Monthly Archives: December 2008

I’d Like to Change My Order

I was having dinner with a friend the other night. I was in a pretty good mood (as I usually am,) but he seemed to be out of sorts. I could tell because he usually orders a mixed cocktail (he has a really strange system based on the day of the week and the general weather pattern to choose his drink. Either that or he’s been pulling my leg all this time,) but that night, he ordered a beer. Not just any beer, well actually, yea, he just told the waitress “whatever’s on tap is ok.”

I asked him what was wrong. He said that he was having second thoughts about going forward with his business that he’s been planning on starting. “What changed?” I asked.

He said that he’d been talking with another guy that his advisor had put him in touch with, that had successfully started a business in the same general line of work. He said that he had worked 7 days a week, about 12 hours a day for the first two years. He had a supportive family, and finally after two years, his business was successful enough that he could hire other people to manage it for him.

“So what’s the problem?” I asked. He said he wasn’t really prepared to put in 12  hours a day for a year before he saw a profit. He seemed to think that all businesses need that level of commitment to get off the ground and become profitable.

I told him about this book I read (I forgot the title) about a kind of study they did on successful entrepreneurs. Now that I think of it, I think it might have been a tape program, and I’m pretty sure I got it from Nightingale Conant. If you’ve never had a look, I recommend it. They got some good stuff there. If you find something you like, you might check ebay first, because lots of times people buy stuff, listen and get great benefit, and then sell it at a pretty cheap price.

So what this program said was that there was a huge range of variables that went into successful business creation. Some people were successful right from the start, some had to work at it over several years, others had all kinds of loans and help from family. It really didn’t matter. The term ‘work’ is really a relative concept. What might seem like ‘work’ to some, may be totally enjoyable to somebody else. Some people might consider putting two weeks of effort to get a ton of money a huge burden, but others might consider three or four years total enjoyment, even if you don’t make a lot. So long as you enjoy what you do.

I asked my friend if he enjoyed doing what he thought he was getting himself into. He thought about, an decided that he really did enjoy it. Then I asked him if he would enjoy doing what the other guy did for two years, 12 hours a day for, and he said no way. Then he confessed that the other guy said the only reason he quit after two years, well not really quit but hired other people to take over, was because his wife had their second baby and really needed his help around the house. So it turned out my friend was imagining himself doing what the other guy was doing and imagining not enjoying it, while in reality the other guy was enjoying it so much it took a second baby and his wife’s demands that he ease off a bit.

When he put it into that perspective, it made total sense to him. Although the waitress was pretty confused when he sent back his beer and asked for a Vernal Equinox.



As you read this, sitting in that chair, noticing the sounds in your environment, take a moment and remember something that makes you feel good. Any memory will do. Yesterday, last week, three years ago. Got one? Good. It’s nice to have good memories, isn’t it? Try it again. Choose a different one. Like that one time, when you did that thing that was so, you know. And when you think of that now, you can remember how that made you feel? Ok?

Sometimes though, you’ll be walking down the street, minding your own business, and you’ll see something, and it will remind you of something else, and that will remind you of THAT, and instant blah. Now you’re in a bad mood. Why did you have to think of that? Don’t you hate it when that happens? Well this is your lucky day. How would you like to go in and surgically change the feelings of bad memories? So when you remember it, it makes you feel neutral, or even good? How would that be? Ok?

Ok. Here’s what you need. Think of a semi bad memory (after you learn to do this easily, you can go and destroy bigger and badder memories, pick an easy one for practice.)  Choose one where there is a specific picture you can think of to get that old yucky feeling. Ok, got it? Ok put it aside for now, we’ll mess it up in a little bit.

Now think of a good memory. Something that you can think of where a picture of it will give you a good feeling. Anything will do.

For example, my bad picture is of this kid that used to tease me in grade school. Called me Georgie Porgie…kissed the girls…etc.  And my good picture is of my friends kid, who’s four and always smiling and laughing and full of energy.

