The Sole Author of Your Conditions

In Yuval Noah Harari’s book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century he explores our increasing reliance on algorithms to make decisions for us.

Artificial Intelligence is being deployed in health care and warfare; it’s helping people make music and books; it’s scrutinizing your resume, judging your creditworthiness, and tweaking the photos you take on your phone. In short, it’s making decisions that affect your life whether you like it or not.

Altering Your Attitude of Mind

Very often human beings are  living on autopilot,

reacting automatically to what happens. 

– Betrand Piccard,

Our thoughts are constantly helping us to interpret the world around us, describing what is happening, and trying to make sense of it by helping us interpret events, sights, sounds, smells, feelings.

Our automatic brain attempts to keep us safe like an overprotective parent. Scientists have proven that our brains react more strongly to bad events than good.   There is a greater surge in electrical activity. Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by disaster and doom than good news.

The Purpose of Our Negativity Bias

Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily most likely evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger. The brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it. Read the full article on Psychology Today.

The automatic brain responds only to danger, threat or vulnerability, but these thoughts are also great teachers. When we question them, we can become more intelligent about why we do the things we do.

Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to your success.  

Charles F. Glassman, author of Brain Drain

2.png

Questioning Our Automatic Negative Thoughts

Recognize when you are confusing thoughts with fact.  For example, I woke up this morning and I looked at my schedule and thought, I will never finish everything I have to do today. Oh the dreadful feeling of defeat before dawn. This is not something new for me. This fear-based thought always makes me feel frustrated, unsettled and unsuccessful before I even began the day. It overwhelms me, but is it true?

Now, I have no evidence that I won’t have a productive day. This is not a fact.  The challenge for me is to ask myself why I think I won’t finish everything I have to do today.

Perhaps it is because I have over scheduled myself. If I look at this fearful thought as a tool to help me, I realize I have the opportunity to prioritize my list and set up myself up for success by removing unnecessary tasks until tomorrow, or the next day.

I can also ask that negative thought if I have the right tools to have a productive day.  I can question the fear of not having a productive day, with “What will it take me to have a productive one?”

3

Questioning our automatic thoughts can free us from fear and help us alter our attitudes for more positive outcomes in our lives.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

– Viktor Frankl

Read Man’s Search for Meaning

Featured Artist

Leonora Carrington Her approach is deemed visionary and strongly personal, while her symbolism is considered entirely new and authentic. The relationship between Carrington’s writing and her paintings is another topic that has been popular among many art critics and scholars. The same goes for an important role in feminism in the new analysis of Carrington’s art. The scholars claim that Carrington’s highly personal visual expression which combines folklore and magic led the way aspiring female artists who wanted to explore new ways of addressing and portraying female identity.

Why We Don’t Get What We Want

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. By Madeline Johnson

Oh for the saving grace of chaos and confusion in our lives.  While I believe it can drive us mad, we should embrace feeling overwhelmed and confused. Yes we want this, but we need that. We are pulled in so many directions. Yes it can be daunting and emotionally draining, but if we strive to understand the cause for our confusion we can better understand what motivates us in the first place. Yes, I mean connecting our two minds, our hearts and our thoughts. I believe that even our most anxious emotions can drive us to clarity, if we take a moment to reflect.

cq-64w3u8aaxxb5

Please understand, the type of mental clarity I am describing here is the overall sensation that you are on the right path, you are not questioning every little thing you do and in some way, shape or form, you are getting what you both need and want.

You are focused on what is important to you throughout your day and you don’t have that existential angst pulling you in a downward spiral of depressing confusion.

You know why you are doing what you are doing and even though you may not have a detailed map on how to get to your desired goal, you have the emotional drive and you persevere.

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. Mental clarity kicks in when you are aware of what you like, what you don’t like, what you will tolerate from yourself and others and what you won’t. This understanding of what it takes for us to operate at full capacity, helps us find the tools we need for the tasks at hand and eliminate what doesn’t serve us well.

bansegikxb--png__700

It helps to spend some time with yourself to better understand what lights you up and what brings you down. What turns you on and what dims your soul.

Needs vs Wants

Necessity is the ultimate motivator for mental clarity.  It’s amazing how focused we can get about what we are required to do, as opposed to what we would like to do. Clarity becomes crystalized when we better understand if something is a need vs a want.

Read: Ray Dalio’s  Principles

ray

Knowing what we should do with our lives, getting really clear on the next step can also be driven by guilt and obligation.  Mental clarity can come from simply doing the right thing, because we must. Clarity comes from turning to our inner moral compass.

I’ll explain.

I decided I will take time out of my day to care of my aging parents because they brought me into this world and they provided for me for many years. I love them and I am obliged to give back to them and help them.  The intention is clear. No questions asked.

I need to work in order to pay the bills makes it very clear. I must get a job. Find some work. Make money. I don’t want to be a burden on my family. My purpose is put in place because it is essential. There is nothing murky about this.

I am posting one article a day to Undisputed Origin because I have committed myself to learning something new about myself every single day. No questions asked. This writing that I do, this creative activity in turn will help me become stronger, smarter and more of a benefit to the world.

vs. . .

I want to _________ (fill in the blank ie. start a business, create a blog, travel around the world, learn to sing, etc).  Wants, wishes and desires may be more soul-fulfilling, but not a must.  They are not necessary, so sometimes you just don’t start.  These “goals” lay by the wayside.

bs1nlxahgkv-png__700

Question: Can you turn a want into a must?

I challenge you to think about why you do the things you must do. Like going to work, raising your children, volunteering to help others, etc. You do them because they matter to you in a big way. They are essential to your existence. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you don’t bother to connect with others you will be lonely. If you don’t take care of your health, you will eventually get sick.

Your wants (losing weight, finding a mate, starting a business, living a more adventurous life) must be essential to your life. They must be extremely important and vital to your existence.

this-is-not-a-photo-artist-can-confuse-anyone-with-his-paintings-5c2eb8f1d6852__700

What wants are you looking to turn into musts in your life?

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Featured Art

Kamalky Laureano paints portraits and landscapes that look like photography.

Kamalky Laureano is a hyperrealist painter from the Dominican Republic, born in 1983. Living in Mexico City since 2006, he has made his life and work in that country. His work has been shown in Italy, Argentina, France, Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

 

 

Hardwired for Happiness

Changing your thoughts to create your future by Madeline Johnson with Dr. Joe Dispenza

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.

2.png

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

 

Selective Perception & Mental Gymnastics

illustration

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

becoming

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

dimensional

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.

quote-it-is-felt-that-a-disciplined-mind-leads-to-happiness-and-an-undisciplined-mind-leads-dalai-lama-75-20-66

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

girl

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

illustration 4

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.

 

b00d81a83ca473cbbe880154f8182905

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

illustration 3

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

5-brain-food-1024x668

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.

wisdom

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

frog

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

Illustration 2

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.

choice

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.

Printable up to 6"x8"

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.

mich

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.

joy

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.
rita-morais-217553.jpg
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.
visualizingthezoneofproximaldevelopment600x601
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)

luctor
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. 
quote-our-achievements-speak-for-themselves-what-we-have-to-keep-track-of-are-our-failures-ethel-barrymore-1-95-23
 
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. 
happiness-meaningfulness
 
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. 
rural-sleep-walking
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
how
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

1

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.

promise-me-youll-always-remember-youre-braver-than-you-believe-and-stronger-than-you-seem-and-smarter-than-you-think-quote-1

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.