I am 1,000 % absofuckinglutely certain that I should be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest idiot on the planet for repeating the same damn mistakes over and over again for most of my adult life. Life on repeat can be brutal.
Why am I so susceptible to making the same mistakes over and over again? Whether it’s ruining a diet with three glasses of wine, running credit card debt on a bunch of useless stuff I never needed in the first place, trusting a friend who was way less than honest or sacking up with an ex. What possesses me/us to continue to do things that get in the way of what we truly want? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of what life would be if we didn’t do the things we did on repeat? Maybe. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the holes. The holes we keep falling into. The mind-numbing, soothing and relaxing way our brain feels after a glass or two or three of wine. Or the familiar, comfortable and easy way it feels to slip right back into the arms of the one you once loved. I need to look at the benefits of my biggest mistakes.
Read: How to be honest with yourself and get more done, for some decent advice on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Harmful Habits & Slipping into Default Mode
When we do something right, a pathway is created in our brain. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.
Achieving Ego Free States
Sometimes I feel like I need a complete rewiring of the brain.
Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.
It seems that individuals under “treatment” transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance. Read more in The New Yorker: The Trip Treatment
If you have ever been accused of “overreacting” and you think something is wrong with you because someone told you so, then this 10-minute watch is critical for your growth. Bottom line: Reactions are NATURAL. Overreacting is a warning sign that you have been hurt badly. You have to HEAL that, not shame it away.
When Our Minds Run in Circles
Reading, learning and practicing how to meditate to calm my mind, I am focusing on what Buddhists call “maitri”
Maitri – practicing loving kindness and awareness to all your thoughts. Read: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The purpose of meditation is not to find your bliss, but to befriend and let go of all thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. To accept them all with loving-kindness, with maitri.
The Benefits of Being Socially Selective
I just don’t have the bandwidth, headspace or patience for anyone right now. That is quite alright in my book. Sometimes we need a little solitude to sort things out. I just wish more people were fluid in silence.
Comment below if you agree and have a great Monday.
Distraction is the main problem for us all – what the Buddha called the monkey mind. We need to tame this little monkey mind. Tenzin Palmo
As entertaining as it can be, please don’t feed the monkey mind.
Shedding Some Light on Just How Damn Annoying Life Can Be
Working with The Monsters in Our Mind & NOT Becoming a Fugitive To Our Fears
On a more pleasant note. . .
When we Don’t Grow Emotionally
For Example . . .
Leaping Before You Look
Becoming More Discerning
What’s this About The Importance of Self-Value?
And More about Self-Love
Decreasing the Pain in the World
Don’t deny your world. Your world does not need saving, it needs more of your loving care. It’s begging you to pay more attention to the details.
Accept this moment for what it is.
Suffering is just the refusal to accept what is.
Healing is really just letting yourself feel your most suppressed feelings and recognizing that these feelings are fleeting.
Each day we must go to war and fight the good fight. Vivere est Militare. To live is to fight. Fighting for our dreams with fortitude. Fighting against impulses with discipline. Fighting to be the person I want to be with courage.
Life is a battlefield.
They’re not dead yet, but they aren’t living either, although they were once a fantastic dynamic duo, living quite a wonderful life, they are now in a highly emotional state trying to navigate a fiercely complex and shifting terrain that is filled with unknowns.
Now at 76 my mom has stage four lung cancer and even though she will start a new FDA-approved targeted therapy in less than a week, she is very scared, angry and confused. It is a part of the acceptance process, I guess and I hope it will pass.
Dad claims he can take care of her and will not accept any help in their home. It’s causing everyone in the family senseless, needless pain and worry, but it’s even more difficult not to help them. It is a twisted form of enabling and the situation changes daily. How do you know when you’re enabling an elderly loved one as opposed to actually helping them out with something they need?
Life Lessons Learned from The Dying Thus Far
Be Open & Responsive to Change
Both of my parents are stubbornly holding on to old ways and traditions that no longer serve them and probably never served anyone well. They are trying so hard to hold on to their independence as they shut out the world around them. They refuse any help at all while making life harder for everyone, including themselves. Their behavior has affected not only their lives but all of us who care for them as they insist on struggling terribly through their days. Their lack of flexibility and adaptability is actually driving their decline even faster than if they chose to open their minds to new ways of staying as safe, secure and healthy as possible.
