Mental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Mental AwarenessMental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Guest Post By Leo Babauta

There’s a hidden mechanism that creates unhappiness, difficulty changing habits, relationship problems, frustration, anger and disappointment.

Barely anyone is aware of this hidden mechanism, even though it’s happening all the time, in all of us.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves.

We do it all day long: we tell ourselves a story about what’s happening in our lives, about other people, about ourselves. When I call them “stories” … that doesn’t mean they’re false, or that they aren’t based on the truth. It just means we’ve constructed a narrative based on our experiences, a perspective on the world around us, an interpretation of facts as we see them. Not false, but not necessarily the entire truth — just one perspective.

A different person could look at the same situation and tell a very different situation.

A few examples:

  1. You might have a story about how your boss is very supportive and praises you a lot, which means you are doing a good job and like your work environment, and this story makes you happy. Another person might look at the same situation and tell a story about how the work area is messy and people are always interrupting him and he’s tired and the clients are rude and smelly.
  2. You might be upset with your spouse because she was rude to you or didn’t clean up her messes for the last few days. Another person might have the same experience but tell themselves a story about how his spouse has been working hard at her job, has gone out of her way to cook a nice meal for you, and is tired and needs some comforting.
  3. You might have a story about how you keep procrastinating, keep failing at being disciplined, never stick to a workout routine. Another perspective might be that you have gotten some great things done despite getting distracted, you’ve been passionate about learning something and that’s taken a priority over work tasks you’re dreading, and you are tired and need some rest before you can tackle exercise with vigor.

Each of these examples have very different stories about the same situations — it’s about which details you pay attention to, and how you shape the narrative of those details.

Now, telling ourselves stories is natural — we all do it, all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if we’re not aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can’t understand how they shape our happiness, relationships, moods, and more.

Becoming Aware of Your Stories

Throughout the day, you’re telling yourself stories about what’s going on, about how wrong other people are to do what they do, about how good or bad you are at things.

My challenge to you is to start to notice what you’re telling yourself about everything.

It’s important to be aware of what those stories are, and how they’re affecting your happiness. If a story is making you happy, and you’re aware of that, then great! If you’re not aware of it, it’s not such a big problem if it’s making you happy, but what happens if the story starts to make you unhappy with your life? Then if you’re not aware, you have difficulties.

So start to become aware of your stories, good and bad. Notice them throughout the day.

Notice when you’re getting stuck in the story, spinning it around and around in your head. So and so shouldn’t have done this, and on and on, making you frustrated and unhappy with the person.

When we get hooked on a story, it’s hard to break away from it. But becoming aware of being hooked is the most important step.

What We Can Do

So what can we do if we’re hooked on a story? It can be very difficult to break out of that trap. I know, because it happens to me all the time — I see the story I’m telling myself, but it seems so solid and real that I can’t just let it go.

The first thing you can do is regard it as a dream. That doesn’t mean it’s false, it just means it’s not so solid. It’s something you’re playing out in your head, just like a dream, with very real emotional results. See it as a dream, not solid, and see if you can come out of the dream to the physical reality of the world around you in this moment. What sensations are happening right now, as opposed to in this dream?

The next thing you can do is not act on the story. Even if you’re caught up in it, that doesn’t mean you have to lash out at someone, or run away to distraction or comfort. Just sit with the story, notice how it’s making you feel, notice the physical sensations in your body. Notice that you’re caught up. But don’t act, just stay with your awareness.

There is another way of being: where you don’t cling to the stories but instead drop below them, and are just aware of the moment as it is, without interpretations, judgements, preconceptions. Stories will still come up, but you can notice them and not get caught up. Or if you do get caught up, notice that and don’t hold so tightly to it, coming back to the present moment.

However, this is a pretty advanced skill, and most of us can’t stay in this mode of being for very long. For now, just focus on awareness of your story, regarding it as a dream, and not acting on the story as much as we normally do.

In this way, you’ll be less caught up in whatever is causing unhappiness and frustration, and more present in the current moment.

