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ABCs of Positivity: E Is for Education

ABCs of Positivity: E Is for Education

Education – I’ve long been convinced that most ills in the world could be corrected – or significantly improved – with a proper emphasis on the right kind of education. Lecturing seldom works – but teaching by example is a great way to get your message across. Every one of us has had teachers throughout our lives – and most of us have been teachers at one time or another.

When you think about the amount of education each of has received, it can be mind-boggling. It wasn’t necessarily book learning or formal study, but pretty much everything you know how to do, someone taught you: Tie your shoelaces. Turn on the computer. Read. Cook. Use the internet. Set the clock on your VCR. You weren’t born knowing these things – someone had to show you how to do them.

Education is so much more than the information we receive in school, and the most successful people are lifelong learners. Education can show up in a multitude of ways, from a formal school setting to workshops and seminars to books to magazines and journals to videos to hands-on experience to mentors, and everything in between. Depending on which survey you believe, the top CEOs and executives read four to five books a month, or about one a week.

In order for any education to work, we must first be open to receiving it. We’re not going to learn anything – or retain information – if we take the attitude that either we already know whatever the lesson might be, it’s boring, or we just don’t need to know it.

I had the best computer tutor in the world in my son’s father. Anthony was – likely still is – a genius when it comes to all things computer related, from hardware to software to programming. He was always ahead of the curve when it came to learning anything about Macs and PCs. He taught himself C++ from a book and built the first website I ever saw to host a list of his rare and bootleg CD collection. Light text on a black background, it had the graphic of a column of CDs running down one side and a menu across the top. This might have been 1996 or 1997, when the Internet was brand new and no one even knew what a website was.

After that, Anthony bought equipment to record audio and video on the computer – and he offered to teach me how to use it. The idea terrified me, but instead of admitting that, I just told myself, “I will NEVER need to know that stuff.” It’s kind of a V8 clunk-myself-on-the-head moment when I think of how much further along I could have been in my marketing knowhow had I taken him up on that offer. I could have been an early YouTuber, instead of trying to get my channel started now, one in a sea of a 37 million.

All I can do is shrug and know everything is in divine right timing. I got here, with this blog post in front of you, and I’m OK to be ramping up my video presence now. And I am grateful for the software and Internet foundation Anthony did give me – because they set me up to be quite good at some things I might have taken years longer to master had it not been for his help.

In another episode of “I’ll never need to know that,” I blew off my college advisor when he suggested I needed to take a lot more poetry to graduate with my creative writing degree. Imagine being 21 years old and thinking you know everything. Perhaps it’s just a human right of passage, a phase we all go through. I have relatively few regrets in my life, but one of them is that I didn’t listen to Professor Shelton when he told me I needed to take more poetry. “No, sir, I don’t. It says right here in the course catalogue that I have to take only two poetry classes to graduate with my degree in nonfiction writing – and I’ve taken two poetry classes.”

The wise old man put on his glasses and examined the line I pointed to with my know-it-all index finger and said, “Well, I’ll be damned.” He seemed to know he had lost the argument, but he tried valiantly to change my mind. His exact words were, “You will regret it later if you don’t take more poetry.”

And my smarty-pants response was, “No, I won’t.” I hated poetry and was terrible at writing it. I found it tedious and boring and I just didn’t see the point. So at the time, from my very limited vantage point, I thought I knew how I would feel in the future. Was I ever wrong!

My life is wonderful now – but it could have been richer, fuller, more lyrical, and filled with much more beauty and joy if I’d hadn’t thought I knew it all when I was 21. I keep thinking I will take a poetry class, but other things keep taking priority. I don’t think it’s ever too late – but my stubbornness cost me an amazing opportunity.

In order to become a lifelong learner, we must have – or develop – a curiosity about the world around us. Interestingly, I would often ask Anthony, “Have you ever wondered …?” about one of the dozens of things I wondered about daily – and his reply was almost universally a monosyllabic, “No.”

I’ve wondered the weirdest stuff for the longest time. When I was in grade school, I wondered how often I’d had the same tray in the cafeteria. I never did it, but I thought about marking one tray and checking every day to see if I got the marked tray. Similarly, when I walk the same path frequently, I sometimes still wonder, if my footprints were visible, what the trail would look like. How many of them would overlap and how many would be isolated and undisturbed by the others.

I’ve asked so many odd questions and been curious about so many odd things that I actually put all those wonderings into a book – my first – titled 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, the eBook version of which won the first annual Global eBook Award in the Women’s Studies category.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

It helps us build confidence. When we voluntarily choose to further our education through any means, we are likely looking to master the thing we wish to learn. Mastery builds confidence – and it also opens new doors and opportunities. Mind you, it helps to prioritize our lifelong learning – like I mentioned in the post on Brilliance and Balance, we can do everything, just not all at once. There can come a point when we are juggling too many new things at one time. This might work if all you’re after is a haphazard or surface knowledge; it won’t serve you if you’re actually trying to master the new skill.

