Wednesday, 24 May 2017

State Change


In a previous blog I emphasized that we are each in control of our own emotions.  External factors may seem to create negative or positive emotions, but this only happens because we allow it.

So how do you actually switch from a negative to a positive emotion?  What do you need to do to achieve this?

This is not an easy thing to do, especially if it is not something you do all the time (or perhaps have never done), and especially if the negative emotion you are feeling is very strong.  It is not easy, but you CAN do it.

I would suggest the way NOT to do it is to say something like "come on, perk up!", or to have someone say this to you.  You may just as well say "come on, flap your arms and fly!" for all the good that does.

In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) it is common to hear a lot of talk about "state change".  Really, this is just another phrase for saying the same thing - changing your emotions.

If you are in a deep funk, maybe desperately sad about something, or perhaps very angry, before you can replace this negative emotion with a positive one you need to switch out of that mood as quickly as possible.  And "as quickly as possible" can be very quick.  It can be instantaneous!

In a very recent blog article I gave you a technique you could use for this in a specific situation.  Someone has made you very angry.  How can you snap right out of that angry mood?  One method I suggested was to imagine the person who has made you angry is suddenly standing there completely naked.  Depending on the circumstances you may now wish to laugh out loud.  I say "depending on the circumstances" as if the person is standing right there it might not be appropriate for you to laugh suddenly.  In the example I gave, you are driving a car and the person who made you angry is the driver of another car who has cut you up.  In that situation you can, and SHOULD, laugh out loud as you picture them standing there stark naked.  Where the person is standing in front of you, still see him stark naked but only laugh internally.

Try this.  If you have never done something like this before you will be amazed at the result.  You should find your laughter wipes away that negative emotion, giving you time to replace it with a positive emotion of your choice.

This is only one example of a state change technique, but it is a very powerful one.

Once you have wiped away the negative emotion, recognize that what caused it was your reaction to someone or something - not that someone or something itself.  The person has not changed, and nor has the situation, but you are no longer angry (for example) but are inwardly and perhaps outwardly laughing.

The next step is to stop yourself reacting negatively again once the amusement has passed.  To a degree you have already done that - just keep that naked image there.  But there is also an inner conversation you had with yourself that generated the negative emotion in the first place, or at least perpetuated and amplified it.  You may have said something like this to yourself: "How dare he move into my lane like that, so close to me and without even signalling!".  Now that you have created a state change, don't waste this opportunity by engaging in the same negative conversation again.  Yes, the guy who cut you up did a silly thing.  It was not nice.  But don't add to the problems he may have caused you by allowing him to make you miserable.  You already know what he did was wrong and why it was wrong, so there is no need at all for you to have a conversation with yourself about it.  On the other hand, you could certainly continue a conversation resulting from your amusement about him sitting in his car stark naked!

So that is a technique you can use to stop a negative emotion in its tracks.  A very effective technique.  Try to think of others.  It is best to have a selection of such techniques in your "state change armoury".  The one I have just given you works very well when it is a person that is causing the negative emotion.  You can extend it just a little so you can use it in any situation, not just one caused by a person.  For example, you may choose to see everyone around you as naked.  This will still create the state change you need, even though they are all innocent and you have nothing against any of them.  Think of a few more like this and remember to use them next time you are suffering from a negative emotion of any kind.

After you have removed the negative emotion and stopped yourself from calling it back again, the final step is to trigger a positive emotion.

There is much you can do to trigger a positive emotion.  I find one of the best ways is to recall a time in the past when you felt that emotion really strongly.  Visualize it.  See it as though you are sat in a cinema and the scene you remember is now being played on the screen.  In colour.  This is important.  Your mind, which doesn't like anything that changes your state, will probably try to limit you by making the film black and white rather than colour.  If that happens, just remember the scene more vividly and recall it in full technicolour.  Allow the emotion to flow through you.  Then step into the scene.  Experience it again fully with all your senses.

Rather than waiting until you need to use it, you should take some time now (or when you next have a few minutes by yourself) and go through this exercise.  Take some time to find some of the best examples.  Relive them as described above.  Do this several times for each of those incidents over the next few days.  Keep doing it until you can recall each incident and feel the emotions strongly without too much effort.

Once you have two or three (or even more), the final step is to "anchor" them.  This simply means associating each with a physical action.  Many NLP practitioners will teach you to do this with a completely random action.  For example, tap your right hand with the middle finger of your left hand.  Keep repeating the incident in your mind, and each time the really powerful positive emotion flows through you, tap your hand in this way.  If you do this enough times, you should then find that if you tap your hand in this way it automatically brings back that positive emotion.  Keep practising this anchoring until that is the case.

I suggest, though, that you anchor the best example with the right body posture associated with that emotion.  For example, if you are trying to anchor your best example of being happy, then anchor it with a smile.  As above, keep going back to that incident that caused you such happiness, and each time the happiness flows through you anchor it with a smile.

Do this and you will have some very powerful tools to create the right state changes no matter what is happening around you.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Behind the mask



Have you ever looked behind your mask and found the real "you"?

When I ask people this question most ask "what mask?" and say they never wear masks.  They are deluding themselves.  We all wear masks.

We learn from an early age that we need to present a certain image to the world around us.  Maybe that is the image of an obedient boy or girl, who is really not quite as obedient as the mask suggests.  Maybe it is a mask that makes us less noticeable to the school bully and hopefully therefore allows us to avoid being bullied too much.  Or even the mask of a bully who doesn't want others to notice how vulnerable he or she is.

