March 12, 2010

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Applied generously, it can provide relief for both the giver and the receiver.

For the receiver, the effects are pretty obvious. Being forgiven can ameliorate feelings of guilt for what it is they have done, and worry over the future of their relationship with the giver. It can have a positive effect on the receiver’s self-image, and infuse them with a general sense of  well-being.

Oddly enough, the same benefits are available to the giver. In general, we forgive people because we perceive that they have wounded us in some manner. We judge their actions as wrong. The “projection” effect tells us that when we criticize others we are criticizing ourselves. What we object to in another’s actions are actions that we have taken and regret or that we have imagined taking but believe are inappropriate. So when we forgive another we are, in effect, forgiving ourselves.

And forgiving yourself is very powerful medicine.

The Good, the Bad and the Who Knows?

February 18, 2010

 There is an ancient parable that demonstrates the folly of judging any circumstance as good or bad – I’ll paraphrase:  

A man had two great treasures in his life: his son and his stallion. They both brought him great happiness. The man woke one morning to find that his stallion had run off. With half of his treasure gone, he fell into a deep despair. Later that day the horse came back and brought along with him a beautiful wild mare. The man was elated. The next day his son tried to ride the new mare but was thrown and broke his leg. The man was again distraught. Shortly thereafter, a war broke out and the soldiers came to the village to conscript young men into the army. All were taken but his son who could not go because of his broken leg. The man was overjoyed. The story goes on and on and on.

 This is a very valuable parable – good to remember the next time an escrow falls apart, you get a flat tire or your husband runs away with your best friend’s… daughter (I’ve been watching too many soap operas). 

 Every new event changes the course of our lives. Who are we to know if the new course is an improvement or not. The person with the flat tire might judge it as bad, get angry, curse the car and the fact that they will be late for work and miss an important meeting. But perhaps without the flat they would have left for work on time and been in just the right spot to be involved in a terrible accident.

 We never know where the path not taken would have led us.

So, how can we judge it better than the one we are on?

 We can, of course, but… remember the parable the next time you feel a judgment coming on. It might reduce the amount of time you spend in regret. Well worth the effort I think.

Be the Writer of Your Own Story

January 24, 2010

“Failures do what is tension relieving

While winners do what is goal achieving.”

Dennis Waitley


We are each born with our own clock. It begins ticking the day we are born and when we die, it stops. How many times the hands will circumnavigate the face, no one knows. But we are each given time on earth to use as we see fit. How we choose to fill our time will determine our degree of happiness and fulfillment. Choose well. Choose thoughtfully. But choose. Otherwise, your life will be filled with people who are happy to choose for you.

“We literally become what we think about, and we are all given the gift of being able to write our own story.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer

You Are What You Think About

January 6, 2010

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice… And to make an end is to make a beginning.”  ~ T.S. Elliot

 Aw, it is time once again to put last year to rest and start anew. Once again we have made the long trip around the sun and avoided burning up or hurtling out into frozen space. Yeah! We’re ahead of the game already and the year has barely begun.

 It is also a time when we ruminate about the past year and wonder about the coming year – will it be better, worse, the same?  And as always we have the choice to make these ruminations productive or …not. Here’s a tip, avoid not.

 Here is what “not” looks like: Long, depressing periods thinking about all of the bad luck that came your way last year, the decisions you wish you hadn’t made, the relationships you wish you had avoided, the money you lost, the debt you incurred…. What is wrong with a little cathartic wallowing? Just this, and I’ll quote Emerson. “You become what you think about all day long.” And this is only one of hundreds of quotes from very smart, very successful people that communicate the same message.

 If you focus on everything that went wrong last year, and, if “you become what you think about all day long,” you have become the lead role in Groundhog Day, doomed to repeat, in this case, the same mistakes, the same bad choices, the same “bad luck” year after year after year.

 Don’t get depressed! The “not” is not necessary. We are, after all, intelligent people with aspirations and dreams. Understanding the rules as articulated above by Emerson, you have the free will to CHOOSE not to focus on what is wrong with your life. You can CHOOSE to focus on what is right. Instead of projecting the worst of your life forward, project the best. In his book on raising healthy children, Wayne Dyer suggested that we “catch them doing something right.” By focusing on and commenting on their positive behavior, they tend to repeat that behavior – petting the dog instead of cutting her hair with mommy’s scissors.

 In the arena of personal growth, reviewing last year has only two productive purposes: learning lessons necessary to move forward in a positive manner, and congratulating yourself for everything that you did right. Then, of course, you want to build on your right moves by creating a vision for the coming year. Focus on that vision with passionate certainty and you will have an amazing year.

  Happy New Year!

Be Careful What you Say

August 29, 2008

“Be careful what you say, you might be listening.”  Steve Dickason (1949- we’ll see)

        If someone said this previously, I apologize for the plagiarism.


Ever wish you could predict the future? If the answer is yes, read on.


If you listen to the things you say to yourself, you will get a pretty good idea of where your life is headed. Self-talk is a very powerful form of visualization – one of the ways in which your conscious mind communicates with your subconscious.


Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-cybernetics) referred to the subconscious as a servo-mechanism, tasked with doing everything within its power to bring the world in line with our expectations. One of the ways we communicate expectations is through self-talk. Unfortunately, what we say does not always reflect what we want.


Self-talk is as likely to reflect our fears

as it is to reveal our dreams.


Example: You want to list a very expensive home that a neighbor tells you about to come on the market. But if your mind-chatter is saying: “I have no experience listing homes in that price range.” “I can’t compete with people who list expensive homes for a living.” you are unlikely to prevail or even make the attempt.


Negative self-talk can convince the subconscious to sabotage your efforts: you miss your listing appointment because you accidentally put it in the wrong time slot in your PDA, you get too sick to leave the house, you can’t find your car keys. There are a million ways to not do something and kid yourself that it’s not your fault. Obviously, self-talk can be dangerous: It can also be a powerful tool for growth.


When you detach yourself from self-talk and listen critically, you can predict your future. Better yet, you can control it. Years ago my wife, Cheryl, was a student of Silva Mind Control. She taught me the technique of saying “cancel, cancel” any time I notice negative mind chatter, and then replace the negative statements with positive ones, affirming the desired outcome.


To continue with the previous example, replace the fearful, disempowering beliefs with statements like: “People always respond positively to my marketing proposals” “I know I will do a better job for these sellers than any of my competitors.” “This listing is mine!”


Convinced of this new reality, your subconscious will provide the courage, time, energy and intuitive insights necessary to make it happen. At the presentation you will exude self-confidence, you will be truly present as you listen to the seller’s needs, respond with articulate, cogent and compelling reasons why they should hire you. And, you will have the courage to close for the listing, knowing that it is already yours.


To post comments, questions or your own experiences with self-talk, click on the “comments” prompt below.


To view my monthly Marin Market Update, visit I will post a new message on September 2nd with graphs and discussion that may surprise all who believe that the press knows anything about our housing market.