Make a Feint

If you have something on your mind that you want to do, dream to do, wish to do, now is the right time to do it.

I hear you. I mean, I hear your excuses in my mind. Because they’re also my excuses for not doing the things I want, dream, wish I could do.

The excuses can always be boiled down to the same obstacle. And that obstacle is fear.

You know the drill. The only way to have a full life, an extraordinary life, is to face fear by doing the things we’re afraid of doing.

Surprise your fear, make a feint, and score a goal!

What have you been putting off because you’re scared?

It Doesn’t Matter What They Think

Most people agree that it doesn’t matter what other people think of them. That’s in theory.

In reality, without realizing it, we attach importance to the opinion others have about us. Yes, you do it too… and that’s okay. For now.

What they think of us matters, but we would like the tranquility that comes from not giving them any power over us through their opinions.

Start by being conscious that what they do, how they feel, and what they think isn’t in your control. Their actions, their feelings, and their thoughts belong to them.

And then do the exercise of not taking what they do, feel, or think personally.

You’re wrong 99% of the time when you give meaning to someone’s action, or you try to guess what they’re thinking of feeling. You don’t have telepathic powers. So stop acting and talking as if you had 😉

Letting Go

There are things that you have to let go in your life because they act like poisons. It’s hard because that thing you have to let go is usually connected to intense feelings.

And the brain has a way to remind you of that thing you need to let go for your own good. It seems to pop from now where, and even though you don’t want to think about it, a subtle cue can trigger the thing to emerge from deep within.

You need to be aware of the cue that triggers your thing, and prepare something to replace it -your thing- whenever it comes up. It could be as simple as “if I start thinking about my thing, I’ll sing Brother John until it goes away”.

Letting go is going to be much easier if you remove everything that reminds you your thing. It’s a process that can take years, but the sooner you eliminate triggers, the faster you’ll let go. And when you let go, your mind is free to focus on positive things.

Morning Ritual

Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or journaling, a morning ritual isn’t so much about the activity you do, but more about the habit of reflection. Taking time to examine what’s going on in your life, to look inside yourself.

It helps you to get conscious of the choices you make during the day, and gives you direction and purpose. Because you’re prepared for the day, you’ll be able to act -not react- with love, patience, and understanding.

You already have a morning ritual. Is it one that primes you for the day? Being aware of your current morning ritual will open your eyes on the kind of days you usually have.

Every morning, you build your day. Every day you build your life.

 

The One

Most people know that their partner will hardly ever change because they ask or want them to. If they don’t know that yet, they soon find it out the hard way. Still, it’s astounding the number of people who say they will succeed in changing something they dislike in their partner.

When someone makes a change, it’s often with great effort, and only if he or she has strong reasons to do so.

Wouldn’t it be easier to find someone who has less of the things you don’t want, and more of those that you want? Of course, if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the first place, how can you ever find the one?

Become a Master

Mastering any physical skill takes practice. Practicing is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement that helps us perform with more ease, speed, and confidence.

Here’s a little bit of science to understand what happens when we practice things. You can skip this paragraph if you want to go straight to getting the most out of your practice time.

Our brain has two types of neural tissues. Gray matter, which processes information directing signals and sensory stimuli to nerve cells, and white matter, which is made of fatty tissues and nerve matters.

For our body to move, the information needs to travel from the grey matter down the spinal cord, to a chain of nerve fibers called axons in our muscles. The axons in the white matter are wrapped with a substance called myelin. This substance changes when you practice: it’s like black electric tape on electrical cables. It prevents energy loss from electrical signals that the brain uses, moving them more effectively along neural pathways.

When you repeat a physical motion, it increases the layers of myelin that insulates the axon. The more layer, the greater the insolation around the axon. This forms a sort of super highway for information that connects your brain to your muscles.

Muscles don’t have what is commonly referred to as muscle memory. It’s rather the increase of the myelin layers forming a better insolation that creates a faster and more efficient neural pathway that gives the impression of the muscle memory phenomenon.

Enough science for now.

Mastery isn’t simply about the hours you put into practice, but also the quality and effectiveness of your practice.

To be effective, practice must be consistent, intensely focused, and must target content or weaknesses that lies at the edge of your current abilities. 

Here’s how to get the most out of your practice time.

  • Focus on the task at end. Reduce all potential distractions like TV, computer and cell phone notifications.
  • Start slowly. You will build your coordination through correct or incorrect repetition. Try to gradually increase the speed of the correct repetitions.
  • Repeat frequently with a few breaks in between. You’ll be better off dividing your time for effective practice into many daily practice sessions of limited duration.
  • Once you have established a physical motion, you can reinforce it with vivid visualization. Practice by imagining your craft with as much detail as possible.

