Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Get Motivated

How to get motivated: 4 NLP strategies that work

Author: Anna Aparicio


1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way

2. The general desire or willingness of someone to do something

3. *My own definition: the art of getting off your butt and getting stuff done

Because here is the thing: you may have a burning desire to do something, you may have the best will in the world, you may even know all the reasons why you should do it… but if you haven't done it yet, don't be surprised.

Getting motivated doesn't happen by coincidence or by miracle. Motivation is not something that some people have and others don't either. It is something we all do, consciously or unconsciously, everyday!

Motivation is not something you have or don't have; it is something you do

Take training, for example, notice I say training, and not exercising! We want to do it, we know it is good for us, we know it is going to make us look better and feel better… but after a hard day's work, when tiredness sets in, who would blame us for wanting to slouch on the couch and watch some TV while eating our favourite treat?

Well, think of taking a shower for a moment. Most of us do it every day. We don't wait until we are all stinky to clean ourselves. We do it because it is the right thing to do; it is time to take a shower.

We are able to do this because we have built up this good habit over the years through repetition. We do it at the same time, in the same place, following the same routine, which is so ingrained in our unconscious that we are barely aware of the process.

If you want to get to the point where your training routine goes as smoothly as your shower routine, start following the following NLP rules:


Answer these questions:

What do you want specifically? When do you want it by? Where? With whom? What for? What will happen if you achieve that? What if you don't achieve that? Is it under your control? Is it worth it?

You see, when setting up goals, a lot of people do it wrong. They state what they want to have, not what they want to do; things like "I want to be slim", "I want a six pack" or "I want to have toned arms"… But, what do you want to do? Because it is as a result of you doing what you need to do that you will get to have what you want.

Your objective needs to be stated in a way that your brain understands it. And just like your computer, your brain needs 3 things: affirmative statements that are direct and very specific.

If you are just thinking it then it is not an objective, it is just a thought. So, put pen to paper and write your answers to the questions above.

If you don't know what you want, how will you know when you've got there?


Again, if you don't have a plan, all you have is a lovely thought. I suggest you get yourself a diary, an excel sheet, a calendar, whatever works for you, and devise your personal strategy. A strategy to suit your lifestyle, your working schedule, etc…

Keeping the end result in mind, what is the first step you need to take in order for you to do what you need to do? And after that? What's next? Do you have all the resources you need (resources are materials, books, money, people…), or do you need help?

If it's going to take you 12 weeks to get a six pack, set a date and work backwards from there. If you want to lose a stone in 3 weeks, do the same. Break your objective into smaller, more achievable chunks, so that this week you know exactly what you are doing with regards to training and nutrition, and you can focus on just that. As I tell my clients, it's one week at a time, one day at a time.

You see, now you have more than just a nice thought; now you have a plan of action. And believe it or not, this is what most people lack. It's hard to get motivated if you don't know what you want to get motivated for!

And what are you going to do when you are tired, sad, in a mad mood, frustrated…? You must put strategies in place, so when that happens, and it will, you know exactly what to do. You have to become a bit of a ninja!


There are a lot of things that we need to or should do, but that doesn't mean we do them. So I want you to try on the following sentences, simply add what you want to be able to do at the end.

For example, if you want to go to the gym every day at 6pm for an hour, try these on. Say them out loud:

I should go to the gym – I need to go to the gym – I have to go to the gym – I'd better go to the gym -

I could go to the gym – I can go to the gym – I will go to the gym – I'm going to the gym

Do this a few times and notice which one creates the strongest feeling within you, like you want to go do it. You've just unlocked your personal motivational language. Make sure you use it from now on!


One of the main functions of the brain is to prove itself right. So, whatever you focus on is magnified, as the brain thinks it is an objective of yours. Also, the brain doesn't know the difference between a vividly imagined memory and reality. This is why if you want to do something, it's vital you imagine yourself doing it like this (read this NLP resource fully before you do it):
Think of yourself doing the thing you want to do, training in the gym, or whatever. When you think about it you may notice the thought to be at a certain distance from you, a certain size, and in a certain place. Just make sure you see yourself in it, looking happy, positive and really enjoying what you are doing.
Now, imagine the thought getting bigger and bigger until it's almost panoramic. Make sure it's big, bold and colourful, maybe add some sound to it, and notice how good you feel.
Now, imagine you can float outside of your body and into yourself in the image, so you can see through your eyes, hear through your ears and feel how good it feels to be doing what you are doing and loving it too! Intensify everything even more, so the colours are brighter, the sounds louder and the feelings stronger.
Now, tell yourself in your most motivating voice "Go For It!"
Now, take a deep breath through the nose and magnify the feelings so you feel even more motivated!
Repeat 3 times, first sitting down, and then standing up, and notice how you feel even more motivated!

It's vital that you build a propulsion system that makes you feel good and look forward to doing the things you want to do, so that you want to do them more and more. This is how you get to build up new more useful habits to last you a lifetime.

I've just shared 4 motivational strategies with you, that when you use them, they will help you get more stuff done and achieve more, faster. They can be applied in any area of your life. These strategies have helped transform some of my clients from couch potatoes into fitness freaks, so good luck to you!

About the Author

Anna Aparicio is regarded as Ireland's top female NLP/Hypnosis Life Coach. A Self-esteem and Confidence Expert, she has helped hundreds of women all around the world feel empowered, super confident, and lead happier more succesful lives. With a unique blend of Neuro-linguistic Programming, cutting edge personal development tools, and a contagious sense of humour and zest for life, Anna is renowned for getting results fast.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Seven Secrets to Success

Standard Strategies On Exactly How To Turn Into An Effective Individual

Author: harry888

Self-help is written off by many, to be ineffective or a waste of time. In all likelihood, these critics have not paid attention to specific techniques that exist to pursue an organized, directed self-help strategy that slowly but surely, yields results. This article lists some of these techniques in a straightforward, easy-to-implement manner.

Create goals that are personalized to you. You aren't going to respond well to goals of another because only goals that are personalized to you take your personal limits and capabilities into consideration. If you are able to create goals tailored to you specifically, you will find it easier to reach your goals.