But we do not permanently wear the same mask.  Again, as a child you probably displayed a different mask to your parents than the one you displayed to your brothers and sisters if you had any.  A different mask to your teachers than to your school friends.  A different mask to your group of friends than to those in other groups.

As an adult you still have a whole series of masks.  One you show your boss at work.  Another you show your spouse.  And yet another you show your children.  You take on different personalities with those different masks.  The personality of a mother or father.  The personality of a loving spouse.  The personality of a loyal employee.  There is, in fact, a whole series of things that change in you as you assume each mask.  How an employee, spouse, or parent should behave, what they should say, how they should think, what they should believe.  Some of the beliefs associated with the mask are absolutely the right thing.  Many are not - they are patterns you have learned from others, from what you have read, what you have been told, experiences you have had.

If you want to develop and evolve properly it is important that you first look behind the masks.  You need to find the real "you".  Once you have found that true personality you can then work on improving it and moving it in the direction you wish to go.  And you can then also analyse each of your masks, identifying whether they are needed at all once your personality has evolved, and if they are still needed identifying which aspects should still be there and which should not.

This is not as easy as it sounds.  It is actually a lifetime task.  But a very rewarding task which you will find brings improvements in your life and, hopefully, greater happiness as you progress.

One reason it is not that easy is the point I made right at the beginning of this article - the challenge of even recognizing you are wearing a mask.  Knowing that even when you are sat alone, thinking about your goals, motivating yourself to reach them, and checking they are aligned with the inner purpose of your life, knowing that even then you are wearing a mask which you have to remove in order to move forward properly.

Another reason is that we all wear masks under our masks.  A bit like a matryoshka doll, the Russian nesting doll, except in the case of the matryoshka each doll inside the other normally looks identical, whereas when you peel back your masks you will find the one underneath is a little different.

Take some time each day to meditate, opening up your personal matryoshka one mask or shell at a time.  Get to the inner "you" and find out what that "you" really wants out of life.  Until you do this, you will not be satisfied with what you achieve, as it does not reflect what you really wanted to achieve.

As you progress with this, also take a look at those masks you are removing.  Try to find out why they are there.  Perhaps they are necessary, but perhaps not.  If they are needed, then try to find out how they change your personality, the way you behave, even the way you think and what you believe.  Strip out of the mask everything that is not needed, and everything that you find is a betrayal of the real "you".

What you will almost certainly discover is that the real "you" is very different, much deeper than suggested by the masks, and probably a much nicer person.  The mask of the "Democrat" or the "Republican" for example if you are in the US, "Labour", "Liberal Deomcrat", "Green", "UKIP", "SNP" or "Conservative" (and forgive me if I left out your particular mask here) if you are in the UK.  Wherever in the world you are I am sure you can replace these political masks with ones more appropriate to your situation.  I am not saying do not be a Democrat or Republican.  Just be aware that you do not need to wear the Democrat or Republican mask, that you can vote for one or other party and even strongly believe in the stance of one or other party, but do not allow that party to create a mask for you that is not the real "you".  Putting this back over 150 years ago, there were Confederates and Unionists.  If you have watched the US ABC miniseries "North & South", then you may remember the characters and beliefs of George Hazard and Orry Main.  They each believed strongly in their own cause, one being a Confederate and the other a Unionist.  They each had good reasons for those beliefs, or at least they felt there were good reasons for them.  But "Unionist" or "Confederate" was not really the true George Hazard or Orry Main.  Underneath the masks were decent human beings who loved each other despite their very different political persuasions.  And underneath your mask too there is probably a much better human being than the one you are currently displaying.  Dive beneath all those masks and find that real "you".

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Choosing Your Emotions



Did you know that you choose your emotions?  They are not caused by external events.  They are caused by your own choice, your own decision of which emotion you are now going to experience.

Most people react quite badly to what I have just said, even though it is the absolute truth.  Perhaps you are one of them?  Here is what you might say:

"Do you think I would deliberately choose to be miserable?"
"I am angry because of what just happened, not because I want to be angry!"
"How can I choose to be happy when something like this happens to me?"

The common theme here is that it is events around us that create our moods.  "I am angry because ...".  We externalize our emotion.  We are victims.  We want to be happy, but we cannot because ....

It really doesn't matter what words you put after "because ...".  It doesn't matter, because whatever you put there is NOT the reason for your negative emotion.  YOU are the reason.

It is true that external events can trigger emotional responses.  And in some cases those triggers are very strong.  I am not denying this.  But the final decision about what mood you are going to be in comes from you.  No matter what the trigger, no matter how strong it may be, it cannot force you to experience a particular emotion.  Only you can do that.

Learning to maintain positive emotions no matter what the external circumstances may be is not an easy task.  It is not even necessarily the right thing to do.  Negative emotions have a purpose.  For example, if a loved one has just died you will have a mix of negative emotions, including grief.  It is important to pass through that grief.  But the grief is not caused by the death - it is a choice we make in reaction to the death.  A choice we SHOULD make.  The same thing applies, to a lesser extent, to other negative emotions.  You mustn't bottle up your feelings and try to pretend you are happy when you are not.  Choose to experience those negative emotions at the right strength and for the right time.  Then let them go.  What do I mean by "the right strength"?  I mean they should not be so powerful that they make you do things you should not do and would not choose to do in normal circumstances.  Don't, for example, become Michael Douglas in the film "Falling Down"!  Certainly don't fire a gun in MacDonalds because they have stopped serving the breakfast menu and you want breakfast!

Begin learning to control your emotions just by choosing your emotions in every day circumstances.  Choose to be happy when you would otherwise perhaps have been in "neutral gear", when nothing particularly bad has happened but neither has anything particularly good happened.  Choose not to be angry when a driver cuts you up or does something else that is silly or perhaps rather dangerous.

