10 Steps to improve your life

Here are 10 Steps that could improve your life and begin to break down the walls in your life. Try to apply just one of these to your life for a week and see the impact it has on your life and watch the walls begin to crumble. Then share your experience with me!

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Are you a chronic complainer?

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What is with people and complaining?  Seriously, what does complaining do for people that they insist on doing it? Does it provide some type of euphoria? Why is it sooo extremely difficult for people to just be happy? No matter what the circumstance is people just never seem to be happy. I was watching The Bible over the weekend, and they came to the scene from the book of Exodus when Moses had assisted in setting his people free from the hands of pharaoh. In the scene, the people were at the red sea and they were all complaining, yelling, and so upset with Moses. They were complaining about the location he had brought them to, complaining about food, complaining about everything. I thought to myself, really people this man (with the help of God) just rescued you from slavery and a life of poverty and torture and yet all you can do is complain. Then it dawned on me this is true for many people. You can give some people the moon with a red bow and they will say, I asked for the sun or why is the bow red. You have those women that complain about their husband, their children, their job. Those men that complain about their wife, their job, their life. I decided to dig a little deeper into understanding complaining, and what I learned is that complaining does in fact provide people with something, it’s called connection! What every human being wants is connection to feel connected to other people. Because complaining is a universal language, what better way to connect to others than through complaining and sharing in unhappiness. I have been to several play groups and the moms will sit together and somehow it turns into a big complaint fest almost to the point of competition on whose complaint is bigger and worse. It amazes me that you if don’t participate in this complaining fest you are isolated, and sometimes even frowned on. Even though connecting to other people is essential for human survival,  and complaining can be a healthy outlet, there is a such thing as too much complaining and becoming a chronic complainer.

“I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.” Indian Proverb

My question today is, are you a chronic complainer? Well, Tanyell, I don’t think I am. I mean I don’t really complain, I just state the facts. It’s not complaining when you aren’t happy about something. I wouldn’t necessarily say I complain, I just say when I don’t like something.  These statements are fair, valid, and may prove that you are an expressive complainer, however they may also be cover ups for a chronic complainer. So let us explore the chronic complainer.

Symptoms of  a Chronic Complainer consist of but are not limited too:
never satisfied
complain without the hope of connecting or resolution
complain but never listen to others complaints
compare their complaints to others in order to prove theirs is worst
unable to see when others aren’t interested in hearing their complaints
mostly negative
complain to anyone who will listen
always the victim

When a person is around a chronic complainer they leave feeling depressed, drained, sad, annoyed, and feeling like the conversation was pointless and time-consuming. They feel as though the relationship may be one-sided and unsure on what they are getting from the relationship. As a chronic complainer, the person tends to complain to just about anyone about anything.  When the person offers advice or solutions, the chronic complainer typically does not adhere to them. They complain without purpose. In their complaining they are usually the victim and it is everyone else around them that is the problem. A chronic complainer will typically dominate the conversations with others. If you find this to be you or find yourself surrounded by a Chronic complainer, have no fear there is treatment.

Treatment for Chronic Complaining
The next time you find yourself getting ready to launch out some complaints, ask yourself three questions.  Why is this complaint important, who am I complaining to, and what do I hope to accomplish by launching this complaint. By asking yourself these questions, it allows you time to really marinate on if the proposed complaint is in fact a valid and expressive complaint or if you are on your way into chronic complaining mode. I don’t get it Tanyell, this isn’t making sense to me. Ok, let me give you an example. You have a complaint about your friends children never cleaning up after themselves when they come over to play. You’re friend just left and you are getting ready to launch this complaint to your loving husband. The first question you ask yourself, why is this complaint important? (Because you are tired of your friends kids leaving a huge mess for you and your poor child to clean up after they leave, adding one more thing to your already long to do list. You feel as though it is inconsiderate). Ok, that is valid. Next, Who are you launching this complaint to? (My husband). Ok, valid. What are you hoping to accomplish from launching this complaint? (I need validation in knowing that I am not wrong for feeling this way, and I need a way to approach her and address this issue). Valid. This complaint passes and may be launched. The second part to treating chronic complaining is when you approach the person who is receiving the complaint let them know before launching what you need from them. “Honey I need to talk to you about something. I need to make sure I am not crazy in feeling this way, and if I am not crazy some suggestions on the best way to handle it.” By doing this you are allowing the other person a clear understanding of their purpose, therefore, they do not feel drained after the conversation. By taking these very easy steps prior to launching a complaint, you can easily deter yourself from becoming a chronic complainer.

