Why Some People Succeed And Others Do Not

Once there was a wealthy Texan ranch owner who knew his life was coming to an end, so he sent a message to his two sons and asked them to come and visit him one last time.

Texas Fields

His eldest son arrived first and the old ranch owner told him that he was leaving him the entire North pasture because he had a hunch that there was oil below the ground that could set him up for a prosperous life.

Later that day the ranch owner spoke to his youngest son and told him that he would receive the entire South pasture and that there was a good chance that he’d find oil below the surface.

Several days later the old rancher died and the two sons inherited their respective allotments of land.

The eldest son started digging immediately. He dug down 10 feet but did not hit oil, he dug down 20 feet but did not hit oil. He then decided that he was digging in the wrong spot, so he moved to a new location in the pasture and started digging again.

Once again he did not strike oil at 10 feet or at 20 feet so he moved on to another spot.

He repeated this pattern 5 more time before coming to the conclusion that his father had been badly mistaken and that the field did not contain any oil.

He sold his field to his younger brother, took his money and moved to the city.

The younger son took a somewhat different approach. He selected a spot in the south pasture and started digging.

He dug down 10 feet but did not hit oil, he dug down 20 feet but did not hit oil…

However, instead of moving to a new spot, he kept digging. He brought in more machinery and continued to dig – 30 feet, 40 feet, 50 feet, and finally at 60 feet down he struck pay dirt and tapped into one of the biggest oil reservoirs in the State which made him several million dollars.

The moral of this story is that a lot of people (especially online business owners) start projects and spend a few weeks or months trying to make them work, but when they don’t strike oil, they move onto a new opportunity.

In the end all they are left with is several empty holes. However, the person who learns to focus on a single opportunity and go deep is much more likely to strike oil and achieve the results they are looking for.

So today I’d like to encourage you take a long term approach to achieving your goals. Get crystal clear on what you really want to achieve, start digging, and most importantly – focus your efforts and make the decision to dig deep.

If you struggle with staying focused on your goals, be sure to check out The Focus Formula, and discover how you can work with me personally to achieve your goals faster than ever before.

The Goal Setting Problem No One Ever Talks About…

If you’ve ever listened to any personal development programs relating to productivity, time management or goal setting, then I’m sure you’ve heard the “Write Your Goals Down” mantra many times before…

2014Goals

However, one thing no one ever seems to talk about however is WHERE to write your goals down.

For a long time I used to write my goals down in a notebook. The only problem with this approach was that I would then fill the book with notes on other topics, and it would eventually get lost in the back of a cupboard or drawer.

The next time I’d think about my future and decide it was time to set some goals, I’d go out and buy a brand new notebook, and start the process all over again from scratch…

One of the most useful things you can do to develop clarity around what you really want to achieve in life, is to make the decision to write down and keep your most important goals in a single place that you’ll always have access to – Your Goal Repository.

This makes it much easier to review your goals on a regular basis, and it also helps enormously when you come to revise or update your goals.

The Ultimate Goal Repository

After trying a number of different options for storing my goals, I settled on the web-based software Evernote as my ultimate goal repository.

Within Evernote, I set up a specific Notebook called “My Goals” and within this notebook are two special Notes…

Evernote

My Five Year Vision 2014

The first note is my Five Year Vision which outlines where I would like to be in every aspect of my life on January 1st 2019. In this note I describe my ideal physical health, relationships, financial situation, and how I’d like to be spending my time in five years.

While no one can predict the future, having a clear vision of the future you WANT to create is a powerful tool that can help you navigate through the tough times, and stay on track no matter what unforeseen obstacles life may throw at you.

Yearly Goals

In addition to my Five Year Vision, the second note I keep in my Evernote goal repository is a note describing my Goals for the current year.

This note contains more specific goals relating to my health, relationships and financial situation.

For example, my health goals for 2014 are:

  • BMI < 25 kg/m2
  • Total serum cholesterol <200 mg/dl
  • LDL < 100
  • HDL >60
  • Cholesterol Ratio <4
  • Blood Pressure < 120/80
  • Fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides < 150 mg/dL
  • 10% body fat

One thing you’ll notice is that I like to set METRIC driven goals. When you set specific metrics for your goals, it gives you a concrete way to determine whether you’ve achieved them or not.

