30 Life-Altering Things Positivity Can Do For You

As a coach to Executives and CEO’s I’m often asked this question, “What’s the one thing I can do to immediately get better results in my life?” The answer is to increase your levels of positivity. Positive people, “flourish,” while negative people, “flounder.”

The research is filled with incredible results that occur almost instantaneously. One of the best is called, The Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions and you can see it here. It’s maintaining a positive mindset that’s the harder work. That takes life change and learning to build better habits.

3-1 RATIO

It’s maintaining a positive mindset that’s the harder work. That takes life change and learning to build better habits. Studies have shown that it takes 3 positive inputs to replace 1 negative one. Unless you’re married then it takes 6 positives to 1 negative! 🙂

Positivity isn’t just about being happy. It’s about building incredible people skills, focusing on the life-events that really matter to you, learning to enjoy meaningful daily events, and creating real value in your life. Most of this research comes from the books, Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson, Flourish by Martin Seligman, and Grit by Angela Duckworth,

  1. Opens your mind
  2. Builds deeper relationships
  3. Encourages creativity
  4. You live longer
  5. Releases Joy
  6. Creates Openness
  7. Causes you to be more thoughtful
  8. Brings peace
  9. Cultivates gratitude
  10. Makes you resilient
  11. Helps you grow
  12. Promotes a healthy self-image
  13. Helps you to be more connected to your friends and family
  14. Increases trust
  15. Promotes physical health
  16. Helps you achieve your goals
  17. Causes you to dream more
  18. Invigorates Hope
  19. Develops stronger relationships at work
  20. Helps you get promotions faster
  21. Makes you a better athlete
  22. Recharges your energy and vitality
  23. Frees you from the effects of depression
  24. Makes people want to be around you more often
  25. Reduces stress
  26. Eliminates anxiety
  27. Helps the vision you have for your life become clearer
  28. Become a wiser person
  29. Helps you break bad habits
  30. You will enjoy every minute, of every day, with deeper appreciation

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

Why Negative Thoughts Create Discouragement and a Lack of Motivation

We are all faced with 1,000’s of opportunities each day to be positive or negative. Sadly, over 80% of people choose negative thoughts over positive ones. This is often responsible for why you feel bad, why you get discouraged, and why you might feel depressed, discouraged and lack motivation. photo_red_love_heart_alone-copy

One of the greatest things I’ve learned in the past few years is that there are chemicals behind my feelings. There are reasons I feel the way I do. Look at them as, “happy chemicals,” and “unhappy chemicals.” They are controlled by simple little thoughts. Studies show that over 80% of these thoughts are negative.

Most people have little concern over these thoughts that go into their brains. They listen to negative people, watch negative news, read negative Facebook feeds, and tell themselves negative stories about their self-worth and abilities. It’s constant. And they wonder why they feel bad?!

Why You Feel Bad

Every one of these negative thoughts releases negative chemicals in our bodies. It’s part of the biological process. One of the main reasons this happens is because of synapses in our brains. This is one of the first things students of neuroscience learn. There is a space between synapses called, “the synaptic cleft.” Think of it as empty space waiting to be filled and waiting to be reinforced.

Here’s how it works. You have a thought, and a chemical shoots across that space. This builds a bridge over that space and releases a chemical in your body. The next time you have a similar thought, it fires again making that connection closer and closer to decrease the distance of the electrical charge. It becomes easier the next time. On a side note, this is also how habits are formed. Soon, you don’t even think about how you actually drive a car because everything is automatic. That electrical charge has occurred so many times, you act without even thinking about it. If you’re a science nerd this is a great video on the topic: Science video.

The Power of Happy Chemicals

Simply put, if you want to build strong, positive habits, then focus on positive things. Hang out with positive people, read positive (more…)

Never, Ever Settle for Normal. Unless You’re Driftwood.

Can I encourage you to never do something? Don’t make peace with the status quo. Ever. And never settle for normal. It will be the death of you and everything you care about. Normal is what everyone wants you to do. Normal is what society forces us to do. Your life is worth extraordinary value, so live that way. Be wild. Do something crazy that creates amazing experiences and builds memories that last a lifetime. You’re unique, you’re gifted, and you may not be able to walk on water but it’s a lot more fun swimming in the Mediterranean than looking at pictures of it. (By the way – that picture is me jumping into the Mediterranean!)img_2891

You are a wonder of creation. Scientists say the very chances of you even existing are about one in 400 trillion. This means that there is no one like you. You are incredibly unique with gifts, talents, and answers for the people on this planet that only you can deliver. You cannot afford to be stuck in a rut.

“Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective ways of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it, the way typists accepted the fact that the QWERTY keyboard was the best possible one. Have you ever met anyone is your entire life who asked why the hands of a clock should go in one particular direction and not the other?” ~ Paulo Cuelho

Deep Change vs. Slow Death

Leadership expert and author Robert Quinn says that we are in one of two places in life, the place of deep change or slow death. We are either changing or shriveling up on the inside.

This is in agreement with the 2nd law of thermodynamics which states that all things lead to entropy – decay and disorder. It’s a natural system. It’s really easy to get stuck. Stuck in our comfort zones, habits, normalcy, negativity and routine. We are either changing or dying, growing or decaying. It takes a strong, willful, and soulful choice to go against the flow and take a leap of faith into the land of the unknown. A phrase I love to describe this is, “Walking naked into the land of uncertainty.” Don’t worry, it’s not literal. Keep your clothes on. 🙂

Moving Our Family to Europe

I’ll preface this by saying that you probably don’t need to move, but you do need to change and do something different. Maybe something really big and completely out of the box. Get out of your comfort zone. Take risk, not simply for the sake of risk but out of the yearning to truly live for what matters most to you.

For my family that meant moving overseas, learning a new language and building an adventurous life filled with a calling, and the things and people we love. We lived in a wonderful community at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The beauty was indescribable and the weather was my favorite of any place in the world. We were there for 14 years. So many incredible friends and experiences that were simply magical. (more…)

Why You Should Apply the Michael Phelps Gold Medal Strategy to Your Life

Michael Phelps won 5 more Olympic Gold medals in Rio. He is the most decorated Olympic athlete ever with 23 gold medals and a total of 28 Olympic medals over 5 appearances. How did he do it? There are a few simple practices Michael used to make history and you can apply the very same tools to help you succeed in life. Phelps learned to develop Grit and Mental Toughness by engaging in 3 specific principles which gave him an edge above his competitors. photo_Olympic_medal

  1. Create Simple Routines that Lead You to Success

When you create powerful routines (habits) in your life, you will drastically increase your chances of success. Habits channel your focus on the things that matter. Over time, you will experience incredible success from the power of these small wins.

Besides his workout habits, Michael Phelps engages in specific routines every time he prepares to race. He arrives at the pool exactly 2 hours before the event for very specific stretching exercises that are always the same. After 30 minutes, Michael gets into the pool for 45 minutes of warm up drills. Then he changes from his warm-ups to his racing swimsuit.

In the starting block he performs the exact same routine. He stands behind the starting block 4 minutes before the race. When the announcer calls his name he steps on the block, and then off of the block. He then swings his arms 3 times, steps back up and assumes his starting position.

This is the same routine for every race.

  1. Train Your Brain Philosophy

The U.S. Olympic swimming team has a “train your brain philosophy.” This is why I teach on the power of rewiring your brain. You teach your brain what results you want to create and you’re able to deliver them time and time again. It’s about confidence, focus, and creating the results you want.

I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything. ~ Michael Phelps

Phelps said when his goggles filled with water in the Beijing Olympics, he wouldn’t have won gold without mental strength. He knew exactly where he was and how many strokes he had left, all he had to do was count the strokes he rehearsed. He said, “Training your brain makes nerves a non-issue.”

  1. Focus on You

As a competitor, Michael Phelps is clear about what he wants. He is not focused on his nerves, what he didn’t do that morning, or any of the competitors. He is obsessively centered on getting the results that are important to him.

A great example of this was the 2012 Olympic semifinal race in London. Chad le Clos stood directly in front of Phelps before the race and stared him down. It was an obvious attempt by the South African to distract and intimidate Phelps. What le Clos didn’t realize was that he was making a fatal concentration error that would ultimately cost him a medal.

If you want to beat an opponent, you never focus on them. It fuels negativity and steals energy from resources you need to win. Focus on YOU and YOUR goals.

During the race le Clos even looked over at Phelps in the middle of the race, which is a huge performance “NO-NO” for swimmers that slows them down every time. Phelps never looked at le Close and even turned away from him before the finals.

In the end, Phelps won his 20th gold medal and le Close placed 4th, out of medal contention.