“People who never achieve happiness are the ones who complain whenever they’re awake, and whenever they’re asleep, they are thinking about what to complain about tomorrow.” Adam Zimbler 

Although complaining can provide some relief and it can be healthy, there are times to see the cup half full and not complain. Many times complaining doesn’t serve a purpose at all. Going back to the story of Moses and Exodus, did they really have reason to complain? What was there complaining going to achieve? In reality their complaining was pure proof of ungratefulness and the inability to be satisfied. Complaining  can sometimes say, yea sure I have somethings but these things aren’t good enough. What is for me isn’t good enough for me. When you really look at your life, should you be complaining? This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be better or do greater things, it simply means instead of complaining be like Nike and Just do it. There is no need in complaining about the cup being half empty. Complaining isn’t going to fill the cup up. What will fill the cup is direct action from you. Complaining simply slows this action down.  Imagine what would happen if you went one full day without complaining, and instead made improvements or actions toward improving the things you were unhappy about. Imagine the joy you would feel, the relief, the freedom from worry. How much easier would life be if you simply went to the friend and expressed your dislike of her behavior and rather than complaining about it.  Although complaining can be an outlet, it often times leaves us feeling worse, drained, confused, upset, madder, and array of other unwarranted feelings. The bad far outweighs the good when it comes to complaining. Typically people who complain less and see the glass half full are happier, less stressed, and many times successful. Why focus on the negative, if you don’t like something change it and if you can’t change it, there is no sense in complaining about it. The time and energy you spend complaining on things you could be using changing things.

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” Anthony J. D’Angelo 

The next time you find yourself at a complaining party, really take a moment and ask yourself am I getting pleasure out of this, are these people happy, is this how I want to spend my time, what am I getting from this, and what could I be doing right now instead of this? Then focus in on the people at the complaining party and decide if you want to be like any of these people. Do any of these people hold traits, qualities, or even the kind of life you would like to see for yourself? If you find the answer to these questions is no, it may be time to find yourself a new party to attend.

“The person  enjoying life is to busy living life and therefore does not have time to complain about life” Tanyell

What’s tradition got to do with it?

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I recently had a discussion with some friends about Tina Turner giving up her U.S citizenship. The overwhelming thoughts and feelings of my dear friends was shock and disbelief. Many of the comments consisted of, “She must be insane.”, “Why would anyone do that?”, “What exactly made her do that?” and so on. The very idea of doing something so nontraditional and so bold, struck a cord with them. As we had this discussion, I thought this is a pure example of living a nontraditional, organically bold life!  To decide to do something so out of the box and so drastic, because it speaks to you, makes you happy, brings you peace, and heals your soul, however, the world around you is thinking you are absolutely insane, is nothing but organically bold! When I think of Tina Turners life, she has always had this trait within her to live organically bold. To speak so publicly about becoming a Buddhist in a Country dominated by Christianity how bold is that. For me, she is living an organic life. A definition for Organic is without artificial chemicals. An organic life is a life without artificial decisions, influences, beliefs, or thoughts. Artificial meaning anything that is not from within yourself. To live an organic life means to make decisions based on yourself. Sure we all have outside influences and we all care about what others will think at some point in our life. This is what makes us human. The difference between an artificial life and organic life is allowing these outside influences to direct our path and decisions or to make a decision solely based on what others think. Want to know if you are living an organic life ask yourself these questions: Where did I get my current Values and Beliefs? Have these values and beliefs been tested by me, do they work for me, what do they bring to my life? Am I holding onto these values because I don’t know anything else or I am afraid to let them go? Am I where I want to be in my life? What is stopping me from being where I want to be? Am I happy and at peace? What regrets if any do I have? What stop me from doing the things I now regret? And finally if I die tomorrow will I have truly lived a fulfilled, purposeful, and happy life? Once you answer these questions open and honestly you will know if you are living an organic life. Your soul will cry out to you if it is being contaminated with artificial things. If you really listen to your voice within, it will speak to you. Once you have the answer the key is to become bold. Many folks who live organically bold are nontraditional in some form or another. They don’t conform to “society norms.” Because when you are living an organically bold life, there will be something about you that is different from the next person. We are all different, unique, and want different things. Although society tries to define happiness and put a cubicle around happiness, the truth is happiness is not concrete. Happiness looks different to people. When you are living your truths, you realize that you don’t want what everyone else has. You may realize that having a big house or fancy car isn’t really what toots your horn. Maybe happiness to you is traveling abroad, maybe happiness to you is living on a farm in little house, maybe happiness to you is taking public transportation everywhere and never paying a car note, whatever your happiness is you realize it may not look like everyone else definition of happiness. Those who have found their truth and live it, are typically people that other people look at and think, what is wrong with them or I could never. But that is just it, you may not understand the next persons truth or their definition of happiness, but the key is they are living their truths!

Other Organically Bold Individuals! Many of these people achieved great things in their lives, which is further proof that being true to who you are will propel you into the life that you were born to live!

