This morning I watched my daughter as she turned on the light in the laundry room so she could get a sweatshirt for school. There are three light switches outside the door. She started at the far end and worked her way down to the correct switch.
It was interesting to realize how much of what we do in our lives is habitual. When I turn on the laundry room light I take it for granted that it’s the switch closest to the door. I don’t have to think about it. I hardly even have to look at it.
Ella still does. The knowledge has not been hard wired into her brain yet. She has not repeated that action enough to create a neural pathway, so every time she does it, she still has to think about it and “figure it out.”
Those hard wired neural pathways create the habitual patterns that are extremely beneficial in our lives. Can you imagine if you had to figure out how to tie your shoes or read the paper, cook an egg or start your car every morning?
And you think it takes you a long time getting ready for work now?!?!
Most of us don’t have to think about those things: We don’t have to bog our conscious mind down with the minutiae of our daily tasks. Our subconscious mind takes over and handles those details. And that’s a really good thing… Except…
Except when the habitual patterns – the hard-wiring in our brains – keep us doing things that are NOT beneficial to the creation of TRUE Abundance.
Lately, I’ve been paying very close attention to the hard-wired patterns in my life. I’m evaluating them to see if they are serving me – moving me towards a life of TRUE Abundance – or sabotaging me – holding me back from TRUE Abundance. It’s a very interesting exercise if you feel like trying it.
Basically, you bring consciousness back to as many of your daily activities as you can. It’s a practice in presence. How conscious can you become of the normally unconscious actions you take throughout the day?
You might want to start with just 10-minutes. Try spending the next 10-minutes being fully conscious of every action you take. It’s not as easy as it sounds!
Last night, as I was working on the online community site for the 30-Day Abundance Quest, I got to experience just how tenacious these hard wired patterns are. I have long known that perfectionism is one of my biggest stumbling blocks. And as I worked on the site I realized just how strong its grip is.
With my trip last week and then all of the downtime my hosting service has been having I was working on the site late last night so it would be ready for today’s official launch. On a conscious, intellectual level, I knew that the top priority was to get all the functionality working correctly so that the community members could login, access the program recordings and resources and start connecting with and supporting one another.
But even as I “knew” what I “should” be doing I felt an irresistible urge to work on the design of the site, to make it look good and get the cool bells and whistles installed and working. It was a great opportunity for me to take another step in deconstructing that hard-wired neural pathway.
At times I felt like I was in the middle of a big tug of war: My unconscious mind was urging me to indulge the perfectionism and work on the “nice to haves” while my conscious mind was urging me to get the core functionality in place so the site would be ready to go today. Each time I felt the unconscious pattern of perfectionism starting to “win” I stopped and took a Breath Break and brought myself back into presence.
Where do you go into unconscious, habitual patterns that hold you back from TRUE Abundance? Start paying attention, become an investigator into the habits of your life. And when you find a habit that holds you back, start to bring more consciousness to it.
Try putting in a “Breath Break” before jumping into your unconscious actions. Email is another one of my self-limiting habitual patterns. So I’ve added a Breath Break before every email check. Every time I feel the email urge, I stop and breathe. After the breath I ask myself if I really need to check email at that moment. Will checking email move me towards or away from TRUE Abundance? If the answer is away, I don’t check it.
Where could you use a Breath Break? Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
Your partner in TRUE Abundance.
PS. If you do have habits that hold you back from financial abundance, the 30-Day Abundance Quest program is perfect for you. Over the next 30-days you’ll take short, simple actions that are specifically designed to transform your unconscious patterns of scarcity and lack into conscious patterns of abundance and prosperity. And you’ll be supported every step of the way by me and by the amazing community of Deliberate Creators who have joined the 30-Day Abundance Quest Community! We just began today, and it would be great to have you along on this journey into TRUE Abundance!
Happy New Year!
However you chose to celebrate (or not) the closing of 2009, I have no doubt that it was just right.
And now we find ourselves in a new year. Most of us recognize this New Year morning as a clean slate, a fresh start, and an opportunity to consciously step into the next chapter of our life.
