Life Fulfillment

Infinite Vision & The Power of SEEBEDO

Welcome to the SEEBEDO Life Fulfillment Course

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau

Do you want success?  Are you looking for more satisfaction and happiness in your life?  What do you want out of life?  Who are you and who do you want to be?  Where do you see yourself in the future?  How do you feel about yourself today?  How do you feel about your life in general?  Do you know what your short and long-term goals are? You alone can define what success means to you. True success is based on your vision, your personal goals – no one else’s.  Do not let others dictate what success is for you.  In our society, success is often defined by how much money one has, or how high their position is.  Forget all that.  Success in life is doing what you want to do, achieving what you want to achieve, whether it is in your family, your community, your country, or the world.  Take the power – define success your way and don’t let anyone or anything dissuade you from your beliefs.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer

Having a dream, having a vision is the lifeblood of success.  As Jonathon Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible”. If you have a vision, you have a reason for living that goes far beyond just living day to day or hand to mouth.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” —Proverbs 29:18

A life without dreams would be a dismal life indeed.  If you have vision, you have no limits, so infinite vision is the ultimate goal for anyone that dreams of success.  All great inventions and innovations started as visions in the minds of the men or women that invented them.  Societies and inventions alike are all created first in the mind and the ideas born from one mind can seed ideas from other minds for generations to come. Vision and ideas are the stuff that success is born of; the soul’s desire is what powers the world and often that soul’s desire can come from one person who is able to spin that desire into success, into some wonderful thing that can propel the whole world into a new era.  Are you going to make the most of your brain, which is far more complex and powerful than the most powerful computer on the planet or are you going to waste the resources you have within?

“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be” – Alfred Tennyson

No matter what your religious beliefs are, who your God is, or where you come from, you have the power to create a vision that will change your life and the lives of those around you.  This is an absolute truth. See things as you want them to be, be whom you want to be and do what you need to do to realize your vision and your goals.  See what you want to be, be what you want to be and do what it takes to achieve your goals-SEEBEDO.   Aim high!

“To move the world we must first move ourselves.” — Socrates

Some will have you believe that positive thinking is enough, that you draw to you what you think.  However, success is not achievable through mere “magical thinking”.  I love the concept, but if magical thinking really worked, we would all be living out our fantasies, our dreams. If wishes were horses, we would all be riding, but as my dad used to day, “wishing don’t make it so”.  Just because you think it, say it, want it, does not mean you will achieve it.

All the positive thinking and wishing in the world is not going to bring you success and riches.   You can think about something all you want but without applying the correct success principles, you are not going to see any results. The truth is, magical, mystical powers are highly overrated and almost always a fantasy.  Magic, true magic, exists only within you.  You cannot throw a thought out into the Universe to make your dream come true.  You cannot manifest something by merely imagining it.

You have to work at it, you have to see, be, and do, and you have to do all three, SEEBEDO.  Add SEEBEDO to your vocabulary. See yourself- as you were, as you are, as you will be.  See your world, as it was, as it is, as it will be.  Seek knowledge, seek opportunity, seek help, seek answers, and seek truth. Be yourself,  believe in yourself,  be still,  be strong,  be committed,  be kind be healthy,  be wealthy,  be loving,  be forgiving be powerful,  be honest,  be positive. Beat failure, worries, fears and regrets. Do what you must.  Do all you can to succeed,  to help others,  to be the best you can be,  Take action to achieve your goals meditate,  exercise,  energize,  learn,  teach,  travel,  participate,  live your dreams,    Don’t get discouraged,  don’t give up,  don’t doubt yourself. Do what you love. Love what you do and do it with passion.

The Law of Attraction, which became extremely popular in the early 1900s is enjoying a renaissance today, and can create a basis for positive thinking and visualization and, indeed, in its simplest form, has proven to work for successful people that swear by it.  Many people feel practicing the principles of the Law of Attraction has had visible, tangible, effects on their lives. NLP, Transactional Analysis, hypnosis, EFT, as well as religion, yoga, meditation, positive thinking courses, and countless other methods are available to inspire and motivate, people swear by these as well. There are thousands of others though, that have tried to put the principles of these wonderful concepts to use and seen minimal, if any, results.  Perhaps some of us our born with a positive thinking gene, and others with a negative thinking gene, perhaps that tiny part of our brain, that makes up our emotions and subconscious thoughts functions differently in each of us resulting in higher emotional quotients for some people over others.  Perhaps our life experiences, remembered and forgotten, create the sum of our ability to attract success.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” ― Albert Einstein

Thought and emotions are the basis of humanity, shaping societies and individuals, literally and figuratively.  So how do we make the most of our thoughts and emotions?  How do we create happiness for ourselves and live in a state of positivity?  How do we make the most of a brain that we really do not understand, and definitely do not fully utilize? Albert Einstein suggested that we only use 5% of our actual brain capacity and while today this is contested, the question remains as to how much of our brain capacity we actually use.  To date, no one has found a way to quantify or measure how much our conscious thoughts affect our subconscious thoughts from a scientific perspective.

Studies on neuroplasticity indicate that we can change our brain through thought and further studies indicate that we can actually influence our more powerful subconscious through conscious goal setting.  Dr. Bruce Lipton, in his book, The Biology of Belief (2005), states that the subconscious mind processes 20,000,000 environmental stimuli per second versus 40 environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind in that same second. The opportunity and ability exist to train our brains to positively affect our lives.  There is increasing scientific evidence that supports the concept that positive thinking and conscious alteration of habits and behaviours can also affect our subconscious and our nervous systems to improve our lives and our health.

“There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.” —    Mark Twain

You have to be strong enough in your belief, in your vision to be able to convince others to participate in helping you achieve your goals.  You have to be able to make other people like you, believe in you and support you. In the course of reading this book and doing the exercises, you will hopefully learn a lot.  You are likely to have heard a lot of it before or read it before in one form or another.  Success is largely based on common sense, things you know in your heart or intellectually, but fail to put into practice.

It is important that you complete the exercises in this book.  Do not just run through them and answer the questions in your head or make lists in your head or say, oh, I will do that later.  Just do it! To succeed, you are going to have to do a little groundwork, it won’t be painful (at least most of the time) and it just might provide you with new insights, ideas, and methods for dealing with things that complement your personality and make you all the more likely to succeed. You need to stretch yourself, see how infinitely far your vision can take you and what limitless opportunities you can create for yourself. Accept health, strength, happiness and success and deny discouragement, despair, failure, worry, and fear.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is – infinite.” ― William Blake

There may be opportunities that you are not seeing because you are too close to the situation or too burnt out.  Opportunities can come in many guises; you need only be aware of them and know how to take advantage of them.  If you don’t see the opportunities inherent in your current situation, perhaps you need to look harder, be more creative, look at the situation from another perspective, or better yet, several perspectives.  Opportunity may be right in front of you and you have simply not seen it. I am going to present you with techniques for success in a way that is easy to understand and implement.  The ideas have been gleaned from reading and research that includes books, articles and philosophies going back more than a thousand years.

Religion, philosophy, psychology, history, anthropology and sociology, are essential elements in understanding ourselves, creating lives that are fulfilling and reaching our goals. With the power of infinite vision you will always look forward to something better, you will learn how to control your thoughts and realize your own inner strength.  Your mind is working all the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; make it work for you and not against you.  You have to live, think, and breath abundance and happiness without limitation.  If you can see it, you can be it and you can do it. You cannot doubt. You cannot worry.  You have to have faith and keep feeding your dream.  Keep your vision in your mind and believe in it, regardless of how desperate or hopeless your current situation may appear. You have to conquer your fears and move constantly toward your ultimate vision.

The future is yours and you are the only one that can create it.  Put your blinders on and ignore the obstacles and difficulties in the way.  Arm yourself with your vision, and you will realize it. This is a practical guide to using the wisdom of the ages in everyday life.  It is not magic, but it will feel like it if you use the guide correctly.  You need to go through the whole course, do all the exercises, read all the lessons.  Keep an open mind as you go through the course.  A lot of what is going to be addressed is just good common sense and you will say, “I know this already”.  Some of it will sound a bit off the wall, and some of it may be reminiscent of the same ol’ same ol’, but believe me, the system works. You will finish the course feeling stronger and having a real sense of direction.  You will be well on the road to finding the success, happiness and fulfillment that everyone seeks.  This is not an exploration and regurgitation of one viewpoint or one philosophy of success.

The SEEBEDO philosophy is a combination of several strategies that will give you the best chance for actually achieving your goals and living a happier, more fulfilling life. Seeing, being and doing are at the crux of whom we are, how we act, what we think, and how happy, successful, and fulfilled we feel in our lives.

Seeing is the first key to knowing yourself, achieving your goals and addressing your life issues.  You need to see yourself, know your habits, your patterns, your triggers, your anchors, and your emotions, the you that is propelled by a merging of your conscious and subconscious mind. You need to see who you were, who you are and who you want to be.  When you see yourself and the world around you clearly, you will have the knowledge you need to be what you want to be and do whatever you want to do.

Being is living in the moment, being who you want to be, becoming who you want to be.  Being is embracing yourself and finding your place, your inner and outer self, your reasons for existence, making the most of the energy that is you. Be comfortable with who you are, live in the moment and find your place of comfort, your Zen, your Chi, your soul, whatever you want to call it based on your own personal beliefs.

Doing is the actual practice, the actions, that are the result of seeing and being.  Seeing and being alone will give you awareness but doing gives the seeing and being meaning and completes the circle.  Taking action, doing what you must do to realize your vision and expand your life and your realms of influence is essential in completing the circle of SEEBEDO.

SEEBEDO is an on-going lifelong process.  See it, be it do it.  See yourself, be yourself, take action, do what you need to do to realize your vision and goals.  See the world around you, be part of the world, and do what you can do to make your world a better place.  See people for who and what they are, be loving and accepting; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  See success, be successful, do what it takes to be successful.  SEEBEDO.

Vision without action is wasted.  Action without vision is reckless. Existence without vision or action is meaningless. SEEBEDO is a never-ending process.  If you stop seeing, being and doing, you are dead.  Simple as that.  It’s the flow of life, it’s the flow of success, and it’s the secret to realizing infinite vision and achieving your dreams. Every condition, every life experience, is the result of our mental attitude. We can do only what we think we can do. We can be only what we think we can be. We can have only what we think we can have. What we do, what we are, what we have, all depend upon what we think. We can never express anything that we do not first have in mind. The secret of all power, success, and riches, is in thinking powerful thoughts, successful thoughts, being strong, and doing what you need to do to achieve your goals.

“Nobody owns anything but everyone is rich – for what greater wealth can there be than cheerfulness, peace of mind, and freedom from anxiety?” ― Thomas More, Utopia

“Yes We Can”, Barack Obama’s campaign slogan had an amazing effect on the world, it gave people a new outlook, and it fostered a belief in hope and power.   You need to take the slogan one step further and adopt a slogan of “YES, I CAN AND YES, I WILL”.  Believe in yourself and believe in “Yes, I will” and you will have the power to accomplish your goals and realize your dreams. Achieving success requires a highly flexible and open outlook on life.

You need to combine your own desires and needs with societal needs.  You need to be in harmony with yourself and others.  You need to build your strength and increase your power and you need to do it with a clear understanding of your weaknesses and strengths.   You need to know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your emotional triggers, your passions…essentially you need to know yourself, pure and simple.  But this is easier said than done. Simply repeating positive affirmations and visualizing your dream is not enough.  While the power of thought is definitely one of the strongest forces in the world, it is also the hardest to control.  It is invisible and it cannot take form without organization and action.

Your mind operates on two levels, the sub-conscious and the conscious. Here, I want to make a differentiation between mind and brain.  For clarity, let’s define the mind as the part of your brain that you can control, either consciously or subconsciously.  Your brain does a lot of work for you that you don’t need to think about. It sends all those automatic signals to the body that we could not live without.  It is constantly firing off neurons, protons, whatever the brain fires off to make sure your body keeps functioning. If you truly know how to harness the power of your mind, you will be able to achieve more, be happier, and get rid of negative emotional baggage.

Thinking
Walter Winkle (ca. 1900)
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!

We all have a an unlimited amount of stuff running around in our subconscious, all those things we were programmed with as a young child, suppressed memories, habits, triggers, reactions, if you are not aware of that subconscious stuff, it’s going to sabotage you.  It’s guerilla warfare in your head. You need to reach a point where you can say, “Yes, I will” and know it and believe it.

When I was studying journalism, the very first thing I learned was to write a good story, you had to ask the right questions. The questions?  Who, What, Why, How, Where and When?  Quis, quid, cur, quomodo, ubi, quando, quibus auxiliis.  These questions can apply to every aspect of you life as well.

Here and now, you have to commit to yourself, it is not enough to say you can, you have to think, say, and know you will.  You will love the journey, you will learn about yourself, you will overcome your fears, and you will achieve your goals, because you have all the tools and resources within yourself to realize your dreams.  You simply need to know what tools you need and how to best use them.

The SEEBEDO method gives you the power to create your vision, be who you want to be and do what you want to do.  Through the practice of SEEBEDO you can master the art of living the life you want to live.  You can realize the supreme you, the true person you are and you want to be.  The more you practice the SEEBEDO method, the more positive and powerful you will be.  Your vision can become your reality.  It is a beacon to guide you toward an unlimited number of possibilities.

  • Know yourself better
  • Overcome the things that are holding you back
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Learn how to use your full brain power
  • Love yourself
  • Be truly happy
  • Have rewarding relationships
  • Define your life goals and objectives
  • Be all you can be

What defines happiness and success for you and how far are you willing to go to achieve it?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi

The SEEBEDO method will help you discover the powers that your mind holds.  It will help you improve your mental and physical health.  It will improve your memory and awareness and develop insights so you can discover new opportunities and plant the seeds for new ideas. You will develop the power to realize infinite vision because you are in harmony with yourself and the universe.  A well-defined vision has its own force of energy.  By utilizing your mental capacity and the power of your own mind, you can effectively create a source of power, a force field, if you will, that will propel you to success and bring others along in your wake. Infinite Vision inherently increases insight, creativity, appreciation, talents, and knowledge and destroys depression, negativism, limitations and weaknesses.  Man is the sum of his thoughts, the most powerful thing in the world is thought.

The world around us, other than nature is based on the ideas and the realization of the visions of men and women before us.  You don’t have to be a genius or a mystic to accept the fact that thought is power and thought is the birthplace of all that is new in our society. Everything, including practicality, reasoning, math, science, faith, belief, social mores, laws, perceptions, is based on thought.  It is the invisible glue that binds us together; it is the psychic, intellectual, emotional air that we breathe. Every thought has a reaction, in the body, in the psyche, in action, in society.

On a very basic level, think of the effect of thoughts simply on your facial expressions, your posture, and your digestive system. The power of thought goes far beyond what we experience on the surface or in our bodies, it shapes us, and it projects beyond our inner selves and to others around us.  If you are a highly empathic person, you know what power other people’s thoughts and feelings have over you.  Imagine what kind of power your own thoughts have. The admonishment, “Think Positive” is best taken to heart.  You know it.  You know that when you are positive about something, the chances of a positive outcome are much greater.  You also know that negative thoughts don’t help a damn thing. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones needs to be learned, you need to be able to realize that you are thinking negatively and replace that negative thought energy with positive thought energy.

This is no new age philosophy.  This concept is found in most major philosophies and religions dating back thousands of years. Harnessing the power of thought is one of the basic keys to attaining Infinite Vision.  You already have the power within you, you only need to understand it, to be able to use it, to increase your awareness, improve your health, grow spiritually and have control over your destiny.

Do you want to be happier?  More successful?  Healthier?  More powerful?  More spiritual?  It’s all in your power; you can do all you want to do, be all you want to be, and achieve all you want to achieve. As you work toward realizing your vision and putting the lessons in this book into action, you will realize just how wonderful and beautiful this life is and what a tremendous impact you can have, not only on your own life, but on the lives of others. Once you start to see the opportunities and possibilities that are around you every day, your confidence will increase, your brain will be stimulated, and your positive thoughts will show in your actions and attitude.  People will respond to the energy of your thoughts and you will attract new people to you and those that know you will see you in a new light.

You must see first, then be, then do.  Your mind is your power tool, your gateway to changing yourself and the world around you.  The power is within you and until you know that and realize that all those thoughts and feelings are a force, you will not achieve success.  Your world is a reflection of your thoughts, and your mind is capable of assimilating infinite amounts of information and turning imagination to reality. But if your mind is cluttered, if you lack harmony or inner peace, it is going to be hard to unclutter the world around you; your inner turmoil will create turmoil around you so it is absolutely necessary to find peace and harmony within yourself.  If you achieve a level of inner harmony, it will reflect on the world around you and the result will be optimism and affluence.

Once you realize the wisdom you hold within, you can claim it as your own, which translates into a more vibrant, powerful you.  You will feel it, the world will see it.  Your inner self is where you can generate courage, faith, enthusiasm, belief, hope, strength, love peace, and commitment. It is from your mind, your thoughts, your soul, if you will, that you garner all that life has to give. Your whole body, your whole being is affected by your mind.  When thoughts are positive and in harmony, the body responds by feeling good, conversely, a disharmonious, scattered, depressed mind, can wreak havoc on the body. Conscience and subconscious combine to make up all that we are in this world, our perceptions, and our realities-our very essence.

It is our subconscious mind that connects on a universal level, giving us our dreams, our sense of déjà vu, our unexplainable feelings of connectedness to the universe as a whole. The universality of consciousness is the basis for countless religions, the universal consciousness is your higher power of thought, it is within you and you alone know your inner universal master. You alone have the capability to tap into your higher, universal consciousness, to raise your consciousness to new levels, to find not only your individual inner peace, but a sense of unity with the universe that comes from a steadfastness of vision and the knowledge that you can control your thoughts and your destiny.

SEE IT, BE IT, DO IT!

There is nothing that can stand in the way of your success if you always keep your goals in heart and mind and create an actionable plan to work toward your life goal.  You have infinite possibilities if you are willing to embrace the power of your vision.

12 Steps to Achieving Your Vision and Attaining Success

  1. See health, prosperity and happiness in all and communicate positively.
  2. See how special you are and that you have unique gifts to give the world.
  3. Be happy for the success of others as well as your own.
  4. Be positive and optimistic always in word and deed.
  5. Be strong in your beliefs so that nothing disturbs your peace of mind.
  6. Believe in yourself and help your friends and colleagues believe in themselves.
  7. Believe that the universe is on your side.
  8. Believe that you have the right to happiness, success, and wealth, that it is your God-given right to achieve whatever you want to achieve in your life.
  9. Do all you can to improve yourself, to celebrate life and to enjoy the journey with your vision always in mind.
  10. Do forgive and forget past mistakes and see a future that is full of promise and achievement.
  11. Do not give into worry and fear.
  12. See the best, be the best, do the best in all you do.

THE 13th STEP

The 13th Step and perhaps the most important step is to make a commitment, no “maybes” or “ laters”, no half-measures. As with everything in life, to really see the results of the SEEBEDO program, you first have to commit, say yes, and …you guessed it.   See it, be it, do it!  SEEBEDO!

Please provide a bit of input before moving to the next session.

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Who, What, Where, How, Why and When

Who, What, Where, Why & When

I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small- She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all! She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes-
One million Hows,
two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

 Rudyard Kipling

When I was studying journalism, the very first thing I learned was to write a good story, you had to ask the right questions. The questions?  Who, What, Why, How, Where and When?  Quis, quid, cur, quomodo, ubi, quando, quibus auxiliis. This applies to your life as well.  The first steps in the journey toward infinite vision and the power that it holds are:

WHO

Know who you are and who is important to you

WHAT

Know what you want, what your skills, talents and weaknesses, know what your goal is

WHAT RESOURCES

Know what external and internal resources you need

WHY

Know why you want what you want, do what you do, and are who you are

HOW

Know how to get what you want and be what you want to be

WHERE

Know where everything fits in your plan, where you were yesterday, where you are today, and where you want to be tomorrow.

WHEN

Know when is the right time to do and say things, when you want to see your dreams become reality, when you are going to devote the time to being the person you want to be and achieving the goals you want to achieve.

This little exercise is not the easiest one in the book but it should give you a starting point.  You may not have all the answers yet, this is the first draft, a baby step toward creating your goals and realizing your dreams.  Write down what you can, think about it as you will be doing throughout the course, have fun with it!

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Find Your Inner Utopia

Find Your Inner Utopia

“What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.” —Mark Twain

Utopia [juːˈtəʊpɪə]: n (Placename) (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (sometimes not capital) any real or imaginary society, place, state, etc., considered to be perfect or ideal [from New Latin Utopia (coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516 as the title of his book that described an imaginary island representing the perfect society), literally: no place, from Greek ou not + topos a place]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Utopia, you have it inside you.  Your brain alone has more cells and neurons than the Milky Way has stars and your body, well, your body has 10 trillion cells.  Imagine the possibilities.  What is your Inner Utopia, how do you create it and what can you do to make sure that your Utopia is not a Dystopia?

Face it, no one wants a “Dys” anything – (dysfunction and dysentery come immediately to mind) but unfortunately, most of us have areas in our life that are in a dys ((dys (from the Greek), “bad, unfortunate”) state.  One of the first steps in creating your Inner Utopia, then, must be to stop “dysing” and dissing yourself.

What is Inner Utopia?  It is where you find yourself, where you discover the potential you have, the beauty within, it is your chance to pilot your starship through the galaxy that is your brain.  Your Utopia will be entirely unique to you, based on your qualities, your strengths and weaknesses, your beliefs.

All growth, all power comes from your Inner Utopia, where you create the world as you want to see it, create yourself as you want to be.  You have to remove discontent and discord from within.  It is your Inner Utopia (or dystopia) that is responsible for how you experience the world.  Inner Utopia promises life and health, prosperity and happiness.

“All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do…. Build, therefore, your own world.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

You need to see yourself as the miracle you are, the miracle that every human being is, and establishing your Utopia will definitely propel you in the right direction.  As Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  You are a miracle.

Energy is all around you and within you and you can think anything you wish and turn that thought into reality.  Each of us makes our own world, created in our minds and through our vision and perceptions.

Albert Einstein also said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”  The brain, the inner workings of that three pound organ that is the elemental core of our very existence, seems to be one of those things that no one can explain to a six year old.  Despite hundreds of years of study, no one really knows exactly how the brain works.  There are still thousands of mysteries to be unlocked.

100 billion neurons, 100,000 miles of blood vessels,  one quadrillion synapses, 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, more electrical impulses than all the telephones in the world combined.  The brain sends electrical impulses at up to 268 miles per hour, and, and generates enough electricity to light a 25 watt light bulb.  The brain is composed of a multi-trillion maze of connections that can perform 20 million-billion calculations per second.  Mind boggling, isn’t it?

Suffice it to say that the brain is one of the most miraculous, most complex mechanisms on the planet.  It is the control-center of the body, the center of the universe for each of us.  It is not a place and it is every place and you can actually change its form and function.  If the body, mind, and soul have a seat of power, it is the brain.  It is here that you must build your Utopia.

Genetics determine the first neural pathways, but as we grow older, the programming is changed, sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically.  We become more and more influenced and affected being wired by what we hear, by our environments, by the things we are told to believe and the things we believe, by the love we are given, and the talents we have and nurture.  It is affected by emotions, intelligence, experiences, education, by everyone that touches our lives.

Some are lucky enough to be one of that 1-3% of people that are “naturally” charismatic, positive, well-adjusted, successful, and gifted – the whole enchilada.  The rest of us, though, muddle through, building shanty towns in our heads that we don’t even know we are building. Our chemical plants get out of whack.

Our wiring gets switched and crossed.  Our subconscious becomes a junkyard of fears and insecurities. Our belief systems, our faith, our positive and negative thoughts ebb and flow. We live in a state of flux, our emotions as changeable as the weather, our whole being susceptible to floods of elation or depression.

As human beings we have true, ultimate, complete control over only one thing in the Universe – our thoughts.  Our thoughts are the only thing we have control over.  That’s it, we don’t have control over what other people do or say, we don’t have control over other people at all, sometimes, we don’t even have control over ourselves.

If thoughts are the only thing we have control over, then why would we give that away?  Why would we give the only thing we can control to someone else by letting someone else determine what we think?  Why would we give the only thing we can control away to something else, alcohol or drugs, for example?

With the opportunity to think 70,000 thoughts a day, you can easily apportion some of those thoughts to building your Inner Utopia.  With your Inner Utopia secured, you can then exercise your power of infinite vision calmly from your seat of power.

Heaven is within you, it is in the here and now, the power for happiness and success is within each of us.  The world without is a reflection of your inner world.  Your thoughts create your world and how you live in it and perceive it.  Think success, feel success, believe success, and you will find that as you think and feel and believe, success will manifest itself in your daily life. If you let fear and worry rule your thoughts, there is little room left for thoughts of success.  Fear and worry, negativism, are the weeds that choke out the blossoms of success.

Your Inner Utopia is where you feel comfortable, at peace, in harmony, confident, happy, productive, hopeful, positive, and in control. You are the ruler and the populous, the creator and the builder, the teacher and the student.

The whole idea of creating an Inner Utopia is simply to give you an imaginary visual structure.  It is a way to exercise your imagination, to build your own place within, to develop your strengths, to practice and implement strategies, and to see that you yourself have within yourself a complete society, that you alone can determine the future for.

You have an Inner Utopia that consists of your elves, your fairies, your assistants, your worker bees, whatever you want to call them.  The society that exists in your Inner Utopia is powered in large part by what Robert Louis Stevenson called his Brownies, his inspiration, his intuition, his light in moments of darkness.

These busy workers run around collecting information from your warehouses of memories and knowledge and deliver it back to you so you can do something with it.  They are busy all the time, running around, chasing after this and that, and there are good workers and bad workers.

The good workers dig around in every warehouse to find just the right things, the tools and materials you need to build what you want to build.  The bad workers, well, you need to get rid of the bad workers, because the bad workers go around accumulating junk.  Bad workers need to be banned from your Utopia; they are the traitors that will make your Utopia into a Dystopia.

The God that is within you will present you with your ideal, you will know your goal and he will guide you and your workers toward your ultimate vision.  Your God, your spirit, will be your leader, your king, and if you give all over to him to run your Inner Utopia, if you give him/her absolute power, you will be guided by that power, by the intelligence and strength that is your God given right.  The God, the heart of you, is the leader of your Inner Utopia.

Your Inner Utopia has great power; it will supply you with all your needs.  “’Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”  Jesus said this, but it is no different than what others said before or after him.  If you believe that there is something greater than you, you can accept it and be part of it, whether it is the Universe, Jesus. Buddha, Allah, or another greater power, you have to accept that that greater power is there for you.

Belief in limitations causes limitations, it is very simple to see, and it is very simple to understand.  If you believe in limitations, you will be limited.   You have to believe in your own truth, your own future, what you have designed for yourself.

Your buildings and storehouses hold your knowledge, your memories, your hopes, your dreams, your victories and losses.  I recently had a discussion with a friend who was talking about handling grief. He made a very simple analogy that works well in describing your inner buildings and storehouses:

Think of a house with several rooms, a living room where you share with family and friends, a warm kitchen where you create, a bedroom where you sleep, and whatever other rooms you can think of.  Add a final room, a room that stores all the bad memories, the loss, the grief, put all your negative memories in there and lock the door.  Force yourself to take out a virtual key to open the door to that room, and do not visit it too often, if ever.

Your Inner Utopia needs to be built in both your conscious and subconscious mind.  You need to build your Inner Utopia.  Your subconscious mind plays a primary role in how you think, feel, act, and react to things and your conscious mind does the processing and refining.

Your subconscious mind processes considerably more information than your conscious mind and performs several key functions in your life.  It is the core of your very existence and performs countless functions including:

  1. Memory storage
  2. Linking similar things and ideas
  3. Organizing memories by category or timeline
  4. Repressing memories with unresolved negative emotions
  5. Awakening repressed memories to resolve issues, rationalize, and release emotions
  6. Repressing emotions for protection
  7. Controlling the body and maintaining a blueprint of the body now and in the future
  8. Preserving the body
  9. Serving as the seat of all emotions
  10. Embracing the morality that you were taught and have accepted
  11. Controlling perceptions and receiving and transmitting perceptions to the conscious mind
  12. Generating, storing, distributing psychic and physical energy
  13. Controlling and maintaining instincts and habits
  14. Responding to repetition to accept and create habits
  15. Functioning as a whole and not parts of a whole
  16. Using and responding to symbols

The subconscious is apparently not particularly discriminating nor does in process certain things all that well, don’t ask me how people know this because I have no idea.  I tried to search for scientific basis for a lot of these things, but often it is like the tales of old, passed down from God knows where and who and accepted as fact.   The subconscious is apparently very childish, it takes things personally, it doesn’t process negatives, and it follows the path of least resistance.  On the other hand, your subconscious can serve you well if you learn to “communicate” with it effectively.

The subconscious mind is made up of mental processes that continue without our knowledge.  In essence, it is a series of processes that take place every hour of the day, eliciting dreams, creating and responding to habits, events, and stimuli.  As the seat of memories, the subconscious mind plays a large part in how we feel and respond to things.  It is the domain of emotion.

The subconscious responds to symbols and metaphors and not directly to language.  Since it sees no difference between negative and positive thoughts, it responds to ideas.  If you are obsessed with smoking and want to quit, the subconscious mind says smoking, smoking, smoking and does not differentiate.   It does not hear the “No” “Not” or “Stop”.  Apparently it just sees that lovely cigarette and forgets the nots and nos.

You need to learn to communicate with and understand your subconscious.  Pay attention to the messages it gives you – pain, mental blocks, intuition, and dreams are among the ways your subconscious communicates with you.  You need to balance your conscious and subconscious by taking the power and energy of the subconscious and harnessing it with the conscious mind.  You need to maintain communication between your conscious and your subconscious.  This is your internal community, your self-talk, self-actualization center.

What does your Inner Utopia look like?    I will be honest with you.  Mine is often in a great deal of disarray.  The place is often a mess, I am not always careful about putting things where they should be.  The little brownies, elves, fairies, whatever they are that supposed to be keeping order are often out of control.  Like Tinker Bell, they can be mischievous and irksome.  Keeping order in your mind can be an extremely frustrating task.  It is not easy and not clear in the way it should be.

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.” —Oscar Wilde

Your heart, your mind, your soul are all interconnected and they meet in your Inner Utopia or Dystopia.  When you know where you are coming from, where you are, and where you are going, you can take control of that Inner Utopia and create your place of peace and well-being.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

Imagine what is within you.  Be aware of your feelings and thoughts.  Take care of all your brownies, elves or fairies.  Keep your Inner Utopia clean and orderly, love each and every part of yourself and be grateful for the mind that you have and the person you are.  Your mind is your Utopia, your body your temple, take care of both as tenderly and kindly as you would a child.

Exercise : Draw Your Utopia

Draw what your Utopia looks like or use the coloring book page and color it in and add your own elements.

  1. Draw your Utopia however you see it – whether it is a modern city , a medieval town, a village, or a resort. Color it in with colors that represent your feelings about each thing.
  2. Add rainbows, clouds, sun, whatever you want.
  3. What do your good workers and bad workers look like? Do they look like fairies and trolls?  Do they look like something out of The Hobbit?  What do your good guys and bad guys look like?  Maybe they all are simply stick figures with different colors.
  4. Label the buildings and places with words that define them. Some labels might include :
  • Ideas
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Memories
  • Dreams
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Serenity
  • Well-being
  1. Fill the sky and buildings with predominant feelings and thoughts – write those into the picture.

HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!!

SEEBEDO Your Inner Utopia

SEE how amazing your mind is.  Visualize the thought processes you have and the memories that make you who you are.

BE aware of how your mind works and how tidy you are keeping the rooms of your mind.

DO mental and physical exercises to increase your mind power.

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Rediscover Yourself!

Rediscover Yourself

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”  – Lao Tzu

How well do you know yourself?  I used to laugh at the question.  Of course, I know myself – I know myself better than anyone else in the world, I thought.    But when things started going really awry in my life, I began to doubt my self-knowledge.  Why was I repeating the same mistakes over and over again?  Why couldn’t I clear emotional or psychological hurdles?  Why was I feeling so lost, so bored, so lonely, so meh, as they say in The Simpsons? I piled up my stack of journals from over the years and sat down to read through them.  I realized that I didn’t do a lot of the things I had loved to do as a child or teen anymore.  I didn’t read or write poetry anymore, I didn’t pursue the hobbies I had pursued or take the time I should to spend with family and friends.  I realized that the grown-up me had lost touch with the me I used to be as well as the me I wanted to be.

I decided to try an exercise, and sat down for several hours writing about myself, just jotting notes, and making lists.  It was amazing, I felt like I was getting to know myself again.  I started doing things I used to love again, I started feeling more energized, more positive, and more grateful.

“He who knoweth his own self, knoweth God” – Muhammad

It really is fun to get to know yourself and this exercise is a lot of fun.   Get to know yourself better by looking  at your life, at your childhood, your teen years, your adulthood and write down the things that you loved, the things you feared, the things you did.  So snuggle up on the couch, go to the park, sit out in the sun, put on some good music – do whatever it is that puts you in a good place and start your trip down memory lane.  Rediscover yourself.  Find the things that made and make you happy. Admit it, you are the most interesting person you know.  You like finding out about yourself.  You like getting to know yourself.  Perhaps you like reading your Astrology Chart, or you’ve been to a Palm Reader.  Perhaps you are in therapy or have tried Psychoanalysis.  Even if you haven’t done any of these things, the fact of the matter is, it is human nature to want to talk about yourself.

It is human nature to want to know more about yourself, to understand what makes you tick and how to discover the potential within. We take IQ tests, personality tests, compatibility tests.  We may brag about our children, our relationships, our accomplishments, even our failures.  It is fun to talk about yourself, especially if the person you are talking to is interested in you. To be honest, though, when you are talking, the person you are talking to is trying to formulate his or her own response to your story.  The person you are sharing with is most likely just waiting for you to take a breath so he can start talking about himself.  The “But enough about me, let’s talk about you… what do YOU think of me?” syndrome.

Don’t be surprised if, in the course of doing this exercise, you are bombarded with a lot of feelings, both positive and negative.  One of the most interesting things about looking at yourself at different times in your life is the opportunity to rediscover the simple things you enjoyed as a child and find that you still enjoy them as an adult.  You will realize things you have forgotten, you will see how your values, your life focus, your hopes and dreams, have changed over the years.

Perhaps you will find that your beliefs changed dramatically when you were in your teens or that your fear of water stemmed from being dunked in the pool repeatedly by your big brother.  You may discover that there are a few hopes and dreams that are constants in your life. If you dreamed of being something or doing something as a child, a teen, and an adult, then why haven’t you done it?  If you have a proven talent, why aren’t you taking full advantage of it? You can share this exercise with someone else or you can keep it to yourself.  Keep in mind, though, that like a diary, it is better to write as if you are the only one that is going to see this, otherwise you might filter things and edit yourself.  Be totally open, be honest with yourself.

THE TOPICS

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Your accomplishments can be things that you achieved recognition for or not, what do you  see as your accomplishments?  It can be something as simple as learning to bake or something as lofty as winning the Nobel Peace Prize, write from the heart what you personally feel your accomplishments have been.

TALENTS

You have natural talents and acquired talents, some real, and some perceived.  Perhaps as a child you thought you were an incredible singer, only to learn you were tone deaf when you tried out for the high school choir.  Perhaps you had perfect pitch as a child and you still have it today.  Whether perceived or real, the talents you thought you had or think you have are important.  Consider here, also what other people say your talents are.  Make a notation, is this talent a talent you think you have or thought you had or a talent your parents, teachers, friends, colleagues see or saw  in you.

BEST TRAITS AND QUALITIES

What were your best qualities and what are they now?  As we grow older we often lose a lot of the qualities we had in our younger years, think about your personality, your appearance, your learning styles, your levels of curiosity, your openness, your sense of wonder, respect, whatever.  Compliment yourself here.

WORST TRAITS AND QUALITIES

There are things you don’t like about yourself.  What did you consider your worst flaws when you were younger.  As a small child, I thought wearing glasses was a fate worse than death and in my teen years I agonized over my fat legs.  My mother hated that I always spoke my mind…List your worst traits and flaws here as you saw them and as others perceived you (Mom and Dad when you were a child, your peers when you were a teen, your significant other now).  Note on your list whether it was yourself, or others who saw you in a certain way.

MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE – YOUR PERSONAL HEROES

Who are your heroes today and who were they when you were younger?  Did you idolize your mother, father, aunt, uncle, teacher?  Did you admire particular historical figures, public figures or writers?  Did you fantasize about Superman or some fictional hero or heroine?  Why are these people/characters important to you?  Observe here why and how your heroes have changed or not changed over the years and think of the traits you admired in them.

FAVORITE HOBBIES, SPORTS  AND ACTIVITIES

What were your passions, your favourite things to do as a child, a teen, adult?  How many of the things that you got absolute pure pleasure out of when you were younger do you still do today?  Have you lost touch with some of the simple pleasures that made you happy when you were younger?  Something as simple as remembering your childhood fantasies of being a great singer could lead to your singing more in the shower and finding pleasure in it.

FAVORITE BOOKS, MUSIC, TV SHOWS AND MOVIES

The music you love, the books you cherish, the tv shows you tune into regularly, the movies that thrill and inspire all say a bit about you.  It’s great fun to take a walk down memory lane with this exercise, share it with your family and friends.  Compare your favourites then and now.  This can be especially fun with movies as you compare a favourite movie from 20 years ago, say, with a movie made this year.  Did you love Pride and Prejudice when you were younger, have you read it recently?  What about listening to your favourite band or singer from your teen years – what do you think today?

SADDEST MOMENTS

What were the saddest moments in your life?  What personal or global events made you cry, made you ache, how did these moments affect your life?

HAPPIEST MOMENTS

Your happiest moments are always fun to recall, that special picnic with your father, your wedding, your graduation, playing board games with your family, going to Disneyland, a vacation, the birth of your child.  Make a list of the things that made you happy then and make you happy now – be generous here, write every little thing you can think of down.  Try to do this quickly and write everything that pops into your head.  It’s fun and it will make you smile, I promise.

HOPES AND DREAMS

What did you want to be when you grew up?  What do you want to achieve in your life now?  How many of your hopes and dreams have become reality and which ones have changed over the years?  As a child you may have dreamed of being a doctor, a policeman, a teacher.  As a teen, your life goals may have changed to reflect your actual talents a bit more, and as an adult, they may have changed based on reality, based on opportunities and responsibilities.  Your hopes and dreams can also be general, being popular, helping others, seeing the ocean,  writing a book…write them all down.  Do you have fewer hopes and dreams now then you did as a child?  If so, we are going to try to change that!

BELIEFS

What did you believe in and what do you believe in now?  As a child perhaps you believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the omnipresence of your parents.  As a teen, maybe you were a rebel and believed that all adults were idiots.  As an adult, maybe you have strong beliefs about God, about right and wrong, about yourself.  What were the beliefs that shaped you and what are they now?

FEARS AND INSECURITIES

Fear and insecurity are great cripplers. We all need fear in our life, to be totally fearless would be dangerous and reckless, you need to be afraid of things that might harm you physically, most of these fears are instinctual or taught to us at an early age.  Other fears, the fears that really pervade our lives and cripple us are emotional, they are often irrational, and they almost always stop us from achieving all we can.  What have your greatest fears been in your life?  Fear of failure, success, disapproval, water, flying, public speaking, snakes, spiders, not being loved…there are many things to be afraid of and knowing those fears and conquering them can free you to live more fully.

 

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Make the Most of Your Thoughts and Beliefs

Make the Most of Your Thoughts & Beliefs

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”—Henry David Thoreau

Thoughts are things.  Thoughts are energy.  Thoughts are the precursor and prerequisites for action and action is a prerequisite for success.  Every waking moment, our five senses send messages to our subconscious. Every time we have a conscious thought or feel an emotion, it is stored somewhere within that amazingly complex universe called the mind.  Your thoughts can supply you with unlimited energy, which will take whatever form you put to it, whether negative or positive.

Every action and emotion comes from thought but emotions go a bit deeper.  Emotions stay with us. That core being that is our personality is based on our emotional reactions to life.   We have the emotional, internal, thought processes (which, as everyone knows, are not always logical) which reside in our “inner brain” and we have our logical thought processes, which allow us to create, invent, and become whatever we want to become.

There is a difference between conscious thought and sub—conscious thought.  Thought that is generated in your logical brain (your neo—cortex or gray matter) and the resulting actions or emotions is far slower than thoughts and emotions that originate in your subconscious or inner brain (the mammalian or reptilian brain), which may be one of the reasons that people in general make so many mistakes.  The old “think before you speak” goes much deeper than you think.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  — Shakespeare

Not being a scientist, and still not understanding physics or the concept of neurons, atoms, and the biology of the brain, I spent six months studying everything I could find on how the brain works and I have to admit, I still do not have a clue. The three pounds or 1.5 kg that is the human brain is a wonder.  It remains one of the vast mysteries of the universe.  There are thousands of studies on how the brain functions and the use of various highly sophisticated scanning and measurement technologies have provided scientists with insights into what parts of the brain react to various stimuli.  The infinite powers and possibilities of our minds have yet to be fully understood or tapped.

Reducing it to its simplest,  we have an inner brain that controls our subconscious, our reflexes, our visceral emotions, our deep fears, our instincts,  and we have our lovely grey matter, where our conscious mind resides.

In rock, paper, scissors, your subconscious mind will win over your gray matter just about 100% of the time.  The inner brain, such a tiny little part of the physical whole, has a tendency to bully the bigger conscious brain.

Think of it a little like this, your conscious brain is the class geek, and your subconscious the bully.  The geek says, “Yes, I can, I know I can, I know how to do it and I know it can succeed, it’s a great idea.”  The bully brain (your subconscious) says, “Bullshit, I remember everything that hurt me”. The bully sticks the geek’s head in the toilet and laughs at him with his buddies.  He calls the geek names and tells him he’s going to beat him up if he even thinks of going near that idea.  He reminds the geek of past failures, and pops up at inopportune times, hiding around corners and under the bed so the poor geek freaks out, takes the long way home, hides in the basement, and does generally anything he can to keep the bully either away or appease him.

There is a constant battle going on, “ yes I can”  , “no I can’t” “ yes I can”  , “no I can’t”. The ugly “no I can’t” is insidious and while it may be a great survival mechanism in situations of danger, it can be a serious detriment when something poses only perceived danger.  The problem is that the primitive part of our brain that triggers “fight or flight” doesn’t seem to know the difference between real threats and those we have created in our minds over the years.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughts become emotions, emotions influence thoughts, and the chemical factory that is our brain sets about making us feel happy, depressed, angry, elated, optimistic, pessimistic, energetic, lethargic.  Emotions, surface, or deep—seated, have a lot more power than logical thoughts.

We become addicted to our emotions in the same way that we become addicted to substances, it may not be good for us, but we become addicted nonetheless.  On top of that, some of us are apparently genetically pre—disposed to optimism or pessimism, happiness or depression depending on genetic makeup.

The only answer to the conundrum of subconscious versus conscious, self–limiting versus self—actualizing lies in using all the resources we have to transform negativity into positivity.  There has to be a meeting between your minds, the intellectual and the emotional, the believer and the doubter, the child, the adult, the female, the male, the lover and the fighter.  The community in your brain is very much like the community you live in but you get to decide.

Who will be the citizens of your inner Utopia, who will be in control, who will lead and who will follow, who are the foes and friends and who will you place in prison or send into exile?  What belief systems are you going to impose?  What will motivate you and inspire you?  Your citizens are your thoughts and emotions, so choose wisely. You are the only one that has control over your thoughts and emotions, your brain and your body are yours and yours alone to manage and control.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.”― Margaret Thatcher

Thoughts, beliefs and emotions translate to actions, responses, and reactions.  Reactions, responses and actions in turn impact thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. It is an endless cycle, part of the circle of the life as you decide to live it.

Your thoughts and beliefs will determine your sense of power, your willingness to take risks, to do or be what you want to do or be.  What you believe is your truth, and your truth is based on your how you process and perceive events and where and who you perceive yourself to be and others to be.

There is a fine line between feelings, thoughts and beliefs.  It is all a bit of a mash—up when all is said and done and there are no clear cut answers, indeed, the answers are different for each of us.  You do not need to accept anyone else’s beliefs, what one person may see as the ultimate steps to success may not work for you, which is why there are thousands of self-help books on the market and why so many of them are bestsellers.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein

Change is never easy, and the jury is still out over how to best change thought patterns, control emotions, and foster positive belief systems.  We often cling to negative patterns because they keep us in our comfort zone and we don’t even realize we are doing it.  One part is saying, “I will achieve wealth and happiness”, and the other part is nostalgic about the good ol’ days, even if those good ol’ days were lived in poverty or strife.

The movie, “Good Will Hunting”, is a great example of how we sabotage ourselves, through our beliefs, through clinging to the past, by hanging onto anger and feeling guilt.  At one point, Will’s best friend, Chuckie says to him, “Every day I come by to pick you up. And we go out we have a few drinks, and a few laughs and it’s great. But you know what the best part of my day is? It’s for about ten seconds from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door. Because I think maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye, no see you later, no nothin’. Just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.”  Will could not let go of the past so he could not move into the future.  He didn’t believe in his own worth, despite everyone else believing in him.

Sound familiar? Give yourself permission to believe in yourself, to grow, to be the person you want to be and to accept what works for you and throw out what does not.  Know that it is possible to control the quality of your thoughts and thereby change your feelings.  Your thoughts can change your feelings and once you change your feelings, you can get rid of many of the negative emotions that haunt you.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”—Oscar Wilde

Studies put the number of thoughts an average person has per day at between 12,500 and 50,000 and many as high as 60,000 thoughts per day for the average person.  The majority of daily thoughts we have are repeated from the day before, and as much as 80% of repeated thoughts are negative.  That is a lot of negative thinking.  Our thoughts control us, and sometimes we cannot control our own thoughts, our own programming.

We do not always know what reality is.  We respond to experiences and not reality itself.  Imagine a map based your experiences, beliefs and senses.  This map cannot be accurate because it is missing key elements like choice and perspective.  The better perspective and the more choices you have, the better you can navigate through life.

Generally, we make the best choices we can at any given time.  Problems arise when we don’t have enough choices or know the best choices to make.  The maps in our minds are incomplete.  The mental GPS system is broken and needs to be reprogrammed with new directions.  It is not that any given person is broken or inadequate; it is simply a matter of knowing what the options are and achieving a positive result with our actions.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung

All actions have a purpose and are rarely random.  We want to achieve something that benefits us.  One key is to separate intention from actual actions.  We are not our behavior and if a better choice than what we have made in the past presents itself, most people will take it.  Essentially, the subconscious mind balances the conscious and vice versa.

You have all the resources you need, and if you do not have the resources, you have the power to create them.  Communication results in responses and feedback so you need to take responsibility for the way you communicate with others and with yourself.  If you are not getting the results you want, you need to change what you are doing. No one is without resources but your state of mind can make you blind to the resources available to you.

You have to use the resources you have in mind and body.  If you make a change in one the other is affected and influenced.  With thoughts, you can change your body and with actions, you can change your thoughts and feelings.  Use your senses because that is how everyone processes information, work on making your senses more acute so you are able to optimize your own personal resources, think more clearly and act more positively.

Model successful performance.  If someone else is doing something that works, you can do it too.   You can learn from successful people, take from them what works for you.  Learning is in doing, in taking action to achieve the results you want.

The combination of emotions and physical feelings and awareness can be a powerful tool in changing your thought patterns and feelings.  Essentially, the ability to use the senses to evoke good emotions and use emotions to heighten senses is instinctual but actually taking advantage of these combinations of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and emotions can be a learned skill.

Each of your five senses responds to memories and imagination.  Learning how to use all of your senses and your brain to the maximum effect in a flexible way will lead you to more creative thinking and solutions to problems.  Remember – none of your senses or emotions operate in isolation.  They are all connected by an intricate web of memory, patterns, responses, and learned and visceral reactions.

“All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Don’t put unrealistic demands on yourself.  Have realistic expectations and remember, shoulda woulda coulda is all in the past.  You should have done this, you could have done that, you would have done it differently if you had only known.  If you truly want to do something, make a plan and work the plan to achieve your goals.  You can do what you set out to do.  If you want something badly enough you can make it happen with planning and work.

When you think a negative thought or have a negative experience, ask yourself how you can put a positive spin on it, how you can change that thought – and do it!  It’s always possible to have done things differently, perhaps better, but you have the chance to do your best every day, from right now and into the future.  This goes back to not beating yourself up over what happened in the past but it also impacts the present and the future.

If you have ever noticed how quickly your mood can change based on an insult or a compliment, imagine what you are doing to yourself when you use negative statements when talking to yourself.  How would you feel if someone else were saying the same things you say to yourself to you?

Do you ever have one of those head slapping moments, when you say, “God am I stupid or what,”?  Instead of asking yourself if you are stupid, change it around a bit, “Wow, am I brilliant that I realize that I made a mistake.”

Every time you have a negative thought, turn it around into a positive statement, make it a game.  You may be surprised by how many negative things you say to yourself over the course of a day without realizing it.  It is possible to take action and to change patterns of thinking on your own. There are six action strategies that bring the quickest results in breaking out of the negative thought patterns that maintain your depression.

Keep track of your negative thoughts, assess just how much of your thinking is negative.  You can do this through using your journal.  Just jot them down, “I thought I was unattractive.”  “I hate my job.”  “I hate myself.” “I hate my life.”  “I am an idiot.” “He is an idiot.”  “I really dislike her.”  Even if they were seemingly fleeting or harmless, if you remember them, write them down.

Write down the thoughts that focused on problems rather than solutions and the times you have thought of yourself as a victim.  Write about your feelings of hopelessness or despair, your feelings that nothing will ever work out.  Are you thinking in black and white, all or nothing terms?

After a few days of doing this journaling, you will have a good feel for what kind of negative thinking you are doing, how often, and what situations trigger the negative thinking.  You may be surprised at how often you have negative thoughts and you may be startled by what you are saying to yourself.  Would you talk like that to anyone else?

Some people use a rubber band around the wrist and snap the rubber band every time they think a negative thought (might get quite painful for some); others carry a talisman like the chips provided by AA or other organizations.  Being aware of your negative thoughts and what you do with them is an important step in stopping them and converting them to positive thoughts.

When you write down your negative thoughts, think of a corresponding positive thought to replace recurring negative thoughts with. This can be as simple as changing self-statements from the negative to a positive statement that contradicts or diffuses the negative statement. You are going to encounter things you perceive as negative every day, someone neglects to say hello, is rude, thoughtless or otherwise hurts your feelings.

When something happens and you find yourself feeling hurt or assuming the worst, take a deep breath, and ask yourself what other possible logical or positive reason could there be that this negative thing happened?  Maybe the other person was preoccupied, ill, or had something going on in his life that you have no knowledge of.

Be compassionate, empathic and thick skinned, remember you are not necessarily the priority in the other person’s mind, they may have a lot of other stuff going on you know nothing about.  Maybe they are simply jealous because you are so wonderful.  By diffusing the situation and not taking everything too personally or too much to heart, you can protect yourself from oversensitivity or the onset of sadness, hurt feelings, or feelings of personal inadequacy.

Emotional states can be broken down into two major categories, associated and dissociated.  When you associate, you feel all the feelings that go with any given experience.  When you dissociate, you have feelings about the experience but do not feel it as it is happening.  Essentially, if you are dissociated, you are probably a bit out of it, feeling as though you are “not all there”. When you are associated you feel:

  • in the experience
  • all there
  • in the thick of it
  • with it
  • caught up
  • in the flow
  • in touch

When you are dissociated you feel:

  • out of it
  • laid back
  • on the side—lines
  • not with it
  • not all there
  • not quite yourself
  • out of touch

There are advantages and disadvantages to being associative or dissociative.  When you are associated you are in the here and now, you are absorbed in what you are doing.  You are engaged, your senses are heightened and your energy levels are high.   Association enhances pleasant experiences and memories.  It is good for practicing skills and paying attention, resulting in more productive behaviour and learning.

When you dissociate yourself, you are thinking about something but not really engaged with it.  You are distanced from what you are doing and you see yourself in your imagination.  Time goes by slowly and you become less aware of your bodily sensations.  Dissociation helps in reviewing experiences and learning from past experiences.  It can aid in keeping track of time and taking a step back from unpleasant situations or experiences.

Generally, being associated is a more positive state. You are more in touch with your physical and emotional feelings and can better enjoy positive situations.  Dissociation, on the other hand is good if you want to distance yourself from negative experiences and memories.  In short, associate yourself with the positive and dissociate yourself from the negative.

Try to seek out experiences that make you want to be associative and use dissociation to evaluate and review negative experiences and memories.  We all know people that are perpetually engaged, passionate about what they are doing and enthusiastic.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and because they are associative, other people enjoy being around them and get caught up in the energy they give off.  Conversely, the dissociated person sits back, may speak a bit but is not really in the moment, they distance themselves from the situation and therefore, the engagement with others is minimal.

Engage in life.   Practice good attitudes and good thought hygiene.  Clear out the negative to make room for the positive.  Learn how your thought patterns work and what your most pervasive thoughts are.  Get to really know your thought patterns and how they affect your life.  This is an on—going process but once you learn to be aware, it will become second nature.

SEEBEDO Your Thought Patterns and Belief Systems

SEE and know what your thought patterns and belief systems are and how they affect your life

BE aware of your thoughts and beliefs and your behaviour because of those thoughts and beliefs.  Be associative as much as possible.

DO take charge of your thoughts and engage in life – Take action on your thoughts and beliefs

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Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Evaluate Your Strengths & Weaknesses

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” ― John Muir

Now that you have taken a little trip down memory lane, and hopefully gained a few insights into yourself and had fun doing it, you need to start preparing yourself for the future.  You need to set yourself on the track to achieve Infinite Vision.  Twelve Step programs around the world advocate “taking a fearless moral inventory” and turning your life over to a higher power.  The inventory here is a bit of an adjustment of the 12 step moral inventory concept.

Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny. ― Mahatma Gandhi

Taking inventory will help you see your strengths and weaknesses so you can be the best person you can be and achieve what you want to achieve.  This is not to determine how weak or immoral a person you are or even what a wonderful person you are.  The object is to see exactly where your weaknesses lie and what your strengths are.  Once you know what your weaknesses and strengths are you can change weaknesses into strengths and appreciate your weaknesses for what they are. You can build on your strengths so you can excel in those areas.  In fact, in every weakness and strength, there are extremes and opposites, and fine tuning and adjusting your weaknesses and strengths can make you a much more effective, well-liked, and successful person.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ― Socrates

Remember that weaknesses can become strengths – that you can build on the experiences that resulted in your weaknesses to come to a greater understanding of who you are and that having experienced and acknowledge a weakness, you can convert it to a strength, or at least minimize it so it doesn’t negatively impact your life. Don’t get too cocky here, strengths can also turn to weaknesses if they are too extreme.  If your character traits are not in balance, your road to success will be difficult.  Too much of a good thing can impede your progress.


It is important that you complete the following exercises now, before you go on to the next step.  If it takes you a little time, that’s OK, but be totally honest with yourself in doing your strengths and weaknesses inventories. A healthy dose of egoism is not bad if it doesn’t result in selfishness and arrogance and overdoing on your strengths can result in the strengths becoming weaknesses if there is not a good balance. Use this exercise to review your strengths and weaknesses, rating each from 1 to 10, ten being the most and one the least.  There is a complete chart in the workbook that is very easy to fill out . You may have strengths or weaknesses that are not on this list.  Write them down as well.

Appreciating Your Strengths

Naturally, you have strengths, maybe they outweigh your weaknesses, maybe not.  Again, please do this inventory before reading further.  Do it with an open mind and be totally honest with yourself.

Action-OrientedAdventurousAmbitious
AnalyticalArtisticAthletic
AuthenticCaringCharming
CleverCommittedCommunicative
CompassionateConfidentCourageous
CreativeCuriousDetermined
DiscerningDisciplinedEducated
Emotionally IntelligentEmpatheticEnergetic
EntertainingFaithfulFast
FlexibleFocusedFriendly
GenerousGood-LookingHelpful
HumbleHumorousInspiring
IntelligentKindLeadership
LearningMotivatedOpen-Minded
OptimisticOrganizedOriginal
OutgoingPatientPositive
PrecisePro-ActiveResponsible
Self-ControlledSocial / People SkillsSpeaking
SpontaneousStrategic ThinkingTeam-Oriented
TenaciousThoughtfulTolerant
TrustworthyUnderstandingVisionary
WarmWillpowerWisdom

Understanding Your Weaknesses

“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fact of the matter is we all suffer from a myriad of weaknesses to a greater or lesser extent, so, as painful as it may be; you need to examine your weaknesses.  Be honest and brutal with yourself.  Your weakness inventory is an essential building block in moving on and eliminating weaknesses or turning them into strengths.

AggressiveArrogantBossy
ChaoticClose-mindedComplaining
ContemptuousControllingCynical
DishonestFearfulGreedy
HatefulHesitantIgnorant
ImpatientImpulsiveIndifferent
InsecureInsensitiveIntolerant
IrresponsibleJealousLazy
LethargicLoose-tonguedMistrustful
MoodyNaiveNegative
ObstructivePassivePessimistic
PrejudicedPridefulReckless
RudeSelfishSelf-Righteous
ShallowShort-sightedShy
SloppySlowStrict
StubbornUndisciplinedVague
VengefulWasteful 

Completing these exercises will give you a good perspective on your personal strengths and weaknesses.   Every strength and weakness has an opposite side, if you have marked “always” on any strength or weakness, this is a signal that perhaps you are a bit out of balance, or you are not being totally honest with yourself.  The goal is to minimize weaknesses and optimize strengths, to achieve a balance in your life and peace within yourself. Your inventory is a simple step, just another way to determine where you are right now in your life.

Take a look at what you feel are your greatest weaknesses, what is opposite, how can you turn it into a strength? Whether it is weakness or a strength, what motivates you to manifest it?  What are your strongest motivators?  Why are you so friendly or so jealous, or whatever it is that you are the most? Getting a snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses is not a report card.  It is an evaluation tool; it is one more step in your self-awareness journey.  As you start on your steps to Infinite Vision, you are going to become who you want to be.  You are not going to allow yourself to be defined by others or by self-perceptions that are holding you back.

SEEBEDO Your Strengths and Weaknesses

SEE your strengths and weaknesses for what they are and evaluate how they are impacting your life.

BE honest with yourself and be willing to make changes if necessary.


DO the things you need to do to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses by creating goals and a plan to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

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Your Personal State and Resources

Evaluate Your Personal State and Resources

When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. Now is the key. – Eckhart Tolle

Your basic personal state is where you are most comfortable with yourself. It encompasses body, mind, and soul.   It may be positive or negative and it may have been established long ago.  It may feel that your basic personal state is the only way you can be.  It is a combination of your habits, patterns, thoughts, feelings, and physical and mental being.

What is your personal, most natural state, the you that is reflexive and the place you feel most comfortable? Is your basic personal state who you really are?  Is it part of your identity, an integral part of how you see yourself and how you act?  How long has this been your basic personal state?  Has it changed over time or has it become fixed in you so you feel it is probably impossible to separate yourself from your basic personal state? Once you have seen your personal state clearly, you can understand more about who you are and why you are the way you are.  You can work to enhance the positive and reduce the negative. Of course when we talk about “personal state”, emotions come into significant play.  How do you keep your personal state a positive one?

STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PERSONAL STATE

  1. Shift your focus, instead of thinking about the negative aspects, think about the positive aspects of a situation.

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”— Ralph Marston

  1. Watch for your physical state, what does it say about you? Sit up straight, stand tall, smile.  A smile can reduce stress, elevate moods, make you more attractive, and make people like you better.  A smile is universal and transcends language and social barriers.  When you smile, it affects your whole body and your mind-set.

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” — Mother Teresa

  1. Use positive language in your self—talk and your communication with others. Words are power.  Words provide a mental image that can translate to reality.  Use positive words to lift your spirit, improve your image, and lift the spirits of others.

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”― Rudyard Kipling

Your personal state is dramatically affected by your personal natural resources and knowing your personal resources is key to insuring that you be the best you can be and achieve the happiness and success you want to achieve. You have a wealth of natural resources, the most important is the very fact that you exist, that you have an ego, a brain, a heart, talents, skills, and abilities that make you unique in the world, that make you what you are.  You know that your brain must act before any outward action occurs. See in yourself the wealth of all the natural resources that are yours.

In utilizing your natural resources, you need to be aware that your mind and your body are integrally connected, your body affects your thoughts and your thoughts affect your body.  Change your mind, change your body.  Change your body, change your mind.  Your resources will help you move toward your goals.

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Your natural resources include your natural talents, experience, personality, appearance, knowledge, strengths, and all those things that combine to make you the individual you are.  You also have external natural resources – your family and friends, your environment, role models, the world around you.  By accessing both your internal, personal natural resources and your external resources you can create your personal sustainable life. Once you are aware what your natural resources are, you can make good decision from a place of strength.

Too often, we make decisions based on second hand information.  We decide based on what other people say, what we read, what we see on television or in the movies instead of using our own resources to make wise decisions. Make a list of the things you do regularly that enhance your life or the lives of others.  These can be large or small things.  Start with simple things you have done the past month, and then write down more general things, the talents or skills that allow you to accomplish the small things you accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. Ask yourself:

  1. How comfortable am I in my body?
  2. How healthy am I?
  3. How energetic am I?
  4. What are my usual levels of attention and awareness?
  5. What is my predominant emotion?
  6. How is my spiritual state?
  7. How does my environment affect my state of being?
  8. What skills do I have that I rely on habitually?
  9. What are my core beliefs and values?
  10. What things are most important to me?

Combining your awareness of your personal state of being with emotional awareness and your natural resources with give you a good picture of where you are today as a person.  Do not be afraid of emotions, if you are aware of them and what causes them you can control them. Be generous with yourself and learn to appreciate your strengths and weaknesses and all the little things you do each day that combine to make you who you are.  As you become more aware of yourself and your feelings you will be able to grow exponentially.  You will be able to reach a personal state that is satisfying and rewarding.

 

SEEBEDO Your Personal State and Resources

SEE your personal state for what it is and know what your natural resources are

BE aware of your personal state and how you can use your resources to improve your personal state and your levels of satisfaction and happiness

DO what you need to do to make your personal state positive and make the most of your natural resources in every aspect of your life

 

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Overcome Negativism

How to Overcome Negativism

“The best way to overcome undesirable or negative thoughts and feelings is to cultivate the positive ones.” —  William Atkinson

Experiencing negative emotions is one thing, being negative on a regular basis is another.  For your physical and mental well-being, it is necessary to overcome any bias toward negativity you have.  If you find yourself being more negative than positive on a regular basis, if you find yourself feeling sad or sorry for yourself more often than not, you can take steps to change this.

“A sick thought can devour the body’s flesh more than fever or consumption.” ― Guy de Maupassant

Step 1. Identify the things that bother you, depress you, or stop you from believing in yourself. What situations or events trouble you or detract from your self-esteem?  Perhaps you are not confident about certain skills you think you need.  You might have problems in your relationships, your job or your financial situation.

Step 2. Always be aware of your self—talk, your thoughts and your reactions, stop yourself when you start negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is easy.  You have to stop it.  Take a positive pill and the minute a negative thought comes into your mind, banish it, throw it out, erase it with a positive thought, change “I hate myself” into “No I don’t, I love myself.”  Sometimes you have to really make a conscious effort to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Step 3.  Defeat negative thinking and recognize the danger points. Your ways of thinking about yourself and your life have been ingrained in you over the years.  Whether they are true or not, logical or not, they are probably not accurate and may be contributing significantly to a low sense of self-esteem.

“Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.” — Buddha

Watch out for your danger points:

  • Making a positive a negative by minimizing your accomplishments. “Anyone could have done it”; “it isn’t as good as it could have been.”  Revel in each accomplishment and don’t be afraid to compliment yourself or accept compliments from others.
  • Black and white or all or nothing attitude. “I didn’t accomplish A so I am a failure and cannot go on to B.”  Life is rarely black and white, and in reality there is no all or nothing, life generally presents itself in pieces, in several shades of grey, accept the good and move on from the bad.
  • Dwelling on the negative. “I made a mistake and now everyone will know that I am no good at what I do.”   There will always be negative aspects to a situation, focus on the positive and minimize the negative.
  • Jumping to negative conclusions.  “No one has called back, I must have done something wrong.”  You need to remember that your priorities are not necessarily another person’s priorities, and that you have to keep trying and not take it personally if you don’t get your desired results.
  • Giving credence to feelings as being facts.     “I feel like shit so I must be shit.”  You are not your feelings, your feelings are just that, feelings, they will pass.
  • Putting yourself down.  “I am not as good as him. I am only a little person.”  Undervaluing yourself, comparing yourself to others, always being self-deprecating is not healthy, it is not only negative self-talk, but you are passing the news on to others.

Replace Negative Statements With Positive Statements

Replace your negative statements with positive statements.  You need to stop using the negative statements to either yourself or others.  It is easy to beat yourself up; sometimes it becomes a habit, a reflex, getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror, saying something negative to yourself. Perhaps you feel guilty about something, inadequate in some way, perhaps you feel insecure in the way others feel about you.  Negative thoughts and emotions are often rooted in the past and very much ingrained, but they can and do come up on a daily basis based on situations we are confronted with.

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power” – William James

I sometimes make negative statements to myself I don’t even really mean, but they are so ingrained, I find myself saying them in my head regardless.   Recently, I started kidding about being old, then I started feeling old, when I looked in the mirror, I felt I looked old.  It was a chain reaction, first a few words in jest, then a pervasive thought, then a belief.  Things sneak up on you that way.  Sounds a bit silly when it is written here, but it is true.

EIGHT STEPS FOR OVERCOMING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

To overcome any negative thought or statement, you can use this eight step process to create new positive statements and eliminate the worst of your negativism.

  1. Where does the thought or statement come from?
  2. Why do you think it is true?
  3. Is it really true?
  4. If it is true, can you change it?
  5. If you can’t change it, can you accept it?
  6. What is negative about it?
  7. What is positive about it?
  8. Create your new, positive, statement.

Here is an example: Thought:  I am getting old Reality: I am getting older, but so is everyone else Negative beliefs about getting old:

  • I have fewer opportunities.
  • I am less attractive than I used to be.
  • I am not fit any more.
  • I could die soon.

Positive beliefs about getting old:

  • I am wiser.
  • I can take advantage of my experience to make the best of my life.
  • I have the time to be even more physically fit than I was when I was a lot younger.
  • I am only as old as I feel
  • I am grateful for every moment I have

Obviously I cannot change the fact that I am getting older, but I can change my perception of it.  I can change my statement, instead of feeling the dejection of saying I am old, I can feel the empowerment of getting older, I am older, wiser, better than ever.  What’s more, there are people that are many years older than me still living full and wonderful lives.  I feel better already!

Why do I feel better?  I feel better because I have reframed my statement, I am not old, I am getting older, but so is everybody and what is the alternative anyhow?  I am getting older, so is everyone.  I have changed my statement from “I am old” to “I am getting older and better”.  I have framed it positively and I can smile about it.

Whatever it is that you say repeatedly to yourself, even subconsciously, you can change it, you can reframe it—convert the negative into a positive.  If you have a tendency to make a general negative statement, “I hate myself”, “I am an idiot”, “I am unattractive” – whatever it is, you can reconstruct it and reframe it.  Use the eight steps above to diffuse the negativity and find the positive. Another method is to use the opposites – “I love myself because…”, “I am intelligent because…”, “I am attractive because…”.  I highly recommend using the Eight Steps for Overcoming Negative Thoughts – using the opposites may work but it won’t have the sticking power of going through the eight step process. Finally, keep track of your negative thoughts and see if there is a way you can turn them around – find positive thoughts to replace the negative ones or deal with the situations that are causing the negatives thoughts.

SEEBEDO Your Negative Thoughts

See yourself in a positive light.  See the positive side of things.

Be aware of negative self—talk and thoughts.  Be consequent about replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Do what you can or need to do to remedy the situation causing the negative thoughts.

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Defeat Fear

Deal With Your Fears & Overcome Them

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before you start reading about defeating worries and fears, I want to tell you that this was one of the hardest chapters of the book to write.  I spent a few days in a deep funk, was angry, tense, and out of sorts.  The reason is clear to me; it is because for the period of time that I was writing and researching fear and worry, I was concentrating not only on my research, but on fear and worry itself.  It brought back the feelings I had when fear and worry ruled my life.  Fears and worries are really draining so if the writing here is stilted or doesn’t flow as you might like, cut me a little slack, I gave up several days of my life to studying fear and worry from every aspect simply so you don’t have to.  Am I altruistic or what?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Your fears, indeed the fears that we have as human beings as a whole, are often largely unfounded.  What’s more, some of the greatest fears are fears of things we have no control over.  We will all experience loss of love, we will all die.  Fear, other than fear that is necessary for survival, brings nothing into our lives but stress and negativity.  Worrying about something will not make it better, will not make the cause of your worry go away.   If you, like me, were to add up all the things you did not do and regret not doing because of fear, it would probably be a long list of missed opportunities and lost moments.

You can simultaneously be afraid of failure and afraid of success, afraid of change and afraid of not changing. Fear is a great excuse to stay in your comfort zone or lack of comfort zone, as it were.  Phobias make great excuses; you can use your phobias to avoid doing just about anything.

Fear is the stop sign of the soul.  Worry and fear lead to depression and despair.  Neither is productive, and neither will move you closer to your goal or the realization of your vision.  In fact, worry and fear can paralyze you.  When you spend your thoughts on worry, your thought and energy capital decreases.

I believe fear is the cause of almost every emotional problem that exists.  It is a primary reason that people become alcoholics and drug addicts.  It is why people stay in destructive relationships, eat too much, eat too little, throw themselves off bridges, and kill other people.  Fear is indeed one of our greatest motivators and one of our most negative emotions.  The worst part about it is that fear originates in the mind and can be controlled. It is possible to conquer your fears through rational evaluation and clear thought.

As humans, we are all prone to basic fears, the fear of poverty, ill health, old age, death, criticism, loss of love.  If you take a look at your list of fears, you will see that they all fall into one of these categories.  In sales, they teach you that fear is a great motivator, if you want people to buy something, play on their fears.  Fear is at the root of wars and mass hysteria.  But fear is a state of mind.  Once you understand this, you can start to conquer your fears.

If you do not allow fear to set up shop in your mind, you will be well on the way to conquering it.  You cannot think of fear and poverty at the same time you are thinking of success and wealth.  Your mind can only process one idea, one thought, at a time.  The “don’t think of the elephant syndrome” can be put into play here.  If I tell you not to think of something, you are going to think about it.  Fears are your elephant, and I would be willing to bet that as you are reading this, your fears are popping into your mind.

We have the ability to free ourselves from the control of natural forces through our knowledge and technology.  The ultimate freedom, though, is acquiring a complete understanding of how the mind works and that thought is the cause of everything and the effects are the result of thoughts.  There is no intelligence in matter, there is only intelligence in the mind, and the mind is supreme in the Universe, from the mind of God, to the minds of each individual on the planet.

When you grasp the understanding that the mind is really all there is, it is all that society and our very being is built on, you will have no cause for fear.

The Most Common Fears

Fear of Poverty

Poverty is dastardly.  In today’s world being poor is misery.  Debt, homelessness, illness, hunger – poverty sucks.  Poverty translates to powerlessness.  If you are poor, it is hard to have control over your life and worry about poverty isn’t going to make it better.  If you are constantly concerned about money, about your debt, about how you are going to live in your old age, you are using up valuable energy that could be redirected to  turning your situation around. Fear of poverty can lead to feelings of indifference, powerlessness, anger, frustration, pervasive worry, and low self-esteem.

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” ― Immanuel Kant

Money is not the end-all and be-all, but it is, in society and often in our own minds, the way we measure success.  Notice even the terminology.  If you have no money, you are broke.   If others perceive you as broke, they will steer away from you and if, worse, you see yourself as broken, your whole image of self is affected, your whole being, your whole life.  The danger is that financial poverty becomes spiritual and emotional poverty, and vice versa.  In the second that you heave a sigh and say, “I am broke,” you will put your head in your hands and yourself in peril.

There is nothing romantic about poverty despite the stories of great artists, authors, and leaders that grew up in poverty or died in poverty.  If you grew up in poverty or now live in poverty, perhaps you think it is your lot in life to remain poor, perhaps you feel hopeless in the hands of fate.  Get over it!

Being afraid of poverty won’t get you very far, worrying about it won’t gain you anything, obsessing about it and accepting it as your fate in life is equally useless and ultimately destructive.  No one consciously chooses to live in poverty.  No one says, “I want to be poor.”  But so many of us suffer from poverty that it seems inevitable, there are after all, a lot more poor people than rich people.  What makes you think you are special enough to be rich?  You need to be born into it.  You need to know the right people; you need to have money to make money.

Poverty is all around us, it is hard to ignore, and it is hard to not be afraid of ending up poor and alone.  It is a fact of life in every city, town and country. Poverty is all around us.  It is hard to forget, impossible to deny, poverty is a global problem.

Don’t make it yours.  Do not take ownership of poverty.  In fact, think about it, very few people are rich and the majority of people in the world live below poverty level.  There is a lot more competition to be poor than to be rich.

If you believe that the world is full of possibilities, if you believe in an infinite power, or in the basic laws of energy and physics, you will know you don’t have to suffer poverty.  You do not have to be poor.  You do not have to settle for less.  Once you have your vision and your plan, you will realize that the fear of poverty is decreased. You will not be fearing poverty; you will be working toward, achieving, and attracting the wealth that you envision.

A lot of us were raised in families where it was considered impolite to talk about money.  A lot of us grew up with very little and saw our parents struggle to put us through college or, sometimes, even to put supper on the table.  Baby Boomers grew up in homes where the parents had lived through the Great Depression and the fear of poverty was instilled at a young age.

When the fear of poverty is so great that you can think of nothing else but your debt and all you can’t have, you are stealing from yourself.  You are wasting valuable energy and resources worrying and you will continue to find yourself mired in debt and pinching pennies if you do not stop focusing on your fear of being broke.

Being poor, worrying about poverty or debt is much harder than focusing on how you are going to make money, how you are going to realize financial success.  Do not think, “I will never be able to get out of debt, how am I ever going to own a home?”  Replace that thinking with, “I am working on increasing my wealth and next year, I will buy a new house.”  Plan how you are going to do that and work your plan.  If you simply reverse the thinking and take debt and poverty out of your vocabulary, you will start feeling a difference.  Once you start feeling more optimistic, you will have more energy, and you can use that energy to fuel your success.

If you want to stop fearing poverty or living in less than ideal conditions, you need to have your vision in place, you need to have your goals and your plan and you need to focus on that.  Your vision, your dreams have to replace your fears.  Remember, you cannot think clearly about more than one thing at a time so evict poverty and welcome affluence, no ifs, buts, or hesitation.

Fear of Poor Health

We all want to be healthy, we want to be strong and dynamic all of our lives and we never want to deal with debilitating diseases or chronic illnesses.  This fear is amplified if someone in your close family has suffered an illness.  It is not unnatural to worry about having heart problems if your father died of a heart attack or having cancer if your mother or other close relatives have suffered from it.  If you have had an active sex life, there are always worries about STDs, and if you work with a lot of people on a daily basis, imagine the germs you are accumulating!

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” ― Mark Twain

The fact of the matter is illness happens.  All the positive thinking in the world will not change that.  But thinking about illnesses, worrying about every ache and pain and about the potential for disease in your future is not going to make you healthier.  It is, in fact, going to make you sick.  If you have hereditary tendencies, you need to deal with it and move on.  If you are a hypochondriac, admit it, all of us are, to some extent, you are going to magnify every little thing to the point where you think yourself into being sick.

The stories of people conquering disease all have one thing in common.  People that conquer fatal diseases have done it using their minds, their faith, their sheer will power, and it can be done.  My mother is over eighty years old but she has battled colon cancer, lung sarcomas, and other illnesses all her life.  She never gave in to them.

A Catholic woman of great faith, my mother was told that she had a huge mass on her lung and surgery was the only answer, even then, the doctors said it looked bleak.  Did she wallow in despair?  No.  She believed it would go away; she had children to raise and a life to live.  She prayed.  She had total faith that the mass would go away.  On the day of her operation, she told the doctors they didn’t need to operate because the mass would be gone.  When they opened her up, there was nothing there!  She had thought, believed the mass away.

Worrying about being sick, about getting ill, is not going to prevent it.  It might, in fact, encourage your body to start getting sick, it will lower your resistance and it will make you a bit nuts.  You have to reach a point where you can say, if I do get sick I will deal with it, but I do not plan on getting sick.

Do not think about illness, think about health.  When you find yourself fearing an illness, think about the opposite.  Imagine yourself running a marathon when you are 70 or becoming a Yoga master.  Imagine being vibrant and strong, imagine grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Hold your Infinite Vision in your mind and see the healthy, vibrant you at 40, 50, 60,70,80,90 years old.

You can make yourself sick just by thinking about it too much.  You can imagine yourself into ill health.  Usually, this is a function of depression and perhaps a touch or more of hypochondria.  Websites today make a thriving income catering to people that find it necessary to look up every ache and pain and believe me, if you start researching one ache on the Internet, you will end your search session convinced you have a fatal disease.

Don’t allow yourself to worry about aches and pains.  If you are worrying because of smoking, drinking, sex with strangers, dirty toilets, raw fish, whatever it is, just stop it.  Start working on improving your health and start concentrating on getting fit as opposed to wallowing in fear about the awful possibilities that await you because of your lifestyle, your heredity, or a world rife with disease and illness.

When faced with illness and aches and pains, concentrate on something else, you know it works.  How many times in your life have you forgotten to be miserable because you were engaged in doing something you enjoyed?  Remember when you were a child and your mom kissed it and made it all better, it worked, didn’t it?  How many scrapes and bruises have been forgotten with a simple kiss or an ice cream cone?

You cannot think of more than one thing at a time, think health, not illness.

That being said, the best defence against illness is a good offense.  Lead a healthy lifestyle; maintain your body as assiduously as you maintain your car, your house, and your most treasured possessions.  Treat your body with respect, love it and nurture it.  Make good health a habit that you don’t even need to think about – eating right, exercising – neither takes much time out of your day and neither requires much thought.

We breathe without thinking; our heart pumps without putting any thought into it, make healthy living a habit and you don’t even have to think about it.  You can concentrate on other things and use your mind to start attracting all the other things you want in life by simply getting in the habit of being healthy.

All this is not to say that illness does not exist and that you should ignore it.  If you are ill or have fears about an illness, go to a doctor.  Do it.  If you are truly sic k, they can help you and if you only have a minor problem, they can tell you how to deal with it.  Worrying about actual pains and health problems will not make them go away; ignoring them will not make them go away.  Go to a doctor!

Fear of Death

“To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.”— Socrates

We all fear death, it’s a simple fact.  Death is scary.  But here is another fact; we are all going to die.  Fear of death can be a good thing.  It is our instinctual fear of death that makes us avoid life-threatening situations.  But bottom line, fear of death is not going to make it any less inevitable.  I have to admit, I rarely think about my death.  It’s just way too creepy.

“If you don’t know how to die, don’t worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don’t bother your head about it.” — Michel de Montaigne

I don’t think fear of death merits a lot of discussion.  We are all afraid of it.  It is inevitable.  It will happen sooner or later. The only way to conquer fear of death is to live life.

If you are busy living and loving life, you will forget about fearing death.  If you have phobias that are crippling you because of your fear of death, you need to face them or stay away from them.  Fear of water, heights, flying, freeways, falling…face them or learn to live with them and forget them.

Once you have achieved infinite vision, once you have a steadfast goal, you will be surprised at how many fears you can conquer simply because you know those fears are holding you back from achieving your goal.

“The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.” – Albert Einstein

Fear of Old Age

Fear of old age is also a bit silly. What, after all is the alternative?  It’s natural, though, especially in today’s age where age is not revered and the economy is unstable.  Certainly age in today’s society can be a handicap in employment, in health, in economic status and relationships.  The fear of old age brings along with it the other fears of poverty, poor health, loss of love, fear of death.

“It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.” ― Jules Renard

What if you grow old and are alone, or ill, or poor?  What if you die alone and penniless in a state funded hospice?  What if your children end up hating you or your spouse dies first?  Fear of old age becomes more predominant as we reach middle age and realize that life is uncertain, that loneliness may be someday inevitable, and that genetics may take their toll on us.

The fact of the matter is, if you are reasonably healthy, you will probably live a long life. Average life expectancy in developed countries is between 70 and 80 years old, compared with as young as 40 or younger in most African countries.  Be grateful that you have the opportunity to live a long life, imagine all the opportunities that are before you.

  • Always keep active, enjoy your interests and hobbies and make a lifelong habit of doing the things you love, gardening, walking, reading, music…keep the things you love in your life.
  • Keep learning, be open to new things, be tolerant and enjoy ever increasing wisdom and knowledge
  • Keep your sense of humour, just think, when you are old you can be crotchety and eccentric and say all those things you want to say now but don’t.
  • Stay young at heart and enjoy your life. Life is a journey, not a destination and your journey can be full of beauty, adventure, and discovery, no matter how old you are.
  • Know that in old age, there is experience, wisdom, that elderly people are valuable members of society, that as you grow older, you have the opportunity to explore your spirituality, your true self, more and to perhaps do the things you were not able to do when you were younger
  • Think of the older people you know in your life that are role models, who are living full lives in their retirement years. Look at the examples of people who have achieved things in later years.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Old age is a fact of life.  Wrinkles happen.  Try to make sure that your wrinkles are not worry lines from worrying about old age.

Fear of Criticism

Most people are terrified of public speaking.  Why?  Criticism.  We do not want to be criticized.  We do not want anyone to judge us negatively, and we want others to like our ideas and us.  Oh, how we want to be liked.  We do not want others to judge us, or think negatively of us.  Worrying about what other people think is ingrained in us from an early age.

Our parents tell us to be a big boy or girl, our classmates laugh at us or call us names, our teachers grade us, people rate us, berate us, and criticize us for one thing or another all of our lives.  That is never going to change.  People will like you or not like you, agree with you or disagree with you and fearing what other people think is like walking through a minefield.  If you live in constant fear of what other people think, you are living in a virtual war zone.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ― Aristotle

Criticism happens.  It is part of life.  Face it, you are also critical, how many times have you snickered at someone’s appearance or rolled your eyes at someone’s statements.  How often do you criticize someone else?  We do it all the time, as the scorpion said to the frog, “It’s in my nature.”  Criticizing someone else, whether in word or thought, gives us a sense of power, a sense of superiority, regardless of how false that sense may be.

If you put yourself out there to any extent, you are going to meet with criticism.  Everyone is a critic, but not everyone is a creator, not everyone has the courage to open himself or herself up to criticism.  It is much easier to simply “keep the peace”, don’t rock the boat”, “go with the flow”, than to risk getting egg on your face.

But where’s the fun in it?  What is the upside of fearing criticism?  What is the upside of being a lemming?  If what you are doing does not illicit some criticism, you are not doing enough.  If you are so afraid of criticism that you fail to act on your beliefs and desires, you might as well resign yourself to a life of stable mediocrity.

If no one disagrees with you or criticizes you, you must be one hell of a boring person.   Conformity, taking the path of least resistance…if you do what everyone else does and your goal is to ensure that no one criticizes you, you can realize that goal.  However, you will also insure that you are absolutely unexceptional, unsuccessful and unfulfilled.

Do not view negative criticism as negative.  Negative criticism can be an opening for discussion, you may learn something, see a different viewpoint.  The old adage, “any publicity is good publicity” is not too far from the truth.  Your detractors will mobilize your supporters to stand behind you.  The criticizer becomes the criticized.  Ever notice how you get an adrenaline rush when criticized or in the midst of an intense argument?  People blush when they are embarrassed or criticized, but they also blush when they are pleased or complimented.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take criticism and don’t be afraid of it, you can even go far as to embrace it.  Your critics care enough about you to criticize you!  I am not making light of criticism here, it can be extremely painful, especially when it comes from those closest to you.  If you take negative criticism to heart, you can lose your sense of worth, your sense of direction, your sense of optimism and adventure.  For my part, I would rather be criticized than be invisible.

Fear of criticism manifests itself in many ways, all of them detrimental to the way others see you, thus probably provoking even more criticism.  You know you are suffering from fear of criticism when you find that you are overly self-conscious, shy, timid or nervous. When your hands sweat and your voice shakes you know it is coming out of fear of criticism.  You forget things, you are unsure of yourself, you feel like a child in school again.

If you find yourself being too much of a people pleaser, you need to step back and review your motives.  If you are trying to avoid criticism by doing what others want or expect, people, like predators, will see your weakness and take full advantage of it.

Do not be a patsy!  Sure, you may irk some people if you do something a bit off the wall or out of the ordinary, or if you take a stand on a controversial subject.  But do you really want to spend your life filtering everything you do simply to avoid harsh words or disapproval?

Something else to remember, the person that criticizes or judges often makes a habit of it, so their criticism of you is not going to mean a hoot to them.  You will find that judgmental, critical people are not all that discriminating about who they criticize or judge, and believe me, as soon as they have finished with criticizing and condemning you, they will move on to the next target.  It is in their nature.

Fear of criticism is natural; it affects all of us from the smallest of children to the greatest of men.  Once you are aware of how the fear affects you, you can start to remedy it.  In the face of criticism, you need to:

  • Keep the intent of the criticism in mind, not all criticism is bad. Constructive criticism can be, well, constructive.
  • Do not argue. Do not be defensive. If someone is criticizing you negatively or heckling you, listen, and don’t engage.  Simply nod or smile and move on to make your point.
  • Don’t be hypercritical of yourself. The old saying that you are your own worst critic is most often true, so use your self-talk skills, don’t start second-guessing the criticism you may get.
  • Take criticism for what it is, it is an opinion, someone else’s opinion or your own, it is not anything more and everyone has a right to express his or her opinion.
  • Always hold your vision and your belief in yourself in your mind and heart. If you truly believe in yourself, then no amount of criticism is going to stop you.  If you find that criticism bothers you on a regular basis, you need to work more intensively on your self-esteem.
  • Learn to appreciate criticism rather than fear it. At least if people are criticizing you they are acknowledging that they feel something about what you are doing or saying.  It is far worse to illicit no comment then to illicit a negative one.

Someone is always going to have something to say, negative or positive, people have opinions and people love to express their opinions.  What you do with it is your choice.  You need to take criticism for what it is worth and not take it to heart.  One of the best ways to do this is to be confident in your own beliefs, in your own vision, to believe in yourself to such an extent that you can accept criticism, and even use it to better yourself, to make yourself stronger, and to learn more about the people around you.

Fear of Loss of Love

Loss of love is one of our greatest fears.  No one wants to suffer a broken heart and no one wants to lose the person they love most in life.  Face it; we are inundated with movies and books about finding your one true love, finding your soul mate.  Little girls dream of the day they will find their Prince Charming and little boys, well, little boys dream of bigger toys.

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” ― Khalil Gibran

Fear of loss of love has extremely deep roots.  We have an innate desire and need to be loved from the time we are infants.  Infants that are not held, even if fed and clothed, will die.  Children, deprived of affection and love develop countless mental illnesses.  Study after study shows that humans need to be loved, it is part of our nature, part of what makes us, well, human.

If you are afraid of losing love, it stands to reason that you are also afraid to love.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  As adults, most of us have grappled with jealousy, insecurity, lack of confidence, and broken hearts.  If you have not had a broken heart at some time in your life, you are one lucky (or very cold) person.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

We don’t want to be alone, we don’t want to be rejected by the people we love, and we certainly don’t want the people we love to die or leave us.  Unfortunately, we cannot control others; we cannot control the feelings of others, or their actions, not really.  The heart wants what the heart wants.

We all know the stories of married couples who die within weeks of each other, their love so great that for one to go on living without the other is not physically possible.  You can die of a broken heart, but it is a slow and painful death, and ultimately, we all die alone.

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” ― Dylan Thomas

The best way to defeat fear of loss of love is to love yourself and love others.

  • Realize that sometimes loss of love is inevitable, people change, situations change, and that is a fact of life
  • Learn to love yourself, really love yourself and take care of yourself as you would a child
  • Appreciate those you love and let you know you love them on a regular, if not daily basis
  • Learn to appreciate solitude
  • Don’t sabotage yourself by worrying so much about losing love that you become needy, clingy, or jealous

“Love will fly if held too lightly, Love will die if held too tightly.”   Don’t expect or give too much or too little.  The only person that is going to be with you all of your life is you, so the best way to insure you are always loved is to love yourself.

Your Personal Fears

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

You may experience the same fears that others have experienced or you may have fears of your own that are crippling.  I have more personal fears than I want to think about.  Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of crowds, fear of being alone, fear of being with others, fear of relationships, fear of clowns, fear of not being attractive, fear of not making enough money, fear of … OK, you get the point.  You may have fewer or more fears than me but we all have things we are afraid of.  Where does all this fear come from and what good does it do us?

Fears come from our past programming and the people and events that have shaped our lives.  It’s all very good to dismiss fears as being unfounded or negative.  Most of them probably are.  But that doesn’t make them go away.  It would be great if it were that easy.  It’s not.

I am terrified of confrontations.  My coping mechanism for this in the past was to get drunk enough that I could talk about what was bothering me, which in turn, created even more problems.  Today, I deal with it differently.  I rest on it, try to gather my thoughts and wait to talk to the person involved until I feel I am ready and the situation has cooled.

What’s the worst that could happen?  If I don’t confront the problem nothing will happen, or worse, something may happen that is detrimental to me.  If I do confront the problem and the person or people involved, they may be angry, they may tell me I am full of shit, they may not do what I want or they may do what I want.  Obviously a confrontation has more possible outcomes than doing nothing at all.

Do you regret the things you did or do you regret the things you did not do?  I most often regret what I did not do.  Naturally, I regret some of the things I’ve done, but more than that, I regret not doing what my heart and mind were telling me to do because I was too afraid or wanted something too much.

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” ― Aristotle

Whatever your personal fears are, attack them head-on.  The age-old story of the father throwing the child into the water so the child would swim can be applied here.  How many children drowned as a result of their fathers throwing them into a pool?  I would venture to say, not many.  In the same way, addressing fears, reality based or not, can be a great liberator.

You need to grab fear by the throat and shake it.  Most fears are rooted in our subconscious.  Often, they are not based on reality or even our own experiences.

  • What is the fear?
  • Why do you have the fear?
  • Is your fear based on past experience?
  • Is your fear realistic or self-created?
  • What would make you overcome this fear? (i.e. swimming lessons if you are afraid of water, accomplishing something to defeat the fear, realizing the fear is not fact-based)
  • What is your plan to face the fear or eliminate it?

Your fears need not immobilize you or control your life.  Take control today, know where your fears come from and conquer them!

SEEBEDO Your Fears

SEE your fears for what they are.  Envision a life without fear.

BE fearless, be bold. Be pro-active.

DO what it takes to overcome your fears.

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Defeat Your Defeaters

Combat Despair, Discouragement & Depression

“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.” ― John Steinbeck

Darkness is merely the absence of light.  Poverty is lack of supply.  The things that are holding you back are holding you back because you have not turned on the lights or unleashed the dams of supply.  I am sorry to say there are no magic words or quick fixes that are going to do this for you.  Your power needs to come from within, you need to find the solutions that will insure that you have the tools and resources to accomplish your goals and live the life you want to live.

You need to be strong, and everyone has the power to be strong.  Strength brings with it greatness and you have to use all the strength you have to fight adversity and defeat.  You have to remain as strong, determined, and positive during the dark hours as you are when everything is going perfectly.  Keep your eyes on your vision, on your brilliant future and continue forward to make everything go as planned.  Don’t let the bastards of defeat, depression and disappointment get you down.

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” ― Seneca

All that is in any way negative has to be wiped from the slate, and the higher goal, the higher self, must take over to eliminate the things that defeat us.   Negativity is a fact of life.  Bad things happen to good people and often nothing happens that one wants to have happen.   I maintain that being positive takes work, but it is certainly less draining than being negative.

Being negative, worrying about that half-empty glass can really drain the old’ energy reserves.  I often say a little mantra or prayer that helps bring things in focus for me, “I am one with my God, I am one with the universe, I am one with all power and presence. I see it, be it, do it. I am all I can be.”  I then take a deep breath, stop for a moment, listen to the silence and that small, still voice that answers, “All is well”.

Make the choice to spend more time accepting good fortune and less time worrying.   I know this is not easy.  It is one of the hardest things in the universe, to stop believing you might fail, to start believing there is something more, that you can win.  But you can win.

When you are conscious of the power that you hold within, of the gifts that God or the universe has bestowed on you, you can begin to start saying no to the things that are holding you back.  Know that all good and all God is within you, never again say “I am afraid, I am worried. I can’t take it anymore.”  Instead, when thoughts of fear and worry creep in, say “I trust because I know that I am all I can be and my God is always with me”.

Your awareness, even if it is limited, of your oneness with the universe and your ability to call on the reserves of strength within and around you, will make you a different person.  The fears and worries will not disappear, but they will dissipate.

“Our remedies in ourselves do lie – Which we ascribe to heaven.”—William Shakespeare

You are the master of your own universe, you cannot allow circumstances or other people to control you or decide what your life is going to be, who you are, what you do, where you go.  You have to free yourself from slavery to fear, doubt, discouragement, depression, and reliance on the opinions of others.

“Nothing external to me has any power over me.”– Walt Whitman

Do not allow anything to take away your power, the power of your own thoughts, your ability to be strong in the face of everything that frightens and defeats you.

It is not possible to change past experiences, but you can determine what your new experiences will be.  You can make every day what you want it to be and be tomorrow what you think today.  It is the basic rule of the cause and effect of thought.

If you think failure and defeat, and put yourself in a mind-set of failure, your chances for success are severely reduced.  To be successful, you must constantly think of new ways to succeed and put failures out of your mind and behind you.

Defeat Despair, Doubt, Discouragement, Depression and Disinterest!

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”– William Shakespeare

What makes you get up in the morning?  What motivates you?  What makes you think you can achieve what you have never before achieved or what millions of others have not been able to achieve?  Your belief in yourself and in your dream may not always be easy to maintain.  Papa always said there’d be days like this – bad days, bad moods, bad weather, bad choices, just plain bad stuff. You get up on the wrong side of the bed and are grumpy all day.  You don’t get a contract you want, you get turned down for a job, a loan, a date, whatever.  You don’t achieve the results you want as fast as you want.  Your friends and family have heard so many of your failed dreams that they don’t believe in you and brush off your latest great new goal.   You find yourself despairing, doubting, discouraged, depressed and disinterested.

There is no room in your life for the deadly Ds.  None.  They sap energy, they are not productive.  Sure, you are only human and it is OK to take a day off to wallow in the D Swamp.  However, you have to climb out, you have to keep going, remember your goals and remember your affirmations.  Your goal is not a mere goal, it is the peak of the mountain you are going to climb and you will get tired along the way, you may fall back a few feet, you may even land in the deadly D  Swamp again a few times.  Watch out for the negativity alligators and pull yourself up out of the dreck.

Depression

“In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known – no wonder, then, that I return the love.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

We all battle depression to some degree or another in our lives, whether it is situational or biological, depression is very real, very painful and very destructive.  Depression is immobilizing, it affects not only your mental well-being but also your physical well-being.  It is not something to make light of and if it is indeed an ongoing problem, then medical intervention may be the best alternative.

Depression can become a vicious cycle, with depression leading to inactivity and inactivity leading to more depression.  However, the brain is an amazing instrument, and you can actually alter your brain through thought.  This is not hocus-pocus or new age folderol.

Everyone occasionally feels sad, you can’t avoid it.  Life happens and no person, no life is free from situations that result in sadness.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, consider the cause.  Situational depression is triggered by specific events or situations.  There are a lot of life events that can trigger situational depression.  We all face trials in our lives that make us unhappy, that make us feel in some measure, hopeless or helpless:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Financial distress
  • Illness
  • Divorce
  • Failure to reach a goal or realize success
  • Low self-esteem
  • Not loving oneself

There are plenty of things you can be depressed about.  You don’t even have to really look for them.  The good news is that situational depression can be overcome by knowing the cause of it and dealing with your feelings.

