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Archive for the ‘positive thinking’ Category

1. Sometimes more mess can equal less stress.  Learn how to tolerate the natural chaos of your life and feel happier.

2. As you know, I am a big fan of Gretchen’s Happiness Project.  Today I want to direct you to her tips for dealing with criticism so that it is less stressful and more helpful.

3. An article after the early childhood educator in my heart- Scientific American Mind explains the seriousness of play.

4. Stressing about money?  Who isn’t?  The growing field of behavior economics is looking at the ways in which money drives us crazy.

road-to-happy

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This post was found at The Change Blog.  You can visit the blog here.  This is a longer post than just a list by itself , but definitely worth the read.

How often do we overlook the above aphorism as we repeatedly revisit past mistakes, injuries, and confrontations?  There are times I lie sleepless and recall arguments I had with college sweethearts, high school teachers, and even the grade school bully.  What do I get for my trouble?  Sometimes I experience that all-too-familiar wave of panic, other times an uneasy stomach or a rapidly beating heart; that feeling is almost always accompanied by guilt, resentment, or both.  The experience never benefits me and I’ve reached the point in my life where I need to stop it.

The Problem of Repunishment

We’ve been conditioned from birth to retain our flaws and mistakes in two ways: by example and through confrontation.  The first form of conditioning is by example; we see and hear our parents do it every day.  Your dad forgets to take the trash out after dinner; your mom gets angry and calls him on it.  But instead of saying: “Dear, your forgot the trash”, she says: “You forgot the trash again!  You NEVER remember to take it out!” Now your dad doesn’t deal with the current situation, rather he relives every time he forgot.  He feels guilt and frustration well up, he becomes defensive, and the argument begins.  The second form of conditioning is more direct; someone will be displeased and say: “How many times do I have to tell you…” Then we relive each of our past mistakes and feel the guilt, the pain, and the frustration.

By the time we’re in high school (if not long before), we’ve become so conditioned that we put ourselves through the ringer.  We don’t need anyone else to do it to us; we start repunishing ourselves.  You run late for work after school, again.  Instead of focusing on today’s tardiness, you relive each time you have been late.  The panic and guilt start to build, and build, and build as you revisit each transgression.  When you finally get to work you have rehashed every time you have been late to work, and you re-experience all of the negative energy from each time.

The worst part of the situation, however, is that we don’t let anything go.  We retain all of this emotional poison and add the new stuff.  Then, the NEXT time something happens, we get to revisit it all AGAIN.  And the cycle continues, because we have great memories and consciences.  We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find our selves guilty, and we punish ourselves.  No wonder we go through our lives feeling defensive, guilty, and uncertain.

Taking Control Of Our Lives

However, we can take control of our lives and stop this painful cycle.  The process isn’t difficult, but it will be unsettling at first and require some adjustment.  We experience this discomfort as we rebel against what we’ve learned and become accustomed to our entire lives.  The more ingrained our solution becomes, however, the more comfort it provides as we adapt to the new standard.  I’ve outlined below the process I have been using to stop this self punishment.

1. Acknowledge and own the mistake. This not only calms us but gives us some power over the situation.  If something “isn’t our fault”, then how can we take action to correct the situation?  We can’t.  By accepting responsibility for a situation, we make ourselves “response able” (thanks to Steven Covey for this phrase).

2. Identify the mistake. Analyze the situation and see just exactly what caused the undesired outcome.  It could have been a simple typo, it could have been procrastination, it could have been a misunderstanding, it could have been an omission, etc.  Whatever the source of the problem, we need to identify it as clearly and completely as possible.

3. Correct the problem. Implement a new system to avoid omissions, determine where our scheduling technique broke down, etc.  Make sure that, to the best of our ability, that we have implemented a solution that should prevent the same (or a very similar) mistake from recurring.  Be proud of this accomplishment – it enables us to let go of our disappointment, guilt, frustration, fear, anger, etc.

4. Move on. Obviously this is harder than it sounds.  However, our preparation above has led us to a position where we can honestly tell ourselves that we know what happened, we don’t like what happened, and we have fixed the problem that led to it occurring.  By taking both responsibility and action, we create a powerful combination that allows us, with a bit of discipline, to live in the present and not rehash the past.

