The Expensive Cost of Feeling Safe & Secure

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.

The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.   – Agnes de Mille.

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I have always felt very uncomfortable the moment I began to feel even slightly comfortable.  Some of my dearest friends have called me out on this. They say I have “commitment issues”. Maybe. Who knows. I just like the momentum of daring, trying, risking – smartly. Exposing myself and my mind to something new.

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Today’s post is a passage taken from week seven “Recovering a Sense of Connection” from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The passage below resonated with me. Why? Because I fool myself daily because while I think I am taking risks, I am not taking big enough risks. The type that will catapult me to the next level of living adventurously.  Here we go. Let me know if this rings true with you as well.

We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining. The success of a creative recovery hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action. This brings us squarely to risk. Most of us are practiced at talking ourselves out of risk. We are skilled speculators on the probable pain of self-exposure.

I’ll look like an idiot,” we say, conjuring images of our first acting class, our first hobbled short story, our terrible drawings. Part of the game here is lining up the masters and measuring our baby steps against their perfected craft. We don’t compare our student films to George Luca’s student films. Instead, we compare them to Star Wars.

We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly. Instead, we opt for setting our limits at the point where we feel stifled, smothered, despairing, bored. But yes, we do feel safe. And safety is a very expensive illusion.

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In order to risk, we must jettison our accepted limits. We must break through “I can’t because. . .” Because I am too old; too broke; too shy; too proud? Self-defended? Timorous?

Protect your magic

Usually when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.

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Wise Advice for Waking Up to Your Life

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Here’s a Damn Good Recipe for Failure & Unhappiness, for a life of misery.

Be self-righteous, wallow in self-pity, drown the day in fear and complacency. Look at your life and others with anxiety, jealousy, and hatred.

Disability

Now here’s a More Delicious Recipe for Harmony, Peace & Happiness, for an extraordinary life.

Take it on the chin. Be flexible, resilient, forgive more. Work smart and hard and always look at life with confidence and gratitude.

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The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

When life feels like . . . .

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Repeat this little prayer. . .

a prayerRight now I am frustrated because I am not taking better care of myself. Which got me wondering about the payoffs I experience for staying stuck in my progress. For not waking up more and doing what needs to be done to change what I don’t like about my life.

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Dig deep for the payoffs for not moving towards your goals today. Ask yourself some BIG questions.

  • What am I avoiding? Hard work maybe? Self-discipline? A little pain now for bigger gains later?
  • Who am I punishing by staying this way?
  • Am I avoiding the true expression of my emotions? Are they too frightening to feel?
  • What if I am waiting for a guaranteed miracle? Who will bring it to me?
  • Perhaps being stuck is really manipulating myself and others?
  • Maybe I am looking for special attention? Wallowing in self-pity?
  • What will I miss most if I do succeed?

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Understand the difference between I will try and I will find a way  “Results are a function of your commitment. Most people are unaware that where they are is exactly where they want to be.”

 

 

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Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

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

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

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

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

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

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

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Selective Perception & Mental Gymnastics

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

A Mind Clearing & Expanding List of Good Thinking Skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Develop a healthy rule book for good thinking.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read: 20 Latin Phrases You Should be Using

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. . . .

Keeping Calm, A Critical Keystone Habit

What are Keystone Habits?

Habits are what we do every day. Habits can help us grow or hold us back. Some habits are more important than others — they have the power to transform our lives.

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. They start a chain effect in your life that produce a number of positive outcomes.

Getting enough restful sleep every night is a keystone habit. It will help you face the next day with energy, help you be more productive and think more clearly.

Exercising everyday is a keystone habit. Walking and working out will give you strength, keep off unhealthy pounds and boost serotonin to the brain, a chemical that will keep you serene.

Saving some money for the future is a keystone habit. Socking away a few bucks will keep each week will have you feeling more secure about that unpredictable rainy day ahead.

Read more about keystone habits in The Power of Habit.

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Keeping Calm, A Crucial Keystone Habit

Chances are if you are reading this, you are to some degree stressed out. Focusing on managing our emotions while nurturing a peaceful mind is imperative to navigating the chaos of every day living.

