Mar 28, 2009

- What you wish for?

again, again, again and again... i'll keep repeating's an amazing fact that will haunt you all your life.... because the human being will never learn even when hit with slams and hammers....that:
"beware what you wish for, .... you might get it!" 

- The Fine Art of Decision-Making – 7 Tips for Getting Decisions Made Easier

We live in a hyper-connected world and we all struggle with managing information and our workload so that we can accomplish what we need to accomplish. A big component of that is working with others. Even if you are a lone wolf, sooner or later, your interdependence will compel you to collaborate. This post will offer some helpful advice on gaining control in this aspect of your life so you can work effectively and efficiently with others.
We work and collaborate with others because we need their ideas and expertise to achieve a greater goal. The foundation of teamwork are agreements that we make, explicitly and implicitly, about what we want to do together. Building these agreements frequently sucks up valuable time and energy.  Think about how much of your day (and your inbox) is devoted to this single aspect of work life.
We sit through meetings or conference calls of which only 10 percent of the time is productive. More often than not, these agreements are made through email which is far from perfect. Noted tech blogger Robert Scoble suggested last October that the number of emails required to get something done is equal to the number of people involved squared, i.e. eight people results in 64 emails. Sounds about right to me.
I’ve found in my career that getting decisions made is critical to being successful. Running an effective meeting is one skill, but most decisions get made on email. It’s a fact of life. The problem is that email lacks transparency and accountability. Additionally, maintaining any sort of record is hard to do because it comes in the form of a long email string stuck inside of an inbox folder which makes it tough to track and reference.
Even worse is that the lack of immediacy of email lets personalities and politics sneak into the process which is like sand in an engine and adds unnecessary friction. In my jobs, I’d find myself poring over every detail in an email proposal and wasting time. Then I’d send it out and have to try and herd a group of people toward “yes.” The worst part came after some time had passed and then we’d have to do that whole process over again because no one recalled the prior agreement.
From my experience, I’ve developed some ideas that will help you get decisions made faster, with less internal friction, and that will stick. Here are my 7 Tips:
  1. One Decision at a Time. Do not lump several decisions into one. Break them apart and isolate them so that the team can address them individually. This will narrow the focus of any objections raised so that the discussion is manageable and can be concluded quickly.
  2. Be Transparent. Hold discussions in the open, either in person or virtually. Successful organizations put decisions in the sunlight. Closed-door agreements can fuel speculation and inhibits the group’s ability to buy-in to the agreed upon direction.
  3. Give the Facts. Be proactive about gathering the required information in advance. Data-driven decisions go smoothly and avoid injecting emotion which will muddle the process. People need data, whether it’s research, budgets, timelines. Provide so they don’t have to come back and request it later.
  4. Minimize Participants. Include people on the decision that need to be there. If others have an interest, you can copy them but don’t invite them. Ask yourself if a person’s objection would stop the project. If not, then don’t include them.
  5. Subtract Words. Use the fewest words necessary to convey the proposal. Your team will absorb the scope, but extraneous details will dilute the message and might distract from your main objective.
  6. Be Clear What “Yes” Means. It sounds obvious, but when creating a proposal, create a proposal. Request in a crisp way and use actionable language. This is a common mistake. Add focus and formality as needed in the Subject line and in the message itself. Don’t say “let me know what you think” when you mean “do you approve this project.”
  7. Record the Decision. Seems simple but is hard to do, especially in email. There is a reason boards of directors keep minutes. People will take the decision seriously and will abide by it if they know it is saved in a place that is public. Think about a document or folder on an intranet or on the web where the agreement is recorded. Even if it is not referenced, the simple fact of know it exists will create peer pressure and accountability that is powerful.
By taking these steps, it is remarkable the productivity gains that you will experience personally, but also organizationally. Creating a system for getting decisions made and then recording them reduces stress and creates a level of trust that propels teams to greatness.


- High on their First Dose

Stupididty is not a crime... Surprizingly how many insist on being stupid!
Is this a gift?
I don't blame them for it... however, I blame them when they insist on being stupid and claiming shrudeness! woww.."shrudeness" a strong word here... but no problem, let'm enjoy it while it lasts! 

They got drunk from the first shot, so they are short-timers!

Mar 26, 2009

- Interpretation of Crisis...Positively!

"When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."

John F. Kennedy

Mar 21, 2009

- How we are deceived by our own miscalculations of the future

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong -- a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness.

Mar 20, 2009

- Wisdom: The Forgotten Dimension?

