Tag Archives: Appreciation

Find Treasure Here

I went over to a friend’s house recently. I had promised I would help him clean out his garage. I don’t remember the conditions of the promise, as helping somebody to clean out their garage is not something that you throw around. I would definitely place cleaning out somebody’s garage on the same level as moving, perhaps even in a category all on it’s on. At least moving, you don’t really need to get very dirty, and you usually get beer and pizza afterwards. And if you are lucky, your friends hired a moving company, so you only really need to help with the small stuff. But in helping somebody clean out their garage, there is no telling how much filth and grime you’ll have to wade through.

Because he did successfully persuade me that I did indeed promise him to help clean out his garage, I really didn’t have a choice. He said that he would share the profits from his upcoming garage sale, but I had my doubts. I had known this guy for a while; he’s not the kind of guy that can discover treasure lurking in his garage. I guess that is a matter of opinion, however way you slice it. It’s interesting when you make a choice based on what somebody persuades you to do. It’s almost as if whether or not I actually made the promise isn’t the issue, but rather how well he was able to persuade which was the deciding factor. But I digress.

So there we were, cleaning out his garage. As I suspected, we didn’t find much of value. So much so that we decided not to have a garage sale at all (there go my profits) and haul everything to the junkyard. At least it didn’t take as long, because once we decided that everything was going straight to the junkyard, we didn’t waste any time deciding which we could sell, or which we should throw in the trash heap. It’s amazing what happens when you remove indecision from your decision making process.

We threw everything in the junk heap, except for one item, which he refused to part with. It was an old electronics kit that he had bought many years ago from a local camera shop. It was a kind of a do-it-yourself kit that was apparently designed to foster the imagination of a budding tech wizard. He seemed to be confused when he found it, as it was hard to remember this. Then as he was able to slowly realize what this is, he found himself being able to remember fond memories. He started telling me stories about the fun he’d had with a kid. Taking things apart and putting them back together again. It was like he was able to experience the joy of discovery all over again. Seeing how happy he was when he found his hidden treasure, I couldn’t help but remember the toys I had when I was a kid. You know how when you have this memory, and you don’t really think about it, and something just sets it off? Something completely random that you don’t expect, and you suddenly find yourself remembering all those wonderful experiences that you’d had before? I think it’s pretty cool when stuff like that happens.

But he did end springing for the pizza and the beer after we cleaned out his garage. Luckily we didn’t have to do a lot of sweeping or anything. And because he has one of those garages that you never park your car in, there wasn’t a lot of grime and stuff. So when we finally made it to the pizza place, we weren’t completely filthy.

Can you think of any treasures that you have stored away that you’d forgotten until now?


Share the most Wonderful Gift – You

Do you remember what it was like when you were a kid, and and you got a new toy? It was a cool thing, you couldn’t wait to go and run to your friends so that you could share this with them? You might have even brought it to school for a few days until your teacher told you it would be best left at home?
What about when you saw a really good movie? And and you couldn’t wait to tell all your friends about this? Word of mouth advertising has always been an integral part of many products on many levels.

Imagine what you felt like when you had a friend that brought something to you. They were happy and excited, and wanted to share a new toy or idea with you. How did that make you feel? If you are like most people. you were moved to excitement more by your friends enthusiasm than the actual toy or comic book he wanted to show you.

That’s one of great things that you naturally are skilled at. Being able to share an emotion with somebody and have them reflect that emotion back to you without any conscious thought. If you present and share that emotion congruently, they almost can’t help to reflect it back to you. This holds true for all emotions. Imagine a time when somebody shared a sad emotion with you. Did you feel sad as well, at a little bit? I’m not talking about those people that are always complaining, looking for fake sympathy from others. I’m talking about somebody who is suffering from real emotional pain. When you hear them describe their experience, you can’t help being moved as well.

That is one of the reasons we like movies and stories so much. There is nothing like a good tear jerker or inspirational drama to capture and lead your emotions around. This idea has been around for a long time. The Greeks realized this with their many plays, and their word for it, catharsis, is still used today to describe an emotional experience achieved by hearing or watching somebody else’s, usually through drama or sometimes music.

What emotions are you sharing with others, and what emotions are you picking up from others? Sadness? Happiness? Gratitude. When you keep in mind that others can reflect your own emotions back to you, a good idea is to reflect an appreciation. But not just your garden variety appreciation for the birds and the wind and the money in your pocket. That will get you a reflection for more appreciation for the birds and the wind and the money in your pocket, which is great, but what happens if you, as Emeril Lagasse says “kick it up a notch?”

