Hardwired for Happiness

According to Dr. Joe Dispenza in this lecture, 95% of who we are by the time we are 35 is a memorized set of behaviors, a pattern of emotional reactions, continual unconscious habits, hardwired attitudes, rigid beliefs and perceptions.
We become very predictable people.
If we decide that perhaps we want something better, perhaps change in our lifes, we must start with our thoughts.

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If you agree and believe that the way you think has some effect on you life, than changing the way you think is the only real solution for transformation.

In order to become better versions of who we are for a better life, we must change our personalities.

Terri Duan

How Our Personalities Are Formed

We have around 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. Out of those 60-70 thousand thoughts that you think, 90% of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before.

If you believe (like I do) that your thoughts are some how connected to your life, then the same thoughts always lead to the same choices, which eventually lead to the same outcomes.

Thoughts for Change

Since the same choices always lead to the same behaviors, the same behaviors create the same experiences.

The same experiences produce the same emotions.

Those very same emotions drive those very same thoughts.

A vicious circle and a predictable life.

Your thoughts, fueled by emotions effect your entire life, including your biology, your neurocircuitry, your neurochemistry, your neurohormones, and even your genetic expression. It is all equal to how you think, how you act and how you feel.

How you think, how you act and how you feel is called your personality and your personality creates your personal reality.

Art by Robert Jahns

 

Overcoming Distractions & That Overwhelming Feeling

Distractions keep us from focusing on our mission. If you don’t have a mission, that’s okay, think of your mission as anything you say that you really want to “focus” on if you had the time, the money, the resources. You know, your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

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Everything feels like a distraction at times, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed especially when distractions are inviting and enticing.

Do what Adam Robinson does. Ask yourself this question – my notes from Tribe of Mentors.

Where should I be focusing my attention right now?

Mission

 

Art by Russ Mills

https://byroglyphics.co.uk/

Firing Your Mind & Taking Stock of Your Personal Inventory

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Dear Mind of Mine,

Oh, how you trouble me so. Fretting and worrying about things completely out of your control.  I remind you today that I am not getting involved in your ridiculous melodrama.  As a matter of fact, it’s time you and I took an extended vacay. 

– Me, Myself & I

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Now that I’m not playing those mind games anymore, what will I do with all this free time?

I’ll start by taking inventory- pause, take that deep breath – oh, dear, what the hell is my heart feeling now?

What are my shoulders doing? How is my stomach feeling? How about my right toe? Is my mind wandering off into fantasyland and nightmares again?
Checking in with myself.

Stopping a moment to take my inventory. What am I lugging around that I no longer need?

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Aiming Higher & Reaching Over Your Heart

They say you are drawn to what you value. What you think is really important in life. Your values lead you to the types of friends you associate with, the places you visit, the work you enjoy, who you fall in love with, what you do in your free time and all the other incredible things you do here on this big, crazy, beautiful planet.

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We don’t talk about the importance of having good values in school. We should, but we don’t.  Not yet anyway. 

I am thinking about my values a lot lately. What I use to value (having a lot of fun, making a lot of money, looking a certain way, etc) and what my values look like now. My values are changing quickly. The more I grow, the more my values change. 

The type of personality traits I now value. For me and for you.

1. Optimistic warmth (genuine kindness, thoughtfulness, and a sense that the glass is always at least half full);

2. Intelligence (not just “smarts” but rather an insatiable curiosity to learn for the sake of learning);

3. Work ethic (a natural tendency to do something as well as it can possibly be done);

4. Empathy (an awareness of, care for, and connection to how others feel and how your actions make others feel);

5. Self-awareness (an understanding of what makes you tick

6.  Integrity (a natural inclination to be accountable for doing the right thing with honesty and superb judgment).

This trait list inspired by this article about what Danny Meyer’s says to look for when hiring the right people.

Act II: Living a More Deliberate  and Intentional Life

Anytime I see anyone from high school whether in real life or on social media, they say they remember me as this carefree, fun loving girl with tons of energy. 

