Don’t Worry…Be Happy

boatsWorry:    thoughts, images and  emotions  of a  negative nature  in which mental attempts are made  to avoid anticipated potential threats.

Happy:  characterized  by  or  indicative  of  pleasure,  contentment,  or joy.

Ohhh  Bobby McFerrin had it right! Don ‘t Worry, Be Happy played on the radio a lot when I was a kid. Simple and important advice. Easier said than done with these  hamster  wheel brains of ours. I heard one woman say she had a hamster on fire on a wheel in her mind    ha! I can relate sometimes. I know it can be a challenge, especially for us   westerners   to just chill, not get caught up in all the hub-bub of the world. It ‘s nice to take a step back and just breathe. We don ‘t need a lot of   stuff   to make us happy, although it can seem nice at first.

Here’s what Leo at Zen Habits has learned about living well on little:

  1. You need very little to be happy. Some simple plant food, modest shelter, a couple changes of clothes, a good book, a notebook, some meaningful work, and some loved ones.
  2. Want little, and you are not poor. You can have a lot of money and possessions, but if you always want more, you are poorer than the guy who has little and wants nothing.
  3. Focus on the present. Stop worrying about the future and holding onto the past. How much of your day is spent thinking about things other than where you are and what you’re doing, physically, at this moment? How often are we living as opposed to stuck thinking about other things? Live now and you live fully.
  4. IMG_4325Be happy with what you have and where you are. Too often we want to be somewhere else, doing something else, with other people than whoever we’re with right now, getting things other than what we already have. But where we are is great! Who we’re with (including just ourselves) is already perfect. What we have is enough. What we’re doing already is amazing.
  5. Be grateful for the small pleasures in life. Berries, a square of dark chocolate, tea    simple pleasures that are so much better than rich desserts, sugary drinks, fried foods if you learn to enjoy them fully. A good book borrowed from the library, a walk with a loved one in the park, the fine exertion of a short hard workout, the crazy things your child says, the smile of a stranger, walking barefoot on grass, a moment of quiet as the morning wakens and the world still rests. These little pleasures are living well, without needing much.
  6. Be driven by joy and not fear. People are driven by the fear of missing out, or the fear of change, or the fear of losing something. These are not good reasons to do things. Instead, do things because they give you or others joy. Let your work be driven not because you need to support a lifestyle and are afraid of changing it, but by the joy of doing something creative, meaningful, valuable.
  7. Practice compassion. Compassion for others creates loving, rewarding relationships. Compassion for yourself means forgiving yourself for past mistakes, treating yourself well (including eating well and exercising), loving yourself as you are.
  8. Forget about productivity and numbers. They matter not at all. If you are driven to do things to reach certain numbers (goals), you have probably lost sight of what’s important. If you are striving to be productive, you are filling your days with things just to be productive, which is a waste of a day. This day is a gift, and shouldn’t be crammed with every possible thing    spend time enjoying it and what you’re doing.

Do you have any tips for us on living well on little?

Live Long Creative Fellows

FotoSketcher - Venice BeachI recently read about a Purdue University study that found creative men live longer. For every 1.5 point increase in a man ‘s score on a 9-point creativity scale, his chance of dying in the next 18 years fell by 12 percent. Thank you Men ‘s Health magazine! They are always full of these wacky studies that (sorry but its true) seem to contradict themselves.

What about women? Well, I think its safe to say that everyone knows women live longer than men anyway and they tend to be more creative so let us have this one little stat from our friends at Purdue! Ha!

Checkout some tips to jumpstart your creativity yes, from our friends at Men ‘s Health what can I say,  I ‘m  actually reading the darn thing this week and yes ladies, these are applicable to you too:

Shut Up and Listen  

Ambient noise can be a great inspiration, says Jonah Lehrer, author of  Imagine: How Creativity Works. The sounds of New York City were the inspiration behind the game-changing music of The Talking Heads, for example. It’s all about the right level of noise. According to a recent study in the  Journal of Consumer Research, people working in a level of noise equal to what you’d hear in a coffee shop came up with more innovative solutions to tough problems.

