Jul 31, 2009

- Lowering High Cholesterol (review)

There are several ways to reduce your high cholesterol levels. The first step is to modify your lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and losing weight are all beneficial for lowering your cholesterol. Sometimes an individual must combine lifestyle changes with medications. Medications can be prescribed by your physician and will be different for each person.
Fast Facts:
  • It has been suggested that herbs and dietary supplements such as niacin, soluble fiber, and artichoke leaf can help bring down high cholesterol levels.
  • Eating foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, walnuts, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for lowering cholesterol.
  • Reducing saturated fats in your diet helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Niacin (also called vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid) is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It also reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers harmful cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.
Fast Facts:
  • U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for adults is between 16 and 18 mg daily.
  • Good sources of niacin include salmon and tuna, eggs, leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, nuts, whole grains, legumes and mushrooms.
  • Severe deficiency of niacin in the diet causes the disease pellagra.
Dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances that are meant to improve your diet. Some play an important role in health, such as folate for pregnant women. 
Fast Facts:
  • Supplements do not have to go through the testing that drugs do.
  • Some dietary supplements may be harmful under some conditions.
  • Dietary supplements aren't meant to be food substitutes.

Jul 30, 2009

- How To Sniff-Out a Liar!

There are plenty of dangerously skilled liars--... Indeed, under the right (or wrong) circumstances, we're all guilty fibbers!
According to an oft-cited 1996 University of Virginia study led by psychologist Bella DePaulo, lying is part of the human condition. Over the course of one week, DePaulo and her colleagues asked 147 participants, aged 18 to 71, to record in a diary all of their social interactions and all of the lies they told during them. On average, each person lied just over 10 times, and only seven participants claimed to have been completely honest.
To be fair, most of the time we're just trying to be nice. (When your wife asks if you enjoyed the dinner she cooked, most husbands who know what's good for them say, "It was delicious.") Such "false positive" lies are delivered 10 to 20 times more often than spurious denials of culpability, according to DePaulo's research. 
Other studies show that men and women lie with equal frequency, though women are more likely to lie to make other people feel good, while men tend to lie to make themselves look better. As for who we hoodwink, "we lie less frequently to our significant others because we're more invested in those relationships," says Jeffrey Hancock, associate professor of communication at Cornell University.
 Imprecise Pronouns:  
There is an "I" in "lie," but often not in the lie itself. To psychologically distance themselves from the lie, people often pepper their tales with second- and third-person pronouns like "you," "we," and "they."
The question is: How to know when someone's selling you swampland in Florida?
Traditional polygraph tests, around in some form or fashion since the early 1900s, use sensors to detect fluctuations in blood pressure, pulse, respiration and sweat in response to probing questions. Two problems with polygraphs: First, they only work about 80% of the time, according to the American Polygraph Association. Second, it's not like we are going to carry all that hardware to a business meeting or a bar. And that means relying on our own very limited vigilance.
"Although there are some ways in which liars behave differently from truth-tellers, there are no perfectly reliable cues to deception," admits DePaulo, author of more than a dozen deception studies. "Cues to deception differ according to factors such as the type of lie and the motivation for getting away with it."
While there is no surefire on-the-spot way to sniff out dissemblers, there are some helpful tactics for uncovering untruths.
Liars often give short or one-word responses to questions, while truth tellers are more likely to flesh out their answers. According to a 2003 study by DePaulo, a liar provides fewer details and uses fewer words than an honest person, and talks for a smaller percentage of the conversation.
Skilled liars don't break a sweat, but the rest of us get a little fidgety. Four possible giveaways: shifty eyes, higher vocal pitch, perspiration and heavier breathing. Of course, not everyone who doesn't meet your gaze is a liar.
Heavy Hands:  
When telling the truth, people often make hand gestures to the rhythm of their speech. Hands emphasize points or phrases--a natural and compelling technique when they actually believe the points they're making. The less certain will keep gesticulations in check.
"Certain behavioral traits, like averting eye contact, could be cultural and not indicative of a liar," says Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid & Associates, which has provided interview and interrogation training to more than 500,000 law enforcement agents to date. The company is also the creator of the Reid Technique, a nine-step interrogation process employed by many U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Liars are often reluctant to admit ordinary storytelling mistakes. When honest people tell stories, they may realize partway through that they left out some details and would unselfconsciously backtrack to fill in holes. They also may realize a previous statement wasn't quite right, and go back and explain further. Liars, on the other hand, "are worried that someone might catch them in a lie and are reluctant to admit to such ordinary imperfections," says DePaulo.
Yet another clue: imprecise pronouns. To psychologically distance themselves from a lie, people often pepper their tales with second- and third-person pronouns like "you," "we" and "they," says Hancock. Liars are also more likely to ask that questions be repeated and begin responses with phrases like, "to tell you the truth," and "to be perfectly honest," says Reid.
When telling the truth, people often make hand gestures to the rhythm of their speech. Hands emphasize points or phrases--a natural and compelling technique when they actually believe the points they're making. The less certain will keep gesticulations in check, says Hancock.
The mode of communication matters too. Studies show that we are less likely to lie face-to-face than over the phone or the Web. In one week-long study of 30 college students, Hancock observed that the phone was the weapon of choice, enabling 37% of all the lies, versus 27% during face-to-face exchanges, 21% using Instant Messaging and just 14% via e-mail.
Will we ever come clean? Not likely. Guilty stomach knots aside, the subjects in DePaulo's study confessed that they would tell 75% of the lies again if given the opportunity. Chances are, they'd get away with it.
Curious Questions:
Liars are more likely to ask that questions be repeated and preface pronouncements with, "to tell you the truth," and "to be perfectly honest," says Buckley. Evasive answers to direct questions should raise your hackles, too.