Final Thoughts

If we find ourselves trying to rehash a past mistake, it is important to STOP.  Observe what we are doing, identify the problem triggering this response, and remind ourselves of the solution we implemented to stop that problem from repeating.  Then focus on our solution and a couple of instances where our solution has led to positive outcomes.  As we train ourselves to make this part of our process, we’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this easier and easier to accomplish.

This post was written by Forrest McDonald.

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We’re 3 days into 2009.  I thought I would give you a short list of quotes to inspire you to keep going on those New Year Resolutions.  The first month is the hardest!

1. “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow for a solution.” -Bertrand Russell

2. “The first step towards success will be the biggest one.” -Dennis Waitley

3. “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated.  You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” -David Lloyd George

4. “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle

5. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t–you are right.” -Henry Ford

6. “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” -Lian Yutang

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This article was written by Andrew Galasetti and originally published on Lyved.

“A man is what he thinks all day long.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our minds are constantly working, so much so that we have countless thoughts each hour and day. For all the things we think about, there are a lot that we neglect but are so important, vital to living the life we want.

Below is a list of 15 things to think about each and everyday. Thinking about these will only take 10 to 20 minutes. Some you’ll want think about in the morning and others you’ll want to think about at night.

1. The things you’re grateful to have

Think of the things you’re grateful for. Food, shelter, family, friends, a car, all the big and small things many aren’t fortunate to have.

2. The things you’re grateful NOT to have

Each of us can come up with something we’re grateful not to have. Perhaps you’re grateful not to have a disease, enormous debts, or perhaps you’re happy you don’t have a lot of money.

3. What you want to do today

Quick thoughts about the daily goals you want to accomplish and the plans you’ll need to take to get them done.

4. What the future holds

Think about what tomorrow, the next month, or even the next five years will bring you.

5. Think about one of your fears

We all have fears, some are big and some are small. Focus your thoughts on one.

6. Think of a way to face that fear

Think of one way in which you can face your fear. Even if it’s something small it’ll bring you one step closer to fear’s face.

7. One new thing you’d like to do

Think of something new you’d like to try. Do this every day you possibly can, you’ll never have too many goals and dreams.

8. The things you didn’t accomplish yesterday

Think about the things you wanted to get done yesterday, but didn’t. Then plan on getting them done today.

9. Your greatest qualities

Every day think about the things that make you a great person. It’ll give you confidence and ambition to tackle anything.

10. What you don’t like about yourself

We each have something we don’t like about ourselves. Perhaps you are too fearful, too quiet, or too arrogant.

11. How you can change what you don’t like about yourself

Think of some ways you can change. Sometimes it doesn’t take as long as you might think.

12. How you can make someone else’s day a little brighter

Maybe send a friend a card to show you’re thinking of them. Maybe buy a coworker just because. Or even just complementing someone can make their day a little brighter.

13. Your life goals

You won’t be able to think of all of your goals in life because you’ll always be adding more to your list. However, think about your current biggest dreams and goals. You can’t forget what you’re aiming for.

14. How yesterday’s problems are today’s motivation

Don’t let the problems of your past prevent you from moving forward. Think of how you can use the problems to motivate yourself to change and resolve.

15. You only have one life

Think about this: you only have one shot at life. So make the most out of every second you have. Reminding yourself of this will help you seize each day.

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1. “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” -John F. Kennedy

2. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

3. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. “The world is full of suffering.  It is also full of the overcoming of it.” -Helen Keller

5. “Three grand essentials to happiness in life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” -Joseph Addison

6. “We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics.  They will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.  We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check; we’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.  But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.” -Barack Obama

7. “Never deprive someone of hope.  It might be all they have.” -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

8. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for.” -Epicurus

9. “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

10. “If you want  to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

11. “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.  The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill

12. “Creativity comes from trust.  Trust your instincts.  And never hope more than you work.” -Rita Mae Brown

13. “You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops in the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” -Mohandas Ghandi

14. “What seem to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” -Oscar Wilde

15. “Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” -Jean Kerr

16. “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” -Proverb

17. “Hope is like a road in the country; there never was a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” -Lin Yutang

18. “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.” -Louisa May Alcott

19. “Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.” -Don Quixote

20. “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.  If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

21. “Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.” -George Weinberg

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This article was written by Henrik Edberg at The Positivity Blog.


With a twist to the common list of habits that are useful to establish, here are 7 habits that you do best to avoid.

Just like finding habits that can be useful for you it’s important to find habits that are holding you back.

