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!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Positive Energy



How alive do you feel right now?  How much energy do you have?

I hope you have responded with something along the lines of "I am very alive!" and "I am full of beans!"  If so, great!

But I suspect you have either not given such a positive response or at least admit that you don't always feel that way.

When you do not feel really enthused, full of energy, grateful just to be alive, and ready to tackle whatever challenges may confront you, why is this?

Stop reading for a moment, grab a clean sheet of paper and write down some of the answers that came to you.  Don't write them in a notebook - you need to write them on a single sheet of paper.  When you have done so, come back to me and we will discuss it further.  Ok, why are you still here?  Go and do it!

.......................................

Take a look at that list you have just written.  Now pick up that sheet and tear it in two.  Tear it again.  And again.  Keep tearing until you just have lots of small pieces of paper and you cannot read any of the sentences you wrote.

Feel good about that.  Those reasons are all gone.

In some cases because you have removed the reason.  It may still seem to be here in the physical world - but in the inner world, the world in which everything you can see around you begins, the barrier to an energy filled, happy and bubbly life has simply disappeared.

In other cases the thing you wrote about is still there, but you have destroyed its power to stop you living a fulfilled, and energy-filled life.

The reality is that nothing outside you really has the power to stop you being fully alive for as long as you are physically alive.  Nothing outside you has the power to stop you feeling grateful for all the good things you have in your life.  Nothing outside of you has the power to sap your energy.  It only has the power if you voluntarily give it that power.

If you really want to feel full of energy, that feeling comes from within not from the outside.  It doesn't come from your circumstances.  It doesn't come from the job you are doing.  It doesn't come from the people around you.  It comes from right inside you.

Let me ask you another question.  Do you prefer feeling great, alive, full of beans, and thankful for the wonderful life you have, or do you prefer to feel lethargic, miserable, and self-pitying?

If you want to feel great, then do it!  Feel great!  Nobody and nothing can stop you!

I agree it is nicer to be in great circumstances, be surrounded by lovely people, have everything you ever wanted.  Of course it is!  But the feelings you have in the moments when you have those things don't come from them, but from within you.  By all means arrange things as much as possible so you have the things you want, are in the circumstances you wish for, are surrounded by lovely, positive friends.  There are many things you can do to move towards that situation.  But recognize that right now you can generate as much positive energy as you wish.

The power to feel miserable, weak and deflated comes from within.  The power to feel happy, full of energy, and glad to be alive comes from within.  Choose which you want, and choose wisely!



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Failure



Always think in positive terms, not negative.  Use positive thinking to focus on what you want to become, not on the negative things you want to remove.  This is a major plank of Law of Attraction philosophy and is something to which I subscribe wholeheartedly.

So why have I named this blog article "Failure"?  Isn't that a very negative way to start?

Actually, failure isn't negative at all.  I hope by the time you have read this article you will agree.

Listen to the words of Charles Kettering, who was head of research at General Motors, inventor of the electric starting motor, and a holder of 186 patents.  Kettering said "Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world. One fails toward success."

Or how about this comment from Thomas J Watson, the man who turned IBM into an international business to be reckoned with, and who was hailed as the world's greatest salesman.  Watson said "The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate."  He was certainly speaking from experience.  Watson failed in his first job as a teacher - he gave up after only one day!  If you read his biography you will realize he failed many times, at many things, but that didn't stop him from becoming the richest man in the world.  In fact, he believed that was why he became the richest man in the world!

How successful was Abraham Lincoln?  He went to war as a captain and returned a private!  He failed as a businessman.  He failed as a lawyer.  He failed when he tried to become a congressman.  He failed when he tried to become a senator.  He failed when he tried to become vice-president.  But all those failures were steps in his progress to becoming one of the greatest presidents of the United States.

Perhaps the most famous example of failure leading to success is Thomas Edison.  Edison designed the first commercially practical light bulb.  But only after failing to create one 1,000 times.  When he was asked how he felt about failing 1,000 times, Edison said that each of those 1,000 failures was a step towards his success.

And that is the key.  Failure is not something negative at all.  It is a step towards success.  Often, a necessary step.