So if you’re one of the millions of people who writes down their goals in notebooks, on the back of envelopes, or on small scraps of paper that inevitably get lost, I’d like to encourage you to make the decision to set up a Goal Repository to store the written description of your most important life goals.

When you do this you will gain an incredible sense of clarity, purpose and confidence that comes from knowing what you really want, and having it written down in one specific place.

You’ll also be able to review your goals regularly, and modify them when needed to steer yourself towards achieving your annual goals and your Five Year Vision.

Question: Where and how do you write your goals down?

The Study Secrets Of Successful Students

With her final exams rapidly approaching, Casey knew that she desperately needed to start studying. However, with everything that was going on in her life, she was finding it hard to concentrate…

Casey college student

After recently breaking up with her boyfriend, receiving a huge repair bill for her car, and arguing with her father yet again, Casey was finding it difficult to focus on what she needed to do.

Instead of revising her notes, she often found herself spending hours on facebook or watching random videos on YouTube. This made her feel even more guilty as deep down, she knew she was procrastinating and wasting valuable time.

Finally, one morning she decided that enough was enough, and made the decision to get back on track.

Here’s what she did…

Step 1: Find Your Why

Casey’s first step was to sit down and think about why she was really doing her course. Her ultimate goal was to become a pharmacist, so to remind herself of this, Casey created a poster that included a picture of a pharmacist and the words “I Am A Pharmacist” in bold print.

Goal Poster

She then stuck this picture to the ceiling above her bed so that it was the first thing she saw every morning, and the last thing she saw when she went to sleep. This helped her to get moving each day and focus on what she really wanted from life.

Step 2: Exercise In Moderation 

Next, Casey made the decision to incorporate some simple exercise into her daily routine. Every morning, she put on her headphones and listened to her favourite playlist while going for a brisk jog around the local park.

Instead of pushing herself too hard and feeling exhausted, Casey just focused on getting her body moving, her heart pumping, and clearing her head as a great way to start the day.

Step 3: Create A Positive Work Environment

When Casey looked around her room, she realised that it was dark, stuffy and messy. She also noticed that this was a good reflection of how her mind was feeling.

Rather than falling into the trap of using “cleaning” as a reason to procrastinate for two days, Casey time-boxed her clean up activities and gave herself an hour to tidy up her study space.

She opened up the curtains to let the light in. Opened the windows to get some fresh air, and cleared the junk off her floor and bed. This had an immediate and surprising impact on her state of mind and attitude to her studies.

Step 4: Use Study Sessions

Now that she felt better about her physical surroundings, Casey made the decision that instead of trying to study all day, she would study in focused 25 minute blocks.

Before starting a study session, Casey switched her mobile to silent and put it in her bag. She also unplugged her Internet connection so she wouldn’t get distracted by email, facebook, or twitter.

Next, Casey grabbed a kitchen timer and dialed up 25 minutes for her study session. Once the timer started, she focused entirely on what she had to do to revise for her next exam.

Kitchen timer

She also kept a blank sheet of paper on her desk, which she used as a “Distraction Catcher”. If she thought of something she needed to do while she was studying, she just jotted it down on her Distraction Catcher so that she could deal with it later. This helped her to avoid distraction and stay focused.

Step 5: Take Regular Brain Breaks

At the end of each study session, Casey would have a 5 minute break to grab a drink or go to the bathroom. She would then kick off another session.

After completing four study sessions, Casey would then take a complete break for half hour. During this longer break, she would check her phone, go for a walk or have something to eat.

Step 6: Use Auditory Learning 

One of Casey’s friends told her that the recordings of all their lectures were available online. Casey downloaded the recordings and listened to them while she was driving.

She found this was a great way to make use of her commute time, and also a fantastic way to get an overview of what had been covered during the semester.

Step 7: Use Visual Learning

As Casey reviewed her lecture notes, she focused on understanding the material rather than simply trying to memorise it. One visual technique that helped with this was to create a mind map for each of the topics she was studying.

Mind map

Casey would review her own notes and then create a mindmap using the Freemind software to explain the concepts in her own words. She would then compare her mind map to her notes, and add in anything that she had missed out.

Step 8: Use Kinesthetic Learning

Casey also discovered that she enjoyed learning by “doing”. So she organized with a few friends to have a group study session. During this session, they took it in turns to present a mini lecture on a specific topic.

