Author Archives: Free Self Help

Top 13 Ways To Be Happy

Top 13 Ways To Be Happy


What is happiness?

            Happiness is defined by the dictionary as the state of being happy, and happy is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  But as you just read, these definitions seem very superficial.  Maybe there are levels of happiness.  This article points to that deep-seated feeling of well-being and joy that is long lasting, not the type of happy that is only momentary.  When thinking about happiness one must also consider whether it comes before, or after what we consider success.  Most of us think that in order to be happy we must first succeed, first get that nice house and car, and get the standard 2.5 kids.  We mostly feel that we need to add something into our lives in order to be happy.  In some cases it might be true that can gain a certain level of happiness after achieving certain goals.  But more and more research is showing that happiness itself can bring about success.  Imagine taking a long journey to a special destination. Most of us would expect happiness after reaching the destination, but why wait? Why can’t we be happy not just along the way, but also when we’re planning the trip?

These tips have been studied many times and proven to bring about real, actual, long-lasting happiness.  Some are very simple and fast, others are meant to be routine practices.  But hopefully you won’t take my word for it and that in turn will make you try them for yourself and see if they work.  They are all simple habits you can develop and use on a daily basis, or you can also make them lifelong practices.  Please let me know what you think, and share with your friends and family.

  1. Hold the Superman pose for at least two minutes.

According to Amy Cuddy and her Ted Talk, simply holding a confident pose, or power pose, for two minutes will change your hormonal chemistry.  She conducted studies of people and showed that doing this practice reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases testosterone, for both men and women.

  1. Smile for two minutes or hold a pen with your teeth without your lips touching it.

This is again from Amy Cuddy and her studies on posture.  She discovered that not only does our mind influence our body posture or facial expressions, it is actually a two-way street.  Our body posture or facial expression can also influence our mind and our emotions.  Holding a smile therefore, is correlated to being happy or being well, and if you smile, or at least activate the same muscles by holding a pen with your teeth, you will feel happy.  I’ve read of similar effects just from seeing the word SMILE, and also from seeing others smile, or even pictures of people smiling. Another reference for facial expressions influencing our mood comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.  He mentions scientists that studied facial expressions and their related moods or feelings.  And after trying the different facial expressions they started noticing their mood being affected by whatever facial expression they were mimicking.

There are other poses that Amy mentions.  One is the typical celebration pose, you’ve seen it I’m sure, it’s when you hold up your hands in a V formation, with your chin raised up, and chest open.  Amy mentions that even people born blind from birth who have never seen such a pose, will perform the pose whenever they have a cause for celebration.

You can find Amy’s video here.

  1. Hug someone for at least 20 seconds.

This simple exercise has also been scientifically studied and has showed that holding a hug for at least 20 seconds will increase your oxytocin levels.  More oxytocin equals more bonding with the person you are hugging and those around you.  It can also help alleviate anxiety and reduce stress.  So hug someone!

  1. The Five Minutes That Can Change Your Life

The following is from the book 59 Seconds, Think A Little Change A Lot by Richard Wiseman.  In the book Richard devoted a lot of time to digging deep into research about what really makes one happy.  He wasn’t convinced by all the typical Self-Help books about, he wanted actual, scientific studies that had concrete evidence of what works and what doesn’t.  The exercises he recommends only take about a minute each, and you do one per day for five days, and these simple little exercises really do help!

It is very important to write these things down, not to just say them.  Saying and thinking about them will help, but there’s something about writing them.  Writing is deeper than just thinking or speaking.

Monday: Be grateful.  Write down three things that you are grateful for.  Here’s my example:

  1. Hey I have all my limbs! And I can move them! They help me get around, they are my tools for making stuff and for giving giant bear hugs! I am grateful for my body and its abilities!
  2. I rarely get sick anymore, I am grateful for my health!
  3. I am truly rich! I have a wealth of love from my family and friends. I am grateful for them.

Tuesday: Think of a most terrific time in your life.  Think of a time in your life when you were very happy.  What happened? Where was it? Who was there? Remember as many details and write them, and especially point to what specifically caused you to be happy. Here’s my example:

            In 2012 my friends and I went to Havasupai Falls.  We started planning in January of that year.  We called and made our reservations.  To get to the falls you can take a helicopter ride, or ride a horse or mule. But we all decided to take the challenge and hike.  It’s about a 12 mile hike all together, AND you have to backpack all your supplies for your trip.  We did a 2 night stay.  So we had to prepare ahead of time.  Most of my friends and I are in ok shape, but carrying all the weight and combining that with a 12 mile hike was still challenging for us. So we started hiking at least 2 times a week together.  That was very fun and we built comraderie since we were all aiming for the same goal.  So the hiking and preparation was very fun.  Then the anticipation excitement kept increasing as we were nearing the date.  The day before the long drive we all went shopping together for all our food and supplies which was also very fun.  Along the drive we stopped at a microbrewery and had some lunch and that was especially enjoyable. We finally got to basecamp and the views of the area were spectacular! The day of the hike we got up early, around 3AM, to eat breakfast and beat the sun.  The breakfast was spectacular, I don’t know why, but food always seems to taste better when we’re on the road.  We finally took off and the scenery, the hike, and being surrounded by you closest friends was a great feeling. And finally reaching our destination, exhausted, but surrounded by such natural beauty, being hot and then taking a dip in refreshing blue water!  All that was absolutely priceless! Check out the pictures here.

Wednesday: Imagine your future as being perfect and write about it.  Imagine that everything you’ve been wanting is consistently coming right at you.  Think of your personal love life, your family life, your social life, business life, and spiritual life, if any, and imagine everything being just right. Describe it, imagine it, see it in your mind’s eye and write it down.  Here’s my example:

“I found you!” I say to myself as I finally start doing the things I love as a way to earn a living.  I get up every morning with absolute ease, no longer dreading having to go into work.  I now can’t wait to get up early and start doing my “work.” And it now seems very odd to me to call what I do “work” because I no longer see it as work, I just see it as ‘what I love to do.’  I work from home, there is no longer a need to have to drive through traffic to get there.  My kids and wife get home and they tackle me with giant hugs.  It’s the end of the month and I don’t have to worry about paying the bills since everything is on Auto-Pay, I can now do that since the income is consistent and more than enough to cover everything.  I no longer need vacations from my life.  Happiness is my natural state.

Thursday: Write a sincere letter of appreciation to an important loved one or friend of yours.  Act as if this is the only opportunity you’ll have to let them know how you feel. Write down what they mean to you, how they have helped you and how much you appreciate them.  Here’s my example:

            Dear mom, thank you for being an actual life Super Woman.  You had bad experiences with most of the men in your life, yet you always had your children on the top of your list of priorities.  You have sacrificed so much for us all, and all your hard work was not in vain.  We are all doing really well in life, and we all experience great happiness when we get together.  We’re no longer just siblings, we’re also aunts and uncles to each other’s kids.  You taught us how to love and how to allow ourselves to be loved also.  I love you mom, you are my Super Woman, and you are my hero!

Friday: Review these past few days and write down at least three things that went really well for you.  It could be something trivial such as finding a parking spot. Here’s my example:

  1. This past week I learned how to do a few new things at work.
  2. I feel really sore from working out, and I have now associated this as a positive feeling.
  3. I had to review a few books for this article which has solidified that information in my mind.

You should get results fairly quickly with these small exercises, and your happiness level should be long lasting.  If you feel your happiness level go down, just repeat the exercises as needed.  You can also just make these a life-long practice.  They don’t take very long to complete, just keep in mind that writing them is very important, even typing them out on your PC or on your mobile phone will be fine too.

5. Exercise.

Need I write about all the benefits of exercise? I’m sure you’ve read and heard about all of them.  But just in case here are a few: Better sleep, longevity, better health, better bone strength, better muscle strength, weight control, reduced risk of several diseases, it’s a powerful antidepressant, improved sexual function, improved mental agility, faster learning muscle, better memory, stress reduction, better immune system, better self-esteem, better focus and motivation, and the list can go on and on.  The important benefit from exercise we’re concentrating on here is an increased happiness level.  Exercise helps you increase your levels of serotonin, therefore, increasing happiness.  The problem with exercise is that a lot of people get a negative stigma even from hearing the word.  You don’t have to join a gym or a club to get your exercise.  A quick walk or run can do just fine.  You need to find an exercise that you’ll enjoy, so find it and practice it.

6. Meditate.

One of the most important, in my opinion, of all the things you can do to attain AND maintain a higher level of happiness is to meditate.  And no, you don’t have to shave your head, and sit cross legged in a Buddhist temple in order to do so.  I love this quote by Jon Kabat Zinn:  (btw, feel free to follow me on Twitter for useful and inspiring tweets)  Meditation doesn’t have to be religious, or cultist.  Meditation simply means to become aware of as much as possible.  The main thing to become more aware of is our mind and our thinking.  A famous author, Sam Harris says that the worst thing we could do is to be lost in thought and not know it.  But to be lost in thought and then to realize that you are lost in thought is a big improvement, and is ok.  Because that moment when you catch yourself lost in thought is very important.  And it doesn’t matter whether you realize you are lost in thought during the thinking or afterwards.  I think the reason a lot of people can’t stick to meditation is they over commit right away.  It is better to meditate for longer periods of time, but what good is trying to do so and then giving up right away.  It’s better to just cultivate the habit at first.  You can start with a minute or two and work your way up from there.  You could even use any of the exercises mentioned here as your meditation.  For more info on meditation check out my other article.

  1. More than likely you are cock-blocking yourself, stop it.

In general I think we are our own worst enemies, we mostly tend to blame our failures or hardships on outside forces instead of focusing inward on ourselves.  For any who might get offended by the phrase ‘cock-blocking,’ I apologize, but I think it’s the perfect term to describe what we do to ourselves.  Whenever I hear the word I imagine two people that love each other, that are perfect for each other, that would make a great team, and that would be very fruitful, either with having a family or just helping humankind in general, BUT there’s someone or something preventing them from getting together.  The couple keeps trying to get together but that thing or that person keeps coming back and cock-blocking.  In the same way I think we deny ourselves happiness, we put happiness off until we get X or accomplish Y.  Just like in the example about that word, that thing or that person that’s interfering is more than likely ourselves.  So it’s important to be alert and see how and when we are cock-blocking ourselves.   It’s up to you to decide to be happy, you must see happiness as a choice that is under your direct control, not as some distant unattainable thing. So make your choice, don’t cock-block, be happy.

