Archive Monthly Archives: April 2016

Ignore the Machine

Ignore the Machine

The multifunctional tool - the brain

Our brain is an incredible tool. So I've heard.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool."

Or in other words: Our brain is the most powerful tool .... a machine of endless possibilities. But you also have to know how to run the machine.

I don't know about you - I generally do not read instruction manuals.  Also, I don't know where I put it. Maybe I accidentally discarded it with the promotional letters?

So .. I have this wonderful machine in my head. But over and over again I am surprised that it's doing these weird things. Things I don't understand.

For instance, it thinks thoughts that somehow cannot be right. Or it produces worries that then come true. Thanks for that.

My brain produces opinions regarding matters I have no knowledge about whatsoever. Because I never looked at them in greater depth. And then I even talk about them. How embarrassing is that?

Often my brain tells me I need this or that really urgently even though these things do not make me happy.

Also, my brain often produces thoughts that are hostile towards myself and that are bugging me even though I am pretty ok.

After just one look, my brain might tell me a person is stupid and I don't like them. But I never got to know them.

My brain warns me about an insecure and dangerous plan. And all I want to do then is run. But my life was not in danger in any way or form.

Sometimes I think evolution did not think that through. The thing with the brain. I see some potential for improvement and I'd be happy to share my suggestions with evolution.

But maybe things would be different if I could be bothered to read the instruction manual sometime. I probably feed my brain all the wrong things. Too much wine - too few spinach?

If I am honest: I am not bad at all. My brain is pretty good at finding solutions to problems. Sometimes I feed the little peewee a problem with lots of details. And tell it what I want and what I don't want. And a lot of facts on top. When I wake up the next morning my brain often presents me with a solution.

I find that very impressing. Maybe my brain isn't that bad after all. Maybe sometimes it's just not used to capacity. I might have to throw problems at it more often to keep it busy. So that it cannot produce nonsense.

it's an idea.

Ok. Hooray to our brains - without a brain it would be stupid.

All joking aside - I have the instruction manual for mastering your mind - reserve your spot in my free Emotional Intelligence Training:

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Posttraumatic Growth

How Trauma can make you stronger

Monique is in a very difficult situation. 8 months ago her husband left her. Kids. New beginning. Self-esteem close to non-existent. The full movie.
Posttraumatic Growth
A very suboptimal situation. It makes your heart bleed. You don´t have power, nearly no hope. You´re trapped in limbo. You are waiting for someone to save you and for the pain to stop.
Monique, trust me. I feel you. I was at this point myself more than one time.

How to deal with crisis

There are two different ways to handle a crisis. The typical way: Crawling under your blanket, hiding and keeping a low profile until the wounds have healed. Which usually will happen after a while. Often it leaves scars and our emotional quotient takes a hit.
But after a few months or sometimes years you can laugh again and enjoy life.

Psychologists have a name for that: Posttraumatic Growth.

The idea behind it: Trauma can be a source of growth if you handle it in a clever way.
It goes like this: You take your damn crisis and tell yourself. Yes, currently it´s hurting like nothing good. But I am still alive (swearing can be helpful in situations like this).
And, yes, I am still confused. But that will go away.
Currently, I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. That´s normal and will get better. And I will use this crisis to grow.
I don´t know how but I will be better than before. Somehow this ... will help me to take the next logical step in creating my ideal life.
And when it´s over I will say: This really sucked. But it was necessary. It was a wake-up call. A rocket for my self-development.

But the mindset has to be accompanied by action.

