The new year is just around the corner. With that being said, it is time to lay some groundwork which will make it the best year of your life. I mentioned in a previous article that we are going to be offering some insight into the best way to do that. As you can guess, all your success first starts in your head.
One of the easiest ways to start this transition is to create 3 goals that you want for yourself. This is a number which will allow you to focus enough attention to each of these areas. So, let us start the process by writing out three goals for 2009. We put them on paper so that we can see them each day as a reminder of where our focus needs to be.
We will want the goals to be in different areas of our life. For example, health/fitness is an area that most need to focus some attention. Therefore, put down what you want your body to look like at the end of 2009. Also, you might want to set out a goal for your career. This could include any changes in profession that you might want to make or an income level you want to attain. Another area could be with your family. Decide what time/events/activities you want to share with them. Again, put this all on paper.
As we go through the next few weeks, we will be establishing a plan for each of these areas. The initial stage is to get the idea down and affirm it as a goal. It is best to chose things that are a bit of a stretch. If you make things too easy, you will tend to lose interest rather quickly.
Success is first created in the mind. Resolve what you want to get in 2009 so that you will have a clear mental picture. This will feed the mind with something that it can go after. Manifestation is the process which will help us to achieve all that we want.
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As we approach 2009, it is important to first get our mindset right. Recent events have people filled with fear. This is only natural with all the uncertainty which was created. However, we need to look at our own lives to determine what we are going to create for ourselves. The macro situations will affect us but not as much as our own activities.
When we uncover a dream or goal(which will will discuss in a the next entry), it is crucial that we maintain the desire for that outcome. So many people get excited about it initially only to lose luster when obstacles are encountered. At this point, they usually make excuses that allow them to give up. Throwing in the towel is now an art form.
It is vital that you never give up on your dreams. Life will throw challenges your way. This is a guarantee. Accept it as reality while persevering. The only thing that can truly stop you is your mindset. Success and failure are first created in the mind. The instant that you decide to quit, that is when you chose failure. It is that simple.
The economic conditions that everyone is facing are going to create a tougher road for everyone. Yet, because of the uncertainty, many will utilize this for tremendous gain. With each crisis is an opportunity. Those who attack the situation will come out on top. Sadly, the majority will accept the difficult conditions while making excuses. This allows for you to enter the minority.
Begin the process by getting it firm in your mind that you are not going to quit until you attain the success you want in life. No matter what obstacles you encounter, you will continue until you reach the outcome you desire. The decision to live a successful life is the first thing that you need to do. Make it now.
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Another Thanksgiving (in the United States) is past us. Next up on the calendar is the Christmas holidays. This will put the finish to another year. We are close to kissing 2008 goodbye.
With the end of this year, my question is "how did your year go"? Did you accomplish much of what you wanted to? Or did another 12 months go by that leaves you full of regret and guilt? If the later is true, what are you going to do differently now that another year is just around the corner?
I realize that the events of the last two months have made circumstances rather tough. People lost a tremendous amount of money in the stock market in the last 60 days. At the same time, job security is rapidly decreasing. The economy is in the tank. Basically, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the next 12-24 months.
The regular readers of my work know that one of the basics of my belief system is personal responsibility. We see many touting the benefits of the government saving everyone from bankers to automobile makers to homeowners. While there might be some merits to this idea, it is best to take control of your life. Those who wait around for others to "save" them are often disappointed.
Over the next month, I will be writing many articles offering helpful ways to take control of your life over the next year. In every crisis there is an opportunity. Since we are in the middle of a major crisis, I see major opportunities everywhere I look. Now is the time to consider making those changes which will positively affect your life. The next 30+ days will help you achieve this. Check back regularly to join us on this quest.
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Here is the United States we are celebrating the annual Thanksgiving holiday. Like most holidays, this one lost some of its meaning over the years. Nevertheless, it is a helpful reminder to be thankful for all that we have. Times of late are trying to us all. Nevertheless, there is a lot that we have which we take for granted.
Most of us in the Western world do not know what it is like to truly suffer. Lately, we hear how horrible the housing market is with people being foreclosed upon, how stocks are getting destroyed, and how people are facing the loss of their jobs. While acknowledging how bad all these are, it is best to remember that many in the world would love to have these problems.
We need only look at the continent of Africa to realize how blessed all of us are. They are struggling with some of the basic necessities of life. Diseases like aids is running at an incredible rate, most countries suffer from famine, and tribal wars are commonplace. Everyday is truly a life or death situation.
As you go through the next 24 hours, remember all that you have. If you find that you are presently lacking some of the things that this society has to offer, then be grateful that you live in a place where there is an opportunity to create your life as you see fit. At this moment, you have more opportunities within 10 miles of your house than most of the people in Africa will ever dream of.
A spiritual adviser of mine would say "we live in the land of milk and honey". How true he was.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
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Many come to me asking "how do I create the life that I want?". This is an interesting question which leads me to answer "what do you want in life?". It is at this point that I usually get a blank stare. The truth is that most really have no idea what they want their life to look like. This is one of the main reasons why they inevitably spend years going in circles.
Creating your life starts with deciding what you want. Our life is first developed in the mind before it can ever become a reality. Without this basic part of the process, we are doomed to follow the ideas of someone else.