When I awoke this morning to the sound of rain I took a few moments to give thanks for the challenges I faced in 2009. It may seem strange to give thanks for the challenges but it is when we face the challenges that we awaken our power and empower our gifts. So I offered thanks to those challenges and I gently allowed them to dissolve into the year that has now become history.
Why, I wonder, does it usually take a major external transition such as the turning of the year or the celebration of our birth for us to consciously let go of the past and set our intentions for the future?
What prevents us from doing that every morning when we arise? Indeed, what prevents us from doing so in every moment?
For every moment is truly a new now. In theory, we need not carry anything from the past into our present. And yet, mostly, that’s exactly what we choose to do.
Is it just habit? Is it just poor “emotional hygiene?” After all, we bathe on a regular basis to wash off the dirt of the past off our physical bodies. Why don’t we “bathe” our emotional bodies with the same regularity?
It seems to me that we actually have it backwards: Most of us bathe our physical bodies too much and our emotional bodies not nearly enough.
So as we move into 2010, as we move into this glorious new NOW and THIS beautiful new NOW, and THIS mysterious new NOW… perhaps an intention could be to bathe your emotional body at least as often as your physical body. When you take a shower, why not take a moment to imagine that you are also cleansing your inner being? Why not feel your soul being cleansed, the accumulated dirt and grime being washed away?
Welcome to your New Now! May you truly celebrate and enjoy all of your NOWs in this New Year.
I know this is very last minute, but if you have any “charge” around all the financial uncertainty that’s flying around right now, you’re going to want to join me for a very special, fr ee call tomorrow.
[UPDATE: Sherman had to reschedule this teleclass. The new date is Tuesday, March 24th from 12:00 – 1:00 pacific time!]
I’ve arranged a last-minute teleclass with my friend Spencer Sherman. Spencer is one of the top financial advisors in the country and is currently on a book tour promoting his brand new Random House book The Cure for Money Madness: Break Your Bad Money Habits, Live Without Financial Stress–and Make More Money!
Spencer regularly leads workshops on Financial Intimacy and Freedom at Esalen, the Omega Institute, Kripalu and more. And you’re going to get 60-minutes with him for free tomorrow!
Here’s some of what we’ll be exploring on the call:
- Just what is “Money Madness”
- What is the true cost of our Money Madness?
- The concept of sufficiency – knowing when enough is enough.
- Some practical tools for navigating these turbulent financial times.
- How to turn financial fear and uncertainty into peace and prosperity.
If your “Money Madness” has been howling at the moon lately with all of the financial craziness we’re seeing, you’ll want to be on this call!
Or enter your information in the form below to reserve your spot on this timely and much needed call!
Ordinary things, consistently done, produce extraordinary results.
— Keith Cunningham.
I love that quote. I’ve posted it on my computer monitor to remind me that I don’t have to do anything outrageous or spectacular to get spectacular results. I just have to do the little things, the ordinary things, consistently. When I do that, anything is possible.
So this month, I’ve started a new practice. I’m calling it 30-days of self care. The idea, in part, came from my experience with Mark Joyner’s Kaizen club. Kaizen is a Japanese concept meaning “Continuous Improvement.” And while, I love the concept of Mark’s Kaizen Club, in practice it didn’t work for me. I believe that I need more control over which specific aspect of my life I am improving. It’s an awesome program, and it may work for you. If you want to check it out for free, you can sign up for the free Kaizen Club trial here.
But I needed something slightly different, something that gives me more control. So this month I’m starting my new 30-Days of Self Care program. I’m basing this on research that shows we need about 21-days to install a new habit into our life. Have you ever noticed that you can begin doing something for a couple of days or even weeks – exercise, diet, meditation, stop smoking, etc. – but after a week or two the old habits start creeping back in?
That’s because those old, existing habits are hard wired into your brain. You’re literally hard wired for overeating or channel surfing or smoking. And, in order to disconnect that brain wiring you need to create new wiring, new neural pathways that will make the new habit the default.
Think about a river for a minute. The water flowing downstream is going to take the path of least resistance. It’s not going to jump over the river bank and chart a new course without some serious reason.
Your habitual actions are the same: They are going to continue to flow through the existing channels because those channels are the path of least resistance.
