Use competition to push you

You need a 7 Day BrainwashI don’t know about you but when I am put in a position where I’m competing against one or more people, my motivation shoots up to a whole new level. I have talked to many others who experience the same.

When you compete against someone, in any area of life, you setup 2 incredibly powerful forces.

The first is the desire to be triumphant. Imagine the excitement someone must feel when they win a gold medal in the Olympics. They have achieved a personal dream and they get a flood of recognition from friends, family, media, fans and ultimately their entire country. What person would not love this kind of validation of success? The same kind of triumph can be experienced (maybe not at the same level of intensity) when you win a competition that you have been involved in, no matter how small it may be.

The second (and more powerful) force that gets created in competition is the desire to avoid defeat. Most humans instinctively associate any form of loss with pain and in most cases, will do anything necessary to avoid that pain. If you enter some kind of competition that will help drive you towards your goals, this pain avoidance force may be the deciding factor in your success.

Use competitive scenarios to drive you forward but remember to detach from the outcome. If you happen to lose your competition, don’t get down in the dumps. Focus on what positives came out of it (usually a drastic increase in results) and continue moving towards your goals.

How Visualization Actually Works

You need a 7 Day BrainwashEver since the release of “The Secret”, there has been a lot of hype around the topic of

visualization. Speci cally, many people have gained an awareness about the power of

visualization and how it can positively or negatively impact the results you experience in your

life.

This is not a new concept by any means. Visualization has been a practice used by many cultures

for many generations. Olympic athletes are now trained in the art of visualization as a means of

gaining a competitive advantage in their chosen sport. Unfortunately, I think the way The Secret

portrayed the idea of visualization gave people a skewed perspective of how visualization

actually works. Too many people assumed that the simple act of thinking about something would

automatically cause it to become reality. As any logical thinking person would agree, this is

de nitely not always the case.

The true power of visualization comes from the fact that we all have access to creative thoughts.

We can create a new idea in our mind through the simple act of visualization. Using the power of

action, we can take an idea that exists in our mind and bring it into reality. The process to do so

varies depending on the idea you have conceived. The point is that all creation starts in the mind

and it is up to the originator of that idea to see the result through to completion.

The more I have studied the connection between mental and physical reality, the more I have

become fascinated by the topic of visualization. A simple example is, you can take a room in

your home, visualize an entirely new arrangement and then go to work on bringing your vision

into reality. A few hours later, there you have your visualized image into reality. OK so it’s not

the most exciting example in the world but that same process can be applied to anything. And to

me, that IS exciting.

I have visualized myself doing some amazing things in my lifetime. Some of these things have

already come to pass while many of my larger visions still elude me. The fact that our vision of

the goal creates the potential for it to really happen is something for every person to get excited

about.

Someone visualized humans ying through the sky. People laughed. Now we have been

doing it for over a century!

Someone visualized sending sound through the air and being able to hear the sound in a

remote location. People laughed. Now we have 1000s of radio stations

Someone visualized two people having a conversation across the world with no wires.

People laughed. I just got off a Skype call with someone over 1000 miles away.

I had my own interesting visualization experience about 2 years ago. I was at a personal

development seminar and the speaker was talking about the power of visualization. He was

telling all kinds of exciting stories about people who had used various visualization techniques to

create some amazing results in their lives. Toward the end of his talk he walked us through a

“guided visualization” exercise. In the exercise, he had us close our eyes and clearly visualize a

result we would like to create. Having tried and failed at this kind of experiment in the past, I

was somewhat reluctant but I decided to suspend any disbelief and just try it out.

For my visualization, I picture my hand raising in front of my face and seeing my wedding band

on my ring nger. I had lost the ring 3 months earlier on a blustery winter day and had no idea

where it might have fallen. The exercise forced me to hold this vision of the ring on my nger for

at least 2 minutes (although I think it was even longer than that). The exercise ended and he

continued on with the presentation. After that, I dropped the whole thing from my mind and went

on with my day.