How do you choose the right emotions?

If something has happened which would normally make you angry, try to see it in a different light.  For example, the driver who cut you up - maybe imagine he is completely naked!  Now think about how silly he looks and laugh.  Or in a neutral situation where you would normally be a bit unhappy for no particular reason, think back to an event that made you happy and imagine yourself there.  Feel that happiness, then bring it back with you.

There are, in fact, many techniques you can use to choose the right emotions.  Some are quite specific.  Look out for training on "state change" - in fact I will probably write a blog article about creating "state change", so keep an eye out for it.

For now, just accept that you are in control, that whatever emotion you are feeling has been chosen by you.  If you don't like that emotion it is within your gift to change it.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Questions



When you want to change your life for the better how do you begin the process?  Do you immediately start trying to fix the problem?  And do you see that problem as something outside, in your environment, or something within you?

Just by asking you those questions I have hopefully started to make you question the ways in which you do this.  I hope so.  Because asking the right questions first is a key step in creating change.

Too often we ask ourselves the wrong questions.  We may or may not get good answers, but those answers will not help move us forward in quite the right direction if the questions we asked were the wrong questions.  They may move us vaguely in the right way, if they were vaguely the right question.  But there will usually be much better answers we could have found if the question were more focussed.

For example, suppose you have decided that you need to earn more money.  So you ask yourself the question "how can I earn more money?"  Perhaps you decide the answer is to ask your boss for a pay rise.  Now don't get me wrong.  In this case the answer is pretty good.  You may or may not get that raise, but if you do, then you have certainly moved forwards in the right direction.  You will get more money.  There is also a chance that you won't get that raise though.  Should the question have been "how do I earn more money" in the first place?  I am not saying this is the wrong question, but only that you should really make sure it IS the right question before you rely completely on the answer it gives you.  Perhaps the question should have been "how do I become wealthier?"  And when you ask that question maybe the answer that comes back is "create a passive income stream".  Or maybe a series of answers come back, one of which is "ask for a raise", another is "create a passive income stream", and perhaps another is another question: "am I in the right job?"

So, when you want to create change, begin by thinking about what changes you should be trying to make, rather than rushing in and trying to make changes before you know for certain those are the changes you should be making.  The key to successfully changing things for the better is to make sure you first ask yourself the right questions.

Think deeply about the questions you should ask yourself.  Think really deeply.  Don't assume the first question that comes to mind is necessarily the right question.  In fact, don't assume there should only be one question.  Usually you will find there is more than one question, and then probably more than one good answer to each of those questions.

When you are considering the right questions to ask, focus on yourself rather than on the environment.  The changes you need to make will come from within.  They may then change things around you, but the process starts within.  You do not have absolute control over your environment, but you CAN take absolute control of yourself.  Ask yourself questions about the changes you can and should make in yourself, and you can then change everything for the better.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Astral Travel



Have you ever arrived somewhere you are sure you have never been before and then found there was something very familiar about that place?  Perhaps you then even remember that you dreamed you visited it before.  That has certainly happened to me.  It is a phenomenon generally known as déjà vu.

Most people will try to explain déjà vu away and say there is nothing "magical" about it.  One explanation commonly given is that there is a glitch in the way memories are stored in the brain.  The immediate memory of something experienced only a few seconds ago, or even a few fractions of a second ago, somehow becomes confused and associated with much older memories.

This may, in fact, be a genuine explanation of déjà vu in many cases.  But it is not always the real explanation.

The reality, I strongly believe, is that when we sleep it is possible for our mind and spirit to disassociate itself from our body and travel to places we may never have visited physically.  This is called "astral travel".

Many people use the term "astral travel" to mean only this kind of experience - travelling in your "dream body" to a physically real place.  I certainly believe this is possible, but to me it is only a small and perhaps even unimportant aspect of astral travel.  To me, astral travel is the same as what is often called "lucid dreaming".  In other words, being aware while I am dreaming that this is a dream, and then taking control of where I go and what happens in that dream.

My last blog article referred to the importance of play.  What if you could play in any way you wished?  In a lucid dream you can!  There are no limitations.  None at all.  You really can do whatever you want!

What if you could, for example, decide to launch yourself into the air, flying over the countryside, and then landing wherever you wished?  Not in a machine of any kind, but simply launching your body into the air without any mechanical aids?  Would that be fun?  It certainly is for me!  Maybe you would find it fun too!  This is something you can easily do in a dream state if you realize you are dreaming and are in control of the dream.

But lucid dreaming is not just about flying to places real and imaginary.  It is, in my view, all about play.  The best form of play.  A chance to experiment without having to worry about the consequences.

The reality is that all of us are playing that way in our dreams anyway.  It is just we are not aware we are playing and therefore cannot get full enjoyment from the play.  Scientists have discovered that all mammals dream, and it seems they use their dreams to test ways of reacting.  If you are a pet owner you have probably observed this.  For example, you may have seen your cat making involuntary movements that are apparently caused by chasing a mouse even though she is not actually awake and running and there is no mouse.  Or your dog chasing a cat.  Scientists have observed and measured these involuntary movements and confirmed what we as pet owners suspected was happening.  Nature has given us all a dream world to allow us to play and to test what strategies may work and what strategies will not.  We can test these strategies in absolute safety.  If the result is that we are almost certainly going to be killed or injured, that happens in the safety of the dream, leaving us alive and healthy to try a different strategy.