  1. Use positive affirmations daily.

I’m sure some of you might see the word “affirmations” and might be thinking that affirmations are just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, self-help-gimmicks created to sell books.  But there has been research done that they can actually help.  More than likely, we all use affirmations unconsciously.  A lot of us have a lot of negative self-talk in our minds.  You know, the things we tell ourselves whenever we mess up, we call ourselves idiots, or put our own selves down in some way.  Those are affirmations, negative ones of course, but affirmations nonetheless.  So why not have intentional affirmations instead?  And affirmations are not magic phrases that will just make good things come to you simply by saying them.  What happens when you do affirmations is just that you are focusing your attention on those specific things.  When you say or write your affirmations they start to be at top of mind more and more, and what that does is that it helps you notice things that are similar in your regular day to day life.  The best example I’ve heard of is Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.  He used an affirmation in order to become a famous cartoonist.  The affirmation was, “I, Scott Adams, will be a famous cartoonist.”  He kept writing down and repeating his affirmation, and he said one day watching late night television infomercials he noticed a commercial for a how-to-become-a-cartoonist course, or something like that, and that’s how his career started. (You can listen to Scott Adams on the Tim Ferris Podcast).  So it’s not that saying that phrase caused him to be a cartoonist directly, what he did was just tell his brain, “Hey, I want to be a famous cartoonist, so let’s be on the lookout for cartoonist stuff, and for becoming-a-cartoonist opportunities.”

I stumbled on affirmations one day when I needed some packing tape.  I was at my office packing some stuff to ship out and ran out of tape.  So I told myself in my head, “Get tape, get tape, get tape.”  Later that night on my drive home, believe it or not, a few blocks from my house, at night, in the middle of the road I noticed a roll of tape!  I pulled over, picked it up and took it, and it was an almost full roll! And that got me thinking, would have I noticed that roll of tape had I not mentioned it to myself earlier?  If I didn’t need the roll of tape would have I still stopped and picked it up? So that’s what affirmations do, they just help your focus.  You might not find what you’re looking for directly like I found my roll of tape, but you will definitely start to notice opportunities that lead to getting what you want.  So affirm happiness!

A side note on number seven and eight.  These two ideas came from the book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks.  Just the universal affirmation mentioned in the book is worth the small price of the book.  I highly recommend it.  In the book, he doesn’t say it directly, but the basic theme is, “you are cock-blocking yourself but you probably don’t know it and here’s how to fix that.”


  1. Get more sunshine.

I’m sure you’ve heard the stats: people that live in states with low exposure to sunlight are more depressed.  And although there haven’t been conclusive studies that show a direct correlation, there is a correlation, nonetheless.  Some studies say that depressed people are very low in their Vitamin D levels, but the scientists aren’t sure if depression causes a drop in Vitamin D, or if a drop in Vitamin D causes depression.  What is known is that sunshine affects Vitamin D levels, and Vitamin D is very essential for many human functions.  Sunshine also affects our brains. Exposure to sunlight directly through the retina makes your brain produce more serotonin, and serotonin is the feel good hormone.  So as you can see, nowadays everyone wears sunglasses all day, and they use sunblock all the time.  But you only need those things if you are sensitive to light or if you are going to be exposed to heavy sunlight for extended periods of time.  But caution must be used anytime you are exposing yourself to sunshine.  Too much can cause sunburns of course, but too little might make you sad.  The best time to get sunshine is right at sunrise, or right before sunset.  At these times, usually within 15 minutes of sunrise, or within 15 minutes of sunset, the sun’s rays will not hit you with full force.  So get your sunshine.  In case you live in a place like Seattle, where it’s cloudy a lot, then try out a sun lamp. 

  1. Eat more plants.

What you eat has a big effect no only on your mood but on basically all aspects of your life.  Eating processed foods high in refined sugars, bad fats, and refined flour is just asking for sad life.  You might get an immediate rush of pleasure, but don’t confuse that with happiness.  There’s a big difference between happiness and pleasure.  I like the quote my Michael Pollan, “Eat Food, not too much, mostly plants.” He has written several books on nutrition and has condensed all he’s learned to just that one sentence.  He starts with “eat food,” because you have to eat or you die! Simple as that.  Then the next important part is “not too much,” eating too much of anything, no matter how healthy it is can also be bad for you.  And the last part “mostly plants.”  That’s what his research has shown him, that eating more plants than animals is the optimal way.  So what to do, what to do.  Am I saying you should get on some extreme diet in order to be happy? Not at all, “getting on a diet” has such a negative connotation nowadays that just hearing the phrase can bring about unhappiness.  Just start by noticing what you eat, pay attention to every bite you take.  If you notice that you are not eating a lot of plants then decide to eat more plants.  You don’t have to go extreme, just add a piece of fruit or a handful of greens to a meal or two, it’ll make you happy.

  1. Play more.

How often do you play? Play meaning, you go and do something just for fun, something that has no point or no end goal?  For example playing catch?  To be happy you must play.  Playing is not just for kids.  A lot of us, at some point in our lives, suddenly decide that we are now adults and that we must start doing certain things, and stop doing others.  And one of the things we stop doing is playing.  It doesn’t have to be physical, as long as it’s playing.  You deserve to play, you deserve to invest time in yourself and just play.  A lot of us get stuck on routines and deadlines, and put off our health for later, we go on vacations and just sleep.  What good will working so much be if later you’ll have to spend all your hard earned money of medical bills?  It’s up to you.

I’ve always played throughout my life.  Whether it was video games when I was younger, or sports now that I’m older.  I’ve always made time for myself to and just play, even if I’m tired, I’ll still go out and play, and once I do, I feel great afterwards and I sleep great.  So I don’t know what not playing is like because I’ve never ‘not played’ for long periods.  But if someone were to tell me I can’t play anymore, that I have to grow up and start being an adult.  That would probably be the torturous decline of me.  I can’t imagine not doing something fun and enjoyable like playing.  The thought itself make me anxious.  I thought everyone knew that playing was very good for your health, but I was wrong.  I first heard of someone applying just this technique alone to get rid of their anxiety and burn out.  I heard it from Charlie Hoehn’s book Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety. This is a very fast read and I highly recommend it for all you weirdos that don’t play. You can also check out Charlie’s blog, sometimes he gives his books away!


  1. Pet a pet or get a pet.

Petting and animal that you have a bond with has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and even boost your immune system.  It has also been proven that people with life threatening diseases and that have pets are less likely to get depressed.  Getting a new pet is a big responsibility, and it can be counterproductive to get one if it’s going to stress you out even more.  So do your research before you go out and get a new pet.  And if you already have a pet then spend more time with it to be more happy, or better yet, combine number eleven with your pet.

  1. Go outside.

We come from nature, nature is our home.  So why do we deprive ourselves of our true homeland?  This is one downfall of our modern society, in a way, it traps us indoors for a larger part of our lives.  I remember the first time I went to Vegas we stayed on a high floor and I was able to see the mountains that surround the city.  I thought they were beautiful.  But then we went inside the MGM and I was sadly amazed at the square footage of these things.  They cover so much space, it measures around 171,000 square feet, taking the average size of a house that equals to about 65 homes!  Vegas is meant to keep you indoors.  When you’re outside, and I don’t mean just outside your house, I mean outside in nature, you get more sunshine, you breathe fresher air, you can meditate outside, you can play with your dog, do exercise, or any of the other exercises in this article.  So go outside often in order to be happier.



There you go, thirteen easy-to-do things that have been backed up by research to prove that they will make you happy.  Above all you must learn that happiness is a choice, it is not some random thing that only certain people can get.  The people that are happy are people that have set that intention for themselves.  Also remember that you don’t have to wait for success, or for a certain amount of money, or for certain material wealth to come your way in order to be happy.  Happiness precludes success! Do you want to be successful? Then be happy first.


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7 Exercises To Help You Find Your Purpose

7 Exercise To Help You Find Your Purpose

Begin With The End In Mind

            I first read about this exercise on Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.  What it basically means is that before you take any physical action towards your goal, you begin by envisioning yourself reaching your goal.  The only problem of course is that you if you have the wrong goal or the wrong vision to begin with then what good will it be to reach it?  So, as important as knowing how to reach a goal, and as important as creating a vision of yourself achieving the goal, you better make sure you have decided to go for the goal or goals that you truly want.

What you need to do is begin with the end in mind, but not just the end of your goal, you have to go further than that.  You have to go to the final end, the big end.  Here’s the exercise, it might take you 20 to 30 minutes, maybe longer, but it is definitely well worth it.  Give yourself this time to be alone, uninterrupted, relaxed, and be ready to write down your vision.  Start by having your writing apparatus ready, whether on a computer, or on a notepad.  Take a few real deep breaths, hold your breath for a second after the inhale, and do the same after your exhale.  Close your eyes if it helps, and imagine that you are getting ready for a close friend’s funeral.  You get dressed in appropriate attire, you get in your car, and you head out to the funeral home.  You get there, get off and head towards the viewing room.  There you see your friend’s other friends and family members and you exchange greetings and acts of sympathy.  Then you head over to see your friend in the casket.  Once you arrive you look inside and you notice that it’s not your friend in the casket, the one in the casket is really you.  It seems you have been given the gift of being able to witness your own funeral, you are only there in spirit, yet you still feel all the typical human emotions that arise at funerals.  If this were to actually happen today, who would you see at your funeral? (Remember to write all your answers down) Of all the people that you’ve upset in your life, or that you’ve had conflicts with in your life, or that you’ve hurt, which ones would still show up?  If you don’t think some of them would show up, why would that be?  Of all the people that have been in your life up until now, which ones would definitely show up? List them.

Now it’s time for the eulogies and all the people that attend have to give one.  Of all the eulogies which ones would you value the most? Which ones would you definitely want to hear?  Now think about what they would all say about you, and write down everything you can, in as much detail as possible.  Do you think there is a difference in what they would say about you, versus, what you would like them to say about you? Make sure and highlight these differences.  Who do you love right now? What would your loved ones say? Take as much time as you need, and write as much as you can, just let it out, no need to spell check or to write in a certain order, just write.  Just get started, put effort into not procrastinating.

So how is this exercise going to help you find your purpose?  This is going to help by showing you the important things in your life, the things that you really value.  And you are not necessarily putting value on other peoples’ opinions of you, but you have to keep in mind that those opinions will be reflecting your behavior.  They will be reflecting your actions in your life up until this point.  You can also separate all the different people into a few groups, such as the close family group (parents, siblings), friends, co-workers/colleagues, community (church, religious, society).  This will give you a picture of how you’d like your life to be in all these areas.

This exercise really put things in perspective for me, I was bit emotional of course since you are imagining your own funeral.  But afterwards I really saw the great value this exercise holds, it’s no macabre, or sadistic, it’s simply beginning (right now) with the end in mind.

Take A Quick Test

It seems like a benign, little, insignificant test, however, it seems pretty accurate.  I’ve taken it, I’ve had my loved ones take it, I’ve had my friends take it, and it is very accurate.  It might point you more towards a career or occupation, but seeing how we spend most of our lives exercising our careers/jobs, it’s super nice to know that you are spending that time correctly.