At the end of the mini lecture, they would ask each other questions which further enhanced everyone’s understanding. Casey found that the ideas that came up during these discussion really stayed with her.

She also realised that the people she spent time with had a HUGE impact on her own attitude, and made a conscious decision to spend more time with her friends who were working hard and trying to do well.

Step 9: Get Help Sooner Rather Than Later

Occasionally Casey came across a concept or question she didn’t understand. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out everything for herself, Casey made the decision to get help as quickly as possible. She collated her questions and arranged to see her tutor or lecturer as soon as they were available.

Instead of feeling bad about having a lot of questions, Casey focused on getting as much information as she could to help her prepare for her exams.

Step 10: Practice Specifically For Each Exam

As her exams got closer, Casey focused on practicing exactly what she would need to do in each of her exams.

For her essay based exams, she used her study sessions to write non-stop for 25 minutes. For her problem based exams, she completed as many practice questions as she could during her session.

The more she practiced exactly what she was going to do in her upcoming exams the more confident she became.

After getting back on track, organising her study sessions and working hard, Casey felt much better about her exams. She realised that preparation really is the cure for nervousness.

With a solid preparation under her belt, and a positive mental attitude, Casey was ready to blitz her exams…

So if you have exams coming up sometime this year, I encourage you to use these 10 steps to clarify your goals, develop a positive mental attitude, improve your environment, optimise your preparation, and make your academic dreams a reality!

Question: What is your single best exam preparation tip?

The Power Of Connection

As we travel through life, each of us encounters people who disappoint and deceive us. In response to these negative experiences we often create a protective mental wall to keep people out and prevent us from experiencing this pain again.

wall1

And in some ways, withdrawing from those around us and putting up our mental defenses DOES work. It keeps corrupt people out, and protects us from their malicious intentions.

However the problem with living life this way, is that in addition to keeping us isolated from the relatively few malicious people in the world, we also isolate ourselves from all the truly good people around us.

Wall2

When we become isolated from the world at large, we miss out on so much joy, happiness and laughter that the right people can bring into our lives.

The big problem is many of us live with our protective mental walls UP by default, and we only occasionally lower our defenses and let people in.

One of the most powerful ways to transform your relationships is to turn this strategy around, and learn to live with your protective mental walls DOWN by default, and only occasionally raise them to block out the negative people you may encounter.

Wall3

Here are three ways to practice bringing down your protective mental walls and connecting with those around you.

1. Disconnect To Reconnect

These days one of the common ways to create a “wall” to block others out is to use our mobile phones.

On trains, at social events, and even family gatherings, many people are so engaged in their virtual world that they don’t even realise that they are losing their connection with the people around them.

One of the best ways to expand and deepen your relationships is to disconnect to reconnect, and make the decision to only use your phone to check facebook or the Internet when you are alone.

When you are with your family, friends or even just out and about, put your phone away and focus on connecting with the real people in your life.

2. Make eye contact and smile

All too often we rush through life with our head down, and our mind busily reviewing the next twenty things to do on our ‘To Do’ list.

We are so busy and focused that we never take the time to stop and make eye contact with those around us.

The simple act of making eye contact and smiling, can occasionally open a doorway that changes your life forever.

For example in 1968, my mother met her dearest friend at a bus stop in the small town of Tamworth in England. A simple smile and hello led to a cup of tea, which ultimately led to a connection that has spanned 3 continents, and provided them both with 46 years of priceless friendship.

3. Live authentically

When we talk with those around us, it can be tempting to create a facade that always presents our life in the best possible light.

When someone asks “How are you?” we automatically share a quick superficial overview of our life – “Work is busy, our partner is fine and the kids are doing great.”

It is amazing what happens when you resist the temptation to present this “vanilla version” of your life, and actually think about your response.

While you don’t need to divulge the details of your problems to everyone you meet, lowering your protective wall and sharing the challenges you are facing with people you care about is a wonderful way to deepen your relationships.

So today I’d like to encourage you to lower your protective mental wall and live with your barriers DOWN by default. When you develop the habits of putting away your mobile phone, genuinely smiling at those you encounter, and speaking authentically from your heart, you will establish and nurture positive relationships that will enrich your life for many years to come.

Question: What can you do to expand and deepen the relationships in your life?

The Key Ingredient For Business Success

If you are thinking about starting a new business this year, or looking to take your current business to the next level there is one key ingredient that you will need in order to make your dream a reality.

Hairdresser

The one key ingredient you will need to achieve success in any business endeavour is BELIEF.

Here’s why…

The reality of any business is that as soon as you begin, you will be faced with a series of problems to solve and obstacles to overcome.

  • Your business partner suddenly backs out
  • You can’t raise the capital you need to get started
  • Your planning proposal is rejected
  • etc.

Faced with this seemingly endless list of obstacles, if you don’t have a strong sense of belief in what you are doing, it is more than likely that you will eventually give up on your business dream.

However, if you DO have belief in yourself and your business you will continue to push forward, find or create a solution to every problem you encounter, and ultimately achieve the success you are looking for.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of belief before, but here’s where things get really interesting…

Whenever I ask business owners, how important they think it is to have a sense of belief in themselves and their business, they usually respond by saying “It’s critical”

Next I ask them how many hours a week they work on their business, and the answer is usually 40 – 70 hours a week.

I then ask them, how many of those hours do they spend developing their sense of belief…

All too often the answer is “0” hours.

So even though they understand that belief is a critical ingredient for achieving success, most business owners simply do not spend any time developing their sense of belief.

You see, what most people don’t realise is that belief is a learned skill.

Developing a deep sense of belief is not something that happens automatically. You can’t just switch on your sense of belief when you need it. On the contrary, belief is something that you need to develop and grow through consistent daily practice.

Here’s an example that illustrates how this works in the real world…

For as long as Christine could remember, she had wanted to open her own hairdressing salon, however each time she thought about making a move, her fear prevented her from taking action.

Then one day at a seminar, Christine learnt that belief is a learned skill and that in order to develop a sense of belief she needed to practice every day.

Unlike most people at the seminar, Christine took this on board, and added a new routine to her morning schedule.

Here’s what she did…

First she would find a quiet spot where she could be alone. Then she would close her eyes, meditate for 5 minutes by focusing on her breathing and say a prayer of thanks for the day ahead.

Next she would read out a written description of her goal and spend some time visualising her hairdressing salon in every detail.

In her mind’s eye she saw herself welcoming people to her salon and chatting with them as she cut and styled their hair. She imagined the delight in her customer’s eyes and the gratitude they expressed for transforming their appearance.

As Christine made visualisation a part of her daily routine, she began to develop a deep sense of belief in her dream, and it was this sense of belief that compelled her to take action.

She put together a business plan and approached her bank to obtain a business loan. Unfortunately her loan application was rejected and Christine was devastated. Ordinarily this is where she would have given up on her dream and returned to her regular job.

This time however, Christine continued with her morning visualisation and her sense of belief did not waver.

Instead of renting a store in town, she decided to clear out the spare room and convert it into a home based salon.

There were many obstacles and problems along the way…

Initially she didn’t know anything about marketing or how to get clients in through the door, she didn’t know how to balance her books or keep track of her expenses, and she had no idea what records she needed to provide to her accountant at tax time.

However by actively developing her sense of belief each morning, Christine was able to meet and overcome each and every problem that came her way.

Two years later, with a proven track record and a solid understanding of how to run her business, Christine was able to obtain the bank loan she needed to open her first salon in the city.

So today I’d like to encourage you to understand that belief is a learned skill and make visualisation a part of your daily routine. When you take the time to visualise your dream in detail  each morning, you will gradually develop a strong sense of belief that will help you to meet and overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

Question: How do you develop and maintain your sense of belief in your goals?

Ten Tips For A Healthy 2014

In January of each year, gyms around the world are packed to capacity with people aggressively pursuing their New Year’s resolutions to improve their health.

Unfortunately by February the gyms have once again returned to normal as most people give up on their quest for good health. Today I’d like to share with you ten tips to help you break this annual cycle and make healthy living an integral part of your life in 2014.

Family exercising together

Tip 1: Adopt a new mindset

When most people kick off their New Year’s resolution to get fit, they unfortunately buy into our society’s obsession with “Instant Success”. They want to…

  • “Get Ripped in 6 weeks”
  • “Drop 5 dress sizes in a month”
  • “Transform their body overnight”

In order to achieve these dramatic results, they often embark on a brutal training regime reminiscent of a military boot camp.

Sadly this approach is frequently endorsed by some personal trainers who justify their fees by pushing their clients to the breaking point. It is also glamorized by popular TV shows in which overweight individuals are pushed to their physical and emotional limits to make dramatic physical transformations.

The problem with this approach is that for every person who successfully endures this punishment, there are hundreds of others who push themselves too hard, too soon and end up getting injured or sick.

One of the most important things you can do to achieve your fitness goals this year is to reject the notion of overnight physical transformation, and instead focus on adopting a long term healthy lifestyle.

This change in mindset is critical and flies in the face of most of the advertising in the health and fitness industry these days.

Rather than going on a crash diet or adopting a brutal training program to achieve rapid results, make the decision to make exercise and healthy eating an on-going and enjoyable part of your daily life.

Tip #2: Lock it in

Set aside 30 minutes a day for your physical well being. Experiment with exercising in the morning, at lunchtime or after work to find the option that works best for you.

Remember you are looking to find a sustainable approach that works in with your work and family obligations.

Mum exercising with pram

Tip #3: Use a trigger

Use a trigger to remind yourself to exercise each day. For example, I’m a morning person so I begin each day by praying and and meditating. I then write for an hour.

As soon as I finish my writing session, I know it’s time to exercise. Completing my writing session is therefore my “trigger” to jump on my spin bike or grab my weights.

Tip #4: Focus on consistency rather than intensity

When you are just starting out, it is much more important to focus on how often you exercise rather than how hard you exercise in a single session.

The first “muscle” you need to strengthen is your “Consistency muscle” and the best way to do this is to exercise at an intensity that gives you a solid workout but does not overtax your body.

A good rule of thumb is that 15 minutes after your session you should feel energised and alive, rather than feeling exhausted or fatigued.

When you focus on consistency rather than intensity, exercise will gradually become as natural a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

Fit Seniors

Tip #5: Cardio, weights and active recovery

A well rounded fitness program is made up of weight training, cardiovascular exercise such as running or riding a bike, and an active recovery session such as pilates or yoga. Here’s my current routine as an example:

  • Mon: Cardio – high intensity interval training on my spin bike
  • Tue: Weight training – I use a set of dumbbells and my Total Gym – Yes, the one Chuck Norris promotes :-)
  • Wed: Cardio
  • Thurs: Weight training
  • Fri: Cardio
  • Sat: Weight training
  • Sun: Pilates – I use a dvd produced by Jillian Hessel

Tip #6: Eat at specific times of the day

One of the biggest problems with overeating is that we eat because we’re bored, upset or emotional. When you make eating something you do at specific times of the day it becomes much easier to eat well.

Rather than the traditional 3 large meals a day, move to 6 small healthy meals. For example:

  • 7:30am – Breakfast
  • 10:30am – Morning snack
  • 1:00pm – Lunch
  • 3:30pm – Afternoon snack
  • 6:30pm – Dinner
  • 8:00pm – Evening snack

Tip #7: Drink a Green Smoothie

For Christmas my wife Bec and I purchased a blender and I have been amazed at the impact having a green smoothie each day has had on my health and feeling of well being. I enjoy my smoothie as my morning snack along with a handful of nuts, dried fruit and seeds.

Here is my favourite smoothie recipe so far:

  • 2 Kale leaves
  • Handful of spinach
  • 3 Cos lettuce leaves
  • 1 banana
  • handful of goji berries
  • teaspoon of chia seeds
  • teaspoon of spirulina
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 ice cubes

Green Smoothie

Tip #8: Drink 8 glasses of water each day

We’ve all heard this before, but most of us still don’t drink enough water. The fact is that feeling “thirsty” is actually a sign of dehydration so you shouldn’t wait to feel thirsty before drinking water.

In order to drink 8 glasses of water a day, I try to have a glass as soon as I wake up, a glass with each of my meals during the day and a glass before bed.

Tip #9: Get lots of sleep

Many people think that their body transforms in the gym, however, exercise is a form of stress, and getting fit is your body’s physical adaptation to that stress.

This process of adaptation actually occurs while you recover in between exercise sessions. This is why getting enough sleep is just as important as your workouts.

Tip #10: Monitor body fat percentage NOT weight

Personally I believe that bathroom scales are one of the worst ways to monitor the effectiveness of your exercise program.

Why?

Because as you exercise, your body composition changes. Your percentage of body fat decreases, while your percentage of muscle increases.

However, this composition change is not detected by most bathroom scales, and the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) scales I’ve tried in the past have been extremely inaccurate and unreliable.

Too many people give up on their exercise program because they work hard for a week only to stand on their scales and see their weight increase. This is demoralising and if it happens a few times it is very easy to give up in frustration.

A much better way to keep track of your progress is to take note of how your clothes are fitting, and what other people are saying to you. Ideally, you can also measure your body fat percentage. I use a set of Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 calipers that I picked up on eBay for a few dollars.

Body fat calipers

So today I’d like to encourage you to reject the popular approach of trying to transform your body overnight, and instead use these tips to make health and fitness an integral part of your life in 2014 and beyond.

Question: What is your top health tip for this year? Please leave a comment below…

How To Stop Worrying And Start Enjoying Life

One of the biggest traps that can prevent you from achieving your most important goals in life is getting caught in an endless cycle of worry. Left unchecked, worry can lead to stress, high blood pressure and chronic health problems. However, there is a way to break free from this cycle…

Eliminate Worry

In it’s simplest form, worry is fear of the unknown and involves continually imagining that the worst case scenario will happen in a given situation.

Here is an effective 5-step process for breaking this cycle of worry:

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Worst Case Scenario

The first step which may seem counter intuitive, is to give yourself permission to think for a moment about your worst case scenario.

Often the mental stress associated with worry comes from having this worst case scenario building in the back of your mind, but refusing to acknowledge or think about it.

Giving yourself permission to momentarily think about your worst case scenario often acts like a pressure valve, to release this subconscious build up of anxiety.

Take a moment to think about what you would actually do if this scenario eventuates, and allow yourself to face your greatest fear.

Do NOT however, make the mistake of dwelling on your worst case scenario, instead, move immediately to Step 2…

Step 2: Clarify Your Best Case Scenario

The next step is to clarify your Best Case Scenario, which is the best possible outcome in the situation you are facing.

A great way to do this is to write down a description of your best case scenario in a journal.

This simple act of clarifying your best case scenario on paper often gives you a sense of hope, optimism and courage to move forward.

Step 3: Probability Shift

Once you have examined your worst and best case scenarios, the next step is to brainstorm a list of everything you can do to increase the probability of achieving your best case scenario and decrease the probability of your worst case scenario eventuating.

This empowers you to take action and focus on the solution to your problem rather than the problem itself.

Step 4: Get Busy

Once you have a list of tasks that will help you increase the probability of achieving your best case scenario, get busy and take action. Keeping busy is another good way to break the cycle of endless worry.

Step 5: Scenario Substitution

This is the most important step of all. Every time you catch yourself worrying about your worst case scenario, stop, refocus, and start thinking about your best case scenario.

It’s important to understand that your mind can only keep one thing in focus at a time. So the best way to stop worrying is NOT to try and ignore your worst case scenario, but rather, to replace these negative thoughts with thoughts relating to your best case scenario.

Scenario Substitution

Note this is not the same as burying your head in the sand and ignoring your problem. It’s about acknowledging your situation and opting to focus on the best possible outcome.

Here’s an example that illustrates how this process works in the real world…

Pete works for a small company that creates accounting software. He is worried about losing his job as there are rumours floating around the lunchroom, that the company is in financial trouble and may need to make cutbacks. With two young kids at home, Pete is very anxious about what might happen.

Initially he tries to ignore the situation, but his mind is continually filled with a cloud of worry and fear of the unknown. Eventually he decides to try the 5 step process described above.

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Worst Case Scenario – Pete’s Example

Pete gives himself permission to think through his worst case scenario. His train of thought goes something like this…

If I did lose my job, I would:

  • Contact Allen at Sentient Software to see if they have any positions available
  • Contact my old boss to check if they are still looking for developers
  • Sign up as a contractor and try to pick up some contracts via oDesk
  • Look into government benefits until I find a new position

This would be difficult, uncomfortable, and embarrasing and I don’t want to do this, but I COULD if I really have to which is good to know.

Step 2: Clarify Your Best Case Scenario – Pete’s Example

Pete then uses his journal to explore his best case scenario…

The best thing that could happen is:

The project I’m currently working on is a huge success, and solves the financial problems of the company and gets us back on track.