You are already playing in your dreams.  So why not take things one stage further and become aware of that play?  Learn to dream lucidly and start enjoying limitless play in the safe environment of your personal dream world.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Play is Important



How much time do you spend playing?  Really playing, not just going through the motions.  Not in a passive mode, such as watching television or going to the movies, but active, participatory play.  Probably not as much as you should.

Do you feel guilty when you do manage to find some time for play?  Unless you are rather unusual I suspect you do have some guilt feelings, even if they are hidden below the surface.  There are so many things you know you should be doing, so why are you wasting time playing instead of getting them done?  Is that a familiar question?  Even if you don't ask that question of yourself, probably someone close to you does - your partner, a parent, etc.

Most children play a lot, of course.  Why do they play?  You could answer "because they enjoy playing", which is true.  But why do they enjoy playing?  Because evolution has set them up to enjoy it.  Play has an important purpose.  It is a key element in their learning curve.  Learning not only about things in the outside world, not only about relationships and ways to nurture them, both of which are very important, but also about their own capabilities and how to stretch and grow those capabilities.  Learning how to improve their problem-solving abilities.  Learning to expand their imagination and creativity.

Think about this for a moment.  Why should you decide there is nothing more for you to learn?  Why decide that you are so perfect at creating and nurturing relationships that you don't need to learn how to do so even more powerfully and effectively?  Can you really say that you have fully explored all your own latent skills and abilities and have developed them to the point where there is nothing you can do to improve them?  Are you as creative and imaginative as you could ever be?  Unless you can really say all this, you still have the need to play!

Even if you ignore all those practical benefits of play, it has other important functions too - one of which is to give us laughter and happiness.  Do you laugh as much as you could and should?  Are you as happy as you could be?  Assuming you laugh a lot and are happy most of the time, is there a good reason you should not laugh even more and be even happier?  I cannot think of one good reason not to laugh and be happy, but know of plenty of reasons to laugh more and be happier.  One reason is that being happy and laughing is a state I enjoy far more than any alternative state.  If I have a choice between an enjoyable state and on that is less enjoyable, why would I choose the less enjoyable one?  Another reason is that people who laugh and are happy have far less stress in their lives.  As a result, they typically live longer.  A double benefit - you can have a longer life, less stress, and be happier in all that additional time the happiness and laughter has bought you.

Now that (if I have done my job properly) you recognize the value of play, you can use this to squash that little voice inside that tries to tell you that you are wasting time, being silly, reverting to childhood, or anything else it can say to make you feel guilty and stop playing or stop enjoying the play.

Decide now that you are going to spend more time playing.  Where will you find the time to do this?  Take a look at all the things you do each day that are not essential but also are not play.  I am sure you will find plenty.  Simply use some of that time to play instead, and start creating a more fulfilled, happier life more filled with laughter and enjoyment.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Use Your Gifts



When I tell members of my tribe that they should use their gifts they usually respond with "what gifts?"

We all have gifts.  We are all really good at something.  Good enough to help those around us achieve what they really want to achieve.

The first step before you can use your gifts is to identify what those gifts may be.  This is a moveable feast, so don't worry that you may not identify them properly.  We all have many gifts, some stronger than others.   You can therefore begin with anything you recognize as a gift, and sharing it will be very powerful even if it later turns out it is not your strongest gift.

The next question is often "why should I share it?"

I don't believe this is asked selfishly, or at least I hope it isn't.  If it is, if the feeling behind the question is "I want to keep this to myself" or "I can't be bothered to share it", then let me remind you what happens when you do not share.  All good things in this universe are there in abundance for each and every one of us.  But that abundance is like a flowing river, not a stagnant pond.  Allow it to flow through you and you will benefit from it enormously, as will the people with whom you share it.  Try to keep it for yourself and you will find it stagnates, is no longer of any benefit, and further abundance does not come your way.  This applies not just to wealth (and it certainly applies there) but also to your gifts.

I think sometimes the question is asked because people don't believe their gifts are valuable enough to be shared.

If that is you, step away from what is probably false humility.  What you have IS valuable enough to be shared.  Also, the more you share it the more valuable and powerful it becomes.  And the easier you will find it becomes to share it again.  As indicated above, not only does it become more valuable and stronger when it is shared, but also less valuable and weaker if it is not shared.

The third very common question is "how do I share it?"

There are many ways to do this.  It is perhaps more obvious with wealth.  Use it to help others.  But the same applies to your gifts.  Use them to help others.  Both directly and indirectly.  An important indirect way of doing so is to train others to develop similar gifts.  Teach them to develop, nurture, and then share those gifts themselves.

As you do this, a wonderful thing will start to happen.  You will find your gift increasing in power.  You become more knowledgeable as you share that knowledge with others.  You become more accomplished and gifted as you share your gifts with others.

I have often heard it said that one of the best ways to improve and consolidate your own knowledge of a subject is to teach it.  As you teach, so you increase your own knowledge.  You create stronger synaptic pathways in your brain which strengthen your memories, allowing you to access them quicker and benefit from them more rapidly.

Try it!  Begin sharing your gifts today and see the world around you improve and your gifts increase in strength and value.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Meaning of Life


What is it that you want to achieve in your life?

This is probably one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself.  It goes to the very root of another question so many of us ask, perhaps without expecting an answer - what is the meaning of life?

With such an important question you should not simply accept the first answer that comes to mind.  Not even if you believe you already know what you want to achieve.  Spend some time thinking deeply about this achievement.  How will you feel as you begin to achieve it?  What will change in your life and in the lives of those around you as this begins to happen?