Use Steve Pavlina’s Method

You can certainly head over to Steve’s page and read that article and the other related articles.  Here is my summary.  Give yourself some time, to be alone, to be able to focus, and to be able to write.  Ask yourself, “What is my purpose in life?” and then proceed to write whatever answer or answers pop into your head.  No matter if the answer seems absurd, or silly, or inaccurate, just write it down.  Usually, as soon as you write it down, you should have a feeling or emotion, just keep an eye on your emotional state.  Once you get to a good answer you should know it’s the right one based on how you feel.  And just keep writing, keep making lists of whatever comes to mind when you think about your purpose in life.  Give yourself a maximum of 30 minutes, and then stop.  In case it doesn’t work, and you don’t find an answer that you feel fits with you, do not worry.  Just tell yourself out loud, “I want to know what my purpose in life is.” Or another good one is just, “What is my purpose in life?”  And remain silent afterwards, and I don’t just mean don’t make any sounds or noise, I mean, try to not think, remain silent in your mind also.  You don’t have to not think for long, just give yourself at least a few seconds.  If an answer comes then write it down, if it doesn’t then you are done for the day.  The next day just ask yourself the questions once more and continue on until an answer comes to you.  This can be similar to when you are trying to remember something such as a name, but the harder you try the more the answer evades you.  And then you give up and you continue your conversation or whatever you were doing, and then later on then answer just strikes you like lightning.  This might be how you find your purpose.  Be patient, but be alert.

Ask Your Friends And Family

            You might not value your friends’ and family’s opinion, but they have a different perspective than you do.  It can be hard for us to step outside ourselves unless we’ve been practicing.  So if you haven’t been practicing, just ask your friends and family what they think your purpose in life is.  Don’t discard their opinions or answers, just listen non-judgmentally, or rather, just listen to them silently, meaning with no mental noise, with no opinions in your head.  And make sure and write down the answers.  Imagine that you are gathering pieces to a large puzzle, some might fit perfectly, others not so much.  However, even the odd pieces have a purpose, they help you put the other pieces in perspective, so don’t undervalue ANY piece of this puzzle.  When I did this part I got some startling answers.  They were startling because I had a preconceived notion that some of my friends’ and family’s answers were going to be ordinary and meaningless.  But on the contrary I was taken aback by their answers.  For example, this one friend that is always poking fun at me and always looking for a benefit for himself told me I was one of the most spiritual people he knew, I almost fell on my head by his answer.  A family member told me that I was always trying to teach stuff, and it was so obvious, I had been trying to teach people stuff since I was a little kid, but never had that thought crossed my mind.  It’s like when you see certain things daily, they are right in front of your face but you never really notice them until someone points them out.  That’s exactly how that answer was.  It can be especially valuable to make sure and ask people that don’t know you as much as your close family and friends.  I recently read Blink, by Malcom Gladwell, in which he talks about “thin slicing,”  Thin slicing refers to making a snap judgement on a thing or a person on very little information, which is sometimes more accurate than making a judgement on a ton of information.  So ask someone that doesn’t know you as well, and ask them to tell you the first thing that comes to mind, and have them answer you quickly.  And again, make sure and write all this down, remember that it’s another valuable puzzle piece.

Imagine This Scenario

            You are extremely exhausted, you are just tired, your eyes AND your entire body feel like they have all the weight of the world on them, you are drained, you are lying on your elegant bed unable to prevent yourself from giving in to the most vastly deep sleep you have ever felt, and at the same time you feel a sense of victory, a sense that you are finally satiated.  Whoa! How did you get to this point? Remember to have your writing apparatus ready, make sure and take plenty of notes.

To find out how you got to that extreme tiredness you’ll have to go back in time, how much time depends on your situation.  The reason you are at that point in your life is that you have come upon the most extravagant amount of money you can imagine.  Maybe you won the lottery, maybe you inherited the money, or maybe you found a giant gold nugget while you were camping.  The point is you acquired a sum of money great enough to satiate your desire for it.  After you got the money, you immediately thought of all your desires, you came up with a bucket list in fact, but maybe it should be called a golden challis list, since you won’t be kicking the bucket anytime soon.  It is actually quite the opposite, you are going to be enjoying your life to the maximum from here on out.  You are a good person, so first thing on the list is help out your immediate family, friends and all loved ones.  You take care of them all, you don’t want to super spoil them, so you help them with the essentials.  You help your parents retire, pay off their mortgages and get them good cars.  And the same thing for your other family members that you deem worthy.  Your friends? Done, you help them all out.  So now all your friends and family and loved ones are all set, you are their hero.  So now onto you, what are you going to do with all that money?  Get yourself a good house of course, or maybe a good house in every continen?  You get yourself your dream sports cars, you drive them, you race them, you experience all the cars you’ve ever only dreamed of.  Travel? Of course, you travel to all the places you’ve ever wanted to travel to, the best beaches, the best resorts.  Food? Why that one is obvious, you try everything you’ve ever wanted to try, the best steaks, the best lobster, the best sushi.  You not only eat at the restaurants near you, you plan entire trips around the foods you like.  Want the best sushi? You go to Japan, no problem.  What other desires would you have? Sexual desires? Done, you’ve done it all.  Or maybe you just want to find the love of your life? Done, you hire the world’s most professional match makers, then you find the love of your life, and then you have your dream wedding.  What other desires would you want to fulfill? Feel free to write them down, imagine them vividly.  Satiate all your desires until you are just completely satisfied.  So there you are, extremely tired, because for the past few years you have done it all, and I mean all that you have ever desired, you have experienced it all, everything is done, you no longer have any worries, or any problems.  You crash, you go to sleep, and you sleep like never before, sweet satisfying sleep.

The next morning you wake up refreshed and completely at peace.  What are you going to do now?  Every desire you’ve ever had is now fulfilled, no one can tell you that you gotta try this or you gotta try that, because you’ve done it all.  And now you have to think, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?  If you had all the money you needed, and you had satisfied all your desires, what would follow?  What would you do on a daily basis?  What would your perfect day look like from now on?  Write it down.


We Are All Very Crazy

            I recently read the book Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.  And in it he basically states that most of us are very horrible at predicting what exactly is going to make us happy, and that we all have horrible perception about our memories about what has made us happy.  And another book, Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman, basically says that we are extremely irrational when making decisions.  And these two authors are not just bloggers, they are actual doctors in their fields, and they have done a lot of research.  They paint a grim picture for us in this venture of finding a purpose for ourselves that will make us truly happy, however, this information can become a very useful asset.  Daniel Gilbert’s solution to the problem is to ask others that have already been through what you are going through, for some advice.  Maybe they were thinking what you are thinking now and they can share their results and maybe steer you in a better direction.  Daniel Kahneman really doesn’t specify a solution, but rather the important thing is to recognize your mind and its behavior. It makes you reflect on judgements you’ve made, or decisions you’ve made and whether you made them rationally or if they were influenced by your personal biases.

Once you arm yourself with this information one might then ask, “OK, so how do I fix my mind and my thinking to be more focused on what’s real rather than on its irrationalities?”  The best way one can go about learning about our minds and the nature of the mind and of its thinking is to meditate.  Meditation is a simple process that has been scientifically proven over and over to help alleviate these symptoms.  Meditation basically creates space between your awareness and your mind.  Imagine yourself being close enough to a painting that you are touching it with your nose.  Can you really see the painting? Of course not, you are too close, your vision is probably out of focus, if nobody told you, you wouldn’t even know what you were standing in front of.  In a way, that’s how most of us are when it comes to noticing our thinking; we are so close to it, touching it with our nose, that we can’t perceive it, we can’t see thinking for what it is.  We are so attached to it that we think that we are our thinking, and the thinking goes on and on from one meaningless thought to another.  Meditation helps you slow down, and take a step back, and lets you see thinking for what it is.  Once you have this space, you notice a lot more than before, you can discern between monkey thoughts and important feelings and emotions. Being able to be still and to stop thinking for a while is a perfect way to find answers to your own questions.  Have you ever been asked a question and you know that you know the answer but you just can’t come up with it?  And finally you give up and just let go, and then maybe a few minutes, hours, or even days later the answer suddenly comes to you?  This is what can happen, among other things, when you start practicing meditation.  So use this tool to your advantage, use it to help you find your purpose.  There are plenty of free resources online.  A very good resource is Tara Brach, she’s a skilled meditation teacher and practitioner, you can find her here: , there are also plenty of guided meditations on Youtube, I prefer to use the guided meditations offered by Sam Harris.  And of course on this blog there is an article of various ways to medtitate:

Death: Another Useful Tool

Death again? Sorry, it’s just one of the most useful tools not only in helping you find you purpose, but in living a happier life.  There is a very popular article online titled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” Which later became a book.  It was written by a palliative nurse.  As she cared for dying patients she began asking them if they’d had any regrets and recorded the findings.  The top regret is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”  This one is very common and probably the hardest to overcome.  It’s just how we’ve been raised by our parents, and the influences from our friends and society in general.  It gets tattooed in our minds that we must do x and y, that we must do this and that.  And for those of us that never stop and question, or stop and reflect, it just becomes a deeper and deeper hole we dig ourselves into.  That’s why it’s very important to meditate, to stop thinking, and to just reflect back on how we’re doing.  As the saying goes, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” attributed to Socrates, we must stop once in while, reflect, and make the necessary changes.  The worse we can do is to reflect back once we are in our deathbed, stop and reflect now.  It takes courage to follow your own path, as soon as you do so the naysayers start talking.  But we must be compassionate to them since what they’re really communicating is that they wish they had this courage too.  And deciding to follow your own path doesn’t have to be a complete 180 to your current path, you can work it into your life little by little.  Another blogger once said that we must be like Tarzan once we find our purpose, we don’t let go of one vine until we have a firm hold of the next one.   Just remember that we tend to regret more the things we didn’t do than the things we did do.

The second regret is, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”  What this one is pointing to is a well-balanced life.  It’s doesn’t mean that you should just be lazy and sit around and enjoy the pleasures of life, but it also doesn’t mean work yourself to death.  If you did the first exercise and if your family and friends said anything about you, I bet one thing they would all mention is the value they have on spending time with you.  If you are working to hard it means that you are away from home, that you are spending the time earning enough money to take care of your loved ones.  But ironically, as you take care of them economically, you are missing out on what truly matters.  So strike a balance, it’s ok to work hard to get something going.  Spending your time like this can be seen as an investment for a better future, but be very careful that you don’t spend your entire life investing while life passes you by.

Number three says, “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”  There is no more corrosive a practice than to bottle up your emotions.  Even bottling up positive emotions such as love and friendship can be corrosive.  They all lead to suffering.  And of course, back to our upbringing, if we don’t get taught how to express our emotions as kids, it becomes much harder as adults.  But you can start practicing any time.  When expressing negative feelings, be tactful, and most important don’t express a feeling in order to get a certain response from someone, your goal is to just let it out, to just express it.  You must have your feelings and emotions expressed, you must vent.  Even if you don’t have the courage to confront someone in particular, at least vent to someone else.  I once read a story about a lecturer that was explaining stress management to an audience.  She had a glass of water in her hand and raised it and asked people to guess how much it weighed.  Many people answered with their guesses.  The lecturer went on to say that the weight of the glass did not matter, what mattered what the amount of time you hold it in the air.  If you hold it for a few minutes everything should be ok, but once you start holding it for a few hours then you’ll certainly have a problem.  And she went on to explain that stress, or basically anything bad in our lives is like holding up that glass of water, it’s not necessarily the amount of stress or the amount of anger we are carrying, it’s the amount of time we carry it for.  Can you imagine the suffering people go through that hold on to things for a lifetime?  Only to finally let go at the end of their lives?  You must express your feelings and emotions to people, it’s a choice.  You must realize that you have a choice, and going through whatever discomfort it might cause now can lead to a happier life.

