Time for a Change?

February 19, 2019

ChangeMany have made the mistake of trying to change circumstances rather than changing themselves; this flawed tactic is sometimes called the “geographic cure.” My 35-year career as a real estate office manager was like a masters course in human behavior. Real estate agents are a very mobile sales force: every year a high percentage of agents change brokers. Their business falls off due to the economy, rising interest rates, too many bad hair days, a sudden interest in daytime soaps, early-onset narcolepsy or whatever, so they decide that changing where they work will somehow energize them—“take my career to the next level.”

You probably know someone who moves from job to job, career to career, but never seems to experience an increase in their income or sense of accomplishment. The problem with changing where they work, where they live, or what career they pursue is that it prevents them from effecting real, lasting change—change that can only come from within. Thus the saying:

“No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.” —The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

You can’t escape yourself by running. You can change your circumstances, your location, your profession, your friends, but wherever you go and whatever you do, there you are. And if you are not willing to change, to adapt, to learn, no matter where you go, you will do whatever it takes to perpetuate the status quo, replicate your old environment, no matter how dysfunctional.

Dr. Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, once had a man who lived on the East Coast ask him, “What are people like in California?” To which Dr. Carlson responded, “What are people like in New York?” The man answered, “They’re greedy and selfish.” Dr. Carlson told the man that he would probably find the people in California also to be greedy and selfish. Why? Our judgments, beliefs, perceptions, and habits do not change just because of a change in location or circumstance—we carry them with us.

Okay, if you’re not yet convinced that change must come from within, here are the words of some people you may have heard of:

Gandhi said:  “If you choose to change your world, begin with yourself.” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

And from Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a prophet, profoundly influential teacher and author:  “Good news! If you don’t like what you’re manifesting, you can change your mind about who you are.”

Not yet convinced? Let’s try Einstein—scientist, spiritualist, and well-known brilliant guy:  “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Let’s add some international flavor since WE ARE A COUNTRY OF IMMIGRANTS! This is from the Persian poet, Rumi:  “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Okay, one more, since we are trying to improve relations with Russia, from Tolstoy:  “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Deciding what you want out of life is essential. But you will only achieve your desires when they are congruent with who you think you are (your self-concept). Changing your world is an inside job.


February 7, 2019

Fear SeymoreOne way to become less of a slave to fear is to develop a conscious relationship with it. Talk with fear as if it was another person. You can even name it—let’s use Seymour.

“Thank you, Seymour. I appreciate that warned me not to pet that rabid dog. However, we need to talk about this fear of talking with strangers. It was useful when I was five, walking home from school—you kept me safe, and I do appreciate that. But now I’m a thirty-year-old real estate agent going broke because I’m afraid to speak to strangers about selling their homes. Time for an adjustment, dude.”

This may sound silly to you but try it. And remember, fear is not a real thing; it doesn’t exist in nature. It is you. It is your way of protecting yourself when you’ve decided you need protection. No more than that.

Now that you and Seymour are getting tight, notice how you become increasingly aware of his presence. Something doesn’t work out the way you want or expect, and the inner trash talk begins. Why did I say that? I’m sure my client is going to kill the sale now, which means no mortgage payment next month. I may even have to start drinking cheap wine, God forbid!  When life fails to meet our expectations, we tend to snap to negative, insecure thinking. Unchecked, negative, fear-based thoughts can spiral out of control, leaving us agitated, in no position to take command of the situation and solve the problem.

The solution to this downward spiral is to listen to the conversation you’re having with Seymour before it gains too much momentum. Recognize it for what it is—you talking to you in a manner that you have decided. You are Seymour’s scriptwriter. Heck— You are Seymour!

Time To Act!

January 31, 2019

I’m re-blogging this little article I wrote in 2011. It seems appropriate for the start of a new year:

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.—William B. Sprague

act-nowThis is not the time to listen to the news and worry about whether the economy is in recovery or not. Turn off your TV sets! Set down your newspaper!

It is time to stop wondering, worrying, discussing, analyzing, listening.

It is time to take action! Who cares how “the market” is doing? You are not the market. You are the only you to ever walk the planet, an individual with unique talents, skills, motivations, desires, feelings, abilities. You are special!

The only question you should ever ask is, “How am I doing?” And the answer can only be found in your actions. Today, act as if you have no doubts, as if success were hiding right around the corner, so close that you can smell it. Take a leap of faith – dare to risk being called an optimist. Someone will have to be prepared to loan money to the pessimists.