Tongues as Long as Telephone Wires:  
Something about the phone seems to bring out the liar in us. In one week-long study of 30 college students, Hancock observed that the phone was the most popular weapon of choice, enabling 37% of the lies told in this time, versus 27% during face-to-face exchanges, 21% using Web-based messaging and just 14% via e-mail. Little surprise, perhaps: Most phone calls don't leave a record behind.
Sparse Specifics:
Liars--amateur ones, anyway--may not have thought through all the particulars of their stories. If you suspect you're being lied to, gently probe for details. (You don't want the person to know you're on to him.)

Pregnant Pauses:
When a person is lying, the gaps between their words often increase, according to a 2002 study led by Robin Lickley, professor of speech and language at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. While honest folks have the truth locked and loaded, liars tend to take more time between points--no doubt searching for which approach will be the most convincing.

Lack of Cooperation:
Used-car salesmen notwithstanding, people generally don't like to lie. It makes them uncomfortable, even surly. "While a truthful person is concerned, composed and sincere, a liar is often defensive, guarded and less cooperative," says Buckley.

Need to Be Right: 
When honest people tell stories, they may realize partway through that they left out some details and unselfconsciously backtrack to fill in holes. They also may realize a previous statement wasn't quite right, and go back and explain further. Liars, on the other hand, "are worried that someone might catch them in a lie and are reluctant to admit to such ordinary imperfections," says psychologist Bella DePaulo, author of more than a dozen deception studies.


Jul 28, 2009

- How to Get Your Morning Off to a Great Start

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you woke up filled with energy and fired with enthusiasm, and got straight into your day? Chances are, you raced through a stack of work before lunch, and kept up that sense of momentum in the afternoon. In the evening, you felt happy and relaxed, pleased with what you’d accomplished.
Or … have you ever had one of those mornings where you dragged yourself out of bed, downed a mug of coffee, and pried your eyes open whilst surfing the web or watching television? Chances are, your day didn’t really pick up from there: you found yourself procrastinating, wasting time, and making mistakes. In the evening, you felt like you’d wasted the day.
Getting your morning off to a great start lets you have more good days and fewer bad ones. There are a few simple steps and routines you can put in place to maximise your chances of an energised, productive morning – and a great day to follow:

Get Enough Sleep

If you find yourself extremely reluctant to part from the duvet in the mornings, it could just be that you’re naturally lazy … but it’s more likely that you’re not getting enough sleep. Some people are fine with six or seven hours, others need nine: so don’t assume that your current sleep quota is enough for you.
Ways to maximise your chances of a good night’s sleep include:
  • Going to bed earlier (set an alarm to remind you to go to bed, if necessary!)
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening
  • Switching off the computer and television and reading for an hour or so before bed – bright screens can prevent you from getting sleepy

Drink Water and Eat (a Healthy) Breakfast

Many people swear that they’re not human until they’ve had their morning coffee. I’d suggest holding off on the coffee for at least a little while after waking up, and drinking a big glass of water instead: being slightly dehydrated will knock your concentration levels right down.
Don’t forget the importance of eating breakfast: your brain won’t run well without fuel. If you don’t feel hungry in the mornings, you’re probably eating too much at dinner. A healthy breakfast like baked beans on wholewheat toast, or oatmeal, will give you slow-release energy to see you through the morning.

