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3 Decision-Making Mistakes You Should Avoid

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Decision Making

A moment of poor judgment can lead to a lifetime of regret. And who hasn’t made a few undeniably bad decisions? Poor decisions, especially in our youth, seem to be part of the deal.

Yet, some of us march right into adulthood without learning more effective decision-making skills.

In our NLP practitioner course, we routinely ask students to analyze their bad decisions and decipher the pattern behind them.

We train around 350 students every year, so we’ve had lots of opportunities to discover common patterns. Here are three decision-making mistakes that you simply must avoid if you want to make solid decisions.

 

1. Impulsivity

See it. Buy it!

Feels good? Do it!

She says jump. How high?

Impulsive decisions aren’t inherently bad. You can order lunch impulsively and if it turns out to be a bad decision, you’ll get through it.

Marrying someone impulsively, on the other hand, can be a disaster that haunts you forever. Amazingly, the decision to marry is one of the more common impulsive decisions that people report.

Decisions in general, are made through imagery, sounds, and feelings. We see options, discuss them internally (or with someone else) and feel positively or negatively about moving ahead.

Thorough decisions combine all three senses – seeing, hearing and feeling. Impulsive decisions always lack one of these elements. We don’t review all the options. We don’t discuss or we don’t search our feelings.

So, be thorough in your processing and DON’T make impulsive decisions when it counts!

 “One of the most important things that I have learned in my 57 years is that life is all about choices. On every journey you take, you face choices. At every fork in the road, you make a choice. And it is those decisions that shape our lives.” – Mark DeWine

2. Allowing yourself to be persuaded against your better judgment

One lady reported that she came to a very solid decision about purchasing a new car. It looked nice (imagery), but after she drove the car (feeling) she realized that it was too big for her. She didn’t fit in the seats very well and was uncomfortable maneuvering the vehicle. She gave herself a good talking to (sounds) and decided to pass on the vehicle.

Then the salesman joined into her little discussion. An hour later she drove off the lot in her brand new car! Three years later, she has two years left on the loan and regrets the decision every time she gets behind the wheel.

Sometimes we allow the judgment of others to interfere with our own. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when the other has a selfish agenda, it usually is bad!

Don’t allow others with an agenda to hijack your good decisions.

 “Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

3. Cerebral spinning

Or analysis paralysis. In this case, you spin on your thoughts (the images and sounds flowing through your mind) without arriving at the feeling that prompts you to act one way or another.

Our students often describe cerebral spinning as form of inner conflict. On the one hand, this. On the other hand, that. Round and round we go!

Decision Making
 

How do you counter cerebral spinning? Here are three ideas (implement at your own risk):
  • Assume that spinning on thoughts and remaining in conflict means ‘no’. Inner conflict is certainly not a yes. Consider your decision to be no and move on to other things. 
  • Put off your decision for a while. Allow your subconscious processes to do their job. Vow to avoid thinking about it until a certain date and then see where you’re at.
  • Make an assessment of the risks involved in making the decision. What’s at stake? If there is a lot at stake, then pat yourself on the back for taking this decision so seriously. If there is little at stake, then take a small risk!


Imagine making solid, congruent and healthy decisions 99% of the time. What difference would it make in your success?

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Carinne Bird

    May 8, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Thank you Mike for this great post! I like your thought that you should not allow others to persuade or affect your decisions, especially if the results last for a long time Thanks again Mike!

  2. Latoya

    Apr 30, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I only managed to read my mails on a Thursday morning, I’ve never been so determined in my life like the way I feel right now, standing for what I believed in even if I will stand alone its myvvhoice. Thanks a million

  3. Dan Western

    Apr 29, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Hey Mike,

    All three points you’ve made here are very wise, thanks for sharing! These should definitely be avoided by us in order to make the best decisions we can in life. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you.

    Thanks again,

    Dan

  4. Matt Kim

    Apr 29, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Decision making is definitely something to stay mindful about. Cerebral spinning or paralysis is always something to watch out for. I tend to call it confusion, because I’ve found my students refer to the phenomenon by that name. What I tell them: in most cases confusion is an emotional state, not a mental one. Taking time to calm down before tackling difficult decisions or trying to understand complex concepts does wonders to mental function.

    As for the decision making, I highly recommend Robert Cialdini’s “Influence”. Very insightful book on the social factors of decision making.

  5. Mike

    Apr 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Rose – it sounds like you’ve learned something to me! We’ve all been there – impulsive decisions can really hang us up. So, you’re right. Ensuring that you don’t continue is the key…

  6. Rose Costas

    Apr 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I am guilty of making compulsive decisions and have always regret it. Unfortunately I like others haven’t learn anything since our youth. I am working on making sure I do not make those mistakes again.

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Life

You Must Answer This Question in Order to Live a Successful Life

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how to live a successful life
Image Credit: Unsplash

A sobering question that we would all do well to ask ourselves as we continue to strive toward success is this: “What must I have achieved in life, so that when I look back on my life in the last few moments on earth, I’m completely satisfied?”

