Outstrip Yesterday by what you do Today

October 6, 2010

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.”  – Stewart B. Johnson

 When I read this it seemed like an echo from the past – words appropriate to another time and place – weird. And sad. So many people have been beaten down by the length and depth of the recession that optimism has become increasingly difficult.

And therein lies our conundrum: the more we are beaten down, the more difficult it is to draw upon the very resources we need to bring us back up. Oh, we could wait for a serendipitous occurrence to turn life around – a big sale, a new relationship, a sudden, spontaneous improvement in the economy (right). But to do so puts our lives in the hands of chance. You certainly don’t want it in the hands of the government.

If you want your swagger back – NOW; if you want to feel good about life, optimistic, anxious for each day to begin, confident in your ability to achieve, it has to come from within. The question is: how do we reclaim our confidence when reality keeps slapping us in the face? I hate to quote Madison Avenue, but the short answer is: Just Do It!

Wayne Dyer uncovered a clever truth about the old saying “You’ll believe it when you see it.” Turns out that it is true in its original form and when you reverse the meaning, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” The difference is that the original version requires a serendipitous occurrence while the revised version requires only a change in beliefs.

Our power to choose and change our attitude comes from the simple truth taught by Emerson and many others, “You are what you think about all day long.” We don’t need to wait for life to turn around, we can take control, decide what we want and take the actions required to make it so. The key is in the simple quote above: what do you think about? If you focus on past failures, you pull them into your present and forward into the future. To break any destructive cycle, you must replace the old, destructive images with positive thoughts of achievement, prosperity, happiness, confidence, success. If you’re thinking that this is too difficult, stop thinking so much. Just do it, do it now. It might help to remember a time when you did feel powerful and confident. Focus on that time until you “get the feeling,” then hold on to it as much and as long as you can. Practice this every day and miraculous things will happen. Your external reality will evolve in the direction of your intentions, your belief in what you can accomplish, where you are going. Have a good trip.


Bathroom Mirror Quote

June 16, 2010

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”
Doug Firebaugh
 

This is one that should be on everyone’s bathroom mirror – a reminder each morning to be true to who you are and who you are becoming. Why waste even one more day on the past. I mean, you were there, right? You did what you chose to do and life unfolded. Try as you might there is not a single thing you can do about it. (Well, unless you have a working time machine, in which case, call me.) 

Think about it. A life focused on the present and future is a life free of guilt (because we haven’t done anything yet to feel guilty about) – it’s a life full of possibilities, an endless feast of fun, fulfillment and prosperity. So, what’s stopping you? Oh, yeah, you haven’t let go of the past yet have you? Or, maybe you have, but you haven’t formed a clear vision of the future? Well, gee, what are you doing this afternoon?

 If you have a couple of hours, here’s what you can do (2 things guaranteed to transform your life.):

 1. Decide to let go of the past. Make a covenant with yourself that every time your mind tries to relive and redo past “mistakes,” say CANCEL! Bring your mind back to the present and focus on what you can do NOW to live a better life and move closer to your goals.

2. Create a clear vision of the life you want. Take a pen and paper and write it down. Sound silly? Why? If you wanted to buy a new car, wouldn’t you think about it all the time, cut out pictures and tape them on your steering wheel, focus on it until you figure out a way to make the purchase. Well, good news, all life is just like that.

You get what you focus on.

Or, as Emerson said:

“You are what you think about all day long.” 

If you get that, you get everything – and I mean everything.


Change your Mind and you Change the World

February 12, 2010

“You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV 4.5

 

Would you like to re-live 2009?

If the answer is no, read on.

 

If you were one of millions of people struggling to make ends meet in 2009, you probably spent a great deal of time focusing on your problems and searching for solutions. Worrying about your income, your rising credit card balances, your credit rating or even whether you would be able to retain your home can become habitual. This can be a problem. 

Because “You are what you think about all day long,” (Emerson) there is a danger that, if you continue to think about past problems, they will become the building blocks of your future. It can be a difficult transition, I know, but… to create success in 2010 you must become successful now… today. Let me say that another way…

 You can’t wait for something good to happen

and then feel good about yourself.

You must feel good about yourself

and then make good things happen.

 Well, you don’t have to. But, either you control your life or life controls you. A matter of choice. Skeptics never see how they can feel good when everything around them is swirling down the drain. I know two very effective methods:

 1. NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) teaches us to “anchor” our feelings to a moment in the past when we felt great about life, about ourselves. Imagine your self back at that moment, recreate the positive feelings and then carry those emotions into the present.

The method I use most often is to imagine my own positive future. This has to be approached in two directions. First, whenever I find myself ruminating about past problems, I stop myself. Second, I focus my attention a very specific image of the future that I have created in my mind.

 Either of these techniques can be very effective. The mind is a wonderfully powerful tool. It will give you whatever you desire. The problem is that it thinks you desire those things you choose to think about.

Change your thoughts and you change your world.


You Are What You Think About

January 6, 2010

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice… And to make an end is to make a beginning.”  ~ T.S. Elliot

 Aw, it is time once again to put last year to rest and start anew. Once again we have made the long trip around the sun and avoided burning up or hurtling out into frozen space. Yeah! We’re ahead of the game already and the year has barely begun.

 It is also a time when we ruminate about the past year and wonder about the coming year – will it be better, worse, the same?  And as always we have the choice to make these ruminations productive or …not. Here’s a tip, avoid not.

 Here is what “not” looks like: Long, depressing periods thinking about all of the bad luck that came your way last year, the decisions you wish you hadn’t made, the relationships you wish you had avoided, the money you lost, the debt you incurred…. What is wrong with a little cathartic wallowing? Just this, and I’ll quote Emerson. “You become what you think about all day long.” And this is only one of hundreds of quotes from very smart, very successful people that communicate the same message.

 If you focus on everything that went wrong last year, and, if “you become what you think about all day long,” you have become the lead role in Groundhog Day, doomed to repeat, in this case, the same mistakes, the same bad choices, the same “bad luck” year after year after year.

 Don’t get depressed! The “not” is not necessary. We are, after all, intelligent people with aspirations and dreams. Understanding the rules as articulated above by Emerson, you have the free will to CHOOSE not to focus on what is wrong with your life. You can CHOOSE to focus on what is right. Instead of projecting the worst of your life forward, project the best. In his book on raising healthy children, Wayne Dyer suggested that we “catch them doing something right.” By focusing on and commenting on their positive behavior, they tend to repeat that behavior – petting the dog instead of cutting her hair with mommy’s scissors.

 In the arena of personal growth, reviewing last year has only two productive purposes: learning lessons necessary to move forward in a positive manner, and congratulating yourself for everything that you did right. Then, of course, you want to build on your right moves by creating a vision for the coming year. Focus on that vision with passionate certainty and you will have an amazing year.

  Happy New Year!