A while back I ran a short survey asking people from all generations and walks of life what they thought was the biggest problem most humans face on a daily basis. Not to my surprise, the answer was “self-confidence.”
Many of us are aware that the one thing really holding us back from literally taking action and making our dreams come true is our lack of self-confidence. But where does confidence really come from? Why do some have more than others?
Self-confidence is a belief and an emotion. It is the summation of thought patterns we develop over time in our brains. These thoughts patterns then produce feelings, which produce actions (or lack of taking action), which then produce a specific result.
Most people relate self-confidence to a positive belief and emotion
In society we look up to people who are confident. There is something about confident people that magnetically draws us towards them. We identify confident as those who are not afraid to take risks, and more importantly, we see them as those who take massive action in their lives to create the exact life they want; a life that others dream of.
Most of us want to improve our self-confidence, but so many of us are trying to do it the wrong way. Could it be that we were taught and told the wrong things about self-confidence?
The most common self-confidence myth is,“I need to build up my confidence first, then I’ll take the action.” One of the biggest mistakes I have heard confidence coaches made when they were younger and before they became coaches, they said they were waiting to feel confident before they did something. Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
I’m guilty, because I too, used to think this way.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu
How I was able to build my self-confidence
When I was younger I knew I enjoyed teaching, performing and speaking in front of big groups. Although I would practice speaking alone and would pretend to play “professor” with my imaginary students, I didn’t feel confident enough to go out into the real world and try it.
It wasn’t until I forced myself to take the action of speaking in front of big groups as officer of student organizations in high school, that I was able to finally start chipping away at my fear. The first few times I did, it was nerve-wracking. Each time, right before I had to go up to speak there would be hundreds of thoughts that would cross through my mind such as, “what if everyone thinks I’m weird?”…”what if no one wants to listen to what I have to say?”, and the worst, “what if I embarrass myself and look like a complete fool?”
In those moments, I would regret putting myself in that position to begin with. When I would go up to speak I couldn’t even look at the audience. The whole time I would lower my eyes and stare at the page I was reading off of. I would feel my ears turn really hot and feel my heart beat faster and faster. This continued to happen every time.
However, each time after I was done speaking I would feel a sense of calm wash over me and I would take a huge sigh of relief because it was over. The good news was it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had predicted. All the fears and “what ifs” I had built up in my mind before speaking never really occurred. People actually treated me the same, or even better, in some instances, because they liked what I had to say.
Building self-confidence propelled me forward
After repeating the action of speaking over and over again, I was able to quickly develop confidence in this area much faster than I thought. I could now look people in the eyes when I spoke and my pulse would actually stay regular.
Pretty soon, I obtained leadership roles in college, graduate school and work-related organizations, including becoming student class president of my medical school. By facing my fears and taking the action first, I was able to build solid confidence in this area.
“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” – Napoleon Hill
To avoid acting upon this myth from now on take the action and just do it when you’re not ready. Do it when it feels uncomfortable. Force yourself to do it if you know the action will be good for you in the long run. Rinse and repeat.
The confidence you seek will come as a result of doing this over and over again. To your surprise, it won’t be long before the action that you once feared becomes second nature to you and you’ll wonder why you ever held back in the first place.
What action are you going to do today that you’ve been putting off? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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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