Fortunately, researchers have shown that it takes a lot less time to hard wire a new neural pathway than it does to cut a new river channel: About 21 days. 21 days is all you need to “hardwire” and create a new pathways. Until then, you’re using your will power to take the actions.
But think about it: If you can focus your intention and bring your will power into play for just 21 days, after that, habit kicks in, and the path of least resistance shifts to the new habit you are installing. Worth it?
I think so.
And that’s why I’ve taken the concept of the Kaizen Club and continuous improvement and created my own personal program. Each month I’m going to pick one specific self-care habit I want to change. And for that month, I will engage the new action I want to hard wire every single day.
By the end of the month, that new action should be a habit. It should be hard wired into my brain making that habit the default, the path of least resistance, and allowing me to move onto the next self care habit I want to install.
Here’s an example: This month I’m going to install the habit of going to bed with my room completely clutter free.
I know it doesn’t sound like much. And that’s the thing: Remember I’m looking to install habits where I do ordinary things consistently! I have a tendency to just throw my clothes onto the foot of my bed when I change into my pajamas. And after a couple of days there can be a pretty significant pile. My daughter sometimes brings toys into my room which can get forgotten and stepped on in the middle of the night. Other, miscellaneous stuff seems to mysterious accumulate in there for no apparent reason.
So my February self care habit is taking just five or ten minutes each night before I go to bed to put my clothes away, and clear out any other clutter that may have gathered in my room during the day.
And by the end of February, these daily actions will become hard wired into my brain and I will have installed a new, supportive habit.
That means that by the end of the year I’ll have installed 12 new, supportive, self care habits. And I guarantee you that those 12 habits will make a huge positive impact on my life – in all areas!
So how about you? Are you willing to commit to making one change in your life for the next 30-days? Are you ready to hard wire a new, supportive habit into your brain?
Leave a comment below and let us know what self care habit you are going to install during the next 30-days!
Lately I’ve been touting the benefits of small, incremental, but continuous improvements to my coaching clients, course participants and in my own life.
You see, I’ve spent a long time being a personal growth junkie. For many years I felt that if I wasn’t in the midst of some massive, Earth-shattering, mind-blowing, intensive growth phase I must be doing something wrong.
The problem with that approach to personal growth, as I’ve slowly but surely come to realize, is that it doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of energy to function effectively in the “real” world. And that just doesn’t work.
I started exploring the idea of continuous improvement a couple of years ago with this article on Split Testing for Personal Growth.
And if you’ve listened to my new audio program, Release the Money Madness and Unleash Your Money Magic, you know that I encourage you to choose just one or two personal growth tools and focus on them for two to three weeks before tackling the next one.
Well now I just got an email from Mark Joyner, the creator of Simpleology: The Simple Science of Getting What You Want, which I highly recommend, by the way, that validates this idea of continuous improvement!
Mark has just released a new program called the Kaizen Club. If you don’t know what Kaizen means, Wikipedia says that:
Kaizen (æ”¹å–„, Japanese for “continuous improvement”) is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.
I was first introduced to the concept of Kaizen in the mid-80s when the financial services company I was working for decided to implement a Total Quality Management program and shoot for the Malcolm Baldridge Award.
We didn’t win, and the program was scrapped within 2-years after a cost of several million dollars! The culture in that company was just not open to the key ideas of Total Quality Management and Kaizen.
But even back then, through all my twenty-something angst and cynicism, I could tell that there was a hidden power in the seemingly simple concept of Continuous Improvement. I could sense there was a key to success, both in business and in life – although it would take me almost two decades to begin applying the concept in my own life and business.
Now Mark’s Kaizen Club makes it simple to apply the concept of Continuous Improvement in your life. I just wish he had created this program 20-years ago!
I’m going over there right now to sign up – the program just launched a couple of hours ago. I’m going to give it a try for the next week – there’s a 7-day trial. I’ll write up a full review then and let you know what I think. However, you might want to go sign up for the trial now because there are a couple of amazing bonuses that he may pull out of the bonus package.