Clinical depression that is a result of an imbalance in brain chemistry requires a little more work.  It may require therapy or medication.  The general sense of sadness, hopelessness, and malaise that accompanies clinical depression is not easy to deal with.  If you feel that you may suffer from clinical depression, the best option is to get medical advice and assistance.  Medications are often the best answer for people suffering from clinical depression.  I have friends and relatives that have been on anti-depressants for years and the effectiveness of certain medications cannot be disputed.

You know you are depressed when:

  • You feel sad, anxious or empty on a daily basis
  • You feel hopeless, pessimistic, worthless, or helpless
  • You are constantly irritable and restless
  • You lose interest in things that you once found pleasurable, activities, hobbies, sex…
  • You feel as though you have no energy
  • You can’t concentrate, make decisions, or remember details, it is as though you are moving in a bit of a fog a lot of the time
  • You have insomnia or you sleep too much
  • You are overeating or have no appetite
  • You have thoughts of suicide
  • You have persistent aches and pains that have no physical medical basis

Depression sucks.  There is no question about it and when it hits, you need to be on guard and take action.  The good thing is that depression is highly treatable and you can do things to get those neurons firing and get your brain in balance.

  • Get the blood flowing, exercise makes your happy neurons work.
  • Force yourself to socialize, to do things you normally have enjoyed even if you don’t have the desire or energy. You will feel markedly better after doing something you have always liked to do.
  • Talk about it, talk to your friends, relatives, a therapist – isolating yourself or keeping it all inside will only prolong the depression.
  • Eat healthy. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar and eat lots of carbs, proteins, vegetables and fruits.
  • Do not be afraid to seek professional medical help, there is no shame in being depressed and if therapy or medications can help you, do it.
  • Get enough sleep, but not too much. If you are having problems with insomnia, exercise during the day and an evening ritual at night can help.  Try drinking an herbal sleep tea before you go to bed, listening to relaxing music, or practicing relaxation exercises.  Do not obsess over your inability to sleep; worrying about insomnia, just like worrying about anything else, only makes it worse.
  • Get out in the sunshine. If there is no sunshine, at least get outside, or buy yourself a light therapy box.  Open your blinds or curtains and let natural light into your rooms.
  • Be grateful and keep your gratitude journal on a daily basis.
  • Meditate or pray daily.
  • Be patient and gentle with yourself, allow yourself to feel the sadness and then try to release it through positive thoughts. Force yourself to be positive, when a negative thought comes up, counterbalance it or negate it with a positive thought.

Depression and pessimism can be immobilizing.  Shaking depression off can be hard, if not impossible, without professional help, depending on your degree of depression.  If it is situational, you can change it by changing your thought patterns and actively seeking solutions to the problems that are causing you to be depressed.

If you feel depressed on a situational or short-term basis, you can try letting your mind wander.  Let your mind wander wherever it wants to go.  Where did your mind go?  What were you thinking?  Is there something that you love doing that you could be doing?  Psychologists call it flow, others suggest that idleness is “the devil’s playground”, or that work is an antidote to depression or melancholy.

New studies indicate that when your mind wanders significantly from activities you are involved in, you are more prone to unhappiness.  This is not to say that a wandering mind is always a bad thing, daydreaming can be a very effective way to come up with creative solutions for problems, but if you are spending more time daydreaming than doing, consider finding something to immerse yourself in that is so interesting or compelling that your mind doesn’t want to wander.

You may just find that you are much happier, simply because you are immersing yourself in something you love.  This is just one more reason to have a vision that you are fully committed to and excited about.

Depression is a very real disease and if you feel you are depressed, the best thing to do is to seek help.  There is no shame in depression and sometimes, medical help is the only answer.  Don’t allow it to defeat you, but don’t brush it under the rug.  Ask for help.  Depression is debilitating and life  threatening if you miss the warning signs.  .

Discouragement and Despair

Invictus

William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Discouragement is a real threat to success if you let it take hold.   When you are discouraged, it is hard to keep fighting, hard to keep doing what you need to do to stay on your path.  If you have ever been in the job market and sent out CVs, applied for countless jobs, and still been left unemployed, you know discouragement.  Discouragement leads to despair and vice versa.  Even something as simple as watching the news can lead to discouragement.  The economy is in the toilet, there are no jobs, prices are going up and governments are cutting back on programs that benefit society – the list goes on and on.  You cannot let outside events lead to discouragement, if you can’t control it, if you can’t affect it, you need to let it go and work on those things you can control and affect.

Discouragement can be crippling, you lose hope, you become depressed, you lose interest.  You lose energy and motivation.   Once discouragement has taken hold, it is easy to despair, to find yourself in a place where hope is all but gone and you feel yourself incapacitated, feeling out of control and defeated.

Despair is a deep pool. It is often sheltered in the most secret parts of us and our subconscious.  It may be true that all men lead lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau said, or perhaps despair is reserved for those that have lost hope.  Desperation is the antithesis of hope, but it can also be a great motivator.

Feeling despair is like hitting rock bottom, there is no way to go but up and when you are in despair you need to take desperate measures to rise above it and move beyond it.   Despair is a deep sadness; real despair is a wild, out-of- control feeling.  You either succumb to it and fall into depression and a paralysis of activity or you respond to it with actions to move beyond desperation.  Desperation, channeled well, can lead to great change.  When you are feeling despair about something it is a call for action.

You can turn despair around.  In fact, giving in to despair is not an option if you want to achieve success. “Do not go gently into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light,” Dylan Thomas advocates against despair.  Giving into despair is admitting defeat.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy” .— St. Francis of Assisi

Acknowledge your despair, perhaps even embrace it.  If you care enough to despair over something, that energy, that caring can be translated into positive action to affect change.  Know that giving into despair is admitting defeat.  You can give in, it is your choice, but is the choice you want to make one that will propel you toward full-fledged depression and malaise?   You can paralyze yourself by giving into desperation.  You can make significant mistakes by acting out of sheer desperation.  You can take your despair and you can convert that feeling of despair into a goal, into a reason for creating and achieving a goal that is important to you.

If you find yourself giving in to discouragement and despair, battling that sense of hopelessness that comes with it, do this simple exercise.

  • What is causing you to despair or be discouraged?
  • Do you have any control over it?
  • What could you do to change the situation? Brainstorm a bit here.  Be outlandish if you want to be.
  • Give at least ten options for changing the situation.

Doubt

Doubt is an unfortunate but real aspect of life.  We often attract things we do not want.  What do you do when life keeps sending you curve balls, when your luck is down, when it seems nothing is going your way?

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ― William Shakespeare

We all experience self-doubt, but it can often be crippling.  It can affect relationships, your confidence, and your ability to get things done.  Self-Doubt is that voice in your head you need to mute out.  The feeling that you are not good enough or don’t deserve to have or do what you want is sometimes difficult to overcome.

Think about this, would you voice your self-doubts to someone else?  Imagine that you are your own friend. Would you voice these doubts to your friend about them?  Self-doubt and fear are guaranteed to stop you from accomplishing what you really can accomplish.  When you doubt yourself, you lose because you take no risks, and those around you lose because you are not as productive or brilliant as you can be.

When you doubt yourself, you create a wall that both protects you and prevents you from being all you can be.  Self-doubt is a good excuse not to try; it is like the person who only dips his toes in the water because he is afraid to swim.  He may want to dive in, cool his whole body, but the fear paralyzes him to the point that he swelters in the sun getting only his feet wet.  Self-doubt hides the best of you, makes you afraid to be who you truly are and all you can truly be.

Learn to trust yourself:

  1. Build small steps to trust yourself. Make sure you follow through on things you commit to doing and don’t task yourself with things that are so difficult you cannot achieve them.
  2. Do not go with what you have been taught to think, but go with what you believe in your heart of hearts. What you truly believe in will guide you.
  3. Never make yourself less than what you are; you have so much to offer the world and the people around you. Don’t discount yourself.   Are you discounting yourself too much?
  4. Do not abuse yourself. Don’t dwell on the past or on negative things you have done.  Your mistakes, your failures in life, teach you humility and you can learn from them and still not carry them with you.   Embrace your failures as part of you, as part of your humanity.

Overcoming self-doubt translates to feeling confident and comfortable with yourself and who you are.  You have to view mistakes as learning experiences, not life-threatening errors.  You are you, and the you that is you, the you that you believe in, is beautiful and strong.

Why do you doubt yourself, where does it come from?  Self-doubt can be born in your childhood, in words from parents or schoolmates.  You need to defeat, destroy, the doubtful thoughts you are entertaining.  Sometimes you can find support for this from friends and family.  Often friends and family are more generous with their feelings about you than you are about your feelings with yourself.

If you are full of doubts and insecurities, you are not alone; we all are vulnerable to self-doubt at various points in our lives.  It can be very difficult sometimes to focus on the positive and let go of those feelings.  Sometimes these feelings can be crippling, leading to depression and despair.  If you find you are doubting yourself regularly,  go back to your journaling, write down the areas where you are doubting yourself or feeling insecure and write your counter-arguments.

  1. What is your doubt? Write it down and define it.
  2. Why do you have that doubt?
  3. Where does the doubt come from?
  4. Is this a recurring doubt?
  5. Did you overcome this doubt in the past? If so, how?  What steps did you take?
  6. Create a plan to conquer your doubt. What do you need to do to conquer it?  What are the challenges?
  7. Execute your plan!

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Deal With Your Emotions

How to Deal With Emotions Positively & Recognise Your Emotional Triggers

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“Feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Emotional freedom is an important factor in having a happy life and the ability to change your emotional state is a valuable skill that can actually be learned.  There are hundreds of different studies on the effects of emotions on your physical well—being.  Emotions actually have the power to heal as well as harm you.  It’s fascinating to learn what power emotions actually have.

Expressing affection and gratitude for loved ones has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels while arguments with them cause a surge in cytokines – high levels of cytokines are linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Suppressing anger in confrontations doubles the risk of dying from heart attacks, strokes or cancer.  Letting go of that anger in an angry confrontation which may only last a short while can cause surges in heart rate and blood pressure by as much as 19%.  Bottom line, you need to find a middle ground for dealing with anger.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

One of the best ways to reduce these negative effects of anger is forgiveness.  Accepting that a negative thing has happened and forgiving yourself, the other person, the event, can actually improve your immune system and increase your life span.  The practice of forgiveness can lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.

Jimmy Valvano, the greatly loved basketball coach, gave a speech shortly before he passed away which I will always remember.  He said there are three things you should do every day, laugh, think, and cry. He said if you laugh, spend time in thought, and you cry seven days a week, you are going to have something special.  In addition to the fact that the speech was very moving, he was on to something.

Laughing increases the levels of beta—endorphins which boost moods by 27%, it increases production of the human growth hormone which improves sleep and enhances cellular repair by 87%.  Even the anticipation of laughter can reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin.

Spending time in thought, appreciating your loved ones and being grateful boost immunity, lower blood pressure and speed healing.  Gratitude and expression of love trigger release of oxytocin, increase blood oxygenation, and create more harmonious electrical activity in the heart and brain.

Crying is also good for you.  Emotional tears actually contain high levels of neurotransmitters and hormones associated with stress.  Crying actually removes the stress from your body while holding tears back can result in impaired memory, poor digestion, and weakened immunity.

Whether Jimmy V knew the scientific facts or not, I don’t know, but he was definitely onto something!

Emotions can trigger a lot of stress, and stress is not necessarily bad.  Short periods of stress have been proven to boost immunity levels as well as raise levels of cancer—fighting molecules.  These effects can last for weeks after the stressful situation ends.  Long-term stress, on the other hand, can be very debilitating.  Your immune system is compromised, your thought processes are impaired and you can become depressed or even infertile.  Chronic stress significantly raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Optimally, instead of having too much stress in your life, you should try falling in love.  Apparently falling in love raises levels of nerve growth factor for a year!  This helps restore the nervous system and creates new brain cells.  In the absence of another person to fall in love with, try falling in love with yourself, loving yourself will lead to peace, contentment, and more brain power.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” — Oscar Wilde

Negative emotions affect your health negatively, decreasing serotonin and dopamine production, repressing the immune system, and increasing risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  This is just one of the many good reasons for trying to minimize the effects of negative emotions and maximize the positive ones.

Feeling good, having a positive outlook, experiencing positive emotions has proven healing effects.  Thoughts and emotions influence your body in ways that scientists continue to discover each day.  Positive thinking and optimism can have as much of an impact on your body as diet and exercise.

Expressing yourself, meditating or quiet moments of thought, positivity, communication with friends, and the wisdom to seek professional help when you can’t do it alone all contribute to mental and physical well-being. Experience your emotions, express them without judgement or attachment.  When you repress your emotions, especially negative ones, you are opening yourself up to health problems including digestive disorders and high blood pressure.

Awareness is key, understanding and knowing what our thoughts and emotions are is essential.  It is natural not to think of the positive emotions as they propel us forward.  Because negative emotions heighten our defensive mechanisms, we tend to concentrate on those.  We spend more time concentrating on the negative than the positive because the negative is hard and the positive, well, the positive, we take it for granted.  We naturally focus on the negative more than the positive because we are trying to find solutions.

The beauty of emotions is that positive emotions can reverse the effects of negative ones.  Experiencing a mix of positive and negative emotions is natural, I doubt that many people live in an unadulterated state of positivity.  We are human, after all, and sorrow, fear and anger are going to overcome us now and again.  The key is to try to learn from those negative experiences and create more positive emotions in your life than negative ones. Aristotle’s Rhetoric states that the primary emotions are:

  • Anger and Calmness
  • Friendship or Love and Enmity or Hatred
  • Fear and Confidence
  • Shame and Lack of Shame
  • Kindness and Unkindness
  • Envy or Jealousy and Content

He writes, “The Emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure….Take, for instance, the emotion of anger: here we must discover (1) what the state of mind of angry people is, (2) who the people are with whom they usually get angry, and (3) on what grounds they get angry with them. It is not enough to know one or even two of these points; unless we know all three, we shall be unable to arouse anger in any one. The same is true of the other emotions.” Three questions to ask yourself about your strong emotions:

  1. What state of mind are you in when a particular emotion arises?
  1. Who are the people that usually trigger this emotion in you?
  1. What is the situation, what are the grounds that cause you to have that emotion?

Being aware of emotions and how they affect us is a great step in moving forward, in understanding our emotions we can control them in such a way that we experience more positive than negative.  You can’t avoid feeling negative emotions and they serve their purpose, it is right to be afraid some of the time, it is OK to feel anger, it is OK to be sad.  There are no right or wrong emotions in that sense, it is how we deal with them that makes the difference. Tune into your feelings, be aware of them and how they affect you.  Try to name your emotions as you feel them, quickly say to yourself, “I feel happy right now because…” or “I feel sad right now because…”

Being aware of your emotions and accepting them, good or bad can go a long way toward being a happier, healthier person. Both negative and positive emotions are good.  It is good to express them, to understand them.  Negative emotions, once understood, can be strong catalysts for change.  Positive emotions show us what we enjoy, where we find our happiness.  We need both to be whole as human beings. If you find yourself lethargic and feeling negative, make yourself aware of your feelings, feel them and get to the core of why you are feeling the way you are.  Bottom line is, you feel how you feel, don’t beat yourself up about it or guilt trip yourself because you are feeling negative.   Realize you have a choice – to stay where you are or to change it. There are several ways to change your emotional state:

  • Be aware of your state and observe it as an outsider – as a detached outsider, what do you say about the state you are in.
  • Think about how you want to feel and remember a time you felt that way, be there, see it, feel the positive feelings. Make the good memories intense by imagining a bigger picture, more intense smells and sounds. Feel the effects this has on you.
  • Change your posture, smile, put a lift in your step and pretend you feel more positive. As you do this, your thinking will also change.  Exercise or go for a brisk walk, this will help release your beta endorphins and enhance your mood.
  • Breathe deeply – inhale quickly, exhale slowly. This changes the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.  Just as laughter makes you feel better, so will breathing exercises and release those beta endorphins.
  • Relax your muscles, particularly face, jaw and neck. Tension builds up in these areas and relaxing your muscles can make a big difference.  Start at the top of your head and go down to your toes or vice versa, it will help reduce stress.
  • See things differently, when you are in a funk or unresourceful state, you have a bit of tunnel vision, your vision is concentrated on one area, and you are unaware of what is in your peripheral vision. Expand your vision, look up, look around, breathe deeply and see things differently.
  • Focus on another person, involve yourself with them and their concerns, and try to do something positive for them. This will help energize you and change your focus and perceptions.
  • Use associations you have made to pleasant experiences – these are your resource anchors and can help you lift your mood.
  • Food is psychoactive and has real effects on your metabolism and eating the correct foods can affect your energy levels and moods.

Regardless of what your state is at any given time, you can change it and if you are having problems changing it, keep in mind that no state lasts forever.   The key is to be aware of where you are and what you feel and call upon and build inner resources to deal with what life throws at you on a daily basis.

There are many different techniques for changing emotional states.  I particularly like structured visualization.  This is often referred to as the Swish technique used in NLP (Neuron Linguistic Programming).  You can follow a series of steps to affect a change in your behaviors or habits.

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Create a picture (the cue picture) that identifies the problem. What always precedes the problem?  Find a visual trigger for the problem (this can be in your thoughts or an actual picture or scene).  See the problem as an achievement, I know this is counter-intuitive but try it.
  3. Identify two features in the cue picture that give it power. Pretend you have your remote control for your TV in hand and increase the size and brightness of the image.
  4. Take a short pause and breathe deeply.
  5. Create a picture of your desired self. See yourself if you did not have this problem.  Imagine the sort of person that could easily solve the problem or not have it at all.  Imagine yourself having more choices and being more capable.  Make the image realistic, motivating and attractive.  Dissociate yourself from it and view it.
  6. Take a short pause and breathe deeply.
  7. Close your eyes. Put both pictures in a frame.  Make the problem picture big and bright – identify with it, be in it.  Put the desired self-picture in a small dark corner of the frame and dissociate from it.
  8. Now make the self-image picture big and bright and let it fill the frame. Do it very fast and imagine a sound that goes with it (swiiishh or whoosh – whatever works for you).
  9. Open your eyes and make the frame go blank, look at something else.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 three times fast – always take a short pause and breathe deeply in between swishes.
  11. Try to access the problem state again. You may not get the picture back in the same way or you may start considering the problem in the past tense.

This technique may take some time to master as it does entail several steps, but after practicing it a while, it will come quite naturally.

Regardless of what your state is at any given time, you can change it and if you are having problems changing it, keep in mind that no state lasts forever.   The key is to be aware of where you are and what you feel and call upon and build inner resources to deal with what life throws at you on a daily basis. You can use both negative and positive thoughts as agents for change.

Empower yourself by facing negative thoughts head-on and dealing with them as they come up.  Start looking at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty.  Being aware of your thought patterns and in touch with your emotions, both positive and negative, will assist you in vanquishing the demons of negativity.

Thoughts and emotions are part and parcel of every second of every day, whether you are awake or sleeping, engaged or disengaged, your mind never stops.  Just as the heart continues to beat, your mind continues to process everything that comes your way.

Your heart beats approximately 104,000 times a day and your subconscious mind processes states that the subconscious mind processes 20,000,000 environmental stimuli per second versus 40 environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind in that same second.  Experts estimate that we have anywhere from 12,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, with something of a consensus at 50,000 thoughts.  For every two or three beats of your heart, you have a new thought.  Not easy to grasp is it? I don’t know about you but I don’t even know how the brain can process 40 stimuli per second. Nor do I know how we can have anywhere from 12,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, depending on what study you want to believe.

Your thoughts shape who you are. What are you thinking each day?  What are your prevalent thoughts and emotions?  Getting in touch with yourself and understanding your thoughts and emotions can be a wonderful adventure.  Be aware, don’t be afraid to feel, don’t beat yourself up for whatever emotions you have.  Experience and understand and enjoy the ride on the emotional roller coaster we call life.

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS

Emotional triggers play a significant role in our lives, in how we feel, how we respond, and ultimately in our successes or failures in life.  Once you know what your triggers are, you can determine how you respond to them and understand your ingrained patterns and habits.   Triggers result in the creation of habits and patterns; we learn to become subconsciously competent.  Triggers stimulate actions and may change emotional states.

Weather can be a trigger, as weather affects our moods and elicits emotional responses, happiness, for example, on a sunny day and conversely, a sour mood when it is cloudy and cold.  Words and sounds can be triggers, as you respond to your name, music, sounds, and vocal tones.

Touch and physical comfort or discomfort, a favourite chair, a warm bath, a gesture, have their own triggers and smell and taste, have their own associated states, eliciting emotional responses and reactions.  Smells are particularly powerful triggers as your olfactory senses elicit immediate and visceral responses.  Intense experiences and traumas can result in phobias and less intense experiences combine to create our emotional and habitual responses.

Do you get butterflies in your stomach when you think of certain things?  Does a certain song make you happy or sad?  Does a smell evoke memories or emotions?  Are you overly sensitive or do you find yourself reacting out of proportion to certain things?

You need to know what is triggering your emotions, what makes you feel what you feel.  Not to get all “inner child” or Freudian on you, but knowing what triggers you respond to, what sparks your emotions, and why, is important.  Most of us have very little control over our emotional triggers. We may not even be entirely clear what is making us so irritable, or why we take an instant dislike to someone.  They are there and they spring up unexpectedly, our reactions to triggers are almost instinctual, they are deeply rooted somewhere in our mind, body, or soul.

Emotional triggers can be as simple as hating a name because someone of that same name picked on you as a child.  They can be extremely complex and multileveled – all caught up in family relationships and self-esteem, a tangle of different triggers that can set off a machine gun effect.

In drug and alcohol treatment, triggers are discussed over and over again.  What are your triggers, what makes you want to drink?  How do you avoid them or deal with them?  Triggers can be positive or negative, make you happy or sad, but no matter what the trigger is, chances are you will not be able to avoid it.  You cannot close yourself off from the world and you cannot close yourself off from yourself, so you need to at least know what the root of your emotions is, and be aware of the signals that you may be wandering into emotional quicksand.

The subconscious uses behaviour patterns that have been learned over the course of life to respond and react to events.  This harkens back to the very essence of survival instincts but problems arise when our learned responses due to emotional triggers are negative.  Emotional triggers can seriously skew your perspective and reactions to emotional triggers are often fully out of proportion to the actually event that is happening currently.

To get a handle on your triggers, you need to first ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is there something that, every time I see, causes an unpleasant emotional reaction in me?
  • Is there something that, every time I hear, causes an unpleasant emotional reaction in me?
  • Is there something that, every time I smell, causes an unpleasant emotional reaction in me?
  • What topics of conversation create a strong reaction in me?
  • Are there words, phrases, or names that stir a particularly strong emotion in me?
  • Who are the people who set me off?
  • What places trigger me the most?
  • Who would I like to avoid?
  • What situations would I like to avoid?
  • Given a chance to do it over, what people and experiences would I avoid?

This exercise is best accomplished with pen and paper at hand, and when you have time and a quiet place to think a bit.  Ask yourself the questions, write down the answers, do this until you cannot think of anything else.  If you don’t have many triggers on your list, go a bit deeper in yourself.   Triggers can be emotional bombs and even thinking about them can be painful.

You need to accept your emotional triggers for what they are.  It is not an easy task.  Delving into your emotional triggers can be a dark place, where the hell did you get all this emotional baggage from?  Why do you keep carrying it around?

Once you determine what your triggers are, you will feel a sense of relief and peace; you know all the things that trigger your emotions, so knowing that, you can deal with them.  Right?  Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, your triggers are part and parcel of who you are and they cannot be erased with mere knowledge of them.  Here is the rub, they will come back again, and probably just when you think you have the knack of positive thinking down and have a good grip on starting to realize your dream.  Just because you know what they are, doesn’t mean they still won’t affect you.  This is an on-going process, part of the daily maintenance of your emotional engine.

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.

— Vincent Van Gogh

You may, for example, determine today that you will deal with a person that triggers negative emotions in you by not speaking to him.  But what happens when he calls you, or it’s his birthday?  It’s an on-going, never-ending evolution, and this is one of the reasons for journaling and ensuring that you are aware of your emotional triggers.  When you are aware of the triggers, you can better deal with situations now and in the future.

One of the real problems with emotional triggers is that you often react disproportionately to events if there is an emotional trigger involved.  Knowing what your triggers are and why they affect you is a key step in understanding your reactions and controlling your thoughts so you can remain in a positive rather than a negative state.

 

SEEBEDO Your Emotions

SEE how your emotions affect you and your life.  Know what your emotional triggers are.

BE aware of your emotions and be sure to respond to things accordingly instead of based on emotional triggers.

DO things proactively, act on your thoughts and act positive.

Defeat Failure – Embrace Success

Turn Failures Into Opportunities & Learn From Them

“We are all failures— at least the best of us are.” ― J.M. Barrie

It is possible to achieve your dreams, to live the life you want to live and live it in richness and abundance.  Once you have accepted that it is your right and your responsibility to have all you want and need to have, you have taken the first steps to actually realizing your vision. There is a catch, you will fail along the way. 

You must look at your failures as necessary learning steps in realizing your dream.    Failure has extremely negative connotations, but the truth of the matter is, without failure, there would be very few great successes.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

You cannot accept failure as defeat.  You have to redefine failure and see your failures along the way to your goal as life expanding experiences.  It is in the nature of life to fail.  If you don’t take risks you may not fail, but you probably won’t achieve great success either.  You have to see failures as steps along the way to success.  Failing does not make you a failure.  Very few people that have met with great success have achieved their success the first time around.  You are likely to have many  failures on the road to your goal, but keeping your goal in mind and not giving up are the keys to ultimately achieving success.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

Everyone fails.  How many experiments must scientists go through before they find a cure for what was previously an incurable disease?  Failures along the way are to be expected and often a failure represents an opportunity to learn and grow, and expand an idea into something that is highly successful.

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” —Benjamin Franklin

Plan for failure.  Be as prepared for small failures along the way as you are for your ultimate success.  Be fearless, realistic, and resilient.  Think of “failures” as experiences that will educate you as you journey toward your goal.

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”  — Confucius

Challenges and failure are part of life, if you are not being challenged, you are probably not doing much.  If you don’t encounter failure along the way, you may not get very far.  Action results in reaction and if you have no reaction, either positive or negative, you are not doing enough.   Keep moving forward, take advantage of momentum that you create toward your goals.  Keep creating with your vision in mind and don’t let little failures along the way stop you from charging forward.

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiam.” —Winston Churchill

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.  You only fail if you don’t try.  If you try and fail, you will be in the company of some of the most successful people in history.

Winston Churchill lost every election for public office until he finally won and became Prime Minister of the UK.  Churchill, one of the most respected leaders of the 20th Century, had this advice, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”.

  • Abraham Lincoln failed at business, politics, and in the military until he was elected President.
  • Henry Ford’s early businesses left him broke five times before he founded Ford.
  • R.H. Macy started seven failed businesses before starting Macy’s.
  • Soichiro Honda was turned down for a job at Toyota and was unemployed before he started making scooters at home.
  • Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, failed in his first business and failed with his first Sony product, a rice cooker that burned rice.
  • Harland Sanders’ chicken recipe was rejected by more than 1,000 restaurants before it was sold and he became the face of KFC.
  • Walt Disney was fired for lacking imagination.
  • Albert Einstein was thought to be handicapped and slow as a child.
  • Socrates was called an immoral corruptor of youth.
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything and he made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired because she was “unfit for TV”.
  • Harry Truman went bankrupt in his own business.
  • Jerry Seinfeld got booed off the stage in his first performance.
  • MGM noted that Fred Astaire couldn’t act or sing, and that he could dance a little.
  • Sidney Poitier was told at his first audition, “why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?”.
  • Charlie Chaplin’s act was originally rejected by Hollywood as impossible to sell.
  • Lucille Ball was regarded as a failed actress and B movie star.
  • Harrison Ford was told he didn’t have what it takes to be a star.
  • Marilyn Monroe was advised by modeling agencies to consider a career as a secretary.
  • Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life.
  • Theodor Seuss Giesel’s first book, To Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected by the USC School of Theater, Film and Television three times and did not complete his BA until he went back to school in 2002.
  • Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, received 30 rejections before he was published.
  • J.K. Rowling,  was on welfare and battling depression and is now one of the richest women in the world because of Harry Potter.
  • Jack London received 600 rejection slips for his first story.
  • Louisa May Alcott’s family wanted her to work as a servant.
  • Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
  • Beethoven’s teachers thought he would amount to nothing.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  Babe Ruth held the world record for strikeouts.
  • Tom Landry holds the record for career wins as a football coach but had one of the worst first seasons on record.

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong” – Benjamin Franklin

Important things to remember when you do fail at something :

  • Never give up, giving up in the face of failure will definitely insure failure in reaching your long—term goal.
  • Never take no for an answer.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail on your way, but never accept failure when trying to reach your goal.
  • Review why you failed. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

The key to success is working toward your goal, not losing sight of it and not giving into defeat or failures along the way.  If you truly believe in yourself and in your goal, you will most likely fail along the way, if you aren’t failing a little bit, you are not stretching yourself enough.  Embrace your failures as important steps on your way to success.

SEEBEDO Your Failures

SEE your failures for what they are – bumps in the road of life.  See the lessons you have learned from your failures.  See yourself as successful.

BE aware of why you fail.  Be gentle with yourself and be ready and willing to change in order to reduce failures.

DO what you need to do to minimize failures and create success in your life.  Review your failures and change your behaviors to help ensure success.

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Be a Positive Opportunist

Be Positive About Yourself and the World Around You

“Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” —Napoleon Bonaparte

Nothing is impossible, and fear of failure is for defeatists.  Never decide anything is impossible.  Believe in yourself, believe in your ideas, and pursue them aggressively even in the face of negativity.

Remember, always to turn negative thoughts to positive thoughts.  Never fear failure and always anticipate success.  Love yourself, respect yourself, believe in yourself and do the same for others.  There is absolutely nothing to gain from pessimism and worry except frown lines and stomach problems.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”—Audrey Hepburn

First, you have to want it badly.  You have to have a burning desire, a desire that rules your thoughts and actions.  You have to have a goal, a goal that is well defined and you have to have a plan.  Of course, you know that, you have heard it a thousand times!   I am going to set out some guidelines here that have proven to be successful for thousands of people.

If you see it, you will achieve it!

You have to know what you want and want it so badly it hurts.  Even if you are flat broke, you have to visualize yourself having money.  You are the only one that can make it happen.  You have to convince yourself that you can achieve your goal.  You have to believe in yourself.  You have to be determined.  You have to be obsessed with it.  You have to taste it, feel it, know that it is in you to get rich, to be that person.  Do not let what others say discourage you.  Shake it off.  Ultimately, you are the only one that counts when it comes to who you are and what you do.

“You can do as much as you think you can,
But you’ll never accomplish more;
If you’re afraid of yourself, young man,
There’s little for you in store.
For failure comes from the inside first,
It’s there if we only knew it,
And you can win, though you face the worst,
If you feel that you’re going to do it.”
— Edgar A. Guest

You are probably saying that this is BS, that no matter how hard you think, no matter how often you say to yourself, “I am rich, I am successful”, it is not going to make a difference.  But the power of positive thinking has been proven time and again.  Think positively, you cannot lose.

If you get in the habit of thinking positively about yourself, your inner journey will reflect outwards.  Love yourself, say to yourself, repeatedly, “I am successful, I am worthwhile, I am rich, I am the person I want to be because I….”  Perhaps you had teachers in your childhood that made you write “I will not talk in class,” or some such thing 100 times.  Thinking positively, affirming yourself and believing in yourself is the equivalent of writing on the board 100 or 1000 times.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Did you ever play make-believe as a child?  As a child, your imagination is unfettered. You can have imaginary friends. You can pretend you are a queen, a princess, a cowboy, a superhero.   My parents always told me that the holiday that fell on my birthday was my own special holiday.  A holiday created just for me.  I believed it.  Unfortunately, I still believe it so am always disappointed when my birthday rolls around and nobody else realizes that it is my special holiday.

The bottom line is that when you are a child, imagination rules, and when you grow up, you forget what that was like. You stop imagining and start lamenting.  You have to tap back into that imagination.  Remember what it was like and imagine yourself as the successful person you dream of being.

As an adult, you have to practice at imagination.  You have to get that imagination magic back.  Do it by dressing the part, do it by repeating your affirmations to yourself over and over again.  Every highly successful person in history was a dreamer, had a vision and saw that vision as reality.  It is a step of faith, faith in yourself, in your ability to be who you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve.