 

Feel free to start changing your story today…

Top 50 John Lennon Quotes

john-lennon-quotesGuest post: by Gregg Prescott, M.S.
Editor, In5D.com

50 inspirational quotes from John Lennon. John Lennon was one of those rare people who was more influenced by peace and harmony than living an affluent life. His words were not only deep but inspiring. While John did not lead a very long life, his words remain immortal.

50. “Love is the greatest refreshment in life.”

49. “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”

48. “My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

47. “That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be.”

46. “Everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground.”

45.  “There is an alternative to war. It’s staying in bed and growing your hair.”

44. “My defenses were so great. The cocky rock and roll hero who knows all the answers was actually a terrified guy who didn’t know how to cry. Simple.”

43. “Well, I don’t want to be king, I want to be real.”

42. “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friends”

41. “Trying to please everybody is impossible – if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it.”

40. “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

39. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

38. “One thing I can tell you is you have to be free. Come together, right now, over me.”

37.  “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

36. “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”

35. “Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.”

34. “Only by trying on other people’s clothes do we find what size we are.”

33. “Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.”

32. “Declare it. Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace… we just need to declare it.”

31. “Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realized that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.”

30. “When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”

29. “Happiness is just how you feel when you don’t feel miserable.”

28. “If everyone could just be happy with themselves and the choices people around them make, the world would instantly be a better place!”

27. “You know the way people begin to look like their dogs? Well, we’re beginning to look like each other.”

26. “A mistake is only an error, it becomes a mistake when you fail to correct it.”

25. I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.

24. “The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

23. “…Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I don’t know what will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. We’re more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

22. “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”

21. “When I cannot sing my heart, I can only speak my mind.”

20. “You’re all geniuses, and you’re all beautiful. You don’t need anyone to tell you who you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace, think peace, and live peace and breathe peace, and you’ll get it as soon as you like.”

19. I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?

18. “Everything is clearer when you’re in love.”

17. “I’m not really a career person; I’m a gardener, basically.”

16. “Sometimes you wonder, I mean really wonder. I know we make our own reality, and we always have a choice, but how much is preordained? Is there always a fork in the road, and are there two preordained paths that are equally preordained? There could be hundreds of paths where one could go this way or that way — there’s a chance, and it’s very strange sometimes.”

15. “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do , Something you are, And something you give away”

14. “Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear. Why on earth are you there, when you’re everywhere-come and get your share.”

13. “Creativity is a gift. It doesn’t come through if the air is cluttered.”

12. “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

11. “Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

10. “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!”

9. “There are no problems, only solutions.”

8. “There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

7.  “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

6. “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.

Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.

It’s easy.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.

No one you can save that can’t be saved.

Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.

It’s easy.

Nothing you can know that isn’t known.

Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.

Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.

It’s easy.”

5. “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.”

4. “If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”

3. “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

2. “It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love”

2. “It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love”

1.  “Love, Love, Love. All you need is love. Love is all you need.”

About the Author:
Gregg Prescott <a href=Gregg Prescott, M.S. is the founder and editor of In5D and BodyMindSoulSpirit. You can find his In5D Radio shows on the In5D Youtube channel. Gregg is also a transformational speaker and promotes spiritual, metaphysical and esoteric conferences in the United States through In5dEvents. His love and faith for humanity motivates him to work in humanity’s best interests 12-15+ hours a day, 365 days a year
.

Gregg is a friend of theburnedhand.com and has given permission to share his article here.  Thank you Gregg!

How To Release Yourself from Your Past: 7 Tested Ways

Guest post by: Zane Baker

How To Release Yourself from Your Past: 7 Tested Ways

Who doesn’t have a past?

That’s the million dollar question!

Each one of us has a past. Most likely you have experienced your fair share of wonderful memories and very exciting moments that you are bound to keep with you for eternity.

However, you’ve also likely been through situations that were not only challenging, but also full of pain and heartache.

In this regard, there are some aspects of your past that were particularly difficult, which is very common.

You may, therefore, find yourself feeling guilty about some of the things you have said, done or failed to do.

If you want to move on, away from such painful memories, then you have to put the past behind you.

To succeed, you must put lots of effort and hard work.  This is important because it is impossible to have any healthy or effective relationship with yourself or with others if you are living in the past.

