“You might as well win in your own fantasies.” 

I don’t dislike work.

I wake up early on my days off. I exercise. I set aside business hours for acting, writing, and big picture goals. Unfortunately, most of this list doesn’t pay much. (Or anything.) I don’t dislike work. I just like a lot of work that doesn’t pay.

In January of this year, one of my part time jobs showed a decrease in shifts. I realized this would likely continue and that I would need to figure something out and soon. So I launched what I called my “creative income pursuit” – a search for day jobs working for people and places that inspire and uplift me. To no one’s surprise, there’s a lot more places hiring right now that would do anything but inspire and uplift me. And with each passing day, that negative voice looooves to chime in with his thoughts on my well being:

“Tony. You still haven’t figured this out yet. You know that, right? You can’t just keep doing this ‘work fun jobs’ thing forever. And if you really want to be happy, start dating, and buy new workout equipment, you’re going to have to, like, start making more money, And besides, how do you expect to be a well rounded human outside of acting if you’re not making any money? Seriously Tony…” 

Fortunately, I love distracting myself with positive and uplifting videos and audios. I found another good one shortly after one of my many spirals of negative thoughts the other night. It was from the monthly Dallas Travers Hot Seat Coaching Call that I get to from my Thriving Artist Circle membership. While coaching an actor, she shared a gem that she picked up from her spiritual psychology training: 

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I also like to write down cool quotes I hear and then hang them up in my apartment

Isn’t it fascinating how quickly we go to the negative? 

I often refer to that negative voice as a person. I call him Fred. Fred likes to “keep me safe” by pointing out all the gloom and doom scenarios that might or might not happen. Meanwhile, there’s another voice. I call her “cute girl who likes my hair.” What’s great about cute-girl is that she is much more kind and loving than Fred. 

“Hey you! First off, I love your blogs. They’re so funny! You’re adorable. Anyway, just wanted to say I noticed that you the other day you actually submitted for four gigs yesterday that you prefer not to work. That’s great that you’re taking action, even though it doesn’t exactly fall in line with your “creative income pursuit.”  Also, did I see you applied for two writing gigs and two talent agenicies in the past twenty four hours? Look at youuuu! Did I mention I love your hair…?” 

Let me be clear: Both voices are fake. Neither are real people talking…So…why not make up something awesome?

Let’s be happy.

Let’s go get ‘em. 

***   ***   ***

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to write first person blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him attony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

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What I learned about happiness from the Chicago White Sox

If you’ve been following me the past couple months, you know that my beloved “cheat nights” have been non existent. On Monday night I ended a near two month streak of eating clean at the White Sox game…

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….there weren’t too many others with the same agenda as me.

Perhaps it was the low attendance. Maybe it was that I went to the game alone. Or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t drink as much as I normally do at baseball games (great money saver!) But I seemed to be keenly aware of things that I don’t typically notice at baseball games. All of them center around the thing I’m always searching for most: Happiness.

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Isn’t it interesting how much time and money we set aside for fun activities?

We easily drop a couple hundred dollars for a night of fun. Yet from what I noticed, it seemed a lot of people were paying lots of money just to be unhappy that night.

I noticed it from the gentleman sitting in front of me. These men had dugout seats and the rest of the row to themselves. Yet their conversation centered around their dislike of the pitcher,  previous years of White Sox mediocrity and heckling the struggling hitters.

I noticed it too on specific plays. At one point, the pitcher made a great grab on a ground ball, only to follow by making a fielding error. The fans groaned and quickly started to boo. The boos were followed by jeers and nasty comments that could easily be heard by the pitcher on the mound. Interesting, I thought – the fans who played lots of money to be there, were assumedly there to be happy, were furiously at this one play. (Which, by the way, didn’t end up affecting the score.)

And because I’m also #notperfect, I noticed it with myself. It was my first night deviating from my meal plan and I was trying very hard to enjoy it. So much so that I skipped my usual game time meal of hot dogs for some “Irish Nachos”….

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Only $9! Score! Wait….

….and was very disappointed when I didn’t get any nachos. I suppose to the average fan, these could have been more enjoyable. But for me, they weren’t what I wanted. All I could think was that I just spent $9 on food I didn’t even want. Fortunately I got hungry again later in the game…

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$13. Sometimes spending more is worth it. 

Regardless of whether you like baseball, hot dogs, or anything I just talked about, consider this: Our time is valuable. We spend lots of time working to earn money. Our fun nights should be fun. They should be enjoyable on our own terms. Not on the outcome of the game or the food we eat. Sometimes making happiness a priority means putting our egos aside to appreciate what we did to get ourselves there. Maybe enjoy the company around you. Or if you’re not having fun – take some time away from the event itself and walk around. Bring those friends with you! Or take some time for yourself.

I admittedly found myself cold and bored at one point that night. Even though I typically hate missing the game itself, I gave myself permission to go for a walk, appreciate that I was at a baseball game, and even try sitting in different sections of the ballpark since it was so empty.

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Now if this is a playoff game…..okay fine, that might be a different story. Maybe I’ll even write a different blog about it….

…in the mean time, let’s be happy.

Go get ‘em, friends.

Listening The Wrong Way

I’m a nice guy. You all know this by now, yes? So when I tell you that I I spent last week listening to a lot of people I didn’t like….you won’t judge me, right?

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HOW can you judge that face? Note: Reggie (left) and I were sad because we had been on set for 16 hours. We were tired. But really it was a fun day.

What baffled me was that these people were all giving great advice and information. I just didn’t particularly like their delivery. I found their methods to be negative, and sometimes even condescending.

I’ve always believed that in order to be a good speaker, you have to be a good person too. Why listen to someone who is going to be condescending? That just hurts our pride. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. One thing I’ll admit is this: We should always listen to good advice, regardless of how it’s delivered. This doesn’t mean we have to be best friends with the speaker. But ignore what they’re saying and we could miss out on a lot.

What flipped the switch for me was this quote from Dani Johnson. For those of you aren’t familiar with her, Dani is a motivational speaker. She also happens to be a millionaire.

“‘She’s not educated. She doesn’t speak right. She doesn’t talk right’… You’re right. But you’re there and I’m here. And I got here because I was there and I had to lay down my pride and my ego to learn from someone that I did not like.”

I used to think that having an ego solely referred to being cocky and full of ourselves. I also thought that knowing the definition (or at least part of it) meant you didn’t have one. I learned this week this isn’t true. I have some work to do with my own. A lot of us are so focused on doing things the right way, we miss out on all the information that comes out the “wrong” way.

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements,” agreements, he tells us not to take anything personally:

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.”

Okay. Easy enough. Don’t let the haters get to me. I hear you, Don!

….except I didn’t really hear him. He goes on to talk about how this applies to both negatives and positives.

“If people tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally.”

This might be a tough one to grasp. But I honestly believe that if we can learn to incorporate both the negatives and the positives together, the concept will be easier to comprehend as a whole.

What are some areas where you can start putting your ego aside? What thoughts might you take personally that you don’t necessarily have to?

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