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The Multitude of Benefits that Come from Keeping Calm

  • Keeping a cool head, remaining calm, no matter what situation arises is key to retaining common sense and gaining others’ respect.
  • Managing our emotions in times of stress helps us maintain control over our lives.
  • Standing composed while all around you is flipping out in a chaotic crisis helps keep your thoughts collected.
  • A calm mind will bring about peaceful contentment.
  • No matter what is happening, remaining calm will give you a sense of confidence.
  • A peaceful and clear head will keep your vision for the future clear. Calm begets clarity.
  • Staying calm during the biggest of battles will help you appear less crazy than your colleagues.
  • Your concentration increases with each calm breath you take.
  • Your worries become lighter and your state-of-mind more carefree.
  • The thoughts that you have and words that you speak are less crass and more compassionate.
  • Life is easier when we move with through challenges creatively in a calm way.
  • We become more proactive and less reactive.
  • We become kinder and less cruel when we are calm and take more thoughtful calculated risks instead of impulsively moving in every direction.
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A calm demeanor is contagious. Try it. The next time you are in a situation where everyone is flying off the handle, stay calm. Don’t speak, don’t yell, don’t move. Just be the calming force, the rock, the reminder of how powerful a calm state-of-mind can be.

Okay, My Ideas on How to Stay Calm 

Know that things are bound to go wrong today. They just are. Ain’t no getting around it. Someone will piss you off, drive you crazy, make you angry, but on the other hand, something good will happen today too. Guaranteed. Life is peppered with a bit of both.

Redefine what stress means to you. A dropped cell call? A cracked laptop screen? The wrong dressing on your salad? What does life-threatening stress look like to you?  Define what a real threat looks like. Categorize what constitutes a real problem before you get hit with one. Everything else is easy.

Slow your speech and your gait. Seriously. Walk like a old wise spirit. No rushing, just simple, confident steps with your posture strong and your head held up high. Or sit still. Unless the house is burning down or someone is bleeding out, don’t react. Process the pain in the moment and then decide how you will react.

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Put your hand on your heart. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Remember what really matters. Remember how short life really is. Ask yourself, what is most important to you right now? 

Smell your way to serenity. Use calming oils throughout the day. Inhale lavender, rosemary or geranium before you send that scathing email or make that frustrating phone call. Keep an oil by your desk or burn a soy-based scented candle in your home or office.

Take calming action. Take care of what is in your control. Don’t hesitate. Get what you can get done.  Don’t know what to do first? Make a priority list and check it off. Realize that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.

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Clear all the clutter from your life. Your home, your desk, your relationships. If it isn’t serving you well, get rid of it. If you are going through a crisis, keep everything in your life really, really simple.

Carve out moments of joyful time. Hack your happy chemicals. Slip away for a while, get lost in a book, go for a walk, ride your bike, safeguard your sanity.If you are in the midst of a long-standing stressful situation, like caregiving for the terminally ill, making your way through a divorce, trying to find your next job, take a moment to do what you enjoy. Lower your level of cortisol by doing something that makes you happy.

Ask yourself what is good about this? Even though this horrible thing is happening right now, what is good about it? Perhaps it is a problem that finally came to a head? Maybe it will finally move you in a new direction that you knew you were suppose to go? Perhaps this problem offers you an opportunity to try something new?

Slow down on the consumption of everything. This includes drugs, alcohol, food and caffeine. Purposefully chew more slowly. Talk more slowly. Walk more slowly. Slow down to a very soft and gentle pace. Rushing to nowhere will bring no good effect.

Watch a sad, sad movie and cry really fucking hard. Cry until your eyes sting with pain. A list of heartbreaking movies to get you going here.

Realize how short life really is. Check out the internet’s friendly reminder of how long you are going to live, aka the Death Clock.

Give up your mind. Listen to a guided meditation. Author of Radical Acceptance and mindful meditator, Tara Brach offers a free podcast.

Play with puppies or watch puppies. Check out these live puppy cams.

and. . .

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For more powerful tips on how to remain calm throughout the day, check out this article on LifeHacker and  this one on Forbes.

Credit for today’s Illustrations and Ocean inside me

 

 

 

 

Nine Ways to Strengthen Your Mind

This post ponders the idea of turning sour feelings. a.k.a. – a shitty state-of-mind – – into persevering resoluteness.

I am thinking about the alchemy of emotions. Turning fear into fascination; frustration into fortitude, pain into power and anxiety into assurance.

It’s about turning my life around. Drilling deep into my psyche to pull through life with courage and conviction.

What I believe to be True

When we do things thoughtfully we have a better chance at transforming for the better.

Think about it. . .How numb have we made ourselves to our heart felt emotions?

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When we are thoughtful we consider more possibilities. New ways of doing the same old things. Even the possibility of doing things differently. Disregarding old habits. Doing less of the busy and more of the productive. Challenging the status quo. Removing the habitual actions we have done in the past that no longer serves us well today.

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New decisions lead us to a new destiny. A better, more balanced life.

Beware of Bad Decisions

Unfortunately, even smart people make bad decisions when they are in a lousy state of mind.