Yes, this is a deep question, to say the least. But, in my opinion, life really is about deep questions. In sincerely addressing this question, you’ll undoubtedly start to find more clarity about your purpose and life-mission. You may be wondering, “How does one begin to answer a question like this?”

I would suggest that you begin by listing your five most important values. These are the five values that you want to be the guide of your life day to day, and they are also the “eulogy values” you want your life to have represented when you’re no longer living. Every ship needs a rudder, and without these core values firmly in place, you’ll be in danger of being a rudderless ship with no clear direction.

For example, my five most important values are:

  • Integrity
  • Faith
  • Contribution
  • Growth
  • Family

These are the values that I do my very best to use daily to guide my decisions and keep me on track (or in some cases get me back on track). I think we all have a unique set of values that can guide us to understand what we want to achieve during our lifetimes.

Inner character and unique personal values aren’t born overnight, but are built slowly, through a course of purposeful and progressive choices. As the legendary John Wooden said, “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney

Bringing Purpose and Virtue Back into Your Life

While the accolades on your resume might earn you a top seat at a prestigious organization, they will do little or no good for your soul’s purpose. That is to say, unless these accolades help you serve a deeply personal mission that’s in harmony with your core values, your overall impact will not be optimized.

If you can detach yourself from all the noise and clarify your unique core values, you’ll be able to tap into your true purpose and potential. Doing this means you won’t have to live in inner conflict or travel paths that you may later regret. You’ll be able to recognize your weaknesses for what they are, and find ways to overcome them.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to realize your dreams without the inner tension of conflicting goals because you’ll be working from a space of maximum potential, where everything you place as a high priority goal has a purpose that is in-line with your personal mission.

What Does This All Mean?

Researchers have confirmed that striving for a meaningful life is one of the main factors associated with psychological well-being.  But, of course, this begs the question, what exactly are we talking about when we use the word “meaning”? Generally speaking, when people talk about “meaning” in the workplace, for example, they’re discussing enjoyment of the daily tasks, alignment of the work with their personal values and getting fulfillment with the outcomes of the work.

“Define your priorities, know your values and believe in your purpose. Only then can you effectively share yourself with others.” – Les Brown

In general, it appears that four main factors have been tightly associated with “meaning.”

  • The first factor is enthusiasm. Research shows that enthusiasm is independently linked with life satisfaction, personal growth, positive emotions, purpose in life, meaning, and achievement.
  • The second factor linked to meaning is connection. In fact, social relationships, especially with those closest to us, are the most frequently reported sources of meaning in life. In everyday life, high performers also heavily value being around inspiring people who push them to grow more than, say, people who are just fun to be around.
  • The third association with meaning is related to satisfaction. Essentially, if what we’re doing creates a sense of personal satisfaction, we tend to feel that life is more meaningful. In addition, when our efforts correspond to one of our passions, this leads to personal growth, and/or making a positive contribution to the lives of others, as we tend to feel these efforts are satisfying.
  • Fourth, and perhaps most important to the concept of meaning, is coherence. The idea is that our efforts bring meaning if they “make sense” in the context of our lives. We want to know that our work is in alignment with something important and significant, and that it is serving some larger purpose. Coherence is particularly crucial to high achievers.

The key takeaway about meaning is that to perform at high levels, we must each focus in on cutting down on distraction and busyness, and focus on ramping up our efforts to finding and doing work that is most meaningful to us.

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Life

Attitude Is Everything: A Positive Mindset Always Brings Fortune

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Have you ever had a day when nothing went right? It usually starts with missing the tube to work, and hundreds of emails waiting to be sorted once you reach your office, and the day ends with a bitter fight with your best friend. Days like these can make you wish you could quit it all and camp out in the mountains, and it is understandable if you have this feeling too frequently.

The fast-paced lifestyle and digital era often pushes us to maintain a cheerful facade on social media. What we keep forgetting amid all this is that inner well-being is crucial for attaining happiness, and no amount of social media validation can get you that.

Here’s a look into what keeps us from being happy in life, and what we should be doing to bring  a positive change for the same.

21st century and our daily dismays

Social media likes and comments on that new car you purchased is not what life is about. The sooner we realise it, the better it is for our mental health. The following day-to-day issues deter us from focusing on what’s most vital: our happiness.

  • Worrying (about almost everything)
  • Arguments (out loud and in our minds)
  • Criticism (resulting in self-doubt)
  • Fears (stemming from insecurities)
  • Complaints (venting out exasperations)
  • Envy (for our fixation with material happiness)
  • Apathy (distorting our perceptions)

The dark abyss of depression does not do any good, and may eat into all your potential and self-confidence. Shed negative thoughts and turn up that positive attitude a few notches to tackle life in style!

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” – Wade Boggs

Every ounce of positivity counts

A positive attitude helps you hold on to your mental well-being, and it starts with conscious action on your part. Bring the following positive changes in your life that lets you tackle the adversities in style and fortifies your inner being.

Take that first step

If you keep drifting off to that fort you have built inside your mind listlessly, maybe the time has come for you to do something about it. Recognising the signs of negative aspects and their effects on your well-being early on is essential. Take a few days off and think about your next plan of action to turn the tables in your favour, once again.

