Wednesday, 27 July 2016


What is "Manifesting" all about?

I am sure, as you are interested in becoming successful, you have come across the term "manifesting", or "manifestation".  But what exactly does it mean?

The Oxford Dictionary principal definition of "Manifestation" is "an event that embodies something abstract".  In other words, you take something that is not concrete, not "real" in the way most people understand this term, and transform it into reality.

The way it is meant in the "personal development and success" world is very similar to this.  You have a desire (which is not concrete, but abstract) and turn it into reality.

In the medical world, "manifestation" means the way in which an ailment expresses itself through detectable symptoms.  In other words, there is something there which is not visible in itself, but you then become aware of it because it creates something which shows it is there.

Again, this is close to what I believe about "manifestation" when considering success strategies.  My wish or desire for something is not visible in itself, but it then creates a result which is very clearly visible.

Notice that in both definitions there must first really be something there, something undetectable but still very definitely there, before the results can manifest.  This is certainly the case when considering "manifesting" or "manifestation" as part of a strategy to achieve a certain goal.  You cannot simply think it would be nice for something to happen and then assume you have done all that is necessary to manifest it!  The seed must be there in the first place if you want the plant to grow.

Actually, it is a jolly good thing this isn't the way "manifesting" works.  Imagine the chaos!  You have a brief thought that "it would be nice if ..." .  Fill in the gap with anything you like.  Whatever it is, it may be something you really want, something that is right for you, or it may not.

With most things in life we begin by deciding what we might like to happen.  We then think about it and decide whether this really is what we want.  If so, we start to make plans to make it happen.  And then we start taking actions by following that plan so it DOES happen.  At every stage of the way we have the option to change our mind.  Even once we have started taking actions we can usually reverse and start again in a different direction if we begin to feel this is not right for us after all.  Included in all this is our moral and ethical analysis.  Perhaps when we first think of something we would like to happen we don't consider the effect it might have on those around us.  I would like to think that I DO consider this first, or at least very early on in the process, but many people only consider this later on - perhaps when they start taking actions and realize that there are negative implications they had not considered earlier.  Some people may decide to proceed regardless.  Hopefully you are not one of those people!  When you recognize that, for example, the goal you wanted to achieve means people around you will suffer I hope you will reflect carefully and either find a different way which will not cause this suffering, or will change your goal entirely.

So it is important that there is time for a "reality" check, time for proper reflection on all the implications, before whatever it is we want materializes.  And this is exactly the way manifesting works.

First you have to examine your dream carefully.  You must make sure it properly reflects your inner values and that it is something you really want.  During this process you will consider not only what it will mean for you but also what it will mean for others.  You must spend as much time as necessary embedding your desire for this dream properly.  If you have done this properly you will feel an intense emotion when you focus on the dream.  That powerful emotion is the "something abstract" that manifestation is going to turn into a real event or series of events.

Having taken the trouble to ensure you are going after the right dream, you must begin to take the actions that will turn that dream into reality.  These actions will begin with preparing something physical that will constantly remind you of the dream and why it is so important to you.  You will begin turning the "something abstract" into something more physical by giving it a name and writing that down.  A name that truly encapsulates whatever it is you want.  You will write it down in a way that shows it already has moved from the abstract to a real event.  Express it positively in the present moment.  State your dream as a goal already achieved.  This process is what is often called creating a "vision board"  Now all that has to happen is for what you and everyone around you see as "reality" to catch up with true reality.

Do not, though, think that because you have done all this you no longer have to take any other actions.  It is most certainly true, as Sophocles said (in 409 BCE) that "heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act", or in the words of Euripedes (428 BCE) "for to the worker God himself lends aid".  Do not just sit back and wait for it to happen, but take whatever actions you would take to move towards your dream even if you did not believe in "manifestation".  Often, the way manifestation will work is by presenting you with great opportunities.  But if you are not doing anything to move towards you dream you will not notice those opportunities and will not take the actions nedded in order to benefit from them.

In this short article I have only touched on the surface of "manifesting", but you should find there is enough here for you to start building on this foundation.  Don't stop there though - study all you can on this very important subject and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way to improve your manifesting techniques.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

What are Your Limiting Beliefs?