Barrel Through  
When facing a difficult problem, the left side of the brain goes to work looking for the most logical answer. When one isn’t readily apparent, you’ll reach the frustration phase, according to a study in  Psychological Science.  That’s when you’ll want to quit. Don’t  the frustration signals it’s time to switch to the right side of the brain and consider the problem from a creative perspective. The switch from left to right is what causes a “eureka” moment.

See Blue  
Studies show the color blue calls to mind peace, tranquility, and open space. You don’t have to repaint, but a blue picture could help you think more creatively. The worst color for creativity: Red. According to a study from the University of British Colombia, red rooms make people think about danger, mistakes, and caution. (Maybe this is why blue is my favorite color?? I need to find some blue for my office!!)

Talk to Someone New  
Pixar offers improv classes to all employees from security guard to executive, has centralized bathrooms, and makes it a point to have animators working on technical scenes sit near actualcomputer scientists, Lehrer writes. Why? Diverse groups spark creativity. Start by brainstorming on your own run your ideas past someone who isn’t involved and can give you a fresh perspective, like your girlfriend or a friend in a different field.

Think Like Your Kid
As parts of your brain mature, you stop thinking about creating things and start thinking about what people will say about your creation. According to a study cited in  Imagine,  people came up with twice as many creative solutions to problems when instructed to pretend they were 7 years old and write an essay about what they would do with a day off from school. Instead of planning your dream day, take a piece of paper, cut it in half and focus on bringing the two halves together on your desk. Sounds silly? Sure. But it works. Research shows the literal act of “putting two and two together” promotes creative problem-solving.

Take a Hike, Literally
If you’re in a positive mood  not stomping around your office in cranky rage  your brain is more likely to think creatively, according to a study inPsychological Science. If you’re stuck in your cube, try listening to a peppy Mozart piece  researchers found this was the most effective mood lifter.

Tell us what do you DO to jumpstart your creativity??

 

 

 

Ahhh The Sweet Life

FotoSketcher -Eli_SB BeachContent:  satisfied  with  what  one  is  or  has;  not  wanting  more  oranything  else.

How many of us are happy with what we have? We live in an age of MORE. I need this then I ‘ll be happy. I want that  because  he has that. We can ‘t help it, its the environment we live in nah, that ‘s too easy. Pause. Take a deep breath and imagine your life where you have everything you have ever wanted in life. Then what?

Take a look at what Leo at Zen Habits has to say about what life would be like if you learned to be content:

  1. Self image.  We compare ourselves with the images in our head of perfection    movie stars, models in magazines, other people who seem to have it all together    and we can never measure up to those perfect images. But those images are not real. They are an imagined ideal. Even the beautiful people have bad hair days and feel flabby, and if you take away their photoshopped and heavily-made-up facade, you see that they are every bit as human as you are. Even the people who seem successful, living exciting lives    they have the same self-doubts you have. So if they don’t live up to this ideal image, why should you? And even if they did (which they don’t), why would you need to? When we let go of this image of perfection, we realize that we are already exactly who we should be. And then, all our need for self-improvement, and all the activity and effort and pain that implies, fades away. We are happy with ourselves, and nothing else is needed.
  2. Relationships. If you are content with yourself, you are more likely to be a good friend, partner, parent. You are more likely to be happy and friendly and loving, more likely to be as accepting of others as you are of yourself. Relationships improve, especially when others learn to be content with themselves, from your example.
  3. Health. Much of our culture’s unhealthiness comes from unhappiness    eating junk food to give ourselves comfort and relieve stress, not exercising because we think we can’t (because we have a bad self-image), being glued online because we think we might miss something if we turn off the computer or iPhone. When you realize that you aren’t missing anything, and you don’t need junk food to be happy, and you are good enough to exercise, you can slowly return to health.
  4. FotoSketcher - Aubry SB BeachPossessions. The overload of possessions in our lives comes from unhappiness    we buy things because we think they’ll give us comfort, coolness, happiness, security, an exciting life. When we become content with ourselves and our lives, we realize none of that is necessary, and we can start getting rid of these extraneous crutches.
  5. Busy-ness. Much of our busy-ness comes from fear that we should be doing more, that we might be missing out, that we aren’t enough already. But we are enough, and we don’t need more, and we aren’t  missing out. So we can let go of a lot of unnecessary activity, and just focus on doing what we love, and give ourselves the space to enjoy a contented life.