Find your tailor-made coping mechanism

Everyone has their own way of coping with problems in life. In fact, we are socially trained from childhood to choose a way to deal with negativity. Design your own way of coping with daily stress and disappointments. Here are a few pointers on how to start:

  • Your go-to playlist
  • Deep breathing and yoga
  • Stress-buster balls and fidget spinners
  • Adult colouring books
  • Chanting lessons

Staying occupied actually helps

They say curling up in a ball on the floor, nursing a tub of ice cream is the ideal way to will the gloomy days away. However, keeping yourself occupied can be a more effective way of healing. Pick up a fascinating hobby, redecorate your room, clean out that shed you have meant to for quite some months now, and you will be surprised at the positive effects. If you don’t know where to start, try consulting YouTube DIY projects for starters.

Start and end your day with a smile

It takes conscious action to make it happen, and the first few days may seem pretty hard. Seemingly mundane things like smiling at children or strangers on your way to work or helping an old lady with her shopping bags have the power to make your day. Read a book before going to bed or call up that old friend, and end each day on a positive note.

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye

Remember: it is okay to have bad days

Despite trying your best to stay positive, there will be soul-crushing days when getting out of bed to take a bath may seem like an uphill task. First of all, you have got to accept that you are not in a condition to go about your daily activities on such days. Take a day off from work and other responsibilities, and focus on healing yourself instead.

Learn to love yourself

Buy that dress you were eyeing the other day, order from that favourite Italian joint a few blocks away, for you deserve it all. No matter how many people try to bring you down, no matter how much criticism you face for your lifestyle choices, do not let them get to you. Your life is yours at the end of the day, and if that means going on that solo trip or getting your nails done, go for it, by all means!

Bet you did not know that days that start off bad are actually the best for treating yourself to that Chinese place they opened around the corner or hitting the theatres to catch the latest blockbuster? Well, now you do.

The power to change things lies solely with you, and after you are done taking blows from a bad phase, go face life with a renewed zeal! Staying positive does not hurt and is sure to bring success and happiness your way once you start acting upon the positive notes in your life. More power to you!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Secrets That Will Make You More Creative After Your Morning Coffee

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creativity
Image Credit: Unsplash

Does a cup of something warm get your day off to a flying start? Coffee is more popular than ever before and in the U.S. alone an estimated 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day. That’s 146 billion over the course of a year! For many of us across the world, our first thought upon waking is of coffee. It’s the perfect ritual to freshen up, shake off the remnants of sleep, and get the creative juices flowing.

Some people will head to their local coffee shop, others will use a machine in their home and after that first sip the ball is well and truly rolling. They sit at their computer, browse through their emails, and catch up with what’s going on in the world. Then… nothing. This happens sometimes. We’ve all felt it: despite the coffee we can’t quite get into the rhythm of the day and the motivation or energy that we need doesn’t quite come.

But there’s nothing to worry about! There are scientifically-proven methods to get your creativity flowing and you’ll find five of these secrets below:

1. Stretch those legs and go for a stroll

Do your surroundings feel all too familiar? The dull office walls, the habitual conversations, the same digital routines… It can all get a bit too much and this saps your creativity. This is why it’s great to get outside and take a walk.

Studies have shown that even a short stroll can boost a person’s creativity. A study from Stanford University found that the creative output for a person can increase by an average of 60 percent while they’re walking! You’ll feel calmer, your mind will relax, and you’ll think more freely.

It’s no wonder that so many visionaries and creative powerhouses have done this intuitively in the past. Steve Jobs was known to walk while thinking over problems, while Immanuel Kant is remembered just as much for his punctual walking sessions as his ideas.

2. Stop working in that awkward silence

The gentle hum of a computer. The droning of air conditioning units. The gentle tapping of keys. The clicking of mice. Against a silent backdrop these sounds are enough to make a person go wild and studies have demonstrated that silence actually saps our creativity.

Ambient noise can aid in creative cognition and improve our performance on creative tasks, so you should seek it out. Sneak out to a Starbucks or another coffee place to find the perfect background noise that can help you to get lost in your work and pursue new avenues of thought.

The study, which appeared in the Journey of Consumer Research, is a fascinating one and it explains the way that moderate sound assists us in creative tasks. Nonetheless, be careful not to overdo it because the same study found that any sound over 85 decibels actually hinders rather than helps our creativity and it can be even worse than silence!

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakaura

3. Get out of that office building and escape into nature

Being indoors can actually damage our creativity, too. Research from the University of Kansas has discovered that indoor environments and all that they bring – distractions, emails, notifications, people – means that our attention is divided across a huge range of sources and monitoring them reduces our capacity for creative and positive thought.

The solution to this is to go beyond the watercooler on your stroll. If you can find the time to get out of the office each day and into a natural environment your creativity, insights, and problem solving abilities will feel a big boost. In fact, the study demonstrates that participants witnessed a 50% boost in creativity after being outdoors for extended periods.

You should give it a try!  Experiment for a week and see how your work is affected by the exposure to fresh air and organic material. There’s a great line from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire which sums this up: “Move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass.”