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While the life of the party might have served me well for all thing things that high school is about – partying, socializing and basically having a great time (at least that was my experience), those same traits led me down some very challenging and difficult paths.

Why?

Because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I lived so “in the moment” that I never really stopped to seriously consider what I wanted to do with my life. So, I didn’t make any real decisions for myself. I just let things happenI just did whatever anyone else was doing. If it looked good and sounded like fun, I did it.  -Like going to the same college as my best friend – why not?  Choosing a career that allowed me to speak in front of many, many people and express my point of view. Of course. Eloping with the guy I met on the train –well okay? Having four children in the span of six years, because, well, who was thinking, planning or considering the responsibilities involved in raising four beautiful humans?

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Now, on the flip side, I have a very strong ability to keep on keeping on. Most likely a choice-supportive bias with a bit of ambiguity effect in place here. Resilient, persistent and stubborn to the point of stupidity, I made it through and by society’s standards with a decent amount of success.

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I built the career, raised the children, made the money, bought the house, went on the vacations and somehow even seemed to survive the roller coaster ride of being married and divorced to a bipolar manic depressive who was non-compliant with his medication and irrationally obsessed with traveling the country tripping his balls off while following the Grateful Dead.

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You see I made choices without really knowing myself and stuck to my cognitive biases and compromised so much of myself. It’s not like I feared anything, but more like I just kept going, without ever questioning. I was determined to starve before I was hungry.

Until now. Now I can be anywhere I want, doing anything I damn well feel. Which begs the question.

What does a life filled with intention look like for me? 

You see, the way I look at it – if I got this far not knowing what the hell I wanted, well can you just imagine when I do?

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. 

Henry David Thoreau.

 

Beautiful image of the woman with the dove coming out of her face.

Emotions Over Thoughts and A Softer Way to Communicate

Three things I am working on right now.

Soul Singing

Question: What does my soul say today?

My soul doesn’t speak in thoughts. No, not at all. These thoughts that clutter my mind are just residual pain left over from the things I haven’t let go of yet. Thoughts of conflicts yet resolved.

My soul speaks in feelings, emotions, images, sounds, clues.

My soul speaks to me when I feel deep sadness, frustration, anger, contentment and happiness.

I can feel, see, taste, touch and listen to my soul when my mind is silent.

That’s why I meditate.

Weeding my mind garden so there is more room for a soul orchestra.

Good feelings can’t grow from grudges. Pure thoughts don’t come from residual pain.

These are the feelings from stories feared.

Letting these thoughts drift on by, help me weed my mind garden and clear the soil for a more softer, gentler and more compassionate state of being.

Recovering from the violent ways in which we communicate.

Judging, blaming, demanding, critiquing, name-calling.

Talk about your karma baby.

Softer thoughts lead to kinder words. Seeking more non-violent ways to communicate.

Inspired by Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss & Turning Your Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong

Mipham

From Recklessly Selfish to Radically Selfless – The Way of The Warrior Queen

cffa4b5a79e30829272a43dac1860688“If you have strength of character, you can use that as fuel to not only be a survivor but to transcend and thrive. You must use an internal alchemy to turn something rotten and horrible into gold.”

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“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualist concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. . .so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness.”  MJK jr. Read the entire brilliant thing here.

Take note: this post was inspired by the King himself and the incredible speech above and another interesting dude, Jocko Willink, decorated retired Navy SEAL officer, author of the book Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead & Win.

Not Dead, Don’t Quit

Serving with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield, Jocko believes we can all benefit from creating our own code of conduct. Call it what you will, standard procedure, a moral code, rules of road, your manifesto. . .Jocko and Martin Luther King Jr. had me thinking about what I aspire to be less and more of.

Note: two habits I have recently adapted into my daily practice of MJ’s experiment in human development include . . .

  1. “wishing others well”, inspired by Sakyong Mipham author of Turning the Mind into An Ally and . . .
  2. creating this creed below (my principles, modus operandi, approach to life), which I read every morning, to remind myself to hold the standard, because well . . .

If you’re feeling stuck and struggling to make the progress you want, take a look around you. Most people adapt to whatever environment they find themselves. They have what psychologists call an “external locus of control,” where they believe factors outside of them dictate the direction of their lives.