It makes us more interested – and interesting. When we follow our natural curiosity to the point where we seek education in a specific subject matter, we are expressing interest. The more interested we are – in things, people, places, ideas – the more interesting we are. This makes us better conversationalists, better communicators, better writers, and more accomplished overall.

It increases our versatility and adaptability. When we view continuing education as an opportunity, rather than a chore, we realize we have a choice regarding what and how we learn. The stronger a foundation we build, the more easily we can add new skills and adapt to new technologies.

If there’s a class you’ve been meaning to take, a subject you’ve been wanting to study, or a skill you’ve felt you could or should develop, what’s holding you back? Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year is going to pass whether or not you take the class. Don’t be like my friend Tim who always regretted not pursuing an architecture degree but thought he was too old by the time he’d reached 30. Those next six years were going to pass, whether he pursed the degree or not. “What if I spend the time and money to get the degree and I hate it?” he asked.

“What if you don’t get it – and you would have loved it? I guess you’ll never know.”

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ABCs of Positivity   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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ABCs of Positivity: D Is for Discipline

ABCs of Positivity: D Is for Discipline

Discipline – If you’d told me even 5 years ago that I’d consider writing a book about discipline as a positive thing, I’d have laughed in your face. Well, things change – and I now understand my old friend Matt Moran’s statement that there is freedom in discipline. If you view it, as I used to, as soul-crushing, I will offer you some thoughts on why you might want to reconsider that.

For decades, the word discipline conjured for me the literal image of a ball and chain. Punishment of the highest order. Soul-crushing boredom. Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat…

Though never a military man, my father was a stickler for discipline. He’d developed a morning routine early in his life, and he never deviated from it. Never. You knew he was sick if the paper went unread or there was an errant dish in the sink. He wasn’t fastidiously neat – but he had rules and routines, and there was no breaking them.

My mother was his polar opposite. Chaos ruled her world, and I’ve often wondered how my father survived it. Mom did her best to fit her round peg into dad’s rigidly square hole, but she often failed – routinely forgetting to record the checks she wrote in the register, running out of grocery staples, leaving the hose on all night so we had a lake in the front yard.

My friend and mentor, Sunil Ahuja, once taught a relationship class where he mentioned that we tend to take after one or the other of our parents – and push strongly against the one we don’t resemble. That would go a long way toward explaining my aversion to discipline. The second I got to college and realized no one was looking over my shoulder to see whether I went to class or not, I stopped attending a number of classes. I attended just the first week of one history class I had with a first-year professor who was truly awful, never bought the textbook, only attended the study sessions with her TA, and still pulled a B in the class.

I got a B – but I could have gotten an A. That’s what my lack of discipline got me: decidedly mediocre results.

Nevertheless, I continued to push back against anything that resembled a rule for a very long time. This can get one into trouble – and it put me in a world of it. Nothing life threatening, but seriously uncomfortable and quite damaging to my credit rating for a while.

I rather suspect my husband was my unwitting teacher when it came to accepting discipline as a positive thing. He is a talented musician – and as any talented artist will tell you, talent can only take you so far. The rest involves a lot of hard work. So when he’s learning a new piece on the guitar or bass, Mickey will play it again and again and again, dozens and dozens of times in a single day.

ent, a talented and accomplished acoustic guitarist, enhanced his innate skill through hours of practice every day for years on end.

We were visiting with his sister’s family a few years ago, and his 10-year-old niece was whining about having to spend 15 minutes a day practicing the harp. Mickey laughed at that comment, and she took offense. Somehow, the conversation evolved into a challenge. Cassie didn’t believe my husband could play “Ode to Joy” – the piece she was learning – on her harp because he’d never played the harp before. So he sat down at the harp and played the piece – imperfectly, but enough that you could certainly identify the song. Cassie was shocked, until I told her that Mickey had been practicing his art as a musician multiple hours every day for longer than she had been alive. The result was enough skill to play a foreign instrument decently well, and that was why he’d snickered when she complained about her 15-minute rehearsals.

Another lesson in the positive aspects of discipline came via a TED Talk, where the speaker (not the admiral) said people routinely ask him how to be successful, and he tells them to begin by making their bed every day. Frequently, they will see him again and complain they’ve made no progress – and when he asks whether they’ve been making their bed, they admit they haven’t. It seems like such a small thing – but I’ve habit-linked it to brushing my teeth, and now our bed gets made about 95 percent of the time. (I’m the last one to get up, so the job falls to me.)

Most recently, I’ve seen physical results as I’ve changed my eating to include intermittent fasting. The format I’ve been using involves eating only during an 8-hour window of my 24-hour day. My biggest challenge used to be late-night snacking. Now, however, it’s easy not to snack at night because I don’t eat anything after 8 p.m. This doesn’t create the deprivation feeling of a diet, as I haven’t changed what I eat much, just the hours in which I eat it. Still, I’m down 8+ pounds since I began about 8 weeks ago. I’ve also noticed a greater willingness to exercise. I do that in the pool, so it’s fun – but it’s still a workout. This new eating schedule could certainly be described as a form of discipline – and now that I’m seeing results, I’m pretty motivated to continue.