4. Don’t force it – let your mind wander

Getting stuck on an idea is a horrible feeling that feels like a physical barrier. Sometimes, moving past it seems to be impossible. It’s the same with trying to kindle creativity in the morning when you’re just not feeling it. It’s like trying to wrestle your way out of quicksand: the harder you struggle the deeper you fall and you just become more stuck.

Distractions and daydreaming seem like intrusions at these times but research has shown they can actually help us with our problem solving. Every person daydreams almost constantly and many of these are found to be “generated from representations that are based on information from memory.”

When you find yourself frustrated distract yourself with something silly or non-productive rather than throwing yourself at the problem again and again. The natural flows and rhythms of your thoughts might throw up a solution and present you with another path to take toward solving your problem.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” – Roman Payne

5. Find the right beat for your thoughts to bounce

Do you listen to music while you work? What genre? Chilled trip-hop beats? Classical music? Pop? Everyone has a different type of music that they prefer and that music has the potential to influence their emotions.

It comes as no surprise that the way we feel affects the way that we think, so music is a powerful tool that we can use to intentionally influence our thought processes. Studies have discovered that when we are happy our divergent thinking abilities are improved.

That’s right… it’s time for you to put together a dreadfully happy Spotify playlist. Those sweet pop songs can facilitate creative cognition to get your creative juices flowing. The research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research so it’s all true: start building your happy playlist as soon as possible!

Coffee tastes great and helps to get us energized, but these techniques are scientifically proven to give us the creative boosts when we need them the most. Best of all, they can be mixed and matched. Consider putting on your playlist during your afternoon stroll in the park and letting your daydreams flow. Who knows what incredibly creative things you may come up with!

How do you get your creative juices flowing? Let us know your tips below!

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Life

An In-Depth Guide of the Law of Attraction and How It Can Work for You

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law of attraction
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

The book and documentary, The Secret, has pushed the Law of Attraction into the spotlight for millions of people. To some, the concept is full of suspicion, but to others—including myself—the value is clearly seen and their lives have been forever changed.

Through its practice, the path to success seems to unfold like a cosmic red carpet. In its violation, the doors to one’s dreams seem to shut tight. So, how does one explain how the Law of Attraction works, and how it helps you on your journey to success?

The Universe and Reality As We Know It

The universe reflects back to us the basic vibrations that we emit. By vibration, I mean the frequency of our thoughts, feelings, and overall mood. The concept is fairly intuitive to understand as we readily pick up on the positive or negative “vibes” of people around us. Thoughts and feelings are things that emit an energy that we can feel.

If my thoughts are generally negative then the universe tends to confirm my version of reality by giving me more circumstances like it. If I dwell on positive and empowering thoughts and maintain an upbeat attitude, the universe will affirm that reality as well.

What we call the universe is, as Deepak Chopra defines it, a place of pure potential. Dr. Wayne Dyer considers it as a field of intention. Making sure that reality is directed and confirmed, in other words—the act of creation—is its paramount purpose.

In this, it is also objective; so much so that it resembles a machine in its operation. All it knows to do is to respond to the energy (the language of the universe) that it is given and shape reality from that input.

“The ‘Law of Attraction’ simply states: ‘What you think about, you bring about.’ Whatever you focus on will expand and attract more of the same. Whatever you are putting out there is usually what you are getting back. So, if you don’t like what you’re getting, you’ve got to change what you are giving.” – Susan C. Young

This tendency can work for us or against us. When we wake up on the wrong side of the bed or sleep in too late, we start the day off on a bad foot. Our thoughts will be inclined to be negative and our mood sour. When we think and feel in this manner, we set a poor vibration for the day and the universe will obediently bring us more of the same to confirm our reality.

Fortunately, it can also work in our favor. If we can deliberately hold positive, empowering, and expectant thoughts—and raise the frequency of our vibration to the upper echelons—we will undoubtedly experience more of the same.

The Actions of Universal Law

When we say that something is universal law we mean that it applies everywhere and at all times. As such, the Law of Attraction, like the law of gravity, is always in effect.

There is never a time that the law of attraction is not in operation. Even in our ignorance of it or even if we wish it would stop altogether, it can’t. It is faithful, through all of eternity and certainly for the duration of our lives, to function in its full effect.

Similarly, it is valid everywhere. Even if we fly to the moons of Jupiter, the law of gravity will be in operation as will the Law of Attraction. Negative thoughts and a poor mood will always draw more of the same no matter where in the universe we are.

As touched on earlier, this universality also means that the law is objective. It doesn’t matter who is involved, whether the vibration is high or low, or even if a person is aware or ignorant of its effects, the law will always operate and reflect back to us more of what we are. It’s the only way the universe knows how to expand.

Implementing The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is based on cause and effect. Because it is a law, it produces a result based on an initiating cause. For instance, with the law of gravity, when we drop an apple (the cause) it rushes to meet the earth (the effect). It will continue to do so unless another force or surface intervenes.

For the Law of Attraction, the initiating cause is the set-point of our vibration. As we move into higher states of frequency based on our thoughts and mood, we will always release into motion a chain of events that seeks equilibrium. The universe must realign with and confirm our vibration just like the earth must draw the apple when our hand releases it.