Society has a way of determining what is best for us. When I say society, I am referring to all the influences that touch our lives. They could be parents, teachers, employers, spouses, etc... Each of these people has an idea of what is best for us, of how to be successful in this culture.
Sadly, few to take the time to decide what he or she wants. People will spend more time planning a vacation than they will laying a path for their life. The few that do consider what they want enjoy more success and happiness.
It is time to get clear in your mind what it is that you want out of life. Clarity is a powerful weapon. I want you to write down exactly how you want life to be 10 years from now. Shake off the limitations of the mind. Societal training will arise at every new thought. Part of the process is to turn off the ideas of those who influenced us to get to the core of what we want.
You will find this is one of the most valuable exercises you ever engage in. The greatest minds in the world spent considerable time in thought. It is best if we follow their example. Determine what is the most desirable thing that you want. Whatever it is, write it down and place it where you can see it. Each night, look at it and ask yourself "did I shape my day to move towards this outcome?". This process starts to move the goal/desire/wish to the conscious level. You suddenly find that your actions begin to mirror what you wrote down.
For example, if you want to have a loving, intimate relationship with a special someone, write that desire on a card and post it. Each day, ask yourself the above question. Obviously, if you want this to come to fruition, it is necessary to shape your actions so that they put you in position to meet people. Each day, do this. Eventually, you will achieve the result you desire.
Clarity is the most powerful tool we have. Get clear in what you want so that you can start to work towards it beginning this moment. The creation of the life you want is at hand.
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In the last article I wrote about overcoming procrastination by attending to all those activities which take 5 minutes or less. This is an effective way to getting ourselves off the procrastination treadmill and moving into the action arena. However, what about those projects which require more than 5 minutes of time.
We heard how breaking larger tasks into manageable sizes is the key. This is correct. Nevertheless, most failed to tell us what a manageable size is. Again, we look to the 5 minute rule. Our goal is to develop a list of items which are accomplished in less than 5 minutes. We know this is a size that is easily handled.
Let us start with a major activity like cleaning out the garage. This is something that can take hours to complete. Using our concept, we begin to break the job into smaller tasks. The first is to clean all the trash that is lying around and put it in a can to take to the curb. This might take more than 5 minutes but it is a good starting point. The next idea is to hang up all to tools that are scattered about. Again, we look to complete this in 5 minutes or less. Third might be to select an old box or two that we go through, discarding what is not needed. We continue this process until we completely cleaned out the garage.
The idea behind this philosophy is to get started. Procrastinators are terrible starters. Physics teaches that it takes more energy to start an object in motion than it does one that is already moving. Breaking projects into manageable tasks is an effective way to get ourselves going.
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There is a technique which will easily help you overcome procrastination while getting yourself to take action. We all know that the key to accomplishment is often as simple as getting off our duff. Yet, many are paralyzed by the procrastination bug. They failed to develop the “do it now” habit.
Can you do something for 5 minutes? Consider this question carefully before answering. If you are like most, the natural inclination is to say “yes”. I believe that is a truthful statement. Doing something for 5 minutes is not difficult. We can handle most anything for 5 minutes.
That being said, the next question is why do you procrastinate? Studies show that many of the activities we put off can be completed in 5 minutes or less. Individuals who procrastinate often experience the feeling of overwhelm. They find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle”: putting things off causes them to get overwhelmed while the feeling of being overwhelmed causes them to put more things off. How can you break this trend.
Breaking the procrastination habit starts with handling the tasks which fall under the 5 minute rule. This rule states that “anything I can do in less than 5 minutes gets attention immediately”. It is best to make a list of everything that fits the criteria. Once this list is completed, you begin with the first one on the list. Continue on each item for the next hour.
You will find that you are able to complete 10-12 activities. That is a wonderful beginning. Those who are experts are putting things off might find their list has hundreds of items on it. However, knocking out a portion of them will provide confidence moving forward. Do this everyday for the next 20 days to really ingrain the habit. At the end of that time you will find that you are now an action taker instead of a procrastinator. It is amazing what 5 minutes can do.
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Multi-tasking is a myth that some egotistically use to inflate their egos. You will hear these people talk about how they excel at this "art" which makes them extremely valuable. It is a con job that is used to hide how they really are inefficient. Those who are most productive "single-task"
"I do one thing at a time, I do it well, and then I move on." Charles Winchester (M*A*S*H)
This quote from the hit television series really drives the point home. Do you do one thing at a time, do it well, and then move on? If not, you are sacrificing efficiency. We are wired to operate in this manner. Anything contrary to the natural methodology which we were born with will hinder us.
The human mind can only consciously concentrate on one thing at a time. If you doubt that, try to think of two things at this moment. It is impossible to concentrate on this article while thinking about what you are going to have for dinner. One thought is going to override the other. That is how the mind works.
Those who multi-task believe they are splitting their focus. This is impossible. Since they are attempting to handle two activities simultaneously, the concentration is bouncing back and forth. This allows for the opportunity to miss something.
I found that the most successful people were able to harness the power of the mind by putting all their mental effort into one area. This is what put them ahead of everyone else. Our mind is the most powerful mechanism there is. However, to maximize it's potential, we much be able to focus. This is easier to do when we look to do only one thing at a time.