Somehow, it snuck up on me – this idea that there is freedom in discipline.

Reasons to Develop Self-Discipline

  • Self-discipline helps you focus – meaning you can reduce distractions and achieve your goals more quickly.
  • Self-discipline helps eliminate chaos. As much as chaos may appear to be freedom, when you lose your keys again, forget your car payment, or run out of gas because you thought you could squeak by, you start to realize that chaos might actually be a form of self-sabotage.
  • Self-discipline helps you withstand temptations – listening to the devil on your shoulder may be fun in the short term, but those long-term consequences add up.
  • Self-discipline can help you get and stay healthier – whether it’s through proper exercise, enough sleep, good hydration, or choosing nutritious foods.
  • The results you achieve through self-discipline can increase your self-esteem.

If you view discipline negatively, as I used to, you might want to choose a different word to achieve the same result: perhaps self-control, self-regulation, mastery, restraint, habit, and/or routine would work instead. Any way you slice it, good routines make for more positive results.

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ABCs of Positivity   A  B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

ABCs of Positivity: C Is for Creativity

ABCs of Positivity: C Is for Creativity

Creativity – I used to teach a class called “If You Have a Brain You Are a Creative Person.” It’s still my belief we are all creative in some way. Many of us have figured out where our creative talents lie; for others, they may be latent. We’ll explore why and how to bring them to the surface.

Whenever the topic of creativity came up, my husband’s grandmother, Mary, would bemoan the fact that she just wasn’t creative. Her sister did amazing needlework. Her niece is still a master gardener. Mary did so poorly in the kitchen that she once bought food from the neighborhood Italian place and took it to a potluck, trying to pass it off as her own. She wasn’t arty or a gardener or much of a cook, but she was an amazing storyteller. Funny as all get-out, just a little bawdy, and told with such detail that I felt I was witnessing the stories as she told them. I would try to reassure her that her creativity revealed itself in her stories, but I don’t think she believed me because that wasn’t what she perceived creativity to be.

We have been trained to relegate creativity to artists: songwriters, poets, novelists, playwrights, musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, actors. That is a fallacy too many of us have bought into – certainly these are creative people, but these are not the only ways people can be creative. Mary’s storytelling, untrained though she was at it, was her art.

I was blessed (and cursed?) to have a very creative mother. So much so that I’m not sure she ever purchased an item of clothing that she didn’t take home and “improve” in some way – usually by adding lace to it. Same with picture frames and other household items. I think this must have been the reason we always had craft supplies around. When my younger sister and I were in high school, our older sister taught us how to make jewelry. So we went to the end-of-bolt fabric store, which also sold beads and jewelry findings, and spent a week making earrings. We convinced our parents to let us go to the swap meet and set up shop. Didn’t sell a single pair of earrings – but I’m still impressed we had the wherewithal to try.

Of course, my little sister passed the creative gene down to her daughter, Samantha. I remember Sam going to a friend’s house for a sleepover. She came home shaking her head. “I asked her, ‘Where’s your craft stuff?’ and she didn’t have any!”

But as I taught in my workshop – and as I began this post – creativity is not just about artsy-craftsy. Ask anyone who’s been married for a couple decades – they’ll tell you it takes some creativity to keep things interesting and figure out how to wade through troubled times. Firefighters, hostage negotiators, and other first responders frequently have to be creative to solve problems on the spot. Henry Ford wasn’t creative in the artistic sense, but the story is that he got the idea for the auto assembly line after visiting a meatpacking house. Creativity also means seeing old things in a new light – finding a new use for something already in existence.

Reasons to Develop Your Creativity

  1. It’s a key component to problem-solving.
  2. Use it to improve your relationships.
  3. It’s vital to your self-expression.
  4. You’ll need it if you ever want to start a business, win an award, or receive a promotion.
  5. It’s helpful when deciding where to go on vacation – and knocking items off your bucket list.
  6. You’ll need it if you want to remodel your home or office.
  7. It will improve your health.
  8. It will be a huge factor when you eventually decide to write that book.
  9. It will give you greater confidence.
  10. It will make you feel like a child again.

Steps for Developing Your Creativity

STEP 1. Devote yourself to creativity. Set goals, enlist the help of others, and put time aside each day to develop your skills.

STEP 2. Develop your sense of curiosity. Rather than viewing curiosity as indulgent or a waste of time, see it as a mechanism for enhancing your natural creativity. Instead of reprimanding yourself, reward yourself when you explore your curiosity about something. Find opportunities to explore new topics.

STEP 3. Be willing to take risks. Though your efforts won’t lead to success every time, you can’t know if you don’t try. Boost your creative thinking and talents by taking a chance next time you hear yourself dismissing an idea as silly, frivolous, or stupid.