This is all just a few scratches on the surface of a contented life, but it gives you a picture of what might be. And the truth is, once you learn the simple trick of contentedness, it’s really a picture of what already is. You just need to let go of the fears, and see what is already here.

‘Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’  ~Lao Tzu

 

 

Flossing Does a Body Good

to-do-list-long1Flossing, lame I know. Just another thing to add to the to do list. Like most, I rarely floss. However, when I do floss the most disgusting stuff comes out! I know, TMI. I ‘m sure you relate whether you ‘ll admit it or not. I feel good every time I floss, so why don ‘t I do it regularly? Probably the same reason I don;t go to the gym or eat healthy regularly. Ahh our own personal health   the one thing we pretty much have ultimate control over (how we treat our body) and what do we do? Muck it all up. Well, not all of us but I think America as a whole kinda mucks it up. OK, enough negativity. How do we snap out of this stuff! Well, maybe we can start with flossing.

Exercise, meditating, eating healthy the list goes on. We need to form good habits in these areas. Baby steps, don ‘t take on too much too soon and then just give up (you know you know what I ‘m talking about). Let’s take a look at how to form the habit of flossing from Leo at the incredible and  always  insightful Zen Habits blog and maybe, just maybe we can carry this formula over to other areas of our lives:

Forming the Habit

These are the steps that worked for me:

  1. Pick a trigger. For a habit to be automatic, it needs a trigger    something that is already in your daily routine. If you already brush your teeth every morning, regularly, then I suggest that as your trigger. Actually, a better trigger is going to brush your teeth   say you go into the bathroom to brush your teeth, and reach for your toothbrush   that’s your trigger. Floss right at that point, before you brush your teeth, and then brush your teeth after.
  2. Have a visual reminder. The key is to do the new habit right after the trigger, but at first you might easily forget. So have the dental floss right next to your toothbrush, where you won’t forget it. You might also put up a note next to your bathroom mirror so you can’t possibly forget.
  3. Floss just one tooth. This is an old idea, but it works well. Start your habit by just flossing one tooth. It’s so remarkably easy that you won’t be able to say it’s too hard, or you don’t have the time. It will feel a bit ridiculous, but just do it. On day two, floss two teeth. Slowly expand every 1-3 days until you’re flossing all your teeth. Sure, you won’t get the full benefit of flossing all your teeth at first, but the key is not to get the full benefit but to create a habit that lasts.
  4. Focus on the enjoyment. Many people put off flossing because it seems hard or boring or unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be. Flossing is a pleasurable activity if you allow yourself to be present, and think about how your teeth are getting cleaner and how nice that is. I love the feeling of clean teeth.
  5. Mark it on your calendar. Every day you floss, mark a big X on your calendar (Jerry Seinfeld’s secret). Try to string together a bunch of Xs, and you’re golden.

Leo says it all  - seems so easy! Go ahead and focus on this one habit for a few weeks to a month, and you’ll have a new flossing habit. Leo also shared a story about Matt Frazier who did this, along with a bunch of other habits, and it helped change his life (read his amazing story). It’s such a simple thing, but it can change yours too.

 

 

Kids Say What?

FL - June 2012 042Ohh what can you say about kids? A lot I suppose. I spent time back home in Florida a few years ago with my family which included my nephews Sam, age 6 and Jack, age 8. My cousin Kaydyn, age 6 was also there part of the time. Three boys running around and having fun. Did you know kids at this age don‘t take naps?   Naps are for babies!   screamed Jack. I guess I‘m a baby – I love naps.

Kids are non-stop. They also have access to cartoons 24/7! Can you believe it? They have Cartoon Network,  Nickelodeon  and Disney Channel just to name a few. When I was a kid we had Saturday morning and sometimes after school for an hour. Don ‘t even get me started about the Internet. I asked them what they knew about the Internet, they each said it was a place where you could buy games. I guess that ‘s innocent enough.