Make sure as you do this that everything feels really positive.  If it doesn't, then there is something wrong.  You may think that this is what you want to achieve, but the reality is that there is something quite different that you really want, which is expressing itself in a different way for some reason - as it arises from the depths of your mind and spirit it appears to change, until when it comes to the surface it looks completely different.  So if you do not feel really positive about this achievement you must dig much deeper to find out what your true desire is.

What you should find, once you have properly identified what it is you want to achieve in life, is that it is something that can grow and develop.  It is something that you can begin to achieve, if only in a very small way, very soon after you have identified what it is and have started working towards it.  That is why I have tried to avoid using the word "goal", which you maybe expected to see earlier in this article.  It is more a way of life, of moving along a particular path, than something that you get and then find there is nothing left to do.  It really does become "the meaning of life" for you.

If you have identified this path, this growth, this ongoing achievement correctly you should also be able to identify some "milestones" along the way.  Milestones that show you have made progress but are not at the finishing line.  By definition, none of those milestones can be the finishing line, none of them can say "zero miles to go", as what you are aiming for is a continuous growth, not something at which you can finally arrive.

You should try to identify both distant and very close milestones.  This is important.  Have a distant target in mind, and try to make sure that what you are working on now brings you closer to that distant target rather than further away.  But also have some close targets so you can feel fulfilled in the "now" rather than only in the distant future.

So, what IS the meaning of life?  This is a question that has perturbed many very intelligent men and women over many centuries.  When you have completed the exercise I have suggested in this short article, the answers arrived at by eminent philosophers will probably now seem mundane and unimportant to you.  You KNOW the one answer unique to you.  You know the meaning of your life and know that now your life can be fuller and better every day that passes.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Power of Imagination



Which do you think is more powerful - imagination or will power?

If you can find the equipment to do so, I would like you to try a little experiment for me.

Find a plank of wood that is about as wide as both your feet pressed together.  Lay this plank along the floor.  Now start walking along it, placing each foot carefully in the middle of the plank.  There is quite a bit of space either side of your foot, so you should not find this exercise too difficult.  Walk all the way along the plank from one end to the other.

How did that go?  Did you misplace a foot at any point and step on the floor rather than the plank?  As long as you are reasonably fit and healthy I believe you got to the end of the plank without doing anything that would have meant you would have fallen off if the plank had been raised in the air.

The second part of the experiment is a thought experiment.  I don't want you actually to try it, as it would be a very dangerous thing to do unless you are a trained acrobat.  I want you to imagine the plank is now 500 metres in the air (around a third of a mile if you are not used to the metric system), crossing between two skyscrapers.  It is a very strong plank, and it is very firmly fixed at both ends, so it does not "bow" or move in any other way when you step on it.  Today is a beautiful day, with not the slightest hint of wind.  Now I want you to imagine stepping onto that plank and walking along it.  Way below you can see people walking along the road and they look like insects.  The cars look like little Corgi toy cars.  There is no safety net.  One false step and you will fall 500 metres to a very messy death.

How did that thought experiment go?  Did you walk the plank or decide you didn't want to risk it?  Whether or not you actually tried it in your mind I want you to answer this honestly - would you do this for real, and would you find it at all difficult.

Unless you are very unusual, if you were honest I am sure you either said you would not do it or admitted your walk along the plank would be very slow and hesitant.

Why is this?  The experience should surely be the same!  Every time you walk along the plank on the floor you walk smoothly and quite quickly.  Why is that not the case when the plank is high in the air?

The answer is - the power of your imagination!

When you try walking that plank 500 metres in the air, your imagination presents you with some very unpleasant scenarios.  Scenarios in which you fall off the plank and come to a very untimely end.  The power of your imagination is probably so strong that it completely counters the power of your will to walk that plank, or at least it makes you very hesitant.

Imagination is extremely powerful.  Typically much more powerful than will power.

Why is this important?

When you are trying to achieve success in something, do you normally try to succeed by using your will power?

Let's say you have decided to slim by following a particular diet.  If you are like most people you will try to use your will power to avoid eating certain foods, or to avoid eating between meal snacks.  There is nothing wrong with using will power.  In fact, you need will power if you really want to reach your goal, whatever that goal may be.  But you should always combine it with imagination.

Remember from your thought experiment just how powerful your imagination is.  Just how easily it can stop you doing something you want to do.  Well, apply that power of imagination to your attempts to reach your goals and you will find it so much easier to reach them.

Imagine how it will feel when you have achieved your goal.  How much better life will be.  Really focus on this.  Use the power of your imagination effectively.  Spend some time sitting quietly imagining your success and all the consequences of that success.

The power of imagination to help you achieve whatever you wish to achieve is immense.  Harness that power, linked with your will power, and you will be surprised at just how quickly and effectively you can reach your goals.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Inner Voices



If I came up to you and told you that I hear voices inside telling me what to do, and that I listen to them and act on them, I guess you would be afraid.  Probably very afraid!  After all, this is typically what a schizophrenic says, isn't it?  And what if those voices told me to kill you?

Don't worry.

First of all, I am not going to walk up to you, as you are probably many miles away, perhaps even many thousands of miles away.

Secondly, I am not referring to something that is symptomatic of schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder.  Well, I guess I would say that anyway, wouldn't I?  But keep reading and I think you will agree with me.  Hopefully you will even start to hear voices yourself.  No, don't get scared - I am talking here about something very positive and good, not the negative voices which also exist.

We all have inner voices.  These voices are, in a sense, real.  They are real aspects of our own selves.

If the voices you hear are nasty, asking you to do things that go against your nature, then these are not voices you should listen to.  Instead you should talk to a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist, as this could be the start of a pyschotic episode, and you should not simply wait and hope that they go away.