You have to do things. Things that energize you. In situations like this, you have to reactivate your power. That is why small energy boosters are necessary and so important. Little things that you do several times a day. Again and again. Small doses of fuel for your engine. Until it runs stronger and smoother than before.
A few super simple energy booster:
  • Jump on the spot (10 x)
  • 3 deep breath
  • Gently punch your breastbone (like orangutans do) and tell yourself: "I love myself and I accept myself just the way I am"
  • Stand tall and proud, close your eyes and count to 20.
  • Go out into the sun and fill your battery with light
  • Call someone who´s presence is good for you
  • Think about something you´re grateful for
  • Snap your fingers 50 times
  • Get a small chore done and tell yourself "well done!"
  • Get in front of your mirror, look into your eyes and tell yourself. "It´s your and only your job to take care of yourself and make that you are well again"
The best energy boosters are the ones you think up yourself. Nobody knows you better than you. And as soon as you recovered a little bit you can set small, realistic and doable goals.
Goals that further pull you out of the dark hole. Goals that challenge you a little bit. Can't you do it? No problem! Ask your friends to give you small tasks that will make you feel better. Friends know what´s good for you most of the time. Listen to them.
You will reach these goals. You will prove to yourself that you can do it. You create small wins that will help you recover and regrow your self-esteem.
These are the first steps of posttraumatic growth.
Once you are in movement the process will get its own dynamic.
If you are facing a crisis right now I am wishing you the braveness to turn it around and come out happier than before.
Now here comes my platinum tip: JOIN my free online live training NOW
PS: I have also added a new podcast episode today

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The Little Guy

I am currently writing about

The fear of failure

You know that too, right? 
When we don´t try. Because we might fail. 
Not reality keeps us from doing it. 
Hey, who knows what´s reality and what´s perception anyway. 

The little guy in our head keeps us from doing it. 
You would like to talk to that person ... but the little guy starts to shiver. 
You don´t attend the advanced training because the little guy scares you. 
You don´t apply for the job ... the little guy talks you out of it. 

It´s always the same principal. It´s the little guy. 

The result: A lukewarm, secure often not very lively life. Maybe even boring. In the worst case a life you will regret one day when you´re old and look back. 

Often it´s a life where everyone besides you gets the good things in life. 

Because the others dared to ask. Because they at least tried. But ... the main point is that the little guy feels good. Or not?
  1. You want it
  2. You go for it
  3. You get it
Nope. If it would be easy like 1, 2, 3 we would just do it. It´s not always that easy. Success looks more like this: 
  1. You want it
  2. You try it, you fail, you learn. You grow. You try something else, fail again ... and learn even more. And so on and so forth. 
  3. You persevere with the whole "trying" until you get what you want.
The truly wonderful thing is. The more often you go through the cycle of try - fail - learn the shorter and less painful the cycle becomes. 

Because you get better and better. 
Because you are more experienced. 
Because you become a better judge. 
But that works only if you challenge yourself and leave your comfort zone from time to time. 
And if you knock the little guy over. 
And try something new. 

Because you say: "Dammit. I don´t know if I will succeed. And, yes, I am afraid. But I will find out if I can do it. I dare to try."

In my experience, we can do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Who never tries anything risky will never find out what he is able to do. 

Because the fearful, coward, little guy is living inside of us. 

Maybe it´s time to take care of the little guy who keeps screwing up our lives. 

Instead of the picture, chosen with love, this post is bland. Because I knocked my little guy over big time and I am in the process of producing free training, a (half)digital product and new podcasts for you. So I am a bit short of time. Actually, I am a lot short of time. As often the little guy was right in essence and the challenge is to proof him wrong. 

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Too much pressure? Gain back control over your mind!

Are you putting yourself under pressure?

This easy tip helps you gaining back control

Too much pressure causes stress. Stress can make us ill. Since 1990, the number of sick leaves for emotional distress has more than doubled. Job stress has been declared one of the biggest threats of the century by the World Health Organization (WHO). Stress and pressure have long entered our private lives as well.

Often we can tell that we feel under pressure when our sentences start with: “I have to…” and “I should…”

gain back control over your mind

Here are a few examples for self-made pressure:

  • I have to clean up the garden, or the neighbors will start gossiping
  • I have to finish the report, or my boss is going to be mad
  • I have to lose 10 pounds because I cannot stand my picture in the mirror
  • I should be nicer to Aunt Annie
  • I have to find a partner because I cannot be happy alone
  • I should become more productive else I will never go places

It makes sense to put some pressure on yourself. If we had no goals, our life would probably fall into pieces. It becomes a problem if we tell us too many of those “I have to…” sentences. Too much self-made pressure results in a cranky mood, depression or even physical illness. And it makes us less productive and hinders our progress.