And even if you don’t sign up for the Kaizen Club, consider how you can begin implementing the concept of continuous improvement in your life. What one small change can you make in your life that will, over the course of your lifetime have a significant impact?
Think about it and leave a comment below letting us know.
That’s just about all I can say.
This weekend I attended my second Millionaire Mind Intensive and it was even more life-changing than the first one. This one was in San Francisco, so I didn’t have to fly anywhere. And even more important, T. Harv Eker was there this weekend.
If you’re interested in personal development or have any interest in creating more wealth – of all kinds – in your life you must see Harv.
Well, that’s assuming that you’re willing to hear the truth.
Harv is a truth-teller which means it’s not always easy to hear what he has to say. But if you want to change your life and you are ready and willing to listen to what he says you want to go check him out.
At the beginning of the weekend, you’re introduced to the “three most dangerous words in the English language.” Any idea what they are?
I KNOW THAT!
Once you know something – or even worse, THINK you know something – the game is over. You stop learning and growing. Your mind turns off and closes down to new information.
One of Harv’s most important points is that if you’re not living it, you don’t “KNOW” it. The first time I went to the Millionaire Mind Intensive I got some great insights, but there was still a part of me that fell into the “I know that” trap. So I didn’t get as much out of it as I could have.
At this MMI I was ready and willing to participate fully. I was ready to let go of my image of myself and look at the reality of my life – which is a much better reflection of what I “KNOW.” And because of that I had some huge personal breakthroughs.
Have you ever fallen into the I KNOW THAT trap? It’s not just for “know it alls.” We all do it. And it can be extremely subtle. But once those three words kick in, your ability to hear, accept and apply new information basically shuts down.
Here’s the bottom line: Look at your life.
- Do you have as much money as you want?
- Do you have as much joy and fun and happiness as you want?
- Do you have as much love and intimacy as you want?
- Do you have as much confidence as you want?
If you answered “No” to any of those questions there is something you DON”T KNOW. You may have read it somewhere. You may understand it intellectually. You may even be starting to apply it in your life. But if you aren’t fully living it you haven’t embodied it which means that you don’t trulyknow it!
And until you do, the three words, “I KNOW THAT,” will continue to hold you back.
So take a moment to look at your life. Where would you like to see some imnprovements?
Now ask yourself what knowledge you need in order to make those changes.
Or you may need to look at what knowledge you already have that you need to begin applying! Because remember, if you’re not living it, you don’t know it!
So I encourage you to be on the lookout for those three most dangerous words in the English language. (And if English is not your first language, go ahead and translate them into your language). And when you catch your mind trying to convince you that you know something ask yourself these two simple questions:
- Am I living this knowledge?
- Is my life a reflection of this knowledge?
If the answers are “No” you don’t know it! And if that’s the case it’s time to get yourself back into the best school there isâ€¦ LIFE!
Have you ever noticed that some mornings, when the alarm goes off, you’re wide awake and ready to jump out of bed and start your day, and other morningsâ€¦ well, you just aren’t?
Well you probably know that during the night you cycle through different sleep stages from light, almost awake sleep, through the dreaming state, down into deep, dreamless sleep and back up again. You move through this cycle several times each night.
On the mornings when you don’t have to set your alarm and can wake up whenever you want, you naturally arise when you’re in one of those light, almost awake stages of sleep.
However, on the mornings when you have to be up at a certain time, your alarm clock does not know where you are in the cycle and wakes you up at the time you have set, regardless of where you are in your sleep cycle.
If the alarm happens to go off when you’re in a light part of the cycle, great! But if it goes off when you’re in a deep, dreamless sleep state, you are NOT going to feel like getting up!
Enter the SleepTracker Pro Watch.
I’ve been using this cool little device for about 2-months now, and I can tell you that it definitely works!
The theory behind Sleeptracker is simple but effective: It tracks your movements during the night in order to find the best time to wake you in the morning. Here’s what their website says:
SLEEPTRACKERÂ® continuously monitors signals from your body that indicate whether you are asleep or awake. Because you wear SLEEPTRACKERÂ® on your wrist like a watch, its internal sensors can detect even the most subtle physical signals from your body. SLEEPTRACKERÂ® finds your best waking moments, so that waking up has never been easier.
