Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Abundance Thinking and Limitation

What does the word "abundance" mean to you?

For far too many people it means something that doesn't exist.  They believe in limitation rather than abundance.  They believe there is a limited supply of everything and that we must either compete and even fight with others to gain whatever it is we want, or we must accept that because there is a limited supply we must limit ourselves, not try to get everything we want, and that if we do anything different we are greedy.

For many things that we want it is simply illogical to believe in any limitation.  Take happiness, for example.  Is there a limited supply of happiness in the universe?  Really?  Why on earth should there be?  There are no limits to happiness.  Yes, things can happen which impact on our happiness, although there are always ways of controlling that impact.  But there is certainly not a limited supply of happiness, and it would be entirely illogical to believe there was.  Yet so many people behave in a way that shows they subconsciously believe there is a limited supply.  They don't believe it is right to want to be happy when so many people in the world are sad.  Why?  If you choose to be sad too does that reduce the sadness of people around you?  No, of course not!  In fact, just the opposite.  Happiness can be contagious, so by developing and nurturing happiness in yourself you can also spread happiness in the world.  Isn't that a good thing to do?  There are no limits to happiness.  There is an abundance of happiness in the world.

Or how about love?  Is that limited?  Of course not!  If you are looking for love, then don't go around believing it is limited.  Are you looking for your life partner, for someone who will love you without limit and whom you can love without limit?  But have you started to believe that perhaps there is no such person?  Or were you looking for a group of friends you can really love without limits and who will really love you without limits, and then gave up at some point because you felt this would never materialize?  There are no limits to love.  There is an abundance of love in the world.  Open your heart to it and allow that abundance to manifest within your life.

On a more practical level, many people today are concerned about limited resources in the world.  There are limited amounts of raw materials.  There are limits on the amount of energy we can produce without depleting resources for future generations and destroying mother earth.  At least there is more logic in this thinking.  It is true we have over exploited many of the earth's resources and continue to do so.  It is good to look at your carbon footprint and try to find ways to reduce it so you are causing less damage to the world in which you live.  But ultimately, in the future, is there a true limit here or is there a hidden abundance for which we simply have to find the key?  I believe it is the latter.  So does eminent scientist Peter Diamond, a medically qualified space scientist and engineer who graduated from both MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard Medical School, and who co-founded the International Space University and the Singularity University.  Peter Diamond believes in abundance even in the area of energy and resources.  He believes mankind has the ability to find ways around the limitations we see today and create an abundant future.  Check out his books "Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think", and only just published on 23rd February 2016 "BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World".  In the universe there is an abundance of energy and resources.  We just have to find ways to unlock that abundance.

Another practical area where far too many people believe in limitation is that of money.  Again, the prevailing belief, which is completely wrong, is that there is a limited supply of money, and that it is evil to want lots of money as you will then be depriving others of the money they need.  This is nonsense!  If you really want to become wealthy the best way of doing so is not to take wealth that belongs to others but to help others achieve what they want to achieve.  Doing this is the best way of becoming really wealthy, and it is also very ethical.  You are not taking wealth away from others but becoming wealthy by helping others.  Zig Ziglar said "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."  He was not just talking about wealth here, but certainly this applies very much to wealth.  There is no limitation to wealth.  Wealth is abundant.

Whatever it is you want, recognize it is here in the universe in abundance.  There are no limits.  Only the limits you have created in your own mind.  Break the shackles of those blocks you have created and claim the abundance that is waiting there for you.  Claim it, and at the same time share that abundance with others.  Your own life will be far better and so will the lives of your family, friends, and others around you.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Secret Law of Attraction

What is the secret of the Law of Attraction?

If I had been given a penny every time somebody asked me that question I would be a lot wealthier!  Perhaps more to the point, if they hadn't needed to ask the question in the first place, they would probably have been a lot wealthier too!

The truth is, if it is a secret it is an open secret.  Nobody is hiding anything here, but the basic concept is actually so simple that most people think there must be more to it, that there must be some hidden depths only revealed to initiates.