Ok, here’s what you do. Take the bad picture, and put it in your left hand (in your imagination) and slowly bring it to your face. When you do this, you should slowly feel the semi bad feeling increase in intensity. When your hand gets about halfway to your face, IMMEDIATELY and powerfully bring the other hand, which contains the other GOOD picture to your face, and REALLY FEEL the good feeling hit you full on in the face.


Ok, shake your hands out, think of something neutral, like the middle name of your second cousin spelled backwards or something. Do it again. Remember, left hand slow to your face, semi bad emotion getting more intense, and then BAM (Just like Emerill) right hand with the good feeling suddenly flooding your surprised brain with good feelings. Remember to see the pictures. If you can’t see the pictures, just pretend. Your brain doesn’t know the difference.  Do this 10 or 15 times. It shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.

What most people notice, is that after you do this a few times, when you try and think of that old memory that used to give you that old emotion, it doesn’t work any more. You’ve successfully scrambled your own brain. Isn’t that fun? You might have to do this a couple days for it to take, but that’s normal.

So now, when you are walking down the street thinking about lolly pops and puppy dogs and something hijacks your good feelings with a stray memory, you can straighten it right out. BAM!


Towards Pleasure and Away From Pain

As I write this article, it is a time of year where many people around the globe resolve to do certain things, or stop doing certain things. While this article can help in that regard, you can easily use it to create new goals, or get rid of bad habits any time of the year.

If you’ve read my articles on goal setting, or creating a compelling future, this one will blend right in. If you haven’t had the chance yet, you might consider it so that you can receive maximum benefit.

In this article, you will learn an easy to learn and simple to implement technique to motivate yourself to put into action a plan that you’d like to begin, but for some reason, haven’t yet (until now) been able to find the motivation.

It’s based on the idea that all humans are generally motivated by two broad categories. Toward pleasure, and away from pain. And this procedure makes use of those two tendencies to supercharge your brain to naturally move you in the direction you want to go.

Step One

Think of something you’d like to do more of, or something you’d like to do less of. For example, lets say exercise more. So the thing you want to do more of is exercise more.

Step Two

Brainstorm all the great things that will happen on three different levels, if you exercise more. On three different levels, I mean three different levels of cause/effect. For example, if I exercise more, I’ll sleep better at night. If I sleep better at night, I’ll be able to do better at my job everyday. If I do better at my job everyday, the chances I’ll get promoted will increase. See how that works? Keep in mind your main goal is to start to exercise more, and the second and third things are simply the carrot to keep pulling you in that direction. Once exercising more is a firm habit (in this example,) you can move on to other things.

Step Three

Brainstorm all the negative, things, along with the three levels of cause/effect of the bad things that will happen if you don’t start your program. For example, if I don’t start to exercise, then I’ll gain weight, and if I gain weight, then I’ll have to buy more clothes, and if I buy more clothes, I won’t have as much money, and so on and so on. Remember, these are to keep you focusing on negative aspects of life, but to give you impetus to move away from the things you don’t want to happen.

Now if you picked something you wanted to stop doing, like biting your nails, the process is the same. Brainstorm all the good things that will happen if you stop, and all the bad things that will happen if you don’t.

If you spend a few minutes to do this every night, you will soon find that you almost automatically start to move in the direction you want to go. And before you know it, you will be keeping a journal filled with all your easy successes in life.

If you enjoyed this article, remember to check back often for more, as I update this site daily. And be sure to share or link this site, because when you help others, you are really helping yourself.


You Want Fries With That?