Wisdom - what is it and how do you acquire it?
According to Prof. Barry Schwartz, Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swathmore College, wisdom means having moral will and skill.
Wisdom means having the moral will to do right by other people, and to have the moral skill to figure out what doing right means.
This is not a new idea; it is something that Aristotle taught that in ancient Greece.
According to Schwartz, a wise person has four aspects:
  1. A wise person knows how to make an exception to every rule.
  2. A wise person knows how to improvise
  3. A wise person knows how to use these moral skills to serve other people.
  4. A wise person is made not born.
Wisdom depends on experience – but not just any experience. Schwartz lists three important points that are crucial for learning to be wise:
  • You need the time to get to know the people you are serving 
  • You need permission to improvise
  • You need to be mentored by wise teachers
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, wisdom comes with age. So I’ll just wait a while and then I’ll finally be wise.” But is that true? 

Does wisdom come with age?

I think the answer is, “Yes, but…” It’s true that with each day and each year we can learn to become wiser. However, we often ignore the teachings that life offers us. Here is one unforgettable teaching that I nearly ignored – because the teacher happened to be my son who was seven years old at the time.

What is the secret ingredient of wisdom?
I think there is one key ingredient. And it’s not one on Prof. Schwartz’ list.
A wise person takes the overview
The story of Sebastian and the woman begging illustrates that point perfectly. When I walked past that woman, I was pre-occupied with getting the bus. My mind revolved around my anxiety and I wasn’t open to
anything that was happening around me. In contrast, Sebastian took the overview. He could sense that I was anxious and in a hurry, but he could also see the despair and suffering of this woman sitting in the bitter cold and begging for money.
Compassionate action – the outflow of wisdom – happens when we stop being the center of our concern . 
Then we can open up to a wider view of reality that includes the suffering of others, as well as our  own – and  respond with compassion.


Mar 17, 2009

- An Aspirin a Day Keeps the Doctor Away Indeed

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the benefit of daily aspirin appears to differ by gender: for men it means fewer heart attacks and in women it reduces the risk of stroke. In other words men over 45 and women over 55 should take a daily aspirin, provided their risk for cardiovascular disease is higher than their risk for internal bleeding.

However Government data shows only 16 percent of adults with multiple risk factors for heart disease take a daily aspirin.
"Subsequent to the 2002 recommendations, there was more information that came out of the Women's Health Initiative, specifically, that enabled us to look at this recommendation by gender," said Dr. Michael LeFevre, a task force member and professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri, Columbia. "We have a recommendation for men and a recommendation for women. We did not have that before."

The recommendations, published in the March 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, state among other things that men under the age of 45 and women under 55 who have never had a heart attack or stroke should not take aspirin for prevention; t-risk women aged 55 to 79 should take aspirin if the odds of reducing a first ischemic stroke outweigh the chance of bleeding and men aged 45 to 79 with heart risk factors should take aspirin if the preventive benefits outweigh the risk of bleeding.

A second paper in the same issue of the journal reaffirms the task force guidelines, finding that lower doses of daily aspirin (75 milligrams to 81 milligrams) are equally, if not more effective, than higher doses (100 mg or more) in preventing heart attack and stroke in at-risk individuals.

Mar 15, 2009

- The 5% Trick: Finding Passion and Purpose in Life

Have you ever sat down and thought, “What is my purpose in life? What is my passion? Where do I go from here?”

These are some of the most common questions we have all struggled with. And I am not in a position to answer it – all I can offer in this article is an opinion, slightly different from the typical response.

Are Your Goals Yours?
This statement is everywhere, and yet it is ignored so often that it bears repeating: Your purpose is your own. No one can cramp themselves into another person’s definition of happiness and success and, well, expect to be happy and successful.

The difficulties arise at this point, because of our natural reactions: “Of course I am pursuing my own passion!” But are we?

Where do our ideas of success come from? Our parents, or the media, perhaps. Maybe society in general. Be rich; be handsome; be beautiful; be famous. Are these really your goals? Where did they really come from? Can you be absolutely sure that these things will make you happy? I’m not saying yes or no, I’m just asking. It is possible that these things truly do make you happy.

The Internal Goal
But why do I mention happiness and success in the same breath? The true goal behind what we pursue is often internal – and most of the time, this internal goal is simply to be happy. If you don’t believe me, try something simple: Look at a current external goal you have, and then begin to trace it down.

For example: You want a new job. Ask yourself why. Perhaps a higher salary, or to get away from a nasty employer? What then? An easier work environment or more free time. What then? What will you have? And simply repeat this process until you can’t get any more answers. Almost always, you will find that what you are left with is an internal goal.

One of my favorite stories – you might have heard it before. There was a big city businessman who once went on holiday to a faraway beach. One day he walked past a local fisherman who was lazing around, with his fishing rod in the water, enjoying the sun and a beer.

