Have you ever missed out on a great opportunity because you played it safe?
Think about it. Look back over your life and think about the things you could have done. The opportunities you could have taken, the people you could have befriended, the experiences you could have savoured.
But back then those things seemed scary and risky. Wanting to play it safe, you elected to stay in your comfort zone at the time.
From where you sit now, you can easily and clearly see that you should have acted upon some of those things. In retrospect, those things were scary or risky at all – just different and new. They were, in all actuality, blessings that you walked away from.
It’s a sobering and outright sad feeling, isn’t it?
Playing It Safe Isn’t About Safety At All
You’re not the only one who has done that. Most of us have a tendency to play it safe.
Some of us equate playing it safe with being sensible and prudent. But most of the time, it’s something else all together.
The real problem isn’t safety or risk at all. The real problem is fear.
As humans, we are hard-wired to allow fear into our decision making. Most of us simply don’t understand fear, where it comes from, or the role it plays in what we choose to do or not do.
By understanding it more, you can prevent fear from clouding your decision-making process.
It’s Not Brain Surgery
What if I were to tell you that there was a little tiny part of your brain that pre-wires you to avoid risk and play it safe? Well, there actually is.
It’s called the amygdala and it plays a big part in what motivates us to behave the way we do. One of the functions of the amygdala is processing emotions – particularly those associated with survival. Like the emotion of fear for instance.
When you are in a familiar situation that you know to be safe, your amygdala is happy and secure – and so are you. But when something new or seemingly risky comes along, the amygdala kicks into high gear. It lets you know, “Hey, we’re outside our comfort zone here. Retreat! Withdrawal!”
Sometimes that reaction can save your life. Other times it can hold you back from a more fulfilling life.
The trick is learning to know the difference between valid fears of very real danger to our safety – and invalid fears of something new.
Mauled or Embarrassed – The Choice Is Yours
There are basically two types of decisions we make when we perceive danger or consequences. The first type, I call safe decisions – which are survival based. They keep us alive and assure we have adequate food and shelter. The second type I refer to as fearful decisions – which tend to keep us from taking less life-threatening risks and prevent us from spreading our wings.
Let’s take a look at some examples of both.
Safe decisions come from a very real fear of severe consequences to your health, life, or quality of life – while fearful decisions come from someplace completely different.
Look at that right hand column. If any one of those scenarios goes as badly as it’s capable of going, what happens? Does anyone die, go to prison, or lose their shelter? No. As it turns out the things we fear most seem to be much more about our feelings than they are about very serious consequences.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain
Our Five Most Common Baseless Fears
In my professional life, I’ve noticed time and time again that there are five major feelings-based fears that people let trip them up on their path to a better life. You’ll notice that they’re all very closely related.
1: Fear of failure
Have you ever passed on an opportunity to try something truly exciting because you were afraid you might fail at it? I have. The ironic thing is the fact that if you don’t try, you’ve already failed. So there’s really not much to lose. And yet we talk ourselves into believing that by not risking failure we’re somehow better off.
2: Fear of rejection
If you pitched your idea to the boss, or asked out that cute girl you like, or submitted your novel to a publisher, you might get rejected – and rejection hurts. So instead of feeling that emotion, we limit our potential and call it “playing it safe.”
3: Fear of inadequacy
This one usually manifests itself as, “I’m not good enough to do this thing I really want to do.” While this fear doesn’t necessarily originate from survival instinct, it’s no less powerful than any of the others.
4: Fear of unworthiness
Closely related to the fear of inadequacy, the self-talk associated with the fear of unworthiness sounds like, “Who am I to think that I might achieve that thing?” It comes from a place of humility, which normally is a good thing. But it’s also self-deprecating and destructive.
5: Fear of further commitment
This one should sound familiar, because we’re all guilty of it from time to time. We don’t always pass on opportunity because we’re afraid that we’re not good enough. Sometimes we know darn well that we’re good enough, but the ramifications of succeeding and the additional commitment needed after success is achieved scare the bejesus out of us.
Fighting Emotion With Logic
So now that you know that these fears are normal and that you’re not the only one who struggles with them, the question becomes: What can you do to get over them?
I find that instead of fighting raw innate human fears head-to-head, it’s best to use logic to take their power away.
When you find yourself letting any of those fears stop you from bettering yourself, run yourself through these three questions:
1: What is the worst thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and did this?
Take out a pen and paper and list all the potential (realistic) consequences. Would there be a loss of life, health, or livelihood? Or is the real risk just having to temporarily deal with an uncomfortable emotion like rejection or embarrassment?
2: What is the absolute best thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and went for it?
List all these, too. How might your life be different? What things might you learn? Who might you have the opportunity to connect with?
3: Are the possible consequences under #1 worth the potential benefits under #2?
Take a good look at both lists and give this question some thought. If the consequence of a particular action is death and the upside is a 10% pay raise – then your choice is simple. Avoid death.
But if the consequence of your action is rejection and the potential benefit is your dream career, swallow your fear and go for it.
Logic Tames The Beast
I know this seems incredibly simple – and it is. It’s simple and obvious because we just took an emotional issue and made it logical.
When you take the emotional power away from your fear and look at the situation as data – good decisions become much easier.
Do me a favor. The next time you find yourself “playing it safe”, run yourself through this quick exercise. Reduce the emotional to the logical. Then come back and let us know how things turned out.
Time to speak up!
Share a time when you felt fearful but took the leap anyway. Or share a tip about taking calculated risks.
The Truth About the Law of Attraction
When we want something, we generally imagine the form it will take when it manifests. If we’re not careful, however, we can find ourselves attached more to the imagined form than the actual desired outcome. This is like placing an online order and expecting it to come in a blue box shipped by UPS. If we then receive a red box delivered by FedEx, we might not realize that it’s what we ordered, and never even open it!
For example, most of us say that we want money, but when money comes in the form of a free coffee or a gift or a discount, we don’t see it for what it is. We overlook it, and maybe we even say “No, thanks” and decline the gift which is, in one way or another, still money. In doing so, we fail to appreciate the value of the discount, the gift, or the freebie. If it isn’t cash being handed to us, we don’t see it as a manifestation of our desire.
The law of attraction is a funny thing.
It is much more complex and much more intricate than what it seems to be and yet, at the same time, it’s so very simple: We always get what we want. We always receive more of the energy at which we vibrate. Always.
However, if we’re acting from the energy of “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t think I’m worthy,” then whatever it is that we receive will be negated and essentially unseen. On the other hand, if we are open, observant, and maintaining an abundance mindset, we will receive our request on numerous levels and from plentiful sources!
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
This is because we “place our order” not only through our words, but through our actions, our beliefs, and our thoughts.
Last month, I was open to receiving a new client. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I’d set my intention: I was going to get a new client. That night, out of nowhere, I got a message from an old student of mine. She was looking to hire me again as her coach for the upcoming college entrance exams in the U.S. But wait! I didn’t want an entrance exam client.
What I actually wanted was to get life and business coaching clients. This student was my “red box from Fed Ex.” I wanted to decline at first, but as I was about to reply, something made me stop. I asked myself, “Why am I rejecting this?”
This student is an amazing client. She pays on time. She’s not needy. She does her part. Best of all? She doesn’t short-change me. So I said yes, because I realized that the Universe was simply responding to the essence of my desire.
You see, my “Big Why” in everything I do has always been to facilitate an accelerated personal and business growth for my clients, and this student fit the bill in every way. She wanted the personal growth, she was ready to go all in and she reached out to me.
It didn’t look like the package I was expecting so I didn’t recognize it at first—and I nearly turned it away—but she was the perfect answer to my request.
Serving people like her has always been a driving force in my life.
The Universe knows that. It also knew that I wanted a client asap so that I could re-invest the money into my business, so it responded in the most ideal way… but in an unexpected form. And I came so close to missing it!
How many times have I missed other opportunities like this? How many times have I dismissed a “red box” because it wasn’t “blue?” I’ll never know. But I do know that, had I not stopped myself from sending a “No, thanks,” I would have felt as though the Universe wasn’t listening.
That’s the thing: the Universe is always listening.
The more open we are in receiving, the more we thrive. The more open our energy is, the greater the possibilities. Don’t just return that red box to the post office and keep waiting on a blue one. Ask yourself, first and foremost, if what you’re receiving at the moment matches up with your underlying desire.
See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.” – Rhonda Byrne
The key is to be willing to receive anything and everything. How? Keep on reading1
1. Get clear on your “underlying desire.”
Identify exactly what it is that you really want—in my case, it was an ideal client (underlying) as opposed to a coaching client (surface)—and focus on that. Clear out all the mental noise and static that clouds your awareness.
2. Be flexible
Keep your eyes and mind open for anything that fits the description. When you ask for money, recognize that free coffee for what it is: $3 you were going to spend anyway, that can now remain in your pocket. Every penny on the ground, every coupon, it’s all money.
3. Keep an attitude of gratitude.
The more you appreciate what you have, the more that comes your way. Your grateful mindset opens the energetic door for more to flow your way, because “where attention goes, energy flows.” The more you focus on the things you want, the more you will draw them into your experience.
Remember, that the Universe responds to our requests in whatever way fits best within the big picture.
It’s a picture so big that we couldn’t possibly begin to see how it comes together. Trust it. Know that when you ask, you will receive. It may not come in the form you anticipate, but always in a form that responds to your underlying desire. You just have to be ready to see it.
7 Simple Ways to Master Your Emotions When Making Decisions
A lot of people have big regrets when lying on their deathbed. These regrets are often related to bad decisions or decisions not taken. Thus, as it turns out, decision-making is dependent on great self-confidence. A person who has confidence in their decisions has an easier time making them.
Emotions also play a big role in all of this. This is a debate that has confronted two great thinkers. According to Descartes, “decisions are the product of the rational mind.” In other words, decision-making is essentially based on facts and mathematics.
But this thesis was refuted and proven to be wrong by Antonio Damasio in one of his works called “The Error of Descartes”. This was partly based on the story of Elliott, a kid that was very smart, who had above average rational capabilities, but incapable of making a decision, after a surgery to remove a brain tumor on the surface of his frontal lobes. After all his work in that matter, he concludes that a person who is incapable of emotion is incapable of making the most rational decisions.
The management of emotions is therefore completely inherent to good decision making, especially when making the most important decisions. To this end, here are 7 tips to put into practice to really master your emotions thus making the best decisions possible and never regreting them.
1. Take a step back
You must learn to take the time to identify and understand your emotions. Since physical reactions are emotionally related, also take the time to detect the reactions you have to some of your emotions. To be able to take the distance necessary to make decisions, it’s important to refer to your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain responsible for reasoning. To do so you need to put yourself in a stress-free environment for a few minutes.
The best way to do this is to learn to breathe deeply. This will allow activating your prefrontal cortex again, therefore, to have better control of your emotions so you do not react to them, let alone to the event that causes these emotions. Do this exercise for at least 15 minutes. It’s amazing how you can train yourself never to react, no matter what the situation. Ideally, let at least 24 hours go by before responding to a situation that would normally cause tension.
3. Pay attention
Once you are in the prefrontal cortex, put one hand on your abdomen, at the level of your intestines, and the other hand on your heart, and take the time to listen. These two parts of the body are the two major centers of vibrations and emotions. This is why it’s important to listen and pay attention to them.
The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of your gut and heart. What you need to remember is that the only person you need to trust is yourself. By practicing this exercise, one thing will become very clear: what the emotion you feel seeks to convey to you about the decision you have to make.
Since everything is energy, first make sure that the vibration of the decision you are about to make and that of your heart and gut are in sync. You will then know whether to go ahead with your decision or reject it based on whether you feel serenity or heaviness.
4. Discern untruths
It is important to know whether your nervousness is the result of an untruth you’ve told yourself. These can corrupt the vibrations that should help you make the right decision. You have to throw out all of these untruths and come to the decision-making without any filter. Stop thinking that you’re unlucky, that you’re in a bad situation, that your life is a failure, or that you are a victim.
5. Become aware of your emotions instead of avoiding them
To become aware of your emotions, you must learn to coach yourself. Ask yourself questions: How did you feel the last time you had to ask these types of questions? What did you get in return? Rename what you felt and the result you obtained from what you decided to do. You will thus be much better at assimilating, understanding, and welcoming your emotions.
6. Be as present as possible
There is no point in focusing on the big events surrounding the decision you want to make. Concentrate instead on the present moment, without analyzing the events. Judge based on emotions rather than the event. By being more present, you will be better able to listen to your emotions and feel them.
7. Make your emotions your allies
Each of your emotions speaks to you through the physical and physiological reactions that they generate in you. Look to the weight of their impact on you as an indicator. Only by listening to them, using them, and managing them can you manage your emotions.
Habit comes with practice. With time, these 7 points will become much more natural and will become automatic. You will make better decisions for yourself. This is one of the best ways to not end up with one of the big regrets.
How to Keep Your Mind Away From Distractions in This Tech-Loaded World
Social media notifications, push notifications, email notifications, and messages from chatting apps, keep peeping from the notification area of our smartphones and invite us into a world of a never-ending loop. Perhaps, even if it is ending, it is not until we have wasted 15-20 minutes of our productive time in just checking different apps and emails that we realize the need to get back to what’s important. No wonder many organizations insist employees on keeping their mobile phones in lockers prior to proceeding to their desk!