Have plenty of self confidence in yourself. Never doubt that you cannot do what you set out to do. Set realistic goals for yourself, things that are attainable and within your reach at the time. This will ensure that you never feel self conscious and always have plenty of self confidence.

There are seven secrets to success that will bring about true personal development. They are direction, destination, action, reaction, acceleration, completion and reproduction. Go through these steps in order and make sure to share your success with others. Success becomes more real to you when you can talk about it.

While the term "self-help" implies that you can lift yourself up by your bootstraps and better your life, you can never do this alone. Seek out colleagues and mentors who can give you wisdom or advice during crucial times. By building a network of supporters and asking for help, you make yourself better-equipped to help yourself and survive troubled situations.

Reach for goals that may be just out of your grasp. You will never grow unless you challenge the limits of your comfort zone. You do not want to try and attain impossible goals, but you do want to attempt new things. This is the only way that you will change and grow as a person.

If you focus too much on what you want, then you create reasons for why you can not have what you want. This leads you to dwell on your weaknesses. Rather, focus on gratitude. Every day, you should focus on things that you are grateful for. This will give you a positive outlook on life.

There are many ways to learn life's lessons. One way to learn a lot while at the same time helping others is by listening to other people. We all need a listening ear, and too many people do not take the time to do this. Listen to others, and you will see a marked difference in your life.

In order to really feel the need to make a change, you have to be dissatisfied with your current situation. If you are not completely happy, you will want to improve yourself. Just be cautious so that you are not getting down on yourself, but are giving yourself motivation for change.

Use mistakes as growing points. Everyone is going to make mistakes from time to time, whether serious or very minor. Either way you go, you have to understand that these mistakes are sometimes inevitable, and the best thing you can do is learn and grow from these mistakes, using them to propel yourself forward instead of letting them hold you back in frustration and discouragement.

Do not just react to whatever events are taking place in your life. Always be proactive more than reactive. Being reactive is just accepting whatever events come your way. Being proactive isn't just taking care of those events but also creating your own events. Stay away from just being reactive and become proactive.

A great personal development tip that every single person should really follow is to love yourself. Really truly love the person you are no matter what aspects of yourself you are upset with. Understand that you can always better yourself, but before you can, you have to really love yourself.

Don't forget to make time for yourself. No matter what your ultimate goals are, if you fail to make time for yourself you're most likely setting yourself up for failure. No one can do everything that life requires of them (work, family, etc) in addition to striving for personal goals if they don't periodically take a break and breathe.

When seeking to develop your personality it is key that you seek purity as opposed to seeking eloquence. In other words, seek wisdom that is both pure and powerful. Learn how to discern the difference between truth and wickedness. Once you distinguish the difference between these two you will gain both understanding and insight.

The tips listed in this article, provide a wonderful way for anyone to start a wonderful journey of self-help. Common criticisms of the self-help process are often rooted in the thought of self-help as unorganized or nonsensical; however, by using the tips in this article, you can direct yourself in a calculated manner and achieve your personal goals of improvement.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Personal Development

What you have now, you have attracted by the person you have become.

Watch this video by Jim Rohn now and find out how you can change what you will attract in the future.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Art of War

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu.  Why on earth would I be talking about a book on strategies of warfare in a blog all about personal development and success?  Especially considering my personal philosophy is that all war and violence is inherently wrong no matter what the provocation!  The reason is simple: although Sun Tzu wrote his book as a treatise on military strategy it can actually be used by anyone to achieve almost any objective if they read it properly.  Many successful business leaders have used "The Art of War" to achieve their business success.  Some personal development coaches use it as the basis of their coaching - and charge their clients high fees for the privilege.

You can use "The Art of War" to improve your sporting ability, build a business, overcome personal challenges, widen your social circle, make bullies leave you alone, attract a member of the opposite sex (or, for that matter, the same sex) - in fact, for almost any challenge you may have in your personal or professional life.  The secret, of course, is to read between the lines and adapt this treatise in your mind so it provides you with an appropriate strategy to achieve your desired goal.

You should begin by obtaining a copy of "The Art of War".  This book is well out of copyright now, having been written well over 2,000 years ago.  The English translation most accepted by academics was written by Lionel Giles, who died in 1958, so this version, too, is no longer copyright.  There are many free versions now available on the internet, including at Project Gutenberg.  One version with a typeface I find particularly easy to read is that published by Pax Librorum in 2009.  You can download this version here (for free, of course!):

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu

Once you have your copy, sit for a while thinking clearly about what you are trying to achieve.  Then take your copy and begin reading it, identifying in your mind each section with your intended strategy.  Make copious notes in your book, crossing out words and phrases and replacing them with ones appropriate to your own goal.  Continue doing this, maybe not in one sitting, until you reach the end of the book.  Then go back to the beginning again and begin writing out your own version, using your own changes you made to make the book fit your strategy.  Now you will find you have a very good manual, totally personalised, which will help you make very good progress indeed with whatever strategy you have in mind.

The autosuggestion specialists, Subliminal MP3, have even come up with a subliminal MP3 you can use to ensure appropriate affirmations to help you achieve your goal are embedded in your subconscious.  You could either use this on its own or in conjunction with the strategy I have outlined above.  If you want to try the Subliminal MP3 you can obtain a copy here:

Subliminal MP3 of "The Art of War"

If you download this within the next three days, as a reader of my blog you will be entitled to a 30% discount.  Just enter the following coupon code at the checkout:


Good luck with whatever strategy you have in mind for your copy of "The Art of War".  And go in Peace!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Bouncing Back

How people who have faced life's toughest challenges found the strength to keep on going-- and how you, too, can develop your resilience muscle.

By Melissa Balmain

No matter what troubles you face, at work or at home, it’s worth asking youself one question: What would Howie Truong do?

In 1977, as Truong fled postwar Vietnam with his wife, baby son and several other people, their motorboat was captured by pirates. The pirates forced everyone aboard their own boat; although brusque toward the adults, they doted on the baby and tried to buy him. After a few days, they shoved Truong into the sea. He nearly drowned before he was rescued by fishermen. Weeks later, in Thailand, he learned that his wife’s body had washed ashore; he would spend 34 years wondering what had happened to his son.