2. The Trouble is, You Think You have Time
Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. ~Art Buchwald
What you do with the time you have now, while you are actually able to live is most important. More important than savings, work or taking care of daily activities of living. Do not hesitate for one instance to do, try and execute everything you have ever dreamed of – for you have no time. Forgive and let go of the past, tell someone what they mean to you and celebrate each and every miracle of breath that you take. Gratitude for what you have right here and right now is everything. Do more with your life while you have it to live. Do not take this lightly. This is the most crucial lesson.
3. Know Your Limitations, So You Can Move Forward
My parents won’t accept their current weaknesses – fading health and loss of memory, which is causing them even more harm and possibly big trouble for others. How many times does it take getting lost while driving, or losing your cell phone, checkbook, wallet and keys before you realize that your memory isn’t what it was? Only when we honestly examine ourselves and accept our current limitations can we improve or find the tools, people or plan to help us work around the obstacles we face. If we don’t accept that we have a problem, than how can we fix it?
4. It Takes a Measured Amount of Expectation & Acceptance to Survive
Yes I see how refusing to accept the aging process can be helpful- expecting more from yourself and those around you can actually keep you going, but your approach is what matters most. Feeling overwhelmed and then reacting never produces a good outcome.
Life is always walking up to us and saying, “Come on in, the living’s fine,” and what do we do? Back off and take its picture. ~Russell Baker
My mother really surprised me when she said that she didn’t think the oncologist or the cancer center was really doing anything for her condition. In her mind, they are epically failing. How about 18 extended months of living? Mom is actually expecting a cure from the second deadliest disease in the world. It’s phenomenal. There is a measured amount of acceptance that is necessary in order to strike a deal with reality.
5. Plan Your Aging & Dying Process Before it Happens
It is our duty to plan our death. I am not taking about a living will, health care proxy or deciding on cremation versus a below the ground burial. I am talking about how you plan to age. How open you will be to the natural process of slowing down? Reverse engineering your life so that when you get to the point that you need help from others, you will accept it. Knowing when it’s time to let go of past behavior and activities, giving up your favorite things like driving. It is critical to understand the type of attitude you will have as you enter a new season of your life.
Just as we plan our career, marriage, children and even vacations, we need to be more thoughtful of how we leave this earth.
6. The Reality of Dying is Largely Negotiable
Just like anything else, we can rethink how we plan to age and die.
If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” of dying, you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially-reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.
Social rule systems are used to examine all levels of human interaction. They provide more than potential constraints on action possibilities. Read more about social rules and the patterning of action here.
Who made these social rules about aging and dying and why do we think we need to obey them?
Increased longevity paired with aging baby boomers means that our older population is growing at record speed – a phenomenon in developed countries from the UK to Japan. According to Professor David Clark, a researcher in end-of-life care at the University of Glasgow: “We’re seeing what we regard as a massive global issue. There’s a huge wave of dying, death and bereavement.” At the moment about one million people die each week around the world; within 40 years, that number is expected to double.
I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, Ah! I didn’t know, I held opportunity. ~Hazel Lee
People redesigning the experience of death
Making decisions about serious illness is not an easy task and they are not made alone. Watch Nick Jehlen of Common Practice explain his design approach to facing the elephant in the room, the talk about death and these new products, services and dying submissions to Designing Death.
“Life requires of man spiritual elasticity, so that he may temper his efforts to the chances that are offered.”
“Change is essential for survival. All life forms must adapt to their fluctuating circumstances. All form of life result from the process of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance. The universe is in a constant state of chaos. We each have chaos implanted into our bones. Nature wires all of us for change.”
“One of the most remarkable of man’s characteristics is his capacity for becoming used to conditions of almost any kind, whether good or bad, both in the self and in the environment, and once he has become used to such conditions they seem to him both right and natural. This capacity is a boon when it enables him to adapt himself to conditions which are desirable, but it may prove a great danger when the conditions are undesirable. When his sensory appreciation is untrustworthy, it is possible for him to become so familiar with seriously harmful conditions of misuse of himself that these malconditions will feel right and comfortable.”