No they do not. YOU CONTROL THE DIRECTION OF YOUR LIFE.

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A Warrior Queen’s Creed 

(hey, this is a major step up for me, I use to be a worrier queen)

  • A Warrior Queen is very discerning about who she aligns herself with, befriends, spends time with – for they must energize her, not deplete her.
  • A Warrior Queen awakens to each day with absolute gratitude and appreciation for the breath that gives her life.

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A Warrior Queen knows that she is a tiny, vulnerable being riding on a blue dot in space, not the center of the universe. (this is the money right here).

A Warrior Queen is always willing to help others rise up and become the best that they can be. Even when she mistakens a friend’s call as an interuption in her day.

A Warrior Queen knows what motivates her, for she is very self aware, to the point of calling bullshit on the lies she tells herself.

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  • A Warrior Queen understands that REAL forgiveness keeps the flow of love pumping through her heart.
  • A Warrior Queen acknowledges both life and death, good and evil, joy and sorrow and never dives into escapism or fantasy about how she wishes the world to be. She sees everything for what it is, with radical acceptance. (OH MY GOD THIS WAS NOT ME A MONTH AGO, I SWEAR)

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  • A Warrior Queen looks for the FACTS, not fiction in every situation. Everyone should try this one, a game changer really. (inspired by episode 216 of James Altucher’s podcast with author of Sapiens, Yural Harari.
  • A Warrior Queen respects all living beings, especially her worst enemies. Soooooo hard to do, yet a very strategic move.
  • A Warrior Queen is always learning, reading, listening to those with the brightest brains, highest intelligence and gathering wisdom along the way.
  • A Warrior Queen practices extreme self care. She moves and exercises (her demons too), eats healthy, rests well to stay strong and energized throughout the day.
  • A Warrior Queen trains in earnest with a meditation ritual each day to remain focused and in the present moment, awake and alive.
  • A Warrior Queen is full of compassionate empathy and loving radical acceptance and kindness for what is.

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  • A Warrior Queen has a heart that is ready for anything.
  • A Warrior Queen sees situations as they are, not bigger than they are.
  • A Warrior Queen guards her mind, her words and her wishes, always thinking thoughts that lead to positive emotions. (this one is a huge challenge for me, but I am improving).
  • A Warrior Queen is comfortable with the uncomfortable truths of life.

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  • A Warrior Queen appreciates every single encounter each day, for she knows life is sacred.
  • A Warrior Queen does not fantasize about catastrophes that might happen in the future. She stays present and prepared in this moment.
  • A Warrior Queen is centered, calm, cool and collected. She moves with purpose and confidence throughout her days.

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  • A Warrior Queen does not resist reality and does not desire permanence for she knows the unchanging truth of change and relinquishes attachment to any outcome. This includes people, places and things. Her shift in perception of reality, that everything is impermanent helps her appreciate the nature and master of life. This world is made of infinite and ever changing moving parts. There is nothing to hold on to.
  • A Warrior Queen wakes up to what samsara is, the suffering of life. She rises above the suffering and emerges with the understanding that everything is impermanent.
  • A Warrior Queen knows what creates more sufferingacting in non-virtuous ways out of bewilderment, fixation, aggression, jealousy and pride. (oh my family would have a field day here – hey guys if you are reading this,  I Love You, work with me here).

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  • A Warrior Queen acts with intention of kindness, love, patience and non-attachment because these intentions elevate the mind above negative emotions. (Sometimes so hard to do when waiting on a long line at the UPS store. But you do it. You just do it.)
  • A Warrior Queen wishes others well throughout the day, knowing her heart can melt even the harshest judgement and suffering.
  • A Warrior Queen is never selfish. She has a noble heart that desires all to find their true happiness (pro tip: this is another thing that is really hard to do when you want to punch someone in the face really hard- but you just do it). She works for all to go in the direction of their hearts.
  • A Warrior Queen doesn’t burden others with her suffering, but shares the wisdom she has gained. (inspired by a Ted Talk from Carolyn Myss “Choices that Can Change Your Life

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  • A Warrior Queen acts from the sacred self and chooses throughout the day to be at peace. (and sometimes that means avoiding people who are a real pain in the ass).
  • A Warrior Queen moves through life from a deep conscious knowing and has NO DOUBT that she is a warrior queen and so are all her brothers and sisters on this spinning planet.
  • A Warrior Queen is filled with only unconditional love for all beings.