What if you walk through life radiating a deep and honest appreciation for yourself? What if you could share a love for yourself like you shared that new toy when you were a kid? What if you had an honest gratitude for who you are, and ran around saying “Hey everybody, look at this! Isn’t this cool?” Just like everybody wanted to run over and play with your new toy, what if everybody came running today, and wanted to experience with the new you that you find so cool?

This is not a overfilled ego demanding attention. This is the expression of the deep, honest, appreciation that you will undoubtedly feel for yourself when you really examine the miracle that is you. You owe the world that much.


Give Yourself the Gift of Power

If you study great leaders, actors, even kings, you’ll find one common thread about how they move through the world.  You will find one quality that they possess which makes others absolutely captivated by them and moved to support for their cause, whatever it may be. Luckily, we live in a time and a society where those that have this power generally use it for the benefit of man. There have been those leaders in the past who have used this power for evil, and have nearly destroyed whole societies in process. I don’t want to bring down my blog with the mere mention of these evil men, but I’m sure you can imagine who I’m talking about.

What is this quality that they possess? Perhaps more importantly, how can you not only develop this quality, but realize that you already have it? How can you tap this power to make your life a bold statement of the eternal gift that lives in all of us? What steps can you take to easily realize and appreciate this latent power?

First, let’s explore exactly what it is. The one thing that these leaders and kings have is a solid belief that they are the ultimate creators of their life. They are responsible for everything that they achieve, or don’t achieve. Perhaps due to some quirk of their upbringing, perhaps due to a strong conscious choice followed through by strong action, these men and women have decided at some point that their lives were completely up to them. They didn’t wait for permission. They didn’t wait for their parents or teachers to tell them it was ok. They didn’t hear a booming voice through parted clouds that gave them a detailed plan to follow to ensure their success.

No, these powerful men and women learned that everything they wanted, they would have to create. They were able to release the need for approval, guaranteed safety, or the generous opinions of others. They made a choice, and followed through. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

How about you? What is holding you back? What are you afraid to release? Are you too concerned with the opinions of others? This can be a difficult thing to let go of.  A kind word from an authoritative figure an make you feel wonderful. A not so kind word can have the opposite effect. The secret to overcoming this is to view yourself as the ultimate authority on your life. You must give yourself the appreciation that you hope to receive from others. It can help to realize that no other person can fully know you as well as you know yourself. Any appreciation or kind opinions they express about your are really filtered through their own experiences and biases, so both good and bad can only have a limited amount of relevance.

When you learn to approve of yourself, your desires, your intentions, above all others, you will realize your power. You will be able to see the world as your playground, where you can enjoy life and create what you want at the same time. You will then learn the wonderful truth about reality that the quickest and easiest way to get what you want is to truly serve others. And not serve others in hopes of a quick, shallow, reciprocation. To truly serve others is to do so in secret, because it allows them to fully appreciate your gift, and it is a powerful message to yourself that you have all you need, and don’t need to rely on the opinions of others any more.


Develop Powerful Appreciation

There is a scene in the incredible movie Taxi Driver where the main character is holding his hand above the open fire of his stove, in order to strengthen himself, or perhaps to prove to himself how tough he is. The power of this scene is that the character, who is completely psycho, holds his hand above the stove without flinching. Stone faced. The reason this is such a powerful scene is the audience can’t help but to imagine how incredibly painful that must feel.

Psychological experts know that the only two fears humans are born with are heights and loud noises. The rest we have to learn. How long do you think it took you to realize that fire was dangerous? A second? Less? Have you ever drank too much of a certain liquor (for me it was Tequila) and then later just couldn’t even stand the smell of it? How long do you think it took your brain to learn that liquor is poison, and you should stay away from it? (Or at least too much of it.) Probably not very long.  How long did it take to learn that speaking in public could be a dangerous thing? Probably not very long. Probably all it took was once in second or third grade when you spoke out in class and the results weren’t quite what you expected.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that can feel really comfortable whenever you stand up and speak persuasively with confidence and charisma as if you were Cicero speaking to the Roman Senate. If you are that confident, I’ll be sure to vote for you when you run for congress. The rest of us will have to continue hiding behind our 3×5 cards. 