Pray, Meditate or Write

Starting off the day with some quiet, inward-focused time really helps you to think about your priorities and goals, and to decide how this day is going to contribute towards your general purpose and aims in life. Depending on your religious beliefs, you might find prayer a helpful way to do this – or you might prefer to meditate.
If you find your mind wandering during prayer or meditation, try writing instead: taking the time to work through your thoughts in a journal will pay dividends, as it often helps you to work out solutions to problems, or to articulate worries that have been nagging unvoiced in your mind.

Get Straight Into Your Day

The first part of the morning is often spent either idling (catching up with friends on Twitter, Facebook, watching the news on television) or rushing around (finding the kids’ school books, packing lunches, hurrying to work).
Try to set up your morning so that you can get straight into the important part of your day. That might mean doing your work first and saving distractions for when you really do need a break. If your mornings are often fraught and busy, get into the habit of putting as much as you can ready the night before.

Tackle a High-Resistance Task

All of us have jobs on our “to-do” list which we really don’t feel like getting on with. Perhaps we’ve been putting off a particular phone call or email for weeks. Maybe we’re writing a book or a dissertation, but can’t ever seem to get started.
If you tackle one of these high-resistance tasks right at the start of your day, you’ll get a huge sense of achievement. It doesn’t need to be time-consuming – just something that you feel a strong reluctance to do. When you overcome this, you set yourself up for a great day when everything else feels like a downhill ride!

Jul 25, 2009

- Be A Motivational Leader

Create a Big VisionTo become a motivational leader, you start with motivating yourself. You motivate yourself with a big vision, and as you move progressively toward its realization, you motivate and enthuse others to work with you to fulfill that vision.
Set High Standards
You exhibit absolute honesty and integrity with everyone in everything you do. You are the kind of person others admire and respect and want to be like. You set a standard that others aspire to. You live in truth with yourself and others so that they feel confident giving you their support and their commitment.
Face Your Fears
You demonstrate courage in everything you do by facing doubts and uncertainties and moving forward regardless. You put up a good front even when you feel anxious about the outcome. You don't burden others with your fears and misgivings. You keep them to yourself. You constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone and in the direction of your goals. And no matter how bleak the situation might appear, you keep on keeping on with a smile.
Be Realistic About Your Situation
You are intensely realistic. You refuse to engage in mental games or self-delusion. You encourage others to be realistic and objective about their situations as well. You encourage them to realize and appreciate that there is a price to pay for everything they want. They have weaknesses that they will have to overcome, and they have standards that they will have to meet, if they want to survive and thrive in a competitive market.
Accept Responsibility
You accept complete responsibility for results. You refuse to make excuses or blame others or hold grudges against people who you feel may have wronged you. You say, "If it's to be, it's up to me." You repeat over and over the words, "I am responsible. I am responsible. I am responsible."
Take Vigorous Action
Finally, you take action. You know that all mental preparation and character building is merely a prelude to action. It's not what you say but what you do that counts. The mark of the true leader is that he or she leads the action. He or she is willing to go first. He or she sets the example and acts as the role model. He or she does what he or she expects others to do.
Strive For Excellence
You become a motivational leader by motivating yourself. And you motivate yourself by striving toward excellence, by committing yourself to becoming everything you are capable of becoming. You motivate yourself by throwing your whole heart into doing your job in an excellent fashion. You motivate yourself and others by continually looking for ways to help others to improve their lives and achieve their goals. You become a motivational leader by becoming the kind of person others want to get behind and support in every way.
Your main job is to take complete control of your personal evolution and become a leader in every area of your life. You could ask for nothing more, and you should settle for nothing less.
Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, see yourself as an outstanding person, parent, coworker and leader in everything you do. Pattern your behavior after the very best people you know. Set high standards and refuse to compromise them.
Second, be clear about your goals and priorities and then take action continually forward. Develop a sense of urgency. Keep moving forward and you'll automatically keep yourself and others motivated.

