This Is Momentum Monday

Momentum predicts what’s next.

How many times have you watched a news story unfold on television and you say at the end, “I could have predicted that.” What you are really doing is noticing the momentum in the story. One thing leads to another and the final outcome seems to have been, in retrospect, completely foreseeable.

There are really very few surprises in this life. A surprise is what comes at the end of a season of being unaware of momentum in a particular direction. The surprise presents itself because we have “awakened” and become intentionally aware. 

When I was in my early twenties, I had a brief discussion about goals with my father, an accomplished structural engineer with a global reputation in engineering circles. His career at the time was taking him to many points on the globe. His services were in demand. Yet, he startled me with this revelation: He told me that he had never set a goal. He only prayed and then acted in concert with what he perceived to be God’s will. He lived a life oriented toward heaven, not temporal goals. 

Stephen Covey wrote metaphorically about putting one’s ladder up against a wall, and climbing it only to discover the ladder was against the wrong wall. Whether others plant their ladders on the same wall as yours is of no consequence for you. Your job is to pick the right wall for you, your talents and your values. For my dad, despite his successful career, his ladder was against a different wall than almost everyone else in his profession. 

Success gurus speak in unison and with no small amount of credibility, saying you need to set goals in life. They say that if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know if or when you get there. Sounds good to me. I should set some goals, I tell myself. But there’s that pesky conversation with my dad. He never set goals and yet, he left success clues all along his life’s path. There are so many that I’m still picking up some of them ten years after his transition from his earthly body.

My father claimed to have not set goals, but he did actually have one. His goal was to be united with God forever. It’s the direction he chose. That was the intention of his life. I prefer not to get into the semantics of whether this a is a goal or a mission or a purpose. No matter what you call it, there is one thing that makes them neighbors in the success lexicon. That one thing is MOMENTUM.

Momentum has three categories, which are illustrated in these clips: 

NONE http://youtu.be/uhb1CTm5uk4

SOME http://youtu.be/c9d88XKLJ9Y

UNSTOPPABLE  http://youtu.be/Y4ZHPeyJ4ss 

Just what is a goal, anyway? Here is how I have come to define the word “goal.” 

A goal is a personal intention to create momentum toward an improved state of being. 

Momentum is visible–tangible, in that it can be recorded, photographed or measured. Intention is not visible or clear to onlookers until the final step of momentum is accomplished. Even when intention can be inferred or intuited by a third party, it can only be confirmed by actual observable events.

Here is a little scenario to help color in the difference between intention and momentum.

I am in my garage. I am in the car. I am opening the garage door. I am backing the car out of the garage. I am steering my car in a general direction. I am parking the car in the shopping center lot. I am exiting the vehicle. I am walking toward the door of the store. I am entering the store. All of that is momentum. You can see it, even if my intention is not yet clear.

I am standing in the store holding a loaf of bread, a package of deli-sliced turkey, a package of swiss cheese and a two-liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, the four items on my shopping list. That is a measure of how far momentum has taken me. 

But you are now seeing enough momentum that it is becoming more clear and a strong indicator of what is next.

I pay for the food. I carry the food back to my car in the parking lot. I enter the car. I start the ignition. I steer back to my home. I park the car in the garage. I exit the car with the bag of food. I close the garage. I enter my home. All of this is simply more momentum. With each new action, the momentum more clearly reveals what is coming next.

I am in the kitchen. I open the silverware drawer and take out a knife, I open the fridge and retrieve a jar of mayo and a jar of mustard. I open the freezer and grab a few cubes of ice. I put the ice in a glass. More observable momentum.

You can write the rest of the scenario, can’t you? How did you get to the point where you could say with some certainty what is next? It’s because you noticed the momentum toward my improved state of being, that is, no longer feeling hungry. Your brain kept assembling and reinterpreting the circumstances until there was really only one thing that could happen. A sandwich would be made and eaten and a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper would be consumed. In retrospect, there was really no other outcome.

But there could have been. Since the intention was to feel something other than hungry, the sandwich was only incidental. I could have created momentum on an entirely different path: Buying a slice of pizza or a taco or a hamburger, for example. Each would have meant different choices and thus different paths on which momentum could travel. That is to say, I could have made an entirely different set of choices and still fulfilled my intention or my goal.

Based on momentum, what is next for you?

This is Flourishing Friday

This is Flourishing Friday.