Enjoy becoming a master!

Running in Circles

You probably know what you want to change in your life, but maybe you’re not open to change, or you’re stuck in a loop.

You want to change, but can’t seem to accomplish what you said you would, or you don’t know how to make it happen.

Maybe you do things, but it’s not working, and you don’t know what to do differently.

You might be too afraid because you know your own limitations, or it’s impossible because you would destroy everything you’ve built so far.

You’re running in circles. If only you could take action. You don’t feel like it though. You’re too tired. You’re afraid. You can’t. Your boss won’t let you. You have bills to pay. And you have 5 or 10 more very good reasons not to.

Changing something is a lot of work, and nobody feels like doing it. And there’s the difference between someone who’s running in circles, who feels stuck, and someone who does it anyway and makes things happen.

I know. The life you created makes you feel trapped and frustrated. You want something more.

The only antidote to running in circles is action. You’re in charge, and you can do the hard work to make your desires come true. Take action when you don’t feel like it, when you worry you can’t, and when everyone says you’re crazy.

Listen to that little twinge and stop running in circles.

The Next Avenue

When you comment on a post, your ideas sometimes meet with something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Like Mark said on “Can This Work for Me“:

I too am guilty of rationalizing away the solution all too often. And you nailed it! Because it takes me outside of my comfort zone. So I just give up and look for the next avenue.

You see, I read tons of books (and that’s the problem), but I get frustrated because I’m not retaining the information I’m reading. Science says we remember only 10% of what we read. Even so, with 10% of everything I’ve read, I should be pretty close to hitting Nirvana! I should be the happiest, fittest, healthiest, most organized person in the world!

Unfortunately, I’m far from having completed this feat. Which is a good thing in a way, because I can continue to grow, but it’s also frustrating because I feel like starting over and over again from ground zero.

My frustration is caused by my hunger for what Mark calls “the next avenue”. I read the book, implemented a few of the things the author prescribed, and then forget about what I’ve learned because I’m reading another great book, from which I take a few tricks to make my life better, and this loop just goes on.

There’s a lot of good information. My problem is I want to have the best information, and use it to grow into a better person. So I’m still chasing “the next avenue”.

One solution I found for this never ending chase is to re-read books that I find have the most life changing information.

Taking notes is tedious, but the rare time I did it, and went through them a few times were when I made the most progress.

Another solution is blogging. It has helped me retain more information and put it into action.

I guess it’s only a matter of getting into the habit of taking notes, re-reading, and blogging. But there’s always this teasing voice telling me, “what if this next book has what you’re looking for?”…

 

 

Doubts

It can be daunting to doubt your own thoughts and decisions, and other people’s actions and ideas. To doubt means to have feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something. Even when that something is proven by facts, science, and unfaulted logic.

When you chronically doubt yourself, you create a loop of low self-confidence that leads to more self-doubt. When you lack confidence in your own decision, it’s because you are afraid of making a mistake.

A great way to combat self-doubt is to experience the very thing you’re doubting. It’s in no case a quick fix, will surely take some time and efforts, and there will be plenty of challenges along the way because doubt is perceived as some kind of safety. You’ll have to remind yourself that it is okay to make mistakes because you’ll learn from them, and grow because you’ll have survive the experience.

The more experiences you create to battle your self-doubts, the more confidence you’ll build, which will also create a loop, a positive one that is.

In short, self-doubt is another fancy word for fear, and the only way to fight fear is to have the courage to face it.

 

Blame and Responsibility

There’s a huge difference between blame and responsibility. Blame doesn’t have acceptance connected to it, and it suggests that someone is at fault. What’s important to understand is that people who tend to blame will look for anything that is not in line with their rigid beliefs.

Blamers hold on to inflexible belief systems, and they feel threatened when you do things that question their small thinking.

When everyone agrees with one another on these belief systems instead of developing our thinking to consider new beliefs, we stay stuck in the inadequate belief model.

Being blamed for something makes you feel guilty. Instead of letting the feeling take hold of you, try to understand the other person’s belief, and chose to let go of the guilt by giving back what belongs to the blamer in a loving and caring way, and taking responsibility for what belongs to you.

Taking responsibility simply means you acknowledge you have not done the best you could. You know you’ve made a mistake, but you forgive yourself, and do everything you can to fix the mess you’ve made.

The compassion you use to taking responsibility gives you power, confidence, and lets you grow better beliefs. Your new beliefs will help you express positive intentions, and search for the best solution when a challenge is presented to you.

It’s hard to not blame other people, and when we do, it’s time to look at our own set of beliefs. Maybe they’re great beliefs, but they simply do not align with the other person’s beliefs. If that’s the case, understand the dichotomy, and share compassion with the person about her challenging and frustrating problem.