“Dude why does this always happen to me?”
“Why does what always happen to you?”
“They always mess up my order.”
“What’s wrong?”
“I ordered the chicken burger with mashed potatoes, and they gave me the chicken burger with fries. I can’t eat fries, my doctor said so.”
“What does your doctor have to do with this?”
“He told me not to eat too much fried food.”
“I see. So is that why your order always gets messed up, because your doctor told you to stop eating so much fried food?”
“No, I’m just saying. They always mess up my order.”
“Waiters, waitresses.”
“Both waiters AND waitresses?”
“Mostly waitresses.”
“So then they don’t ALWAYS mess up your order, only waitresses?”
“Yea. Yea, that’s it. Waitresses always mess up my order.”
“All waitresses?”
“Well, now that you mention it, usually only cute ones do.”
“Hmm. I see. Do they know they are cute?”
“The cute ones that mess up your order, do they know they are cute?”
“Dude, what?”
“You said most cute waitresses mess up your order. How do they know that they’re cute? Is there some internationally agreed upon scale of cuteness that they have to check themselves against every day to see if they can qualify to mess up your order?”
“Huh? Dude, what are you talking about? Of course not. There’s no standard.”
“You’re not saying that cuteness is subjective, are you?”
“Of course it’s subjective!”
“So they’re psychic then, right?”
“Since there isn’t any international standard for cuteness, and cuteness is subjective, they can only mess up your order if they can read your mind and decide that you think they are cute. Right?”
“Um, I think I’ll just eat my fries…”
“No, no, this is getting interesting. Maybe, they read your mind, and because they realize you think they are cute, it makes them nervous and that’s why they are all messing up your order. Or maybe, they all hoping that because you think they are cute, you might want to ask them out, so they mess up your order on purpose so they’ll have a chance to apologize, and give you a chance to ask them out? Whatta you think?”
“I really just… dude, you wanna fry?”
“Do you have any other explanation?”
“Can we just drop it?”
“No, no, I’d like to get to the bottom of this. Perhaps there is another explanation. Maybe YOU are the one that is messing up your order. Maybe you actually said ‘fries’ when you meant to say ‘mashed potatoes.’ Did you ever think of that?”
“Seriously, these fries are pretty good, you should try one. They have like garlic or something on them…”
“What is cute, anyways? How exactly do you know that a girl is cute? I mean, say look over…there! Is she cute?”
“Dude, you really are starting to embarrass me.”
“Have you ever had a cute waitress that DIDN’T mess up your order? Or did you ever have a waitress that was really uncute, and HE messed up your order? I mean, that’s not really a cute thing to say, you know. Cute people have feelings too. I suppose I could order you to just be thankful you have some pota….dude, what happened to your fries?”
“I finished them while you were rambling on about whatever you were rambling on about.”
“How were they?”
“Great, I think I’ll order them again next time.”


Submitted For Your Approval

I was sitting in a local coffee shop yesterday, as I like to do. And I ran into some this guy that I sort of know, but haven’t had the chance to really put in the “friend” category in my brain. You know what I’m talking about, right? Anyways, this guy tells me about his roommate. And his roommate is the kind of guy that is always trying to learn new things, he’s always going to some seminar, or reading a new book on this subject or another.

And he was telling me how is roommate went to this really interesting seminar in some kind of esoteric philosophy, kind of like metaphysics, I guess. And there was a guest speaker at the seminar, and he really didn’t do much speaking, because for most of his allotted time he had them watch a video tape with this Indian guru. Which is strange in and of itself, because nowadays, most people simply use DVDs to watch videos, instead of tapes.

So anyways, this guy said that the secret to being able to get what you want in life is related to how well you can give yourself approval. He was saying that behind most desires are a hidden need to receive approval from other people.  He said that it relates somehow to growing up, and internalizing some of those messages that we received from our parents. Kind of like the guy with the anchor, sometimes something is good to hold onto, and sometimes you should just let go.

Now I’m not going to tell you to automatically believe this stuff about releasing the need for approval from others, because I think it’s important for you to discover that on your own. And while some people tell me that they think the need for approval is based on genetic programming rather than conditioning, I think it’s clear that people who have been able to operate independently from the need for approval from others will tell you differently.

And you are probably already aware of the fact that when you remember those times when you did things without waiting for permission or approval from others, you were able to feel more freedom to experience the situation. Like sometimes when you were able to detach from the outcome, whatever it was, and just focus on the experience, you can remember having a great time.

And this might not be entirely relevant to you, but when you do release any need for approval from others, you might find that you get more approval than you’d ever hoped to receieve had that been your outcome in the first place.

But it did sound like an interesting seminar that he went to, and I never did find out if he got a copy of the tape that they watched, as he left before I got a chance to ask him. Seems he was in a hurry to meet somebody about something, and he was just stopping by to pick up a latte for the road.