“Like attracts like. You have to understand: you are a magnet. Whatever you are, that’s what you draw to you. If you’re negative, you’re going to draw negativity. You positive? You draw positive. You’re a kind person? Most people are kind to you…’If you see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.’ This is so true.” Steve Harvey

The implications for understanding the Law of Attraction are life-changing. At any time, at any place, and under any circumstances, we can deliberately improve our situation with nothing more than our thoughts, attitudes, and empowered beliefs. Any time we raise our energy vibration the universe must respond.

Take-Away

The Law of Attraction is powerful and universal. Even in our ignorance of the law, it operates for or against you. Fortunately, it is possible for anyone to become aware of its operation and gain skill in its application.

Begin to raise your vibration in terms of your thoughts and attitudes and the law must respond to affirm your reality. No matter how bleak your current situation, it can all be turned around by improving your frequency.

This understanding is empowering and puts you in the driver’s seat for creating a more optimistic future. In fact, the empowerment that you feel as you come to understand the law’s effect can kick-start the law in a powerful way.

With practice and improved expertise you will be able to attract into your life, whether for business or personal reasons, the things, resources, and circumstances needed to realize your purpose or bring you greater fulfillment.

If this has helped to explain the Law of Attraction to you or if you have personally experienced the powerful effects of the Law of Attraction please comment below and share that others may also improve their lives and find greater success!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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35 Quotes to Inspire You to Live a Life of Contribution

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contribution quotes

Contribution is defined as something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people or to help make something successful. May these quotes inspire you to make a positive contribution to the world so that you may help advance humanity to a greater level. (more…)

Asad Meah is the CEO & Founder of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin. He is a dreamchaser who has gained a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship and personal development over the past five years through self-education. His mission is to inspire millions of people to become entrepreneurs by awakening their minds to their greatness that resides within them. Check out his book on Amazon that will help you Awaken so that you may live your dreams!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Carinne Bird

    May 8, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Thank you Mike for this great post! I like your thought that you should not allow others to persuade or affect your decisions, especially if the results last for a long time Thanks again Mike!

  2. Latoya

    Apr 30, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I only managed to read my mails on a Thursday morning, I’ve never been so determined in my life like the way I feel right now, standing for what I believed in even if I will stand alone its myvvhoice. Thanks a million

  3. Dan Western

    Apr 29, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Hey Mike,

    All three points you’ve made here are very wise, thanks for sharing! These should definitely be avoided by us in order to make the best decisions we can in life. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you.

    Thanks again,

    Dan

  4. Matt Kim

    Apr 29, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Decision making is definitely something to stay mindful about. Cerebral spinning or paralysis is always something to watch out for. I tend to call it confusion, because I’ve found my students refer to the phenomenon by that name. What I tell them: in most cases confusion is an emotional state, not a mental one. Taking time to calm down before tackling difficult decisions or trying to understand complex concepts does wonders to mental function.

    As for the decision making, I highly recommend Robert Cialdini’s “Influence”. Very insightful book on the social factors of decision making.

  5. Mike

    Apr 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Rose – it sounds like you’ve learned something to me! We’ve all been there – impulsive decisions can really hang us up. So, you’re right. Ensuring that you don’t continue is the key…

  6. Rose Costas

    Apr 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I am guilty of making compulsive decisions and have always regret it. Unfortunately I like others haven’t learn anything since our youth. I am working on making sure I do not make those mistakes again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

You Must Answer This Question in Order to Live a Successful Life

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how to live a successful life
Image Credit: Unsplash

A sobering question that we would all do well to ask ourselves as we continue to strive toward success is this: “What must I have achieved in life, so that when I look back on my life in the last few moments on earth, I’m completely satisfied?”

Yes, this is a deep question, to say the least. But, in my opinion, life really is about deep questions. In sincerely addressing this question, you’ll undoubtedly start to find more clarity about your purpose and life-mission. You may be wondering, “How does one begin to answer a question like this?”

I would suggest that you begin by listing your five most important values. These are the five values that you want to be the guide of your life day to day, and they are also the “eulogy values” you want your life to have represented when you’re no longer living. Every ship needs a rudder, and without these core values firmly in place, you’ll be in danger of being a rudderless ship with no clear direction.

For example, my five most important values are:

  • Integrity
  • Faith
  • Contribution
  • Growth
  • Family

These are the values that I do my very best to use daily to guide my decisions and keep me on track (or in some cases get me back on track). I think we all have a unique set of values that can guide us to understand what we want to achieve during our lifetimes.

Inner character and unique personal values aren’t born overnight, but are built slowly, through a course of purposeful and progressive choices. As the legendary John Wooden said, “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney

Bringing Purpose and Virtue Back into Your Life

While the accolades on your resume might earn you a top seat at a prestigious organization, they will do little or no good for your soul’s purpose. That is to say, unless these accolades help you serve a deeply personal mission that’s in harmony with your core values, your overall impact will not be optimized.