How in the world did Truong survive the grief that followed his ordeal? How did he move to America, become an expert metalworker, remarry, raise four more children, and eventually find his firstborn? Truong, handsome and dark-haired at 54, smiles in his living room in West Henrietta, N.Y. “I told myself, ‘Get going,’ ” he replies emphatically. “ ‘Life has to go on.’ ”

If you think Truong’s story has little to do with your own, think again. Resilience like his can be learned, experts say. And it can help you through just about any setback—a blow to your business or health, for instance; a death, a divorce, a disaster.

“Resilience is very important in today’s uncertain world,” says Harvard psychologist Robert Brooks, Ph.D., author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life. It’s a trait worth nurturing even when all is well, he believes, so you’ll be better prepared for a crisis. But if hard times have already knocked you down, it’s not too late to bounce back. “There are certain outlooks and skills we can develop,” Brooks says, “so that regardless of what the adversity or challenge may be, we are able to deal with it.”

And who better to coach us than Truong and others who have endured life at its worst?


Pulling Yourself Forward

Getting flattened by adversity is, of course, as common as adversity itself. Inertia, self-pity, junk-food binges: All are par for the course, experts say, and nothing to beat yourself up about. “I think of grief as ebbing and flowing rather than as a distinct phase that ends,” says Karen Reivich, Ph.D., co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project at the University of Pennsylvania, which trains soldiers and others to manage stress. The more time passes after a major loss—of a job, a loved one, or home—the more you’ll feel able to get up and at ’em, Reivich says. “The good periods get longer and the others, shorter.” The trick is to take advantage of those good periods. “If there’s that voice inside you that says, ‘I don’t want to get out of bed, but I probably could,’ listen to that voice,” Reivich says. “Sometimes you may need to give yourself a little pep talk—‘I know I don’t feel like getting up, but if I get going it’s going to feel better than if I don’t get going.’ ”

Listening to those who love you is important, too: the buddy who says, “Grab your coat—we’re taking you out.” The brother who insists you start writing a new résumé. “Rely on people that you trust, who know you and know your style, to help pull you forward a bit,” Reivich says.

Another powerful pulling force: obligation. For many who find themselves unemployed or bereaved, a desire to “be strong” for children or a spouse can help. For Truong, what yanked him free of despair—and of drinking himself to sleep—was remembering his role in his family. “In my country, the big brother is the main guy to take care of sisters and brothers,” he says. After his nightmare at sea, he went to a Thai refugee camp. Then an uncle sponsored him to come to Louisiana. Within seven months of losing his wife and son, Truong was studying welding in upstate New York (home of his in-laws), determined to earn money, and bring his parents and seven siblings from Vietnam to live with him. “Sometimes I would buy beer, try to forget the past, but then that wasn’t good,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘Go out, learn something. Keep busy.’ ” Burying himself in his studies—and, later, his career—distracted him from his woes for long stretches and filled him with hope.


Taking Control

Any positive step you take after a major loss, in fact, can curb anxiety and keep you moving forward. “One basic finding in resilience research is that resilient people will focus on what they have control over,” Brooks says.

Something as simple as cooking a good meal can make you feel less helpless. So can taking a brisk walk, playing a musical instrument or writing a step-by-step plan for getting what you want. “When people feel overwhelmed, being able to break up a task in shorter- or longer-term goals is very important,” says Brooks, who has known plenty of overwhelming times himself. “I’ve always liked to put a couple of easy things at the top of my to-do lists, so I could check them off quickly. I know it’s only a mind game, but seeing a few things checked off, I could say, ‘OK! At least I got this out of the way.’ ” Making backup plans and lists is important as well, to buoy your spirits if Plan A doesn’t pan out.

Even at the most basic level, seizing control may help. Three years ago, financial planner Carl Richards found himself—ironically—in financial hot water after the stock market crashed and the housing bubble popped. He and his family wound up losing their $575,000 house in Las Vegas. Richards’ main way of handling the stress was to ride his mountain bike—and focus on his breathing. “It was kind of empowering to realize everything else may be out of control, but I can control my breath,” says Richards, who has since written The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money, and moved with his family to a rented home in Park City, Utah. “It gave me a sense of stability and ‘I can do this the next minute and the next, and doors will keep opening for me.’ It gave me the ability to say, ‘I can make the tough decisions. I can face this other stuff.’ ”


Finding a Team

When dealing with your own problems, resist the urge to isolate yourself. Join a support group. Keep up your social life. Don’t be shy about asking a neighbor to watch your kids while you go to an interview. “The myth of resilience is you go it alone,” Reivich says. “But resilience is really a team sport rather than an individual sport. Those people who have a board of advisers, a close-knit group—those people do better.”

No one knows this more than Jennifer Loredo, a master sergeant in the Army. In 2010, while she and her husband, Edwardo, were serving in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb left her a single mother of two. Back in the United States, Loredo began seeking other widows to talk with; some were part of a military support group, some not. “It just felt really like a relief almost, like I’m not alone in this—other people are going through it and they’re OK,” says Loredo, who lives in Fayetteville, N.C. “It kind of confirmed that my kids and I were going to come out OK.”


Counting Your Blessings

Odd as it may sound, something else that has helped Loredo—and countless others in desperate straits—is gratitude. Each night before bed, Loredo takes a few minutes to recall three pleasant moments of her day. She often jots notes on how they made her feel, what made them happen and how she might make such things happen again. One recent note was about learning that her 14-year-old daughter had aced an English test, another about hearing her 4-year-old son say, “Mommy, you’re beautiful.” Research suggests that this habit of reflection, taught to her by Reivich (from the Penn Resiliency Project), reduces symptoms of depression. “In the beginning it’s kind of hard to come up with three good things that happened every day,” Loredo says. “But after you do it for a while, you find yourself realizing there is a lot of good in your life and it definitely outweighs the bad.” Partly as a result, she now tries harder to let family and friends know she treasures them: “It could be something as little as telling my mom that I love her and I appreciate the time we spent together the last time I was home.”

All of which fits a common and welcome pattern known as “post-traumatic growth.” “We’re all familiar with post-traumatic stress,” Reivich says. “But in post-traumatic growth, when people emerge on the other side of something horrible, they know what their passions are. They have a new commitment to life and a greater sense of spirituality and faith. It doesn’t take away the suffering they feel, but some people experience this renewed sense of going after what matters in life. Research would support that that’s a critical part of healing and resilience.”


