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.

Transformation

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.

understanding the possibility

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.

Declutter

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

Adding More Meaning -Moment-by-Moment

There is only one thing I know for sure. I’m not getting this moment back. Nope.  I am talking about this very single moment RIGHT NOW, this ONE. Yeah, it’s YOUR moment too.  Nope it’s gone. . . forever, unless by chance I read it again or you read it again – and if we do, it’s just a memory.

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All this angst about leaving a legacy. Creating a more purposeful life. Finding your so-called passion. Those are such big, big thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, it starts with adding more meaning to your little moments.

keithand becoming a little more self-aware with each one of these significant moments.

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Not every moment is a happy moment or a thoughtful one. Some are fucking ex·cru·ci·at·ing, others kind of blah and many are just wasted waiting for something big to happen. Like a trip or a vacation.
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Oh and once in a while we get those zone moments, where we are so lost in the moment we are one with it. Those are fun, but I am not sure we learn much from them. Maybe. I don’t know.
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I do know that I am very wary of the pleasant moments. These pleasurable moments are truly fleeting and kind of like a rest stop for pursuing a life that is substantial. It’s those struggling and suffering moments where the juice is – it’s how we grow. More often than not, creating something substantial feels like a bit of a pain-in-the-ass struggle. 

Luctor et Emergo (I struggle and emerge)

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I do believe we should get fined for wasting moments. Seriously, like a real penalty for sleep walking through life. That should be a thing. Maybe it already is – for when you sleep walk – wasting moments – you have nothing to show for your life.

Ridiculously Messy Moments

Slacky, hacky efforts, half ass attempts, ideas that flare and fade. My notebooks, computer and life – filled with so much of it. 
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False starts. Sucky first drafts. Thoughts that at first seem tremendous, turn into lost pages on my hard drive and coffee-stained scribble in dusty note books piled in the corner of my bedroom. 
 
Creating something more meaningful ignites when I continue to carve out time and care enough to consider all of the possibilities without giving that crazy critic in my head too much power, if any at all. I promise you, I am going to slaughter that nasty bitch who tells me I am destined to be boring, average and inconsequential. In the same moment, I will feed and comfort the darling who knows there’s something in here that wants to be born. 
 
In pursuit of making a life that is more meaningful, impactful, significant and substantial I must go back and revise old ideas, notions and believes, question everything I have ever learned or accepted as the truth. Time spent discarding memories, malware and malicious thoughts that chain me to that critic. It’s a process of freeing up my hard drive and only backing up what may be useful later or bolsters the foundation of my beliefs. A lot of house cleaning to be done here. 
 
Delete, delete, delete useless information while spending the time to entertain and play with creative notions and ideas that may, just, may turn into work that is really remarkable. 
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Making the time, space and room in my head and my life to do something I am proud of takes some deep ass consideration. Some real thought. 
 
It’s so much easier to drone on. 
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But it’s so dangerous and scary.
Time to wake up
What am I staying with that no longer serves me? What person, place, situation is holding me back from becoming a better version of who I was? What self-imposed slavery to something, someone, some notion is keeping me from breaking through these so called boundaries? 
 
To be continued. . . .

ReSet Your Thinking

Have you ever wished you could just change the way you think? Rewire your brain? Take action and move forward in a new and improved direction?
I have recently met someone who is helping me do just that and her name is Laura Simao. I feel so blessed to know her. Laura is in the middle of creating ReSet.

What is ReSet? 

ReSet is a transformative personal development frame work that incorporates self-applied design thinking and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience insight and techniques to help you become a more self-aware, creative thinker and problem solver.

So far, my ReSet sessions with Laura have helped me uncover my deeper values, beliefs, goals and skills to ultimately achieve a higher level of success in all aspects of my life.

My big challenge is that I want to produce excellent work. I don’t want to rush and I want to be very thoughtful about everything I am creating. This is not an easy thing to do in our very busy and fast moving world.  Don’t you agree?

