with respect. Best of luck to you!

NINJA Tour reminds me of positive thinking

Last night (6/12/09) I went to the NINJA tour with some friends. For those that aren’t familiar with that, it’s Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. It was a great show! Oddly enough, it was my first time seeing NIN. It seems “Head like a hole” was one of the first songs I heard by them back in school. I was in a band in college (back when my hair was down to my waist) that played the song “Wish” by NIN.

So what in the world does this have to do with personal development? Well, that’s a good question. Since it is music I started listening to a long time ago, it made me ponder some things from a long time ago. It also helped me realize how far I’ve come. It seems I focused more on negative thoughts and views back then. It wasn’t on purpose, just a combination of young angst, depression, etc… Of course even today I’ll get hit by a long series of events (which is a sign of growth, single events used to bring me down for days) that will bring me down. However, I can get out of that state much quicker with coping skills learned over the years. It seems that everyone has negative thoughts and that is normal but identifying and changing your negative beliefs can help reduce the number of negative thoughts as well as viewing the world as a place of scarcity.

An example of one of these beliefs is thinking of business people as people that are using poor people to make them money and not thinking about them. Am I saying that all business people are ethical humanitarians? No, of course not, BUT not all of them are like that by a long shot. This theme is heard in lyrics, seen on television, and on movies. The big bad business man…out to rule the world. Well after I graduate college, I became very interested in business and started reading and listening to information on business and business owners. As an art major through college, I noticed that there were many artists that remained very poor their entire lives but there were a few that made a good living, such as Monet (which oddly enough sounds like saying money with a French accent). So I started reading articles on Monet to see what made him different than say, Van Gogh.

If you’ve studied Internet Marketing, you’ve heard about launches. Jeff Walker is known for Product Launch Formula and Monet did something very similar (minus the use of the internet of course). He would get let a lot of wealthy art buyers know that he was working on a series of paintings and would have an event at his house where he showed the work and sold it. He already had a name for himself then though.

Well, back to what I was talking about. I studied business owners and found out interesting things. A lot of libraries in this country were built with help of Andrew Carnegie. A more recent fact is that the computers in the library in my own small town were donated by Bill Gates. The more I read, the more I learned about good things business people did for the world.

Many people would state that this is only looking at one side of the coin. Before people leave me negative comments, I realize that a lot of pollution, etc… has come from business as well. So what’s the difference? One is looking at the positive side of things, and the other is viewing the negatives. Buddha said, “What we think, we become.” Think about that, if you only think about negative things certain businesses are doing, then that’s what’s on your mind. It also brings up an exercise I’ve heard and since used as an example. Look around in the room your in right now. Look for all the red things in the room (if you don’t see anything red then look for all the blue things in the room). Here’s where the example doesn’t work in print. The next step you close your eyes (see what I mean…how do you read the next sentence…or this one for that matterJ). Name 3 green items in the room. It’s an example to show that you find what you’re looking for. Another example I use is “Where’s Waldo.” Do you find the guy that’s in the plain blue shirt in another part of the drawing? No you find Waldo. If you’re looking for all the bad stuff in life, then that’s what you’ll find.

Please understand I’m not saying ignore all the bad things and life and pretend that they’re not there. That is not helping the world either. If you are just sitting around doing nothing but being concerned about your own well being and complaining about “the man” holding you down then what are you doing about it? In college being a musician I was exposed to many people and one thing that used to get on my nerves was people sitting around doing drugs complaining about stuff. What did that accomplish? What are you doing to add value in the world? What did you do today or this week to make the lives of other better? What did you do to help the world? Last night at the concert, we were leaving and my friend was on crutches behind me so I turned around and stated, “Watch out for this mud puddle” then pointed at it. Then I hear a splash. One lady right behind us falls right into it. Her stoned friend just semi-looked at her and was going on and on about the leaves or something. Ok I won’t talk anymore about that because that could turn into about a 50 page rant for me.

So to wrap up, the concert was great! When you’re viewing the world, don’t forget to look at the positive side. Yes, I make jokes about “the man,” you know “whitey” but it’s just to pick around. I no longer sit around thinking only about all the bad things business people are doing to the world. Realize that some people do good things, some people do bad things. Be one of the people that do good things!

Bizarro Reducing to the Ridiculous

Noticing how people spend money everyday on things they don’t really need I thought about something I use to stop myself from doing so. It’s an opposite of the sales technique reducing to the ridiculous, bizarro reducing to the ridiculous technique if you will.

In reducing to the ridiculous, you take a price and reduce it down to the daily price or even an hourly price depending on your product. For example, if a service or product cost only $999 (for a limited time only of course), that’s only $83.25 per month, $19.21 per week, and only $2.74 per day. That is reducing to the ridiculous. Most of us have encountered this technique many times over the years.

Bizarro reducing to the ridiculous is exactly what it sounds like, doing the opposite of that. So if you buy a drink everyday for $1.30, that’s $39 per month, and $474.50. Many people know this and it seems obvious but it still helps to think this way. I work with a lot of folks that smoke and this expense adds up very quickly. According to this article, cigarettes average $5.06 across the country. So at one pack per day that’s $151.80 per month, and $1846.90 per year. These of course compound if you go to the store and get a drink and a pack of cigarettes daily.

Authors have been writing about this for a while but I still notice people complaining about being broke and blowing money daily. If you’re health conscious or trying to lose weight, try this technique on food as well. When people tell me that they are having trouble losing weight, one of the first questions I ask is do they drink soft drinks? One person explained that they were drinking about 4-5 twenty ounce Mountain Dews per day. Here we go again with the math… One serving has 110 calories, there are 2.5 servings in a twenty ounce drink which is 275 calories. That is 1100-1375 calories! Of course you could take this out to the year (401,500-501,875 calories).

These are dramatic examples to be sure but it gets the point across. This is to get you thinking when you’re deciding whether to stop and get a drink on the way to work or just bring some water from home. I’ve found it beneficial to think about things before you buy to decide if they are really needed. Don’t go crazy though…I think it’s necessary to have what you want at times as well.