The reason we learn so fast to be afraid of things is naturally because it is matter of safety.  If you’ve read the article on memory, you know that pain, or potential pain is one of the key elements of forming a strong neural connection.

But what about learning skills that are enhancing? How cool would it be if we were able to learn new habits as quickly as we learned our fears?  What if we could unlearn false fears, and replace them with feelings of safety as easily as we learned real, physical fears?

In order to do that, we need to charge our neural pathways with the same strong emotions that we charged them when we learned it was dangerous to stick our fingers in a light socket. (It only took me once to learn that was a bad idea.)

Let’s take exercise as an example. You get up in the morning. Look at the clock. Ugh. It’s cold outside. If you didn’t get out of bed and go for a walk like you were hoping to, you’d get an extra hour of sleep. You could always starting walking tomorrow, right? But if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could train your brain to automatically feel motivated when your alarm went off? What if the idea of going for a walk made you feel as good as the prospect of polishing off a bucket of ice cream?

The emotion to use when training your brain for good habits is appreciation. We humans like to worry. Whenever something good happens, some of us have a voice in the back of our heads saying “I don’t know, this might not last very long.” I’m sure that’s happened to you at least once, right? The key to increasing appreciating for something, is to quiet those voices that silently nag you. And the way to do that is through simple practice. The more you focus on your appreciation, for anything, the more it grows. It’s just like exercise for your brain. It doesn’t take long. Take a deep breath, and really feel appreciation for the air as it comes in your lungs. Feel appreciationthat you can use the internet to read email from your friends, read cool articles, and learn fascinating stuff.  Feel appreciation for anything. The more you practice this, the more you will naturally notice that it gets easier and easier. 

Experiment with this for the next week. Pick a color. Lets say red. Everytime you see the color red, appreciate something. Anything. Only for a few moments. The more you practice, the stronger it gets. And when you develop the natural ability to feel appreciation, you will realize something amazing. I’ll leave to you to find out exactly what that amazing discovery is.

You can relax, and feel comfortable, because I’ll be posting many more articles on exactly how to use your new versatile skills of appreciation in the near future.


Magic in a Bag

So there I was, sitting there in the coffee shop, in a nice corner spot. The kind where you can periodically stop what you are doing so you can look up and really pay attention, watch all the people walking around, shopping, eating, enjoying their Sunday off.  I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, and for reasons I’m probably not aware of, that particular movement seemed to stand out of all the flurry of movements, so I naturally turned my head so I could take notice. There was a young female employee of the shop standing facing a middle aged guy that was sitting down.  She seemed to have a look of professionalism on her face, and he a look of boredom. Perhaps his wife had dragged him shopping with her, perhaps he was a little light on sleep. We’ll never know. But as she leaned over to get closer to him, as there were plenty of people around chattering about, I saw an interesting phenomenon take place.  I noticed her eyes, and as she was talking to him in what appeared to be a polite professional tone (judging only by her facial expressions and her body langauge), they shifted back and forth between his face, and the bag that she was holding out for him to take. And as she did so, his face turned from passive disinterest, to mild curiosity, to a look of honest appreciation.  Now I’m not sure what was in the bag, perhaps some exotic coffee beans, or maybe a personalized mug, who knows.

Kind of like the shops around my town, they organize some special new years specials, where all the shops that participate put together bags of secret goodies for ten or twenty dollars. The fun part is that you don’t know what’s going to be in the bag. Of course it will be related to the kind of store of course, but you never know what will be in the bag until you open it up. And they all look the same, so you really can’t tell from the outside.

Like when I was a kid, we used to have lots of presents under the tree at christmas time, but you never know if you were going to get something cool  until you decided to choose a gift  to open.  And of course, most of the time we could expect to be really happy  with the present we got.

Which was what was wierd at the coffee shop, because the guy didn’t really know what was in the bag, only that the girl had decided for him that it was something of value.  Now I don’t if you are able to understand this, but this guy, who could be a doctor or a lawyer for all I know,  was able to transform his own emotions from boredom to appreciation over a mysterious brown bag, simply by choosing to pay attention to the words of a most likely minimum wage earning young lady.

Can you see the magic in this? Simply by assuming that there was value in the bag, she was able to, using only her words and expressions, move the middle aged man from boredom to curiosity to appreciation.

How soon will you be able to find something of value , and with only words, move somebody else to appreciation?