The fourth regret is “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”  This one points back to working too hard.  Again, you must prioritize your life and realize who the important people in your life are.

And number five is “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”  Happiness is truly a choice, it’s not some random thing that comes and goes.  Happiness must also not be confused with pleasure, happiness is not something gained from one of our five senses.  Happiness is an overall vibe, a panoramic picture if you will, of your life and those around you.  Happiness happens inside you, sure, it can be triggered by outside forces, but it always happens on the inside.  You must always be alert as to where your attention is, it’s just common sense that if your attention is drawn to happy people, and happy situations then that’s just how you will feel.  Notice yourself, notice your attention, and take control.  Attention is like a flashlight in the dark room that is the world, you can point the flashlight to whatever, or whomever you want, and it’s your choice! So why not point it at happiness?


I Found My Purpose Now What?

            Once you gather all the pieces of the puzzle put them together in a clear and concise paragraph.  You can also think of the paragraph as a mission statement for your life.  Thinking about yourself in your deathbed your goal should be have zero regrets, you should be able to look back and be completely at peace with your life and what you did with it.  It’s very important to make a distinction at this point also.  We sometimes seem to confuse our life purpose with our passion (or passions), and also with what-we-do-to-earn-a-living.  The ultimate goal is to combine all three into one.  For example I have found that my purpose is to learn and teach.  As simple as that sentence is, that’s just what it boils down to.  Therefore, I want to always be acquiring knowledge, digesting it, and giving it back to those that need it or can use it to improve their lives.  If I could do that every day I would be happy, and if I could earn a living doing so then all the better.  Teaching is also my passion, and my other passions are family life, sports, the outdoors, and traveling.  My ultimate goal is to put all these things together into one mass of a machine that produces help in the form of knowledge and advice for others.  I want this machine to also create enough time for spending with my family,  take me to the outdoors, help me travel, help me be active in sport, and be self-sustaining.   The machine concept is a great analogy to use.  What type of machine do you want to make?  What is the machine going to produce for you? Are you going to just copy somebody else’s machine?  Are you even going to make one?  Are you instead going to spend all your life helping others make theirs while not working on yours?


I Did All The Exercises But I Just Can’t Nail It Down

                If you did all these exercise and wrote down your answers and thoughts but just cant see what the picture is pointing to, please don’t worry.  Finding one’s purpose is not usually easy or fast.  Just read over all you’ve written and let your subconscious incubate the information.  And also tell yourself this statement, “I want to find my purpose in life.”  Just like the example in the meditation section, you give your mind space to incubate the question, and the answer will hatch for you later on.  Remember not to restrict yourself to a specific format when writing down your purpose or mission statement.  You are unique and therefore, your purpose, how to you come to it, and you put it on paper will also be unique.  The important thing is your statement just clicks inside your, you just know that it rings true for you.  If you had to pick a purpose out of a line-up you should instantly recognize the one that is for you.  Another important point is to remember that the nature of life is constant change.  We are never exactly the same at every moment.  Consider the fact that our hair and nails are always growing, from just an hour ago until now your nails have grown.  Maybe not a noticeable amount, but they have grown, so you are not the exact same person from an hour ago.  Scratch and itch in your arm and you have just ripped thousands of cells from your skin, you are not the same any longer, you have changed.  So in the same way, your life purpose does not have to be a permanent statement written in stone.  It can change, and if you have to change it remember to view that as normal.

Here are a couple of examples from The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People:


Succeed at home first.

Seek and merit divine help.

Never compromise with honesty.

Remember the people involved.

Hear both sides before judging.

Obtain counsel of others.

Defend those that are absent.

Be sincere yet decisive.

Develop one new proficiency a year.

Plan tomorrow’s work today.

Hustle while you wait.

Maintain a positive attitude.

Keep a sense of humor.

Be orderly in person and in work.

Do not fear mistakes-fear only the absence of creative, constructive, and corrective responses to those mistakes.

Facilitate the success of subordinates.

Liste twice as much as you speak.

Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worrying about the next job or promotion.


Here is another example:

I will seek to balance career and family as best I can since both are important to me. My home will be a place where I and my family, friends and guests find joy, comfort, peace, and happiness.  Still I will seek to create a clean and orderly environment, yet livable and comfortable.  I will exercise wisdom in what we choose to eat, read, see, and do at home. I especially want to teach my children to love, to learn, and to laugh—and to work and develop their unique talents. I value the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of our democratic society. I will be a concerned and Informed citizen, involved in the political process to ensure my voice is heard and my vote is counted. I will be a self-starting individual who exercises initiative in accomplishing my life’s goals. I will act on situations and opportunities, rather than to be acted upon. I will always try to keep myself free from addictive and destructive habits. I will develop habits that free me from old labels and limits and expand my capabilities and choices. My money will be my servant, not my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and my means. Except for long-term home and car loans, I will seek to keep myself free from consumer debt. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save or invest part of my income. Moreover, I will use what money and talents I have to make life more enjoyable for others through service and charitable giving.


As you can see these are two very different styles of writing down a purpose.

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Change: From The Inside Out or From The Outside In?

Change: From The Inside Out or From The Outside In?


            If you want to make positive changes in your life, should you try to change within yourself first, as in your emotions, thoughts, and inner talk?  Or can you initiate change from the outside, as in your physical appearance, the way you talk, the way you behave, or what you say out loud?  I’ve always thought permanent change was a one way street, meaning, you always had to initiate change from within yourself first, and then the things on the outside would follow.  I still believe this is the most powerful way to initiate positive change, however, I’ve been discovering an outside-in approach can also be very helpful.

First off, why would you want to change something? The main reason should always be to improve ourselves.  Because once we’ve done so we become happier, more fulfilled, and more capable of helping others.  The first step is not to decide to change, the first step is to examine and reflect on your life and decide WHAT to change.  Once you’ve done that the next step is to decide what strategy to use to accomplish your change.  If you’ve tried to change from the inside out, for example with meditation, and you’re not advancing, then try the outside-in approach.

What’s the outside-in approach?  This refers to the external you, the person you see in the mirror.  It also refers to your external situation, as in your body posture, the people you interact with, the places you visit, the things you see and hear.  It can even refer to what TV shows you see, what radio stations you listen to, what foods you eat, and what websites you visit.  If you want to make major changes in your life, examine your outside world and try changing the things that are preventing you from change.  For example, maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong people.  These types are usually negative; they discourage you, and draw you in to their misery.  Simply being around the right people can have a huge impact in your life.  Another good example is the food you eat.  Have you noticed what you eat?  Most of the times we fool ourselves into thinking we’re eating good, when in fact we are not.  Take some time and just notice your eating habits, don’t try to change them yet, just notice them.

Did you know you can make positive changes in your life with just 2 minutes a day?  That’s right; you can do a very simple exercise that has been scientifically proven to improve yourself.  It has to do with body posture.  Normally, the way you feel inside affects your body posture.  For example if you are sad or depressed, your body posture is probably hunched over, or looking down at the floor.  So in this case the “inside,” or your emotions, are affecting your “outside,” or your body posture.   You can start to take control by changing your body posture.  Simply changing your body posture to a positive one, and holding it for two minutes will change how you feel inside.  This method is not called “fake it til’ you make it,” it’s called, “fake it til’ you become it.”  The main posture is the Superman, or Wonder Woman posture, which is standing straight up, feet hip-width-distance apart, and your hands either holding your waist, or fists against your waist.  It’s called a power pose because it’s usually powerful people that use the pose.  Another popular pose is the victory pose, where you stand up with feet hip-width-distance apart, hands straight up and slightly to the outside, and eyes looking up.  This method can be used in various ways.  For example if you are looking for a promotion at work, imagine how you’d react physically if you got it.  Simply act out that pose on a daily basis as you work towards getting the promotion, especially before an interview, and you can even imagine the pose during the interview.  Are you out of shape but want to be in shape?  How would you pose for a picture if you had finally reached your fitness goal?  It’s as simple as that, imagine how you would look like, and pose that way for just two minutes, smile, and see yourself successful already, and the rest will just be details.

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See the video on body language here.

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Top Ten Ways To Meditate

Top 10 Ways To Meditate


            Why should you meditate?  The benefits are endless and profound.  There is actual science to back up the indispensible benefits of meditation.  The benefits include stress & anxiety relief, improved immune function, it can actually reverse heart disease, reduce inner conflict, improve relationships, increases compassion, keeps you looking young, improves attention, improves creativity, reduces pain, and many more deeper benefits.

I’m sure when you think of meditation you probably imagine some monk, sitting cross-legged chanting some weird song.  But there are many ways to meditate that you can incorporate in your daily routine.  You also don’t have to meditate for hours on end; you only need a few minutes per day.  The investment is minimal compared to the limitless benefits.

Here is the list and it is not listed in any particular order, any method can be very effective.  The key is to develop a daily habit, try to always meditate at the same time, and in the same place and preferably in the morning.  Why in the morning?  Because your mind is usually calmer in the morning, it hasn’t had a chance to get fired up about anything yet. You also have to view meditation as a practice.  When you see it this way you take the pressure of yourself of trying to be “successful” during the meditation.  There is no success or failure, there is only the doing of the meditation, and the goal is to develop your awareness.  The goal is to become more aware both internally and externally.  Internally you must become more aware of your self, of your body, your emotions, and of your mind.  Externally, you must become more aware of the people around you, of your surroundings, of nature, and more especially of the beauty that is always there.  Are you alive right now? How do you know? Have you ever stopped to check that you are alive?

Number ten.  You can use music as a form of meditation.  You can either listen to music, sing a song, or if you play an instrument, use the playing of it as a form of meditation.  If you decide to listen to a certain song, try to pick a positive song, a song that relaxes you but at the same time doesn’t get you sleepy.  As you listen to it, sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.  Try to hear one instrument at a time, and then focus on a different one, and then try to hear them all at the same time.  It’s also a good idea to pause the song after a minute or so and then pay attention to your breathing, just notice one or two breaths then play the song again.  As you listen, observe whether you are thinking or not, and whether all your attention is on the song, or whether your attention is shifting from one thing to another.  If it is shifting, don’t worry or stress about it, just noticing it is good enough.  When you notice yourself shifting, just come back to putting your attention on the song.  If you decide to sing, do the same thing as listening to a song, sit in a relaxed position, start singing your song, then pause after a minute or so and listen to the silence.  Then start singing again, but it’s very important that you notice your body.  What parts of your body are you using to sing? How do they feel?  Do you notice your inhales in between the lyrics?  The key is to become more and more aware yourself.  If you play an instrument, you have the pitfall of getting lost in thought as you play a song or melody you know pretty well.  The reason is that it can become second nature to play an instrument, you just let it happen, thereby freeing up your mind to wander away.  If you decide to meditate with a musical instrument, play close attention to your body as you are playing.  Can you sense your ears, nose, tongue as you are playing?  Are you making any faces, if yes, can you sense which face muscles are being used to do so? Become aware of as much as you can, pause the playing, notice your breath, then play again, and repeat.

