Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Putting Down Your Burden

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

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

So why am I saying it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Moods and State Changes

Physical State Changes

I want you to try a little experiment for me.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Greylag Geese and Why You are Not Successful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Time Travel IS Possible

If you could travel back in time and change anything, anything at all, what would you change?

OK, I know we cannot travel back in time - at least, not yet.  But humour me please.  Imagine that you could.  For Doctor Who fans, imagine you are Doctor who and you have your own Tardis.  Close your eyes, think about how things are now, then think about what you could do to change them if you could go back in time.

Pick something that really means a lot to you.  Something that can get you emotional.  Something you can invest with your emotions.  Something that would make a real, important difference.  A difference in your life or a difference in the lives of those around you, or both.

Now let me add two rules:
1  You cannot go back to before you were born.
2  The only magical power you have is the power to go back in time.

As a result of those rules, You can only change things by behaving differently.  Not by playing superman.  Not by going back to pre-war Germany and assassinating Hitler - unless you are at least 90!

Perhaps those rules mean you need a different objective.  If so, change your objective.

Visualize that objective.  Now visualize what you are going to do in order to change what happened.  Remember, this has to be a realistic action, not something that is virtually impossible.  See yourself making that change, and then visualize how things are now as a result of that change.  How does that make you feel?  Hold on to that good feeling.  Bask in it.

Now choose something else.  Again, something that would make a real difference.  Something it would be possible for you to change if only you could go back in time.  Visualize the things you did to change it, and the difference that made.  Feel that difference strongly.  Let the positive vibes from it change your state.

Do this a third time with yet something else.  Maybe something completely different.  Perhaps if the first two were mainly changes to your present lifestyle, then make this one something that will make things better for those around you - your family and friends, or even strangers if you wish.  And vice versa.

How do you feel, now you have imagined those changes?  Happy and fulfilled, I hope.  Don't feel frustrated, thinking that there is nothing you can do now to change what has already happened.  Just feel good about the changes you wanted to make.

This exercise alone will change things for you if you let it.  You have sent a message to the Universe, and the Universe has heard and will respond.

But that is not the only reason I asked you to do it.  Nor is it even the main reason.

Think for a moment about what you did.  You knew that by doing things differently you could make a change for the better in the future.  As I said, at the moment we do not have the ability to go back in time and change things, but we do have the ability to change things now, to make things better in the future by changing what we do now.

Time travel IS possible right now, just not in the way you may have thought.  Not only is it possible, but it is happening.  The future is not here yet, but it is coming.  And changes in what you do now will change that future.  What kind of future do you want?  For yourself and for those around you?  Think about that carefully, then start doing now the things that will change your future for the better!  You are in your own private time machine and can change everything.  You are Doctor Who and have your own Tardis.  Choose wisely how you change it all!