Notice I didn't ask whether or not you have any limiting beliefs, just what they are.  If you believe you do not have any, you are deceiving yourself.  We all have limiting beliefs.  Every one of us.

Limiting beliefs are not "limited" to the poor and those of us who are not well known.  The French King Charles VI, for example, had a belief that limited him from being touched by others - his belief was that he was made of glass and that if anyone touched him, he would shatter!  Most of us will not have limiting beliefs quite that strange, and most of us will not act quite as erratically as King Charles - who even gave his country away to the King of England!  But we do all have limiting beliefs, and some of those beliefs will be highly debilitating.

A limiting belief is any belief which stops you achieving something you would like to achieve.  This is often, but not always, because you do not believe it is possible for you to achieve it right now.  Sometimes it is a belief that what you want is in some way sinful.  It may be a belief that even though you really want to achieve it, you will be unhappy if you do.  Perhaps because deep inside you are not sure it is right for you.

As you will see, there can be many different kinds of limiting belief.  The best way to deal with some of those beliefs is to take some time to review very carefully what you really do want to achieve.  As I have said many times before, look deep inside and make sure your desire is fully aligned with your inner values.  If it is not, then you will always be struggling against yourself when you try to reach that goal.  Something has to change before you can move forward.  Either your inner values must change or your goal must change.  For more help on aligning your goals with your inner values read my article on Alignment here.

Probably one of the most common limiting beliefs is that your goal is impossible to achieve.  Impossible for you.  Impossible at this time.  Perhaps even impossible for anyone, ever.

Nothing is impossible.  What seems to make it impossible is your limiting belief, or even a whole series of limiting beliefs which are all conspiring against you.  Absolutely anything is possible if you truly believe you can achieve it.  In fact, I would go even further.  My belief is that as long as you are determined to deal with your limiting beliefs you have ALREADY achieved your goal.  Read that again!  You have ALREADY achieved it.  That achievement is in the future, but the future is real, so you have really achieved your goal.  All you have to do now is to allow that future achievement to unfold in the present.

One way to unearth your limiting beliefs is to look out for a person inside you called Mr, Miss, or Mrs Yabut.  Yes, you have multiple personalities, and one of those personalities has the name "Yabut".  This is the person who, when you think about one of your goals, says "yah, but ..."!  What comes after "yah, but ..." is the key.  It is the objection you need to answer.

If you have ever had any sales training you have probably been taught to unearth and then answer objections.  If you don't have this skill it is very difficult to sell anything.  In fact many sales trainers will tell you that an objection is a buying signal.  Your prospective buyer is telling you that he or she wants to buy from you but first you need to help them remove this obstacle.  Give them the help they need to remove that obstacle and you have the sale.  In other words, find the "Yabut", answer it, and then you can assume the sale is made.

It is exactly the same when you are "selling" to yourself.  Find the "Yabut", answer it, and then move on with the certainty that you will now achieve your goal.

Just to give you some encouragement, here are some "Yabuts" that others have answered and moved on to achieve their goals.

Shania Twain was born into poverty.  In her childhood, she and her brother and sisters often went hungry.  From the age of 8 she had to work to help earn enough money for her family to survive.  Shania is now one of the most successful country singers of all time, with a net worth estimated at the time of writing as around $350 million.

Howard Schultz was also born into poverty, and nobody in his family had ever been to college.  Perhaps you have never heard of Howard Schultz.  But I am sure you have heard of Starbucks.  It was Howard Schultz who catapulted Starbucks from a single coffee shop into a worldwide chain that, when I last checked, had nearly 24,000 branches.

Another great man born into poverty was Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate and philanthropist who gave away around $350 Million to charity in the last 18 years of his life.  In today's terms that is over $78 Billion.

Have you heard of Steve Jobs?  I am sure you have - the co-founder of Apple Computers.  Steve had a lot of problems at school.  His parents were not well-off, and when he realized how much college was costing them and how little they could afford it, he dropped out of college to save them the money.  So here you have it - a family background of financial difficulty, and an educational dropout.  Despite this background, and despite many other challenges after he co-founded Apple Computers, Steve Jobs realized his dream and completely revolutionised the computer industry.  In 2010 he was worth over $8 Billion!