Number nine. You can use a partner to help you meditate.  Meditation is always taught as an individual practice, but many people often have trouble either sticking to the habit, or they have trouble just sitting down and being still.  Using a partner can be helpful since you’ll have the responsibility of being there for them.  It doesn’t have to be of a sexual nature, you can incorporate a partner into any of the ten methods described.  If your partner is just a friend, you can both sit quietly and read positive material to each other.  Find a book or quotes you both like, preferably short quotes or short readings.  Sit in front of each other quietly and read something to one another.  Whether you are the reader of the listener pay close attention to the words, if you are the reader, read slowly, leave a space in between the words.  Once you’re done with the first reading, pause for a minute or two and focus on your breath, and then switch roles.  And again, if your mind starts to wander, try to notice it, and come back to the reading or listening, and come back to your breath.  You should eventually do your own individual practice, but use a partner as much as you both feel the need to so that it can jumpstart your daily meditation.

Number eight.  For how long can you stay in the present moment?  Meaning, for how long can you just focus on where you are at, on yourself and your body and what you are doing, without thinking about something that has passed, or something that is going to happen?  This is a practice that you can use anywhere and anytime, and it can help you enjoy even the most mundane moment.  If you have a consistent morning routine, use that as a way to practice being in the moment.  As soon as you get up, take a few deep breaths, notice the inhale, notice how your lungs expand, notice your lungs filling up with air.  Notice your exhale, how does it feel as the air leaves your lungs, and exits through your mouth or nose?  As you walk towards your bathroom, or where ever you walk to in the morning, notice all your steps.  Notice how your weight shifts from foot to foot, which part of your foot first touches the floor first, the back or the front of the foot?  When you go the bathroom, pay attention to your bodily functions, notice all your body parts that are currently working.  When you wash your hands, notice how the water feels on your hands, and how the soap feels.  When you brush your teeth, pay attention to all the muscles you are using in your arm, notice how the tooth brush feels on your teeth and gums.  Notice how your toothpaste just wakes you up with its minty fumes creeping up through your nostrils.  You have to become engulfed in that moment, yet be alert to your surroundings.  You can practice this throughout your day, for example when you are talking to coworkers, when you are driving, when you are cleaning, when you are working, and so on.  You might find it very surprising how much we miss throughout our day since our minds are still stuck in some passed event, or even more so, engulfed in fictional future events.  Pay attention to yourself, notice when you are gone, take a deep breath, and come back to the here and now.  Anytime in your life when you are waiting for something, or waiting in line, or stuck in traffic, make yourself see that as an opportunity to become present.  Don’t reject the situation and try to get it over with, use it to your advantage, use it as the perfect time to practice.

Number seven.  Prayer, can be a very effective way to meditate.  You can use whichever prayer you know from whichever religion you practice.  In case you don’t practice any religion, you can write your own prayer also.  But again, it’s very important to be alert during the prayer.  I know from personal experience, that since we pray the same prayers all the time, it’s very easy to loose focus and have our minds wander all over the place.  Besides praying in our places of prayer with our fellow religious members, it’s important to pray individually at home.  Begin with setting your time each day, sit quietly (or use any position your religion requires), take a few deep breaths, pay attention to them, and start praying.  Try to pray slowly enough that you can notice the space between the words.  It’s also important that you pause in between a few sentences or in between prayers.  And during these pauses, notice your breath, pay attention to whether you are thinking or not, and come back to the pause, come back to the breath.  If you find your mind wandering too much, just shorten the pauses and keep praying.  You can speed up the praying just enough that you can put your focus back on it.

Number six.  Have you ever noticed how quick we are at judging things, especially other people and ourselves?  We just love to judge people what we consider different from us or different from the norm.  For example, I’ll be on a social network, someone posts a video of someone dancing, and right away everyone takes out their proverbial label maker, and puts their individual label on the comments.  It’s a habit that is just engrained in our society, it’s always amazing to see how quickly we react to people and situations by judging them.  The problem with judging is that it creates a lot of noise in our minds, it creates more and more ripples of unnecessary thoughts.  And this almost obsessive thinking just abducts us from the present moment, we are literally gone, we are lost in thought.  Even if you judge things as positive, it just means any situation that is unlike that one will invariably be negative.  By not judging something you have a clearer view of what actually is.  You can practice non judgment by first just noticing when you do judge something or someone.  Pay attention to what you think, and to what you say throughout your day.  And be on the lookout for judgments, and notice where they come from, notice how they make you feel.  Don’t try to change your habit yet, the first and important step is to begin to notice it.  Just notice it, don’t force yourself to change it, don’t try to change it, all you have to do is notice it when you do it.  It’s also a common misconception that not judging things means we will become passive and just sit there and not take action.  On the contrary, once you just observe things for what they really are, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Number five.  Effective meditation doesn’t mean just sitting there doing nothing, it can be un-engaging for some people.  But you don’t have to sit there quietly; you can incorporate physical movement into your practice.  The most meditative of these practices is Tai Chi, and Yoga.  Most gyms have these two practices readily available.  The drawback if you do these practices at a gym is that most of us see them as a form of physical exercise, and they are usually thought of that way, by both students and teachers.  And they are certainly great forms of physical exercise, but it’s up to you to make them a form of meditation.  I took Tai Chi classes when I was younger but was never taught to pay attention to my body or to quiet my mind, I was never taught to use it as a form of meditation.  I do Yoga regularly at a gym but hardly any teachers put enough emphasis on noticing ones breath, paying attention to your body, or to being present.  If you decide to take up one of these practices, make sure you try to remain present during the entire class, pay attention to your body, pay attention to your breath, pay attention to your thinking.  Notice which muscles you are using, try to be aware of your entire body, especially the parts you can’t see.  Try to notice the energy inside yourself as you move.  If you can only take a class a few days a week, that’s ok.  You can practice at home yourself, and it doesn’t have to be for an entire hour.  Just set your time, start with a few breaths, and then begin your practice.  Do a basic movement, and put more emphasis on your awareness of your body and mind, then on doing exercise.

Number four.  You like to eat food don’t you?  Eating food is an excellent way to meditate, and can also help you control your weight.  Most of us that suffer from any ailment can usually track it back to our eating habits.  The worse of the habits is eating unconsciously, meaning, we are eating away but not paying attention to what we are eating.  It’s as if we have some parasite in our mind controlling us.  It tells us, “I want chocolate cake!” and we just go out and do it, we don’t even think about it.  To do the food meditation, choose your time of the day, and choose your food.  It’s preferable if it’s something simple, and hopefully something healthy.  It can be as simple as a cup of tea, and you can start your meditation with the making of the tea, you don’t have to wait until you drink it.  Start with a few deep breaths, paying attention to them.  Then start pouring your water, whether in a pot to boil, or a cup to put in the microwave.  Pay attention to your movements and to your breath as you are preparing the tea.  Listen to the water as you are pouring it, focus on it.  Pay attention as you are opening the tea bag, how does it feel in your hands?   Once you put your water on your tea, smell it, but smell it with all your attention, close your eyes and just focus on the smell.  Feel the steam rubbing your nose.  Once you are ready to drink it, be alert, as if you are trying to find out if there is any other taste you have never tasted.  Remember not to judge the taste, good or bad, just taste it for what it is.  You can use any food, from an apple to a doughnut.  The important thing is to notice your mind when you are choosing the food, what’s it saying?  How does the food feel in your mouth?  Don’t describe it with words, just notice it.  Can you feel it as it’s going down your esophagus? After you swallow, just pause, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and see if you can notice when the food reaches your stomach.  When you are done eating the food, pause again for a few minutes and notice how you are feeling now compared to before you started eating.

Number three.  Are you in touch with your body and emotions all the time, or just when there’s a problem?  Most of us only notice our bodies when some part of it hurts, and we only notice strong emotions and not the weak ones.  This meditation just involves sitting quietly and noticing your body, and or your emotions.  If you decide to start with your body, just sit in a relaxed position and start by noticing just one part of your body, for example one foot or both.  Without seeing or touching your foot, see if you can concentrate on it.  Can you sense it? Can you sense your pulse on your foot?  Then slowly move up your body, through your lower leg, then your thighs, then your pelvic area, then your torso, then your neck, then your head, and then the individual parts on your head like your ears, nose, eyes, and mouth.  You don’t have to notice them all at the same time, you can notice them one part at a time and then try to notice more and more of your body at the same time.  For this meditation it’s good to take on a more challenging position than just sitting comfortably.  You can try a cross-legged position, this usually puts a little stress on your knees or hips, making it easier for you to sense those body parts.  If you become to accustomed to noticing your body that your mind tends to wander off, then you can try to incorporate your emotions.  Even if you aren’t feeling any strong emotion like anger, look for what emotion you are feeling.  Imagine your emotion as a particular grain of sand on a beach, and you are looking for it, so you have to be very focused looking for it within yourself.  But there’s no hurry in finding it, the goal is the process itself.  Look for your emotion, then come back to the breath, then look for it some more.

Number two.  The simplest method is to just sit there quietly and notice your breath.  As you might have noticed, the breath is very important in all meditation.  Why is that?  The reason is that the breath is who we are, we are life, and breathing is life.  Without breathing we die.  The breath is also a perfect example of the nature of our lives and of our world.  The breath has an inhale, and an exhale, two seemingly opposite actions.  That’s how life is, there is wakefulness and there is sleepiness, there is happiness and there is sadness, there is up and there is down, ocean waves come in and leave back out.  The comparisons are endless.  The breath is also something we can control consciously and unconsciously, unlike other bodily functions which we can’t directly control such as our heartbeat, or hormone functions.  Coming back to our breath is one of the simplest things we can do, yet can have the most profound effects.  Just sit quietly in a comfortable position, notice your inhale, pause for a microsecond, then exhale and notice the exhale, slight pause and repeat.  The mind will surely wander and start thinking, notice the thinking, don’t worry about it, and come back to the breath.  Maybe you just can’t stop thinking, and that’s ok, as long as you know that can’t stop thinking.  Slowly, you’ll notice that you can stop thinking for a microsecond, and later a second, and later a few seconds.  And just like anything we try to learn, we start improving with practice.  All you need to do is practice, there is no goal to reach, the practice itself is the goal.

