Why is stress so detrimental for our brain? Learn why adrenalin and cortisol make your brain shrink and how you can stress less
You probably experienced how stress paralyzed you. "I can't think clearly."
Fear before a speech, you blanked out in a spelling contest…
Instead of finding solutions, you react irrationally.
However, the consequences of chronic stress are more severe. Constant overwhelm leads to brain shrinkage in certain areas. Your brain produces stress hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol as well as a series of other steroids to prepare your body to fight or run.
The brain's activity shifts to an area where you're primarily focused and alert.
However, the brain isn't able to think logically and creative in this state.
What does chronic stress do to your brain?
If you're overworked or overwhelmed for a more extended period, your performance will decrease. Some people are more resilient than others; however, the brain needs phases of relaxation and rewards. In these phases, the brain produces happy hormones.
Happy hormones can protect your nerves. If the brain continually produces stress hormones, certain areas can go into a decline. Several studies attempt to make changes in the brain of chronically stressed people visible with different methods.
We can be sure of one thing: The brain matter suffers damage if an individual suffers from stress for an extended period.
We won't let that happen to you! Here are some simple, doable by you tips that help you to stress less (click the box on the right to enter full screen / exit to leave):
Here’s the audio version if you prefer to listen: PODCAST
Do you ever feel empty? Have you asked yourself “What am I doing this all for?” No? Good. Maybe you already have a higher goal and found your life’s purpose.
Perhaps you think not knowing your life’s purpose is a problem that doesn’t apply to people like you. Because you’re young – or old. Because you’re successful. Because you found your place in life. Because it’s something for weed-smoking new-age punks.
You would be surprised how many people haven’t found their life’s purpose yet. You find them on all walks of life. Many people hunt weak goals, like “making money” and when they achieve it, they realize it doesn’t make them happy. Achieving shallow goals doesn’t fulfill us. It provides a short-lived feeling of triumph.
We can try to ignore the feeling of being lost and quickly set another shallow goal. We can run faster. Until we can’t. Until we hit a wall.
A silly slogan that resonated with me when I was still living without purpose is: “With the right car, you can always drive faster than sorrow.”
Without purpose, life can feel meaningless and empty. Just like a black hole in our stomach that we try to fill somehow. Some try to fill it with drugs. Others with promiscuity. That might be fun in the short-term but it’s not a sustainable long-term solution.
Five Reasons Why You Should Find Your Life’s Purpose
Life is short
The precious gift of life is finite and goes by like a flash. It can be over any second. Or you might live until a very high age and look back at a meaningless life with regrets.
Purpose gives live meaning
Once you find a higher goal, a worthy goal and once you figure out your purpose, you will live a life full of meaning. No matter how tired and exhausted you are, you will never feel empty again. You’ll never ask yourself “what’s the point” ever again.
Instead, you’ll feel confident in the knowledge that your life makes a difference. That gives you an immense push of motivation and energy.
With purpose you can accomplish anything
Many people don’t achieve their goals because their goals aren’t strong enough. Once the initial motivation fades off, they don’t have enough drive to see things through until the end.
With purpose, you will feel passionate and determined, no matter how many obstacles life or others throw in your way. Nothing can stand in your way. You will feel indomitable.
You have gifts to share with the world
At the core, people are givers. We are supportive creatures by nature but we often chose – or are forced to – life an unnatural life.
Your purpose will inevitably be tied in with your unique gifts. There are people in desperate need of what you have to offer and they will benefit greatly from what you have to give. Give it to them!
If you currently are a taker and not a giver – try being a giver. It’s an incredible feeling and you will love the sense of fulfillment and positive energy.
It’s what makes life worthwhile.
Purpose provides clarity
If you have a higher goal and know your purpose in life, you will have a vision. That vision will bring about clarity. If you’re driven by your passion and a desire to make a positive difference, each of your actions will have a clear motivation behind it and will give way to a crystal-clear sense of what you need to do in that very moment.
Social autism and increasing selfishness are one of the reasons why more and more people fall into depression.
People need togetherness and connectedness. Hunting tiny, seflish goals strips you of that. As I mentioned, people by nature are supportive creatures. Living an unnatural life comes at a price. Magic always has a price.
Having a purpose is like having a tune-up. It gets you back in sync with life how it’s suppossed to be lived. You will feel energized, fulfilled and alive.
People who hunt tiny, selfish goals often feel depressed and empty. They waste a lot of their life because inside they know that what their pursuing (or maybe they’re not pursuing any goal at all) isn’t worth it.
With a purpose, with a higher goal you won’t waste any more time. Because you know every second counts. Also, your purpose provides you with so much energy that it’s easy to carry on.
“What’s the point” and other hopeless questions won’t be on your mind ever again. The saddest question you might ask yourself from time to time when you’re tired is “will I ever get there?” However, because you have a worthy goal and you’re on an important mission to making a positive impact in this world, you’ll answer: I don’t have time for this. I’m on a mission much bigger than my self-doubts.
On a semi-related topic: Here’s something I read a few years ago. It’s about powerful magic.
There was a small tribe of warriors somewhere in Africa. Their leader was a powerful witch doctor. He knew a powerful ritual that made it rain every time. The ritual is a dance.
Why it worked every single time? Because they never stopped dancing until it rained.
Living with purpose provides you with the power to dance until it rains.
A reader named Joseph sent in a valid and important comment I would like to share with you:
Excellent guidance well articulated. Thank you. But why stop at one “life’s purpose?” I discovered my first in my 20s, and it’s still a priority 50 years later. The second, which also influenced my professions, began percolating in my early 30s, then came to a full boil in my late 30s. 40 years later, that mission also still comprises a major portion of my life.
I am sharing an important message with you that Dr. Mark Goulston released to the press today. He has an active support community on Twitter. Please, if you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, refer them to https://twitter.com/MarkGoulston
The Surprising Reason People Die by Suicide (and the Seven Words You Can Use to Help Someone Who May Be at Risk)
Suicide is on the rise. But Dr. Mark Goulston says that, surprisingly, depression isn’t the main culprit. Here he delves into “des-pair” and reveals seven powerful words that can help people heal. Los Angeles, CA (September 2018)—After a recent string of high-profile suicides in America, death by suicide is a topic that’s on everybody’s mind. We all speculate about what could cause a person to take their own life (and since September is Suicide Prevention Month, this is a good time to seek understanding about these tragic experiences). Was it financial problems? Marital problems? Health problems? Depression? Bipolar depression? Alcoholism?
And of course, suicide doesn’t affect only the rich and famous. Most of us are likely to know or love somebody who has been affected by a suicide. So, it’s no wonder that these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revealed the prevalence of this disturbing trend:
Nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016.
Suicide rates went up more than 30 percent in half of states in the U.S. since 1999.
Suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016.
More than half of the people who died by suicide (54 percent) did not have a known mental health condition.
“It’s a common misconception that depression is the culprit behind suicides,” says suicide and violence prevention expert Dr. Mark Goulston. “While depression is a contributor, it’s not the main reason people kill themselves. The real reason is des-pair.”
That’s right, des-pair—not despair. Goulston describes des-pair as feeling unpaired with the reasons a person wants to live:
Hopeless — unpaired with a future that is worth living because all efforts to lessen pain (medications, therapy, etc.) have not worked
Helpless — unpaired with the ability to pull themselves out of it
Powerless — more of #2 above
Useless — unpaired with any solution or treatment that works or alternatively feeling that you contribute nothing to anyone and are only a burden (even if those people protest the opposite)
Worthless — ahh yes, unpaired with one of the key reasons we exist
Purposeless — unpaired with a mission for you to focus on and that gives you a source of pride, without which one can feel aimless and ashamed, as in, “My life has no purpose.”
