Your Life Doesn’t Belong to You. Get it Back.

 

All our lives we are told what we can’t do and what we have to do. It’s time to focus on what you can do and what you want to do. I’m not talking about a hedonistic life that is ‘all about me.’ I’m talking about living the kind of life that is most who you are. A life that is aligned by your values – the things that are most important to you. photo_man_sad_beard copy

But we are slaves to the system. Our lives don’t look the way we want them to. Many of us have jobs we don’t care about. We are over our heads in debt with stuff that doesn’t satisfy, and we would be doing something different if we could. If others could look inside of our heads they would see that we are dissatisfied, often unhappy, stressed, frustrated, even angry.

And yet life continues to pass by.

A Harvard Business report said that job satisfaction was at a 23 year low. Young adults are refusing to grow up with 32.1% still living with their parents. Antidepressant use has surged almost 400 percent in the last 10 years and a report that just came out on August 4th said, People living in the U.S. are less happy than before the recession.

So who is in control?

“Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? ~ T. S. Eliot

Now, most people will say there are external reasons for this: not enough money, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, we are stressed and leaning on games and gadgets, we are tired, we are scared, the world is an unsafe place, etc. And while these things may be true, I’m going to call B.S. on these reasons being responsible for our unhappiness and ultra-low satisfaction with life.

There’s only 1 primary reason people are feeling this way.

We are unhappy because we are not living for the things that deeply matter to us. We know it deep down inside and it haunts us. We aren’t living for our values and we don’t know what to do about it. In other words, these issues are internal not external.

Prospect Theory, formulated by Psychologists Daniel Kahneman of Princeton and Amos Tversky of Standford, proves that we make decisions mostly out of emotional and social pressures. These decisions are often flawed because we are rarely emotionally healthy and the decision is mostly about what we want in the short-term.  (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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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…)

How You Can Be Great at Anything

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Think about this: if you could be great at almost anything, what would it be? A sport? A skill? Leadership? Teaching? The guitar? So often people believe you have to be born with some genius level skill and that’s how you become great. But that is false.

What if I told you there was science proving that if you follow some important steps, you could actually be great at almost anything? Well, it’s true. So start dreaming. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly how to do it. photo_soccer-men-grass-sport copy

I’ll never forget the time I read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called, Outliers. It was the first time for me to hear of the 10,000 hour rule. Basically the rule is this: Gladwell states research based on many genius level performers, Mozart, The Beatles, Bill Gates, and other famous people who all became experts in their fields. How did they become great? They put in over 10,000 hours into their craft – 2.74 hours a day for 10 years. He called it, “the magic number of expertise.” This reseach wasn’t actually his. It was developed by a man named Anders Ericcson who has just released a new book called, Peak – Secrets from the new science of expertise. I highly recommend this book.

Why is it important to understand the truth behind this rule? Because you can be great at almost anything if you apply what’s below. “Consistently and overwhelmingly, the evidence showed that experts are always made, not born. These conclusions are based on rigorous research that looked at exceptional performance using scientific methods that are verifiable and reproducible.” Or, perhaps you have a child who is particularly talented at music or sports and you want to help them become the best they can be. Here is the truth about how to reach those goals and become great:

The Myth of the 10,000 Rule

Gladwell wasn’t quite accurate. There’s no magic to 10,000 hours. Let me explain. If you text on your smartphone for 10,000 hours, it doesn’t mean you will become a great author. If you swing a baseball bat 10,000 times, it doesn’t mean you will make it to the major leagues. True, you will improve. But you need something else to be great. Here’s are 3 things that will help almost anyone be great at something: (more…)

The Truth about Grit and Why You Need to Develop Mental Toughness

I’ve discovered something that is one of the greatest contributors to people’s success. I am deep into the world of sports with my five kids – from ages 10 to 19. There’s barely a weekend that has gone by the last 15 years that we haven’t been to a tournament of some kind. We have walked through a ton of disappointment, failure, tears – championships and successes, but I have always wondered,  “Why are some athletes mentally stronger than others? Why do they stand out of from the crowd. How are they so good at overcoming failure? What sets them apart?” But this discovery isn’t limited to sports. It applies to the game of life. Some people succeed and overcome more regularly than others. They have a greater sense of purpose and they live a more meaningful life. Why? They possess something called grit. photo_kayak_grit_copy

In scientific studies this one characteristic has emerged again and again as a significant predictor of success. This extreme trait of self-discipline is known as, ‘mental toughness,’ or ‘grit.’ The people who learn this skill accomplish truly extraordinary things in life.