Do not buy into the myth of multi-tasking. You will be more productive by following the above mentioned words of the snobbish doctor from Boston. Single-tasking is your path to true success.
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We live in a world that is now 24/7. Cable news channels have all the information from around the world available all every second of the day. One can trade on a multitude of markets around the clock. Cellphones put us in constant touch with everyone.
While all these have their benefits, the downfall is that we do not get any time for ourselves. Relaxation is something that is necessary for all of us. We need to recharge our batteries. Failure to do so can lead to burnout in addition to other health issues. Take the time to relax.
Many deem the one who is constantly on the go as "admirable". We all met those who work 70-100 hours a week. They are always conducting business. Wealth and prestige comes to them at every turn. Yet, many drop dead at a young age from stress.
You should strive to be a well rounded individual. It is wonderful to work hard. That is a trait which I feel we need more of in this era. However, it is necessary to step back and relax. The old saying "work hard, play hard" holds merit. Recharging our batteries enables us to be more effective in the other areas of our lives.
This is something that we are losing. Today, I want you to spend some time engaging in an activity solely for the pleasure of it. Pick up that hobby you put down so long ago. Perhaps writing is something that gives you enjoyment. How about gardening? Puzzles? Choose anything that allows you to relax and get lost in the moment. You will feel so much better.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. So often we get lost in the "to do" lists. Take an hour today just for yourself. You deserve it.
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Most people want to change their life. However, they do not know where to begin. The problem is that human beings are creatures of habit and many find the habits they have do not lead them to a successful outcome. So I put together a list of 20 things you can do today which will change your life. Some of the things will alter your life path in the long term while others will change how you feel in the moment. Both have an impact of the degree of fulfillment we experience.
1. Turn off the t.v.
People are hypnotized by this device. Most of what we watch is intellectually empty. A periodic escape from life is healthy. However, too many spend hours each day flipping through the channels trying to find something worthwhile. Also, there is a great deal of negativity on the television. Turn it off and regain lost time while improving your attitude.
Spend time stretching. This has an immediate impact of providing instant energy. Right now, stretch all your muscles from head to toe. Notice how much more energy you have by this simple action. In addition, we feel better as the years progress when we stretch daily. Our body is looser which helps offset the lose in elasticity. George Burns swore his secret was to spend 15 minutes each day stretching and he lived to 100. Solid advice.
3. Read for 30 minutes
This time is found by turning of the television. Spend 30 minutes a day reading to increase you knowledge. It is helpful if you pick up a book on a subject you never explored. This will peak your curiosity while potentially uncovering a subject you might fall in love with. Reading is relaxing, expands our knowledge, and stimulates our mental creativity.
4. Spend 15 minutes decluttering
We have too much stuff. There are items stuffed in every crevice of the house. Spend time each day going through different drawers discarding items that are not needed. Plan on filling a trash can each week while putting together a box of items for donation. Getting rid of old stuff increases the flow of energy within our surroundings.
This is a historic method of self therapy. We all have things bouncing around in our head. Writing is a way to get things out of the mental to a place where we can look at them. It makes it easier to deal with feelings and situations when we view it on paper. Writing each day will declutter some of the emotional/mental baggage that is weighing us down.
6. Drink more water
We are told that we need a minimum of 8 glasses of water. Most drink far less than this. Water is a terrific way to appease one's appetite thus causing us to eat less. Soda and other popular beverages are high in sugar and caffeine which adversely affect the body. Replace them with water will help to increase energy in addition to your overall health.
7. Have a salad with each meal
Greens help the body nutritionally. They also make one eat less at one sitting. Most people are overweight and the eating of a salad cuts down on the desire to have a second helping of pasta. Since our meals tend to be low in nutritional value, a salad helps to offer the body the good "fuel" it needs.
8. Learn a foreign language
It is easy with the Internet. Search for free courses and you will find lots of sites offering tutorials. Once you start on the language, a natural offshoot of that is to learn about the culture in that country. This will open up different opportunities in areas of travel, friends, and career.
9. Wake up earlier
Ben Franklin believed in the early to bed, early to rise. The morning hours can be really beneficial if applied properly. Too many get up and rush out of the house. Arising 30 minutes earlier will give you time to relax and consider your day. Perhaps this is the time you use to journal.
10. Create a daily to do list
This is one of the most powerful productivity tools. Writing down the activities you seek to accomplish clarifies your thinking while eliminating wasted time. Working from this list allows you to move effortless from one activity to another. This increases productivity-something that helps any business or career. Also, you will be sure to attend to the important tasks which often get lost when trying to handle the different emergencies throughout the day.
11. Spend 5 minutes thinking
Most people spend more time thinking about where to go on vacation then they do thinking about their life. Rumor is that Einstein would spend 30 minutes each day just thinking. Take a piece of paper and write down whatever ideas come to mind. You will be amazed how many opportunities come to mind during these sessions.
12. Spend time outside
We live in an indoor world. The human spirit enjoys the freedom from being outside. It is therapeutic to get in touch with nature and all it's wonders. Even if you are in a big city, spend 5-10 minutes looking up at the stars at night. Consider all there is out there and how incredible the universe is.
