Monthly Archives: September 2009

Tap The Power of Feelings For Incredible Success

If you’ve ever felt a strange sensation, and weren’t exactly sure what it was or where it was coming from, or even if it existed at all outside of your imagination, then this article is for you.

The human mind/body system is a fantastically complex organism that defies and will continue to defy understanding of anything other than it’s basic operation. On the scale of human history, successful surgery, of even the basic kind, is still in its infancy.

Many mistakenly believe that simply because there is not any direct hard evidence of unexplainable phenomenon, then it can’t exist. The easies retreat of people who dare not face the idea of something beyond comprehension is the easy question “Is there any documented proof?”

The human system has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in unending and changing environments. And we have prevailed. We have grown to be the dominant species on the planet. No other animal uses language or tools, or planning or abstract thought like humans do. And that is just scratching the surface.

The thrust of necessity behind the size and intellect of the human brain may never be fully understood. That there even exists a “subconscious” mind is still debated, even today among psychologists. Those that don’t like the idea that part of their brain is operating outside of their conscious awareness will ask for “proof” or “case studies” that show conclusively of it’s existence.

One of the theories behind the development of the subconscious brain is the idea of saving conscious bandwidth. Of course, on a parallel universe, humans may evolve to always be consciously monitoring their heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and keeping all of their memories and imaginations of the possible future in their conscious awareness at all times, but it is not likely.

A much more likely explanation was that only a small bandwidth of mental processing power was given to the conscious mind, and the vast remainder is given over to the unconscious mind. Eating, breathing, fear, love, excitement all of these are the results of massive computations by the unconscious, and delivered to the conscious in the form of feelings.

Sadly, we are taught in the west, especially the males among us, to disregard our feelings and use only our logical, or conscious computing power to make decisions that can affect our livelihoods for a lifetime.

Imagine this scenario. You have a desire to buy a car. You go to a car dealership. The salesperson is setting of alarm bells in your system, danger, danger, danger. But you really want a car, so you ignore them. You allow him to dazzle you with colorful brochures, and statistics about safety and miles per gallon, and how many hundreds of thousands of people have already bought this car. By the time he is done with his sales pitch, you have effectively shut down your initial warning system that has been fine tuned over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.

The result? Maybe you get lucky and the car works out for you. Maybe you don’t, and the car is a lemon that quickly depreciates in value, and you are stuck with it for three or four years. The salesman knew this, and tried his best to cover it up. Had you paid attention to your subconscious processor warning system (AKA your intuition) you could have avoided the whole scenario and gone someplace else.

The more you learn to listen to your feelings, and understand that they are natures best and most effective design that is the result of hundreds of thousand of years of testing and improvement (AKA evolution), the sooner you will able to cut through all the crap that surrounds us in our daily lives, and go straight to the truth. The truth that is there, but elusive if you rely on logic to find it.

This is not metaphysics, or supernatural phenomenon, only misunderstood science. And when you use your feelings and intuition the way nature intended, you will be incredibly surprised how much personal power and choice you will gain in life.

Intuition and Congruence – Two Powerful Gifts From Evolution

I was reading this really interesting book the other day, The Red Queen, by Matt Ridley. A fascinating study of human sexuality through the lens of evolution. One of the various topics was the reasons behind the growth of the human brain. When compared to all other mammals, humans have the largest brain. The question is why? What was the driving force behind the massive growth of the human thinking machine?

Many arguments that are usually given can also be used for other primates, and their brains are nowhere near the size of ours. Most scientists believe it is a combination of many factors to say the least. One of the most prominent is sexual selection within a species.

Imagine a group of cave people, fifty girls, and fifty guys. For the guys, they want to have sex with as many girls as possible. (Obviously). For the girls, they need to be extremely selective with who they choose to have sex with, because the consequences could be disastrous if they choose the wrong guy. Their offspring will not only carry his DNA, but his cooperation will have a direct impact on that offspring to survive.