Great opportunities abound, the Internet has created thousands of new opportunities. Information is within the reach of anyone that wants to learn.  Millionaires are being made every day.  New ideas, new products, and new ways of reaching people offer limitless opportunities to grab the golden ring and achieve success.  You may not become a millionaire, in fact, I suggest being practical in setting your goals, once you achieve the first one, you can always set the next one.

“All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”— Orison Swett Marden

You cannot approach life with a scattered approach.  One day one dream, the next day another, every day the dream better or bigger than the one before does not work.  You have to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND GO AFTER IT WHOLEHEARTEDLY.  You have to be single-minded in your pursuit.  You have to believe in your goal and the steps you are taking to achieve it.  You have to be willing to put your plan into action and you have to have the right mix of practicality and dreams.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

You cannot, dare not be afraid to dream.  If you truly believe in your idea, in your concept, in your goals, you need to put everything you have into it.  You have to turn off the naysayers, turn the volume off on negative thoughts and negative input.

Do not let yourself be discouraged by what others say.  If it feels right to you, do it.  Negative comments need to be dismissed, negative thinking needs to be avoided at all cost.  Negativity is your enemy and unfortunately, sometimes the negativity comes not only from within, but also from those closest to you.  Block negativity out!  Protect your personal bubble. Don’t let anyone pop it!

Being a dreamer is not an easy task, great dreamers have been ridiculed, rejected, laughed at.  Great dreamers have met with countless failures on their road to success, Edison, Einstein, Lincoln, Mathatma Gandhi, John and Robert Kennedy, Albert Schweitzer, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Franklin Roosevelt, and so many others from history.

This is simply a list off the top of my head, but the list is endless.  Every great leader has a dream.  Every successful person has a dream.  The dreamer’s success comes not from merely having a dream, but from having the courage to pursue that dream against all odds.

Find your dream and stick to it.  Hold your dream in your heart, act on your dream, see it, feel it, know that you and your dream are inseparable.  See your dream. Be your dream.  Do what you dream of doing. 

How you see things makes a tremendous difference in the way you live, the decisions you make, and the way you respond to situations.   How do you see things?  How do you see yourself and the world around you?

 “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

If you are like me, you probably have had your share of trials and tribulations.  You have failed at things, perhaps you have struggled against depression, alcoholism, lifelong poverty, a bad marriage, a shit career.  You are not alone.  The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is true.  Embrace your past failures as experience to build your new self on.  Use what you have learned as building blocks to success.  You know what didn’t work.  Now you will create a plan that does work.  You will stick to it.  You will believe in yourself, in your own abilities, in the possibilities and opportunities that you can take advantage of to achieve your goals.

Do some research on your heroes, I guarantee you that all have encountered misfortune before achieving success.  There are the odd few that were born into money, that have been successful, that have been leaders but the most inspiring stories, the greatest leaders in history all struggled with life early on and found ways to overcome difficulties and realize their dreams.

Dreaming and desire are important.  The power to envision success and think positively is important. Believe that you can achieve what you want to achieve, believe in yourself and believe in your own capacity to achieve your goals.

Thinking positively is not the be-all and the end-all.  I am not advocating that you bounce around in a Pollyanna world wearing rose-colored glasses.  Positivity is like anything else, if it does not come naturally to you, you need to learn it.  You may need to work at it.  Positive thinking should be your go-to, a habit that you acquire and indulge in every day.

You have to act positive in addition to merely thinking positive.  You have to see it (think positive), be it (be positive), do it (act positive – do positive things).  You are what you see, be, and do and you can change yourself and your world one action at a time.  Put energy into acting and being positive and you will reap the results.

There are some very basic positive emotions that we all have at some point in our lives.  Cultivating these emotions and being aware of them will help increase your positive thinking awareness.

  • JOY
  • LOVE
  • AWE
  • PRIDE
  • EXCITEMENT
  • GRATITUDE
  • ENTHUSIASM
  • AMUSEMENT
  • HOPE
  • HAPPINESS
  • INTEREST
  • PLEASURE
  • ACCOMPLISHMENT
  • SERENITY

Words have unbelievable power, they are the way we express ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions.  Words, spoken to yourself or to others have the power to create, to convince, to motivate and to destroy.  We put into our words our intelligence and our words become reality.  Jesus said, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away until all are fulfilled.”  It is no different with our own words; words have power, whether negative or positive, strong or weak.

You will find a table of about 500 positive words in your exercises if you are stuck for ideas. 🙂

SEEBEDO Your Positive Opportunist

SEE the positive in your life and in the world around you.  Focus on the positive.

BE positive about yourself and others.

DO positive things to enhance your life and the world around you.  Talk positively, think positively, and act positively.

 

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Live a Values Based Life

What Are Your Values? Use Your Values to Determine Your Goals

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ― Roy Disney

Values are very personal and they may change over the course of life. What you valued as a child is often not what you value, today, as an adult.  But there are some values that are deeply ingrained, values that make us who we are.  A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of personal values. Values can range from the commonplace, such as the belief in hard work and punctuality, to the more psychological, such as self-reliance, concern for others, and harmony of purpose.

“Values are like fingerprints.  Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley

Once you identify your key values, you can develop strategies and implement them.  There is something almost magical about implementing strategies based on your values.  You may discover new opportunities or new sources of income.  You will experience psychological benefits and a greater sense of well-being.  You may even find unexpected good fortune that defies logical thinking.

Values are a source of power and energy that drive success and fulfilment.  If you are living a value-based life, your enthusiasm and your commitment will energize others resulting in a synergy that brings its own measures of success with it.   Values that spring from life’s greatest principles including oneness, love, truth, courage, patience, beauty, and knowledge can move you forward, motivate you, and create positive direction for your life.  They enable you to improve your life and the lives of others.

A society without values would be lost just as an individual without values can never achieve true success. As individuals we express our values in what we do, how we think and act, and how we live.  Some people dedicate their entire lives to a set of values – the father or mother who dedicate their lives to family, the patriot who fights for freedom, the lawyer who fights for justice, the doctor who saves lives, the teacher who shapes lives… Achieving success in life depends on physical energy and psychological energy, but in a battle between the two, psychological energy wins out.  The intensity we bring to our actions is dependent on interest, determination, passion, drive, enthusiasm and beliefs which all grow out of our values.

It is our values that determine the flow of our energies. You know that thoughts do not necessarily lead to actions.  It’s common sense, you have some thoughts you will act on and others you won’t.  What will propel your thoughts forward into action are your values.  Opinions, attitudes, and feelings can only take you so far, it is the values that provide the fuel that results in actions, and ultimately success. Think of the things that are most important to you, what you value most in life.  You may have primary values like love, justice, courage, knowledge, gratitude, compassion, belief in others, compassion, generosity, faith, tolerance, honesty, freedom, or equality or your values may be of a more specific nature.  What do you value most?

A Few “Value” Words

AuthenticityAchievementAdventureAuthority
AutonomyBalanceBeautyBoldness
CompassionChallengeCitizenshipCommunity
CompetencyContributionCreativityCuriosity
DeterminationFairnessFaithFame
FriendshipsFunGrowthHappiness
HonestyHumorInfluenceInner Harmony
JusticeKindnessKnowledgeLeadership
LearningLoveLoyaltyMeaningful Work
OpennessOptimismPeacePleasure
PopularityRecognitionReligionReputation
RespectResponsibilitySecuritySelf-Respect
ServiceSpiritualityStabilitySuccess
StatusTrustworthinessWealthWisdom

What are your overall guiding principles, what values are most important to you?  Living a values driven life is a proven road to success so it is a great idea to look at what your own personal situation, values and beliefs.

Another great exercise to help with this bit of self-discovery and actualization is to create your own “Personal 10 Commandments”.   This is an excellent way to define and clarify what is important to you .  It requires a bit of thought, a bit of introspection.  Personal commandments are not intended to replace religious values but to enhance the life of the person that creates them.  My own are quite simple really but yours might be totally different.

  1. Love myself and love others – live in the light of love
  2. Always be generous, kind, polite, and considerate of others
  3. Be true to myself, never do anything I don’t believe in
  4. Be grateful and give thanks each day for all things large and small
  5. Always be the best I can be and do what I commit to do
  6. Never make excuses, never give up, never let fear or discouragement win
  7. Be positive – think positive, act positive, talk positive
  8. Never be judgemental or prejudiced
  9. Never stop learning, writing, and reading
  10. Be enthusiastic about life, always strive to make the world a better place

Perhaps you like short and snappy or you have a passion that rules your life:

  • Make music
  • Let Go, Let God
  • Keep on keeping on
  • Smile
  • Keep Fit
  • Just do it
  • Yes I can
  • Love is the key
  • Respect everyone
  • Be friendly
  • Be compassionate

The possibilities are endless and it is, after all, your list, so write it in your own style with your own words. Your values are a determining factor in your life.  Know your values, live your values, base your life goals and your relationships on your values.  With your values as your guiding light, you will never walk in darkness.

SEEBEDO Your Values

See your values, know what they are

Be the epitomy of your values – live your values

Do things that support your values

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Become a Self-Esteem Machine

Improve Your Self-Esteem Love Yourself as You Are

“Whoever despises himself still esteems the despiser within himself”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” – Oscar Wilde

You have heard it, perhaps all your life:  you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.  Saying that, loving one’s self is sometimes easier said than done.  You may not like your body, or your voice, your eyes, your mouth, your insecurities, your weaknesses, your habits.  Face it, you know yourself better than anyone else knows you, and you know you have faults.  You may have secrets as well, things you are ashamed of or regret.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are not alone.  No one is perfect.  Everyone has things they would like to change about themselves.  Everyone!  Do you think Abraham Lincoln was happy with the way he looked?  He probably wasn’t, he also suffered from significant depression.  Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley had serious self-esteem issues and you can bet that everyone you meet has issues.  We are all only human, after all.  There are very few people, other than sociopaths and saints, that can say they have no regrets, and I am not so sure about the saints.

Remember the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”?  What a bunch of bunk.  Bruises and scratches on your body are nothing compared to bruises to your spirit.  The things you were told over and over as a child are still within you.

If you are lucky, you were told how smart and beautiful you were.  However, you might not believe it today.  If you are like most people, you are your own worst critic.  If you were always encouraged as a child, you probably feel you are not living up to your potential.  If you were criticized or abused, you probably feel you deserved it.  Sometimes, you just can’t win.

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you remember falling in love for the first time or how you felt about someone you idolized?  What about the people you love today?  Do you see those people with all their flaws and condemn them for it or do you see them through rose-colored glasses, believing in their sheer wonderfulness?  You have to believe in your own wonderfulness.  You have to fall in love with yourself and continue loving yourself, even when you feel bleak or worthless.

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung

But how do you fall in love with yourself?  How do you reach a point in your life where you are your own best friend?  I am not talking about becoming a self-serving, egomaniac.  You need to become an altruistic egoist.  Egoism has gotten a bad rap.  It is defined, most often as the highest form of selfishness.  I disagree.  It is impossible to be altruistic if your ego is fragile.  You cannot help others or yourself if you do not believe in yourself and your value as a human being.

Altruism and egoism are often referred to as opposites, implying you cannot be both.  This is where so many of us fail.  Wanting to be nice, to be good, to fit it, we decide to be altruistic, to be self-sacrificing, self-deprecating, to put self after others.

Being raised Catholic, I know this was well-ingrained in me.  Think about it, the saints were purely altruistic.  What did it get them?  It got them stoned, burned, beheaded, crucified.  Great leaders, on the other hand, have a healthy mix of egoism and altruism.  Without a strong ego, leaders would not speak out, would not have the courage to try to change the world or proselytize their ideals and beliefs.   Politicians are a prime example, even the most idealistic and respectable politician has a considerable ego.

You don’t want people to say you are a supreme egoist, or an egotistical jerk.  You do want to believe in yourself and put a higher value on yourself than anything else.  Do not cringe, don’t say, “No I can’t do that, my children are more important than me, my husband or wife is more important.”  It is all fine and good to love and to be willing to sacrifice for those you love; in fact, it is humane to do so.  It is laudable to put the needs of your children before your own.  But if you put others needs before your own to the detriment of yourself or because of your feelings of inadequacy or lack of self-worth, you are doing yourself a disservice.

When you want to make changes in your life, you need to do them for yourself, not for someone else.  The dreams you have for yourself have to be your own dreams, not someone else’s.  Your image of yourself has to be your very own and not based on others’ opinions of you.  It is all too easy to fall into the trap of expecting from yourself what others expect of you and not consider what you expect of yourself.

It is the lazy way out; you don’t have to think about it much if you are doing what someone else wants.  Your loved one likes a certain style of clothing so you start wearing it.  Your parents wanted you to be a teacher, so you became one.  Your friends expect you to act in a certain way, so you do it.  Your boss expects, your professor expects, your lover expects, your family expects, everyone expects something different from you.   Each person sees you through their own filters and each person wants you to behave in a certain way or look a certain way based on their own needs and their own perceptions of who and what you are.

No matter what you think or feel about yourself, there is only one of you.  You have unique gifts, talents, and attributes to offer.  You have physical features that are attractive or unique.  You have a spiritual side, a material side, an intellectual side, a social side, an introspective side.

“Don’t forget to love yourself. “ —Soren Kierkegaard

Low self-esteem is more common than you think and it is almost always due to false perceptions.  If you have low self-esteem you magnify your weaknesses and faults and minimize your strong points.

Self-Confidence and self-esteem are the primary foundation for success.  Frankly, if you don’t or can’t believe in yourself, no one else will.  But having self-confidence is not a magic cure.  It won’t:

  • Insure that you are always successful
  • Make you immune to failure and disappointment
  • Transform you into someone you aren’t
  • Stop you from making mistakes
  • Stop you from feelings of inadequacy in certain areas of your life

Having self-confidence will:

  • Make you less afraid to take risks and try new things
  • Help you discover and take advantage of your talents
  • Give you the power you need to accomplish what you want to accomplish
  • Give other people the confidence to believe in you
  • Encourage others to respect you

Self-Confidence is not bred into us.  It is bred out of us.  It starts in small ways and at a very young age.  Our parents, our peers, teachers, and other people mold us in our lives.  What you hear and are led to believe as a child stays with you well into adulthood, sometimes your whole life.

Small children know no inhibitions.  Inhibitions are learned.  Not that all inhibitions and fears are bad, some are necessary elements of self-preservation and survival.  Your mother taught you not to run out in front of cars, touch a hot stove, go into the deep end when you didn’t know how to swim.  You learned at an early age how to be afraid, afraid of the dark, afraid of fire, afraid of criticism, afraid of disapproval.  You also learned how special you were as your parents bragged about your accomplishments or told you how good you were at certain things.  Some of the things your parent told you were really true, some were not.

Face it, our parents see us differently than anyone else. My son used to say to me, “You’re my mom, you have to say that,” every time I complimented him, and even though I believe to this day that he has a great talent as a writer, he doesn’t believe it himself, so it doesn’t do him a lot of good.

Would you define yourself as self-confident or do you feel your self-confidence is lacking?  Over-confidence and under-confidence can be equally damaging.  Having too much confidence can lead you to take risks you should not, it can also be incredibly irritating to other people.  Having too little confidence will hinder you, make you less likely to succeed, and will make other people less likely to believe in you or see you as you want to be seen.

As a child, you heard many of the same messages repeatedly:

  • He is like a bull in a china closet
  • She is accident prone
  • He can’t carry a tune in a bucket
  • She’s so sweet
  • He’s a bully
  • You are my little princess
  • You are the most beautiful, the most talented child in your school
  • He has no athletic ability
  • He will be a baseball star someday
  • She will be president
  • Maybe you shouldn’t try out for the play, the team, the choir…

I was Daddy’s little girl, his princess, I was as cute as Shirley Temple and as clumsy as an elephant.  I was not athletic; in fact, I was discouraged from doing anything physical that might result in an accident.  My mother was terrified when I went into the water, she was terrified when I rode a horse, she encouraged me to write and read and told me and everyone else how smart I was. My brother was the artist, I couldn’t draw, I couldn’t play sports, I was supposed to always be polite and pretty.  This stuff still stays with me today, I am terrified of water, I worry constantly about my appearance, I am a writer, I am always polite, except when I am not, and I seem to have latched onto all the fears and negative input much more than I did the positive input.

Your past experiences, every experience to date, has some degree of impact on your self-confidence.  No one, except for the most deluded or arrogant, is self-confident in all aspects of their life.  If you are honest with yourself, there are some things you excel at and others that you should give up trying on.

I always loved acting and I was not a bad amateur actress, but I could not sing.  I knew I could act, but singing was simply out of the question.  My mother told me to just mouth the words instead of singing hymns in church from the time I was a small child.  She would wince every time I sang.  But sing I did, I was convinced I could sing and finally, one day, my boyfriend’s mother told me I could sing.  It was all the encouragement I needed.  She worked with me on my voice, and we practiced a variety of songs.  I practiced and practiced and finally tried out at the local dinner theatre.  The response was not what I expected.  The piano player stopped playing before the song was over and the Director invited me for a drink.  Over drinks, he offered me a job as Assistant Director, on the condition that I never sing again.  My confidence in my singing ability was evidently sorely displaced.

Not having confidence in things you are perfectly capable of doing or even have a talent for is much more common than having too much confidence, and it is something most of us deal with on a regular basis.

The funny thing about believing is you can believe in something that is absolutely false and if you believe it is true, it is your truth.  It does not matter where it comes from or what it is, if you believe it, it is has power.  This can be either positive or negative.  Letting go of beliefs can be hard.  Over the years, your beliefs about yourself have been ingrained in you.

Your self-confidence is impacted by your beliefs and your beliefs are born out of life experiences, what your parents told you, what your teachers told you, what your peers told you, what others tell you, and what the media tells you.  What you do with these beliefs and how you think about yourself is the basis for your self-confidence.  When you think negative thoughts, it reinforces negative beliefs and leads to a lack of self-confidence, the converse is true with positive thoughts.

 “Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” – Walt Disney

Self-confidence and self-esteem are key to achieving personal success.  The good news is that everyone has it in them to be self-confident.  Think positive thoughts about yourself and your goals and other people will be attracted to that.  Choose how you react to what happens in your life and you create what happens next.

Try to be aware of the messages you are conveying.  Are you coming off as closed?  Do you talk with your arms crossed or minimize eye contact or do you sit in an open position, have eye contact and smile?  What is your tone of voice?  Is it confidant, tentative, full of expression, or deadpan?  Your tone of voice affects both your listeners and yourself, resonate with your voice.

You will have people in your life that will pull you down and others that will pick you up.  Don’t allow the “pullers-down” to affect your vision of yourself or your destiny.  The people that discourage you are not worthy of being in your life.  Anyone that continually discourages you needs to be put on the back burner.  If they are relatives, you may not be able to dispense with them easily.  There are lots of heartstrings attached.  Regardless, those people need to take a back seat.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
― William Shakespeare

Put on the happy face.  Be your own lead actor on your own stage.  It may be counter-intuitive.  You may feel like you are lying.  You are not.  See who you want to be.  Be who you want to be.  Do what you want to do.  You have to practice confidence to achieve success.

I am always a bit hesitant to show too much confidence around those who love me.  I worry that they will judge me, not believe in who I believe I am or want to believe I am.  Have you ever felt that?

There are many ways to improve self-esteem, to train yourself to think more highly of yourself.  If you suffer from a lot of insecurity it can be hard, but it can be accomplished through increased personal awareness and discipline.

If you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will be better equipped to strengthen your self-esteem.  Knowing yourself, accepting, and appreciating yourself for who you are will go a long way toward creating your self-esteem machine.  There are things you can do to insure that your self-esteem remains intact:

  • To thine own self be true. Lead the life you want to lead, not the one others tell you to lead.  Do not expect approval from others; expect it only from yourself, based on your personal values and goals.  Don’t expect others to validate you. You have to validate yourself.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself. If you expect too much of yourself and do not achieve it, your self-image will suffer.  I am not advising you not to dream high, but expectations that are too lofty can be damaging.  I will not bore you with all the high expectations I set for myself that I didn’t achieve and that still bother me a bit.  I almost always set expectations too high and ended up suffering for it.
  • Stick to your guns, follow your dream, never give up once you have a dream that is your passion.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. We are all unique and have our own quirks and talents, comparing yourself to others, whether colleagues, friends, or relatives can be detrimental.  Focus on your strengths and talents, not on the strengths and talents of others.
  • Use affirmations to help increase and maintain your self-esteem and reinforce your self-belief systems.
  • Do not be afraid to be open with others, show them who you really are, and allow them to love you and know you for who you are and who you want to be.
  • Do not talk negatively about yourself to yourself or to others. Being self-deprecating can be a trap and may not only reduce your self-esteem but also affect your image in the eyes of others.
  • Allow yourself to be complimented or praised. Accept compliments and praise and don’t diminish it.
  • Keep your successes in mind, write them down in your journal, and keep an ongoing list. The same holds true with your positive qualities.  Focus on the positive.
  • Associate with people that are supportive and positive about you. Minimize or eliminate your time with negative people.
  • Do what you love, in work, play, and social interactions. If you love what you do, you will love yourself more and others will love you more as well.
  • Base your self-esteem on who you are now, not who you were or who you plan to be, having high self-esteem is a dynamic process.
  • Never apologize for who you are!

High self-esteem does not come from being the best, the prettiest, the smartest, the fastest.  Self-esteem is born of knowing yourself and loving yourself for who you are, warts and all.  This is the reason that so much of this book is devoted to exercises to help you get to know yourself better, to take the time to reflect yourself.

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”― C.G. Jung

You deserve unconditional love from yourself and others.   If you love yourself, it makes others love and accept you as well.  Self-love is contagious, it not only makes you feel good about yourself, but it makes others feel good about themselves.  If you are happy with yourself, you have more energy to put into doing more things, and helping other people.  People are drawn to people who believe in who they are and are comfortable in their own skins.   Believing in yourself is the ultimate power, the highest freedom, it allows you to give more and be more.

Squash Low Self-Esteem Behaviours

  1. Do you feel you are not as attractive as other people as a rule?
  2. Do you see yourself as morally worse (not as “good”) than others?
  3. Do you feel unlovable?
  4. Do you feel less intelligent than most other people?
  5. Do you deny yourself things or activities because you feel you don’t deserve them?
  6. Do you value other peoples’ opinions more than your own?
  7. Do you feel like an outsider most of the time?
  8. Do you find yourself always saying, “I’m sorry,” even when you are not sure what you are sorry for?
  9. Are you unable to accept compliments or do you often say negative things about yourself?
  10. Do you often feel uncomfortable talking about yourself or expressing your opinions?
  11. Is what other people think of you more important than what you think of yourself?
  12. Do you worry about trying out new things or taking risks?
  13. Do you find yourself envious or unhappy when others succeed?
  14. Do you criticize yourself or use negative nouns and verbs when talking with yourself or others?
  15. Do you always try to make others happy even when it does not make you happy?
  16. Are you afraid of making mistakes?
  17. Are you easily hurt or angered by what others say about you?
  18. Are you uncomfortable in new social situations?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to get to the root of why you feel that way.  It helps to reverse these questions a bit and turn them into positive statements.  Take whatever feelings are holding you back, find the opposite and affirm the opposite.

Unattractive — I am attractive because:

Unlovable — I am loveable because:

Undeserving — I deserve things because:

Left out or not accepted — I feel accepted when I:

Self-critical — I am grateful for compliments and will not criticize myself for being:

Not good enough — I am a good person because:

Not smart enough — I am intelligent because:

Not really heard or opinions not listened to — My opinions are valuable because:

Habitually saying “Sorry” — I do not need to apologize for:

Feeling not as good as others — I am interesting and have something to offer others because:

The goal is to get beyond the behaviors that are reinforcing your low self-esteem, to get beyond that “less than” feeling.  You need to engage yourself in a little self-talk here, the fact of the matter is, you are your own worst enemy when your self-esteem is low.  Whatever the reason is that your self-esteem is low is only within your power to fix.  No one else can do it for you.  The tragedy of low self-esteem is that it doesn’t matter how much other people compliment you or support you if you believe in your heart of hearts that you are not worthy or that you are “less than”.

Positive thinking and positive affirmations have proven to be effective for many people.  There is both scientific and anecdotal evidence to support this.  Nevertheless, if you have low self-esteem, the positive affirmations may actually make you feel worse.

As an example, I listen regularly to various self-help programs.  I know one almost by heart as a leading motivational speaker presents it.  He is a big proponent of positive affirmations and says that repeating “I love myself,” will actually make you more confident and make you love yourself more.  Every time I try this exercise, to this day, I find my insecure self fighting against the affirmation.  The internal conversation goes something like this:

“I love myself.”

“Why?”

“I love myself.”

“I hate myself.”

“I love myself.”

“Why does this work for other people and not for me?”

“I love myself.”

“This is bullshit, it’s not working.”

“I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself.”

Now if I change this a bit, and am realistic with myself, I can actually say I love myself and believe it.  First, I had to find the reasons that I love myself.  The fact of the matter is I do not always love myself but I do love myself because of specific things, for a variety of reasons.  It is much easier to say you love yourself and believe it if you know why you love yourself.  For example,

“I love myself because I am a genuinely kind person.”

“I love myself because I am always open to growing and becoming a better person.”

“I love myself because I am great at researching, writing, coming up with new ideas, cooking…I love myself because of my talent for listening, talking, because of my sense of humor, my sensitivity.”

Think of the reasons you love yourself and others love you.  Do not think about the elephant in the room that is all the things you are insecure about or hate about yourself.  If you have to think about those things, turn them around a bit.

I hate myself because I am shy, I am shy because I am sensitive, I love that I am sensitive.”

“I hate myself because I have a big nose.   I have a big nose because my parents had big noses.  I don’t love my parents less because of their noses, so why should I love myself less because of mine?”

A bit silly perhaps, but if you are suffering from low self-esteem, you need to turn it around and you need to have grounds for turning it around.  Positive affirmations will not help if you do not believe them yourself.  “Simply saying it don’t make it so”.  You really have to believe, you have to know that you love yourself because you have reasons to love yourself.  If you particularly hate something about yourself, you need to determine whether it is something you can change or something about yourself or if you are merely exaggerating to the point that a tiny pimple becomes a giant wart.

A  Few Daily Quick Fixes to Raise Your Self-Esteem

Pay attention to your needs and wants.  Listen to your body, your mind and your heart.  Your body can be easy to listen to, if you are tired, take a nap.  If you are hungry, eat. If you are stiff, stretch.  If you want to talk to your mother, call her.  If you have a project that you have been putting off and need to finish, finish it.  Be aware of yourself and your basic needs, and respond to them promptly.

  • Treat yourself as a good parent would treat a child. Be kind to yourself.
  • Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually, you are worth the time and effort.
  • Do something you are good at or love each day.
  • Believe in Yourself

“I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me.
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.”
― Walt Whitman

Believe in all that you are and have confidence and faith in yourself.  Give your inner self full permission to be all you can be.  Know that you have inner power that is greater than any obstacle or difficulty that may come your way.

Believing in your vision, in the person you see yourself as, is an important step in achieving anything.  If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.  Believing in yourself is an essential part of allowing yourself to take the risks necessary to succeed.   No one believes in themselves 100% of the time.  Self-doubts are normal.  Everyone doubts themselves at some point or another.  Face it, if you didn’t doubt yourself now and then, you would probably be a bit delusional.

A few key points to remember when working to believe more in yourself include realizing that you, like everyone else, change every day.  You are not the person you were a year ago, or even yesterday.   You wake up one morning full of confidence and optimism and the next morning you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, pessimistic, negative, and grumpy.  It’s normal.  The good news is you can train yourself to believe in yourself, to minimize the negative and maximize the positive.

There was a time in your life when you thought you could do anything.  The world was full of limitless possibilities.  Perhaps you thought you would be a great athlete, a great writer, President of the US.  Eventually, though, over the years, that optimism, the belief that the world is your oyster, gets eroded by reality, by the opinions of others and by your own limitations.  Somewhere along the line (usually in adolescence) self-doubt becomes more prevalent.

If you have stopped believing in yourself, you can change that.  You can get that confidence back by concentrating on the things about you that make you special.  You have a lot of strengths; you need to focus on them.  Use the power of self-talk to empower yourself.

It is important to be your own best friend and not your own worst enemy.  It is easy to fall into the trap of being negative about yourself; after all, you do know all your own failures better than anyone else does so it is easy to be critical of yourself.  What qualities do you expect in a friend?  Do you have those qualities?  The answer is you probably do.

What is special about you?  If you are doing all the exercises in this course, you have spent some time thinking about your past and present.  You have looked at your strengths and weaknesses and your life as a child, teen, and adult.  Now, you need to look at yourself from inside out and outside in.

Make a list of at least 30 things you like about yourself.  These can be little things or big things.  You may like that you can bake a great cake, or you may like your eyes, your nose, your little toes. You may like that you can sing or write or play a sport.  You may like your ability to communicate with children or your level of education.  You may particularly be proud that you are insightful, polite, educated, or open-minded.  Perhaps you like that you are physically fit, that you volunteer, that you have faith, that you dress nicely, or that you are always on time.  Write them all down.  You can do it here or, better yet, on cards that will fit in your wallet so you can keep the things that you like about yourself with you at all times and keep reminding yourself of them.

“Basically we are all the same human beings with the same potential to be a good human being or a bad human being … The important thing is to realize the positive side and try to increase that; realize the negative side and try to reduce. That’s the way.” – Dali Llama

Sometimes it is hard to see the positive in situations, negative things happen in life, in everyone’s life.  We all experience failure, loss, defeat, sorrow, dejection, rejection, and countless other negative things in our lives.  Some people can pick themselves right back up and maintain an eternally sunny disposition, but face it; no one is always satisfied and happy.

Happiness has to come from within, health and prosperity are largely influenced by positive thinking and your outlook on life.

Throw out the negative.  Focus on what you do well; focus on your strengths. Appreciate the positive things in your life.  Appreciate yourself!

Be Kind to Yourself

Be kind to yourself.  If you are not kind to yourself, how can you be kind to others?

The truth of the matter is that most of us are harder on ourselves than we are on others.  Would you talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself?  Would you purposely try to make your friends or loved ones feel guilty for something that happened in the past?  Would you invite a friend over and not give them anything to drink or eat?  Would you tell your friend that they are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough?

Nurturing oneself is sometimes one of the hardest things in the world to do.  Even liking oneself can be difficult.  After all, you know what you think, you know where the darkness in you is, what all your guilty little secrets and sins are.  You know every little thing you have screwed up, every hateful thought you have ever had, you know way too much about yourself to give yourself a break.

As children we are taught to show kindness to others, to be loving, patient, kind, forgiving, supportive and helpful to others.  We are taught to be polite, to not hurt other people’s feelings by saying or doing cruel things.  We are taught to behave, and we are also taught that a lot of our worth comes from what others think about us, what we think about ourselves, well, that’s another matter.

You deserve kindness, everyone does.  But you have to give it to yourself.  You have to allow yourself to be kind to yourself.  If you cannot be kind to yourself, if you always put others first, it is going to take away from your vibrancy, your energy, your self-esteem.

Be kind to your body, exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep, have that massage, that manicure, whatever it is that makes your body feel good.

Be patient with yourself.  Stop feeling like you need to be perfect (whatever that is).  Stop putting yourself second or feeling less-than or inferior.  Stop criticizing your appearance, your behaviour, your performance.  Stop being your own worst critic.

Love yourself unconditionally.  Allow yourself to indulge yourself.  Do the same things for yourself you do for your loved ones, in fact, do more. Give yourself time, embrace yourself, relax, do the things you love to do.

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Don’t judge yourself too harshly
  • Talk positively to yourself
  • Indulge yourself
  • Treat yourself to things you love
  • Take time to relax

Treat yourself as you would treat your loved ones or your very best friend.

Do not judge yourself too harshly, everyone makes mistakes and making a mistake or failing at a task does not make you less of a person.  Forgiving oneself is not always easy.  You are stuck with knowing everything you have done in your life, good or bad.  Wherever you go, there you are.  The person looking back at you from the mirror knows every unkind thought you have ever had, knows every lie you have ever told, every crime you have ever committed, whether in thought or in deed.

