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

How 2017 Can Be the Greatest Year of Your Life

The thrill of the Holidays are over. New Years resolutions have come and gone. The lure of the “new” is beginning to fade. You’re already failing in your new year commitments and 2017 isn’t turning out like you hoped. Is there anything you can do to change that really works? I have good news for you – the answer is an absolute, YES! This is how to make 2017 the greatest year of your life. Man posing in front of beautiful sunrise by the medieval house in rural countryside of Slovenia

I have failed at resolutions and goal-setting so many times it hurts. In fact, 92% of people who set goals do not achieve them. So don’t feel too bad.

But after years of studying human performance and personal change, I’ve finally found what works and it’s simple for you to implement.

3 Simple Things to Create Change in 2017

  1. You Must Have a Compelling Vision.

Many people think that a dream or a goal is good enough to accomplish what they want. But if that’s all you do, you will likely fail like the 92%. It’s not strong enough to keep you focused.

To help you succeed like the top 8%, you must have a vision. A vision is a compelling picture of the future. It’s what you will do, who you will be and what must happen in your life. It’s not up for negotiation. For a deeper dive on how to create a vision statement, read this article on How to Discover Your Vision.

People fail because they aren’t clear enough with their personal vision. If you are vague regarding your vision, everything else in your life will seem vague. The clearer your vision is, the greater the opportunity to accomplish it.

If you don’t believe you have the ability to take responsibility and create the world you want to live in, the world will create you in its image. A vision helps you be the victor of change not the victim.

2. Systems not Goals

Goals are important, but alone, they fail 92% of the time.

A goal is, “I want to run a marathon.” The system is to run 1 mile 5x a week the first week, 2 miles 5x the second week, 4 miles 5x the third week etc. You build the system to achieve your goal.  (more…)

1% Change Proves that Results are about Thinking Small not Big

 

Leadership gurus say to live the kind of life you’ve always dreamed about, you have to make massive changes. THAT’S JUST NOT TRUE. The best way to make personal improvement is to create small wins, or 1% marginal gains. Finding tiny improvement in several areas of your life will yield big results that lead to sustained change and science proves it. photo_dandelion_small_wins

The first time I heard about 1% incremental change was the story about Sir David Brailsford and the British Cycling Team. The team couldn’t produce a rider able to win the Tour De France in its entire history. Brailsford felt that by improving small areas by 1%, Team Sky could produce a British cycler who could win the Tour de France in 5 years. He was wrong. In only 2 ½ years Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 and British riders have won the completion 3 times in the last 4 years. They’ve also accumulated a total of 16 gold medals in the last 2 Olympics.

How Did They Do It?

They made 1% improvements in areas you would think of such as nutrition, aerodynamics of the bike, and comfort of the seat. But what’s incredible about this story is that Brailsford produced 1% gains in areas others didn’t think about. Through research they found a pillow that provided 1% better sleep and traveled with it. They discovered the correct sleeping posture which produced another 1% sleeping gain. Then, someone found a massage gel that worked 1% more effectively, and a sanitizer that was 1% better at killing bacteria and preventing sickness. When you take all of these 1% gains and add them up, they deliver maximized benefits.

The simple idea of marginal gains is this: by making small incremental changes in your life, you can benefit from huge gains over time. The people who have discovered this hidden truth and applied it, are some of the most successful people in the world. You can be too.

The reason most people fail at achieving their goals is because they aren’t able to be consistent over time. They start with big plans and giant goals but they give up way too soon. This is why health clubs are filled with people in January and empty in March.

I learned an incredible truth from Robin Sharma, “Intention is the mother of mastery.” What you do everyday is more important than what you do once a month or once a year. Over time, you experience huge benefits and the compound effect begins to reward you.

Take a look at what you do everyday. Your actions dictate what is most important to you. Sure, you may say that you want to get into shape but when it comes right down to it, the bed is more comfortable than the run and the unhealthy food tastes better than the salad. What you do today is simply your life in miniature. Change your daily decisions and you will change your life.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

This is exactly why I have created a habit called, “Begin Well, End Well.” What you do the first 5 minutes of the day and the last 5 minutes of the day can create gigantic gains in your life when you stay consistent. Creating the kind of life you desire is a gradual process of improvement rather than knee-jerk, radical changes.

Creating 1% Marginal Gains Immediately

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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…)

You’re Dying on the Inside Because You Don’t Live out of a Personal Vision

If you don’t have a personal vision, You’re on the Path of Slow Death. Statistics show that less than 3% of people live out of any kind of person vision. This is a modern day catastrophe. If you are part of the 97% not living out of your vision, not only are you doing yourself a disservice, you are cheating those of us who need you to live in the fullness of your passions, talents and energies. It’s time to grow up, take responsibility and start living your visions now.photo_vision_binoculars-copy

The sad philosophy of a visionless life is: Ready…Fire…Aim. There is no target to aim for. Visionless people aren’t sure where they are going so any old target will do. This is the modern day dilemma.

WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIVE OUT OF A PERSONAL VISION?

Fear, lack of knowledge and distraction are all reasons at the top of the list to why visions don’t exist in our lives. They are real and we need to address them, but under no circumstance can we make peace with these excuses and live in any form of mediocrity.

#1 Fear. Fear is the great pretender. It pretends to keep us safe and out of harms way but it does the exact opposite. It causes us to cower when we are uncertain of our path. Worst of all, many times it keeps us from taking any risk whatsoever and so often the risk we need to take propels us into the life we’ve always desired.

#2 Lack of knowledge – Most of us don’t know how to find our vision, we’ve never been taught. We’ve gone along with the crowd and tried to play it safe. We get an hourly job, pay the bills, and hope something better comes along. People don’t know how to live out of vision because they don’t know their vision. They’ve never taken the time to go deep inside and uncover their buried treasure. It’s time to invest in yourself. Do whatever it takes to get your vision out from the inside. It might be difficult, birthing a new baby is rarely easy, but it’s the most beautiful thing to show the world when the process is over.

#3 Distraction – we are the “Generation of Distraction.” The latest research proves that on average, we are exposed to 63,000 words per day, we are distracted every 11 minutes, and we check our smartphones 110 times a day. When we are this disconnected, there is no way we can fulfill our dreams and live out any kind of vision. That’s a waste of an amazing life.

We are hardwired on a neurological level to come fully alive once we start living out of our visions and passions. What’s a cause so important to you that it keeps you up at night? What have you always longed to do that could make a huge impact in the lives of others? What kind of life would make you feel incredible fulfilled and satisfied? Once you are compelled by your visions at an emotional level, nothing will stop you from seeing those visions come to pass.

Think of some of your greatest heroes, people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Jesus, or Steve Jobs. Every single one of them had one thing in common: they were “cause-fueled.” They believed in something so compelling to them, they gave everything in their life to see if fulfilled. They lived out of a personal, compelling vision. When your “WHY” is big enough, the “how’s” in your life will line up.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

How Can I Live Out of My Personal Vision?

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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.

photo_littleboy_beach copy

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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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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