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Does Life Truly Begin at 40? 6 Things I Realized at Age 39

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Does life begin at 40

They say life begins at forty, the age we aspire to start living the good life.  I am sure many people create bucket lists of things to accomplish before 40 – the milestone age.  Before my fortieth birthday I researched the recommended things I should do before I turn forty and here are some of the things I discovered on the list:

  • Swim with sharks
  • Get married
  • Dance naked in the rain
  • Learn to drive
  • Read the whole bible
  • Chat up a stranger in a bar
  • See your favorite band live
  • Put the bin out in one’s undies
  • Travel around the world

There are a few things on the ‘before you turn 40’ bucket list you probably have done, which became some of your best life experiences.

Bucket lists are well and good, and I love the fun ones the most. But what happens if life does not begin at forty?  When plans fall apart and you are left in limbo trying to restart your life again, what do you do?  Well, you create a new story.

When redundancy struck at 39, here are some of the life lessons I learnt when I emerged from my pity party:

1. Life Is Happening Now

One of the greatest lessons I learnt during that time of reflection was this famous quote credited to Allen Saunders “life happens when you are busy making other plans.”  I learnt the hard way that you cannot wait for your life to be perfect before you start living your dreams.  Life is happening now, and you should embrace all that life has to offer you in the present – not wait for the future before you start to ‘live’.  

2. Explore Your Talent

Whether you are 20, 30 or 55, life is happening right now, so putting off what you can with your talent until you reach your milestone age may not serve you well. I learnt many lessons during that time of unemployment and the greatest one was to never limit my talent to a job description or what people say you can or can’t do. There are limitless opportunities waiting for you and your talent, if you can take the bold step to venture out of your comfort zone.

“Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on the unfairness of past hurts.” – Nick Vujicic

3. You Have A Choice

One of the most common excuses we hear when people fall into trouble is “I did not have a choice.”  There is always a choice, and there is always another way. The question is not whether we have a choice but if we are willing to explore the options presented to us at the time.  If we have not trained our minds to distinguish between positive and negative information, most likely the wrong choice will be embraced as emotions get the better of us.  

There are so many factors that contribute to the choices we make, finances being one of the key contributors. When I decided that money was a tool and not my end goal, my eyes were opened to many more opportunities in life.

4. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It is so easy to confine our abilities to our comfort zone especially if we have been in the same employment or business for many years.  I understand that starting a business may not be for everyone, but packaging the components of our passion is the prerequisite for living a fulfilled life. How would you feel if you were able to merge what you love with your work and make it your lifestyle? Just think of how great and fulfilling that would be. When you decide to explore that talent within you, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish with what you have.

5. Do What You Are Passionate About

This is a quote I created for myself, “your genius zone is the place of your passion, purpose and profit.” Are you doing what you are passionate about or have you resigned yourself to a regular way of life?  After my epiphany at 39, I realised that if I wanted to live a fulfilled life I have to package my passion and find the best way to get paid for it. This thought could make the difference in your life to save you from a life of drudgery and give birth to the solutions that the world needs.    

6. Opportunities Are Waiting

Stephen C Hogan advised “most people miss great opportunities because of the misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.”  We think we have all the time in the world to do the things we would love to do, so we put them off until the perfect time.  Opportunities are waiting right now, and if you package your passion, you will be able to embrace them sooner rather than later.

You may think you do not have the time or resources to embrace these new opportunities – not true.  The problem is a lack of priorities – not focusing on the things we want the most in life and making them part of our daily goals and tasks.

“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy

Now that I have crossed the great threshold of forty, my perception on life begins at forty has changed.  I realize there is no perfect age to accomplish any goal. If I had the chance to advise my younger self, I would tell her to discover and explore the potency of her passion on a daily basis.

I will encourage her to maximise every opportunity that comes her way.  I will also teach her how to be aware of the dominant components of her passion, so she matches them to the right opportunities when they appear. Life is right now, right here – make the most of it.  

What are you doing to live a more fulfilled life? Leave your thoughts below!

Temi Koleowo is passionate about helping individuals, and businesses alike discover their superpowers (aka their inner strengths and uniqueness) and turn them into viable products and services. She is the author of the book many are raving about ‘Package Your Passion’ – which helps people turn their limitless potential into amazing opportunities. Temi maximizes her strengths by helping people discover, develop and deploy their passion and talent to live their best lives everyday by doing what they love.  You can find out more about her and the program at www.packagemypassion.co.uk.