The basic principle of the Law of Attraction is that you attract to yourself what you focus on.  Not what you want - what you focus on.

Read that last sentence again, as it is probably the most important lesson you will ever learn.  Far too many people fail to achieve what they want to achieve because their focus is elsewhere.  Especially if their focus is on the negatives, on what they are trying to avoid rather than what they are trying to achieve.  I have said this in earlier blogs, but I do not apologize for saying it again, because it is such a key principle.  Do not focus on trying to get rid of or avoid the nasty things in life, but focus instead on gaining the good and positive things.

Taking a step back, before you even begin to direct your focus on your objective, make sure you have chosen the right objective.  It is no good focusing the power of attraction on something unless that is something you really, genuinely want.  There are two good reasons for this.

  1. Firstly, if it is not something you REALLY want, it is not going to make you very happy when you get it.  Pretty obvious, when you think about it, but it happens more often than you might imagine.  Frequently this happens to people who try to use the secret of attraction to attract lots of money.  It was not really the money they wanted but rather some of the things that money can buy.  But when they get the money they stay focused on just the money itself and lose track of why they really wanted it.  They become wealthier, but at the same time unhappier.
  2. Secondly, if your deep, inner desire is for something different from what you believe you want and what you focus on, then there will always be a conflict.  All the time you are focused on what you think you want, something inside you will be working against you, knowing that is not what you really want.  When this happens you will probably find you do not attract what you are focused on.  You will give up and start bad mouthing "The Secret", and the Law of Attraction.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the film and the book "The Secret".  They reveal the truth.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Law of Attraction.  It works.  But there IS something wrong with the way you are trying to use them.

"The Law of Attraction attracts to you everything you need, according to the nature of your thoughts. Your environment and financial condition are the perfect reflection of your habitual thinking."  (Joseph Murphy)

So it is your habitual thinking you have to work on.  Change that, and the Law of Attraction will start working properly for you.

The Law of Attraction is a natural law, just like the law of gravity, just like the laws of motion.  When your car doesn't move you don't believe it is because the laws of motion have failed.  That isn't the reason, and you wouldn't dream of trying to say that.  Your car has stopped because there is something wrong in the car.  Perhaps you didn't put in enough petrol.  When the Law of Attraction does not bring you the things you want it is not because the Law of Attraction does not work but because there is something wrong in the way you are trying to use it.  Find what is wrong and fix it and you will find the Law of Attraction works properly for you.

Take the time to find out what you truly desire rather than what on the surface you think you desire.  Then spend time framing the right affirmations to bring it to you.  Make those affirmations positive, not negative.  Put them in the present tense, not the future.  Know that you really have achieved this, that the Universe has delivered it to you.  This has already happened in the "inner world" and all you need do now now is to be patient and to find it in the "outer world".  Do this at least once a day, but preferably more often.  Be aware of any blocks you might have which are preventing you from truly focusing on what you want.  These are often blocks you acquired as a young child without realizing what was happening.  If you find those blocks, counter them.  Recognize they no longer have any power over you and that now you are achieving what you want to achieve.

That last paragraph is the essence of the Law of Attraction, the secret behind it.  Do this properly and you too will be able to achieve all you really want to achieve!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Avoiding Sadness - the Five Point Plan

Being Sad

I have written several articles focussing on happiness, showing how and why we should be happy most of the time.  In this article I want to turn this on its head a little.  Instead of simply talking about happiness, let's think a moment about sadness.

Sometimes it may be appropriate to be sad.  In Ecclesiastes we are reminded that there is a right time for everything, including a time for being sad.  Solomon was renowned as a very wise man, and it is widely believed that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes.  Whoever wrote it, there are some very wise words in this book, and you do not need to be a practising Jew or Christian to find it helpful. In chapter 3 we are told "there is a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to be sad and a time to dance."  If, for example, you have just lost your life partner to cancer I really wouldn't expect you to get up and dance.  Having said that, you should know in your heart that your life partner would not want you to be sad, so the time for sadness should be very limited.