As a kid, I became aware of the acronym TGIF when I was around ten. It seemed to convey the notion that Monday through Thursday are to blame for all of life’s challenges, but Friday comes to offer sweet relief with the prospect of two days away from the grind. I didn’t really get it, but it taught me an “adult” response that I carried for decades.

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My Flourishing Mom

In more recent times, I have become aware of the discipline of positive psychology, which was born in 1998. Martin Seligman, who is considered to have pioneered the discipline, has been studying and writing about what makes for mental well-being. (Traditional psychology focuses on mental illness.)

Seligman uses the word flourishing to describe someone who likes his or her life and is living in a steady state of positive expectancy. (The oversimplification is mine, not his. Positive Psychology is not merely positive thinking.) There is much to unpack with the idea of flourishing and he does so in his books, especially the one called, “Flourishing.”

I have co opted the acronym TGIF to stand for Thank God I’m Flourishing.

A good day to celebrate that is on Friday of each week. Take a look back at the week. Notice and name the moments when you were flourishing. Then look forward to next week in positive expectancy of mental wellness no matter what shows up in your circumstances.

There’s another acronym that turns up all over social media – FML. I’m co opting that one, too.

Flourish My Life!

Thankful Thursday

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This is Thankful Thursday!

Why does being thankful get only one day of focus each year?

Anyone living with even a small degree of consciousness and awareness knows by experience that energy flows where focus goes. That is reason enough to take stock of all that is good and loving. Doing so brings more of it and in more intense forms.

I’m not talking about thankfulness for things, necessarily, though they are not excluded. I’m speaking of emotions and conditions that make us feel more alive and engaged and hopeful. 

I have started to keep a gratitude journal on my iPhone. Thursday seems like a good day to open that page and read what I have written there so I can feel the additional burst of energy, the flourishing of goodness and love. In case I have forgotten. 

Care to join me?

This is Wavelength Wednesday 

All energy travels in waves. 

In a scientific sense, the distance between the peaks of succeeding waves is called “wavelength “. That’s how sound and light and electromagnetic fields get measured. 

What is more important to know is that as energy travels, like energies are drawn together. 

I remember observing a piano tuner once. He had two A-440 tuning forks. He showed me how tapping one of them would cause the other to vibrate as well. That is an example of like energies being drawn together. 

When two people are really hitting it off, enjoying each other’s company, seeing eye to eye, they are said to be on the same wavelength. Their individual energies are drawn together. 

On this Wavelength Wednesday, take note of converging energies in and around you. Notice what makes you feel good and stay in that thought as long as you can.

7 Rules That Can Make or Break Your Life

Every athletic arena has a book of ground rules.These rules arbitrate the quirky and unexpected and tell the officials how to interpret those events. Usually, the ground rules rules are the same from arena to arena. For fairness and consistency, many ground rules are universally applied. In baseball, for example, the yellow foul pole is always in fair territory.

Similarly, a Universal Law is something that is true everywhere and all the time. The Law of Gravitation as discovered by Isaac Newton is one such law. He expressed it in an equation that is beyond my ability to try to explain. What I know, however, is that the Law of Gravitation is observable, reliable and quantifiable. 

There is already a decent body of work about the various Universal Laws at work in human experience–observable, reliable, quantifiable laws that help us understand reasons that underlie success and failure. Napoleon Hill, for example, tried to explain those principles in his definitive text from the early twentieth century, Think and Grow Rich. Most people think the book is about becoming filthy rich. Its really about mastering your thought life.

In Maximum Achievement, Brian Tracey distills seven Universal Laws that govern the outcome of your thought. Some version of these will be found in nearly every analysis of human failure or achievement.

These Universal Laws of Mental Mastery are not magic. Since they are true everywhere and all the time, they provide a reliable framework to evaluate and understand the twists and turns of what some call fate, or providence.

Keep in mind that these Laws, or mental ground-rules, are inter-related. Even though this is a list, the Laws are not related in a linear way. There is ongoing interplay between these mental ground rules. They are component parts of a much larger system.

1. Law of control: You feel positive about yourself to the degree you are in control of your own life. 

To be in control means you are acting rather than re-acting. You are being purposeful and goal oriented. You have made promises to yourself and you are determined to keep them. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology notes that this autonomy–the feeling that your actions and habits are self-chosen and self-endorsed–is the single biggest contributor to personal wellbeing.

2. Law of cause and effect: For every effect in your life there is a specific cause. 

The thrown pebble lands on the water’s surface and the ripples begin. The light goes on when you flip the switch. The bacon sizzles if you put it in a hot pan. Whatever has happened, something preceded it. You have significant control over cause through the law of control over your actions. While you can forecast or predict effect, you cannot control it. 

After the fact, the relationship between cause and effect seems so obvious, you might wonder how you ever could have thought there would be a different outcome.

3. Law of belief: Whatever you believe, with feeling, becomes your reality. 

A belief is simply a thought that you think a lot. Repetitious thought that is laden with strong feelings is more influential than other external factors. Pay attention to the feelings that ride along with your thoughts, for those feelings represent the thermostat that creates your external environment.

This Law can be a little tricky. Actively disbelieving something is a sign that you actually do believe it, or, at least, that you fear it. Otherwise, why would you bother giving it any mental energy? Fear is a strong emotion. 

Carl Jung noticed, “What you resist, persists.” If your desire and belief are not aligning with your reality, you may need to sort feelings and exert control over the direction of your mental energy. Create an emotional sifter and let the useless thoughts and feelings fall away from you. 

When you let your thoughts be directed by present circumstances you are believing that change is not possible, and so you start to repeat the thought processes and behaviors that got you there in the first place.

4. Law of expectation: Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophesy. 

Laura Day, in How to Rule the World from Your Couch, offers a helpful exercise. At this moment, she suggests, be the self you will be in twelve hours. Anxiety, says Day, is always future oriented. So take the future out of the equation. Be, at this moment, the person you will be in twelve hours after all of your day’s best choices have been made. Now, you know what to expect. It becomes your reality. 

5. Law of attraction: You attract into your life people and situations in harmony with your dominant thoughts. 

So I am clear, I want to say what the Law of Attraction is not. This is not magic. It’s not a secret power to be harnessed, nor a technique for placing your order with the universe. 

This Law exists in tension with the Law of Cause and Effect. Sometimes things happen that defy causal explanation.

Carl Jung, one of the most credible psychologists of the twentieth century developed the idea of “synchronicity” to explain that certain events, apart from an identifiable cause, connect in meaningful harmony with each other. 

Notice the synchronicities, and be grateful.

6. Law of correspondence: Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. 

Sitting in my office, I look around. There is nothing here that was not first here in my thoughts. My desk. My phone. My computer. My lamp. All of these were in my inner freelancer brain before they became visible in my outer world as tools of my trade. 

I have had the most trouble with this Law. There is a temptation to use it as a club of judgment toward yourself or others. If the Law is true, then my, or their, inner world must be seriously messed up, you might think. This sort of thinking only perpetuates the inner mess! Instead, start defining what new things you need to be part of your life and begin taking action in that direction.

Ghandi gives voice to this law with the oft quoted insight, “be the change you want to see.” 

7. Law of mental equivalency: Thoughts objectify themselves. Thoughts become things.

Jack Nicklaus, the twentieth century golf great said, “I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ the ball where I want to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: it’s path, trajectory, and shape, even it’s behavior on landing. Then there’s a sort of of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous image into reality.”

By reading this description you are building your awareness of these unchanging and reliable laws. Keep them in front of you. Journal about them. Build a case in your own mind for their existence And you will find your whole life becoming filled with sharper direction.

Here’s a 30 day challenge. Build a book of evidence of their existence by using your observational powers and journaling skills. Come back here and comment anytime you want to do let me know how it’s going.

Tuned-in Tuesday 

This is Tuned-in Tuesday. 

The universe is full of “stations” to listen to. Tuned in people set the station to what is wanted, not what is not wanted. They tap into what makes them feel happy, giving no attention to anything else. Even if signals are mixed, tuned in people give attention to only one of them until they hear the clear signal of the frequency they desire. 

You know when you’re tuned in because you feel good, at peace and full of joy. When you find that station, hold that button down to make it your “preset”.

Own Your Learning 

I own my learning. I will not wait to choose something new to learn. I seek the knowledge that leads me in the direction of a destiny of my choosing. And today is a good time to start. 
Many people do not realize that learning is a lifetime endeavor. Our capacity to learn is an asset that increases our value to humanity. We get to choose whether to learn in service of our loftiest aspirations, or to use our learning capacity in service of someone else’s dream. It is a binary choice—one or the other. While both are acceptable choices, the decision is best experienced as a conscious fulfillment of self-leadership. 

Conflicting Emotions Are Weeds on Your Path

Ambivalence refers to our internal conflicting emotions. I suspect it exists in that psychological space where we refuse to own an emotion, so we try to force the emotion to coexist with it’s opposite. We are giving ourselves time to consider and choose.

I have observed that some people, wanting to appear cool or hip or non-chalant actually feed ambivalence. Considered objectively, that practice ends up sabotaging our goals, our well-being, and our success.

What are some ways you have been ambivalent in recent days? Do you see how it is keeping you from happiness and success?

Resolve today to commit to your emotions. Stop waffling, and see your path to your dreams emerge as your new perspective takes hold.

Vibrational Offering

IMG_5815I’m not enamored with the term “vibrational offering” as it admittedly sounds a little kooky. Yet, the term refers to a phenomena that is decidedly not kooky.

You are a combination of feelings, thoughts and actions that create the things and events that can be observed as your life.

For example, what is your personal reaction to the picture of a fire? You could think positively and tell a story of success that you capture with the phrase, “I am on fire!” Alternatively, you could tell a story of overwhelming circumstances with a comment such as being “burned out.”

You choose.

Author Pam Grout shared the following on a recent podcast:

How we perceive something is how it shows up for us.

When you turn on the light in a dark room, you get to decide which of the hundreds of items in that room will get your attention. Likewise, as you survey your own reality you get to choose what you will attend to. That attention is a predictor of what is next.

How would you describe your current vibrational offering?

 

 

 

Thoughts Become Things


Thoughts become things.

What does one do with that information? You could do nothing with it. All of us grew up being taught a set of default thoughts that pretty much shape our lives. When you do nothing with the idea that thoughts become things, your life may not look appreciably different than that of your parents. Default thinking explains why children of privileged people become privileged as adults, and children of poor people tend to stay in that world, perhaps improving only slightly generation by generation.

Or you could take the information and test it. What if I isolate my personal thoughts and settle on the ones that are not part of the default set? Only when people break the default mold handed to them by their parents do they find themselves experiencing a different sort of life than their default thoughts were capable of producing.

IMG_7319So yes, an under-privilege person can be come privileged. A bricklayer’s daughter can earn a PhD and become a college Dean. An immigrant’s child can become President of the United States. A son of a millionaire can become the voice of justice who speaks out for the poor and lifts the aspirations of millions.

In each case the person who achieved the unexpected did so by breaking their default thought mold.

Thoughts become things. What can you do with this information? Here is an easily applicable strategy.

  1. Listen to your own thoughts.
  2. Give them credence (believe them).
  3. Talk them out with a confidant who also gives credence to your thoughts (a coach).
  4. Decide to bring your thought into existence.
  5. Act.

This is simplistic, yet not simple. Contact me here if you want to learn how a short coaching program can get you on the course you desire for your life.

 

 

Restructuring Your Reality

Luckily, life is not a Game of Thrones.  We’re not fighting for our lives with every waking breath. We are not usually surrounded by enemies with evil designs to wreck our good fortunes and dreams. It is closer to reality to suggest that our experience is are far more likely to be shaped by our own thoughts, beliefs and actions than by the nefarious back-channel plotting of individual actors beyond our control.

 

I agree with Maria Nemeth’s assumption expressed on her 2007 book, Mastering Life’s Energies. Life is meant to be lived with clarity, focus, ease and grace. And it is within your power to produce a life like that.
If that doesn’t describe your experience, start here.
 

Step 1.

Give yourself time and opportunity to choose and construct some new habits of thought. 

Remember that no matter what new reality you want, there is much that must happen prior to “just doing it”, Shia LaBeouf’s popular You Tube video notwithstanding.

 

To get to the doing it part, there are some pre-do-it requirements. The most important of the pre-do-it requirements is so obvious that most people miss it.
Stop all criticism. Louise Hay taught me this. You can hear it from her directly if you don’t believe me.
What are we supposed to do with the critical thoughts invading our consciousness?
  • Just stop it.
  • Stop before you think it.
  • Stop after you think it.
  • Stop before you do it.
  • Stop in the middle of doing it.
  • Stop after you’ve done it.
  • Just stop it.
  • Do not excuse it when you do it.
  • Unthink it.
  • Root it out from explanation of your actions and circumstances.

 

Self-criticism offers a silent or verbal caveat to any claim we can make on competency. It is the original and ultimate self-sabotage.

 

If a dolphin constantly criticized itself for its inability to climb a tree, it would become so defeated that before long it probably wouldn’t even bother to try to swim either.

 

If you don’t stop all self-criticism, all other attempts at change will prove unfruitful.

 

You can no longer afford the luxury of a negative thought. Belief is an important component of accomplishment. Self-criticism undermines belief. So, stop all criticism, okay?