The city man’s mind went to work immediately. The fishing spot was a gold mine, and a serious fishing business would thrive in the area. “Why are you so stupid?” he asked the fisherman. “Get some boats, hire some extra hands, and in a few years you will turn your little shop into a million-dollar business!”

The local man asked him. “And what would you do once you have a million dollars?”

The city man stared back blankly. “Why, I would have so much free time I could sit around in the sun all day and drink beer!”

Again, this idea might seem so basic that it doesn’t need repeating. And yet it is resisted by many people as a knee-jerk reaction. I remember a speaker at a seminar once, who simply stated that one can be happy even if they are financially poor. That statement was met with a lot of sarcastic comments from the audience. And yet is it really so hard to believe?

A basic level of material resources are needed, yes. But beyond that, it really makes no difference. So why do we resist it or even feel the urge to attack such a statement? What does it challenge inside us? If one honestly tries to answer these questions, the answers can be revealing.

Turning Our Goals Around
And then what? Once we see our internal goals, try one thing. Turn the goals around – achieve the internal goals first. And if, after that, you still want the external goal, you’ll find it that much easier.

Do any of these sound familiar? Once I have money, I’ll be independent. Once I find a lover, I will have higher self-esteem. Once my spouse quits drinking so much, I will be happy.

Does the opposite not seem more logical? Develop your self-esteem first, and potential lovers will find you more attractive. Grow your independence and you will find it easier to make money. And perhaps if you are happier, your mate will not see the need to drink as much.

This road becomes easier to tread when we realize that internal goals are always achievable if we put in the time and effort. External goals can be subject to limitations that cannot be overcome, no matter how hard we try. It would be almost impossible for a sickly fifty year old to become a professional boxer, for instance. But if the man’s true, internal, goal was to build confidence, it does not matter how frail or old he is – it is always possible.

For those who don’t have an external purpose in mind, try seeking out an internal goal. Look to become happier, for instance, and as you begin to take steps, you might find that an external goal begins to reveal itself.

The Impermanency of Purpose
This becomes more important when we realize outer purposes are ultimately impermanent. Our external purpose changes to reflect our inner. Purposes are not permanent. Nothing is. Stop looking for something to do for the rest of your life – it might be possible to find something that lasts forever; but most likely it will simply change in accordance with your internal state and needs.

When I was younger, I put all my energies and time into the sport of boxing, even sacrificing work and study opportunities for my obsession. Boxing was a strange choice for me, because I didn’t have much talent, and I was the quiet, introverted type. But when I think back to it now, it made complete sense – it was to fulfill an intense inner need. I had to become stronger, more confident. I needed a safe outlet for my anger and frustration. When I achieved those goals, my obsession with boxing just dropped away on its own.

Deeply realizing that goals are impermanent will also contribute to our inner peace. Here is one to stimulate thought – if you are seeking fulfillment through your external purpose, what happens when it comes to an end? It is certainly admirable to aim to be the best parent you can be, for example, but what will happen when one day your children become old enough to leave the house? When that happens, one can cling to the purpose, resist, and suffer. Or one can simply let it go, and continue in peace.

The Need for Action
Naturally, there is a time for planning and thinking, but there is also a time for action. Many people who are seeking or rethinking their life purpose stay stuck in the introspection. Maybe they do this to avoid taking risks, for fear of leaving their comfort zone, to avoid disapproval, or any other fear. And in doing so, they remain stuck in a rut.

Sometimes, the best way to find a purpose in life is to go out there and take action, even if we don’t know what we are doing!

My favorite tool at this stage is the 5% statement, created by Nathaniel Branden, who is widely considered to be the father of the self-esteem movement. It works by allowing you to take steps in small increments. Trying to change completely overnight, as some might suggest, often creates fear, uncertainty, and resistance.

A 5% statement is split into 2 halves. Examples would be:

If I were to be 5% more responsible today, I would ___________.
If I were to be 5% less lazy today, I would ___________.

The first part of the statement doesn’t have to change. But every morning when we wake up, we think of something that fills in blank, and then do it! As you can see, 5% is small and harmless enough to let us overcome our fears and procrastination. Being flexible enough to do different things everyday in pursuit of the same goal also keeps us from boredom and routine. Even better, it encourages us to think of new ideas to try (although we can simply do the same activity 5% more each time).

You can use this for anything you plan to do – begin a new exercise routine, reduce procrastination, improve your workflow, or even your personal relationships. And if 5% seems too little, don’t worry – it builds up rather beautifully.
Once momentum begins, sometimes the difficulty comes in stopping!