Meaningless — unpaired with what Viktor Frankl was able to discover in a concentration camp and what one can feel when they have no purpose
Pointless — unpaired with any reason to not pull the trigger, put the noose around your neck, jump from that building, take those pills, step onto those train tracks
“When you engage someone in any of the eight ‘-lesses,’ it can lead to a more dynamic, engaging, and expressive conversation,” says Goulston. “When that occurs, and the des-pairing person begins to express and describe what any of those words mean to them, they will begin to experience those feelings versus experiencing nothing and feel relief as they ‘pair’ with the empathic person who is listening to them.”
The Seven Words That Can Help Someone Who Is Suffering
If you believe a loved one is in an acute suicidal crisis, get help immediately by calling 911. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK or visiting https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. But if someone you love is struggling more and more with the “-lesses” mentioned above, Goulston says to reach out to them now. He recommends using interventional empathy to lessen their des-pair and prevent destructive behavior. The protocol helps you pair with that person and ease the unbearable pain and loneliness they feel.
Here’s how to practice interventional empathy and pair with your suffering loved one by using seven simple words:
STEP ONE: When someone you know is in a very dark place—or if it’s you, you can speak to someone about it or journal about it—and after you have been speaking to them enough to make a connection say, “Seven words.”
This causes them to stop and be temporarily confused—which will temporarily break their vice grip hold on feeling suicidal—and they will often respond with, “What?”
STEP TWO: Then say, “Seven words. Hurt, afraid, angry, ashamed, alone, lonely, tired. Pick one and start telling me about it.”
Presenting the seven words in such an “assertive” manner will often cause people to spontaneously begin expressing those feelings, feeling less alone, crying, feeling relief, and becoming more open to a conversation that may cause them to consider other options.
“In an age where suicide is becoming more and more commonplace, we have a chance to stop des-pair in its tracks before a person becomes suicidal,” concludes Goulston. “Say the seven words to someone who is in the depths of suffering, and give them the chance they need to feel less alone and reclaim the hope they have lost. Your empathy costs you nothing, but it could end up saving a life.”
# # # If you or someone you love needs help, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.About Dr. Mark Goulston:
Dr. Mark Goulston is a former UCLA professor of psychiatry, FBI hostage negotiation trainer, suicide and violence prevention expert, and one of the world’s foremost experts on listening. He is the author of “Just Listen”: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. For more information, contact Dr. Goulston at: mgoulston at gmail dot com or visit his website at: www.markgoulston.com.
This post has originally been posted here: https://medium.com/@mgoulston/why-people-kill-themselves-its-not-depression-44113406ac79Continue reading
We want to be in control and make free, independent decisions - guided by rationality and with a clear mind. It's not surprising that manipulation has a bad reputation. It calls on emotions and clouds the senses.
But sometimes manipulation can seduce us to a better life.
I recently came across a Pinterest account that specializes in old advertisements. Coca-Cola makes you strong like a horse, the right sewing machine makes your family love you more and cocaine... well, cocaine makes your migraine disappear in no time. Might involve jail time but that's a different topic. The level of sincerity in the presentation of their goods amazed me.
We all know how advertising works: It catches us beyond rational thinking. It's a success if we stand in the shop and buy the product steered by emotion; without knowing why and how.
A goal has been injected into our brain. We have been manipulated to feel a need we didn't have before and we acted on it. We were not even fully aware that we have been manipulated.
Marketers use a lot of techniques to manipulate our buying behavior. The kind of trickery you will never find on my page, offers and seminars.
Scarcity, for instance. Seth Godin (who's teachings I very much and regularly appreciate) masterfully presents an offer as rare and exclusive. ""Only a few handpicked students." We want rare and exclusive things. It's worth more in our perception if it's rare.
If we would think about it, we would know that we will end up in a group of as many students as buy the offer. But we don't have a chance to think if the manipulation is good.
Picture Credit: factsmyth.com
How does manipulation work?
It's not as obvious as the presenter on the home shopping network (even though these shopping channels move incredible amounts of product.) Shopping networks are "trying too hard" and that someone wants to persuade us to buy a product is painfully transparent.
The woman with the big white smile who tells us we are better mothers if we buy that overpriced, obscenely unhealthy desert for our children is more like a caricature than an influencer.
But it allows us to look at the mechanics of manipulation through a burning lens.
The scene portrays harmony, happiness, and recognition for the mother who serves the grossly red looking artificial desert. The product is connected to feel-well emotions. We want to feel acknowledged. We want to feel happy and, for once, have harmony at the dinner table.
That makes a buying decision much more likely and the product seems more attractive. You're not buying a nasty red desert - you're buying the feel-well emotion a marketer connected to it. You have been manipulated.
What's happening when someone manipulates us
If we analyze the manipulation, the emotional level is most interesting. Someone reminds us in a subtle way and suggestive how often we fight at the dinner table and how exhausting and frustrating it feels. Or how tired we are at work and how tasty a sugary mass melts on our tongues.
We can nearly feel how we relax at a harmonious dinner while everyone acknowledges our hard work and we can nearly smell the delicious desert and feel its consistency on our tongue.
From thinking, we're pushed into feeling and all of our cool and calculating rationality fades away.
Many people were shocked when they learned how others persuade and manipulate them during my emotional training. Manipulation confronts us with a loss of control by working outside of the spectrum of rationality.
Is manipulation always bad?
For centuries, the ability to make rational decisions was a metaphor for freedom and dignity. A large part of our society, the way we conduct business and our lives have been rationalized. They taught us to push our emotions back as if they make us unfree and animalistic.
Operating the emotional level of someone became a despicable action - everyone agreed on that.
That did not change that everyone and everything triggers our emotions in multiple ways. We constantly feel something. We react emotionally to sounds or a touch; to smell and when we see something that pleases our eye.
Storytelling is a form of influencing. Since ancient times we learn from stories. We like if someone makes it easy and interesting for us.
Manipulation also is a form of influence you find in sales, politics, and economy and interpersonal relationships.
The question if manipulation is good or bad cannot be answered with a yes or no. The answer and ethical diagnosis are: It depends.
Obviously, manipulating the young couple to buy a house they cannot afford is reprehensible. Here, the seller selfishly persuaded the young couple to an action that causes them harm. He used his expertise on the matter and persuasion skills to render the young couple a play ball, helping him to a big commission check.
When manipulation is good
If you are worried for your kid because it does not stop texting while driving and you use the power of story to paint a picture in its head that creates fears - is that a bad thing?
If you use emotion to capture someone's attention so you can teach them something important - is that bad?
When you're in love and you're trying to win the heart of your crush, you will not use rational arguments to convince your crush you're a great partner. Is that the same? Are we lost, powerless and unfree?
Manipulation can be positive if someone makes a suggestion, but they leave us with options and we have the free choice.
What if I could see you are in pain and I am able to show you how you can help yourself but I know you will not listen to scientific presentations about frontal and parietal lobes? What if I painted a picture instead of how you would feel if you went through that training?
Manipulation is not bad per se, it has a bad reputation because many misuse it.
What is better? Rational or emotional level?
If someone uses the emotional level to suggest something but we are still free to choose, the purpose of the manipulation is not negative and our psychic ecology stays in balance.
Rational control is not always better. When following the rules of ethics, manipulation can help us to a better life. It makes many things easier for us by showing us subconscious paths that simplify decision making.
Yes, we are vulnerable. Someone can use manipulation to seduce us to buy something we do not need or to do something that is harmful.
