Most people would admit that self-improvement is an important goal in their life. Some may even place it at the top of their list. But unfortunately, for many, the process of self-improvement often ends there.
In the busy dealings that make up their lives, most people claim they have neither the time nor the energy to pursue personal development goals. The business of life—school, work, family—becomes the reason why the goal of personal development “dies on the vine.” It doesn’t have to though. Your personal development journey can begin today, and with a little effort you can help jump-start your future. Below are 10 Personal Development Strategies which can help get you moving in the right direction.
1. Self Talk
Positive self-talk is a great beginning for your personal development journey. Listen carefully to that little voice in your head and evaluate the messages. Remember the old saying: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right?” It’s true. You can achieve exactly what you believe you can achieve, so replace self limiting thoughts and beliefs, such as “I can’t” with “I will.” This positive self-talk will help you create a great sense of momentum.
2. Self Inquiry
What’s really important to you? What do you want to achieve and what are the timelines for these goals? These questions are an example of self inquiry using quality questions. Develop a list of questions applicable to your own life and personal development goals, and them take the time to answer them thoughtfully and honestly. Refer back to these questions often to assure you are on the right track.
Whatever it is you want to do, you can be fairly sure someone else has already done it. Take a look at the people you admire and respect. What techniques do they regularly employ that help them become successful? Take note of the way they carry themselves and try to emulate those qualities you find helpful. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
There are literally thousands of self-help and personal development materials available, both online and in print. Not all will be applicable to your situation, but you’d be surprised at the pearls of wisdom you can find with a click of the mouse or a visit to the library. Turn off the television and use that time instead to educate yourself. Remember that there are people who have been where you are and have reached where you want to go. Find out how they did it.
Everybody needs time to rest and refuel. Reward yourself for all your hard work by occasionally taking a break. Use the time to reflect on your progress—your successes and failures—and create an honest assessment. This will be an important tool when you’re ready to get moving again.
Keeping a log of your progress is vital for personal development, and a journal is perfect for this purpose. Think of your journal like a letter to yourself. Write down all the measures you have employed and techniques you have implemented, and note both the ones that have proved useful as well as all the ones that have failed. This is a great way to combine record keeping with creativity.
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you can see it, you can be it?” I’m sure you have, and that quote aptly summarizes the technique called visualization. In simple terms, visualization is a technique in which you picture yourself being successful in various situations. Instead of fretting over an upcoming exam, for example, picture yourself calmly answering the questions with confidence and certitude. Picturing success can have a calming effect and will enable you to perform at your best.
8. Goal Setting
Goal setting is widely accepted as the most important technique for self improvement. Setting measurable goals and objectives will help you define exactly what you want, and serve as a plan for how you will get there. Remember to create timelines for achieving each milestone. This will help keep you focused and on track.
9. Learn from Failures
Everybody would like to avoid failure, but unfortunately that’s not possible. Regardless of your efforts and energy, there are going to be times when things do not work out. Do not let these minor setbacks discourage you. Learn from your mistakes and use these lessons as an opportunity to grow.
10. Reward Yourself
Take some time to reward yourself for all your efforts. Take a vacation, go to a movie or visit friends. Celebrate your success!
Have you ever reacted to a person or situation in a particular way and later regretted the manner in which you handled it? Did you let your emotions get in the way of making good decisions? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety and fear can cause people to act rashly and make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise make.
The choices you make regarding your future are far too important to let emotions get in the way. Making decisions regarding your future should be handled while you are relaxed and confident rather than emotionally high or low. These emotions can interfere with your ability to think clearly and rationally.
So how do you control these emotions? How can you deal positively with their effects and bring yourself under control? Below are five powerful techniques for emotional control that have been proven to work.
1. NLP Swish Technique
The NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique called the Swish, is a very popular emotional controltechnique. In the Swish, you are taught to replace an unwanted thought or response with a more appropriate and useful one, thus redirecting your thought process. You are sending a message to the brain that essentially says, “Don’t do that, do THIS.”
This is a valuable technique that teaches you to manage your own thinking and consciously change the wayyou react to various situations. Each time you use the Swish, you are training your brain to switch or re-direct from harmful emotional responses to solutions that are well thought out and rational.
Using the Swish
1. The first step is to develop your own Replacement Feeling. Ideally, how would you like to act in the face of stress? Use visualization to clearly see yourself experiencing this new feeling.