13. Create a vision board
This is an ancient technique which is used for great success. Spend a day with a piece of cardboard and some old magazines (remember our decluttering). Cut out pictures of things that represent what you want in life and attach them to your board. As you do this, a visual of your future life begins to emerge. Hang it where you can see it each day. Periodically amend it to better reflect your desires.
14. Go for a walk
You need not be a marathon runner. Walking is one of the healthier activities there is. It allows us to get outside and enjoy nature. Also, in addition to the health benefits, we can couple this with the socialization of another by getting a walking partner.
15. Savor your food
Food is a wonderful aspect of life. There is so much more to it than satisfying our hunger. However, we live in a fast paced world which necessitates eating on the run. We rarely enjoy what we are putting into our mouths. Savor every bite of the next meal that you eat. Turn off the television and eat in silence. Slow down and enjoy the process. This will stimulate you to try different things.
16. Join an organization/group
There is great enjoyment about being around like minded people. Each community has multiple groups or organizations that you can join. Some focus on civic contributions while others are based upon interests or hobbies. You will enjoy socialization, an increase in knowledge by learning from others, and be given an opportunity to contribute.
17. Strike up a conversation with a stranger
The next time you stand in line, talk with the person behind (or ahead of) you. An amazing thing happens: you learn they are human. Most live a "scared" existence by hurrying past people we do not know. Having the confidence to talk with anyone, anywhere helps us to become more social which increases happiness and career opportunities. This single action opens up a world of possibilities.
18. Partner with another in a business
Ownership is the key to success in most cultures. Historically, it was land; now it is a business. Find someone to start a business with as a means of affecting the financial resources of your family. You might find that a new career develops for you. Partnering also teaches us the value of a team. Two people working together are far more productive than working as individuals.
19. Get a pet (or a plant if the pet is not feasible)
Learning responsibility is a good thing. It is one of the keys to success. A pet (or plant) is totally dependent upon you. Also, they are always there when you come home. The joy that comes from taking care of something else is indescribable. Suddenly, you will have something else to focus upon.
20. Phone an old friend
We all lose touch of people we care about. Pick up the phone and call someone you were close to in the past. There is a good chance many of those same feelings are still there. Distance and time need not be reasons to keep a good friendship apart. Rekindle the emotions of old to find the fulfillment and happiness you once had.
You now have 20 things you can do today which will set your life in a different direction. Each of these actions is simple. Yet it is the simplicity which makes them effective. Try each of them for a week and see how differently you feel. This will lay the foundation for an entirely new life.
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This is the easiest way to change your life instantly. Whatever it is that ails you, movement will automatically alter everything. This is something that is applicable in this moment as well as your long term outcomes.
People feel certain things in the present moment. Joy, happiness, and elation are all emotions recognized in the "now. The same is true for depression, boredom, and anger. Obviously, experiencing the former is beneficial while we want to try to avoid the later.
There are times when we are going to feel down. The easiest way to alter those negative feelings is to get moving. Stand up and go do something. Tony Robbins says that "emotion is created by motion". You have a different physiology when you are active as opposed to sitting on the sofa eating potato chips. In that moment, you can overcome the depression, as an example, by going for a walk. It is not a long term fix but will improve your life in that moment.
Our long term successes are improved when we get moving. The difference between a plan and an outcome is action. This is the bridge which gets an idea from you head and produces in a tangible way. All success is the result of some type of physical activity. The same is true for you life.
So, you want to change your life? Well, get busy doing something. Pick up a book. Write down some goals. Begin working out. Enroll in a course at a local college. Whatever it is, begin by taking some action. This is the best way to set your life on a different path.
In working with others, I find it easiest to turn people who have challenges but are busy into success stories. The reason is they have the key to achieving anything they want. The solution is a to get them onto the proper path for what they want to attain. On the other hand, those who are continually omitting taking action are more of a challenge. Until they get moving, little will help them. Any new knowledge gained is wasted.
Therefore, get busy to change your life. Regardless of where you are at in this moment, get off your duff and go do something. Taking action is a necessary habit for success. It is created one action at a time.
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We are closing in on Thanksgiving here in the states which means that Christmas is just around the corner. It is unbelievable how quickly a year passes by. Before we know it, it will be 2009. This means that it is time to look ahead at what we want to accomplish in the next year.
I know what you are thinking: here comes another post about New Year's resolutions and goal setting. You betcha! Failing to plan is a recipe for disaster. We need to look at doing things differently if we are to attain greater heights in the next 12 months.
To start, we need to look back reflecting on how we did. So, how was your 2008? Did you achieve the major goals you set out for the year? Or did you not even set anything down in writing that you wanted to achieve? The answers to these questions reveal how much work you have ahead of you.
If you set something down as a goal and worked towards it, congratulations. The next year will see an increase in the heights you attain since you are already in the habit of going after something. On the other hand, if you failed to set anything out, this usually shows that you lack the clarity in your mind as to what you want. The first step for you is to determine what you want out of life. Omitting this process is like planning a vacation without ever choosing a destination. The chances of you ever getting anywhere are slim.
Therefore, begin with the question, what do I want in my life? I wrote an article titled "What do I truly want" that might offer some insight into what you need to determine. Basically, it is time to uncover the dreams that you have. Most people settled into an existence. They do not spend their days in a profession they love. Instead, they fell into something in an effort to pay the bills. If you are going to reverse course in 2009, it starts with the dream.