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Josephine Baker

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Henry James

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W.E.B Dubois

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Jet Li

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Earl Tupper

How to stop waiting and start living

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Have you showed up in life yet, or are you simply waiting?

Are you spending your life going through the motions, but not actually living?

So many times I hear people say, “I can’t wait until my kids are grown”, “I can’t wait until I get a new job”, “I can’t wait until I lose weight”, “I can’t wait until I’m debt free”, “I can’t wait until I graduate”, or “I can’t wait until Friday”. People spend their lives waiting. Waiting on the next big thing, waiting on things to change, waiting on a miracle.

While you are waiting, life is still happening.

That is the thing about waiting, life doesn’t wait with us. Life doesn’t say, “Oh let me stand still until this happens.” Nope, life continues on! While you are waiting, several busses are passing you by and before you know it life has passed you by,  you find yourself thinking where did the time go?

It is time to stop waiting around, it is time to show up in your life and arrive!

I want to share some really sad news with you, you’re dying.

I’m not sure if the doctor has told you or not, but the truth is you are terminally ill. I am not sure how much longer you have left, but it isn’t looking good. You may be thinking, “Geez, Thanks Tanyell for that wonderful information.” But the truth is, we are all dying. Everyday that we take a breath, we are one day closer to our last breath. In fact, Death is the only thing guaranteed in life, the one thing you can count on.

Imagine if you took this message to heart, and you really began to live your life as though you were dying.

Would you still be waiting?

Now that I have your attention, I want to share a very simple formula to stop waiting and start living!

The formula is A.R.R.I.V.E™! What exactly does ARRIVE mean? Appreciate, Rejoice, Respect, Improve, Vaporize, and Enjoy every single day! This is how you ARRIVE in life and stop waiting.

Everyday when you wake up ARRIVE!

Start with appreciating your life and the breath that you are breathing. Before you take one step out of the bed in the morning, say thank you for the life you have. Understanding, yes things could always be better, but also understanding  things could always be worst. You hate your job…you have a job! You wish you were skinnier…..you’re not immobile. Appreciate what you have, appreciate what you don’t have! I may have bills, but I am so thankful I am not homeless. I am so appreciative that I don’t have a paralyzing illness.

There are many things we could have and thankfully we do not!

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 After you have taken the time to appreciate your life for what it is, Rejoice! Get excited about the day. Think about it this way, someone took their last breath and someone is taking their last breath; however, today wasn’t your day.

There are so many ways to get excited in the morning when you may be feeling down.  Play your favorite song, meditate, dance, drink a good cup of coffee. Whatever you need to do, take the time to really rejoice in the day.

The next step is to Respect yourself and your life. When  you really begin to respect yourself and your life, you begin to take pride in the things you do. When you really respect yourself, you take the time out to feed yourself a decent and nourishing meal as well as begin to watch the things you put into your body. When you respect yourself, you take pride in your job and the things that you are doing at work, and if you feel under appreciated, over worked, or under paid you respect yourself enough to find something more deserving.

Those who respect themselves are only going to expect, receive, and give the best for themselves.

Once you respect yourself, you can begin to Improve yourself and Ignite a fire. Everyday is another day to improve something you are unhappy about. Rather than waiting, begin to improve and do those things now. “As soon as my kids are older, we are going to take more vacations” Ignite that fire now! What is your reason for waiting? Finances? Improve your finances, so that you can ignite the fire, and take those vacations now.

Whatever it is that you are waiting on to be different in order for you to start living your life, you begin to improve and ignite the fire to those things.

You are no longer waiting around for things to fall into place, instead you are improving your situation, however, you can and beginning to ignite a fire within yourself and life that is going to vaporize any negativity and drama that you may have been facing before.

Vaporize the drama and negativity in your life. You have ignited a fire in your life and with that fire you can turn that negativity into a gas that disappears! When you are trying to live your life, you can’t be held down by other people. These people are the people who find a way to discuss everything that is negative in their life and your life. You know when you are in the presence of this person, because when you leave them you feel drained, sad, or depressed. You leave them worrying and feeling like the weight of the world is now on your shoulder. These are the people you must Vaporize.

If you want to soar and really begin to the see the magnificent sights of this thing called life, you have to get rid of the dead weight. What and/or who is holding you down, back, and have you still believing that you have to wait for the perfect moment to live.

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The final step is to get excited and energized about living life! Surround yourself with happy people, express your excitement about life, YOUR life. If you find yourself feeling down and out, recharge your battery and regain your energy and excitement about life. You may need to put on a great song and dance, take a bath, go shopping, spend time with your children, or whatever it is that brings you joy and energy! The goal is to feel the positive energy in your life and get excited about it!