But these are not the voices I am talking about.

There are some negative voices that do not fall into the above, psychotic category.  These include Mr or Mrs "Yabut".  I have already spoken about this voice in an earlier blog article.  This is the voice that always seems to give you a reason why you cannot achieve whatever it is you are trying to achieve.  When you start thinking about one of your goals, this voice says "yah, but ..." and what comes after the "but" is a whole host of reasons you should not pursue that goal.   We all have a Mr or Mrs Yabut.  You should listen to what is said, but only so you can identify your limiting beliefs and then squash them.  None of the reasons given should mean you cannot achieve your goal.  So listen to what is said, eliminate the limiting belief, and then banish Mr or Mrs Yabut.

The voice you are listening out for is a much more encouraging one.  You have a voice within you that wants to help you achieve what you should be achieving.  Notice exactly what I said there.  Not "what you want to achieve" but "what you should be achieving".  I have said this many times before, but very often the things we think we want to achieve are not the things that deep inside we really want to achieve (or to put it another way, the things we should be achieving).  Listen carefully for this voice.  It can lead you in a very unexpected direction, and a direction which is far better for you and far more likely to achieve success for you than the one in which you are travelling right now.

If you are spiritual (notice, I did not say religious) you can view this voice as the voice of God, or of Atman, or of the Spirit, or of the Universe - whichever word you prefer to use the meaning is really the same.  It is a voice from someone or something that knows far better than your conscious mind what is best for you.

It is the voice you will hear if you sit quietly and calmly, allowing peace to fill you.  The voice John Greenleaf Whittier referred to in his poem "The Brewing of Soma" as the "still, small voice of calm".

Spend time every day listening for this "still, small voice of calm".  Some days you may not hear it.  Perhaps this will be the case on many days.  But sometimes you will.  And the more you practice the more often you will hear it.  You may think of this as a form of meditation, which I guess it is.  You may find it helps at first if you can be alone in a quiet room.  Ultimately, though, you should be able to listen for this voice no matter where you are and no matter how much noise there is around you.

When you have spent some time practising this you will find the voice sometimes appears even when you are not consciously encouraging it.  That is good.  It will particularly appear in this way when there is something you should do right now, so take particular notice of what it is saying.

Listen for the small, still voice of calm, and take note of what it tells you.  Act on it.  If you do this you will find you will move quickly along the path to your ultimate goals - perhaps goals you didn't even realize you had until you started this little, but powerful, exercise.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Intuition Works


Have you ever had a powerful feeling that something is not right, and then moments later a problem surfaces?

Have you ever felt you should take a certain action, taken it, and then found it was exactly the right thing to do even though there was no apparent logic behind it?

Have you ever met someone you felt was very negative, even though they hadn't said or done a thing that should have made you feel that way?  Or the opposite - when you met a person you just knew it was right to form a friendship or relationship with them?

These are all examples of intuition working for you.  We are all intuitive, and the voice of intuition is talking to us all the time if only we would listen.

Some people may say that all the examples I have given are pure coincidence.  That they are a bit like the feeling you get that when you wait in a queue at the supermarket, the queue next to you always  goes faster, or no matter which lane you choose in a traffic jam your lane always goes slower.  I recognize that those feelings arise only because it is the times things like that happen that are memorable and we forget all the times the opposite happens.  Or, at least, most of us do - although really positive people react in the opposite way, and remember the times things went in their favour rather than moved against them.  But I contend that this is not the case with the above examples.

I agree they are not scientific, and I cannot prove to you that intuition is really working in those situations, but this is not intended to be a scientific treatise.  Trust me, if you start to become more aware of the inner voice of intuition you will find it really does work for you.  You won't be able to prove this is the case, but proof doesn't matter here - all that matters is whether it works and whether your life can become better if you listen to your intuition and follow what it is telling you.

I don't think it really matters why this works, but for the sceptics among you here is one reason you can consider.

Life is often too complex for us to be able to take the time to think about the evidence our senses have taken in, analyze it all, and then come to a conclusion about the best way forward.  This has been the case for millions of years.  When we lived in the wild and our very survival depended on recognizing a predator was tracking us we had to act very quickly.  We didn't become aware of the predator because of some magical ability.  We used our normal five senses.  But the recognition of the danger came unconsciously and automatically, far faster than we could analyze the data and decide what action to take.  Before we even knew why, we were taking action to avoid the threat we hadn't yet consciously appreciated.  That was intuition at work.

Just as we had that ability millions of years ago to avoid being eaten by a predator, so today we have that same intuition which can help us in so many different situations.  It can help us avoid danger.  Probably not the danger of being eaten alive, but perhaps the danger of being drawn away from the path we have chosen to follow in life and which is the right path for us to take.  It can help us achieve what it is we want to achieve.  Probably not capturing an animal to use as our next meal, but moving towards the right relationship, finding our real purpose in life, obtaining the wealth we desire.

Maybe you have always told yourself you are not intuitive.  If so, you are wrong.  We all evolved from the same primitive people who needed the power of intuition to survive.  Those who did not have it did not survive long enough to procreate.  So I can guarantee that intuition was passed down to you.  All you need to do is recognize it is there, start responding to it, and nurture and develop it.

Work on improving your intuition in any way you can.  Every action you take to improve your intuition will reap far more benefits for you than you can ever imagine was possible.  The work you do to encourage your intuition will leverage your efforts to create the right life for you and to enjoy the lifestyle you so much want to enjoy.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Good Excuses


Is there something you really, really want to achieve?  Something that would make a real difference to you?  And perhaps something that would make a real difference to the world around you?