- Introducing Seishindo

In Seishindo we support you in honoring the feelings and intuitive wisdom emanating from your body, heart, and soul. It is through the ups and downs of life that you discover your own unique path and actively live the life you desire and deserve. When you discover and honor your unique connection to life, how you think and feel winds up matching your true heart's desire. 
Your rational mind, emotions, body, and soul, are all meant to function together as one integral unit. When your whole self lives and breathes as one harmonious unit, you experience who you are as having a meaningful place in the world. By studying Seishindo, you can meld Eastern and Western models of health and well-being, to enrich your life and the lives of those you work with and care for. 


-Nothing stays the same forever.
This can be especially comforting to understand when faced with seemingly insurmountable problems.
-We are all "perfect" as we are. Another way to say this is "We are all perfectly imperfect."
-Each person is much greater than the sum of their parts.
-Trust in your intelligence, talents, creativity, and soul, and do the same with all you come in contact with.
-Each person is capable of many great things. Strive to "recognize" and honor your own magnificence, and the magnificence of everyone you meet. We each have many gifts to share with the world.
-We each have all the resources we need to live a fulfilling, healthy life. This is especially so when we consider we each have resources available to us from our network of friends, family members, colleagues, and community at large. We hold this belief even though we're aware of people and cultures who seem to be destined to great hardship and tyranny.
-The whole world is talking to you and offering you all you need. The task is learning how to "listen" and receive.
-Each person's life is supported by an "intelligence" (Spirit) that is the generative force manifesting the universe we live in. At every given moment you can tap into this intelligence to support you in living the life your true heart desires.
-"You" are a relationship. You are not alone. We're all always in relationship with other people and our environment. We're all always in relationship with Spirit. Sensing into and appreciating our many interwoven relationships is crucial to maintaining a life affirming, compassionate experience of "self" and "other" and what is possible in the world. You can't really trust in yourself, more than you can trust in Life.
-Your body holds the answer to many puzzles your cognitive mind alone cannot express or solve.
-Life is a paradox we will never fully comprehend with our rational mind.
Your thoughts, actions, and emotions are all part of "one loop" of intelligence. It really isn't possible to separate out the physical, emotional, and rational components of "self".
-Logic and emotion are two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other.
-The body is intelligent, expressive and wise and communicates in a highly sophisticated and systematic manner.
-Your "body language" leads to the generation of your verbal language. Change the language of your body and you will change the way you think and feel.
-Pain, stress, and disease are all due to excess energy being trapped in the body. Consider your body to be like a greenhouse. When you're struggling with various challenges it's like when the sun's shining strongly, and all the windows in the greenhouse are closed. Without enough air movement the building overheats and soon all the plants will start to wilt and die. Seishindo helps you learn how to "turn down the heat" by better ventilating your system with breath and movement.
-When experiencing a challenge, staying "embodied and present in the moment" will greatly aid you in solving or dissolving the challenge.
-In order to stay embodied and present your body needs to be able to digest and assimilate your emotions. It's really a lot like when you eat. Eating too fast means your body gets stressed. Talking and thinking too fast has the same effect. When faced with challenges you need to slow down, pause often, and BREATHE.
-The meaning of our life (our reason for living), is a mystery we're all attempting to figure out.
-Everything that occurs in your life has the possibility of being transmuted into a life affirming gift.
-With humility we can realize what we don't know is much larger than what we do know.
-Every challenge you encounter has a solution.
-"Problem" and "solution" are two sides of the same coin. When experiencing a problem, do your best to find a way to flip the coin.
-Suffering, and hopefully joy as well, will visit you many times in the course of your life.
-Most of us live much of our life in the past, believing we are living in the present.
We each have the task of giving the story of our life a happy ending.
-No matter how hurtful or "wrong" we find certain people's actions to be, we'll do well to consider that each person acts from a place of "positive intention". The key in this regard is recognizing that oft times we attempt to fulfill positive intentions by implementing lousy strategies.
-We'll do well to rest easy in the knowledge that frailty and failing are part of the human condition. Few, if any of us, live our entire life adhering to the beliefs that are dear to us.