You can make the next 12 months the best year of your life. It is possible to achieve all of your dreams. Life can be a spectacular journey if we are willing to put the effort in. What is insane is people are already putting in the work, just it is focused in the wrong direction. Uncover the dream that is within you and then you can lay out a plan to achieve it. But it all starts in your head.
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Fear is something many are dealing with at the moment. People are in difficult situations which seem to offer no solution. We know that many are facing the loss of their homes while many others might end up following suit if unemployment increases too much. This is a reality that we are going to have to cope with.
I was sitting yesterday with someone who just lost his job. The company he worked for is experiencing a serious loss in revenue due to the slowing of the economy. Like most, they are being forced to cut back. The gentleman that I talked to was one who was let go. Sadly, it was through no fault of his own since he was a good employee for them. Again, circumstances necessitated this action.
Obviously, this individual was filled with fear. He was worried about meeting his financial obligations without the steady paycheck. This is a legitimate concern. He will need to develop some type of plan to survive this ordeal.
In chatting with him I was able to pinpoint exactly what his issue was. As you can imagine, fear is his overriding emotion at the moment. There is a lot to be scared about. However, as we all know, fear never solves anything. Listening to this emotion only serves to paralyze us from moving forward.
Most would think that this man just needed to get over the fear. That would be true if that is what his problem was. What was affecting this individual was his negative projection. That is what was causing his fear. Anytime we leave the present moment, we establish the basis for fear to exist. It is impossible for fear to enter our mindset if we are in the present moment.
I know this sounds a bit hokey but bear with me. Fear exists solely in the mind. It is a device the mind uses to maintain control in a situation. The mind likes the status quo and will do all it can to keep us from changing. However, for fear to be present, there needs to be a comparison. So, the mind looks to a future point in time and brings that projection back to the present. Hence, we have fear.
Let us look at how this man did it. He lost his job. That is the reality of the situation. This event caused the mind to consider the future with a negative viewpoint. He instantly jumped to the time when he would not be able to make the house payment (next month or the one thereafter). Then, to compound it, he went further into the future to see the bank taking his house. These events he experienced mentally in the present.
Other than losing the job, did any of this happen? No it did not. The entire scenario is a figment of his imagination. It made it all up. Could this transpire the way he envisioned it? Certainly. However, as of this moment, he is still current on his mortgage and living in his house.
I need to make one thing clear: staying in the present moment does not mean that we stick our head in the sand and ignore the world around us. Having the Pollyanna attitude with everything is a bit foolish. In this instance, there are actions this individual will need to take. However, staying in the present moment allows his to think rationally while maintaining some peace about him. That is crucial for surviving any ordeal. Survival experts teach how remaining calm is the key to survival. I agree 110%. Sticking to the present moment fosters a calm outlook. It is then that we are able to begin working on the solution to our problems.
One final thought about projection. Notice that when someone does project, it is most often in the negative. They never seem to look at a situation and think how wonderfully it all will turn out. Instead, they tend to go to the "worst case scenario". If you are going to project, does so in a positive fashion. See everything working out to your benefit. This single alone will begin to lay the foundation for an improved situation.
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There is a lot of fear that exists with all that is going on. The media tells us each day how bad things are. It seems that every story makes the situation more and more hopeless. With all that is transpiring, why should we even carry on?
We need to remember a few things about the present circumstances. Implementing these ideas into your mindset will help you deal with the fear that is arising within you.
1. You will be alright.
This is not going to kill you. We need to remember that circumstances are temporary and recessions come and go. Many people alive today lived through the economic downturns of the 70s and 80s. They survived as will you. This too shall pass is an appropriate mantra.
2. It is never as bad as the media portrays it.
They are in the business of selling their stories. To do this, they need to capture your attention. The idea that "everything is wonderful" will not sell newspapers. Doom and gloom is their specialty. Remember that when you hear reports of how terrible everything is.
3. Fear is not real.
This is where I am losing some of you. Most of you will swear the fear you experience is real. If that is the case, go ahead and touch it. Pick it up. Move it. Fear is something that our mind creates to keep things within it's comfort zone. It is a figment of our imagination. Also, it is impossible to experience fear without leaving the present moment. For fear to exist, projection is required. Stop doing that and fear will vanish.
4. Focus on what you can control.
The stock market is going crazy and there is nothing you can do about it. A decrease in national spending is also outside you means. Concentrate on those actions which impact your life. You might not be able to control the layoffs your company is doing; however, you can focus upon making yourself as valuable as possible. Doing this empowers you in an overwhelming situation.
Keep these 4 ideas at the forefront of your mind. The end of the world is not here although many believe it is. We will all get through this. Having a good outlook is one of the most effective methods.
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Habits comprise a large percentage of the results we get in life. If you want to improve your life, take a look at your daily habits. They hold the key to making a difference.
An example that epitomizes this is physical fitness. What is the main difference between an Olympic athlete and one who is a "couch potato" (leaving aside the natural talent the Olympian has). Obviously, it is the dedication and effort each puts into his/her body.