We visited Legoland, a huge amusement park in Winter Haven, Florida. It was fun but would have been very creepy if we didn ‘t have the young kids with us. They have a water park attached so we got to beat the heat. I hadn ‘t played with Legos since I was a kid. I find them boring now. I ‘m such an adult. Jack showed me his latest Lego creation and I simply asked,   yeah but what does it DO?   He told me it was just Legos. I could tell they were much more to him and he had created an entire world around them, a world he couldn ‘t even articulate to a grown-up like me. I remember that feeling. Kids are creative without even trying. No time for  explanations they ‘ll have plenty of time for that.

I was reminded of the importance of creativity and   divergent thinking ‘ by a CNN story earlier this year that discussed the importance of creativity and how it touches all aspects of our lives:

The word   creativity,   in our society, tends to be applied to artistic endeavors. But divergent thinking is an essential part of everyday life, whether its navigating office politics or devising a new social-media network. When a toddler figures out that he can climb a strategically placed chair to reach a cookie on the kitchen counter, he has engaged in highly creative problem solving (to the chagrin of his parents).  

Humor is my favorite form of creativity.  Jokes are creative. Creating a joke. Telling a joke. The timing of a joke, the inflection and tone of voice used while telling a joke. All of this takes some creativity. Some are better joke tellers that others. My nephew Sam loves telling jokes, he told this one about zoo animals several times so I caught it on video:

Sam ‘s Zoo Joke

The excitement and authenticity Sam has while telling this joke really showcases what free spirits we are as kids. How many of us (adults) have forgotten how to be kids? Lots. How many jokes do you tell in a day? Week? Month?

Assignment: Tell at least two jokes this week. Be silly. Be a kid again.

 

 

Let’s Get…Lucky?

300px-NumerologyAre some people just born lucky? Perhaps. Do we like to think those who have achieved great things are just lucky? You bet! Oh you know you do. Maybe not all people we give some successful folks the credit they deserve. Sure, some people get the dream job out of pure luck, but I think most people work hard to get it. I read a great article called   Are You Ready To Be Lucky   on The99Percent.com recently  offering  some incredible career tips. I think we all know gone are the days we work at one company our entire career. Sure it happens, but it is super rare. I have worked at four different PR firms and two large corporations in my career and when I tell that to a Baby Boomer, they are usually surprised and give me a look of ‘oh, he must be a difficult worker.’   Nah, these days you gotta hop around.

My absolute favorite part of this article is where they discuss relationships (#2):  Work, knowledge, and opportunities flow through people, which means that who we know    and how we know them is our most important asset. But relationships don ‘t get built by exchangingbusiness cards. They get built with energy, care, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, time lots of time.

I  highly  recommend  you check out the article here ‘s a teaser for you:

We ‘re at an interesting crossroads in terms of careers. We still want them, but they don ‘t exist anymore. In the US, the typical job tenure is now 4 years, with most workers cycling through about 11 jobs in their lifetime.

If the 20th-century career was a ladder that we climbed from one predictable rung to the next, the 21st-century career is more like a broad rock face that we are all free climbing. There ‘s no defined route, and we must use our own ingenuity, training, and strength to rise to the top. We must make our own luck.

The lightning-fast evolution of technology means that jobs can now become indispensable or outmoded in a matter of years, or even months. Who knew what a   Community Manager   was ten years ago? What about an    iPad App Designer  ? Or what about   Chief Scientist   (at LinkedIn)?

Ten years from now, we ‘ll probably all be doing some new type of work that we couldn ‘t even possibly imagine today. The thought is both exhilarating and frightening. How do we prepare for a future filled with uncertainty?

Wait…Chronic Multitasking Hurts My Multitasking?

multitaskingApparently so. Thank you Men ‘s Health for yet another  insightful study. OK, I ‘m being sarcastic. I do appreciate your magazine, but I do find all the studies a bit overwhelming and contradictory. There, I said it. This won‘t stop me from sharing what I read from last month’s issue about being   tech-addicted   which I ‘m sure we all are (you are reading a blog after all). Admit it, if you lose your smartphone or simply leave it at home it’s the same as losing your wallet or purse. I don‘t know how we ever got along without these things a mere decade ago.

