How To Escape the Trap of Survival Mode

If you learn this one simple truth, you will move from Survival mode to “Thrival” mode. Survival mode will be something in your past, not your present or your future. You can finally start living your life the way you’ve always wanted but just didn’t have the tools to change. The secret to changing from Survival mode to “Thrival” mode is found in understanding your brain and the incredible power of small decisions. 

What Is Survival Mode?

For most of my life I’ve lived in survival mode and I never understood why. I felt like most people were against me and not for me. The only time they were for me is when they wanted something from me. And inevitably, someone would screw me over and my greatest fears would be confirmed. Then, the cycle would repeat itself.

Relationships weren’t the only areas where survival mode flourished. I was in survival mode in my job, with investments, and with my wife and children. I feared there wouldn’t be enough money to pay the bills, not enough time to spend together, at the end of the day I didn’t do enough to get my work done. There was never enough. I was always short-changed. In fact, if I was honest, I felt like I wasn’t enough and might never be.

BUT WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?!

I finally discovered the truth: Our brains aren’t built to help us be happy or fulfilled, they are built to help us SURVIVE. That skill may work great for a hunter-gatherer, but it wasn’t helping me in the here and now.

The Two Parts of Your Brain

There are two parts to your brain: First, is the flight or fight response. The second is the part of the brain which understands how to help you THRIVE. It happens when you feel love, joy, connection, inspiration, hope, peace, or wonder.

No one enjoys feeling angry, stressed, frustrated, self-pity, fear, and a host of other negative emotions. But we’ve all learned to live with them. In fact, we’ve lived with them so long that when negativity isn’t a part of our lives, we feel like something is wrong. So, we go right back into flight or flight mode and the cycle continues creating more fear, stress, and anxiety.

Whenever we feel any kind of pain or emotional distress – whether it’s self-pity, for example, or guilt, or shame – we’re thrown, operationally, into a state of survival mode according to a Psychology Today article.

“Most people live this way since it’s the path of least resistance. They make unconscious decisions, based on habit and conditioning, and are at the mercy of their own minds. They assume that it’s just an inevitable part of life to get frustrated, stressed, sad, and angry—in other words, to live in a suffering state.” – Tony Robbins

So how do we CHANGE?

It’s time to kick Survival Mode out of 0ur lives and it comes down to taking control and making 4 different decisions:

  1. Commit that you will choose to be happy no matter what happens to you. This means that no matter the circumstance, you will choose to find the good in it. You will change your focus from fear and suffering to hope and prosperity. This means you will commit to enjoying life even when things don’t go your way. You have to become a master of spinning negativity into positivity.
  1. Fill your life with POSITIVITY not negativity. This has been a huge game changer for me. Did you know that 80% of the information you take in everyday is negative? This fuels the survival mode of your brain. It tells you there is a threat around every corner. There’s suspicion in every relationship and conspiracy in every decision you don’t like. DON’T GIVE NEGATIVITY POWER. Make a commitment to not let any negativity into your brain. Inevitably some will sneak in, but being vigilant and focused on positivity with immediately change how you feel and how you see the world.
  1. Make a MASSIVE investment in yourself. Start living a proactive life focused on being happy, positive, and the best version of yourself. Buy motivating books, enroll in an inspiring leadership course, get into a mastermind group. Set your focus on learning and growing in the areas that help you move to a place of health. Don’t settle for being a reactive, passive, negative human being. You have every resource within yourself to begin making change now.
  1. Remove yourself from toxic people and toxic environments. Sometimes we just need to learn how to put an end to things in our life that need to die. Reduce or eliminate your time from people that make you feel worse when you’re around them. If your stuck in a rut, you may need to make a massive change. Move across town, change the city you live in, or find different social circles.

Survival mode is only a temporary way of life. You arrived there because of specific decisions you have made that got you there and kept you there.

Thrival mode is about creating a thriving lifestyle filled with the positive things you want in life. They don’t come by accident, they come by intentions. As you begin to implement these simple changes, life moves out of the black and white into a beautiful explosion of color that changes who you are and what you see.

“Drop all the doubt, worry, stress, and anxiety that has been causing you to lose sleep at night. Decide to life your life looking forward, no backwards.” ~ Les Brown

Who You Are Is More Important than What You Do

 

Who are you? Many of us struggle to answer that simple question. The immediate response most give is to describe their job. “I’m an accountant,” “I work in the sales division of my company,” “I am a coach.” But that’s not the question. What we do is not who we are and it’s normal for people to get the two confused.

It takes time and commitment to do the deep work of really knowing who we are.