STEP 4. Applaud your efforts. Make note of your creativity progress, celebrate your efforts, and constantly be on the lookout for ways to reward your creativity.

STEP 5. Make time for creative outlets. You won’t be able to develop your creative talents if you don’t make time for them. Schedule some time each week to concentrate on some type of creative project.

STEP 6. Your mood matters – a positive mood will allow you to tap into your natural creativity. Eliminate the negative thoughts or self-criticism that impedes your creative thoughts and processes.

STEP 7. Thank your fear of failure for trying to protect you – then release it. Fear can paralyze your progress. Get over worrying about mistakes – you either succeed or you learn. Failure is part of success, because each time you fail, you’re one step closer to achieving your goal; you now have one more piece of the puzzle in place.

STEP 8. Do some brainstorming. Rule: no criticism allowed; there are no bad/wrong ideas; the more the better; do it in a group; piggy-back off others’ ideas.

STEP 9. Look for a variety of solutions. Mindmapping is an excellent way to unleash creative ideas. Or, make a list of 15 ideas for ways to solve your problem; then, cross off the first 10 answers and come up with 10 additional ideas.

STEP 10. Read stories about great inventors.

Practicing Your Creativity

  • Take a different way home from work every day this week – notice something you’ve never noticed before.
  • Wear something interesting – new jewelry, new tie, fun socks, fun headband.
  • Go to your favorite restaurant and order something you’ve never ordered before.
  • Buy and read a magazine in a subject you don’t normally read.
  • Watch a movie in a genre you generally avoid.
  • Take an interest in other people – talk to the person next to you on the plane, in line, at events.
  • Spend time around/watching children at play.
  • Buy or make a creativity journal – write and draw in it regularly.
  • Use your phone’s digital recorder to capture your ideas so you can explore/develop them later.
  • Surround yourself with items that represent creativity to you: a crystal ball; bottle of Heinz ketchup to denote your goal to come up with 57 new ideas); oversize scissors to encourage you to come up with ways to cut calories (or expenses); jumper cables to jump-start your creativity.
  • Build a creative space, stocked with books, videos, games, modeling clay, paper and pencils/crayons/markers, toys, music, candles – whatever inspires you.
  • This week, change “yes, but…” to “yes, and…”
  • Take a class in something you’ve never studied before.

If nothing else, adding skills to your creative toolbox will bring more color (brilliance) and delight to your life.

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ABCs of Positivity   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

ABCs of Positivity: B Is for Brilliance & Balance

Brilliance / Balance – Brilliance is intense light, vibrant color, and/or exceptional intelligence. How would developing more of any of those increase our sense of positivity? And why/how can we bring more equilibrium to all of our life experiences. I will attempt to address both these concepts without being too disjointed about it.

ABCs of Positivity: B Is for Brilliance & Balance

There was a time, not long after my son was born and I placed him with his adoptive family*, the nights were incredibly difficult. His birthfather moved out two weeks to the day after Eric was born, so I hopped on a plane to San Francisco the next day to visit my best friend. That was a week-long respite, but then I had to come home and be alone in my apartment every night. I am a night owl, by nature – my typical sleep hours are 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. So finding the night times lonely and sad, I felt as though each one stretched for days. But then the morning would come – the brilliance of the sun would pierce the darkness, and I could breathe again.

The sun is no doubt brilliant – but that’s not the only meaning of the word. We sometimes also think of people as brilliant. Who’s the first person who comes to mind when you think of the word? Is it someone famous or someone you know personally? Is it a specific individual or a type of person, like an artist or a scientist?

Brilliance also is used to describe very bright colors. Not too long ago, I was driving through Old Town Scottsdale on a cloudy, dreary, rainy day, quite atypical for the desert. Then the sun broke, and to the east I saw a full double rainbow. First time I’d ever seen a full double bow – and brilliant is the most accurate word to describe the colors.

Whether it’s light or bright colors or some measure of intelligence, brilliance lends itself to positivity. Like pretty much everything, we could ascribe negative virtues to it – but that’s in diametrical opposition to the point here, isn’t it?

Why should we seek brilliance?

(1) Brilliance can lift us out of depression or anxiety. As my friend Cat Cohen is famous for saying, looking for the silver lining (brilliance) is one way out of grief. Last year, Cat lost her husband of 25 years to a brain tumor – and while she was devastated, she followed her own advice and always sought the silver lining, never losing her peace or her sense of humor.

(2) Brilliance – our own or that of others – can help us see things more clearly so we can troubleshoot and problem-solve. As a sighted person, have you ever tried finding something in the dark? You feel around all over the place, but turn the light on and it’s right there in front of you.

(3) Brilliance can pull us out of our routine to change things up. You can literally dress up a drab outfit with a colorful scarf or accessory. You can give a whole new look to your yard or porch with some colorful flowers.