Usually, though, it is not at all appropriate to be sad.  Many people are often sad and cannot say why they feel this way.  They just do!  If this happens to you, don't despair - as I said, this happens to many people.


It is important to recognize whether you are simply sad or are suffering from clinical depression.  If the former I have some answers for you below in the five point plan.  If the latter you probably need some additional help.  Go and see your doctor.  Don't be embarrassed about doing this.  Depression is as much an illness as is cancer.  In both cases you need treatment or the illness may kill you.  The earlier you seek help the more likely something can be done about it.

Some very famous and successful people have suffered from, but also survived, depression, including (in no particular order):
  •  Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who has bipolar II disorder
  •  Boxer Frank Bruno, who has bipolar disorder which led to him being briefly sectioned under the mental health act.
  •  Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her son Moses
  •  Actress and singer Kylie Minogue, who suffered clinical depression when she was diagnosed with breast cancer
  •  US President Abraham Lincoln, whose depression frequently made him feel completely inadequate and whose friends had to put him on suicide watch
  •  "Harry Potter" author J K Rowling, whose depression made her suicidal and had a course of cognitive behavioural therapy
  •  Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, who credits his practice of Zen Buddhism with the cure of his depression
  •  British Prime Minister and Nobel Prize winner Sir Winston Churchill, who called his manic depression "black dog"
  •  Astronaut and Moon walker Buzz Aldrin
  •  Discoverer of gravity and the laws of motion, Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Comic actor Jim Carrey

Some of the symptoms of clinical depression include:
  •  Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and believing your situation cannot improve and there is simply nothing you can do about it
  •  A loss of interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy
  •  Changes in sleep pattern (either oversleeping or an inability to sleep)
  •  Changes in appetite and changes in weight (usually a gain or loss of more than 5% in a month)
  •  An unusually short temper causing strong feelings of anger
  •  Reckless behaviour (e.g. binges of drinking, compulsive gambling)
  •  A feeling of listlessness and loss of energy
  •  Problems concentrating on anything or making important decisions
  •  Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  •  Unexplained headaches

If you have several of these symptoms, or even only one or two but to an extreme, it is very likely you have some form of clinical depression.  Remember that list of famous people who have similarly suffered with depression.  Recognize you are not alone.  Accept the fact that you need some help to deal with this just as so many of them did too and visit your doctor for advice before it is too late.  At the same time, with the knowledge of your doctor, try some of the techniques below.

The Five Point Plan

Whether you had a good reason to be sad but now that time has passed or you are sad but do not know the reason why, you should have a good armoury of techniques to counter this sadness.  This applies equally to people with depression and to those who are not clinically depressed but still sad.  The five point plan I am going to suggest as your armoury was originally proposed by the 13th century Italian monk, St Thomas Aquinas.  Although Aquinas was a Catholic priest these are not religious practices, so they are equally appropriate whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist ... or of no religion at all.

Thomas Aquinas suggests five simple practices to shake off your sadness:

  1. Treat yourself.  This is a practice I also recommend to anyone trying to improve themselves - reward yourself properly for each step forward you take.  I find, for example, it is a good way for students to study properly, rewarding themselves after, say, an hour of solid study.  But now I am not talking about a reward.  I am talking about giving yourself something you like for no other reason than that you like it.  This may be a few glasses of wine, a bar of chocolate, a visit to a concert ... the list goes on, and your choices from that list will be very personal to you.  Surprisingly, too many people find this exercise very difficult.  They feel guilty.  If there is a cost involved they feel it is a waste of money that should be used for something "more sensible".  Even if there is not a cost involved, they feel for some other reason that it is wrong to enjoy pleasure for pleasure's sake.  Rid yourself of that guilt feeling.  There is no need to feel guilty, as what you are doing is not frivolous.  You are treating your sadness in a way that may avoid the need for medication.  In fact, do not simply use this to treat sadness when it arrives, but use it as a way of avoiding the sadness in the first place.  Make it a habit to treat yourself in this way regularly.  Do it for no other reason than the fact that it is something you enjoy.  Just as you give gifts to the most important people in your life (at least, I hope you do!), give gifts to yourself.  Actually, if you get into the habit of doing this you will also find it will become more natural for you to give gifts to others.  As has often been said, in order to love others, first learn to love yourself.  And if you love yourself, why not treat yourself to lovely gifts?
  2. Cry.  Too many of us feel it is wrong to cry - especially men.  It is not wrong to cry.  Rather, it is wrong not to cry if you really are sad.  Crying allows you to release sorrow that will otherwise be bottled up inside you and will continue to hurt you until eventually you find a way to release it.  Why not release it right away by crying?  Cry even if whatever is causing you sadness is not really anything too bad.  By crying you can wipe that sadness away almost in an instant.
  3. Share your sadness with a friend.  Again, this is something it is often a lot easier for women to do than men.  But whether you are a man or a woman, sharing your sorrow will help relieve it.  If you have a life partner it is almost certainly best to share your sorrows with him or her.  Typically you will find a woman is better at reacting in the right way than a man.  Men tend to believe that if someone brings them a problem they are expected to find an answer to that problem.  Women, on the other hand, often want nothing more than someone sympathetic to share the problem.  Sometimes a husband trying to give an answer to the problem his wife has brought to him will be dismayed to find she seems to be ungrateful.  The problem here is that she wanted someone to understand, and by giving her what he believes is the answer the husband has made her feel he does not understand, and does not sympathise with her.  If you are a man and your wife is trying to share her sadness with you, do not initially try to give her an answer.  Instead, listen and hug her.  Let her share that sadness and show her you care.  Later, if there IS an answer (and often there is not!) you can suggest that answer to her.  But only after you have allowed you to share properly with you first.  Likewise, if you are a man you should realize that the purpose of sharing your sadness with your partner is not to try to get an answer.  Don't expect an answer, just a lightening of your burden as you share it.  And if you are a woman trying to share your sadness with a man, recognize he may not understand what reaction you need.  Perhaps you should preface it by telling him you have this sadness and that you need to share it with him, but you are not looking for an answer.  That way he will be better prepared to handle this in the right way.  If you do not have a life partner you should try to find some very good friends you trust enough to share your sadness.  Don't wait until you need to share - go out now and start looking for those real friends.
  4. Think about and immerse yourself in what I think of as Eternal Truths.  This will mean different things to different people, but it can include great music, literature, and art, as well as meditation and / or prayer if you find these practices helpful.  It can include walking in the countryside enjoying the great views and the reminder of how wonderful the world around us is, or viewing the night sky through a telescope and marvelling at the beauty and immensity of it all.  When you immerse yourself in these eternal truths you will find your sadness is rightly put in its place, as sadness is not an eternal truth.
  5. Enjoy a nice, long and luxurious bath and a good long sleep.  This really needs little more explanation.  A good bath and a proper sleep can work wonders!

The next time you feel sad for any reason, try this five step plan which was given to us eight centuries ago.  I think you will be amazed at just how effective it can be!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

How to make a difference in the world

In my last blog I talked about how nobody can be too small or too insignificant to make a difference.  You make a difference all the time just by being who you are.  One person can make a real difference in the world, and if you have been reading my blog for a while you will have read stories of individuals who have done exactly that, sometimes in quite dramatic ways.

Some readers have asked me to be more specific.  "How can I make a difference?" seems to be a commonly shared question.

The first thing you must recognize is the importance of the little things.  These are the things that often truly make a difference in life.  If you run a business you will probably realize this.  Many of us who run businesses will have tried to find the really big change we can make and got frustrated we could not find it.  Those of us who remained successful probably did so by recognizing there is not one big thing we need to change but rather lots of little changes.  Each change of itself seems almost insignificant, but when you make a number of changes they multiply the effect rather than simply add to it.  It is the same with making things better in the world.  Do not expect there to be one big thing that jumps out and that you have to work on to effect change.  Almost certainly that will not happen.  You just have to do little things that improve the lives of those around you.

