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We share tips and ideas to make the everyday person keep sane and more productive in achieving his/her dream life.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

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Developing Positive Beliefs

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Belief is a funny thing. I used to think that it was entirely objective. The mind receives information, processes it, and creates the appropriate belief. There is no room for choice — your beliefs depend entirely on the information you’ve absorbed. If this were true, it would be ridiculous to judge someone for their beliefs. After all, they have no choice in the matter!

While I still believe that people shouldn’t be judged for beliefs, time and reflection have reversed my opinion on the matter of choice — all belief is rooted in choice. But why? How can something as important as belief be subject entirely to whim?

The reason is uncertainty. Every piece of knowledge has inherent uncertainty. Our tools for measuring and interpreting information are inaccurate. Although some areas (like science) provide a high degree of certainty, others (such as morals) provide virtually none. Even the most established facts could be (and often are) proved false by new discoveries.

Unlike knowledge, beliefs don’t have the luxury of uncertainty. You either believe something or you don’t. In order to go from uncertain knowledge to certain belief, the mind has to fill in the gaps. It has to look for additional information and draw conclusions. This is where choice is used to develop and reinforce belief. As soon as you choose to believe something, your mind goes to work gathering information that supports your rationale.

This is why positive beliefs are so important. It’s impossible to know for certain if your efforts will be met with failure or success. No matter how confident you are, it’s possible that outside forces will ruin your plans. You make a conscious decision to believe you will succeed or that you will fail. You can always rationalize either belief.

Consider the example of the site: PickTheBrain.com. If I choose to believe that it will fail, I can instantly drum up a list of facts to support that belief:

Other sites have grown more quickly I started blogging 2 years too late I lack formal training and experience as a writer Many people aren’t interested in intellectual topics Blog traffic doesn’t monetize well. On the other hand, if I choose to believe that PickTheBrain.com will succeed, I can create an equally compelling list.

The site has several thousand subscribers Visitors have responded positively to the content. Numerous articles have become popular with social media. Traffic has grown continuously. Blogging is gradually becoming mainstream. Every item on both lists is true, but my belief determines which set of facts I focus on. When I lose confidence and dwell on failure, I come up with even more facts to add to the failure list, strengthening the failure belief. When I choose to believe in success, positive facts emerge. The belief you choose to accept will become stronger over time through this pattern of self reinforcement.

Believe You Will Succeed

Although positive belief doesn’t guarantee success, I doubt that success is possible without it. Not because of the belief itself, but because of the chain of thoughts and actions triggered by a positive belief. When you believe you can succeed, your mind overcomes obstacles. You solve problems creatively and are eager to take action.

How do you control your beliefs? The key is realizing that it’s possible. You don’t have to a slave to every thought that pops into your head. If you want to believe you can succeed, just start doing it. When negative thoughts enter your mind, recognize them for what they are and discard them. Don’t be oblivious to negative feedback. Rather, use it constructively and refuse to let it dominate you. Consciously remind yourself of the positive and allow the negative to roll off your back.

There really isn’t a downside to believing in yourself and believing the best about others. You may not achieve your original goal and might get burned, but you’ll be better off than if you’d assumed the worst from the start. Believing you will succeed will also make you happier. Although it may be partly delusion, the same is true of the failure belief. You have to believe in something, why not believe that your hard work is contributing to something positive? Why not believe that your biggest dreams are possible?

It may be idealistic but it’s preferable to cynicism.

[Source: PickTheBrain.com]


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Monday, October 27, 2008

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10 All Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed

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Life is a drag.
What's the point of anything?
I'll never be happy.
Do any of these gloomy thoughts sound familiar? It's likely they do. The occasional case of the blues is perfectly normal, but that doesn't make dealing with it any easier. If you allow them to, negative thoughts can fester and lead to serious depression. That's why it's important to take action early to bust yourself out of a slump.

While these suggestions won't eliminate your problems, they can help you break a negative thought pattern and stop feeling depressed. If you think you might have a serious mental health problem, don't hesitate to see a medical professional.

