It amazes me on how many people are saying 2016 was such a terrible year. I kept hearing things such as, “Could this year get any worse” or “I can’t wait to get this year over with” amongst other statements reflecting on how bad the past year was. Was it because the person that they hoped for did not get into office? Was it because so many celebrities passed away this year? What was it? I would really love to know.
Honestly, challenging things definitely did happen to many people but to say that it was a terrible year is really strongly worded. Take a look back at history or other countries around the world and think about the lives we currently have in America. I think today’s worse of times are still a lot better than many’s best of times. I hope what I share with you in this blog will help you have a better 2017. For me, 2016 was a great year. but as life goes there definitely were bumps in the road. Read on and learn how to cope with those bumps…
The best way to handle those unexpected bumps is to stay as centered as possible.
Myself, Paul Melella and two other fellow Master Instructors have the incredible opportunity to be trained under our Taekwondo Grandmaster, Grandmaster Byung Min Kim. Grandmaster Kim helps us improve our physical martial arts technique and continues to be our spiritual guide and mentor. Every Friday we have tea and train with him as he selflessly bestows his knowledge upon us. The meetings are the highlight of my week as he explains to us how to improve our training, impact our students and clients better and holds us accountable for our own personal development.
In one of our Friday trainings, Paul asked Grandmaster Kim what his definition of Enlightenment was. He explained to us in a very simple but extremely powerful way. “Enlightenment is the ability to stay centered regardless the circumstances”. He then explained that there is a lot more to it than that, however being able to keep your mind centered is essential in having a peaceful mind and the first step to enlightenment.
What does this mean to all of us…it means that circumstances that are beyond control should not move us from our center. The more we could maintain our center in the face of adversity, the more control we have of our lives. I cannot express how important this is.
It amazed me on how the 2016 Presidential Election moved so many people from their center. I don’t need to recap the magnitude of the negativity but we all know what it was and is still real. It’s kind of funny but not so much, that so many people were complaining about how bad 2016 was but continue to rant and rave about things they cannot do anything about in 2017. Again, they are moved from their center.
I am huge Star Wars fan. Star Wars came out when I was seven years old and I remember seeing the movie seven times in 1977. (yes, I totally dated myself). When I heard that Carrie Fisher died, I was very sad and then to hear her mother pass away as well, my heart went out to the family. I sent them positive thoughts, said a little prayer on their behalf but continues on with the parts of my life that I could control. In other words, I didn’t let the sadness of their passing move me from my center. Does that make me insensitive? I hope not because that is not my intention. I simply had things I needed to get done, a family to take care of, businesses to run, students to teach, clients to inspire, my personal training and everything else I do in my life.
Now, let’s bring this back to the original topic, how 2016 was a good year after-all and how to make 2017 even better.
Like I mentioned, personally for me, 2016 was a great year. I had a lot of great things happen in my life. I had a third book published, “Mindful Meditations for Busy Lives”, (Here’s a link if you’re interested in finding out more), opened up another martial arts school, traveled to Arizona and hiked the Grand Canyon, raised a ton of money for LLS, traveled to California, Florida, Punta Cana and Colorado. I Coached and mentored numerous students and clients and continue to do what I love everyday. I read a ton of great books, learned a lot, developed new relationships and laughed until I cried…It was a great year. Of course, I also had many challenges as well. Some extremely challenging but I don’t let the challenges out way the positive and I do my best to not let any challenges movement from my center.
A little exercise for you:
What was positive for you? Honestly, no matter how hard it is to find, choose five or ten things that personally went right for you in 2016. If you can’t find any, look harder because they’re there. The challenge is that most people focus so much on the things that didn’t go well, it overshadows the good that happened. So, what were your positives in 2016. Once you write them down, read on…
You did write them down, right? OK, good. Now go back and read them again. Good! Don’t you feel a little better about your 2016? Isn’t nice to see that the year wasn’t a total waste?