Don‘t even get me started on Facebook. I met up with an old friend from high school and he asked me who I kept in contact with. I  immediately thoughts of all these people and started telling him this and that about who had kids and who moved to wherever then I realized it was all information I got from status updates on Facebook. I haven‘t actually spoke to many of these people in eighteen years, yet I knew about them as if we still hung out. Weird.

Anyway getting back to the topic at hand, here is the article from Men‘s Health that instigated this tirade of a post ha. It’s from the May 2012 edition and the title is   Debug Your Brain   enjoy:

Adults spend about 8 1/2 hours a day on the Internet, watching video, or using mobile gadgets, according to estimates from eMarketer.   The problem is that we get glued to our devices and forget we have a life offline,   says Gary Small, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA. Don‘t let technology rule your life. Here‘s how to know if it’s gone too far.

THE PROBLEMS

Chronic multitasking
You multitask to accomplish more in less time, right? Yet an experiment at Stanford University revealed that heavy media multitaskers were less efficient than people who multitasked less often. They also had difficulty ignoring irrelevant information.   We become faster but also sloppier,   Dr. Small says. Research also suggests that chronic stress from multitasking can make your brain‘s memory center more vulnerable to damage.

Diminished social skills
The tech-addled brain   drifts away from fundamental social skills, such as reading facial expressions during conversation or grasping the emotional context of a subtle gesture,   Dr. Small writes in his book  iBrain.

  Techno-brain burnout 
People who work online for several hours nonstop report feeling spaced-out, fatigued, irritable, and distracted. Dr. Small calls this digital fog   techno-brain burnout.   It causes your brain to alert your adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, this process can impair cognition and alter the neural circuitry in brain regions that control thought and mood.

THE SOLUTIONS

Live now
Don ‘t snap a photo of every meal, or tweet about that concert while it ‘s happening.   Consider enjoying a seminal experience fully before posting about it,   says Daniel Sieberg, author of  The Digital Diet.   There ‘s always time to update your social network, but life is worth living in the moment first.   Dr. Small suggests designating e-mail time in the morning so you don ‘t sweat it all day.

Find quiet
In  iBrain, Dr. Small advises creating a quiet environment, even if it ‘s only temporary, to ease anxiety. That may mean silencing gadgets, disabling alerts and alarms, or instituting a no-phone zone.   No charging the smartphone in the bedroom,   Sieberg says.   Keep the room a sanctuary and you might even aid intimacy.

Fall asleep
In an experiment at Harvard, Sara Mednick, Ph.D., and her colleagues were able to reduce the negative impact of techno-brain burnout in volunteers by adding variety to mental tasks and by introducing strategic power naps  a reminder that   sleep mode   has advantages for human beings too.

Read more at Men ‘s Health:  http://www.menshealth.com/health/debug-your-brain#ixzz1wnljR6La

 

Secret To YOUR Success

SUCCESS_by_the_chosen_pessimistSuccessthe favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

Run, run, run, go, go , go. This is the culture we live in. Is it a rat race? A raging river? Maybe a roller-coaster for some. Take a pause and checkout these friendly reminders from Marc and Angel about how to address some of the basic success principles that govern our potential to make progress:

  1. You are the only person responsible for your success.  The best part of your life will start on the day you decide your life is your own no one to lean on, rely on, or blame. You are in full control of your future.  Believe with all your heart that you will do what you were made to do.  It may be tough at times, but refuse to follow some preordained path. Make your own rules and have your own game plan. There is no happiness and success to be found by playing it safe and settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
  2. You don’t have to invent the wheel. Actually, to be successful you don’t have to invent anything at all. Coming up with a new invention or idea is one way to achieve massive success, but it isn’t necessary. And it can be the most challenging roads to success there is. You see many people have found lots of success just by taking something that already existed and simply putting their own twist on it (their unique selling proposition). Think about Apple for instance.  As Steve Jobs once said, “Good artists copy, great artist steal. Creativity is connecting things.” Connecting things means seeking inspiration from great ideas that already exist and adding your own useful twist. Read The Millionaire Messenger.
  3. There is no progress without action. What is not started today is never finished tomorrow. Some of the greatest ideas never made it. Why? Because the genius behind the idea failed to take action. Just remember, no action always results in a 100% failure rate. So get intoaction now, and begin to move in the right direction. Once you get started every step afterwards gets easier and easier. Until eventually, what had once been invisible, starts to become visible, and what once felt unattainable, starts to become a reality.
  4. Persistence always wins. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” It may take more than one swing to compose an efficient hit, so make sure not to give up on strike #1. And remember, a river cuts through rocks not because of its power at a given moment, but because of its persistence over time.
  5. Focus is everything.  When you are too busy looking behind and around you, people are passing you. If you never focus clearly on something, you will never be 100% efficient at anything. Multi-tasking might seem to make you efficient at getting multiple tasks done at once, but it usually reduces your efficiency in dealing with each individual task.
  6. Failure is necessary.  Don’t wake up at seventy-five years of age sighing over what you should have tried, but didn’t because you were afraid to fail.  Just do it, and be willing to fail and learn along the way. Very few people get it right the first time.  In fact, most people fail to get it right the first 5 times. If what you did today didn’t turn out as you hoped, tomorrow is a new opportunity to do it differently. Interpret each failure as a lesson on the road to success.
  7. Positivity fuels productivity. Thoughts are like the steering wheel that moves our life in the right direction. Success comes from positive energy. You can choose to get caught up in the negativity surrounding you, or you can decide to do something positive about your situation. You always have a choice. Remember, happiness is an element of success, and the happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they use positive energy to make the best of what they have.
  8. You must believe you can.  You must find the place inside yourself where anything is possible.  It starts with a dream.  Add confidence, and it becomes a belief.  Add commitment, and it becomes a goal in sight.  Add action, and it becomes a part of your life.  Add determination and time, and your dream becomes a reality.
  9. Helping others is a big part of being successful. Successful people constantly come up with new ideas, new projects, and new and innovative ways of helping others.  This means that your aims and objectives just benefit you, but also help benefit others as well. Bottom line:  Your long-term success is directly tied to how well you serve your communityRead Maximum Achievement.
  10. Success is a journey of countless baby steps. It’s a constant process of growth.  If you want to be successful, you must continue to hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else, and strive to improve.  Oftentimes a person or organization will be successful, but then drop off. A person may become lazy, and an organization may succumb to weaknesses or competition.  Sustained success means continually improving even if others may not see a need for it.  Remember, the great thing in the world is not so much where we stand at any given time, as in what direction we are moving.

Tell us – do you have any additional tips for success?

Motivation For All Living Things?

motivationMotivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors.

An organism? So basically every living thing can be motivated to do something? OK, I’ll buy it. How many of you need help getting motivated? Yeah, me too. What motivates you? I can be motivated by good books, TV shows, movies, people, dogs and coffee..among other things. I wish I could be motivated to go to the gym…perhaps one day.

Here are some daily motivation tips from Marc and Angel Hacklife that sound pretty darn good to me (love #3):

1. Get started!

This is by far the most important tip in this article, because in the end, all of the other tips in the world won’t make as much of a difference as this simple and timeless instruction: Sit down and start! Do you feel the push-back of laziness? There’s no better way to overcome it than to just start. Reading more about motivation won’t help. Reviewing your to-do lists won’t help. Only doing actually helps get the momentum going. And the only way to do something is to just start.

So stop thinking about how hard the task is going to be or how long it’s going to take you. Just get started! Not starting is failing. Start telling yourself, “As soon as I start working, I’ll feel more motivated.” Because once you start, you’ll realize it’s not nearly as hard as you thought it would be. Read Getting Things Done.

2. Find and use your positive voice.

As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  Be aware of your self-talk and stay positive. Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.

You have the choice to replace negative self-talk with a more encouraging and friendly voice. A voice that will consider your goal as not just a possibility, but a probability.  A voice that does not look externally for validation before taking action, but rather uses self-belief as its driving force. A voice that realizes that any person who has ever achieved greatness had to do so against similar odds, and that all things are possible to those who commit to their vision.

Tell yourself over and over again that you can do it. Try saying, “I want to go to the gym,” or “I am going to nail this presentation,” or “I am going to have a great day,” etc. See what effect it has. Persist with this kind of positivity and eventually you’ll feel better about whatever it is you want to get done, and you’ll even start to fool your unconscious into believing it’s true.