Learn from your failures.  Edison found 1,000 ways a light bulb would not work, which is the reason he was eventually able to find one way it would work.

Don't try to avoid failure.  Embrace it.  See it the way Edison saw it.  Each failure is one step you have made closer to your ultimate success.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Luck or Skill?



I want you to imagine you are watching a group of people playing poker.  Don't worry - I am not encouraging you to gamble, but just using this to illustrate a very important point!

One of the players, Fred, keeps winning.  He shows top hand after top hand.  A Royal Straight Flush, which is the best hand you could possibly have in the game, comes up twice!  The probability of just having one Royal Straight Flush is 0.000154% and he has two, one after the other.  The next two hands he loses.  Then he wins again with four aces, which is also a very rare, powerful hand.  After another losing hand he wins with a Full House (a percentage chance of 2.6% for this).  That is 4 winning hands in a series of 7.  In the first 3 winning hands he gains a lot of chips.  Fewer players throw chips at him when he wins with his Full House, but he still leaves the table having gained around 10 times the amount of money he brought to the table.

Another player, Stephen, loses quite a lot of his "stack" of chips in the first couple of hands.  One of those hands was three kings, and he bet a lot of his "stack" on that hand.   He wins the third hand with a pair of 10s, gaining most of the chips he originally lost.  He wins again on the fourth hand, but as everyone folds to him we cannot see what his hand was.  His winnings now have increased his "stack" to around double what he brought to the table.  He doesn't enter the last three hands at all.

Fred walked away having increased his funds tenfold.  Stephen doubled his funds.  Which of these two players would you feel was the better poker player and is likely to end up with the most money if they keep on playing for many hundreds of games?

The poker players among you may say I have not given you enough information to be certain of the answer.  True.  But you probably have enough to make a fairly reasonable guess.

If you have answered "Stephen", then congratulations!  From the very limited evidence before us he is probably the better player and will probably eventually make more money.

Fred was just very lucky.  The only times he won he had extremely rare hands.  That was the reason he won so much, as other players could reasonably have assumed they had the best hand and were probably right to bet heavily against him.

The thing about luck is that you cannot rely on it.  Skill, on the other hand, you CAN rely on.

A good poker player knows that when he loses money at the table that doesn't necessarily mean he was playing badly.  He will try to learn from the experience, perhaps realizing after the event that there were some body language signals he could have picked up to tell him just how good a hand his opponent had.  But he will also recognize that the best poker player in the world does not win the majority of hands he (or she) plays.  Even the best players lose more hands than they win.  But those hands they DO win eventually ensure they win a lot more money than they lose.

Life is like this too.  No matter how experienced you are in using the Law of Attraction you will not always win every single "battle" in your life.  But if you remain positive and apply the Law of Attraction properly you will win the "war" itself.  Each of your failures is just another step towards success.

Be very thankful when you are lucky.  Make sure the Universe (or God, if you prefer) knows you are very grateful for that luck.  Believe yourself to be a very lucky person.  Know that "lady luck" is on your side.  But also accept your failures gracefully.  Look at them carefully to see what, if anything, you can learn from them, but never be discouraged.  Accept that sometimes luck works against you but that a series of unlucky events is not a pattern of bad luck that will continue.  Your next lucky event is only just around the corner.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Do You Dream?


Do you dream?  I certainly hope so, for several reasons.  If not, you are missing out - again for several reasons.

What do I mean by dreaming?

There are at least two very different types, and possibly three depending on how wide you define them.

Most people who are asked the question "do you dream?" immediately think about what happens when they are asleep.  Dreaming while you sleep performs an important function.  According to Dr Rosalind Carter, the founder of the Sleep Disorder Service and Research Centre in Chicago, dreams "help us process new, emotionally important information and add it to our conceptual memory system.  As I pointed out in an earlier article, scientists have discovered that most mammals (and perhaps all) use this process while they sleep to experiment and sort out which strategies should work and which probably won't.  We are no exception to this principle.  Dreams are a safe "sandbox" we can use to try out different things, to see how we might react emotionally to changed circumstances, to condition ourselves to and be ready to accept change.