If you can detach yourself from all the noise and clarify your unique core values, you’ll be able to tap into your true purpose and potential. Doing this means you won’t have to live in inner conflict or travel paths that you may later regret. You’ll be able to recognize your weaknesses for what they are, and find ways to overcome them.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to realize your dreams without the inner tension of conflicting goals because you’ll be working from a space of maximum potential, where everything you place as a high priority goal has a purpose that is in-line with your personal mission.

What Does This All Mean?

Researchers have confirmed that striving for a meaningful life is one of the main factors associated with psychological well-being.  But, of course, this begs the question, what exactly are we talking about when we use the word “meaning”? Generally speaking, when people talk about “meaning” in the workplace, for example, they’re discussing enjoyment of the daily tasks, alignment of the work with their personal values and getting fulfillment with the outcomes of the work.

“Define your priorities, know your values and believe in your purpose. Only then can you effectively share yourself with others.” – Les Brown

In general, it appears that four main factors have been tightly associated with “meaning.”

  • The first factor is enthusiasm. Research shows that enthusiasm is independently linked with life satisfaction, personal growth, positive emotions, purpose in life, meaning, and achievement.
  • The second factor linked to meaning is connection. In fact, social relationships, especially with those closest to us, are the most frequently reported sources of meaning in life. In everyday life, high performers also heavily value being around inspiring people who push them to grow more than, say, people who are just fun to be around.
  • The third association with meaning is related to satisfaction. Essentially, if what we’re doing creates a sense of personal satisfaction, we tend to feel that life is more meaningful. In addition, when our efforts correspond to one of our passions, this leads to personal growth, and/or making a positive contribution to the lives of others, as we tend to feel these efforts are satisfying.
  • Fourth, and perhaps most important to the concept of meaning, is coherence. The idea is that our efforts bring meaning if they “make sense” in the context of our lives. We want to know that our work is in alignment with something important and significant, and that it is serving some larger purpose. Coherence is particularly crucial to high achievers.

The key takeaway about meaning is that to perform at high levels, we must each focus in on cutting down on distraction and busyness, and focus on ramping up our efforts to finding and doing work that is most meaningful to us.

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Life

Attitude Is Everything: A Positive Mindset Always Brings Fortune

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Have you ever had a day when nothing went right? It usually starts with missing the tube to work, and hundreds of emails waiting to be sorted once you reach your office, and the day ends with a bitter fight with your best friend. Days like these can make you wish you could quit it all and camp out in the mountains, and it is understandable if you have this feeling too frequently.

The fast-paced lifestyle and digital era often pushes us to maintain a cheerful facade on social media. What we keep forgetting amid all this is that inner well-being is crucial for attaining happiness, and no amount of social media validation can get you that.

Here’s a look into what keeps us from being happy in life, and what we should be doing to bring  a positive change for the same.

21st century and our daily dismays

Social media likes and comments on that new car you purchased is not what life is about. The sooner we realise it, the better it is for our mental health. The following day-to-day issues deter us from focusing on what’s most vital: our happiness.

  • Worrying (about almost everything)
  • Arguments (out loud and in our minds)
  • Criticism (resulting in self-doubt)
  • Fears (stemming from insecurities)
  • Complaints (venting out exasperations)
  • Envy (for our fixation with material happiness)
  • Apathy (distorting our perceptions)

The dark abyss of depression does not do any good, and may eat into all your potential and self-confidence. Shed negative thoughts and turn up that positive attitude a few notches to tackle life in style!

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” – Wade Boggs

Every ounce of positivity counts

A positive attitude helps you hold on to your mental well-being, and it starts with conscious action on your part. Bring the following positive changes in your life that lets you tackle the adversities in style and fortifies your inner being.

Take that first step

If you keep drifting off to that fort you have built inside your mind listlessly, maybe the time has come for you to do something about it. Recognising the signs of negative aspects and their effects on your well-being early on is essential. Take a few days off and think about your next plan of action to turn the tables in your favour, once again.

Find your tailor-made coping mechanism

Everyone has their own way of coping with problems in life. In fact, we are socially trained from childhood to choose a way to deal with negativity. Design your own way of coping with daily stress and disappointments. Here are a few pointers on how to start:

  • Your go-to playlist
  • Deep breathing and yoga
  • Stress-buster balls and fidget spinners
  • Adult colouring books
  • Chanting lessons

Staying occupied actually helps

They say curling up in a ball on the floor, nursing a tub of ice cream is the ideal way to will the gloomy days away. However, keeping yourself occupied can be a more effective way of healing. Pick up a fascinating hobby, redecorate your room, clean out that shed you have meant to for quite some months now, and you will be surprised at the positive effects. If you don’t know where to start, try consulting YouTube DIY projects for starters.

Start and end your day with a smile

It takes conscious action to make it happen, and the first few days may seem pretty hard. Seemingly mundane things like smiling at children or strangers on your way to work or helping an old lady with her shopping bags have the power to make your day. Read a book before going to bed or call up that old friend, and end each day on a positive note.

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye

Remember: it is okay to have bad days

Despite trying your best to stay positive, there will be soul-crushing days when getting out of bed to take a bath may seem like an uphill task. First of all, you have got to accept that you are not in a condition to go about your daily activities on such days. Take a day off from work and other responsibilities, and focus on healing yourself instead.