You are probably already aware of the fact that many people have decided that the more they expose themselves to mind expanding ideas, like articles on this site, the easier it is for them to find new ways to get what they want out of life.


Ancient Laws for Instant Success

Achieve incredible results easily and effortlessly. Become known among your friends and others as somebody that they want to be like. Express your desires and have them magically appear. If you’ve read my other articles, you’ll realize that I am always looking for ways to learn new skills and improve results. The following is a quick, short list of ancient secrets you can put to use today to safely and naturally get exactly what you want out of life.

Law Number One:  The only failure is when you ignore the lesson.

If you focus too much on getting exactly the right result, you won’t notice the things that you can learn from any interaction to easily improve yourself.  Anything you can learn will be beneficial in some way. A great example is getting feedback from others. I gave a speech once to a Toastmasters group. I was nervous, and dropped my cue cards, and lost my place a couple of times. After the speech, you usually get feedback from a helpful experienced member. She told me my strong points, and some specific things to try to get better next time. Had I expected to give a perfect speech, I wouldn’t have been open to her kind suggestions.  This naturally leads to the next law:

Law Number Two: Detach from results.

This might be an easy to understand and often repeated concept, but sometimes it can be tough to put this into practice. The easiest way I’ve found is to go into every situation with an open mind. All you need to do is remember to focus on the process, and not the outcome. For example, if you want to start a conversation with an attractive member of the opposite sex, by focusing on the enjoyment of the conversation rather than the outcome, it allows you to be more relaxed.

Law Number Three: Allow yourself to want what you want.

Sounds simple, but how many of us want stuff, but are afraid to ask for it. We feel we need permission and somebody to give it to us without asking. It’s ok to want whatever you want. Did you think Bill Gates or Waren Buffet got where they are by waiting for their desires to be approved of by others? If you are unsure when asking for what you want, any strange reactions are not from the thing that you want, but from your behavior regarding that thing. When you proclaim proudly what you want with expectation, people will give it to you.

Law Number Four: Think big.

That’s right. You have a limited time on this chunk of rock orbiting around the big ball of fire. Don’t waste it on small things that you can get easily. Stretch yourself. Use your imagination. If you can think it, you can get it.

Law Number Five: Say good things to yourself.

We all have those voices in our heads, put there by well meaning parents and teachers. One of your jobs as an adult is to take charge of your own brain. Get rid of those old voices telling you to play it safe, and replace them with voices telling you how wonderful and powerful you are. Brian Tracy recommends that the first thing you do when you wake up every morning is to say “I like myself” over and over. If it sounds strange, do it anyways. Pretty soon, you’ll really believe it. And if you like you, other people will naturally follow your example.

All successful people, whether they know it or not, have applied these simple laws in one way or another to their lives. And the more you start to realize that they can improve your life, the sooner you will be able to do just that. And not only will you notice people around you treating you differently, you will also notice that because you are smart enough to understand these concepts, you will be able to powerfully make them work for you.


Quickly and Easily Learn a New Language

Klaatu Barada Nikto! The meaning of this phrase, repeated in the recent rendition of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” has been widely discussed and the generally agreed upon meaning is that it is a kind of “safe word” used to keep the giant Gort from destroying the Earth.  While no translation has ever been given by the writers of the original screenplay, you can understand the meaning by the context in which it was used.

When we are babies, that is exactly how we learn English, or whatever other language you happened learn when you grew up. We pay attention to the sounds, and expressions, and figure out what they mean by the context in which they are used. When we practice copying the sounds and phrases of the adults around us, we learn what words get us what things. Over the course of three or four years, we unconsciously soak up all the grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary that will form the basis for our entire communication that we use for our entire lives. We do all this without thought, worry, or stress. It just happens.

So what makes it seemingly so hard to learn a foreign language when we get older? Do our brains change somehow, as many believe, making it harder for us to learn as we get older? I don’t think so. I suspect that wherever you are in your stage of life, if you put yourself in an environment exactly the same as when you learned your native language, you’d learn a new one just as quickly. The rub is making sure the environment is EXACTLY the same. Surrounded by loving adults who give you all kinds of happy feelings when you speak, correctly or incorrectly. An environment where the ONLY thing you were expected to do was learn things. And environment where you didn’t have to worry about food, TV, or anything else that you take for granted today.