To use the SleepTracker, you set the alarm for the latest time you want to wake up. Then you set a Window during which the SleepTracker will watch for a moment when you are in a light phase of your sleep cycle.
For instance, if I need to be up by 6:00am, I’ll set the alarm for 6:00 and the Alarm Window for 30-minutes. Then, at some point between 5:30am and 6:00am when the Sleeptracker senses that I am close to being awake, the alarm will go off.
Yes, that means that on some mornings, I’ll be up 30-minutes earlier than I “need” to. But because I’m waking up during one of the light sleep state, it’s much easier to get up.
Again, this is from the Sleeptracker website:
By monitoring your sleep cycles for optimal waking moments during the preset ALARM WINDOW, SLEEPTRACKERÂ® finds those almost awake-moments and gently wakes you when you’re most alert. The result? You wake up refreshed instead of groggy. Waking up has never been easier.
Does it work?
In my experience, yes!
Now keep in mind that I’m a morning person, so in general it’s fairly easy for me to wake up. However, since becoming an early riser, there have definitely been mornings when the alarm going off at 5:00am caught me in one of the deep stages of sleep.
Since using the Sleep Tracker those mornings have been very rare. In fact, in the 2-months that I have been using SleepTracker there have only been 2 mornings when the alarm went off at the end of my Alarm Window and caught me in a deep sleep. And each of those mornings were after I had gone to bed much too late.
Usually, the alarm goes off when I am already becoming aware that it is time to get up. And, in fact, there have been quite a few mornings when I have been lying in bed thinking, “Hmm, if this was in my Alarm Window the SleepTracker would be going off right now,” just as the alarm went off!
The SleepTracker includes a vibrate alarm which is great if you’re an early riser sharing a bed with a not-so-early riser! I also find that the vibrating alarm wakes me a bit more gently than the audible alarm.
Sleep Data Collection:
Another cool feature of the SleepTracker Pro is its ability to store the data from each of your night’s sleep. (Note that the standard version does not store and upload data). There is a USB cable and software included that allows you to upload your sleep data to a computer and track the quality of your sleep over time. This allows you to track what factors influence your sleep patterns both positively and negatively.
I used the data tracking feature for about 2-weeks and found it interesting. But for me it was not interesting enough to continue uploading the data each morning. Sleeptracker only stores one-night’s worth of data, so if you want to track your sleep patterns you need to upload the data every day.
Note to SleepTracker: If the watch stored more than one-night’s data I would be much more likely to use and benefit from this feature.
I do, however, check my data manually each morning. You can view your sleep data on the Sleeptracker with a view button pushes. And even without the graphs I have benefited from this information.
Other than a desire to have the watch store a week’s worth of sleep data, I have nothing negative to say about the functionality of the Sleeptracker.
The only area I have a little quibble with is the aesthetics of the watch. It’s just not a watch I would choose to wear on a daily basis. This would be less of a problem if they expanded the data storage capacity – then I would only need to bring it into the office once a week. But when I was tracking my sleep data I had to wear – or bring – the watch into my office every day.
Interestingly, the SleepTracker Standard, which does not allow you to Download Sleep Data to PC looks more like a “normal.”
If you’re not a morning person and you have a hard time getting up in the morning, the SleepTracker can help get your mornings off to a better start. And that means that your entire day will be better!
After all, the way you feel when you first wake up often determines the tone of your entire day. The SleepTracker can wake you up gently and allow you to ease your way into the morning. No more jarring alarms and multiple snooze button cycles!
If you’re already a morning person and want your mornings to be even more graceful, the SleepTracker can help you too.
I wear SleepTracker every night, with the alarm set for 5:30am and the Alarm Window set for 30-minutes. Even on Sundays when I let myself sleep in I still let the SleepTracker wake me up and then meditate or go back to sleep if I feel like it.
Price: Sleeptracker Pro – $179; SleepTracker Standard – $149
Guarantee: 30-day unconditional money back guarantee.
Where to Buy:
You can purchase the SleepTracker Pro or Standard directly from the manufacturer.
