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 To Discover Your Vision

Clarifying your vision is one of the most powerful ways to bring immediate change to your life. But many people struggle to discover their vision. Follow this simple roadmap and you will be on your way to creating and living a vision focused on the most important things to you on the planet. photo_beauty_sky_parachute

When you live by your vision, everything changes. But without a vision, you’ll be stuck in the mire of boredom and mediocrity. Hope will dwindle, work will be monotonous, and relationships will be shallow. Don’t let that happen to you.

Creating Vision – Where to Start

The reason so few people live out of their vision is because they don’t know where to start. Vision begins with dreaming. Not ‘pie in the sky’ dreaming like, “I want 100 Ferrari’s and 10 vacation houses.” Things do nothing to motivate people to live their lives.

A real dream is about living for something that’s bigger than yourself. It’s your life’s purpose, your mission, the reason you were created. How are you going to change the world? What kind of legacy will you leave? What impact do you want to make in the lives of others?

I’m also a firm believer that discovering, and living your vision is a Spiritual Experience. What do I mean? There is something very special hidden inside your vision and when you discover this treasure, it changes you forever. That treasure is the reason you were created and put on this earth.

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” – Jonathan Swift

All Your Life You’ve Been Fighting Yourself

Here’s a scary reality: when you are not clear on your vision you are living against yourself. You’re living in opposition to who you really are and what you’re supposed to be doing with your one and only amazing life! (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…)

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…)

A Life Filled with Purpose and Meaning Come from these 3 Things

 

How do we build lives of purpose and meaning? You and I have one life to live. There are no mulligans, do overs, or rewinds. Yesterday is gone and the only things that matter are in front of us. But most people leave their lives completely up to chance. They know very little about the most important principles that will help them live a purposeful, fulfilling life.

We don’t mean to live this way. We just don’t know what else to do. Sadly, I have lived this way for years. We don’t know how to be intentional about our lives and we don’t know what to focus on. Our default is a life ‘up for grabs’ to the highest bidder. So what’s the highest bidder? photo_lighthouse copy

Pain, busyness, and reactive living.

For some, just the thought of stopping to take an honest look is painful. We are disappointed with ourselves and we don’t like what we see. It reminds us of wasted time. Time we wanted to spend with those we love most, time doing the things that were in our heart but we neglected. We all get trapped in the disappointment of past failures and choose the path of avoidance. It’s just easier.

Our lives are filled with constant activity. We are overwhelmed by the swirl of must do’s, schedules, and phone calls. Our brains feel completely scrambled so we ignore our deeper needs and hope that somehow, they will just work themselves out.

The urgent clouds our mind so we run to our distractions.

We’ve all been there so don’t lose hope. I have GREAT NEWS for you. All of this has a remedy. Choosing to make a shift in 3 key areas will have profound impact in your life. You can a person that no longer leaves their life to chance and live for the moments and activities that define what is most important.

Missing first steps

Get this clearly in your mind: every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. The real question is, “Are you saying yes to what matters most?” Pain and regret come from saying yes to what doesn’t matter.

I will make you this promise: YOUR BEST IS YET TO COME. So let’s start making the changes that create the kind of life you really want to live. The first thing you have to focus on are your values.

Let me help you as much as I can in a blog post. When I do one on one coaching with clients, I take them through this process I’m about to share a with you. (more…)

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…)

Your Character Matters More than Your Success

 

This post is not a, “How to,” it’s a, “How to Be.” What’s happening inside of you, your character, is more important than anything else you can pursue. Success doesn’t matter if you put your character on the back burner. The news is filled with stories of leaders who have ‘gained the world’ but have failed miserably in that department. photo_family_beach copy

Here’s an example of what I mean. Many people on the internet are looking for legitimate ways to “change their lives,” and that’s a noble pursuit. What do you typically see? People writing about, “How to Make More Money,” “How to Build Bigger Email Lists,” or “How to Have the Job of Your Dreams as a Writer,” etc.

I’m not at all criticizing those programs. There are many great ones out there. But they are missing something very critical to a successful life and it’s this: It’s not what you do, or what you accumulate that matters, It’s who you are becoming.

It doesn’t matter if I have all of the money and influence in the world if I’m not living for the things that matter most to me. If I’m not becoming a better person, a better father, a better husband and more inspirational leader, my pursuits will eventually turn up empty. I’ve failed in these areas before in my life and it was painful.

The Internal vs. the External

As I’ve coached a number of CEO’s over the years, many find themselves internally bankrupt. They’ve achieved high levels of success but when they climbed to the top, there was nothing there. They lived their lives for EXTERNAL things (money, fame, power, control) and did little to focus on the INTERNAL things, (purpose, meaning, values, vision). It’s a common mistake on the road to success.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please listen carefully to me, the way to achieve REAL success in life, is to spend serious time building your character and crafting what’s on the inside.

An externally driven person focuses on ego and the things that need to be acquired to satiate their ego. It’s all about what they can do to get their needs met. Whether they like it or not, these leaders often see others as a means to an end.  (more…)

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…)