A few months ago, I had the urge to write something that reflected particular attitudes of my own heart.

I hope that this story is something that you can relate to.

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The $10 Secret

By Daniel Bell

“This job is horrible, God!” Matthew yelled to the night sky as he was walking home, at 10:20 p.m.The night was cold and so was his heart.

Matthew could not hide his disdain for working at a dead-end job. As a 30 year-old in America, he gets paid 11.25 per hour from a job that does not match his personality. It eats him alive. To add insult to injury, he needs to borrow from family to make ends meet sometimes. Every time he borrows, an ounce of dignity leaves his soul. Some days, he is hopeful for a better life, but most days he is not.

One particular night, he had prayed for God to give him hope like never before. He could have asked for more money, or even a car (he doesn’t have one), but hope was something that he craved far above anything else because he knew that hope is what drives a person to believe in something great, something wonderful.

As he was walking home, he walked passed this man who looked almost twice his age and appeared to be homeless.

“I really don’t have time to stop and talk to anyone. I really, really, don’t. I–“
He stopped walking and sighed.

“Okay,” he said under his cold breath.

He turned around, walked toward the man and pulled out his wallet. He sees the man sprawled across a concrete bench outside of city hall. A backpack and a bike were near him. He seemed to be warm that night, wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt, a cargo jacket and a beanie hat on his head with only his arm to lay on for rest.

“Excuse me, sir?” Matthew uttered.
The man slowly opened his eyes and then got up. Matthew came up close.

“Sir, I don’t have much but I do have some cash to give. I have 10 dollars,” Matthew said.

The man had shown a wide smile after receiving that 10 dollars. Matthew noticed the smile too but was dumbfounded by seeing that smile. In Matthew’s mind, he does not see the 10 dollars doing much for the man.

That is why after he turned away, he had to do something that could be intrusive. He had to ask a question.So he came back and interrupted the man’s rest again.

“I’m sorry sir, I don’t mean to bother you but …”
Then he paused, bringing his left hand to his chin to determine whether or not he should ask the question. He goes for it.

“When I gave you that 10 dollars, you smiled pretty big. Why?”
The man slowly raised himself up from his horizontal position, and then he grabbed the edge of the bench with his hands and looked up at Matthew. It was his turn to speak.

“Son, I have seen a lot, been through a lot, and have done a lot of things that I am not proud of. In my sixty somethin’ years of life, I’ve seen people take from people and others would take advantage of people like you and me.It is rare for me to see giving people, and that is some’n that I cherish. You dun know me, I dun know you but you gave me 10 smackeroos anyway! I believe that God put that on your heart to give it to me,and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Matthew still does not see the heart behind such an answer that came from this man. He needed to know more.

” ‘Scuse me for being blunt, but how can you be happy with just getting 10 dollars from someone? I mean, this is America. Home of the American dream. Why are you not aiming to do better, owning a home and be happy?”

The man looked him dead in the eye, and had a readied answer for him.

“Son, I have been around a lot of money, and I have lost a lot of money as well as close friends in the,well, process, but one thing I have not lost is my soul.” The old man said.

Then he put his two hands together to make one fist.

“You see, happiness and contentment go hand-in-hand like this. You can’t take a certain direction with one hand and leave the other hand. Wherever one hand goes, the other hand is there. Same thing for happiness and contentment: wherever one is, the other is there too. That is why I smiled when you gave me that 10 dollars. I would have been content with even a dollar. In any case, you gave out of a givin’ heart and that is something that I can be happy ‘bout.”

Stunned, Matthew said “Thank you” and just walked away. His life just changed forever.

J.J. Abrams, the director of the upcoming Star Wars film Rise of Skywalker, once said(paraphrased) that to write a great story or direct a great film, you need to put a little of yourself into it.

Well in this piece, I certainly have done that. You might be able to guess which character I put myself in.

That’s right, Matthew.

I wish to say that it was only one particular night where I cried to God about my situations, sharing my frustrations with him. That is certainly not the case. My eyes and voice have had their days of despair and frustration translated into prayers and accusations toward God when he’s not the one to blame for anything.

Anywho, can you identify with Matthew? Would you compare happiness with contentment? I will actually like to know

The Inside Work:A Perspective on Progress

Right now, I go to a a pretty small gym at my apartment complex, but I do miss the membership gyms like LA Fitness. Being in there helped me to be motivated to do the work out that I want to conquer.

You have the many kinds of machines and free weights at your grasp. You have so many people adding energy into the atmosphere that matches your desire to get fit. There is the availability to join a fitness class with like-minded individuals.

The ambiance is usually electric and fast-paced, the way I like it.

Then there are the negatives. If you allow yourself, you can be wasting so much time wishing that you were as fit as that woman on the treadmill over there or as strong as that man on the bench press, lifting 420 lbs. You’re susceptible to wish you were leaner, thinner or thicker. Either way, it can be a mental battlefield for you.

But there is one component that is neither negative or positive about the gym. It all depends on how you use it.

The mirror.

It’s already enough that we deal with our bathroom mirrors at home that serve as a medium to judge our appearance, but the mirrors in a gym are typically larger, giving us a more broader scope of our physical selves.

When we look at the mirror, it is so easy to focus on what is happening outwardly. We can see how far we are from our ideal goals and become discouraged that we are not there yet. Then we let that judgment overshadow what is happening on the inside. We forget that all the work we have put in ignites the transformation from the inside, not the outside.

When we look ourselves in the mirror, we don’t see the micro tears of our muscles reforming to become stronger and more durable. We don’t see the ounces of fat melting away. We see our sweat but we don’t see the immediate impact that happens after the toxins leave our bodies, causing our organs to function more healthily for the near future.

The progress always starts on the inside, then it manifests on the outside. This is important to remember throughout your fitness journey.

The principle can apply to other areas of life. You may not see what you want to see, when you want to see it but hard work and persistence pays off ALWAYS.

In fact, one of the most memorable guests that I have checked into my hotel said it best to me:

Patience. Persistence. Perseverance.

This came from an architect,with whom I found out after meeting him, has finished work all over the world.

I think he knows what he is talking about.

Maybe Timing Is Everything

Okay, I’ll admit it. I hate writer’s block.

This is my face when I am going through it:

This look is closely related to my
death to you stare

I have come across WB many times on my blog posts ,and I have come across it on the novel that I am writing as well. Some, if not all, of those times, I’ve wished that WB never had existed.

For many writers, they start writing because they’ve become passionate about something that they have come across. It can be a certain hobby, a hot topic on social media, a profession or a person that they have come to admire. They want to communicate what they have experienced with that passion by writing about that subject and so they start writing, erasing, writing some more, editing, writing a third time while the juices in the head are flowing, and then they stop!

They know that they are not done, but the juices stopped flowing.

It’s like, you know that you didn’t write all that you need to communicate what’s intended but the next word is not coming to you. The next line of thinking is lost in transit to your mind, so your fingers are still and you hate that stillness because although you have stopped, time hasn’t and you feel that you are wasting it. It’s all because of that block you are hitting.

As frustrating as that position can be(and believe me, I know it is frustrating!)I have learned that some things come at the right time, not on YOUR time .

No matter how hard you try, you wouldn’t be able to drum up those ideas in your head. That is a good thing. In fact, that may be the best position to be in!

I do a lot of my writing at home, but the inspiration for many of my posts and books come from outside my apartment! They come when I am usually doing something else or am with someone else. In my experience, this is how I usually get fresh ideas.

This goes to show that what you may be looking for right now can’t be thought of, set up by, or built by you. What you need is something that’s suppose to come to you, at the right time.

This can go for that new book you want to write, or that spouse you are praying for, or that invention that you started to think about but the dots about it are just…not…connecting. Maybe the inspiration for all of those things will not come from within but from another source. And when that inspiration comes, don’t ever assume that it came at the wrong time. That kind of thinking will cripple any progress that you have made. Besides, it’s always the wrong time for doing this one thing: Giving up when you shouldn’t.

When you are most tempted to give up, you might try to aid any reason you should. But here’s the thing: people who accomplish great things don’t look for reasons to give up, they look for reasons to step up.

The greatest pieces of art, literature, businesses, inventions, foundations and every other product of creation all started with inspiration and I am willing to bet that a lot of them came from an outside source of inspiration that came to the creators…

AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Just because you haven’t thought about it, does not mean it won’t come to you. It will as long as you don’t give up.

Ladies, What do Flowers Mean To You?

I am the type of person who likes to pick at people’s brains. It’s a way for me to learn about things in the world, get to know different cultures, and helps me to understand humans better.

With that kind of curiosity in mind, I posted a question onto my facebook on November 16th, 2016:

Here are a few of the responses I received on that post:

This was one of the first comments given and I like the simplicity of it. I think this goes with a popular saying that women have when they feel appreciated: “It’s the little things.”

It can’t be more straight forward than that, right? Could there ever be a bad day to receive flowers from someone who loves you?

I have not heard of someone giving their significant other flowers once of every month. But I don’t think that is far fetch. I guess it depends on the two who are in the relationship. Getting a flower once a month may be excessive for a lady who does not get perked up by flowers. Maybe she is more like this friend of mine:

What’s better than a gift that says “I get you”? From my eyes, flowers seem to do the job pretty well, but that is not always the case.Fishing rods, tackle, and the presence of your loved one may be the better pick.