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Life

We Know Thoughts Become Things, but Where Did Those Thoughts Come From?

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It’s common knowledge that what we concentrate on over any length of time, manifests. The notion that thoughts precede reality has been around for quite some time and we also know that the intermediate step between thoughts and reality is behavior.

So, we think something, that thought drives a certain behavioral pattern, and enough of that behavior will create whatever that original thought outcome was. But did you ever wonder where those thoughts came from? How many of them came from poor mothers and fathers and preachers and teachers when we were babies?

Let’s face it, our formative years were spent with these aforementioned individuals and they were adults. They may have said things to us that we perhaps misinterpreted because, we were six years old! They weren’t trying to deceive us or teach us something negative. They just assumed that when they said something (and it may not have even been to us) that the listener would be able to connect the dots!

Let me give you an example. When I was growing up my mother, father, and I were watching variety shows on the black and white television set in the middle of our living room, quite often my mother would say, when someone was singing, that they were actually dubbing! In other words, singing to a turned off microphone while the actual recording was actually being played from the sound engineers’ room! She was probably correct! Many of the singers on those old shows were dubbing their studio recordings.

“All action results from thought. So it is thoughts that matter.” – Sai Baba

But she made it seem as if the singer and the host were trying to deceive us. My mother would say something like, “They aren’t singing for real, they’re just moving their lips! Isn’t that terrible?” Now I could never really tell if they were singing, or not, but this was my mom, so I accepted what she said at face value. Except, I really thought those people were terrible people for trying to trick my poor mother and that they were very bad. (Keep in mind, I was 6!)

That script stayed with me long into adulthood, and I very consciously watched out for people that were going to make a fool out of me and I either avoided them or confronted them. That thought pattern of filling in the blanks from what adults told me when I was a child is what I like to call Projective Resolution, can be debilitating. Personally, it sabotaged several meaningful relationships and my first 2 professional positions.

I was able to identify the faulty script years later and resolve it, but I wonder how many more I have playing right now, that I might not be aware of. How about you? What scripts are causing your Projective Resolution?

The reason they are so hard to spot is because we have repeated them so many times for so many years, that they have become a habit and are firmly entrenched into our subconscious minds. But the behavior is real. And it can be devastating!

You may ask if it is possible to eradicate the old scripts and I believe the answer is yes. I did! And without any professional assistance, and well before I had the internet for quick guidance.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

If you think you are a victim of Projective Resolution, try these steps:

  • Step #1: Spend some time in quiet thought, thinking about situations with parents and others when you were a child. It may be helpful to start with your first thought of childhood and work up from there.
  • Step #2: What were some of the admonitions and sayings that were said to you? Perhaps it was “A stitch in time saves 9.” And you were told that so many times that you now take 9 stitches immediately, just in case. You plan, plan, plan! Can that be an OCD?
  • Step #3: Link past experiences to current behavior and tag the behaviors that you want to change. If you can identify current behaviors that are driven by conversations when you were a child and left to “fill in the blanks”, you are well on your way to rewriting the scripts.
  • Step #4: Now that you are an adult, put adult meaning on what the person (the adult) was trying to convey to you when you were a child. (Yes, you can actively role play with that person and talk to them adult-to-adult!)
  • Step #5: Place the proper meaning on that statement now.
  • Step #6: Forgive the adult who may have steered you wrong. They did the best they could at the time with what they had!
  • I hope that you see the moral to this story. Please be carful of what you say to children. They are taking what you say and filling in the blanks. But they are doing so with the mind of a child. If you think in those terms, you may guard your words very carefully.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!

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The Simplest Mindset Hack to Get More Out of Life

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Money. Happiness. Success. Love. I think we can all agree that “more” is something we often find ourselves chasing, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, in our businesses, health, relationships and our lives in general.

Typically when we’re looking to increase our income (whether in our business or in our personal accounts) we often look to typical business and career strategies to do so. We look for a new, higher paying job. We open a new location. Work longer hours. Increase or improve our marketing efforts. Attend more networking events. The list goes on and on.