How to tell good from bad manipulation
The key is to understand that someone tries to manipulate us and why. As long as we can read their intentions and emotions, we're good.
Emotional intelligence allows us to understand someone's motives and their agenda.
With a high EQ, you cannot be rushed or pushed into making a decision you later regret. Because your rational and emotional levels are in balance and harmony.
You understand that it's the picture someone painted in your head that you desire. You know why he painted it and you can consider with your rational brain if the product can re-paint the picture in your life.
It all comes down to trust. Can I trust the person who is trying to manipulate me? People love to be careless, relax and connect on an emotional level.
As there are also a few abusive manipulators out there, raising your EQ is your best bet - whether you check how you will feel once you're able to tell one from the other or if you think about it rationally.
A complimentary video-series comprising of 10 "Quickies" for productivity, motivation and goal achievement is available HERE
I put together a comprehensive list of 101 tips to motivate yourself and achieve your goals together. They are sorted into five sections:
Tips to motivate yourself - Tip 1 - 20
Tips for Building Your Self-Discipline - Tip 21 - 41
Tips for Managing Your Time - Tip 42 - 60
Tips to Change Your Thinking - Tip 61 - 80
Tips for Reaching Your Goals - Tip 81 - 101
Quick tips can be great reminders (for instance, if you tried to changed something but fell back into old habits) and provide ideas. I also have included links (when you see a word underlined it's a hyperlink) to comprehensive articles if you want to dig in deeper.
A new infographic (How to develop a positive mindset) is available HERE
Tips to motivate yourself
Tip #1 – Make a Deal with Yourself
If you want to overcome procrastination and start getting things done, you need to make a deal with yourself. This deal can be either big or small. For example, you can tell yourself, “When I’m done with these reports, I can take a walk in the park and enjoy some ice cream.” Giving yourself something fun to do once you complete your task can keep you motivated to get things done.
Tip #2 – Leave Yourself Messages in the Morning
There may be mornings when you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see. This can quickly kill any motivation you have and quickly ruin your day. To avoid this issue, find a message that will inspire you to be your best, even if you don’t look or feel it. Using a dry erase marker, write the self-affirming message on your bathroom mirror. This will help build your self-image and help you start your day on a positive note.
Tip #3 – Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
One phrase that can quickly zap your motivation, "Just five more minutes." When you hit your snooze button, you're starting your day off by procrastinating the inevitable task of getting up and going. Having an extra five minutes in bed in the morning isn't going to do you any favors and will kill your motivation.
Tip #4 – Practice Positive Self Talk
If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, start practicing positive self-talk. When your alarm goes off in the morning, instead of grumbling and hitting the snooze button, tell yourself, “I can do this!” By affirming yourself in this way, it will make it easier for you to get out of bed and get going in the mornings.
Tip #5 – Stay on a Regular Schedule
Knowing what to expect can keep you motivated, which is why it’s important to know your daily schedule and stick with it as much as you possibly can. While things do happen that can interrupt a schedule, knowing that you have one planned and in place can make it much easier to keep on track and still stay productive during the day.
Tip #6 – Breakfast is Key
Eating a healthy and balanced breakfast is the key to starting your day out right. Food is energy, so by eating in the morning and choosing the right types of foods, you will remain focused on your daily tasks and goals. Even when you feel pressed for time, have a go-to meal that will give you the nutrition you need to start your day off right.
Tip #7 – Have a Morning Routine
Having a morning routine can help you gain motivation to propel you into the rest of your day. Knowing what to expect and knowing that once it’s done what comes next will help you make it through your day. Changes in your routine can make it difficult to think clearly and have a productive day. However, doing the same general activities in the same order can help you get going.
Tip #8 – Participate in Morning Exercise
Take a morning walk or head to the gym first thing in the morning can increase your motivation for the rest of the day. Regular exercise can improve your blood flow and keep you from feeling sleepy or lethargic throughout your day. Even participating in a simple stretching routine in the morning can help to increase your blood flow and get you moving.
Tip #9 – Take One Step at a Time
Concentrate on one action at a time. If you think about everything you have to do, then your energy levels will feel even lower. Take your routine one step at a time and don't focus on what you have left to do. When you only focus on the immediate action, you won't mentally deplete what energy you have left.
Tip #10 – Keep Moving Forward
Once you get moving, keep moving. Energy isn’t something that lives in a bottle and can be taken on a whim. Sometimes you have to force yourself to keep going. Maintaining your momentum increases the chances that you will continue to be productive and finish what you started out to accomplish in the first place. Don’t fool yourself by telling yourself that you’ll be able to do it later. This is nothing more than procrastinating and will ultimately leave a lot of unwanted tasks sitting on the back burner.
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Tip #11 – Reward Yourself
When you are faced with a difficult task or situation, setting up a reward for when you complete it successfully can help you remain motivated. Rewarding yourself for completing difficult tasks can keep you motivated to keep going with the job and accomplish it in the time frame you've set.
Tip #12 – Leave Yourself Notes
Leaving yourself encouraging notes in places that you often look can make you feel better about yourself. Writing encouraging notes to yourself can help to remind you that you can do it and make it through whatever challenges that life throws in your direction.
Tip #13 – Track Your Progress
When your list of to-dos seems longer than what you have completed, take a moment and think of everything that you’ve accomplished during a certain period. While you may not be where you wanted to be at that moment, you need to remind yourself that you completed some of your tasks. Giving yourself that small pat on the back will help to keep you motivated and help you to continue with whatever tasks you still need to complete.
Tip #14 – Make Small Goals
It is extremely easy to feel overwhelmed when you set your standards and your goals too high. Setting small and attainable goals from the start will help you stay motivated when you reach them so that you can move on to the next step. When you set your goals too high, to begin with, you can become discouraged too easily and feel overwhelmed.
Tip #15 – Work on One Project at a Time
You may think that multitasking is a good idea until you realize you have unfinished projects on your list. Not only do you still have to complete each of the projects, but it makes you feel like you can't even achieve one. To keep your motivation, you need to focus completely on finishing one project at a time, seeing it through to the end before you begin the next one. Not only will this keep your motivation because you’ve achieved what you set out to do, but you will become more productive.
Tip #16 – Turn to Others
Those around you can be great resources when it comes to finding your motivation. Find some supportive friends and family who can help you achieve your overall goal and provide you with the motivation you need when the going gets tough.
Tip #17 – Clear Your Mind
When you start to feel completely overwhelmed, it's best to step away from the situation and take a deep breath. Allow your mind to relax and clear itself from the stress that it might be currently experiencing. Going into something with a clear mind will provide you with the fresh perspective that you need to help you stay motivated and productive.
Tip #18 – Think of Things the Energize You
If you lack energy, you can think about things that energize and motivate you to give you the necessary boost to get moving. Using whatever the thought is that will drive you, allow it to replay through your mind over and over again as you pursue the not so pleasant tasks that you might be facing when you're less than motivated and lack energy.
Tip #19 – Listen to Upbeat Music
Music has the uncanny ability to dictate your moods. Upbeat and positive music can help you get going when you have low motivation. Try finding upbeat music that you like to listen to and play them when you lack energy and motivation and see if they won’t have a positive effect on your motivation and energy.
Tip #20 – Find Your Mantra
A mantra doesn't have to be long; it just has to get you excited. When you lack energy and feel unmotivated, it’s those few words that remind you what matters to you and get you to take action toward achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Tips for Building Your Self-Discipline
People who are more self-disciplined tend to be more successful in their lives and are better able to accomplish whatever they put their minds to. Sometimes it can be tough to keep yourself in line. Everyone has their temptations and vices that can cause them to stray from their ultimate goals.
