Get what you want…by not getting what you want

I like when things are perfect. 

While I promote being #notperfect on social media, I continue to get humbling reminders about how I’m still learning to be positive when a wrench gets thrown in my schedule. If things don’t go according to plan – like, exactly according to plan – I freak out and am convinced the day is ruined. 

Take yesterday morning, for example: I woke up. I found it wasn’t raining. I immediately decided I was going to bike to Steppenwolf Front Bar and do my work from there. I love Steppenwolf and knew I had to get out of my apartment to do work. Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it. I had my plan! I bundled up, put on my coat, packed my bag, and threw on my bike helmet. 

…and then realized it had started raining. 

#notperfect

I went back inside, contemplating what to do. I wasn’t pleased. But I had things to do. I decided to just start working from home.

…and proceeded to have one of my most productive mornings in a long time. 

Sometimes we get what we want by not getting what we originally wanted. 

Ever have your plans cancelled due to weather? Or perhaps a change in weekend activities when a friend bails on you? This is the concept in a nutshell. The cool thing is that not only does it teach us to control on the things we can control, but it can help us be more comfortable when this happens with bigger situations. 

I had an awesome plan to intern this summer at a place I really respect and admire. I thought it’d be great if I got it, and was pretty determined to get it. Long story short – I found out that the typical applicant is expected to meet some expectations that I didn’t meet. At first I was pretty upset. Until I remembered this concept. 

Here’s a way to look at your future change of plans, whatever they might be: “I can’t (work there this summer)? Interesting. I wonder what else is now available for me…

The more we grasp this concept, the better we can handle disappointments. The more we can handle disappointments, the more authentically positive we become. 

No bullshit. No faking. No suppressing. 

Doesn’t that sound fun? 

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One of my favorite reminders hanging up on my wall. (I kind of like sticky notes.)

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

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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 terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

Why I Do Personal Development (with a story of my not-so-good morning)

My morning was going freaking fantastic. And then, it just wasn’t. 

Some context:

It was my first day back to my “Tony’s morning routine.” This is where I wake up early somewhere between 5-7am, listen to my morning meditation from Wendy Braun as I shower and change, write in my gratitude journal, and then eat my (healthy) chocolate oatmeal while I read a personal development book. (Right now I’m reading “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins. Love it.) I do all of this before checking my phone, email, Facebook, or anything that might have something or someone wanting my attention. I want to be in a positive state before checking any of that. 

It. Was. Great. 

I had been working a day job the previous few days and didn’t get this routine. I was excited to be back. I proceeded then to catch up on emails and messages, drink my coffee, and put in some work towards my Beachbody coaching for a couple hours. I was having FUN! I felt a rush of adrenaline that I hadn’t felt in a few days. 

And then…..I worked out. 

Usually this is another part of my morning that I enjoy. Lately however I haven’t been able to workout without experiencing some symptoms after. It’s frustrating. And being a Beachbody coach, I like to share what I’m doing – which includes setbacks. That day I learned after that I still couldn’t finish a workout without experiencing symptoms after.

(Side note: No it’s not serious. Yes I’m okay. Yes, I will repeat this again and still get questions from friends and family asking if I’m okay…) 

I’m sharing this part because then….I got pissed. 

I’d share all the thoughts I said to myself that hour, but instead just pretend you see Tony Rossi doing the opposite of what he posts on social media when it comes to positivity….it’s not pretty. 

I was about to mindlessly scroll and throw a pity party until it was time to leave for work. Instead, realizing that this hasn’t helped at all in the past, I decided to check my folder in my Gmail titled “Personal Development” – filled with blogs and videos from my favorite people that help me be my happiest self. I found found a video from Andrea Schulman from Raise Your Vibration Today that I had yet to check out…..

STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF  

…oh my. Okay then. 

It was a slap in the face that I needed. It gave me reminders THAT I HAD HEARD EARLIER THAT MORNING IN MY MORNING ROUTINE that I had completely forgotten about. (Sorry for shouting. We’ll get back to that). Then…I started to feel a little better. 

Personal development, positive reading, and self care isn’t this “one and done” thing. It’s like working out – you have to keep doing it if you want to keep the results you earned. 

So as you go about your day and wonder why it is you’re not feeling happier, more motivated, energized about life, etc ask yourself when the last time you read a positive book or listened to a positive audio. I don’t share this stuff because it’s cute (though some of my blog are pretty adorable.) I do it because I need it for myself. 

I hope you take advantage too, my friends. 

Let’s go get ‘em, yeah? 

3 Things I Learned From My Angry Neighbor

Isn’t it fun to share something at someone else’s expense? Look at all the live tweeting from other people’s arguments and conversations that have gone viral. Stories like these provide a lot of entertainment and amusement.

….but that’s not what this post is about. Yes, it’s a story about someone else. But it’s not to poke fun. It’s to share a lesson. I don’t know what was going on with my neighbor – perhaps she was having a really bad day. I can only imagine what my neighbors are writing about me in their blogs….