“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
“There’s no such thing as a mistake, really. It’s just an opportunity to do something else.”
A snake doesn’t mourn when it is time to shed it’s skin.
Featured Illustration – Walt Whitman
What are Keystone Habits?
Habits are what we do every day. Habits can help us grow or hold us back. Some habits are more important than others — they have the power to transform our lives.
Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. They start a chain effect in your life that produce a number of positive outcomes.
Getting enough restful sleep every night is a keystone habit. It will help you face the next day with energy, help you be more productive and think more clearly.
Exercising everyday is a keystone habit. Walking and working out will give you strength, keep off unhealthy pounds and boost serotonin to the brain, a chemical that will keep you serene.
Saving some money for the future is a keystone habit. Socking away a few bucks will keep each week will have you feeling more secure about that unpredictable rainy day ahead.
Read more about keystone habits in The Power of Habit.
Keeping Calm, A Crucial Keystone Habit
Chances are if you are reading this, you are to some degree stressed out. Focusing on managing our emotions while nurturing a peaceful mind is imperative to navigating the chaos of every day living.
The Multitude of Benefits that Come from Keeping Calm
- Keeping a cool head, remaining calm, no matter what situation arises is key to retaining common sense and gaining others’ respect.
- Managing our emotions in times of stress helps us maintain control over our lives.
- Standing composed while all around you is flipping out in a chaotic crisis helps keep your thoughts collected.
- A calm mind will bring about peaceful contentment.
- No matter what is happening, remaining calm will give you a sense of confidence.
- A peaceful and clear head will keep your vision for the future clear. Calm begets clarity.
- Staying calm during the biggest of battles will help you appear less crazy than your colleagues.
- Your concentration increases with each calm breath you take.
- Your worries become lighter and your state-of-mind more carefree.
- The thoughts that you have and words that you speak are less crass and more compassionate.
- Life is easier when we move with through challenges creatively in a calm way.
- We become more proactive and less reactive.
- We become kinder and less cruel when we are calm and take more thoughtful calculated risks instead of impulsively moving in every direction.
Okay, My Ideas on How to Stay Calm
Know that things are bound to go wrong today. They just are. Ain’t no getting around it. Someone will piss you off, drive you crazy, make you angry, but on the other hand, something good will happen today too. Guaranteed. Life is peppered with a bit of both.
Redefine what stress means to you. A dropped cell call? A cracked laptop screen? The wrong dressing on your salad? What does life-threatening stress look like to you? Define what a real threat looks like. Categorize what constitutes a real problem before you get hit with one. Everything else is easy.
Slow your speech and your gait. Seriously. Walk like a old wise spirit. No rushing, just simple, confident steps with your posture strong and your head held up high. Or sit still. Unless the house is burning down or someone is bleeding out, don’t react. Process the pain in the moment and then decide how you will react.
Put your hand on your heart. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Remember what really matters. Remember how short life really is. Ask yourself, what is most important to you right now?
Smell your way to serenity. Use calming oils throughout the day. Inhale lavender, rosemary or geranium before you send that scathing email or make that frustrating phone call. Keep an oil by your desk or burn a soy-based scented candle in your home or office.
Take calming action. Take care of what is in your control. Don’t hesitate. Get what you can get done. Don’t know what to do first? Make a priority list and check it off. Realize that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.
Clear all the clutter from your life. Your home, your desk, your relationships. If it isn’t serving you well, get rid of it. If you are going through a crisis, keep everything in your life really, really simple.
Carve out moments of joyful time. Hack your happy chemicals. Slip away for a while, get lost in a book, go for a walk, ride your bike, safeguard your sanity.If you are in the midst of a long-standing stressful situation, like caregiving for the terminally ill, making your way through a divorce, trying to find your next job, take a moment to do what you enjoy. Lower your level of cortisol by doing something that makes you happy.