When we’re looking for more love in relationships we may schedule date nights with our significant other. Nag them for attention. Some, even resort to extra-marital affairs to feel the love they need. In health, we hire personal trainers. Go on diets…I’m sure you’re getting the point by now.

All of these strategies, however require us to do more of something. But what if the process to getting more of anything started before all that? What if there was a simple mindset hack that would allow your marketing, networking, dieting, date nights and gym sessions to have a greater impact? What if one behavioral tweak, that involved you doing less would lead to more happiness? More love? Just more!

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

The mindset hack to having more

This mindset hack is actually so simple you may not believe me but I’m going to tell you anyways. If you want to start having more in your life, the secret to doing so is to begin accepting compliments.

Yes. You read that right – by beginning to accept compliments we actually increase our ability to earn more money, experience more happiness and have more overall success. Stay with me and I’ll explain how this works.

First, however, I want you to consider this situation and question: Imagine it’s a normal day. It’s not your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other day you’d expect to receive a compliment or gift. It’s just a normal day. You go to work, or maybe you meet a friend for lunch, when, out of nowhere, they compliment you, or buy you a small gift (like a coffee for example).

How do you react? If you’re like the bulk of the population you’ll say something like: “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “The next round is on me” or “This old thing?!” If your reaction is somewhere along these lines, what you are doing is energetically and unconsciously REJECTING the compliment or gift.

In today’s day and age, when someone compliments us, or buys us a small gift (like in the example above) our initial and unconscious reaction is often to reject or block ourselves from receiving it. Most people fear what others think of them, and because we don’t want to appear to be conceited or stuck-up we feel uncomfortable simply saying “thank you!”. In fact, this reaction has become so ingrained in us by society that most people don’t even realize they are doing it!

The second reason we typically reject unexpected compliments or gifts is because it takes us out of the driver’s seat. When we sit back and receive we’re not in control. Think about it, who is in control of the gift/compliment? The giver. Who is in control of the intention? The giver. The giver is also in control of how and when they give it.

The receiver is only in control of their reaction. From a primal and evolutionary standpoint, when we’re not in control we’re vulnerable, exposed, possibly even at a disadvantage. To regain control many people often give a gift or compliment back (“no, no, I’ll buy the coffees today!”) or reject it all together (“oh this dress? I only paid $5 for it”).

The underlying problem

The problem with this primal and societal patterning however, is that it instills a belief in our unconscious minds that it’s unsafe to receive. Our unconscious mind is highly suggestive and completely illogical. Our unconscious mind believes our actions and feelings over our words, and is always processing information from our surroundings and our inner dialogue. Our unconscious minds also love to make associations, so it regularly connects things like beliefs with behaviours that we wouldn’t consciously or logically associate.

When we suggest to our unconscious mind that it is unsafe to receive small things, like a compliment or $5 coffee, the unconscious mind expands this and applies this belief to receiving anything and everything. In our unconscious mind, if a $5 coffee is unsafe to receive, then receiving hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands from a client would be life threatening!

Because the brain is also highly symbolic, it perceives all receiving to be the same. This belief then extends a whole lot further than just receiving money. It impacts our ability to receive other revenue or income generating things like referrals, new clients and even opportunities to scale a business to new levels.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali

If you’re goal is to grow your income or your business, you may need to do new things like use social media ads or create referral partnerships. However, these activities will prove fruitless if you’ve wired your brain out of receiving the leads you’ll generate!

If you want more love from your partner, it doesn’t matter what they do to show more love, or how many affairs you have, you’ll never see or feel the love they are giving because you’ve blocked yourself from it. The same applies to your health and your life in general, you’ve told the filtering system in your unconscious mind (the Reticular Activating System) that it’s not safe to receive, so you won’t see the opportunities to accept these things.

The next time someone compliments you or buys you a small gift randomly, accept it graciously and simply say “thank you”. Practice this every time someone wants to give you something. Rewiring the brain takes repetition, it’s not enough to accept one compliment and return to your old patterns! Begin implementing this new behavior of receiving today and you’ll start noticing changes in your life and financial situation before the end of the month!

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Life

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

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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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Why Smart People Think Beyond Reason to Make Powerful Decisions

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How long has it been since you’ve had a tough decision to make at work? I bet it happens regularly, if it is not on a daily basis. Sure, making decisions can be exhilarating, but it can also be draining. Sometimes dreadful.