Here are ten easy tools you could do and practice to put your mind in her right place and keep you closer to your center to ensure you have a better 2017. Full disclosure, I follow all ten of them.
1. Positive Focus: Easy, whenever you host a meeting, whether it be in business or informal with friends or family, start out with a positive focus and ask them what went right. You will be amazed on how well it works when someone is complaining
2. Gratitude Journal: Grab a journal and write down three things that you are grateful for right before you go to bed. Gratitude is a very powerful emotion that puts your mind in a positive place as you go to sleep.
3. Practice Meditation. There are many types of meditation and you may find that you are practicing meditation already and don’t even know it. (link to my book). I urge you to check out my latest book, Mindful Meditations for Busy Lives to see how many people find their own sanctuary in various methods of mediation and mindful exercises.
4. Exercise: There is no better way to feel better than to follow through with an exercise regime. Whether it is on your own or with a group, get up and get moving. Once you become active, your endorphins will flow and you feel great. A must do for 2017!
5. Read More: I heard an interesting statistic of an astounding amount of people don’t read beyond what they have to do for work. When you read, you get to experience the world in others eyes. You get to open up perspectives that you may not have appreciated otherwise. We have to expand our minds and reading will help you do so providing the material is enjoyable and positive.
6. Enjoy Nature: Lose the connection to your computer, cell phone and go out and enjoy nature. The lack of electro-magnetic energy upon you and surrounding yourself with the natural environment where we were meant to be in is an amazing way to make 2017 count. Not to mention refreshing and invigorating.
7. Improve your Diet: Want to feel better, eat better. Replace your sugary snacks with fruits and vegetables, drink less soft drinks and coffee and drink more water and green tea. We always says…garbage in and garbage out. If you take in junk food you will feel pretty junky yourself. Eat more greens, more salads and please, please stay away from fast foods.
8. Find a Positive Mentor: I am very fortunate to surround myself with positive people between my family and friends. In fact, I am blessed. Find people that are getting results in areas that you desire and talk to them, ask them questions and for guidance. If they are good people, they will do what they can to help find a better version of yourself.
9. Control your Social Media: I do enjoy social media because it keeps me informed of all the great things family and friends are doing. I love to be inspired. Unfortunately, it has also become quite the venue for complaining, venting and ranting. It also seems to be a cowardly way to support your opinions (at times). Control yourself, don’t take things personally and most importantly, don’t let what other people say or write effect how you feel and move you from your center.
10. Be the light!: This is simple. Be the bright spot for others. Be the one that brings up the energy in a room, be an inspiration for those around you and with those who you come in contact with. It all comes to mindset and being happy with yourself, share the love!
In closing, you have the ability to choose how you feel at any given time. As written in “You Have Infinite Power,” You could choose to be happy or you could choose to be sad. You could choose to be positive and you could choose to be negative. It is 100% up to you. You could choose to look at what went wrong in 2016 or what went right. You could choose to look at 2017 full of hope and opportunity or you could choose to complain about things you can’t control. It’s totally 100% up to you and I whole heartedly hope you choose wisely.
Here’s to a successful 2017! Cheers
BTW, did I mention that you should seriously take a look at my new book, “Mindful Meditations for Busy Lives”, here’s the link again in case you missed it:)
Chris Berlow otherwise known as Master Berlow resides in Mohegan Lake, NY with his wife Kathy, five children and three dogs. He owns, operates and still teaches at his Martial Arts School, United Martial Arts Centers in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Chris is a co-author of, You Have Infinite Power, which he wrote with Rick Wollman, Nick Palumbo and Master Paul Melella of Empowered Mastery. He travels across the country with Empowered Mastery giving seminars and coaching individuals to live with passion and purpose. He additionally wrote a book called It’s Not About the Belt on how to take martial arts values and apply them to everyday life.
Chris is a dedicated martial artist and an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, running and anything that will get him outside in nature. He has committed his life to help everyone believe that they could achieve anything they set their mind to and use that positive mindset to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.