The Olympian is in the habit of eating properly while practicing for hours each day on his or her sport. That person gets out of bed early without thinking. While the idea of rolling over and going back to sleep enters into the mind, the habit of getting up overrides this. A good habit will give the needed "push" when there is resistance.
Contrast that with the "couch potato". That person developed the habit of reaching for a beer and the remote after work. Hours are spent in front of the television being entertained. Sadly, even with 140 channels, we all know there is rarely anything on. Yet, it is a distraction. When dinner rolls around, it is usually a nutritionally poor meal that is high in sugar and fat. The result is excess weight and poor health.
We could go on with examples. The successful salesperson is in the habit of making the calls while the unsuccessful one is in the habit of wasting sales hours. If one wants to excel as a writer, it is helpful to be in the habit of writing each day. A haphazard approach will not lead to that end. The habits determine a great deal of our success.
So, how do you go about making these changes? Start by listing a major result that you want in your life. Then, list the habits which you need to develop to achieve this end. Since most of our day is spent on "autopilot", it is necessary to ingrain those habits which move us towards our end. You start by choosing one of the activities and doing it each day. After approximately three weeks, this activity will become a habit. At that point, that action will be effortless. Success in that area will become automatic.
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"Life should be a little nuts or it's just a bunch of Thursdays strung together" -Beau Burroughs in Rumor Has It
Is your life a little nuts or is it in complete chaos? Or worse, is it so monotonous that it is boring? Most people fall into either of these two categories. "Nuttiness" is the ability to walk that fine line between planning and not even thinking about the future.
There is an old saying "plan as if you will live forever but live as if you are going to die tomorrow". This also captures the essence of walking that fine line. Those who successful navigate this are able to live in a fulfilled manner.
As mentioned in other articles I wrote, most people do not think about their futures. They never take the time to answer the question "what do you truly want". Instead, they opt to take on life circumstances as they come. The situations that arise run their life as opposed to them making a decision as to which direction they will go. They want things to change but have no idea what that change is.
The other side is those people who over plan. We have all met those people along our journey. They have every detail of their lives written out in a way to disallows flexibility. These people are usual termed "anal". They do not allow for any spontaneity in life. Life literally is a bunch of Thursdays strung together.
My suggestion is to add some nuttiness to your life. Get away from your usual routine. Planning and goal setting are fabulous tools for creating a successful life. However, there is another part of us that cherishes the "wild" side of things. It is important to attend to this part of ourselves occasionally.
The image that I like is that of the biker gang who are free to travel wherever they desire. Naturally, the glamor of that lifestyle is an illusion created by Hollywood. However, it is a fascinating mindset. My inner child wants to take on that way of life full time. Of course, this is not practical but does show the inner need for change. Attending to my "other half" by putting away my lists is an action I need to take periodically.
Begin to look for ways to spice things up a bit. Naturally, I am not advocating quitting your job, selling your house, and travel the country as a vagabond. Extreme is not what this article is about. The idea is to strike the balance between the two worlds so that you have that contrast. Give yourself some simple, unintended pleasures which will counterbalance all your planning and systematic goal getting. You will find that you are a more productive person when you do get back to that "other world".
This is a question that seems to plague most people. Recent events have increased the fear among the general population. People's fears are starting to show through. At present, we are faced with extreme financial conditions with the economy and the financial markets heading south.
Many people find themselves in a bind since they never decided what they truly wanted. We just witnessed an election cycle which told me that people had no clue what they were voting for. Barack Obama ran on the issue of change. That is a wonderful platform in a time of crisis. However, he never explained how he was going to fix the problems that plague the country. Nevertheless, people voted for him because they want that change.
Here is an interesting exercise: ask those people who are looking for change what it is they want? You will be surprised that most people have not a clue. They just want things "fixed". This is where they are vulnerable to having circumstances disrupt their lives. Without the clarity, one cannot know where he or she is headed. Also, there is no barometer which determines the level of succes or failure.
This is an indiciation of what people think about in their life. Few sit down to actually decide what they want. Instead, they "go with the flow" bouncing from one situation to the next. Circumstances dictate what their decisions are. They take the reactive approach to their lives.
Answering this question begins to give you a proactive stance. You are the one who decides what you want out of life. This journey can be anything that you want it to be. Spend some time determining what it exactly is you want. It will instantly set you on a different path.
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As I watched the Presidential campaigns, I concluded that both candidates failed to promote personal responsibility as a value. Only once was it even mentioned, in a speech given by Sarah Palin. Instead, both Obama and McCain offered handouts to as many as they could.
Are there serious problems in this country? Absolutely. Will the government be able to solve them? In my opinion, not with the mindset our leaders have. Notice how they behave with regards to their own actions. The financial crisis is a prime example. Not a single person stood up and said, "I had a part in this". Rather, the "blame game" went into full swing.
So what is America voting for? According to the beliefs of this woman, we are seeking the person who will give us the most. I would overlook this statement if it was one rogue individual who wanted a "free lunch". However, I believe her attitude is more the norm. We are a culture that forgot what the principles of success are.
Personal responsibility tells me that I am responsible for the direction in my life. The decisions I make is what creates the results that I get. To alter my life, it begins with making different decisions. The choice to stop blaming everyone else is a wonderful place to start.