Ask yourself what is good about this? Even though this horrible thing is happening right now, what is good about it? Perhaps it is a problem that finally came to a head? Maybe it will finally move you in a new direction that you knew you were suppose to go? Perhaps this problem offers you an opportunity to try something new?
Slow down on the consumption of everything. This includes drugs, alcohol, food and caffeine. Purposefully chew more slowly. Talk more slowly. Walk more slowly. Slow down to a very soft and gentle pace. Rushing to nowhere will bring no good effect.
Watch a sad, sad movie and cry really fucking hard. Cry until your eyes sting with pain. A list of heartbreaking movies to get you going here.
Realize how short life really is. Check out the internet’s friendly reminder of how long you are going to live, aka the Death Clock.
Give up your mind. Listen to a guided meditation. Author of Radical Acceptance and mindful meditator, Tara Brach offers a free podcast.
Play with puppies or watch puppies. Check out these live puppy cams.
and. . .
This post is for me, but if you read something that resonates with you, please let me know. Comment below or send me a tweet @marketcouncil. I would love to hear your thoughts.
The Way You Do Anything, is the Way You Do Everything
I’m thinking about why my successes are not more consistent.
Why my life seems so yo-yo-ee. A bit up and down.
Why I haven’t achieved all that I want by now. Why I don’t have more time for wonder and wander. Why I work so damn much.
How come I still hold on to the last ten pounds of weight? Where is the additional savings in my account? How come I don’t laugh more, have more fun each day?
I’m thinking about how I can improve so that I can have deeper relationships with my friends and family, more sacred moments with less worry and more time for self-care.
I’m thinking about how I can execute for more excellence in my life. How I can improve my life in ways that really matter.
Perhaps I need to raise my personal standard of performance.
I am inspired by Bill Walsh’s tenets of mental toughness. His dedication to focusing on what should be one, how it should be done and when it should be done.
It’s the deceptively small things that when done every day, make transformation happen.
The counting of each calorie, taking advantage of promotions when shopping, putting aside a few dollars a day to build up our savings, dressing the part for a big meeting or interview, taking a moment to breathe, going to the gym instead of sleeping another thirty minutes and planning the night before to get closer to completing a project I am about to launch.
It’s about making the call, sending the text, holding on to that hug. It’s about realizing that life is so fleeting. Make the time to smile, breathe and enjoy – in-between all the work.
It’s a commitment to never slack off, to maintain the effort each day and to return and perhaps raise the standards that initially fueled my success. To push past my self-imposed limits and test my endurance and performance each day.
Bill’s Tenent’s of Mental Toughness
- Maintain a ferocious and intelligently applied mindset directed at continual improvement.
- Demonstrate respect for everyone you meet. Everyone is your teacher.
- Be deeply committed to learning and practicing what you learn.
- Be fair and honest with yourself and others.
- Demonstrate good character.
- Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, relentlessly seek the latter.
- Show composure and self-control, especially under pressure.
- Demonstrate loyalty to your core values and beliefs.
- Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
- Be willing to go the extra distance for what you know is important.
- Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
- Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
- Seek poise in yourself and those you lead.
- Put other’s welfare and priorities ahead of your own.
- Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
- Make sacrifice and commitment your trademark.
And may I add –
Be soft, gentle, curious and flexible and feel the freedom of racing like a Mustang.
The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us as we live.
The Importance of Self-Reliance & Taking Responsibility
This post is about taking responsibility. Responsibility requires constant readjustment combined with increased clarity and purpose.
Real improvements never happen without changing your behaviors. A change in outcome is a benefit of changing habits, attitudes and skills you acquire.
True success, steady ongoing, sustaining success, is systematic. It’s made of incremental improvements in the way things are done. It is a (daily) relentless attempt to eliminate the unnecessary activities, delay and waste.
Where we decide to put our energy decides what we will actually accomplish.
For me, it begins with identifying the obstacles and problems; tackling the issues I have been ignoring.
I commit to trying to get to the root of the problem.
- Write down your specific problem clearly and completely. A good statement of the problem often points to its own solution.
- Ask “why” the problem happens and write your answer.
- Continue asking “why” to the previous answer until you or others agree that the problem’s root cause has been identified.
