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Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Improve Your Memory, Improve Your Life

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One way of keeping your head clear and not getting into a perceptual rot is by walking different ways to work every day... Take a left where you usually take a right. Do the scenic tour instead of the shortest trip.

Have you heard it before? Sure you have.

Have you done it?

Uhm...

Once, maybe?

Uhm. Maybe.

I've certainly heard it many times. And I've even done it... uhm ... a couple of times. But soon, I'm back to taking the quickest way. Hey, it's the morning. I am sleepy. I need to get to work. Shortest way is best.

Going back home, there's some other reason. Have to get back home to my wife. Have to get the kid in kindergarten. And I'm tired after a full day of working. Give me a break. I'm going the shortest way.

And that's how the days go by.

At least, that's how they went by... Until last year.

I'd been thinking about the teachings of our old friend William Walker Atkinson (author of "Memory, How to Develop, Train and Use It"), and I thought: why on Earth don't I use his technique when walking to work?

There's probably a thousand and one small things I never notice every day — things that are really there, clear, vivid, real — and in my line of vision — and I really never notice them.

Instead of changing my route, I changed my head.

I opened up. I wanted to be like a child, and see the world freshly. Why do kids always seem to get too late to school? It is because they see everything, they are totally taken in by what they see, they are lost in the present, isn't it?

So I looked. I just used my eyes as I walked. At first, I was somewhat freaked out by this experiment. I had resolved to discover something new every day — something new that was clearly visible, for all to see, on this road that I walked five days a week — and had been walking for about a year.

And I was freaked because I was thinking: What if I don't notice anything new? What if I am really not open to seeing anything I haven't noticed before...

So I did some easy discovering. I looked at every tree, and I could honestly say I'd never noticed most of them before. I knew there were trees, but I hadn't seen them, any one of them, and actually thought about it... lingered by the thought.

But now I did. I saw a birch, and this was the autumn, and the birch was really burning with red and yellow leaves, and I realized that not only had I never noticed this birch before, I had never really noticed how beautiful the birches could be when fired up by that magnificent autumn display.

I hadn't changed the way I walked; I'd changed my head.

Day by day, I noticed new things. Things you'd find it hard to believe could be ignored. Whole houses. A kindergarten. A super market. All things on the way I'd been walking, back and forth, five days a week, for a year.

It was exhilarating, gratifying... and extremely frightening.

It wasn't frightening in the beginning, but as I saw thing after thing, noticed beautiful houses, vintage cars, apple trees, I started thinking about other aspects of my life.

What was I missing because I never really looked?

Not just birches, but how beautiful they can actually be, when lit up by autumn magic.

What didn't I see in my life, that was there every day? With my son... With my wife. Me? What about me? Were there things about me, obviously visible, plain out into the open, that I never saw? That I could see, if only I looked?

I did see something in me. And it was beautiful, and not what I expected.

Later.

How about my wife? I saw things I'd known, that I could have told you before, but that I still never really saw. I mean, I didn't see it clearly, I didn't see its implications, or where it came from, or how it affected her and those around her... until I started looking openly.

I saw something surprising. I saw how she could see a lot of things that I was usually unaware of. I noticed that she actually saw a lot of things... that few people see.

So what did that do to me?

It helped me value her even more. I admire her even more as a human being, and I also know that even more than I knew before, she is strengthening the team that is our family. Her clear-sightedness is one of the most valuable assets a family (or business, or person) could have.

Now of course she doesn't see everything. But more than I did. So I learned this...

Memory is a skill. It can be taught, and learned.

Some have it more than others, but it is easy to acquire. I did it. The basic skill can be acquired in an instant. All it takes is a shift of how you think about the world around you. At first you will forget to do it, but if you force yourself for a few days, pretty soon it will become automatic.

So what did I learn about me?

I saw that I had all the skills that I needed. I had all the knowledge. I had the time, and the experience. I had the right tools. I had everything I needed, except for the mindset.

I was always searching outside of me, looking for a secret weapon, a better tool, smarter knowledge. I was looking and looking, consuming and consuming, instead of producing.

I had everything I needed. For what? I had everything I needed to accomplish my goals. I had some goals I had written down and was chasing, reverently, desperately.

When I realized I had everything I needed to accomplish those goals, everything changed. I started writing, producing, believing in my own value, my own ability to succeed.

And that is a great feeling!

It gave me peace. It took away the stress. It let me relax when I needed to, and work, efficiently and effectively, when I needed to. It gave me sorely needed balance.

And all that just because I paid better attention. I saw things that had always been there. I saw the beautiful birch, alight with the magic of autumn.

Not only did it allow me to create my Corelizer System (complimentary ebook download, no email required). It also had a profound implication...

When I turned from a consumer to a producer, from a reader to a writer, from a doubter to a believer, I also turned from a dreamer to a doer. I did! I did all the things I'd been reading about, thinking about, dreaming about.

And do you know what?

It isn't dreaming that gets you results.

It is doing. It is doing the right things, doing the things your strengths tell you to do.

If you do stuff because you are desperate, you do the wrong things. And even if you do the right things, you do them the wrong way. You won't see the results you want.

When you do things based on your strengths, you create value. You are an asset to humanity. You are a pillar of society.

How can you utilize that strength if you do not see it? When you do not even know it is there?

(Hint: You can't.)

That's why even if you don't care about memorizing more stuff, enhancing your memory is a powerful and easy to learn skill that will impact you positively throughout every aspect of your life.

[Source: youcantbeatme.com, by Sten Anderson]


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Monday, February 8, 2010

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Words Without Actions

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Not long ago, I was interviewing two people applying for the same position. When the first candidate was asked what her goals were, Becky replied that continuous learning was her goal. When asked what steps she had taken to accomplish her goal, Becky said that she was going to sign up for a course in the fall.

The next candidate had a similar goal, but, in this case, Rebecca had actually taken several courses to help her achieve what she wanted. This action showed not only did Rebecca have a goal; she had been implementing an action plan to achieve here desired results.

"Words without actions are the assassins of idealism." -- Herbert Hoover

In the end Rebecca had created stress for herself in using "words without action". When you find yourself in stressful situations, rather than using words to reduce your stress, take action to create less stress in your life.

A great way to take action is to set goals for your life. Setting goals and taking action can result in less stress in your life. It prepares you for other opportunities. It gives you a focus on the future rather than being stuck where you are.

So often people are stressed but do little to reduce their stress. Setting goals for yourself is the first step in changing your life. But more importantly, taking action towards achieving these goals will actually create less stress in your life, as you will see yourself progressing towards "a goal that you want".

[Source: stresslesscountry.com, by Catherine Pulsifer]


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