Mar 11, 2009

- How to Get Bruce Lee Like Strength Without Ever Going to a Gym

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a paragon of cool and an icon of the ultimate bad-ass. Not only were his martial arts skills incredible, but he had such an impressive physique that even bodybuilders in the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger admired him.

What’s more impressive is that Bruce trained his body without ever stepping into a gym and with very little use of weights or machines.

Here are just a few of Lee’s physical feats:

    -Performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
    -Could hold an elevated v-sit position for 30 minutes or longer.
    -Could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.
    -Could break wooden boards 6 inches (15 cm) thick.
    -Performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.

While you may not get to Bruce Lee’s level overnight, you can start getting in shape without the use of a lot of fancy (and expensive) equipment. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, in a space as large as a bathroom.

Part of the reason I started training without a gym was because I began training in Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s method of martial arts). But I also got tired of paying monthly gym dues. At the time, I was looking for things I could cut out of my monthly budget to save a little extra money.

I thought about getting rid of my gym membership altogether, but I didn’t want to sacrifice my health or physical fitness. So I found another way. For months, I haven’t had a gym membership, yet I’m getting stronger and faster than I’ve ever been in my life.

You don’t have to buy lots of weights or machines, either. The most expensive equipment you’ll need (a simple doorway pull-up bar) will cost no more than $35.00.

Bruce Lee was a big proponent of holistic or total fitness. His workouts included strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility training.

Here’s just a few of the ways you can start getting stronger, faster and more toned without ever stepping into a gym:

1.Calisthenics. There are so many different bodyweight exercises out there, but we’ll start with the basics. 
For the lower body: lunges and squats are a good start. 
For upper body: pull-ups, push-ups, and shoulder press ups. 
For your core: crunches, chops, and reverse crunches will get you going. 
What’s great about bodyweight exercises is that they build functional strength. They’re natural movements you would use in real life situations like sports, self-defense, gardening, or doing chores. Plus when you do bodyweight exercises, you force your body to use more supporting and balancing muscles than you would on machines. 

2.Isometirc Exercises. These are basic bodyweight exercises, but where you hold your body in a static position. 
Examples of these are the frog sit, v-sit, horse stance, hanging from a pull-up bar, and the plank. Calisthenic exercises will improve muscle strength over a range of motion, but isometric exercises are great for joint and stabilizing strength.

3.Range of motion and flexibility. The best exercise I’ve found for range of motion and flexibility is yoga. The best thing about yoga is that no equipment is required and you can find tons of free resources online for yoga routines. Check out Anmol Mehta’s Yoga Illustrations to get you started.

4.Balance. Balance is the ability to keep your equilibrium when your center of gravity is thrown off-balance. There are many ways you can practice balance every day (we won’t get into tight rope walking here). When you’re putting on your shoes or getting dressed, do it on one foot. Walk on the curb and try to walk in a straight line without stumbling. Or if you’re really ambitious, there’s always pogo sticking and unicycling.

5.Dynamic exercise. Dynamic exercise is anything where you’re not performing routine after routine. Things are in flux and constantly changing. You’re moving in more natural movements, rather than continuous repetition of fixed patterns. I recently started doing Jeet Kune Do in the park every weekend. It’s a great way to get a good work out and learn self defense. Not to mention, practicing martial arts tends to make you inspired to further pursue and achieve higher levels of physical fitness. If you’re not into martial arts, you can always pick up a sport like tennis, handball, basketball, or take dance classes. Do whatever you’re naturally drawn to. Or if you struggle with seeing fitness as an enjoyable activity, you might consider getting a Wii Fit.

There’s a lot of other opportunities for exercise that don’t include a gym that I haven’t listed here. Hiking, jogging, skiing, yardwork… The list could go on. Just use your imagination. Make it fun and change it up. That’s the great thing about exercising without a gym, there’s so much to choose from.

On a side note, I will, however, say that for me, it took a lot more discipline to work out from home. It was easy for me to just go to the gym. Once I’m there, there’s not a lot else I can do other than work out. But at home, there’s always distraction, always other things you can do besides working out (like laying on the couch or surfing the internet). For me, practicing martial arts inspires me to be physically fit. While you might not have this problem, I thought it only fair to be upfront about this issue.

The other motivator for me to work out from home — besides saving money — was the variety of workouts. There’s just so many more options with bodyweight exercises than machines. You can always do something to further challenge yourself. If push-ups are a breeze, you can try doing them on your fingers or in a close grip (with a medicine ball). If pull-ups become too easy, train for a one arm pull-up (insanely difficult).

