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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
‘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.
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.
Today let me carve out time – time out of my busy schedule to nurture my soul. To do the real living. Not just the busy work.
Let me not rush into another day without taking moments for myself. Time to meditate, move and to feel my wild heart beating.
Let me remember to acknowledge that this day is another chance to create something valuable for the world.
Let me take all of my worries and turn them into wonder, so I may creatively transform my concerns into care. When I worry about having enough money, energy, health or friends, may I learn how to generate new ways of seeing my problems and new ideas to design a life that heals myself and others. Today I will strive to see and to know that nothing lies beyond my capabilities if it is a must.
I know that I will sometimes fail, but failure offers insights that are invaluable to my growth.
How to use fear before it uses you – Anthony Robbins
Today let me generate new, fresh ideas to solve my problems and to create something better, something brand new. Ideas that are useful, helpful and brilliant that will help not only me, but others who are trying to make their way in this world while becoming better versions of themselves. I must remember, no ideas is so big that I can not take the first step.
The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Idea Machine by James Altucher
Becoming better starts with taking care of me. Nurturing my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
10 Ways I Can Nurture Myself Today
- Set reminders on my smartphone to stop during the day to stand up and stretch.
- Forgive someone who has caused me pain.
- Listen to an inspiring podcast from Tara Brach.
- Remember to eat a light, low-carb, healthy lunch.
- Stay thankful for everything I already have.
- Go for a long walk when the rain lets up.
- Call my husband and laugh for five minutes on the phone.
- Pray a little each hour while asking for guidance and humility.
- Take care of a nagging problem. Deal with it head on.
- Discover new music while having dinner.
Oh to be Anti-fragile to be a part of Things that Gain from Disorder
Each day I remember to nurture and care for myself, I get one step closer to becoming a stronger version of myself than yesterday. Some nurturing things will work better than others. It really is a matter of trial and error and protecting myself from getting stuck, transforming when necessary but keeping a sense of broad freedom and opportunism.
Experimenting with new ways of living by trial and error = freedom.
Reclaiming my Personal Power
The black swan is a graceful reminder to move from any position where you feel powerless and at the mercy of external forces; it is time to reclaim your personal power.
Cherish My Unlovable Parts. Turn them around. Realize how many of my bad thoughts and actions can really be useful.
- Obsessive worrying demonstrates that I actually care.
- When channeled correctly, my panic-like anxiety is like a fiery ball of glorious energy.
- My anger and frustration is simply a hidden desire to make life better.
- My apparent laziness and constant shortcutting is really a search for a more efficient and productive way to create.
- Wanting to do it all while feeling confused in simply my inner child looking for guidance while letting the world know, I want to contribute.
- The resentment and rage I sometimes have can be directed into a forceful power of purpose.
A few months ago I began stripping away all that no longer serves me in my life. What is that suppose to mean? Without boundaries, I let way too much in and life got way too crazy. I was tired, pulled in a million directions and honestly, I allowed it. Frankly, I didn’t know how to say no.
I said yes to everything and everyone. It’s not a good idea. Well sometimes, in the beginning saying yes is good, like when you are building a career, but too much yessing can lead to real chaos and letting people down, including yourself.
I am moving towards a minimalist lifestyle that will give me the freedom to go and do what I want without the burden of having so much to take care of, including a house too big, a life too wide open and the collection of twenty years of unnecessary, unwanted “things”. Things I don’t use, wear or want any longer.
I started by cleaning out twenty years of clutter in the attic. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. While I am not one to hold on to things, like memorabilia, my daughters had piles and piles of grammar and high school “stuff” they had collected throughout the years up there. I even made it a moment. I asked them all to come over for a memory lane party. They laughed at old love letters, praised their early art work and cringed at their eighth grade diaries. They didn’t want the stuff either. The memories they decided to keep are tucked away in the corners of their mind or on Instagram. The rest they let go of along time ago.
Clearing away the clutter for me also involves displacing anything and anyone (eew, that sounds harsh) that is no longer useful, helpful, valuable or lovable in my life. You see, I began to feel like others were pushing and pulling me in too many different directions, while my priorities were left on the back burner. I am now older and wiser and know that whatever time I have left on this planet, I would like to deliberately create some moments of creativity and adventure before it’s too late.
So what am I going to trim down, clean up, give away and simply remove from my life?
Frumpy Frocks & Spontaneous Purchases. Starting with my closet, shoes, sweaters, shirts, bags, dresses and worn out jeans that I have not even touched in six months or more. Good will and good riddance. I want to create a really fun “uniform” to wear. Something I don’t have to think about. That’s one less decision in the day.