One of the first that comes to mind is expressing gratitude.  Too few people do this, so those who do make a significant change in the lives of people they meet - a good change.  Gratitude is really important.  Spend time thinking about all the things for which you should be grateful.  In many cases there will not be anybody specific you need to thank, but make sure you cultivate the habit of being grateful even when there is nobody to thank.  But there will also be lots of cases where there IS someone you can thank.  Make sure you do it, even if some time has passed.  There is a double benefit here.  You will almost certainly be making someone else feel really good, which can then multiply the benefit like ripples spreading out in a pond, but you will also be setting yourself up for receiving more of whatever it is you are grateful for.  Recognizing what you should be grateful for and then expressing that gratitude should become a habit.  Eventually you will do it without having to think about it, just like any other habit.  People will notice your gratitude and it will make you rather special in their minds.  It will encourage them to do even more things for you.  As I said, a double benefit.

Another important way of making a difference is to follow the Golden Rule.  In other words, always try to do to and for others what you would wish them to do to and for you.  Well, to be honest I would modify that rule slightly.  Empathize with those around you.  They may not actually want the things you want.  Try to feel what it is they would appreciate and do that for them.  The Golden Rule is a very good rule to use when you don't know people very well, so continue using it, but do everything you can to get to know people with whom you have any contact so you can treat them the way they would like to be treated.

As Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.  If, like so many Miss Worlds, you want there to be world peace, you have to start that within yourself.  Do everything you can to be a peaceable, non-violent person.  Whenever you are tempted to react in anger, pause.  Think about the situation from the perspective of the other person and modify your response.  Recognize that violence between countries and between people usually arises because of misunderstandings and the lack of ability to see things from a different perspective.  This attitude will then spread and "infect" those around you.  Unless you are the president or prime minister of a powerful country this is the only way you can create world peace, but believe me when I say it is very powerful indeed.

Think about what it is you do in life.  Your job for example.  If you really want to make a difference think about whether the work you do can make that difference.  If you are in a caring profession, for example nursing, teaching, social work etc, then it most certainly can.  These are jobs that make a difference.  But making a difference is certainly not restricted to these professions.  It may be that you will decide as a result to change career.  If not, then think about how you might change the way you work so that you make a difference to the lives of your work colleagues.

Be there for your friends.  This has so many meanings, and they are all important.  Yes, if a friend needs to know you are there to listen and sympathize then do that very simple but important thing for them.  Really listen to them and respond appropriately.  Do not be like the cartoon husband who just keeps saying "Yes, dear!" to his wife but isn't listening to a word she is saying.  When you are physically present, be mentally and emotionally present for them too.  Don't be like those you see who spend so much time texting friends who are not physically present that they pay no attention to those who are!  Be mindful, be aware, recognize the wonder that is around you - be fully focussed on what you are doing with your friends rather than thinking about, for example, what you are going to do next.

One practical tip which I mentioned in the previous blog, but which is so important I will say it again, is to smile.  Smiling is a universal sign of friendliness.  When you smile at someone it is much easier for them to smile back than to frown.  Believe it or not there was a study on this very subject in Sweden in 2002, where people were told to smile or frown when looking at photos of people smiling or frowning.  Sometimes they were told to smile in response to a frown or frown in response to a smile, and sometimes they were told to smile in response to a smile and frown in response to a frown.  The study proved beyond any doubt that if someone smiles at you it is easier to smile back than to frown.  Just think about this for a moment.  You smile at someone and this causes them to smile.  They may still be smiling several seconds later when they meet some other people.  Each of those people they meet then smile, and that too is reflected in the people they meet.  Just one smile from you can make an enormous difference.  Remember, when you smile you will be happier than when you frown.  Just as your inner emotions reflect physically in smiles or frowns, so those smiles or frowns reflect emotively in the way you feel. And yes, there have been scientific studies that prove this too!  So to create happiness in both yourself and those around you, simply smile!

There will certainly be plenty of things you can do to make a difference in the world that I have not listed here.  Each of us has very different circumstances and can effect change in so many different ways.  But if you try all of the above, and keep doing those things, I can promise you that the world will be a very much better place both for you and for those around you - and probably even for people the other side of the world through chance happenings of which you may never be aware!