Right now they’re offering free shipping (not sure if that will last). You can also have the Sleeptracker giftwrapped for an extra $4.99. And this would definitely be a great gift for anyone you know who could use a little help getting up on the RIGHT side of the bed!
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be. Well, I’ll speak for myself: Sometimes I make things more complicated than they need to be. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: “The simplest solution to a problem is usually the best one.”
Well tomorrow (Wednesday, April 16th, 2008) I’m offering a free teleclass where I will share three simple solutions that can help you solve some of your Law of Attraction “problems.”
What problems am I talking about? Here are some of the issues that these 3 simple tools will address.
- I’m great at visualizing what I want, but I have a hard time translating that vision into reality.
- I know what I want but I’m not sure what actions to take.
- I know what I “should” be doing to attract my desires, but I have a hard time staying focused.
- It’s difficult for me to get clear on what I really want.
- I sometimes feel like my desires are not really mine – almost as if someone else is planting their desires inside of me.
- I tend to get stuck on a limiting thought or belief – like a broken record.
- Sometimes I get so bogged down in emotions that I can’t even think straight.
If any of these sound familiar to you this free teleclass can help. During this one-hour call I’ll share three simple tools that can instantly change the way you work with the Law of Attraction.
And unlike some tools, these are not just simple, they’re also easy!
On this call you’ll learn:
- How to simply AND easily separate your personal energy from other people’s energy (OPE). This one simple technique can literally change your life overnight.
- Why sending your intentions “out to the Universe” is not enough and how to GROUND those intentions into the physical Earth!
- How to instantly shift your perspective and increase your personal vibration.
So whether you’re struggling with your ability to attract your desires, or just want to take your deliberate creation to the next level, this teleclass will help you.
It’s completely free, but space is limited, so go sign up now!
[Update: The live teleclass has already happened. But you can sign up to receive the free Energetics of Attraction Resource Package which includes an MP3 recording of both teleclasses as well as the report: The Harmonics of Human Awareness. Just fill out the form below to get instant access to these valuable resources!]
Welcome to another installment of the Personal Growth Resource Roundup. As you may already know, in these roundups I bring you personal growth resources from unexpected and sometimes surprising sources. I believe that there are life lessons everywhere. So, while I do include great resources from more “traditional” personal growth sources, the focus is on getting us outside of that box. Here are this week’s resources!
Let’s begin with one last reminder about Earth Hour. It’s tonight! The movement has definitely picked up some steam since the first time I wrote about it and even since last week’s personal growth resource roundup. Apparently it’s grown so much that their site is being very slow! If you haven’t watched the video yet, and their site is slow or not responding, you can watch the Earth Hour Video here. And then tonight, in just over 12 hours, at 8:00pm, turn off your lights for 1-hour, Earth Hour! Let’s see the difference we can make when we all turn our lights off!
What will you do during that hour without lights? I’ll be putting Ella to bed. And once she’s asleep I’ll probably play the piano softly by candlelight. Hmm. Sounds like something I might start doing more often!
Leave a comment and let me know what you’re going to do.
Next up is a reminder that Part 1 of my free report – The Energetics of Attraction: Understanding and Applying the Harmonics of Human Awareness is available.
Part One, which is available now, begins with an exploration of why the Law of Attraction may not be “working” and then moves into the five levels of human perception, awareness and response.
Part Two, which will be available soon, will cover the following topics:
* Recognizing your primary perceptual level.
* The role of the subconscious in the Law of Attraction.
* Understanding the Harmonics of Human Awareness.
* Using the Harmonics of Human Awareness to empower your work with the Law of Attraction.
Just fill in your name and email below and you can download the free report now!
Now let’s move on to Problogger! And just what, you might say, does Darren Rowse and Problogger have to do with personal growth? Well, even as far back as February of 2007 I was wondering if Darren was going Personal Developmenty on us!
Personally, I think that one of the reasons why Problogger is so successful is because Darren has infused it with a positive energy that encompasses much more than blogging. And while he probably would not say this, I feel that the underlying message of Problogger is that if you want to be a better blogger, become a better person. Now, maybe I’m reading too much into what’s happening between the lines… or maybe not.