You must, therefore, make some concerted effort to not only focus on the now and here, but also on the future that you are keen on creating.  You do that by immediately making the decision to leave your past behind and take the necessary steps and start living in the present.

In doing so, you will, without a doubt, notice that your confidence will soar and you will also experience healthier and happier relationships which will not only bring great rewards to your life but also to your loved ones and those that you closely associate with.

To help you succeed in this important endeavor, here are some important tips on how to release yourself from your past: 7 tested ways.

Lets begin:

1. Don’t deny your past

The first and the most important step you should take is to accept your past. You must be able to face up to the past and acknowledge whatever happened. It is unwise to pretend that nothing happened or hope that you shall after some time forget whatever transpired. This though should not be mistaken to mean that you have to dwell constantly on it, to the contrary, you should not continuously blame yourself over it. You should make sure though that you take your lessons from that particular experience and view it as a learning experience.

2. Don’t underestimate your achievements

Always keep in mind that whenever you spend an inordinate amount of time regretting your past, you are continuously diminishing and ignoring all the positive achievements that you have made or attained during the same period and in the present. This is mainly because you are giving recognition and credit only to your past mistakes. You should ensure that you constantly and consistently focus on your achievements and not solely on your mistakes. Focusing on your mistakes not only makes them bigger but also gives them the power to control your life as well as your actions. To assist you in this task, you can make a point of writing down your achievements on a piece of paper or notebook, and when you are feeling low or overwhelmed, you can quickly go through them and get some encouragement.

3. Don’t miss or forget the lessons learned from your past mistakes

Unfortunately, for many of us, our mistakes are how we constantly tend to define ourselves. In this regard, it is vital that we keep on reminding ourselves that our mistakes aren’t who we are. However, it is important to pick the lessons you have learned from past experiences. However, positive or negative the experience may be. You should be fully aware that life generally tests us first and then teaches us the requisite lessons later. Your mistakes are part of the learning process in life and should be considered as such. Make sure you use the messages in your past to construct a future that’s not only happy and rich but also successful. As one writer aptly puts it, “A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.”

4. Avoid negative thoughts or cynicism

When something goes wrong, we always tend to take a more catastrophic way of thinking, often feeling or thinking that a single bad experience implies that our whole life is in shambles and completely ruined. However, nothing could be further from the truth. No matter what goes wrong, always keep in mind that you have the innate strength and ability to rebuild your life and get back on the right track. Even though it is true that you cannot be devoid of negative thoughts, always make a point of challenging any negative thoughts that pop up.

5. Learn to forgive so that you can move forward

Many times, we tend to hold ourselves hostage by failing to not only forgive ourselves for past indiscretions. These indiscretions may have been caused by us or brought upon us by other people. To move forward, you must let go of the pain and hurt that’s been holding you back. By learning to forgive, you will be able to move freely ahead without any hindrances whatsoever as your mind will be free of the baggage that such negative feelings tend to bring about. As a matter of fact, forgiving any past transgressions does you more good than anyone else. Learn to let go so that you can live freely and be able to channel your positive energy and thoughts to some other important aspects of your life.

6. Seek support whenever necessary

No man or a woman is an island. We all need support from time to time; this is especially so if you are facing a difficult past. The support you seek may come in different forms; you can get support from close friends and family members or seek professional help to assist you in working through your past and releasing the negative thoughts and feelings. Always keep in mind that seeking support and help is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, this is a sign of great strength since it shows that you appreciate and know that you need to reach out to others for some assistance.

7. Use your past mistakes to assist others

All of us have things in our past that make us feel low and ashamed from time to time. Don’t let these feelings keep you from forging a new future. As many people will acknowledge, one of the best ways or methods of getting over an issue or a problem is to share your experience with others. You should use your past experiences to assist others who find themselves in similar situations. Using what you are ashamed of to help others is without doubt one of the most effective ways of not helping others tackle the problem at hand but also strengthening your resolve to be a better person in the future.

In conclusion, by applying the tips mentioned above, it is possible to let go of your past successfully.

It does though demand some effort and focus on your part, but it can be done since you have the innate power inside you to embrace a new beginning and start your life afresh.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Please share the knowledge and help a fellow friend or family member benefit from this article.

Till we meet again, have a fabulous day!

