Category Archives: self-help

Learning 697

Dance as if no one’s watching.

Oprah was lucky enough to find herself dancing on stage one day with the legendary Tina Turner. In the beginning, she was afraid that she would mess up her dance routine in front of such a large audience. 

But as the show progressed, Oprah managed to overcome her self-consciousness, realizing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she’d squander if she didn’t enjoy herself. 

The lesson, then, is to grab opportunities with both hands and to bask in the moment. This will ease your fear of judgment.

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Learning 696

Rather than being out of touch with your body, you should focus on your physical sensations.

When someone lets you down, it’s easy to lose your temper. When the author discovered that her son had failed yet again to do his homework, her first impulse was to angrily confront him. But then she opted for a different approach.

Before storming into her son’s room, she stopped and focused on the physical sensations her body was experiencing.

Amazingly, she felt herself calming down. Instead of concentrating on her furious thoughts and rushing toward a confrontation with her son, she focused her attention on how the anger was making her body feel. As soon as she became aware of her own body, she felt tenderness replace her anger.

She realized her anger was making her whole body tighten and her chest felt as if it was about to explode.

By becoming more attuned to how she was feeling, she became more attuned to how her son was feeling. This empathy helped her find the right things to say when she later had a conversation with him.

Remembering the connection between body and mind will help you make better decisions. Unfortunately, most of us remain out of touch with our bodies to the extent that we inhabit an entirely mental world.

We don’t pay enough attention to our physical sensations from moment to moment because we’re always planning what we’ll do next. For example, even when you hug a close friend, have you ever calculated how long you should embrace until you pull away?

This is too bad, since fully experiencing physical sensations, both positive and negative, can offer a sense of being alive and connected with every part of life. Even feeling the rain on your face can awaken your senses if you let yourself focus on the experience for long enough.

Learning 695

Truly  enlightened  people,  those  who experience  deep happiness  daily,  are  prepared to  put  off  short-term  pleasure  for the  sake  of long-term  fulfillment. 

So  they  tackle  their  weaknesses and  fears head  on,  even  if  dipping  into  the  zone  of  the unknown brings  with  it  a  measure  of discomfort.  They  resolve  to  live  by  the wisdom  of  kaizen,  improving  every  aspect  of themselves ceaselessly  and  continuously.  With time,  things  that  were  once difficult  become easy.  Fears  that  once  prevented  them  from all the happiness,  health  and  prosperity  they deserved  fall  to  the  wayside like  stickmen toppled  by  a  hurricane.

Happiness  comes  through  the progressive realization  of  a  worthy  objective.  When  you are  doing what you  truly  love  to  do  you  are bound  to  find  deep  contentment.

Doing  what  you  love,  whether  this  means giving  up  the  work  you  are  presently  doing to  become  an  actor  or spending  less  time  on those  things  that  are  less  important  to  make time  for  those  things  that  are  more meaningful,  requires  a  great deal  of  courage.

It  requires  you  to  step  out  of  your  comfort zone. And change  is  always  a  little uncomfortable  at  first.  It  is  also  more than  a little  risky.  Having  said  this,  this  is  the  surest way  to  design a  more  joyful  life.

Once  you  get  yourself  together, your  world will  be  okay.  Once  you  master  your  mind, body  and character,  happiness  and  abundance will  flow  into  your  life  almost magically.  But you  must  spend  some  time  daily  working  on yourself,  even  if  for  only  ten  or  fifteen minutes.

Learning 694

Be a kind and constant friend to yourself and your painful experiences.

When in a distressing situation, we tend to panic. If this sounds familiar, you can learn something from the story of Jacob, one of the author’s colleagues.

Jacob was an experienced meditation teacher, who was also in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Standing in front of a class of meditation students, he found himself suddenly confused and unsure of where he was. Importantly, though, Jacob didn’t panic. Instead, he told his students how he was feeling. He admitted to being scared, confused and disoriented.

Not the best meditation class, right? On the contrary!

Although it might sound disastrous for both the teacher and his class, the students thanked him afterward for one of the best lessons on meditation they’d ever received.

Why were his meditation students so impressed? Because instead of pushing away his negative experience – his fear and confusion – Jacob had the courage to express what he was experiencing.

Importantly, by naming his fear and confusion, Jacob honored his painful experience, instead of rejecting it as something that was “wrong” or unmentionable. He didn’t turn the experience into an enemy; he accepted and made friends with it. Jacob’s reaction was a shining example of radical acceptance.

When you recognize your emotions at any given moment and greet them with this unconditional friendliness, you’re practicing radical acceptance. In this state, you pay careful attention to your feelings, allowing yourself to accept them instead of making them into an enemy to recoil from.

This aspect of radical acceptance is crucial because it helps increase self-compassion.

Most of us are only friendly toward ourselves when we’re succeeding. As soon as we fail at something, we rush to self-judge and reject the parts of ourselves that are less than perfect. But ask yourself: Would you treat a good friend poorly if they failed at something? Hopefully not.

It can be difficult, but try to extend to yourself the same compassion and understanding you’d extend to your closest friend.

Learning 681

The Power of RAS
You can prime your brain to recognize opportunities that will help you reach your goals.