If you believe you do not dream while asleep you are probably wrong.  There have been a number of scientific studies of the "non-dreaming" phenomenon, and most have reached the conclusion that those who claim not to dream simply do not remember their dreams when they wake up.  You probably still gain the benefits of your dreams, as your subconscious will have integrated the experience whether or not you remember it.

One way to begin recalling your dreams is to have a pen and paper by your bedside and to write down anything you can remember about your dreams the moment you wake up.  I can hear your objection loud and clear - how can I write down anything about my dreams if I don't remember them?  Humour me and try it anyway.  Many people still have a memory of their dreams when they first wake, but within just a few seconds completely forget they even had any dreams.  Those people adamantly state that they never dream, but if they try recording their dreams the moment they wake they find they really did dream.

Dreams don't just occur when we are sleeping though.  We also daydream.  You can think of a daydream as being very similar to a dream while you are asleep, and it can fulfil the same function.  As long as it is done appropriately this is a very good thing.  Clearly you should not daydream when driving a car or operating heavy machinery!  It may also not be appropriate to daydream when you are being paid to work or in the middle of a school lesson, or a college or university lecture!  On the other hand, sometimes in such cases a daydream can be very creative and help you do a better job or get a better grip on the subject you are studying.  Just don't expect your boss, teacher or lecturer to agree unless they are very open minded!

If you don't already daydream I encourage you to do so.  Choose an appropriate time to do this, ideally when you are on your own and will not be disturbed.  As with the technique to recall night dreams, have a pen and paper by you so that immediately after your daydream session you can note down anything that appeals, or any insights you may have had.

There is another meaning of "dream", of course.  Your hopes and wishes for the future.  To some people this is akin to daydreaming, and they believe it is enjoying an esperience they will never have in the "real" world.  This is a very shortsighted view.  The distinction between the imaginary and real worlds is nowhere near as great as you may believe.  When you dream in the "imaginary" world you are actually starting to bring those dreams closer to what most people define as "reality".

This meaning of "dream" is very important.  We should all have dreams.  We should all have something we truly wish to achieve, and the start of the journey that ends in achievement is a dream.

In 1963 a great American stated "I have a dream!"  The dream he had has not yet fully come to pass, but the America of today is certainly very much closer to Martin Luther King's dream just over 50 years ago.  Some may argue that this would have happened even if King had not had that dream.  Probably that is true, but only because the same dream would have passed through another person equally empassioned by it.  I truly believe the world is a better place as a direct result of that dream.

So I hope you DO dream!  I hope you dream for a better future for yourself but also for all around you.  If you do, then the world will be a better place simply because you chose to dream!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Destroy Your Limiting Beliefs


We all have limiting beliefs, worries, and negative thoughts.  Things that try to stop us achieving whatever it is we want to achieve.  Sometimes we recognize these as our own internal beliefs and sometimes they appear as external barriers.  But if they do appear as external barriers you should be aware that they are still internal beliefs.  There is no independent external barrier that is capable of stopping you achieving what you want to achieve.  The power of the entire universe is behind you if you are prepared to accept that power and allow it to propel you forwards.  Those barriers that seem to be outside are either directly or indirectly your own inner limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs arise in different ways.  Some have been with you since your early childhood.  Often they are misinterpretations of what is happening around you as a young child.  Some are specific statements made to you by authority figures.  These may again have arisen in early childhood - something said by a parent, an older sibling, a teacher for example.  Or they may have arisen more recently - comments made by friends, especially those whose opinions you respect, something your boss may have said, a comment by your spouse, etc.  They can arise from something you have read.  This may be a direct statement - perhaps a comment in a non-fiction book that if you want to achieve something you must be prepared to struggle hard to get there.  Or it can be indirect - maybe a novel you have read in which the hero had to cross a number of barriers to get where he or she wanted to go, and had great difficulty in doing so.

Do you see why I have said we ALL have limiting beliefs?  It is simply not possible to go through life without acquiring them.

But it is possible to protect yourself so that it is more difficult for such beliefs to grow roots and take control over you.  And it is possible to uproot those that have taken hold.