Space Fillers & Dust Collectors. Souvenirs, books, artwork and other knick knacks that are no longer aesthetically pleasing to me. If it does not spark joy, I just don’t want it. I haven’t read Marie’s book and I won’t. The sparking joy was my review take away. It makes sense.
Crazy Makers. People that require special handling, those that need kid gloves and jokers that confuse me. Anyone that I find annoying or that appears to be even relatively unstable. You know, I have been a magnet for the crazy makers for many years. This also includes anyone who bores me, those that aren’t original, open-minded or interesting or genuinely fun to be around. The self-absorbed, stuck or painfully sad. Anyone I don’t have a true kindred enthusiasm for or feel I can growth with as I adventure on. Yeah, they’re gone.
Obsessive Worrying & Ruminating Thoughts. Negative thoughts that clutter my mind, that make me feel less than I really am. Small thoughts. Sad thoughts. Critical, mean self-talk. No more worrying, because, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Read on: 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop for a Better Life
Shitty Projects & Confused Corporates. Work that feels stupid, repetitive and ridiculous. People that go round and round because they don’t have a blueprint. Working with incompetent people. Things I just don’t want to do that I don’t have to do.
Excess – too many of any one thing. Rooms in my house, blankets on my bed, uncomfortable chairs, hard pillows, greased-bottom pots, scratched pans, broken cups and any sticky old debt on the credit cards. Oh to simplify and simply live with just what I need.
Random Files & Duplicate Photos. Files on my computer, my “filled-to-the-brim” email inboxes, old notes, usb drives with old brochures and dead campaigns, duplicate photos, and old contacts in my phone. People that I no longer talk to.
Crackers, Chips & Junky Food. Food and drink that makes me feel sluggish, fat and tired. Nah. Doesn’t serve me well at all. I never understood why they called it comfort food, expect for warm dishes of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.
Time & Energy Wasters along with Old Fears & Everyday Frustrations. Good bye time, energy and money wasting activities. Waiting on lines, calling customer service, meetings in person that could have been Skype-d. Drives to stores when Amazon delivers. Anything that makes me feel like I need to be doing something else while I am doing that. Like commuting.
Mediocre Netflix Series & Silly Youtubers No, I just can’t. This is no way to fall asleep at night. I no longer enjoy watching crappy HBO shows just because everyone else is binging on them.
Bad habits. Yeah, like relaxing with two glasses of wine before I go to sleep. Fading into Facebook as my head hits the pillow. Any excuse not to work out. Answering the phone most of the time. Being too nice and polite to time suckers. Being neurotic while calling, emailing and texting the same message to one person.
Packing My Schedule. Yes, I am clearing out the calendar and filling it up with dates I save in the future for things I want to do. Wrapping up old projects and getting rid of the guilt. End commitments with a clear conscience.
One of the most difficult clutter to clear is that which we think we are suppose to keep. The inherited heirlooms, the mementos, the sentimental shit. I don’t make photo prints of photos any more, so shouldn’t I just digitize the old ones?
My new mantra everything should have value. When we begin to desire to clear out the old and useless, we are getting ready to heal, grow and begin a new. Getting clear about what you do want is a process of trial and error.
When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, you must do whatever it takes to break the impasse.
I am concerned about filling it all up again. I am a big believer that new habits must replace old ones in order to grow.
I will watch the slow the accumulation of possessions, for to live is to create and consume. It cannot be avoided – especially in our society and culture. But if the influx of possessions into our homes can be slowed, clutter can be managed efficiently.
To slow the accumulation of things in our homes, we need to change our mindset and begin evaluating our purchases differently. Realize that your purchases cost far more than the price on the sticker. Each one will also require time, energy, and effort once they enter your home. Before making a purchase, begin asking yourself these questions:
- Is this item really needed?
- Do I have a place to store this when I get it home? Do I want to lug it around with me?
- How much extra work will this possession add to my life?
- Am I buying it for the right reasons?
To be passionate about your dreams is one thing. To realize your dreams and create with purpose is completely another. Oh the danger of being drunk with passion and intoxicated with ideas.
When all we have is passion, we fall prey to being impatient while assuming we will succeed while overcoming our limitations. Limitations are real and something we need to see clearly or we will never make progress. Self-denial about our limitations let us miss where we need to grow and go. We risk the chance of becoming blinded by naive enthusiasm. We promise ourselves more than we can muster. It’s a delusional place to be.