Now, I know that asking that question may make me look like I don’t have common sense, but I do. I know that for most ladies, they feel appreciated, happy, and valued, but I figured that actually asking them did a few things:

Reminds them that not all men are lazy-minded fools who don’t care to be romantic.

and

For the men who aren’t doing so well in the department of romance, they might be able to take a hint or two with looking at the comments, all 40+ of them.

Before I forget to mention it , I must say that needed to read these responses for myself as well! I wasn’t clueless about being romantic and showing care to someone I love, but I think it is a good thing for people to learn why important things are worth doing. Besides, a man should never assume that he knows all that there needs to be known on pleasing a woman, so a question like this(even if the answer could be common sense) is worth asking. I hope to never think like that. I am single now, but when I marry I hope to seek out different ways to show my appreciation to my lady.

So ladies, tell me. When you receive(d) flowers from someone you are in a relationship, how do you typically feel? What would be one piece of advice that you’ve wished men knew when it comes to presenting flowers to a lady?

“Bro, we need to get you a bigger bike!”: Do what fits you.

In my morning bike ride today I was cruising the trail, enjoying my journey. Then I heard the common sound of two approaching bikes passing me. The first was the man, and the second was the woman following behind.

Both people looked like they were training for a bike race, decked out in their helmets and gear with what I assume is the proper posture for bike riding. Me? I was just in a shirt, sweatpants and riding a bike that is apparently too small for me.

The man passed me, looked back and boldly said:

“Bro, we need to get you a bigger bike!”

And I oh so casually replied with a smile, ” I’m working on it!”

Then I watched the woman pass by with a smile on her face. That could either mean one of two things: She’s smiling because she agrees, or she doesn’t agree and is smiling to hide her embarrassment of the guy in front of her. Who knows.

At first, I was a bit appalled at the bold statement. I wanted to tell him where he can send the check since “we” are going to buy me a bigger bike! Doubt he’d follow through with that though.

Afterwards, his word took a different meaning with me.

What am I doing in my life that doesn’t “fit” me? Am I riding the right size “bike” that is my job? That is my hobby? That is my social life? That is my…whichever?

In my personal life, I have been a bit disgruntled with my day time job. It doesn’t fit me. I love talking to people and like that I get to be hospitable, but it feels more like something that I have to do rather than what I feel meant to do.

In spite of that, I feel that I am doing something that I am meant to do right now: WRITE! I am writing this blog post right now, and I am writing my first novel and I am absolutely loving the journey that I am on with both! I have been doing both for the better part of the last year and have not looked back since. When I write, I feel mostly happy and fulfilled, knowing that what I am doing is not just for me but for others who will encounter my words.

If you have trouble finding things to do that fit you, I have some tips that I’d like to share, if I may:

  1. Think about it. Writing was a lost passion of mine between the late 2000s and 2019. I let all of my 9 to 5 daytime jobs get in the way of me pursuing my writing career. That is until last year, where I sat and pondered on what I am passionate about. I had to think about it deeply, and then I remembered. Writing was one of my first loves that bloomed back in fourth grade. When I remembered that, I opened the sails and started to navigate with the stars again with writing.
  2. Experiment. I had the opportunity to experience creative writing in the fourth grade, many times. Some of us may not have had that opportunity. I don’t know about other countries, but in America there are PLENTY of avenues around us that allow us to try new things, develop new hobbies, and hopefully work careers that we desire to have rather than are forced to work.
  3. Want it! The bible says that faith without works is dead. While that is a spiritual truth, I do believe that it applies to all practicalities in life. If you want to become a dancer, but you sit at home and watch YouTube videos of other dancers all day without moving a muscle, you don’t want to become a dancer. If you want to lost 30 pounds by Winter, but eat chips and drink beer every single day with hitting the treadmill or lifting a weight, you don’t want to lose those pounds.
  4. Do not despise the small beginnings. I believe that I have touched on a similar tip as a blog post on this page.If so, I will touch on it again. I have come to realized that some great things take time to build. Let’s face it, Rome was not built in a day. Every journey begins with ONE step, then another follows…then another….then another.

Visit my article on 5 indicators that tell you that what you’re doing does not fit you anymore.

If you need help to decide whether or not what you are doing fits you anymore, maybe these 5 indicators will help you.

Daniel, does this look like it fits??: 5 indicators that it’s not working anymore.

I’m in my early 30s, so if you are as old as I am then you know that your body changes sizes from time to time.

(I know, who needs THAT reminder?)

But seriously, what clothes that fitted you last year may not be so comfortable on you right now. I mean, am I right??

Here’s the journey between you and that piece of clothing: You walk into the store; you chose an aisle; you see the clothing; you try it on; it fits you; you love it, and you bring it home to keep it with you. Now it’s a year later and you’re just not the same size anymore. The clothing doesn’t fit you like it did, so you need it to be altered or you give it away and try to replace it.