Martin Luther said that “forgiveness is God’s command”, yet we somehow think of forgiveness as something that we receive from others, that we give to others.  Internal forgiveness and acceptance is much more difficult, but also much more necessary.

Until you can forgive yourself, for whatever it is that you have done or think you have done, or whatever it is you are punishing yourself for, you will not be free to move forward, to open yourself up to a better brighter future.

Not forgiving yourself is a bit akin to wallowing in self-pity.  Failure to forgive yourself can provide you with plenty of excuses for not succeeding, not the least of which is feeling that you do not deserve to get what you want or achieve success.

If you are feeling guilty about anything, you need to let it go.  If you need to go to confession to let it go, do it.  If you have a friend you can talk to about the things you are keeping hidden yet still can’t let go, tell him.  Otherwise, imagine that your best friend has just told you that she has done everything that you have done.  Is it unforgiveable?  Is it really as bad as you have been thinking?

The most regrettable thing about not forgiving oneself is that we often blame ourselves for things we have or had no control over. Playing the blame game with yourself is not only cruel but it is totally unproductive.

“ If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”— Charlotte Bronte

Forgiving yourself is a necessary part of freeing yourself for success.  Guilt immobilizes you, holds you back.   Spend some time thinking about the things you feel badly about, things you may have said or done and give yourself permission to forgive yourself.  Apologize to yourself, accept the past as being the past.  If there is a solution for whatever it is you are feeling guilty about, try to solve the problem, but if there is no solution, let it go.  Changing the past is not possible, you can only go forward and try not to make the same mistakes today or in the future.

Everyone makes mistakes and you probably haven’t made your last one.  One of the truly wonderful things about forgiving yourself is that once you forgive yourself, you can be more open to other people and new opportunities.  You will find it easier to forgive others and be more tolerant of other people if you have taken the steps to forgive yourself.

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” – Mark Twain

You alone can take the reins of your life and love yourself for who and what you are.  If you cannot love yourself, if you do not believe in yourself, how can others believe in you?  Know how valuable you are; give yourself credit for being the individual you are.

SEEBEDO Your Self-Esteem

SEE yourself as someone you love – warts and all.  See all the wonderful unique things about yourself and accept how special you are.

BE kind to yourself.  Be forgiving of yourself.  Be generous with yourself.  Be confident.  Be accepting.

DO exercise and take care of yourself and your appearance.  Do things for others.  Do things that you love and that will expand your mind.  Do not beat yourself up.

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Affirmations to Fuel Your Success

Create & Use Affirmations That Work For YOU

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha

Everyone has special traits and gifts. Everyone has something unique and special to offer to themselves and the world. We sometimes forget just how special we are. This is particularly true of people that are perfectionists or who feel they can be better or do more (conversely, feeling not good enough or not successful enough).

“I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” — Mohammed Ali

Positive affirmations can affect your self-esteem, they can help you feel better about yourself. But like everything else, quality is more important than quantity. You have to believe in your affirmations. They have to speak to you personally, about you personally, they have to reflect who you are and who you want to be. I recently listened to a recording of affirmations by a famous motivational speaker that really irritated me. I don’t know if I was irritated because I didn’t believe the affirmations tape myself, or because it sounded like a second grade teacher talking to a child. There was new age music in the background as the affirmations were repeated; they went something like this,

“I am wonderful because I am part of the universe. You are wonderful because you are part of the universe. I am beautiful because I am in the Cosmos. You are beautiful because you are in the Cosmos…”

Affirmations only work if you believe in them or their potential to be reality. Affirmations only work if you have faith in them. Fairy tales, once upon a time and happily ever after, do you believe in them? My personal favorite fairy tale is Cinderella and I love any movie that has a Cinderella story in it. I spent years and years fantasizing about my Prince, my happily ever after, I imagined it endlessly, I fell asleep to Cinderella stories I made up in my mind, truth be told, I still make up Cinderella stories to fall asleep to. Reality is far different though, and no matter how many times I repeat to myself that I am a princess or Queen of the world, no matter how many times I say I will have a happily ever after, I don’t really believe it. It is a fantasy, and certainly no basis for creating positive affirmations about my life or me.

Positive affirmations need to be personal. Positive affirmations are not fairy dust. Positive affirmations are fuel, but like all fuel, it must be the right fuel. You cannot run an auto on jet fuel. Your affirmations need to fuel your belief in yourself, and they need to be created especially for you, your own special fuel, the fuel that you know will make you go farther and faster. There are literally hundreds of options for affirmations and it is best to create your own.

Affirmations can focus on anything and everything in your life, your beliefs, your hopes, desires, and dreams. Do not use affirmations you have not created yourself. First, someone else’s affirmation has no strength for you unless you personally believe it is fully applicable to you. Second, other peoples’ affirmations can make you feel worse, rather than better about yourself. After all, if John Doe can affirm that he is eminently lovable and rich, why can’t you?

Your affirmations have to be your affirmations and yours alone. Affirmations cannot be graded and no one can tell you what your affirmations should be. Affirmations have to be believable, you have to have faith in your affirmations and you have to understand that an affirmation is saying yes. Say yes to life through your affirmations and make your affirmations your own. Positive thought, positive affirmations work. To affirm is to believe, to recognize the truth of something. However, beliefs are hard to quantify, and very often, not based on fact. You have to do a bit of self-brainwashing. If you have grown up always thinking you are “less-than”, you have to convert that to a “more-than”.

Assuming, as some studies show, that the brain does not really recognize time, you have to see yourself as you want to be, be that person, and do what is necessary to prove that your belief in yourself is founded. It is a process, see it, be it do it. Affirmations work because the more determined you are to make changes, the more you express your desire to make changes and see things positively, the more things work for you.

Positive affirmations reprogram your thought patterns. You essentially are replacing old or dysfunctional beliefs with a new belief system. When you consistently reinforce a child’s confidence and self-worth by telling them they are brilliant, they actually believe they are brilliant, or vice versa. The same is true of your conscious and subconscious mind. You are establishing your own inner support and reinforcement system with positive affirmations.

Affirmations can change and evolve. They can reflect who you want to be and believe you can be or who you actually are today. Affirmations are not magical thinking, they are not fantasies, they are thoughts and beliefs that are or have the potential to become reality. Affirmations should be in the present tense, even if it is something you do not yet have. This may sound contradictory but it is key to actualizing your affirmations.

Writing your affirmations can be a fun task, light some candles, go to the park, sit on your balcony.

  1. Start with the big ones, the things you want to see yourself as :
    1. I am wealthy
    2. I am healthy and strong
    3. I am a successful businessperson, writer, singer, performer…
    4. I am a force in the universe
  2. Work backward from the big ones to ways that these big ones are already true or will become true :
    1. I am wealthy because I have an excellent business plan, a talent for making money, a special skill…
    2. I am healthy and strong because I eat right and exercise
    3. I am successful because I know my business, I have talent for business, writing, singing, performing…
    4. I have an impact on others because I am kind, empathetic, generous, a teacher, a friend, mother, father, brother
  3. Write down the affirmations that are part of you now, in the present
    1. I am kind, I am smart, I can sing like a bird, I am enthusiastic, young at heart, beautiful, strong…whatever the most positive things about yourself are that you want to reinforce.
  4. Find ways to believe in your ideal affirmations, even if it means making them a little less lofty, for example, if wealthy seems like too much of a stretch in the moment, change “I am wealthy,” to “I am in a financial position to buy the things I want and need”. These are your affirmations, the things you believe and are saying yes to, make sure you believe them.
  5. If you find yourself saying “Not” at the end of an affirmation, or laughing at yourself because the affirmation strikes you as unachievable, rework it, write baby step affirmations.
  6. Create a ritual for repeating your affirmations on a daily basis. For example, write a poem and memorize it, create a video and watch it each day. I start each day on my computer by going first to a page on my website where I have my all I can be, all I can do video and poem. Sing your affirmations, combine your affirmations with your morning or evening rituals.

Make positive “I” statements :

I affirm:

  • that I am strong
  • that I am beautiful
  • that I am loved
  • myself to forgive myself
  • others to be who they are
  • myself to make mistake
  • myself to be less than perfect
  • to succeed
  • to do my best in all I do
  • to help others
  • to help myself
  • to work hard to reach my goals
  • wonderful
  • beautiful
  • special
  • unique
  • healthy and happy
  • getting wealthier every day
  • calm and relaxed in every situation
  • surrounded by love
  • successful in whatever I do
  • living in the house of my dreams

I allow:

I am willing:

I am:

I am becoming more and more __________ each and every day. I am feeling more and more ____________each and every day. I am improving in ___________________each day and every day. Every day I am moving closer to my goal of _________________.

I believe:

  • in myself
  • in God
  • in others
  • in goodness
  • do anything I commit myself to
  • change
  • succeed
  • be whatever I want to be
  • happiness
  • wealth
  • success
  • love
  • beauty
  • good relationships
  • great art
  • great work
  • good feelings
  • what to do
  • how to_______________
  • a wonderful, satisfying job
  • unlimited energy
  • good and loving relations with _______________
  • the money I need
  • I have expertise in ___________________
  • the means to do what I want to do

I can:

I choose:

I create:

I know:

I have:

As you create your affirmations, you must believe in them and take them as your own, as part of yourself. Every affirmation must be carefully worded and completely “cover the ground.” State your affirmations in the present. Remember that your subconscious does not grasp the concept of time. If stating affirmations in the present does not seem real enough to you and you must state an affirmation in the future, put a timeline on it – say I will do _______by ___________.

Do not affirm things that are blatantly untrue – you know it’s BS and so does your subconscious. Finally, if you are going to use affirmations and have them work you need to do it with passion and emotion. Put the strength of conviction in your affirmations and incorporate mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects into your affirmation performance. Verbalize strongly and with emotion. Stand tall or move around to increase the energy levels. Focus on what you are affirming and visualize yourself being exactly as you are affirming yourself. Stick to it, be consistent, and believe in yourself.

SEEBEDO Your Affirmations

SEE yourself as you are, as you want to be and as know you have the potential to be.

BE the person you affirm yourself to be.

DO the things required to be the person you see, the person you want to be.

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Overcome Guilt

Let Go of the Past & Stop Feeling Guilty

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

I was raised Catholic so I know guilt, I am a master at it, as many Catholics also attest to being.  Saints, priests, monks and nuns practiced self-punishment for centuries. There must be something to it, right?  No, definitely not!  Guilt is hate turned inward, it is anger at yourself and overcoming guilt is important in accepting yourself and loving yourself for who you are.

Guilt can throw you into confusion, into depression, into fear.  It is not necessarily rational and often the feelings of guilt have more impact than the actual deed.  Guilt is often born of the idea that you could have done better, could have done something else, and could have changed an outcome by behaving differently.

 “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Like Jacob Marley, from A Christmas Carol, we carry chains of guilt, often, we have made them heavier than they need be.  Your values have a lot to do with your guilt, and if you feel guilty about something for reasons society or religions have imposed, it is sometimes extremely difficult to get over them.

Twelve step programs advocate “a fearless moral inventory” and the seeking of amends with your higher power, God and with others.  Some religions impose eternal damnation for certain acts, which can be hard to get over even if you are willing to make amends.  Some say, “Confession is good for the soul”.  If confessing or making amends makes you feel better and helps you get rid of the guilt, then by all means, do it.  However, if you still harbor guilt, you have to take a new look at guilt, does it really need to be part of your life?

“There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

What has occurred in the past may or may not have repercussions today. Cheating on a test, stealing something, having an abortion, hurting someone years ago may not be reparable today.  If it is not reparable today, if it a done deed that cannot be apologized or made up for, you need to let it go.  Allow yourself to forgive yourself and do not repeat the mistake again.  If nothing can be done about it, it brings nothing to let it fester and affect your mindset and your life.

A lot of the things we feel guilty about seemed the right thing to do at the time, from getting so involved in a party that you get drunk on your face to committing a victimless crime.  At the time the deed was done, the situation was different, perhaps you were stressed, broke, up against a wall, afraid, caught up in a situation where you thought you were doing the only thing you could or you made a choice that seemed right at the time but in hindsight, it was a poor decision.

Hindsight provides a very different view than real-time.  In hindsight, you wish you had done things differently.  But in real-time, when that guilt inducing action or event was happening did you know what the outcome would be?  Were you in a position, emotionally, physically, financially, to do things differently?   Perhaps, but in most cases, an objective look at why you did what you did at the time will give you a much better perspective on things. 

You may have had no idea what the consequences of your actions might be when you acted.  Now, looking back, you see it was a terrible choice and had awful consequences.  Or perhaps the consequences for others were not so awful but the deed still lays heavy on your heart.

It is our human condition that we act and react according to emotions and situations.  By increasing awareness, knowing yourself better, understanding what your trigger points are and knowing your history, you can reduce the number of mistakes you make.  You can live more fully in a state of love and peace once you accept your humanness and lower the bar.  You are never going to be perfect, you will always regret certain things, but it is part of life.

Patterns of behavior are often deeply ingrained, the past, for whatever reason, is in control, and so the same mistakes, the same behaviors are repeated over and over again until awareness is strong enough that we can let the past go.  Our actions are the sum of our past, our environment, our hopes and dreams, our sensitivities and our feelings, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  So why then do we beat ourselves up with guilt?

Guilt is useless, unhealthy and self-indulgent.  It is an anchor that pulls you down, mires you in the past, and it can be paralytic.  We punish ourselves resulting in depression, low self-confidence and self-esteem and constant rumination about what we should have, would have or could have done differently.  We fear the impact of Karma, or the wrath of God because of past failures or sins.  We create our own private hells where we are not the hero, but the villain, the Golem, the evil ghost of the past.

Letting go of guilt does not make you amoral nor does it mean that you should repeat the same mistakes you made in the past.  It is a necessary step in moving forward, in being aware of what made you do what you did and accepting that it was a different time and place, a different you, a different circumstance.  Move forward; make amends where you can, correct your mistakes where you can.  However, if you cannot correct your mistakes or make amends, let it go.  Move forward.

Resolve to resolve your guilt:

  1. Accept that the past is past and cannot be changed.
  2. Make a commitment not to make the same mistake twice.
  3. Fix problems that can be fixed or at least try.
  4. If you cannot fix a problem or make amends for what you are feeling guilty about, let it go.
  5. Talk to someone about it.
  6. Do your best and give yourself a break, if your best is not up to your standards, perhaps your self-expectations are too high.
  7. Forgive yourself.

Guilt is a powerful negative emotion that can make you feel “less-than”, unworthy of love from yourself or others.  We have all done things we are not proud of, we have all made mistakes; we all have regrets.  Holding onto guilt, not allowing yourself to forgive yourself is self-destructive.  You may have done things that seemed right at the time but in retrospect were not.  Most of us are not guilty of major crimes, more often than not, we are guilty of hurting others or ourselves emotionally.

If you are feeling guilty about something in your life, look at it objectively, did you have malicious intent?  Did you knowingly set out to hurt someone else?  In most cases, the answer is probably no.  There are times in our lives when a course of action seems the only answer, then upon later review, perhaps there were other options.

Guilt will not make what you did go away; it will not change what happened in the past.  Forgive yourself.  Apologize to others or make amends if necessary or possible.  Above all, let it go, learn from it, and try to avoid the circumstances that drove you to feel guilty in the first place.

Make a list of the things you feel guilty about:

  • Are these things based on reality or are they based on a perception, a fear, something you had no control over?
  • What would you say to a friend that was suffering the same guilt for the same reason? Write down what really happened and the reasons you did what you did at the time.
  • Is the guilt the result of someone else blaming you or someone else’s judgments?
  • Is what they are saying based in fact or their own perceptions? Are you accepting someone else’s version of the truth?
  • What lesson did you learn from the source of your guilt, what good things can you take with you from the experience?

We all live with guilt in some measure or another, whether we feel guilty because we fell off our diet or because we committed an offense.  The only true way to deal with guilt is to admit it, make amends if necessary and forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself and let it go.  If you feel you need to make amends, do it.  But do not expect open arms and forgiveness from others.  Forgive yourself first and if others cannot forgive you or be compassionate, let it go.

SEEBEDO Your Guilt

SEE your guilt for what it is, see that you can forgive yourself

BE forgiving, be aware of how special you are, be gentle with yourself, be honest

DO make amends where you can and forgive and love yourself

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Habits – The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Break Bad Habits and Create Good Habits

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” — John Dryden

Habits are essentially the result of the brain responding to stimuli based on an established pattern.  The more you repeat something, the more ingrained it becomes; the more ingrained it becomes, the stronger it is and the more impact it has on your automatic responses and behaviour. Habits are literally etched into our brains.  They are the result of repeated patterns that become our go-tos at certain times or in certain situations.

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” ― Samuel Johnson

To get rid of bad habits and instil good ones requires a bit of work.  It is the repeated doing of something that creates the pathways in our brain that result in habits, good or bad. Habits can make life easier – what are your current habits?  What things trigger your habits?  Which are the good habits and which are the bad?

There is a school of thought that says it takes 21 days to form a habit.  Other studies say it takes at least 66 days and sometimes as long as a year.  The prevalent view, though is that  habits can be made or broken in 30 days, this is supported by NASA research. There are a lot of good habits that range from very basic daily routines to daily routines that incorporate exercise, meditation, productivity, and positivity into life.  Cultivating good habits is as important as getting rid of the bad ones. If you have old habits you want to get rid of you can replace old habits with new positive habits.  It requires that you have a “why”.  Why do you want to change?  Is that why a big enough motivator to change for the positive?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

If we go with the 30 Day Rule – assuming that habits can be made or broken in 30 days,  there are a lot of options in a year.  You could work on habit replacement, and if you are like me and have plenty of bad habits and not enough good ones, you could replace 12 habits with 12 good ones.  Kill two birds with one stone – trade in the bad for the good.

“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”  —  Desideratum Erasmus

If that seems a little ambitious for you, you can focus on one habit at a time for 30 days each.  That still gets you to 12 in a year and how many habits can one person have any how?

Simply make a list with two columns – “Good” and “Bad” and list each of your habits.  No judgement or analysis yet – just a basic list of your habits.

Once you know what your habits are, which are good and which are bad, you can start the hard work.  What habits do you want to break and what new habits do you want to create?  I am assuming you want to break the bad habits and possibly create some new ones that positively affect your life and your health. There are two schools of thought – one is that you focus on one habit at a time – the other is that you actively replace the old (bad) habit with a good habit.

“The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.” ― Marcel Proust

How you approach it is really dependent on your personality and the habit itself.  I will use smoking as an example because I have fought that battle myself.  I knew I had to quit, but every time I thought about quitting, I went on a smoking binge.   This is my last pack, I would say, as I chain—smoked through a full pack.  Then I would say, I can’t quit now – the withdrawal will be too hard and I can’t afford to deal with any symptoms right now.  Really convoluted thinking isn’t it? We all know the benefits of not smoking.  It’s a no-brainer.  No one knows the list better than I do.

My decision was to quit, to reward myself for quitting, and at the same time, start a fitness regimen.  Why?  Because I knew I couldn’t be fit and continue to smoke and I wanted to be fit. I utilized the habit replacement system.  Instead of reaching for a cigarette, I kept fruit and plenty of water at my desk.  When I wanted that “have a cigarette to think” time, I got up, walked outside, stretched, had my think without a cigarette in my hand.  I started an exercise regimen that helped get rid of the excess tension I had that I previously tried to assuage with cigarettes. It all worked hand in hand.

What’s more, I rewarded myself, I saved enough in my first month of not smoking to go out for a full-blown sushi dinner and buy a new smartphone.  It worked for me. The next month, I was running regularly, eating better, and being much more productive.  Reward and replacement worked for me, but it took me far longer than it should have to finally make the decision to actually quit. Smoking is an extremely bad habit and I was not in the habit of regular exercise.  The two went hand in hand for me – replace the old with the new.

Some habits are easier to break than others.  You know which ones they are for you.  You know which ones are your bugaboos. Cultivating good habits is just as important as getting rid of bad habits.  There are a few good habits everyone should add to their arsenal.

  1. The Physical Health Habit — Eat well, exercise daily, sleep regularly
  2. The Mental Health Habit – Meditate, use affirmations, think positive.
  3. The Kindness Habit – Be kind and considerate of others, be forgiving and don’t be judgemental.
  4. The Gratitude Habit – Be grateful and give thanks each day for all things great and small.
  5. The Action Habit – Don’t procrastinate and do something every day toward reaching your goals.
  6. The Writing Habit – Keep a journal, keep a diary, keep a written schedule. Write down your goals, affirmations, thoughts, and ideas.
  7. The Love Habit – Love yourself above all else, love others unconditionally.
  8. The Happiness Habit – Be happy, smile, laugh, enjoy life.
  9. The No Fears Habit – Don’t be afraid of what other people will say, don’t give into your fears.
  10. The Live for Today Habit – Make every day count, be at one with the universe

There is an infinite number of possibilities for good habits – habits that will make you happier, more productive, healthier, stronger, and wealthier.  Cultivate good habits and chances are the bad habits will resolve themselves.

Try to get some outside support as you work on your habits.  Commit publicly to your mission and don’t worry if you fail the first time.  Dust yourself off and try again. Positive thinking, exercise, meditation, and a daily routine will go a long way toward helping you accomplish your goals.  If you incorporate your new good habit(s) into the routine all the better.

SEEBEDO Your Habits

SEE yourself as the healthy, bad-habit free person you want to be. See your habits for what they are whether good or bad.

BE strong in your commitment to your habit change plan and be kind to yourself.  Be aware of the benefits of good habits and the detriments of bad ones.

DO the things necessary to achieve your goals, reward yourself and incorporate your new good habits into your daily routine.  Do the work to get rid of your bad habits and keep to your 30 day plan.

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Worry-Free Living

How to Stop Worrying and Be Happier

“Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is worry free living really possible?  Dale Carnegie and other motivational speakers and writers seem to think so.  Worry free living, sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Living without worrying about your kids, job, money, health, the future would truly be wonderful, wouldn’t it?  Worry is generally non-productive.  It can give you insomnia, ulcers, depression, and enough anxiety to cripple you emotionally.  We all worry to some extent; it is what we do with that worry that makes the difference.

The Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,”  is used in 12 Step Groups the world over, and it is always good to keep in mind.  As a natural born worrier, I repeat it often, not that it actually stops me worrying, but it does put things in a bit more perspective for me.

Most of the time worries are unfounded, they are niggling mites that eat at you and sap your energy and attack your confidence.   Jesus asks, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”   Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles but most of them never happened.”

I could go on and on here with quotes from religious leaders, proverbs, great thinkers and writers about the uselessness of worry.  Even thinking and writing about the uselessness of worrying I worry, it is in our nature.

That we should be victims of any thought that happens to enter our minds is admitting to absolute powerlessness.  If you are kept awake all night worrying about something, and feel you have no control over it, you will always be a victim.  The image of awful things to come needs to be shut down and expelled from your mind.  If you have a pebble in your shoe, you get rid of it, why not do the same thing with pervasive worries and fears?  It should be as easy to get rid of worry as tossing that pebble out of your shoe.  Until you are able to do that, to get rid of dysfunctional thoughts and worries, you will be a slave to worry.

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Worry. So what?  When you start to worry, ask yourself, “So what?”   Most worries are only worth a so what.  If you are carrying too many worries around, toss them out.  So what if your party doesn’t go just right.  So what if your friends don’t like your cooking.  So what if you make a mistake in your presentation.  So what if someone doesn’t like you or you can’t afford to buy the perfect gift.  So what if it rains on your picnic or you catch a cold.  This could go on and on.  So what if you don’t like my list of so whats?  What’s the worst that could happen?

There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your worries and the time you devote to them.  When you just can’t help worrying, try to make the worrying as productive as possible.

Productive Worrying Technique

  1. Set aside a time for worrying. Give yourself a designated time each day to worry, this alone seems comical to me.  Do I really want to set aside twenty minutes each day to worry, is it worth it?  This, in and of itself is a step toward realizing the worthlessness of worrying.
    1. When a worry pops into your head, write it down on a scrap of paper, is it even worth writing down?
    2. During your “worry appointment” with yourself, make your worry list; write down your worries and what you can do about them. If you can’t do anything about them, throw them out.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  2. Ask yourself the following questions about each thing you are worrying about:
    1. What is the cause of the problem?
    2. Can I do anything about it? If you can’t, throw it out.  If you can do something about it, then for God’s sake, do something about it, come up with a solution and follow through on your solution.
  3. Be honest with yourself, do you get something out of worrying, does it make you feel more righteous, more in touch, more important? Are you one of those people that says, “I just can’t help it, I worry about everything.”  Are you a worry drama queen?

It is common advice to suggest that if you have worries, you should ask yourself “What is the worst that could happen?”  This may work for some, but I suggest that if you can’t do anything about it, simply stop worrying about it, ruminating over the worst that could happen might make it worse; it might give you even more to worry about.  If you start thinking about the worst that could happen, you are bound to come up with worst case scenarios that create their own worries.

If you can’t do anything about it, if you have no control over it, throw out the worry.  Don’t waste any more time on it.  If you can’t control it you have no right to worry about it!

If you are worried about flying, you don’t have the right to that worry, only the pilot has the right to worry.  If you are worried about other people being unhappy, you have no right to that worry, it is their right to worry about their unhappiness, not yours.

The Worrier’s Bill of Rights

  1. Worrying is not a virtue, it doesn’t make me a better or more caring person.
  2. I only have the right to worry about things over which I have control.
  3. If I have control over something, I have the right to change it.
  4. If I have a worry I can change, I have the responsibility to either change it or decide that it isn’t worth the effort to change.
  5. If a problem isn’t worth the effort to change, it isn’t worth worrying about.
  6. If a problem deserves changing and I can change it, I need to determine what the solution to the problem is.
  7. If the solution is in my power to accomplish, I need to solve the problem.
  8. If the solution is not in my power, then it is not my problem and I don’t have the right to that worry.
  9. I cannot worry about things in the past. Unless I can rectify or change something that happened, I have no right to worry about it.
  10. I can only worry about things in the future if I have control over them.
  11. If I have control over something, I don’t need to worry about it, I only need to exercise my control, come up with a solution and work the solution.
  12. If the solution to my problem does not work, I can only worry about my problems insofar as I can come up with another solution. If there is no solution, I have no right to worry.
  13. I have the right to do things that are productive, to keep myself busy and engaged in productive and positive activities and to stop worrying.
  14. I do not have the right to devote time that could be productive to worrying about things I cannot control or change
  15. I have the right to share my worries, to speak about them with friends and families.
  16. If I am afraid to share my worries with others, I have no right to keep those worries.

The worry that cannot be spoken, that cannot be shared, turns to guilt, or even greater worries and fears.  The worry that cannot be given up turns to sickness, depression, and other nasty things that create even more worries and fears.  If you are unwilling to share your worries with someone else because you are embarrassed or uncomfortable about sharing your worries, then it stands to reason that you should probably dispense with the worry.  If it is too embarrassing to talk about, then it is not worth holding onto.

As I was growing up my mother used to tell me, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” and she would give me some task to do so I would stop moping or pouting.  Keeping busy may be an antidote to worrying.  If you are busy doing something your focus is on the task at home and it is difficult to concentrate on two things at once.  The problem with busying yourself is that the minute you stop busying yourself you start worrying again unless you are willing to truly let go of your worries.

One of the basic tenets of the Law of Attraction is that you are what you think.  If you are what you think and what you think about is all your worries, oops, that really sucks.  You don’t want to be a train wreck, do you?  So stop worrying.  Now you are probably worrying about worrying.  It is a vicious cycle.

It is not possible, for most of us, to dispense with all our worries.  It is what we do with them that counts.  Once you have determined the worries that you can actually deal with and the problems you can solve or situations you can change, you can move forward and make positive changes in your life.

When you are faced a worry or problem, you can follow a simple four step process to resolve it.

  1. Determine the root cause of the worry. Are you worried about money, job, love, health?  Whatever the worry is, try to be specific about it.
  2. Come up with a possible solution.
  3. Work the solution.
  4. Solve the problem.

A smile is a frown turned upside down.  So it is with worry, if you are worried about something, then transform that worry into a goal or affirmation:

  • I am not worried about money, I have a goal to make a certain amount of money, I have a plan to reach that goal. I will work my plan to reach my goal.
  • I am not worried about my health; I am exercising and eating well so I have no reason to worry about my health.
  • I am not worried about my relationships, I am treating myself and others with respect and love and that will result in others respecting and loving me.
  • I am not worried about the weather, about natural disasters, about things I have no control over as it is a waste of time and energy and I have other things that are more important to think about and do.

Turn your worries into positives.  Worries that you can deal with, that you have actual control over can positively impact your life.  Take control of your worries and use them to create actionable goals.

SEEBEDO Your Worries

SEE where your worries are coming from and determine whether they are based in reality or not.

BE cognizant of how often you worry and what you worry about.  Be fearless about taking on the things you worry about.

DO stop worrying about things you cannot change and change the things you can.

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Life Balance and Enjoyment

Find Balance and Enjoy Your Life More

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

Life Balance is not easy to achieve.  If you do anything to the extreme, your life is not in balance.  If you live by the philosophy, “I want to be all I can, do all I can, and do all I can”, how do you balance your life?  Life is indeed a bit of a balancing act which gets even more complex as you grow older and have more and more responsibilities.  There never seem to be enough hours in the day to address everyday life issues, let alone try to do all the things you may want to do.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ― Helen Keller

I know only a few people that can honestly say they lead the ideal life, balanced, happy, with an equal mix of:

  1. Health
  2. Love
  3. Spiritual Fulfilment
  4. Helping Others
  5. Relationships
  6. Money
  7. Work
  8. Fun and Enjoyment
  9. Learning

The good news is many aspects of a balanced life overlap.  Life balance is not science, it is an art.  You cannot simply say that you will spend 11% of your time on each of the things on this life balance list.  That is downright silly.   You can learn at work and you can have enjoy yourself at work, you can help others when you are working, make money when you are working.  You can help others you love, that you are in relationships with.  Spiritual fulfillment, whatever that is in your personal life, can be attained through love, and health walks hand in hand with fun and feeling fulfilled.  It can all be a bit confusing.

Bottom line is that if you are feeling like your life is out of balance, it probably is.  If you are feeling unhappy, dissatisfied, or depressed, your life is probably not in balance.  You are not alone.  There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything you may want or need to do.  So how do you make the most out of each day to bring your life into balance?

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Prioritize

Make a list of the people and activities that are important to you.  Make time for your priorities.  Keep the list to less than ten, otherwise it can become overwhelming because you need to make time for what is important to you and there are only so many hours in each day.

Use a Calendar Daily (Weekends Included)

You can use an online calendar, your mobile phone, a hard copy calendar, it doesn’t matter what type what matters is that you map out your day for each day of the week with your daily plans, and goals.  I use the old Filofax system with paper and pen but I supplement it with Google Calendar because I can easily add recurring dates, print it out, etc.  Do you have a calendar you use?  If not, decide which one fits your style best.

Track Your Activities

You have put everything in your calendar that you want to do each day, did you do everything in your calendar, if not, what did you do instead?  Use your calendar to do this.

Keep a Journal

This is only for you, you don’t need to be a great writer, you don’t even need to write much, just a few notes about your day and your feelings will do.  You can combine this with your calendar – it’s easy, it’s just for you, and it doesn’t have to be complex or take a lot of time.

Take Time for Yourself

Make sure you have some alone time for yourself, whether it is going for a walk each day, writing in your diary, soaking in the bathtub.  You need some alone time!

Get Some Exercise

You need to get those endorphins going, you need to keep fit.  Get some decent exercise at least four times a week.  You don’t have to join a gym or train for a marathon, you can simply go for regular walks, go for a jog, do Yoga, whatever gets your blood flowing.

Ask Your Loved Ones What is Important

You want to make time for your loved ones, what is important to them, how do they want to spend their free time, how do they want to spend their time with you?

Turn off the Television

The average American family watches four and a half (4.30) hours of television a day, the average free time on a weekday is about four hours if you are working a forty hour week – you do the math!

Get Involved

Whether you want to coach your kid’s soccer team, teach Sunday School, volunteer as a Big Sister or Big Brother, join an organization, whatever it is, get involved.  There are thousands of ways you can get involved in activities you enjoy, that will allow you to help others, enjoy yourself, meet new people.  Look at your priority list and choose an activity or organization that fits into your life.