There are many techniques to do both of these things.  If you have been reading my blog for long you will already have come across some of these techniques.  Today I want to focus on one powerful technique you can use to uproot and neutralize any limiting belief you may come across.

In order to use this technique you should create a safe space for yourself.  I am using the term "space" in the widest possible sense - a 4-dimensional space.  You should have a place where you can go and know you will not be interrupted.  I cannot tell you where that should be as it will depend entirely on your own personal circumstances.  It may be that you can reserve a room in your house for exercises of this kind.  For many of us that is simply not possible - we don't have enough rooms in our house to reserve one fully in this way.  But I did say this is a 4-dimensional space.  So it includes time as well as physical space.  Perhaps you can simply inform those around you (your spouse or partner for example) that at a particular time each day, in a particular place, you need you own space and would appreciate it if there could be no interruptions.  However you create it, do your best to create this 4-dimensional safe space to which you can retreat when you need to do so.  You will use it for today's particular exercise, but it will also be available for other meditations which you should use.

The time dimension of your safe space is very important.  You must make sure anyone who may otherwise wish to interrupt you is aware of it and knows it is very important for you.  But also you must avoid interruptions by yourself!  In other words, don't schedule your session at a time when there is a deadline coming up for something else you need to do.

Go to your safe space and relax yourself.  Close your eyes and feel your body and mind relaxing.  If you have any relaxation music it would be a good idea to use this to relax you more, but it is not essential.

Once you are fully relaxed I want you to imagine there is a big garbage bin just at the edge of your safe space.  There is no garbage in it yet.  But it is the most efficient garbage bin in the universe.  Inside it there is a black hole.  A black hole which will swallow up and completely destroy anything you put in the bin.  See that garbage bin there and see the black hole inside.

Allow a limiting belief or worry, or whatever other negative thought or feeling you may have, to surface.  Don't react to it.  Don't try to argue with it.  Don't judge it, nor yourself for having it.  Just let it surface.

Now see yourself picking up this negativity and throwing it into the most efficient garbage bin in the universe.  See the black hole swallowing it up.  It has no choice.  It cannot escape.  It cannot resist.  It has gone!

Feel the sense of peace that comes with knowing this particular negativity is gone for ever.  It is no longer in the universe at all.  It is as though it never existed in the first place.

Gradually allow yourself to surface from the deep, relaxed state you were in.  When you are ready, open your eyes.  Now you are ready to get up and leave your safe space.  Leaving behind the limiting belief you originally identified.  In fact, not just leaving it behind, but knowing it has disappeared from this universe and it is as though it never existed in the first place.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Making and Breaking Resolutions


If you are reading this soon after it is published, then it is that time of year again.  The time we try to keep New Year resolutions.

Did you make any resolutions this year?  How many?  And have you kept them all?  Have you kept any of them?

For many people, New Years Resolutions are simply a tradition.  A bit like hanging up stockings and waiting for Santa to fill them.  They don't really expect to keep them.

For many others, New Years Resolutions are an opportunity to do something they know they ought to do, or stop doing something they know they ought to stop, but have never really had the motivation.

Most of the above fail to keep their resolutions.  Why?

Well, if you are in that first category, notice the final sentence.  "They don't really expect to keep them."  Is it any wonder  you don't keep those resolutions?  If you start with an expectation of failure, this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you don't really expect to keep a resolution you shouldn't make it.  Not only is it a waste of effort, but it is actually harmful.  Why harmful?  Because you are sending out a message to your subconscious mind that you are unable to achieve whatever you try to achieve.  Keep sending out this message and your subconscious will then apply it to everything else you try to do.  By paying lip-service to the tradition of making resolutions you will be weakening your ability to achieve anything, not simply those half-hearted resolutions.

As for the second category, notice "they have never really had the motivation".  Do you fit into that category?  Do you make resolutions in good faith, and with every intention of keeping them, but don't really have any motivation to do so?  If so, then you are very unlikely to succeed.  Without motivation you will probably fall at the first hurdle.  If not the first hurdle then the second.  And there will be quite a few hurdles to cross before you can finally say you have kept the resolution and will now always keep it.  You need strong motivation to cross all those hurdles.