Unfortunately, unless you have a lot of money to throw around, re-creating the environment where you learned your first language is not likely. So if you want to learn another language, you need another strategy. Luckily, if you’ve read my other articles on memory, you already have a fantastic strategy for learning new words in a foreign language. It’s called pegging. If you haven’t read the other articles on memory, I suggest yo do that.

Imagine you want to learn the Japanese word for apple. Ready? I’ll teach it to you. Imagine you are in Tokyo at a Beatles concert. You can see John and Paul in the front, and George off to the side. But you can’t see the drummer, what’s his name. You walk over to the side, to get a better look. And to your shock, instead of the Beatles drummer, you see a giant apple, with arms and legs, banging away on the drums. How do you say “apple” in Japanese? You guessed it: Ringo.

Now if you need to, you can add more stuff to that picture to make it more memorable, but keep the elements the same. An apple playing drums for the Beatles at a concert in Tokyo. Try this with other words. Take the target word (in this case, “Ringo”) and say it until it reminds you of anything in English. Then just connect them up using a crazy, emotional, nonsensical picture/story. The more you do this, the easier it will get.

Now how long did it take to learn that? One minute? Two minutes? Do you know how many words are the base for everyday fluency in any given language? About 3000. And that’s really stretching it. Most linguists figure there’s really only about 500 that people use in basic non-technical conversation every day.

If you only spend 5 to 10 minutes a day, you could easily become conversationally fluent in a new language every year. And simply because you can imagine this, you can make it happen. How much would that impress your friends?


Can You Let Go?

That man was scared. He had won the cruise in a company raffle. His wife couldn’t go, because she was needed at her work, and couldn’t find a replacement. She told him to go alone, even though he refused. It had been a long time since he’d had a vacation. “Go and have fun! You deserve it!” She said. Finally after much consideration, he decided, what the heck. You only live once. And it was only a three day, two night cruise along the Mexican Riviera.

But now he was wishing he could go back in time. Now he was wishing that his wife had not been so understanding. Now he’d wished somebody else won the stupid raffle.

The storm was horrible. Pitching back and forth. The lines holding the life rafts had snapped. Half of the people waiting to board the life rafts had washed overboard already. He was sure he’d be next.

The boat lurched, he was pitched forward, tumbling out of control. He reached out for something to hold on to, something to grab. Too wet. Too slippery. He knew he was going to die. Finally his hand rested on something cold, metal. He grabbed it with all his might. His hands slipped down the end of the chain, and found the anchor at the end, which had been thrown from its holding place on the deck of the ship.

He gripped the anger with all his might, wrapping both arms around, both legs. “Please God, I don’t want to die.”

He held fast to the anchor. He saw more and more people being thrown overboard. “Please God, not me,” he prayed. After several minutes he thought he may actually have a chance. Another five, another ten, he was sure he would live. As long as he held fast to his anchor. As long as he didn’t let go. He began to cradle the anchor, began to think of it as a friend, a savior. “Thanks, buddy,” he whispered to it.

The boat lurched. The anchor flew, so did the man. They both hit the water, he didn’t let go of the anchor. It was still his only hope. The chain loosed and the anchor started to slowly sink.  Surely the anchor wouldn’t let him down, would it? The anchor sank deeper and deeper, the poor man still clinging to it, not knowing what to do. It helped him before right? It wouldn’t be right to just let go, would it?

The anchor finally came to rest on the bottom. The man’s arms now lifelessly held fast to the anchor. The man, unable to let go, was dead.

What are you holding on to?


Snakes on a Slope

This morning I was walking down the steps from the temple where I do my morning Qi Kong exercise, when I noticed a large snake stretched across one of the steps about halfway down.  It was almost, but not quite stretched out perfectly straight, as if he was seeing if he could stretch from one side of the step to the other. He hadn’t quite made it when I almost stepped on him. I paused and waited for him to finish his trek across the step. I wasn’t sure where he was going, but as I wasn’t in any rush, I didn’t ask him to hurry up. I’ve never really had any fears of snakes. Although once I was at a place called “Snake Alley” in Taipei, Taiwan, which is a street with a lot of weird shops. Some of which are shops which specialize in snakes. (Hence the name.) There was a woman standing outside with a rather large boa constrictor trying to entice customers to enter. I had just finished my second shot of snake blood liquor, (at least that’s what they said it was) when I decided to ask the woman if I could take a picture with her.

She didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Chinese, so she misunderstood me. She didn’t realize that I wanted to take a picture with her and the snake, and thought I wanted to take a picture with only the snake. As I stood next to her, and handed my camera to my snake blood liquor waiter, she proceeded to take the rather large boa constrictor and drape it around my neck. As I stood smiling for the snake blood liquor waiter to take what seemed like several long minutes to figure out my digital camera, the snake started to explore the side of my face with it’s tongue.  Finally, the waiter snapped a couple of photos and that was that.

I have a friend that would pass out cold if something like that happened to him. He is deathly afraid of snakes. Yet he is an avid skier, and the only time I went skiing with him, I was petrified to follow him down some of the jagged rock exposed, triple diamond runs he went on for fun.

He has been able to develop a skill which allows him to see a potentially dangerous situation as something to use to have lots of fun. He has gone on that particular run so many times, that his experience tells him that everything is ok. I, on the other hand, haven’t yet been able to develop good experience with respect to skiing, and perhaps I never will. For me, it is just too scary to think about being able to put in the effort in getting good at that so the good feelings naturally outweigh the bad.

It’s interesting when two people can look at the same experience and have two completely different interpretations of it.  It’s not like either of the snakes really had the time to decide whether they wanted to eat me or not. Besides, I don’t even like snake meat.


Going Deeper, Even Still

I got it in my head once that I wanted to run a marathon. And of course, instead of starting to train slow, two miles a day for a week, and then three miles a day for a week, I decided to jump right in and run 7 miles for my first training run. Let’s just say that walking the next day was a little bit less than pleasant.

My coworker, being the incredibly nice guy that he is, would walk up and pretend he was going to punch me in the leg. Naturally I involuntarily contracted my thigh muscles, causing an unbelievable amount of pain. He did that all day long. I grimaced, he laughed. Even when I saw him coming, and knew what he was up to, I still couldn’t help but to contract my muscles when he wound up on me. Kind of when the doctor hits your knee with that little hammer that he has. Except that is kind of cool. This was rather painful.

I’ve heard from psychologists that stress effects the mind the same way. Something happens in the world, and no matter how much we are expecting it, or see it coming, our mind contracts, causing unneeded and unresourceful mental anxiety. So what’s the answer?  One way to train your mind to relax is through meditation. There are many medically proven benefits to a daily meditation practice. Lower blood pressure, better sleep, more energy during the day, better clarity of thought. When you think about it, all these benefits can easily be explained by a mind that has been trained to be relaxed when you want it to.

And just like when you relax your body by not moving your muscles, you relax your mind by not moving your thoughts. One way to still your mind is to count your breaths. One, breath in. Breath out slow. Two, breath in, breath out slow. Focus only on the numbers. Release all other thoughts. If other thoughts drift into your mind, just allow them to continue drifting, until they float all the way past and fall off the edge of your consciousness. It doesn’t really matter if you sit in a chair, or on the floor, or even lie on your bed when you do this. Breath in, one. Breath out. Breath in, two, breath out. A good goal to aim for is to get to three without noticing any other thoughts. When you can get up to three, shoot for five, and then ten. Slow. In. Out. And it doesn’t matter how long you do it, a few minutes is really all you need.

As you continue to improve your skills, you will notice that because you are able to release thoughts easier and easier, those old ideas that used to cause you anxiety can’t do so as much any more. And sooner or later, you will come to the liberating realization that it wasn’t those ideas at all that was doing it, it was your mind’s reaction to them. And the more you train your mind, the more it seems you can shape your reality.

While you walk through the world with your less reactive mind, you will naturally start to see opportunities that you didn’t see before, so much so you will wonder why you didn’t realize you could do this earlier.