1. Understand the emotional cycle - Life is an emotional roller coaster. Some days you feel like nothing can stop you. Other days you feel utterly hopeless. Most of the time you're somewhere in between. Understanding the pattern of positive and negative emotions will help you put your feelings in perspective. Next time you feel down, just remember that it's a natural emotion that will inevitably pass. Knowing that a feeling of depression is only temporary makes it less dreadful.

2. Spend time with positive people - Nothing affects the way you think and feel more than the people you interact with. Thoughts (both positive and negative) are contagious. If you are surrounded by negative people, it's only natural that you'll start to think and feel the same way. To improve your outlook on life, spend time with positive people. Search them out and try to understand the way they see the world. Chances are their happiness will rub off.

3. Reflect on past success - In the wake of a colossal failure, it's easy to forget everything you've ever done right. Take a few minutes to remember your past accomplishments and build yourself up. What made you successful before? What are your strengths? Frequently, this exercise will build self confidence, help you figure out what went wrong, and generate ideas for success in the future.

4. Focus on gratitude - It's human nature to measure ourselves against those ahead of us on the social ladder. Studies have shown that people care more about being richer than their friends than actually making more money. When you consider everything good in your life and compare it to the problems of less fortunate people, the issue that's making you depressed won't seem as serious.

5. Change of scenery - One of the best ways to change the way you feel is to change your environment. When you get in a slump, you start to associate your problems with everything around you. It can get to the point where your environment is a constant reminder of your problems. This can be a dangerous cycle. The solution is to change things. Change doesn't have to be radical. Cleaning up, adding more lights, or including pleasant decorations can completely change the mood of a room.

6. Break your routine - Going through the same routine, day after day, can be monotonous and depressing. It often leads to getting caught in a rut. To get out of it you need to temporarily change your routine. If you can, take a day off from work. Do something you don't normally have time for or something you've never tried. In the long run, taking a day off every now and then to get out of slump will make you happier and more productive.

7. Interact with animals and nature - It's funny when you consider how humans put so much importance on their own tiny problems. Animals don't think this way. A little bird doesn't mope around because it isn't an eagle or because another bird beat it to a tasty seed. Animals live in the present moment and they show love unconditionally. Observing and interacting with them will help you get over your problems.

8. Get moving - As Johnny Cash famously suggested, "Get a rhythm, when you get the blues." Moving to a beat makes everyone feel better. The same is true for movement in general. Hitting the gym or going for a walk will help you shed the lethargy that comes with feeling depressed. The more enthusiastic your moments, the better you will start to feel.

9. Think about the big picture - As Carl Sagan made evident with the Pale Blue Dot, we're insignificant creatures living in a vast universe on a tiny planet. In the long run, everything we do will probably be forgotten. Some might find this depressing, but it shouldn't be. It means that all our problems are illusory. In a million years no one will remember what you did or didn't do. What matters is the present moment and enjoying every second of life that we're blessed with.

10. Do something to help yourself - Above all, the best way to stop feeling depressed is to take action. What is your biggest problem? How can you alleviate it? Once you decide to stop moping and start moving forward you won't have time to feel depressed. Action will occupy your mind and give you something to look forward to. Once you get some results, you'll build momentum and positive thinking will keep getting easier.

[Source: Unknown]


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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The Diligence Dividend

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As I study high performers in every field of endeavor, I am constantly struck by the fact that these people may only perform slightly above average but achieve and are compensated many multiples above normal.

I have a friend with whom I have consulted regularly for five years. In a real estate market where the average realtor sells one house a month, my friend averages closing a little more than one house each day. He earns 30 times what the average realtor would earn.

As much as I respect him, I would have to say he is not 30 times better, but he does exhibit a trait that I believe makes his phenomenal success possible. My friend is diligent. Diligence is the habit of performing normal tasks in an extraordinary fashion.

I am a huge fan of baseball and, most particularly, the St. Louis Cardinals. Those of you who live in other parts of North America and around the world can no doubt substitute a player on your team throughout this analogy.

One of my favorite players exhibits diligence every day in the way he lives his life and in the way he plays baseball.

Even great baseball players fail to get on base more than they succeed. Most often, batters are a victim of an infield ground ball. These grounders are routinely and easily scooped-up by the opposing team, resulting in an easy out at first base.