Will Obama pay this woman's mortgage? Unfortunately, I feel she will be disappointed if that is what she is expecting. A study of success tells me that those who put their dependence upon others are let down. This is true whether it is the government, a company, or other individuals. Personal responsibility is learning to be self sufficient in the face of changing environments. The reason why the statement "there are no free lunches" has stayed with us because it is true. Remember that as you move forward in the new political environment.
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I decided to offer up some tips that I learned over the years to make your life easier. Periodically, I am going to write something that helped me to increase my productivity or save some time in a particular area.
Today, I am going to focus on emails. This is something that I know most people struggle with. It is rare to come across someone who does not have a full "inbox". At the time I put the following idea to use, I had almost 1,000 emails. This was an unmanageable number.
To start, it is important to understand that you will not go back and read most emails. We all think that we will "get to it later" but we never do. We tend to save a lot of useless stuff that only drains us whenever we open the email account. The following will eliminate this problem.
1. Begin by creating two new folders: label one passwords and the other with today's date.
2. Go through you inbox and move all the emails that have passwords or other similar information into the "Passwords" folder.
3. Move the remaining emails into the one with the today's date on it.
There you have it. Your inbox is suddenly empty. Now, anything new that comes in can be read and deleted. There is no effort required to try and catch up on all the old stuff. It is still there if you need it. However, you will feel better since you do not see all that old junk whenever you open your email.
What I found is that after the first month, I never went into the folder where all that old stuff is. I still have it just "in case" yet am coming to the realization that I am dreaming a bit. I will most likely never reopen 99% of what is in there. I am certain you will experience the same thing.
Now you have control of your emails. You will notice, after a short period of time, that you will be bothered if you leave even one email in the "inbox". It will get to the point where you want to handle each of them immediately and be done. This increases prodcutivity in addition to providing greater control. And, the best part is you can set this all up in under 15 minutes. It is simple but effective.
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What is it that makes you special? The answer to this question is your quest in life. It is also the key to your success. Most people are unfulfilled because they fail to look at this important question. Again, what is it that makes you special?
Look at any successful person and you will see their talent. It oozes out of every pore. Jim Carrey was meant to make people laugh. The same is true for Carson. Donald Trump builds magnificent buildings. And Sinatra was meant to sing. Success was a result of them getting in touch with the creative genius that is buried in each of us.
My belief is that it is impossible to fail if one is following this ingrained talent. Discovering it is your purpose in life. Once you uncover this, success comes to you fairly easily. The path might be wrought with difficulty yet you will enjoy the process because you are doing what you love. This is where work takes on the component of fun.
There is no question that successful people work extremely hard. Success eludes the lazy. However, the creation of wonderful results is what drives these people for long hours at a stretch. This is true whether you are referring to scientists, radio/television personalities, or the creator of businesses. In they end, they love what they do.
Have you ever seen a famous person asked "what would you be doing if you weren't an _________"? The most common answer is "I do not know". This is as honest as it gets. These people really cannot envision themselves doing anything else. Kurt Russell was in acting since he was a toddler. Do you think he ever saw himself as anything other than an actor? Of course not.
The seeds of greatness are within you. Regardless of how your life transpired up to this point, there is so much more you have to offer. Your success and happiness lies in finding that creativeness within you. What can you "build" that will have appeal to others? Creativity can be applied to any profession. Perhaps it is developing a new way to get through to your students. Revolutionizing the educational field is something that the world is waiting for. Or, maybe you can improve a neighborhood project which will give pleasure to many for years to come. No matter what it is, there is something that is within you which is itching to burst forth. Uncover this to instantly give your life new meaning.
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Here is a topic that does not get covered much but is extremely important to success and happiness. The image in my mind is the morose attitude people have when going to work each Monday morning. To me, this is indicative of the passion people have for life. It seems that most are operating at a very low level.
Consider the difference between the words "trudge" and "skip". Do you trudge through your day or merrily skip along? This sounds like an insane question but it uncovers a great deal. My conclusion is that most trudge along hoping that something different comes along in the future. Naturally, it rarely does.
I once had a mentor who's mantra was "live at 100%". Can you imagine how different your life would be if you put forth 100% in everything that you do? Success would come to you in droves. However, this might be close to a impossibility. It is very difficult to be "up" in every situation.
Nevertheless, is it possible to improve your life by increasing you level from where you are now. Most tend to be low energy until they encounter something they love. We all know is it easier to get up early to go golfing than it is to go to work. Those who "trudge" are operating at a low level; perhaps 10%-20%. If this is your situation, we can immediately create different results by increasing this. Even a doubling of the way we approach life will net us fantastic results.
Begin to get excited about the results you are creating. Life is a fantastic adventure flexible enough to contour it in any way desired. The only moment that you have control over is the present. Make the most of this moment while ignoring the others. Increase your power by eliminating fear and projection. This allows us to focus on the present task at hand. Utilize this approach in all that you do today and you will notice a remarkable difference in your results.
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The last couple of post (part 1 and 2) dealt with the crucial success element of focus. In the last one, we dealt with the importance of having long term focus if you want to achieve your goals. Here we are going to look at the need to remain focused in the short term.
Productivity is the ability to get things done. It is that simple. Focus is the quality which enables us to do that. We need to focus upon a particular task until it is completed. Remember, the world rewards for things that are finished. Maintaining our present concentration is vital to our success rate.