What’s interesting is that intelligence is only responsible for around 30% of people’s success. This dispels the myth that only the most gifted and talented succeed. This is good news for anyone who wants to succeed more often because if they excel in grit, there is a very high chance they can outperform those who don’t.

What is grit? According to Angela Duckworth, the researcher who discovered this personality trait, grit is, “Passion and perseverance for long term goals. It’s having stamina, sticking with your future, day in and day out.”

In her studies she discovered:

  • Ivy League undergraduate students who had more grit also had higher GPAs than their peers — even though they had lower SAT scores and weren’t as “smart.”
  • At the elite United States Military Academy, West Point, a cadet’s grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as “Beast Barracks.” Grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness.
  • When comparing two people who are the same age but have different levels of education, grit (and not intelligence) more accurately predicts which one will be better educated.
  • Competitors in the National Spelling Bee outperform their peers not because of IQ, but because of their grit and commitment to more consistent practice.

Understanding and applying grit and mental toughness will give anyone a huge competitive edge in a fractured world.

So what can you do to be different and make grit work for you? First, understand that your brain functions like a muscle. The more you utilize what I’m about to share with you, the sharper you can hone these skills. Building new neural pathways will take time, but once those connections in your brain are built, the results are powerful. You need to stick with it because it will take a little time to clear the cobwebs.

Here are three proven ways that will help you stand out from the crowd. (more…)

You Are Ruining Your Life If You Ignore This

We’ve all heard the line, ‘Ignorance is Bliss,’ but that’s an absolute lie. Allowing ignorance in your life is destroying your energy, your potential and your dreams. You are ruining your life by your ignorance.

What am I talking about? The negative flow of thoughts, people and events that bombard you almost every moment of your life – have tremendous power. Dr. Caroline Leaf says that 75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. We all need to pay attention to more research and what it shows is that ‘fear alone, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones as stated in the book,’ ENERGIZE, by Gina Oldenburgphoto_sad_girl_rain2

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

Henry David Thoreau

Where did we get the idea that information and events we allow into our lives don’t matter? Why do we stand by and watch as we are flooded with the poisons of bad news, negativity and toxic relationships? These things have a PROFOUND effect on how we think and feel. There is no escaping, Listen to me, if you are not vigilant about what you allow into your life you will become the next victim in line who will never accomplish your potential because you stood there and did nothing.

Here’s some research you need to understand – our thoughts spark emotion-driven action. There is no way around it. Once you begin a thought, it triggers a vast array of signals and chemicals in your brain that literally control almost every aspect of how you feel and how you create the next thought. (more…)

This 1 Simple Shift Will Begin to Help Your Dreams Become Reality

I want to show you 1 incredibly effective change to make in your life so that you can begin to see your dreams come true – and it’s scientifically proven to work. You can create the kinds of changes in your life you long for, but two things have to happen for you to be successful: (1) knowing what to do and (2) doing it consistently over time.

Have you ever wondered why successful people seem to have win after win after win? What are they doing that the rest of the population isn’t? What’s the secret sauce? Well, it’s not something you can buy in a jar, but if you put into practice what I’m about to tell you, it will help you start succeeding on a regular basis. 

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for 22 minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after 30 seconds.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

This one change in your life is so simple but 90% of people won’t do it. Why? The same reason they don’t put other proven tools to use. We read books but don’t implement the concepts. We know exercising everyday is incredible for our health but most won’t make the effort. We buy into the lies the tell us that if we are really going to change and have the kind of life we want, we will have to win the lottery, walk into work and suddenly receive a massive raise or wake up one day and have the next huge idea that will make us millions. But life just doesn’t work that way.  The most successful people in the world do simple things every single day that bring them incredible results. And you can to.

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It’s Almost Impossible to Change Without Knowing This

One of the most difficult things for me to do is change my behavior. As a leadership coach, I’ve found this to be a common theme for most people – it can seem impossible to change what we’ve always done. Is there a way to get rid of bad habits we’ve acquired over the years and replace them with the kind of habits we really want in life that help us become the people we want to be?

There is. You just have to discover the trick.

A Duke University researcher found that more than 40% of our actions aren’t actual decisions – they’re habits. Things we are hardly aware of and have little control over, they are on autopilot. This is research from a fascinating book I’m reading, The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. What would our lives look like if we could reclaim a good portion of that 40% we are unaware of, and channel it into habits we want that bring us closer to the things we really care about?

Here’s what you need to know – (1) You may not remember the experience that formed the habit or habits, but once it is solidified in your brain, they influence how we act without even realizing it. This is why people can’t stop smoking, drinking or binge eating – whatever the behavior may be – they feel powerless to change.

