When Times Get Tough

You need a 7 Day BrainwashWe’ve all been there at some point in our life. Everything seems to be moving along smoothly when something suddenly happens; a challenge, a barrier, a crisis. These events can range anywhere from being mildly inconvenient to downright terrible and sometimes devastating. When situations like this arise, we all have ultimately one choice to make how we will choose to respond.

When you boil it down, that is really how our entire life unfolds. We are making a never ending series of choices about how we will interact with the events and circumstances surrounding us. Many of these choices occur unconsciously as part of our conditioned behaviour patterns. Understanding that we always retain the power and the right to make a conscious choice about our reactions is where we can transform challenges into opportunities.

Consider the idea of personal perception. Every person observes and interprets the world around them from a unique vantage point. I remember very clearly an incident about 5 years ago when I was having lunch on a restaurant patio with a few of my colleagues. The patio was next to a very busy street. About 20 minutes into our meal, we were all startled by a large crash followed by an excitable YELP sound. As I turned in my seat to examine the incident, we saw a new sports car t-boned by an older sedan. Fortunately, the collision had taken place at a relatively slow speed so there were no injuries, just two very upset drivers. The YELP sound had come from a tow truck driver who had been parked literally across the street. He was so excited that an accident had occurred right in front of his truck meaning he would be the first tow provider on the scene. Talk about drastically opposing perspectives! These two unfortunate drivers were caught up in a very unpleasant experience while the tow truck entrepreneur had his latest gig essentially fall into his lap.

What’s most interesting about this example is that it illustrates to me that the world around us simply exists, nothing more, nothing less. It is not until we apply our personal perception along with all of our expectations and beliefs, that events become positive or negative. Since we are creative by nature and always have 100% control over our thoughts, we can then choose to seek out the positives in life. When something happens to us that initially appears to be negative, we have an opportunity to reject our habitual reaction and create a new, more empowering belief about that event.

I have personally made a habit of this type of mentality and I continue to develop this capability with every passing day. I am becoming someone who can cherish the tough times. When adversity strikes, I am often able to control my attitude and remain focused on the positive rather than being consumed by the apparent misfortune. I then remind myself of Robert Collier’s quote, “In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage.”

Dustin Carter is no stranger to adversity. We recently featured his YouTube video on the Ignite Your Essence website. Dustin was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder at age 5. The doctors were forced to amputate the majority of all of his limbs. Despite his obvious challenges, Dustin is now a top student wrestler working towards a full wrestling scholarship. He is a tremendous inspiration to everyone who meets him and he gives hope to others who may be facing physical challenges.

Many successful entrepreneurs have been able to transform challenging life situations into business building opportunities. One of the best examples of this is Robert Allen. His book, Nothing Down: How to Buy Real Estate with Little or No Money Down, went to the top of the New York Times Best-Seller list after a controversial ad he ran to promote it. In the ad, Allen claimed that you could take him to any city, take his wallet away, give him $100 and he could buy a piece of real estate. After Allen’s book had achieved great success, a reporter from the LA Times challenged his claim in the ad and called him a fraud. In order to prove himself, Allen was forced to take the challenge and prove he could actually achieve the feat. Not knowing if he would actually be able to pull it off, Robert Allen began to worry and realized that he would be professionally ruined if he was not able to deliver. In a formally arranged meeting, the reporter met Allen in San Francisco, took his wallet and gave him $100. With his name and credibility on the line, Allen took the $100 and purchased 7 properties worth $700,000 in a 57 hour window. Needless to say, he went on to achieve enormous success in his career.

How would your life change if you were able to transform a negative event into a positive experience? What kind of results could you produce if you learned to embrace adversity and treat it as an opportunity for growth? Regardless of the nature of the challenge you are facing, decide to become the kind of person who embodies this philosophy and you will most assuredly begin to produce incredible things in your life while providing inspiration to those around you!

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.

Using the Law of Attraction with Love and Family

You need a 7 Day BrainwashThere are two parts of their life which people generally want to change; their work environment and the relationships which they have with their families and their significant others. Can the law of attraction help to strengthen and heal your relationships with others?

The answer is, of course! The people you love are governed by the same ebb and flow of energy as you yourself are, and as such their energies will naturally be attracted to similar energies which are being emitted from another person. If you are vibrating positive energies and emotions they will respond in kind. They will not be able to help themselves; it is the law of attraction at work.

With family there is already a subliminal bond which will help you to improve your relationship right from the very beginning. There are many reasons why family members may find themselves at odds with each other; it is not necessarily a pre-requisite that you like the people you love, and for families who often find themselves in each other’s back pockets and competing for common resources the fights can become quite vicious.

Regardless of the reasons you and your family may have had for falling out it is never good to leave relationships festering. You need to fix them or they will eventually have an impact on the emotional thought vibrations you are giving out, which may start to attract other bad relationships, with colleagues and customers. In order to fix a relationship that has been broken you must first really want to fix it, and then believe that it will happen.

It is very easy to tell the other person that you want to mend your relationships when in reality you continue to carry the resentment that you feel towards them. If you do, you don’t really want to mend your relationship, or if you do you have not yet let go of what has caused the separation in the first place.

Letting go of your resentment is an essential ingredient in finding harmony, for in order for the law of attraction to be able to work you must first rid yourself of all of the negative thought energy you have been sending towards them so far. It is important that you accept the fact that you can forgive and forget, allowing the two of you to move on with your life with a much happier relationship than you have experienced to date.

The process of attracting a significant other is much the same; however, in order for the law of attraction to be able to attract them to you, you must be very specific when making your request to the universe regarding exactly what it is that you are looking for in a relationship.

Remember, the law of attraction means that your subconscious mind is going to be drawn to their subconscious mind. Focus on the kind of values you wish for your perfect partner to possess, the type of relationship that you are looking to share with them (do you want to get married, date casually, etc) as well as personality traits which you feel are especially important. Then allow yourself to believe that you are going to find them.

The last step here is the most important. The belief that a relationship with the person of your dreams is beyond your reach is going to result in you being absolutely correct and pushing this relationship away. Remind yourself that every day hundreds of men and women are building a life with the person of their dreams; there is absolutely no reason why you cannot.

It is essential that once you have placed a request for a significant other with the universe that you are willing to have patience for the desired results to occur. The universe is not always going to give you exactly what you want, exactly when you want it. It does things in its own time.

Now, imagine that you have asked the universe to give you the man or woman of your dreams, but you become impatient because they have not yet become a part of your life within a few months of making the request. You begin to date someone else, and that someone else begins to occupy your mind and your attentions until they are all that you see. They are not the person which you asked the universe for, however; they are simply someone intended to fill the time until that person arrives.

Over the course of time that you are dating this other individual, however, you have become acquainted with quite a lot of new people. These new people are shadows passing in and out of your life because they are not this new person whom you have begun to date. What would you do if the person you had been waiting for was among that number? What if they had come looking for you, but you did not recognize them because you were so busy trying to keep yourself busy until they got there?

It is essential that you do not close either your mind or your heart to the universe because of external distractions; this is the most fatal mistake you could make, because it means that you have lost faith in the ability of the vibrational energies of your mind to interact with the vibrational energies of nature to bring you your desired results, and the negative energies generated from these thoughts will result in the person of your dreams walking away from you before you even knew they were there.

The “Need” to be Right

You need a 7 Day BrainwashOur world is full of variety. On any given day we can have both positive and negative experiences. Many of these experiences ultimately influence the way we see the world and the opinions we form about how the world works.

Everyone lives in the context of their own perspective. While one person may look at a snow storm and be excited about the possibilities to get out and have fun, another person might be full of fear because they had previously been involved in a driving accident caused by dangerous winter driving conditions.

The events and circumstances are neutral. Our opinions about them are not!

Since we all have our own way of seeing the world, conflict with family, friends, colleagues, etc… is inevitable. There is absolutely no way that you are going to process every event in the same way as the people in your life. When these conflicts and differences of opinion arise, are you prepared to deal with them?

While I do believe that a good debate can often lead to effective solutions of problems, many debates can turn sour and become more toxic than helpful. When this happens, it is important to recognize that the situation will likely end in a stale mate and that you don’t “need” to be right.

The “need to be right” can be harmful to your health. If you spend all of your focus and energy trying desperately to convince someone else that your perspective is the correct one, you are creating a huge amount of unneeded stress in your life. If you go into this mode of “needing to be right”, you should take a step back and ask yourself why. Why do I need to be right? Why do I need this other person to accept my way of thinking so badly?

This ultimately comes down to self esteem. If you believe in your heart that a certain perspective is 100% true, there is absolutely no need to force anyone else to agree with you. The sooner you can embrace this, the sooner you will reduce stress and create more happiness in your life.

Embrace the idea of not “needing to be right”. If someone is taking an aggressive stance with you and trying to force an opinion on you that you do not agree with, let it go! Let them be right in their head and you can confidently carry your own truth in your heart.

Multitasking Makes More Work For You

You need a 7 Day BrainwashEvery year that goes by, it seems as though our society is getting busier and busier. I hear comments from people in older generations saying that life was never this hectic when they were younger. With all of the advances in technology combined with the demands of family, career and so on, it is no wonder we live in such a “busy” culture.

Although the ongoing growth of technology has great benefits, it is sometimes hard to see how it also has negative implications. Specifically when it comes to time how we manage our time. Most people have advanced cell phones, laptops with internet connection, ipods, ipads, and a whole host of other electronic gadgets. Each one of these items serves a great purpose but also cause an enormous amount of distraction in our lives.

One thing I have been implementing in my life recently, that has been a huge benefit, is removing distractions. When you have a busy work load, the most important thing you can do is give yourself dedicated blocks of time to focus on completing it.

This means you remove interruptions like cell phones, email, browsing news or social media websites, (even traditional interruptions like chatty colleagues) etc… This way, you allow your mind to focus solely on the task at hand. For me, I do a lot of creative work that requires my concentration. I have found that I can accomplish more in one single 90 minute block of focussed work than I can in almost a full day of interrupted work.

I purposely remove myself from my distractions. I disconnect my internet connection, I turn off my phone, I even close any other programs that might be running on my computer. The only thing left for me to do is concentrate on the task at hand.

This can be applied in many situations both work related and otherwise. Any time you choose to remove focus from your main task at hand (i.e. multitasking), you are literally increasing your workload. The time it takes you to go back to your original job and get refocused ends up costing you a lot more time than it would have if you never allowed the interruption to happen.

If you are someone who considers themselves to be a good “multi-tasker”, take some time right to consider how many hours you are costing yourself each week by allowing your focus to move all over the place. It is very likely that you are spending more time than you need to complete many of your important work.

Once you do this analysis, make a commitment to focusing your energy on one major task at a time. You will be amazed at the results.