Technology is so enslaving that we don’t realize what an endless loop we are stuck in when we are constantly replying to our friends and relatives on social media or checking that limitless newsfeed on our timelines. If all the time of the day is put together, we can observe that we spend almost 4-5 hours on social media with the total output zero and sometimes negative.
Of course, keeping smart phone on airplane mode or switching it to Do Not Disturb mode, or somewhere away from us is the first line of defense against distractions, there are other steps preceding it to really spend your day productively.
Adopt a Proactive Approach
This implies that prior to beginning the day, you must take-charge of it. Instead of letting the day rule you, it should be vice-versa. You must adopt a zealous approach by planning your day and if possible, hours. You should have the determination to pay no heed to distractions in place of just letting them ruin your day by reacting to your impulses.
Instead of acceding to the fact that distractions are surely going to come your way and take up the major portion of your productive time, think about the ways in which you can tackle them.
You need to ponder on the need to focus and be determined to remain so during the day. You need to take the following steps for it:
- Plan how you are going to spend the hours of your day and deadline for completing tasks.
- Consider your to-do list as a choice rather than a chore to be completed.
- Remind yourself of the consequences of surrendering to distractions instead of completing your work. For instance, getting a reprimand from the manager for consistently low productivity and quality or having to rush to complete the work at the end of the day.
- Visualize the benefits of the time you gained by winking at notifications. Perhaps, you can spend more quality time with your kids or researching your new business idea.
- Note down hourly productivity – How many tasks did you accomplish in the last one hour?
“An addiction to distraction is the end of your creative production.” – Robin Sharma
Enhance Your Concentration Power
What keeps your mind stick to a task until it is sufficiently completed, is your ability to concentrate. If your concentration power is stronger, distractions will not bother you. You have to sharpen your power to focus by consistent practice. Meditation is a great way to improve your ability to work on a single task for a long time. If possible make meditation a part of your daily routine. It will keep your mind silent and give it the power to resist distractions.
If you cannot find time to meditate at the start of the day, it is advisable to do a one minute meditation every hour or every time you get that urge to check social media or chat with a friend. This will bring back your attention to what you have to do instead of what you want to do.
Here is the best way to improve concentration power: Take Regular, Refreshing Breaks.
One of the major keys to staying charged up for work is to take regular breaks. Continuously working for hours is only going to make you feel more tired. Instead, take planned breaks and do what you like the most during those breaks.
Of course, you should check your phone to be aware of any urgent messages or calls; remember to take refreshing breaks rather than just keep scrolling through that never-ending newsfeed. Rejuvenate your senses by reading some motivational stuff, watching an inspiring video, taking a walk in the lobby or having a non-work related chat with a colleague, to recharge your batteries and get back to work with even more focus and passion.
One technique utilized and propagated by productivity gurus is the Pomodoro Technique. It is the practice of working in chunks of 25 minutes and then taking a break of 5 minutes. After 4 such sessions, you can elongate the break time to 15-20 minutes.
Have an Organized Mindset
Adopt an organized mindset towards all aspects of your life. Keep clearing irrelevant mails, adding e-mail addresses to spam, organizing all your photos and videos on one drive, keeping all your documents accessible from one place, etc. Keeping your life clutter free and organized right from your shoe-rack to your locker, empowers your ability to spend your time in a disciplined way.
Even when it comes to online browsing, keep it limited to certain topics rather than just browsing and then jumping from that topic to all the related topics. Note down the ideas you would like to research on a specific day instead of randomly browsing through a plethora of topics.
Also, jot down the points which you found useful. Set aside an hour or 30 minutes of time for this. If you feel the need to read that lengthy but useful article, then save it under bookmarks, instead of swaying and spending more than the planned time on it.
These seemingly little, yet practical things, help you adopt the same approach towards your day and work.
“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” – Christopher Columbus
It is a fact that technology has taken up major share of our life, however, it would be a misjudgment to regard it as bad. If maneuvered the right way, it can help us live a more disciplined life. It is a boon but if we let it rule us instead of us ruling on it then it may eat up most of our focus and productive time of our day.
What distractions do you feel take most of your time? What steps you have taken up to put the brakes on them, apart from just whining about them? Ponder over it, take a proactive approach, and share your action plan with us by commenting in the section below.