Lending a Hand

For Celeste Peterson, what matters in life is what mattered to her daughter. Erin Peterson was among 32 students and faculty shot to death in 2007 by a deranged student at Virginia Tech. More than anything, Erin—who died at 18—had wanted to work for a nonprofit that improves people’s lives. So now that’s what Peterson does. With donations that poured in after Erin’s death, she co-runs a program for at-risk boys who attend Erin’s high school in Fairfax County, Va. She takes the boys on outings, brings in speakers to inspire them, and gives them scholarships for books if they’re accepted to college. “It keeps my mind going,” she says. “I don’t just sit there and act pitiful. I don’t have the time to just feel sorry for myself.”

Helping others is a great way to boost your resilience, studies show. Like religion and spirituality, it can give you a sense of community. Like paid work, it can bolster your belief that you have a positive effect on the world. “This belief reinforces a sense of purpose to one’s existence,” Brooks has written, “thereby impacting positively on emotional and physical health.”

Peterson says amen to that: “Working with the boys does give me a sense of purpose. It’s like I can hear Erin in my head, saying, ‘Come on, Mom, we’ve got a job to do.’ ”


Accepting and Adapting

Another key to climbing beyond self-pity, experts say, is a willingness to reinvent yourself. Anna Hovind of Atlanta learned the truth of this six years ago, after losing her longtime position as a newsroom manager at CNN. Although her layoff came soon after her 25-year marriage dissolved, she found the divorce from her job even harder. And it wasn’t just because she missed the office camaraderie and excellent health benefits. “Before I got downsized, all I had to do was say, ‘I work at CNN,’ and people were like, ‘Wow’—and all of a sudden I didn’t have that,” she says. “I was just like an ordinary Joe on the street and that was a little bit of a challenge.” After she found a new job in broadcast public relations, she continued struggling with her relative obscurity. But as she mastered the duties of an unfamiliar field, Hovind found a fresh identity to take pride in: that of the plucky middle-aged professional who could compete with people in their 20s. “I kind of shook the dust of CNN off my sandals,” she says. “I said, ‘I’m done grieving for what I lost, and this is my new reality.’ ”

Tricia Downing can relate. In 2000, she was a cyclist who rode in races throughout the country. Then a bike accident left her paralyzed from the chest down. Downing threw herself into rehab and—on top of learning how to care for herself—mastered the challenge of using a handcycle and a racing chair. As a para-athlete, she finished 68 marathons and triathalons and many other races between 2001 and 2011. Now she’s training to make the U.S. Paralympic rowing team. “If I had thought, ‘Gosh, I can never come back from this injury,’ I probably wouldn’t have,” says Downing, who lives in Denver and has become a motivational speaker. “In the beginning I did have those thoughts, but I let them dissipate. I realized, ‘I can’t do things the same way I used to do them—I just have to find different ways.’ Telling yourself, ‘I can do this’ is really important to being resilient.” Another mantra that keeps her going on the racecourse and off: “Ride your own race.” Instead of comparing herself to others, Downing takes pride in beating personal records. “What it comes down to is focusing on what you do have and not what you don’t have,” she says. And by her own estimation, she has a lot: A nice house. Lucrative work. A loving husband she met seven years ago. And, of course, the biceps of an Amazon. “I feel accomplished,” Downing says. “I feel like I stared down a demon and I won.”


Forgiving, But Not Necessarily Forgetting

It’s easy after a major setback to be angry—at the spouse who dumped you, the driver who hit you, the boss who derailed your career. Yet one of the most important parts of resilience, experts say, is deciding to forgive. This shouldn’t be confused with forgetting, minimizing or denying hurtful actions, Brooks says. “Rather,” he explains, “forgiveness ensures that our lives are not dominated by intense anger and thoughts of revenge that lessen our own happiness.”

And here, again, we look to Howie Truong.

As the decades passed, he couldn’t shake the feeling that his stolen child, Khai, was still alive. The pirates had been too fond of the boy to have killed him, he believed. Last summer, after years of fruitless attempts to find him long-distance, Truong got his family’s blessing to take an extended trip to Thailand. Incredibly, thanks in large part to his dogged questioning of strangers and to help from Thai officials and media, he found Khai in a month. He turned out to be a father of two known as Samart Khumkhaw, who worked on a rubber plantation near the home of the couple who—apparently ignorant of his kidnapping—had adopted him when he was a baby.

Now Khumkhaw, on his first visit to the United States, sits with Truong in his living room. Father and son have matching eyes, matching mustaches, and, above all, matching infectious grins. Truong, the only one adept at English, does most of the talking.

One thing he realized during his trip to Thailand, he says, is he could easily track down the pirates and press charges against them. But he won’t. “I figure if I forgive them now,” he says, “later somebody will forgive me for something.” He glances at his recovered son, eyes widening as if he still can’t believe he is right beside him. “He was lost for 34 years. It’s time for me to make up for that.”


Five More Secrets of Resilient People

1. Keep a journal and read through it now and then. You’ll spot trends you may want to address (“I’m always sad around 6 p.m.”), and feel proud when you read of obstacles you’ve since overcome.

2. Think about what your greatest strengths of character are—from kindness to persistence to a knack for humor. Then brainstorm approaches to your problems that revolve around those strengths.

3. Don’t shield your partner or spouse from hard decisions you face. If you make them together, it will be easier for you both to live with the consequences.

4. As much as possible, even when times are hard, lift your spirits by keeping up with favorite hobbies or pastimes.

5. Stop asking, “Why me?” and start asking, “Why not me? How am I going to handle this? How do I help other people handle it?”

Sunday, 13 May 2012


The Practice of Meditation

by Sri N.Ananthanarayanan

(Reproduced by kind permission of Swami Padmanabhananda, the Divine Life Society)

A baby's eyes are riveted on a flower or a butterfly. It keeps looking at the object with unwinking eyes, eyes full of wonder, for minutes together.

A mother calls her teenage daughter to go and have lunch, but there is no response. The call is repeated twice, thrice; still there is no response. The girl just does not hear, though her ears are very much open. Nor is she deaf. What could be the reason, then, for her not hearing? Her mind is immersed in a Sherlock Holmes or a Harold Robbins; her eyes are glued to the lines; her face is buried in the book.

In the dilapidated building of an elementary school, the class is on. The teacher explains something and then asks the children, "Did it enter?". There is an instant response from the backmost bench: "Only the tail has not entered yet!". The earnest voice belongs to a boy who has been all along intently watching the struggle of a rat to wriggle out of the class room through a hole in the wall. It has managed to squeeze in its body, but its tail is still not gone in. Perhaps the hole is blocked.

These are everyday examples of concentration. Attention, concentration, meditation-these are different degrees of the same process. It is fixing the mind on a single object or idea to the exclusion of everything else.

In his book, "Concentration and Meditation", holy Master Sivananda presents a most beautiful scene to illustrate what is meant by concentration. In this, Dronacharya tests the power of concentration of his students, the Pandavas. A basin of water is placed on the ground. Above, a clay bird is kept rotating. The archer hat to hit the bird by looking at its reflection in the water.

Drona: "O Yudhishthira, what do you see?"

Yudhishthira: "O Acharya (teacher), I see the bird to be aimed at, the tree on which it is sitting and yourself also."

Drona: "What do you see, Bhima?"

Bhima: "I see the bird, the tree, yourself, Nakula, Sahadeva, the tables and chairs, etc."

Drona: "What do you see, Nakula?"

Nakula: "I see the bird, the tree, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, the garden, the streamlet, etc."

Drona: "What do you see, Sahadeva?"

Sahadeva: "I see the bird to be aimed at, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, the horses, carriages, all the onlookers, several cows, etc."

Drona: "Now then, Arjuna, what do you see?"

Arjuna: "O Revered Guru! I see nothing but the bird to be aimed at."

That is concentration. Arjuna's is the power of concentration. Concentration, when developed, becomes meditation.

Yoga is an exact science. Asanas and Pranayama (Yoga postures and breathing exercises) perfect the body. Service and charity expand the heart. Prayer, Japa (repetition of the Lord’s Name), Kirtan (singing devotional songs) and other devotional practices purify the mind and make it more subtle. The aspirant is now fully equipped for the last lap of the journey. It is the toughest part of the pilgrimage to God. It is full of darkness and the aspirant has to pierce this darkness with his purified mind. The purified mind is the most dependable weapon in the armoury of the spiritual aspirant.

The purified mind must be made to concentrate. Concentration is mental focussing. The mind can be focussed on a concrete object or an abstract idea. For a novice, concentration becomes easy if the object of concentration is concrete. Also, the beginner should choose a pleasing object on which to concentrate. Only thus can he prevent the mind from wandering away from the object of concentration. To start with, concentration can be practised on the flame of a candle, the tick-tick sound of a clock, the star in the sky, the picture of OM or the picture of one's lshta Devata (personal God). This should be followed by concentration on a suitable spiritual centre within the body. The Sadhak may concentrate with closed eyes on the space between is the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. There is nothing which cannot be achieved by concentration.

Concentration should be followed by meditation. Meditation is nothing but protracted or sustained concentration. A scientist has to concentrate on a problem, on a given subject, on a riddle, to bring out the answer, to solve it. He has to think, think and think. Then only the answer flashes forth. Likewise, meditation is intense concentration, concerted concentration on the problem of life, on the problem of the inexplicable triad of God, man and the universe. While concentration becomes essential even to solve small problems in science, what to speak of the problem of life which has baffled humanity since time immemorial? The Sadhak (aspirant) who wants God must meditate, meditate and meditate.

Meditation can be practised on any image of the Lord. This is concrete meditation. After some practice, the aspirant will be able to visualise the form of the image even with closed eyes. Meditation can also be practised on abstract ideas and on various Vedantic formulae such as "I am Eternity", "I am Infinity" and so on.

Reading of profound scriptural texts like the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras (revealed texts of the Hindus) requires intense concentration. Such reading itself is a mild form of meditation. It should be followed by contemplation on what was read. Repeated meditation on a single idea will bring out a wealth of knowledge on that idea.

While meditating on a particular object or idea, various extraneous thoughts will try to enter the mind of the aspirant and interfere with his meditation. The aspirant should ignore these extraneous thoughts, be indifferent to them and repeatedly try to concentrate on the object of his meditation. Gradually, the frequency of interruption will be reduced and a time will come when meditation will give uninterrupted peace and bliss.

Meditation is digging deep into the mine of truth and wisdom. Swamiji asks the Sadhak to meditate and bring put his own Gita and Upanishads. Says the Master: "There is no knowledge without meditation. An aspirant churns his own soul. Truth becomes manifest".

Meditation confers peace and strength. Sivananda affirms that half an hour's meditation is sufficient to enable the aspirant to smilingly pass through a whole week's life in this world of problems and misery.

Meditation must be regular. Whenever the Sattvic (a state of calmness and purity) mood manifests and divine thought-currents begin to flow, the aspirant must sit down for meditation. Brahmamuhurtha (period between 4 am and 6 am), says the Master, is the ideal time for meditation. Why? He gives the answer:

    "There is Sattva in the atmosphere
    In Brahmamuhurtha.
    The atmosphere is calm
    And the world is asleep.
    The Raga-Dvesha (like-dislike) currents
    Have not yet started flowing in your mind.
    You are just returning from deep sleep
    When you enjoyed bliss without objects;
    You can then easily convince the mind
    That real happiness is within.
    Only Yogis, Jnanis (wise man) and sages are awake at this time.
    You will be greatly benefited by their thought currents.
    Never miss the Brahmamuhurtha even for a day."

It is not possible to meditate the whole day. Without variety, the mind, especially of a beginner, will get tired . It is necessary to guard against this possibility. It is important that the aspirant should be protected from the monotony of one-sided spiritual practice leading to reaction and a return to worldly activity with a vengeance. The beauty of divine life lies in the fact that the seriousness of meditation is tempered with the joy of Kirtan, the happiness and strength of service, the peace of Japa and the understanding of Svadhyaya (reading of scriptures).