 

A related, yet seperate required pre-do-it is to
Tune out all criticism of others directed toward you.
  • They might call it “constructive” to get you to think they could help. It might be offered “for your own good” or as some sort of reality check. If the words do not build you up, you are hereby authorized to courteously reject them.
  • Tune it out. Hearing it will not help you. In fact, it could slow you down for days or weeks.
  • If you hear it, change the station.
  • If you think you will hear it, change your location.
  • If someones’s (like a parent, spouse  or authority figure) criticism is in your head, reject it, evict it and soothe yourself with comforting and affirming statements.
  • Do not engage criticism as true in any way. Critical comments are really only a version of that other person’s perception and not factual at all. They offer it to make themselves feel good by making you feel bad. It seeks to make you accountable to their worldview, which isn’t going to help you in any way.

 

Pedro the Lion, a punk band, popularized a song in the first part of this century called Criticism as Inspiration which ,ironically, makes clear there is no inspiration in criticism. You can listen to the song on You Tube  or read on for the relevant part of the lyrics included below.
It makes me feel so good
To always tell you when you’re wrong
The big man that I am
To always have to put you down                                                  
 
It makes me feel so good
To always put you in your place
I can write it in a song
But never say it to your face, to your face
Songwriters
DAVID SHANNON BAZAN
LYRICS © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

 

Step 2.

Create and hold space for new people and experiences.

Different thoughts are likely to make room for additional, perhaps different, people and experiences in your life. 

I heard of a coach who helped his clients achieve fantastic outcomes by offering ways for them to make room in their lives for different thoughts and different results. Yet by his own testimony was unable to do this for himself. The reason, it was pointed out to him, was that he had a very well practiced version of his own story and was completely unable to change it, because he was not aware of it. He could see this in others and help them change because he was not heavily invested in their stories. But he was heavily invested in his own. 
 
(Soapbox moment. This is why almost everyone who wants different results faster can benefit from hiring a coach. Part of a coach’s job is to create that space and hold it until you fill it with thoughts and actions that actually improve your life.)

 

In a Harvard Business Review article from January 22, 2015, Greg McKeown suggests that 99% of networking is a waste of time. Yet he realizes that relationships are the key to success. He quotes Rich Strombeck, venture capitalist and entrepreneur.
Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They are attached to people.

 

Get to know new people. Build some focused strategies that do not waste your time. If you are an authentic contributor to the wellbeing and happiness of others, chances are the favor will be returned over and over.

 

Step 3.

Explore your strengths.

You have strengths. Now that you’ve stopped beating yourself up with criticism, learn what your strengths are and start building the habit of leveraging them in your work and relationships. If you want to know more about living from your strengths, here are a couple of resources you can dig into.

Step 4.

Reframe, Rehearse, Reinforce a new story.

 

My family of origin labeled me with the nickname “brainless.”(It wasn’t intended as cruel. It was just a normal expression of familial dysfunction. We’ve all been there, right?) But I was pretty young when it happened and darned if that didn’t become part of my story, despite significant counter-evidence along the way. In my thirties I finally put my foot down about it when a sibling used that moniker with me. I mention this as an example of telling a well rehearsed story that does not serve you, all the while living in perpetual panic that it might well be true.

 

Yes, I am conscious of the fact that I am still talking about it, so there is still more clearing work for me to do. See how important Step 1 above is?

 

Here are some techniques you can apply to work on this. I call them The Three Rs. 

Reframe: Change the story you tell yourself.

 

If I trace it back to its origin, I realize the nickname was merely a feckless and lazy way for someone to say they felt disappointment over something. Now I know that I am not obligated to burden myself with the memory of that nickname, just because someone insensitively directed it toward me.

Rehearse: Change your response to the original story.

Holding hand to heart, say, “When I feel myself being critical of my intellect, I remember that I can stand confidently in my intellectual abilities.”

 

Pointing to your right temple, say, “I am completely whole and able to apply my thinking in productive and prosperous ways.”

Reinforce: Offer a completely new vibration.

 

Here’s a good one from Neal Donald Walsh. “I accept as my truth the highest ideas about myself. I have called forth these ideas and do not reject them as too good to be true.”
I slightly paraphrased  his original tweet.
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 You do need to be intentional with this 3R process. It can’t happen by accident. Train your brain to be strong in a new conception of your reality. The stronger your intention and focus, the sooner it can happen.
 
Be kind to yourself today and try on these thoughts.