Attaining Bruce Lee like fitness isn’t just about doing the types workouts he did and eating the same diet. What made Bruce so great was his natural curiosity and drive to constantly explore and learn more about fitness and personal growth. (His personal library contained over 2,000 books!)

Tap into your own curiosity and make fitness enjoyable. Challenge yourself to new levels of fitness. Go beyond what you think you can do.

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” - Bruce Lee


Mar 10, 2009

- 8 Awesome Reasons to Blast Negativity Out of Your Life, and How to Do It

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”
W. Clement Stone

“For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else”
Winston Churchill

I write a lot about having a positive attitude. But why should work on your attitude and try to make it a more consistently positive one? What are the actual benefits?

And how do you go about changing your attitude from a negative one to a more positive one? I’ll get to that a bit further down in this article.

But first, let’s start with the why and 8 awesome reasons to blast negativity out of your life and replace it with a more positive attitude. 


Frankly, I think this is one of the most important reasons to adopt a positive attitude. It just makes you so much more socially attractive in all kinds of ways (with friends and random people you meet, at work/in school or with some cute guy/girl you’re interested in). Plus, a lot of people simply don’t have the patience, time or interest in a lot of negativity. They’ll just spend more time with positive people instead.

2.You focus on the good things in people. 

Not their flaws. This will make things much better overall and improve all kinds of relationships.

3.It’s easier to be more productive. 
You simply get more things done when you stop laying obstacles in the middle of the road in the form of negative thoughts.

4.You´ll waste less time and energy. 
Negativity can be like a self-feeding loop. First you think one negative thought. It leads you to three more. And then you start examining your life in deeper detail through a depressing lens. When you get into vicious cycles like these it can eat up hours, weeks and years of your life. It can drain a lot of your energy whilst trapping you in paralysis by analysis. And you probably won’t become that much wiser in the process. We live for about 24-28 000 days. Don’t waste them.

5.A circle of positivity. 
Emotions are contagious. Everyone wants positive emotions. And most want to keep them going so they give back positivity to you too. And so a sort of circle of positivity can be created and strengthened. This makes any interactions/relationships a lot more fun.

6.It enables you to see things that aren’t there yet. 
If you are pessimist or a realist you may get stuck in thinking that things will stay the same and a positive change is unlikely. If you think that way then it will be hard to make a big positive change. You have to be able to see it on your mind and have a belief that you can do it to actually be able to achieve it.

7.Everything becomes more fun. 
The fun aspect of life and personal development is often a bit overlooked. Positivity makes work, school, relationships, working out and just about everything more fun.

8.Negativity is stupid.  
If you look at the reasons above it becomes obvious how much better and more useful positivity is for you. When I feel negative I often simply remember that negativity is worse choice in any situation really. And since I don’t want to make stupid choices I choose to change my attitude in those situations.

How I Do It

So how do you create, maintain and strengthen a positive attitude?

Well, here’s how I do it.

These tips and mindsets allow me to stay positive about 80 percent of the time right now. I expect those numbers to improve even more over the coming months and years. Changing your attitude can be a lot of work at first but after a while a positive attitude becomes and more of a default just like the negative attitude once was for you.

It is important to note that these techniques will become more powerful and easier to use after a while because you form a new belief that your emotional states and thought patterns are things you can shift around pretty quickly. This belief makes things a lot easier since your mind is not resisting so much anymore. You just think “Oh, I feel negative and that kinda stupid. Let’s change that to a more positive state of mind”. And your mind goes: ”Well, I guess that is what we can do nowadays so OK!”.

Realize that positivity isn’t something uncool, corny or stupid.

This is the first step and it can be quite a hurdle even though it may seem obvious. If you have been negative or a realist for many, many years then positivity can seem well, kinda stupid and naïve. Your mind and emotional habits are so ingrained that positivity seems a bit too foreign to accept.

However, to get this to work you will have to take a leap of faith. Because you can theorize about how stupid or practically useless a positive attitude may be for as long as you want. You won’t understand it until you just start using it. And to get it to work you can’t have half your mind protesting all the time and thinking that this won’t work.

Sure, you will have doubts about it and they will decrease when you start seeing some positive results in your life. But if you’re doubts are overwhelming then it will be like rowing forward with one hand and rowing backward with the other hand.

Decide that you will make this conscious change in your attitude. Or at least that you will ignore your doubts and just give it a try during the whole month of February.

Take care of the fundamentals.

This is for me the most important thing you can do to maintain and strengthen your positive attitude. How you eat, sleep and workout is huge factor. A good lifestyle, how you live your life on normal days determine how you feel and think.

For example, exercising and keeping my testosterone levels pretty high consistently – I do that by focusing on free weight exercises that target many and big muscle groups – is a very simple way to get a lot of positive emotions to flow through my body automatically. A good workout always seems to do the trick.

