Category Archives: success

Habits – How to Break Them and Make New Ones

Habitual Behavior

We all engage in forms of habitual behavior.  Unfortunately the ritualized, unthinking things we do create impediments to change and growth.

Instead of being preprogrammed and robotic in our daily lives, we need to get outside our comfort zones.  We must confront what we want to change or achieve.  We cannot be on auto pilot, we must be fully engaged.

Habits are nothing but repetitive behaviors that become automatic.  You don’t think about it, you just do it.  You feel a certain comfort in the practice of these repetitive actions which makes it more difficult to get out of the ‘rut’.

In many cases it is a false sense of comfort, offering you a cloak of normality, even when the behavior is considered abnormal.

Habits Enslave

They trap you into behaviors that hold you down and are self destructive.

There are strategies to change your habits and get on your way to happiness. Break free and you will achieve what you want your life to be.

Triggers and Cues

We receive many cues during our daily lives. These cues or ‘set ups’ trigger responses.  A basic example is the time we go to bed, where most of us prepare ourselves to go to sleep by brushing our teeth.  The cue to go to retire for the night triggers the response, we don’t think about brushing our teeth, we just do it.   Nothing prevents us from brushing our teeth after eating our last meal or snack of the day but the actions are cued right before going to sleep.

Actions to Take

In order to achieve meaningful change in our lives we must alter the reactions to the cues in our lives.  Here are the steps –

  • Identify a behavior you want to change.
  • Identify the cue for the bad behavior.
  • Find a response that results in achieving your goal.
  • Commit to it by writing down a planned response.
  • Think about & read your plan for a day or two.
  • Engage in the new behavior for 30 straight days,  it will become habit and you won’t have to think about it!

Critical Key

Identifying your triggers or cues are the key. What situations trigger your current habit? For the smoking habit, for example, triggers might include waking in the morning, having coffee, drinking alcohol, stressful meetings, going out with friends, driving, etc. Eating after dinner when you watch TV can be replaced with a cup of tea, exercise, a diet soda…

Most habits have multiple triggers. Identify all of them and write them in your plan.  The replace the habit with a new response to the trigger. It really is that simple!

Watch Out

Have strategies to defeat an urge to fall back into your bad habit. Urges are going to come — they’re inevitable and they’re strong. However, they are also temporary and beatable. Urges generally last a minute or so and come in degrees of strength. You need to ‘defend’ yourself, ride it out and the urge will disappear. Some strategies for making it through an urge: deep breathing, self-massage, eat something healthy and calorically light, take a walk, exercise, drink a glass of water, call a friend, post about it in a support forum.

I urge you to give this method, which has been universally successful, a chance today!

 

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Supression of Chinese Dissidents and Activists

The suppression of the blind Chinese activist is just one of a hundred thousand incidents per year.  China is a repressive country trying to mask itself as a modern society.  No centrally planned, code word for socialism, economy has ever prospered for an extended period of time.  You cannot manage a billion people and hundreds of billions of activities.

The pot of water is one stove, the water is boiling and the problems inside of China will become visible to the world.

Check out Push Back, my latest novel, where the recent case of the blind activist mirrors what a main character, Timothy Lee does.

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Comparing Yourself To Others

Be Careful When Comparing Yourself to Others

There is a huge difference between using a role model or icon’s accomplishments as a goal and comparing yourself to that person.

One can be a motivational tool but comparing yourself to someone else can be deflating and inhibiting.

We always seem to be comparing our lives and situations against others.  This can be very dangerous leading to an erosion of our self esteem.

Comparisions Are Trouble

The problems and distortions they present are many fold, including these;

  • The media presents images they ‘sell’ as perfection causing you to be intimidated
  • You only see a small slice of the person’s make-up
  • Their flaws are not examined, only their particular area of excellence
  • They may excel in one narrow area and not be well rounded at all
  • They can be great at something but horrible as human beings.

As you can see it is incredibly superficial and best to avoid the practise.

You Are Unique

There is only one of you.  Agreed?  Therefore, comparing yourself to anyone else is a zero sum game.

Everyone is different, everyone has their own set of ‘pimples’ and plus and minuses, some you see while others are hidden or disguised.  Do not allow some unrealistic portrayal or image of someone to trick, intimidate or depress you.  Everyone, including you, has things they are good at and things they are not.

You are who you are, now try to improve yourself or reach a goal you have set.

Compare yourself to no one but who you were yesterday! It is the only measure that makes sense and once you get the hang of it, a confidence and self esteem builder.

A Word About Set Backs

The average number of failures people experience on the way to any success is four.  When you look at someone remember the struggles and failures they had to experience in order to achieve their success.

Be prepared for at least four set backs before you reach any goal.  It is a realistic way to insulate yourself emotionally when and if set backs occur.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… 

Set your goal and get moving towards it today.  Make progress each and every day by committing to doing something that helps to achieve what you want.  Get up each morning looking to improve yourself that day, making progress on your goal.

Remember to compete with yourself and to compare yourself only to who your were yesterday.

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Dream Big

Shoot for the Moon

Why not dream? Why not have outrageous goals? Why do we limit ourselves?  There is nothing to be afraid of.

If you set your sights on a lofty goal and really commit to it, you guarantee yourself a measure of success.  It’s as simple as that!

What is the worse that could happen, you fall short of the true goal but get close?  In any case you have made progress.

I can make an argument that if you set a low, easy to achieve goal, while it has nice benefits in building confidence, and make it, that you would probably make more progress shooting for a higher goal and not making it.

Break the Mold

Don’t let the culture limit your existence.  You can still make it,  the people who are achieving their dreams (or importantly what you perceive to be their dream!) are just like you. The difference is they have acted and commited to the goal.  I can not emphasis enough the need to act, to take steps in the direction of the goal you have.

Do not get boxed in by your personal situation, such as age or weight, economic status, lack of contacts etc. etc.  There are countless people who have overcome the odds that our culture puts on us.  (First off ditch the most common mind set that you’re too old to be doing that!  You are never too old to do anything, so stop convincing yourself otherwise)

LIVE YOUR LIFE

Each of us have met people with a passion or purpose. They seem more alive than most people!  They are engaging and pumped up! (some of us say they are nuts or crazy but that is just a manifestation of jealousy)  Whether they achieve their dream or not is beside the point; its the damn journey that counts. I know it sounds like a cliche but if you get down to it, its the pursuit of whatever interest you may have that counts.  It does not matter what you do as long as you enjoy the activity and improve at it.

Don’t be a bystander in your own life.  Start doing the things that improve your life and that interest you.


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Limitless

No Limits

Ambition

Some people just seem ridiculously ambitious, attempting to achieve either a high or broad based level of success.  I have been accused of being somewhat ambitious myself, but so what?

When I hear people make negative comments about someone with a lot of ambition it drives me crazy.  Most of it is envy or jealousy.  Just because some people seem to have resigned themselves to a ‘treadmill’ existence, does not mean everyone has to.

Powerful

Ambition is a form of positive energy that can be infectious.  Life is infinitely sweeter because of it.

First off, you simply cannot accomplish anything if ambition does not help to drive you to make the attempt in the first place.

Secondly, ambition glosses over a lot of mistakes as it provides the stimulation to overcome the inevitable setbacks that come with every pursuit

Ambition also makes the attempt more important than the results.  In other words, it’s a journey not a destination.  Results are important but the geniune pursuit has be invigorating.

Confidence Connection

I have discussed confidence in several other postings, use the search bar to find them, as I am convinced it is the key to a fuller life.  I would like to look at the connection between ambition and confidence.

It appears clear that a person’s level of ambition is directly related to the amount of confidence they possess. With a healthy dose of confidence and a solid self esteem, you are much more likely to get ‘tuned’ up about trying something new.  Building on small ‘wins’, which increases your confidence, leads to a sense that there is nothing to fear in attempting to reach a goal.  Its a self feeding cycle!

Success Connection 

Success and ambition are also indelibly linked. It is your ambition that leads you to make the attempts for success.  An ambitious person leads a fuller life, positively approaching what others view as road blocks to be nothing more than challenges that will be overcome.

Blind Ambition

The term blind ambition, can be both negative or positive. It is used most often negatively to describe someone who is blind to the realities or does not understand what it will take to accomplish something.  That is true to a degree, you can not just have ambition, you have to take action.  Reckless ambition, pursuing things in the search for security to fill whatevr voids one may have is also dangerous and I have written a novel on this called Ambition Cliff.

On the other hand, if you are willing to take action and are blind to the difficulties, it can be a blessing.  How many times have you heard someone remark, “If I would have known it was going to be that hard I wouldn’t have tried it!”

Think Big

Get pumped up about something, even if you need to muster up some false bravado! Get excited and getting moving towards getting a new job, losing weight, stop smoking, learning to dance, play a sport, etc, maybe even blog!  Let me hear from you!

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Confidence

The Trust Connection

I am convinced confidence is the key to a fuller life.  I would like to look at the connection between trust and confidence.

The definition of confidence is often boiled down to a strong belief in yourself and your abilities. However, this definition misses an important component of confidence and the boost it provides in your ability to achieve a goal.  What I’m referring to is trust.

The trust or faith you have in yourself is built over time and plays a large role in helping you to overcome a challenge or make progress on towards a goal.

If you are attempting something you have never done before and cannot rely on the confidence that comes with having achieved a similar thing before, you can get the boost you need from the faith or trust in yourself.

Take a Leap of Faith

You may not consider yourself a success in anything.  But it’s simply not true!  It may sound basic, but you have learned and overcome obstacles since you were an infant.  You’ve learned to talk, walk, read and write!  You may have learned to drive, swim, cook etc.

I am positive that if you examined your life you will find accomplishments that you can build on.  Just because they aren’t broadcast on T.V. doesn’t diminish them. They are tangible accomplishments, even if they are from the distance past, you can use them to build a trust in yourself that you can do it. Take a leap of faith, this time for yourself!

Persistence

No matter how little you have may have achieved, the one thing you can control, irrespective of your skill set, is the effort you put forth. I am speaking to the number and intensity of the attempts you can make.  Persistence is indelibly linked to confidence and success.  You have heard the cliche; If I bang my head against the wall enough times, it will crack.  An extreme example, but it shows that if you are persistent and do not give up, you will definitely have a measure of success.

Confidence and success are rooted in the acceptance that what you are attempting to do will be challenging, and that set backs that will come, but with knowledge that with a steady application, you will persevere.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you?

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Occupy Wall Street and Class Warfare

Just a few quick points on the growing divide and debate over our nations finances.

(P.S. – I am not nor ever have been a part of Wall Street, Finance or Banking)

1. The 99% Versus 1% – If you took all the money that everyone in America made over $100,000.-, capping the incomes of everyone at maximum of 100K per year (even for Brad Pitt, NFL quaterbacks, Google execs etc.) It would only be enough money to fund the US Government for two (2) months.

2. If you took all the money everyone in the country (taxing it at 100 percent) the US Government would still have to borrow money to pay its bills!

3. The Great Divider in Chief, Barack Obama, made a lot of noise, protesting the crazy bonues Wall St executives got.  It was out of whack, HOWEVER, where is he now when the Government Agencies, Fannie & Freddie Mac, are paying 100 million dollars in bonuses!?!  These two agencies have LOST 142 Billion dollars of our money.

4. Could it be the rancourous rhetoric being thrown around have helped to harden positions and contributed to the failure of all politicians to agree on a deal to cut our debt?

5. The debt owed by America is now over 15 TRILLION Dollars (not counting trillions of debt off the balance sheet)

6. Anyone reasonable has got to agree we have to cut spending now!

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Filed under Blog, Class Warfare, criticism, integrity, Occupy Wall Street, success

The Left and the Right Get Their Own Nations

The country is deeply divided.  The split seems irreconcilable; the two sides are just too far apart on an ideological basis.  The rhetoric is loud, increasing and hardening positions.

Barack, Divider in Chief, is fanning the flames, deepening the divide, pitting Democrats and against Republicans, the successful hard working class against the entitlement class, the young against the aging.

What can we do about the stalemate?  Is it inevitable that we turn into Europe? Albeit without the charm!  Are we doomed to loath and fear nearly half of our fellow countrymen?

Two Americas

Why not split the country into two?  It may sound radical but why not explore the possibility of dividing the country into two distinct nations where each could manage their economic and social matters according to their beliefs.

The tensions would evaporate and the race to see what ‘model’ works would be on.

The liberals can have states like New York, New Jersey and California while the conservatives can claim Texas, Florida and Virginia.  We could give each ‘new’ nation a share of sun-belt and rust belt states and split those states with unclear majorities.

Doing this would discount the growing authority of Washington and leave it to the new nations to decide whether they want more control at the local level or a growing central authority.

Conservatives trapped in liberal states and left wingers in right wing states would have a type of ‘passport’ for citizenship in the nation where their hearts lie but not be forced to move.

Trade and commerce between the new nations would not change and future barriers prohibited.  Matters of national defense for example or other former federal responsibilities that could not be reasonably handled alone would be funded by the two new nations based upon the population count.  No more unfair subsidies.  Easements and rights of way would remain as they are but States within the new nations would be given back the responsibility for education, welfare, health etc.

I realize it is a delicate subject but I am stunned no one is talking about an option like this.  It’s revolutionary but I believe we need to look at it.  It would cause a lot of dislocation and take a long period of time to assimilate but does anyone really believe the current environment we find ourselves in will resolve itself fairly and peacefully?

I would love to hear your ideas to move this debate forward.

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Fear

Fear is a part of our existence.  Our DNA is hard wired and our physical responses to real danger are instinctive.   But fear is not danger but a mental perception of a possible danger.  This is a key distinction that almost everyone misses.

Fear lives in the unknown. We are afraid of what we don’t know. We feel fear when we are unsure of the outcome of a situation and it cripples us.  We need to learn how to tame fear.

Permitting fear to guide your existence allows your mind to create a negative response to the unknown. You hear a sound in the middle of the night and immediately feel threatened. You lie still in the bed hoping nothing else will happen as your mind bubbles up all kinds of negative scenarios.  It is simply illogical!

Why not get up and see what the sound may be?  If it is a real danger you are not helping yourself lying in bed!  Check it out if it bothers you and get back to sleep.

We have fear of looking foolish, heightened by the media’s projection of their image of perfection.  This fear prevents us from becoming who we really are.  It keeps us from pursuing our dreams, living small, stagnate and full of regrets.

What’s the downside?

If for example, you have to speak in front of a group what is the worst thing that can happen? You flub it, or do just an okay job? So what!  You are not the focus of the audience’s day, it is forgotten so fast.  Ever been to a boring speech or bad concert? How long did you hang onto it?

It’s a good thing to feel nervous and desire to do a good job. However, we need to channel the nervous energy we feel into positive action.  Acknowledge the presence of your nervousness, it happens to everyone, even seasoned pros, athletes and performers.   If you don’t feel nerves at all, you don’t care and that’s worse!  You just need to put it into proper perspective.

If you cannot convince yourself that your presentation is not going to cure cancer and feel undue pressure, then get better prepared.  Practice and prepare if it’s a presentation, performance etc.  If it’s a social thing, ‘practice’ in smaller, less intimidating situations.  Preparation is the antidote but will not completely cancel your nerves.  It is also important to know that your audience wants to like you and that you know your stuff better than 90 percent of them.  Prepare, do and move on.

Make a Real Effort, Its All That Counts

We all have different interests and goals; it’s what makes life and people so interesting!  I love meeting people with unusual passions; it’s refreshing to see them pursue them vigorously.  Don’t be shy, whether you want to learn to dance, swim, read tarot cards, learn to ride a bike, paint etc. block out your fear and start participating.  Stop being self conscious, the world does not revolve around you.  When and if criticism comes your way, use it constructively even if it came mean spiritedly.  Learn from it and strengthen your resolve to grow.

This quote by Teddy Roosevelt says it all, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who strives valiantly; who errs, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Get Going

There is a substantive difference between fear and danger.  Our need to control and insulate ourselves imprisons us in a small, supposedly safe existence.  Say yes to life now, stop saying no due to unfounded and unrealistic feelings of fear.

If you do not do well in your endeavor don’t allow it define who you are and don’t let it get to your heart. Just as importantly, if you do well don’t let it get to your head!

For a memorable example of dealing with fear in a life threatening situation check out Marble Mountain – a memoir of a Vietnam helicopter pilot. It’s a gripping insight at the incredible challenges the brave men and women who served faced.  Marble Mountain Link Check it out!

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Statement of Purpose

To increase your productivity and enhance your confidence it is essential that you have a purposeful attitude.

Have a purpose or mission to accomplish, makes achieving your goals easier.  You should be focused on your task or goal.  All your actions and thoughts should be directed towards the goal.

This mind set increases your confidence and it is proven that confident people have an easier time with achievement.

How Do You Get Purposeful?

Think about what it is that you either want to do or are responsible for doing.  Set your goal, or review your tasks.   Focus on what steps you will take to achieve the goals set or mandated.  It is always a good idea to write them down as reinforcement. For example,  I want to ‘stop smoking, lose weight, reduce my golf handicap, learn a language, obtain a promotion, increase my sales etc.  This process transforms you from walking around in a reactionary mode into a proactive, purposeful state of mind.

Next, it is time to visualize doing the things that make progress towards your goal.  It’s not silly, visualizing the steps you need to take brings them to life.  Then visualize you actually achieving the goal and what positive changes it brings to your life.

Before you go to sleep, think about what you need to do the next day.  Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed, keep it positive, focusing on the next step only and the satisfaction, or relief it will bring.  When you wake up, set your mind to the tasks of the day, review the actions needed and get going.

The momentum you build by completing daily tasks necessary to achieve the ultimate goal, creates a level of confidence that is invaluable.  You will also obtain a sense that you must do something, lest you waste a valuable day of your life.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, success is a bunch of tiny victories, peppered with losses, strung together.

It is critical to accept setbacks as natural part of your growth, and to enjoy the small gains made en-route to the big goal!

Set your mind to a goal and break the steps into small increments to guarantee success!

You can do it, start believing in yourself.

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