To become someone others believe in and in order to live with integrity, you must know the deeply held beliefs that drive you. What are the values, ideals and standards that make up the essence of who you are inside? When these things become clear, you will have the courage to live them. photo_man_suitandtie copy

Performance Driven vs. Principle Driven

A person who is performance driven is focused on results. It’s all about what they do and what they accomplish. How well they do on a task speaks to them about their value. For example, If I excel on a project (or for kids, if I excel at sports, school, music etc.), then everyone loves me and I get all kinds of positive attention. If I fail, or don’t do well, then it seems like others don’t value me as much. The internal message is that I am only as good as how I perform. People only care about me when I’m a winner so I become addicted to activity.

People in this category typically complain that their lives are out of balance, they don’t have time for anything and they are burned out. Their relationships are shallow and fractured. There is little margin for personal reflection and spiritual awareness and they cope by withdrawing or staying excessively busy and distracted. I know this type of person well because this is my propensity and it’s exactly where I found myself a few years ago. It was miserable.

I learned to value myself by results and performance as a child. Many of the messages we’ve come to believe get handed down to us from our childhood. Whether our caretakers knew it or not, they taught us how to value ourselves and those internal messages took deep root.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Plato

The truth is that we are all driven by results on some level. But how results affect a person who is centered on their principles (who I am) is much different. Results are simply what they do, it doesn’t define who they are.

When you are principle centered you have a deep sense of gratitude about your life and your gifts. Therefore you steward those gifts in the best way you can and you see them through your values (which you can learn more about here.) They shape you they don’t define you. Who you are is more important than what you do.
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Stop Short Changing Yourself and Create a Meaningful Life

5 things to do that make life beautiful

I’m wondering if you’re like many people I speak with who don’t have the kind of life they really want? What does it take to create a meaningful life? How do you focus on doing things that are important and meaningful to you?

According to a recent survey, only 33% of Americans feel happy, content and satisfied. I’m sure results are similar in Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.

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People feel trapped inside jobs they don’t like, too much time is spent on things they don’t care about, they aren’t living for what matters most, and they have almost lost hope that it will ever be any different. In short, they’ve thrown in the towel and have come to terms with being a ‘spoke in the wheel.’

Have you ever felt this way? First, I understand those thoughts can seem very real. But they are what I call, “victim speak.” Saying these kinds of words over and over is what gives negativity power in your life and makes you feel discouraged and hopeless. Victim speak occurs whenever you believe that someone or something is responsible for your unhappy state of affairs. For example, “I’m stuck in this awful job because I can’t get anyone else to hire me,” or, “I can never get ahead because I can barely bring in enough money to pay my bills,” “I can’t succeed because of the bad economy.”

There’s only 1 way to defeat this kind of negativity. Take your power back! Whenever you allow these thoughts into your mind, you give them power over your life and circumstances. Power to control what you think and who you are becoming. Taking your power back is acknowledging that although you may feel this way now, your have the power to reject those statements and do something IN THE PRESENT to create a more meaningful life. The kind of life that matters most to you.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned from the most successful people I know on how to create change NOW and have more meaning in your life:

(1) Cast a HUGE vision for your life and do 1 thing everyday that gets you closer to it. (more…)

You Can’t Change Because You Won’t Change

If you’re dreams are dying it could be because you don’t understand the power of what I’m about to tell you. What are the 5 most important things in your life? Family? Spirituality? Hope? Success? Integrity? Chances are you aren’t clear about what the 5 things are and even if you did, your behavior is proving they aren’t important to you. You know you need to change but you won’t. It’s true, you can’t change because you won’t change. You’re part of the 95% of people who have joined the ‘cult of average club.’ They are good people, nice people, but they are people who leave the most important things in their lives on the table. photo_life_man_son copy

One reason is that people don’t have a clue about the underlying forces that drive their behavior.  Most people refer to these as ‘values’ and they are some of the most important things to get clear in your life if you want to live a life filled with rhythm and purpose. Otherwise, you will regularly feel stressed, frustrated, and purposeless.

What’s happened to every single one of us, is that we have allowed certain behaviors to be implanted into our lives that aren’t important to us. Why? Because they’ve worked for us at one time. We may have derived a short-term pleasure from the behavior or we may have received certain accolades and attention for those behaviors. So we do them again and again, until they formed a habit. Here’s the problem, once they don’t work for us anymore, we  are still stuck in those behaviors because they have become automatic. They are fixed in our lives as a habit.

Here’s what Charles Duhigg says about it, author of the book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. “A behavior becomes a habit, as it becomes automatic, it moves into the basal ganglia, which is one of the oldest structures in our brain and it’s near the center of our skull. And when things happen in the basal ganglia, it doesn’t feel like thought. That’s why a habit feels automatic, is because it’s happening in this part of your brain that for all intents and purposes, from what we think of as thinking, is completely exempt from that process.”