Use Social Networks Wisely

If your only networking is online, stop it!  Get a life.  Your Facebook or other social network websites should be an extra, a fun thing for a short time each day, not your be all and end all.  Do not use Facebook or other sites to air your negative thoughts or your dirty laundry, you will regret it.  Think of your social network sites as a cocktail party that you drop in on for half an hour or so – have fun, but keep it in perspective.

Be Positive

Always try to be positive.  Don’t think negatively about yourself or speak negatively of others.  Don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake or don’t meet your objectives or reach your goals.  Life is a process and there will be bad days and good days, maintain a positive attitude and when you are overwhelmed or find yourself thinking negative thoughts, use positive affirmations and know the sun will come out tomorrow.

Enjoy Your Life!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes we don’t take the time to do the things we really enjoy, it is easy to get caught up in the rat race we call work and life and simply go through the steps, doing all the mundane things that need to get done to simply survive while missing out on doing things that we truly enjoy.

Do you do things frequently that you enjoy in various areas of your life?

  • Your Relationships
  • Recreational Activities
  • Your Work or Business
  • Relaxation
  • Food and Eating
  • Clothes and Fashion
  • Religious and Spiritual Activities
  • Giving
  • Receiving
  • Your Home

Think of the small pleasures, a hot cup of coffee, sitting in your garden, chatting with a friend, cooking a meal, whatever things give you pleasure that you often take for granted. Your relationships, your work, your spiritual, cultural, and recreational activities and beliefs all are parts of the sum that defines who you are. Enjoying your life and living the life you want to lead is based on many factors, some of them you have complete control over and others, minimal or no control.

Take control of the things you can take control of and leave the others behind.  There is incredible power in determining your own destiny from a perspective of strength – knowing what you want, what you can control and what you can’t.

“It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 What is your definition of success?  Remember, you alone can define what success is for you.  It has to come from your heart – it has to be based on your goals and values.  Don’t accept someone else’s definition of success – create your own! Enjoying your life, achieving life balance is not a destination, it is a journey.  Every day is an adventure. Every event offers its own risks and benefits.

The bottom line is that you and you alone know what happiness and success mean to you.  I will probably say this again and again, but no one should be telling you what success is and no person besides yourself can truly be in control of your happiness.  Your life – your choice.   You need to take the reins, know what motivates and inspires you, and determine your own destiny.

SEEBEDO Your Life Balance

SEE your life as it is and as you want it to be.  See what you are doing and how it is affecting your life.

BE aware of how you are spending your time and be consequent about what you are doing with your life.

DO the things that make you happy, that make your life fuller, and that help you toward achieving the life balance you want to achieve.

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Make Good Decisions

How To Make Decisions When You Just Don’t Know What to Do

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
– Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland

Choices are a continuous part of the circle of life.  Whether we are acting on autopilot or making conscious choices, we make hundreds of decisions each and every day.  Most of them, thankfully, can be made on autopilot-eating, getting out of bed, the daily grind.  But the big choices can sometimes be difficult to make.  When you think about life-changing decisions, the stakes get higher and the choice making harder.

How do you make your decisions?  What do you base your choices on?  If you are like most people, you decide based on what other people say and do.  Decisions are made based on news stories, articles, and what other people say and do. Most of us are not confident enough to make decisions based on our experience alone.  This is not altogether a bad thing; gaining perspective through studying the experiences of others is smart planning.  However, if you are being held back from doing something because you fear failure, perhaps you need to take a step back.  The Ben Franklin method of decision-making is a tried and true method for making a decision.  We all know the Ben Franklin method of decision-making.

“My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out.

If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.” –Benjamin Franklin

Another decision making process that works for many is to use two sheets of paper.  Write the issue at the tip of each piece of paper.   The first page will include all your personal experiences and the second page, what you have read or been told about it.

Throw away the second piece of paper!  Did you make your decision based on your own experience or that of others?  Interesting, isn’t it?

Choices – we must all make countless choices each day from the time we get out of bed to the food we eat to what we will do with our lives. Making choices is not so difficult with the basics. You know what you like to eat and do on a daily basis – easy. Or is it? Personally, I find making choices for the bigger things in life sometimes much easier than some of the smaller things. I know what I want to do with my life and what my major life goals are.  I make my choices based on the key goals I want to achieve. It is when I start thinking about whether or not to go to an event, whether or not to accept a date, whether I should eat ice cream or frozen yogurt. Those decisions seem to take an inordinate amount of time.

Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics at Cornell, released a study in 2006 that found that we make 200 food choices a day on autopilot. When you think about it, everything we do, every minute of the day requires making a choice. That is probably one of the reason good habits are so necessary – good habits reduce the stress of having to make decisions that are good for you.

Larger decisions do require more thought, they can affect our lives positively or negatively. The right choices are imperative if one is to succeed in life. So how do you make the right choices?

  1. Ask why you are making the choice, why you want to do whatever it is you are deciding on. Ask it at least three times.
  2. Ask what resources are required for the choice. Do you need money, time, talent, commitment?
  3. Do you have the resources and is it worth using those resources for this particular choice?
  4. Are there better alternatives?

Not making a choice is always another viable option; you can choose to not choose. Essentially, even maintaining the status quo can be a hard choice. It is quite a conundrum isn’t it?

  • Make choices based on your values
  • Make choices based on your goals
  • Make choices based on your health
  • Make choices based on your resources

Never make choices based on what someone else wants or someone else’s values. You have to own your choices if you want them to work for you. Limit the time you spend making day-to-day choices. Set a diet and stick to it. Set a daily and weekly schedule and stick to it. You will have a lot more productive hours in the day if you do not spend an hour each day trying to decide what to have for dinner or whether to exercise or not.

Make the choice to use your time and resources wisely and don’t sweat the small stuff. Take the risk to go with your gut when it is viable to do so. We have been given the gift of free will – use the gift wisely and make choices that make you happy, keep you healthy, and help you achieve your dreams.

If you have decisions to make, you can use the Decision Making Matrix which is an excellent tool for helping in the decision making process.

Yes, No, Maybe So

It is important to make decisions, make commitments and stand by them. The decision-making or commitment process can be summed up with the three possible answers to every yes or no question, yes, no, or maybe.  Are you a yes or no person?  Are you positive or negative?  Are you stuck in neutral, stuck on maybe?

When I first started in sales, I was taught to always try to get to yes, or even no because a maybe is a non-answer when it comes from a prospect.  It is a basic truth, maybe is easier than saying yes or no.  Maybe is non-threatening.   Personally, I say maybe quite often when I am formulating a decision.  It’s not a great crutch to rely on though, you can maybe yourself to death.

Should I, shouldn’t I?  Will I, won’t I?  It can get tedious and you know yourself that nine times out of ten your first instinct is usually right.  It is important to learn to say “yes” or “no” emphatically and “maybe” sparingly.

When you find yourself wondering whether to say “yes” or “no”, it is a natural response to say “maybe”, but that “maybe” hangs in the air.   “Maybe” is not really an answer, it is not actionable.  It is an easy way to get yourself out of or into a situation you may or may not want to be in.  Try to dispense with the maybes, or give yourself a time limit on your maybes.  Allow yourself to say maybe for 48 hours until you have clarified whether you want to say yes or no.   There is nothing wrong with saying “maybe” if you keep it in check.

The problem with being a “maybe” is that you neither gain nor lose; you sit safely in the middle and do nothing to rock the boat, as it were.  When you say yes or no, you rock the boat a bit.  But when you say yes to something you want to say no to, your boat might just capsize.

“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mathatma Gandhi

Saying “no” is not necessarily negative, it is empowering.  It is freeing.  You can say “no” and free yourself from the shackles of “maybe” or “yes”.  Most of us have a problem with saying “no”.  It is natural, it is easy, it is easy to say “yes” or “maybe”, it is hard to say “no”.  Saying “no” may well be one of the most difficult things for most people to say.   However, saying “no” can free you, if you have the power to say “no”, you have the power to take control of your life.  Saying “no” takes a bit of moxie, it takes strength.  Saying “no” is not easy, but once you have mastered it, you have mastered yourself. You have taken control over your own existence.

You can take your strength; assume your power over your own life and your impact on others only when you can say “yes” or “no” with strength and conviction.  You cannot stand in the middle and achieve success and happiness.  Maybe is a non-starter; it is a non-answer; it is not an action word.  You have to stand on one shore or the other, yes, or no, but not maybe so.

“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”
― Mark Twain

When making a decision, assess whether or not you really have the time or desire to do the thing you have been asked to do.  Will saying yes take up time you have committed for something else?  Will saying no free you to work more on accomplishing your short or long-term goals?

A few questions to ask yourself before saying yes or no include:

  • What are my current obligations?
  • What are my priorities?
  • Is this commitment important to me?
  • Is this commitment going to cause me unneeded stress?

Once you have decided to say no, say it.  Be brief, be honest, be respectful and be ready to repeat it.  Saying no does not mean you are rude, thoughtless or disagreeable.  Saying no does not necessarily mean conflict or lost opportunities.  Saying no actually is a way to show respect to yourself and others.

  1. I am sorry I cannot do this because I have other priorities right now.
  2. I would love to, but…
  3. No, I can’t.

Get it into your head that it is better to say no than to say maybe.  People will appreciate that you did not commit half-heartedly and that maybe you will be there for them the next time they request something of you.   You will find that you feel better about yourself and that your time is more your own.

SEEBEDO Your Decisions

SEE what is important in your life.  See the things that you want to say yes or no to.  See what your priorities are.

BE consequent about what you say yes or no to.  Commit to your decision and stick by it.

DO what you say you are going to do.

  

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Build Your Vision

Create the Future You Dream Of

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

What is your personal vision, your dream, your ultimate goal?  Do you really know what it is, when you think about it can you clearly define it, hear it, taste it, see it, feel it?  Do you have one overruling all-consuming passion? When asked what your vision is, do you answer, “World peace.”?    It’s a noble vision, but can you personally accomplish it?  Do you say, “I want to be rich.”?  It’s a nice dream, but it’s pretty general don’t you think? What is your vision for yourself?  What do you want to achieve in life?  Who do you see yourself as?  What do you want to be?  How are you going to do it?  What is it you really want to do?

  • To be like your hero
  • To earn a living doing what you love
  • To be the best at what you do
  • To be respected by your peers
  • To accomplish something spectacular

Whatever your vision is, make it your own.  Don’t do anything just to make others happy.  You have to be a bit egoistic, love yourself, and love the person you see yourself as in the future. Where do you see yourself in ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years?  What do you want people to say about you?  What mark do you want to leave on the world?  What do you want to accomplish in your life and how are you going to do it?

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  —William Faulkner

How do you determine what the right vision for you is?  What if you choose the wrong vision?  What if no one else believes in your vision?  What if you can’t reach your goal?  What if you die before you reach your goal?  What if the world ends?  There are a lot of what ifs, in fact you can pretty much what if yourself out of creating your vision.  But don’t do that, get started now, create your vision.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau

Creating your long term vision requires using your imagination generously, you are going to create a vision here for your life, for where you want to see yourself, where you will be, who you will be, who will be with you and what will you be doing.  This is your dream so make it good and make it big.  See it, believe in it, do what is necessary to make your vision a reality.

“You become what you think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every invention, every philosophy, every belief, every piece of literature or company in the world was first created in someone’s mind.  Vision is the motor that drives human creation, whether it is from Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Henry Ford, or any one of the great inventors, scientists, humanitarians or writers.  “You become what you think about” is a common refrain, which can be quite discouraging if you are a natural born worrier.  Personally, it terrified me, because if I decided to make the decision to become a better person by stopping bad habits, I only thought about the bad habits.  If I needed to make money, I focused on the fact that I was not making enough and stressed about it.  If I fell in love, I was sure it was doomed to failure.  I still worry.  I still have to remind myself to keep my vision for the future close to my heart and in my mind.  But I have learned to “turn that frown upside down” as my Dad used to say.  I have learned the efficacy of thinking positively and doing all I can to utilize my skills and talents and know that I am close to realizing my idealized vision of the future and myself.

Vision is important and loving yourself is key.   When you think about your vision, use your imagination. Really think about where you want to see yourself, if all things were possible.  As you ask yourself these questions, be generous with yourself and your daydreaming.  Remember, this is your ultimate dream, what you would do if you could do anything in the world, without limitations.  Please do not simply say you want to be rich and beautiful, or be crowned king or canonized as a Saint.  Have fun with this and be as specific as you can, eventually, as you work through the exercises here, you will develop your personal vision and mission statements and goals and objectives.  Right now though, build your castles in the air.

“Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast…and one day you will build something that endures, something worthy of your potential.”  —Epictetus

Build Your Castles in the Air

Based on your answers to the questions in this chapter, you should develop a clear picture in your mind of what your optimal dream, what your live goal is.  You should be able to see it in your mind’s eye and smile when you think of it.  Think of it as window shopping on Rodeo Avenue, touring mansions of the rich and famous, test driving a Ferrari, climbing Everest, being exactly who and where you want to be. You know that feeling you get when you say, “I could get used to this, I could see myself living here, I could see myself in that designer outfit, I look great behind the wheel of this car.” I know I am sounding a bit materialistic here, but these are just examples.  Your Rodeo Drive might be anything, it might be teaching people in remote villages, it might be Wall Street or Main Street.  The decision is yours.  It is, after all, your life, your dream.

Who are You? The Future You

Who do you see your ideal self as?  What are your roles in life?  What are your passions and values? Remember, this is who you want to be, who you see yourself as being when you are in a place of infinite vision.

Your Dream Home

What is your dream home?  Is it a farmhouse, an estate, a ranch, a high-rise, a boat, a house in the suburbs, a cottage by the sea? What rooms do you have in your house and how are they furnished?  What amenities does your home have? Your home can be as large or as small, as elegant or as cosy as you want it to be, but don’t be off the wall about it.  This is your dream home; it’s where you will live when you have realized your vision. I suggest finding pictures on the web, in magazines, and saving them to be part of your dream home. I have designed my dream home using various clips from the Internet including all the rooms and furniture as well as the exterior and gardens.  I have incorporated my house into my Vision Board which runs as a screen saver on my computer. Imagine every room in your house, however many rooms there are, imagine them filled with the things you love, imagine what you do in your free time there and how each room will look and be used.

Your Geographic Locale

Where in the world is your dream home?    If you don’t have a specific location in mind, imagine the surrounding environment.  Are you going for hikes in the mountains, walks on the beach, boating on a lake, shopping in the city?  How is the weather, is it seasonal, always sunny, often rainy, do you care?  Are you living on an island, in another country, in the same town you grew up in?

Your Social Circle

Who is with you?  Who are your friends and associates?  Is your family with you?  Are you living alone or with others?  Are you leading an active social life or are you basking in solitude?

Your Lifestyle and Hobbies

What is your lifestyle?  Are you constantly on the go or are you leading a more contemplative life?  What are your hobbies and interests?  Do you have season tickets to the theater, the opera, the symphony, football, basketball, soccer?  Do you participate in sports, tennis golf, marathons, skiing, boating?

Your Inner Life

Are you in a place of peace and harmony?  Do you have a full spiritual life, regardless of what your religious beliefs are?  Do you take time for yourself?

Your Contributions to Others

Are you actively contributing to the lives of others?  Are you involved in volunteer activities, supporting a non-profit, working with the disadvantaged?  Are you using your resources to make a positive change in the world?  What is the change you are making?

Your Accomplishments and Lifework

What is your passion, the thing you want most to accomplish in your life?  If you could do anything, be anyone, without reservation, without risk, what would you be, what would you do?

Your Burning Desire

What is your burning desire?  What are you passionate about, what do you truly love doing? Who are your heroes and who do you want to be a hero to?

Your Career

What is your lifework?  Are you a doctor, lawyer, writer, professor, teacher, nurse, expert, athlete, full-time parent, volunteer, what is your dream career?

Your Position

Are you a community leader, a visionary, a philanthropist, a noted expert, a homemaker, a cleric, a mentor, an advisor?  How are you perceived by others, do others respect you, fear you, love you, confide in you, and depend on you?

Why Are You in Your Current Position?

How did you get here, why did you decide to be what you are and do what you do?  What have you done to achieve this position in your life?  What are you doing on a daily, weekly, annual basis to maintain your position?

What Do Other People Say About You – What Will Your Obituary Be?

What do your friends, family and acquaintances say about you?  What do your critics say?  What about your colleagues, students, patients, clients?  What about newspapers, magazines, the Nobel Prize committee?  What will you receive your Life Achievement Award for?  What will be written on your tombstone?

There is a lot to be said for vision boards and writing down your vision.  It makes it more concrete, more real.  An additional very useful tool is to create mind movies.  Close your eyes and see yourself in the movie, doing what you want to be doing in the place you want to be.  Creating a mind movie is much easier once you have written down your vision or created your own vision board. Utilizing the power of infinite vision, you can create the world you want to create and be the person you want to be.

SEEBEDO YOUR FUTURE

See your future, visualize your dreams, see what you want to be.

Be confident that you can achieve your dreams, be the person you need to be to accomplish your goals

Do what it takes to achieve your goals and realize your vision

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Goal Setting

Set Goals and Objectives That You Can Use to Achieve Your Dreams

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein

Goal setting.  You have heard it a million times; you have to have goals to achieve success.  It starts when we are babies and never stops.  Watch a toddler or baby, you will see the cause and effect of goal setting at work.  Hungry, wet, want to be held?  Cry.  Works every time!  Babies learn this instinctively.  At one year old, babies have refined the whole “have a goal and reach it” thing to a fine art.  Just watch how a baby or toddler manipulates his universe to achieve his goals.  He generally achieves them because he never gives up and, and, of course, he is as cute as a button and mommy’s little angel.  He has two things going for him, he has his own will power and drive and he has a support system that encourages and motivates him.

We are setting goals for ourselves or our parents are setting goals for us from the day we are born.  Sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, and simply getting what we wanted.  We were supported and encouraged to reach those instinctive goals.  Once we were able to really communicate, our parents got more say, they started setting goals for us.  Our goals became more and more complex.  Our motivations came not only from our inner selves but also from our parents and other external influences.

As we grew older, goals were set for us.  Teachers gave us assignments and we got gold stars or good grades for achieving the goals they set.  Our parents encouraged us to play sports, read, or accomplish goals they set and we got rewards in return.  We still set our own goals but achieving them depended greatly on the support of grown-ups around us.   Our childhood and teen years begin to shape the way we see the world.

The good news is, it doesn’t matter in the end how wonderful or awful your childhood or teen years were, you can be who you want to be and achieve your vision and dreams now.  Knowing where you want to be is an elemental part of achieving success.  If you don’t have goals, your life journey may prove to be not only confusing but also unsatisfying.

I am excellent at creating goals and objectives for businesses.  Colleagues and clients knew me as the “Business Plan Queen”.  My business plans are actionable; they clearly define goals and objectives, the resources that are needed, and the steps to get from Point A to Point B.  These business plans have worked for small companies and multinational enterprises alike.  Why?

  • Clear goals were set
  • Objectives and benchmarks were clearly outlined
  • A clear action plan was written out
  • Deadlines were set
  • There was commitment, transparency, and accountability

Good business plans work because everything is clearly defined and an actionable.  What’s more, there are a lot of people you have to answer to if you don’t reach your goals.  Everything is in writing; you can actually look back at your plan and see whether you have taken the necessary steps to achieve your goals and objectives.

What have I done in my personal life though?  I think I am smart enough and know my goals well enough that I don’t write them down.  I have my goals clearly in my mind.  Or do I?  No one really knows what my goals are.  I am accountable to no one but myself.  I have convinced myself that I am so brilliant I don’t need to do for myself what I do for businesses and other people.

I can’t tell you how many goals I have not achieved because I have no idea how many goals I have had or what they all were.  I never wrote them down.  I was like a child chasing butterflies, reaching for first one and then the other.  This is not to say I haven’t achieved goals, but I certainly could and would have achieved myriads more in my life had I created my own personal plans in the same way I create plans for my clients.

I am, by nature, reserved about talking about my goals or hopes and dreams unless it is in a very light tone and not really from the heart.  I have often been afraid to talk from the heart or talk with others about my vision, lest it be shot down or worse yet, totally discounted.  The beauty of a business plan is there is accountability.  A personal plan, not shared with others, can easily be disregarded, put off, or forgotten.

When you tell someone you are going to do something, if you are like most people, you are much more likely to do it because if you don’t follow through you will hear about it.  The same applies to goal setting.  A Scranton University study concluded that people who announce their goals to friends, family, and colleagues are 10 times as likely to achieve them.

Salespeople are well trained in goal setting.  If sales quotas are not achieved, income is affected, particularly for those on commission only.  Each day, a good salesperson sets a goal of how many people he is going to contact and what he wants to achieve.  There are weekly and monthly targets set by the company and if a salesperson does not meet those targets, he is going to be out of a job eventually.  Students, as well, know the importance of goal setting, if adequate grades are not achieved, it can dramatically affect the future.  Imagine a world full of leaders with no goals or vision.  What’s worse, imagine a football game where your team does not achieve any goals.

  1. Goal setting is important, from the very simple daily goals of getting one’s work done to the more complex goals that stretch over a period. Don’t create so many daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you forget to establish a “master goal.”
  2. Your “master goal” is the goal that stretches you, the goal that you want to achieve for yourself, the goal that is based on your passion and values. Your master goal should be the product of your vision, your life dream. A master goal provides the destination for your inner compass.  Once you have determined what your master goal is, you need to work backwards from that to establish shorter-term goals and objectives.
  3. Goals must be written down and defined specifically and clearly. Your goal has to be something that can see in your mind and feel with all your senses.  It needs to be defined in detail and cannot be general or airy-fairy.
  4. Your vision and master goal define who you want to be and what you want to do. It should be the basis for your other goals and objectives.
  5. Your goals and objectives have to be measurable and actionable. Imagine presenting your goal to your toughest teacher or professor and having them review it.
  6. Without a deadline, you are unlikely to achieve any goal. Deadlines force us to perform and provide a level of accountability that is necessary in reaching your target.  Create a schedule for meeting your master goal including all the related objectives.  Companies do this all the time when they benchmark projects.  Your life is more important than any company is so take the time to benchmark yourself.  You can always move the deadline out if you do not reach your goal by your target date.
  7. Your goals should be based on your values; a goal that is not value-based is unlikely to be reached.
  8. Working toward your goals should fulfill you, make you happy, and make your life and the lives of those around you richer.
  9. Be passionate about your master goal, eat it breath it, believe in your ability to achieve it.

Having a vision and planning how to achieve that vision is the primary key to success.   Assess your master goal before you start to implement any planning.

  • Is it achievable?
  • What do you need to have or do to achieve it?
  • Is it your own – the thing you want to achieve more than anything else?
  • Are there any roadblocks that you need to overcome?

If you have doubts about yourself or being able to achieve your goals, determine what those are and address them.  Do not use the excuse that others are holding you back.  You are the master of your own fate and you need to take responsibility for achieving your own goals – no one else will do it for you.  You need to develop whatever skills necessary to be able to attain your goal if you do not have them already.

See your goal, be who you want to be and do what is necessary to reach your master goal as well as your intermediary goals.

be smart

S — specific, significant, stretching

M — measurable, meaningful, motivational

A — agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R — realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T — time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Life Plan – Goals and Objectives

  • Create a master goal based on your vision – this will be the basis for creating your other goals and objectives.
  • Make a list of things you need to do to accomplish the goal, resources you have and resources you need to achieve it.
  • Establish timelines and deadlines for each goal and set daily, weekly, and monthly goals that will help you realize your vision.
  • Be positive about yourself and your goals. Focus on the positive as opposed to the negative and see yourself doing exactly what you want to do. If you are unable to complete any of your intermediate goals and objectives based on your timeline, change the timeline but don’t give up.
  • You cannot just say you want to be rich or successful, the goal has to be specific. You have to give it a timeline, a value.  You have to believe that in attaining that goal you are going to realize your dreams and achieve your own personal success.  Essentially you need to define your ultimate goal, quantify it, and plan how you will reach it.

 “First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” — Aristotle

Establish a deadline date that is realistic based on the goals you want to achieve!

No deadline, no success.  If you do not have a deadline, you can always put it off and you will be unlikely to achieve your goals.

If your master goal is really a burning desire, don’t give up.  Keep at it even in the face of obstacles or discouragement.  There are several ways to create your plan – I do it with project management software that I also use for business.  This includes a calendar, tasks, and milestones to insure that I am following a plan that will insure my success.

Determine what you can offer or do to achieve your goals.

You can’t get something for nothing.  Thinking and dreaming, seeing yourself as what you want to be is all fine and good but you have to DO SOMETHING to make money, to achieve your goals.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” — Confucius

Develop a plan, and start to implement it at once.  Don’t wait!

Once you have figured out what you can offer, put together a plan and start implementing it.  You can add to it or improve it as you go but the important thing is to get started.

Write everything down. Make a contract with yourself.

Don’t even think about trying to do this in your head.  You need to write your goal down with the exact information.  You need to write out your plan.  If it is not on paper, you can forget attaining success.  Consider it a contract with yourself.

Read your contract with yourself daily, carry it with you.

Make several copies of your contract, keep one in your wallet or purse, one on your bedside table, one on your refrigerator or kitchen table, one on your coffee table, and one in your office.  Read it several times a day and read it aloud.

Now that you have your contract, start seeing yourself as successful, as having achieved your goals.

Indulge yourself in a little imagination.  Even though you are now working on your goal and have the plan in place, you will need to continually encourage yourself, see yourself and comport yourself as though you have already achieved your goal.

It may seem difficult to do but it will keep you motivated, keep you on the right track.  Create your mind-movie – see yourself doing what you want to be doing and being exactly who you want to be.

Take Action

“ A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.” – Ayn Rand

Nothing ever stands still; there is motion in everything everywhere, whether seen or unseen.  If you want to use your inner power, you must take action.  Activity, the product of our thoughts, is essential to actually achieving success.  Once you believe in yourself and have set your goals and created your plan, you need to take action.

“Heaven never helps the man who will not act.” —Sophocles

The laws of momentum will come into play as you accomplish more, more action translates to more accomplishments, and there is always a snowball effect.  Have you ever noticed how different places give off different vibes?  You go into one restaurant, the service is slow, the food is mediocre, everything feels half-hearted, and there is no sense of excitement or energy.  You go into a second restaurant, the music is playing, the staff is smiling, everyone is busy and the food is excellent.

The first restaurant has no business because there is no momentum, no energy to feed off of, staff and guests are both infected with a malaise that eventually shuts the restaurant down.  The second restaurant keeps getting more and more customers because there is a momentum that keeps on going, a positive energy that is generated by staff and guests alike.  Do you live your life in the first restaurant or the second?

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” ― William James

Action and thought go together, the enthusiasm you have for your life, to reach your goals, is translated into action naturally, simply because you cannot help yourself because of your excitement and your confidence in yourself and your vision.  Other people see this and will come on board, will buy from you or support you in reaching your goals.  Everybody likes and responds to action.  Action is fun; action is what life is all about.  Keep yourself in motion, propel yourself forward.  Activity is contagious.  Work while you think, think while you work, see yourself accomplishing your tasks with confidence and success, be a confident and successful person, and do what you need to do to reach your goal.

When you constantly strive to do new and different things, life is always interesting.  When you have a vision that is a passion, you will find the power to go out and make your dreams come true.  Be interested in life and life will be interested in you.  Act in life, and life will act through you.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”— Mark Twain

All well and good, you say, but there is really nothing going on.  My business is suffering, there are no customers.  So now we enter the conundrum, your activity shows no results.  Here, again, you have to have faith; you have to believe in your vision and your power to realize that vision.  When vision and reality conflict, what do you do?  What if you feel today’s inactivity is the reality that you have to live with?  Are you supposed to close your eyes to it, and keep holding your vision in your mind’s eye?  Absolutely.  Seeing the world through rose colored glasses, seeing the glass as half full and not half empty, needs to become a habit.

While it may not always be easy, keep your activity going, keep seeing yourself in the middle of a vibrant environment, know that your business is thriving, that you will have all the customers, all the resources you need to reach your goals.  Do not let limitations come into the equation.  Combine your faith in the higher power of your vision with everything you do.  You are being looked after because you are sending into the Universe all that is good, good thoughts, positive thoughts for your success.  You must open your arms, accept and receive your gifts even before you see them.

SEEBEDO Your Goals

SEE your goals, create your vision.

BE consequent about pursuing your goals, be aware of your goals, be S.M.A.R.T.!

DO what is required to achieve your goals.

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Find Your We

Create & Build Relationships With Friends, Colleagues & Mentors

“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” – William Penn

While your personality and basic characteristics are important keys to your success, so are your relationships.  How you communicate and work with other people will impact your success in more ways than you can imagine and developing and fostering relationships with like-minded people is important.  No man is an island and no vision can be realized unless that vision can be shared with others.  You cannot realize your vision from within a bubble.

You need to have a support system, people that will believe in your vision with you, but more than that, you need someone that truly believes in you as an individual.  Whether it is a spouse, friend, child, mentor, or relative, you need to have a cheering section.  You may say you don’t have one, you’ve screwed up too many times, no one believes in you anymore.  You may feel alone and afraid to share your vision, especially with those closest to you for fear of having them knock it down, laugh at you, or criticize you.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

You might be surprised at how much people believe in you if you are willing to share yourself and your goals with them and bring them into your vision.  Make the significant people in your life part of your team.

You may find that the spouse you thought would laugh at you is proud that you have a vision and a plan.  They might have been trying to tell you all along that you could be more, do more, achieve more, but held back for fear of hurting your feelings.  You need to ask for support and companionship in your journey toward infinite vision.

In the age of the Internet, people are much more likely to develop ideas alone and present them to the world fait accompli.  We do not have to interface as much with each other directly, we can go to forums, use Facebook or other social networking sites. We can have virtual relationships with people from around the world and from every aspect of society and culture.  There are thriving communities on the Web that deal with every issue imaginable.  In the face of so many online relationship opportunities, is it really necessary to have what in Germany is referred to as a Stammtisch.

I like the Stammtisch concept as it is more all-encompassing than say, a roundtable, or a group meeting, forum, or club.  A Stammtisch is a place where people meet regularly, to socialize, share ideas, and as the Stammtisch is a tradition in German pubs, share a drink.  You need a forum, a mastermind group, whether you create it, or you join one that already exists, a Stammtisch will provide you with a place to generate ideas and regenerate yourself.  You need to get over the fear that if you share your vision, someone might steal it.  You need to be able to present yourself and your vision in a way that will excite others, that will make other people like you, respect you, and generally, want to hop on your bandwagon.

If you want success, if you want to achieve your vision, you have to have power. To have power, you have to have a persuasive personality. To have a persuasive personality, you have to know how to communicate, motivate, and inspire.  To communicate, motivate and inspire, you need to have a purpose, you need to have vision!

“Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself, believe.”― Winston S. Churchill

No man is an island.  We need other people to make our lives whole.  It is not enough to have a dream.  You must share the dream, whether it is through thought, words, or deeds.  We are social beings.  We need other people, so it stands to reason that we want to draw friends and companions to us.  Too many of us are lonely because we feel separated from others, for whatever reason.  So, how do we get closer to others, widen our circle of friends?

The most basic step is to believe in yourself, to have confidence enough in your own being and beliefs to draw other people to you.  People need leadership, people are attracted to powerful people, to people that are successful, warm, to people that exude self-confidence.  People are drawn to love and strength.  Love others, be strong, know that the love and strength within you is real and others will feel it and be attracted to it.

When you feel peace and confidence within, others will be attracted.  Feel the power of your own love, your own strength, and others will want to be part of your universe.  You can either choose to invite them into your close circle of friends, or you can exclude them.  The choice is yours.

You can choose to hold your arms open for everyone or for a select few.  People seek love, love everyone.  People seek strength, be strong, and put a strong image forward.  Put on a happy face.  Know that you have all the power within yourself to do what you want to do and achieve what you want to achieve.  Simply by being confident in yourself, you will attract people to you.  If your vision is strong enough, your belief strong enough, others will follow.

“Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the engagements of men’s hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.” ― Thomas More, Utopia

Be happy with yourself, with your own company and include others in that happiness if they choose to participate.  If you always radiate happiness, regardless of how you feel inside, people will be attracted to you.  No one wants to be involved with someone who is always negative, depressed, or overly sensitive.  Here is where “all the world’s a stage, and we are but actors,” comes in.  Act the part, be the winner, the jolly good fella, whatever it takes and people will respond.

