Category Archives: Habits

How To Change Your History and Change Your Future

Have you ever done something that you later regretted, or at the very least wish you would have done things differently? Ok, stupid question. We all have. I usually do stuff on a daily basis that I later regret, or at least wish I had done differently. Said thank you a little bit more loudly, smiled at some cute girl you see instead of just making passive eye contact, said something to that rude person that cut in front of you in line at the supermarket. I’m sure you can think of many things like this, maybe not so important things, but things that maybe you wish you could have done differently. 20/20 hindsight, and all that.

Well, luckily there is a process from NLP that can help you to reprogram your daily life on a regular basis to slowly change how you habitually and automatically behave in certain situations. This is perfect if you are aware of some kind of situation you’d rather behave differently than you normally do, but you usually don’t think about it until it’s too late.

For example, let’s say there is a girl you see at the supermarket that you stop by on your way home from work. You don’t know much about her except hat you think she is cute, and you might want to get to know her a little bit better. So you wish you could think of some clever thing to say, not a super mack pick up line, just a comment about something to peak her interest a little bit.

But every time you see her, you are either busy, or there are people around, or you just can’t think of anything to say in the moment. Then twenty minutes later, after you get home, you think of saying something about some button or something she had pinned on her uniform. Let’s say she had a “get out the vote” button, and you thought about mentioning that you volunteered for a local politicians campaign recently. Of course it’s to late, and next time you see her, she may or may not be wearing that button.

What you do is re-imagine the interaction, re-imagine your experience from that particular day. Only don’t remember it the way it happened, remember it the way you would like it to have happened. Something simple like “Oh you think voting is important? I do to. I actually volunteered for Mr. X’s campaign last spring.” That’s it. It’s important to only remember your part of the changed memory, because you can’t control other people reactions.

Do this a few times until the “re-recorded” memory seems as real as the real memory. What this does is program your subconscious with what you want to happen, rather than what actually happened. Your brain is like a computer, and you can program it like a computer. Only with your brain, you have to program it with images and feelings, (since your brain can’t really speak Fortran or C++).

What this does is give your brain the directive to say something interesting based on the environment when you see that girl, instead of just passively paying our money and collecting your receipt.

This may take a few tries, but when you do this on a regular basis, you will see some profound changes in your daily life. And the strange thing is, they will come almost naturally. You’ll have to really pay attention to notice them.

Rewriting your daily history is a great and powerful way to reprogram your automatic behavior so you can experience more pleasure in life and give more pleasure to others. And when you can do that, you’re doing pretty good.

Brand Loyalty or Habitual Indecision?

I was waiting in line at the supermarket the other day. I was buying a jug of orange juice, the fresh squeezed kind. The guy in front of me was buying six or seven cans of concentrate. We noticed each other, and naturally got into a discussion about the differences between frozen orange juices and fresh squeezed. Because it was a Sunday afternoon when most people do their shopping, we had time to discuss the various differences.

The plusses to using concentrate is that it’s cheaper, you can buy several at once and store them in your freezer, so you don’t have to go to the store as often. Interestingly, the benefits of fresh squeezed, although seemingly numerous are almost impossible to pin down. The drawbacks are obvious. You have to go to the store more often, it’s more expensive, it doesn’t stay fresh as long (you can keep cans of concentrate in the freezer for up to a year) and it really doesn’t have any more vitamins that the frozen stuff.

I suppose when asked, most people who prefer fresh squeezed would say it tastes more “natural,” its healthier, its got some special magic from the sun inside each bottle. None of these are things that you can actually measure. So what exactly are you paying for? Of course the most obvious answer is that it tastes better. That is probably the best reason of all if you are buying food, that it tastes better, but is that how the marketing strategies of these orange juice companies make it out to be? Based only on flavor?

“Buy fresh squeezed, it tastes better.”