Later that evening, my wife answered the phone and there was a call from our sister in-law. Her

neighbor had found a gold wedding ring on their lawn among a pile of melting snow. She knew I

had been missing my ring so she called me right away to tell us it had been found. The ring must

have fallen off in their driveway and been shot across the yard with a snowblower only to land

on the neighbor’s yard. What are the chances that they discover the ring right around the same

time I visualized it?

Yes it is mysterious and it also could be coincidence. I guess you just have to ask yourself what

you believe in? For me, I know the power of visualization and I continue to leverage it as a

success habit in my life.

The Forgotten Skill of Focus

You need a 7 Day BrainwashLately, I have noticed a common theme among many friends, colleagues and associates. It seems we are all struggling with the same issue the ability to stay focused on a single task for a prolonged period of time.

When I recently took a mental inventory of my typical day, I quickly became alarmed by the number of concurrent tasks I found myself working on at any given time. Worse yet, when I examined my results and productivity levels, it was evident that I was struggling to keep up with previous outputs during the earlier phases of my business.

Then I came across an article written by Josh Waitzkin that pinpointed the direct cause of my reduced effectiveness. The article was on a topic he calls the “Multitasking Virus” as posted on Tim Ferriss’ Blog at http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog.

In the article, Waitzkin demonstrates the detrimental effects of multi-tasking and makes reference to a recent study at the British Institute of Psychiatry which ” showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.”

This was a real eye opener for me! I would have a hard time counting the number of times I had been checking my email throughout any given work day. On more than one occasion, I would completely stop a task (often an important, revenue generating task) to tend to a new email that popped up in my inbox regardless whether it was an important email or not.

When I discovered that this type of distraction was literally decreasing my IQ, I could immediately see certain areas where the quality of my work had been impacted. But it also forced me to stop and think about all of the other distractions that I was allowing (knowingly or unknowingly) to impact my work.

Between news and information websites, email, phone calls, instant messaging and business research, I was probably getting distracted a minimum of 10 times a day! If you think that sounds like a high number, take a few moments right now to mentally review some of your own personal distractions. You will likely notice that they add up pretty quickly! In my case, these distractions would actually make me stop the task at hand and move on to something different. Often, I would move on to something of lower priority but I was unable to recognize this at the time due to the fact that I had been so severely distracted from my previous train of thought.

Like anyone else, I am at my best and produce my most valuable work when I am able to stay focused and concentrated on one item of work. This really applies to any task we perform. If you have ever learned a manual skill like laying a hardwood floor, using a weed remover for your lawn, or even running large stacks of paper through a laminating machine (these all happen to be tasks that I recently performed), you likely noticed a learning curve. At first, you might have felt awkward and you may have even fouled up your first few attempts at the task. Gradually you got the hang of it and developed a rhythm. After a certain period of time, you actually started to master the skill and eventually you were able to do double, triple, quadruple (or even better) your productivity.

The same thing applies to practically everything we do in life. If you want to learn a new skill, the best way to do it is through a complete immersion process. If you want to run a marathon, you focus on running and likely divert from the weight room until after the competition. If you want to learn how to speak Spanish, your best bet is to get into a Spanish class and postpone your French class until you have mastered Spanish. Regardless of what you may be trying to accomplish, you will produce your best results when you are able to consistently focus on the highest priority activities.

When I want to write an article, I remove myself from all distractions. I even remove myself physically from my office and go to the library or another spot where I have no choice but to focus on the task at hand. My local library happens to have neither wireless internet availability nor cell phone reception. This combination makes for the perfect cure to my typical interruptions! I am often able to complete my articles or reports in less than a third of the time it would have taken me had I been working from my office and connected to my world of distractions.

An empowering discovery I have made about utilizing the power of focus is that it becomes increasingly easier to stay focused for longer stretches as you develop the mental discipline. One of the six intellectual faculties of every thinking person is something called “will”. This is our ability to sustain concentration on one item for an extended period of time. If you think of your “will” as a mental muscle, you can actually grow and develop this muscle similar to the way you would develop physical muscles at the gym; through frequent exercise.

If you are experiencing problems with productivity, take some time to carefully review the key points of this article. Then, try to determine if and where you are falling victim to distractions. Make a commitment to eliminate these distractions (disconnect from the internet, turn off the cell phone, etc ) so you can begin to practice your focusing exercises. You may want to start with 30 minute blocks. Work on staying 100% present with the task at hand. Monitor your progress. As you feel comfortable and find your rhythm, work on stretching it out to an hour, then two hours and then go beyond if you can.

But don’t forget to listen to your mind and body. Taking breaks is absolutely critical for your long term success. Since I often work from home, I use my breaks to drop all work from my mind and spend quality time with my wife and son. Whatever your situation, make sure you have an outlet to relieve your mind from your work for at least 15 minutes at a time.

Then when you’re ready, go back and continue to strengthen your focusing skills.

3 Ways You Can Attract Abundance

You need a 7 Day BrainwashYou don’t have to look very far to see the law of abundance in action. A single apple seed can spawn an entire orchard, whilst to count the individual grains of sand on a beach would take many lifetimes. (As well as being somewhat pointless).

The universe is clearly abundant. Not only that, but it has no resistance. Can you imagine the creative force, (whatever name you choose to give that), saying, “Well, I’m sorry. There just aren’t going to be any stars in the sky until next year – it’s too energy consuming!”

If you want to attract abundance, or indeed “trigger” the law of abundance in your life, here are three powerful ways you can get the ball rolling.

1. Accept you are a part of the abundance, not separate from it. For centuries now, our Westernized minds have conceived of ourselves as separate from our environment, resulting in an “us against the world” mentality.

If that was truly the case, could you say where you end and air or sunlight begins? Without either you could not exist, and yet we have the experience of those things being “outside” of ourselves because they aren’t under our direct conscious control. But conscious awareness is not the defining boundary of who and what you are.

Scarcity thinking, as opposed to an abundance mentality, comes about as a result of sensing this illusory separation. It is as absurd for you to think that you cannot attract an abundance of money, for example, as it would be for the ocean to consider it had run out of waves! The law of abundance doesn’t desert you, but you can dam it up by believing in its somehow skipping you.

2. Believe in your worthiness. There’s a tendency, because there are a lot of people on this planet, to think of yourself as “just an ordinary Joe or Jane.” In fact, there’s no such thing as an “ordinary” person! Every one of us is utterly unique. Attend anyone’s funeral and listen to the eulogies for confirmation of that fact.

At your funeral, a lot of people will say a lot of nice and wonderful things about you! So you might as well accept now that you make a positive contribution to a lot of lives and that you matter.

As you open your mind and heart to that notion, you open a channel too for the law of abundance to begin flowing its treasures to you once more.

3. Finally, a paradox. Stop trying so hard! We are somewhat obsessed with “to do lists” and “goal achievement.” There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with those notions unless they start to rule our lives. They are meant to serve you, not control you!

The law of abundance operates freely when you are living from your heart, relaxed and enjoying what you do. In other words, come from a place within first that feels good and let what you do flow from that.

There you have it. Three law of abundance tips that can change your life. All you have to do is to start believing in them and acting on them – starting right now.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You need a 7 Day BrainwashThe other day someone reminded me of a quote from “A Course In Miracles” which goes something like: “All human behaviour is either an act of love or a cry for help.”

Such pearls of wisdom are lost, aren’t they, unless they have some personal meaning?

Then yesterday I got upset with someone I’m very close to. I mean angry and hurt. In my heart of hearts I knew I wasn’t being rational or constructive, but in the heat of the moment it didn’t matter. I was right, darn it!

And then, as so often happens when you just release for a while, the answer fluttered in. That quote reverberated round my brain for a while, and then I asked myself, “Well, in that case, I’m either performing an act of love or a cry for help. This surely doesn’t feel loving, so what is it I want help with?”