Your pulse accelerates, you start to sweat, your mind jumps from one point to the next, hoping to settle on something. You really want to make the right decision for you, for your team, for your organization. But often times, it can be a tough call. You wish you had the perfect step-by-step recipe to get to the right decision. (more…)

Ginette Gagnon is a certified Team Performance Coach and holds a Masters in Management from Montreal, Canada. She works with entrepreneurs, high-potential executives and management teams around the world making her clients athletes in their respective professional discipline.

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Life

We Know Thoughts Become Things, but Where Did Those Thoughts Come From?

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It’s common knowledge that what we concentrate on over any length of time, manifests. The notion that thoughts precede reality has been around for quite some time and we also know that the intermediate step between thoughts and reality is behavior.

So, we think something, that thought drives a certain behavioral pattern, and enough of that behavior will create whatever that original thought outcome was. But did you ever wonder where those thoughts came from? How many of them came from poor mothers and fathers and preachers and teachers when we were babies?

Let’s face it, our formative years were spent with these aforementioned individuals and they were adults. They may have said things to us that we perhaps misinterpreted because, we were six years old! They weren’t trying to deceive us or teach us something negative. They just assumed that when they said something (and it may not have even been to us) that the listener would be able to connect the dots!

Let me give you an example. When I was growing up my mother, father, and I were watching variety shows on the black and white television set in the middle of our living room, quite often my mother would say, when someone was singing, that they were actually dubbing! In other words, singing to a turned off microphone while the actual recording was actually being played from the sound engineers’ room! She was probably correct! Many of the singers on those old shows were dubbing their studio recordings.

“All action results from thought. So it is thoughts that matter.” – Sai Baba

But she made it seem as if the singer and the host were trying to deceive us. My mother would say something like, “They aren’t singing for real, they’re just moving their lips! Isn’t that terrible?” Now I could never really tell if they were singing, or not, but this was my mom, so I accepted what she said at face value. Except, I really thought those people were terrible people for trying to trick my poor mother and that they were very bad. (Keep in mind, I was 6!)

That script stayed with me long into adulthood, and I very consciously watched out for people that were going to make a fool out of me and I either avoided them or confronted them. That thought pattern of filling in the blanks from what adults told me when I was a child is what I like to call Projective Resolution, can be debilitating. Personally, it sabotaged several meaningful relationships and my first 2 professional positions.

I was able to identify the faulty script years later and resolve it, but I wonder how many more I have playing right now, that I might not be aware of. How about you? What scripts are causing your Projective Resolution?

The reason they are so hard to spot is because we have repeated them so many times for so many years, that they have become a habit and are firmly entrenched into our subconscious minds. But the behavior is real. And it can be devastating!

You may ask if it is possible to eradicate the old scripts and I believe the answer is yes. I did! And without any professional assistance, and well before I had the internet for quick guidance.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

If you think you are a victim of Projective Resolution, try these steps:

  • Step #1: Spend some time in quiet thought, thinking about situations with parents and others when you were a child. It may be helpful to start with your first thought of childhood and work up from there.
  • Step #2: What were some of the admonitions and sayings that were said to you? Perhaps it was “A stitch in time saves 9.” And you were told that so many times that you now take 9 stitches immediately, just in case. You plan, plan, plan! Can that be an OCD?
  • Step #3: Link past experiences to current behavior and tag the behaviors that you want to change. If you can identify current behaviors that are driven by conversations when you were a child and left to “fill in the blanks”, you are well on your way to rewriting the scripts.
  • Step #4: Now that you are an adult, put adult meaning on what the person (the adult) was trying to convey to you when you were a child. (Yes, you can actively role play with that person and talk to them adult-to-adult!)
  • Step #5: Place the proper meaning on that statement now.
  • Step #6: Forgive the adult who may have steered you wrong. They did the best they could at the time with what they had!
  • I hope that you see the moral to this story. Please be carful of what you say to children. They are taking what you say and filling in the blanks. But they are doing so with the mind of a child. If you think in those terms, you may guard your words very carefully.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!

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Life

The Simplest Mindset Hack to Get More Out of Life

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Money. Happiness. Success. Love. I think we can all agree that “more” is something we often find ourselves chasing, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, in our businesses, health, relationships and our lives in general.

