“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances…to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl
This quote of Victor Frankl’s came from his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This originated from his life in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, when everything was taken from them. He noticed that those who had an attitude of survival, did survive. He chose to focus on being one who did survive, and what was going to happen when the war ended and he was released. He knew there was no one else in his family alive so it could have been easy to give up, but he chose to think about the things he enjoyed doing, he focused on playing the piano and he practiced in his head and with his fingers as though he was really playing. He also chose not to let his captors see how much it hurt when they took things away from him – for example his wedding ring.
Where in your life could you change your attitude to the life you are living? Where in your life at the moment does it seem too hard to change? Where are you choosing to ignore the pain of the reality you seem to be living and changing how you would like to see your life evolving? This sounds simple and it is, but it isn’t easy. We have to be committed to making the changes. We have to change the thoughts we have in our heads, the beliefs we have, that our life has to be a certain way that is not what we want, or then the emotions we experience because of the thoughts and beliefs. Noting how we are feeling is an indication of what we might be thinking or what beliefs we have about our relationships, career, money etc. So I repeat, where in your life could you change your attitude to the life you are living?
Enjoy changing your habitual dis-empowering attitudes!
“Don’t just read the easy stuff. You may be entertained by it, but you will never grow from it.” Jim Rohn
This quote is true not only for books but for everything that happens in life. WE do our best growing from the hard experiences that we have had to deal with throughout our lives. If we just sailed along there would be so many things we missed out on. Whether it is some medical condition or whether it is being bullied at school, these are opportunities for growth. Often these ‘setbacks’ give us the courage to stand strong for ourselves. Often they set us on a course for our purpose in life. How many times have you heard of people who have found their ‘calling’ from what could only be described has hard, traumatising experiences?
A few years ago I read a book titled, “Thank God I…” This was compiled from a lot of different people, each writing a chapter, who had had experiences that could only be described as traumatic or very stressful, by most of us. They were encouraged to find the ‘gift’ in each of their situations and all the ones who had written for the book seemed to have achieved that goal. So often that incident or experience had set them on a new path to a fulfilling career, to a more loving relationship or leading a movement to right the wrong that had been done. They had all reached a point where they could say, “Thank God I…” The mere fact of showing gratitude for the things that have happened in our lives can do wonders for our physiology. If you are not doing that, give it a go, even for the little things that happen on a daily basis.
Enjoy challenging yourself so you are not just entertained by life!
“The cyclone derives its power from a calm centre. So does a person.” Norman Vincent Peale
No doubt you know the poem by Rudyard Kipling that starts, “If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs & blaming it on you.” This immediately came to mind when I saw this quote. It can be empowering to think we have learnt to manage our emotions, to stay calm under pressure and to recognize that we can all be like the eye of the storm, if we make the decision to do so. I recently read an affirmation that started, “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and way, I’m now….. This shows those around you that you are capable of maintaining composure at the centre of the vortex.
How would you like to finish that sentence so that you would feel empowered to step into something you have been waiting to do? Waiting for the right time or the right circumstances, to help you feel that now is the time to do whatever? How about making that time NOW! It is up to us to create the circumstances we want. Do you think you could stay calm and focus on this thing or attribute? Does it give you a sense of excitement or power, to even think about staying calm as you take those next steps towards your dreams? Next time you watch the water go down the drain listen and watch where the noise and swirling goes on.
Enjoy feeling the power as you stay calm in the eye of the storm!
“And the funny thing about creating things, folks: we are creators. Nothing comes to us. Everything comes through us, from us. Everything in this world that happens to us comes from here, not out here. And everything that you have in your life is exactly what you designed, the dress you’re wearing, the coat you’re wearing, the tie you’re wearing, the necklace you’re wearing, the home you’re living in, the neighbours you’ve got, the friends you’ve got and the Senators you’ve got. So don’t blame me for people that you attracted.” Earl Schoaff, Jim Rohn’s mentor.