So how do they manage this? The men try their hardest to convince the women that they are upstanding men capable of providing for the family. One way to do this is to simply pretend to be. They only need to pretend long enough and good enough to get into her cave-panties for the couple minutes it will take to get his cave-men rocks off. Then off to the next cave girl.

So an arm’s race of sorts developed over time. In men, the ability to deceive. In women, the ability to detect deception. Of course, men would pass on their skills of deception to their offspring, be they girls or boys. And women would also pass on their skills of deception detection onto their offspring, be they boys or girls.

So as man evolved, there was a contest, in both men and women, between skills of deception, and skills to detect deception. As mankind grew, this required a bigger and bigger brain.

The reason for this is congruity. In order to detect deception, you must be able to detect incongruity. This requires massive attention to subtle clues of body language, facial expression, and voice tone. Too much for the conscious mind to handle. Many believe the unconscious mind was developed to detect deception without having to spend too much conscious bandwidth, so to speak.

So we developed an “intuition” to tell when somebody is lying or not. Our subconscious minds developed the ability to quickly scan somebody’s body language, facial expressions, and voice tone, and then deliver a gut reaction, or a “feeling” to our conscious minds. And those that have learned to pay attention to this “feeling” or “gut reaction” can spot a liar a mile away.

Conversely, those that can present a very congruent image can be some of the best salespeople and manipulators around. Of course, the best way to be a great salesperson is to really believe in what you are selling. There’s a reason that many companies require their salespeople to actually own and use the product they are selling.

Of course, when you are presenting yourself, either to a potential lover or to a potential boss, it is essential that you believe in yourself. If you have any self-doubts, you will be dead before you even open your mouth.

The moral of this essay is twofold. One, take some time to get in tune with your intuition. It can serve you well against making bad decisions. It is the product of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, and is there for a reason. Use it, respect it, and listen to it.

Secondly, in order to present a believable image to the world, you must believe in yourself. Self-confidence and self-esteem stem from a belief that you are a good and worthy person with something of real value to offer the world. Don’t sell yourself short.

Believe in yourself, and trust your intuition, and you will go a long way.

Quotes Pattern – A Jedi Mind Trick of Persuasion

The quotes pattern is a powerful and very useful and sneaky tool from NLP that you can use in many situations to help you covertly gauge the interest level of a client, customer, or potential lover.

If you are a salesperson, and you have a potential customer sitting in front of you, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to find out exactly what their interest is in the product you are trying to sell? Of course, if you blatantly ask them, like “So, Mr. Customer, are you ready to buy this product yet?” You’ll likely scare them off, never to return.

Similarly, if you are in a bar talking to a potential date, and you ask them “So are you interested in me enough to go out on date?” you’ll likely come across as creepy, or needy. Even if you don’t, and they answer negatively, it can be a serious blow to your ego, not to mention putting all the power in their hands, as they now are absolutely clear of your intentions.

There is a better, sneakier way. It’s called the quotes pattern. What you do is take the question you’d like to ask them, and quote somebody else saying the same thing. Then just sit back and watch their response. If they give you some good buying signals, your good. If they don’t, that just means you need to do a little bit more work in promoting yourself or your product.


Lets say you are a car salesperson. You have a client sitting in front of you. You’ve been on a test drive, and you’ve managed to get them inside. It’d be great if you could just say, “Ok, now you should buy the car.” And have them passively agree. But you can’t. Here’s what you do. Start talking about a friend or colleague of yours that works at another dealership. His sales method is much more direct, and you give the client an example.

“I have this friend, and he works at a dealership on the other side of town, and he is probably the most aggressive salesperson I know. He’ll look a customer right in the eyes, and tell them that they really should buy this car today. That if they don’t buy this car today, they are going to lose this opportunity, and they might not get it back. And the funny thing is, this guy sells a lot of cars this way. I could never be that direct to a customer.” And then share a laugh about how direct your friend is.

In this story, when you say “buy this car today,” say it directly to the client. Because you are quoting some other person, they won’t react to you as if you’ve said it. But if they are interested in buying the car, you’ll know. You’ll also know if they think the car is a piece of junk, or it’s too expensive by their reaction. If that happens, just continue to demonstrate the value of the car.

You can also use this technique during job interviews, and during seduction attempts. For example, if you are in a bar talking to somebody you might be romantically interested in, tell a story about a friend that is absolutely fearless with the opposite sex. Describe how they will ask a person right after meeting them if they want to go someplace quieter. For example:

After you’ve broken the ice, and started talking about how people meet in bars, try something like this:

“I know this guy (or girl) who has absolutely no fear. He’ll start talking to somebody in a bar, and after only a few minutes, look them in the eye (as you are looking them in the eye) and say I think you are really beautiful/handsome. Lets go someplace where we can be alone. (Pause.) Do you believe that? I could never say something like that.”

Of course, when you say the “you are really beautiful/handsome…” part, say it directly to them without breaking eye contact. Pay close attention how they react. If they smile, or if their pupils dilate, or if they take a deep breath, you’re in. Proceed accordingly.

Have fun with this.

How to Use Language to Persuade Others

I remember when I was a kid, I was in boy scouts. Our troop went to a beach for a weekend campout. The campgrounds were up on a bluff overlooking the beach, with fire rings and places to set up tents.

One thing I remember the most was that there was this new kid. And the poor kid seemed to be desperate to make friends. He would ask one of the other kids to do something, and would always promise things like “I’ll be your best friend,” or “I’ll buy you a soda,” and other stuff. At the time, most of the kids didn’t want anything to do with him, because it seemed creepy to have a kid promising us all kinds of stuff just to hang around him. Looking back, I feel kind of sorry for the kid. It can be tough being a new kid in a group when friendships and relationships have already been formed.

If you can imagine how difficult it can be to make friends as an adult, you can perhaps also sympathize with him. Being an adult, you have more confidence in yourself (hopefully!) so you can relax and be yourself, and be sure that friendships will develop gradually over time, like they should.

But what if you are in a situation, and you need to quicken the process? What if you need to make a good first impression on a boss, or a potential business partner? What then? Does it still work to promise to “be someone’s best friend?” Probably not.

If you are a salesperson, and you’ve ever tried to sell something to somebody, you now difficult it can be to get past resistance. If you give them a compliment, they can easily see it for what it is if it is not one hundred percent genuine.

So what do you do? One powerful way is to use linguistic presuppositions. Linguistic presuppositions are carefully constructed sentences that presuppose something to be true in order for the sentence to be understood.

An example is the following sentence:

One of the reasons that so many people have bought his product is that it’s lifetime warranty makes it much more valuable than the competition.

Take a look at what is being presupposed in the sentence:

– Many people have bought this product
– This product has a lifetime warranty
– It is much more valuable than the competition
– There are other reasons people have bought it

Even if you blatantly disagree with any of the above statements, you are tacitly accepting the others as truth.

So how do you use this technique to get someone’s good favor? Simple. Use sentences that presuppose good things about the other person. Even if you have never met them before, and don’t know anything about their history, you can still do this. Just think of something that is generally true of everybody.

For example, everybody has made decisions in their lives. Some good, some bad. Everybody has done good things in their life. Everybody has achieved accomplishments in their life.

So you can say,

“Well Mr. Customer, obviously, because you’ve made several good decisions before that have invariably led to substantial accomplishments, you can appreciate the fact that choices always present an opportunity for further achievement.”

That is a simple sentence, which doesn’t really say anything specific, but it presupposes something about the person that they can feel good about.

Another example:

“I’m sure that you’ve avoided temptation in the past due to your willpower and dedication to personal achievement, which is exactly why you are somebody that can really benefit from this product.”

Again, a fairly vague sentence, but it presupposes something good about the person, and uses that presupposition to convince them to consider your product or service.

These are but a few of the many ways that you can use linguistic presuppositions to promote yourself or your product. There are several resources to learn these. They were originally described in the book “The Structure of Magic,” by Bandler and Grinder. You can get it from Amazon.

Although these patterns can take some time to learn, they can be very powerful in promoting yourself, and making others feel really fantastic. You do like to make people feel fantastic, right?

Why Turtles Will Someday Rule The World

Once upon a time there was a small community of turtles. They had existed relatively peacefully over the years, surrounded by various other communities of various other animals. Sometimes there had been some interactions between communities, of different levels. Although on the surface the reasons for such interactions were humanitarian, the underlying reason was always the same.

Competition for resources.

They would always meet under the pretense of exploring the outlying regions, which neither of the communities had the ability to do alone, and they were always worried about what they would discover. On the one hand, they worried that they would discover a magnificent resource, which would lead to ultimate war and destruction.

On the other hand, they were worried that they would discover something much greater than they were, something that would think they were a mere resource, to be used and discarded. And of course that would also lead to the ultimate destruction of them all.

Either way they ventured out into the unknown each time with a great deal of trepidation. And each time they returned empty handed. Until this time.

This time they found something so incredibly powerful they couldn’t help but to question their own existence. They couldn’t help but to question the reason for their small communities on the bottom of the ocean.

The other day I was eating a tuna fish sandwich, when suddenly I realized I had forgotten to set the timer on the washing machine. I don’t usually do that, which is strange because I don’t even have a washing machine, let alone a timer. And sometime when I forget to do things that I don’t normally remember how I was wondering about this, it kind of makes me step back and think about the reason for all of this.

Anyways, back to our story.

So they found this magnificent resource, and instead of fighting for, they decided to see if they could share it. And they tried valiantly for thousands of years before they realized that it was just no use at all. And that’s when they came to the startling revelation that they didn’t really need to get along, and that by warring over resources, they were actually improving their species.

Which of course leads to another point about this story.

Turtles almost never forget. Which is why they will someday rule the world.

Revenge of the Rabbits

Once upon a time there was a small village filled with people that had been there for many many years. They were a strange people, and they hadn’t reproduced in over three generations, making the idea of a generation kind of redundant, if you can follow my logic.

Anyway, one afternoon the town mayor was out for a stroll, and he noticed three rabbits chatting. He got close enough to hear what they were saying without scaring them off. He was astonished to learn the heated topic of their conversation.

They were arguing when they should launch their assault of the small village. It turns out that the villagers had been throwing away their garbage for several years behind the old chestnut tree, without much thought to the consequences.

As it turns out, the garbage had begun seeping down into the ground, which fed the carrot patch, which was the rabbit’s main source of food. The rabbits at first tried to discuss what to do, and they initially decided to be peaceful, and send an emissary to the villagers to explain their situation.

This didn’t quite work out as planned, as the group of representatives from the rabbit community were summarily killed and eaten by the villagers.

This of course, enraged the rabbit community, which led to the current situation.

When our hero returned back to town to report the news, nobody believed him. Nobody believed that rabbits could talk, let alone develop long ranged plans based on agricultural concerns. Our hero was run out of town.

The townspeople were surprised at the first wave of the rabbit attack. Surprised, and wholly unprepared. The rabbits inflicted considerable casualties, and burned over half of the town.

That was just the beginning. The second wave of attack was even more brutal. The rabbits viscously killed whoever hadn’t fled. And those that did flee, the rabbits had set up a trap that caught them as well.

It only took three days before the rabbit had killed and consumed the entire village. And after they cleaned up the garbage dump behind the chestnut tree, they lived happily every after.

How to Avoid Being Manipulated

I was reading this interesting book the other day on the train. It was a really good book, one that I’ve read several times. It’s one of those non-fiction books that is so packed with fascinating information and new ideas that every time you read this you can find something interesting and worthwhile.

The book is The Red Queen, by Matt Ridley. It addresses the issue of the evolution of sex. Why sex? Why are there two sexes, instead of reproduction without the need for two genders? How and why did humans evolve such a big brain compared to all the other mammals? What is so special about us?

The more questions Ridley asks and answers with evidence and theories, the more questions are seemingly brought up.

One interesting paradigm that grabbed my attention was the idea of verbal communication. One of the arguments behind humans huge brains (compared to the rest of the animals) is the evolution of language. What then, was the driving force behind language? What is the purpose of language?

Most people will automatically say to communicate. Ok, so why communicate? Why did those who were able to communicate with words better off than those than weren’t? Monkeys and other apes are still doing fine without the need for exchanging thousands of words on a daily basis.

One reason that was suggested is that the reason for language is to not to simply convey information, but to persuade. Children cry because they want their mothers to perform a certain action. You tell your husband the garage door is open because you want him to perform a certain action. Kids come home from school and shout, “I’m hungry!” because they want their moms to perform a certain action.

Politicians give long and eloquent speeches about health care because they want people, (and other politicians) to perform a certain action.

TV is filled with programs designed to keep you sitting in front of the TV long enough to watch the advertisements, which in turn will do their best in thirty seconds to convince you to perform a certain action (BUY NOW! OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY!)

When you consider that the all of the language that comes out of your mouth, and all of the language that goes into your ears is designed to persuade, then it makes sense that you should learn certain techniques.

Techniques to persuade others, in an ethical, win-win manner, and techniques to guard against the inevitable persuasive messages you hear on a daily basis.

One way to guard against persuasion is to ask yourself “How will I benefit?” and listen for the answers. Be careful, because one powerful way that persuasion works is to convince you that you have a need, when you really don’t.

If, when you ask yourself “What’s in it for me,” the answer is to fulfill a need that was only recently generated, watch out. Somebody is pulling your strings.

The best defense is a good offense. Be clear on what you want, and when you plop down in front of the TV, be clear of your intentions. Passive entertainment is fine, so long as you don’t open your mind to easy manipulation by advertising Jedi knights.

If you have a list of solid goals, both short term and long term, this can be very powerful in resisting temptation. Just ask yourself, when presented with an opportunity, “Will this help me get closer to my goal of…” and listen for the answer. If it does, then by all means, buy that product. But if it doesn’t then be careful.

The unfortunate truth is that most people simply do not have a list of solid goals, so when they hear those persuasive messages, all they have to go on is basic human needs: Food, sex, companionship, feeling appreciated, moving away from pain and toward safety.

These triggers are all too easy to manipulate when you don’t have a solid idea of how you will fulfill them.

When you make a solid decision to figure out a list of powerful goals that you’d like to achieve in life, it will be much harder for you to be persuaded by unethical marketers. Keep that in mind next time you switch on the TV.

How To Find Your Niche – The Baker’s Success Story

There used to be this guy that worked in a bakery. It was a small shop in a small neighborhood. He had owned the bakery for several years, and had slowly developed a large following in the town, inasmuch as baker can develop a following.  He was he go to guy for all of the birthday parties, wedding celebrations and all other gatherings of friends and family that required any kind of bread product. He was the man.

It wasn’t always that way. When he first moved into town, he didn’t have a nickel to his name. He moved into town back during the transitional time in the local economy, when the city was just starting out. The city had been a small bedroom community for many manufacturing plants in the next town over. Many people that worked in the plants made their home in this small town.

The baker, who back then wasn’t yet a baker, moved to town in hopes of finding a good job in one of the factories. He had just finished six years in the service, and was hoping to apply his skills to one of the many technical based manufacturing plants in the area.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out quite as well as he’d hoped. Just when he moved into town, the economy suffered a series of serious setbacks. Jobs moving overseas, a significant drop in demand for the manufactured products. Many people lost their jobs, and a lot of secondary businesses that depended on those people simply went out of business. It’s hard to stay in business when nobody can afford to buy your product.

So this ex military man was in a bit of a tough spot. He had saved enough money to get him by for a couple months, but he had really been depending on the source of income from one of the factories. That was his first lesson.