But oh how much fun it can be.
We all know the loop. Take an idea, what seems like a very good idea and become really excited about that idea. Pumped. Stoked. On fire. We are filled with unbridled enthusiasm, perhaps what many people call passion.
That passion you feel, that deep desire to fulfill that dream, it’s the fire that fuels. Passion may very well be what kicks your ass out of bed in the morning and charges you to move forward, to go forth, to get on with it.
The Alchemy of Passion
Read: The Surprising Alchemy of Passion & Science from the MIT Leadership Center.
But, passion without execution and the ability to fail and endure is a trap.
Turning Passion into Progress
Turning your passion into reality requires something more. It requires progress. Sometimes painful progress. Progression – making headway towards your goals – can and should be measured and tracked with a daily dose of reality. What your passion requires is honesty and clarity.
It might also need a plan. A deliberate disciplined action strategy and of course the discipline to honor that purposeful plan every day. A blueprint of sorts. A guide. A map.
But how do you know if you’re really making progress? Harness the data. Measure the feedback. Track how far you’ve come and how far you need to go before your dream(s) are reality.
Planning the process and producing a bit each day, making progress. This is what transforms passion into progress. What makes those dreams come true.
Passionate activity without purpose is just noise. It might even mean just being busy.
Busy without being productive will keep you spinning your wheels while never making any real progress.
We can ward off that danger of being drunk with passion by being realistic about what we are doing. Staying in the moment, measuring our progress and making corrections to our course each day.
A Critical Look at Our Faults & Failures
The ability to evaluate one’s own ability and progress is an important skill to turning passion into progress. It requires a critical look at what needs to be improved. Including your skills. How good are you right now, really? How much more do you need to improve? to practice? to plan? to execute.
How are you sure that what you are doing is moving you forward?
Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy should be required reading for everyone, especially those with a dream, a vision and or a passion. I am finding his book to be one of the most grounding pieces of writing I have read in a very long time. Thank you Ryan.
Illustrator Ruben Ireland
“The point of using the Grateful Flow so frequently is to make you the master of your own mind, the only thing a human being can really control. Until you can control your mind, you’re spiritually immature.” – Quote from The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels
Every once in a while a book comes along that will change your life. For me, that book right now is The Tools by Barry Michaels and Phil Stutz. I am in the middle of reading it and have decided like Brian Johnson that it is a book that must be shared, so I am starting over and will read it aloud with my husband each night. I am happy to note that the authors of The Tools have also created a free podcast here.
For those of you on a path of self-improvement and achievement and commitment to becoming the best version of yourself, I highly recommend reading The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion
The chapter on The Grateful Flow has resonated so deeply within me, I don’t think I will ever be able to go back to negative thinking or worry again.
“The point of using the Grateful Flow so frequently is to make you the master of your own mind, the only thing a human being can really control. Until you can control your mind, you’re spiritually immature.”
If you are reading this book or decide you want to read along with me, please comment below. We can share our experiences as we grow together.
How to be irresistibly relevant in your life and your career by taking extreme ownership over your future.
I liken this to updating your internal operating system. Discover the essential actions you need to do, the specific knowledge you must have and the most efficient skills needed to become great at what you want to do.
3. Skill Building
Soak up the knowledge needed to build these skills by using on demand learning tools like Udemy, Coursera and Lynda. Education has never been more accessible and affordable. Stumble your way to success by learning, practicing and doing. Practice your new skills daily.
4.Tune in to News
Set your Twitter, Instagram and SmartNews channels to key words for up to the minute news and information about your profession, industry, career path or passion.
5. Meet Up, Connect and Communicate
Join communities of people that are committed to doing the same. It could be a special invitation on eventbrite, meet up or a Facebook group. Connect with others and learn from them.
Amazing advice from Casey Gerald, Harvard Grad and creator of MBA’s Across America, a movement to help revitalize small business throughout the USA.
Casey preaches that purpose is the new bottom line.
Finding your “purpose” can be tricky, but he has one hack worth trying and it’s quite simple.
Go somewhere that makes you really uncomfortable and then figure out how you can be useful.
The message is beautiful. We can do well and we can do good at the same time.
Not sure how to be useful where you are needed most? Ask the question “What if I . . .?”
@CaseyGerald is a true dream defender and he inspired the hell out of me today.
More inspiration on how to create a meaningful life in this book:
My husband drives me crazy. He never writes anything down. Not a single reminder. Not even a note in his phone. He laughs at all my list making. So what.