Think about that for a while.  Be certain this really is your desire.  Be certain it is fully aligned with your inner desires.

Ok, now let me ask you a question.  Why haven't you achieved it yet?

This is the point all the negatives come gushing out.  Let them all come.  Don't bother to write them down.  Just allow them all to come to the surface of your mind.

I will be very surprised if your reaction at this point is "I don't really know why I haven't achieved it.  There is no good reason.  I will get on and do it now!".  I will be delighted if that is your reaction, but will be very surprised!

But the reality is that perhaps SHOULD be your reaction.

Most, if not all, the reasons that came flowing out were probably about external obstacles.  Something "out there" that means you cannot achieve what you want to achieve.

Let me tell you right now, none of those reasons have any real meaning.  That is why I said don't bother to write them down.  You had to think of a good reason, an excuse why you have not done this, and you wanted to make sure that was not something under your control.  If it was under your control, that would mean you were to blame, and unconsciously you wanted to find reasons that were NOT under your control so you could NOT be to blame.

Finding excuses is something we are all very good at doing.  We are masterful at it!  Those excuses are rock solid, so it is absolutely obvious that it cannot be our fault.  The reason they are so rock solid is not because they are real but because your "inner computer" knew you needed them to appear to be real.  And your "inner computer" is extremely good at what it does.  It can really do anything you like - all you have to do is to tell it properly what you want it to do.

For all your life you have been programming your "inner computer" to provide you with good excuses.  Excuses why something has gone wrong before it has even gone wrong.  Excuses why you can never be the person you want to be.  Excuses why you can never achieve what you want to achieve.  And that is the only reason you are NOT the person you want to be.  The only reason you have NOT achieved what you want to achieve.

The secret to achievement is to turn off your inner excuse machine.  You don't need those excuses any more, as now you are going to achieve.

You have all the power you need within you to achieve what you want to achieve.  So turn off the excuse machine and start accessing that inner power.

You have a lifetime of bad programming to undo, so don't worry if you don't get instant results.  But know that the power to achieve is within you, that you just need to switch off the excuse machine which is now redundant and allow that inner power to take you where you really want to be.  Do it today!  Do it right now!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Change your reality





Can you change reality?  Is it possible to move from this dimension into an alternative reality?  And no, this is not Rod Serling speaking, and you are not reading a story from The Twilight Zone!

However you look at it, we are all changing reality all the time, and we are all moving into alternative realities all the time.

Each action you take changes reality.

Some changes are very obvious and come directly as a result of the action.

If you take the hand of a person you love, look into their eyes, and tell them how much you love them, you are certainly directly changing the reality of your relationship with that person if you have never said this to them before.  You cannot be certain about what the change will be, but you have created a reality in which it is more likely that you and that person will be together more - perhaps even as a married couple.

If you are a sales person and you take the action of picking up the phone one more time, or knocking on one more door, you are directly changing the reality of your future.  That one extra call may be the call that gains you one more sale and directly puts more money in your pocket.  Maybe it won't, but you are increasing the likelihood of increased wealth.

Other changes are not so obvious and may be more indirect.

Perhaps the person to whom you open your heart is not in love with you, so that particular relationship may not go in the direction you hoped.  But even though you do not end up as a couple, there will probably nevertheless be more tenderness between you.  Maybe you will simply become better friends.  And maybe that person's attitude to life will change.  They appreciate being loved.  And perhaps they share that love (not necessarily in a romantic sense) with those around them.  Each of those people who now feel more loved then share that love with those around them too.  This can literally result in love being spread right around the globe and the entire world being changed.

Perhaps the person you call, or who answers the door, or who receives your letter or e-mail does not want to buy from you.  But the action of making one more call, knocking one more door, or whatever, makes it easier for you to make the next call, and the next, and the next.  And one of those future calls is the one that gives you a big sale and a very happy customer.

In one sales manual I read about a door-to-door salesman who said "thank you" to everyone who shut the door in his face.  One time, the person who was shutting the door heard the "thank you", opened the door again, and asked the salesman why he had said "thank you".  "I didn't buy anything from you, so what are you thanking me for?" was his question.  The salesman smiled back and said "I know my statistics.  I know how many doors I must knock before I get a sale.  You haven't bought anything from me, but you have brought me one door closer to the person who will.  And I thank you for that!"  Corny?  Perhaps - but also very true.

You have the choice.  You can choose to declare your love or not declare it.  You can choose to make that call or not make it.  The choice you make determines future reality.  It determines the alternative reality into which you will move.

In my last blog I encouraged you to write down what you wanted to achieve in life, and then to be aware of this so that each choice you make can bring you closer to that future reality.  You are in control of your own future reality and you determine the alternative realities into which you move every second of every day.  Recognize that control and make those choices wisely!



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What I most want to achieve in life



What is it that you most want to achieve in life?

Don't limit yourself when thinking of your answer to this.  There ARE no limits here.  I am not saying you have to try to achieve it.  I just want you to think about what you would really love to achieve.

Don't let your censor limit you either.  You know who I mean.  That voice inside you telling you it is wrong, that people like you don't do things like that.  Maybe a continuation inside you of what your parents said, what your teacher said, what your spouse might say, what your best friend might say.  Tell that voice to go away!  You are digging deep inside to find out what you REALLY want to achieve, regardless of what others may think.

Have you come up with anything yet?  If not, keep looking.  If you have, still keep looking - there must be a lot more than just the one thing you want to achieve!