However, having self-discipline will help you to define your limits and know when you’re getting off track with your goals and expectations. So, if you find that you have no self-discipline, you need to try and find ways to build that discipline and keep it strong whenever you see an opportunity to stray.
Tip #21 – Plan a Routine
Developing a plan and sticking with it is a great way to keep yourself disciplined. Taking the time to have a set routine and sticking with it on a regular basis can help keep you in line and keep yourself motivated throughout the day. It will take some time to get a productive routine down, but once you have it, it’s a quick way for you to ensure that you are disciplined and able to stay motivated throughout the day.
Tip #22 – Keep to Your Routine
Unfortunately, life has a way of interrupting our plans, no matter how prepared we think we are. However, it's how you handle these distractions that will ensure you find success.
So, when you see that something is interrupting your routine, work on getting past it as soon as possible, so you can get back to your routine and carry on as if the interruption never happened. When you can stick with your routine, you are more likely to keep the momentum of your day in high gear.
Tip #23 – Have the Same Routine Daily
It can be incredibly confusing if you change your routine too often. Have one routine and work towards keeping it consistent from day to day. A routine can help you continue a steady flow throughout your day. It might take a bit to get your routine in place, but once you do, you will get the driving force that will help propel you through your day.
Tip #24 – Set Specific Goals
Goals are an important part of your motivation. If you don't know what you're aiming for, then you'll do nothing but walk around in circles. Having specific goals in place before you go for it will help you find your motivation so that you can reach those goals. By knowing what you want and what you can gain from the activity will give you the motivation to give it your all.
Tip #25 – Define Your Life to Fit Your Goals
Knowing what you want to accomplish is a good factor to motivate you to succeed in achieving it. Once you know exactly what you want and what goals you need to set out to achieve it, carefully structure your activities around those goals. This can be simply telling yourself that you want to be at this place at this specific time.
Tip #26 – Organize Your Day
Take a few minutes in the morning to organize your day. Organizing your day can help you stay productive and motivated throughout the day. There is nothing more discouraging than not being able to find what you need and having to waste valuable time looking for it. Taking a few minutes to plan ahead and organize how you want to spend your day can help to keep you on track.
Tip #27 – Utilize a Pinup Board
Hang a corkboard someplace where you'll see it daily and pin your goals to it. Looking at your goals on a regular basis can help to rekindle lost motivation and get you back on track to pursuing them. This is an inexpensive and quick way to visually motivate yourself and keep you working toward accomplishing your goals.
Tip #28 – Talk Through Your Motions
When you talk through what you’re doing, you tend to pay better attention to what you’re doing. This can save you a ton of time because you won’t wander around aimlessly and forget what you wanted to do in the first place. When we are more aware of what we are doing, we tend to make each movement count.
Tip #29 – Celebrate Small Victories
When you don't want to get moving and feel lethargic, praising yourself for the small things that you've accomplished will help motivate you and keep you on the right path to reaching your goals. While it might seem silly, it really can be a great motivator, especially when you're lacking the energy and drive to get through the day.
Tip #30 – Compete with Yourself
Competing with yourself can help you to get moving faster. Competing against yourself to do better than you did the day before can make you want to step up your game and push yourself to do better than before. There are many different ways that you can compete with yourself, so you can become better and improve your motivational goals.
Tip #31 – Challenge Yourself
Find motivation and self-discipline by challenging yourself to complete new tasks on a daily basis. Challenging yourself daily to complete new, more difficult tasks, can keep you excited and make you want to continue trying and can help you improve your habits.
Tip #32 – Allow Others to Challenge You
Competition with others will fuel your desire to continue on the journey to reaching your goals. Use those around you to help you become more self-disciplined and help you find motivation and success. A little competition can go a long way in helping you go further and accomplish more than you would under your own power.
Tip #33 – Filter Your Mind of Negative Thoughts
Before you can set your goals and be motivated to discipline yourself, you need to start filtering the negative thoughts out of your mind. This will allow you to begin to focus on what matters. Unless you cleanse your mind of poisonous thoughts, you will find it impossible to think clearly and believe in yourself.
Tip #34 – Talk Kindly to Yourself
To rid yourself of the negative thoughts that you nurture, you have to pay attention to your self-talk. In order for you to be able to move forward and reach your goals, you have to build a positive mindset. A positive mindset starts with talking kindly to yourself. It takes a lot of courage to be kind to yourself, but it is necessary if you want to find yourself in a better place.
Tip #35 – Develop a Can-Do Attitude
To effectively push yourself forward and embrace challenges, you have to develop a can-do attitude. Doing this requires a commitment to yourself that you will do whatever it takes to become more disciplined and that you will strive for what matters most to you despite all odds.
Tip #36 – Develop Positive Affirmations
One way to ensure that you follow through with your goals is to turn them into affirmations and repeat them daily. When you repeatedly say something to yourself with deep conviction, you affirm in your mind and compel it to accept that suggestion and to work toward fulfilling it. As soon as your mind accepts the suggestion as the absolute truth, it will focus its energy on it and make you take meaningful action to reach your goal.
Tip #37 – Break Your Bad Habits
If you want to become more disciplined so you can achieve your goals and become more productive, you need to get rid of all the bad habits that keep you from being the best version of yourself. Your habits shape your life, so if you want to build a good, meaningful life and accomplish all your goals, you need to eliminate the bad habits that keep you from fulfilling your mission.
Tip #38 – Make an Action Plan
Without an action plan, you won't be able to move toward your goals efficiently. A plan of action will provide you with a step-by-step guideline for moving toward each of your goals. With an action plan in hand, you can complete necessary tasks every day that are needed to achieve your goals. Break your big goal, into smaller, more manageable steps and work on them daily.
Tip #39 – Have the Bigger Picture in Mind
If you have difficulty starting tasks or you lose your motivation, stop what you’re doing and recall your end goal and think of the bigger picture. Recall why you’re pursuing the particular goal and reiterate to yourself the importance of having self-discipline for achieving your goals.
Tip #40 – Focus on the Present
If you want to make continuous progress, it is important that you learn how to live in the present. Thinking too much about the future can overwhelm you, making it extremely tough to work on the current task effectively. Likewise, when you live in the past and continue to remember the setbacks you've experienced, you're unable to take the meaningful action you need to continue to move forward.
Tip #41 – Learn from Your Experiences
Every experience that you go through, be it good or bad, should be seen as a learning experience. If you make a mistake, don’t regret the mistake and don’t feel bad about making it. Instead, focus on what you can do to improve. Accept each challenge and obstacle happily and wholeheartedly to stop yourself from fearing setbacks.
TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR TIME
Life is nothing more than one task to complete followed by another. Life is busy. However, how you deal with your business can make a world of difference when accomplishing what you hope to achieve and reaching your goals.
If you’re tired of not having the time to accomplish your tasks, you're not alone. A lot of people suffer from the inability to manage their time so that they can be more effective and productive throughout the day. However, the difference between them and you are that they aren't trying to change their behavior. With the right time management skills, there will always be time to do what you want and accomplish your goals.
Tip #42 – Take a Step Back
Many people tend to jump right into their day without thinking it through. They have a list of chores in their mind and are planning on when they can complete which chore. However, without fail, something gets forgotten.
To keep this from happening to you, take a deep breath when you first wake up and take a step back from your busy mind. Take the time to write down your tasks so you have an idea of how much time each one will take so you can more effectively plan how you will tackle the list.
Tip #43 – Have a Plan
One of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure your success is to have a plan for accomplishing your to-do list. This is the one step that often gets skipped. Take time to think about where your tasks fit into your day. By planning and breaking down larger tasks, you can accomplish the more important tasks before tackling those tasks that might not be essential.