As if by magic the pieces dropped into place. I went to this person and said, “Listen. I need your help. I need not to feel like this. I know your behaviour wasn’t intended to hurt me, so I must have made up the hurt myself. But I’m kinda playing this loop tape in my head that you didn’t put there, but once I started it, for a while, it’s all I can hear.”

We reached a loving understanding in less than ten minutes. We are closer, bigger inside and enriched.

So here’s my tip for now, for this day and for always. If there’s anyone you’re upset with, even if it’s an old upset, ask yourself, “What is it I need help with?” And then humbly and sincerely ask them for your help. Do it with your palms up and your head high, for you are bigger than your anger, and love and friendship are more important than your ego.

The importance of good feelings

You need a 7 Day BrainwashIt isn’t easy feeling good, especially on those days when things aren’t going so well. However, as we have seen before, our thought vibrations affect what comes into our lives, so if you don’t try to change your thoughts your day won’t get any easier. If you oversleep and then your car breaks down on your way to work, you will be tempted to think It’s going to be one of those days- what an awful day it’s going to be!’

Of course, the thought vibrations you are giving out to the universe will be negative ones, which will attract back a whole load more things to make the day worse- because that is what you are expecting. You may find that your meeting is really difficult, the caf gets your order wrong at lunch and your boss calls you into his office over an error you made.

However, as soon as something first goes wrong, you need to stop any negative thoughts and immediately get into happier ones. Focus on something that makes you feel good- it could be your partner, your child, your pet, your hobby- anything that will make you feel warm and happy whenever you think of them. Imagine yourself chatting to your partner, playing with your child or pet or enjoying your hobby and then, when you are feeling in a much better state of mind, think It’s going to be a great day!’ Your mindset will have completely changed and you will be giving out much more positive vibrations to the universe which will ensure that the rest of your day goes well.

If you are feeling really stressed and are finding it too difficult to change your thoughts, try a little visualization. Go somewhere quiet and close your eyes. If you find it difficult to find a quiet place at work, take a bathroom break! Take a few deep breathes and try to clear your mind of everyday clutter. Think of a peaceful place where you would love to be; this could either be a place you know, such as a holiday resort, or somewhere imaginary, such as by a mountain stream. Imagine that you are there; feel the hot sun on your face and the sand under your feet, or hear the gentle sound of water trickling over rocks and feel the breeze on your face. Spend a couple of minutes in the vision and then gently release it. You should feel much calmer.

Here is a simple experiment I tried some years ago; when I used to drive to work, I hated the journey as it was usually pretty busy, there were snarl ups, road works, break downs- you name it and I was held up by it. It used to take me ages to get to work and I found myself tensing up even before I left the house. I expected to be held up every morning and to hit loads of traffic- and I was never disappointed!

I had just heard of the law of attraction, and decided to apply it to my daily commute. Instead of feeling tensed and angry, and imagining all the hold ups I would encounter, I put on some relaxing music, and visualized having an easy journey into work. I imagined sailing through the usual busy spots, and felt confident that I would not experience any hold ups or broken down vehicles. I expected my drive to work to be smooth and quick. The funny thing is it really worked! As long as I took this approach, the traffic was a lot lighter, nobody had broken down, other drivers let me out at junctions and I started getting to work a whole lot faster!

You have probably experienced this when you are running late- every traffic signal appears to be against you, there are unexpected road works, you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, and find yourself becoming more and more worked up! On the other hand, if you are running early and feel relaxed because you have plenty of time, the traffic is flowing freely, all the traffic signals are on green and there are no hold ups at all, because you are not expecting and fretting about them. Try my little experiment and see the difference in your daily commute!

If you have a particular meeting or appointment you are dreading, don’t turn it over and over in your mind and think of the worst case scenario or you will be sending out negative thought vibrations to match it. Instead, imagine it going well, and visualize achieving the outcome you want- then forget about it. Don’t worry about it and don’t stew it over again and again in your mind.

What Are You Dedicating Your Life To?

You need a 7 Day BrainwashWhether you realize it or not, the way you choose to spend your day is ultimately a trade off. You

are literally trading the minutes, hours and days of your life in exchange for your current

activities. Most of us spend 40 (and often more) hours per week trading the precious moments of

our life for our job. Two questions immediately rise to the surface:

1. Do you consciously recognize and appreciate each day of your life with the awareness

that none of us know how much or how little time we have left?

2. If so, are you making a fair trade (i.e. are your activities worthy of your life energy)?

When I rst understood this lesson at both an intellectual and emotional level, my honest answer

to both of the above questions was NO! I was not necessarily taking my life for granted but I also

did not truly appreciate my days. I was devoting my time to a number of things that did not make

me happy and I was avoiding facing my fears. My mindset was I will deal with it at a better

time.’ Deep down I knew I was simply avoiding the issue altogether.

Speci cally, I am talking about my professional career. Although I was quite successful, had a

great salary, great security, excellent bene ts and room to grow in the organization, I did not

enjoy the work. I would start my day and look forward for it to be over. I did not work with any

passion. Worst of all, I was trading my life for this career.

Because this was the only profession I knew and spent many years establishing myself, it never

actually occurred to me that change was possible. I simply assumed that I would have to stick it

out and hopefully do well enough nancially so that I could retire early and THEN begin to

enjoy my days.

Then I got involved in personal development programs. I started to learn more about life and

more about the mind. I quickly realized that I had been operating my life following a set of

beliefs and paradigms that were not necessarily ideas that I agreed with. I had always assumed

that everyone disliked their job and it was just something we all had to go through to earn our

retirement’.

When I found out that there were many people who loved their work and had found a way to

make a living based on their passions, I was very intrigued. I was also wary of the idea because it

sounded too good to be true.

As I started to study some of these people and learn about the inspiring lives they were living, I

realized a very important distinction between them and myself. Unlike me at the time, they DID

appreciate the value of each living day and they also structured their life in such a way that they

were trading their days for a purpose worthy of them and their true values.

When I compared them to myself, I was trading the days of my life for something that made me

unhappy. When I dissected it further, I was choosing this lifestyle because I was too afraid to

change. I was afraid to give up the salary and bene ts, afraid to give up the position that took so

many years to obtain, afraid to admit to others that I was unhappy and afraid to decide what I

truly wanted out of life.

The more I thought about it and the more I studied personal development teachings and success

stories, the greater my desire for change became. I started to reprogram my mind so that the pain

of remaining status quo was actually more intense than the fear of change. I know many personal

growth programs advocate positive thinking, but negative motivators inspire action for all of us.

It certainly worked in my case.

Not only did this new mindset drive me to nd my true passion and true calling in life (speaking

and coaching), it helped me establish a sense of personal freedom that can best be described as

liberation. There came a point where my self image literally shifted and I saw myself safely and

con dently walking away from the career that I had so desperately held onto for many years.

The days of my life were far too important and valuable to be spending them doing something

that had no meaning for me. After I resigned from that position, I made a personal commitment

to dedicate the rest of my working days doing only that which I love.

I now love my work. I look forward to my days. I look forward to new projects and new

opportunities. I never think about retirement because I never plan on retiring. When you do what

you love, why would you ever want to stop?

If you are reading this article and can share a similar story, please contact me directly as I would

love to put together a special edition of my newsletter to pro le all of the inspiring and uplifting

stories of people who are living their dream.

Improve Yourself Programatically

You need a 7 Day BrainwashFor the past 3 years, I have spent most of my time developing my business and along the way, have had to overcome a number of fears and self-limiting ideas. What I was really doing was reprogramming my mind to think differently.

Here are 3 techniques you might want to try that will help you reprogram yourself to a new and improved YOU:

1. Hang out with an influencer.

When I first got started in business, I was struggling to pay the bills and find enough clients to keep me going. Even when I did find clients, I did a terrible job billing for my time and I was not recognizing my own value as a service provider.

I was then lucky enough to meet another business owner who had built a number of successful companies and had already been through all of the tough business lessons that I had yet to be exposed to. Over time we became friends and I was able to absorb an incredible amount of information about business, mindset, dealing with clients, social skills, etc… all of the things that made him so talented at business.