I am the Warrior Queen.

 

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“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” Tony Morrison

Asylum Art sketches Januz Miralles

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The Habit of Employing Self-Deception

People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.

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So much of my own suffering has come from shying away from reality, from protecting myself from the hardcore truth of the choices I’ve made for my life. It seems the more I run from my heartache, my soul ache, the more I continue to distance myself from the painfully honest truth. It’s a strategy for self-preservation actually, but a very bad one at that.
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I have found that I have spent most of my “waking” life quietly buried in a fantasy world of make believe and pretend.  Buried in being busy, buried in too much work, buried in striving for my “goals”, buried in trying to fix hurt people. Bobbing around in a bubble. Sometimes for a time it actually worked (like a band aid) but more often it didn’t.
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Hoping, wishing, praying and becoming more and more determined to try to change those around me that didn’t want to change so I could manifest what I wanted without first seeing and holding the absolute truth about them. How selfish is that? Fighting instead of facing, without knowing the tools, talent or skills I would need to create a better reality, one, I probably didn’t even know I wanted (or needed).
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This way of living is reckless and irresponsible and will one day come to bite you in the ass.  Yes it can protect and shield you for a time and from the pain, but the cold hard fact is reality is your best fucking friend.
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I have also come to understand this behavior in myself is just another form of manipulation. When I don’t see what is truly in front of me, what is absolutely factual about any circumstance and I slip on those rose colored glasses, pretending that everything is fine, this is when I find myself in the most agonizing of circumstances.
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Whether it be the promise and potential I see, the possibilities in others, the “magic” of a truly desperate moment or the belief that I can do something I haven’t really trained or practiced for, it really doesn’t matter. The fact is I am not prepared to deal with the deep dark core truth. It’s so, so, so frustrating.
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When I convince myself that things are different than they really are, I struggle in that denial, trying to fit pieces of the puzzle in places they don’t belong. It’s maddening really.
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The more we bullshit ourselves into believing that we can do anything without absolutely accepting
  • where we are
  • what we have to work with
  • who is within our company (including our crappy-ass selves)
until we are truly accepting of the actions we have taken & the choices we have made and the distance we have to really go, we will stumble, fumble and fall.
One must start with the unquestionable truth of what is really happening in their lives before anything can get clearer.
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Stay awake, aware, alert and alive. Always.

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Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

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“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right.  Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better,  for resisting may only harm me. 

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If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.

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Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be

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We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.

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Selective Perception & Mental Gymnastics

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Sunday seems like as good a day as any other to start thinking about ways I can strengthen my mind. To start with, I stumbled upon this smart list of  brain training, mind-soothing exercises.

A Mind Clearing & Expanding List of Good Thinking Skills

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The truth is, the quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.

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I have to diligently guard what enters my mind. Note to self: stave off the temptation to randomly search YouTube. Consume Quality. Read and watch only quality books & films.

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Don’t believe everything I think. Don’t hold onto every little thought. Release, and let it go. Meditation can help you with this.

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Give my mind some well-earned rest. The importance of self-care.

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Brighten my mind with hopeful, peaceful and positive thoughts. Training my mind to be  calm and to ward off the alarming effects of long-term, chronic stress.

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Focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. This ain’t easy. The mind always wants to go back to ruminating worry and concern.

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Develop a healthy rule book for good thinking.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

 

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Understand & know what I value. Freedom, truth, a sense of security, peaceful living and love.

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Take my mind on adventurous trips. Inspire it by doing more of what I enjoy.

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Feed it good food. Each brain cell gets a boost from healthy nutrition.

And know that I have a choice – how I react to any given situation.