Does that sound right?

When it comes to you career, your social groups, your love life…. are you trying something on that does not fit you like it used to?? Maybe you aren’t sure.

Here are 5 indicators that suggests what you are doing is not fitting you anymore:

  1. You are not willing to be patient. Loving what you do is like caring deeply for someone. You are willing to stretch yourself for what it is that you care for, and when you stretch yourself, you’re willing to be patient with the imperfect properties of that job, event, sport,person, etc.
  2. You don’t make time to know it. If you are like me, I like to study new things that I encounter. When I started my hotel job, I wanted to know every part of the hotel because I was fully vested into my new job. I was excited to learn all about it.
  3. When you talk about it, it makes you depressed. Now, I have a personal motto that I have written in another post somewhere on here: Just because it is difficult, does not mean that you shouldn’t do it. I still stand by it, but mental illness is a real thing and it needs to be guarded against if whatever you are doing or apart of is causing you to be depressed or mentally unstable. Nothing is worth your quality of life and emotional health to be deteriorated by.
  4. You constantly devalue yourself. Being able to recognize when you are not much of an asset to a situation takes skill and can be very sobering. No one wants to feel worthless. However, there are things that every human being is not good at, and others are. You tried to fit on the career of a musician but restaurants and bars aren’t booking you anymore like they used to. When friends ask you how the career is going, you consistently are expressing how bad the turnouts are. You see the signs, you sang your last song. Maybe it’s time to cut the lights, leave the stage and shut down the studio.
  5. Your livelihood is suffering consistently. Come on, you know it. We all need money to live on. We cannot live well without it. It’s good to do or be apart of something that we love, but if our livelihoods are suffering, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. On top of that, if we have a child or a family that is dependent on us-that’s double shame on us if we are not trying to look for a better situation that will be financially beneficial for all who are involved. In essence, don’t settle for a mediocre situation that is just having you scrape by. If it is not helping you financially, spiritually, mentally, and /or physically-more than likely the situation doesn’t fit you.

Please don’t hear what I am not saying. Setbacks happen in a lot of good situations for us. However, there is usually a way to conquer those setbacks, should we need to continue to pursue what we are pursuing.

What I am trying to imply is that we should not waste time on something or someone(all 5 indicators can apply to a romantic relationship!) that is not worth pursuing any further. Time is one of our most precious commodities and it needs to be used wisely. Plus seasons come, and seasons go. What once fitted you lasted for a season, but that is it.

For tips on finding something that does fit, see if these tips will help you.

Mind, Body and Bike: A forgotten therapy, renewed.

I don’t know what your childhood was like, but as I reflect on mine I do remember a lot of great things about it.

One particular thing that I loved was riding a bicycle.

It was usually a thrill for me! I remember this one bike that I had, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I received it for Christmas from my dad. It was a bmx bike that glowed in the dark and had this fixture in the front that had tiny lights that lit up. It was very cool! I remember going down hills with it at what seemed to be at great speeds, trying to keep it in control and then spin left or right on to a street to avoid the fences in front of me.

After my family had moved to Florida, I remember using a different bike to get around town before I started to drive. This bike had shocks and was a pretty awesome mountain bike all around. I loved cruising on it as I was jamming to loud music in my ears, listening to my portable CD player (remember those?!). It was a form of “getting away” from the world around me. I found peace during my time of riding my bike and listening to music. I didn’t know it but it was therapy for my mind.

One day, I left that bike behind a shopping mall that I was visiting. I was in one particular store for a few hours, came back and found that my beloved bike was gone! I mean, of course it would be! That is because I did not have a chain around it to keep it locked.

(I know….DUH!)

That was a discouraging day to some degree and for some reason, I did not make it in my mind to buy another one right away.

For 15 years I did not ride a bike. That is, until this past week. A friend of mind gave me an old bike that I can have. The tube in one tire needed to be replaced. I procrastinated to work on that for a while, but I finally did and I am so glad. The first night that I took it for a spin made me feel like I was 17 again, feeling the wind in my face without a care for the world. That therapy started to come back to me. The music wasn’t there but the familiar feeling of freedom was.On top of that, I have been getting much needed exercise out of riding my bike. It helps to get that kind of satisfaction.

Since then, I have been pretty much riding my bike on a daily basis, re-enjoying this great invention.

I think that as adults, it is essential for us to cling to the good things we do. That might be the joy of bike riding, writing a blog, reading a book, drinking tea, playing a sport or going fishing. When you do something that is honorable and thoroughly enjoyable, you are doing something that is enriching your soul.

Taking time to give yourself some therapy is a form of loving yourself. Everyone needs to do it. I know I am, and nowadays, I am on my bike when I do.