Number one.  A very fun way to meditate is to do something you really enjoy doing and do it every day.  It seems pretty self explanatory; however, some people have a hard time with this one.  You have to explore within yourself and maybe think back to things you used to do as a kid.  What is something you just loved to do when you were a kid?  If you were five to ten years old right now, and you could do anything you wanted every day what would that be?  I’m always amazed by little kids that have just learned how to run.  As they run, they don’t care where they are, they don’t care who’s there, and they don’t care what people are going to say, they just run with reckless abandon, head tilted forward, arms back as if that’s going to make them go faster, ha ha ha ha.  It’s just amazing, they laugh so much, as if it’s the greatest secret in the universe and they have just discovered it.  And their laughter just pierces through to me and pierces through whatever I was thinking about at that moment.  And that laughter springs joy within me, and makes me laugh along with them, and I wish I could just drop what I’m doing and run alongside them.  But I’m not five, I’m an adult, I gotta get somewhere, I can’t be there right now, I’m going to be late for something, what would people say?  These are the hindrances we set against ourselves, so take the time to plan your fun meditation.  It can be as simple as playing catch with someone, bouncing a basketball, or playing with your dog, but it’s critical that you be there, that you are present, that you are focused on your body, on your breathing, on your emotions, and on your surroundings.  You don’t have to be focused the entire time, just at least the first 10 minutes or so, and then just let go and get lost in your activity if you’d like.  You’ll be as amazed at the benefits as a kid that’s just learned how to run.

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Review of: The Inner Game Of Tennis

Review of: The Inner Game Of Tennis


The Inner Game of Tennis is a book written by author W. Timothy Gallwey back in 1972 and revised and republished in 1997.  The book explains that there are two games we all play, an external game, and an inner game.  The external game (of tennis in this case) has to do with your technique, your form, or any actual physical movement you have to make.  The inner game is what goes on in your mind, and even a little deeper than your mind.  The theme of the book is that in order to “succeed” in sports, and in life you must get your inner game in order, or you can use sports and life to “succeed” in your inner game.  The concepts presented here don’t only apply to tennis, and don’t only apply to sports for that matter; these concepts apply to life as well.

The book starts off by explaining the difference between the outer game and the inner game, and the self-talk that exists within us.  You talk to yourself don’t you?  Most of us do, either in the sports world, or in our workplace.  Whenever we mess up what do we say? “Dam it! I could of got that! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! What’s wrong with you?!” This talk of course relates to a certain shot, or even to a missed sale at work.  Tim asks the question, “Who’s talking to whom?”  You might answer by saying, “Well, I’m talking to myself.” So who’s the I and who’s the self?  So Tim points out to us that we all have our Self1 and Self2.  Self1 is the ego, the self that wants to take credit for doing everything, the self that wants to show off, the self that always wants to be better than anyone else, the list can go on and on.  The Self2 is that deeper part of us that’s instinctive, that can do everything we need it to if we just let it.  Tim shows you a method for achieving harmony between these two selves and improving your game and your life.

Another important lesson is that of the perils of using judgment.  I had already read about using non-judgment as a way for self improvement, whoever, not in the unique way Tim explains it.  He says, “It is impossible to judge one event as positive without seeing other events as not positive or as negative.”  This was startling to me because we’ve always received the advice of trying to look at the positive side of things.  When you judge a situation as good, for example, “Right now I have a super great job!”  The next time you’re unemployed you’ll invariably judge your situation as bad.  Although positive judgment might be better than negative judgment, it can still have negative effects.  The book explains how to stop using judgment and just start seeing things for what they actually are.  When you judge something you create more blur in your seeing, you can’t see things for what they truly are, and you miss the limitless opportunities for growth that exist right in front of you.  For example if you have a backhand that you have labeled as your weakness, then you’ll be focused on the weakness, on the bad result, and you will fail to notice your actual swing.  You’ll be so focused on seeing if the shot is good or not, you’ll fail to see what’s actually causing it to be that way.  Once you stop labeling it, it will give you the freedom to actually examine the entire movement, and in life this can translate to everything we do.  If we loose our job, our marriage, our mortgage, we take out our proverbial labelers and print out an all caps “BAD” and put it where everyone can see, and we blind ourselves to examine the causes.

This book doesn’t just tell you what the real problem is; it also does provide you with step by step instructions on how to improve your inner game.  It also gives very good information on simple techniques you can use to improve your focus.  Your concentration and your focus are covered in the last half of the book.  Concentration is what Tim calls the ability to quiet Self1, so that Self2 can get to work.  If you are able to stop thinking indefinitely, then you no longer need to learn anything else, but as you may know, to stop thinking is very difficult.  But that is the key to improve.  We are always thinking about what has already passed, for example, a bad shot we hit a few strokes back.  Or we especially love to wallow in “imagined futures,” which are simply possibilities that more than likely never happen.  When we loose focus then the mental chatter starts.  And it takes our focus off the current shot, or in life, it takes the focus off the beauty right in front of us.

I highly recommend this book for anyone in any competitive field such as sports, however, you can use these techniques for your life in general.  You can use these techniques in the workplace or even in your inter relationships.   Do you judge your friends and family? Do they judge you? What happens when we judge or get judged? Have you ever gotten stuck thinking about past interactions with someone? Have you ever worried about something that might happen but never actually happens?  These are the important questions this book addresses.

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The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance



Review- The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

The Art Of Learning is a deep self-help book written by Josh Waitzkin in 2008.  The book is semi-autobiographical, detailing his experiences with learning and competition at the highest levels of both chess and the martial arts.  Although semi-autobiographical, his experiences are excellent examples of the principles he teaches in the book.  These principles are very deep, and can be used in virtually any competitive environment and even our lives, from our day to day activities to our life purpose.  However, to internalize these principles you have to be very present when reading or you’ll mistake the deep pools of knowledge for mere puddles.

The theme of the book is that in order to perform at your very best you have to connect to the deepest part of your self, to that most internal of places.  However, the path that takes us there is wrought with thorns and most of us are barefoot; luckily Josh teaches us how to make sandals.

The book is divided into three sections, “The Foundation”, “My Second Art”, and “Bringing It All Together.”  In section one, what struck me the most was the two approaches to learning according to the field of developmental psychology;  entity and incremental learning theories.  This information is very valuable, especially if you are a parent, a coach, or any sort of instructor/teacher.  Your approaches to teaching young kids has a tremendous impact on their learning and hence their performance.  Another important lesson was about the downward spiral.  We have to recognize when we have made a mistake, and use that as an opportunity to sharpen our focus, instead of getting caught up in that first mistake and then making more mistakes.  This is very, very pertinent not only in performance environments but especially in life.  How many times have we heard someone’s story of their lives crashing down on all sides? “First I lost my job, then I lost my house, then I lost my wife…” It always happens because we don’t catch ourselves, and continue straight down at full speed.

In the second section the most important lessons are how we can invest in our losses, break learning down into the smallest chunks possible, and how to use adversity to your advantage.  Just reading these words is a lesson in itself; “Investment In Loss.”  You have a choice when you lose, you can feel sorry for yourself and just practice harder or you can see your loss as an investment for the greater good.  We’ve all heard the phrase, “learn from your mistakes” but the problem is most of the time we don’t know exactly what the mistake was.  Josh teaches us how to be introspective and not only correct the external performance, but your psychological performance.  Yes you made a technical mistake, but what was going on in your head when you made it? This lesson will force you too look inside, see your internal error, and use it to grow.  The next lesson is about how to break things down in to the smallest moves, the most basic of the lessons.  He uses the example from chess of practicing the “end game” first.  That’s when there are only very few pieces left, you start with those strategies and incrementally add more and more strategies and information, but you learn those basic moves down to the smallest detail. You internalize the strategies so much that eventually you don’t have to think about them consciously, they just become part of your instinct.  And I think the most important lesson here is using adversity to your advantage.  Rarely do things go exactly as we planned, you have to welcome change and welcome chaos, because that’s just how our world is sometimes.  When we fight this pattern is when suffer the most.

In the final section Josh briefly touches on the subject of meditation, which is just sitting there quietly and noticing your breath, and trying not to think, and if you do think, you just observe your thoughts, let them go, and come back to your breath.  I wish he would of highlighted the importance of this type of practice more obviously. I say more obviously because I believe most of what he talks about is in regards to meditating, as in Tai Chi, however, it’s easy to miss for the people that have never heard of these principles.

Here he also states, “The secret is that everything is always on the line.  The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition, the boardroom, at the exam, the etc… It’s very important to always be present, especially in practice; you have to reinforce this habit. Presence must be like breathing.”  He is obviously pointing out the importance of practicing presence all the time, not just in clutch situations.  Doing this will not only help your game, but your life as well.

A principle he describes really surprised me.  Josh not only describes what ‘getting in the zone’ really means, but he shows you how to get in the zone at will!  People who have mentioned getting in the zone always describe it as something illusive, something out of your control, and something that takes years and years of practice.  But Josh, described a methodology you can put together and actually practice getting in the zone.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that does anything.  It can help you perform better in any type of competitive field, but also in your day to day life and your career.  The few drawbacks I found are that there is not enough highlighting of the important principles making them easy to miss.  Also, not knowing much about chess makes it challenging to understand some of his views.  But knowing now that adversity is positive, these ‘drawbacks’ are really opportunities for us to be really present when reading this book.  I believe the underlying principle is that we must see anything that happens (whether in a competitive field or in our daily life) as positive.  Imagine playing a sport against a cheating player, normally we’d see that as bad, but this book teaches us to see it as a positive thing, as an opportunity.  There’s a big difference between happy and positive, you don’t have to be happy about an adverse situation, but you can always be positive.  Did you get fired unfairly from your job?  Did you loose your house?  Did you have to go into bankruptcy?  These are all opportunities, be present, see them as positive, and you’ll see a world of difference in your life.  Learn more about presence here.

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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

How To Keep A New Year’s (Or Any) Resolution Using Watermelons!

Whether it’s the beginning of the year or any other time of the year, what we call a “New Year’s Resolution” can just be summed up by saying it’s a goal you set and then try to achieve.  This article can help you with your New Year’s Resolution or anything else you want to accomplish.  You can apply these tips to any other aspect of your life.

0.     The Most Important Tip: Is this what you really want?

Decide what you want to accomplish, but more importantly ask yourself if this is really what you want.  For example most people want to loose weight but they might be doing it for the wrong reasons.  Reasons such as just to look better, to prove somebody wrong, or any other reason that has to do with someone besides themselves.  We are often on a life journey imposed on us by other people, or society.  They tell us that we should do this or do that, they tell us that some things are bad for us and other things are good for us.  And we follow along according to their views, when we should really be reflecting inside ourselves to discover who we are and what we really want. (If you don’t know what you want and need help finding out, try an exercise at the end of this article Is Your Life Situation Exactly How You’ve Painted It?)

1.     Write It Down, Envision It, And Be Specific

After you have decided what you want then you have to write it down and with very specific numbers.  You also have to read it out loud, meditate on it and envision it every day for at least 5-10 minutes.  You can also write out your list or paragraph on pieces of paper and stick them where you’ll see them throughout the day.  Put it in places like your mirror, or on the side of your computer screen.