2. Discover the trigger for the unwanted mood. Ask yourself. “What seems to always occur immediately prior to the stress I feel?”
3. While viewing the unwanted image in your mind, insert the replacement feeling into the corner of that picture. If the undesirable image was a post card, look at the healthy replacement feeling as a stamp in the corner of the card.
4. Now Swish the two images. Slowly allow the replacement feeling to grow and gradually take up more of the post card. Continue until the new feeling is the primary and foremost image.
It takes practice, but regular implementation of this technique will help you become more relaxed and empowered in the face of stress and negativity.
2. The Sedona Method
The Sedona method is a technique geared to help people let go of unwanted feelings and emotions and replace them with more positive ones. It is performed using a series of questions meant to help increase your awareness of the present moment.
Most experts will agree that when people are frustrated they act in a frustrated manner. The same is true of other emotions. Using the questions promoted by the Sedona Method, people are able to clearly define each situation for what it really is and act accordingly. The ability to alter the way things are perceived can reduce stress foster confidence.
3. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Tapping
The technique known as EFT Tapping has been around for quite a while, and many swear by the results. Simply stated, it involves tapping various parts of the body—wrist, eyebrow, cheek, etc—while uttering certain statements aloud. This technique is thought to alter normal reactions to stimuli and promote healing. The tapping is thought to release the power within—a power to help make calmer more productive decisions.
We can change the way we will react to a stressful situation simply by seeing it first. Picture yourself reacting calmly and confidently in a situation that normally causes you distress. Give the picture as much detail as possible, making it look truly achievable. If you train yourself to see positive results before they happen they have a much better chance of materializing.
Tips for visualization:
· Find a quiet comfortable place
· Clear your mind and breathe deeply
· Create a clear picture of what you want to happen
· Recognize distractions and let them go
· Repeat often
5. Freeze Framing
Think of the thoughts in your head as individual frames in a movie. What would you do if you could freeze one particular frame that caused you distress?
The Freeze Frame technique allows you to do just that. With your eyes closed picture a frame that has given you emotional trouble and freeze it. While the image is in your mind, breathe deeply and recognize each breath. As you begin to relax, you will find you are able to deal more appropriately with the emotions that scene produces. Picture yourself acting calmly and decisively in the face of troubling thoughts or events.
Most brain specialists believe that our mind is separated into two distinct parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious half is the one that is aware and in the moment. It’s the part of the brain that makes decisions and provided focus for real-world tasks. The subconscious, on the other hand, is the portion of the brain that operates under the surface. People such as hypnotists suggest that the subconscious part of the brain is the key to creativity and innovation.
Sigmund Freud first introduced the theory of the conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind, said Freud, consists of those thoughts people have in the present and is responsible for a large part of how we behave. The subconscious, however, was responsible for the primitive drives and impulses that sometimes govern our thoughts. He believed these thoughts out of direct reach of the conscious mind, working independently to guide our thoughts and actions during times when we are not consciously aware. Naturally this theory alarmed many people, for according to Freud, people are unable to control some of the actions initiated by the subconscious mind.
Techniques for tapping the subconscious mind can be valuable in helping people maximize their potential. It is widely believed that conditions such as anxiety and depression stem from uncomfortable thoughts about events that happened in the past and that the only effective way to treat these illnesses lies in bringing these thoughts to the surface. Freud introduced a process called psychoanalysis in which he sought to identify troubling, hidden thoughts within the mind and bring them to the surface through therapy. To cure the person, he thought, we must first discover what is happening below the surface.
Other techniques have sought the same result as Freud’s psychoanalysis, and more are being developed each year. Here’s a few of the most widely used techniques for tapping the subconscious:
Hypnosis attempts to tap the subconscious mind through a process called hypnotic induction. It is initiated by a series of suggestions, either administered by a hypnotist or self administered, that guide individuals to a greater state of awareness.
Affirmations are positive thoughts that individuals repeat to themselves continually to effect a change in their mental state. For a list of 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations click here.
Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person’s own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. For instance, autosuggestion thoughts such as “it doesn’t hurt,” can help train the mind to cope with pain.
There are many more of course, but the above are some of the most widely used. Another method that is gaining popularity is Subconscious Restructuring, which is a conscious process to gain control of your subconscious mind.
The key is to remember that there is much more going on than you are currently aware of. Hidden thoughts and resentments can not only cause a great deal of stress, but can lead people to act in ways that are harmful or inappropriate.
Henry Ford, one of the most influential men in history, once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” He believed that the largest obstacle people faced, the obstacle that kept them from realizing their potential, were themselves. Now coming from your average Joe these words may have little meaning, but as I’m sure you will agree, Ford’s success gives those simple words a great deal of credence. By eliminating the words “I can’t” from his vocabulary, he created one of the largest empires in the world.
Self-limiting beliefs are huge obstacles to success. Recognizing these self-imposed limitations is the first step to overcoming them, allowing you to reach any goal you wish. Below are the 4 most common self-limiting beliefs:
1. Failure Lasts Forever
Failure can stop people in their tracks. They allow a lone setback in life to define who they are and stop them from realizing their potential. But failures do not have to be permanent, and in no way are they representative of who you really are. It’s true that we must live with the consequences of our actions, but learning from these consequences is what separates successful people from the crowd. Use these failures as an opportunity to grow, and move forward confidently with this new knowledge. You are more than your experiences and the lessons you learn, followed by the actions you take in the face of failure, will help you to achieve remarkable results in your life.
2. I’m Not Smart Enough
Many people believe they are not smart enough to make a difference. They feel success is reserved for people in an entirely different class than them—an elite group of some kind—and that greatness is reserved for only them. They feel they have no control or power over their own lives because they just don’t measure up. This is simply not true.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was a common man with very little formal education, yet his belief in himself allowed him to revolutionize the world. Can you imagine what the world would have been like if he believed he wasn’t smart enough or worthy of his calling?
Everybody has something that makes them unique. The trick is to discover your special skills—the skills that make you who you are—and utilize them to create the type of life of which you can be proud.
3. I’m Not Worthy
Unfortunately there are people who believe they don’t deserve to be successful. They think that great success and happiness is reserved for others and regardless of what they do, they feel they will never measure up.
Unfortunately, living life this way seems safe to a lot of people. After all, if they never even try, failure, their worst fear, is not even possible. One can’t, for example, fail to land their dream job if they never even submit an application. Conversely though, using this same thought process, success proves to be unattainable as well. This manner of thinking poisons the possibility for success and positive change, and creates that mediocre existence that most people are constantly complaining about.
You are indeed worthy of success. Believe in yourself and your ideas. They have great worth because they come from you.
4. Nobody Likes Me
Fear of the way we are perceived can be a major impediment to growth. Many of us become paralyzed to action because we’re afraid of the way it will look to others, but this paralysis is completely unwarranted. The majority of people-those same people we worry about-are far too concerned about themselves and their own issues to even notice what we’re doing. If you think about it, concern over the way we are perceived is rather egotistical.
Now there are people who care about you, and thus have a vested stake in the decisions you make, but why in the world would you worry about their perceptions? They are the people who want you to succeed and will unfailingly root for you regardless of the outcome of the decisions you make. They are your support team, people who will be there for you through good and bad. Count yourself lucky for having them in your corner. The rest of the world, however, is too wrapped up in their own daily grind to have time to ponder yours. Don’t worry about how your actions will be perceived by others. Move forward with the knowledge that the people that matter to you will support you in everything you attempt.
Looking for a few good things to say to yourself? Here are 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations.
Done beating yourself up? Here are 66 Ways to Lessen Stress and Feel Happier.
Do you need a Life Coach? Do you know what a Life Coach is? Are you in the Alberta area and looking for Calgary Life Coach? In this post I will explain in more detail the roles of life coaches and how best to hire one.
Many people think the use of a Life Coach signifies an inability for handling the challenges of one’s own life. They believe only weak people require the assistance of a coach. This is simply not true. Why else would people like Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Derek Jeter have personal coaches. The reason is because a Life Coach helps people maximize their potential and seeks to aid individuals who want to get the very best out of their lives. If anything, the use of a Life Coach represents strength of character and the will to succeed.
Another misperception is that Life Coaches are therapists, although a therapist could choose to become a Life Coach. A Life Coaches role in an individuals’ life differs significantly from the typical doctor patient relationship. Life Coaches consider themselves equal to the people they tutor, not superior. Their primary goal is to help individuals set goals for their lives, focusing only on the present and the future. Because they lack a proven process such as Subconscious Restructuring, many Life Coaches seldom deal in emotions. Life Coaches are typically far less concerned about the past than most therapists. Life Coaches focus on the future.