Tip #44 – Stick to Your Plan
If you throw you plan out the window at the first opportunity, not only have you just wasted your time, but you run the risk of quickly veering off track. When you make a plan, stick to it as closely as you can. While things will happen to prevent your day from going exactly as you planned, you tried to make your plan work the way you intended it to. Learn to quickly deal with the other stuff that comes up and find your way back to your plan.
Tip #45 – Allow Time for Rest
If you’re busy, rest might be a foreign concept. Too often, people will push aside their personal needs in order to accomplish what it is they set out to do. To keep your motivation and reach your goals, you need to make a point of taking a break during your day. Depending on your circumstances, this can mean treating yourself to lunch, having a coffee date with a friend, or finding some time to read a few chapters of your book. Make it a point to have some time to rest so that you don’t burn out.
Tip #46 – Prioritize
Sometimes, it’s just impossible to accomplish everything on your list in a given day. There will be those days where everything wrong will happen, eating up your time. When you plan out your day, make sure to plan to complete your most important tasks first. Give yourself enough time to accomplish them. If you have time to work on other things after you’ve finished, that’s great.
Tip #47 – Write Your Tasks Down
In order to properly plan your day, you need to know what you’re going to need to do in that day. Take some time in the morning to write down your tasks. By seeing what you need to do, you’ll be more likely to get it done. When we get busy, we tend to forget the tasks we needed to accomplish.
Tip #48 – Schedule Your Day
Take the list of things you want to accomplish and make a schedule. Consider how much time each task should take to complete. With this information in mind, aim to complete certain tasks at certain times during the day. While it might not always work out the way you plan, at least you have some structure to your day.
Tip #49 – Take Other Schedules into Account
If you don’t live alone, you need to make sure that you’re aware of the schedules of others in your household. If you have children, their extracurricular activities can impact your schedule. Make sure that you know what the other members of your household are doing and when they are doing it, to save yourself frustration later.
Tip #50 - Plan for the Unexpected
You may have the best laid out plans, but it never fails that something will happen that ruins those plans. Make exceptions in your schedule for things that might come up that you hadn’t planned for.
Tip #51 – Carry a Schedule
Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, activities, and conversations for a week. Doing this will help you to understand better how much you can get done during the course of a day. You'll have the opportunity to see how much time is spent producing actual results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, actions, and conversations.
Tip #52 – Decide What Results You Want to Attain
Five minutes before you start a task, decide what results you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. After completing each task, take five minutes to determine whether you achieved your desired results.
Tip #53 – Create Time Management Goals
Eliminate your personal time-wasters. The focus of time management isn't actually changing time but changing the behaviors that waste time. For one week, set a goal to not engage in your biggest time-wasting activity, and see how much time you can gain.
Tip #54 – Utilize Time Management Tools
Whether it’s a software program, phone app, or Day-Timer, the first step to effectively managing your time is knowing where it’s going and planning how you’re going to spend your time in the future. Time management tools allow you to easily schedule events and set reminders, making your time management efforts easier.
Tip #55 – Learn to Say No
Making a lot of time commitments can teach you how to juggle various engagements and manage your time. However, it can easily be taken too far. At some point, you need to learn to decline new opportunities. You should only be taking on those commitments that you know you have time for and that you truly care about.
Tip #56 – Don’t Multitask
Multitasking doesn’t work. Rather than splitting your focus to accomplish numerous tasks, devote your entire focus to the task at hand. Find a quiet place to work and cut out all distractions. Concentrate on one task at a time, only moving on when you’ve accomplished the task.
Tip #57 – Be Organized
Being organized will save you a ton of time. Create a filing system for documents and make sure every item has a place to be stored. Unsubscribe from email lists that you don’t want and streamline everything you can.
Tip #58 – Batch Related Tasks Together
Different tasks demand different kinds of thinking, so you should allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than unnecessarily switching to something that is going to require you to re-orient.
Tip #59 – Eliminate the Non-Essential
If you want to stay motivated and reach your goals, you need to identify the excess and remove it from your life. By removing the non-essential tasks and activities, you can become more and more in touch with what is significant and what deserves your time.
Tip #60 – Leave a Buffer-Time Between Tasks
Allow yourself downtime between tasks to breathe and clear your mind. When you rush from task to task, it can be difficult to appreciate what you're doing and to stay focused and motivated.
Tips to Change Your Thinking
Negative thoughts, doubts, and fears are quite pervasive. We all have doubts and are afraid. However, if you want to live a worthwhile life, you have to get some degree of control over negative emotions and thoughts. These tips will help you create a positive atmosphere, even when facing difficult challenges. With the right mindset, you’ll have the best shot at staying motivated and reaching your goals.
Tip #61 – It’s Not About You
It is important to remember that 99 percent of the time, how people behave is not about you; it’s about them. You will never truly change your mindset if you don’t realize that the behaviors of others have nothing to do with you.
Tip #62 – Don’t Take Things Personally
Don’t take things that happen personally, because everyone has underlying issues that are not apparent on the surface. Stop making baseless conclusions based on a tiny amount of information that you have of others.
Tip #63 – Try to Find the Good in Everything
Life is too short to live in misery and blame everything else on your problems. Never blame, complain or take things personally. Instead, focus on the more important things in your life, those things that you are grateful for.
Tip #64 – Collect References that Reinforce Your Positive Belief
Deliberately collecting references to reinforce your positive beliefs will help to weaken your limiting beliefs. Think about two or three positive beliefs that will benefit you the most and start to collect real-life evidence to support these selected beliefs.
Tip #65 – Practice Visualization
Visualization is an effective technique for changing your belief and reaching your goals. Your mind can’t differentiate between something vividly imagined and real life. Using visualization can provide your subconscious mind with manufactured pieces of evidence that will reinforce positive thinking in your mind.
Tip #66 – Avoid Negative People
The people you surround yourself with have a tremendous impact on your mind. If you spend most of your time around negative people who always put you and your abilities down, you would never feel confident.
Tip #67 – Avoid Instant Gratification
Avoid seeking instant gratification. The good feelings you get are only temporary and will disappear quickly. Instead, you need to follow your heart’s calling. Put your best effort into everything you do, and you will experience long-lasting, happiness and satisfaction.
Tip #68 – Live up to Your Values
This is one of the single biggest factors that determine your self-esteem. To raise and maintain high self-esteem and shift your mindset, it is important to take action and move toward living up to your values.
Tip #69 – Stop Comparing Yourself with Others
We are all unique, so stop comparing yourself with others. Instead, you need to learn to accept yourself completely, then find your purpose, your mission, and work on it with all your heart.
Tip #70 – Look for the Good in Other People
What you give out, you will receive back 100 fold. If you give out love and care to others, you will get affection and support back. If you give out anger and hatred, you will receive the same in return. When you treat others well, you feel good in return.
Tip #71 – Practice Meditation
The best way to become more present in your daily life and change your mindset is to practice regular meditation. Meditation trains your mind to be in the present moment.
Tip #72 – Completely Focus on Present Activities
Learn to be more aware of the environment around you when participating in your day to day activities. Really look at things, noticing small details like shape, colors, taste, weight, smell, etc. This will allow you to cultivate present moment awareness.
Tip #73 – Be Aware of Your Thoughts
Start paying attention to the thoughts that are going on in your brain. Don’t judge. Don’t label any thought as good or bad. Just observe them objectively. Stop taking ownership of your negative thoughts.