With Love,
Zane

Zane Baker is a Master Success Coach & Inspirational Speaker.  He’s also the Co-Founder of The Valhalla Mind Institute & The My Daily Zen Transformational Programs.  Zane serves over 150 thousand subscribers & followers with his free newsletter & personal growth advice on his Facebook page.  His top rated meditation track is available here “The Vision Quest”.  And you can visit his blog at www.ValhallaMind.com

When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

empath loves a narcissistGuest post by Steve Waller

When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

They occupy opposite ends of the love spectrum, but empaths and narcissists often find themselves coupled up in unlikely relationships. But why? What is it that attracts one to the other?

This article will focus mainly on why empaths find themselves pulled towards narcissists, how they get trapped, and what they have to do to escape.

What The Empath Sees

Gifted with the ability to sense the underlying emotions and feelings of others, an empath is uniquely placed to see into the depths of a narcissist’s being to the wounded, unhappy soul that resides there.

Upon discovering this pained creature, the instinctual response of the empath is to try to help, heal, and love them.

Before they know it, they become entangled with this narcissist and the toxic relationship begins.

How They Get Sucked In

Narcissists can, when required, display copious amounts of charm and charisma. You might think that empaths would be less susceptible to this artificial persona, but it is precisely because they are beings of love that they wish to see the best in everyone.

They can sense the pain that is hidden behind the smile and the wit, while, at the same time, believing that this act is some sort of suppressed character trying to assert control. They think that they can help free it through their care and affection.

They envisage a time in the future when this narcissistic individual can become a changed person, cured of all their bad traits and free from pain. Once they believe in this possibility, they feel compelled to try to make it a reality.

What Stops Them Leaving

It won’t be too long before an empath begins to regret their decision to get involved with the narcissist. The person they initially fall for will quickly disappear, revealing the true nature of the beast.

The empath will shower love and kindness on the narcissist – to the point where it turns into adoration – in an attempt to purge the pain from them and soothe their damaged spirit.

But to the narcissist, this sort of attention is like a drug; they simply can’t get enough of it. And unfortunately for the empath, it only serves to reinforce the egoistic self-adulation.

Then comes the game playing and manipulation. To maintain their air of superiority, a narcissist will seek to control every situation involving their empath partner. They will use destructive and demeaning language to tear them apart, piece by piece, until they can exert their utter dominance.

In spite of all their good intentions, the empath will find themselves in a trap; one of loving a person who is incapable of caring for them, let alone showing love back.

But they aren’t yet aware of this trap; they continue to seek the narcissist’s affection in a vain attempt to mend the broken heart they see before them. They struggle to understand what is happening to them because, from their position, the behavior of their partner is utterly incomprehensible.

What happens next is quite possibly the most damaging aspect of the whole process: the empath looks at all of the pain and trauma now filling their life and pins the blame squarely on themselves.

Rather than accept that the narcissist is the cause of all their misery like they should, they insist that it is they who have failed. They wrongly believe that all the conflict and resentment in the relationship is their fault; that they somehow didn’t try hard enough to rid their lover of the pain they endure.

From this self-blame grows an unwillingness to do what is required; to break up with their narcissist partner. They proceed to lock themselves in their own prison by forfeiting their right to be happy. They insist that to do so would only heap more misery on the already tormented soul they have such affection for.

How They Finally Break Free

There is only one method of escape for the empath and that is to fully open their eyes to the situation they are in. In order to make a break for freedom, they must first understand that the original lure of the narcissist was misguided.

They must realize that it is nobody’s duty to fix another; that they have no responsibility to stay with their partner any longer. They must accept that whether the narcissist will ever change is not something they have any say in; they can only captain their own ship and it’s time to choose a different course.

This will not, by any means, be the last they hear from the narcissist. In an all-out bid to regain what they see as a possession, they will declare their undying love for the empath, swear they have changed, and make many promises that they know they cannot keep.

They will turn the charm back on and, for a while, the empath may see some of what they initially found so appealing. But if the empath can hold their nerve during this period, the narcissist will eventually unleash a barrage of malicious words and actions in a desperate attempt to pull their victim back in. This can be extremely difficult to endure and it can seem like the whole world is crashing down around you, but you must hold firm.