Jim Rohn was probably the first speaker that I listened to on ‘audio tapes’ a lot when I first started on my personal development road. He often referred to his mentor but I hadn’t seen any of his work. There is so much evidence now about how we create our world, how we attract to us, the vibrational match for who we are, how we are feeling and thinking. When Earl Schoaff was uttering these words it was from a place of ‘knowing,’ but probably not from the background of the physics that has been done since then. There is still so much we don’t know.
I have spoken before about the people who are attracting what they don’t want but they are so attached energetically to what they don’t want, that they can’t see that energy flowing through them day in and day out. For some it is completely a lack of awareness that they can change their behaviour. For others it is an awareness of knowing how they can attract the things they want, but they are a vibrational match for that for such a short period of the day, that the other energy that they feel dominates. So what can you do daily to remind yourself throughout the day, of how you want to feel, the beliefs you want to have and the thoughts you want to be focusing on? The first thing is to remind yourself constantly is to notice what it is that you are feeling, thinking and believing in any given moment. If you don’t want to have those feelings, thoughts or beliefs then it is up to you to change them then & there. Remind yourself of what you have already decided to put in place for these occasions – a word, a phrase, some positive empowering thought.
Enjoy your mindfulness practice!
“The art of being wise, is knowing what to overlook.” William James
At the end of the day the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Will this matter in a year or even 6 months from now?” The art of overlooking is never tested as sorely as when we have children. Tidy bedrooms, beds made, dyed hair, studs in the tongue. At the end of the day we have to make a judgement call. Aah the word judgement. I was having a conversation with a friend recently because judgement has been tied to criticism and we were discussing how we still need judgement to get ourselves out of trouble, to get a feel for how far away that approaching car is and so on.
Today I was reading a series of blogs and one was about judgement. Rachael Jayne Groover was saying that judgement can help us choose, even down to which groceries we want; it can help us let go of situations that are causing anxiety, when we judge what is real or imagined; judgement helps us see red flags to sense what situation is or isn’t right for you. Connecting regularly with that part of you that is wise, will help you judge and know what to overlook.
Enjoy overlooking minor things!
“Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism…. Confronting your fears & allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier & more productive person.” David M. Burns
There is definitely a relationship between perfectionism & productivity. When we are afraid that whatever we do won’t be good enough, our creativity freezes up. To enjoy a colourful creative, vibrant & successful life, we have to trust in the inspirations that come to us, & act with faith that if we simply do our best & keep moving forward, everything will work out fine. Striving for excellence is different from striving for perfection.
I have had a tendency over the years to judge myself as falling short because I haven’t done a perfect job, by my standards. Judging ourselves is not empowering. This feeling can be heavy or uncomfortable or basically not feeling good. The word, allow, comes to mind – “to allow myself to contribute in life the best I can.” This stops the procrastination – if I haven’t done something, I can’t be judged, by them or me. If however I’m OK about just taking part, doing my best in this present moment, I can relax & enjoy the experience. And experience is what I get by just starting, even if heading on the wrong track – this in itself can empower & give satisfaction.
Enjoy facing the fears & limiting beliefs!
“The winner is the one who is willing to get out on the field and play the game.” Vince Lombardi
This weekend I was up in Wanaka for their annual cross country ski race that they call “The Merino Muster.” This is because it is held on what used to be a merino sheep farm and they call the ski field, The Snow Farm. It is an International event so there were a lot of countries represented. Although most are skiing for themselves it becomes a bit like a team event as people travel from the other side of the globe to meet up with others who enjoy cross country skiing as much as they do. They meet in all the different countries that hold this international Loppet Event and get their Loppet passport stamped to say they have done it.
Because there are 3 different lengths of race almost anyone can find a distance that they can manage. There were ‘sit-skiers,’ there were amputees, there were children of all ages and there is usually an octogenarian, prepared to ‘have a go.’ And this year was no exception. There were even 5 ladies who chose to use snow shoes & walk the 7 km distance with a glass of wine in hand. The day and snow was perfect but no matter how good the situation there will always be some of us who have excuses why we are not going to take part. This is the same with life in general. So, whatever your life is asking you to do: get out on the field of your life today and play full out. You will find that in this day are some miracles just waiting to happen.
