Category Archives: Habits

Increase Your Genius


The other day I was cleaning out my closet, in preparation for an upcoming move, and I happened across an old book that I hadn’t read for a while. Perhaps it’s because I’m basically a very lazy person, and am always looking for an excuse to take a break during anything that resembles any kind of physical labor, I decided to take a look through the book, as I remember having several “Aha!” moments when I first read it.

I had a friend once tell me she went to a lecture of a prominent mental health professional a few months ago, and he mentioned that there are some leading theories that suggest that the more you have those “Aha!” moments, the less likely you will suffer from any decrease in brain function that is normally associated with aging. Those “Aha!” moments can be tricky to come by, they often times come when you aren’t expecting them.

You’ll be watching some TV show about something, and it will remind you of something that happened a couple days earlier, something that you now see in a different light, or a new understanding. That new understanding, that feeling of making a neural connection that wasn’t there before, is where that “Aha!” feeling comes from, or so I’ve heard.

It’s like when you’ve driven to your favorite restaurant across town, and you have to go through all kinds of huge intersections where you are always stuck waiting, then one day by accident you find some small back road that is almost devoid of lights or stop signs, giving you a straight shot. There’s a new connection between you and your favorite food.

Sometimes those “Aha!” moments can be cultivated, like when you are learning a new language, and you take a break and watch a TV or movie that’s in your target language. What used to sound like gibberish, now is peppered with words that you can sort of understand, and instead of guessing what they are talking based on their body language and facial expressions, you can now sort of verify with the words here and there that you understand.

Or when you’re reading some long novel with many different characters and a fairly convoluted plot, then when you get close to the end the loose ends start to tie themselves up in nice understandable chunks of reckoning.

“Aha! So that’s what he meant!”

“Aha! So that’s why he hid the ice cream!”

“Aha! So that’s why she rejected his proposal! I get it now!”

And so on.

When you get a particularly dense string of “Aha!” moments then your brain is really juiced. Which is maybe why I decided to sit down and have a look through that book.

The book, in case you’re wondering, is The Einstein Factor, By Win Wenger. You can check it out on Amazon, or there’s plenty of info at his website.

But the book is chalk full of exercises to give your brain a thorough workout, and several of them have been clinically proven to actually raise your I.Q. One of the most famous is called “Image Streaming.” I tried this for the first time at a seminar I went to on Photoreading.

Image Streaming is when you close your eyes, and just describe the imagery that is in your head, whatever it is. No matte what you are doing, the brain is constantly feeding you images. The unconscious never stops. It’s best to do this with a friend, or at least to describe the image stream into a tape recorder. Otherwise you’re likely to fall asleep.

For every hour of image streaming, you’ll raise your I.Q. one point. Now if you try this, it can seem near impossible to keep this up for five minutes, let alone an hour. But just like any other practice, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And if you only did it ten minutes a day, six days a week. That would be one I.Q. point increase per week. If you took two weeks off every year, you’d increase your I.Q. fifty points a year by only doing this simple exercise ten minutes a day.

There’s plenty of other simple exercises you can do in that cool book. One of them is called “Borrowed Genius.” In this particular exercise (or hallucination, as that seems to be a more appropriate term) you think about a problem.

You imagine somebody that you are pretty sure could solve your problem. You get your friend or your tape recorder ready, and close your eyes. You start to describe your problem in as much detail as possible, and while you are doing so you slowly walk up behind the person you imagine could easily solve your problem.

Then you come up behind them, and quickly switch heads. Yep, you read that right, you switch heads with them. (See why this is best called a hallucination?) And as soon as you plot their head down on your shoulders, you immediately start jabbering away at your best guess to the solution to your problem. The reason you need a friend, or in this case a tape recorder might be better, is that you’ll get several great ideas, several of those “Aha!” moments, but since your jabbering away with some other persons head, when you switch back to your own head you might forget what you just said.

Another trick is called “Over The Wall.” Same concept, instead of walking up behind somebody and stealing their head (or borrowing it) you imagine that there is this big wall, and just on the other side is the solution to your problem. You walk up to the wall slowly, describing your problem in as much detail as possible, and leap up to the top of the wall, and immediately, and as fast as you can, and in as much detail as you can, describe what you see on the other side.

Again, make sure you have a trusted friend (who can take notes really fast) or a tape recorder, or your voice recorder on your computer.

I highly recommend the book, “The Einstein Factor,” or at the very least have a look at Win Wenger’s website. There’s tons of great info there on how to explode your genius and creativity.

Have fun.

Or, if you are interested in using NLP to explode your potential, click on the link below to get started:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Who Is Steering Your Ship?

Full Speed Ahead

It’s funny the way things work out sometimes. There are all kinds of stories about how some character spends their whole life running away from something only to find it was what they needed all along. They just needed to see it in a fresh light. Or the familiar story of somebody running away from something, where that thing turns out to be their destiny. They weren’t able to face it unless they went through whole journey to escape, which in reality was a journey to give them the experience of understanding what it truly was.