Even as we seek brilliance, we must remember to aim for balance. As a kid, I thought our summer nights went on forever in Phoenix; dusk would finally come near 8 p.m. Then we visited my aunt in Alberta, Canada, where sundown is a full two hours later. We were sent to bed while the sun was still up – and I had a really difficult time sleeping. Brilliance can be restorative – but we still need occasional darkness.

I adapted the life wheel used by many coaches for my book, Get in the G Zone, as a suggestion for places to begin to express gratitude. But it is also a good tool for assessing where we may be out of balance. If you had to rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of the categories on this wheel, do you have a number of them ranked from 7 to 10? A number that rank from 1 to 4? Are you mostly in the middle? It’s unlikely most of us could ever say we ranked a 10 in every category. But if you’ve got five 10s and five 1s, you are probably a bit out of balance.

There’s a truism that says: You can do everything, just not all at once. I am often frustrated by this because there are so many things I want to do. So many books I want to read. So many subjects I want to learn more about. Just yesterday, I wanted to sit outside with my dog, go to the store, get some work done for a client, and make a new collage – all at the same time. I am not a superhero – I got all of them done in a balanced way, one at a time over a number of hours.

Life is tricky and can be busy. Success requires that we make choices, which often means negotiating a delicate balance.

Stay in balance by making sure to take a few minutes of quiet time every day. You can do it – just schedule it and honor yourself by keeping the commitment. I’m pretty sure that once you start fitting it in, you won’t give it up for any reason. Pray, meditate, quiet your thoughts. If you can, spend time in nature. Pay attention to what you’re putting both into your body and into your mind.

Finding balance as you pursue brilliance will lead to an overall more positive experience in life.

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ABCs of Positivity   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

ABCs of Positivity: A Is for Abundance

Abundance – Abundance means so much more than material wealth. We’ll explore the many areas one can experience abundance, and how to bring more of it into your life.

ABCs of Positivity: A Is for Abundance

When we think of abundance, often the first idea that comes to mind is wealth. Search for the word on stock photo sites, and you’ll see a carnival of colorful food on overflowing tables. Certainly those are two ways to experience abundance. But there are many others.

Abundance is defined as anything from an ample quantity to extreme plenty or an oversufficient supply. Simply put, it’s a lot. But a lot of what? Fortunately, most of us tend to consider the idea of abundance a positive thing. My friend Helen laughed out loud, though, when I reminded her that we could have an abundance of bullshit. My guess is that you will have in your life an abundance of whatever you focus on most.

I am daily aware of having the luxury of time and space for writing and creating. When I walk our dog, I notice the birds and the trees and the grass and the plenitude of natural phenomena that surround our home.

If you are primarily happy and grateful, you’ll have an abundance of joyful experiences. If you are frequently worried and fearful, it will feel as if all you experience are more things to make you concerned and afraid.

Right now, as I launch this blog and Fairy Positive, I’d like to attract an abundance of readers. They will come, I have no doubt. To get there, though, I am grateful for the wonderful reception of the first few posts. I’m grateful to have a few followers already. I’m grateful to have a month’s worth of posts lined up. I’m grateful to have the Ultimate Blog Challenge to encourage me to write every day for a month. I’m grateful to have a plenitude of art from which to choose – both my own and that of other amazing creatives.

As I mentioned in the post where I laid out the words that correspond to the ABCs of Positivity, I think of gratitude as the gateway emotion: the door-opener to every other positive feeling. The manifestation part of the Law of Attraction is found in both focusing on what we want, and being grateful for it as if it has already come to pass. This is why I know Fairy Positive is already successful. Each day in my morning gratitude and meditation practice, I give thanks for the people who will become readers and members.

I did the same thing before I met my husband. I had no idea who he was or where he was, but I knew he was out there, so I would give thanks for him and bless him, whatever he might be doing at that very moment. When I tell him about that now, we both tear up a bit – because it’s a powerful process to give thanks for something that hasn’t even happened yet.

If you’re looking to attract more abundance in your life – whether it’s money or time or a relationship or anything at all – the first step is to be grateful (a) for what you already have and (b) for what you want to bring in, as if you already have that, too.

Tangentially, get your emotions aligned for abundance, so that you celebrate it whenever you encounter it, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. When you fall into the trap of victim or lack thinking, it can be challenging to be happy for others who have what you want. The key is to be happy for them anyway. Feel it in your whole body, from your head to your heart to your little toes. See their happiness and success and abundance as possible for you, too. Remember that they’re not special. They’re no worthier or luckier than you are. They may just happen to be in a bit better alignment with what they want – but you can get there, too.

It’s not lost on Mickey or me that we came through some challenging situations, both before and after we got together, to arrive at where we are today. We were each stuck, in our own ways. Somehow, we released the negative junk long enough to find our way to each other, and we’ve never looked back.

Success.com has a list of 11 ways to attract more abundance. Their list also puts gratitude in the #1 spot. There are so many ways to begin a regular gratitude practice if you don’t already have one. Perhaps the easiest is to just grab a journal (or your phone) and jot down 3 things for which you are grateful every night before you go to bed. Expand that by doing the same in the morning. Start and end each day with a grateful thought. You’ll have better sleep and more pleasant days.

