Have you ever known someone whose presence is so uplifting you feel better just because you see or talk to him or her? Someone who carries and spreads joy because of their love of life?
I know someone like that. His name is Jim Gray. Mr. Gray lives in the building where I work. His passion for his work carries over to an overall passion for life.
You can apply Jim Gray’s success secrets to success in your own life!
I've heard Mr. Gray say many times how lucky he feels that at the age of 81, he is still able to paint. He enjoys life through a feeling of gratitude, and he generously shares and spreads his joy for life.
"I can’t believe I still get to do this (paint)!" says Jim Gray. He believes he has had a blessed life and that he has been very lucky.
I believe he has a wonderful life because of his own attitude!
Remember to count your blessings, too. Every day, if possible, focus on the positive in your life, not the negative. Mr. Gray does not dwell on the pain of his arthritis or his failing vision. He focuses on how lucky he thinks he is. Make it a point to remember how lucky you are (even if you have to program it in to your daytimer or appointments or reminders)!
My favorite part of the day is when Mr. Gray sticks his head in my office doorway and says, smiling, “Hello, dear!” No matter how busy, stressed or tired I may have been feeling, I am instantly uplifted by his appearing there because he delivers a positive energy that affects how I feel.
You too can have this effect on others, both in and out of the workplace. I know it goes beyond the typical definition of “people skills” to try to spread positive energy, but being kind and treating others as you would like to be treated (the “golden rule”)will breed success and happiness.
Authentic caring and kindness are some of the key ingredients of a charismatic personality. People will want to be near you, and as a consequence, you will have greater influence and success. Of course, that's not the only reason to care and be kind to others. Living from a space of caring and kindness will directly affect your own happiness because kindness, success and happiness are all entwined.
Sometimes I hear Mr. Gray in conversation in the hallway outside my office. He is easily engaged into conversation or advice with others by his love for people. And people don’t even realize they are chatting casually with a renowned artist!
Mr. Gray is too humble to think of himself as a “famous artist”. That’s part of his charm. He makes such an impact on others because he isn't thinking of himself at all. He thinks about other people...he genuinely cares about others... he is sincerely interested in other people.
He often talks and laughs at the same time he paints. He told me that when he was young he learned to work both sides of his brain at the same time in order to enjoy chatting with people and answering their questions while he was working on a painting. He does not see their interruptions as a problem, but a gift.
Mr. Gray says, "When you paint outdoors, invariably people will come to share the view you're looking at (for your painting) and then ask to have their picture taken with you. They want to watch and talk to you while you work."
Jim Gray is a prolific artist. You probably know about the beautiful cast bronze statue of Dolly Parton at the Sevierville, Tennessee courthouse (outside the Gatlinburg area). Mr. Gray sculpted that! It’s just one of hundreds of wonderful works of art he has given to the world.
A sense of fun and adventure has kept Jim Gray passionate for both his work and his life. When people ask Mr. Gray what his favorite painting is, he often answers, his next one! This may be what keeps him fresh and excited about his project.
Mr. Gray tells me that when he was a younger man living in Tennessee, he used to go off in a camper by himself to find new subject matter. When he saw a beautiful landscape he wanted to paint on someone’s farm, he would knock on their doors and simply ask if he could paint a picture of their magnificent landscape. No one ever said no!
"I have a weird, but fun, job," he says.
So that's a weird lesson - don’t forget to have fun at work! Often (especially as we get older), we need to be reminded how important it is to keep having fun, despite all the serious things in our lives and our world. Laugh and have fun! Travel or have some adventure for a fresh perspective like Mr. Gray. Choose several items from these tips to make work more fun. And carry them out! Release those endorphins and freshen your perspective so that you can continue or regain love for your work and your life.
Do you or someone you know have a heightened quality of life because of passion for your/their work? If so, please share your story of inspiration in the comments!
* Contributed by Deborah Shelby who writes inspiration for a happier and better life at Prayerful Mom.