Jul 16, 2009

- Five Rules for Life (selection3)

1.) "Go as far as you can see and when you get there you will be able to see further."
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. Like many great quotes, it gets attributed to many different people...Thomas Carlyle, J.P. Morgan, Zig Ziglar. The just of the quote - to me at least - is that you can have lofty goals without necessarily knowing how to achieve them, and you can start towards those goals without knowing exactly how you are going to get there. Just because you can't clearly define how you are going to do something does not mean you shouldn't attempt to do it. Take the steps you know need to be done now, and when you finish them you will figure out what's next.

2.) There are no shortcuts.
We all know the guy who (seemingly) made it without even trying. He got lucky, he was in the right place at the right time...whatever. But we never really know what they did to get to where they are - it is all just speculation, usually from an envious point of view. The fact is, hard work is the only input that consistently yields success. You may be younger or older, you may not have been born with a silver spoon, you may not have an expensive education - but if you work hard and apply yourself, it tends to level the playing field.

3.) Make goals and write them down.
I would like to take credit for this, but someone told me about it years ago. Take out a sheet of paper and draw a pyramid shape. Divide it into three parts. At the top write your biggest goals - what you want from life. In the middle write the major activities you need to accomplish in order to attain that (those) goal(s). At the bottom write all of the action items (daily to-do's) that you need to complete to chip away at the big activities. Work from the bottom up, always keeping your eye on the top.

4.) Step outside your comfort zone.
On a regular basis do something that makes you uncomfortable; take a risk. Are you scared of speaking in public? Force yourself to do it. Don't like planes? Get on one and go somewhere new. Scared of heights? Bungee jump off a bridge. The only way to really experience life is to do new and scary things.

5.) No one is responsible for picking up after you.
You are responsible for you. No one will make you a success or a failure. No one will clean up your mess. No one will force you to do the right thing or prevent you from doing the wrong thing. Accept 100% responsibility for yourself right here and right now, and then act like it. Take responsibility for your decisions, be accountable for your actions, take care of the environment and the Earth.


Jul 14, 2009

- Personal Resilience

In tough times some people fall apart, but others bounce back -- that's personal resilience. The resilient ones don't just cope but thrive by "pushing the re-set button" on their lives.

Jul 11, 2009

- Five Rules for Life (selection2)

1.) Just ask.
You know the phrase "good things come to those who wait"? It’s completely untrue. Good things come to those who ask for them. Every great opportunity that has come my way has been because I asked for it. Sure, there are people who are better, smarter, and more qualified for just about everything I’m currently doing. But they’re all sitting around waiting for people to come after their spectacular talent.

If you want something, ask for it. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no, and you’re right back where you started - down only the few minutes it took to ask. Particularly in the world of Twitter and email, asking is so simple and quick that there’s no reason not to just go for it. Ask, and you shall receive.

2.) Whenever possible, quit.
I take on too many responsibilities. I’m bad at saying no, and good at overwhelming myself and then not getting anything done. It’s something I think a lot of people are guilty of, and it’s not actually beneficial to anyone. I get overwhelmed, the people I’m doing things for get at best shoddy work, and everybody’s worse off.

So here’s what I’ve learned: quit. Anything you possibly can, quit. We do so many things that don’t add any value to our lives or anyone else’s, and those things get in the way of that which is actually worthwhile. My favorite example is reading a book – if it’s bad, we still tend to finish it just because we’ve already invested time in it. Why not cut our losses, stop reading, and spend that time reading a better book? Being a quitter is not a bad thing - it’s a smart thing. Remove the things from your life that have no value, regardless of how much time you’ve invested, and put your time and energy into things that actually matter.

3.) Ready, Fire, Aim.
I didn’t invent the phrase "Ready, Fire, Aim," but I wish I did. It speaks to a different way of doing things that leads to infinitely better results. Our tendency is to wait for the perfect moment, wait for the stars to align, and for everything to be perfect before we start doing whatever it is we want to do.

Don’t do that, just start! Do it - do it terribly and then step back, take a look, and re-focus to do it better the next time. Google’s done it with a ton of products and it works; they get a decent, but imperfect, product out there and let the trial by fire help them improve it.