Remain CALM in The Eye Of The Storm

January 29, 2019

Detach from the emotional chaos surrounding an issue, focus on the actual problem, and access your creativity and problem- solving abilities.

hurricaneThere is a calm in the center of hurricanes—the eye. The most violent and dangerous winds are those immediately surrounding the eye—as if the most intense, chaotic motion is attracted to this harbor of calm. Within your metaphorical eye— your center—you will find the power to shelter yourself and others from the raging human storm. Creativity and problem- solving abilities are most readily available when you remain detached from the swirling drama. It is hard to see clearly when you are lured out of the eye and into the human storm. It is difficult to be creative when focused on the chaos around you, and nearly impossible to be present.

Staying grounded can be a bit challenging when your 14- year-old daughter tells you that she is getting a tattoo, dying her hair green and wants to sleep with her boyfriend. Or when you take your car in for its regular maintenance and are told that you need new brakes, a new transmission and tires, so what you expected would cost $100 is now up to $5,000. Or your partner sits you down and tells you, in a panic, that he has run your credit cards up over $100,000 and wants you to declare bankruptcy.

But isn’t it selfish to lounge in the eye while people in the storm are crying for help? No! When a challenging problem arises, and those around you are freaking out, the last thing they need is for you to join them in their freak-out dance. They need a cool head who can come up with creative solutions. They need your undistracted best.


November 23, 2018

Giving Thanks

“There are increasing indications that feeling grateful can have a powerfully positive effect on our lives, health, psychological and emotional well-being. Kids who experience more gratitude do better in school, set higher goals for themselves, derive more satisfaction from life, friends, family, and school, and are less materialistic and have more desire to give back.”  Samantha Smithstein, Psy.D., Psychology Today

Research by Jeffrey J. Froh, an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., has found that adults who focus on what they are thankful for are more optimistic; report less depression and fewer physical complaints, and sleep better.

Daily Gratitude writing can be challenging—I know.  Here are some tricks of the trade to keep your efforts consistent:

  1. It starts with a Gratitude Journal. You can use anything, of course—an old half-empty notebook works fine, but it motivates me to use a gratitude journal, which you can purchase at any bookstore, many gift stores or even drugstores. It’s good to see that thankfulness is catching on. But even with a fancy, leather-bound, expensive book of blank pages, I was still having a problem with consistency.
  2. It helped me to find accountability partners. I began each day emailing or texting three gratitude statements to my daughters and their significant others. The side benefit was that they would email me back with three things they were grateful for that morning. If you live any distance from your grown children, sharing what you are all grateful for each day helps to keep you close as a family. Of course, your accountability partner could be a friend or colleague. Be sure to choose someone who is not overly judgmental and who will share their gratitude statements.
  3. Pay a gratitude visit or write a letter to someone who has helped you in the past.
  4. As you go through your day, notice when something occurs for which you are grateful. Write or say out loud how grateful you are. If another person is involved, tell them immediately how much you appreciate their contribution to your life.
  5. While reinforcing the positive, remember to notice when your mind is drifting into negative thinking. Then stop! Silva Mind Control used to teach people to use a trigger phrase like “Cancel, cancel,” prompting the mind to release the negative thought. Then take a moment to focus on the positive. Give thanks.


November 18, 2018

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

Use the power of Gratitude to train your mind to know what you want, who you are and where you’re guiding your life.

By focusing on the good around us, we train our minds to search out what’s right in our environment and to take the steps necessary to attract better outcomes into our lives. After years of studying and developing a gratitude routine, I’ve discovered that it is most effective when I use a four-pronged approach.

Be grateful for those things that you have now—things that you judge as good. This can include any area of your life that you believe is going well—good relationships, success at work, a good workout routine. It can even be as simple as being thankful for a great cup of coffee that morning or a beautiful sunrise: “Thank you for this gorgeous morning.”

One way to reinforce the work of the subconscious is through gratitude statements. When you achieve a goal, no matter how small, give thanks to yourself or others who were involved. Give yourself a gift of time off, a special dinner or a purchase of something sweet.

The best way to incorporate this achievement and happiness tool, however, is by showing your gratitude every day. First thing in the morning, make a list of people and things for which you are grateful. This will not only reinforce the achievement process; it will help you begin each day on a positive note. For example, if you continuously message that you are grateful for a strong, healthy body, your subconscious will help you to maintain that state by increasing your energy and desire to work out, decreasing your craving for fatty foods, increasing your taste for healthy, nutritious food, etc. The subconscious is a beautiful partner, adjusting your focus and assisting you in obtaining the things you appreciate.