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Good decisions come from clearing the head and pondering the problems. Becoming curious about why we are so dissatisfied with our lives.

What needs to change about our thinking?

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Real change, sustainable change comes from deliberate choices. What new choices can we make today?

 

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Problems are reversible when we get to the root of the cause.

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I want to change. . . .

Feeling Rushed & Overwhelmed

I despise the feeling of racing through my day. Moving so fast, juggling so much, attempting to “get it all done”. That rushed and over whelmed feeling leaves me discouraged and disappointed.

The Solution

Realistically predict the amount of time something will take me to do and add 60 minutes to that as a cushion. Build in some thinking time. Breathable time. Note to self: Realize life is a process, not just a checklist. It’s my pace, my life. If I can, I will always do it on and in my own time. 

Slow down, stay as organized as I can, surf the waves instead of fighting the tide, so that I get the work done and not drown in a sea of distraction. No matter who is pushing me to move faster.

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Feeling Tired & Exhausted

Serving others, really helping those you care for  is our true purpose. I believe it is the most important thing we can be doing. To be of service. However, becoming a slave (persona non-grata) to everyone’s whim is simply enabling and demeaning to myself.

Solution

I choose to review every request for help I get today. I will no longer run myself into the ground for anyone or anything. I will take breaks throughout the day. I am not a puppet, I pull my own strings. Oh, and I rest at the end of the day. Sometimes in between projects too.

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Feeling Insecure & Helpless

One of my best traits is that I am always learning something new, discovering new ways to do my job, developing more skills and increasing my worth. One of the worst things I do is say I can do something before I have mastered the skill. Yup, I do that and it is wrong. This lets people down. I over promise and under deliver.

Solution

I will never overestimate my talent or skills again. I will practice and become better, while only taking on paid projects that I know I can manage and execute.  I will be very careful to accept money for something I am still learning. I commit to asking plenty of questions and never saying I understand something, until I truly do.

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Feeling So, So Scattered

I am the dive right in type and I believe this is a good character trait to have, but I must learn to evaluate the waters before I jump in to the next project or relationship.

Solution

I promise to consider the possibility that I might not have the time to add anything else on my plate. I must have a plan before I attack. I must really look at what needs to be accomplished and not blindly beginning doing the task at hand.

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Feeling Frighteningly Frustrated

Why do I rush? Who is pushing me to move any faster? Is it the warped sense of time that this global interactivity thrusts upon us? Must everything be done in an instant?

Solution

Hell to the hasty and heedless. No more rushing. It is time to calm my heart’s dark waters.  I will take pauses, collect from deep thoughts and breathe deeply through it all. Especially the most difficult projects.

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Feeling Like a Victim

Okay, I will own it. When I am in a lousy state I tend to repel those around me. I bark at people. I speak to them like they are inferior. This in turn has them on the defensive and they return the favor. They bark back.  It becomes one big ugly dog fight.

Solution

I promise to stop taking on the world. Not everything is my problem to solve. I speak my truth more assertively and clearly without dictating or treating others unkindly. Sure I point out the elephant in the room but without embarrassing anyone. I will remember, it pays to be more patient.

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Feeling Super Guilty

Us alpha types, we just like to stay ambitious. We have so much to do – to accomplish. Then soon come the distractions once again. The texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls. The favors asked.  In an endless loop of “I don’t have time for this!” I begin to feel guilty. I get confused about doing the right thing vs doing the “what I want to do thing.” Oh I hate disappointing others.

Solution

I leave room for interruptions. I prioritize helping those that I know need me. I question how important their requests might be. I help by empowering, not by doing it for them. I understand my responsibilities with each role I have in life. Mom, marketer, wife, daughter, writer, creator, friend – while giving my 100% imperfect effort to each role.

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Feeling Scammed

You know, I am a bigger believer in that we know who we should and should not get involved with – but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. We give people second and third chances. We continue to pick the worst friends, business partners, clients. People that let us down.

Solution

I hold my standards higher. I listen to my instinct the first time around and I promise to be realistic about the people I am getting involved with.

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Feeling Sad and Down

Luckily my regression to the mean is happy. Not happy in a ceremonious and demonstrative way, but in a satisfied way. I am not a high maintenance human. I require little to keep me satiated. However, sometimes, when I feel a pity party coming on, I can go places dark.

Solution

Move more and laugh more, while getting out of my own way. I make a thoughtful decision to have more fun with problems.

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A New Definition of a Billionaire (No.6)

True transformation, real personal change, can come from a spark of inspiration or devastating disruption. When you have been so turned on that your Hell Yes becomes your mantra for mind-blowing transformation or when you have dug yourself into such a deep hole that there is no way out but a mandatory intervention of

something has to f😎king change.

