Tapping into the power of your subconscious mind

There are plenty of books and materials out there about the power of our subconscious minds. Our subconscious is said to hold the key to our successes and failures. I've heard that our subconscious mind influences our behavior up to 95%. We are only action under the direction of our conscious mind only about 5% of our day. If we can find a way to make our subconscious mind to work for us, we can begin to experience breakthroughs in our personal development beyond our wildest dreams. Our subconscious mind is always operating in the backdrop directing our thoughts and actions in the way it wants us to go. Without the support of our subconscious, our efforts at creating lifelong change can seriously be hampered.

So how can we reach the deepest level of our subconscious? How can we speak to our inner most self and get it to work for on our behalf? I believe that our subconscious mind knows the truth of what we truly believe. How does it know? It uses both our thoughts and our actions to make its assessment. Thoughts alone are not powerful enough to make a complete change in our subconscious. You can think positive thoughts all day long but if your actions aren't aligned, your subconscious mind ignores your efforts and acts as if everything is business as usual. On the other other hand, if you take the right actions, while entertaining a slew of self-defeating thoughts, you are essentially telling your self that it should listen to what you are saying, not what you are doing.

Without securing the backing of your subconscious, you are basically setting yourself up for high likelihood of failure. Instead of putting yourself in a situation where you are competing against yourself, you should summon the aid of your subconscious mind to help you actualize your goals.

A perfect balance of words and deeds will result in your recipe for success. One does not have more power than the other, yet without its counterpart, each of these are completely impotent. If you set aside time for daily morning affirmations, and tell yourself everyday that you are creating a fit and healthy new you, your actions should correlate somewhat with your thoughts. If you behave in the same way you've always had, instead of saying "I am creating a healthier me," you are saying "I'm doing the same thing I've always done so I can experience the same result I've always had."

Not too long ago. I took part in an experiment to see how I could impact my subconscious mind, I required myself to chose a simple task that I would commit to doing every day. The simple task was of my choosing and would be one that did not produce noticeable results right away. Because the results were not immediate, my motivation would be driven primarily by my will and not from any perceived improvements. After several days, I began to notice something exciting. My simple consistent daily action created a desire within me to implement and become consistent with other beneficial habits. Because I was doing one good thing for myself everyday, I suddenly had the desire to take more wonderful actions. What changed?

Because I was taking a consistent action on a daily basis that improved my health, my subconscious mind took command and began the work of influencing my conscious mind to continue to desire what was good for me. My mind was open, my actions were in line, and my subconscious mind was steering me in the right direction. Never before had it been so easy to do what I had desired to do with regards to my actions. I didn't have to force myself to take those steps, making the decision came easy.
I was still using positive affirmations, but once my actions began to mirror my thoughts, my subconscious began to believe my mantra and worked to make creating new habits that much easier for me.

The moral of the story is that our subconscious has its own set of beliefs that come from our words, thoughts, and experiences. How you interpret circumstances in your life also greatly influences your subconscious mind. If you give a speech in front of others, and begin to trash talk your performance to yourself, you are telling your subconscious that you are a terrible speaker. From then on, your actions and thoughts around your ability to speak confidently in front of others will be driven by the self-defeating thoughts you once had. In order to avoid this from happening, you have got to look for and amplify any positive from every experience you have. Once you find the positive, focus on it and ask yourself to find past experiences when you did well. Your subconscious mind will work to find you what you need. I used this technique not too long ago while at a business conference. I was asked to give a presentation in front of over 100 people. Instead of trying to calm my nerves, I asked my mind to replay every time I've performed with confidence in front of others. I remained patient while my mind searched its data base. Soon image after image of me performing at my best began to emerge and my confidence level shot sky high.

Your subconscious mind is extremely powerful in determining both your actions and the success of those actions. Learn how to use it for good and not evil. Speak and focus on what is positive and take actions that demonstrate your belief in your thoughts. Your subconscious will have no choice but to believe you and act accordingly. Once you have enlisted the help of your subconscious to help you reach your goals, you'll find yourself getting what you want without even trying.


The Rocky Balboa Story-Insprirational Audio of the week

I am constantly searching for inspiring stories of those who overcame adversity to achieve their dreams. I found one such account on youtube the other day and thought it worthy of sharing with my readers. The video is narrated by Anthony Robbins as he details his account of Sylver Stalone's journey to Rocky.

I know you will enjoy!


Are you saying yes or no? Which is it?

I once heard somewhere that, with every action we take, we are saying either yes or no to our goals. I felt a flood of emotion the minute the statement began to sink in. Everyone with identifiable goals can attest to the experience of saying yes to something we want. In fact, we are coming up on the time of year when we begin to think about all the intentions we are willing to say yes to.

Saying yes is an honorable first step, but you may be negating your yes with every ambiguous action you take, Not too long ago, I was going through a period of frustration because of the lack of progress in one specific area of my life. I had this weird reaction whenever I was put on the spot to speak in front of others. I'm not talking about getting up in front of a large audience, I'm referring to simple exchanges such as speaking up on a conference call. Whenever the opportunity arose, I would experience stage fright type symptoms. One day after one such event, I took some time to dig into the root cause of my nervous behavior. After several moments of contemplation, I realized that what I was doing was a result of my subconscious programming.

Because I was not faithful in the little, I was somehow sending my subconscious the message that I could not be trusted to speak intelligibly in front of a group of my peers. Around that time, I began to slack on some of my morning routine rituals. I let my morning personal development activities suffer because I would begin work earlier in the morning. By doing so, what I was actually doing was breaking a promise to myself that I made to protect my morning development. Consciously, I felt that I was doing the right thing to get ahead at my job. Subconsciously, my mind interpreted my actions as me saying "no" to my development. By spending the first couple of hours of my day working emails, I was sending the message loud and clear that other stuff was more important than my growth.

It was almost as if my mind was telling me that I could not be trusted to carry out what I am capable of doing. As a result, something so simple as speaking in front of others became somewhat of a gamble. I felt kind of like a person who was exposed as a fraud when one learns that he tried to fool the people around him. Since then I have been able to rebuild the confidence in myself simply by doing what I said I would do in the area of my morning routine. For some people, being in a similar situation would not resulted in the same emotions. Unfortunately for me, I've realized that I am a true believer in the "faithful in the little, faithful in the much" philosophy.

Since then, I've made it a mission not to go too long without carrying out my promises to myself. Sure there are times when I backslide but I quickly correct course as I am aware of the dire consequences. As you take inventory of your external reality, think about how much you are affecting it simply by saying "yes" with your mouth and "no" with your actions. Saying yes with your actions is way more powerful than you realize. So let your yes be yes and watch the direction of your life change.


"When I'm scared, I have to attack it!" -Will Smith

After reading this 2004 article featuring Will Smith, I knew I had to share. The insights Will describes are priceless. He shares with us his ideas about his strong work ethic and his thoughts on fear and the Law of Attraction. Take the time to read and let the wise words sink in.

I guarantee that you will certainly take something from it.

Read the article here.


Be faithful in the little and you'll be faithful in the much

In the book of Luke, Jesus makes a profound statement that I believe holds the key to true success in the area of personal development. His words are often repeated in my mind over and over whenever I challenge myself to reaching higher levels. He essentially says that if we are faithfull in the little things, then we will ultimately become faithful in the bigger things.

Most of us work on our development by creating these grandiose goals and working diligently to become faithful in taking big actions to reach those goals. Most often, we fall short of reaching our goals simply because we weren't capable of sustaing such massive change long term. If you are the kind of person who is constantly chasing big goals only to experience disappointment, may I suggest to you an alternative, small commitments.

In all honesty, if you don't give a dime to charitable organizations now, you likely won't donate money if you received a hefty pay increase. If you don't include anything green in your diet today, don't count on losing those extra 10 lbs by eating only salads for the next couple of months. Drastic changes are rarely sustainable. Why? Because if you couldn't do the simple things, such as parking farther away from the store so you'll walk more, then you will not have what it takes to wake up at 5:30 and work out every day.

Forget about creating any more goals for yourself that you know you won't be able to maintain. Instead, I want you to make a small commitment to yourself. The smaller the commitment, the better. The only catch is that the commitment must benefit your development. The commitment is not a goal to reach, it is a promise to yourself that you will do something. The commitment must be to take some sort of small action daily.