Before even thinking of making a resolution, begin by asking yourself why you want to do this.

For example, if you want to stop smoking, why do you want to stop?  The glib answer to this is "because smoking is unhealthy".  That may be the reason, but it is not sufficient to give you the motivation you need.  What you should do is start listing all the positives and the negatives.  The positives are all the benefits you will gain if you stop smoking.  Try to think of as many as you can.  Identify the ones that really appeal.  The negatives are all the bad things that may happen if you don't stop smoking.  Again, try to think of as many as you can.  Do some research online if you cannot come up with a long list - you will find plenty of reasons out there.  And again, identify the ones that really horrify you.

At this point you have a list of really great things that should inspire you to keep your resolution, and another list of really bad things that can happen if you don't keep it.  Focus on those lists every day.  Especially focus on the positive list.  Really feel the change inside you and how good it makes you feel.

If you do this properly you will have the motivation you really need in the form of a bunch of carrots and a load of sticks!  With that motivation you are much more likely to succeed!

Of course, you don't have to do this simply at New Year.  This is a good exercise to try at any time of year.

Tackle your resolutions this way one by one.  Once you have turned a resolution into a habit which you are confident is there for good, then turn to the next one.  Don't try to do two or more at once, as you are then much more likely to fail.  Focus on just the one.  Don't pick one that you think you ought to do but cannot really get yourself properly motivated to do - when you create your "reasons why" lists you will soon see whether or not this is something for you to attempt.  And don't think of it as a pass or fail exercise.  You may slip back into your old habits from time to time.  Don't consider that a "fail", but just a reminder that it is important to keep on trying.

Use these techniques and you really can improve your life in ways that may not even seem possible right now!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Putting Down Your Burden


"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

"Self-evident" you may say, "it goes without saying"!

So why am I saying it?

The reason I feel it necessary to say this, is that whilst everybody knows this as a self-evident truth, almost nobody lives their life the way they would if, internally, they really knew it.

Have you ever read "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan?  In that book (written in 1678), Christian, the hero of the story, struggles on a long journey with a heavy burden on his back.  A bit like a modern day special forces recruit doing what the Royal Marines call a "yomp" - a long march with a fully loaded 100 pound pack on his or her back.  There is one big difference though.  The special forces need to be able to carry that weight because they will need what is inside the pack.  On an exercise it may just be weighted down to increase the challenge, but the reason for that exercise is the soldier needs to be able to carry heavy supplies in a combat situation.  But Christian didn't need it at all.  I know I am now changing the story a little (apologies to Bunyan!), but he could simply have put that burden down at any point in his journey.  He didn't, and nearly drowned in a swamp as a result.

Are you carrying any burdens?  I know you are, even if you think you are not.  We all are.  Maybe what is called "emotional baggage".  Maybe a belief that we cannot achieve our dreams, because the last time we tried something like that we failed.

We all have the ability and the right to put down our burdens and carry on our journey through life without anything holding us back.

We all have the ability and the right, but for most of us it feels as though something is holding us back and we feel we cannot do it.

Recognize the burden is there and that you do not need to carry it.  You simply have to put it down.  Nothing is stopping you - only your false believe that you cannot release it.

In accounting there is a concept called "zero-base budgeting".  Many organizations (both in business and in public service) base their budgets on whatever was budgeted and spent the previous year.  This may be a way to produce a budget quickly and easily, but it certainly does not produce the best result.  In many cases it prevents that organization from moving forward and achieving what it needs to achieve this year.  More forward-thinking organizations use zero-base budgeting.  Forget what happened last year.  Just look at what you want to achieve this year, work out what it will cost to achieve it, and if it seems to produce the result you want (e.g. it is profitable enough), then budget for those required costs.  Maybe there are costs in that budget you have never had before.  That doesn't matter.  Maybe last year you spent a lot of money on something you are not budgeting for at all this year.  That doesn't matter either.  All that is important is that you are budgeting the true costs of achieving what you need to achieve this year.

Really forward thinking organizations go further than just zero-base budgeting.  They apply the zero-base concept to everything they do, not just to the costs of a project.  They look at what they want to achieve, what resources they have to achieve it, and what they need to do now with those resources to get there.  Never mind if this means they are completely changing the way they do things.