In the books of Yoga, the great Rishis (sages) distinguish between Bahiranga Sadhana and Antaranga Sadhana. Bahiranga Sadhana is outer Yoga or spiritual practices designed to perfect the outer instruments of body and Prana (vital- energy). These are the ethical practices and the Yogasana and Pranayama exercises. Once the body is perfected and the Nadis or astral tubes are purified through Pranayama practices, the spiritual seeker attains fitness to start the inner Yoga or Antaranga Sadhana. This includes Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana-sense abstraction, concentration and meditation. The senses and the mind must be withdrawn from the sense objects and the mind must be focussed on the God within. This is inner Yoga. The outer Yoga practices are to prepare the aspirant to gain fitness to practise this inner Yoga.

Where the necessary preparation is inadequate or wanting, meditation cannot succeed. Simply sitting cross-legged and closing the eyes, thinking the same worldly thoughts and building castles in the air, or falling into a semi- sleep is not meditation. A person who wants to meditate must be free from disease and desire, from cares and worries. He must be free from love and hatred, and from like and dislike. He must be soaked in Vairagya (dispassion). He must be able to sit firmly for hours together in the same posture. His breathing must be slow and even. His stomach must be free from constipation, free from gas and very light. when these conditions are not satisfied, meditation will remain just a pipe dream.

While meditation in itself constitutes. a very powerful attack on ignorance, Swami Sivananda suggests that the spiritual aspirant should practise Vichar also. Vichar is enquiry into the real nature of things. Vichara results in Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal. It helps the aspirant to sift the true from the false. Swamiji asserts that without cogitation, Truth cannot be known or realised. Vichara sharpens the intellect and leads to the discernment of the Truth that lies behind the phenomenal universe.

How should the aspirant reflect? The Master shows the way: "Who am I? What is Brahman (God)? What is this Samsara (process of worldly life)? What is the goal of life? How to attain the goal? How to attain freedom from births and deaths? What is the Svarupa of Moksha (Essential nature of liberation)? Whence? Where? Whither? Thus should the aspirant of liberation ever enquire, seeking to achieve the purpose of life". The justification for this method of Vichara or enquiry is contained in the saying, "As you think, so you become". By constant reflection on the Reality behind the appearances, the seeker attains oneness with the Reality and becomes that Reality itself.

Enquiry opens the aspirant's eyes to new vistas of knowledge. It leads him steadily to Truth. For instance, if the aspirant starts the "Who am I?" enquiry, he will soon find that he cannot equate himself with any one of his sense organs like the nose, the eyes or the ears, because even without one or more of these, he can live and life can pulsate in his veins. So, he is not the body. Nor is he the mind, because even during the unconscious and the deep sleep states, when the mind ceases to function, he exists and his heart throbs. Then, what is this 'I' in everybody? Swami Sivananda declares that the real 'I' is none, else than Brahman or the Atman who is the motive force behind all existence. It is He who thinks through the mind, sees through the eyes, eats through the mouth, hears through the ears and so on He is the Witnessing Consciousness who dwells in all beings. When a person gets up from deep sleep and says, "I enjoyed a sound dreamless sleep", it is this Witnessing Consciousness which remembers the fact that the body and the mind rested in sound sleep. It cannot be otherwise. The mind which was virtually dead during the deep sleep state could . not itself have consciously enjoyed a sound slumber and remembered it. The enjoyer is the Atman. Swamiji repeatedly advises the spiritual seeker to identify himself with this Atman which is his real Self and not with his perishable body. Constant identification with the Atman or the Witnessing Consciousness in oneself is a shortcut to spiritual success. The aspirant who adopts this technique will soon rise above body consciousness.

The secret of spirituality lies in realising one's essential nature. It is not becoming something outside of oneself. It is not as if man and God are separate and that man should go to a God who is external to him and merge in that God. No. God is already there, everywhere, Within us and outside of us. The body and the mind in which man is encased are mere illusions of an ignorant mind. God only is. All else is not. All else is only appearance. This appearance is made possible by the functioning of the mind. Meditation and enquiry enable the aspirant to feel, to realise that he is, after all, Brahman and not a bundle of body and mind. When divine wisdom dawns, the Sadhak realises his innermost Being. And being is Brahman.

Man himself is God and the entirety of Sadhana (spiritual practices) is meant to enable man to realise his God-nature, to realise that the God he has been searching for is his own Self. Initially, Yoga Sadhana purifies the mind. Later on, the seeker uses this purified mind, to concentrate and meditate on the God within; and at the deepest point of meditation, the purified mind melts in the God within and is itself lost there, destroyed there. And only God remains. Being remains. God-consciousness remains. A telling analogy given in the Yoga texts is the dry twig used in kindling a fire, where the twig itself is ultimately consumed in the fire. The purified mind is like this twig. It helps to kindle the fire of God-consciousness within, and in the process, is itself destroyed in that fire. In Samadhi (superconscious state), the mind melts in Brahman as camphor melts in fire. The separate identity of the individual soul vanishes. Only Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence- Consciousness-Bliss Absolute) prevails.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stay Focused

Great Ideas To Help Stay Critically Focused

Are you prone to distractions while performing important tasks? Do you feel like sometimes your mind is not under your control, that it has made choices of its own? It is because we live in a world full of distractions, distractions which can have numerous repercussions. Naturally, those who achieve greater productivity have an immense critical focus on their goals.

What follows is a guide to help you maintain critical focus on your goals, which will enable you to achieve more gratification and success in your endeavors.

What is critical focus?

Critical focus is extensively related to and with critical thinking. Critical thinking is one's ability or competence to question the assumed facts. Similarly, critical focus is one's ability to retain the concentration or convergence of their mind by eliminating every external interruption. Some of the major causes of these distractions are mental clutter, hyper-mind and head overdrive.

Are you focused objectively?

Many of us begin to work on a project with great expectations and focus. Then suddenly we disappear down the rabbit hole without any apparent reason. It happens because the mind does not like being restrained or made to follow regulations. It will resist nearly all your efforts to keep it on the track. Apparently, it loves its freedom more than anything else. It will find many ways to stop and disrupt you. In order to accomplish and prosper; you must prove to be stronger. The importance of time management should also be kept in mind as critical focus alone is useless without time management.