Positive influences.

Fill your mind and emotional system with positive input from people, music and programs/books. Other people’s thoughts have a big influence and emotions are contagious.

Limit your time with negative people. Reduce TV or magazines that may make you feel worse about what you don’t own or your body. Or just create fear and negativity within you (for instance a lot of news shows). Limiting negative influences can make it a lot easier to keep the positive attitude up.

Set the context for your day.

What you do early in the day often sets the context for your day. We have a tendency to want to be consistent with what we have done before. You can use that your advantage in few ways. You can for example do the hardest thing on your to-do list first. When it’s done you’ll feel good about yourself and it makes the day feel easier and you’ll have less inner resistance to getting the rest of the tasks of the day done.

Another example is to start your day of great socially by acting social (even if you don’t feel like it). This tends to make a normal day a lot more fun and positive than if you if you start out by being closed off and feeling guarded.

Act as you want to feel.

Act as if you are feeling positive. After a few minutes you will actually feel it for real. So smile. Use positive language. And so on. It feels weird at first but it really works.

Cut the negative threads of thought quickly.

Do it before you get stuck in them. If I go down a negative spiral of thoughts I quickly – within a minute or two – think “Hmm, negativity is stupid and won’t help me”. And then I choose to focus on the more positive aspects of whatever I’m thinking about or I start thinking about something else.

Reframe using questions.

I use questions like “What’s awesome about this situation?” and “Is this useful?” to get myself out of negative perspectives and shift my focus to more positive and useful aspects of anything.

Be present.

I write a lot about being present. One big reason for that is when you are present you are naturally feeling pretty awesome. You become positive, calm and fears you may have are greatly reduced. One way to reconnect with the present is simply to take 30 belly breaths and focus on your in and out-breaths.

Another is to just look at what’s right in front of you right now. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the fabric of your clothes and focus on how they feel.


Sometimes you encounter negative thoughts or moods that you just can’t seem to be able to shake. When this happens – for instance in situations where you have little control, like when you are sick or waiting for your exam results – I use acceptance. By accepting how I feel I stop feeding more energy into the negativity. And so it often disappears or is at least reduced.

Take action.

Inactiveness, indecision and procrastination tend to create negativity. A good way to get around this common problem is to set that positive and active context for your day.

Do the right thing.

Indecision and doing what you know deep down is not right will create negative feelings and thoughts within. Do what you think is right and you will create a lot more positive feelings within.

A habit of gratitude.

Being grateful for all the things you have – health, roof, family, friends, opportunities, food etc. – is a great little tool to shift a negative mood to a positive one. It only takes a minute or two.

When you spend some time regularly to focus on all the good things in your life it also becomes natural to expect more good things to flow into your life. And what you expect from the world is often what you get.


I use guided mediations like Paraliminals, but any form of meditation seems to have positive effects on how you feel and think. A favourite of mine to gain a boost of positivity and eliminate negative thoughts and self-talk is the Self-Esteem Supercharger. I use various Paraliminals about four or five times a week right now.


- Optimism Is the Key to a Long and Healthy Life

What is your attitude towards life? Is it an appreciative one or demanding? A person’s predominant attitude can predict the risk of cancer-related death, heart disease and early death, a new study confirms previous findings that linked optimism to longer life. 

For the study led by Hilary Tindle, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, the researchers surveyed the personality traits of middle-age women in 1994 as part of the Women's Health Initiative study run by the National Institutes of Health. The study tracked more than 100,000 females over the age of 50 and ranked them in terms of their optimism.

Women who were optimistic – those who were grateful for what they had and had a positive attitude towards the future, expecting good rather than bad things to happen – were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause than pessimists. After a follow-up period of eight years, optimists were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease than pessimists.
Furthermore, those who saw life in brightful colors were also less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke cigarettes.

Those who tended to trust others instead of being hostile were also less likely to die from cancer. Those who scored high in the hostile scales had a higher general death rate and a 23 percent greater risk of dying from a cancer-related condition by the end of the study.

A possible explanation might be the fact that optimistic people have the ability to manage their mental stress better and they are also more likely to trust their doctor and to follow his advice for a healthy life. At the same time, healthy behaviors may be associated with a positive outlook on life, while negative feelings may trigger unhealthy habits.
More studies are needed to see if a change in attitude is associated with positive heath effects.

Mar 5, 2009

- Clint Eastwood’s Top 3 Tips for Taking Charge of Your Life

“In school, I could hear the leaves rustle and go on a journey.”
“Hollywood, as everyone knows, glamorizes physical courage. . . . if I had to define courage myself, I wouldn’t say it’s about shooting people. I’d say it’s the quality that stimulates people, that enables them to move ahead and look beyond themselves.”