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Avoid negative people, gossip, bullshitters and crazy makers at all costs. Like the plague.

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Learn new skills. Study what I am curious about. Dabble.

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Free my mind of unnecessary pain, guilt and fear. Ask questions instead. Stay curious. Continuously ask yourself, Why are you doing what your doing? Like right now, why are you reading this? I know why I am writing it. To help me become a better version of myself than I was yesterday.

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Organize my surroundings.  Remove what is useless. Declutter my life and my brain.

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Most of us value intensity. Intensity makes us feel like we are busy, productive and important. Not. True. Slowdown.

Our breathing can shift our minds.  Breathing to conserve my energy. Yes, there is a direct link between emotions and our breathing patterns.

Expand my mind in the great outdoors. Clear my mind.

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Beware of Brutum Fulmen.  Apparently coined by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, a brutum fulmen is a harmless or empty threat. It literally means “senseless thunderbolt.”

Lot’s of things in life are empty threats. Even those you scare yourself with – ignore them.

Read: 20 Latin Phrases You Should be Using

Minding What Really Matters

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Observing what happens around us without filters or prejudice. Now that’s something to soak up. A life skill worth practicing.  Try rewiring that into your brain. How often we get frustrated because life is not suppose to be this way or that way?  As if it was always our call.

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It’s so easy to get mad when things don’t go our way. It’s even easier to sleep walk through our days. On autopilot, we just cruise through the hours without even taking notice of the small things that need real care.  The tiny pain points that pop up, that if we just focused on now, would never get out of hand.  The things that really matter. Perhaps this is how bigger events and problems suddenly catch us by “surprise”.  When we avoid the smaller, seemingly “meaningless” things in life. We shrug them off. “It is what it is.” “She’s just like that.” “I’ve been meaning to take care of that.”

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An important skill to learn is to know how to sniff out the unexpected before it scares the hell out of you. It starts with paying attention to your life.

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I am sure you realize that more often than not, there are usually many warning signals before something goes surprisingly wrong. It’s just that we were so distracted at the time.

To detect early warning signals, you need to build up your curiosity. Paying attention involves asking many questions and developing a wide network of friends and family willing to tell you the truth, even when it is spiked with anxiety and panic.

Collect all the rumors and paranoia that blow around you and your life and then separate the signal from the noise. Now, that’s paying attention.

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Paying attention also asks that we ask the important question –

“What can you do today that will make a difference, not only in your life but in others?”

Becoming a More Attentive & Thoughtful Human

Encourage yourself to grow with quick and easy learning (YouTube), and create a personal mindset that allows you to make well-intentioned mistakes while paying attention. Taking notice, trying new ways of problem solving and staying awake at the wheel of life – it’s all a skill.

Don’t let your mind turn into a black hole where bright ideas go in but nothing useful ever comes out. Be an idea-driven human that values fresh thinking and doing.

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Understand your strengths and weakness which will show you where your vigilance is strong and where you are vulnerable. That’s paying attention to yourself.

Minding What Matters

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‘What actions can I take that will benefit not just myself, not just my  family, not just my community, not just my work, but all it’ – that’s when you start to see possibilities for greater freedom.”  That’s when you start paying attention to what matters. Inspired by “Leading the Life You Want“.

Happy and successful people focus on what really matters and who really matters to them. And then they take actions that are consciously and deliberately designed to make things better for them and the people around them.

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Find meaning in mundane tasks while playing on your strengths. Apply skills you have in one area of your life to another.

Act with creativity and courage—and continually experiment with new ways of getting things done. An exercise for enhancing your skill in being innovative is called Scenarios. Identify a goal in any part of your life, and describe the results you want to achieve. Be as specific as you can. Then identify three alternative courses of action that would achieve the same results. For each potential path, list the resources you will need, the people whose help you’ll draw on, and how much of a stretch beyond your comfort zone this would be for you. By taking time to think through different options, you increase the flexibility of your thinking. Brainstorming about creative possibilities puts your focus on the goal, or results, rather than on one way to get there.

Inspired by Leading the Life You Want and 18 Questions that could change your life