In other words, once a habit is formed, we often don’t even realize it’s there anymore. We still get the short-term reward for the habit, but it can often cause discouragement and anxiety in our life because it’s not really what we want to be doing.

I believe in the power of programming new habits so much, I radically changed my life. I knew that I was too locked into old patterns and desperately needed a change and a fresh start. So we got rid of everything in our lives, sold the cars, got out of debt, left what was familiar and moved to Barcelona, Spain.

It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself and my family in the last 10 years and this decision is going to completely change the course of our lives. I’m sold out to the vision and so are my wife and kids. Every one of them will tell you, even in spite of the hard days, it’s been one of the most powerful things they’ve ever done. Now, you don’t have to move overseas, but you are going to have to do something radical in your life to get to where you want to go. Here’s why.

How Can I Change?

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Can the Bible Help Me Be More Positive?

 

Fear and negativity have become as common today as barbecues and movie theaters. Our world is steeped in it. These feelings and emotions are in direct contradiction to a life filled with wholeheartedness and purpose which are promises of a positive lifestyle. In the midst of our disappointment our challenge is to keep ourselves filled with hope and to have a strong, positive mindset. But how can we live that way? Can the Bible help us be more positive? Does it have anything to say about overcoming fear and living a life filled with good things? Photo_Bible_IICor

I chose to pursue a Masters in Theology and a Doctorate in Leadership because I wanted answers to the deeper questions in life such as these. I was also hamstrung with negativity and a terrible mindset. I saw problems with most everyone and everything around me. I thought life was a cruel joke and people were not to be trusted. The truths below have literally changed my life and help me live my values and the things in life that are important to me. They are simple yet powerful. I hope they impact you too.

3 Promises to Help You Live a Positive Life

 Romans 8:28“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

This is one of my personal favorite passages on hope and staying positive. NO matter what happens in our lives, God is actively working on our behalf to turn all things into good things. This means that in the middle of our darkest struggles we are not alone. We are not forgotten. And we are not orphaned. In no way does this mean God causes evil and calamity, but he inevitably brings good through everything that happens in life.  (more…)

This Shift Will Create More Love and Success in Your Life

Can we create more love and success in our lives? Absolutely. And a strange research study proves it. A man named Dr. Masuru Emoto conducted a study and found an usual path to success. He attempted to determine the effect that spoken words had on water. He chose words that communicated both love and hate, then immediately froze the water to see what effects the words would have. The results were fascinating.photo_man-stress-male-face copy

Words centered around love, gratitude, happiness and appreciation formed beautiful crystals resembling intricate snowflakes. Spoken words about hate, anger and war formed images that were black and deformed. Words literally had an impact on what happened to the water. It changed its structure. This should not come as too much of a shock to us. The ancient book of Proverbs, written sometime between the 10th and 6th centuries B.C., tells us that. “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Since research shows we are 60% water, we need to take this study seriously.

Change your words, change your life.

We are designed to be creative people. We create with our hands, our minds and with our words. Human beings have an innate ability to speak life and death over their lives and circumstances. This is one of our most powerful and overlooked abilities to bring about positive change. (more…)

Creating a Life You Won’t Regret

How to always live with meaning and purpose

What is most important to you in life? After years have passed, will you have lived for what really mattered? Sadly, many people will ask these questions too late because they weren’t internally driven and they didn’t take the time to create a life they really wanted.  Our society has become one gigantic scare tactic against what really matters. And it can squeeze your true self and your true purpose right out the window. I am going to tell you how to make a very important personal change so you can live a life with no regrets. Making this change changed my life.

Everyone tells you what you have to do to be successful. You have to go to college when you graduate. You have to get a good paying job at a respectable company. You have to make friends with important people to catapult your career. You have to be popular and get tons of likes on Facebook. The list is endless. 
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The problem comes when we focus on what we “have to” do according to what other sources have said, and we lose track of the things that genuinely matter to us. We are no longer living our dreams, but someone else’s.

Are you Living the Life You Want?

All of these, “have to’s,” start to spin ridiculously out of control and most people find themselves doing things they don’t like with a life they really don’t want to be living. That’s why so many people are unhappy. In fact, 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work, according to a new report by the Conference Board, the New York-based nonprofit research group.

Yet, the path to happiness and fulfillment lies in our hands. According University of California PhD researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky states: “40 percent of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.”

But many won’t do what it takes to change. They choose ‘things’ over people – stuff over what’s really important. According to another research team who recently published their findings online in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, materialistic people find it more difficult to be grateful for what they have, which causes them to become miserable. In other words, the more we get, the less fulfillment there is in our lives.

This is why living your values are so critical to your personal happiness and fulfillment. I spoke about this in some detail in this article and want to drill deeper into how it looks. I asked my readers what would help them from these posts and they said, “more examples,” so here it goes.