That moment that transforms your mind and ignites your soul can be fueled when you follow through with relentless daily discipline and commitment.

Are you ready?

On Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

In order to evolve we must have a deep, deep, deep desire to make the transformation true and we must be committed to doing things differently than we have done before. The danger lies in falling into daily ruts and remaining stifled by how we feel.

We can get comfortably uncomfortable with the false security of rituals and habits that do not serve us well in the long game of life. We trade out comfort for the moment, doing what feels natural and safe, for what might makes us healthier and stronger in the future. It’s the sacrifices and compromises that we don’t want to do now for a stronger and more fulfilled tomorrow.

Boxing Ourselves In

This in turn limits our lives. Boxes us in. We become strangely satisfied with what the day brings and when we stop seeking and searching for improvement we fall into a sleep walking state. A trance that keeps us from improving any further.

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Unraveling our Lives

If you can challenge yourself to become stronger, to feel uncomfortable, to stretch your mind and body, just a little bit every day you can unravel the state you are in.

It begins by waking up, by becoming more aware of the excuses you make for yourself and others, the annoying and recurring problems you have each day. The pain points you drown in another glass of wine or another tasty toke.

Do like those in the program. Clean up your errors. Admit your mistakes. Don’t kid yourself. Apologize and move on.

Facing Frustration

There is something absolutely energizing and almost fun when we begin to agonize over decisions and face our frustrations. Too little money, too much weight, not enough true friends, exhausting tasks at work. There is something empowering that happens to us when we face the frustration and work on each problem one at a time.

Questions

Are you doing the things that are putting you in a position to soar?

Are you preparing yourself for how you will respond when

life destroys your sense of meaning?

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I am currently obsessed with developing a way to bring on an exhilarating neurostorm of enlightenment to the truth and limitless possibilities of this moment and the next.

It is what it isn’t. 

I have zero respect for the status quo, for what is and for what we perceive to be the “truth”, this so-called reality. I  also have distain for the phrase “it is what it is” – so much so, that I banish those that use the phrase from my mind kingdom.

anxiety-and-depression-gemma-correllNo, no, no your reality right now, whatever it may be, is precisely what you have chosen it to be right now. Your reality is what you perceive it to be. Your reality is connected to your attitude and the attitude you have can completely transform whatever situation you are in right now.

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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.”

Read: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Focusing Intently on What You are Becoming

Doing What Feels Natural isn’t Always What’s Best

Sure your habits might feel natural. You might explain your actions as something you just do, but that doesn’t make them good. Trade up your habits in favor of getting rid of what’s “natural” for  you. Eat less sugar, walk a little further, smile a lot more. Raise the stage for something that’s better. Experiment with new ways of naturalness. Upgrade your life.

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Undervaluing & Over Working Yourself to Death

If your frustrated and tired of not making enough money or stressed about how much you give in return for what you get, perhaps it’s time to stop undervaluing and over exerting yourself.

If you were to truly value all the gifts you give to the world, how would your world change? It is one thing to be modest and humble; it is another to have poor , low self-esteem. Do you know the difference?

Sometimes our esteem can be lifted by learning, by becoming more valuable through knowledge to have us become more confident at what we do. Remember, we don’t necessarily get paid for our time, we get paid for the value we bring to the hour.

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Seek, discover and focus on yourself. A winner is someone who recognizes his talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses both to accomplish goals.

Regardless of anything else, always do more than what you get paid for, and do it well. This is not undervaluing. This is doing the right thing and the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Living in Fear

I have a four year degree, but I never paid attention in history class.  It was an online Coursera course with Professor Jeremy Adelman ( Director of the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University) co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of Humankind from Beginnings to the Present that led to a big realization.

We’ve Always Been at War

At first I as astonished at how violent our world history really was – from Genghis Khan to Adolph Hitler. I have come to accept that we have lived in perilous and troublesome times for thousands and thousands of years. Nothing has changed. There will always be disruption, pain, corruption and manipulation. It is how we deal with the pain of living, how we face our fears and obstacles that makes us who we are.

Read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

Worried about your job? The stock market? Your 401K? Your worth is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy. What is your philosophy towards life? How can you improve it?

1. Focus on What You Are Becoming

Some of us can survive (for how long?) as an elemental force of chaos with supernatural charisma, sloppy planning and dumb luck. We make decisions driven by emotional reactions, petulance and paranoia and in turn we make a mess of our lives.

If you are stuck, remember your life is very malleable. The best way out of a problem you have right now is to do your best right now.

Make a decision to set goals – what people do you want to meet, books you want to read, places you want to go, experiences you want to have. . .