Learn to love yourself

Buy that dress you were eyeing the other day, order from that favourite Italian joint a few blocks away, for you deserve it all. No matter how many people try to bring you down, no matter how much criticism you face for your lifestyle choices, do not let them get to you. Your life is yours at the end of the day, and if that means going on that solo trip or getting your nails done, go for it, by all means!

Bet you did not know that days that start off bad are actually the best for treating yourself to that Chinese place they opened around the corner or hitting the theatres to catch the latest blockbuster? Well, now you do.

The power to change things lies solely with you, and after you are done taking blows from a bad phase, go face life with a renewed zeal! Staying positive does not hurt and is sure to bring success and happiness your way once you start acting upon the positive notes in your life. More power to you!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Secrets That Will Make You More Creative After Your Morning Coffee

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Does a cup of something warm get your day off to a flying start? Coffee is more popular than ever before and in the U.S. alone an estimated 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day. That’s 146 billion over the course of a year! For many of us across the world, our first thought upon waking is of coffee. It’s the perfect ritual to freshen up, shake off the remnants of sleep, and get the creative juices flowing.

Some people will head to their local coffee shop, others will use a machine in their home and after that first sip the ball is well and truly rolling. They sit at their computer, browse through their emails, and catch up with what’s going on in the world. Then… nothing. This happens sometimes. We’ve all felt it: despite the coffee we can’t quite get into the rhythm of the day and the motivation or energy that we need doesn’t quite come.

But there’s nothing to worry about! There are scientifically-proven methods to get your creativity flowing and you’ll find five of these secrets below:

1. Stretch those legs and go for a stroll

Do your surroundings feel all too familiar? The dull office walls, the habitual conversations, the same digital routines… It can all get a bit too much and this saps your creativity. This is why it’s great to get outside and take a walk.

Studies have shown that even a short stroll can boost a person’s creativity. A study from Stanford University found that the creative output for a person can increase by an average of 60 percent while they’re walking! You’ll feel calmer, your mind will relax, and you’ll think more freely.

It’s no wonder that so many visionaries and creative powerhouses have done this intuitively in the past. Steve Jobs was known to walk while thinking over problems, while Immanuel Kant is remembered just as much for his punctual walking sessions as his ideas.

2. Stop working in that awkward silence

The gentle hum of a computer. The droning of air conditioning units. The gentle tapping of keys. The clicking of mice. Against a silent backdrop these sounds are enough to make a person go wild and studies have demonstrated that silence actually saps our creativity.

Ambient noise can aid in creative cognition and improve our performance on creative tasks, so you should seek it out. Sneak out to a Starbucks or another coffee place to find the perfect background noise that can help you to get lost in your work and pursue new avenues of thought.

The study, which appeared in the Journey of Consumer Research, is a fascinating one and it explains the way that moderate sound assists us in creative tasks. Nonetheless, be careful not to overdo it because the same study found that any sound over 85 decibels actually hinders rather than helps our creativity and it can be even worse than silence!

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakaura

3. Get out of that office building and escape into nature

Being indoors can actually damage our creativity, too. Research from the University of Kansas has discovered that indoor environments and all that they bring – distractions, emails, notifications, people – means that our attention is divided across a huge range of sources and monitoring them reduces our capacity for creative and positive thought.

The solution to this is to go beyond the watercooler on your stroll. If you can find the time to get out of the office each day and into a natural environment your creativity, insights, and problem solving abilities will feel a big boost. In fact, the study demonstrates that participants witnessed a 50% boost in creativity after being outdoors for extended periods.

You should give it a try!  Experiment for a week and see how your work is affected by the exposure to fresh air and organic material. There’s a great line from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire which sums this up: “Move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass.”

4. Don’t force it – let your mind wander

Getting stuck on an idea is a horrible feeling that feels like a physical barrier. Sometimes, moving past it seems to be impossible. It’s the same with trying to kindle creativity in the morning when you’re just not feeling it. It’s like trying to wrestle your way out of quicksand: the harder you struggle the deeper you fall and you just become more stuck.

Distractions and daydreaming seem like intrusions at these times but research has shown they can actually help us with our problem solving. Every person daydreams almost constantly and many of these are found to be “generated from representations that are based on information from memory.”

When you find yourself frustrated distract yourself with something silly or non-productive rather than throwing yourself at the problem again and again. The natural flows and rhythms of your thoughts might throw up a solution and present you with another path to take toward solving your problem.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” – Roman Payne

5. Find the right beat for your thoughts to bounce

Do you listen to music while you work? What genre? Chilled trip-hop beats? Classical music? Pop? Everyone has a different type of music that they prefer and that music has the potential to influence their emotions.

It comes as no surprise that the way we feel affects the way that we think, so music is a powerful tool that we can use to intentionally influence our thought processes. Studies have discovered that when we are happy our divergent thinking abilities are improved.

That’s right… it’s time for you to put together a dreadfully happy Spotify playlist. Those sweet pop songs can facilitate creative cognition to get your creative juices flowing. The research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research so it’s all true: start building your happy playlist as soon as possible!