It is easy to get distracted, especially in the short term. Each day, there are lots of interruptions which will take us away from our present task. Having the ability to block all the "noise" out is what enables you to enjoy the success of the highest achievers.
One of the most powerful techniques to increasing your productivity is the utilization of a "to do" list. This simple tool is overlooked by the masses yet is common among the highest achievers. They know the value of being in control of one's focus.
When I write out my "to do" list, I am setting forth my objectives for the day. This is a basic form of goal setting. Once I have my list set down, I know where I am to focus my attention. Each task is listed in front of me. As my day progresses, I can see what it still left unresolved. This enables me to concentrate on those areas.
Another benefit to this technique is the ability to refocus when I am distracted. Certainly, there are times when we need to drop what we are doing to take care of something more pressing. This is true no matter what aspect of life we are referring to. However, having a list permits me to return my focus to the proper area when the "emergency" is taken care of. Too many waste time trying to determine where they left off.
Controlling our short term focus is the most important skill for daily success. If you watch the top producers in any field, they are the ones who spend the majority of their time on the most important activities. Those who produce the least tend to be the ones who are walking around aimlessly. It is the time spent managing the focus which separates the two.
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I wrote another piece about the importance of focus. To me, this is the single most important element that determines your success. Without the ability to focus it is doubtful you will ever achieve your desired results.
There are two areas that focus pertains to: long term and short term situations. Both require the ability to have a singleness of purpose. The only difference between them is the time required that the concentration is needed.
We all have goals. Many of us went through the exercise of breaking these goals down into manageable parts, usually 90 days. I would say this is common among all students of self improvement.
Here is my question: have you ever opened a notebook and found your 90 days goals left untouched? What was the results of your efforts over the time period? Most likely, most of the list was left incomplete. The reason is you lost focus. Your goal list was put out of sight, thus putting it's contents out of your mind. It is easy to get distracted when you follow this pattern.
I will give an example of where long term focus is shown. Consider the athlete who suffers a season ending injury. Often, this requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Once the athlete begins his/her rehab assignment, nothing else is thought about other than returning to the playing field (court). This person is not distracted away from the overriding goal. His or her focus is on that single objective.
Contrast that with the 90 day list you wrote and put away. Many of the items were not even considered since the time they were written on the list. You did not spend one second focusing upon that task again. This is an example where your inability to focus long term on a specific outcome creates less than desirable results.
In the future, if you do set down 90 day goals (which I suggest), keep them where you can see them. Choose a couple to focus upon exclusively. Make them your overriding objective just like the above mentioned athlete. You will see how just the habit of focus will enable you to accomplish incredible things.
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Do you ever feel like you are all over the place? I know this is something that I struggle with quite often. My mind has a tendency to drift while taking my focus along with it. For years, I battled the habit of bouncing from one project to the next. This led me to create lackluster results. Contained in this situation is a valuable lesson which I can attribute much of my success to.
Focus is one of the main components of success. Many will mention the importance of persistence, goal setting, and self confidence as factors for their accomplishments. While these are are crucial components, I found that focus is the single quality which will instantly separate one from all others.
I mentioned in the past that the world pays for completion. We do not value someone who accomplishes part of the job. Sports is an example of how this is present. The team that leads the game for three quarters does not receive a partial victory. It is the one that is leading at the end which is rewarded. The same is true in business. Your company will not give you a promotion based upon how many projects you started. It is the number of projects completed which is how one is judged.
How can this apply to your immediate situation? The best way to cultivate this habit is to focus on whatever it is that you are working on. Since it is reading this article, complete it before doing anything else. Successful people have the ability to maintain their concentration until the task is completed. This is your challenge now.
Take this approach in all that you do. For the rest of the day, do not leave anything incomplete. If you start it, finish it. Ignore all the distractions which will take you away from what you are doing. Developing this habit is one of the most powerful things that you can do. It will immediately send your productivity through the roof.
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Many are perplexed about changing their life. They know they want something different yet seem to follow the same path. Each year sees the same New Year's resolutions made and, then, broken. Life turns into an endless loop of frustration. Overall, the lack of meaningful progress is absent.
I find that those caught up in this situation are those who hope. They also wish, want, and desire. If you ask them, they hope the next year will be different. Of course, we all know it never is. Hoping, wishing, or desiring rarely changes anything. It is a way to mentally imagine something different without following up with the action to succeed. Thus, the endless loop.
So how do you go about changing your life? It is easier than you think. The first step in changing your life is to truly decide that you are going to do it. A true decision cuts off the possibility of any other result. It also includes the commitment to do whatever is necessary to succeed. Notice the difference in outlook compared to wanting.
Therefore, if you want to loose weight, decide to do it. It is easy to wish you were thinner. As shown, this will ensure that you remain overweight. By truly deciding to lose weight means that you are committed to making the necessary changes to achieve that goal. This is what separates those who succeed versus those who do not.
Is life really that simple that we can alter anything we want by deciding to do it? Absolutely it is. The reason why so many are baffled by this is they believe they made decisions without success. In truth, most were actually wishing, desiring, and hoping. Implement this powerful technique into your life to see results immediate. With a true decision comes instant action. You will see a difference in only a few days.
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