I never really thought about it. I remember when I was a kid, Pepsi had their famous “Take the Pepsi Challenge” campaign where they set up stands in front of supermarkets across the country, in an effort to “prove” using scientific studies that Pepsi does indeed “taste better” than coke. They had frequent updates in their commercials of how people overwhelmingly chose Pepsi over coke in a blind taste test. But for some reason, Coke remained, and still remains the soft drink leader. (The whole “New Coke” fiasco notwithstanding.)

I’m sure know somebody, or may be one of these soft drink zealots yourself, who will refuse to drink soda in a restaurant if they don’t have “your” brand. I have a friend who is adamantly against Pepsi. If we go out to lunch, and he orders a Coke, and is told they only have Pepsi, he’ll act as if he’s been personally insulted. It’s kind funny to watch. Personally, I can’t really tell the difference one-way or the other.

Brand loyalty is a strange phenomenon, one that I’ve never understood, although I am an avid driver of Toyota’s, and proud wearer of New Balance. Every car I’ve ever bought is a Toyota, and every pair of athletic shoes, of any sort, has been New Balance.

So as we talked in line about the differences between fresh squeezed orange juice and juice from concentrate, a funny thing happened. The checker in the line opened up her register. And even though both of us could have gotten much closer in line had we moved over one row, we decided to stay where we were. Like once you make a decision on something, you stay with that decision despite all the logic that dictates otherwise. I guess people really are creatures of habit.

Does Snake Oil Really Work or The Power of Visualization

There used to be this guy. He was a normal guy, with a normal job. He had some normal friends, some he liked more than others. He would meet his friends from time to time, and do some various activities with them. Some of these, of course, he liked more than others. Sometimes, after a long workweek, he didn’t have the energy to go out on the weekend, so he would stay home and watch TV, or read the latest novel, or play video games on his computer. Once in a while he would go see a movie, but he always felt a bit strange going to the movies by himself.

He figured he had a pretty good life. But sometimes, when he wasn’t occupying his thoughts with the latest craze, or some time filling activity with his friends, he wondered what he was doing with his life. Once he went to a coffee shop to hang out and read the latest thriller novel, but he forgot to bring it, and so he just sat and thought about things for a while. The cute girl he was hoping to flirt at the coffee shop wasn’t working, so he just kind of stared out the window and let his mind wander wherever minds like to go in those situations.

He started to trace back through his personal history, to determine when he’d made the choices that led him to where he was. Not right there in the coffee shop, but in his life, his job, his friends, his apartment, the area of town he lived in. He wasn’t too surprised that his life was a string of events that were more or less accepted by him, rather than chosen by him. The last time he made a really strong choice was when he decided on which university to go to. Even then his choices were influenced by many other factors. His friends, his parents, what his guidance counselor had told him in high school. He chose his major based on his interests, but again, it was based largely on what kind of job he would be able to get with the major that he chose.

When he accepted the job offer, it wasn’t like there were fifty companies competing for his skills. He had applied to several, got interviews at a few, and took the first decent offer that he received. It was a good company, but he didn’t’ really have as much choice in the matter as he’d let himself believe.

He finished his coffee, and started wandering around the mall he found himself in. It was a Saturday afternoon, and he didn’t have any plans, so he kind of wandered aimlessly, like he’d been doing pretty much his whole life. He wandered into a bookshop. Not a big bookshop like a major chain, but a small, niche market bookshop. He browsed around and picked up a book on manifesting. He had always thought that this subject was a bunch of nonsense, that was nothing more than modern day snake oil. What he found inside this book was fascinating, to say the least.

The book described how mankind was a complex biological social organism that had developed over the course of millions of years. And that human social behavior was goal driven, but for many, those goals are determined by those outside of the individual. People have the ability to choose their own goals, or let others choose their goals for them. Of course, it is much easier, and less risky to allow others to choose the goals for them, so nature has this goal setting mechanism built into the human mind by default. But it can be overcome. The book went on to explain that by creating a very compelling idea of what you want to create, and focusing on that idea again and again, your actions will start to naturally and unconsciously pull you towards those pictures that you want to create.

This guy decided to buy the book and try this out. He spent several weeks coming up with one or two things that he would like to have. His own home, a relationship with a sweet, kind and beautiful woman, a salary double what he was making now. He created several pictures in his mind of each of this, and focused on them whenever he had a chance. Pretty soon, he found himself doing things that he didn’t do before, but seemed to be drawing towards the future that he was imagining, rather than the future that he had allowed others to imagine for him by default.

He started doing things a little bit differently at work, which got him noticed by upper management. Soon he was promoted, and making more money. He started going out by himself, instead of hanging out with his friends. And when he went places, he went to museums, charity events, and other social gatherings rather than the same bars he had been going do. Pretty soon he was dating a few candidates for a serious long-term relationship. And with his increased salary, he was saving enough to put down on a nice house in a neighborhood. Pretty soon his life was completely changed, for the better, and almost as if by magic. The perplexing thing, to him at least, was that he didn’t remember deciding to actually do anything different. All he remembered was making up those pictures of the things he wanted, and focusing on them several times a day. Everything else was pretty automatic. Another thing that came to his attention was how incredibly happy and motivating his life had become. Amazing how these things work.

Focus on Actions, and Results are Automatic

So the other day I was out walking, like I do every morning. It was kind of cloudy. I’d been frustrated because I have this goal I’d been meditating on, and for some reason I had a funny feeling. Not really a funny feeling, kind of a disconnected feeling. Like when you shift a car into gear, and you shove the gear shift where it is supposed to go, and it feels like the proper pieces of machinery have engaged, but when you apply the gas, all you get is strange, unhealthy sounding complaint from the engine. So you have to stop, yank the gearshift back, and then put it back, only slightly different. Slightly different in position, and slightly different in results. This time the gear slides smoothly into place, and when you slowly release the clutch your car takes off smooth as silk.

I had formulated this goal several weeks ago, and had been meditating on in regularly, with positive intentions, proper visualizations in several different representation systems. But something switched, and I hadn’t noticed it. I had been visualizing the overall completion of the goal, which is about two or three months out, but I came to a significant milestone last week with regards to the short term completion of it. Something that placed the realization of my goal less in my hands, and more in the hands of others. Before last week, the realization of the goal was completely in my hands. When I achieved the milestone last week, I neglected to change the wording of my goal. Since last week, I was still phrasing my goal the same way, but was expecting others to do the work. Once I realized this while walking, I suddenly released all the frustration I’d been carrying around, and suddenly felt a surge of motivation.

The purpose behind visualizing and meditating on your goals is to give your unconscious mind a clear direction of where you want to go. So long as the result that you want is under your control, your unconscious mind will have absolutely no problem figuring out a way to get you there. For example, if you want to lose weight, and you visualize yourself slim and healthy, with sufficient motivation, you will get there, because your weight is completely under your control.

However, the mistake that many people make, especially when applying “The Law of Attraction,” is somehow expecting others to magically fill in the gaps where you have no control. For example, if you have a business, and want your sales to double in three months, you can approach in two different ways. You could focus on doubling your sales by other people magically discovering your business and making calls to you to buy your product. This puts the ball completely in their court, and you have no power over the outcome. By focusing on passively receiving an increase in sales orders, you aren’t giving your unconscious much to work with. This will increase your frustration and anxiety, which may cause you to give up trying to increase your business. On the other hand, if you focus on changing your behaviors so that an increase in business is a natural result, then you’ll have a much easier time. Your unconscious will then be able to feed your conscious mind ideas in the form of insight and intuition on what you can do specifically to increase your sales.

It’s fairly straightforward to do this. Simply choose an outcome that you want, and then focus on what behaviors will create this outcome. If you are not sure what to do exactly, look around and find people that have done what you want to do, and just copy them. The great part about this is once you focus on your own behaviors, it doesn’t really matter if you get it right the first time. As long as you stay focused on the outcome that you want in terms of your own behavior, you can easily adjust your behavior along the way. If you try something and works a little, try something a little bit different and see what different results you get.

It’s like playing golf if you aren’t very good. Sometimes you hit the ball, and it goes too far to the left. You observe where the ball went, and adjust your next shot accordingly. You keep adjusting your swing and aim until the ball is in the whole. The cool thing about setting goals is that you don’t need to keep score. Just keep adjusting your behavior slightly until you get where you want to go. Then simply move on to the next thing you want to create.

Beware of believing in magic. It seems like a great idea to be able to create something simply by wishing for it, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. When you realize that a strong desire of an outcome, coupled with an intense drive to get there solely on your own behavior, you will be able to achieve anything. Focus on the action, and the results will be automatic.

Program Your Mind For Success and Wake Up Happy

What do you do just before you shut down before bed at night? (assuming you go to bed at night)? I mean before you shut down the TV, all the lights, and put he dirty plates in the to wash sometime in the next few days? What is your routine or ritual that you go through every night before going to sleep? If you’re like most people you don’t give your final routine much thought. You do whatever you do, until you get sleepy, or it gets late, then shut everything down and collapse into bed. What if by spending a few minutes just before bed, you could not only drastically improve the quality of your sleep, ensure that you would wake up in a great mood with creative ideas on how to tackle your tasks for that day?

It’s a fairly simple procedure that I’ve recently discovered, part by studying various improvement techniques, and part by accident. The accidental part came from a course I recently went through on how to set solid goals and how to easily  make them happen. One of the techniques in the course is to review your goals, review the things you’ve done recently to achieve them, and then map out the next baby steps to take in the direction of their completion.

Normally, before I go to bed, I waste time surfing the internet. When I say waste time, I mean I don’t spend time reading informative articles, or watching inspirational videos on YouTube. I usually read the news sites, and sometimes check into a few forums that I participate in. I’ve found that some forums, no matter how positive the discussion starts out, it can sometimes turn negative rather quickly. And on top of that, I find myself sometimes agreeing with the negativity. I’ve noticed that nights I spend reading and agreeing with negativity, I not only have a hard time falling asleep,but I usually wake up in a crappy mood.

Then one night recently, instead of reading those internet forums with the same arguments made by the same people, I decided to journal on my goals. I just started free noting about what I’d done that day towards my desired accomplishments. Little things that I’d done to push myself forward. If you haven’t free noted, it’s not a really difficult thing to do. It just means to type without worrying about grammar or spelling. Something happens when you convert thoughts into words that you can read while you write. It’s like the solidify the thoughts in the brain, and when you do if for a while, you learn to not censor yourself, so you pretty much write whatever’s on your mind.

That night that I free noted I went to sleep in a lot better mood, I slept better, and I woke up really happy the next morning. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I tried it on a couple nights. The big test was on a Sunday night, to see how it would effect me on Monday. Sure enough, it worked. The technique is simple.
Just take something that you are working towards. Any goal will do. Weight loss, cutting back on smoking, anything. Then just write down any little thing that you did that day that was in the direction of your goal. It will train your mind to appreciate the effort you are making to improve yourself, and you’ll naturally start seeing more opportunities everywhere. And it only takes five or ten minutes a night.


Reduce Stress, Improve Life

I was talking to my friend on the phone this morning. She was telling me about her boyfriend. He has one of those jobs where he’s on for three days, and then off for two. It’s great when their days off overlap, but sometimes it can be stressful. It helps that she has studied yoga for a while, and knows several techniques to help her relax when she is stressed out. She tells me there are several different types kinds of yoga, with different intentions. Some are for physical health, others are for spiritual rejuvenation, others are for overall stress reduction.

I think that stress is an under looked at problem in today’s society. Everybody has stress. The problem with stress, is that it goes undetected. It’s a quirk of the human system, either by evolution or some kind of omnipotent creator, that low level pain often gets put into the background of the mind. Acute pain is one of the few outside stimuli that can not be ignored, for obvious reasons. But mental or physical stress, unfortunately is one of those things that can too easily get ignored.

According to doctors and researchers, the biggest problem regarding stress is people that are under unhealthy levels of stress don’t even know it. They go through life, doing the same thing day after day, and not realizing how many problems the stress is causing them because they think its part of their normal life. They have carried the same amount of stress for so long, that it can even become part of who they are. Some can even feel uncomfortable when the stress is removed, because they have identified with it on such a deep level.

I was with a friend of mine on a bike ride a few years ago. His bike was broken, so he borrowed one from another friend. It hadn’t been ridden for a while, but since it seemed to be ok, neither of us gave it any second thought. After a few miles into the ride, my friend began to feel unusually tired. He’s in pretty good shape, so we wondered what the problem might be. Diet? Nope. Not enough sleep? Nope. Girlfriend troubles? Nope. As much as we tried, we couldn’t think of a solution, so we just accepted the fact that he was performing under par that day, and adjusted our speed accordingly. It wasn’t until after we’d completed the ride that we discovered the problem. The rear brake on his bike wasn’t releasing completely when he’d finished breaking. It was causing a slight drag on the bike, making him work just a little bit harder. Instead of a nice relaxing enjoyable ride, we went slow because we just accepted that we had to go slow.

The secret to reducing stress is to find the brakes that are holding you back, and release them. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the most popular solution to stress is to cover up the feeling. Alcohol, drugs. Even if you go to the doctor, you’re likely to get a prescription for drugs to mask the effect, and not address the cause.

The first step in reducing stress is taking an honest look at your life to discover what it is that is causing the stress. Work, family, money, all these can be sources of stress. The biggest cause, however, is worrying about things that you can’t control. Once you realize exactly where the line is between that which you can control, and that which you can’t, you’re on the right track. If you take little steps in the direction of the things that you can control, and release the things that you can’t, you’re well on the way to significantly reducing the amount of stress, and all the accompanying problems.


Supercharge Your Abundance in Ten Minutes a Day

You’ve seen them on Oprah. You’ve seen “The Secret” in bookstores, websites, maybe even in TV commercials. You’ve probably even read “The Secret” or watched the DVD, or at the very least some of the many other “Law of Attraction” videos on Youtube. (Personally I recommend Abraham Hicks.  Those are awesome).

Are you rich? Do you have so much money you need to hire people to take care of it for you? Are you so incredibly charismatic that you attract the opposite sex as if you had hundred dollar bills falling out of your pockets? Do you eat bucket after bucket of ice cream and still manage to show off your six pack abs? Do you wish Larry King and Barbara Walters would just leave you alone for once and find somebody else to interview on TV?

Ok, me neither.

I am, however, going to give you three tips, so when you practice these on a regular basis, not only will they will slowly (but surely) transform your life into what you want to create, (rather than end up with,) but they will give you incredibly self esteem and confidence. One of the fantastic side effects of these techniques is that they will skyrocket your confidence and self esteem to levels unheard of in common people.

Ready? Lets go.

Step Number One: Set a Clear Goal.

Ok, you’ve heard this one a bazillion times before. But what does it really mean? If you don’t spend at least several hours journaling and thinking and rejournaling your goal, you aren’t putting in enough effort. And I don’t mean some small goal, like “I want to lose give pounds,” or “I want to get a 5% raise at work.” Dream big. Think big. Live big. Think of your dream career, or what your dream life would be, and describe it in as much detail as follows. What do you see?  What do you feel, What do you taste and smell? Describe in as much sensory detail as possible, and describe it in the present tense. Some examples:

I enjoy my career as a film editor, working from my spacious and paid for home and enjoying free time to spend with loved ones.
I enjoy my ideal weight of one hundred and forty pounds, and easily run a 10K in less than forty minutes, every weekend.
I enjoy a fantastic mutually supportive relationship based on trust, communication, and sexual and emotional intimacy.

Get the idea? Keep going through this until when you read your statement, you get “that” feeling that tells you that this is what you really want.

Step Number Two: Visualize Your Goal Every Morning

Sit somewhere quiet, and say your goal out loud, and while you do so, close your eyes and visualize everything that you described. Anything that must require your goal to already be achieved is what you want to see. And see as many different pictures as possible. Hear as many different sounds as possible, taste and feel as many tastes and feelings as possible. The more you see, feel, hear, taste, smell, the more powerful you will program your brain with this. Be sure to visualize pictures that require your goal being already true to exist. For the film editor, see yourself in your house, doing film editing stuff. Hear people telling you over the phone what a great job you did on that last project. See your name up in lights if that’s what you want. Do this every morning for at least five minutes per clearly stated goal.

Step Number Three: Feel Gratitude for the Steps You’ve Taken

Before bed every night, say your goal again. Scan your memory of that particular day, and feel gratitude FOR YOURSELF for taking any action you took day in the direction of your goal. If you haven’t done anything, feel gratitude that you meditated on your goal that morning. Even if you did something accidentally (that is if you still believe in accidents) that moved you toward your goal, give yourself thanks for that.  The key here is to feel genuine and honest gratitude FOR YOURSELF for every small thing you did. Do this every night for at least five minutes per clearly stated goal.

When you do these steps consistently you will notice that your life will magically change, as you do things that you used to not do, but now seem normal that are pushing and pulling you toward your dream life. And the cool thing is, the only work you really have to do is in step one, where you spend a few hours hammering out a really clearly defined goal. Once that is out of the way, it’s pretty much an exercise in putting your brain on auto pilot.

I would recommend only starting out with one big solid goal. Once you’ve got that ironed out, and you are spending your ten daily minutes (five at night and five in the morning) you can add more goals. I wouldn’t recommend having any more than five or six major goals at once, so be sure to spread them out over different areas of life. Money, Love, Work, Spirituality, Health. Once you’ve got a goal in each of these areas that you are meditating on twice a day, you’ll be amazed how much incredible purpose your life will take on. And others will notice as well.

Powerfully Supercharge Your Affirmations

Affirmations can be the quickest and easiest to apply method to powerfully transform not only what you think is possible about your capabilities, but about the world that you live in. All of us have unconscious thoughts and messages that we pick up from teachers, coaches, adults in authority, or even from ourselves that play over and over again. Whether you know it or not, you use affirmations on a daily basis. Unfortunately, messages give to us by adults to keep us safe, can also keep us from achieving the goals we desire later in life. Messages of guidance can easily transform into messages of limitation.

There is a way to change these messages to give yourself incredible confidence, self esteem, and personal power. When you finish reading this article, you’ll easily be able to create simple affirmations that you can use to propel yourself to automatic success. There are three simple rules to learn, so that your affirmations will have a maximum effect.

Rule Number One: State Them in the Positive.

You want to focus on what you want, rather than you don’t want. Instead of focusing on losing five pounds, focus on being your ideal weight. Instead of focusing on quitting smoking, focus on breathing fresh, healthy air with every breath. Instead of focusing on quitting eating ice cream for breakfast, focus on eating healthy foods that support a healthy body.

Rule Number Two: State Things in the Present Tense.

Instead of saying “I want to weight 150,” pounds, say “I weight 150 pounds.” Instead of saying “I want to cut back on the number of sweets,” say “I only eat healthy food.” Instead of saying “I will quit smoking next week,” say “I only breath fresh clean air with every breath.”

Rule Number Three: Avoid “Be” verbs and use Powerful Action Verbs

Instead of saying “I am confident,” say “I behave confidently in every situation.” Instead of saying “I weigh 150 pounds,” say “My behavior easily supports a healthy weight of 150 pounds.” Instead of saying “I am a non smoker,” say “I treat my lungs and body with respect and always inhale clean, fresh air.”

If you can, try this now. Choose something that you want  to create in life, and apply these three rules, and say it out loud. How does that feel? The more empowered you feel, right now, as you say your affirmation is an indication of how you will take it as your truth the more you say it. When you say something that causes you to feel a strong emotion, your brain will be much more likely to accept it.

The best time to say these is as you fall asleep at night. This can be a golden opportunity to powerfully program your subconscious for automatic success generation. Ideally, you want to live your life so that you can naturally and easily get what you want without a lot of effort.