“The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.”— Marcus Tullius Cicero

Once you accept your own strength, take ownership of your power over your destiny, your fears about including others or sharing with others will diminish, even disappear.  Be grateful for those that want to be in your life, that you can share your life with.  Once you truly believe in yourself, you can easily welcome all into your circles.

Your Relationships With Everyone Around You

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus

There is no doubt that relationships are important to each and every one of us.  Our family, friends, colleagues, clients, even the strangers we meet on the street, all affect us at some level.  We affect them.  If one of our greatest common fears is loss of love, of not being liked, of being alone, then it stands to reason that having good relationships is absolutely necessary to be happy, to achieve success, to find fulfillment.

Your ability to relate to other people, to make other people like you, believe in you, follow you, is not always so much related to who you are as to what you do.  Sometimes it is not even what you do, but how you are perceived, that makes people respond to you.

Face it, you want to be liked.  You want people to respond to you, to see you in a certain light.  It is basic human nature to need and want other people in our lives.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Some of us are lucky enough to have grown up in happy well-adjusted homes where good relationships were more the rule than the exception.  But many of us have to learn how to create good relationships without the foundation of strong role models in our youth.

The key to good relationships is loving others, accepting them for whom and what they are, and not judging them.  Be open to people, have empathy for them and their situations, try to find the value in everyone you know.  It may be hard sometimes, even seem impossible, but once you have crossed the threshold of truly loving yourself you can do this much more easily.

The tendency of people to judge others is often stronger than the ability to love others.  I am not trying to be airy-fairy with you here.  Loving others is truly the key to beautiful relationships with yourself as well as those you meet.

” If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ” — Mother Theresa

I am not saying loving everyone is easy.  I am not advocating hugging everyone on the street or becoming friends with everyone you meet.   Loving everyone, embracing the concept of universal love or unconditional love will free you.  A sense of “good will toward men” goes a long way toward changing your life and the lives of those around you.  We are not all Mother Theresa.  It is not possible to love everyone 100% of the time, but keeping the attitude of love and acceptance in your heart and maintaining a philosophy of kindness will not only make you love yourself more, it will draw others to you, and they will love back.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4”

A very simple example of how living in the attitude of love works is the difference between a smile and a frown.  Have you ever noticed the difference when you smiled at people on the street as opposed to when you didn’t?  Doesn’t someone smiling at you make you smile back?  Of course, someone coming up to you on the street and throwing their arms around you might result in a totally different reaction.  Love everyone, live in the attitude of love, but keep it subtle, gentle, and real.  That love will be reflected back on you.

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” ― Khalil Gibran

Let down the barriers; accept others for what they believe and who they are.  You don’t have to accept their beliefs, you don’t even have to particularly like who they are, but by living in the attitude of love, you will grow as a person and you will attract people to you.

Dale Carnegie, in his classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People sets forth six principles that are good rules to follow:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important- and do it sincerely.

A genuine interest in other people and respect for others is key to bringing more and more people and opportunities into your life.  When you are in the attitude of love, it is much easier to be interested in others.  It starts coming more and more naturally.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” — William Shakespeare

Accepting others, caring for others, listening to others will naturally draw people to you.  Your attitude will mirror back on you.  Don’t allow yourself to misunderstand or be misunderstood. Don’t allow others to drag you down.  You are the engineer of your universe, you have the ability to give out vibrations of love and protect yourself with the shield of love.

We come back again to self-talk or affirmations:

I love therefore I am loved. I help therefore I am helped. I respect therefore I am respected.  I encourage therefore I am encouraged.  Nothing can change this lovely picture of myself and my relationships.  I am surrounded by all love, health, happiness and success.  I am one with love and I am one with life.  I am in harmony and balance.  Nothing can change this truth in my being.

It is truly possible to live in an attitude of love, whoever you are and wherever you live.  There are also some very basic rules that should be kept in mind going  back to what you probably learned in Kindergarten.  Good manners.  Yes, I said it, good manners.  Good manners make good relations.  It’s simple really, but these basics go a long way toward improving your communications and relations with others.

Be Kind

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James

Compassion and kindness cannot be overrated.  Not only is being kind a moral imperative.  It is a path to respect, love, and happiness.  The path to joy is practicing the art of being kind.  I cannot say enough about this.  We have a lot of initiatives today reminding people to be kind.  I have to admit, I don’t understand why anyone needs to be reminded to be kind.  It has always been one of my primary values.  Perhaps I have been a sap at times, taken advantage of or hurt.  But in the overall scheme of things being kind always makes me feel good whereas being unpleasant leaves me feeling guilty and mean.

There are a lot of ways being nice benefits you:

  • People like you better
  • It makes you feel good about yourself
  • It boosts self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Kindness begets kindness
  • Good deeds add meaning to your life
  • Being kind is good for your health, relieves stress and keeps you young
  • Helping others naturally leads to gratitude for what you do have and distracts you from your own problems
  • Kindness is key to building communities and friendships

“Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ― Lao Tzu

Kindness is easy.  It is rewarding, don’t think about it, just see it, be it, do it.  If you cannot be kind, if you find being kind difficult, you will also find achieving your goals and happiness almost impossible.

Cherish Your Friendships

Friendships are an important part of every life.  A life without friends would be a dismal life indeed and true friends that share your values and love you for who you are are few and far between for most people.  Appreciate your friendships, be grateful for them and above all, be there for your friends in the good times and the bad.

Good friends are born from common interests, common values, and a commitment to one another.  A history together makes a big difference but it can often dry up, you have that original burst of enthusiasm when you reconnect, and then realize that what you had before is gone.

True friends are committed to your happiness and success as you are to theirs.  They will tell you the truth even if you do not like it and will not ask you to place your friendship before your principles.  Friends should be a good influence, encouraging you to live up to your full potential. .

Say Please

Always say please when you are asking for something, whether you are asking a server for a glass of water or asking for an investment in your company, saying please is common courtesy.  Remember the magic word?  How many times did you hear that as a child, “What’s the magic word”?

You would think it’s common sense, you would think that it would come as naturally as breathing, but I am amazed at how many people forget this very simple and small courtesy.  Come on, really, how hard can it be?

Contrast this, “Bring me the book.” with “Bring me the book, please.”  It takes a millisecond and it shows a little respect for the other person.  It shows that you value their time enough to ask for something politely.

Say Thank You

OK, children, what do you say?  If I had a dime for every time I did something, large or small for someone and didn’t get so much as a thank you, I would be rich.  We probably all would be rich.

We don’t necessarily do things so we can get a thank you or an atta’ boy but it irks the heck out of us when we do not get some acknowledgement for what we have done.  If I take the time to do something for you, you can at least say “thank you.”

Do you thank clerks in stores or servers?  Do you make it a habit to thank your spouse for making a nice meal?  Do you thank your children when they clean their room or do their chores?  Again, it is milliseconds, and it makes people feel better.  People will like you better if you say thank you than if you do not.

If you are so self-absorbed that you can’t take the time to say please and thank you, then you don’t need to read further.  You have already failed.

Be Aware

Being aware is important, not just in communicating in a social situation, but also in day-to-day life.  It is terribly irritating when people are totally unaware of others around them.  Parents that allow their children to run around in restaurants, people with loud headphones, cell phones ringing in the middle of church, events, classes, movies, people who bump into other people without saying excuse me, people that are loud… There are hundreds of ways to irritate people simply by being unaware of them.

Learn Names and Use Them

We all love to hear our own name, except perhaps as a child when your mother calls you by your full name and you know it is a sure sign you are in trouble.  When I was in my early twenties I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, I met some of the most famous and powerful men in America at the time.  Most of them didn’t have the time or the interest to know the names of staff aides, but after meeting President Carter the second time, he remembered my name.  I felt like a million bucks, that such an important man actually remembered me.

Great leaders know the importance of making other people feel important and something as simple as saying, “Hello, Fred,” as opposed to just “Hello” can instantly make someone feel more important.  I heard that John F. Kennedy used to have an aide that would write down the names of everyone he met on index cards so he would know their name the next time he saw them.  Of course, he also said, “Forgive your enemies but never forget their names”.

Learning names is not as easy as saying please and thank you.  You have to actually listen. You have to make an effort to remember someone’s name.  I lived in Germany and between German, East European, and Turkish names, I had a real problem.  I am not doing much better with Irish names, by the way.    Even if I remember the name, I have difficulty pronouncing it so I tend to write names down phonetically after I have met someone.  In our pub, we knew every regular guest by name and my husband asks the names of new guests.  We didn’t keep track of the tabs by number, but by name.  People came back, they liked it when they came through the door and hear a cheerful, “Hello, Wolfgang!”  Or whatever their name was.

You do not have to be in politics or the hospitality business to take advantage of remembering names.  No matter what you do in life, if you take the time to remember someone’s name, even someone that you don’t plan to do business with or developing a lasting relationship with, you will make that person feel good and that person will feel good about you.

Learning and remembering names is also a great memory exercise, and exercising your brain is always a good idea.

Listen

The truth of the matter is it is hard to listen, especially if you are not the least bit interested in the person or what the person has to say.  We are often faced with social situations where we are thrown in with people with whom we have nothing in common.  Truth be told, most of us are thinking about what we are going to say next so only hear a small percentage of what the other person is saying.

Take the time to actually listen to people and you may learn something interesting.  When you take the time to really listen, you learn.  People also know if you are listening or not.  If you are not listening, people will disengage, they will distance themselves from you, and you certainly will not learn anything from them.

Remember, everyone has something to offer, and everyone wants to have his or her say.  If you are doing all the talking, you are closing the doors to the opportunity to learn as well as being liked.  Don’t be an “Enough about me, now what do you think about me?” person.  People want to talk about themselves.  Let them.  Worst case, you might be incredibly bored, best case, you will learn something and perhaps garner new insights not only into the person but into your own life, by listening to what other people have to say.

One thing that is sure, if you listen, and let the other person do most of the talking, you are less likely to make a fool of yourself.

Have you ever met someone that was charismatic, that grabbed your attention, entranced you?  Chances are, that person was living in the attitude of love.  Charismatic people are polite people, they are listeners, they look at you and they actually see you!  They give off an energy of love and positivity.  You want to be in their presence.  It is quite simple, if you live in the attitude of love, you are more confident in yourself, in others, in your place in the world.

Live in the attitude of love if you truly want to have great relationships and achieve true happiness and success.

SEEBEDO Your “We”

SEE the good in yourself and others.  See the potential in each interaction you have with another human being.

BE accepting.  Be loving.  Be empathetic.

DO things for other people.  Do things with other people that you enjoy.

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Your Significant Other

Have a Positive Loving Relationship

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”— Kahil Gibran

Being in a positive loving relationship is something most of us dream of.  Having that special person to share your life with is indeed a gift.  My parents were together 65 years, they had rough times, they had good times, they were dedicated to each other and their family and even in the worst of times, they found ways to make everything work.

I have never seen two people who loved each other so much.  They loved their walks, their garden, their family dinners, they didn’t live to work, they worked to live.  They had lovely shared values and dreams and as both individuals and as a couple, they were friendly, kind, loving, and thoughtful.  I could regale you endlessly with stories about Mom and Dad that make me smile, but I won’t, I will instead share with you some of the things that make a good relationship great and a perhaps a few tips on how to have the relationship you have always dreamed about.

Choosing the right partner is no small feat.  How many times have you seen a couple and said, “They are good, just not for each other”?  On the other hand, there are couples that appear made for each other, a match made in heaven.  The heart wants what the heart wants…but what if what your heart wants is not good for you?  What if you are making choices based on the wrong things.  What if you choose someone that does not share your values or your dreams?

You must know each other.  Knowing each other includes accepting who each of you are, the good, the bad, the wonderful, and the not-so-wonderful.  If you feel you don’t know your beloved well enough, you probably don’t.

Know your partner’s beliefs about relationships.  Know your partner’s attitudes about life and love.  Know your own needs, values, and goals.  Speak up for yourself and be honest with your partner.  Do not hide who you are and do not try to fit your beliefs to the beliefs of your partner.

You should have tolerance for your differences but not too much tolerance.  If your mate does something that irritates you in the early stages of your relationship, it is hardly going to become more charming later on.  You might laugh about his addiction to his I-Phone now, but when you are sitting across the table with nothing to say now and he is inhaling his food while chatting on Facebook on a regular basis, you may regret you ever met.

You should have shared values and goals.  This is important.  If your values are not the same, if your interests are so divergent you have little in common, if your goals in life or for your relationship are not the same, your relationship is doomed.

You should like each other’s family and friends.  You are not just marrying one person, you are entering into relationships with another person’s family, with their friends, and if they don’t like your partner or your partner doesn’t like them, it is going to be a long road to hoe.

Trust is a key element of any relationship and even more important if you are considering a long-term commitment.  If you or your partner has trust issues, they need to be addressed and resolved.  Trust is not simply a matter of trusting that the person will not cheat on you.  It goes a lot deeper, you have to trust that your partner will not throw things in your face, that they will not criticize or condemn and that they will support and encourage you.

You must be able to rely on each other in good times and in bad.  You should be able to rely on your partner to listen to you if you have had a bad day, call if they are going to be late, follow through on plans, be the person they have told you they are. You have to know that they will try their best to be the best they can be.

No one is perfect, and our quirks and imperfections make us who we are.  Understanding one another, appreciating one another, communicating with one another can make all the difference between a good and a bad relationship.

If your partner can make you laugh, if the thought of being with your partner makes you smile, you have been given a gift.  Laughing with each other is a great indication of a good relationship.   If you are in line with each other, if you know each other, trust each other, and can rely on one another, a life-time partnership or marriage might be in the stars for you.

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.” — Lao Tzu

Ask yourself the following questions about your partner.  Do they:

  • Exhibit signs of extreme possessiveness
  • Get jealous easily
  • Fail to encourage and motivate you
  • Have views on politics, family, religion, or society that you find extreme
  • Compare you to previous partners
  • Think the world revolves around them
  • Lie, cheat or steal
  • Never admit to being wrong
  • Have an uncontrollable temper
  • Have an inflated view of themselves
  • Criticize your appearance
  • Criticize your family and friends
  • Criticize your lifestyle
  • Lack motivation or ambition
  • Have difficulty with their own family
  • Verbally, physically, or emotionally abuse you
  • Make promises and commitments they don’t keep

Having a long-lasting intimate relationship takes a great deal of commitment and a great deal of wisdom, and a heck of a lot of work.

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Never take your partner for granted.
  • Respect your partner.
  • Never stop courting each other, go on dates, send a card or flowers, take time out to enjoy each day together.
  • Love yourself first and your partner second. Loving yourself is key to finding happiness with your partner.  Your partner deserves a special place in your heart and in your life and don’t ever forget that you chose them to be in your life for very good reasons.
  • Keep falling in love. You will both change, you will grow older, more complacent, and you might even take your partner for granted.  Don’t.  See the beauty in your partner each day.  Choose to be in love every moment.
  • Focus on the best in your partner. It’s much the same as our positive thinking principles.  Try to keep the negativity to a minimum.  Try not to complain to others or even under your breath.  OK, I know it’s not easy, but give it a try.
  • Don’t try to “fix” your partner. You can forget it before you even start.
  • Your emotions are your emotions alone. You are responsible for yourself and your own happiness.  Your partner can enrich your life but they are not responsible for “making things right” for you.
  • Don’t take yourself, your life, or your relationship to seriously. We all know it’s serious stuff – no need to beleaguer the point.  Have fun.    Be a bit silly.
  • Keep learning about your partner. Find ways to please them and learn what makes them happy.  It’s not that hard to do.  It’s simply being nice, being considerate, knowing that your partner loves a cuddle, a bouquet of daisies, a candlelight dinner…you know what they want, don’t you?
  • Your partner is a treasured person in your life. Show them.  Don’t spend your time with them focusing on other people or doing your online networking.  They are, after all, with you as opposed to your 1,000 or more online friends.
  • Be affectionate, be sexy, be warm. But don’t overdo it.  Your partner should know you find them attractive 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without feeling pressured to constantly be available for your advances or cuddles.
  • Give your partner space. No one wants to be smothered.
  • Be willing to share. Share your feelings, your insecurities, your victories and your defeats.  Your partner knows you are not perfect and if you are still together, they must love you for it.
  • Keep growing together – make sure to talk about your dreams, goals and visions regularly. Have you forgotten about your dreams of visiting Paris or having a house in the country?  Revisit and renew your dreams often.
  • Don’t let money problems paralyze you but don’t bury your head in the sand either. Money is important.  You need it to live, to eat, and to entertain yourselves.  You both need to pull your weight.  Awaken the entrepreneur within each of you to try to resolve persistent money problems.  Try to set a budget and determine who is contributing what – and how the money you have jointly will be spent.  Money cannot be a taboo subject.
  • Don’t hold onto grudges or hold things over your partner’s head. It will drive both of you nuts.  Let go of past hurts, but if there is a pattern, beware and don’t hesitate to block negative patterns.

There are some questions you may want to answer with your significant other(s) and others you may simply want to ask yourself.  Relationships are not always easy and getting a grasp on how you feel and why you feel the way you do can have a great impact on evaluating your relationship and making it stronger.

To keep it simple, ask the following questions of each other.  Go sit in a park, or discuss these things where there is no distraction.  If you are distracted by every day chores, you are highly unlikely to get to the meat of the questions and answers.

  1. What is your favourite memory about our first meeting?
  2. What do you get out of me being in your life?
  3. If you were to describe what our relationship means to you, how would you describe it?
  4. What have you gained or learned from our relationship?
  5. What do you see as my strengths?
  6. What do you see as my weaknesses?
  7. What can I do to improve our relationship?
  8. What would be missing if we weren’t in each other’s lives?

There are a lot more questions you can ask yourself, whether you do it alone or with your partner, depends on you.  I would suggest writing all the answers down and then sharing if you decide to share.  Have your partner do the same.

  1. What did you like or love about your partner when your relationship first started?
  2. Do you still like what you originally loved about your partner and why?
  3. Are you happy with the intimacy you share?
  4. Are you positively affecting each other?
  5. How often do you laugh together?
  6. Do you like spending time with your partner’s friends and family?
  7. Do you smile when you relate something from your daily life with your partner?
  8. Can you recall the most romantic moment with this partner?
  9. Do you get each other’s feeling without the need to say anything?
  10. How do you show your love for each other?
  11. When was the last time you said “I love you” to your partner?
  12. Have you ever changed anything for your partner?
  13. How much do you think you understand your partner?
  14. Do you trust each other?
  15. Are you prone to jealousy?
  16. Do you both have the same goals for your relationship?
  17. Do you argue often and over what?
  18. Do you each forgive each other easily or do you hold grudges?
  19. Do you respect each other’s beliefs?
  20. When was the last time you had an in-depth conversation with your partner?
  21. Are you keeping any secrets that you’re afraid of letting your partner know?
  22. Do you think your partner’s friends and family like you?
  23. Do you feel that your partner accepts the way you are?
  24. Have you seen each other at your best and worst?
  25. Have you ever thought about breaking up with your partner and why?
  26. Are there more joyful moments than sad ones being together?
  27. What makes you happier in a relationship, sharing or sacrificing?
  28. If you could choose your partner again, would you choose the same person?

Choosing a life partner is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.  Do not take it lightly.  It is better to have loved and lost than to have loved and not lost someone that is not good for you.

SEEBEDO Your Significant Other

SEE the relationship you want to have.  See the person you want to be with.

BE sure you are totally certain of your partner and your commitment to the relationship.

DO what it takes to make the relationship work once you know your partner is the one for you.

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The Art and Power of Gratitude

Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is important.  Be grateful for the things you have.  Consider every day Thanksgiving.  This list should be a dynamic list, you should review the things you are grateful for and keep them close to you.  This is an exercise you have to perform every day, perhaps from the list you now make or perhaps from what is on that given day in your mind, preferably you will have a written list and always be able to add to that based on current circumstances in your life.

Expressing your gratitude is not only good for the soul, it is good for your body.  When you are in a state of gratitude, your body actually secretes oxytocin, oxygenation to tissues is increased, healing is improved, and stress is reduced.  Gratitude actually impacts the electric activity around the heart and brain, improving their functions.

” Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. ” — Buddha

Think of the things you are grateful for, large or small.  Are you grateful for certain members of your family, for your good health, for friends, for help you received, for your possessions?  Make a list of the things you are grateful for.  It will make you smile; it will make you appreciate even the little things.

Sometimes it is the little things that we are most grateful for on a daily basis.  Giving thanks needs to become part of your daily routine, some people remind themselves of this with a list, some with talismans like rocks, necklaces, rings, whatever it is that reminds you each day to give thanks.  This is akin to always carrying your lucky penny, a rabbits foot, a rosary, prayer beads, bracelet, whatever it is that makes you remember to be grateful each day.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”— William Arthur Ward

An example, my daily ritual consists of putting on my jewelry; I have a ring from my son, earrings from my daughter, a necklace from my husband, and a watch I acquired after a successful business deal.  Each time I put my jewelry I am reminded to give thanks for my family and for my successes, large or small.

Gratitude is one of the key steps toward positive thinking and living.  If you want to have infinite vision, you must first be able to be grateful for what you have, even for what you don’t have.  Gratefulness is not supplication, it is not gushing, grovelling or in any way negative.  That’s fantastic, isn’t it?  When you are grateful you absolutely cannot be negative.  The two do not go together.  When you truly focus on what you are grateful for you cannot, in that same instant, be negative.

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

There is a caveat here, you have to be fully grateful.  Don’t let any “buts” come into your grateful moments.  You do not want to say, “I am grateful for this but…”  You are grateful, period, no questions, no wishes, and no qualifiers.

You need to keep your gratitude fresh.  Don’t let it become boring, make it a daily challenge to come up with three new or different little things you are grateful for.  It’s fun, it’s positive, and it’s a good morning brain exercise.

A Simple Thank You

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”— Oprah Winfrey

You should not even have to think about saying thank you.  It should be ingrained, it should be something you say when someone does something for you, gives something to you, helps you or is just someone you love.

It is easy to say thank you when you are with someone, it is quick, and it is effortless.  But what about saying thank you to strangers, saying thank you to customer service representatives, to people who provide valuable information or entertainment on the Internet, to strangers that have somehow impacted your life.

Get into the habit of writing short thank you notes.  If you are online a lot, get into the habit of thanking people online. Write thank you notes or answer the survey from the customer service department where you called for help.   I can’t count the number of times I have found a free program that has helped me immensely, used it, and never thanked the creator.  I read things daily or watch videos that inspire me, but I don’t take the time to write a quick thank you or a comment saying how much I appreciate it.

Cultivate the habit of thanking people right away, writing thank you notes or emails the minute you think of it.  If you wait, you will forget and then, saying your thanks becomes a chore instead of a blessing.  Say thank you and say it now.  Don’t think “wow, I am grateful,” without combining that with a thank you to the person who has made you thankful.

How many times have you closed the door on dinner guests, held a door open, bought something and thought, “They didn’t even say thank you.”  Doesn’t it irritate you just a bit?

I am polite, it was ingrained in me from an early age.  I can’t and don’t want to stop being polite so I hold doors open, let people go in front of me in line when I know I will take a lot more time than them.  I almost always smile at strangers on the street and I give up my seat for elderly people on the bus.  I don’t do this for the thanks, I do it because it is common politeness.  Sometimes people thank me and sometimes not, but when they thank me, or smile back at me, it makes me feel good.

A thank you is a gift, not only to the person you are thanking, but to yourself.  When you say thank you, you are adding one more thing to be grateful for to your life, a good thing in and of itself.  When you thank someone, they know you appreciate their effort, that you appreciate them.

It is good for you to be grateful and it is good for your relationships if you appreciate people and let them know it.  A thank you can brighten someone’s day, a thank you can inspire someone to do more, it can cement a relationship, it can change someone’s outlook.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

A thank you is actually even better than a compliment, of course, you can do both, it certainly can’t hurt.  But a genuine thank you says that you value what the person has done.   I will take a thank you any time over a compliment.  Compliments are fleeting, “You did a good job”.  Contrast that with, “You did a good job.  Thank you!”  Which makes you feel better?

THANK YOU! It is so simple.  Say it, live it, it is hard to be negative and even harder to be unhappy when you are grateful for even the smallest of things that come your way.

Gratitude is acknowledgement, it is awareness, and it is a source of joy and strength for all who embrace the attitude of gratitude.  Gratitude is a gentle but powerful source of power.  It keeps you aware of all the things you have in life, the gifts that have been bestowed upon you by God, the Universe, your family, friends, nature, society, the whole world that is around you and within you.

” Wise men try to express their appreciation and gratitude by some return of kindness, not only to their benefactor, but to everyone else.”—Buddha

Gratitude is energy, it is a force, it cannot fail to reach that to which it is addressed and it builds inner strength and power.  Gratitude connects you with power, it is not only uplifting but it is a source of inspiration and brings you closer to God and the Universe.

Gratitude is liberation; it is a statement to yourself, to others, to God, the saints, your Supreme Being, that you acknowledge your blessings.  Great religious leaders through the ages have expressed the necessity for gratitude.  The Bible is filled with prayers of gratitude.  Almost every religion and philosophy extols the virtues and benefits of gratitude.

It is impossible to be unhappy when you are in a state of gratitude.  Try it.  It simply does not work.  Gratitude costs nothing but pays off by the score.  If you wake up each morning and think of all the things you are grateful for (some days it may not be much), I guarantee you will have a nice day.  I woke up this morning and was grateful that the sun was shining – it was enough.

This is pretty simple, make a list right now of the things you are grateful for, remember that you can always give thanks for the big things, your family, your house, your friends…but each day you will have little things you will be grateful for.  Saying thank you, being grateful for what you have is one of the necessary steps in being more positive, in starting your day, in moving toward realizing infinite vision.

Remember, gratefulness is dynamic, you may be grateful every day for the most important things in your life, but what about the little things.  Each day, you will find you are grateful for different things, for the weather, for your car starting, for hearing a special song, seeing a special person, for having hot water in the shower, for that first cup of coffee in the morning.

Life gives us lots of little gifts to be grateful for each day, and some big gifts we are thankful for regardless of how bleak a given day may be.  Whether you thank the Universe, God, or other people, being in a state of gratitude will make you feel good.

Keep a gratitude journal; you might be surprised at all the things you have to give thanks for. A gratitude journal is an excellent way to keep yourself positive and remember all the good things in your life.  Think of a few things each day you are grateful for.

SEEBEDO Your Gratitude

SEE all the things in the world you are grateful for, large and small.

BE grateful, be polite, be kind.

DO give thanks each day and show people you are grateful.

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Find Your Happiness

Live a Happier Life

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ― Aristotle

More than anything, everyone wants to be happy.  If you are like me, though, your definition of happiness may be vague.  You may not be entirely certain of where your happy place is. Happiness is a very personal thing, it is a personal decision and it is based on your own values and dreams.  Just as no one else can define success for you, no one besides yourself can define happiness for you.  Your happiness is your responsibility and your choice.

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Happiness is not only a feeling, it is, in many respects a virtue.

  • Positive, happy people are well-liked people, they get hired for jobs over pessimistic people and they have more friends than negative people.
  • Happy people make better decisions because they accept greater challenges and have clear thinking.
  • Happy people are more physically and emotionally fit than unhappy people.

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”― Albert Camus

The pursuit of happiness may actually be a deterrent to happiness, so it is best not to pursue happiness as a goal, it is better to do things you love and love yourself and others.  Accepting yourself, volunteering, being kind, doing things for other people, having good relationships and having pets are all ways to increase your levels of happiness. Accepting yourself is one of the greatest factors in achieving happiness.  If you can accept yourself, you are well on the road to leading a happy life.  Be kind and forgiving to yourself, be mindful, and maintain your self-esteem.  Believe in yourself!

“If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap.’ If you want happiness for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime – help someone else.” —Chinese Proverb

Relationships are an important factor in happiness and friends play a major role in personal happiness.  Aristotle said there are three types of friendships:

  • Utility friendships where each person benefits in some way from the other
  • Pleasure friendships, based on personalities, fun, and common interests
  • Virtuous or Goodness friendships based on admiration, shared values, and striving together for the greater good

Not surprisingly, virtue-based friendships last the longest and bring the most happiness to those in the relationship.  If you want to find happiness, find friends that share your values, who support you, and make you feel good. Sex and affection are key ingredients in the happiness formula as are good relationships with other people. 

It follows that extroverts are often happier than introverts.  There is added research showing that extroverts are nostalgic about the past, looking back on memories with fondness and focusing on the positive as opposed to the negative.  My recommendations – start having more sex and remembering the good old days.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” ― Marcus Aurelius

No surprise, but positive thinking and gratitude are major factors in happiness.  Think positive, be grateful, and you are more likely to be happy. Pets make people happy.  I know mine have made me happy.  They have been proven not only to help extend lives but they actually increase self-esteem!  I am a dog and cat lover – tried the fish route but to be honest, they ate each other as did my hamsters so from my personal experience, I would recommend getting a dog or cat.  Some people, though, really bond with snakes, mice, rats, birds, or guinea pigs.  If you are sitting on the fence about getting a pet, you might want to reconsider.

“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

Active people are happier, people that attend cultural and sports events and exercise are happier than couch potatoes.  Motivate yourself to get out there and enjoy your community!

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” ― William James

Recent studies have shown that one of the most important factors in happiness and success is helping others.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Helping others can help you help yourself, providing access to social and psychological resources that counter negative moods.
  • Helping others makes you feel good, actually triggering feelings of reward in the brain and feel-good chemicals.
  • Helping others can boost your self-esteem and well-being. The more you help others, the more confidence you are likely to have.
  • Helping friends creates stronger friendships and creates positive relationship dynamics.
  • Helping others boosts your mood, makes you more optimistic and positive, and grateful.
  • Helping others is empowering, it gives you a sense of purpose and a stronger sense of self.
  • Helping others provides a sense of belonging and can reduce loneliness and isolation.
  • Helping others will give you a higher level of inner peace and reduce your stress.
  • Helping others is contagious. It encourages other people to help others and results in “pay it forward” behaviours.

Happiness and helping go hand in hand, the more you help others, the happier you will be.  Take the time to volunteer, to help people less fortunate than yourself, to help family and friends.  Not only is the pay-off great but the actual act of helping is good for your mind and your body.

Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.” – Buddha

You hold the keys to your own happiness.  Lifting up other people, helping others, has been a proven path to happiness over the ages.  Confucius, Buddha, Aristotle, Lao Tzu, great religious and philosophical leaders have similar ideas as to what the true path to happiness is.  It always comes back to kindness and gratitude.  Happiness is born of being true to oneself, of living a life that is based on strong values and love.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path provide a good guideline for happiness and fulfilment in life.

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Thought
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

Happiness and success are both born in each individual and how one measures them is a personal choice.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

There are several things you can do that will increase your happiness quotient:

  1. Accept yourself and love yourself – take care of your emotional health, be self-aware, be mindful, be self-compassionate.
  2. Be compassionate and understanding, kind, generous and helpful – do things for others.
  3. Foster and build good relationships. Be compassionate and understanding.
  4. Take care of your health and your body with exercise, good diet, and good habits.
  5. Live in an “attitude of gratitude”. Practice gratitude daily.
  6. Be enthusiastic – get involved, learn new things, do things you are passionate about.
  7. Have a vision, goals that you want to achieve that have a higher purpose and commit to that vision.
  8. Be positive and optimistic.
  9. Engage with the world around you. Make a difference.
  10. Practice meditation, religion, spirituality, whatever brings you personal peace and joy, find your inner place of peace.

True happiness consists of the ability to enjoy yourself and the world around you, to enjoy the here and now.  The happiest people are those that are content with what they have, who they are, and what they are doing.  Happiness is rooted in seeing, being and doing the little things and the big that touch your heart, make you smile,  making your life and the lives you touch warmer and richer.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Seneca

Happiness is a choice – you have the power to make that choice! Choose happiness for your life however you define it.  It’s fairly simple.  You know what makes you happy and what doesn’t.  You know who makes you happy and who doesn’t.  Know also, that your happiness radiates from within – let it shine for you.

SEEBEDO Your Happiness

SEE happiness around you and within you.  See the light of love and kindness emanating from you and around you.

BE happy, be mindful be accepting of others and yourself, be loving, be grateful.  Live in the moment.

DO what you love.  Do the things required to make yourself and others happy, do things for others, do things for yourself. Embrace life.

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