Take a break from media

When was the last time you unplugged from all media? I mean nothing at all. No TV, radio or social media? Do you think you can unplug, even for half a day? If not, what does that tell you about yourself?

You see, media only has one goal. To sell you stuff. And they do this by providing you ‘news and information’ that focuses on two ends of the spectrum, bad news and good news. The bad news is to create fear and urgency and the good news creates envy and questions about your own ‘success.’

Boring news about people’s everyday lives would never capture an audience because it can’t be sensationalized. And this constant exposure to bad news and good news drives your mind to constantly compare your life to the life of others. It’s a continuous; my life is better than or worse than others conversation. Even though the majority of the time this conversation is happening subconsciously for you, it’s still happening.

Consider the act of taking a break from media a fast for your mind. Providing your brain a break from the constant bombardment can give you the opportunity to think and listen to what you have to say instead always listening to the thoughts of others.

“Constantly exposing yourself to popular culture and the mass media will ultimately shape your reality tunnel in ways that are not necessarily conducive to achieving your Soul Purpose and Life Calling. “ – Anthon St. Maarten

Don’t give up too soon

Have you ever felt like giving up at something? If you haven’t then you’ve probably never tried to do anything new, but if you have then you know the feelings that are associated with it. The feelings of overwhelm, frustration and not being good enough. The feeling of wishing it was easier. Unfortunately these feelings are your mandatory waypoints on the way to your new destination.

The ability to cope with the feeling of constant struggle will serve you well in all your new endeavors in life. When you encounter one of these feelings take the time to stop for a moment and really examine it. See it for what it is and don’t give up too soon.

The more you experience these feelings the more resourceful you will become. You’ll train yourself to find solutions that you never thought were possible. Until eventually you’ll come to a point where you’ll learn to embrace the struggle and frustration because you know that what you want achieve is on the other side of that emotion.

 “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” – Horace

Commitment and Acceptance

Do you recognize these vows?

To have and to hold

from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

until we are parted by death.

This is my solemn vow.

If you do, then you know that these are a list of the common vows that are said by couples to each other during a wedding ceremony.  They are vows of commitment and of acceptance to another person regardless of the situation.

My question to you is, are you as committed to yourself regardless of the situation? Can you look yourself in the mirror, say these words to yourself and commit to them? The ability to commit to accepting yourself is one of the best things you can do for you, and ultimately the world around you.

Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu

I doubt you can do that

When was the last time someone doubted your ability to do something? Was that ‘someone’ you? And what did you do after you felt the doubt?

Driving through your own doubt is one of the hardest things you can do. However, with practice you can learn to do so. So many people kill brilliant thoughts and ideas in their heads because they allow their own doubt to hold them back. They project their own thoughts and concerns on to others and draw conclusions before they actually share their ideas.

We all suffer from doubt because our ideas are tied to our identity and we want to do everything we can to protect it. Even as I type this I’m thinking ‘what if it’s not good and you don’t like it?’ But I’ve decided that I’ll let you tell me that and not just keep the idea in my head.

Letting the market or individuals question or even reject your ideas is a difficult habit to form but well worth the effort. As with any other new behavior, start small and in good company. Share ideas with people you feel safe around and see how they react. At least give your thoughts and ideas a chance to get out in to the world.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”  –  Suzy Kassem

Beyond your Boundaries

Where do you live? Or better yet, where do you exist? Your first reaction may be to think of the city, country or even your home but in reality you only really live in your mind, technically your brain.

Your total existence is based on electrical and chemical activity inside your head and your body is just a vessel used to take in information and so that your brain can then process it. But what if your brain is misinterpreting the information you are providing it? And this misinterpretation is causing you behave in ways that are not allowing you to express your true potential.

You see, at the core your brain is designed to survive, so it does whatever it takes to prevent you from hurting yourself. It keeps you within safe boundaries because the safer you are the less energy it has to expend to adapt to new inputs.

Now you have a choice. You can choose to stay within the safe boundaries that your brain has erected to keep you safe or you can push beyond and force your brain to adapt to new inputs. I can’t tell you which one to choose but I can tell you that you will always have better stories if you continue to push your boundaries.

“It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What makes you happy?

At what point in your day do you really feel happy? Is there a physical trigger or thought that makes you smile even when you’re alone? If yes, then how long does the feeling last?

Many claim to want happiness yet few can really define what makes them happy. The problem with this is you can’t find something unless you know what that thing is.

For some it might be the embrace or even the thought of an embrace of a loved one or friend. Others might feel happiness at the opportunity to pursue their dreams or goals. And yet for some it might just be a good cup of coffee and reading a book.

So as you go about your day today really think about what makes you smile or makes you feel happy inside. The point of this exercise is that once you understand what makes you happy then you can consciously create more of those experiences in your life.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” – Aristotle

Random act of Kindness

Have you ever performed a random act of kindness? If you have, then do you remember how it made you feel? And if you haven’t, then great because today’s your day to do so.

Performing a random act of kindness doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money. It doesn’t even require much planning, but it does require some intentionality. It does require you to look for or think about situations that allow for the ‘random’ act.

Here are some ideas that might help you.

Send a handwritten note to someone

Pay for the person behind you in a store or restaurant

Over tip a server

Email a friend or acquaintance expressing appreciation

Pay a genuine compliment to someone

There are many more ideas that you can find on the web, or you can be creative and come up with your own. Pick one today and do it. I’m sure you’ll find that the random act of kindness will probably brighten your day more than the person you did the act for.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” -Princess Diana

Asking for Advice

When you ask for advice what are you really asking for? Are you asking someone to confirm what you’re already thinking or do you really want an unbiased opinion?

Asking for advice is tricky because no one has seen and experienced what you have, so they can never really see things from your point of view. The best they can do is based on their own experiences. Which can be helpful since it gives you another perspective but may or may not work for you.

When seeking advice try to separate the facts from emotions. Be open to advice that is contrary to your own thoughts. Don’t dismiss advice that doesn’t immediately align with your way of thinking and give yourself time to digest different and new advice. Advice that is different than the way you think has the potential to help you grow if you approach it with an open mind.

“Most people who ask for advice from others have already resolved to act as it pleases them. “ –  Khalil Gibran

Learn to Relax

How often do you consciously relax? I don’t mean taking a nap, going to sleep or just lazing on the couch. I mean really relaxing your body.

There’s an art to conscious relaxation that will allow you to feel relaxed after a few minutes of concentration. The technique is simple but can yield great results. You have several large muscles in your body and if you can learn how to contract and release them then you can start a relaxation practice.

Start with the easy ones. Contract your calf muscles, breathe deeply and release them when you exhale. As you get better at this you can then move to your upper legs and slowly progress to your other large muscles. The entire process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Lastly and one of the most important is your tongue. If you’re like most people reading this then at this moment your tongue is either touching the roof of your mouth or the back of your front teeth. It is in a tensed positon. Learn to relax your tongue by letting it fall to the bottom of your mouth. Doing this will allow your jaw to loosen up and will ultimately relax your entire neck and face. Practice this during the day and especially when you go to bed. Learning to relax your tongue is one of the simplest and most rewarding relaxation techniques you can do.

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

How responsible are you?

How much responsibility do you take for your own life? Do you own it all or do you go down the slippery slope of giving it away by being a victim of circumstance?

It’s hard to take responsibility for everything because sometimes you really do feel as though you’ve been subjected to a situation without your consent. But the reality is that in that moment if you’re able to stop, step back and think then you’ll recognize that you’re only in that situation because of your past choices. And this will allow you claim back responsibility.

Very often you hear responsibility touted as a negative feeling and that’s why people try to avoid it but their perceptions are incorrect. The ability to own your responsibility for your life is very powerful and freeing. When you step up and claim responsibility for your own life then you are in control of how you respond to events.

Take some time today and look back at one time in your life where you felt you weren’t responsible and now with the advantage of time and hind sight on your side re-evaluate the situation. Perhaps you’ll see that you were more responsible for what happened then you thought you were.

“The moment you accept responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the moment you gain the power to change ANYTHING in your life.” – Hal Elrod