If you dare to change, everything will change for you. Adopt a new vision as your truth. When mankind decided we would fly, we flew.

Distort your reality field. Imagine you, only different.

Sure we can all use more money, good friends and less worry. For one day, forget about what you need and focus on what you are becoming.

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2. Ask Better Questions

In the age of smartphones, Google and Quora, answers are a dime a dozen and very easy to find.  Forget about the answers. If you want to solve the bigger problems, ask better questions. Start with “What if . . .”

What if I took that online course? What if I said I was sorry? What if I joined the gym?

3. From Emotional Pain to Physical Embodiment

Don’t be so focused on your work that your ignore signals of your body. Especially stomach issues.

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4. Getting into The Flow State

Supercharging your thoughts is a healthier way to stage yourself for altered states of being.

Get out of the every day. Take on new experiences, new places, new spaces, transcend the ordinary. Rest, relax, seek novel experiences and environments. Disconnect and reconnect with your child-like mind. Rediscover the place of wonderment. Get into a state of unbelievable lucidity. Chase experiences that put you in the zone.

Try it. For one day, give everything you’ve got into everything you do.

5. Plus, Minus, Equal

Find three important people in your life. A mentor, a partner and someone to inspire.

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6. New Definition of Billionaire

Become a billionaire. Someone who positively effects the lives of a billion people.

7. Your Mental Diet

Stand guard at the doorway of your mind. Feed your brain delicious food. A few inspiring books, blogs and people I have been consuming this past week.

Jason Silva’s Seeker a dose of knowledge to help you make sense of what is happening in the world around us.

Steve Job’s 10 Rules for Success.

Why it’s important to always stay a student, Ryan Holiday author of The Ego is the Enemy.

Life advice from the mentor to the masters, Jim Rohn

Wait but why? one of my favorite new blogs. Check out this post on building a mental swiss army knife.

The sky is not the limit, but your mind absolutely is.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a new frontier.

 

 

On Trusting Yourself

tumblr_static_tumblr_static__640Perhaps stumbling through and failing at life sometimes moves us to lose the deep trust in ourselves that we need to thrive.

That loss of self-trust keeps us down, frozen and afraid to move forward.   Perhaps if we raise our “royal minds” and learn again to trust ourselves; no matter how many mistakes we make, as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggests in his essay “Spiritual Laws” we can begin to understand the importance of trusting oneself.

What a man does, that he has. What has he to do with hope or fear? In himself is his might. Let him regard no good as solid but that which is in his nature and which must grow out of him as long as he exists.”

What your heart thinks great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.

Emerson moves me so. If I ever get a dog (which I will one day), I will call him Emerson.

On another random note, after reading Daily Rituals “How Artists Work”, I have added two  new rituals to my day – the act of taking an “air bath” – a walk in the cool air to cleanse my mind after a long day as Ben Franklin did every evening and enjoying a “sun downer” – a glass of wine like Carl Jung.  So fun.

 

 

Shortcuts to Self-Awareness

IMG_3887All the power that we need is within us and will set us free from a life of regret. All unnecessary worry and anguish melts away when we become more self-aware of our strengths and our weaknesses and realize that our greatest moment is the one right in front of us. Our lives become more peaceful and our minds become stronger. Our lives become better when we become more self-aware.

He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson “Self-Reliance

Spend time considering who you are inside. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What makes you happiest?

Do you feel stuck? Unmotivated? Confused? I know in the past I have and this is what helped me become more self-aware and in turn happier and a more effective version of myself.

Uncork your truth. Tell someone how you really feel about life. Share your frustrations and pain. If you know someone who is having a difficult time, create the space for them to share their thoughts. Communicate effectively.

Observe yourself. Video yourself explaining who you are and what you stand for and what you value. Then  watch, learn and listen to yourself. Examine what rings true and what seems false. What might you change about yourself or think about more deeply. Remove the falseness from your speech and heart.

Ask others. Ask  people you respect and trust to share what they think you are great at and what needs improvement. Are they right? Weigh in on the feedback and think about how it will help you grow.

Try stuff. Consider what gets you even slightly excited and try to do more of it. It doesn’t matter what it is – exercise, cooking, writing, drawing, taking photos – if you feel the slightest inclination or curiosity about something, explore it and see where it goes. Self-experiment and do more of what you get lost in and what makes you happiest. Ditch the rest.

Consider the long game. Work backwards in time. Reflect on your  future and inevitable death. Discover what you want to leave behind for future generations to come. What do you want to be remembered for? 

I’d like to be remembered for inspiring others and would love to discover what you want to leave behind. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.