But either way, this guest post, by Easton Ellsworth, on The Greatest Blogging Skill, most certainly qualifies as a personal growth post, even though it uses blogging as a vehicle to express it.
And while we’re on the subject of blogging, let’s talk about SOBCon-08! Oh how I would love to be there! You can just tell, from the buzz, from the energy, and from the amazing people who go to SOBCon that it’s one of those business events that will inspire you to become a better blogger by becoming a better person. It’s not looking like I’m going to get there this year. But if you have that weekend open, and want to get some great information and connect with some amazing people, I definitely recommend it!
And speaking of the amazing people you’ll get to meet at SOBCon, Wendy Piersall is one of them. Currently, Wendy is moving through quite a process over at Emomsathome. She is rebranding her blog network. And having been privileged to be part of the process, I can assure you there is a LOT of personal growth happening over there. Don’t believe me? Check out this post on the Empty Blog Nest.
Let’s get at least one resource in the mix from a more personal developmenty blog! You think money can’t buy happiness? Check out this post from Rick Cockrum at Shards of Consciousness, How Money Can Buy You Happiness. You might be surprised.
And finally, don’t forget that Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s Worldwide world-changing Webinar moves into week 5 on Monday evening. This week will focuon on Chapter 5 of Eckhart’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
If you haven’t already registered, head over to Oprah’s site now to sign up. It’s free and most definitely personal developmenty!
That’s it for this week’s personal growth resource roundup.
See you next time.
I was recently sent a copy of John Izzo’s new book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die. I’ve just begun reading it, and so far, it’s great!
John is the host of the popular PBS show which inspired this new book as well as the author of Second Innocence: Rediscovering Joy and Wonder: A Guide to Renewal in Work, Relationships, and Daily Life and Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash the Power of People at Work.
If Five Secrets turns out to be as good as I think it’s going to be, I have a feeling I’ll be getting my hands on those when I’m done with this time. Watch for a review of Five Secrets, next week. In the meantime, here’s an article from John that gives a nice preview of the book.
What are the secrets to happiness and meaning?
Why do some people find a deep sense of purpose while they are here and die with few regrets while others end their lives bitter and disappointed?
About two years ago I set out to answer that question by asking several thousand people to identify the one person they knew who had lived a long life and found true happiness. It seemed to me that each of us knows at least one person who achieved true success. After receiving over 1,000 nominations, I interviewed 235 people from the age of 59-106 (who had over 18,000 years of life experience) asking them to reflect back on their lives: What brought happiness? What gave meaning? What did they regret? What did they wish they had learned sooner? What did not matter in the end?
These “wise elders” were an incredibly diverse group ranging from a town barber to CEO’s, from poets to native chiefs, Holocaust survivors to war veterans, and represented all the major religions and cultures of our society. My goal was not to interview famous people but to identify ordinary people who had found extraordinary happiness. What I discovered were five clear themes of what it means to live a happy and meaningful life (and to die with a smile on your face). In my new book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, I share the five true paths to finding meaning in life and show how we can live these secrets.
1. Be True To Yourself
The first secret I learned from these interviews is Be true to yourself. Each one of us is on a unique human journey and the path to true happiness is to be true to ourselves. This means knowing what brings us happiness and focusing our life on what matters to us. It means reflecting on a regular basis as to whether our life fits our soul. In our daily lives it means knowing what brings us joy and ensuring that we fill our life with the right elements. It also means following our unique destiny. One of the people I interviewed was a Latino woman who talked about the importance of following our “destina.” The idea is that each of us has a path that is most true to us, which is not so much a destination as a way we are meant to be in the world. For example, I am a teacher and philosopher by nature and when I stay close to that path I experience true joy.
Being true to self often means drowning out other voices that would ask us to live their dreams instead of ours. Ron, a gifted chiropractor, told me the story of how he planned to become a medical doctor but when he visited a chiropractor shortly before starting medical school he discovered a profession that connected to his true self. “Others told me I was crazy but I knew it was my path.” He told me that to follow your heart you must have the “discipline to listen and the courage to follow.” This means asking if the life we are living is true to our deepest sense of self and it sometimes requires a step of courage to follow our soul. Are you being true to yourself right now?