I will use today as an opportunity to do what I have needed to do.
Elevating My Everything
- Triple check my work for errors before publishing, sending or presenting.
- Be more considerate of everyone’s time and attention.
- Review my priorities and ask myself, is this really necessary? What tasks can I eliminate?
- Review and measure the outcomes of each day.
- Give credit to those who have contributed to my success.
- Thank others for their help.
- Look and ask for feedback and follow up when that feedback makes my performance stronger.
- Don’t react to every little thing that happens.
- Make note of the important tasks at hand and the follow up that must be done.
- Watch for signs along the way and know how to read them.
- Stay calm, composed and true to my mission of self-improvement.
- Never stop and never get lazy.
- Pay attention, focus deeply and never get distracted.
- Try not to get side-tracked.
- Seek to work with the very best.
- Raise the standards around me, including my environment.
- Practice what I preach.
- Attempt to decipher the urgent from the important. Do the important first.
- Refrain from enticing short-cuts.
- Respect others, especially when I know they are giving 100%
- Continue to do what really worked in the past.
- Learn new ways of doing what I have always done but also sticking to what really works.
- Devote myself to a daily discipline of focused work.
- Be extremely patient.
- Learn to utilize what is around me.
- Work with a mix of humility, acceptance and strength.
- Face my biggest problems head on.
Do not wait to elevate your everything. Raise your standard of performance, make everything you do better and better.
From Emerson’s Essay on Illusions. . .
`Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show my spirit.’ `Not so,’ says the good Heaven; `plod and plough, vamp your old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine by and by.’ Well, ’tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in all humility, and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads were Time and Nature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays
Feature illustrations Lion-Comp & Bubbles the Snow Leopard from Daryl at Cargo Collective.
Being cautiously optimistic keeps me informed and realistic while remaining hopeful about the outcomes I wish to manifest.
Being too realistic can dry up my soul, but being too optimistic can make me extremely delusional.
If I see only the worst, it destroys my capacity to do something and if I only see the best, I may become blindsided by the bullshit I’m telling myself as things go horribly wrong.
A case for remaining causiously optimistic throughout the day.
1. I remain clear and focused
The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a cognitive bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.
Four factors exist that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.
The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example: people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim, smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers, or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.
2. My decisions are realistic.
The are based in reality, not in some daydream of how I want reality to be but more focused on how I am designing and producing the outcomes.
3. I carefully weigh the pros and cons
I weigh the pros and cons and stay focused on the results I want – knowing I can achieve them, because I am optimistic that I will get results.
4. Turning worry into work
Cautious optimism has me turn my worry into work while remaining positive about the outcome because I do a combination of what is tried and true while experimenting with fresh new solutions.
5. Impulsive vs Intentional
I am less prone to make impusive and spontaneous decisions – I am more strategic when I am cautiously optimistic.
6. Time is on My Side
I don’t waste or maybe I should say, I waste less time. Grounded and focused in reality and humble and hopeful for the future, I am purposeful. I remain cautiously optimistic.
7. Open to Opportunity & Outcomes
I move forward and do what needs to be done, but I am not holding onto a set outcome – I am open to different visions and versions of what winning looks like for me.
8. Celebrate the Moments
My careful optimism has me recognize the small wins throughout the day. Celebrating the bits of wins throughout the day – acknowledging my small moments and accomplishments.
9. A Reminder to Be Here Now
Caution + optimism has me locked in to being present to what needs to be done now for the future.
10. Correct and Certain
When I am cautious, I correct my mistakes. Having a sense of certainty and understanding and knowing what needs to be corrected in order to continue to make certain that I achieve everything I want to achieve.
11. Awake & Aware
I remain on the look out for problems and I dare to make them opportunities. I ask myself, what’s great about this problem? Does it propose an opportunity to make something better?
12. Hacking Away without Skipping the Essential
I recognize that there are no real short cuts – just smart strategies and in turn I am less delusional while focused on great outcomes.
No skimping – no scamming – just making sure I take each step carefully while remaining hopeful while proceeding with intelligence and faith.
Having faith in the outcome while I am willing to learn, grow and make corrections.