Start putting down each of those goals on a blank sheet of paper.  Not as a future goal, but as a statement that this is you, that you have achieved it.  Then focus on each, one by one.  Ask yourself the following questions:

Why do I want to achieve this?
What difference will it make in my life?  How good will that feel?
What difference will it make in the lives of those around me?  Do I get a good feeling from that too?

As you go through this exercise, recognize when your internal censor reacts to any of the goals.  This time allow that censor to have its say.  But then analyse what it is saying.  Is this really true?  Try to follow the logic.  Often you will find there is no logic at all.  Make sure you recognize that, so the power of the censor is diminished.

In some cases you may find you actually completely agree with the censor.  If so, think back to the answers to the questions you asked yourself.  Was it really a good feeling?  As long as it was, then your censor is probably wrong.  Spend some time working on this.  Trust your gut feeling though, not the logic that the censor may use.

If the end result of this analysis is that the censor is right, I want you to dig deeper.  Somewhere deep inside you is another desire which is right for you, but which has expressed itself incorrectly and in a way that doesn't fit with who you are.  Find that inner desire deep within.  When you find it, cross off the original goal and replace it with this new, correct one.

What you now have is a list that defines the future "you".  A future you should now start moving towards.  You don't have to think of it as fully achievable - although certainly do NOT allow that voice inside you to say it is not achievable.  But it defines the direction in which you should be moving.  Every step that takes you closer is the right step, and every step that takes you further away is the wrong step.

Yes, you can use the list for affirmations and work on manifesting from it.  But also it is a very practical list that will stop you meandering through your life and instead knowing that each day is productive and moving you closer to what you really want to achieve.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

How to Improve Your Wellbeing



In my last blog article I pointed out that feeling alive and full of energy comes from within, not from something outside you.  I hope you read that and took note.

Some readers wanted me to go a bit deeper.  To give some ideas you can take on board to start generating that energy and wellbeing.

There are three aspects of overall wellbeing:

1 How you feel on a daily basis
2 How satisfied you are with the quality of your life
3 How worthwhile you feel your life is

Even small improvements in each of those three areas will combine to give you a very noticeable improvement in your wellbeing.

Feeling Better on a Daily Basis


One way to make yourself feel better on a daily basis is to invest some time every day in physical exercise.

Hard physical exercise releases endorphins, which you can think of as "feel good" hormones.  The word "endorphin" come from the contraction of "endogenous morphine", or "internally created morphine".  So you could think of vigorous exercise as creating a happiness drug.  A drug which is legal and which doesn't get you hooked.

Exercise also creates a protein called "brain-derived neurotrophic factor", which by itself creates a feeling of happiness and wellbeing.  This protein also reduces anxiety and depression, and increases mental abilities.

Daily exercise is therefore a key factor in improving your wellbeing, both directly and indirectly, both in the short term and the long term.

You could join a gym and do daily exercise there, or even better find a physical activity you really enjoy and spend some time regularly practising that activity.  Maybe you will enjoy running, cycling, swimming, or even dancing.  Ideally a combination of these, as the kind of exercise in each activity is a little different and will benefit you in different ways.

Another obvious way to feel better on a daily basis is to avoid stress as much as possible.  Stress tends to be caused when you are put in a situation where you are unable to achieve whatever it is you are expected to achieve.  By all means set yourself ambitious targets, but don't allow anyone to put you in a position where you simply cannot achieve what is expected.

Finally, make sure you regularly reward yourself.  This is dual purpose.  By rewarding yourself for achieving something, you will reinforce your ability to achieve it.  For example, you should reward yourself for exercising.  But also, the reward itself should give you pleasure, and that regular extra pleasure of itself increases your wellbeing.

The Quality of Your Life


There are two clear ways to increase your wellbeing by increasing how satisfied you are with the quality of your life.

One way, obviously, is to keep improving that quality.  Conduct a full audit of your lifestyle.  If you do this properly you will find lots of areas where you can make small changes that will make quite big improvements in the quality of your life.  Make those changes one by one and feel your wellbeing and happiness improve as you do so.  Look, too, for the much greater changes that can be made.  Don't try to make those changes all at once, but identify longer term targets for improvement, and try to ensure the small steps you take each day, week, month and year move you towards the greater changes you desire rather than further away from them.

Another way is to lower the threshold of satisfaction.  Congratulate yourself and feel happy with even the very small improvements you make.  I don't mean you should not strive for big improvements.  Of course you should want to make those big improvements.  But learn to feel a sense of achievement for even very small improvements that others may not even notice.

A Worthwhile Life


Make sure you have chosen a really worthwhile purpose for your life.  In fact, not just one purpose, but many.  Find ways you can contribute to the wellbeing of the people around you - your family and your local community.  It may be that you will become more involved in volunteering and in charitable work.  The more you are involved in such activities the more worthwhile your life will appear to you.

But also you should find a target to which you can aim in your life which of itself is something that feels extremely worthwhile to you.  This could be something very ambitious that you may never reach, but that simply moving towards it is worthwhile.  Note down that end objective, then think about the different steps you could take to move towards it.  Then break those steps down into smaller steps.  Keep breaking the steps down so that you end up with steps that you can very easily achieve.  Then, as you make each step, congratulate yourself for getting closer to that great end target.  Reward yourself for getting closer (remember the importance of rewarding yourself)!

Summary


Turning your life into one filled with energy, happiness and wellbeing is not difficult.  Take small steps, working on feeling better on a daily basis, increasing your satisfaction with the quality of your life, and turning your journey through life into a more worthwhile journey.  Do this, and I can guarantee you will be have a very much happier and more fulfilled life - happier and more fulfilled than you probably ever dreamed possible!