7 Reasons Why Meditation Is Key to Keeping Yourself Cool and Calm
New age, new thought processes, and new ways of living – all three go hand in hand. We are in the 21st century where everything is different from what it used to be a couple of centuries ago. Despite all luxuries, people face more problems today as compared to the previous era. The reason is quite simple – the dreadful lifestyle promoted by hurriedness in life. The speed of life seems to be overtaking even the speed of light.
Although this is a new era with advanced problems in front of a generation, the solution is still age-old. Since agitation is a common issue in today’s time, all we need to do is remain calm and composed. The ancient practice of Meditation is sponsored by most of the health experts. In fact, millions of people all over the world enjoy the delight of Meditation to stay healthy.
Talking about the relevance of Meditation, the India-born exercise has been an awesome friend of humans since the Vedic era. Meditation is a prominent topic of discussion and practice in all major Yoga programs.
Below are 7 reasons why meditation is key to keeping the mind cool and calm:
1. Promotes inner contentment
Satisfaction is a key component of one’s composed personality. This is an extremely important trait of people, who want to explore the world with ease. For attaining any goal in life, you need to be happy in life. You should make your life joyful in order to survive on the planet quite happily.
With the practice of meditation on a regular basis, you learn the art of surviving even in limited resources. Most people are not happy with what they have, and are always looking for more. This is a major source of trouble in life. Meditation nourishes the mind, body, and soul of a practitioner to stay satisfied with what he/she has. With satisfaction comes happiness and peace in life.
2. Helps preside over anger
Anger. Seems quite relatable, isn’t it? After all, such has been the dominance of anger in today’s style of living. Whether you are in the office or in your home, the issue of getting angry is quite common. It can arise any time and when it comes, you get a step closer to ruining your beautiful life. People who practice meditation are able to control their anger in quick time.
In fact, there is no space for resentment and outrage in a meditating mind. The yogic exercise prepares you to fight moments of anger. Many times, you get splenetic over someone’s words for little reason. Meditation teaches you to see everything in a positive way. When the world looks positive, there is hardly any reason to be wrathful.
“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” – Valerie Bertinelli
3. Lets you follow your goals
One of the most basic things we know about meditation is its concentration power. Even newcomers to the world of Meditation know the beauty of this mindful exercise in maintaining mental focus and concentration. Whether you are an office-goer, a student, or a business person, focus is the key to success.
Reaching the point of success gives the happiest feeling of life. There is no better way to walk on life’s path than by remaining composed, which is, of course, attained through the practice of meditation. The journey to the goal becomes a fascinating one while feeling the charming aroma of this yogic exercise. You can spend your life quite comfortably and with restfulness when the beauty of Meditation adorns your life’s garden.
4. Takes Care of Health
Diseases make one’s life hell. Since the living style of the modern generation is so poor, there is always space for diseases to attack the body. When one is not physically well, he/she cannot be fit mentally.
Meditation plays a significant role in keeping the body healthy. The problem of high blood pressure can be cured by meditation in a completely natural way. Also with daily practice, the systems of the body are balanced. The body, heart and mind improve with daily practice of meditation.
5. Meditation is about the spiritual well-being
Through the practice of meditation, you develop the ability to look inward. Instead of reaching out for answers here and there, you realize that the answer lies within.
Meditation is the path to achieve interconnectedness with all the other beings on Earth as well as with the higher self. A person realizes the true essence of life and that everyone is a part of the universal being. Ego, anger, hate, selfishness, and pride no longer get any importance and that leads to spiritual upliftment.
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there.” – Deepak Chopra
6. Nurtures the decision-making skill
A person with good decision-making power is sure to remain serene-headed. There are moments when you need to make certain decisions in a little amount of time. Many struggle to do so but not those who have the blessings of meditation by their side.
This practice is about improving the intellectual mastery of a person so that he/she emerges as a better situation-handler. All these are possible only when the brain is clear from all sorts of unimportant issues. Meditation makes the mind a peaceful space for the storage of information and wisdom to flourish.
7. Anxiety has no place in a meditating mind
In the workaholic environment, stress and anxiety are never far. Your mental tranquility is always in danger with the load of work. The majority of the working population lose their temper amidst a heavy task.
When you are in the vicinity of meditation, there is no chance of stress attacking the body. You remain extremely calm and composed even in the scariest of circumstances. The exercise acts as a pressure-soaker so that the mind does not feel the heat of a stressful situation.
Do you meditate or want to begin? Share with us below some of your thoughts on meditation!
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