J K Rowling struggled as a single mother after a failed marriage, living on state benefits. Her first draft of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was rejected by publishers 12 times, before the 8 year old daughter of the chairman of the Bloomsbury publishing house read the first chapter and demanded to see the next chapter!  Bloomsbury took her on, but also told her she should get a "proper" job, as she had little chance of making any money as an author of children's books.  As I am sure you know, J K Rowling has made a fortune from the Harry Potter series and is now a billionaire.  She has also set up a charitable trust with an annual budget of over £5 Million to combat poverty and social inequality, which are two of her major passions.

There are plenty of other examples of individuals who are now very famous for what they have achieved but who overcame enormous obstacles to get there.  How about Michael Jordan, the basketball star?  He didn't even manage to get into his high school basketball team, and today he reminds us that the only reason he is successful is because he has failed so many times, having lost over 300 games!

Or how about overcoming obstacles that occur while you are already living your dream and that threaten to take that dream away from you.  Perhaps one of the best examples of someone who overcame in those circumstances is Ludwig Van Beethoven.  In his late 20's he started to develop hearing problems, compounded by severe tinnitus (a condition in which you continuously hear sounds that are not actually there).  This is a difficulty in many careers, but would seem an insurmountable problem for a professional musician!  Imagine having your concentration on creating a symphony interrupted by continuous noise!  And then being unable to play and hear the passages you want to include in your masterpiece!  These are the obstacles Beethoven faced.  They were pretty solid and apparently insurmountable obstacles, but they did not create for Beethoven the limiting beliefs they would have created in almost any other musician.  He was very frustrated by them, but that did not stop him - he simply carried on regardless!  When he wrote his magnificent 9th Symphony, which contains the "Ode to Joy" that is now the official anthem of the European Union, Beethoven was completely deaf.

Find your limiting beliefs.  Recognize that nothing can limit you unless you allow it to do so.  Then go on to achieve your goals, whatever they may be!  But don't stop there - also recognize that no matter how many limiting beliefs you have unearthed and destroyed, there will always be more under the surface.  Keep on rooting them out and keep on achieving goal after goal!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

What stories do you tell yourself?

How suggestible are you?

Many people believe they are not at all suggestible.  They laugh at the idea that the TV ads can influence them and get them to buy something they hadn't already planned to buy.  They watch Derren Brown or Wayne Hoffman and laugh at the way people are influenced by these mentalists, knowing there is no way they would be caught out like that.

The reality, though, is that we are all suggestible.  We are VERY suggestible.  All of us.  This is not actually a weakness but rather a strength.  An essential element of our personality.

Why do I claim this?  Life presents us all the time with so many stimuli that it is impossible for us to take them all in before making a decision on the "right" way forward.  Nature has taught us to be reactive.  If we were not, we would mentally explode.  So we often have to make our decisions with very little background information.  Not because the information is unavailable but because there is too much there to analyse.  We have to act fast in so many situations, too fast to take much notice of the facts that perhaps should be influencing our decision.  Life is too complex for us to keep analysing all the alternatives before deciding on what actions to take.  So we go by our "gut reaction", our basic intuition.  Having made our decision we then convince ourselves that we DID analyse the alternatives and made a logical choice.  The decision was not really made logically, but it is important for our self-image to believe it was.  

One very well-known pyschological experiment consists of showing someone a series of photos of a member of the opposite sex and asking them to choose the one they found the most attractive.  The experimenter then uses some sleight of hand, swapping the photo the person chose for a completely different photo.  The person is then asked to talk about which features in this person they particularly found attractive.  You would expect that, having chosen someone completely different, they would look down at the photo and say something like "Hey!  This is a different photo!  I can't tell you what I found attractive in this person, as this is not the person I chose!"  Some do, but very few.  Most actually select features in this new person which they say made them choose him or her in preference to all the others.  Maybe, for example, a man chose a blonde lady but now has in front of him a photo of a brunette.  He now says that one of the reasons he chose her is because he likes brunettes.  There has been no Derren Brown or Wayne Hoffman trick here, using different verbal triggers to make someone who likes blondes change and like brunettes.  All that has happened is that the photo has been swapped, and the man thinks he chose the brunette, so he now tells the experimenter he prefers brunettes.