Typically when we’re looking to increase our income (whether in our business or in our personal accounts) we often look to typical business and career strategies to do so. We look for a new, higher paying job. We open a new location. Work longer hours. Increase or improve our marketing efforts. Attend more networking events. The list goes on and on.

When we’re looking for more love in relationships we may schedule date nights with our significant other. Nag them for attention. Some, even resort to extra-marital affairs to feel the love they need. In health, we hire personal trainers. Go on diets…I’m sure you’re getting the point by now.

All of these strategies, however require us to do more of something. But what if the process to getting more of anything started before all that? What if there was a simple mindset hack that would allow your marketing, networking, dieting, date nights and gym sessions to have a greater impact? What if one behavioral tweak, that involved you doing less would lead to more happiness? More love? Just more!

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

The mindset hack to having more

This mindset hack is actually so simple you may not believe me but I’m going to tell you anyways. If you want to start having more in your life, the secret to doing so is to begin accepting compliments.

Yes. You read that right – by beginning to accept compliments we actually increase our ability to earn more money, experience more happiness and have more overall success. Stay with me and I’ll explain how this works.

First, however, I want you to consider this situation and question: Imagine it’s a normal day. It’s not your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other day you’d expect to receive a compliment or gift. It’s just a normal day. You go to work, or maybe you meet a friend for lunch, when, out of nowhere, they compliment you, or buy you a small gift (like a coffee for example).

How do you react? If you’re like the bulk of the population you’ll say something like: “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “The next round is on me” or “This old thing?!” If your reaction is somewhere along these lines, what you are doing is energetically and unconsciously REJECTING the compliment or gift.

In today’s day and age, when someone compliments us, or buys us a small gift (like in the example above) our initial and unconscious reaction is often to reject or block ourselves from receiving it. Most people fear what others think of them, and because we don’t want to appear to be conceited or stuck-up we feel uncomfortable simply saying “thank you!”. In fact, this reaction has become so ingrained in us by society that most people don’t even realize they are doing it!

The second reason we typically reject unexpected compliments or gifts is because it takes us out of the driver’s seat. When we sit back and receive we’re not in control. Think about it, who is in control of the gift/compliment? The giver. Who is in control of the intention? The giver. The giver is also in control of how and when they give it.

The receiver is only in control of their reaction. From a primal and evolutionary standpoint, when we’re not in control we’re vulnerable, exposed, possibly even at a disadvantage. To regain control many people often give a gift or compliment back (“no, no, I’ll buy the coffees today!”) or reject it all together (“oh this dress? I only paid $5 for it”).

The underlying problem

The problem with this primal and societal patterning however, is that it instills a belief in our unconscious minds that it’s unsafe to receive. Our unconscious mind is highly suggestive and completely illogical. Our unconscious mind believes our actions and feelings over our words, and is always processing information from our surroundings and our inner dialogue. Our unconscious minds also love to make associations, so it regularly connects things like beliefs with behaviours that we wouldn’t consciously or logically associate.

When we suggest to our unconscious mind that it is unsafe to receive small things, like a compliment or $5 coffee, the unconscious mind expands this and applies this belief to receiving anything and everything. In our unconscious mind, if a $5 coffee is unsafe to receive, then receiving hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands from a client would be life threatening!

Because the brain is also highly symbolic, it perceives all receiving to be the same. This belief then extends a whole lot further than just receiving money. It impacts our ability to receive other revenue or income generating things like referrals, new clients and even opportunities to scale a business to new levels.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali

If you’re goal is to grow your income or your business, you may need to do new things like use social media ads or create referral partnerships. However, these activities will prove fruitless if you’ve wired your brain out of receiving the leads you’ll generate!

If you want more love from your partner, it doesn’t matter what they do to show more love, or how many affairs you have, you’ll never see or feel the love they are giving because you’ve blocked yourself from it. The same applies to your health and your life in general, you’ve told the filtering system in your unconscious mind (the Reticular Activating System) that it’s not safe to receive, so you won’t see the opportunities to accept these things.

The next time someone compliments you or buys you a small gift randomly, accept it graciously and simply say “thank you”. Practice this every time someone wants to give you something. Rewiring the brain takes repetition, it’s not enough to accept one compliment and return to your old patterns! Begin implementing this new behavior of receiving today and you’ll start noticing changes in your life and financial situation before the end of the month!

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Life

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

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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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