Have you ever heard the story about the housewife who always cut the ends off a piece of meat before she roasted it?  One day her husband asked her why she did this, and her answer was that she had always done it this way.  Her husband was an engineer, and always liked to know exactly why things worked the way they did, so he pressed her on this point and asked why she ever started doing it this way.  Did it improve the quality of the roast?  He asked her to do him a favour and one time roast the joint without cutting off the ends.  His wife did what he said, and they found the roast tasted just as good, but without wasting any of the meat at both ends.  They were now intrigued.  So they visited her mother, who had taught her to cook this way.  They asked the mother why she did this, and her answer way "because I have always done it this way - it is the way my mother taught me to do it!"  So they visited the grandmother and asked her the same question.  And do you know what she said?  "I always cut the ends off the joint as my roasting pan is too small for the whole joint to fit in!"

Never believe you have to do something simply because you have always done it, or you have to do it in a particular way because you have always done it that way.  Things change, and we need to change too rather than stay stuck in a particular rut.  We need to put down the baggage we are carrying and check whether we need everything that is there.  We need to zero-base our lives.

Zero-basing your life and putting down your unnecessary burdens should be quite simple.  And really, it is.  But often a big part of the burden is the belief that it is impossible to put it down.  Believe in yourself.  You really do have the power and the right to start fresh, without that burden.

This is something you should do every day.  Because every day really is the first day of the rest of your life.  You don't have to spend it being miserable, living your life in a way you don't want to live it, doing what others want you to do rather than what YOU want to do.

If you are reading this just after I have written it, resolve to "zero-base" your life from 1st January this coming year.  A new year, and a new start.  But also recognize you can always put down your burdens, and you can always live your life in the way you want to live it from now on, not simply accept that "it has always been this way".

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Moods and State Changes


Physical State Changes


I want you to try a little experiment for me.

Sit down on a chair or the sofa.  No, in fact don't sit - slump untidily there!  Breath shallowly.  If you were smiling, stop doing so.  Frown.  Sit that way for several minutes.  Now think about how you are feeling.  What kind of a mood do you have.  Are you happy, sad, or indifferent?  Do you feel lively and energetic, or are you lethargic and in a "couldn't care less" kind of mood?

I am pretty certain you will have answered at least "indifferent", if not "sad".  And it is very unlikely you answered that you felt "lively and energetic" - if you did, then you are a very unusual kind of person!

Now stand up.  Straighten your back.  Feel tall.  Smile.  Take a deep breath, hold it, then fully exhale.  Do that again.  And again.  Now how do you feel?  Do you feel any different from a few moments ago when you were slumped on a chair or your sofa?  I am pretty certain you now feel quite different.  You should feel happier and more energetic.

Finally, go one step further.  This time I want you to start jumping up and down.  Keep the smile on your face as you jump.  Stretch your arms right up as you jump, bringing them down again as you land.  Keep jumping like this for a while.  Now analyze how you feel.  Probably happier, and certainly livelier and more energetic.

What this proves is that what you do with your body has a big influence on the way you feel.  You are in control of your moods, and one way in which you control them is through your body.  If you want to feel happy, then sit up (or stand tall if appropriate) and smile.  If you are feeling miserable, check whether you are frowning - stop frowning and smile, and again, put your body in a position more conducive to feeling good.

Anchors


It is not just your body position and your smiling or frowning that can create moods, although you will find that by changing position and starting to smile you can always change your "state".  There are other things that trigger different moods.  Not just being happy or sad but, for example, feeling confident, feeling resourceful, feeling ready to take on a challenge, etc.  These are all different "states", and they can be triggered by what NLP professionals call "anchors".

When you are in a particular "state", your subconscious mind notes everything around you.  Smells, sights, sounds, the things you touch, etc.  It then anchors these to the state.

Once you realize this, you can design your own anchors.