What is happening here?  What is happening is that, having made a particular decision (or thinking he has made that decision) the man in this experiment is now justifying it to himself by telling himself a "story".  In that story, he prefers brunettes to blondes, even though if you had asked him before the experiment he would have told himself that he preferred blondes to brunettes.

An even more powerful example of this is an experiment conducted in a Scandinavian country at the time of an important election.  The two main parties had quite different sets of beliefs.  Rather like Democrats and Repbulicans in the US, or Conservative and Labour in my own country (the UK).  The experimenter gave the volunteer subjects two sheets of paper listing a number of different ideals.  Each set of ideals related to one or other of the two parties.  The volunteer was asked to pick which set of ideals he or she most identified with.  As would be expected, typically the subject picked the set of ideals that related to the party he or she had previously supported.  Again there was some sleight of hand, and the sheets were swapped.  The subject was now asked to justify why he or she believed in those particular ideals.  Again, you would expect that most would look at the listed ideals and think "this is not me!  I don't believe that!", but that is not what happened.  Most of the subjects proceeded to justify why they had picked these ideals (even though they hadn't done so!).  Effectively, the experimenter had changed the political beliefs of the subjects simply by making them believe that they had picked a different set of ideals.  The subjects then had to tell themselves a story that they believed things which before the experiment they had simply not believed.

Once you start telling yourself a story like that it becomes more and more powerful.  The effect it has on you can be negative, neutral or positive.

Your "story" may be that you are a smoker.  You just keep telling yourself that, and that you enjoy smoking, and this then justifies the actions you now take (buying and smoking cigarettes).  You tell yourself that this is you, the real you.  That you don't want to stop smoking because smoking is part of who you are.  You can choose to tell yourself this story, and if you do it will then define the real you.

But someone else may now change their story.  They tell themselves that they don't enjoy smoking, that it is a filthy habit, and that they don't want to keep doing it.  That the real "me" is a person who doesn't smoke.  Just by keeping telling themselves this new story they are no longer a smoker and they find it comparatively easy to stop smoking.

Your "story" may be that you are no good at making money.  That you have tried lots of different ways in the past and that they have always failed.  That it is impossible for you to make money.  That nothing you try will ever work for you.  If you keep telling yourself this story it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, you need to tell yourself the story that you can now make money.  That all you have to do is start taking action and you WILL make money.  That the real "you" is a person who knows how to make money and does make money.

Tell this story properly and it will happen, whether it is about stopping smoking, making money, having a wonderful relationship, getting your "dream" job, or whatever else it is you want.  Why?  Because that is the way nature wired us all.  We are all suggestible.  We all change to fit whatever story it is we are telling ourselves.

Learning how to tell the story properly, how to avoid telling it so badly that your subconscious does not believe it - well that is another matter.  The good news is there is plenty of material out there and plenty of good coaches who can help you do it properly.  The key step is first to decide you want to change the stories you are telling yourself.  Take that step, start telling yourself the right stories, and your life can change in previously unimaginable ways!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Setting Goals

Before you read any further, just humour me.  In the next 10 seconds, please write down the number one goal you are working towards.  Not a goal set by someone else, but a goal you personally subscribe to and are trying to achieve.


I can already hear the complaining voices.

"10 seconds is not long enough.  I need more time."  Is your goal that complicated?  I didn't say give me chapter and verse of the goal.  Just write down what it is.

"It's not fair!  I need longer to work out which of all my various goals is number one!"

Did either of those thoughts occur to you?  If not, congratulations!  You are already very much closer to achieving your number one goal than almost everyone else who is reading this article.

But if you didn't manage to do it, don't despair.  You are not alone.  The reality is that very few people truly set themselves goals and persevere in trying to achieve them.