The challenge here is that you can’t just walk up to someone and ask them to be your friend. When you meet someone who you would like to learn from, show them that you value their time and bring something of your own to the table. If they feel they can also learn from you and your life experiences, they will be far more willing to hang out with you.

2. Wage a war against the whiny voice in your head.

Have you ever had an idea that totally captivated your imagination and inspired you to think about a life far beyond the one you are living today? If so, were you also among the majority of people who had that cynical, whiny, negative voice pop up and immediately tell you all the reasons why this new idea could never come true?

Instead of falling victim to that defeating voice, try turning the tables. Picture that voice as a vicious enemy trying to steal your life, power and happiness away from you. Challenge the voice. Question its authenticity. Question its reasoning. Make it powerless against your will.

Realize that you have the choice to replace that voice with a more encouraging, faithful and friendly one. A voice that will consider your goal not just a possibility, but a probability. A voice that does not look externally for validation before taking action, but rather, uses self-belief as its driving force. A voice that realizes that any person who has ever achieved greatness had to do so against similar odds and that all things are possible to those who commit to their vision.

3. Get the competitive edge.

When you want to accomplish something new, try setting up a competition against one or more people who want the same thing. This creates two powerful forces.

The first is the desire to be triumphant. Imagine the excitement someone must feel when they win a gold medal in the Olympics. They have achieved a personal dream and they get a flood of recognition from friends, family, media, fans and ultimately their entire country. What person would not love this kind of validation of success? The same kind of triumph can be experienced when you win a competition that you have been involved in, no matter how small it may be.

The second (and more powerful) force that gets created in competition is the desire to avoid defeat. Most humans instinctively associate any form of loss with pain and in most cases, will do anything necessary to avoid that pain. If you enter some kind of competition that will help drive you towards your goals, this pain avoidance force may be the deciding factor in your success.

Use competitive scenarios to drive you forward but remember to detach from the outcome. If you happen to lose your competition, don’t get down in the dumps. Focus on what positives came out of it (usually a drastic increase in results) and continue moving towards your goals.

Cherish The People In Your Life

You need a 7 Day BrainwashWhen you take a moment to really listen to another person, hear their story and connect with them, it can be an amazing experience. The problem in today’s world is we are all moving at an extremely rapid pace and it can be difficult to find time to have a good conversation with someone new.

I was recently at a business networking event where there were maybe 50 other business owners and sales people in the room. As I walked around, I saw a lot of fast paced talking and most of the conversation was “surface level” discussion at best. Most people were waiting for their chance to talk at the other person rather than listening and being engaged in the dialog. Part of the issue was this type of event can be rushed and that alone can hurt the quality of conversation. But this was not the first time I had witnessed this and I began reflecting on the number of times I had done the same.

Up until recently, I had been very focused on business and just being productive in general that I was missing out on opportunities all around me. If someone new would cross my path at a coffee shop or at the gym, I would do my best to avoid the person because I was in a rush. In some cases, the person was actually trying to strike up a conversation but I wanted no part of it. In hindsight, the reason I was doing it was because I was making a snap judgment (usually based on something superficial like the age of the person) that a conversation with this person would be more work than it was worth.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a coffee shop very early in the morning tucked away in a corner with my laptop trying to get some writing done. About 30 minutes after I sat down, an older gentleman probably in his late 70s put his bag down in the chair next to me and went up to buy his coffee. Right away I felt myself get annoyed and was about to pack up my bag and move to another coffee shop when the man quickly reappeared and asked me what I was working on. For some reason, I changed in that moment and I felt compelled to answer his question and actually use the opportunity to make a new friend. A minute later I closed my laptop and spent the next hour having a great conversation with this interesting guy. He shared some amazing stories about his travels through Europe and his plans for the future.

The conversation totally changed my day and ultimately the way I looked at other people in general. Everyone has a story to tell and if we spend even a few moments to take some genuine interest, we are bound to find something amazing in every person we meet.