Be grateful for the people and situations that challenge you the most. You are the sum of all your experiences—the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of the people who have challenged you the most have also helped mold you into the person you are today. You may not be a big fan of your ex-boss or ex-spouse(s) but consider how you grew and strengthened as a direct consequence of a relationship you found so problematic at the time. Thank them for their contribution to your growth.

Be Grateful for Goals You Are Going to Achieve. One way of demonstrating gratitude for what you plan to achieve is by setting specific, detailed goals. Embedding goals deeply into your subconscious is like programming a GPS in your car. It not only shows you the way to your destination, but a voice (in your head) also alerts you when you make a wrong turn and instructs you how to get back on the right path: “Turn right, or you will suffer a severe financial setback,” or something like that.

When you reach a goal, what then? Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, wrote that the primary function of the subconscious servo-mechanism (aka the Reticular Activating System or RAS) is to give you what you want or, more accurately, what you expect. The process of consciously selecting and incorporating goals into your belief system tells your subconscious what you expect out of life. When it delivers, when you achieve a goal, it looks for validation—gratitude. If you feel disappointment, let down, or simply move onto the next goal, your subconscious can become confused about whether assisting with the fulfillment of goals is the right thing to do. This mixed messaging can diminish the effectiveness of future goals. The subconscious is a great tool but, like computers, it is very literal, requiring specific, clear instructions. Stating gratitude for what you are creating—your goals— makes it clear to your subconscious what you have chosen to accomplish. Always word your statements as if they have already manifested. If you speak of them as being in the future, they will remain in the future.

Be Grateful for who you are or who you are becoming. If you are working to change a behavior or habit, or want to reinforce your most cherished values, thankfulness can help. If you recognize behaviors/habits that you want to change, or that you believe need to be adjusted to achieve your goals, create gratitude statements that reinforce your new behaviors or habits. If you already use affirmations to affirm your goals, reword them as gratitude statements and add them to your daily gratitude time.

Using the power of thankfulness, train your mind to know what you want, who you are and where your life is headed. Be grateful when things go your way and when they don’t. Embrace the reality of our chaotically perfect world and be thankful each morning that you have another opportunity to enjoy the ride.

When the Teacher is Ready…

October 29, 2018

When the Teacher is Ready…YodaYou are not alone. When you choose a life of intentional growth, there are teachers everywhere to help you in your quest. Dan Milman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, wrote: “Master teachers are found not only on lonely mountaintops or ashrams in the East. Our teachers take the form of friends and adversaries, of clouds, animals, wind, and water.”

When we ask, our teachers reveal all we need to know. The question is: Are you paying attention? We call our teachers by our need to learn and grow. Since we are not always conscious of the fact that we’re calling, we may miss a message. But don’t worry.  If they elude you at first, they will be back, and they’ll keep coming back until you finally hear. I wrote this display quote for Blood of the Dragon:

There is nothing more persistent than life’s lessons demanding to be learned—subtle at first, gentle waves languishing up the sands of status quo to kiss the tips of indifferent toes, then receding into the infinite ocean of ideas.

Unheeded, lessons will be revealed again and again, with growing intensity: awakening splashes against your ankles, then jolting soaks up to the knees.

One day, as you’re walking peacefully along the beach, the lessons you must learn rise up and knock you off your feet with the ferocity of tidal waves.

This is not some mystical mumbo-jumbo. Everything you need to live a blissful, loving, peaceful and productive life is all around you. Teachers appear because your senses become attuned to their message. Unlike many self-help teachers, I don’t believe that we mystically attract our teachers out of the ether—they are already in our midst. We don’t recognize them until the need arises and we outwardly communicate it.

I’m not just talking about spiritual growth. If you want to learn how to sing, your senses will become tuned to any source of information that will help you in this quest. You may never have been aware of any voice teachers in your area. But as soon as you decide to become a singer, you run into a voice coach at your daughter’s basketball game or read an article about a local teacher. If you had no intention of singing, the voice coach would still be at the game, and the article would still be in the paper; you just wouldn’t have any reason to notice them.

How should you go about calling your teachers?

Become more intentional about growth. Focus on the need for guidance, inspiration, ideas, and you open your perception to the lessons you need. A low-volume conversation in the next aisle at a grocery store will bypass your awareness altogether. However, if you are looking for a nanny, and a person in the next checkout aisle is talking about how sad the family is because they can no longer afford their great nanny, your perception is drawn to this conversation.

You direct the focus of your perception by recognizing what it is you want. Write it down. Create a vision board and hang it somewhere where you can see it every day. Focus on where you want to be, and the path will be revealed. To view the path, you must open your awareness—watch for it.

Expect to receive help—look for it in seemingly unrelated places—and you will find everything you need for your life.