Leaving a narcissist isn’t the end of the story for the empath; it will take a long time for them to put the pieces of their life back together and even longer to regain their faith in the goodness of other people. But they will have broken the bond that so often draws empaths and narcissists together.

Are you an empath who has been through such a trial? Leave a comment below and share you thoughts and experiences.

Just for fun, take this quick quiz.

Steve WallerSteve Waller is the founder of A Conscious Rethink – a growing voice in the world of mind, body and spirit. He has benefitted greatly from self-help books and other aspects of the personal development movement, and now wants to share some of his knowledge and wisdom with those who need it. His Facebook page reaches millions of people each week with its mix of inspirational quotes, motivational videos, and helpful articles.

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Law Of Attraction And Attracting Positive Things Into Your Life

Believe it or not, a better life may be as simple as attracting it. This is thanks to a powerful force known as the Law Of Attraction.

Many people are well aware of this powerful universal law and use it to their advantage on a regular basis. However, some people are not aware of it and inadvertently attract negative things into their lives. That’s the tricky part about the Law Of Attraction, it works both ways, bad and good.

I’m sure you would like this law to work for you instead of against you. If this is the case, the best place to start is understanding the law and how it works.

Here is a brief explanation…

Basically, everything we do, think and say emits energy. The more positive things we do, the more positive energy we send out. On the other hand, the more negative things we do, the more negative energy we send out.

This energy acts like a magnet and draws similar energies into our lives. Therefore, the circumstances, people and everything else in our lives is a direct result of our actions.

For this reason, we should go out of our way to think positively, speak positively and make positive actions in every day of our lives.

This is something that can take some practice to master, especially when it comes to trying to avoid negative thoughts. After all, it can be hard to stop a thought, they sometimes just happen. However, as with anything else in life, practice makes perfect and the more you work on this valuable skill, the easier it will become.

Here are a couple of simple exercises to get you started…

  1. Focus On The Positives

One simple way to change the way you see things is to begin looking for the positive in every situation and every person. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, there is always an upside to everything.

Next time you feel negative thoughts entering your mind, replace them with positive ones. Dig deep and find something good about the person or situation that is causing negative thoughts. Once you have replaced the thoughts, reinforce the behavior with a small reward. Anything will work, even one of your favorite candy bars.

  1. The Gratitude Exercise

Gratitude goes a long way with the Law OF Attraction. This is entirely understandable. After all, nothing or no one wants to do something without it being appreciated, including the Universe.

Therefore, the more appreciation you show for what you have in your life, the more positive things you will attract.

At times this can be difficult, especially during rough times. However, it’s important to remember that things could always be worse and they will surely become that way if you do not show gratitude for the things you do have in life.

You may want to take the time at least once a day to show appreciation for something you have in life. This simple act will surely attract blessings into your life.

The Law Of Attraction is nothing to fear or try to avoid. Instead we should embrace it and be thankful for it, as this law can bring an abundance of blessings into our lives.

It may be hard for some people to believe, but creating a better life can be as simple as attracting it!

 

sean_bioAbout our guest blogger:

Sean May is the founder of Science of Imagery. Sean focuses on helping individuals and companies reach their personal and professional goals while working to make the world a better place, one smile at a time. He has over 10 years of experience in the Personal Development space, using many different modalities and techniques to help break through old belief patterns and focusing on making things as fun as possible to break through any negativity or seriousness.

 

3 Things You Can Do To Supercharge Your Ability To FOCUS and Create POSITIVE Outcomes

I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Maria.  She is my guest blogger today, and her bio is at the end of this post!

We all have dreams, ideas and goals…but it’s only when you take ACTION that dreams take shape. Action makes dreams come true. Action is the only way to achieve results.

With hectic schedules, a society so heavily indebted to instant gratification and “bigger, better, faster, more…” how is it possible to stay focused on what you want to achieve?

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” ~Peter Marshall

When big projects and big ideas are in front of you…sometimes the enthusiasm from your inspiration gets watered down and you experience analysis paralysis. The reality is, however, that it’s better just to get things done and they don’t have to be perfect.

