Intelligent Ways to Develop A Deeper Sense of Connection and Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Learn more about the importance of practicing cognitive reframing

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

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

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

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

Daily Victories and Mapping Out a Successful Day

BigMagicFinal_cropped-for-headerMost of you will agree that we can read, listen and study for hours upon end on how to enhance our minds and become 1% better versions of ourselves daily, but the greatest lessons in life are from actual experience. 

Mapping Out a Successful Day

I am a professional list maker and note taker. If I don’t write it down, my wild and creative crazy nine year old inner child takes over and the next thing you know I have 20 projects that I have begun but will probably never finish. This is one of the things that I struggle with daily, so I have decided that as I begin to declutter my life and brain, I will become more mindful of my approach and system to tackling the day.

Listening to an interview with one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear I love the way she handles the creative younger sister in her mind, the one who wants to do everything at once. She calms her down by devoting 15 minutes a day to letting her mind run free and capturing those creative thoughts on index cards and in notebooks – to do later on.   Listen to her interview with Rob Bell here.

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The Morning Journal, Master List and the Top 5 for the Day

As for prioritizing my daily to do list, I have a new approach. I have come to appreciate the wild and creative mind that I have as just an excitable version of me that wants it ALL and that is okay. I love that about me, I just know that I can’t do it ALL right now. So here are my steps/system to making it happen over time.

The Morning Journal

After a five minute gratitude journal moment, I write down my goals and tasks for the day/week/month in Evernote. I love how Evernote is accessible from everywhere – my phone, desktop, tablet and laptop and automatically syncs my lists so they are always updated.

Organizing My Tasks – The Master List

I organize these tasks in three categories: Personal, Work and Creating (writing, photography, making things). I dump everything I want to include in this master list – things like outlining my book, clients I have to call, learning more about social media strategy and tools like Periscope, etc.

My Daily Top Five

I then take a notebook from Muji (love this Japanese store) and write down the Top 5 tasks I will complete for the day – or start for the month. I am sure to include at least one thing from each area of my life to keep it balanced. I prioritize by sense of urgency and importance.

I also use Moleskin note books and Pinterest to help keep track of things that inspiring me throughout the day.

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Recording Daily Activities

Try this with me.  I am now committed to taking an extra 90 seconds a day and recording not only what I have achieved, but how it felt to accomplish the task. This will include my personal and work achievements because I don’t believe any one of my clients is recording my wins. This job journal will come in handy later on when I decide to raise my fees and move towards more.

Organizing Systems

If you love journals and notebooks and have developed a system for creating tasks and documenting wins I would love to hear more about what works for you. Be sure to comment in the section below.

Moleskine_notebooks_GROUP Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Plain, Black, Soft Cover (7.5 x 10) (Classic Notebooks)

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Not just for wandering the world, Midori Traveler’s Notebook Brown Leather (1, 1 LB)

Because inspiration can spark at any time. . .

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Rite in the Rain – Green Tactical Note Book (All Weather)

On your road to greatness, the details make all the difference. Write them down.

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Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Ruled, 5.75 x 8.25 inches (LBL11)

Your Dream Job Come True

SAILING REALAre you like me with a tendency to make life’s problems even harder and more difficult then they need to be? If so, then I challenge you to try a new attitude today.  A new mindset if you will.

As you begin working today ask yourself – How can I make the next task on my list a bit easier. Maybe even fun.

It is a simple idea, that can make your day much more enjoyable.

It’s time to dial back and realize that the daily grind can be re-framed with a lighter, brighter and more playful attitude when you take action to empower your day with ease.

A Few Ideas

  • Be merciful with yourself and others. Forgive someone who has done something ridiculously mean. Seriously, just let it go.
  • Don’t rush it. If you have to, back off a little on the caffeine and let everyone know, realistically how long the work will take. Set easier expectations.
  • Stop overthinking it. Just get it done. Don’t worry about the credit.
  • Do the essential stuff first. Break the task down into smaller steps. Do it over the course of a week, or month.
  • Pause and pay attention to what drives you to think critically and to complain about your work in the first place.
  • Let someone make you laugh. Keep your sense of humor, no matter what.

“Life is not meant to be a series of to-do lists punctuated by eating and sleeping.”

Do you already approach work with a more effortless attitude? If so, share your thoughts here.

Game On

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Today I consider the question that baffles my mind, the question I love to hate most-How do we live our true purpose in life?

I actually considered banning this question from my thoughts, but was inspired this morning with this kind of awesome idea. It goes something like this –

Begin with – guarding our thoughtsThe mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha

First we must carefully protect our minds. Our minds produce thoughts. Our thoughts will become our actions, which if done mindfully, will become our habits and our habits become our destiny.  A possibility of a destiny of greatness. It starts there.

And then – Ask ourselves one very simple question.

Note – in order to find our passion and live with purpose – this question should be asked over and over again, momentarily, daily, weekly – right now.  Especially when we feel confused, lost, disillusioned and worried.

What would the highest version of myself do in this moment? What would the bravest, fearless, strongest, happiest, calmest version of me do right now?

Then, we simply we remain open to the answer. Perhaps it is to apologize, share a kind word, maybe a compassionate hug, an encouraging email. Or perhaps it is the inspiration to go out for a long walk or simply to call a friend. Just do that highest version thing moment after moment and watch your true purpose unfold. Game on.

It is when we live like this that we are living with true purpose and intention. We are living a purpose that is in line with our highest self,  while radiating hope, optimism, gratitude, kindness, creativity, energy, beauty, enthusiasm, courage, diligence, playfulness, patience, persistence and generosity.

Every moment we have a choice, we can step forward into the highest version of ourselves or back into the safe habits of how we were. We bear the choice, to go in one direction or another, backwards or forwards, right now.

Inspired by Brian Johnson’s Philosopher Notes

time1Side note about how we spend our time

Consider the possibilities when we take a moment to spend our time in wonder and awe. To rest in this moment in grateful appreciation for the miracle that it is. To recognize and celebrate as we stop reducing time spent in the form of milestones and achievement.

Inspired by

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom