Monthly Archives: April 2009

Create Internal Coalitions to Unlock Your Potential

The other day I was talking to an acquaintance of mine. She is a woman I met recently, and we have an occasion to bump into each other once in a while. I had asked her how her recent weekend was, and she explained that she had finally broken up with her boyfriend of many years. She seemed to exhibit an extreme feeling of lightness and relief when she described the breakup. Normally when you hear people talking about a breakup, they are sad, angry, frustrated, victimized. But not this lady. She was ecstatic, because the relationship had gone on much longer than she’d wanted to. I’m sure you know somebody that is in a relationship that, on one level, they realize it’s not very healthy, but on another level they don’t really have the courage to extract themselves from it. Such is the nature of human problems. They never are straightforward, or easy.

Despite the fact that she spent the last weekend happily removing any remembrance of him from her house, she was going to celebrate by going out drinking with her friends. She then explained that was the one thing that she and her ex boyfriend had in common, an affinity for alcohol. Then went on to explain some other lingering problems in her life, and was explicit in her reasons for drinking. It allows her to forget the stresses and worries of the day. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of forgetting the stresses and worries of the day. Too much focus on what’s ailing you (and believe me, all of us have something ailing us) will generally only make things seem much worse than they are. And I also fully appreciate the fantastic effects a few drinks can have on your mood. I’m a scotch on the rocks man myself.

But when she continued describing her plans to go out until the wee hours of the morning, she started seemed to lose her happiness. As she described how she usually dreaded the day after, as once she starts, she can’t really control herself, it became apparent that this might not be the best strategy for stress relief, at least not for her. All doubts disappeared when she voiced one of the biggest killers to human happiness:

“I want to quit, but I can’t.”

That short sentence sums up the vast horrors of personal emotional suffering. I want to….but I can’t….or I need to…. But I can’t… Or perhaps the most insidious, I have to….but I can’t….

Why are certain problems so difficult to get around? Some have called these paradoxical problems because as much as we want to get rid of them we are receiving some kind of benefit from perpetuating them, no matter how ludicrous or illogical it may seem.

One way to get to the heart of this is a mind experiment called “Parts Integration.” What this technique does is dig down beneath the reasons for holding on to behaviors that don’t seem to be helpful, and finding out the hidden benefit in them. Once you figure out the hidden benefit, you can find other ways to fulfill it. When can find better ways to do this, the unwanted behavior has no reason to stick around, and vanishes.

This kind of procedure can be best done with somebody else guiding you, but it’s not necessary. Here are the basic steps. (Be forewarned, it’s kind of goofy and requires liberal use of your imagination, such as having a two-way conversation with different parts of yourself.)

Ask the “part” of you that is responsible for the behavior to come out. Hold it in your right hand.

Ask the “part” of you that wants to stop the behavior to come out. Hold it in your left hand.

Keep asking the two parts their underlying reasons for doing what they are doing. Ask these “parts” questions like “Why is that important, what is important about that?” It’s important to be open for whatever answers present themselves, and to be accepting that grateful for the answers that do come. You will usually find that the part in your right hand is likely using a very old strategy to keep you safe and protected.
For example, you overeat because you feel good, you feel good so you won’t have to express yourself, and you don’t want to express yourself because you might get rejected. So in this case, overeating s (the bad behavior in this example) serves to protect you from getting rejected.

The part in your left hand wants you to stop eating because it’s not healthy. Being unhealthy will make you unattractive, and being unattractive will cause you to be shunned by others, and this will cause you your rejection.

In the above (way oversimplified) example, you find a place where both “parts” want the same thing, but they are each going about different ways to achieve it. Once “they” realize this, you can ask them to work together, and figure out a way that is both healthy, and will keep you safe and free from rejection. You ask the two “parts” to work together, and then bring them both to your chest. You then breathe in deeply and feel gratitude for this new relationship between the parts.

You may have to try this a few times before it “sticks,” but you’ll be amazed how freeing this exercise can be. Having patience pays off in this case. You find subtle shifts in the motivations that drive your behavior over time. Behaviors that you’ve had for a while can take some time to fully release, but it is absolutely possible to change your life around completely with this “procedure.”  There are many videos and resources available to help you get through this. This is but one of the many tools that are available to you that will allow you to unlock your potential.

Once you decide to make it a habit to always explore ways to improve yourself and your world, you’ll be light years ahead of where you used to be.

Release and Be Free

I remember when I was a kid we were studying anthropology in school. It wasn’t actually anthropology, because it was only third or fourth grade. I don’t think we actually studied anthropology until maybe high school. I guess it was called science, or maybe nature. Weird how that is. When you grow up and learn new things, things you experienced before take on a completely different light. Certain filters are removed from your experience, and certain filters are added. Things just don’t look the way they did back then. Which is kind of cool, when you think about. All I knew back then was this thing called “science.” Now I know about all different kinds of science and different ways to study and different fields. It’s truly amazing that the more you learn, the more there is to learn. It’s like each new thing you learn or experience has the possibility of branching into about a million other things. This is one of the reasons I think it’s important for people to always continue learning.

So our teacher recommended a movie that we watch. It was about animals and different tribes in Africa. There was on famous scene that stands out. I’ve heard this particular scene brought up in several different conversations related to several different things, so it’s likely that you’ve seen it or have at least heard about it.

It goes like this. These tribesmen knew a troupe of monkeys had a secret water stash someplace. But the monkeys were smart, and they never hit up their secret stash when they knew they were being followed. So the tribesman had to figure out a way to outsmart the monkeys. They found a small hole that went into a rock. It was maybe a few inches deep, and then opened up into a much large hole after an inch or so. They sat next to this hole until the a monkey happened by. Then they carefully, and obviously took some pieces of something out of a pouch, and then put them one by one into the hole, making sure the monkey would watch. Then they left. The monkey, being a curious little monkey, wanted to know what was in the hole. So he went over and stuck his hand in to grab the small mystery items. He could barely fit his monkey hand in the hole, but once he felt around and picked up all the mystery items, he couldn’t retract his hand, because when he clutched his fist to hold the items, it couldn’t come out of the hole.

Later on the tribesmen came back. They monkey was still stuck. They started feeding the monkey very salty snacks. The monkey kept eating, but his hand was still voluntarily stuck in the hole. All he had to do was release the mystery items, and he would be free. But his curiosity demanded that he hold the items. His monkey brain also demanded that he eat the free snacks. As time went by, he became thirstier and thirstier until he couldn’t bare it any more. He finally released the mystery items, and ran to his secret water source. He was so thirsty that he forgot to practice monkey stealth, and lead the tribesman directly to the secret monkey water source.

Now think about this poor monkey. He had set up a system where he had a resource, which he took pains to protect. Then he suddenly came across something that he became really interested in. Something he had to have. Like he said to himself “You really have to get this.” Or maybe he said to himself “You really need this here.” I don’t know. But he had a system set up, and he was derailed by his curiosity over something that might or might not have been an additional resource. Something he hadn’t set out looking for, something he hadn’t decided beforehand was important. He saw something, wanted it, and without any thought or planning wasted a lot of his effort chasing something that he didn’t even know the value of.

To make matters worse, when he had what he thought might be important in his grip, it became severely restricting. He couldn’t move. That which he had convinced himself was important had power over even his physical movement. To make matters worse, while he was in the clutches of this unknown, perhaps worthless item (most likely a handful of useless pebbles), he gave in more to his greed and gobbled up the free food that was given to him, which further reduced his power and choice.

Pretty soon the poor monkey was so desperate to overcome his sudden problems he decided the best course of action would be to reveal his secret resource to all who wanted it, perhaps diminishing its value completely. To chase something that might turn out to be completely worthless, the monkey gave up everything. Of course he was only a monkey. He didn’t know that the best way was to never be dependent on free stuff. To take your time to investigate things that falls out of the sky. And had he not been a monkey, he might have learned the most powerful lesson of all. When you find yourself in times of trouble, the best course of action might be to just release, and take a step back, instead of holding on tightly to something that is causing you all kinds of trouble.


How to Create a Powerful Burning Desire

If you’ve ever read any books on goal achievement, or read any articles on the subject, I’m sure that you’ve heard the oft repeated phrase of “burning desire” or “white hot desire” or some other description. The idea being that you need to make sure that when you create a goal, it’s not some half baked wish that you kind of sort of hope might maybe come true someday, if everything goes ok, and as long as you don’t get in trouble. You need to charge your visualized picture of your realized goal with such strength of desire your brain will work on making it come true, even when you are not paying attention.

The problem is, few people have the discipline and the willpower to even create a visualization of a realized goal, let alone charge it several times a day with white hot burning desire. There are several reasons for this that I’d like to explore, and to come up with ways to help you create a goal, and charge it with sufficient desire in order to make it a reality, instead of some pie in the sky wish.

Imagine what it was like back in the old days. No, I don’t mean the old days before the Internet, I mean the really old days before agriculture. Many scientists believe that mankind lived in our present physical and mental state under the conditions prior to agriculture for at least a hundred thousand years. Living in groups of fifty to two hundred, life was tough. There wasn’t a consistent source of food, so we had to wander, and follow whatever we could to eat. Because humans are generally considered omnivores, meaning that we can eat pretty much anything, we generally took whatever we could find. Plants, animals, roots, each other.

In each group of hunter-gatherers, there was generally one “Alpha” male. Several studies done on chimps show that the alpha male gets most of the food, and most of the sex. The rest of us hacks had to fight for ours. Imagine what it was like living in this state. Always hungry. Living with desire as a constant companion, reminding us to always search and creatively think of ways to get our basic needs met.

Fast forward to today. When we’re hungry, we just stumble over to the fridge and shove food in our mouths. When we are thirsty, we drink. When we want sex, well, there’s always the Internet, if you catch my drift. We have come to think of any desire as a temporary inconvenience that needs to be quickly gotten rid of in the quickest way possible.
Is it any wonder so many people today are overweight, and underpaid? It is any wonder that so many of us drift through a life of mediocrity, never summoning the courage to demand from life what we really want?

The first step then, is to make friends with desire. Focus on the feeling of desire itself, instead of any frustration that comes up when it can’t be immediately pacified. Learn to live with desire. Hunger is your friend. It keeps you motivated to shun short-term sugary fixes, and focus your energies and creativity on more worthy, long-term goals.

The first step, of course, is to follow any good procedure to create well-formed goals. You can google “well formed goals” or search this site for ways to do this. When you have a well formed goal, the next step is to create three or four rich visualizations of what you will see, hear, feel, smell and taste when the goal is realized. Driving your new car, enjoying your new house, seeing and feeling the new paycheck. Choose three or four rich, descriptive, fully associated pictures of your goal. Once you have a few pictures, you need to charge them.

Whenever you feel a desire, pause for a few moments before rushing to fulfill it. Breathe in the desire and experience the feelings in the now. Let go of any thoughts about the future, or imaginations about the past. Fully feel your desire. Now while you are still feeling the emotional now feeling of your desire, focus on one of your visualizations. Focus on your visualization until the physical/emotional feeling of the desire subsides.

Experiment with putting off the short-term satisfaction of your desires. If you desire is for food, wait a few moments before eating. Realize that your feeling of hunger can be tapped to power your desire of your goal. If your desire is for water, pause, and imagine the desire as your goal. When you eat or drink, imagine your desire as being fulfilled. Practice as well with your breath. Exhale completely, and wait until you feel a real desire to breath. Before inhaling, experience your visualization. As you inhale and feel the sweet breath fill your lungs, see your goal being achieved as well. There’s a reason those who have achieved greatness describe their success and “eating drinking and breathing their goal.”

If you want to really turbo charge your desires, experiment with your sexual desires. Feel the sexual desire, release any imaginations and feel only the physical feeling. Then while feeling and appreciating that feeling and desire, visualize your goals. The more often you can do this, and the longer you can charge your goals each time, the better. Napoleon Hill devoted a whole chapter to this in “Think and Grow Rich.” You an google this as well and read the entire chapter, or even the book, online for free. I would recommend keeping your own copy handy to refer to when you are waiting in the dentists office or at Starbucks.

Desire can be a source of fantastic power, or daily frustration, all depending on how you use it in conjunction with your mind and imagination. Many people throughout history have known this, but few have been able to truly tap this power for incredible success. There is no reason why you can’t start now to create the life of your dreams.


The Wisdom of the Dove

Once upon at time there was a dove. He lived in on the outskirts of a rural farming community. Well, he lived in a tree on the outskirts of a rural farming community. It was a farming community that grew wheat that was primarily used in industrial sized bread factories. Because the fields were so large, there was plenty of opportunities for the birds to come and have their fill of wheat without really worrying about putting in a dent in the farmers income. Most people don’t know that doves are actually fairly concerned with the symbiotic relationship they have with their environment. They are really concerned that they don’t over consume, because they know that if they do that, they will damage the area they live in, and they will have to move. While there are still many areas that doves can move to in order to find resources, they are concerned that future generations won’t have enough, so they are careful. But I digress.

This particular dove was starting to have strange feelings about other doves. Not all doves, mind you, only young, lady doves. It was really strange the way it was happening to him. At first, he felt kind of funny, and he didn’t know if he should tell anybody. Maybe they would think he was strange, or different. Maybe they would laugh at him, or even worse. So for a while he didn’t anybody. But then the feeling became too powerful to ignore. Pretty soon it was all that he could think about. When he was with his friends, it didn’t bother him so much. But whenever he found himself near a girl dove that was about the same age as him, the feeling was impossible to ignore. He couldn’t take his mind off of her. He wanted to talk to her. Sometimes he would imagine how wonderful it would be if she were feeling the same things about him as he was feeling about her.

But try as he might, he just couldn’t get up the courage to hop over, and start up a conversation. As much as he had an incredible desire to do so, he kept imagining what would happen if she laughed at him. Or screamed, or called over the adults. What if he really was different? What if this feeling wasn’t normal, and people found out about it, what then? They might even banish him for their town, and he’d have to fly to another town. How would he explain himself? He noticed that the same thing happened every time. He’d see this girl dove, and feel an almost overwhelming desire to go and talk with her, and then his desire would suddenly turn into horrible fears and imaginations of what would happen if something went wrong.

Finally, he decided to share his predicament with somebody. But not just anybody. He decided to talk with his grandfather. His grandfather was the kind of bird that didn’t talk much. But when he did talk, he spoke with incredible wisdom and kindness. Almost everybody regarded him as a very knowledgeable fellow that knew a lot about life. It was said that he had been around since the before times, when it wasn’t so easy to get food. When he spoke, people listened.

So this young dove went to see his grandfather.

“You seem to have a problem.” The grandfather noted, before the young dove even spoke. The young dove was awestruck.
“Let me guess. Girl troubles? You see a girl you like?” the young dove continued to be amazed at his grandfathers insight. He finally spoke up.
“How can I talk to her?” He asked.
“Just like you are talking to me.” He responded.
“But…” The young dove said, trailing off.
“Let me guess. You want to talk to her, but you are afraid of what will happen if you do. ”
“Yes, that’s right.” The young dove said meekly.
The old dove paused, and then spoke.

“Your mind is young, and inexperienced. It is natural. When you focus too much on your fears, they can overcome you. Practice focusing on the good things that might happen. This is what I want you to do. Do not talk to her. Only go near her, and imagine for one minute, one good thing that will happen if you do speak with her. One minute, then go someplace else and occupy your mind with other things. No more than one minute, do you understand?”
The young dove nodded.
“But how many times do I…” The old dove silenced him, and smiled.
“Go! But remember this lesson. You will soon give it to another.” The young dove didn’t know what he meant by that, but he left anyways.

By the time spring came again, this young dove was now the leader of a large family of his own, who adored him greatly.


How to Lead People Anywhere, Anytime

I was watching this really whacked out cartoon the other day. I rarely watch cartoons, let alone whacked out ones. These two spaceships were fighting each other, and they kept pulling out these different weapons. Each time they shot all their “bullets,” or whatever they were, the enemies ship would lose its shields. But for each weapon that the “good guy” ship would pull out, the enemy ship would come up with a new force field/shield specifically to combat that particular weapon. It was as if the same manufacturer of cartoon space weapons was colluding with the manufacturer of cartoon space weapon defense shields.

For some reason it reminded me of a book I read once on personal auras. It said that people’s auras have many layers. The layer that most people can see is the outer layer, and that is the layer that interacts with other people. Depending on how “in tune” the person in question is, the subsequent layers of their aura are congruent, or matched in aura frequency. I’m not sure of the physics behind it, but it sounded pretty interesting. When a person is really congruent in whom they are, personally, physically, spiritually, their auras will all be in alignment and they will project a powerful presence. It will have an incredible attractive quality to it. If you’ve ever been around somebody that you just could feel really good in this person’s presence, they likely had fairly congruent set of auras. You know the kind of person I’m talking about. The person that when they walk into a room, everybody just kind of pauses in their conversation slightly, and says “whoa…”

The generally overlooked aspect is that people can be powerfully charismatic without regard to their “moral” outlook. Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones, that crazy Korean cult guy that has a thousand wives. All these guys are incredibly charismatic and attractive, but they are kind of dangerous. OK, really dangerous. Because their underlying message is ultimately one of self destruction. Simply because they are incredibly congruent with their self-destructive message, they come across as being somebody that many people will naturally follow. They are a great example of the fact that whatever ideas you have, whether they be an idea to save the world, or to lead a band of crazy drug crazed hippies into the jungle, if you are consistent with your beliefs and how you present them, people will follow you.

I think one of the strengths, and weaknesses of human nature is that we will follow a leader at the drop of a hat. If somebody stands up and presents a seemingly congruent message with an easy to understand call for action, we will likely follow them. Even if they are a little bit crazy. One of the interesting phenomena regarding this is despite the members of the group; there will always be one that is the de-facto leader. It’s one of those leftover traits from evolution. When we lived in hunter/gatherer bands out on the African Savannah, we needed to rely on a leader. Otherwise we’d wander cluelessly around and get eaten by tigers. It can be a great resource, both to be a follower, and a leader. Especially if the leader is kind and honest and really is concerned about his or her people. Many great leaders in history demonstrate this.

It can also be dangerous to follow somebody if they happen to be the only one you’ve got. It’s hard to ignore the million year old programmed desire to follow an authority figure. It’s much easier to give up rational thought and go behind somebody. Sometimes, though, we need to accept the fact that one of the responsibilities of being an evolved human is to always question authority, and always be on the lookout for your own interests. Always judge how they match up with the interests of the current leader. There are too many horrors of history that illustrate what happens when people have neglected to do this.

As far as auras go, I’ve never really been able to see them. I even bought a special pair of goggles, that were supposed to train your eyes, but I didn’t have the discipline to practice consistently. Maybe I’ll get lucky someday.

Unfortunately, the warring cartoon spaceships never resolved their issue. They each had to return to their respective space colonies to recharge and repair, so they could meet again. I think my friend told me that in the next episode they have to become friends, because they have to unite against a common enemy. We’ll see.


How to Create a MasterMind Group

I was re-reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” the other day. I was reading the part where he was describing his “imaginary master mind group.” If you haven’t had a chance to read that fantastic book, or if you haven’t read it in a while, I can’t recommend it enough. There are several free versions of it online, or you can go buy yourself a hard copy to take with you. Lately I’ve been reading snippets whenever I’m on the train, or hanging out in a coffee shop. I think it’s a great idea to always have a good book such as “Think and Grow Rich,” or other books of that nature to pull out and read this whenever you get a chance. It can really be helpful.

The “imaginary mastermind group” that Hill was describing was a modified version of his Mastermind Group idea. I don’t think the idea was his, most likely several people over the centuries have discovered the concept of synergy in a group. The basic idea is to get a group of people together, and collectively solve a problem. Business problems, social problems, political problems have all been solved in the past with the application of a mastermind group. The original framers of the United States Constitution is a particular good example of an effective and powerful mastermind group. Their efforts have proved to be valuable to many people over the years.

Sometimes, though, you don’t have a group of powerful individuals at your disposal to collect together and figure out how you are going to pay your rent, or write that report at work. Sometimes, you have to go it alone. Which is how the imaginary mastermind group comes in. You look through history, and get a collection of real, historical figures that you admire. It’s good to have a wide variety of disciplines. Doctors, scientists, orators, mystics, magicians, politicians, whatever. Come up with as many different specific fields as you can, and then choose on person from each one. I think Napoleon Hill had Darwin, Lincoln, Henry Ford, and Emerson, among others, in his group. Just choose anybody who exists, either currently, or historically that you’d like giving you advice and counsel.

Then at night, just as drifting off into sleep, gather your imaginary mastermind group together and have a meeting regarding the day’s issues. Make sure you are in charge, and each can only speak when you give them the floor. If you want, you can ask them questions regarding different problems you are having in your life, and the best way to solve it. You’ll be amazed at the insight they will offer. It’s important to release any weird feelings that you have about doing this, and allow your imagination to speak through them. It kind of gives your brain permission to look at things from a different perspective, and think of ideas you wouldn’t normally think of.

You can also imagine key members of your mastermind group going with you into certain situations. For example, if you have a big meeting with your boss, you can have a meeting with your mastermind group the night before. Whoever seems to give you the best advice, take them with you, and imagine they are standing behind you, whispering into your ear. (Just make sure not to turn around and say “Huh? What was that?” to them during the meeting.)

Hill even went on to say that after a few months of regular meetings with his mastermind group, they began to take on distinct personalities, and he had to stop because he feared they were becoming too real, even for him. So be careful, and don’t let your imagination run away with you. You don’t want to end up like that mathematician in “Beautiful Mind.”

Your brain is a fantastically wonderful and barely understood part of you that can offer up many different ways to get what you want out of life. The imaginary mastermind group is but one way to tap this fantastic source for whatever pleasure you want to easily achieve in life.


The Brave Little Gator

Once there was an alligator. He was a small alligator, only a few weeks out of the egg. He was still kind of feeling his way around, only venturing a few meters from his nest. He hadn’t reached the stage where he had to get his own food, as he was still receiving food from his mother. She would periodically leave the nest to go out hunting, and bring back small bites of zebra and kangaroo to feed to the kids. There were sixteen alligators in all. It was a particularly large nest, as most alligator nests only contain seven or so. This alligator mom was particularly lucky with not only the amount of eggs, but that they had all hatched and produced healthy baby alligators. Usually when a mother alligator has so many eggs, there are a few that need to be sacrificed for the good of the many. The mother was quite relieved, to say the least, when she discovered that all of her eggs were healthy.

On the particular day in question of this story, the mom had been gone for longer than normal. She would usually go out for about an hour or so, and then come back with the good. However, it had been over four hours since she left, and they were starting to get hungry, and scared.

“What should we do?”
“Wait. We should wait.”
“I don’t want to wait.”
“But we have to wait. We don’t have any other choice.”
“Maybe she got mad and left us!”
“She didn’t get mad at me, she got mad at you!”
“Did not! Did too!”

And so they previously happy and well taken care of alligator began to argue. Pretty soon, it became dark. The mother alligator still hadn’t returned.

“We are going to die!”
“Maybe she got lost?”
“Maybe she was eaten by another alligator!”
“You idiot, alligators don’t eat each other!”
“She’s lost!”
“How could she get lost, she’ s our mom, she knows everything!”

The more they tried to ignore their hunger and fear in their tiny little alligator nest, the worse it became. Soon they began fighting, and biting each other. Simon, the young alligator who is the focus of this story, decided to climb over the edge of the nest, just to see what was on the other side.

“What are you doing? You want to get killed?”
“I’m just gonna take a look and see what is here.”
“Be careful!”

He climbed up, and looked.

“What do you do see?”
“Nothing, just a bunch of stuff that looks like the same as in here. Except…..bigger. Much bigger.” He had an idea. He looked back down at the young, scared alligators, and then turned to look again at the vastness of the swamp outside of their protective nest.

“Hurry up, and come down before somebody sees you! You’ll get in trouble!”
“I’m not coming down. I’m going out. There has to be food out here, someplace.” Then he disappeared over the edge of the side. The young alligators were horrified. They were sure that he died.

A few days later, two more small alligators climbed up and over the edge, their fear and trepidation overcome by their hunger. They two were never seen again. Another couple of days passed, and a few others got the courage to climb up and over the edge of the next.

A week and a half later, there were only four remains alligators. They were too weak to move by now, and had long given up trying to come up with a reason that their mother had abandoned them. They didn’t noticed when the birds began circling overhead. Nor did they notice, or really care when they came down and perched on the edge of their nest. They had already given themselves up to fate. One by one, the birds leaned in and ate the remaining alligators, until they were all gone.

It only took Simon and his brothers and sisters, a few hours to realize the abundance of food that outside, just waiting to be eaten, waiting to be taken. As Simon grew, and swam through the swamp, his strength and determination increasing with every morsel he hunted, killed, and ate, he realized how wonderful it was to be an alligator. Sometimes he wondered what had happened to his brothers and sisters. But he usually spent his time going after what he wanted. Which was fine with him.


The Power of Congruence

I used to work sometimes in this building that belonged to a local broadcaster of TV. The building also served as a resource for various community groups. They had different cultural classes, from modern expressionist art to a how to class on making traditional Japanese slippers. In the entrance of the building were several pictures of different newscasters and TV personalities. Some very attractive people, as being on TV, that has traditionally been a requirement.

I used to teach a class in the building on Monday nights. Every time I’d walk past that bank of TV personalities, there was one lady that I thought was exceptionally cute. For some reason, however, she didn’t have a “traditional” sense of beauty. So whenever I inwardly admired her picture, I realized that she wasn’t a traditional beauty. There was something about her smile, I guess.

One night, the entire class was leaving together. When we passed the bank of pictures, one of the students asked me which I thought was the cutest. At first I hesitated, because for some reason I thought my opinion might be met with disbelief, as there were certainly other faces that were more beautiful, at least according to TV standards. What happened kind of surprised me. After a brief period of reluctance, I said whom I liked. There was pause, as obviously my choice was different than expected. What came next was interesting. Instead of question my choice, why I liked what I did, everybody immediatley looked at this TV personality in new light. As if they thought maybe I saw something that they didn’t.

It kind of reminded me of a story I heard a long time ago. While I’m not exactly sure of the content of the story, the moral, or the punch line, was that people are not moved by the content of your desires, rather than the congruence of them. If you have kind of a wishy-washy expression of desire for something, even if it is somewhat generally popular, people will tend try to pick apart your opinion, and tell you why their ideas are better. But if you express a congruent expression of opinion, desire, or interest, people will generally respect your expressed desires, regardless of the content. And if you are congruent enough, they will go to great lengths to try and learn exactly what it is that you find so intriguing about this.

It is not the content of the message that is expressed that sways the minds of people; it is the congruence with which it is expressed. With enough congruence, any content can be persuasive and influential. I think that sometimes people miss the forest for the trees. Because most people are unaware of the underlying congruence, we tend to put too much effort on the content, when it is really the congruence that we find so intriguing.

You don’t have to look to hard into the annals of history to find evil men that had enough conviction and belief in their message to persuade whole countries to buy into and follow them in their destructive intentions.

When you can come up with a plan that is beneficial to other people, and present it to them with full congruence and belief, you will be an unstoppable force, with the ability and support to achieve almost anything that you can imagine.


The Mirror of Your Soul

I was riding a bus recently to another city. There was a particular art exhibit I was interested in, and because it was fairly small, I had to travel to another city to see it. It’s one of those things that you know this is really special when you see this, even if you can’t put your finger on it. It’s like there is something here that you can’t really describe but you really feel compelled to come here and look. Some people feel this way about different forms of music, or poetry, or performance art. Others feel this feeling about certain restaurants or shops. It is something defies logical explanation. But for some reason, you feel strangely compelled to see this.

So I was on this bus ride, and I was sitting next to this guy who was reading this book on esoteric philosophy. Just judging by the way he was reading the book, it seemed to be a deep subject. He would read for a few moments, and then look out the window, as if in deep thought. Then he would get his look of recognition on his face, and then turn back to the book. He did this several times, until I finally got up the courage to ask him about the book. I could only see the partial title, and I’m not even sure then if I could make out the title correctly.

He said it was a philosophical book about human emotions. The particular section that he was reading, and kept looking out the window to digest, was based on some writings of some ancient Indian scholar. He said the name a few times, but for the life of me I can’t remember even how many syllables it contained, let alone how it was pronounced. But he said that humans are basically transmitters of our emotions. That when humans come into contact, we communicate long before the first words are spoken.

If you are in a particularly high vibrational state, that is if you are holding “good” emotions predominantly in your body, like confidence, acceptance, appreciation, you will be primarily attract the emotional energy of others, as it matches your emotional energy. The converse is also true. If you hold more “negative” emotions, like fear, anger, jealousy, and judgment, you will attract those emotions as well.

He also said that if you have a mix of the two, negative and positive, like most people do, whenever you come in contact with another person or a group the “average” emotional energy will generally win out. He said that the transfer and commingling of emotions among people could be treated almost as a science. The secret to attracting people in your life that you want to support and help you, is to first become that which you want to attract.

He said that many people fool themselves into thinking they are emitting positive emotions, when in reality they are emitting emotions of need and lack, and they have convinced themselves otherwise. That is why this is such a hard concept to understand, because of our strong ability at self-deception.

He said that the real secret is to first understand yourself, and your emotions before trying to worry about those of others. Once you get a hold on your own emotions, the rest is easy. Because once you dig deep enough, and hold your emotions positive, that is all you will attract, and the rest will disappear. I asked him exactly how to do that, and he said that he hadn’t gotten that far in the book.

I told him that you should keep reading, until you can discover the secret here. Then find me and tell me about it. He just laughed and went back to his book, as if he knew something that the rest of us don’t, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. If you have any secrets, please share them, so we can figure his out.


How to Accept and Benefit from Criticism

I bumped into a friend of mine last weekend. At the time, I wasn’t going anywhere in particular. You know those days. You don’t really feel like hanging out at home, but you don’t really have any major things you want to accomplish. The weather is nice. You have the day off. Most of the important stuff that you usually do on the weekends, laundry, straighten up your desk, all that stuff is done. So you pick a few destinations that you’d like to explore. Bookstore, mall, coffee shop. You take your time because you just want to enjoy a lazy day of wandering around. Content to float around with no real pressing need to hit all your semi important maybe get to destinations. Which is exactly what I was doing when I bumped into my friend. And which is exactly I immediately agreed to go and grab lunch, even though I’d already eaten, and it was four o clock in the afternoon.

He stated telling me about this interesting problem he was having. It seems there was a new manager at his job. She had been brought in from a different division. He worked for a manufacturing company that made large parts that were then sold to various automobile manufacturers around the world. They were largely non-moving, machined metal parts, that were very versatile, so they could be sold to a number of different companies, both domestically and internationally.

The problem he was having was that his new manager had no real experience in this particular area. She had worked in the head office her whole career, in the accounting department, and really didn’t know anything about the companies operations other than what she saw described on a balance sheet. Because of recent economic problems, she was brought in to see if there were any areas where they could save money, so the company could still remain profitable. My friends company sold to a diverse enough group of carmakers than the collapse of one, two, or even three major U.S. manufacturers wouldn’t necessarily cause their business any harm. So she was brought in just to make sure that they could stay in the black, and nobody would have to loser their job.

The problem began, when she came in, thinking she was helping out, which she was from a larger standpoint. The overall health of the company is important. But the workers, all the guys that reported to my friend, didn’t see it that way. They saw her as somebody coming in to tell them what they were doing wrong. One thing they didn’t like was they she was what they called a “pencil pusher,” or a “desk jockey,” who couldn’t begin to understand what it was like machining parts on sophisticated machines, all day. Two, she was a woman. And this kind of job had always been a traditional, male dominated job. So straight away they was a large feeling of enmity between them, before they even got a chance to meet.

So my friend had to figure out how to explain to them that criticism isn’t always bad. Sometimes criticism is to help you, even to make your life easier in the long run. He wanted to tell them that those that can accept criticism with an open mind will really benefit in the long run. Many successful people have realized early in their career that criticism does much more good than harm, if taken the right way. You can take other peoples criticism of you, even if it’s mean spirited, and extract from it useful information that you can use to improve yourself. Most people can’t see this, and see criticism only as a personal attack. Few people don’t realize that even if you do receive criticism as a personal attack, you can always “erase the emotion and save the data” to learn something. It’s always important to realize that in almost every interaction, you can learn something constructive.

So what my friend decided to do was to speak with her, and suggest that she come to them with questions, and then let them answer them. She will describe how she is representing corporate headquarters in a quest to save ALL their jobs, and she needs their help in figuring out to do that. Kind of an “us against them” mentality. To figure out a way to work together, without any criticism, and let them not only explain to her how they do their jobs, but to elicit their opinions on how the could do it better, and cheaper.

I thought it was a pretty good plan, and I’m curious to see how this turns out.