2. Leave No Regrets
The second secret I learned is to Leave No Regrets. It seems to me that what we fear most as we age is not death, but rather to come to the end of our life feeling that we never truly lived. The saddest words ever spoken at the end of life are “I wish I hadâ€¦” Tom, a native healer, told me that the great fear at the end of life is “the great incompleteness; that you did not do what you came here to do.” One of the most interesting things I discovered in talking to 235 wise people is that almost no one regretted risks they took that did not work out and most said they wished they had risked more. When I asked these people about major crossroads in their lives, many of them talked about taking risks-sometimes large and sometimes small-which wound up bringing great happiness. One of the keys to moving towards what we want instead of what we fear is to focus on the best possible result and not the worst. Are you going for what you truly want in your life or acting with fear.
3. Become Love
Become Love was the third secret I learned from these people. Not surprisingly, the greatest source of happiness for people and the largest place of regret had to do with people. What I discovered is that those who made people a priority in their lives and who developed deep personal relationships found true happiness. Many of them told me that “things” rarely brought true joy whereas family and friends brought lasting happiness. One way to focus on relationships is to get intentional goals for our personal relationships just like we do in our careers.
Yet the most interesting thing I uncovered is that being a loving person, the choice to give love, is even more important in determining happiness than getting it. These people talked to me about the importance of choosing love and kindness as your way in the world. They taught me that when we choose to be a loving person we find a deep sense of meaning in life.
4. Live the Moment
The fourth secret was to Live the Moment. One of the most common things people told me was how fast life goes by and how important it is to enjoy each moment. One woman told me “when you are young you think sixty years is an incredibly long time but when you get there you realize it was only a moment.” Among the secrets they shared were how important it is to live in the present, to fully enjoy whatever experience you are having (and not to wish you were somewhere else), and to live with gratitude focusing on what you are grateful for rather than what you don’t have. They told me that we have no power over the past and little power over the future. Many of them said that whenever you find yourself saying “I will be happy when or I will be happy if” that it is important to remember that happiness is a choice we make inside. One woman told me: “You have to stop judging your life and start living your life. Stop keeping score trying to decide if you are winning. Instead live each day fully and stay in the moment.” Are you living with gratitude right now, focusing on enjoying your life rather than judging it?
5 Give More Than You Take
The fifth and final secret was to Give More Than You Take. When I asked people what gave their life the greatest meaning, people told me again and again people that being of service and knowing that you made things better because you were here was by far the greatest source of meaning. I learned that whether in career or personal life, that it is what we give not what we take that gives life meaning. Many of them also reminded me that we have little control over what we get from the world every day (whether people will love us, whether we will win the lottery, etc.) but we have complete control over what we give to the world (whether we choose to be kind, charitable, and to give to others). These people reminded me that everything we take from the world dies with us, but everything we give to the world gets recycled. A wise woman named Susan told me that “when we are young we cry for ourselves but as we age we learn to cry for the world.” Indeed all the spiritual traditions remind us that true happiness comes from focusing on being of service and in the process joy finds us. Are you focused on giving or getting each day?
You Must Live the Secrets
What I also discovered is that it is not enough to know the secrets, we must live them. One man told me “many of us know what is important but it is not enough to know, you have to put these things into practice.” These people taught me a great deal about how to live the secrets as well and I share many of their techniques in the book. One of my favorites was sixty-four year old Joel who told me about how he reminds himself each day to live the moment. “When I wake up the first thing I do is say a prayer thanking God and the universe that I get to live one more day and I pray that I will treat it as a gift. At night, just before I go to bed, I have a time of meditation and remember all the things that I am grateful for that day and ask for one more day.”
Copyright Â© 2008 John B Izzo John Izzo, Ph.D. is the bestselling author of Second Innocence: Rediscovering Joy and Wonder: A Guide to Renewal in Work, Relationships, and Daily Life and host of the public television series The Five Things You Must Discover Before You Die. Holding advanced degrees in religion and psychology, Izzo has spoken to over one million people on four continents about living more purposeful lives. More information about Mr. Izzo can be found at www.theizzogroup.com.