You Are Built for More

This post is about becoming a stronger version of who you are, so you are better equipped to take life full on, because despite the fact that life can be tragic and tainted by malevolence, your human spirit thrives under these conditions. You were built for maximal load.   Eyes open, wit sharp and your words at the ready. (words inspired by Jordan B. Peterson.)

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Read: Twelve Rules for Life: An Anecdote for Chaos

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The first rule in Peterson’s book is to stand tall. Yes, improve your posture.

So, with your shoulders back, head up and back strong, you stand tall.  Focusing on standing up straight may actually increase testosterone and decrease cortisol levels in your body while helping you to feel more empowered and confident.  Read more here 11 Surprising Ways to Get Your Brain to Release Serotonin and Other Happiness Chemicals. Read more about the high T and low C effects of standing tall here.

Learn more about the science and renewed interest in the systemic role of testosterone in pain, well-being, and cardiovascular function in women and men alike.  Testosterone’s benefits include increasing your competitive spirit and possibly your confidence.

A note about cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. It’s important for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress. However, elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels, increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Studies have show that high-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk; low-power posers (slouchers and slumpers) exhibited the opposite pattern. Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance

Can’t remember to correct your posture throughout the day. There is new wearable tech to help you stop slumping. 

Wareable is a website that reviews and rates numerous technology breakthroughs to stand taller, from pulsating yoga pants to chairs with sensors

Upright Pose is a posture corrector and trainer that you place on your upper back. It reminds you to sit or stand up straight with a real-time gentle vibration reminder. 8 out of 10 Upright users report a posture improvement of 92% in less than 2 weeks. Available here on Amazon.

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Why you are standing up tall, the second way to improve your mental strength is to reevaluate the way you assess your own competence. Why? Because we tend to believe we are smarter than we really are.

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– A quote from Stephen Hawking

Never Overestimate Your Knowledge

In order to preserve our sense of self-value there is the possibility we are wired to assume we are better than others, when we might be of only the same or worse standard.  It has also been suggested that the worse we are at something, the more likely we are to overestimate our performance at it.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability leads them to overestimate their own capabilities.

While almost everyone holds favorable views of their abilities in various social and intellectual domains, some people mistakenly assess their abilities as being much higher than they actually are. This ‘illusion of confidence’ is now called the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’, and describes the cognitive bias to inflate self-assessment.

Most people are genuinely unaware of how much they have been misled by their illusory superiority.

Illusory superiority is a condition of cognitive bias wherein a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities, in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other persons. Illusory superiority is one of many positive illusions, relating to the self, that are evident in the study of intelligence, the effective performance of tasks and tests, and the possession of desirable personal characteristics and personality traits.

The problem is that when people are incompetent, not only do they reach wrong conclusions and make unfortunate choices but, also, they are robbed of the ability to realize their mistakes.

The trick is to not be fooled by illusions of superiority and to learn to accurately reevaluate our competence. After all, as Confucius reportedly said,

Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.

Read the full article Studies find high achievers underestimate their talents

Read: Twelve Rules for Life: An Anecdote for Chaos

Jordan B. Peterson

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, #1 for nonfiction in 2018  in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil and Norway, and now slated for translation into 45 languages.

Featured Art

Lisa Ericson

Portland, Oregon-based artist Lisa Ericson blends her hyperreallist painting style with a vivid imagination, resulting in fantastical combinations of plants and animals. Ericson tends to focus on one specific flora/fauna combination at a time, like hybrid mouserflies or coral fish. Her most recent series, Mobile Habitats, highlights turtles that support small ecosystems on their shells. From mossy knolls surrounded by fireflies to gnarled trees leafed with monarchs, each turtle-world evokes a specific time and place.

Ericson chronicles her work on Instagram, where she shares, “these pieces are all about turtles and what they can carry on those amazing half-a-globe shells, and about things that need saving.”

 

 

 

To Die To Everything of Yesterday

To Die To Everything of Yesterday
To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion.
It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.
From the teachings of  J. Krishnamurti 
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Shedding Some Light on Just How Damn Annoying Life Can Be

Life can be so absolutely annoying when things don’t go as planned. Come on, don’t you agree? It’s all quite amusing how we think just because we set these great goals and go after them with all our might that everything is going to open up for us.
Sure I’d like to believe that life is happening FOR me and not TO me (thank you very much Tony Robbins) and that I am not a victim of circumstance, but the truth is life is very very complex and a lot of stuff just happens that is way out of our control. Things we don’t understand, that nobody understands, and then to add insult to injury,  we take this shit so personally. It’s a mystery really.
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Working with The Monsters in Our Mind & NOT Becoming a Fugitive To Our Fears

On my future read list “The Life of Milarepa Read on to understand why.