Creating a Successful Life on Your Terms

I went through a really amazing values discovery session with Jo Bell, one of my mentors. She helped me uncover the five values that were at the heart of every decision I made – they define who I am. They are: (1) Faith/spirituality, (2) Family, (3) Hope, (4) Freedom, and (5) Vulnerability.

These are so deeply engrained in me that I could sit down with you and talk about each of them for hours. I can define them for you and explain them in detail. We all have at least 5 values. If we start making decisions and living a life against those values, all kinds of turmoil will break out. Let me explain.

I experienced an incredibly painful time in my life a few years ago when my life became misaligned with my values. I was the CEO of an international non-profit that helped widows and orphans. It was amazing work that I really loved. But all of the travel began to adversely affect me and caused my family to suffer – and it caused me to suffer. I wasn’t myself. I became angry and irritable and when I was home, I just couldn’t relax and enjoy life. (more…)

Does God Want Me To Be Happy?

How Positive Psychology Can Help Strengthen Your Faith

For most of my life I have struggled with negativity. I wanted to be positive and life-giving, but kept falling into negative traps I had set for myself – traps I didn’t even realize were there. I grew up in a broken home and my life was tumultuous as a child and teenager. I concluded that the world was full of idiots and most people were not to be trusted. And that view carried into much of my adult life. It was terribly destructive to me and those I cared about.

I wanted to change, but to do so, I had to come to a place where I took personal responsibility for my life – every aspect of it. As I press into becoming the person God wants me to be, I have to remember that I’m a work in progress. And one of the first things I had to do was accept that God might want me to be happy.

photo_KIKHW5NC6Y copyWhen you think about your faith, have you ever wondered if God wants you to be happy? Does our happiness matter? And what is happiness anyway?  When questioned about the greatest commandment, Jesus said, 

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Is that passage showing us the key and giving us permission to be happy? It speaks to the wholeness of a person – heart, soul, and mind. It follows with a perfect definition of healthy relationships and self-regard. It also describes the happiest people I know . 

Let’s dig deeper. Much of our “happiness” deals with two main issues in our lives (more…)

You Can Immediately Change the Way You Feel About Yourself and Others

TomDavis_Positivity_HopeChest_2 copyI’ve put together a free video that will help you immediately change the way you feel about yourself and others. This skill will help create more success in your life in almost every area that’s important to you.

Let’s be honest, we live in a negative world. There is no way around it. We have to be PROACTIVE if we are going to fight against the tide of negativity and create a more positive mindset. The benefits are countless and proven by research: a longer life, more creativity, deeper relationships, more joy, increases trust, makes you more resilient – I could go on and on. You have everything to gain when you are more positive and you use this skill. This video shows you how.

But we are already behind the 8-ball. We need to be immersed in over 100,000 healthy, positive thoughts every single day. Most of us are way below 50,000 (scientists count these things not me!) which means that we are not experiencing the quality of life, peace of mind, physical health, connections and relationships we need.

It takes time to change your mind – and increasing your level of positivity is a process. It took many years to develop the mindset you have and it will take some time to create the one you want to have. I am going to help you make simple, small steps to infuse more positivity and authenticity into your daily activities. Every teaching or video is meant to help you understand the mechanics of how your brain functions and learn new skills that help you flourish. I promise you it’s worth every second of your time investment.

This video is free to our community. If you are already a part, simply click the link above (Head over to our exclusive content area) to watch. If you aren’t part of the community, all you need to do is enter your email (above) to become part of the community and have instant access. Thanks for watching and please let me know how this skill helps to improve your levels of positivity – tom@yourpositivitycoach.com

The Joy of a Merry Christmas

Elements of Well-Being Theory

I’m sitting in a café in Barcelona surrounded by the sights and sounds of Christmas (this picture is my current view). I don’t know about you, but the Christmas holidays always push my buttons. I have good memories and bad memories of holidays gone by, but it’s always the bad ones that stick out in my mind. For me and most people the pull of the negative is simply stronger than the positive (that tendency is so powerful it has it’s own name – more on that later).

Regardless of what the holidays have been for you, I want to help you with what will be. There are simple things you can focus on this holiday season, and into the New Year, that will help you to be filled with more joy, peace, gratitude, hope and all the other warm, fuzzy words that describe who you want to be and what you want to feel. This is for me too. IMG_0205One of the reasons for our move to Europe this year is so my family and I could break the cycle of negativity and excess comfort we were experiencing and cultivate more of those “warm and fuzzy” traits in our lives.

I would like to describe our adventure through something called Well-Being Theory. Well-being theory is the idea that you and I can consistently sustain the kind of life we desire. Yes, it is about being happy, but I would say it goes way beyond simple happiness. (more…)