To prevent this from happening to you just follow the simple tip I will introduce to you:

Gaining back control

If you want to feel more relaxed, it’s helpful to take a few steps back and look at your situation from a distance.You might feel like there are many things you have to do. In reality, you don’t need to do anything.

  • You do not have to go to work
  • You do not have to earn money
  • You do not have to be a great parent
  • You do not have to be nice, friendly or tolerant
  • You do not have to be the neighbor with the tidiest garden

You probably think that sounds crazy. Cross your heart! Is someone making you cleaning up the garage? Or is your boss pointing a loaded gun at your head? Don’t we all know enough people who flout all rules and just do what they feel like? Obviously, this is possible even though one could argue it’s probably not desirable.

There are only very few things in life we HAVE to do. We have to die, and we have to breathe, eat, drink and sleep.

These are biological necessities we have to fulfill.

We do the other things because

  • all others do them too
  • someone once told us we have to
  • we made the decision we want to do them
  • we feel they are important or necessary
  • we fear the consequences of not doing it

Many people feel trapped in a cage of duties and necessities. A cage of things they have to do but do not want to do.

That we have to do all of this stuff is only one way of looking at it. Another way of thinking will make you go through life more relaxed and more productive. It can be trained.

The trick nearly sounds too easy. But it works:

Replace “I have to … “ thoughts with “I want to … “.You can say: “I have to go to work.” That will make you feel forced or even under pressure. You feel like a victim of life or the circumstances.

You can also say: “I want to go to work so that I can pay the mortgage and offer a comfortable life to my kids.” That sends an entirely different message to your brain. Your brain will release different hormones that will make you feel better.

I have to = force and pressure

I want to = freedom and self-determination

When you tell yourself “I have to…” a lot of energy and joy of life gets lost.

But when you say “I want to…because…” it is an expression of power. Your back straightens, your chin lifts, and you feel that you are in control of your life.

The next time you catch yourself thinking: “Oh no, I have to do this and that…”, ask yourself:

  • Do I have to? Will I die if I don’t? Would the consequences of not doing it be all that bad?
  • Or is it something that I will do because I consider it useful and wise?
  • Do I want to do it to avert consequences?
  • Is someone forcing me to or is it my free will?

You can regain your freedom by realizing that you do not have to do anything. But that you want many things.

  • You want to make money to be able to afford beautiful things. That is why you made the decision to work.
  • You want to be respected by your neighbors that is why you made the decision to act like a respectable person.
  • You want to get along with other people so that you made the decision to be nice and friendly.

Not only will you feel more in control and be more aware of which decision you made why and which consequences you signed up for. You will also discover many tasks you thought you “had to…” that are not necessary at all.

Through the shift of mindset, a lot of the pressure we are facing is falling off because we stop fighting. It’s also a great first step towards an ideal work-life balance and effective time management.

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From “want to … “ to “prefer to … “

To want something is way better than to have to. But “wanting” can still cause pressure.Because if we fail to achieve what we wanted we might feel dissatisfied. Especially, when we feel like we are not advancing with our goals.

Again, to want something and the dissatisfaction of not achieving it is not a bad thing per se. Discontent is often the driving force that enables us to make changes and finally grow.

However, sometimes we overdo it. For instance, when we obsess about something or want to do too many things at once. In that case, the dissatisfaction grows to an unhealthy amount that is not helping us to advance but hinders and potentially harms us.

Here is a linguistic trick that can bring relief:Instead of telling yourself “I want to lose weight” or “I want to make more money” reword it like this:

  • I would prefer to lose weight, but I can love myself if I stay as I am
  • I would prefer to make more money, but if I don’t I will still be alright

Words are powerful tools that make a difference in our brains.To prefer something leads to a more relaxed feeling. To prefer something implies that you want something – but in a laid-back way.

Sometimes we fail because we do not try hard enough – often we fail because we try too hard. Or too much at once. In that case, this little linguistic trick will work miracles for you.

Words are magic.

Changing the way you talk will change the way you think, and finally, the way you feel, act and the kind of results you achieve.

Too much pressure? Gain back control!

Watch: Dr. Mark Goulston - How to influence pushy people to treat you right

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