Think abundance. Feel abundance. Expect abundance. Accept abundance. Give thanks for abundance.

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ABCs of Positivity A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

ABCs of Positivity

ABCs of Positivity

The first fae member of the Fairy Positive family was The Gratitude Fairy.* I like to think of gratitude as the gateway emotion: it’s next to impossible to move from any negative emotion or state unless and until you can feel a sense of gratitude. And it doesn’t matter what you’re grateful for, or how big or small the gratitude is. The feeling of thankfulness is expansive – the more grateful you are, the more you feel you have to be grateful for. So if you find yourself needing to get to a better place, starting with the smallest of gratitudes is fine.

So once The Gratitude Fairy had come into existence, it wasn’t long before her cousin, The Creativity Fairy, emerged. Then came thoughts of The Sustainability Fairy. The Gratitude Fairy already has her own book. The story of The Creativity Fairy is written – now it needs the art. Sustainability is on the back burner simmering quietly – though every now and then a bubble pops to remind me she’s there.

If you know your alphabet, you may have realized we have 3 of the 26 letters covered with the three fairies introduced thus far. As I mentioned in The Birth of Fairy Positive, I don’t fancy myself the Sue Grafton of the fairy world, writing every book in alpha order – but I like to imagine I might one day write one book for each letter of the alphabet. So I decided to assign a word (in a few cases, two words) to each letter of the alphabet in a collection I am calling The ABCs of Positivity.

I will spend the next 26 days fleshing out each of these concepts in its own post. In the meantime, here’s a teaser for each letter of the alphabet.

Abundance – Abundance means so much more than material wealth. We’ll explore the many areas one can experience abundance, and how to bring more of it into your life.

Brilliance / Balance – Brilliance is intense light, vibrant color, and/or exceptional intelligence. How would developing more of any of those increase our sense of positivity? And why/how can we bring more equilibrium to all of our life experiences. I will try to address both these concepts without being too disjointed about it.

Creativity – I used to teach a class called “If You Have a Brain You Are a Creative Person.” It’s still my belief we are all creative in some way. Many of us have figured out where our creative talents lie; for others, they may be latent. We’ll explore why and how to bring them to the surface.

Discipline – If you’d told me even 5 years ago that I’d even consider writing a book about discipline as a positive, I’d have laughed in your face. Well, things change – and I now understand my old friend Matt Moran’s statement that there is freedom in discipline. If you view it, as I used to, as soul-crushing, I will offer you some thoughts on why you might want to reconsider that.

Education – I’ve long been convinced that most ills in the world could be corrected – or significantly improved – with a proper emphasis on the right kind of education. Lecturing seldom works – but teaching by example is a great way to get your message across. Every one of us has had teachers throughout our lives – and most of us have been teachers at one time or another.

Forgiveness – It’s hard to question the fact that forgiveness can lead to a more positive life experience, but sometimes it’s challenging to get there. We’ll explore why and how to let go and move on.

Gratitude – In this post, I will focus on the gifts we experience when we learn to make gratitude a regular practice.

Health – Yep this is a BIG topic. I’ll touch on the ways I focus on my health and why our mindset has so much to do with how well our bodies feel.

Initiative / Intuition – It’s my contention that a key ingredient to success is resourcefulness, along with its first cousin, initiative. Resourcefulness is the ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve. Initiative means moving ahead without waiting to be told. Another important I word is intuition, that inner knowing or ability/willingness to trust your hunches. We’ll tie them all together in this post.

Joy – Seems kind of on the nose, but joy is a lovely emotion that deserves its own exploration.

Keys / Kindness – I started with kindness, but as I imagined the idea of kindness, I was still noodling on K words and the concept of key popped into my head and would not be silenced. While keys literally open doors,  kindness opens figurative doors. So kindness is a key. You’re gonna love the logic of this post.

Love / Logic – Speaking of logic … I tend to be fairly center-brained, meaning I balance my emotional, arty aspects with precision and problem-solving skills. Knowing when to apply love and when logic is needed is an art many of us can learn.

Mindfulness – Much like joy, this is a bit on the nose, too. It’s a touchstone word today that is almost overused – and yet it is such a key (see what I did there?) to a positive life experience that we’ve got to say a few words about it. I’ll talk about my own daily mindfulness practice and how it came to be.

Navigation – How we move through life determines, in large part, what we experience. Navigation can pertain to driving instructions or use of an app or website. It can also relate to how we move through the world, both literally and figuratively. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, but as the Cheshire Cat said, “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.”

Opportunity – How good are you at recognizing opportunities? How good are you at creating opportunities? We’ll look at why some people seem to get all the breaks – and why others always feel like they came in second – or last.

Practical Philanthropy – This is the title of a book I wrote a while ago and plan to rewrite for the Fairy Positive series. We address giving back in ways that work for people who aren’t millionaires and billionaires. And why it’s important.