Tip #74 – Minimize Activities That Stop You from Being Present
One of the best ways to be more present and change your mindset is to minimize activities that make your brain dull and unable to focus on the present. Some activities make you present, and some don't. If you aim to become more present so you can accomplish your goals, then you have to remove activities that aren't helping you accomplish those goals.
Tip #75 – Face Your Fears
When you expose yourself repeatedly to your fears, it can begin to lower their intensity. It can help to take the sting out and make it more manageable for you.
Tip #76 – Have Faith in Yourself
One of the core pillars of strength against fear is faith in yourself, your vision and your ability to succeed. Believe in yourself and your vision and know that you have all the resources you need to become the person you want to be and reach your goals.
Tip #77 – Trust in Your Own Value
Don’t let any compliments boost your ego or any criticisms shake your confidence. Always do your personal best at the moment and continually look for ways to improve next time.
Tip #78 – Be Optimistic
Nothing is certain in life. When you expect the worst, you tend to fear the unknown. Instead, realize that you've been given a choice to create the future you want. In life, you get what you expect, so try and find the good in every situation and the people around you.
Tip #79 – Always Show Your Real Self
Always show your true personality. Never be afraid to fully express your thoughts and feelings. Let the world know who you are and what you stand for, and you'll come across as a genuine, confident person who inspires people to break out of their own shells.
Tip #80 – Always Speak Your Mind
If you don’t think that anybody understands you, then you need to speak up and be assertive. Let people know who you are and what you need. This is the only way they can clearly understand you.
TIPS FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS
Have you ever wondered how you could set attainable goals, so you can make your dreams happen? You're not the only one who has hopes and dreams, but your goals may be too lofty to happen.
The goals you currently have may be a great overall result of smaller goals that you've set for yourself, but as your goals currently sit, you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure. Here are the best ways that you can set attainable goals that will encourage you to work towards a greater end result.
Tip #81 – Have an End Result in Mind
Having a clear focus on where you want your efforts to end up is an important part of setting attainable goals. Having an ultimate goal will help you as you try to achieve the smaller goals you have made. Having a solid focus will help you achieve more.
Tip #82 – Break Down Larger Goals into Smaller Parts
Help yourself reach your end goal by breaking it down into smaller steps, rather than becoming stressed by trying to accomplish it all at once. When you take on too much at one time, you can become stressed, which might cause you to abandon your goal completely.
Tip #83 – Set Reasonable Time Frames
If you try to do something too slow or too quickly, it can throw you off focus. Give yourself an ample amount of time to complete each goal, to make sure that you get the results that you’re aiming for. Be reasonable and set time frames on your goals and your achievements.
Tip #84 – Stack Your Goals
Working on your goals in a stacked method, allows you to work toward a new goal while finishing out the goal you were already working on. This will help you to start the next step while finishing the previous step. This helps you keep the overall goal flowing.
Tip #85 – Move on to New Goals When You’ve Achieved Your Other Goal
Often times, once you complete a goal that you have set out to achieve, you might feel like you’re stuck in a rut. This can become frustrating because you feel like you’re no longer moving forward. Don’t let doubts hold you back. Begin to work on new goals as soon as you feel as though you have accomplished your previous goals.
Tip #86 – Have Benchmarks
Check in with yourself frequently. Creating a schedule to check on the progress of your goals will help you to understand better where you are and what you need to work on next. Set a regular time for you to check up on yourself and be honest about the progress you are making.
Tip #87 – Start with the Basics
Once you’ve set the goals that you'd like to pursue actively, you need to start at the beginning. Take the time to figure out where you need to begin and take the process in small steps.
Tip #88 – Start on Small Goals
When it comes to setting goals, you’ll find that some of them will be larger than others. Identify the goals that you can handle on a smaller level and work up from there. After you’ve learned to put some goals into action, you will figure out how you can tackle the larger goals to make them a reality.
Tip #89 – Prioritize Your Goals
Some of the goals that you set will be more pertinent to the place you are in your life and your career. Try placing importance on certain goals and set some aside until you feel you are ready to give them your full attention.
Tip #90 – Don’t Take on Too Much at Once
Often when you are busy, you tend to take on much more than what you can handle at once. The strain of taking on too much can cause you to become stressed and result in you losing focus on what is really important. Always be aware of what your limits are an act accordingly.
Tip #91 – Have Someone to Keep You Accountable
Another way to can continue to work toward your goals is by having someone who can help to keep you accountable. By having someone to ask you about your progress or about how you feel about the goal can help you keep your goals in the forefront of your mind, so you can continue to work toward reaching them.
Tip #92 – Don’t Become Discouraged by Obstacles
Life is full of obstacles and challenges. If you allow these things to stand in your way, you will never succeed in reaching your goals. When you face challenges in life, you have to find a way to face them head on and make it through the fire and to the other side.
Tip #93 – Look for People Who Share Similar Goals
Even if you already belong to an existing support group, there is always an opportunity to add to it and make it more diverse. They don’t have to be people you’ve known for a long time but can be people you’ve encountered throughout your life that can offer you solid advice to make your goal easier to accomplish.
Tip #94 – Use Your Family and Friends as Sounding Boards
Your family and friends are who know you best. They might be able to offer you advice that is extremely helpful and that you may never have thought about yourself. Their advice can help you to pursue your goals with more ease.
Tip #95 – Learn to Let Go of Negative Forces
There will always be at least one person who will do whatever they can to discourage you from your goals. Don’t let these people have a part in your life or your goals. Let them go and remove the negativity from your life.
Tip #96 – Talk to Your Support Group Regularly
Having a support group will help you make sure that you can talk about your worries and frustrations and get the advice you need to continue on your journey to making your goals into realities.
Tip #97 – Listen to Advice
Take the advice that is worth listening to and make it a part of your goal. Don’t think that you know everything. Allow yourself the vulnerability to know when you need to take advice or let the advice go.Tip #98 – Be Open to Change
Change can be difficult for everyone. However, the more open to change that you are, the easier the transition will be when you are ready to make changes in your life. There will come a point in your life where things will need to change in order for you to be successful. Don’t fight it, embrace it and continue moving forward.
Tip #99 – Set Your Sights High
It’s okay to dream. You can get more done and be more successful when you take the time to set your goals and ambitions higher. Don’t be afraid to set your dreams high.
Tip #100 – Think Beyond the Present
Having the ability to look past the present and set your sights on your future and your goals can make your current situation temporary. You can only go as far as you allow yourself to go.
Tip #101 – Don’t Settle When More Can be Done
Settling when you know you can do better, only cheats you out of what greatness your life can really hold. You can realize more success when you push yourself further.
Everyone has big dreams, and we tend to make even bigger plans to fulfill them. Unfortunately, as time passes, we tend to lose motivation and enthusiasm in working toward reaching our goals, leaving us stuck in the same place, toiling away at our 9 to 5 jobs, trying to earn just enough money to survive.
Each of us has a positivity inside that serves as the source of our great ideas and accomplishments in the world. In exerting more effort in finding our motivation, we can achieve our ultimate goals and find the passion in our lives.
Utilize these 101 Self Help Tips to kick out the negativity and eliminate the stress that has been controlling your life. Don’t wait, break the barriers that are keeping you from reaching your goals, break free from the cocoon, and finally win control over your life.
Martha is retired. She has trouble walking so that she hardly leaves the house anymore. She feels trapped even though she has an apartment in the middle of a capital city.
Her neighbor is home all day too. The problem is that, according to Martha, he makes a lot of noise.
In the beginning, Martha was able to ignore the noise. She would just turn the radio on or go to another room.
Over time, the noise started taking over. Soon, the sound was the only thing Martha could focus on and the anger was starting to eat her up. Being angry has become the dominant mood.