Most of these 7 habits can easily become such a normal, everyday part of life that you hardly notice it (or how it’s affecting you).

I’ve dabbled with all of them quite a bit. Not surprisingly I didn’t get much of the important stuff done.

I´d also like to add that these are just 7 broad habits you can establish to become highly ineffective in most parts of your life. I pretty sure there are several more.

1. Not showing up.

Maybe you’ve heard this quote by Woody Allen:

“Eighty percent of success is showing up”

One of the biggest and simplest thing you can do to ensure more success in your life – whether it be in your social life, your career or with your health – is simply to show up more. If you want to improve your health then one of the most important and effective things you can do is just to show up at the gym every time you should be there.

The weather might be bad, you might not feel like going and you find yourself having all these other things you just must do. If you still go, if you show up at the gym when motivation is low you will improve a whole lot faster than if you just stayed at home relaxing on the sofa.

I think this applies to most areas of life. If you write or paint more, each day perhaps, you will improve quickly. If you get out more you can meet more new friends. If you go on more dates you chances of meeting someone special increases. Just showing up more can really make a big difference. Not showing up will not get you anywhere.

2. Procrastinating half the day. To keep it short, my 3 favourite ways to get out of a procrastinating state are:

Swallow that frog. What´s this means is simply to do the hardest and most important task of the day first thing in the morning. A good start in the morning lifts your spirits and creates a positive momentum for the rest of the day. That often creates a pretty productive day.

– How do you eat an elephant? Don´t try to take it all in one big bite. It becomes overwhelming which leads to procrastination. Split a task into small actionable steps. Then just focus on the first step and nothing else. Just do that one until it’s done. Then move on to the next step.

The Get around to It Paraliminal. I find this guided mediation to be very useful. After 20 minutes of mostly just lying on my bed and listening I’m far more productive for a few days. I don´t feel the urge to sink into that procrastinating state or the need to find out what’s new over at one or five of my favourite websites.

3. When actually doing something, doing something that isn’t the most important thing right now.

One of the easiest habits to get stuck in, besides procrastinating, is to keep yourself busy with unimportant tasks.

To be effective you probably need some kind of time management-system. It might be something really simple, like using the 80/20-rule at the beginning of each day. The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle as it´s also known, says that you´ll get 80 percent of your results from only 20 percent of your tasks and activities. So you need to focus most of your energy on those few important tasks to be effective.

When you have prioritized using this rule just write down the top 3 most important things you need to do that day. Then, from the top, start doing them. Even if you just get one of the things done, you have still done the most important thing you could do today. You may perhaps prefer some other system, such as GTD. But however you organise your work it’s still of highest priority to find the most important tasks so you don’t spend days, weeks or months doing busywork that isn’t that essential anyway. Just getting things done faster isn’t that useful if the things you get done are unimportant to you.

4. Thinking too much.

And thereby seldom taking action. Paralysis by analysis can waste years of your life. There is nothing wrong with thinking before you do something. Do some research, make a plan, explore potential upsides and problems.

But compulsively thinking and thinking and thinking is just another way to waste your time. You don’t have to examine everything from every angle before you try it. And you can’t wait for the perfect time to do something. That time never comes. And if you keep thinking you’ll just dig yourself down deeper and deeper and taking action will become more and more difficult. Instead you just need to stop thinking. Shut of your mind – it just helps you up to a point – and go do whatever you need to do.

5. Seeing the negative and downsides in just about anything.

When you see everything from a negative perspective you quickly punch a hole in your own motivation. You find faults everywhere and problems where there are really none. You cling to details. If you want to find a reason to not do something then that’s no problem. From a negative viewpoint you can find ten reasons every time.

And so very little gets done, you whine to anyone who wants to hear – and many who don’t – about how crappy your job, life and boss is. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you create the life that is appropriate considering how think and see your world.

A solution is to realise the limits of a negative perspective. And that your perspective isn’t some kind of 100% true picture of the world. Then try other perspectives. For instance, trying to establish a habit of seeing things in a more positive and optimistic light can be quite useful. In that vein, you may want to try the Positivity Challenge. It´s not easy, but if you do the challenge and try to only think positive thoughts for 7 days it can give you an insight in how much your perspective and beliefs changes how you interpret your world. And what results you get.

6. Clinging to your own thoughts and being closed to outside influences.

It can be hard to admit that what you thought or believed was not the best alternative. So you cling to your thoughts harder and harder and keep your mind closed. This makes it hard to improve and for instance to become more effective. Even really considering the possibility that you can change your life can be difficult in this position.