Questions – From the earliest days, my dad drummed into me the concept: “If you don’t know, ask.” Consequently, I have been a consummate lifelong question-asker. We’ll explore which questions to ask, which questions to answer, and which questions to ignore altogether.

Relationship – Another BIG topic. We’ll explore what they have to do with a positive life experience.

Sustainability – This topic is near and dear to my heart. We’ll define sustainability and talk about what the average person can do to make a difference.

Tranquility – What does it mean and how can we experience more of it?

Unity – In a world that seems so fractured, this should topic should probably move to the top of the list. This post will feature ideas for achieving unity in a world that is actively working to divide us.

Versatility – A mentor told me many years ago about working for a company: “If you’re irreplaceable, you’re unpromotable.” This sums up the importance of versatility – it’s crucial if we want to grow.

Wonder – Related to my question-asking, I wonder about so many things. Some are answerable – others virtually imponderable because they are so big. Why should we wonder? And what can we expect to come from it?

eXploration – Yes, it’s a cheesy move to use an “ex” word for X, but there are absolutely zero words related to positivity that begin with. Besides, you’re a creative, innovative, versatile thinker who wants to explore new horizons with me, don’t you?

Yoga – I’m not much of a regular practitioner, but there are so many benefits of yoga that permeate our everyday lives. We’ll take a look at a few of them.

Zeal / Zest – While often conflated, these words are not interchangeable. Zest is lively enjoyment; zeal is diligent devotion. We’ll look at how and why to inject more of each into your positive life experience.

If you’ve read to the end, good on you! Let me know in the comments which post you’d most like to read. Maybe I’ll shake things up and go out of order after all. How about if I start with A, and we’ll see how it goes?

Tune in tomorrow for Abundance. Until I see you again … thank you fairy much for reading.

* If you’d like to learn the details, you can read about how it all came about my post titled Birth of Fairy Positive.

**All original art by Laura Orsini

ABCs of Positivity   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

The Birth of Fairy Positive

The Birth of Fairy Positive

Every success story has a beginning. Make that every story. The story of Fairy Positive is straight-forward, and winding, and mundane, and interesting. For me, Fairy Positive is the culmination of a lifelong search for my true passion and purpose. It – meaning the entire Fairy Positive project (i.e., blog, membership site, social media groups, videos, art) – is the fulfillment of all my passions: teaching, learning, reading, writing, art, amazing conversations, event planning, technology, etc.

When I started my writing-editing-marketing business 20 years ago, I (a) was still a practicing Catholic, and (b) had no idea how to blend my burgeoning interest in the spiritual-not-religious and the practicality of creating a business in a world where most businesspeople ran as fast as they could from even the hint of woo-woo.

I have since become one of the “unchurched” and the business world has largely caught up with my one foot in business and the other foot in the woo.

Having been a writer my entire life, I always admired artists but never considered myself one. I always had an interest in crafting and creating. My family used to tease me because I’d borrow books of fonts from the library and practice writing my name in 100 different typefaces. They say you can tell early on what a child’s lifelong interest will be. I now regularly use dozens of fonts to create all kinds of graphics for my own business and the few author clients with whom I still work.

Eventually I taught myself Photoshop and am still diving daily into more advanced aspects of InDesign.

Graphic design seems easy, though, compared to actually drawing or painting. Creating images from whole cloth was never a strong skill for me.

Did I mention this was a straight-forward story with lots of bends and twists?

So a few years back, my husband’s grandmother passed away. Mary was a lovely lady about whom I am sure I will tell you more in future posts. She was 93, had been widowed for nearly 30 years, and kept a very tidy house – but stashed away in every nook and unseen cranny were every gift and card she had ever received. She had enough stuff in the bedroom and linen closets to open a small shop. We donated a lot of it. But I was experiencing a lull in my business at the time, so I decided to try my hand at selling some things online. Ooooh – did the online sales siren lure me in.

Eventually I joined a Facebook group related to reselling – mostly antiques, but really anything that has value (practically everything has value to someone – it’s just a matter of finding the right someone at the time you’re ready to sell). It was there that I learned about a concept that had been around for some time: junk journaling.

Junk journals began humbly – reflecting their name. People would rescue paper products headed for the recycle bin (or trash can) and turn them into books. Things like cereal boxes and all the unwanted flyers and envelopes that fill your mailbox. This somehow morphed into a new art form that still bears the name junk journal – but isn’t junk at all. Today’s junk journals are elaborately decorated handmade books (often handbound) that one would be quite hesitant to write in. The decoration of said junk journals ranges from the fairly calm to the baroque.

It was art – it was paper – it was an excuse to hit the thrift stores and estate sales. I was hooked! I watched YouTube after YouTube about how to fold this way and stamp that way and tape over here and sew over there. It was enormously fun and fulfilling – until I burned out. This happened quietly, without my even noticing.