If you want to loose weight, specify how much weight you want to loose exactly. For example for loosing weight write down exactly how many pounds you want to loose in the year, if you are in sales, write down a percentage increase or a specific dollar amount.  If you have your own business you would most likely want to increase sales, gain more customers, or reduce costs.  Specify, specify, specify, you can’t just say, “I want more sales,” that’s too general; you need to get down to a specific number.

Every time you read over your paragraph, envision yourself reaching your goal.  Imagine adding up all the numbers at the end of the year, and being in awe of how you surpassed your expectations.  Feel now, how you would feel, knowing that you have reached your goals.

2.     Don’t Try To Eat The Watermelon Whole: Break It Down

Imagine trying to eat a giant watermelon in one sitting, that’s a lot of melon!  Obviously you’d want to cut it up into pieces and eat it a piece at a time and not all in one sitting.  The same thing with your numbers, if you want to loose 20 pounds in a year, break it down to months, this would equal 1.67 pounds per month, wow! That sounds really doable when you break it down.  Trying to achieve high numbers quickly will just discourage you and likely cause you to quit, breaking it down is just easier.  It’s very important to stick to the plan, starting with small achievable goals will make it easy to do so.

3.     Hold Yourself Accountable: Enter A Tournament

Another great way to keep yourself on track is to enter a tournament or any organized event that has to do with your goal.  Using the weight loss example again, you can enter a marathon, any type of sports tournament (basketball, volleyball, racquetball…), and even a weight lifting tournament.  This not only can be a fun experience, it also forces you to prepare by there being a concrete day by which to have to be ready.  And usually these tournaments have a fee you have to pay, increasing the incentive.  If your goal is not health related you can easily make your own tournament with friends and family, or coworkers.  Make up a competition with each other, set specific rules, and a specific date on which you’ll check the results.  And you can even pitch in for a prize; put your money where your mouth is.

4.     Get Support

Trying to achieve goals alone can be hard, seek support from friends and family or others that are trying to reach the same goal.  Tell them to help you by checking on your progress and offering encouragement.  You are more likely to get help if you ask for it.


Additional Advice

It’s important to enjoy the journey, to live in the moment.  While achieving your goal, don’t forget to remain present in the now.  Looking forward to stepping on the proverbial scale is ok, unless that’s consuming most of your attention.  Taking a road trip to a certain destination can be very exciting, but don’t forget to enjoy the scenery along the way, have most of your attention on the present moment.  Another thing is to keep a journal that describes the whole picture, writing is very powerful.  It helps you reflect on you.  Like the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.”  If you don’t know where you are, how can you get to where you want to be?  It all boils down to attention.  Where is the majority of your attention?  By writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your goal, you’ll know exactly where your attention is.  If the picture in general is negative and stagnant then you’ll know you need to make some changes.

If you happen to get off track or fail, reflect on what you learned  and forget about it.  The best thing you can do is forget about it, it has happened, it’s gone, the past is a mere memory, don’t resist what is.  Then move on, take a reset day, relax.  Every day is New Year’s Day, you can restart anytime.  Make your goal more attainable, don’t call it a New Year’s Resolution, call it the One Week Goal, and go from there.

To make things easier, take on a meditation practice.  Meditation has many, many benefits.  It can really help you with all aspects of your life.  If you need guidance read this whole article, Why Not Aim For The Highest Goal?  Or you can read the end of it just for the meditation part.

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Step Zero: The Great Secret

Think about a time when you wanted something and then obtained what you wanted.  It could be something small or something big.  What actions did you take to get this ‘wanted thing’?  You might be thinking of the actions you took, the physical movements, the place you went to get it, and you’re probably also thinking of when you finally got it and started enjoying it.  But how did the process start?  For example if you wanted something good to eat.  What was your first step? Was it going to the fridge and gathering the ingredients required, or looking up a restaurant to go to or order from?  The first step wasn’t any physical action, the first step was a thought…or maybe even a feeling, and then your mind converted it into a thought.  This is the greatest secret of success: our predominant emotional thoughts; materialize.  Meaning that you become what you think about, you get what you think about, thoughts get manifested, your thoughts equal you, it shouldn’t be “We are what we eat,” it should be “We are what we think!”  Buddha says,  “All that we are arises with our thoughts.  With our thoughts, we make the world.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.”  Another quote also from Emerson says, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

When I first found out this information I was not immediately impressed.  We’ve all been conditioned in our society to expect solutions to be more complicated.  For example when we think of how to achieve success we might imagine that you have to go to several seminars, and special meetings with success gurus, and that it’s going to take several years or a lifetime to achieve, and it’s going to cost a lot of money.  Or another example is a recent small injury I had; tennis elbow.  I play a lot of racquetball and one day I had to do some heavy lifting.  During that lifting, I felt pain on my right elbow.  I couldn’t play racquetball for a few days because of the pain.  I wanted to heal as soon as possible so I could get back to playing, so I looked up things I could do to speed up my recovery.  I expected that I had to take certain supplements like joint supplements, aspirin, and that I had to go to the doctor and get an X-ray and find out what was going on.  This was because that’s how I’ve been conditioned to think, I expect certain solutions to be complicated, to be long, and slow.  I started with that solution but I was not improving.  Finally I thought about what I had learned about weight-lifting.  When you weight-lift and exercise certain muscles you are bringing attention to them and actually tearing the cells and hurting them.  As you recover, these cells get rebuilt and they get rebuilt stronger and better.  So that’s all I needed to do to resolve my tennis elbow; exercise it.  I started lifting a few pounds at a time; I lifted the weight in various angles and got a good workout on that elbow.  As you tear and hurt muscles and tendons, they get attention from the body and all the necessary nutrients get rushed to the site for repair.  I was back to playing racquetball in a couple of weeks.  So that was the solution, it was very simple and effective.  We need to start believing and accepting the fact that some solutions are simple, that they don’t always need to be so complicated and complex.  You become what you think about!

Your thinking is step zero, it’s the genesis of all that you do.  Start with your thinking, with the emotions you are feeling.  This is the time when you need to reflect inward.  It’s very easy to overlook our thoughts.  Sometimes our thoughts are just feelings we have, they’re not always put into words, into our language.  It is just a feeling you have inside yourself, therefore, you need to get in the habit of putting thoughts, to your emotions.  Put language to your feelings, describe them.  Sometimes it can get hard to put words to how we feel.  Sometimes our feelings are like a cocktail of various feelings.  For example when you’re having a bad day and you feel a mix of frustration, anxiety, and exhaustion.  Or if you’re having a great day and you feel happy, peaceful, and energized.  Start developing a habit of putting words to you feelings.  So here is step zero.  Before you can change your thoughts you have to reflect and discover what thoughts you are actually having.


Action Step #1-Notice Your Thoughts

Get yourself a notepad, or you can also write this on your computer or mobile phone, or anywhere you can easily access this info later.  Think back to any moment or moments in your life when you feel you failed.  Now think back to what thoughts were going through your head before, during, and after that time in your life. Write them down.  What were you thinking before you undertook this task?  What did you imagine was going to happen?  What were you feeling? How did you see yourself doing that task?  Did you feel happy, or anxious?


Here’s my example of my thought process from the time when I bought my first business.  From reading my thoughts try figure out whether I was headed for success or failure.

I had been unemployed for quite a while.  I felt pressure most of all, from my relatives, and friends.  I felt that they saw me as a lazy guy just sitting around living off his parents.  I was not motivated to find work.  There was plenty of work around but I just felt no joy when doing that work, I just didn’t like it.  I was tired of going through the same cycles.  I would work office or clerical or sales jobs for corporations.  Then I would feel like I was trapped, like I was prisoner to their rules and regulations.  If I wanted a day off I had to ask for permission.  Why should I have to ask for permission? Am I not free to do what I want, when I want?  So I would quit that job and then go to a construction job.  There was more leeway; I was independent so I would work when I wanted.  But if I didn’t work I didn’t get paid.  The work was hard, I would get out early enough, and had a lot of free time but I was very tired.  Then I would get tired of the construction jobs and try o go back to the corporate job, and on and on I went.  I repeated the cycle several times.  This was not what I had in mind when I was in college.  Finally I thought about my time in college and what I studied, which was entrepreneurial management.  So I started looking into buying a business.  My thoughts during the process were, “I need to hurry the **** up and get going, I need to start making money, I need to have something to do.”  I was feeling desperate, and anxious.  Having these feelings I dove in head first and bought one of the first businesses that were presented to me.  When I first went to look at the business, I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t really like this business, but I’ll just buy it, run it for a year or two, and then sell it.”  So I buy this business, and I don’t even do my due-diligence and ask the owners for proof of the numbers, I just take their word for it.  I was blinded by my anxiety.  During the time when I had the business my friends would ask me to go do things with them, and I would say, “I can’t, I have to go to my jail cell.”  When customers would ask me how the business was doing I would say, “It’s not doing so well, I’ll probably have to close it down pretty soon.”  And when I would say that I felt that somehow it was their fault, it was my resentful way of telling them they weren’t spending enough at my store.  Finally after almost two years, I couldn’t make the lease and had to sign everything away to prevent being sued by the landlord.


What do you think would have happened if I had had better thoughts about buying this business?  What if when I was unemployed I would have said to myself, “It’s time to hit the reset button, and start fresh, I am a confident and talented person.  In a positive way, I will start envisioning myself owning a business I love to run.  I will start envisioning myself a happy and joyous person while running this business?”


Now, start keeping a journal of what kinds of thoughts are running through your head on a regular day to day basis.  Have your notation apparatus handy.  When you wake up, first thing in the morning write down what thoughts you are having.  Don’t force yourself, don’t stress, just write.  Relax and write.  No one is going to read this but you.  You can write for a few days or up to a week.


Action Step #3-Reflect

This step is really important.  Read over your notes.  Reflect on what type of thoughts you’ve been having.  Highlight your thoughts if you want.  Have one color for positive thoughts and another for negative thoughts.  And maybe even a different color for neutral thoughts.  Once you’ve dissected your thoughts try to see if they correlate with how your life has turned out.  When you failed, were you having negative thoughts? Were you thinking about failure?  How were those thoughts making you feel?  When you have succeeded did you have positive thoughts, and positive feelings?


Action Step #4-Find out what it is you want

This step might take some time, but is supremely important.  Search within yourself, reflect inward, go deep into your thoughts and start asking yourself what the hell it is that you want.  If you don’t know what you want then you are going about life aimless, like a ship in a turbulent sea without a crew.  You are being affected by the tides, and by the winds, and you are relinquishing control to outside forces.  Are you working that job because that’s what’s expected of you?  Have you ever stopped to think about what it is you really want?  I myself have only recently begun to ask myself these questions.  Why is that? Why had I not thought about what I really want out of life?  Don’t just ask yourself and think about it, it’s extremely important that you take time and write this down.  This is for you and for no one else, write it down!  If nothing comes to you or if thoughts do come to you and you write them down but there are no positive emotions coming out, don’t worry about it.  Feel confident that you will discover what you really want.  Write down this paragraph and read it to yourself every day until the answers come to you.