The Secret to Achieving Your Goals
Now, I imagine if you are reading this, the headline got you and you are looking to achieve something great. Weight loss? More money? Better relationships? Peace of mind? Whatever you are attempting to get better at, it helps to set goals. Here is the formula I found works for anything I want to achieve and it is a mash up of some of the best advice and tips from experts throughout history on how to go about setting and achieving goals.
Scientific behavioral studies at Harvard have proven that those who WRITE down their SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE goals increase their chances 10 fold. I add that WRITING and SPEAKING your goals OUT LOUD with emotion each day in the morning (and maybe in the evening too) increases your success even further.
It’s simple, it’s easy and here is how it works.
STEP 1. SET PRECISE and MEASURABLE goals that you are CONFIDENT that you can achieve.
For example: I want to lose five (5) pounds by Thanksgiving, November 25, 2015.
I found this free Body Weight Planner recommended by Shape Magazine and developed by the National Institute for Health with the help of Dr. Kevin Hall’s research group for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to better understand how diet and exercise quantitatively contribute to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
According to this calculator, I’ll achieve this measurable goal if I walk/hike and run at a moderate jogging pace for 60 minutes a day seven (7) days a week consuming no more than 1,955 calories a day. I calculate this is a loss of .75 (3/4) of a pound a week.
STEP 2.WRITE them down on paper (or in your phone) and keep them in CLEAR site. READ the goal OUT LOUD each morning.
Me in the mirror every morning:
I will be 123 pounds by Thanksgiving in 48 days by following these easy steps to achieve this weight. I will practice self-discipline and design my days around achieving this goal. Relentlessly.
STEP 3.BREAK down the goal and REMOVE all obstacles involved in the process of achieving it.
Each Bite Counts
Each day, I commit to counting calories – the LoseIt App is wonderful for this, as is the FitBit calorie tracker. You can also use a note book. Here are 5 great calorie counting sites/apps that you might want to try. I will jot down what I ate or take a photo of what I ate to calculate my calorie intake every day.
What if it’s raining?
How will I make SURE that I get in a 60 minute moderate run/hike each day? What if it rains and I can’t go outside? Will I go to the gym? Do I have a way of doing this at home in the house? Will I ask a friend to hold me accountable? Will I get it out of the way every morning? What if I am traveling?
Have a PLAN to REMOVE every obstacle.
No more chips. Damn.
I eliminate all refined carbohydrates from my daily meals. No breads, crackers, chips, cookies, etc. I will try to each a very healthy, plant-based meal with protein three (3) times a day and limit by alcohol to 1 glass of white wine. I will consume no more than 1,955 calories a day.
STEP 4.READ your goal OUT LOUD every morning and include HOW you will FEEL when you achieve your GOAL.
Me, in my head all day long:
I will look and feel amazing in my jeans, feel lighter on my feet and freer and more energetic. All that movement will also help me feel less anxious and healthier at 123 lbs.
You can do this four step process with anything you want to achieve, including making new friends, getting a raise, building a business, whatever. The secret is a mindful attention with intention and focus on your goal.
Visit Jason’s website here
This gem of a book by Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
And the book that inspired me to lose 25 lbs last year.
Tomorrow is Today
Focusing on our future selves helps us to make new decisions about what we should be doing right now. With this vision and connection to our future self we can apply the action needed today to make the changes in order to be a more fantastic future versions of ourselves.
One caveat. It will take self-control.
So if you really want to be 20 lbs lighter in the future, put down that bag of chips right now and stop mindlessly eating at your desk.
The Future is Here
Want to know what your future will look like? Thanks to technology, you can get a glimpse. This website lets you talk to your future self using a sophisticated combination of motion capture software, speech recognition and 3D imaging. You will need to download the latest version of Chrome to check it out here. It’s really fun, I promise.
Need a bit of help with self-disclipine and control? Who doesn’t?
Instead of hanging on to hope and possibility, you can increase the probability of your success with these tools.
If you want to be Fabulously Fit
Stop hitting the gym like an amateur. Workout like a pro, forget CrossFit, practice mindful movement. Learn: Self-Limiting Movement
Boost up your cardio. Jump Rope Jump Rope Workouts: Cardio fitness for increased stamina, lean muscle building and fat burning
Find Your Very Best Friend and Soul Mate
Crushing it in Your Career
Rev up the motor. Move the Needle. Read this detailed system that will help you achieve your professional and personal goals.