What happened:

Some work was being done on the apartment next door to mine. Workers were dropping bricks and rocks from a high roof, and they appeared to be hitting some cables attached to the building. Shortly after they began, a resident from the building came outside. She informed the men that the power had gone out, and was quick to share that she believed it was because of them.  Comments including, “You guys need to be more careful!” and “Bunch of morons….” followed by a slammed door ensured. And because she likes to keep her windows open (as do  I), I heard her telling someone “I have no idea what to do!”

To reiterate – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted and cursed because of inconveniences in my apartment. (Unrelated to the building owners – they’re fantastic). I did, however, want to share three tips we can all learn from this situation:

1) If you want something, avoid confrontation.

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I was a bit confrontational that day…(Film: “Kidnapped and Hypnotized.” Writer and director: “Joe Campanella”) 

Have you ever wanted something from someone else and used anger and yelling as a tactic? (Yeah. Me too.) In the heat of the moment, being angry is the reasonable choice. That said, consider who you’re talking to. Often times, we’re yelling at someone whom we might want something from in the future. This applies to landlords, customer service reps, or friends and family members. The last thing you want is for them to fix the problem, resent you, and then find you need their help in the future.

2) Save your energy. Focus on solutions.

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Coffee, baseball, and journaling a great solution to most problems…

Ever had a time where you were so busy being angry that you completely missed the problem being fixed? (Yeah. Me too.) My neighbor was too busy venting that she missed the workers looking at the cables and determining whether or not they had caused the accident in the first place. When we focus on problems, we’re making ourselves more angry. When we focus on the next steps, we’re both fixing the problem and making ourselves feel better.

3) Remember it’s temporary.

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Book credit: “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” Author: Og Mandino 

Guy who underlined and wrote all over the book: Yours Truly

Weather. Traffic. Running late. Loss of power. It’s all temporary. It eventually stops snowing. We eventually arrive to our destination. We eventually find the power restored.

And we’re not going to die.

And to update you all, their power has long been restored. In fact, I noticed the same neighbor has left her light on all day/night…..seems like a waste of power if you ask me….perhaps I should call the building workers….

…kidding.

 

Go get ‘em, guys.

Be Happier. Do What Works For You – Not Your Friends

I needed money.

I was on the phone with a very kind gentleman for an interview. The beginning of the conversation went fine. I shared my experience and qualifications. Shortly after, I got asked a series of questions?

What makes a good teammate?  

Why is it important to go out of your way in order to provide a pleasant experience for the customer?

Have you ever had a time where you encountered a difficult customer?

Talk about a time you experienced a conflict with a coworker.

By the time I was done answering, I wasn’t thinking about how I really needed money. All I could think of was how much I really, really didn’t want this job anymore. I didn’t like answering the questions. It made me focus on how much I didn’t want to be working jobs like this. It also made me think about my acting goals. Speaking of which…

I continued going about my acting goals. Not only was I still frustrated about finances, I also was getting down seeing others around me succeeding. Combine the two, and it did not make for a very happy Tony in Chicago. (See what I did there?)

There’s two points here

1) When we’re in a negative state, we’re going to attract more of what we don’t want. We tend to get what we think about most of the time. When we’re constantly upset about money, our career, or how others are doing better than us, we become aware of all the reasons why those things are true:

-We’ll find more expenses to worry about.

-We’ll focus on all of the acting jobs we didn’t book.

-We’ll start to notice lots of friends booking the job that we want.

Worst part: We’re going to stay broke and continue to be a struggling actor.

Being negative puts our focus on the negatives. The more we focus on them, the more of them we attract. This doesn’t mean there’s some magic force raining down problems and debt on your head. That would be silly. Rather, your subconscious mind is going to find every single reason why what you’re saying is true.

The good news is, this works the opposite. If you start focusing on things you’re grateful for, you’ll find the positives in more situations. This in turn will attract more positives and help you reach your goals.

2) What works for you might be different than what works for me. Some friends love waiting tables while they go about their acting goals. I found that didn’t work for me. When we focus too much on what our friends are doing, it’s putting our energy in the wrong place. It’s much better serving to ourselves when we focus on what action we can take in order to be happier. This might mean our goals take a little longer, which I’ve learned to be the case with the path I’ve chosen. It’s making me happier as I work towards those goals. I’d rather be happy now.

 

Take whatever path it is that works for you. Don’t worry about your friends. They’re on their path. They have different preferences for what lowers and raises their own vibration. (And if the word “vibration” doesn’t work for you – no sweat. Rephrase it however you need so that you focus on things that make you happy.

Put blinders on. Focus on your goals and your goals only. Do things that make you happy. You’ll be just fine.

Love you guys. Go get ‘em.

How we can turn life problems into gifts

The other day I got a bill.