“I want to know what I want.  I want to know what my purpose in life is.  I want to know what I should be doing with my life. I want to know what it is that I love to do.  I want to know who I am. I want to know what I want.”


It’s important that you also detach yourself from this desire.  This means that you don’t fixate your mind on finding this information.  Desire it yes, but don’t obsess.  Have you ever tried to recall something, a name, a place, a person, or a date?  And you knew that you knew the information, you knew the information was in you head somewhere.  You had it at the tip of your tongue but it just wouldn’t come out.  You were forcing your mind to find the information, the gears in your head were spinning at top speed, your mind was turbulent and almost desperate in trying to find the information.  That is called attachment.  The information would just not come to you, but slowly you started giving up.  You started to focus on something else, you started quieting your mind, and then you completely gave up on trying to force the information to come out. That is called detachment.  And then either a few moments later or a day later the information you were looking for hit you like a flash of lightning.  This is exactly what you need to do.

Imagine your consciousness as the external self, the one you know, the person you see in the mirror.  You know what your favorite color is and what your favorite foods are, etc.  Imagine your sub-consciousness as the source of all your being, imagine it as your identical twin, imagine it as the supply manager, or the stock room manager.  This manager has always been there supplying you with what you ask it for, however, you’re the top CEO and so you’ve never mingled with this character because you’ve been to busy dealing with all the external forces.  But you have just found out that without this manager your business would fail, you have just found out that this manager that works for you, in the basement of your 100 story corporate office, is just as important as you are.  This manager will never quit, this manager is as loyal as they come, this manager will always be there for you, the only drawback is that the manager speaks very low, you have to listen very closely, you have to pay very close attention.  Since you just found this out you want to get to know the manager, the supplier.  You want to start to use this source directly, so this is what you will do to find out what you want.  This is the manager that supplied you with the information you wanted earlier but since you’re separated by 100 stories it’s hard to communicate with each other, only when everyone’s out of the office and it’s quiet can you hear your manager talk to you.  So start using your manager, let this manager handle the details.  Direct your manager to get you the supplies you need, put in that order, start using your supplier.  Tell your manager that you want to know what you want, and then forget about it, detach your self from the desire.  Your manager will handle it, give the manager time.  Since you’ve never communicated directly with the manager it’ll take a little bit to build that communication channel, but it will happen, and your manager always succeeds.

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First Post

The purpose of this website is to share with you what I know about achieving success in life.  And with this knowledge, I intend to help make you reflect, improve and grow as a person, spiritually, mentally and physically.  I won’t just give you articles to read, I will also give you ‘action steps’, things you can actually start doing right away to move yourself towards success.

I’ve always been an interpreter.  Whether interpreting one language for another, or explaining to others, what one person is communicating or trying to communicate.  I intend to interpret for you.  I will interpret knowledge from various sources such as, books, workshops, other blogs, and my own experiences.  I’m confident I can have a positive impact in your life.


My definition of achieving success involves the following 4 systems. 


0. What success you should go after and why

1. Defining success

2. How to achieve success

3. What to do after you’ve achieved it. 


I started with the number zero because a lot us often overlook that step, and it’s a very critical step.  Imagine driving from LA to New York, and once you get to New York you realize that’s not where you wanted to go.  You prepared a detailed map of how to get there, you planned it, you invested a lot of time into the planning, you ran the risk of a car accident, you wasted a lot of gas, and finally you get there and BAM! Out of nowhere, like a freight train, it hits you and you ask yourself what the heck you’re doing in New York, that’s not where you wanted to go!  You thought you had the vision right but it doesn’t fit.  You did set and achieve the goal, but was it the right one?  You could have avoided that long trip if you had explored your thoughts and thought process first.

Another great example of not exploring step zero is the case of some college students.  A lot of college students often study majors they were persuaded to study by their circle of influence.  Their parents studied that subject so they feel that’s what they should study, or they look up how much money is made with a certain major and base their decisions off of that.  And what happens? They either graduate on time and get jobs that have to do with their major but end up hating their jobs, despising to get up in the morning and get to that awful job.  Another common case is that they study something for a few years and then switch to something else, so they end up spending years and years taking class after class wasting time and money.

We often start the journey of achieving other people’s goals, or goals that are expected of us by other people, or we’ll just flat out set the wrong goals for what we’re trying to achieve. Below is yet another perfect example.

What do you usually do at the beginning of the year?  Do you have any goals you are trying to achieve now? Think about them, are they goals that have sprung from deep within you? Are these goals influenced by what other people say about you?  Will achieving that goal actually solve the root, the core, the heart of the problem? Or will achieving this goal just cure a symptom of the main problem?

One perfect example is the typical new year’s resolution, which is to loose weight.  Why do you want to loose weight? Is it because you get teased by your family or peers? Is it because you want to compete with someone that seems to always be showing off  their weight? Is it because you are trying to attract somebody? Is this the goal you should really be after?  Is being overweight the actual problem? Or is it the symptom of a larger problem?  What typically happens with this goal is that it doesn’t get achieved, or it gets achieved and then un-achieved.  The gym I go to always has very high attendance in January and then it starts diminishing by March.  The main reason for failure with this resolution is that we start wrong on step zero, we do it for the wrong reasons, and this is part of a much bigger picture.  It’s only one component out of many; that we need to focus on.

To reach this typical resolution you need to, first of all, stop calling it a “new year’s resolution”.  What comes to mind when you hear those words? To me, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I’m gonna start this thing and quit in a few months.” You need to call it something else.  Try calling it “The January Achievable Goal.”

You need to think about what problem you’re trying to solve or cure.  Is being over-weight the core problem? No it’s not.  Being over-weight is a symptom of being un-healthy and it’s not the only symptom.  There are countless others.  There are plenty of “skinny” people that are un-healthier than over-weight people.  The core problem is our lifestyle, our culture, our habits.  We need to make our primary goal to be healthy.  Being in a normal weight is a symptom of being healthy.

One also needs to ask why we want to do this.  We need to focus inward for this part.  Don’t focus on external factors like what other people think, or on that image in the mirror.  Focus inside yourself; ask yourself, “Why do I want to be healthy?”

Next define what success will be, literally.  Write down numbers.  Staying with the same goal of getting healthier, healthier can be defined by many numbers. Numbers like your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your BMI (body mass index, the ratio of your weight to height), body fat percentage, how fast you can run a mile, and many others.  So if your blood pressure is really high you need to be specific and write down what your target blood pressure is. And the same goes for the other numbers

Number two, how do you become a healthy person? Now this is a topic that requires an encyclopedia to explain, however, the first step should be to educate ourselves on the subject of nutrition.  Are humans herbivores, or carnivores, or omnivores? What should each respective type eat to be healthy? What is a herbivore? A carnivore? An omnivore? How does our digestive system work?  I will definitely be writing more about this in the near future.

Number four, definitely important as well, what do you do once you get there?

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Find What You Are Seeking by Actively Looking

Have you ever noticed that when you are looking for something you usually find it right away after you say out loud what it is you are looking for?  You either ask someone, “Honey, have you seen the ________?”  And usually before your honey answers you’ve already found it.  And other times you don’t have to ask someone, you just ask yourself, “Where the heck did I leave that _________?”  I have also noticed that my chances of finding something are usually better if I name out loud what I’m looking for compared to just be thinking about what I’m looking for.  I believe this is a powerful method for achieving your goals.

The first step of course, is knowing what you want.  If anyone at anytime would ask you what you want, you should be able to instantly know exactly what it is that you want.  It’s a very broad question since we have needs in all the different aspects of our lives.  Different aspects include things such as our business life, our personal life, our religious life and all the others.  Even though it’s a broad question it is very important to know exactly what you want.  Otherwise, what good is it to know how to get something if you don’t know what you want to get?

After you have figured out exactly what you want, get in the habit of saying or naming out loud the things that you want.  Make a paragraph or more if necessary, listing the things that you want to get.  They can be material things of course, but they can also be intangible things such as peace or happiness.  What I think is also very important is to make sure you say these things out loud, there’s something powerful about hearing ourselves naming our desires.

And why does this work? It all boils down to our attention.  Where is our attention during the majority of our daily life?  Do we focus on the empty half of the glass or do we focus on the half full part of the glass?  We have a choice, the problem is that we’ve been running the cycle unconsciously, I don’t mean knocked-out unconscious, I mean running on autopilot without NOTICING what we are doing.  When our attention is on the emptiness of the glass then that is what we will find, emptiness, lack, and scarcity.  We will be drawn into people and situations that reflect what we are focusing on.  If we turn on the TV and see the news, it’s like our eyes and ears are blinded to the good news, and we just notice the bad news.  We need to take control, we need to wake up and reflect on what we’ve been putting our attention on, and most important we need to INTENTIONALLY put our attention on the things we truly desire and the things that are important to us.

I once decided to look for and find money.  I went around looking for money at my old job.  I was looking for it on the floor, and on the vending machines.  I found 50 cents.  The next day I was told to clean out an old car we had at our house because we were going to donate it.  I found $13 all together.  The find that amazed me the most was when I saw a bill in the middle of the road at night time.  I was driving to the gym, but I still had the intention of finding money, so I was alert.  As I was driving I couldn’t believe that what I saw was a bill in the middle of the road being swept back and forth by the cars passing by.  I made a u-turn and parked at a convenience store close by, I crossed the road, grabbed the bill and sure enough it was a $1 bill!  Even though it was only a $1 bill, it blew me away to think that I had the intention of finding money and that I happened to notice this single bill being blown around in the middle of a busy street.  Another time I ran out of packaging tape, and as I was driving home I was telling myself to remember to pick some up the next day.  And wouldn’t you know it, again, in the middle of the road, on a residential street, I found a mostly full roll of packaging tape!  I still haven’t found the 1 million dollars I’ve been looking for, in the middle of the road though…ha ha ha.  Does that mean that I won’t find it? I don’t think so.

We have to remain alert, not necessarily for dollar bills in the middle of the road, but also for opportunities, they are as good as money.  Other times they are neither opportunities, nor money.  Other times you might receive a great thank you from someone, or a show of affection, or any other intangible.  It’s important that you always accept and receive these intangibles as well, this way you’ll keep the positive flow coming.

So for a limited time, you can buy my system to obtain anything you want! For only 1 million dollars, this system can be yours! But wait, there’s more… Just kidding, don’t take my word for it, whether this works or not.  Try it for yourself, put your attention on something and say it out loud very often, and see if it comes to you.  But don’t forget to be alert, what good is it to desire something if you’re not going to notice it when it’s right in front of you?  Another important suggestion is to desire something but in a positive way, it’s no good to obtain something at a negative cost to someone else.  Make sure you use positive language such as, “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time, for the benefit of all, I want ____________.”

Please post your thoughts or comments below, and help me spread the word by liking this blog through your Facebook, or share it through your Twitter account.

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