How do you deal with anger, compulsive thinking or fear? Did you know that there is a simple way to change your emotion?
The art of letting go and the Sedona method
A lot of people have problems letting go of things. May it be anger or fear. That is a returning "theme" I see with a lot of clients.
For a few years now, I use the Sedona method with so much success that I am sharing the simple trick that will help you to let go of thoughts that you do not serve you.
What is the Sedona method?
The Sedona method is a very simple 4-question release technique developed by Lester Levenson. The physicist from New Jersey, who lived from 1909 to 2009 developed his simple but powerful formula for happiness in 1952.
It has been adopted by many leading coaching experts.
Four simple questions:
Can you accept the emotion at this moment?
Could you let go of the emotion just for now?
Would you let go of the emotion?
Let me explain in more detail:
Why not try it right now or the next time you are angry, afraid or cannot stop thinking about something compulsively?
How the Sedona release technique works
Close your eyes, travel within and think about the person, situation or thing that frustrates you at the moment.
Feel the emotion caused by that "thing."
1. Can you accept the emotion at this moment?
You cannot win a war against your own brain. Therefore, suppressing your emotion, fight it or pretend it does not exist will not work in the long term. Most of the time, the unpleasant emotion only grows stronger.
Back to our question: It doesn't matter how you respond. What matter is that you are honest with yourself. Answer spontaneously without thinking about your answer or trying to find the "right" answer.
Perhaps the emotion is so strong that you have to accept it. Or it's a physical pain and you know that you have to endure it. But you can also decide to refuse to accept the emotion. It's up to you.
2. Could you let go of the emotion - just for a moment?
This question is tricky. You are not being told to let go of the emotion. The freedom of choice is yours in theory. In practice, we often do not have a choice.
As before, it doesn't matter how you answer. Just spontaneous. Without thinking.
The point is that you dig inside and experience the emotion. Often, we're content with symbolism or constructs like "I am angry." Or "I am stressed."
But there is more to it. Please focus on the physical reactions. Do you feel pressure on your shoulder? Is your face getting hot?
It's easier to let go of concrete physical sensations than diffuse words like "stress", "fear", or "anger."
Many of us are able to let go but you are not always aware of it. Imagine you feel afraid and your kid runs into the room because he feels down and has a bloody nose.
Where is the fear now?
Or imagine you are fighting with your partner and the phone rings. Most people will answer it with a totally normal voice. It might change back to the "anger voice" as soon as they hung up, but the fact of the matter is that they ARE able to let go.
It's easier if we do not force ourselves. That makes the indirect question "Could you..." so powerful.
The question represents merely a hint and that does not cause aversion or pressure.
3. Would you let go of the emotion?
Answer honestly and spontaneously again. The question is not about your ability to let go. It's about your willingness.
You might cover up another emotion or fear and learn about yourself that you are not willing to let go. Or you discover why you held on to an emotion that did not serve you for so long.
And now to the fourth and last question:
When? When would you let go?
Change does not happen if we are not brutally honest with ourselves. Ask yourself the question. As before, it does not matter what you reply. There is no right or wrong.
Now? Tomorrow? Never?
This question helps you to the here and now and you will get a sense that change is possible.
You can break the pattern. You can let go. When would you like to let go?
If you reply with something like "the day after tomorrow" or "when I have time" you have already agreed that you would like to let go AND that you can.
You will probably already feel a difference if you did not just read this article but went through the process of the four questions.
The best is to ask yourself these four questions again and again.
The Sedona method is not limited to emotions
You can use the method also to let go of unpleasant thoughts, limiting beliefs, nasty habits and besetting fantasies.
It works because thoughts, beliefs and even fantasies are connected to emotions as well.
Why is this simple method so powerful?
The questions connect you to your inner self. The characteristic of a problematic situation is that we're not grounded but kept the hostage of our brain. Compulsive thinking, worst-case scenarios etc. (Related article: "The default mode network and why it matters to you")
Often we are not aware what causes a certain emotion and this is where the Sedona method is gold.
It helps to get a distance to the problem or emotion. To look at it unbiased from afar. That might sound like an oxymoron (how can you connect to your inner self and at the same time have more distance?)
The difference is that the question forces you in the here and now.
Is there anything I can help you with? Why not book a session right now?
The students had watched the master for a while before one was curious to know which form of meditation he practices every morning in his garden.
The master replied: "When I look carefully, I see the cherry tree in full bloom"
One of the students asked: "But why does one have to look carefully to see the cherry tree? The vibrant color of the beautiful blossoms are hard to overlook"
The master smiled and answered: "So that I really see the cherry tree and not my idea of it."
This short story is loosely based on a story by Anthony de Mello. Anthony de Mello was a Jesuit priest, public speaker, author and psychotherapist known for his storytelling (among many others.)
Self-will and being opinionated are brothers in a way. Recently, I saw a post by a thought leader I respect very much. It spoke against being opinionated and implied that opinionated people might be inflexible and closed-minded. Unable to listen. Unwilling to change.
It was the first time I did not fully agree with something written by this incredible leader I hold in the highest regards.
If you know me, you know I am opinionated and have a strong sense of self-will. Therefore, I belong to the group targeted by this post and that’s not something you can just ignore.
Because I value this person and his teachings a lot, I sat back and reflected long and hard on his arguments and statements. Should I change? Should I change my training material?
Does having an opinion make me unable to listen?
Is my self-will egoistic?
Is my mind closed when I formed an opinion about something?
Is having a point of view a sign of ignorance?
Being agreeable is an instinct. Therefore, I wondered for a minute if I should share my conclusion.
Then again, if you are a regular visitor to my article section or even a subscriber to my newsletter or client, you are here because you know who I am. You know what I stand for and what makes me tick.
Self-will and other virtues
There are a lot of virtues people aim to possess. But first: Let me give you the translation of the German word for stubbornness: (Eigensinn) “own sense.” Something that has its own sense.
Someone stubborn follows their own sense.
As opposed to what?
Here are a few virtues I found listed on a homepage about good parenting:
Being on time
These are not bad traits per se. What they do have in common, though, is that they have been invented to make us followers. Easy to control. Follow the laws, the rules of society and other people (for instance, a manager.)
Self-will is the only virtue that is about following ourselves. “Own sense.” I know that own sense is not a word and I hope you’ll forgive me for using it.
This article is not a call for a revolution or becoming anti-social. Revolution is war and I stand for happiness. A society can only work if everyone accepts and fulfills their role. But that does not mean thinking for yourself and being aware that you accept a role is a bad thing.
Every virtue turns into a negative in an extreme. The person who is good with money vs the cheap person, for instance.
The world is not a talking shop. Decisions have to be made.
Why do stubbornness, self-will, and opinion have a bad reputation?
If you look at the history of the world, all impactful change-makers (for the better or worse) were stubborn (self-willed) and opinionated. Just think of Mandela, Socrates – or if you are religious Jesus Christ.
Once someone achieved success, we’re willing to call it "visionary", “charismatic”, “a lot of personality”, “individualist.”
But until then, we consider self-will a character flaw.
We group people into followers and leaders. Followers do not follow their “own sense”, they fulfill someone else’s vision.
Our economic system would crash if everyone would think for themselves, ask questions and only do what made sense to them and served their growth. It can only work because most people follow orders.
Explaining, influencing is much more exhausting than just giving orders. It’s understandable that the very teachers who tell us about the heroes, the self-willed people of ancient times, teach us to be compliant.
Self-will and egoism
Self-will, following your own sense, is egoistic. (It's a word now, I said it five times!) Egoistic in the good sense, not in the greedy or ruthless way.