IMG_41133. Spend time with people (or pets) who inspire you.

What better way to recharge yourself for improvement than spending time with someone who inspires you. They are smart, driven and motivate you to be better. Study their qualities. Study their habits. Surround yourself with them, talk to them, learn from them; they are already living and producing results at a level you admire and aspire to. Compare stories, successes and failures. Let their inner light guide you.

4. Start a friendly competition.

You can really raise your motivation with some friendly competition.  We are all competitive in nature, take advantage of this by using it to fuel your motivation. Find a co-worker or friend with similar goals and turn it into a competition or game.  The key is to find a way to make it fun.  This will make the task or project seem less like work and more like play; and it will also encourage you to avoid defeat.

While you’re at it, mutually support each other toward your goals.  Staying motivated on your own can be tough. A partner in crime always helps

5. Think about how far you have come.

You have made so much progress, you just don’t realize it.  Open your eyes and give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished. Think about it. Write down your past successes. Consider using a journal to keep track of them. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised when you review your results. It’s a great motivator to see how much you have improved and how far you have come. You felt at the top of your game before and you can do it again.

And don’t forget to be patient. The problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. Think long term. If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight. If you don’t see the results you want, don’t give up, give it time. Think of your goal as a long-term journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. In the mean time, be happy with your progress. Read The Magic of Thinking Big.

6. Embrace failure as a positive learning experience.

Ask yourself: What have I learned from this? As Michael Jordan once said:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Do not judge failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of the growth process. Something does not have to end well for it to have been one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime. When times get tough, take a deep breath, and know that most great things come when you least expect it. Being defeated is a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent. And most people that gave up didn’t realize how close they were to success. Push through!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. Review, refine and breakdown your goals.

Set and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. And don’t be afraid to set big S.M.A.R.T. goals either. Establish goals that inspire you even if they seem slightly out of reach at the moment. If you set goals that are too easy to achieve, you likely achieve far less than you are capable of. As Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss you will still be standing among the stars.”

Break down your big S.M.A.R.T. goals into realistic, high impact tasks that you can track. The thought of accomplishing a huge task can be overwhelming. Try taking small bites at a time. Break down your large tasks into mini goals. Daily actions will yield greater benefits than biting off more than you can handle. When you start to see your progress you’ll feel more alert and ready to tackle the next step.

For example, if you want to change careers, that goal may be driven by several smaller goals like going back to school, improving your networking skills, updating your resume or getting a new certification; and each of these smaller goals is then supported by even more granular sub-goals and associated daily tasks. And it is these small daily tasks that, over time, drive and motivate larger achievement.

Also, make sure your goals are truly YOURS, and in line with your values. If you’re striving for someone else’s goals you are never going to be motivated to pursue them.

8. Let the whole world know what you’re up to.

When you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before, it can take a lot of concentration and effort, and life can get lonely pretty quickly. To keep your motivation thriving, it’s important to let others know what you’re up to.  Don’t be shy! Announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date.

Trap yourself. None of us want to look bad in front of friends, family and co-workers. If you’ve made a commitment to all of them, then the shame of saying you didn’t try will outweigh the effort of doing it. Hold yourself accountable, don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone at least once a week.

9. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail.

Before we do anything our minds start seeing pictures of how everything might turn out. Close your eyes and visualize how great the events will unfold - see yourself smiling, hear yourself being positive and feel how great you will feel doing the task, leading the project, playing the game, attending the meeting.  Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Do this every morning for at least five minutes. This is a surprisingly effective technique that will raise your motivation and enthusiasm, and get you into the right mood before you begin working each day.

Another great visualization / motivation technique is to post physical reminders all around you. Post a picture of your goal in a place you’ll see every day. Set it as your desktop wallpaper, or post it on your wall, refrigerator or bathroom mirror. The idea is to keep your mind focused on end result and keep your excitement going.

10. Spend some time every day working on a passion.

There are some things in life that you just have to do, even if you aren’t passionate about it – cleaning the house, paying bills, finishing that task for your boss, etc. But the dilemma of doing these things is greatly reduced if you spend a decent amount of time each day working on something you love – something you’re truly passionate about. Because subconsciously you know that regardless of what you’re doing, your passion is still part of your day. Read The How of Happiness.