Enjoy living FULL OUT!
“Happiness is not an accident, it’s an art. You don’t hope for happiness, you plan for happiness. You have to weave happiness like a tapestry.” Jim Rohn
Being happy is a choice. If we wait for outside circumstances to make us happy we may be waiting for a long time. If we choose to be happy no matter what, we will attract people to us who will appreciate being around a positive happy person. Think about who you would rather be with – a grumpy judgmental person or a happy person, full of possibilities?
Have you heard of being mindful? This is being 100% in the moment of what you are doing. Not nodding at your child as they tell you about their school adventures, while your mind is thinking about other things. Not going for a lovely walk along the beach or other nature habitats, but completely oblivious to the screech of the gulls or the cheep of the fantail, because other things are occupying your mind. Choose to be happy in this very moment regardless of circumstances.
We can’t be happy in the past, it’s been and gone (we can remember an event that brings a smile to our lips.) We can’t be happy in the future because it’s not here yet (we can visualize happiness at some time ahead of us.) But why not try being happy for no reason, right now & now & now!
Put a smile on your face and others will start wondering what you are up to, or want what you’ve got. It’s hard not to smile when someone else smiles at you. It uses less muscles and research shows that feel good chemicals are released, which can only be good for your health.
Enjoy smiling and choosing to be HAPPY!
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Have you ever taken on a job that really was a bit of a stretch at the time & you felt out of your depth but didn’t dare tell anyone? Have you ever been voted into the president’s job of the local PTA because no one else would take it on and you really had no idea of what you were doing in the role? But you looked back in a years’ time and saw how far you had come! It is like the stretching we do at the gym to get our muscles more flexible, we become more flexible and more resilient in the work place if we have to keep stretching to fulfil our obligations in our new job or voluntary role. My husband was a reasonably easy going guy and we shifted around to follow his promotions up the teaching ladder. He never showed how nervous he felt on that first morning but he did confide that he definitely wasn’t going along without the odd butterfly.
Because he was prepared to put himself out there to meet the challenges head on, he grew in leaps and bounds and this is why we continued to move to the new jobs that would challenge his nervous system each time. But there would come a time when he would start to get the call inside of himself to have another growth spurt and take on a new school to lead, a new challenge with new skills to learn. Once he had reached the biggest school he wanted to be in, he decided to take those business skills he had learnt, and take them out into our own business. Were there some more lessons to be learnt? You betcha! And he wouldn’t have learnt them from a book – he had to live them to learn from them. What are you doing, or what could you do to stretch into the new lesson you need to learn?
Enjoy living the lessons!
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” Muhammad Ali
I’ve talked before about how we grow up being taught certain things that are not necessarily the truth. Our parents mostly did their best but they were operating from what their parents said was the truth. They may have also been concerned for our welfare and if we climbed on to a piece of playground equipment they may have said, “Be careful!” This could have instilled in us a fear of going beyond our comfort zone or trying something new. Maybe one or two family members kept telling you that your dreams would never happen. That doesn’t have to happen too many times before we get the impression that there is no point in dreaming, because it “aint gonna happen.” As we believe these significant people in our lives we believe these messages about ourselves and unless we are aware, we let them stop us from meeting the challenges head on.
There is a growing body of evidence that we can create our reality through our beliefs. You may not want to step into the boxing ring, but we are talking about the things you do want to do but have a fear around. What is that for you? We’re beginning to understand that brain cells act as communities. They link up and work together as networks. The more we think a particular thought, the more its networks build themselves and strengthen. In an hour, the links between the cells by which they communicate, can double. So an hour focusing on a particular negative thought is just constantly building its neural strength. But the good news is, when we don’t use a network, it withers away. Billions of neurons get busy tearing apart the network that doesn’t seem to be needed any more. We rewire ourselves constantly on the basis of what we pay attention to. What are you going to start paying attention to now that you know this information?
Enjoy believing in yourself!