I like to read like three books at a time, maybe more. Right now in the morning, I am reading Pema Chodron’s  When Things Fall Apart 
I don’t want anyone to know that my life seems to be continually falling apart, so I covered the front of it with a sticker from Spoonbill Books, one of my favorite stores in Brooklyn.
Chapter 19’s a trip wire.  “Three Methods for Working with Chaos” Pema outlines three methods for relating directly with the most difficult circumstances of our lives as a path of awakening and joy.
Method #1  No more struggle
Method #2  Using poison as medicine
Method #3  Seeing whatever arises as enlightened wisdom
These are methods for working through the most painful moments in our lives. Method #3 according to Pema reminds me of Inviting Mara to Tea, in other words, inviting what scares us to introduce itself and hang around for awhile. Sounds like a fun Sunday right? Yeah sure, but that’s how we grow.
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Quote from the book . . .
As Milarepa sang to the monsters he found in his cave, “it’s wonderful you demons came today. You must come again tomorrow. From time-to-time we should converse.”
We start by working with the monster in our mind.  Then we develop the wisdom and compassion to communicate sanely with the threats and fears of our daily life.
What I found absolutely fascinating was the image used in Tibetan Buddhism for working with chaos, the charnel burial grounds. As Pema explains, in Tibet, the charnel grounds are what we call graveyards.  The American Indians seemed to also have the idea. . .
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Now, the bodies were not under a nice mowed lawn with little white stones carved with angels and pretty words.
In Tibet the ground was frozen so bodies were chopped up after people died and taken to the charnel grounds, where the vultures would eat them.  Some would  be asked to meditate at the charnel grounds to understand the circle of life, complete with death.
Death, probably our biggest fear.
More practical ways to understand more about leaning into fear from Leo at Zen Habits.

On a more pleasant note. . .

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When we Don’t Grow Emotionally

My daughter recently called me emotionally immature. She said it in such a loving way, but it stung none the less. When we moan, groan and whine when we don’t get exactly what we want, when we want it, how we want it. This usually happens when we are not at our strongest, when we are frightened perhaps?  Maybe we are tired, hungry, angry, lonely, scared. Who knows?  But it is then that we can take every disturbance and interruption  so damn personally don’t we?

For Example . . .

Meditation today on the beach was almost ruined by an awfully noisy and very annoying beach tractor circling around me. Trying to find a quiet place to close my eyes and be “in the moment”, this guy just wouldn’t go away.  He kept moving closer and closer to my towel. I tried to meditate in spite of the loud motor drowning out the peaceful sound of the ocean waves.
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Just keeping focusing on the breath. Just accept it, I kept telling myself.  My mind fluctuated between just go and flow with it . . . all the way to . . . WTF, I just can’t get this time back. It was torture. It almost felt like he was doing it on purpose.
I actually started to tell myself that story.  “He’s purposely trying to ruin my beach meditation and Sunday swim.
Now, why the hell would I take this so personally? As if. But don’t we do that often. When things don’t go our way. When people annoy us with their absolute nonsense? When things don’t go as planned. When we are really disappointed.
Only after thinking more clearly did I come to the realization that this man has an actual job to do – it has nothing to do with me.  He gets paid to clean up the beach so people, like myself, can enjoy it. How about asking the question “Why am I getting in his way?” Always thinking about me. It’s all about me. Blah, Blah, Blah.
A poem by Dana Faulds
Let it Go
Click to read Pema’s book

Thoughtless Action

What has made matters worse, is how hard I actually try. It amazes me how I try so hard to make everything in life exactly how I want it to be without ever thinking of the possible effects my decisions might have on future outcomes and on those around me. I spend my days running from pain, chasing pleasurable moments and trying to get some “me” time, planning, scheming and doing all of the special things that I want to do.
Hard times

Leaping Before You Look

How I absolutely leap before I look and act so impulsively based on what I want for myself. I want more money, so I take on more really difficult projects without even thinking about the actual time, effort and energy these projects will take. Then I kill it by overpromising and ultimately under delivering.   Just wonderful.  So many great intentions failed miserably because I didn’t take the time to think things through.
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Becoming More Discerning

For example, if I am feeling the slightest  bit lonely and I want more friends, I open myself up to meeting and embracing anyone that comes into my life instead of realizing the value I will bring to the relationship and how much more discerning I need to be about who I choose to spend my time with.  I think we all do it from time to time. I act more out of FOMO instead of becoming more self aware of my actual needs from a true friend. This is probably why friendships can disappoint us.