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. ~ Michael Phelps

 

You’re Failing Because of the Negative Coach in Your Brain

Why do you wake up some days and feel inspired, engaged and connected while other days you feel like every ounce of focus and determination has been drained from your body in your sleep? Is it just a mood swing or are their deeper things happening you are not aware of? You may even be listening to a negative coach in your mind you don’t even know exists. I’m going to show you how one simple change can drastically increase your self-belief and motivation levels every single day. photo_happy_chemicals

I started studying positivity and negativity after watching many years of youth sports. Here is what I discovered. There are some coaches who are amazing at getting the best out of their teams. They say the right things and motivate their players with purpose and positive affirmations. These types of coaches get incredible performance out of their teams. They win many games they should lose.

Then there are coaches who have very talented teams that should be winning most of their games. But they lose more than they should. Much of the time it’s not because of the talent of the players. It’s because of the negativity of the coach. They yell and say condemning things, and create stress and anxiety in their players. The result? The players shut down, they are unmotivated and even humiliated. Biologically, they can’t optimally perform at this point even if they wanted to.

The Negative Coach in Our Minds

This is very similar to what happens to each of us in life. Too many times, the negative coach in our minds is the predominant voice we hear and it wrecks our ability to stay motivated and engaged.

You need to pay very close attention to this if: (1) You are struggling with your vision and your life call, (2) You find it difficult to stay inspired and motivated (3) You really want to be a better leader, friend, spouse or parent but can’t seem to be consistent with your words and your love for others or (4) You are often fighting negative thoughts and emotions.

We need to get to the bottom of these issues if we want to change. You have to find the root and pull it out. The good news is that if you can change this one thing, you will see up to a 10X growth in many areas of your life. (more…)

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…)

How to Double Your Success in Everything

 

How would you like to double the quality of what you write? Or double the depth of your personal relationships? How about doubling your overall success? You can double the success of anything you want by using this technique proven by neuroscience. It’s called Positive Intention.

I am all about getting a higher return on anything I can in life. My time, my investments, my kids activities, or my experiences. Why do something with half the results? The sad fact is many people choose to live this way. They don’t take the time to optimize. If they did, their results would outperform the best Wall Street stocks. photo_success_redrocks copy

If you are a network marketer, a business person, an athlete, a speaker, a mom who is CEO of the house, or most anybody who is trying to improve, embrace this technique with everything you have because it will change your life. `

 It’s called “Mind’s Eye Rehearsal,” which is about using your mind to capitalize on the strengths of past events in your life. The idea is that if you have really excelled at something in the past, you can repeat it again in the future with similar or better results. The best thing is that what I’m about to tell you is backed by tons of research so you be assured of its value. It’s also one of the greatest ways to strengthen the neural pathways in your brain, making it easier to repeat the behavior next time.

There are two reasons for this according to Caroline Webb in her book, How to Have a Good Day.

  1. Our brains activate in a similar way when we’re visualizing something as when we are living it for real. Researchers have found the overlap to be between 60 percent and 90 percent.
  2. The more you rehearse a certain behavior, the stronger the neural pathway becomes in our brain. That’s why practice makes perfect. It’s behaviourally driven.

Why? Because neurons in your brain make connections with one another. They communicate through something called synapses. As you grow and learn new things those connection begin to change. The more you make the same connection, the easier it is to reactivate that behavior or skill. This is one of the reasons our brains continue to change throughout our lives because of something called neuroplasticity. I’ve written more about it here, “How Positivity Rewires Your Brain.

Practicing Mind’s Eye Rehearsal

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How to Increase Creativity in Anything You Do

 

Creativity is the key to great writing, meaningful work, deep relationships and inspiring leadership. The key to knowing how to be more creative lies in understanding how our brains work. It’s more simple than you might think.

Everyday our brains are scanning the horizon of our circumstances in order to know what to do. Every email we read, each Facebook post we scan, and every conversation we engage, tells our brains what to do next and engages the appropriate behavior. photo_lightbulb copy

Our brains are built to function in one of two ways: (1) Threat or (2) Reward. Everyday we are constantly trying to avoid threat and embrace reward. The more we condition our brains to see less threat and more reward, the more creative we will be.

There is a simple reason for this. Stress and threat release hormones that shut down our creativity called adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. These hormones are good for you when you are fighting or running for your life. But, they don’t work in your favor if you are trying to be creative.

When we see the world through a reward based framework, our brains release “happy chemicals,” such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. These chemicals help us to feel more creative and motivated. We are more likely to accomplish our goals such as, coming up with a brilliant idea, finish writing the next chapter of a book, excel at your next athletic event, or just simply having an incredible day with your family. (more…)