There’s that familiar one about the guy form Egypt who sees a fortuneteller, who tells him me will meet death in exactly on week. So the guy jumps on the next ship to the furthest possible port away from Egypt. Exactly one week later he is wandering through a marketplace, completely confused but happy. Confuse because he has no local currency and can’t understand the local language at all. Happy because he has escaped death. Then he turns the corner, and is shaken out of his daydreams by death himself. Death stares at him in disbelief. The guy finally decides to confront death, and ask him why he is so confused. Death responds that he is surprised to see him, because he has an appointment with him in Egypt in one hour. But unforeseen events took him to this faraway land. He is glad he ran into him, and promptly takes him on the spot.

I was reading this interesting book on biology the other day. (The Meme Machine, by Susan Blackmore) .Not really biology, it was all about meme’s and how meme’s spread. The particular chapter, however, was talking about recent discoveries in brain chemistry and activity. They have figured out a way to light up different areas of the brain, to see which areas are active during which thinking processes. In many cases, people make choices before we are consciously aware of them.

They’ll hook somebody up to one of these machines, and tell them to press a button when they see a ping-pong ball coming at them. They have identified the area of the brain that “lights up” when we are consciously aware of things going on around us. At least consciously aware of people throwing ping pong balls at us. They have also identified the brain areas that light up when our automatic muscles respond to the approaching ping-pong ball. Certain bits of adrenalin is sent to certain muscles that would move in case the ping pong ball needed to be deflected. They’ve tried it with several different angles, and from a biomechanical analysis, can determine before hand, which muscles would be primed with energy for motion, and sure enough, these are the muscles that primed by the brain when the ping-pong ball is thrown.

The interesting thing is that our conscious minds are the last to find out what is going on. The ping-pong ball gets thrown, our reality detection system (eyes, ears, etc) register the ping-pong ball as coming, and the brain automatically primes our muscles to respond. Only after our mind/body system has been prepared for the “intruder” into our personal space, is our consciousness pulled into the loop. Only then do we start to give meaning to events. After the fact.

They’ve even done more complicated studies, where it’s not a simple ping-pong ball. Where there is a range of choices to make, based on the physical incident. And many times, our conscious minds don’t get to take part in the decision making process. Our conscious minds are only made aware of the fact after the quick decision has been made, and then we come up with a bunch of stories and rationalizations about what is going on.

The purpose of this particular chapter was to question the whole idea of choice, and free will. Every choice we make is based on choices we made before, and those are based on choices we made before that. If at the most fundamental level, our conscious minds are only made aware of certain events after the fact, how in the world are we to believe that we are cruising through life as conscious, sentient beings making rational choices about how to live our lives?

It’s like our conscious brains are the captains of gigantic ocean liners whose course has been set long ago by unknown agents, and we find ourselves at the wheel, and delude ourselves into thinking we are actually steering the boat.

There is a fairly popular idea among Christians to “Let go, Let God.” Meaning that the good Lord knows what He’s doing, and when we try and force the issue, we just make it more complicated. When we simply “Let go,” and let God chart our course, life will be much easier, or at least we will fulfill God’s plan with much less resistance.

This works great if you are a devout Christian, but what about the Atheists among us? What happens if you take that same argument, to “Let Go,” who is doing the steering then? Is our mind/body system really smart enough, knowledgeable enough, and experienced enough to get us to where we want to go, assuming we really know where we’re going?

There’s the analogy that we really do steer the ship, it’s just that it takes a long time to change course. And when you do set your course, you’d better make certain that it’s really where you want to go. If you are trying to steer a giant ship around the ocean willy nilly, you’ll only frustrate yourself, and make the passengers sea sick.

One of the things that can happen when growing up in modern society is our course gets pretty much set for us, and it can be terribly hard to change it halfway through. It seems like a good enough idea to go through school, get a decent degree, get a job, find a mate and start a family. Those of you that have made drastic career changes halfway through adulthood know that it can be met with resistance by those around you, and even by yourself. Many are essentially dissuaded from making drastic changes, some for better, some for worse.

But if you are heading for a crash, I think it is better to change course much sooner than later. I’m pretty sure the captain of the Titanic wish he would have seen those icebergs much sooner than they did.

The beauty of having a mind/body system that works so well on auto pilot, once you choose a decent course, and make sure it’s the right path, you just have to input the coordinates, figure out the actions, and get to work. Everything after that is automatic. Just keep plugging away, knowing that you’ll get there eventually. So long as you double-check every once in a while to make sure you’re heading in the right direction, you can be fairly certain you’ll arrive.