Fortunately, art was on the horizon. Somewhere in the midst of the sea of junk journaling groups and tutorials, someone mentioned ICAD – the annual Index Card a Day art challenge that takes place every year for 61 days through June and July. The goal is to make a piece of art on (or the size of) an index card every day for 61 days. The promoters of the free event offer daily prompts and tutorials, so even non-artists like myself could join and have fun with the process.

Though gratitude is all the rage these days – there are books, videos, courses on gratitude everywhere you turn – it has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. A couple years ago, the question arose in a business group I belong to: How do you know you have won the day? My answer was: When I go to bed grateful. On the realization that I go to bed grateful every single night, I took a friend’s suggestion and turned my thoughts about gratitude into a book, which I called Get in the G Zone: Develop a Gratitude Attitude So You Can Win in Life.

So when I stumbled across ICAD, I decided to focus each of my pieces for the challenge around the theme of gratitude. One of the prompts was to make a pencil drawing. This was my card for that day.

Thus The Gratitude Fairy was born. Another friend from that same group suggested I write her a story. So I wrote it. But who was going to illustrate it for me? Well, since I was having so much fun with ICAD, I decided to jump all the way into the art experience with both feet. So I watched some tutorials about figure painting, took an actual art class on the basics of drawing a face, and The Gratitude Fairy took on a colorful new look as her story emerged.

This led to the creation of the Facebook group, Club G(ratitude).

But I wasn’t done with the art. My friends who read the book asked who the next fairy would be. The Creativity Fairy, but of course! And then The Sustainability Fairy popped into my head. Never one to do things in precisely a straight line, I won’t be the Sue Grafton of fairy books. But I did manage to come up with a list of the books I would like to write, one for each letter of the alphabet.

All those topics meant my message had grown way beyond gratitude. I needed a place to house all of the fairies and their messages. Thus Fairy Positive was born. And you, my friend, are here just in time to learn more about it as we keep rocking, keep rolling, and continue to write and promote all things positive.

Tune in tomorrow to learn more about the ABCs of Positivity. Until I see you again … thank you fairy much for reading.

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Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

What is Fairy Positive?

What Is Fairy Positive?

FAIRY POSITIVE is an antidote to the seemingly negative, sometimes inhospitable world out there. Yep – it sounds silly, maybe even a bit Pollyanna. But if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of all the anger, division, and bullshit. You may be looking for a place to read positive messages that are heartfelt, authentic, and relatable.

Don’t get me wrong. I am as big an optimist as you’ll ever meet. I wear my heart not on my sleeve, but tattooed to my forehead (OK, not literally – I am enthusiastic, not deranged). Yet I am also a realist. As hard as I work to curate a mostly positive Facebook experience for myself and those who follow me, I see the real-world agitation on the highways, the fear and division on YouTube, the paranoia on Next Door.

Long a believer in the Law of Attraction, I think my good friend Blaine Oelkers has pretty much nailed it with a word he created: WYTABA. That’s an acronym for What You Think About, You Bring About. Another mentor of mine, Eric Lofholm, put it this way during a presentation: “When did you plan to learn the lyrics to your favorite song?” You see, unless we’re a professional musician, we pretty much never plan to learn the lyrics of a song. We just listen to it again and again and again until – voila – we know every last word.

Same thing happens when we listen to the same messages again and again. The question is, are the messages you’re hearing mostly positive or mostly negative? A couple good clues are how you feel right now and how you’re experiencing the world. The good news is that YOU get to choose what kind of messages you hear. YOU get to decide what you focus on.

Join me in replacing the noise and trash talk (maybe others’ – maybe your own) with positive messaging. Join me in focusing on solutions instead of problems. Join me in putting our attention on what we want, instead of what we don’t want. Join me in learning the words to the happy songs – the ones that lift us up and make us want to dance.

We will do this here on the blog, in the Facebook group, and in the Fairy Positive membership site that will be launching soon. Be sure to come back – better yet, subscribe – so you’ll be sure to keep up with all the exciting announcements as the pieces unfold.

There is light out there in the world – lots of it. But it can be easy to get distracted by the constant buzzing. When the noise takes over, we sometimes forget how powerful we are. We forget how lovely the world is. We forget that the Universe conspires to support us, even perhaps mistakenly believing the world is out to get us.

I won’t lie to you and pretend it’s easy to shift these kinds of thoughts, especially if they are lifelong habits. But it is possible. One of the fastest ways is by focusing on gratitude. I’ll talk a lot more about that in future posts.

My goal with Fairy Positive is to practice what I preach by actively writing and posting and thinking positive thoughts. Not saccharine, ooey-gooey, unrealistic fake positive. Actual positive stories, life lessons if you will, both mine and those of others.

In the next post, I’ll tell you how I got here, why I started FAIRY POSITIVE. For the time being, I hope I’ve said enough to whet your appetite so that you’ll at least bookmark this post, maybe even subscribe to the blog, but definitely come back and see where we take this baby.

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Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.