Step 3: Probability Shift – Pete’s Example

Pete then formulates a plan of action…

To increase the probability of achieving my best case scenario I can:

  • Give my current project everything I have
  • Finish the UI design for the new accounting package
  • Get the other guys on the team to really push hard to make this product a success

Step 4: Get Busy – Pete’s Example

Having clarified his best case scenario, and what he can do to make it happen, Pete gets to work and keeps himself busy. This not only gives him less time to worry, but also increases the chances of his best case scenario becoming a reality.

Step 5: Scenario Substitution – Pete’s Example

Occasionally when Pete hears someone talking about cutbacks around the water cooler, he starts worrying about losing his job again.

However, instead of trying to block these thoughts out, Pete changes his focus and actively starts thinking about making his current project a success and immediately feels his mood shift.

This helps him break the cycle of worry and makes his time at work much more enjoyable.

Scenario Substitution

So the next time you find yourself worrying about a particular situation, give this process a try. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of, but is definitely worth the effort.

When you clarify your worst and best case scenarios, focus on taking positive action and practice scenario substitution, you’ll finally be able to break free from the cycle of endless worry and enjoy life.

Question: What is the most effective way you’ve found to deal with worry? Please leave a comment below.

 

Three Steps For Creating A Happy New Year

In this first post of the year, I’d like to share three simple but powerful steps you can use to make 2014 a truly happy and prosperous new year.

2014

Step 1: Don’t Carry Old Thoughts Into The New Year

One of biggest problems that holds people back from achieving their most important goals in life is the burden of negative thought.

As we move through life each of us is faced with disappointments, negative experiences and failures. However, it’s important to realise that you have the choice to either carry these negative experiences with you, or learn from them and move on.

Imagine for a moment that you are pulling a sled and each time you experience a negative situation, you load it onto your sled and carry it with you in the form of negative thought.

Over time, the weight of these negative thoughts will increase and eventually it will prevent you from moving forward with your life.

Burden of negative thought

The New Year is a great opportunity to make the decision to unstrap yourself from your burden, let go of your negative thoughts and leave them where they belong – in the past.

Letting go of negative thoughts

Step 2: Set Your Imagination Free

Once you have made the decision to let go of the negative thoughts of the past, the next step to creating a truly happy New Year is to give yourself permission to set your imagination free and visualise your ideal future.

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” – Ben Stein

A great way to do this is to close your eyes and project yourself five years into the future and imagine what your life would look like if it was perfect in every way. Think about your…

  • Health: imagine your body being fit, strong and healthy.
  • Relationships: imagine being surrounded by love, laughter and happiness.
  • Financial Situation: imagine being financially secure and doing work you love.
  • Personal Fulfilment: imagine enjoying the hobbies and pastimes you’ve always wanted to pursue.
  • Contribution: imagine giving back, and making a positive contribution to the world around you.

A lot of people are reluctant to actually visualize their perfect future because deep down they believe that things never work out perfectly, and they don’t want to imagine their ideal life only to be disappointed by reality.

However, olympic athletes, and high achievers in every arena are those who  “Dare To Dream” and give themselves permission to imagine and explore their ideal future.

The fact is that even if things don’t work out exactly as you imagine, you will still be moving towards your ideal outcome, and will make MUCH more progress than those who never allow themselves to set their imaginations free.

As you think about, see and experience your ideal future in your mind’s eye, you will gradually develop a sense of clarity and belief that will compel you to take action.

Which brings us to the third step to creating a Happy New Year…

Step 3: Schedule Daily Action

Having freed yourself from the burden of negative thought, and clarified your vision of the future you want to create, the third step to creating a prosperous New Year is to schedule daily action on your most important goals.

All of us already have a daily timetable or schedule made up of the things we need to complete each day.

The funny thing is that very few people schedule in daily time to work on their most important goals in life. This is one of the main reasons why so many people fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.

When you decide on a specific goal to achieve and lock in a specific time each day to take action on your goal, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.

So today I’d like to encourage you to use these three simple steps to make 2014 your most productive year ever.

Resolve to let go of the negative thoughts of the past, clarify your vision of the ideal future you want to create, and schedule time each day to work on your most important life goals.