I understand that life isn’t a cake walk, and there will be times that you don’t want to get on the bus. There will be times you find yourself waiting on things to change, however remember life will continue on.

When you begin to understand that the bus isn’t going to wait for you and things aren’t going to change without you being in the game, you will finally begin to live life.

Once you begin to live life and ARRIVE everyday you will certainly see life begin to change and suddenly you are no longer waiting, but you are on the bus and enjoying the ride!

Everyone has a destination in their mind on where they see life going, but the key is to enjoy the journey on the way to the destination. It is in the journey of life that we find joy, happiness, love, wisdom, and peace!

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we WAIT so long to begin it -W.M Lewis

Compromising Yourself

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Have you ever been faced with a major life decision? I am sure you have if you are over the age of 10!  Making tough decisions is a hard thing to do, however, it is even more difficult when we begin to consider other people and how they will view our decision. When we start to take other people into consideration when facing a difficult or major life decision  we begin to compromise ourselves. Let me explain. I am not speaking of the will affect others in your life. When faced with these types of decisions, it is important to discuss them with those that they will affected. I am speaking of the decisions that will only affect your well being and your future. What I have found, and have even found myself do, is that we will think about how others will view our decision before we begin to decide how the decision will affect us.

Let’s use the example of starting a business vs going to college. Many times, people will look at the latter and say well if I don’t go to college then people will look down on me, they will think I am uneducated, my parents may get upset with me, my friends may not want to be my friends anymore. These are the things they begin to weigh in their head. Often times, all the things you have taken into consideration are about other people, and not about you. Everything in your heart could be saying start that business, however, because it is against the grain ‘outside the box’ it couldn’t possibly be the right thing to do. After weighing all the pros and cons or what I like to call the selves and norms, you realize the pros or selves outweigh the cons or norms. It was very difficult to come to this decision, and now you are pondering with the idea of delivering this message to the world. What most people do is they begin to formulate ‘explanations’ in their head on why they went with the latter. This way when you deliver the message you can have a valid reason on why you are making this particular decision. This is a lot of WORK, and more so unnecessary WORK. Why must you compromise yourself in order to make others feel comfortable? Imagine what would happen if you stopped compromising yourself. What would that look like, feel like, be like? Here is a hint AMAZING!

You’re probably thinking, how do I do that? Simple stay true to you! You are the person that has to live with the decisions you make, therefore, the first step is to way the selves and the selves. What the heck does that mean Tanyell? That means when you are faced with a major decision ask yourself how will this effect me negatively and how will this effect me positively. You are taking everybody else out. This isn’t about what will my mother think. Who cares!? Your mother is living her life and has lived her life, now you have to live yours. And let’s be honest unless this decision involves you hurting yourself or someone else, your mother or anyone else for that matter should love you regardless. They may not agree and they aren’t obligated to agree, but they should still love, respect, and support you. So, step one weigh the selves and selves. 

The second step is ask yourself is this something I will be ok with if I never ever get the chance to do it and is this a once in a lifetime opportunity? What are you talking about Tanyell? Well, let’s use our example of college. If you choose to start a business and skip going to college, will you be 100% ok with the idea of never going to college. The second part to that question is, is this your only opportunity to go to college? You would apply this same question to starting a business. Take an athlete for example. You have some athletes that draft out of college, their thought process is playing professionally is a once in a lifetime chance, I will regret it if I don’t, and I can always go back to college. So, step two can you live without it, is this a once in a lifetime thing. 

The third step to stop compromising yourself is release explanations. Don’t I owe people an explanation Tanyell? Negative! You do not owe anyone an explanation on how you are living your life (unless that person is your lifeline). This only applies to those who are self sufficient and self sustained. Now that we have that little side note out of the way let us move on. When you are paying your own bills and taking care of yourself independently, you do not need to explain to anyone the reason behind your decision making. You know what is best for you and how something will affect your life. Outsiders are simply looking in from where, the outside. Sure, it’s nice to have another perspective but ultimately the decision is yours. When you begin to come up with rationalizations on your decisions, you are compromising your truth. The explanation is simple because I want to, it makes me happy, this is who I am, this is my belief, and so on. 

Step three release explanations.

     This only applies to people who are self sufficient and self sustained!

The most important thing to remember is in the end we have to live with us and all of our decisions. If you make a decision based on someone else, they may go on with their lives happily while you are left miserable. Remember society doesn’t have to live with your decision, you do. In the end no one is responsible for your happiness or success except you, therefore it is your job to provide yourself with the tools to do that and unless the tools/resources you are deciding to use are hurting yourself or someone else, you do not owe anyone an explanation on your decision making. No one said life outside the box was easy, but there is certainly more room to be free to be you.