Never depend on a source of income that isn’t yours yet.

So he did a quick inventory of his skills. In the service he had been assigned to the maintenance department on large carriers. He was pretty good at fixing things, small things, big things. Anything mechanical, he could fix it.

That is what led him to his first job fixing the bread machine. He had always loved sourdough bread, and one day he happened into a bread shop to buy a loaf, or half a loaf. The owner was very sad, because his large mixing machine wasn’t working properly. He explained to the ex military man that the part was on order, but wasn’t expected for at least a week. He was beside himself, because without the mixing machine, he would lose what little business he had left. That’s when the ex military man recognized the second lesson.

Always have a back up plan.

Of course, the bread shop owner didn’t have a back up plan, and was exposed to significant risk. The ex-military man, his heart set on eating some sourdough bread, decided to offer his services. He wasn’t doing anything, and maybe the shop owner would give him some free bread. He suggested the trade, and the shop owner quickly agreed.

It didn’t take long for the shop owner to realize what a resource the military man was. The shop owner was getting old, and he knew an opportunity when he saw one. He had worked in this same shop for almost twenty years, and all the equipment was very old. If he could convince this ex military man to be his repairman, he could stay in business a few years longer. So they struck a bargain.

The ex military man would help out around the shop, and repair and keep all the equipment running smoothly. The bread shop owner would pay him a modest salary, and give him all the bread he could eat. Both the ex-military man the bread shop owner noticed the third lesson at the same time.

Always be open to new opportunities.

It didn’t take long for the military man to realize he had a love for bread. He began experimenting with different recipes, different cooking methods, and more and more people began coming to the shop to eat the delicious bread made by this ex sailor.

It didn’t take long for the townspeople to forget about his military past and see him only as the baker’s apprentice. The baker himself began to plan his retirement, certain that his apprentice would take over.

And when he did retire, and the bakers apprentice became the baker, it was a smooth a transition as you could imagine.  There was a big celebration, a farewell party of sorts (although the retired baker still lived in the town and was president of the Lions Club), and the apprentice became the baker.

And maybe he realized it, maybe he didn’t, but here’s the fourth lesson:

Sometimes you find your niche in life, but more often than not, your niche will find you.

Easily Remove Fear and Anxiety With the Swish Pattern

If you ever run across situations that give you anything less than an immediate resourceful and beneficial emotional response, then this post is for you. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, hang in there; it will make sense in a second.

Let’s say somebody mentions to you that you have to give a presentation at work next week. You weren’t expecting it, so what happens? If you’re like most people, you’d likely get nervous, anxious, even fearful. It’s no secret that speaking in public is the biggest fear for most people.

But what if you were able to have a different response? What if your automatic response was much more supportive and resourceful? What if instead of getting fearful and anxious, you felt confident of yet another opportunity to share with others your incredible awesomeness?

Well, there’s a simple way to reprogram your brain to respond however you like to situations like that. It takes only a few minutes to learn, and about a minute to practice it, whenever and wherever you like, the only exception being while driving, but you can do it at stoplights.

You may have even heard of it. It’s the famous swish pattern from NLP, and it’s been around for many years. Probably because it is so easy to learn and teach, it’s likely the most popular of all NLP procedures.

Here’s how you do it.

First, think of something that gives you a feeling of anxiety. For now, pick something that’s not that big a deal. Once you learn the procedure, you can move on to bigger things.

Got it? Ok, now what triggers that anxiety or emotion? Is it a picture you make in your mind, a sound, and somebody’s tone of voice? Take a few moments to get clear.
Got it? Ok, good. Put that picture or sound or whatever it is in your left hand. Move your left hand so it is completely outside of your peripheral vision.

As you slowly move your left hand closer to your face, with your palm open, allow the feeling of anxiety to grow as your hand get closer. Do this a couple times to “set” your anxiety response to your left hand motion.

Ok, clear your head. Think of something neutral, like banana chicken ice cream.