If you want to do something, do it. Do it now. Do it wrong. Then figure out what was wrong, and do it better the next time. Ready. Fire. Aim.

4.) Think huge.
One piece of advice everyone gives is "shoot for the moon...even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars." First of all, that is just false. The stars are SO much further away than the moon. But, despite vast astronomical inaccuracies, the point of the saying is dead on.

Dreaming big has two great advantages. First, it ensures that you don’t get bogged down in the small stuff, and that you’re always shooting for something bigger. We’ve all got the capability for huge things in us, and if you want something that’s way beyond you it will keep you running forward rather than standing still.

But the best thing about goal-setting is that it helps you figure out what to do and who to be. When you’re making important decisions, knowing what you ultimately want is critical. If, say, you want to be a fashion designer, many decisions in your life will be made easier by knowing what you want the end result to be. You’ll take certain jobs, live in certain places, meet certain people, and so on. Dream big and know what you want, and the steps to get there usually make themselves clear.

5.) Live in the details.
This sounds totally counterintuitive to the last point, but it really isn’t. Whether as a friend, family member, co-worker, or whatever, being detail-oriented is a huge skill. You’ll remember things better, know people better, and be more equipped to know what’s going on. Knowing the small steps - the "nitty-gritty" - makes you indispensable in all that you do.

To be honest, it’s a rare breed that can both dream and be in the details, but both can be worked on. Being detail-oriented comes from paying close attention, being careful to observe everything, and being present (don’t get lost in your own head). Details can be anything from knowing when your best friend is lying, to understanding a complex process at work. Be observant, be careful, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded and highly sought after.

These all boil down, at their most basic, to one thing: seek value. Get rid of things that don’t add value, find things that do, and keep evaluating everything.


Jul 4, 2009

- Stop Acting Like Such a Baby

If we really want to be happy, why do we act like such babies?

We can claim to be proactive in our life by settings goals and going after what we want. But if we’re always whining and complaining all the time, are we really living effectively?

If you don’t believe me, count how many times you complain about something or other in one day. Whether it be being stuck in traffic, being bothered by the weather, not enough mustard on your sandwich, or whatever it is, there are endless instances where you can find a reason to complain.

But it’s not just outside circumstances that we complain about. We complain about about ourselves too. We complain that we don’t have enough time, we don’t have enough money (this one is huge because it’s often “true”), that we’re not smart enough, cool enough, or just enough.

Imagine how much happier you would be if you simply stopped complaining? Much of what you complain about is outside of your control anyway. What’s the point of brooding about something you have no power to change? Not very intelligent, if you ask me.

Simply becoming conscious of how much you complain is the first step to stopping. When you recognize that you’re complaining, stop and take notice of it. Ask yourself if you would rather complain, or be happy.

Are you ready to live a complaint-free, happier life?

The two steps to stop whining so much:

Make it a priority to notice every time you complain or unnecessarily criticize. This includes judging others. Now, every time you catch yourself complaining, just stop and notice it.

After you’ve noticed yourself complaining, ask yourself this: Is there anything I can do about what I’m complaining about, or it outside of my control? If there is something you can do about it, do it. If there is nothing you can do, let it go.

Obviously, this is a little easier said than done. Complaining is an addiction and a hard habit to break. Like any other habit to break, it will take time.

Even though it may be a long time (or possibly never) before you’re living completely complaint-free, that’s still okay. The good news is this isn’t all-or-nothing. Even 10% less complaining will have an immediate positive impact on your life. Then, once you’ve decreased your whining by 10%, you can keep bootstrapping your way down to complaining less and less.

After complaints show up less and less, something awesome starts to happen. Once your mind realizes that you won’t tolerate its moaning, it will begin to give up its efforts. (Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of complaining that you’re complaining.)


Jul 3, 2009

- Are you Positive and Proactive?

Sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed by life, feeling as though small problems are bigger than they should be or that we lose control of ourselves and the outcomes we wish to achieve. Whether it's based on a bad day or a bad year, the solutions are always easier than they seem and yet we fail to see them so clearly.