There were several unpleasantries about this:

  • I had no idea this bill was coming
  • I really couldn’t afford this bill
  • Other monthly bills are about to increase
  • Did I mention my hours decreased at work because the holidays are over?

Initial thoughts of “This is rather unfortunate,” quickly escalated to, “MY LIFE IS TERRIBLE AND I’M NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT AS AN ACTOR.”

While I never would have admitted this at the time, this situation was a great lesson for me. Here were some takeaways:

Take a break from the problem:

“The higher the level of emotion, the lower your level of reasoning is.”

Eric Thomas, “Secrets to Success”

When we’re upset, we create a lot of lies in our head. They’re evil. Don’t listen to them.

Take a break and step away from the problem at hand. As much as we want to try and fix the problem right then and there, our irrational minds aren’t going to handle things very well. Furthermore, if it’s a problem that we literally can’t fix in that moment, we’re wasting our energy. Save it for when you can focus on what you can fix, rather than dwell on what you can’t.

Be open to an easy solution

In the heat of the moment we don’t consider this at all. In fact, many of us don’t consider this option even when we are a bit calmer. Sometimes life has answers for us that are only available if we’re willing to see them.

Right before bed, it popped in my head that there might be payment plan options. Not only that, but there was a note on the bill I completely missed. It mentioned to call them if you were having any issues making payments. (Shocker I didn’t see this during my tantrum.)

Pain can be a good thing

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

– Tony Robbins

Ever fell off track with a diet? Stopped going to the gym? Started slacking on your acting goals? Chances are your current situation isn’t causing enough pain for you to do something about it.

This bill caused me pain. So much so that I didn’t take action on that one bill. I took action on several.

  • I called my healthcare provider and asked about cheaper options.
  • I chatted with Comcast about my internet package and asked about cheaper options.
  • I called about the bill and admitted I couldn’t afford to pay it.

The results were okay:

  • A rep walked me through new and cheaper healthcare options.
  • I negotiated my internet payment to only five dollars more a month. I also got cable included. We’re having a viewing party. (And I hope you’re okay with 60 of 75 channels in Espanol.)
  • I got things taken care of with the bill. I even paid it in full. Turns out….they made a mistake and it was about $200 higher than it was supposed to be 🙂

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I celebrated by crumbling the original bill and taking a selfie

Don’t get me wrong: Life doesn’t always give us the “Sorry, we messed up” card. That was just icing on the cake. The big takeaway here is that the pain of staying the same forced action that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken. It was only after this and stepping away from the problem temporarily that I was able to move forward and fix things. (Note: This becomes easier as you start to feed your mind with more positive books and materials.)

Above all else, just remember that when you’re stressed and upset, a bunch of lies will flood into your head. Don’t listen to them. I promise, you’re still awesome even when you’re stressed.

Go get ‘em.
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Know a few friends who might like this post? There’s a lovely share option. Don’t do it just for me. Do it for the others who you know will gain value from it. They’ll be glad you did. 

Be a Victor – Not a Victim

The only thing better than when life is going good is when life is going great. Sometimes you’re booking jobs left and right, earning enough income to quit your survival job, and all you can focus on is flowers, sunshine, and the thought of puppies. (Who doesn’t love pupples?)

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Not just one curveball. Several curveballs. In fact, after the eighth curveball, you can’t even focus on the plethora of good things going on in your life. Sure, you’ve done enough personal development to realize that you’re choosing to see the negatives over the positives. But when there are SO MANY FREAKING CURVEBALLS, seeing just one positive becomes a chore.

It’s been a rough few days for me. I feel like I’ve been seeing nothing but curveballs. And there is a plethora of wine in my apartment that looks incredibly lonely.

… but I’m not touching the wine. Eric Thomas would be disappointed in me.

TGIM

Check Eric Thomas out on facebook

Eric is a motivational speaker and published author. He has his PhD and is inspiring people every day. Though he certainly had his share of curveballs: He was a high school dropout. He even lived on the streets for a period of time. He hit rock bottom. But today he’s on top of the world.

Eric Thomas

Or go here to read some of his quotes!

I’ve made a point to listen to one of Eric’s “Thank God It’s Monday” videos every day. Here’s what I’ve gotten from them:

1) You are not a victim. When things aren’t going well, we tend to fall into the victim’s mentality. This is when we think about how much things suck, as opposed to what we can do to fix them. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s tricky to get out. Take responsibility for what happened. Focus on what you can do to make your situation better. Taking small, simple steps will make you feel a whole lot better than a bottle of wine ever will.

(Champagne, of course, is another story..)

2) Your situation is temporary. When Eric was homeless, he knew that he wasn’t going to be homeless forever. When we start to focus on how things inevitably are going to be okay, we start to feel a little better about our current situation. Sometimes it even leads to ideas on how to fix things.

Regardless of your circumstances, remember that you’re not a victim. You’re a victor. Now go make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Then watch this video. Then call me. We’ll order some champagne.