How it is done – Laura’s process
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So here we have my new mindset, after four sessions with Laura.
Clarity
I achieve a new level of excellence as a leader today by remaining organized and focused with clarity about my current goals. I target and focus on the results I want to achieve. This is my mantra, my daily ritual to achieve a state-of-mind and new trait of excellence with everything I do.
Today’s results included -(these will change as I grow, create and focus on different projects)
  • Securing an additional consulting client that I really want to work with and help succeed.
  • Completing the most timely task for each current client.
  • Building out one more additional section of ThePRPlaybook.com.
  • Reviewing and adding one brilliant idea to my social media strategy.
  • Adding shareable content to my social media platforms.
  • Immerse myself in an energized spin, swim and dance class.
  • Some evening time spent well with my husband.
  • Being as helpful as I can for my daughters in whatever capacity they need me.
  • At least one hour mastering my video and editing skills.
I don’t need to rush. I am thoughtful every step of the way. I remember, I cannot fail, as I am co-creating with God.
I am talented, experienced and a strategist. I do not need to fret, rush or feel pushed to create work in a hurry.
Discerning
I am discerning about all of the projects I decide to take on today and in the future. I do not chase after every shiny new thing.
My criteria for choosing anything else to focus on today –
Is this task critical to achieving the results I want today?
Will this add any long term value to my goals? To my work?
Is this something I may be interested in the future?
I am discerning about who I associate with and the projects I take on. I say no to most and I say it kindly.
I choose my posse, my pack, my people that I work with and I am always humble and kind. I learn from everyone. I grow as I go.
Grounded
I am grateful and grounded today. I am calm, centered and serene. I don’t rush. I make time for everything I am creating today. I am thoughtful and capable of producing excellent work.
It takes time to create and I remember I have God as my co-pilot. There is never need to worry about sloppy work.
I remember Emerson. “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards”.
Smart
I am dedicated to life long learning. I am always improving my skills of storytelling, writing, video and editing. I make smart decisions.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
Depth
The time I gain not rushing around being busy gives me time to think and create. To think critically and to review my work with a discerning eye and to add as much emotional creativity as possible to create excellent work.
What’s inspiring me right now:
The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
How to Be Here by Rob Bell

500 Million Moments

photo-1444837881208-4d46d5c1f127Life is comprised of moments. Each moment lasting about three seconds. It can be a moment writing a proposal, a moment doing the dishes, walking the dog or a moment saying hello to an old friend. We experience approximately 1,200 three second moments in an hour and about 500 million moments in a lifetime.

The quality of your life is not determined over years and decades but by what you do with each three second moment over the course of your days.

This moment right now can be improved with something as simple as a deep breath, a smile,a hug and appreciation for what you have.

Here I am, trying to make each moment count. How about you?

Inspired reading from author Tom Rath Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

The beautiful photo today from Patrick Hendry on UnSplash

Three Things to Make Your Life Better

 

how-to-get-people-to-tell-the-truth2-620Three things that are helping me grow right now . . .

1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy

The Quest:  How to know the truth.

Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.

2. Awareness of The Likability Bias

The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.

It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.

3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions

The Quest: How to have better outcomes.

I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”  

I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”

I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.

Intelligent Ways to Develop A Deeper Sense of Connection and Meaning

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While I enjoy reading, listening and watching experts talk and write about mindfulness and ways to recondition my mind and habits for a deeper sense of connection and meaning in daily life, what I really love doing is developing new habits to making them effective. Taking action for daily improvement. The doing does it for me.

I am bookmarking today’s post to return to as I use it as a reference tool to upgrade my current morning and evening habits and practices to create a more present state awareness which in turn helps me become less reactive and more responsive in life.

1. Listen or read The Most Important Moment by Leo Babauta

Why: I don’t want to discount this moment right now for the one that is coming up soon. No moment is less important than any other in your life. This moment is filled with sounds, tastes, actions and elements that are your life. Just because you are waiting on line somewhere does not make it a useless moment. Make every moment count or you will end up with a pile of wasted moments that end up in the Where did all the time go? landfill at the end of your life.

2. Watch your words – your word choice determines your thought choice which determines your emotions and actions  -inspired from the 21 Day Non-Complaint Challenge 

This is one of the reasons why I am expanding my vocabulary Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals: Synonyms, Antonyms, and Related Terms Every Smart Person Should Know How to Use

3. Signed up to join the beta version of It’s Koko which was created as a solution for peer-to-peer mental health – a social network that helps you feel better. Learn more about how Koko works by listening to the Your Not So Smart Podcast interview with Robert Morris developed this brilliant app and next generation crowd-sourced problem solving tool.

Why: Because one day we will be astonished that people actually went to one single therapist to “sort out” their problems, which in my mind is a ridiculous waste of time and not an intelligent way to improvement. Collective reasoning and cognitive reframing reign supreme.

4. Develop a daily practice of Dr. Dan Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness 

Why: I believe this practice is an upgrade to my daily practice of vipassana meditation. It is an active practice that focuses your attention to an inner place of clarity. It takes commitment, but so does everything that changes you for the better. Learn more about the benefits of mindsight from Dr. Daniel Siegel here

5. Practice Poverty – Tim Ferriss has a great 29-minute podcast of how he practices mindfulness including this recommendation from Lucius Annaeus Seneca Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) One of my favorite pieces of advice ever. While it’s not something you have to do every day, try living for a week with the bare minimum. While Seneca advised to sleep on the kitchen floor and drink from the dog’s water bowl and discover that you are okay in the morning, Tim works it in a more civilized way. Wear the same clothes, eat a minimal diet, don’t spend any money, see what you are so afraid of to find out how strong you really are.

Why: I know I have not taken risks having worried about failing.

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6. Stay more focused throughout the day. Download the Chrome extension Momentum and let Google keep you on track so you can concentrate on your goals.

Why: Too many damn distractions. Life on and off the internet is beyond fascinating, but in order to accomplish anything great, we must stay focused.