Examples of commitments to yourself could include:

* Eating one apple each day
* Flossing each day
* 15 minutes of meditation each day
* Putting your loose change into a jar each day
* 15 minutes of stretching each day.
* Walking up stairs instead of using the elevator at the office
* Journaling each day
* Calling/emailing one person each day
* Turning off the television 1 hour earlier each day.
* Spend 30 minutes studying/writing each day.

The list is endless. You don't even have to pick a daily action that directly correlates with your goals. My daily action was to floss daily. Flossing daily will not help me reach any development goals. My daily flossing helps me to establish and keep a commitment to myself. Its that simple.

Why pick a small daily action? Because smaller actions "easier" to do consistently. Small daily actions are your way of setting up a habit for yourself. Just say you'll do something every day and do it that day! In my personal experiment with taking small daily action, I was amazed at what I experienced. I'll go more into detail in my next post. For now, I want to you pick one daily action to commit to and stick with it!


How to be fully committed to life long change

We're getting close to the time of year when we begin to think about resolutions we'll make to bring about life long change. Implementing and maintaining life long change is extremely challenging. Honestly, most of us will probably spend years renewing the same commitment to ourselves over and over. We'll become inspired by someone who has actually accomplished a shift in their lives and try once again to emulate the results with little success.

Why do we constantly find ourselves in the same situation where we are striving to change some aspect of our lives and how do we maintain the change so it becomes a part of our daily habits?


So you have decided to lose that extra weight that you have been carrying around for quite some time. Have you accepted the fact that your new lifestyle will have to include grueling physical activity? Think long and hard about the answer to this question before you respond. Have you simply acknowledged that fact or have you accepted it?

Acceptance, my friends, is frame of mind that goes far beyond awareness and acknowledgement. Realizing that there is a puppy sitting on your doorstep is acknowledgment. Bringing the puppy inside your home so that you can now care for and feed it is acceptance. With acknowledgement, you still have a choice, you can shut the door and remove yourself from any responsibility related to the puppy, you can call the pound and ask that they come get the puppy, you can even grab your broom and use it as a tool to help you shoo the puppy away. Either way, you have several options from which to choose from.

Acceptance leaves you very little choice. Your decision has been made and you must move forward. You leave no opportunity for another reality other than the one you have selected. So you decided that you will work out three days a week in order to meet you weight loss goals, so be it. On Saturday morning, you do not have to grapple between the decision to get up for an early morning walk or if you are going to sleep in 'till noon. The choice was made long before then. You have already accepted that Saturday mornings was an optimal time to work in your exercise. If you truly accepted this new reality, then you must get up and exercise as you have decided. There are no other options.

Accepting your new reality is part of the formula for life long change. Lasting change also requires commitment. I love the Oxford Dictionary's definition of commitment as an obligation that restricts freedom of action. Much like acceptance, commitment keeps you from having to decide at the moment of truth whether you will do what you said you would do. You have already committed to the change, action is the only option that remains.

Before you can truly know if you are sincere in your commitment, I recommend that you take some time to think about and visualize your new lifestyle. Don't just think about the results but also include the necessary actions involved to bring about change. If you want to start getting up at 5:00 am to get more done in the morning, you must clearly see yourself setting the alarm every night and getting out of bed while its still dark. See yourself waking early even when its cold outside and you feel like bundling up in your cozy bed.

Once you've spend an adequate amount of time visualizing (and vocalizing)the new realities associated with your desired change in behavior, and decided that you still want to proceed knowing that your options at 5:00 am will be to either get out of bed or to get out of bed, then you have reached the point where you are committed to lasting change.


How you can tell if you truly committed to changing your life

I've been thinking quite a bit about the Will Smith video clip I shared on my last post. Particularly the section where he states that "there is a redemptive power that making a choice has." He goes on to urge us to "just decide!"
"Decide what its going to be, who you are going to be and how you are going to do it."

As we near the end of the year and begin to think about the resolutions we'll have for ourselves, we need develop a clear understanding of what it means to truly create change in our lives.

I'm sure you've made decisions to change a part of your life in the past. If the change was a temporary, chances are that your decision was not based on the fact that you were making up your mind to create change. Your decision for a new life probably had small print down at the bottom which allowed for backsliding into your old ways at the first sign of discomfort.

Truth be told, if you really want to experience the change you say you want, then you should leave no other option available other than that which further progresses your change.

For instance, I worked with a young lady at my previous place of employment who maintained an extremely healthy lifestyle. Jogging was part of her everyday routine and she consistently ate healthy meals. She was the epitome of discipline with regards to her health and wellness. The day before I left the company, I had a final conversation with another coworker about giving up his smoking habit. His response was heavy with hesitation as he honestly let me know that he was not sure he could completely give up smoking. He then talked about the day that Jillian gave up smoking. I was extremely shocked and puzzled by his revelation. Jillian only ate organic nutritious meals. Jillian was a daily jogger. How could Jillian have been a smoker?

My co-worker went on to tell me that a few years back, Jillian was a chain smoker who was extremely overweight. My mouth dropped in amazement even to think about. I asked him how she became so disciplined to lose all of that weight and to become so healthy. "On New Years Eve she had one last cigarette with us," She told us that she was going to stop smoking and that she would lose all of her weight. "From that day on," he told me, "she never picked up another cigarette and she makes sure to jog every single day." He even told me of a time when he was enjoying a delicious box of cookies. The cookies were so good that he felt the need to share one with Jillian. She declined the offer. He then proceeded to coax her into having just one cookie by stressing how fantastic they were. Jillian remained steadfast in her decision not to have a cookie. He persisted. Jillian remained strong. At the end of the exchange, Jillian did not have a cookie thereby further reinforcing the decision she made years before.

Is Jillian some sort of super-hero with a level of discipline not found in the common man? Not at all. The fact that she smoked heavily and was overweight proves that she once suffered from a lack of discipline just like the rest of us. What separates Jillian from my other co-worker is the fact that Jillian made a real decision to experience change. Her decision was so firm and absolute that she was able to maintain her commitment to herself even years later.

My next post will detail the attributes of one who really wants to experience a true change versus one who thinks that she wants to change an aspect of her life.
Stay tuned.


Will Smith, Law of Attraction, and Hard Work

Today I thought I'd share with you a very inspiring Youtube clip featuring actor Will Smith.

What I love most about this interview is how Will shares his beliefs regarding our unlimited potential.

"If we just decide!"
Most of us may have an idea of what we want to experience or who we want to become but we must understand that desiring to be or have is not the same thing as deciding to be or to have it.

Deciding "to be" or "to have" comes with it a lot of work and hustling. Will refers to that concept in the latter half of the interview. In it Will proclaims, "I will not be outworked, PERIOD!" What a powerful testament to his level of determination and persistence. I love the fact that he mentions hard work in this interview. He could have only talked about positive thinking and a positive mindset, but instead, Will gave us a very basic example of his beliefs regarding hard work when he proclaims that "I'm not afraid to die on the treadmill."

As soon as I watched that video I took on the mantra on not being outworked. This way of thinking has raised my level of excellence and the quality of my work dramatically. I have also experienced a boost in self-esteem regarding what I do because I know how hard I worked to prepare myself for this exact moment. Like Will said, "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready."


Increase your level of effectiveness using the incremental piddlism method

The other day I was helping out a friend who chose me as a subject to interview for her final class paper and project. The paper she has to put together is to be 40 pages long according to her professor's requirement. This friend is a self-proclaimed procrastinator who has a difficult time starting projects prior to deadlines. After our meeting I reminded her of the need to allocate an hour a day, each day to researching and writing her paper, to equal a full 7 hours of dedicated, focused, work on her project.

These 7 hours, when broken up into smaller bite sized pieces, would make her life so much easier. It was then that she introduced me to the official label to this type of activity. She called it incremental piddlism. Her professor coined the phrase. He shared with his students examples of how he was able to accomplish what seemed like large daunting tasks with the greatest of ease using incremental piddlism. One example he shared with the class was of his need to move several dozen boxes worth of materials,and books to a new office location. While the rest of his counterparts went about their way focusing on the cares of the day, the professor took one box with him every single work day, to his new office area. Day after day, he remained consistent, moving one box at a time, as he left for the day.

The time eventually came when the professor's counterparts realized that they had to spend a large, unproductive, part of their days laboring to move their belongings over to the new office prior to the impeding deadline. When they all realized that the professor had already completed the move, they could hardly believe it. They asked him how it was done. They asked him when he had the time to do it. His response was simply that he moved one box each day until all of his belongings were in his new office. As a result, the professor was able to continue his work without experiencing any gap in his productivity.

Piddling is defined as "of a small matter" or "of little importance." The act of moving one box of items each day was probably considered a small matter to him. But the end result of his efforts equated to the completion of a large and, most likely, overwhelming task.

I was excited when I found a name that described this behavior because now I can use the phrase as a means of motivation. As I think of the various large projects that I am avoiding 'till the very last minute, I reflect on the professor and how he was able to make a huge impact by implementing simple, consistent, daily efforts. I then begin to ask myself what "box" I can move on a daily basis, that will allow me to complete my project. As I move those boxes consistently, I find that the project I had been dreading can be easily managed and conquered.

In the end, I save my self a ton of time, stress, and energy. Not only that, because, I am touching the project every day, I have the time to put more thought into tomorrow's portion of the project based on what I accomplished today. If, I were to try to do the entire planning, preparation, and execution piece in one or two sittings, I put myself in a position where I am likely to produce inferior quality work.

So today, my friends, I invite you to think about your goals, projects, and intentions. How can you piddle incrementally, on a daily basis, in order to make a huge impact on the results? Put some time and thought into this and immediately set aside an hour, or half hour,on a daily basis to piddle away. You can be be like Bob Proctor, who is said to have worked on a book for 1 minute each day for 365 days.
You will be amazed at how much you can get accomplished with this focused time.


How to become a more effective person

Whenever I think of the differences between efficiency and effectiveness, I tend to think about a coworker of mine. This person is the epitome of what one would describe as efficient. Whenever there is a problem to be solved, this person steps right up to take care of it. He exerts all of his physical and mental faculties to take care of the situation. Most observers would even go so far as to say that he is going above and beyond to do what is needed to be done at the moment.

He doesn't hesitate to take every step necessary to take care of whatever situation that arises. His supervisors, however, feel that he is not performing his job to expectation. Why? Because they feel that though he is efficient, his actions are not effective. How could someone like that be ineffective? All of his hard work and good intentions can't possibly be working against him could they?

When I hear the word effective, I tend to think of the word "affect." I found several definitions for the word affect. Some of them include to stir, influence, change, and to upset. These words are powerful descriptors of someone who causes change to occur. My coworker, on the other hand, is a master at responding to various types of crisis situations. He relishes when a situation arises. It is then that he exerts his energies to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

There are various problems that can occur when someone chooses to shine in strictly reactive situations. Operating in a purely reactive state causes you to completely lose sight of your other responsibilities while placing all of your focus on the burning fire. As a consequence, your basic duties are put on the back burner and you are, in essence, creating an environment for another fire to ignite.

Someone who finds comfort in only solving immediate problems does not create the opportunity to analyze and forecast. It is in the analyzing and forecasting that we begin to move forward. Firefighting is like wading in the water, while analyzing and forecasting is like swimming as fast as you can to the finish. Those are the actions that move you forward. Its the difference between being a person who is efficient and one who is effective.

So how do you shift your awareness and become an effective person?

Get to the Root Cause
When my co-worker solves yet another critical issue. I am almost certain that he does not take the time to ask himself about the cause of the situation. Its easier to solve the problems as they arise than to set time aside to get to the heart of the matter and avoid the issue altogether. A root cause analysis is the easiest way to get the main cause of any problem you and I are faced with. We only need to ask ourselves "why" four or five times until we get to the final answer.

For example, let's say that before every paycheck, you seem to find yourself running out of money and using your credit card to help make ends meet. The root cause analysis can go something like this:

Q: "Why do I keep using my credit card for basic living expenses?"
A: "Because I run out of money before my next paycheck is deposited."

Q: "Why do I consistently run out of money before my next check arrives?"
A: "Because my normal expenses are more than my paycheck amount."

Q: "Why are my expenses higher than my paycheck amount?"
A: "Because I don't plan out my spending on a budget before I get my paycheck."

Q: "Why don't I create a budget for my spending?"
A: "Because I am not sure how to create a good budget and how to stick to one."

This is a simple example of asking "why" several times to find the answer that solves the problem. Solving the problem is not the same as addressing the problem. Using a credit card addresses the problem(the problem will continue to arise), creating and sticking to a budget solves it.

Not only does the root cause analysis solve the problem, it also creates an environment where growth can occur. Now that the individual knows that a budget is one solution to her concern, she can create a budget, adhere to it, and use her new found spending habits to build wealth for her. If she had continued to address the problem with her credit card, she would eventually find herself deeply in debt and in financial ruin.

Once you find yourself in a situation where you are no longer addressing the same issues over and over again, you can quickly move on to phase two-next level thinking. With the problem solved, your mental capacities are no longer allocated to firefighting and can now be used to create a completely different reality for yourself. In our example above, once our big spender put a budget in place, she could now see opportunities to set aside money for bigger and better. You too can move on to bigger and better only after you have analyzed your problems, identified the root cause, and implemented a solution. This is when you graduate from being an efficient problem solver to becoming effective in how you manage your life.

Remember, in order to become effective, you must no longer get excited about being a good problem solver, you have to find a greater value in becoming a person who can identify why a problem exists in the first place and eliminating it.


Are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose?

I've heard the term "play to win' on several occasions. It wasn't until I was introduced to the phrase "playing not to lose" that I truly understood what playing to win really meant.

One of the major differences between the two phrases lies in the attitude of the person. The attitude of someone playing to win varies greatly from the person playing not to lose. Playing to win requires the person to make offensive moves and take proactive, even risky, actions. Ever seen a physical fight between two people? Do you remember a fight when you could clearly identify the person who is clearly trying to win the fight? The one who's goal it is to win throws many more blows than the other individual. That person may even try some other tactics to win the fight like teasing or taunting to get in the head of the other person. Contrast those actions with that of the person playing not to lose. That person only has one objective, protect himself.

If protecting means curling up in a ball and refusing to throw any blows, then so be it. Not losing is that person's main objective. This type of reasoning is inherently flawed for one reason, the person playing not to lose ultimately ends up losing.

Let's put this type of behavior in perspective. Someone who chooses not to say anything during a staff meeting for fear of sounding stupid (playing not to lose), creates a persona that he/she does not have anything of value to add to the discussion (that person ends up losing). The person who obsessively warns her child of the dangers of taking risks(playing not to lose), ends up with an unstable adult child who is unable and unwilling to take care of himself (losing). The examples are endless. The main point I want you to absorb is the potential disaster that can occur when one takes action, or fails to take action, for fear of losing and not with the intent to win.

So how do you position yourself so that you are playing to win?

Plan-One major reason why we don't take calculated risk is because we haven't planned in advance. Lack of planning creates fear. Fear leads to discomfort. Discomfort breeds inaction. Inaction equals loss. When you think ahead, you can strategize some great moves you can make when the time is right. The person who prepars for the staff meeting can put together a list questions or talking points ahead of time. When she proactively shares her ideas with the team, she is playing to win.

Stretch-Once you've planned your offensive attack, you still have to contend with the fear that will creep up once you face your opposition. Playing to win means throwing blows even if you have punches coming at you. In fact, that is the worse time to double over in fear. If you do, you will have to work through the negative feelings which develop as a result of your lack of effort.

Your subconscious knows when you are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. I'm sure you can recount numerous occasions when you had feelings of guilt or regret for not giving your all or doing your best. It's a miserable feeling that takes a while to get over. On the other hand, have you ever given your all into some thing valuable to you that you didn't win? You may feel crummy right after the loss but as time passes, you relive the details in pride knowing that you gave everything you could. Hence, there are little to no regrets attached to the memory.

Another key point to remember is that every action you take translates into either you playing to win or you playing not to lose. If you pick out your clothes for tomorrow at the very last moment, you are playing not to lose. Just the fact that you decided to wear clothing keeps you from losing. But if you were to pick out your attire the night before, properly iron the clothes, polish your shoes, and coordinate your accessories, you are playing to win. You are saying to the world "I made a conscious effort to look fantastic. I am taking my appearance seriously, I am playing to win!"

I want you to carefully scrutinize your efforts, all of your efforts, from this day forward. Your main objective should always be to play to win. By winning I don't mean defeating the opponent, I mean playing the best game you can possibly play. Your goal should be to give maximum effort to everything you do. This is the mark of someone who plays to win.

I'll leave you with a thought.

"Winning isn't everything, but if you don't play to win, you get nothing."


Taking the path of most resistence

The first thought that comes to our minds when we have to take a trip across town is how can we get there in the fastest way and with the least amount of traffic possible. The object of the trip is to avoid any and all hindrances that may delay our arrival. If we are able to successfully reach our destination ahead of schedule, then we had reached our goals and exceeded our expectations.

Taking the path of least resistance has become our default mode of operation. Its now all about getting to what we want with the least amount of exertion, money, or thought energies possible. No one thinks to themselves how they can accomplish what needs to be done by taking the most difficult route available.

There are very problems that come along with taking the path of least resistance, especially when we are talking about the area of manifesting your intentions and reaching your goals. Using the easiest and fastest route to complete a routine task is one thing, but taking shortcuts and using other time and energy savers may be doing you more harm than good. For me taking the path of least resistance is like purchasing the dollar store brand product instead of saving your money to buy the highest quality possible. Sure, at first you'll feel some sort of instant gratification from the money you saved up front, but you'll eventually rethink your decisions when you realize that you have to now spend even more money to get the results you wanted, in the first place, by purchasing the quality product.

When it comes to manifesting your intentions, you will have to look objectively at the many ways available of realizing your goals. Some of those options will seem easy, such as buying a diet pill to reach your weight loss goals. Other choices may not be as appealing like getting up at 5:00 am every day to incorporate physical exercise into your daily habits. There is very little resistance to purchasing a magic weight loss pill. The solution to your issue is fast and easy and your results are quickly realized. Daily exercise, however, seems to be the most difficult solution to your goals. You first have to train yourself to get up in the morning, then you actually have to put yourself through rigorous exercise on a daily basis. That path is probably very unappealing when compared to the first option. So most of us probably end up choosing the easier of the two to the detriment of our goals.

There are several reasons why you should chose the path of most resistance when you are accomplishing your goals. One reason is because you will have to use more of your personal power and energy. In the example of the diet pill, you were not the cause of the weight loss, the pill was. If you rely on some sort of external solution to reach your goals, you are essentially building your house with a deck of cards. The minute you stop taking the diet pills, your weight comes back with a vengeance and all of your precious achievements are gone. If short lived results are not what you are striving for, stay away from the easiest way to get it done.

When you opt for the path of least resistance, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to build the foundation for your new reality. Think about a developer who opts to take as many shortcuts as possible to build a new high rise. How sturdy would that structure be? If that builder decided to take shortcuts to beat project deadlines and make bonuses, chances are that the builder would end up loosing all of the benefits gained and then some if a structural issue arises and a lawsuit ensued. A strong foundation is essential whenever you undergo a take on new habits, goals, and intentions. Taking the path of most resistance means that you will allow for the time needed to create this foundation so that the entire frame can be fully supported and not easily moved.

So how do you know if you are taking the path of most resistance? You have to make that choice but you want to consider several factors. If you have a sense of fear or apprehension to one of your options, chances are that this choice is one of most resistance. For example, you want to develop the habit of becoming more social. You quickly go over your options in your mind and you have to chose between reading a book on becoming more social or setting a goal of starting one conversation with a stranger on a daily basis. The second choice may create a slight feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach which makes you go for a book instead. What you chose was the path of least resistance and because of that, you are actually delaying the realization of your intentions.

What I want you to consider now, as you set your goals, is the amount of fruit that can be reaped when you chose to do that which scares you. Instead of selling yourself short by choosing what you think is the easy way out, give yourself a real opportunity for lasting success and results by taking on the path of most resistance. Every time you chose the path of most resistance, you are raising the bar on who you are. The person who takes the diet pill does not have the same level of commitment to her goal as the person who commits to a new lifestyle of fitness and health. That person is one who is confidently able to say that he or she is prioritizing their morning to include what is most important to them, their health and vitality. The same thing goes for the individual who chooses to start a side business as a means of changing his or her financial status as opposed to taking the path of least resistance, buying lotto tickets every week.

Lasting results come from the path of most resistance. Character building happens when you take the path of most resistance. Take some time today to analyze the actions you have been taking to reach your goals. Have you chosen the path of least or most resistance? Consider your level of apprehension and compare that with the other option(s) you can take to reach your destination. Choose the path of most resistance and make that a part of your new lifestyle. Your results will be your reward.


Create perfect endings with visualization

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One thing I hate more than anything is a movie ending that's completely different from what I expected. I loathe movies that end in a manner contrary to what I wanted to see. It doesn't matter if the movie was one of the most cleverly directed features ever (i.e. Castaway with Tom Hanks), if the ending is not to my standards, I completely dismiss the entire film as useless.

Even during my younger days, I would become extremely upset if I were ever interrupted from a pleasant dream. Whenever this happened, I would try my darnedest to fall back asleep and create the ending that I wanted. Sometimes I would even try to create alternate endings to dreams that did not meet my expectation of a suitable experience.

Even today, if my present reality isn't as I would hope for, I still use my own mental images to create my definition of a great ending. Without the use visualization, one has to accept the results he or she experiences as the only available outcome. That is so far from the truth. What you or I are now experiencing, is only one version of an outcome. Think of your reality as a movie with various alternate endings. Your job is to go to the special features section and select an alternate ending as another option.

Visualizing is like selecting the bonus features option and viewing the various outcomes of a film. Think about which areas of your life where you would like to create alternate endings. Take some time to formulate those images in your mind in as clear of a picture as possible. Use words to help you focus on the details until you are easily able to create visual pictures of exactly how you want your life to look like.

The main reason why you should even entertain the thought of creating mental images of the life you desire is because your brain can not honestly tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Your mind operates in pictures and once it sees a clear picture it subconsciously accepts it as fact. Think about the times when you've had dreams so scary that you awoke with a rapid heartbeat and maybe even a little sweat on your brow. Your mind didn't know at that time that the boogie man was not really out to get you. Your mind only did what it knows to do which is take mental images as fact and respond accordingly to the visual images in your mind.

Tonight before you fall asleep, or just after you awaken before you get out of bed in the morning, take a few moments to dream while you are still awake. Create vivid pictures of your definition of the most perfect scenarios and let your mind soar. Let you mind fully believe that you are capable of experiencing what you saw and use your emotions to help motivate you to take consistent action towards creating it.

In a way, you probably do some of this now. The problem with most of us is that we create mental pictures of the worst possible outcome. Today I ask you to use your mental powers for good, not evil, and create the life you've always wanted, both in your mind and in your reality.


A simple technique for overcoming procrastination

Procrastination is a huge issue for many of us. When we put off the things we should be doing, we often have to contend with nagging voices and a general feeling of guilt for not having done what we know we should have. The ability to overcome procrastination is something we'd all like to have. Whenever I have a daunting task that I'd like to avoid, for whatever reason, I muster up the strength to complete the task by following this simple ritual.

The first thing you have to overcome is the feeling of not wanting to do the task that you've been avoiding. To do this, you can incorporate a simple act of visualization to help get your juices flowing. Before visualizing, you should identify an intention for the activity that you are about to undertake. If the activity is cleaning the bathroom, you can say something like "I intend to have a clean, fresh, comfortable bathroom that I can enjoy with my family." Once you have stated your intention (preferably verbally), you quickly formulate a mental image in your mind of the cleaned bathroom and how great it feels to shower and pamper yourself in that room. Next, you think of yourself moving on to more enjoyable tasks after the bathroom is completely done along with the wonderful feeling of not having to come home to a dirty bathroom.

The entire process should not take more than a few minutes depending on how complex the task you have to complete. What you are doing is basically pumping yourself up to complete the work with loads of energy and determination similar to what a coach does with his football team in the locker room before the game. You psych yourself up for the task and create such a desire to have it done that you can not simply just say that you'll do it later and put it on the back burner. You've already seen it completed in your mind with the best possible outcome. Armed with your new found perspective on the situation, you no longer see the task as a large mountain to climb but as something that can easily be completed with a little bit of effort and determination.

Best of all the simple act of visualizing the event helps you move through the actual tasks much faster. Every great thinker understands the value of visualization and how it helps us to become more efficient. When we experience the steps of what we have to do clearly in our minds, we have less apprehension in doing it again in real life. Visualizing is the difference between typing a paper from a rough draft as opposed to trying to create the ideas for a paper from scratch. Use your mind as a tool to make every task or project easier for you. As this practices becomes a bona fide habit, you no longer dread the thought of having to do something. You've already done it, you now just need to replay the motions in real life. Now get to it!


Five simple reasons why you should do it now!

Don't put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today. When faced with tough decisions, undesirable tasks, or other activities that we'd rather avoid, putting it off may seem like a viable option. The reality is that procrastination comes with it some pretty serious consequences. Here are just five reasons why you should do that thing you've been putting off.

1. You don't make it worse-Nine times out of ten, the longer you wait to do something, the more difficult the work becomes for you. Think about it, the longer you wait to finally clean out your email inbox, the more of the dreaded email you will have to contend with. Subsequently, you will have to invest more time (in doing what you don't want to do) just because you decided to put the assignment off. If you would have spent five minutes a day (doing it now), you wouldn't have to put hours into sorting, filing, and deleting your emails. You are only doing yourself a disservice if you continue to wait on that action that you've been putting off.

2. Peace of mind-If you know that there is something you should be doing, your mind will not rest until you have done it. You instantly develop a small still voice in the farthest reaches of your mind that serves as a reminder that you need to make that call, have that difficult conversation, clean out your clutter, etc. Even as you sit down to complete truly productive work, you will not be able to devote your full mind to the task at hand without having to deal with that voice.

3. You can move on-Putting something off is like constantly closing the window of your email pop-up reminder. As soon as you get ready to respond to your next email, that darn reminder is back up again. But once you have finally completed that nagging task of yours, you can move forward with your life. The activities you engage in will not be tainted with feelings of guilt. Your mind will allow fresh ideas to flow in that were once blocked off. If you do it now, you can finally move on.

4. You build momentum-Once you take immediate action on something, you instantly feel good about yourself. Remember how bad you felt when you knew that you were purposely putting something off. Taking the opposite action creates the opposite emotions. Even small acts, like putting something away as soon as you are done with it, gives you a sense of power and control of your actions. The more you do it now, the more momentum you create.

5. You develop a habit-Not only are you creating momentum every time you act, you also move into the realm of creating a habit. Instead of dreading the next action, you plunge into it. Taking on something right away has a new meaning for you. You are now a person who takes consistent action. There is no longer that hesitation that once was there. The difference between someone with a clean vehicle and someone with a messy one is the consistent action taken to keep clutter and dirt from building up. Start developing a habit by doing it now!


Build the Ark

My last post detailed my interpretation of Thomas Edison's great quote, "every thing comes to him who hustles while he waits."

I just wanted to share an example of how I used this mentality to land a new job. One where I received a 25% pay increase. One where I will have the ability to work from home. One where I will receive wonderful perks like a company car. So how did I land such a great opportunity you ask?

For one thing I did not seek the role, my phone rang one day and it was someone I knew who recommended that I apply for the position. When I heard of all the great benefits, I had no choice but to update my resume and send it out.

As soon as I officially applied for the job, I spent the next week or so desperately waiting by the phone for the call. After becoming fed up with the anxiety I was experiencing by just passively waiting, a thought came in my head. I thought to myself, "when Noah was told the world would be flooded by rain, he did not sit around and look for signs of rain, he immediately started to build the ark.
I knew that I had to build my ark while waiting for the manifestations of the rain. So I asked myself, "what could I do to prepare for this new role?" The answer was obvious as I looked around my home office. Aside from the PC and desk, it appeared more like a storage room than an office. I immediately went to work on throwing out stuff I didn't need, moving out items that had no business in that room, and buying some accessories to make it look more appropriate for work. All this was in preparation for my new job.

The next day I got the call.....

After my first meeting with my soon to be boss, she hinted that I visit some of the various locations of the company I would work for to see if I notice some areas of opportunity with regards to operations. I took that advice to the extreme and proceeded to visit as many different locations as I could. I spoke to employees and managers to obtain even more valuable information. By the time we met again, I regaled her with all of the accounts of my store visits. Needless to say, she was impressed by the amount stores I visited and depth of the feedback I was able to provide her.

Next came the final interview. I was flown to corporate headquarters to meet a plethora of directors and VPs. After Googling each of their names for any info I was able to obtain from the web, I felt confident enough to speak with each of the five individuals about the direction of the organization. I arrived with a fierce determination to leave the absolute best impression on each individual as I possibly could. I wanted them to feel the enthusiasm I had for this role. I wanted them to believe, as much as I did, that I was the one to take on this fantastic opportunity.

Some of the other actions I took to prepare for the interview was:
*I watched a copy of the Secret for the millionth time.
*I edited a copy of the interview agenda they sent me to include my name, the job title and the name of the company in one line at the very top of the page.
*I practiced my "I'm gonna miss you guys" speech that I would give to my current co-workers.
* I visualized myself in the new role.
*I did everything else in my power to take on the emotions of someone who already had received the job.

After the final interviews were completed, I could honestly say to myself that day could not have gone any better. The hiring team told me that all the candidates would hear something in four business days. They called back at 9:30 am on the second business day and offered me the position. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased to accept the offer.

Would I have gotten the offer if I hadn't gone above and beyond to make sure that I landed the job? I can't honestly say that I would have. Someone else could have easily out shined me if I didn't proceed with an unwavering determination to get that job. I spent every possible moment thinking of various ways to stand out from the crowd. My mind was very attentive to ideas and insights that I could use to my benefit. As I opened my mind in expectation for great ideas, great ideas came to me.

Think about something that you really want to realize. Could it be possible to incorporate such intense positive action that you will most certainly achieve it?
How can you begin to build your ark while in expectation of the rain?


"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits"

Thomas Edison's wise words bring life to anyone who has experienced frustrations due to missed opportunities. The person who finds themselves to be "unlucky", the individual who never seems to get a break, the one who seems to stay in the same rut time and time again. These are all examples of people who fail to hustle while they wait. Edison's timeless quote contains within it two crucial words that we should pay close attention to...wait and hustle.

I looked up the meaning of the word "wait" in my Oxford dictionary and found two definitions. The first definition is to "defer action for a specified time or until a specific action occurs." The second meaning of the word wait is "to be expectant or on the watch." To me, these two definitions of the same term have two completely opposite meanings. Deferring an action and being in a state of expectancy are different actions which create very unique outcomes.

The person who chooses to defer specific action will not behave in the same manner as the one who is expectant. When one expects something to occur, that person will be busy waiting. If you expect company to come at 3:00 pm, you will likely be preparing for the visit all the way until the doorbell rings. When it does, you will be ready for their arrival. On the other hand, if you are not expecting someone over, and you receive a visit at 3:00 pm, you will probably spend several frantic seconds attempting to spruce up your house before you have to open the door. Even though you have put forth a valiant effort to appear prepared for the visit, your lack of preparation will be evident. Such is the person who spends her idle time not preparing for the probable.

So you didn't get the promotion, were you spending adequate time in active expectation of the opportunity? In other words, were you hustling while you waited? Were you the most prepared candidate for the role?

One of the definitions of the word hustle is to "obtain by forceful action." Not just any action but forceful action. Forceful meaning powerful or vigorous. Imagine the kind of results that occur through the use of consistent, forceful, powerful action while you expectantly wait for your next opportunity. Edison's quote says that everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. Does it mean that the person who is constantly creating powerful action in preparation will come across more opportunity than someone else?

Although it may not seem that way, the truth is that most everyone will come across various opportunities on a daily basis. The question is not whether an opportunity will present itself to you. The question is whether or not the situation is an opportunity to you. An opportunity is only defined as such if there is a favorable chance of you being able to take advantage of the circumstance. Nine times out of ten, your chances will be less than favorable unless you are adequately prepared beforehand. A home valued at $250,000 which is on the market for $150,000 will be an opportunity for a great investment only for those who are financially prepared to make an offer for the home.

I remember hearing a story from motivational speaker Les Brown about his first big break on the radio. He worked odd jobs at a radio station when he was young but his dream was to become a radio host. Les began to prepare for the opportunity by developing a radio persona that he would share with the world whenever the opportunity presented itself. Then one day Les was presented the opportunity when the person behind the microphone began to indulge himself with alcoholic beverages so he could no longer effectively do his job.

The station manager quickly called Les, who was the only other person at the station at the time, and asked that he go behind the booth and play music until the next DJ arrived. When Les hung up the phone with the station manager, he knew that this was the perfect moment for him. He rushed into the DJ booth and instinctively unleashed the radio persona that he practiced so many times before. Les was a hit! Had he not practiced day in and day out, he may have not developed the confidence to just walk in and do what he had to do. Worse yet, he may not have been prepared to speak to live audience over the air. Les could have stumbled through the show so badly that he may have even jeopardized his job. But because Les hustled while he waited, he was fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunity that became his big break.

Take a moment to think about all of the fantastic opportunities that you are hoping to run across. What if you were presented the opportunity to do some of those things today, would you be ready? Would you be ready to start your new business or to land that new job? Start to hustle today while you wait for your chance. Take powerful consistent action everyday to prepare you and expect the best outcome. Who knows, tomorrow may be your lucky day.

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Get more done in less time using Parkinson's Law

Although we may not be all that familiar with Parkinson's law, we have experienced the law's principles every day of our lives. Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. We all remember those days in school when we would be up late night on the day before a large project was due. Even though we managed to procrastinate on most of the work, we somehow were able to complete all of the work in just the nick of time. Not only that, our last minute attempt at completing a project, more often then not, turned out pretty good considering the amount of time you took to do it.

Deadlines work to provide an end point to our procrastination. A deadline tells us that at some point in time, we will have to provide our finished work for evaluation. Once we are given a deadline, our mind goes through a series of thoughts. The first of those thoughts is likely to be, "I have three weeks to get this done, I can start on the project in a week and still have two weeks to finish all the details." A week and a half later we may be thinking, "o.k. so I am a few days behind on this project, I'll just put in extra hours for the next week and a half and finish it up." As time passes, things keep coming up that seem more urgent. Those distractions steal time away from what we really should be doing. Next thing you know, you are up late putting together your project just before the deadline.

Some of us might be thinking, "I do my best work under pressure, that's why I wait 'till the last minute...it works well for me." That may be true but the reason why you are able to complete the entire project in two days instead of the three weeks allotted, is because you were able to completely dedicate your focus to the project. The impending deadline was your primary motivator to get it done! After the deadline passed, you would be held accountable.

I have been thinking alot about the Parkinson's law lately, namely how I could leverage the intense focus one receives in the final hour. I asked myself "how can I complete my work ahead of the allotted time and still generate the same urgency of waiting until the last minute?"

The answer to my question came in the form of a simple kitchen timer. The timer, which cost me around .99 cents, can be set from 1 minute to 1 hour. It's one of the old fashioned wind up timer that ticks every second like a bomb ready to go off. Just the ticking alone lets me know that I only have a certain amount of time to do what I need to do. Best of all, the buzzer that goes off when time has run out is the most annoying sound ever. My goal is to finish my work before the timer goes off just so I don't have to hear it. When I use this timer my level of focus increases dramatically. I only have a set amount of time to do what I need to do, so there is no urge to surf the net. My mind also clears because it knows that I'm under a deadline. I do not have to contend with random thoughts of "I wonder if I should rearrange my underwear drawer right now?"

My advice to you is to go out and buy one of these timers and use it to get much more done in much less time. Once you begin to use it, try to beat the clock before the buzzer (kinda like a game show contestant solving a puzzle to win the big prize). Once you are done, congradulate yourself. Don't give your self too much time to complete a task because it will only cause you to slow yourself down to fill the allotted time. You also don't want to give yourself too little time so you don't become frustrated. Your goal should be to make the use of the timer as effective as possible so you are encouraged to use it every day.

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Affirmations-Are you motivating or lying to yourself?

One of the most popular pieces of advice in the personal development world is to incorporate the practice of reciting affirmations into your daily routine. Affirmations serve several purposes. They allow us to drive positive messages deep into our subconscious minds. Affirmations also motivate us by providing the feeling of already having what we desire. By saying to yourself "money comes to me easily and freely," you are preparing your mind to become open to the possibility of receiving more abundance into your life. Since we typically tend to use affirmations as a way of speaking to our present situation, are we actually lying to ourselves when we claim to be something that we are not?

Affirmations can be a powerful motivator or an empty repetition. The difference lies in the action behind the phrases. For instance, if you were to say to yourself, "I am a healthy weight, I enjoy eating foods that are good for me," yet you continue in the same eating habits that caused your current situation, you are lying to yourself. If, along with the daily repetition of this phrase, you begin to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your day, your affirmations work with your purpose, not against it.

The use of affirmations shift your mindset towards your new reality. Instead of subconsciously telling yourself the same negative phrases over and over again, you begin to program new instructions into your subconscious. The key to realizing the benefits of this practice is to demonstrate your level of desire by your actions. Just as faith without works is dead so is affirmation without action.
Your mind knows when to believe your affirmations. It knows when you genuinely want to create the new reality. Your mind can only use your action as a reference point of how bad you really want it.

If someone were to say to you "I really value our relationship and I want to marry you" but that person avoids the actual act of marriage by producing an ample amount of excuses at the most opportune time, you can safely believe that this person does not really want to marry you. When affirming, you are telling your mind that you want to achieve a certain objective, but without taking steps in faith, you have to contend with a mind that believes that it can't be done. A mind that doesn't believe that it can be done will sabotage your efforts.

As you travel down the road of self improvement, you will have to contend with many obstacles. The last thing you want to be is double-minded in your efforts. As long as you take focused action towards your goals, you are demonstrating your firm belief in the affirmations you recite.

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Taking Daily Action: The Results

You've heard it said before, "if you want to be successful, you must take daily action." We know that if we move in the direction of our goals everyday, we bring ourselves one step closer to achieving what we want. Head knowledge is great information to have but let me provide you three examples of individuals who have taken daily action and how they have benefited immensely from this practice.

Jerry Seinfeld
According to Forbes Magazine, Jerry Seinfeld was the wealthiest celebrity in 1989 generating more than $267 million dollars in earnings. He also was awarded an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his comedic accomplishments during his professional career. Seinfeld was one of the most watched shows on television. This man has truly reached a level of success only enjoyed by few people. Before reaching that level of success, Jerry Seinfeld developed a habit that helped to chart his course. Lifehacker.com describes a meeting between Jerry Seinfeld and Brad Isaac. Brad asked Jerry what he must do to become a great comedian. Jerry explained that he had to write better jokes to become a better comedian. Jerry than began to detail how he would use a large wall calendar as a method to remain disciplined. Everyday that he would write jokes, he would put a big red X on the calendar. After several weeks of being consistent, he would develop a chain of red Xs. Once you have a chain going, the key was to not break the chain. Jerry made sure to emphasize to Brad that to make this method work, you must not break the chain.

Jack Canfield/Mark Victor Hansen
Who hasn't heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? With over 100 million copies in print in over 47 languages, the Chicken Soup series is one of the most popular book titles to date. Jack also appeared in the DVD version of The Secret detailing how success can be obtained via the Law of Attraction. Positive thoughts were not the only tools he used for success. I remember listening to an interview were he detailed his desire to sell 1 million copies of his books. At one point in time, both Jack and co-author, Mark Victor Hansen, were experiencing results just short of what they desired. They asked themselves how they could achieve the level of 1 million books sold. Not knowing the answer to this question, they went to the experts who have sold at least 1 million books in search of any obvious commonalities. After interviewing a countless number of successful authors, Jack and Mark uncovered the a major pattern. Most of the authors participated in daily interviews promoting their books. Once they found out that "secret," they decided to follow in the footsteps to take consistent daily action to reach the level of success they have today.

Steve Pavlina
Those of you who are not familiar with personal development blogs, the name Steve Pavlina may not ring a bell. A former game programmer, Steve began to detail his insights on personal development in 2004. Since then, his blog has become one of the most inspirational and popular on the internet. He even posted his financial success from his blog. He's making upwards of around $30,000 a month by sharing his valued insights on personal development. One of his most notable posts is 30 Days to Success. In this post Steve talks about how he uses a "do it every day" mentality for 30 days in order to instill a new habit or to achieve maximum results. He even provides details of several 30 day trials that he has completed in the past and the results.

So there you have it, concrete evidence of the benefits of daily and consistent action. You now have a choice to make. Are you going to commit to taking some type of action every day to reach your goal or are you going to give sporadic efforts in hopes of realizing the results you want? Take a quick moment and determine which action(s) would bring about the most powerful results for you and start your 30 day trail. Action speaks louder than words.

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When was the last time you congradulated yourself?

I recently uncovered a habit I developed of letting others know of my accomplishments. Not in the healthy way of sharing great news with others. My tendency was to notify others of all of my small victories every step of the way. I was doing this to get some sort of affirmation from others of how great of a job I was doing. Those affirmations kept me moving forward with my progress. Was my habit of praise panhandling a negative thing? Not necessarily, but the motives behind my actions were causing me to become dependent of the acceptance and praise of others as a major motivator.

Once I realized what I was doing I immediately decided to develop the habit of congratulating my self for my accomplishments.....aloud. Yes, that's right, I congratulate myself for both my small and major victories. In doing so, I would not constantly seek out the reaffirming words of others to keep me going.

This past week I was working on a tedious project at work that requires a ton of data mining. I was able to focus my attention long enough to get a bulk of the work done. One of the senior managers who would benefit directly from the information walked by my office just as I was completing a major section of the report. I wanted so badly to call her in and tell her about all of the work I had done. If I had done so, she would have congratulated me on my progress and told me how good of a job that I was doing. The kind words would supply some motivation but the motivation would be of the external variety and short-lived.

I decided that if I were to get motivated, it would absolutely have to come primarily from myself. Not only that, I would have to genuinely receive my congratulations just as it were coming from someone else. I could not discount the praise simply because I was the one providing it.

When I congratulated myself for the work I did, it went something like this:

"You did a great job maintaining your focus and concentrating on a high valued activity. The information you gathered will make a huge impact on the effectiveness of the business. As you keep up that determination you will find it easier to get more done in shorter amounts of time. You'll have that project done even before the deadline. You are awesome! Keep up the good work."

When I give personal praise, I can talk about obstacles I overcame like procrastination or constant interruptions. I can get into the details that someone on the outside looking in may not be aware of. Therefore, my congratulations means more to me than one given to me by others.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with receiving a kudos from your boss, friend, or family member. But relying solely on this type of praise is insufficient and addictive. You soon find yourself telling everyone every little thing you did just to get a small amount of praise. This gives too much power to others and takes away the power that you have to motivate yourself.

Starting today, make yourself your number one fan. If you do something wonderful, even if it is a small step, acknowledge it. Tell yourself how great of a job you did when you avoided snacking, woke up earlier, completed your do-to list, etc. Do not forget to list all of the details of how you did it and how well you did. Once you make yourself the primary source of your praise, any external recognition will just be icing on the cake.

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Giving away what you really need

My last post was my perspective on some profound lyrics I heard from a song. The lyrics went something like this:

"Sometimes we hold on to the things we don't want"
"Sometimes we give away what we really need"

Giving to others is an act that we tend to regard highly. But I do not believe the songwriter was describing the type of giving that involved physical possessions. I suspect that he was talking about things we need much more than our physical possessions.

*We give away our power when we allow someone's words to affect our behavior.
*We give away our future when we speak negatively about our current circumstances.
*We give away our potential when we allow someone else's opinion to hold us back.
*We give away our true nature when we suppress the little voice within us.

Giving is an admirable act but we need to be aware of how easily we can fall into the unfortunate circumstance of giving away more than we bargained for. What you need to remember is that you have complete control over what you chose to hold on to or to give away. Keep in mind that choice is a very powerful thing. As soon as you are able to accept this statement as true, you can begin the liberating act of taking back the things that you really need. Once you have taken them back, make sure you hold on to them for dear life.

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Holding on to the things that we don't want

I heard these words in a lyric the other day and I had to stop and think about how true those words were to me. My first thought was to immediately dismiss the phrase as something that did not make much sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that we hold on to the what we do not want all the time. I thought of some examples of things we do not want such as:

* We do not want to carry around extra weight
* We do not want to be known as a shy person
* We do not want to struggle financially
* We do not want to be in a destructive relationship
* We do not want to be unhappy

The list goes on an on. I am sure that you can easily add to this list the things that you do not want in your life, yet you are holding on to them and shamelessly keeping them around. You may ask yourself, "why would I want to hold on to unhappiness if I do not want to be unhappy?" I actually do not know the answer to this question. You may have an answer for it, you may not. If after pondering the question you find yourself without a valid answer that satisfies you, then you have the responsibility to do what you must in order to let go of what you no longer want.

If you had an old smelly couch sitting in your living room that you no longer wanted, and you were given the opportunity to get rid of the old thing and get a modern couch and more fits your decor, would you hold on to the old couch? Would you give up the opportunity of having what you really wanted for holding on to something that was old and useless? I hope your answer would be no.

My point is that if you want to lose weight, every time you chose an option that feeds your overweight nature you are holding on to what you do not want. If you do not want to be a shy person, every opportunity to become more social that you turn down is your way of holding on to what you do not want. If you no longer want to struggle financially, every time you spend frivolously or take on consumer debt you are keeping your current situation the way it is today. You get my point.

So now is your time to reflect. Look at every area of your life that you say you want to change. As long as your choices consist of doing (or not doing) the same things over and over again then what you are really saying is "I hate the fact that....but I will be doing the same things that cause it to be so!" So what you really need to do is take inventory of what old smelly couches are just sitting around messing up your physical or emotional ambiance. Find that ragged old thing and chuck it! Make sure that everything you do brings into your life exactly what it is you want and (finally) let go of the rest.

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Increasing your level of focus Part 3-Make up your Mind

So now that you have consciously observed the activities of your mind and distanced yourself from the need to be consumed by your thoughts, you should be ready for the next step in developing focus. You now must take on the task of putting your mind's energies into specific actions which will require and intense level of focus. If you complete the activities without first learning to control the random thoughts you experience throughout the day, you will only become frustrated. By completing the actions suggested in part 1 and 2 of this series, you removed the clutter that fills the mind. Once you have successfully cleaned out the clutter, your next step will be to instill within your mind the instructions that direct your mind to think on a level of focus and intensity.

One activity which you should implement in your focus increasing diet is meditation. I suggest that you set aside time in your day to sit by yourself with a quiet mind. Think of this action as exercise for the mind. Exercise for the body involves putting it in motion. Exercise for the mind involves keeping it still. Do not try to solve a problem during mediation, do not try to plan the future during that time. Your "quite mind" time should be dedicated to just being still and focusing intently on your breathing. At first you will listen for your breath, then you will listen to your breath, then you will seek to feel your breath as it travels throughout your body and out of you. The reason why listening to your breath will increase your focus is because you breathe constantly without your conscious mind realizing it. Just the act of monitoring your breath requires you to turn your mind's direction to something that is simple and routine. The longer you are able to maintain your focus on your breath, the longer you will be able to maintain your focus on any action at hand. Please be aware that you will need to make this action a daily routine if you wish to receive any long term results. The more you complete this action the easier it will become for you.

Once, and only after, you have developed the discipline of quieting the mind through consistent meditation, you will then be ready to begin incorporating visualization into your quiet time. The reason why you should not begin visualizing before you can control attention on your breathing is to avoid the daunting task of holding unto an image with a mind not used to maintaining focus for more than a few moments.

The actions mentioned above are tools which will prepare you to become a person of focus. Your mind will no longer waiver back and forth with aimlessly causing chaos and uncertainty. Your mind will now become a sharp tool that can be used effectively to do what you purpose.

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Increasing your level of focus Part 2-Quieting Your Mind

Mental focus is crucial to living a life of achievement. Focus is what will allow you to continue moving forward until you reach the goals you have established for yourself. If you are able to successfully increase your focus, you will experience less resistance to accomplishing both routine and complex tasks. The less resistance you experience, the more easily you will be able to reach your desired destination. For example, let us say that you have a goal of writing a book. The idea pops into your mind and you become excited about the possibility of having a book published. You have the idea and give yourself a generous timeline to complete the work. You tell your friends and receive accolades for going after your dreams. A month or two passes and you have barely completed the second chapter. Every time you sit down to write the novel, you are distracted by a pressing thought that will not allow you to continue. You remember that you have to pay a bill, or make a call, or search for something unrelated on the Internet. Soon enough, you abandon the project all together and you become disappointed with yourself for not being able to reach your goal.

How many of us have experienced a situation similar to what I have just described. In the beginning of our transformation, we have every intention of realizing our goal. Then something happens and we start to allow our focus to become diluted by our thoughts. Our mind is the reason why our focus becomes diverted. Our mind tells us other things are more important and should be attended to. Our mind lets us believe that we will not produce the results we want so we may as well stop trying. Our mind places within us doubts about our ability to reach the level of accomplishment that we desire. The more we listen to our thoughts, the more distracted we become and we then are more likely to succumb to the fickle nature of the mind.

In part one of this series, I recommended that you begin to become aware of your thoughts by observing them. By observing your thoughts, I mean that you will listen to them as if you not attached to your thoughts. Act as if you are someone who is overhearing a conversation without any emotional attachment to what is being said. Once you are able to objectively observe your thoughts, you will then be able to identify the destructive capabilities of your mind. Soon you can begin the next phase of increasing your mental focus. The next phase involves taking conscious action to quiet your random thoughts by not allowing them to direct your behavior. By this I mean that you will place your focus solely on the matter at hand. Whatever activity you participate in, allow yourself to become fully immersed in it. Enjoy the experience of simple activities, even routine ones, by eliminating destructive mind chatter. When we allow our minds to rattle off thought after thought as we complete our activities, we are experiencing the moment. Most often, we complete our work, and play, with preoccupied minds that take us away from the subject at hand. Instead of placing our full dedication and focus on what we are doing, we are entertaining thoughts about something that happened in the past, or what we think may happen in the future. Our focus is then lost. Because we allow the cycle to continue, we do require intense focus, we find it difficult to meet this requirement for even a relatively short period of time. What you must do to begin the work of increasing your focus is to control the randomness and frequency of your thoughts.

Action Plan:
This week, make conscious and direct efforts to be as present as possible in everything you do. Strive to work, eat, play, and live without allowing your mind to participate in endless chatter. If a thought pops into your mind which takes away from the moment at hand, realize it and return back to placing your focus on what you are doing in the present. This is a difficult task to complete at the beginning so you must remain steadfast in your efforts. The more you continue to create this habit, the easier this practice will become for you.

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Increasing your level of focus. Part 1

The most overwhelming obstacle, I believe, to realizing our intentions lies in the lack of focus we are able to dedicate to our goals, circumstances, and desires. Everyday we are demanded to react to an innumerable amount of activities and distractions. Worst yet, we have within us an admirable opponent working diligently to keep us in a constant state of confusion and disarray. Each one of us can easily vocalize our strongest desires. Along with that, we also are equally able to list reasons of why our ability to realize these desires is out of our reach.

The reasons why we consistently fall short of realizing our intentions lay heavily on the amount of focus we are able to dedicate to obtaining what we want. Mental focus will enable you to dedicate 100% of your attention to your goal. The level of focus you are able dedicate to every task you undertake will dictate your level of influence over the outcome of your actions. An increased level of focus will allow you to complete simple tasks, such as reading a book, without the burden of having to tame constant distracting thoughts. Your ability to direct your complete focus and attention to the subject at hand is the key to your success. Those who have achieved what they desired in life had the ability to produce consistent action with the same level of mental focus in the early on in their venture as they had later.

Step 1
The first step necessary in increasing your mental focus is to first assess your current state. You begin to assess your current state by becoming more aware of the chaotic nature of your mind. The frequency and randomness of your thoughts should be observed very closely. Random thoughts are what take you from one area of focus to another. How many times have you interrupted a thought by asking yourself “how did I get there?” You then begin to recall every random thought that entered your mind until you realize how that final notion formulated within your mind. Incidences such as these demonstrate the power of our mind. Much more so, they demonstrate our need to manage our mental activity. Our minds operate much like a wild animal that must be tamed, domesticated, and used for productive purposes. If we invest the energy needed to increase our level of focus, we will surely be rewarded with a strong powerful clear mind that can be directed to fully accomplish what we set it to accomplish.

Your task is simply to listen for your thoughts, take notice of how random the are. Take note of how they seek to distract you from the task at hand. The more you are able to observe your thoughts, the more you will realize how they work against you. This is all you need to do for now. This action will open your consciousness to the importance being aware of your mind’s activities. Once you are aware of the behaviors of your mind, you have begun the process of increasing your level of focus.

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A simple technique on how to clearly visualize what you want

We all should know by now the importance to taking time out to clearly envision what you wish to experience. If you are like most people, you may have difficulty with this exercise because of the daunting task of quieting your mind. In the past, I would work unsuccessfully to create a clear image. The image would appear for a few seconds before my mind began to impose its own pictures in my head. A minute or two later, I realize that my train of thought had taken me somewhere that I did not want to go. Other times I have a hard time even formulating the image I want to create. I understood how clear the image had to be, otherwise, my mind would not accept the image as a potential reality and my actions would not change as a result.

Knowing how crucial effective visualization is to realizing my intentions, I decided to implement a very simple and very effective technique that enabled me to overcome my obstacles when visualizing. The first order of business when one visualizes is to find a time of day and a location where you are likely to be disturbed. Once you are there, find a comfortable sitting area. I do not recommend lying down unless you are absolutely certain that you are not in danger of falling asleep. Now you are ready to close your eyes, and begin visualizing. Once an image develops in your mind, no matter how clear it is, begin to describe it aloud. As you detail your image pretend as if you are explaining the image to a friend. Use vivid words. Describe the images and the experience. Do not forget to include your emotions and how you feel about what you are experiencing. If you do not experience any excitement when you visualize, you could be either visualizing something that you do not really want, or you are not using enough detail to describe your vision.

Practice this every day until you have no difficulty formulating your image. If you are effective in how you describe and see your intentions, you should have trouble discerning between reality and what you experience in your vision. It should feel like a dream you have that feels real until you wake up. Your mind will begin to believe the image as reality. Once your mind believes, your actions will follow. Having what you want will not longer seem like a distant fantasy but more like a reality that you are already accustomed to experiencing. The fear that once kept you from moving forward will lose its potency as you work towards realizing what you desire most.

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Increase your reults 100% by answering these two questions

With every goal, or intention, you want to realize, there are certain reasons why they have not yet become a reality for you. One thing you can do to begin the process of re-designing an area of your life is to examine. This examination is so crucial that you must be certain to make it as effective as possible. I hope to make this examination possible and simple for you by providing you two questions which you must ask of yourself. These questions are not rhetorical in nature and require very specific responses from you. Your answers to these questions must be well thought out and complete. Your response are your key to reaching the next step in your quest for improvement.

The questions you will focus on are as follows:

Ask yourself:
What three, most effective, actions am I taking that are moving me quickly to my intention?

Your responses to this question must not incorporate every single action you take to bring you closer to your goal. Your responses to this question must only detail the most effective actions for your thus far. Effective means that you can clearly see the effects. Effective actions directly impact your results. Effective actions create your results. Find the effective actions and make them even more effective. Work on them diligently and closely monitor your results. Your results are your only source of truth.

Ask yourself:
What are three actions that I am taking which are hindering me from realizing my intention?

Most everyone has within them a side of them which works to hinder progress at all costs. For some this hindrance is more prominent than in others. The more powerful your hindrances, the less likely you are to achieve your desires. In your examination, look deeply into your actions to uncover and eliminate those actions. Your self-defeating actions work only to prolong your quest to reach your goals. If you were to successfully remove them, your progress would be ten-fold.

Use these two questions as your tools in achieving what you purpose. If you focus on taking the most effective actions, while working just as diligently to remove your most destructive behaviors, you leave nothing but powerful actions that directly influence your results. Include consistency into the formula and you will find that there is almost nothing that can stand in the way of manifesting your ideal outcome.

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