One solution, obviously, is to open up more. To open up and learn from the mistakes of others, from your own mistakes and from other sources like books. This is easy to say though. It can, as almost anything, be harder to do. One suggestion I have is to, like I said about the previous habit, realise the limits of what you know and the way you going about things. And then just try something new.

Another tip is to read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and especially look at the chapters about the Ego. If you stop identifying so much with your thoughts and your Ego, as Tolle prescribes, it becomes a whole a lot easier to let new ideas and thoughts come into your life. And to let go of old thoughts that aren’t useful to you anymore. On the other hand I’d like to add and counter-balance with these tips: don’t get stuck in reading, in just taking in new information either or you might become a self-help junkie. Use the new information, put what you have learned in to action and try it out.

7. Constantly on information overload.

With information overload I don’t just mean that you read a lot. I pretty much mean an overload in all input. If you just let all information flow into your mind it will be hard to think clearly. It’s just too much stimulation. A few more potential downsides to this habit are:

– Some of the input you receive will be negative. The media and your surroundings often put a negative spin on things for various reasons. If you aren´t selective in what input you want in your life then you’ll be dragged into this negativity too. This affects how you think, feel and act.

– It creates an urge to keep up with what’s happening but there are always ten more things happening so you can’t keep up. This makes life stressful.

– It becomes hard to make decisions and take action if your mind is constantly bombarded with information or trying to sort through it all. Personally I find that if I get too much information it leads to a sort of paralysis. Not much get´s done. Or you get stuck in habit #3 and keep busy, busy, busy at high speed with low priority activities.

To be able to focus, think more clearly and take action it´s useful to be more selective in what you let into your mind. When you work shut out as much distractions as possible. Shut off the phone, internet and shut the door. It is strange how much you can get done when you aren´t interrupted every fifth minute or have the opportunity to procrastinate by checking your RSS-feeds or favourite websites.

Now I´m not suggesting that you should stop reading all blogs or newspapers. But think about what you really want to read and what you read just read to fill your time. And have a look at other areas of input where the doors are wide-open.

For instance, you don´t have to let in all the negative emotions from your surroundings. If everyone else are procrastinating or are anxiously keeping themselves busy by doing low-priority tasks at warp speed it´s easy to be influenced by that mood. If you have a door, then it might be good idea to shut it and focus on doing more important things.

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I just finished the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It is a wonderful, eye-opening, spirit-opening, heart-opening book.  Plus, it’s funny.  I highly recommend reading it.  Here are a few examples of what I am talking about, taken straight from the book.  Click HERE to purchase the book from Amazon.com.

“When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz.  Learn your way around loneliness.  Make a map of it.  Sit with it, for once in your life.  Welcome to the human experience.  But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”

“I wanted what the Greeks called kalos kai agathos, the singular balance of the good and the beautiful.”

“The truth is, I don’t think I’m good at meditation.  I can’t seem to get my mind to hold still.  I mentioned this once to an Indian monk, and he said, “It’s a pity you’re the only person in the history of the world who ever had this problem.”

“It’s all I can do not to jump out of this bed and call him from India in the middle of the night and just- I don’t know what- just hang up on him, probably.  Or beg him to love me again.  Or read him such a ferocious indictment on all his character flaws.”

“I have a new friend.  His name is Yudhi.  He’s Indonesian, originally from Java.  He is twenty-seven years old and talks kind of like a southern California surfer.  He calls me ‘man’ and ‘dude’ all the time.  The guy has a musical ear like maybe nobody I’ve ever met.  He’s got a smile that could stop crime, and he’s got a  long, complicated life story for somebody so young.  I wish he were famous.  If there were any fairness, he would be famous by now.  He says, ‘Dude- why is life all crazy like this?”

“The karmic philosophy appeals to me on a metaphysical level because even in one lifetime it’s obvious how often we must repeat our same mistakes, banging our heads against the same old addictions and compulsions, generating the same old miserable and often catastrophic consequences, until we can finally stop and fix it.  This is the supreme lesson of karma (and of Western psychology, by the way)- take care of the problem now, or else you’ll just have to suffer again later when you screw everything up the next time.  And that repetition of suffering- that’s hell.  Moving out of that endless repetition to a new level of understanding- there’s where you’ll find heaven.”

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