See if this sounds familiar: your mother calls to say she’s bought a new car – let’s say it’s a silver Toyota Yaris – which surprises you since you’ve never heard of this car before. The next day, however, you start to see this car everywhere you go, and many of them are silver, too! How is this possible?

This is the magic of your brain’s filtering system, known as the Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

The RAS is what allows us to sharpen our attention, and it can be primed to notice, or not notice, certain things.

Parents of newborns are familiar with the RAS, as it is what allows them to sleep through just about anything, like traffic noise or a blaring television, yet wake up at the slightest peep from their baby. This is due to their RAS being biologically primed to hear when a child is in need.

This is the same mechanism that will allow you to hear when your name is mentioned across the room at a loud party. Despite the music and dozens of simultaneous conversations, when this happens your ears will perk up and you’ll find yourself suddenly being able to overhear a conversation that was mere background noise just seconds earlier.

What’s more, the RAS can also help you achieve your goals. When you write those clearly defined goals on paper, you’ll prime your brain to begin its unconscious work on the project.

After you write down your goals, your RAS filter will constantly be on the lookout for messages or information that will help your quest. So, after writing down that you want enough money to open a restaurant, you’ll be primed to overhear someone at a party who says they have a history of investing in restaurants. Otherwise you never would have noticed.

Learning 679

You can only be successful if you avoid mental near- and farsightedness.

Maybe you’ve learned to live with some sort of visual impairment. But what if you suffer from mental near- or farsightedness? Such dysfunctional mentality will bar your way to success.

So what is mental nearsightedness? It means you’re unable to see the possibilities lying in your future. Perhaps you fail to understand the importance of planning and having goals to strive for, or you waste all your energy tackling problems that are right in front of you, and are blind to the bigger picture.

But being able to plan for the future is one of our biggest evolutionary advantages. Take Dick Pope, a man who wasn’t blinded by mental nearsightedness. Pope saw an opportunity to build a tourist attraction on the farmland surrounding the town of Winter Haven, Florida, where others saw nothing but desolate swampland. So he bought an old cypress swamp and turned it into the now famous Cypress Gardens. 

He also offered photography equipment and free advice on taking pictures, giving tourists the joy of going home with wonderful pictures to show their friends, thereby spreading word of the gardens.

And it’s not just nearsightedness that hurts your success: mentally farsighted people have problems, too.
They want to leap immediately to the top. They dream of the future but forget to work on the things they need to get there. Consequently, they fail to reach their goals and don’t take the opportunities that are right in front of them every day.

And such everyday opportunities are often the most lucrative. Consider the paper clip or the Post-It note. Both are simple designs to solve a tiny, yet widespread problem. People who recognize such everyday problems can generate millions. Mentally farsighted people never grasp this.

So, if you want to be successful, you must notice the opportunities in front of you, but also plan out how you want to make your mark on the world.

Learning 678

Fire and water have strong primal powers that can be used to your advantage.
Humans were using fire and water in their rituals long before pen and paper were invented, and these basic elements still have a primal power to influence us and help us succeed.

Water is an especially powerful source of creative power. Julian Jaynes was an influential psychologist who pointed out that we often make our most groundbreaking discoveries while we’re in bed, in the bath or on the bus.

Of these three B’s, how powerful the bath can be. This is due in part to how many sacred religious stories, poems, myths and paintings depict the powerful forces of water.

It’s no coincidence that it was while stepping into the bath that Archimedes had his famous “eureka!” moment that led to Archimedes’ principle. When he entered the bath, he noticed that the water level rose, and suddenly realized that you could measure this rise to determine the precise volume of an object.

And just as water can cleanse the body, being in or around a body of water can also cleanse the mind, which is one of the best ways to promote creativity.

Fire, on the other hand, can be used in rituals to give power to your intention. Indeed, Native American tribes have been using fire rituals for this very purpose for generations. At the start of a new year, certain tribes build arrows from sticks and feathers, and each of these arrows is made to represent a specific hope for the year ahead. They then burn the arrows as a gesture of offering this hope to the universe.

This is a wonderful ritual because it helps them be clear and precise about their hopes, thereby helping these hopes become a reality.

You can do the same thing with paper by writing down three goals you hope to achieve and three unwanted things that you hope to get rid of. Then, find a safe place and set fire to the paper to give a powerful intention to your desires.

With all these tools at hand, it will soon be clear that you have what it takes to turn dreams into reality.

No dream is too big for you to achieve, as long as you have the right attitude. Too often, our fears get in the way of what we hope to accomplish. But this can be remedied by writing down all that we desire and fear, thereby unlocking the power of the subconscious mind and putting us on the right path. The simple act of writing is a powerful one that is not unlike a prayer, and it can turn us into a magnet for the things we want most in our lives.

Start your day off by writing down your intent.
Take some quiet time at the beginning of your day to write down what you’d like to accomplish in the hours ahead. This is not for practical stuff like doing the laundry or going shopping. It’s to provide emotional and spiritual guidance for the day, such as “being the best mother I can be.” Just writing your intent down will keep you feeling grateful and positive throughout the day.