What’s this About The Importance of Self-Value?

If you have any interest in the possible healing powers of Ayahuasca, I strongly recommend you check out The Last Shaman documentary. You can watch it on Netflix. It got mixed reviews, but it was absolutely eye opening in many ways. I have always wondered about the powers of “grandmother’s medicine” but frankly, I prefer meditation as my medication.
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Oh, side note: Ayahuasca is an hallucinogenic drug concocted by chopping and boiling Amazonian plants known to indigenous people for a very long time. The first western knowledge of ayahuasca was by a British biologist in 1851. The principal ingredient is made from a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, (‘vine of the soul’ or ‘vine with a soul’); a second key ingredient, is either chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana). Ayahuasca contains a powerful psychedelic substance DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine). Drinking the brew induces an altered, hallucinatory state that lasts up to eight hours.

And More about Self-Love

And what is it about the devaluing of oneself that serves us? Why do I not think about becoming a bit more compassionate and self loving? Why don’t I focus on this more. Wouldn’t I be more of a delight to be around if I sometimes took care of myself first?
If I took care of my needs and came to the party called life with my best dress on?
The one I thoughtfully chose to wear? Why not spend a bit more time on me? Does that seem to selfish? Perhaps we tolerate so much of others nonsense because we are not self aware enough to know what we truly value in ourselves and others.

Decreasing the Pain in the World

I find the more I open up to listening and learning from others, the more thoughtful I become. It’s like building a better brain by borrowing from others curiosity, understanding and deep research.
I am listening to James Altucher interview AJ Jacobs and the two of them brought up a great point about how we might focus our actions – actually become more thoughtful about whether our actions are increasing or decreasing the suffering in this world. Big or small, every action you take can either add to the pain of others or make life easier.
Listen to James Altucher’s Podcast, an interview with A.J. Jacobs The Intersection Between Discomfort & Curiosity.
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The Sky’s the Limit. Your Amazing Future.

human-robotWhen you stop to think about where you will be in 10 years, what do you consider? Will you be doing the things you are doing right now?  Will you be richer? Thinner? In love? Famous?

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

top-10-robots-710x434Want 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?

Read The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success

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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. LearnSelf-Limiting Movement

jumpropeBoost 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

Study Rules of the Game and don’t be afraid of finding love on line. Check out these top ten best dating apps here.

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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.

ReadMoving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life!

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Remember

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My Life Changing Winter Book List

I have a mile high list of many, many books I want to read this fall and winter. This is just a few stories up. If you’ve read any of them, let me know why you think they should be on my list (or why I should take a pass). Or better yet, maybe you have another book that I should read first. Do share.

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Book 1. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini because I need/want to stockpile my weapons of persuasion and it’s one of Scott Adam’s favorites. Scott is the creator of the comic strip Dilbert above.

Read:  Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

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Because I have read the teachings of Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Marcus Aurelius and I’m just      crushin’ on these great stoic thinkers. Show me the way.
Book 2. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

A guide to the good life

Book 3. Super Betterbecause who doesn’t want to be?  Read: SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games

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As Victor Frankl once said: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.

The Purpose Driven Life is on my list because, I’m always seeking. The question of existence….. Why am I alive? The question of significance…..Does my life matter? The question of purpose……What on earth am I here for?

Book 4. Read:  The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

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The master’s journey can begin when you try to learn any new skill.

Book 5.  Read: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

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I love to cook and I have a thing for vegetables.

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Book 6. Read and Eat:  The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why

I heard an interview with Derek Sivers and even though he didn’t email me back, I am still very impressed with his brain.

Book 7.  Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

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Book 8. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Dale shares simple wisdom that really makes you think good and hard about why you’re worrying and if those things are really worth worrying about at all. And God help me do I worry about everything.

Read:  How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

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