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few decades you probably know who Clint Eastwood is.

At least a part of the real Clint Eastwood seems to be much like the people he has played throughout his career. Determined and decisive. Tough (just watch Gran Torino for one badass 78 year old man). Centered and not overcomplicating things.

Here are three of my favorite tips from Clint Eastwood for taking charge of your life.

1. Don’t use self-fulfilling prophecies to bring yourself down.

“I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

What you think will happen often does. If you focus on and think that things will go badly you interpret things negatively and take actions – or no action at all – based on that. You can’t really see reality, you just have a perspective of it in your mind. Now, whatever you perspective you use your mind will find proof that your current “reality” is “the right one”.

So you have to be smart about things.

Like Clint says, you have to let go of pessimism and choose a perspective that empowers you instead of making you feel like a victim and like things will always turn out in a negative way.

This can be hard because you are so used to your current perspective and feel like you are right about it since you have so much proof that it was right from past events. Also, it’s not that pleasant to admit to yourself that the negative perspective that you may have held for years or decades was a mistake that messed up your life instead of making it better.

When you take charge and choose for instance a more positive perspective things around you change. Many of them may be the same things that were always there. You just see them – and yourself - in a new light now. And you can start using self-fulfilling prophecies to empower instead of disempower yourself.


2. Let go of the illusion of safety.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

Why do people sit on their hands and get comfortable in their ease and quiet? Well, one big reason is because they think they are safe there. But the truth is safety is mostly a superstition. It is created in your mind to make you feel safe. But there is no safety out there really. Most things don’t come with any guarantees. Everything changes, for better or worse.

..You may get layed off.
..Someone may break up with you and leave.
..Illness will probably strike.
..Death will certainly strike in your surroundings and at some point come to visit you too.

This belief in safety is not just something negative. It’s also created by your mind so you can function in life. No point in going all paranoid about what could happen a minute from now day in and day out. But there is also not that much point in clinging to an illusion of safety. So you need to find balance where you don’t obsessed by the uncertainty but also recognize that it is there and live accordingly.

As you stop clinging to your safety life also becomes a whole lot more exciting and interesting. You are no longer as confined by an illusion and realize that you set your limits for what you can do and to a large extent create your own freedom in the world. You are no longer building walls to keep yourself safe as those walls wouldn’t protect you anyway.

3. Take responsibility for your own life.

“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”

You can look for the next big thing that will fix you. Read more blog articles. Read more personal development books. Look for people to help. And yes, some articles or books or people will give you insights that resonate deeply with you.

But in the end, if you are an adult then no one is coming. No one is coming to save you. You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it. Other things and people can certainly aid you quite a bit. But you are responsible.

You can go around blaming society or some people for your problems in your life. You can always find scapegoats to judge to feel better about yourself. For a while. You can look for people that will “fix you”. You can do this for the rest of your life if you like. It won’t change much. Whatever has to be done, it’s you who have to take responsibility and do it.

Yeah, things might always not go your way and you will probably have bad luck from time to time. But you still have to focus on yourself and doing what you can do in whatever situation may arise in the outside world.


Mar 4, 2009

- Lung Cancer Pill May Put Off Chemotherapy

Iressa is a new pill designed to cure lung cancer. Researchers reported on Thursday that Iressa has shown incredible results when it comes to cure the lung cancer by itself. Even if the disease is advanced, the pill can easily replace the standard chemotherapy.

Iressa is released by AstraZeneca and its treatment is a daily one. The international team discovered that the patients who took an Iressa a day lived as long as the ones who used to take the chemotherapy treatment Sanofi-Aventis' Taxotere or docetaxel. But this is a second treatment to chemotherapy which is usually applied after combined chemotherapies that can last months. Still, it’s considered to have the same good effect.

Dr. Edward Kim from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues wrote in the Lancet medical journal that this study represents the first one when a pill is tracked “head-to-head” against the chemotherapy treatment.

The study was made on 1,466 patients from 24 countries that had already made a full chemotherapy treatment. Half of them were given Iressa as the second line treatment and half of them got the usual docetaxel. Both groups lived an average of eight months.

Dr. Michael Cullen of University Hospital Birmingham in Britain, who wrote a commentary of the study, said that Iressa is less toxic than the chemotherapy. But the research team failed in saying who would benefit of this treatment exactly. Iressa has already failed once in 2004 during a clinical trial.

Lung cancer kills nearly 1.2 million people during a year and is the top cause of cancer death all around the world. There are many drugs designed to treat it or cure it but most of them fail in the end. This happens usually because the patients are diagnosed when the tumors have spread already.