Coffee tastes great and helps to get us energized, but these techniques are scientifically proven to give us the creative boosts when we need them the most. Best of all, they can be mixed and matched. Consider putting on your playlist during your afternoon stroll in the park and letting your daydreams flow. Who knows what incredibly creative things you may come up with!

How do you get your creative juices flowing? Let us know your tips below!

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An In-Depth Guide of the Law of Attraction and How It Can Work for You

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The book and documentary, The Secret, has pushed the Law of Attraction into the spotlight for millions of people. To some, the concept is full of suspicion, but to others—including myself—the value is clearly seen and their lives have been forever changed.

Through its practice, the path to success seems to unfold like a cosmic red carpet. In its violation, the doors to one’s dreams seem to shut tight. So, how does one explain how the Law of Attraction works, and how it helps you on your journey to success?

The Universe and Reality As We Know It

The universe reflects back to us the basic vibrations that we emit. By vibration, I mean the frequency of our thoughts, feelings, and overall mood. The concept is fairly intuitive to understand as we readily pick up on the positive or negative “vibes” of people around us. Thoughts and feelings are things that emit an energy that we can feel.

If my thoughts are generally negative then the universe tends to confirm my version of reality by giving me more circumstances like it. If I dwell on positive and empowering thoughts and maintain an upbeat attitude, the universe will affirm that reality as well.

What we call the universe is, as Deepak Chopra defines it, a place of pure potential. Dr. Wayne Dyer considers it as a field of intention. Making sure that reality is directed and confirmed, in other words—the act of creation—is its paramount purpose.

In this, it is also objective; so much so that it resembles a machine in its operation. All it knows to do is to respond to the energy (the language of the universe) that it is given and shape reality from that input.

“The ‘Law of Attraction’ simply states: ‘What you think about, you bring about.’ Whatever you focus on will expand and attract more of the same. Whatever you are putting out there is usually what you are getting back. So, if you don’t like what you’re getting, you’ve got to change what you are giving.” – Susan C. Young

This tendency can work for us or against us. When we wake up on the wrong side of the bed or sleep in too late, we start the day off on a bad foot. Our thoughts will be inclined to be negative and our mood sour. When we think and feel in this manner, we set a poor vibration for the day and the universe will obediently bring us more of the same to confirm our reality.

Fortunately, it can also work in our favor. If we can deliberately hold positive, empowering, and expectant thoughts—and raise the frequency of our vibration to the upper echelons—we will undoubtedly experience more of the same.

The Actions of Universal Law

When we say that something is universal law we mean that it applies everywhere and at all times. As such, the Law of Attraction, like the law of gravity, is always in effect.

There is never a time that the law of attraction is not in operation. Even in our ignorance of it or even if we wish it would stop altogether, it can’t. It is faithful, through all of eternity and certainly for the duration of our lives, to function in its full effect.

Similarly, it is valid everywhere. Even if we fly to the moons of Jupiter, the law of gravity will be in operation as will the Law of Attraction. Negative thoughts and a poor mood will always draw more of the same no matter where in the universe we are.

As touched on earlier, this universality also means that the law is objective. It doesn’t matter who is involved, whether the vibration is high or low, or even if a person is aware or ignorant of its effects, the law will always operate and reflect back to us more of what we are. It’s the only way the universe knows how to expand.

Implementing The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is based on cause and effect. Because it is a law, it produces a result based on an initiating cause. For instance, with the law of gravity, when we drop an apple (the cause) it rushes to meet the earth (the effect). It will continue to do so unless another force or surface intervenes.

For the Law of Attraction, the initiating cause is the set-point of our vibration. As we move into higher states of frequency based on our thoughts and mood, we will always release into motion a chain of events that seeks equilibrium. The universe must realign with and confirm our vibration just like the earth must draw the apple when our hand releases it.

“Like attracts like. You have to understand: you are a magnet. Whatever you are, that’s what you draw to you. If you’re negative, you’re going to draw negativity. You positive? You draw positive. You’re a kind person? Most people are kind to you…’If you see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.’ This is so true.” Steve Harvey

The implications for understanding the Law of Attraction are life-changing. At any time, at any place, and under any circumstances, we can deliberately improve our situation with nothing more than our thoughts, attitudes, and empowered beliefs. Any time we raise our energy vibration the universe must respond.

Take-Away

The Law of Attraction is powerful and universal. Even in our ignorance of the law, it operates for or against you. Fortunately, it is possible for anyone to become aware of its operation and gain skill in its application.

Begin to raise your vibration in terms of your thoughts and attitudes and the law must respond to affirm your reality. No matter how bleak your current situation, it can all be turned around by improving your frequency.

This understanding is empowering and puts you in the driver’s seat for creating a more optimistic future. In fact, the empowerment that you feel as you come to understand the law’s effect can kick-start the law in a powerful way.

With practice and improved expertise you will be able to attract into your life, whether for business or personal reasons, the things, resources, and circumstances needed to realize your purpose or bring you greater fulfillment.

If this has helped to explain the Law of Attraction to you or if you have personally experienced the powerful effects of the Law of Attraction please comment below and share that others may also improve their lives and find greater success!

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