The Urge to Increase Your Choice

Men and women throughout time have struggled to make sense of life. What is the reason behind the seemingly constant struggle? Why must we continue to do the same things over and over while paradoxically staying in the same place? I’m sure you’ve felt that way from time to time. Get up in the morning. Go to work, go through a days work, with as little trouble as possible. Come home, perhaps stopping at the gym on the way home, or perhaps the corner bar or other place to relax and unwind. The next day, you do the same thing.

I was finishing up a workout once, and a guy with a particularly well defined body which indicated the amount of effort he’d put into it, said

“Well, go home force myself to eat healthy food, watch TV, fall asleep, wake up, go to work come back here, work out, take a shower, and do it all over again.”

There is a character in Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland called the red queen. She tells Alice that in order to stay in place, you have to keep running.
But does it have to be that way? Do you have to do the same thing day in, day out, on some path that you chose how many years ago? Is that the meaning of life? To struggle through elementary school, junior high school, university if that’s your thing, then as Bob Dylan said “twenty years of schoolin and they put you on the day shift.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. One of the reasons humans have catapulted themselves to the front of the line in the race of evolution is our adaptability. The beauty of mother nature is that we can go through life completely oblivious to the idea of having a choice and still manage to have a successful career and family, and produce more copies of ourselves. Which is all mother nature really cares about. She gave us the internal drives and desires that are strong enough so that even if try and ignore them, they will drive us forward. For most of human history, these basic urges have drove humanity to build cities, cathedrals, beautiful works of art.

But what happens when you examine your urges? What happens when instead of blindly following these to eat, make money, have sex, build a family, you not only accept these urges as a natural part of you, but channel them, even harness them, to help you create the life that you want?

What would that be like?


How to Insult the Buddha

One of the things that most people strive for in life, yet never achieve is that sense of being in a place where you are completely independent of the opinions and ideas of others. No matter how rock solid your self confidence and self esteem is, we seem to always be vulnerable to some stray comment from somebody whom we don’t’ even expect has that kind of power over you.

I’m sure you’ve had that experience. You are going through your life, cruising right alone. Everything is pretty good, not perfect, but pretty good. Then out of the blue somebody makes a comment. Not a mean comment, not really. They’re not a person who has any power over your life, they aren’t your boss or a decision maker, but yet, somehow that comment slips in and wriggles through your confidence self defense and festers. And the more you think about it, the more it festers and causes you to remember other incidents that are similar, creating similar emotional responses.

What’s the answer? Remove yourself completely from society? Stare straight ahead with your thickest skin and refuse to allow anyone’s comments to affect you one way or the other? That is the default defense for many, but it doesn’t allow you to let in all the comments and things people say to you that can help you feel really good.

A good way around this is to develop a state of uninsultability. No matter what you say, you can accept the good things and reject the bad things. It’s like you have a pre conscious defense shield that can acting as a sorting mechanisms for incoming information. True information that makes you feel good is let in completely. True information that doesn’t make you feel so good is split into it’s logical, data components, which are accepted for you to decide what action to take, and the emotionally charged component which is summarily rejected. Information coming in that is not true is rejected altogether.

This can be difficult to maintain, but it is possible. The secret lies in choosing to evaluate any incoming informational stimulus before your automatic emotional response has a chance to react. The more you choose to consciously practice this on a regular basis, the more space you will create between the initial external event, and the emotional reaction. Your goal in this is to insert a quick but effective moment of rational choice between the external event and the corresponding emotional response.

Most people walk around through life as biological automatons. Reacting without thinking, seemingly at the mercy of the events and opinions of others. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose to live your life differently. With choice, with control with power. There is an old Buddhist story I’m reminded of.

The Buddha, and two of his young disciples were walking along the river. Suddenly a distraught man jumped out, who had apparently heard the Buddha’s last sermon, and began hurling insult after insult at him. His disciples were shocked, while the Buddha stood and only smiled. Afterwards, they asked him,

“Master, aren’t you hurt by his mean insults?”

to which the Buddha replied:

“If somebody gives you a present, and you refuse to accept it, who does it belong to?”