7. Invest in a 5 Minute Journal exercise each morning (another Ferriss tip) The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day

I have already been writing in a gratitude journal every morning, The Five Minute Journal upgrades the experience by having me consider –

What would make today great? What I am truly grateful for each day? What I dare to challenge myself with that day, etc. Better questions lead to a more thoughtful day.

8. Learn more about the importance of practicing cognitive reframing

Why: Because beating cognitive distortions will help me think more clearly, which will hopefully have me examine my common decision making failings. Cognitive distortions are categories of automatic thinking. Some of them include always being right, blaming, disqualifying the positive, emotional reasoning, fallacy of change, filtering and cognitive biases, jumping to conclusions, labeling and mislabeling, magnification and minimization (catastrophizing), over generalization, personalization, should statements, all-or-nothing thinking, etc.

9. I am currently reading The Art of Thinking Clearly by Robert Dobelli which describes how to counter cognitive distortions with instructive good sense.

Why: Biases are the invisible air we walk through, exerting their influence outside of our conscious awareness. Read more about the dangers of cognitive biases here.

Question for you – what have you found that has made you more mindful? Please share in the comments below.

the everything thing

boca-social-media-createJust finished watching Neil Gaimin’s commencement speech  “Make Good Art”  while thinking about being more of a creator and less of a consumer. 

“. . .I tend to do anything that feels like an adventure. . . until it feels like work. . .  then I stop . . . so life doesn’t feel like work.”

The idea of creating more and consuming less feels right, especially as I continue on with my quest to only hold on to things that only spark joy in my life.  From time-to-time however I get caught up in wanting to create everything at once.

quote-poster1The very phantasmic  ZeFrank created a short video on this very subject. It’s called the everything thing. I can totally relate to the everything thing, which is the thing I do when I start to think about everything going on in my life all at once. It’s not necessarily an existential crisis, but it’s absolutely unnerving and I don’t recommend you try it. I actually think one should avoid the everything thing at all costs. I am now completely convinced this is why meditation has become so popular, people sign up for silent retreats and bingeing on bad Netflix programming is a huge thing. All attempts to escape the everything thing mind.

My everything thing mind does a rapid fire loop —

Sitting at my computer, looking out the window. I wonder why there are so many blackbirds in that tree? There’s like 100 of them.  Could this be a sign? Perhaps the end of the world is closer than I think? Black birds are kind of creepy, especially when they all fly in a swarm from tree-to-tree. Wow I’m hungry, but I don’t know what to eat. I should have a snack but my jeans are getting tight, maybe I should go food shopping now and buy a bunch of healthy vegetables while I graze on a bag of salty chips swerving in and out of the grocery aisles. Damn I have to clean this house, but I still want to create those meditation pillows today, read a hundred uplifting and creative blogs, oh and make that fun animation video, but damn I have to go food shopping for Thanksgiving. I don’t want to make the same old turkey dinner, I should mix it up, perhaps do some quick research right now, I wonder if Williams and Sonoma has some new exotic things to do with side dishes? (Sudden guilt attack), What am I thinking?  I really should be in Florida with my mom and my Aunt! What the hell is the matter with me? They are both really ill and who knows how long I have to still visit with them? I really don’t have my priorities straight. Wow I suck.

Yeah,  before you know it, I am drowning in the sea of the everything thing chaos.

Do you have attacks of the everything thing? If so, what do you do to help slow down your runaway mind?

CREATE

 

 

 

 

 

Inner Greatness

IMG_9229Last night I went to sleep soundly while meditating to Tara Brach’s Meditation: A Healing Breath (2015-10-28). This morning I awoke and observed my early morning mind. It was already creating weak thoughts about worries of the future. About five minutes after rising out of bed, I came to a significant point of arrival. I had an epiphany.

1. Meditation has helped me observe my nonsensical chattering mind. This “monkey mind” when left to it’s own devices wanders to the future in fear and to the past in remorse. Not a good monkey, a cute one at that, but not a thoughtful one.

2. In poor form, my worrying thoughts lead to a weak state of mind which leads to a wishy washy day. It all rolls out from the head. I don’t know about you, but I know this life is not a dress rehearsal and I certainly don’t want a watered down version of a great performance day. I want an astonishingly awesome day.

3. I’ve drawn the conclusion that a resplendent and sublime day, sui generis begins with a mind that serves me well. A resolute and steady mind.

mindReading The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion

A quote: We’ve been conditioned to associate greatness with people who’ve achieved power or fame in the outside world. . .We place little value on an inner greatness that can be developed by anyone, regardless of his station in life.

Which got me thinking about Victor Frankl and his triumph under the most extreme conditions in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany and his powerful writing in Man’s Search for Meaning (an inspiring and epic read) and a great book to gift – Man’s Search for Meaning, Gift Edition

Inner strength and greatness begins with powerful and substantial thoughts. We have much to gain from a strong and disciplined mind.

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Additional References

Additional Reference Reading
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

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Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals: Synonyms, Antonyms, and Related Terms Every Smart Person Should Know How to Use

 

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