In fact, there are very specific things you can do to achieve massive success, if you’re willing to open the gateway to more clarity and improved action that help you stay focused:

1. Invest in your mind and body by starting your day between 4am and 5am doing the same ritual you can easily commit to EVERY DAY. Your ritual should nourish your mind and body AND be so simplified you can do it on “auto pilot.” For instance, begin by hydrating your body with warm water and lemon, stretching and meditation. More important, as you become accustomed to early hours, you’ll find that no matter how many people live under the same roof with you…YOU will find time alone without interruption. You’ll discover your body will benefit from the hydration and stretching and your mind will also find clarity, flexibility and more inspiration about the things YOU choose to focus on.

The Ayurveda lifestyle believes in routine and that one should wake up about 1 to 1 ½ hours before sunrise so that your body can synchronize with the rhythm of the sun. They consider this time most auspicious and meditation at this time helps your mental performance.

As an early riser you’ll discover time to work on the projects that matter to you. By waking up early you get a head start on your day and your schedule. The most creative and productive hours tend to be early morning hours (while most others are sleeping).

Think about it. If you have an average 40 hour work week…adding even only one hour a day to your day, you’ll have nearly one additional work day added to your week! Early morning will give you the biggest benefit because it’ll be uninterrupted. You’ll own the day, rather than the day owning you.

“If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.” ~T. Harv Eker

2. Schedule Your Day using the Ivy Lee Method. At the end of each day write down a list of the 6 MOST IMPORTANT things you need to accomplish for tomorrow. Prioritize them. Each day concentrate on the first task until it’s complete and then move on to the second task. Repeat the process every day. This may sound simple but it has some very deep roots that inherently force you to stay focused and it’ll have you make the (difficult) decisions necessary to fully complete the task at hand. You can read the story about how one of the richest men in the world, Charles M. Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel paid Ivy Lee $25,000 after receiving this advice for free solely because of the tremendous value it brought him and the progress it gave his company.
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” ~Jim Rohn
3. Remove the mind clutter from decision-making. In other words, instead of having to make choices every day about various things in your life (stealing time away from your focus), make more of your decisions and tasks streamline. Like item #1, starting your day with a ritual so easy you can do it on autopilot…what other things can you do to save time so that you can invest more time in other more important actions?

For example, did you ever notice Steve Jobs wear the exact same thing every day when he was with us? That’s right, jeans and a basic black turtleneck. Or how about Mark Zuckerberg…aside from Facebook, he’s known for wearing jeans and a hoodie. They both saved time by eliminating the burden of daily choices via their apparel. This alone has been documented and found to be a common trait and mindset of the successful entrepreneur.

Another way to remove mind clutter from decision-making is through meal planning. I choose the same breakfast smoothie every day. It’s a no-brainer, healthy, and easy. I also encourage busy moms to make Saturday or Sunday your cooking day and make foods to have available the rest of the week for lunches (chicken, lentils, washed/cut greens for salad, soup, cut apples with lemon juice, etc…). It saves time thinking about what to eat and removes the incentive to go out to eat (something less healthy). This goes a long way to saving you time during a busy week AND it keeps you healthy AND if you’re eating healthy…the mind stays clear, making it easier for you to focus.

There’s a reason Mind-Body-Spirit are lumped together. When they’re working in alignment, you’ll be operating with everything you have available to you (coming from you and through you).

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things,
we can accomplish those goals.” ~Steven Covey
The three tips in this article give you the ability to master your day so that you can invest your valuable time rather than spend time on less valuable things.

Mastering your day is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself: magnifying your focus, improving your action plan, ultimately gaining you results.

The bottom line is this…no matter what plans, dreams, goals you have…if you can’t lead yourself in doing them, there is no way you’ll be able to lead others no matter what area of life you’re wanting to focus on (from personal to professional).

Maria_bioBIO: Maria Flynn is the creator or OneWiseLife.com (OWL) an online magazine dedicated to helping you tap IN and turn ON your inner wisdom and create the life you love. A Reiki Master and Intuitive, Maria has also been researching and writing personal development articles for nearly 10 years, using this medium to help herself and others around the globe.