Let me explain with the help of an example - I have been approached by many students asking the same question over and over again: How to focus on studying? Students are likely to experience the phenomenon of lack of critical focus almost every day. Whenever they get their hand on the books and start reading, they experience aberration and divergence from their topic of study. In spite of the fact that some of them don't even have any external source of disturbance at all. It shows that their own mind is taking them away from the intended practice. This is what shows that they are not critically focused. So in order to get their minds back on the books they need to learn the methods of staying critically focused.

How to stay critically focused?

As explained in the preceding discourse, the combination of time management and critical focus is the ultimate recipe to success. The following list contains some of the many tips mandatory to staying critically focused on your objective:

• Get plenty of rest - You should sleep well and take care of your body. Don't try to force your body when it's demanding rest. Try not to sleep too much or become excessively lazy. An adequate amount of rest is needed to keep your mind sharp and focused.

• Eat proper diet - Some of the most essential elements necessary for a human brain to work efficiently are produced by the body only when the nutrition is adequate. So, take care of your meals and their timings. This will make a drastic change in your critical focus ability.

• Eliminate Distractions - Now that your body has all it needs for the brain to function properly; you'll have to work on the external factors affecting your mental focus. Even a minor distraction can make you lose your train of thought; which is very detrimental. So be careful to make your surrounding environment peaceful and organized.

• Picture your mind as a blank canvas - The most fundamental component of critical focus is to keep your mind clear of all the stress and tension. Your mind should be like a blank canvas when you're about to being working on your project. This enables you to build an ultimate focus on the objective.

• Practice focusing techniques - There are various mind focus techniques that help create critical focus on your ambitions. Some of them include yoga and meditation. These certainly can help and be an effective assistant of critical focus.

There are far too many help techniques that I haven't been able to express in this short article. My intention here is to simply to get you thinking of ways to stay critically focused on your objectives.

It's one thing to get all excited about a new goal, project or just life. Following through and being successful takes planning, productivity. http://jaywestinginfowiki.com will provide comprehensive guidance by suggesting other sources to study in order to glean exactly the information that you are looking for.

About the Author

Jay Westing has been involved in behind-the-scenes internet marketing since 2002. He has now made the decision to come into the spotlight with his introductory blog at: jaywestinginfowiki.com.

Jay says about himself:

My purpose on the Internet is to provide a variety of information that is hoped to be beneficial. My logo is a hound dog whose purpose is to sniff out a variety of information. Along the same track I am sniffing out and introducing the possibilities of making money on line, for those who are interested. My focus is then to basically provide information to make an informed decision.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Empower Yourself to Win

On the Bookshelf

Those who succeed understand the risks, plan for them and work with purpose


Success is never an accident. An unexpected boon without work isn’t really success, but rather a happy coincidence or luck. Indeed, success requires forethought, planning, evaluation and persistence.

In the books on the bookshelf this month, you’ll learn how the right plan and the right attitude separate the triumphant from the frustrated; the happy from the dissatisfied; the successful from the failures. Why not start planning for your success today?

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen
HarperCollins, 2011

It may come as a surprise to learn that the most consistently successful leaders are not extreme risk takers. Rather, they are extreme planners who persistently work to anticipate worst-case scenarios, practice constantly for success, and base their actions on sure foundations of established research and data. In Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen reveal that companies they refer to as “10Xers”—those that consistently outperformed comparative firms by at least 10 times over a period of 15-plus years—are actually more driven by discipline, empiricism and paranoia than their counterparts.

By following business leaders and watching how they handle everything from recession to terrorist attacks, they discovered the core characteristics that helped their companies thrive. “Studying leaders in an extreme environment is like conducting a behavioral-science experiment or using a laboratory centrifuge,” the authors explain. “Throw leaders into an extreme environment and it will separate the stark differences between greatness and mediocrity.”

Although Collins’ and Hansen’s book follows the stories of major companies, the tenets of consistent strong performance they uncovered can be applied to any business or any entrepreneur. Through case studies and solid presentation of data, as well as chapter-by-chapter summaries and “take action” questions, the authors lead readers through the processes to help them ensure stability and even build success in the most challenging of economic times. “By embracing a myriad of possible dangers,” the authors write, “[10Xers] put themselves in a superior position to overcome danger.”

—Deborah Huso

A few things you’ll learn from this book:
  •     Which characteristics help companies thrive in uncertain times.
  •     How to make productive use of luck.
  •     How to channel ambition into meaningful work that inspires others to follow you.

Noteworthy Quote:
“Getting a high return on luck requires throwing yourself at the luck even with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life, and not letting up.”


The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life

by Rich Christiansen
McGraw-Hill, 2012

In The Zig Zag Principle, serial-entrepreneur Rich Christiansen explains why driving headlong toward a goal isn’t always the best choice. Having founded or co-founded more than 30 companies, Christiansen says he has learned that deliberately altering your course, zigging or zagging at certain stages of growth, actually enhances your chances of success in the long run. Based on real-life experiences, The Zig Zag Principle offers a step-by-step guide for building a profitable business and a successful life.

—Marilynn Hood

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:
  •     Your values serve as your foundation for everything you do.
  •     Your relationships are one of your most valuable resources.

Noteworthy Quote:

“Money cannot build intelligence, relationships or passion. But intelligence, relationships and passion can always yield money.”


Affluence Intelligence: Earn More, Worry Less, and Live a Happy and Balanced Life

by Stephen Goldbart and Joan Indursky DiFuria
Da Capo Press, 2011

Having a high net worth doesn’t always equate to happiness, but personal satisfaction can lead to acquiring more money, say the authors of Affluence Intelligence, who offer strategies for simultaneously increasing your emotional and financial wealth. The book’s quizzes reveal your Affluence Intelligence Quotient, or AIQ, and show you how you may be sabotaging your financial well-being. You’ll also learn about four key areas the authors claim are necessary for unlocking your Affluence Intelligence: priorities, behaviors, attitudes and financial effectiveness. By addressing both the psychology and practice of money management, Affluence Intelligence will help you assess your current level of prosperity and create a plan for acquiring the kind of financial and emotional wealth you desire.