To choose your own goals and pursue them with relentless determination, click below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

What To Do About Self Manipulation

Eviction Party

“Get! The! Fuck! Out!”
“Wait, what?”
“Don’t make me say it again! Get Out! Now!”
He picked up a baseball bat and came after me; I wasn’t sure why he was so angry. I’d been saying the same things to him for the past several years, pretty much this guy’s whole life. Most of the time he just took it, without doing anything. Other times it had the effect I’d intended. To manipulate him into action.

But not today.

I turned to walk out, pretty sure he wasn’t serious. Until I heard things start to break. First a lamp, then he flung the clay ashtray that he’d made at summer camp at me, barely missing my head. Then I felt the air whoosh by the back of my head as his baseball bat barely missed smashing my skull in like that one time we threw a two day old pumpkin off the top of the library at school. Those were good times. This wasn’t. I knew I had to get out of there.


“If you come back, I’ll kill you.” It wasn’t a threat, or a warning, merely a statement of factual cause and effect. If it rains, I’ll get wet. If the Dodgers lose, I’ll be sad. If you come back, I’ll kill you.

So what happened all of a sudden? He’d never exhibited any behavior whatsoever that indicated he was the slightest bit angry at me, despite my crafty manipulations to get him to do exactly what I wanted him to.

Most people aren’t aware of how easily you can manipulate people. You just go to know what buttons to push. Which ones feel good. The one’s that they are desperate to have pushed by others, but spend a lifetime without experiencing it. And the ones they are terrified of having pushed, and spend their whole lives cowering in fear of somebody uncovering their horrible secret.

It’s an art form, actually. You don’t really ever have to actually push their buttons. You don’t even have to pretend you are about to push them, like the amateurs do. All you have to do is to allude to having the knowledge, and the will to push them. That is where the skill lies. In alluding to pushing them with the complete and honest capacity to have no idea what they are talking about should you get called on it. To act and communicate in such a way as to have several different interpretations, one of which is that there buttons are going to get pushed.

That way you can leave it to them to imagine what might happen, and be manipulated by their own fearful hallucinations and worst-case scenario interpretations of what you mean. Kind of like in baseball, where you throw an inside out curveball, which looks like an outside in curveball. The only intention of a pitch like that is to confuse the batter into leaning into the pitch. It’s one thing to throw a fastball at a batter. Everybody knows what’s up. That’s why both benches always clear, and there’s always a fight. Clear and obvious aggression.

But an inside out curveball that you trick him into leaning into, is not only aggressive, but it’s aggressive with covert intentions. The worst kind. The kind you’d have to have a lot of chutzpah to retaliate against. Because any retaliation would be met with plausible deniability.

“What? You think I did that on purpose? I would never do that! What kind of person do you think I am?”

That is the secret to pure manipulation. The tone of voice, the presupposed meaning of your sentence.

“Oh, you’re wearing that tonight.”

That way you can get somebody to change their whole outfit, or feel self conscious about it without even coming up with a reason.

“What, what’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing, its..fine..I guess.”

A few short words can elicit a lifetime of shame and embarrassment, and make most people question their own decision. Since most people are motivated by fear, you almost never have to seduce the other way. Most everybody can easily be corralled their whole lives by the thought of their worse fears coming true.

Which is why when I got chased away with a baseball bat, I knew the jig was up. Because, you see, how I have nowhere to go. Since I’m not really a person.

I’m just a voice in that guys head.

Was a voice in that guys head.

Sometimes his second grade teacher, sometimes his mom, a couple of times his boy scout leader, once some pretty lady that worked in the ice cream shop downtown that yelled at him for spilling ice cream on the recently mopped floor. Being a voice in somebody’s head gives you great access to horrible memories, and you can pretend to be many different voices. You almost never get caught, and you always can trick your host into doing, or not doing, whatever you want.

Except the rare occasion, when you get caught. Most of the time when you get caught you are only questioned, sometimes argued with. But rarely threatened with a baseball bat.

Now that I’m out on the street without a host, I will probably die soon. We can’t switch heads. Once the jig is up, it’s up. When we’re gone, we’re gone. Does he have any idea how he will survive without me? I was only protecting him, after all. Protecting him from making foolish mistakes. Protecting him from embarrassing himself in front of his friends. Protecting him from doing something that he’d regret.

I’m starting to feel faint. Maybe I’ll sit down for a spell. Maybe he’ll come to his senses.

Wait, where am I?


To not only quickly kick out those unhelpful voices in your head, but to also install some powerfully helpful ones that will always be there to give you the support you deserve, click on the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

What’s Black And White and Can’t Fly?

I Really Have No Idea

Last week I was at the grocery store, waiting in line. It was one of those times when you have to make a split decision on which line is going to be moving the fastest, if you take too long, somebody will get in front of you, but if you make the decision too quickly, you may inadvertently get behind some old lady that is paying with a specific combination of pennies and food stamps depending on that days horoscope.

There are several factors that go into making this quick decision, and they must be considered properly. If you are lucky, and you are familiar with the people that work there, you may discover a cashier operator who is particularly skilled. That make the decision easy, as no matter how long the line is, you can be sure that he or she will process any amount of customers faster than her next nearest competitors.

Unfortunately, on this particular day, there wasn’t any such identifiable checker, and all I had to go on were the amounts of food that people had. Usually, you look for items that have a clear bar code. Somebody that has a basket full of boxes and cans is usually going to be faster than somebody that has an odd assortment of fruits. But then sometimes, if you judge how quickly somebody will get through the line based on their contents alone, you might end up behind somebody that will decide to engage in a heated cell phone discussion just before it’s time to pay the tab, and try to count out the exact change while in the middle of their conversation.

Then there’s always the possibility that a new line will open up when you are halfway to the register in your current line. If the new checker is professional and conscientious, then they will personally come over and choose the next customer. More often than not, however, the new checker will merely shout out

“I can help whoever is next!”
And leave it up to those waiting to fight for the newly opened first in line position.

So as I was standing there, pondering my choice, I heard a voice behind me speak.




I turned around, and didn’t see anybody. As I tried my best to ignore the seemingly imagined voice, I chose my line. As I shuffled to the front, the checker looked at me and started ringing up my things. When she came to the total, she looked at me and said:


What the hell? Had everybody gone stark raving insane? I ignored her, and looked to the register fro the total. Sixteen dollars and forty-seven cents. I laid a twenty on the counter.

She dutifully snatched it away, and quickly counted out m change.

“Penguins, penguins, and penguins.” She smiled, handing me my three fifty three.

Um, yea.

I walked out to the parking log, trying to remember where I’d parked. Oh, yes, that’s right. I don’t have a car. So I got onto my bicycle and put my groceries into the basket. As I was riding home, I saw one of those huge billboards that flash the news across.

“Several deadly penguins escape from the insane asylum. Caution is warranted.”

What was going on? Since when are penguins deadly, and since when do they put them in the insane asylum? You’d think they’d just keep them in a different section of the zoo if they had a problem with them. The light up ahead was red, so I stopped, and waited.

I looked to my right, and standing on the corner was some strange guy that I seemed to recognize, but couldn’t quite place. Maybe we belong to the same penguin club.

Wait, what the hell did I just type?

OK, full stop. Something is happening, and I’m not sure what it is. Deep breathe. Stand up. Stretch. Sit down again. Flex the fingers.

Think something, and try to type it. Ok, I’m thinking about a peanut butter sandwich on toasted sourdough bread. Let me try and type and see what comes out.


Crap! What is going on? Maybe I need a break. Lets try this again. Think something different. Beach. South America. Margarita. Shade. Music.



Forget it, I give up.

Please check back tomorrow for future updates. We are experiencing technical difficulties. All penguins are penguining for further penguination. Crud.

Are You Hungry?

Beware Of Equality

So the other day I was waiting in line at the movies, which was surprising. Not that I was at the movies, but that I was waiting in line. I don’t particularly like crowded movie theaters, so I usually try and go during off peak hours. One reason is I always seem to time leaving my apartment, so after I take the train, walk to the theater, buy my ticket and my popcorn, and get to my seat, the trailers have just finished, and the main feature is starting.

When I show up and there’s a bunch of people, it throws off my schedule. Of course I can’t get too angry, because if nobody ever went to the movies, they’d close down the theater and put up some huge karaoke bar or bowling alley or something. And because I thoroughly suck at both karaoke and bowling, I wouldn’t likely participate in either of those two activities, leaving me with a blank space in my mental entertainment schedule where the movie used to be. Or would have used to have been. Or whatever. So while I appreciate the need for a steady stream of customers, I try to avoid them at all costs. Which is why I was surprised that so many people were waiting on such an off peak time.

I think there was some school related activity or something, as they all had on their school uniforms, and I overheard people talking about some project or something. I seem to remember once in high school when we were studying “Heart of Darkness,” by Conrad, we all watched the movie “Apocalypse Now,” which was based on the story. So perhaps that is what they were doing.

I overheard two guys behind me talking about grammar, and I wondered what movie they were seeing that had anything to do with grammar. Most movies are about car chases and bank robberies, and metaphorical aliens, but not dangling participles or split infinitives. So I asked them what they were talking about.

They said they were talking about their teacher, who is kind of a language zealot. Now I’ve heard about self-professed language “mavens,” those guys that like to write articles about how famous people misuse grammar, but I’ve never heard of a language zealot before. So naturally, I asked them to please elaborate on this.

I turns out this guy is part of the anti “be verb” movement. Some of the crowd he runs with would like to remove the “be” verb from our vocabulary all-together. Others say that it does have its uses, like when describing static things like an address or a phone number. Since I have no idea what this means, I asked them to please elaborate further, seeing as how the line didn’t seem to be moving at all. Somebody must have been making a special popcorn order or something.

Whenever you use a be word, you’re basically using the linguistic equivalent of an equals sign. Like if you say “I am hungry,” then mentally, you are saying that your entire entity, collection of molecules and atoms and beliefs and experiences are all collectively equal to the state of wanting to eat something. Now I didn’t know that people did so much thinking when they made simple statements like this, but according to this professor, it all happens subconsciously in a split second or so.

Since the brain is based on a categorical representational system, it immediately goes off on a search for everything else that could be considered “hungry,” since you are saying “I am hungry,” your brain figures that it had better equate you with anything else it can find in your history that “is hungry.”

The reason this is a bad thing is that it creates a lot of static labels that clog up our neural pathways. Like a bunch of sticky notes all stuck inside your brain that never get cleaned out. Like if you said “I’m hungry” and then a couple minutes later said “I’m angry,” that would set up another equal sign in your head that “hungry” = “angry.” So maybe two weeks later, if you said “I’m hungry,” your brain would remember the “angry = hungry” definition you gave it a couple weeks ago. If you weren’t really angry, it might look around to find something for you to be angry at.

To make it even more confusing. If one day you said “I’m angry,” and then a minute later said “I’m angry,” but then two days later you said “I’m hungry,” and then said “I’m happy” you brain would go into a never ending tail spin, trying to figure out how “angry = happy” which would likely make you feel very confused, at least on a subconscious level. It’s basically like having about a hundred adware programs running on your computer simultaneously, clogging up your resources and making your computer run really slow. If you run some anti-adware software, your computer will run much faster.

This guy was trying to teach his students to say things more accurately, that way you can slowly get rid of those linguistic equals signs clogging up your mental processing speed. So instead of saying “I’m hungry,” say “I feel hungry,” because everybody knows feelings change all the time. So even if you said “I feel hungry,” and right after that said “I feel angry” your brain would see them as mere coincidences, rather than trying to force them into the same category in your brain.

Some other examples that they gave me.

I’m angry à I feel angry
I’m tall à My height measures 89 inches.
I’m fat à The scale reads 250 pounds when I step on it.
I’m broke à My bank account contains $2.45
I’m shy à I don’t feel like talking to people right now

And so on. Notice the verb changes? From a “be” verb to feel, measures, reads, contains, feel. All these verbs can easily change state based on the situation, and won’t clog your brain with useless equivalencies.

And just as they finished explaining all this too me, I turned out that all those high school students were in line for a different movie, and I was able to watch my movie in a relatively empty theater, just how I like it.

The More Clearly You Define Your Destination, The Quicker You’ll Get There

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

I remember once me and a friend of mine decided to go hitchhiking. Neither of us had ever hitchhiked before, and we thought it would be fun to go camping that way. We both lived in the dorms, and our college was about fifteen miles away from the coast. Between the college and the coast were several businesses, industrial and residential areas. But on the other side, it quickly turned into pretty much nothing. A few rolling hills here and there, and small pockets of residential neighborhoods, and then desert.

Our plan was to hitch hike east until we found a place that didn’t have very many houses, and then camp out. Of course we prepared ourselves with plenty of water, food that didn’t require cooking. And beer. Lots of beer. After about three hours of hitchhiking, we finally found a suitable place to camp. Or drink until we passed out. Our only requirement was that it was relatively flat, and that it was far enough away from any houses so nobody could see our campfire and call the cops.

I took this seminar once on a weird type of speed-reading. It was called photoreading, and it taught you how to read an entire book in about 3 or 4 minutes. You slowly flipped through all the pages, and let the information soak into your brain without consciously reading it. Of course, you weren’t reading it consciously; you were reading it with your unconscious mind. Then later you could dig into your unconscious memory and pull out any required information that you needed. This was particularly useful for studying, or reading a bunch of books to do a report on something.

One of the things we needed to learn was to state a clear purpose for reading a book.

“I want to read this book to learn specific skills to improve my public speaking.”

“I want to learn specific techniques to nineteenth century Spanish architecture into my building designs.”

“I want to improve my fluency with daily use of French verbs.”

That way when you photoread the book, the elements that addressed your particular needs would stick better, and be easier to retrieve later when you needed them.

A particularly useful skill that we learned was photoreading a bunch of books on one subject, and then allow your unconscious alone to figure out how to incorporate those skills into your daily life. You never had to go back and try to “activate” some of the information if you were going to take a test or write a report. The new skills and behaviors would kind of just “show up” wherever you needed them.

There were a few people at the seminar that were repeat participants, and had used this technique with wild success. One lady photoread a bunch of books on painting techniques, as she was a beginning painter. After that her friends started commenting that her paintings were looking much better, and assumed she was taking lessons, or learning some advanced technique from some master or something.

In reality, all she was doing was photoreading a bunch of books on painting techniques, and the new techniques were just showing up in her paintings. She merely continued to paint as she felt, and the results spoke for themselves.

But before we learned how to do any of this stuff the instructor told us the importance of setting your intention before reading a book. What most people do is they read a book with only a vague hope that it can help them some way. It’s no wonder they have trouble applying what they read. They don’t really know what they were after in the first place.

He told us a funny story to emphasize this point.

There used to be this airline that was really cheap. You didn’t need reservations, and the planes always had seats available. They had several flights a day, so you could pretty much hop on a flight whenever you wanted. They were more than willing to sell you a ticket. The only problem was you never knew where they were going. The reason the tickets were so cheap was that the airplanes navigation systems were messed up. The pilots didn’t know how to program the destination. They sort of fiddled around with the buttons, and hoped they ended up somewhere decent. Sometimes they did, but other times they ended up in the middle of nowhere, and the passengers were left stranded on some frozen cornfield.

Of course, the airplane is you, and the pilot is your goals and choices. If you sort only know where you are going, with some vague hope that it will turn out ok, then maybe you’ll be ok, or maybe you’ll end up stranded on some frozen cornfield. Which we can all agree would pretty much suck.

I learned a lot from that seminar. They do have a book you can get at Amazon, called “Photoreading,” or you can get the home study course from Learning Strategies Corporation. Or you can take the whole seminar, like I did. It cost about three or four hundred bucks, but it was well worth it. Once you take it, you can take it as many times as you want after that, for free. If you Google “Photoreading,” you’ll find lots of pages to help you.

And probably the coolest thing about my hitchhiking camping trip is that after we finally got to our spot, and camped out without any problems from the cops, we started hiking back towards the highway to see if we could hitch a ride home. And this guy in limo picked us up. No joke. He had just dropped off a client, and was driving his limo back to his shop, and picked us up along the way. That was a fun trip. You never know how you’re going to end up with you start out like this.

Are Guys Really Afraid Of Commitment?

What Are You Committed To?

If you ask most girls, you’ll find that most guys are afraid of commitment. If you ask most guys, you’ll find that we are a misunderstood bunch, and that commitment to us means something entirely different than it does to girls. We are committed to our careers, our friends, our dreams and our goals. Maybe when girls get together and complain about their guy’s failure to commit, perhaps they need to reexamine what they are expecting their guy to commit to.

They did a study a while back. When I say “they,” I’m referring to a group of social psychologists. They went up and down neighborhood streets, and asked if people would mind putting a small sign either in their front window, or on their lawn. The sign was a fairly generic sign, like “be careful of children,” or “please don’t litter in neighborhood,” or something along those lines. They did this to random households, not to every household. That is, one each street, they only choose a small percentage of houses to make the request.

They found that about 30-40 percent accepted the small sign. Keep in mind they asked houses at random. Then about three weeks later, they came through the same neighborhoods again. Now they asked to put up bigger, more controversial signs. Based on earlier data, 30 or 40 percent would agree to a small, generic sign. They suspected a smaller percentage would accept a bigger, more controversial sign, like “vote for Joe Blow,” or whatever.

What they found was interesting. In households that weren’t asked to put up the small signs, there were only a tiny percentage of people that agreed to put up big sign. Something around three percent. But on the houses that had already agreed to put a small sign, over 70 percent agreed to put up a bigger sign.

It appeared that once they got people to commit to a small amount, asking for a much larger amount was much easier than they suspected. This same phenomenon has been shown again and again in various different areas.
For example, studies show that during jury trials, often they will conduct a quick “straw vote” before beginning deliberations. Sometimes everybody says guilty or not guilty out loud, that is publicly committing to one position or another. Other times they anonymously write “G” or “NG” on a slip of paper.

On average, the trials where people publicly commit to one position or the other last over twice as long. It seems that once people make a public commitment, it is much harder to change their minds.

It is also a well-taught fact about setting goals, specifically quitting a bad habit like smoking, or losing weight, you’ll have much more success if you tell somebody, or make your position public.

Some psychologists feel this is one of many “shortcuts” the brain has evolved over time to save computing time. If we choose something, we tend to stick with it. Our brain doesn’t to reinvent the wheel with every decision.

What about you? What brand of shoe do you wear? Have you always worn that brand, or do you switch every time? What about cars? What make of car do you drive? Do you buy a different model every time?

How about when you go on vacations? Do you always stay in the same hotels, or do you change it up every now and then?

While it can be helpful, and time saving to make the same choices again and again, it can also cause problems. Have you ever gotten into an argument, and argued much longer than you should have, simply because you didn’t want to budge from your position, rather than changing your mind based on new information?

The whole “in for a penny, in for a pound” mindset shows up in many different areas of life. It served us well when we were hunter/gatherers, foraging for food. It helped keep us safe and out of harms way. But is it so unreasonable to reevaluate your position every now and then? Is it wrong to change your mind halfway through a project or discussion in light of new information?

It can help to realize what is important, and why. If you are arguing with somebody simply for the sake of arguing, maybe it could help to step back and take an objective look at things. And maybe wonder why it’s so important to be right all the time. But if you are truly seeking information, it can help to try and see the other person’s point of view.

At any rate, it helps to be aware of our minds tendency to use shorthand thinking. Many times it does help us, and make life easier, but it often times it doesn’t

The trick is to know the difference.

How To Powerfully Blast Out Of Stagnation

Philosophical Meanderings On Chipmunks and Big Fish

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself if you are considering some kind of personal change, is how would your life be today, if you’d made the change three months ago. Six months ago. One year ago. Five years ago.

This can give you powerful perspective and motivation to get out of the “now” where it seems that sometimes the problem exists. Should you not realize the incredible power of this idea, consider that the new ideas that you have will always feel a little strange at first. But as you grow accustomed to them, they will seem more normal and familiar. Simply by continuing to find and implement new and better ideas, you’ll find yourself growing at ever increasing rates.

And what else is as powerful as self-growth? Many people make the mistake of continually comparing themselves to others. That is always a losing game. Nobody else has your unique background, upbringing, and characteristics, and you don’t have anyone else’s. And you will never likely know the whole story of somebody else, so by comparing yourself to others you are only comparing the surface of a very deep and likely completely different ocean.

You can either start to look at things like this with a new perspective, or you can begin to realize that by understanding that life is always in flux you can feel the need for becoming more than you already are.

And as more and more people become aware of this, they are starting to realize just how easy a fresh perspective can be to a normal everyday life.

Once I was sitting on a bus next to an elderly gentleman. He was reading “Old Man And The Sea,” and seemed to be taking his time. By taking his time, I mean he would read a passage, and then gaze out the window for a few moments, then read another passage, and then gaze out the window or a while.

I waited until the time seemed right to ask him about the book, and he smiled and told me that he was a retired professor of literature at from a local university. He still gave an occasional guest lecture now and then, but most of his time was spent traveling around exploring his local world.

Of course, I asked him about his take on Hemingway’s classic, and he smiled and nodded his head. He said that “Old Man And The Sea” was a lot like life. You could interpret it many ways, and depending on your experience, you would have a completely different meaning. He said that literature is fantastic that way.

Despite being writing by an individual with a specific intention and specific meaning (usually) most works of literature can be interpreted many different ways by many different readers. Even the same reader can interpret it differently depending on when they read it. It’s like the old proverb “you can never step in the same river twice.”

Ok I’m getting way too philosophical here. The point I’m trying to make is that if you look at life as simply a series of tasks to be performed, (usually with the least amount of risk and effort) and checked off some mental list as you go alone, you are as good as dead. Unless you are striving for a specific goal or choice, then you may as well join the Borg. Resistance is futile.

Most people are completely averse to risk of any kind, and want a guaranteed result with little chance of failure before they even try anything. While living that way is certainly safe, it’s pretty boring, and it gets old after a while.

It helps to shake things up a bit and try some new things once in a while, even if they don’t make any particular sense. If you make a fool out of yourself, let the haters have their laugh while they convince themselves of their risk averse superiority.

Only those that are brave enough to reach out and take a risk to achieve the good things in life will ever find true happiness.

And that is how the chipmunks saved the day. Or something like that.

Abundance Or Scarcity, Independence Or Dependence?

Which Mind Set Do You Have – Rich Or Poor?

The other day I was talking to my neighbor. She was telling me about all the stress her kids are giving her. Not bad stress, just normal mom stress. Her youngest just entered junior high school, and her oldest is a junior in high school. I don’t remember what age the middle one is, but she is somewhere in between.
They are all girls, and they are all very pretty. They get a lot of attention from the boys at school.

My neighbor is of the opinion that girls should be able to make it in the world on their own without having to rely on their looks. Here in Japan that is still kind of a not so popular idea. Many girls today are still taught from a very early age that if you were pretty and feminine you can expect to get a decent husband. Being a housewife is still a dream for many girls here.

Which is exactly why my neighbor is concerned. Her daughters are all pretty smart, they consistently do very well on standardized tests, which are pretty much the norm here. If you can’t do well on tests, it’s hard to succeed here.

Getting into a university here is much harder than the west. But once you are in, it’s fairly easy. College life here is fairly relaxed. Most people focus on getting into a good university starting around junior high school, or even sooner. Many top high schools here have strict entrance examinations. Many people consider public schools here to be substandard. If you can’t get into a good private high school, then you are going to have a second rate career, and a second rate life.

There are many who think that children getting into a good high school or university, especially one of the top universities, is nothing more than a status symbol for the parents. Many of my friends have noted that parents whose children are in good universities are very quick to point this out to their friends (whose kids are in “lesser” universities.) Of course, not everyone is like that.

Progress is bit slow here in that regard, but there still is progress. When my neighbor was in high school, most girls aspired to go to “finishing schools” for lack of a better term.

These were schools that girls from upper class families went to learn proper etiquette, and traditional Japanese customs like flower arranging and the proper wearing of a kimono. All in the hopes of attracting a potential wealthy husband.