Question: What are your most important goals for 2014? Please let me know by leaving a comment below…

How To Reenergise Your Relationship

I don’t often write about my personal life on this blog, but recently I learnt a valuable relationship lesson and wanted to share it with you…

Couple Holding Hands

As many of you know, my wife Bec and I recently had our first baby – a little boy named Luke. Those of you who are parents will also know that the first 10 weeks with a new born at home are both wonderful and challenging :-)

Your Virtual Mastermind

For many years Jessi Turner had harbored a secret dream to start her own business, but every time she mentioned her idea to her friends, they would immediately highlight all the pitfalls of being a business owner, and advise her to stick with her day job.

Dealing with negativity

One night as she was heading home on the train after work, Jessi read an article in a magazine that said that one of the most important aspects of achieving your goals in life was to increase the amount of time you spend with positive people, and decrease the amount of time you spend with negative people.

The only problem with this advice for Jessi was that the negativity she was dealing with was coming from some of her friends. It wasn’t as though she could just suddenly create a whole new circle of friends.

As Jessi thought about her situation more and more, she came up with a plan to reduce the negativity that was coming from those around her, and increase the level of positive energy in her life.

Here’s what she did…

Step 1: 

First, Jessi went into her Facebook News Feed and took a good hard look at what people were sharing. A few of her friends seemed to have a very negative view of the world and regularly complained about the day-to-day issues they were dealing with.

While Jessi did enjoy catching up with these friends every now and again, she realized she didn’t need to share their thoughts on a daily basis.

Rather than offending people by ‘unfriending’ them, Jessi discovered that it was very easy to hide people’s comments so they wouldn’t always appear in her news feed.

Step 2: 

Next Jessi asked herself the question,

“If I could get business advice from anyone in the world,
who would I select to be my advisors?”

In answer to this question, Jessi wrote down a list of the people she most admired in the world of business. This included a number of successful business owners, and several of her favourite authors.

Step 3: 

Jessi then jumped onto Facebook.com and Twitter.com and searched for each of the people on her list. To her surprise she discovered that many of them had a Facebook page and a Twitter Feed.

Jessi clicked the ‘Like’ button on each of their Facebook pages and followed them on Twitter. She also discovered that in Twitter she could group people together into a ‘List’ so she created a new List which she called “My Mastermind”

Over time Jessi monitored the input from the members of her new Virtual Mastermind group. If she didn’t get a lot of value from someone’s feed she ‘unliked’ their Facebook page and ‘unfollowed’ them on Twitter. She also ‘auditioned’ new people to join her Mastermind group whenever she came across them.

In this way Jessi gradually established a group of ‘virtual mentors’ whose ideas and comments made a big impact on the way she looked at the world.

By reducing the input of some of the more negative people in her life, and setting up her new Virtual Mastermind group, Jessi’s Facebook News Feed and Twitter Feed took on a whole new look and feel.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”
– Oprah Winfrey

Instead of reading about people’s problems and complaints every morning, she now began her day by catching up on what her more positive friends were up to, as well as reading a few valuable tips and thoughts from her Virtual Mastermind group.

This simple change to her Facebook and Twitter feeds had a huge impact on the way Jessi felt about starting her own business. The advice and inspiration from her Virtual Mastermind group gradually opened her mind to what was possible, and helped her to develop a real sense of belief in herself and her plans.

Today I’d like to encourage you to take a look at the input of the people you are currently connected to via Facebook and Twitter, and ask whether their thoughts and comments are helping you to achieve your most important goals in life.

If not, then consider creating your own Virtual Mastermind group by following the 3 simple steps outlined above. You can do this for any area of interest you have whether it’s health and fitness, business, photography etc.

When you surround yourself with the comments of your up-beat friends, and insights from your Virtual Mastermind group, you too will develop a positive attitude and a sense of personal belief that will compel you to take action and help you to make your dreams a reality.

And while I’m fairly new to the Facebook and Twitter scene, I think they provide a real opportunity for us to create a community of like-minded people who are taking action and achieving their dreams around the world.

If you’d like to be a part of this community, just click the link below to visit my Facebook page and click the ‘Like’ button.

Click here to visit Dr. Anthony’s Facebook page

Or you can click this button to follow me on Twitter.


Until next time,
Dare To Dream!
Dr. Anthony