The reason I gave you such a tight time limit is to stop your subconscious mind from cheating, thinking up a goal and then convincing you that this is a goal you set yourself some time ago.  No, I am not joking.  This IS the way all our minds work.  There are many psychological experiments that have been conducted which prove our minds manufacture memories that support and justify views we now have.  So if your subconscious mind thinks that it is important to you to know that you have been working towards a goal it will happily create that goal and then give you a false memory of having set yourself that goal and even of having started working towards it.

I have read somewhere that only 3% of the population set goals, and only 1% write them down.  If you couldn't complete the exercise it doesn't mean you are a failure, just that you are very similar to virtually the whole population.

Let me ask you a question.  Imagine your favourite team is trying to score a goal.  The trouble is, for some reason every member of the team has a mental block and cannot see where the goal is or remember where it was before they lost sight of it.  They don't even know where it should be, as the shape of the field has changed, so there is no longer a logical place it could be hiding.  How likely do you think it is that they will score the goal?  If you have said anything much above 0%, please go to the back of the class!  Ok, you are not in school, this is not a class, and I am not a teacher, so you don't go to the back of the class - just try again!  If you want to score a goal you really do have to know where that goal is!  Otherwise you will never score.  That is not rocket science, just good old common sense!

It is the same with personal goals.  If you don't know what your goal is, why be surprised that you never achieve it?  If you really have a clear personal goal and really are trying to achieve it, you will know what that goal is and writing it down in 10 seconds is no problem at all.

So the first step in achieving your goals is to set them in the first place.  Set REAL goals.  Ones to which you can really commit.  And the first step in setting them is to write them down and study them carefully.  Look at each goal in turn.  How do you feel when you read it?  Does it excite you?  Energize you?  Make you feel really happy?  Enthusiastic?  If it does, put a tick by it; that is a real goal.  If it doesn't, cross it out; it isn't a true personal goal for you.

Even if you completed the first exercise and are congratulating yourself for being in the top 3%, still do the second exercise.  If the goal you wrote down doesn't come up to scratch, then put it aside and find out what your real goals should be.

For some people this little exercise works first time.  If it does for you, great!  You have found your goals.  Now you just need to go through them prioritizing them.  Once you have done that, focus on your number one goal.  Write it out really clearly and neatly.  Ideally, do that on a piece of A4 paper in landscape view, with nice big writing.  And draw a neat border around it.  Focus on it every day, making sure it is in your mind so that you can begin to make progress towards it.

Now you are not just in the top 3%, but in the top 1%.  The 1% who not only know what their number 1 goal is, but have also written it down.

I am not going to tell you the story of the 3% of Harvard or Yale MBA graduates who made ten times as much as the other 97% combined, simply because they wrote down their goals.  Sometimes it has been reported as Harvard and sometimes as Yale.  It doesn't really matter which one you say, as the story simply isn't true even though you will find it all over the internet.  But it also doesn't matter that it is not true, as it IS a parable, and it is a very good one.  Myths and parables are very powerful, and you should learn to utilize that power.  Write down your number one goal and you WILL have a much greater chance of achieving it.

Communicate your goal to someone, along with the steps you are going to take to achieve it.  That is really important.  If you communicate your goal and the actions you have committed to taking you will have an even greater chance of achieving it.  Don't do this with someone who is likely to be dismissive and tell you that you are silly to have such a goal.  Ideally you should find an accountability partner, and you should then share your goals and action steps with each other.  If you are unable to do this, then share your goal and actions in the comments section of this blog, and simply imagine all the readers of my blog holding you accountable.  When you have completed the steps, communicate that you have done so.  When you have achieved your goal, communicate this too.

Unlike on the football field (or ice hockey rink, or whatever image sprang to your mind when I asked about your favourite team), life goals don't stay in the same place forever.  They change position.  So you need to keep on top of your goals.  A goal that used to be your number one goal may no longer be right at the top, or may even have been replaced altogether.  Perhaps it is no longer relevant.  Or perhaps you have now achieved it, or as much of it as you need to achieve.  We are a very adaptable species, so adapt!  Find out what your new number one goal is.

There is a lot more I could write about setting goals, but I think this is enough for now.  Explore your inner self to find the right goals, identify the number one goal, write it down, communicate it, and keep focused on it as you go through life.  Believe me when I say this one exercise will make an enormous difference to your life!