We often think deeply about the problems we face, try to understand its source or seek others for help and support. But what if you were told that these solutions were the wrong approach to solving the struggles we encounter? In fact, if these were the right solutions then you would be in the perfect place in life, never feeling helpless, alone, or confused without the knowledge and strength to overcome your difficulties. When we dwell on illness, debts, failure, or relationship issues, we plunge ourselves more deeply into a well of overwhelming problems. When we try to think about the root cause of our troubles, we often ignore that our minds and perspectives are biased and erroneous. And when we seek others for support, we often seek the help in those who confirm that we are in the right and ignore the fact that our own past actions are what created our current situation.

Building resentment, frustration, anger, or sadness as well as deciding not to decide or deciding not to care are all false coping mechanisms that we regularly use when we are faced with dilemmas. There is only one solution that exists and that is to find resolution, regardless of how big or small the problem is.

Resolution is the act of creating positive outcomes out of negative events by becoming proactive. Although it's true that a problem is only a problem if you see it as such, and that having a positive attitude in life generates positive circumstances, but how many times have you tried to take hold of that positive attitude only to find yourself denying the problem you need to face? The true challenge in becoming proactive is in seeing challenges in life as opportunities to learn and grow. No matter how traumatizing or mundane a problem is, there's always a purpose for encountering a roadblock and appreciating that purpose is the key to overcoming it.

So why is it that we don't all become proactive? It's because we're often focusing on the problems we have. Rather than looking beyond the problems and keeping our eyes on the goal, we focus in on the problems at hand, ultimately magnifying them till they become overwhelming.

Here are some strategies I've put together to help you get over the bumpy road you may be facing and find yourself a positive outlook.

1 - Change the way you think so you can change the way you feel. 

Instead of letting all those negative thoughts run wild in your mind, think positively (or objectively at least). Once you begin to avoid thinking negatively, you will begin to act in a more positive fashion.

2 - In the moments when you can't help being angry or irritated, take a deep breath. 

Taking deep breaths for a few seconds is a very well known stress-management technique and it's very effective. Consciously slow your breath down to a regular rhythm while thinking of nothing at all. This will naturally help remove all the negative thoughts.

3 - Get back to the basics and stop worrying about all those extras (like the fancy car, the brand-name clothes, your social status, etc.). 

We often spend our time comparing ourselves with others, thus feeling unsatisfied with what we have and our own personal accomplishments. A great man once said: "the way to being a great man is to be better than the man you were yesterday" (or something like that).

4 - Our daily issues and concerns seem miniscule when they're a bigger picture in the way. 

Think about a great project to do, a mission, something bigger than yourself or your family. Think about something that can impact a greater number of people for an extended period of time. This activity will put you higher on the 'life goal scale' and make all your other problems seem minimal. When you no longer see your problems as too big to overcome, they no longer become major challenges in your life, you develop the courage you need to face them, and you seem to magically overcome them easily!

Admittedly, these techniques will take time to cultivate but with strength and determination, your stress will be greatly reduced and the more you do it, the easier it gets! 


Jul 1, 2009

- How Do You Measure Success?

Quality of life is often measured by the amount of money you make. Success is defined by the kind of car you drive. By the neighborhood you live in. By the toys you own. After all, he who dies with the most toys wins. True or false?

Life was difficult before remote controls and automatic door locks. Skiing was so boring before the new shape skis hit the market. Fishing without a carbon-fiber rod was next to impossible. And the best part of life today is that big-screen plasma HDTV, the one with the universal remote that controls everything. It's the best escape devised yet from an otherwise dull evening.

In contrast, the people of the remote Himalayan country of Bhutan were recently rated as having the poorest quality of life of all but one other country in the world --- after all, their average annual per capita income is only $500. Ironically, however, when you visit the country, there are no beggars, only beautiful, snow-capped peaks, virgin forests, and clean air. The crime rate is extremely low, no one is in a hurry, and there is a strong sense of community. You might almost think that instead of depending on their belongings to entertain them, they've learned to enhance their lives by building relationships with each other.

Be careful to avoid the trap of, "the more you buy, the more you need". Because oftentimes then the more we think we need, the more unhappy we are with what we have. So this year, before buying those new golf clubs, stop and think. Will that $1,000 bring you more happiness through a bag of irons, compared to a few days off with your family, or as a donation to an organization, or a person who is trying to make a difference. It's your choice. It's how you measure it.

So this week count your blessings instead of your possessions. Spend more time with those you love, instead of spending more money on things you lack.

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