Mar 2, 2009

- How to Create Space and When You’re Always in a Rush

Not getting enough items on your To-Do list checked off? Do you feel guilty because you’re not doing enough?

Sometimes I have a hard time not caring about unimportant things. I want the dishes to be clean and the house spotless, all my errands to be finished and everything neat and tidy. The problem is, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, things don’t usually work like this. In fact, they almost never work like this.

There’s always something to be done, always that “thing” in the back of your head that you forgot about that needs to be taken care of. There’s always something else that needs to be finished, and then you can feel happy. (Or so you think.) But then you remember another task, and the cycle repeats.

Of course, there’s only one problem… Nothing is ever complete. Not for long, at least.

Realize that not having everything done is a good thing. “Blasphemy!” you say. I know, I know. This sounds awfully backwards, but it’s true. Having things in your inbox means that your time is in demand. And that’s a good thing.

You don’t need a two week vacation to create space. When you pull up in your driveway after work, take a minute or two to just relax and breathe. Turn off the radio, and just sit in silence for a moment. Enjoy the space. Two minutes is all you need. Now don’t tell me you don’t have time.

Look for the gaps. Between your thoughts, there lives little gaps. They may not be huge, but they’re there. Start paying attention to those gaps. Allow them to grow by just letting go of thinking all the time. You might think that you need to think about things in order to work or to live. But the opposite is usually true. Most of the time, thinking is completely unnecessary. Most of the time, you’re just thinking about the same things over and over. That’s called a pattern. Or brooding, whatever label you prefer.

Listen, feel, engage… be there. The reason we’re usually in such a hurry is due to a mind-created obsession with finishing things. So the way out of that is to be where you are. Listen to the ambient sounds you hear, feel your feet on the ground when you walk, feel your hands running through the water while you wash the dishes.

Let go of the need to become. Sure, there will always be things you want to change about your life. There will always be goals, dreams, desires and all manner of wonderful experiences to seek out. Great, seek them. Desire them. But don’t sacrifice the present. Don’t sacrifice the place you’re in right now. There’s too much beauty.


- What Secrets does Your Posture Reveal?

Posture reveals all.
It’s as if our hidden self speaks through our posture. It offers clues about character, self-worth, and mood.
It reveals secrets. For example, if you are unsure of yourself but want to project a confident image, tell-tale signs will give you away. Even if you try to square your shoulders, and pump up your chest, other small posture changes will signal that you are posturing. That is, you are attempting to lie with the body. It doesn’t work!


Posture - a barometer of emotions

Posture is like a barometer of how we experience the world. On one hand mind-states influence posture; on the other hand posture influences mind-states. I once saw a Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown is standing around with his shoulders slumped and his head hung low. Lucy asks him, “Why are you standing like that?”, “If I straighten up I can’t stay depressed,” Charlie answers.
Check what happens to your mind if you stand with round shoulders and hang your head. Then straighten up, little by little. Does your mind-state change? When you straighten up, start from your chest bone. When you straighten up there, the whole spine unfurls. In many meditation traditions good posture is valued. This is because a balanced body creates a balanced mind.
Posture reveals character
Are you a peaceful person? In that case your body may be relaxed and poised. Or are you an angry person? In that case your may be tight and your muscles bunched.
Posture also says something about where your mind tends to be. People like me who tend to bend forward while walking tend to embrace the future, whereas people who lean back while walking tend to look back at the past.

Five tips for developing good posture

  • Take up a body practice that helps you to develop posture awareness (yoga, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, etc). I have found body practice very good for me. I practised karate for eighteen years but have now switched to yoga. I’ll often do twenty minutes of yoga before meditating.
  • Notice your habitual patterns of posture. How do they relate to ingrained mind-states? One of the things I suffer from is tension in the shoulders. It tends to come on when I feel a load of responsibility (which is most of the time!). I find it helpful to simply notice my raised shoulders and then to let them go.Notice your posture when standing. If your shoulders are rounded or your back swayed, stand against a wall and re-align your body. (Do this a few times each day). I’m always surprised to find that the wall tells me I’m still bent, even when I feel at full stretch. Then I find some areas in the spine that can be stretched even further.
  • Notice your posture when sitting. Do you slouch? Can you sit upright, even on the sofa? How is it when you walk? Catch sight of yourself in shop window. Do you bend forward or do you lean back? What does this signal about you?
  • Notice the posture of people you meet. What does their posture say about them?
It’s good to explore posture with interest, not with a critical mind. The more you notice what how your mind-state relates to posture, the easier it will be to improve your bearing.
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