—Jenna Lang

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:
  •     How to become more financially effective.
  •     What to do in the next three months to become more affluent.

Noteworthy Quote:

“People with financial ease feel empowered in their relationship to money: They can make the necessary and sometimes difficult lifestyle choices in order to gain or maintain their security and peace.”

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Basis of Success

The Basis of Success in all Human Endeavours

Sri Swami Chidananda

(Reproduced by kind permission of Swami Padmanabhananda, the Divine Life Society)


I want to bring to you a little message that holds the central secrets of success in attaining the goal of life. As a matter of fact, it contains the basis of success in all human endeavours, no matter in which area it might be. An effort will succeed if these secrets are utilised—even if the effort is pointed in the wrong direction. If you want to become the Al Capone of the underworld and shine as the Number One Crook, if you apply this method you are bound to succeed! If you apply it in any direction, it will give you success. However, we are more concerned about using this to find success in our spiritual life than we are in becoming Number One Crook!

Two great laws are at the back of this secret, and the first one is: What you think, that you become. This is a universal law. You should always ceaselessly affirm that which you want to become, and then one day you will end up becoming that. This law is inevitable and nothing can hold it back. The second great law is: Persistent effort in any one direction overcomes all obstacles. No obstacle can withstand the assault of persistent effort. That is why in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna tells Krishna that it is impossible to control the mind, Krishna replies that if one keeps on persisting in this effort, one will overcome, and the mind will be subdued. Persistence overcomes all obstacles and ultimately reaches its goal. Whatever it is you are pursuing, you will get it with persistent effort.


What You Think, That You Become

 The first law is once again: what you think, that you become. Think you are good for nothing, and you become good for nothing. But, how could you really be good for nothing? It is an insult to God to think that you are good for nothing. Maybe your goodness is temporarily covered up, but it is in fact there. If you think that you have got the potential for everything beautiful, then you will become that. Think like God, and you will become like God. Think like a sinner, and you will become like that. Think that you are unhealthy and weak, and you will always be in a mess regarding health. Think that you are full of health and strength, and you will end up becoming healthy. Because you are thinking that way, those conditions become actualised.

This is the law that Vedanta invokes in its approach. It rejects the assumption that you are only this conglomeration of flesh, bones and organs. It asserts that you are the Atman—ever-pure, ever-perfect and divine. At any stage, if there is a wave of anger or jealousy, you assert that you are not this anger or jealousy. You have nothing to do with it, for you are the Atman, which is always full of peace, joy and light. Reject the different conditions of mind and intellect, and affirm your all-full divine spiritual nature.

If you are always fearful of things, you will attract to yourself conditions of fear. Have firm trust in God, and all conditions will correct themselves. They come and then they go when you do not respond to them. You do not allow them to hold onto you, because you have made yourself a centre of faith and fearlessness. This great law very much governs your entire life. Invoke this law and think of what you want to become. "I am the Atman; I am a child of God; I am shining with divine radiant spirit."

These thoughts should occupy your mind day and night, waking, dreaming and sleeping. We must affirm this truth by repeating it, visualising it in our mind, writing it down, and by practising it. We must try to bring this feeling into our daily lives—even in the midst of the most adverse conditions. You must persist in being what you are. This great law is the secret of success in your spiritual life. This practice requires no previous background, so start right now from where you are. One day success and fulfilment will be yours.


The Law of Persistence

The second great law is, once again, that persistent effort overcomes all obstacles. As an example, I could describe a situation found at the public water taps in rural India. The entire locality has to fetch its water only from that one tap, because there is no proper water supply in most parts of the country. Sometimes these taps go out of order and cannot be completely closed, and the faucet keeps dripping on the granite stone, and a hole is made in the stone just from the accumulated effect of these drops of water!

There is another phenomenon observed with the wells used in India. When the rope is used to pull the bucket up out of a well, the rope rubs against a granite slab that serves as the wall of the well. After a few years, the constant rubbing of the rope causes a groove to be formed in the granite. Taking this as an example, one can say that nothing can withstand the power of persistent effort. No matter how difficult or how slow the process seems, don’t despair, and be sure to keep on persisting. Bondage does not easily give way, but one must continuously keep trying to get free of it. One day it will give way.

Long, long ago in ancient India the forest-dwelling sages had to make a fire sacrifice every day. They did not have matches, so the only way to have fire available whenever they wanted it was to have the fire burning twenty-four hours a day. However, on very special occasions they did not make use of this ordinary fire, and a new fire needed to be started and used specifically for that purpose. To start the fire, they used a block of heavy wood with a slight circular depression in the middle. A peg was rubbed against the wood, and as they persisted in the rubbing, slowly heat was produced at the point of contact. They had cotton or dried fibres of plants or wood bark and kept it close to the heat, and at some point the fuel suddenly caught fire. It might have taken an hour and a half to light the fire, but through that effort the sacred fire was created. Even so, just as persistent effort ultimately brought forth fire where it did not exist, persistent effort in your spiritual life will bring forth illumination where it might not have been before. Similarly, if you are looking for water, you must start digging and keep on digging, and eventually you will get water.

These are examples given by the great teachers to put heart into the seeker. In spiritual sadhana, persistent effort overcomes all obstacles standing in the way and ultimately secures its ends. There is nothing that persistent effort cannot bring to you. To prove this point, the stories of the Puranas abound with narrations of numerous instances in the past where seemingly impossible things were achieved through sheer force of persistence. One great classical example was the story of a certain sage who lost his entire family in a tragic circumstance, and the funeral rites were never performed for them. Many generations afterwards, this fact was brought to the attention of one young man of that family line. Their ashes had been scattered in some region, but the celestial River Ganges needed to pass over these ashes in order to purify them.

This young man resolved to bring the Ganges down to earth, and to do so he renounced everything and started doing penance. He persisted so long that ultimately the gods had to yield, and they asked the Ganges to descend and honour his request. One further obstacle though was that the descent might destroy the earth, so through more of the young man’s penance, Lord Siva consented to take the immense flow of the river on his own head. Yet, for various other reasons the young man had to do even more penance to finally fulfil his goal. His name, Bhagiratha, has become a byword for great persistence and extraordinary effort.