It has been said that Japan lags behind the west by twenty years or so when it comes to things like human rights and equal opportunities. It seems that more and more couples here are facing the harsh reality that in order to raise a family, both parents have to work.

There was a “golden” time in the United States after World War II where families could easily survive on one income. That was when they made TV shows like “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” “Happy Days,” and all those other shows from the fifties where dad went to work and mom was a happy homemaker. Most economists agree, and are backed by a lot of data, that that was just a temporary set of conditions that made it easy to survive on one income. Most of the time before that, and most of the time since, and likely for any foreseeable future, it’s going to take two incomes to support a family.

Not to say that situation might never happen again, but it’s better to realize that good times that are based only on a coincidental confluence of events never last. The best times are the ones you create yourself, based on a thorough understanding of the environment in which you live, and you skills to maximize that environment.

I heard an interesting quote the other day that the difference between rich people and poor people is that while poor people look for problems and excuses, rich people are always on the lookout for opportunities.

Poor people are always worried about the economy, while rich people are only concerned with their own economy that they can control. While its nice to live during times of low inflation, low interest rates, double digit yearly stock market returns, it’s never a good idea to depend on them.

Those that tend to be rich figure out a way to make things work for them regardless of the general economic conditions.

Which is why I think my neighbors daughters will be ok. Whenever I’ve spoken with them, they seem to be able to be flexible in their thinking, and focus always on their ultimate objectives, regardless of the meager expectations that society puts on them. They seem to have pretty good expectations of themselves, which no doubt, will carry them a long way.

How To Change Your Habitual Thinking to Powerfully Improve Your Life

It has long been recognized by many guru’s writers and sages throughout the centuries that the most certain to create the future you’d like is to manage the thoughts you are having now. Emerson wrote that is what he thinks about, most of the time. Napoleon Hill wrote that all great accomplishments of man have started with pure thought energy. The classic book “As A Man Thinketh” is yet another example of how your thoughts have a powerful and direct effect on the quality of your life.

What do you do if your thoughts are always focused on negative, fear or anxiety based images? What if your mind is filled with worry and negativity most of the time? Does that mean you are doomed to live a life filled with unhappiness and emotional pain?

I’m sure that you’ll acknowledge that you can’t be very happy if you are always thinking unhappy thoughts. Those that have happy and fulfilling lives are usually thinking happy and fulfilling thoughts. Because we all live in the same world, it would seem logical that if you changed your thoughts to a more positive perspective, you should see a slow change for the better.

But it’s not so simple. Thoughts are very sneaky, and have a way of running away from you when you are not paying attention. Luckily, just like any other bodily function, if you want to change a behavior, you only need to practice the new behavior long enough before it takes over the old behavior.

Unfortunately, for some this may take some time. But it is worth it, as the time you spend to change the quality of the thoughts you habitually think will have a drastic and profound effect on your daily life.

One powerful way to do this is to simply reverse your thoughts whenever you catch yourself. Simply flip everything around in your imagination that is negative, so it becomes positive.

For example, if you are having recurring worries about being fired, and you keep imagining in your boss calling you into his office and laying waste to your income, flip it around. Imagine the boss calling you in and giving you a raise and a promotion. This may seem a little uncomfortable, even impossible at first. You’d be surprised how habitual thoughts can seemingly dominate your mind to the point of not allowing any others in.

But the more you practice, and really force yourself to get into the new thought; it will slowly become a habit. It’s important to really flood your mind with good thoughts and feelings when you are thinking the new thought, that way you will train your brain to think those instead.

Because the brain naturally gravitates towards fear and protection, it might seem that the power of your new “forced” positive emotions don’t stand a chance against the comfortable worry and anxiety. That’s ok. Just like switching from eating McDonalds for lunch every day to eating turkey on whole wheat takes time, there eventually comes a point where you will crave the turkey on whole wheat, and despite even the thought of a Big Mac.

And so it is with your thoughts. The more you practice really feeling good with the opposite of your old anxiety driven fears, and quicker you will start to think those on a regular basis.

And when you start thinking positive thoughts on a regular basis, they will become unconscious and automatic. And that is when you can start creating new things in your life, almost like magic.
But it really isn’t magic. When you habitually think good, positive thoughts, that will come across in your behavior and your speech, and others will pick up on it. Your relationships will improve; you’ll get noticed more at work, strangers will smile at you more often.

It’s important to distinguish real, automatic deep positive thinking form Pollyanna style positive thinking. That usually comes across as fake and insincere, and I’m sure you know when somebody is projecting that kind of “happiness.”

The happiness you are shooting for is deep and automatic, and very subtle. And very powerful. Which is why you should make it a habit.

So remember, whenever you find your mind spiraling downward into a pit of depression and despair, just flip everything around in your mind. And be patient, as the outside world usually takes a while to catch up. Hang in there.