How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes

Act on your dreams

Guest post by: Steve Pavlina  (Link at the end)

How do you discover your real purpose in life? I’m not talking about your job, your daily responsibilities, or even your long-term goals. I mean the real reason why you’re here at all — the very reason you exist.

Perhaps you’re a rather nihilistic person who doesn’t believe you have a purpose and that life has no meaning. Doesn’t matter. Not believing that you have a purpose won’t prevent you from discovering it, just as a lack of belief in gravity won’t prevent you from tripping. All that a lack of belief will do is make it take longer, so if you’re one of those people, just change the number 20 in the title of this blog entry to 40 (or 60 if you’re really stubborn). Most likely though if you don’t believe you have a purpose, then you probably won’t believe what I’m saying anyway, but even so, what’s the risk of investing an hour just in case?

Here’s a story about Bruce Lee which sets the stage for this little exercise. A master martial artist asked Bruce to teach him everything Bruce knew about martial arts. Bruce held up two cups, both filled with liquid. “The first cup,” said Bruce, “represents all of your knowledge about martial arts. The second cup represents all of my knowledge about martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge.”

If you want to discover your true purpose in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false purposes you’ve been taught (including the idea that you may have no purpose at all).

So how to discover your purpose in life? While there are many ways to do this, some of them fairly involved, here is one of the simplest that anyone can do. The more open you are to this process, and the more you expect it to work, the faster it will work for you. But not being open to it or having doubts about it or thinking it’s an entirely idiotic and meaningless waste of time won’t prevent it from working as long as you stick with it — again, it will just take longer to converge.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a counselor or an engineer or a bodybuilder. To some people this exercise will make perfect sense. To others it will seem utterly stupid. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.

For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.

As you go through this process, some of your answers will be very similar. You may even re-list previous answers. Then you might head off on a new tangent and generate 10-20 more answers along some other theme. And that’s fine. You can list whatever answer pops into your head as long as you just keep writing.

At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.

You may also discover a few answers that seem to give you a mini-surge of emotion, but they don’t quite make you cry — they’re just a bit off. Highlight those answers as you go along, so you can come back to them to generate new permutations. Each reflects a piece of your purpose, but individually they aren’t complete. When you start getting these kinds of answers, it just means you’re getting warm. Keep going.

It’s important to do this alone and with no interruptions. If you’re a nihilist, then feel free to start with the answer, “I don’t have a purpose,” or “Life is meaningless,” and take it from there. If you keep at it, you’ll still eventually converge.

When I did this exercise, it took me about 25 minutes, and I reached my final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity.

Here was my final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

When you find your own unique answer to the question of why you’re here, you will feel it resonate with you deeply. The words will seem to have a special energy to you, and you will feel that energy whenever you read them.

Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping it with you on a daily basis and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose.

If you’re inclined to ask why this little process works, just put that question aside until after you’ve successfully completed it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably have your own answer to why it works. Most likely if you ask 10 different people why this works (people who’ve successfully completed it), you’ll get 10 different answers, all filtered through their individual belief systems, and each will contain its own reflection of truth.

Obviously, this process won’t work if you quit before convergence. I’d guesstimate that 80-90% of people should achieve convergence in less than an hour. If you’re really entrenched in your beliefs and resistant to the process, maybe it will take you 5 sessions and 3 hours, but I suspect that such people will simply quit early (like within the first 15 minutes) or won’t even attempt it at all. But if you’re drawn to read this blog (and haven’t been inclined to ban it from your life yet), then it’s doubtful you fall into this group.

Give it a shot! At the very least, you’ll learn one of two things: your true purpose in life -or- that you should unsubscribe from this blog. 😉  (his…not mine)  Update 8/8/06:  Be sure to read the follow-up to this article, especially if you’re having trouble with this particular approach (there’s an alternative method you can use):  The Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose.

**** Aimee’s Note:  I just was feeling really off today, and my business mentor told me about this site.  I did this exercise…and I was already a bit raw.  However, what I came up with at the end really had me in tears.  Because when I added one extra sentence, I just knew it and it shocked me.  Soooo.  Here it is: “To change the face of invisible disease and be a role model.”  <<< the last part is what I have struggled with and it brought me to tears.  I would love to know how you feel about this.