So make time to focus on doing something you really want to do. Take an hour break and work on something that’s meaningful to you. Engage yourself in a meaningful personal project, or pull the trigger on starting something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but haven’t yet had the resolve to do. Do so, and your motivation and happiness will skyrocket.

Tell us – what motivates you?

 

 

Cat Goddess Reminder: Play!

chakra_imgFeeling Destructive, Irresponsible, Self-pitying and Lethargic?

Don’t feel that way! I know, easier said than done when your “in it”…maybe you just need a bit of chakra cleaning/balancing? Huh? I know, sounds nutty but if your feeling bad, why not try everything you can to get out of that negative space? Just think, you will make the world a better place. This leads me to a post on the Sacral Chakra, where (you guessed it) your creativity lives. I learned some pretty cool stuff about this at an energy workshop I took (in my constant search to aid creative thinking) so I dug around online and here is what I found for you, my faithful readers:

Chakra Two - The Sacral Chakra is associated with the color orange or red-orange. This chakra often offers us the opportunity to lessen our control issues and find a balance in our lives, teaching us to recognize that acceptance and rejection are not the only options in our relationships. The process of making changes in our life stream through our personal choices is a product of second chakra energy. A well-functioning second chakra helps one to maintain a healthy yin-yang existence.

Chakra Two Associations

  • Color - orange
  • Sanskrit Name swadhisthana
  • Physical Location - lower abdomen to the navel
  • Purposes - emotional connection
  • Spiritual Lesson - creativity, manifestation. honoring relationships, learning to let go
  • Physical Dysfunctions- low back pain, sciatica, ob/gyn problems, pelvic pain, libido, urinary problems
  • Mental and Emotional Issues - blame, guilt, money, sex, power, control, creativity, morality
  • Information Stored Inside Sacral Chakra - duality, magnetism, controlling patterns, emotional feelings (joy, anger, fear)
  • Area of Body Governed - sexual organs, stomach, upper intestines, liver, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas, adrenal glands, spleen, middle spine

Cat GodessWhen this chakra is in balance, we feel joyful, creative, productive, enthusiastic, sociable and self-assured. When it’s out of balance, we see irresponsibility, exhibitionism, destructive behaviors and selfishness. When this chakra is outta wack, you may have the normal positive feelings of creativity and production begin to move into manic and compulsive behaviors. You’ll know this happens when the project your working on is longer fun. Don’t get it confused with just getting bored or feeling that it’s time to being something new. You know the feeling, when just getting the project done to have it finished, is your main motivation. The energy of this is heavy and difficult, draining and energy-zapping.

I found this next bit if research interesting. My advice is to just have fun with it – I’m not suggesting you change religions or anything like that. In my opinion, this is ancient stuff and if your stuck, why not give it a try?

The Goddess Bast

A Goddess we can invoke to help balance our sacral chakra is Bast. She is the Egyptian who manages dancing, animals, freedom, humor, joy, magic, overcoming and playfulness. Her symbols include the pyramid, sun and moon and her totem is cat.

Simple Bast Meditation

To invoke the powerful and positive characteristics of Bast, gather together several orange-energy gemstones such as coral, tiger’s eye and amber. Light an orange candle (to symbolize the orange energy of the sacral chakra) and ask to receive Bast’s energy and abundance. Ask her to enter your sacral chakra. When you do this, you may feel a tingling sensation – this is normal and just means you have connected with this chakra. Ask Bast to heal your chakra and help restore balance. Sit in this space for a while and when you feel ready, thank Bast and bring your conscious mind back to the room you are in. Hopefully you will feel restored, energized and in balance after this simple meditation.

OK, If the meditation to an ancient cat goddess is too freaky for you…there are also some foods that can help you:

Feeding Your Sacral Center

Nourishing the Sexual/Creativity Center

  • Sweet fruits: melons, mangos, strawberries, passion fruit, oranges, coconut, etc.
  • Honey
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • Spices: cinnamon, vanilla, carob, sweet paprika, sesame seeds, caraway seeds

Hopefully some of these tips will help you. I encourage you to keep searching…never stop…remain teachable!