It is a good idea if you make those anchors relate to the state you are trying to achieve.  For example, you might associate a comforting hand on your shoulder with confidence.  
In order to associate the anchor properly, find a memory where you were really fully in that state.  In this example, a time when you were feeling really confident about something.  Try to find the best example of this that you can.  It is really worth spending a long time doing this if it gets you the right memory.  When you recall this time and are right in that "zone", immediately feel that comforting hand on your shoulder.  If the memory fades, then imagine that hand being removed from your shoulder.  But if possible, maintain that memory for several minutes, and keep feeling the hand there all that time.  Now open your eyes, feeling that the hand has now left.  Repeat this several times, trying to make the memory more vivid each time.  For now, that is enough.  But later in the day, use the anchor (in this case, feel the hand on your shoulder) and check that the confident state arises.  At first it may not be a strong feeling for you, although many people do indeed get an immediate very strong change of state.  Don't worry if it is not that strong - just repeat the anchoring process several times again.  Keep doing this in different periods during the day and feel the anchoring build up stronger and stronger.

The next day, visualize the anchor again.  It should bring the state change immediately.  If not, again repeat the anchoring process.  You may need to do this several times for several days running, but eventually it will be fully and permanently anchored.

In this example I have referred to only one state - feeling confident - and one anchor - a hand on your shoulder.  You can, and should, use this process to create as many positive states as possible, using a different anchor for each.  You will find this is a long process, on which can build more and more positive state changes over the next few months and years.  A long process, but a very worthwhile one!

Summary


Use both these techniques to change your state, and you will find you have a much better control over your moods and can get into the right state so much easier.  This will create enormous positive changes in your life.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Greylag Geese and Why You are Not Successful



Has your past influenced the way you are now?  Of course it has!  We all have free will, but the decisions we make when we use that free will are highly conditioned by things that happened to us in the past.

In many cases that is a good thing.  You have a bad experience because of something you did, and that teaches you not to do the same thing again.  If this were just a memory, from which you could then make a logical decision, this would in many cases not give you enough time to modify your behaviour before it caused the same problems.  So we are all equipped with a way to make the "right" response instantly, before we even have time to think about the response.  This is called "imprinting".

The 19th century biologist, Douglas Spalding, discovered the phenomenon of imprinting and published his results in "Nature" in 1872.  Konrad Lorenz popularised the concept, particularly in his books on the studies he did on the behaviour of greylag geese.  Lorenz found the geese bond with the first object they see after they had hatched.  Normally this is a good thing, as it will be older geese who will show the younger geese what they should and shouldn't do.  But sometimes the process goes wrong, and the geese are inappropriately imprinted.  When this happens, the badly imprinted geese behave inappropriately, even when that behaviour causes them problems and maybe is even very dangerous for them.

The same thing applies to all of us.  Except our imprinting is certainly not limited to the first thing we see after we are born.  Many things influence us in this way throughout our childhood and on into our adult life as well.

For example, imagine as a child you hear your parents having a big argument.  This makes you very unhappy.  You notice the argument is about money - which is one of the commonest reasons for a couple to argue.  This imprints on you the idea that money is bad because it causes arguments and makes people unhappy.  And that imprinting creates within you a block that will always try to stop you making money.  Unless you find a way of dealing with this block it will be almost impossible for you to make much money.  Even if you do manage to make some, the block will act to make sure you lose it quickly!

Very many people have at least one "money block" that was imprinted on them from early childhood.  I would go as far as to say the majority of people have "money blocks".  They also have many other blocks, which stop them from achieving anything they have set their heart on - success, a fabulous life partner, etc.  Which means the majority of people will find the manifestation techniques they learn simply don't seem to work for them.  They study all the books they can find on the Law of Attraction, try to put it into practice, and eventually give up in disgust.  They decide all this talk about affirmations and how you can attract all you wish for through the power of thought is nonsense.

Does this sound at all familiar?  Perhaps you have reached this phase and are ready to give up trying.  Or maybe you are not as far down that road, but are still getting frustrated that nothing seems to work for you.  It could even be that you have only just started, are full of enthusiasm, and have not yet realized how difficult the journey is going to be.

Whereever you are on your journey to your definition of success, you need to find and eliminate the many blocks you have which will either make it impossible or very difficult to reach your goal.