Now, think of something that gives you a really good feeling. Confident, playful, self-assured. Whatever it is, from anywhere in your past. A great golf shot, or when you told that joke that went over really well that one time, or that time when you made that special person feel really good.

Do the thing with that good feeling, and your right hand. Slowly move it closer to your face, palm open, and allow that good feeling to swell, as it gets closer.

Ok, now clear your head with another mental bowl of strawberry pizza.

Now the good part. Bring both hands so they are outside your peripheral vision. Slowly bring your left hand in, and just as it creeps across the threshold of sight, and you begin to feeling the attempted awakenings of those old unhelpful emotions, immediately drop your left hand and bring your right towards your face, and allow the full brunt of those new, powerful, helpful emotions to overwhelm you, like that gust of hot wind as you walk out of the freezing cold casino into the hot desert of Vegas, or that wave that came out of nowhere and crashed over you, destroying your plans to wade in slowly.

Do this several times. After about ten times or so, you should begin to automatically feel those new feelings and emotions whenever you think of that old trigger. You’ve effectively kept the same trigger, but changed the emotions that it triggered.

If you only this once, it can be helpful, but unfortunately it usually wears off after a couple days. The trick is to keep doing this every few days for a few weeks, until the old emotional response is completely gone. The stronger the old emotional response, the longer it will take.

The good part is it only takes more than a minute at first, when you set your left and right hands, and choose which emotions you want to replace with what. Once you got that down, you literally do this ten times at every stop light on your way to and from work.

And once you prove to yourself that this really works, you will be amazed how much more resourceful you can program your mind to be. The opportunities for self improvement and self-development are limitless.

Have fun.

Embrace Your Future

This morning I was out walking on my morning walk. It was an exceptionally nice morning; the weather was cool and clear. The sun is starting to rise a little bit later each day, so the time when I walk is near perfect conditions. Still early in the morning, so it’s very quiet.

I saw a guy (at least I think it was a guy) off in the distance. Part of my walk takes me through a large area where there are many rice fields next to each other. Each are privately owned by the surrounding neighbors, and I think they’ve been in the respective families for quite some time.

As I saw this guy way off in the distance, I couldn’t help but to wonder about him and what he was doing. I think it is really interesting when things like happen.
You’ll be moving along, on whatever path you are traveling on, and something in the distance will pop up. And because it is fairly evident that your paths will eventually cross, you naturally become curious about this, whatever it might be.

Sometimes this isn’t too pleasant. When you see something up ahead, that you will eventually come across, it can cause fear or anxiety. A police car at a traffic stop, a person that doesn’t look very safe, or maybe a hungry tiger waiting to eat you.

You can also look into the future and see things coming up that won’t likely be very pleasant. And the closer you get to them, the more anxious you can become.

I was at a seminar several years ago, and the fellow giving the lecture was explaining that fear and anxiety are largely imaginary. Of course if there really was a tiger waiting for you, that would be different. But more often than not, according to this guy, whatever is causing you anxiety is usually not nearly as bad in real life as it is in your mind.

The trick is to look at approaching events and situations the same way you’d look at some old guy in a rice field you were eventually going to pass by. Based on all my experiences in passing old guys in the street, there is a high probability of safety. Consequently, when you approach something with a high probability of safety, it’s easy to be relaxed and just let things come as they may.

And paradoxically enough, those things that do go bad, and really do create uncomfortable situations, more often than not it is your anxiety that you brought to the situation that did the damage, rather than the situation itself.

The trick is to approach everything with the same, laid back and relaxed attitude of approaching an old man in a rice field. That way you’ll be much more open and likely to see resources that you can leverage to you’re advantage.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. One trick is to simply stop thinking about what might happen in the future and only pay attention to now. A good way to do this is to simply follow your breathing, and pay as close attention as you can to the physical sensations in your body.

Of course, with more practice, this gets easier and easier, and pretty soon you’ll be as cool as cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce in every situation.