My favorite player hits infield grounders just like everyone else in the Major Leagues; however, he runs to first base full speed with a 100% effort each time knowing that 99% of the time he will be thrown out.

He also knows that once a year, one of the opposing infielders will fail to cleanly pick up the ball and, due to his extra effort, he will be safe on first base instead of being the victim of a routine out.

If this only happens once a year, and once every five years it results in winning a game the team would have otherwise lost, in a 15 to 20 year career, winning four extra games throughout the two decades will, once in his career, result in the St. Louis Cardinals making the playoffs and winning the World Series when they otherwise would not have done so.

Diligence comes into play because no one knows which of these thousands of routine grounders is going to result in a trip to the World Series. A champion plays like a champion all the time. He never takes a day off or even an inning off.

As you go through your day today, look for ways to do the little things well, and you will find that the big things take care of themselves.

Today's the day!

[Source: jimstovall.com, by Jim Stovall]


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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The Cocoon

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A man found a cocoon of a butterfly, and he brought it home. One day, a small opening appeared in the cocoon.

The man sat and watched the cocoon for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no farther.
The man decided to help the butterfly in its struggle. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the co coon...
and the butterfly emerged easily.
As the butterfly emerged, the man was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expectating that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge, and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would contract, and the butterfly would be able to fly...
but neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spend the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle were required for the butterfly to be able to fly.
The butterfly must push its way through the tiny opening to force the fluid from its body and wings. Only by struggling through the opening can the butterfly's wings be ready for flight once it emerges from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If our Higher Power allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been... and we could never fly!

Spread your wings and prepare to fly,
For you have become a butterfly...
Fly abandonedly into the sun!


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Thursday, October 9, 2008

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Remaining Calm During the Storm

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There are times when everything runs according to plan. The kids make good grades, the bills are paid on time and your family is healthy and happy.
Anyone can choose peace when everything is going according to plan.
Choosing peace when all hell is breaking loose around you is where you learn who you really are. When the trials and tribulations of life break down your front door, choose to remain calm.
'But, Mark, how can I be peaceful when my family member is ill, or my company is having layoffs and I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow?'
In situations like these you always make a choice, whether you realize it or not. You either choose to worry about situations you have no control over. Or you choose peace and hand over those situations to your Higher Power. Either way, the outcome of the situations is not up to you. But how you deal with it is.

Action Step:
I'd like to offer an exercise to complete in the week ahead:
I want you to recall past negative and traumatic situations you have experienced. Maybe you were refused a loan from the bank, audited by the IRS, or a family member had a health problem.
In a journal or notebook, write down each situation, leaving 10 or so lines between each one.
Now, for each situation ask yourself these questions:
1. Is this a situation I had any control over?
2. Did I worry about this situation?
3. Did my worrying change the outcome of the situation for the better?
4. Did my worrying give me control over the outcome of the situation?
5. Would the outcome of the situation have happened whether I worried or not?
(Sometimes you need to see things in writing to accept them.)
No matter how you have dwelt on things in the past, the outcome of situations was not determined by your worrying.

Now, think about what would have happened if you chose inner peace. Chances are the situations would not have been affected. But you would have felt - emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically - more at ease, making it easier to deal with the situation, no matter what the outcome.
When you have a choice - and you always do - choose to feel peace within yourself.
You will become as small as your controlling desire, or as great as your dominant aspiration.

[Source: www.markvictorhansen.com, by Mark Victor Hansen]


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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Success Ingredients

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Wherever my career takes me -- from my home city of High Point, North Carolina, to the mini-state of Luxembourg; from the island city-state of Singapore to the island continent of Australia -- I encounter people pursuing a common quest: success.

Many come to me in search of a secret formula. They've labored for years, butted their heads against walls, suffered failure and rejection, and still they wonder: "Is it possible for me to achieve success, given my level of talent and education?" And I have a ready response: You can if you want to.

Success is not a matter of luck, an accident of birth, or a reward for virtue. It is a matter of decision, commitment, planning, preparation, execution, and recommitment. Success doesn't come to you; you go to it. The trail is well traveled and well marked. If you want to walk it, you can.

[Source: www.nidoqubein.com, by Nido Qubein]



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