(2) Understand the “habit loop” – cue, routine, reward. Chances are that every single one of us own products that used the science behind the habit loop to trick us into buying them. We have a closet full of them. A great example is toothpaste. The minty, tingly taste in our mouth makes us believe our teeth are crystal clean, but that taste has nothing to do with it. Toothpaste could be odorless and tasteless and work just as well. So why is it there? Because we need the ‘reward’ of feeling like our teeth are clean, that creates a craving, and that creates a habit which keeps you buying the product. Photo_habit_loop

(3) Learn the right human psychology. Claude Hopkins made millions of dollars on the toothpaste Pepsodent. Not because it tasted great, but because he understood how human beings work and followed the habit loop. He said this was based on two simple rules: First, find a simple and obvious cue and second, clearly define the rewards. He created ads that talked about the tooth film on our teeth when you rub your tongue against them. He said that is what makes your teeth off-color and invites decay (these ‘cues’ weren’t even really true, but that didn’t matter). Want pretty, clean teeth? Brush with Pepsodent (routine) and the film will be gone when you run your tongue back across your teeth. This will be evident by the minty taste (reward). When that habit loop was set, it was all over except the counting of hundred dollar bills. Before Pepsodent appeared, only 7% of Americans had a tube of toothpaste. A decade later the number jumped to 65%.

(4) Identify the cues and rewards and you can change the routine. A girl who was a chronic nail biter was sent to therapy to identify the cue. She would feel tension in her fingers, then rub her fingers along her nails looking for a hang nail (cue). She always found one and would then proceed to chomp all of her fingers (routine) until she felt a sense of completeness with smooth nails (reward). To change her habit, the therapist had her carry an index card to check every time she felt the cue – tension. When she recognized it and felt the tension she was taught a ‘competing response’ – to put her hands in her pockets or under her legs. Then she was to search for something to provide a quick physical stimulation such as rubbing her arm or hitting her knuckles on a desk. The cues and rewards stayed the same but the routine changed. A week later, she had only bitten her nails 3x. She rewarded herself with a manicure. 30 days later the nail-biting habit was completely gone.

(5) Use this new found knowledge and the habit loop to create new routines to help you create a better you. For example, I’m using it to create better exercise patterns in my life. My default cue is to get bored. I go to my phone to scroll (routines) and that gives me a reward (a brief break from the monotony). Now when I get bored (cue) I immediately exercise by taking a walk or doing pushups and situps (routine) and I’ve increased my (reward) because I get the break but also a shot of dopamine which makes me feel better. I’ve created a much better habit.

I’m also utilizing the same habit loop to create other ‘better’ habits in my life. How I start my day, keeping my vision and strategic goals in front of me on a regular basis, and how I motivate myself.

Use this skill to create a new you – a better version of yourself. By being more aware of what you are doing and what habits you possess, you can begin to take more control of your life and strategically place the habits you want in your life that strengthen who you want to be.

Also, hop over to the Your Positivity Coach Facebook page by clicking here and make sure to like the page to receive a daily dose of inspiration and to receive tips on how to sharpen your focus as a leader.

6 Proven Ways to Motivate Yourself Every Day

It happened to me this morning. No motivation to write, to get moving, to work on my goals – just an overall state of blah. I felt off. I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of a low-grade funk. What could I do to motivate myself? I decided to go back to the basics of what I’ve learned about motivation. I practiced what I’m preaching below – and it worked.

OUR EMOTIONS CAN BE BIG FAT LIARS

Our emotions are precarious rascals. They can often lead us astray, lie to us, compel us to give up and take the easy route. They can convince us that our dreams won’t come true, we won’t live a happy life, and that the next disaster is waiting just around the corner. That’s what emotions can do when they rule us, but we must rule them. It’s the key to seeing the most important things we desire in life become reality. photo_motivations copy

Most emotions are coming from information our brains are receiving. If we wake up dreading the day or telling ourselves we don’t want to face what is ahead, guess what the corresponding emotion will be? It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reason this is true is because of the neurotransmitters that spark the chemicals being released in our brains that tell us what to feel. The release of dopamine in our brains is a key factor in the determination of our motivation. Add these things below to your daily morning diet and you will be sure to increase your levels of motivation everyday and feel completely different about seeing your goals and dreams become realities.

Find simple ways to manage your mood.

The mistake most goal setting courses and productivity systems make is this – they fail to consider how our emotions affect every single thing we do. Why is this important? Because of how our brains are structured which I discuss above. This is also why it is so critical to learn how to increase positive emotions in our lives. These 6 simple things can be game changers to increase our motivation. (more…)