Every creature (besides humans and the pets they tame) follows their growth instinct to become the best version of themselves. They follow an inner law.
Or we could say: calling. Every creature, every thing follows its calling. The inner voice that leads them to do what’s the best growth strategy for them.
People and many other creatures also have the need for closeness, ergo the herd instinct. It’s also shared protection.
While the compromises one must make to be a part of a herd are not endangering our health and happiness, the sacrifices, for instance, a fabric worker in the assembly line at Apple’s partner in China has to make are endangering his health and limit his growth.
Can you imagine a herd of 100 animals where 2 animals get 90% of the food and all others have to chew on a few leftovers? Perhaps even toxic?
But that is how our trickle down economy works. It cannot work if everyone follows their growth instinct. Our current model is based on exploitation and can only work if the vast majority of people are obedient.
The more unnatural we live, the higher the suicide, depression, drug abuse rates.
Not everyone who gives you orders has your best interest in mind. Without self-will, you will neither become the best version of yourself nor have a lot of success and happiness in your life.
Everyone has an agenda. I repeat. Every. One. Has an agenda. And the agenda is always selfish.
Not just people who want to exploit you for their personal gain wrongfully advice you to let go of your own self.
We assess situations coming from what we know. People share advice from their biased point of view. Biased by their upbringing, intellectual capabilities, learned skills, what they expect from us. Everyone's ability to predict is compromised by the pain they suffered and by what we observed. We're not aware of it, but it's all parked in the long-term storage of our mirror neurons.
People have more or less selfish agendas. Everyone has one.
The point is:
You have to think for yourself to make educated decisions
To become your best/happiest, you have to have self-will
Emotional intelligence helps you to understand someone’s agenda
Following your own sense is your very responsibility and protects your core
Every virtue turns into a negative in the extreme
Having an opinion means you thought about something. It does not imply you’re not open to listen and change your opinion
The world needs more people who think for themselves and who stand for something
Opinionated people with self-will are harder to manipulate
The biggest change-makers in the history of the world were stubborn
People with emotional intelligence have a strong self-will
We have to understand someone’s agenda to decide if they will harm us or support our growth
Today I received one of these invites again: “Join the biggest list building event of the year.”
Hundreds of personal development coaching people group together to collect as many email addresses as they can. While it is understandable that we want the chance to speak to YOU, it should always be done in style. And with style, I mean: from the point of a Coach who wants to help people – not from the point of a marketing ninja who wants to sell as many products as possible.
Coach or Marketing expert?
Every coach can tell you that this event doesn’t have any benefit for participants. It works as follows: all of the hundreds of Coaches who participate in the event promote it. Every Coach offers a freebie. To access the freebie you have to sign up for his newsletter.
I believe that our job is not to exploit the weaknesses of people. Obviously, as it’s human nature, people will sign up to as many freebies as they can. They will store all of the files on their computer, perhaps briefly open one or two, but not gain knowledge.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad the free content is – if we collect information instead of learning skills we will not benefit from it. When it comes to establishing a relationship with a potential client, I can hardly think of worse scenario than someone who just signed up for 60 newsletters.
This and a few other things that bugged me caused me to write this article about personal development coaching BS for you. So here it goes:
Signs your coach might be incompetent
As soon as you signed up for a newsletter or purchased a training, you start to receive one email after the next. Each email promotes a wonderful training from “friends” of your Coach. While there is nothing wrong with recommending a good training of a partner or friend, it all has to be done in moderation, in good taste, and with nothing but the client’s best in mind.
The art is not to provide good information. Everyone already has great books on their bookshelves. The art and our legitimization to exist is to help people to turn information into knowledge and knowledge into skills.
As Coaches, we know that it takes about nine weeks to implement new habits. That is approximately how long it takes for the brain to remove neural pathways that do not serve us and form new ones.
The biggest challenge in personal development coaching is to help people to stay motivated and keep training and repeating until they have mastered a skill. If we try to sell clients training after training before they achieved the goals from the first one, we either don’t know what we’re doing or we don’t care that we are doing it wrong.
Let’s suppose that these Coaches have attended all of the training they recommend to their subscribers and clients. Everything else would be shady.
A Coach cannot promise more or less than that his personal development coaching material is suited to give you the results you’re looking for. He cannot promise you will achieve the results. If you burn the training material or refuse to even communicate with your coach, you will not achieve your goal. Therefore, a good Coach will not guarantee any results.
More marketing than substance
It’s certainly a wonderful thing if you are able to write great email copy. Heck, I wish my own emails were better. What they are, though, is they are authentic and my aim is to provide value to my subscribers.
There is a certain type of Coach who is more focused on selling and marketing than helping. They have perfect copies with all of the words proven to influence a person to buy.
Ohhhhh and if you click, you’ll enter the perfect “funnel.” A funnel optimized to get you to buy — no matter if you need the service or not.
unrealistic claims (you become Clint Eastwood in 2 weeks),
create a false sense of urgency (ONLY today) or,
mark regular parts of their training as time-limited gifts.
There is no doubt that this works. Surprisingly, it even works in Webinar REPLAYS. What I question is if a good Coach should resort to trickery and manipulation.
We all depend on income from our clients. Selling your services and products is perfectly alright. But the question is how you do it.
I believe trust is the most important factor in a client/coach relationship. What you tell your potential client about your offer should be the truth.
The alternative is focusing on growing your list and pushing out one offer from ... friends after the other. And finding more friends all the time who push out emails with your offers. No need for quibbling ... I'd hire such a Coach as an email marketing specialist any time of the day.
Personal Development Coaching too cheap
Good Coaches will not ruin themselves. While it could be just temporary desperation, if coaching is offered at a very low rate you might want to be extra careful. The hourly rate might sound very attractive, but there are a lot of costs involved with creating, maintaining and offering good coaching / self-coaching products.
A Coach might just have a few clients per week. A lot of time is taken up by admin, finding those clients, service and many other tasks.
If your personal development coach is only focused on your professional environment, he might not be the right one for you. In nearly all cases, factors from the personal lives of clients play a part in making the desired changes.
A perfect example of a wonderful and highly capable business coach is Dr. Mark Goulston.
Your personal development coaching partner only offers 20 or 30-minute sessions, it might be time to look for a new one. The same applies if you cannot reach him/her in person and are just dealing with ZenDesk support people.
A Coach cannot be expected to offer free consultation or be available right way, but he should be reachable for his clients.
He can do everything
A personal development coach can cover a lot but not everything. Especially not everything we are being asked for by people seeking help. A good coach knows his limits and will refer you to appropriate specialists (i.e. therapists, lawyers, doctors, relationship coaches.)
If your coach can “do it all” you might have reason to worry.
Personal Development Coaching BS
They take ownership of your problem. A good coach is not trying to create dependency.
He is also not telling you what to do. He provides you with tools that allow you to solve your problems and he asks questions and provides information that allows you to see just where you need to go to realize your vision.
While a good coach certainly gives concrete advice and makes you aware of habits that might stand in your way, a good coach would never say: “I am going to solve your problem.”
Coaching is not therapy and should have a concrete goal and timeline.
There are good Coaches around and there are bad ones out there. That someone is good at marketing does not necessarily imply he is bad at coaching.
That someone is great at marketing does not make him a competent Coach.
You are well advised to look for personal development coaching where the goal is your success and not to sell as many products as he can.
Is your Coach focused on helping you to make the most out of your coaching/self-coaching program and helping you to turn knowledge into skills?
If a personal development coach tries to trick or manipulate you rather than influence you, run.
Did you know that emotional intelligence keeps you from falling into these lizard-brain traps? Someone with a high EQ is much harder to manipulate (;
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