If you would like to achieve more out of life but are a bit unsure about how to proceed, a Life Coach may be able to help you start your personal development journey. Below are 7 tips for hiring a Life Coach:
1. Hire someone you feel comfortable with.
You’ll be spending a lot of time with your new Life Coach so it’s important to choose someone with whom you get along well. Just like a good teacher can make the difference in your academic endeavors, a life coach whom you trust and get along with is essential for your personal/professional changes. Life is much too short to spend time with people you dislike.
You should choose someone who can be objective to your overall goals. Do you want competency or companionship? You are not looking for another friend but rather someone to keep you accountable to the standard you know you can achieve. Avoid people who are too close to you such as family and close friends.
2. Has your Interests in Mind.
Make certain that whoever you hire has your best interests in mind. You can find differences among life coaches such as you would find differences among any other practitioner. Find someone to work with who is genuinely interested in your success and try to avoid those people who are merely trying to “hitch a ride”.
One way to establish a connection is to explain to your Life Coach the goals you have for your life and ask for feedback on how he/she will proceed. How many times a month will you meet? What communication channels will you use to connect? What kind of access do you have to them? Most importantly, do you believe this person will give you a solid chance on establishing the changes you want to see?
3. Communicates Well.
It is very important that your Life Coach is able to clearly communicate his plans for helping you achieve your goals. The ability to communicate effectively is extremely important in establishing a winning relationship. Insist upon an open line of communication where each party feels equally comfortable expressing their views.
Your relationship with your Life Coach will evolve and grow over time as your needs and requirements do. The only way to ensure you are moving forward together on the same page is through consistent and concise communication. You have to be willing to step up to the plate and voice your opinion, and your Life Coach has to be able to keep that communication going.
4. Hire someone who is qualified.
The application and interview process should be taken quite seriously, and used to find the very best person for the help you want. Hiring a life coach is an important task, and therefore your qualifying criteria should help to establish your best chance of success.
Many people wonder if you should get a Life Coach who is certified or not. This is a great question and will depend on your ultimate goal. In theory, certified Life Coaches have been taught how work with you to achieve your goal. However, because it is a school, not everyone that graduates as a Life Coach is as effective at retaining and applying that they have learned.
Uncertified Life Coaches who have been practicing on the other hand many have developed many skills although they haven’t gone to school. The comparison between a certified and uncertified Life Coach is very similar to a licensed mechanic and a hobby mechanic. You can find the good, bad and ugly in both cases.
Make certain that the person you hire has the experience for helping you effectively. What types of coaching has he/she done in the past and how does it apply to your situation.
5. Check References.
Remember, when you hire a Life Coach, you are the employer. Talk to people who have used this person’s services in the past, and get a feel for what to expect. Do they have testimonials that you can check? What do the testimonials and feedback tell you about working with this person.
What kind of vibe do you get from the people who have left references or testimonials? Can you identify with their problem/situation/personality? For obvious reasons it is always a good idea to avoid people with characteristics detrimental to your plan.
6. Hire a Motivator
If the first meeting with your new Life Coach fails to get you excited about the goals you seek in life, the person is probably not for you. This doesn’t mean that you should feel excited because the person you hired is going to solve the problem for you. The motivation you feel should come from knowing that by working with this person, it is only a matter of time before you get the results you want.
Your Life Coach should be a champion to your cause, a partner towards your success and a support tool to hold you accountable. Your Life Coach should be excited about your future and that excitement should be infectious. Choose somebody who can truly motivate you towards great things.
7. Has Connections.
It certainly is not mandatory to hire only those people with connections in the area you seek assistance, but it sure does help. Your Life Coach will work with you to plan your life, setting goals and objectives for each step. Connections to important people in your particular field can greatly enhance the chance for success. Sometimes it really does come down to “who you know.”
Does your Life Coach have professional connections and a team of people working along side them? Do you feel comfortable in the hands of this extended support network? Could they easily refer you out to another trusted professional if needed?
Keep these things in mind when you are ready to hire your Life Coach. Remember that the process is all about you, and the proper person should be someone whom you trust with your dreams. If you would like to see how Russ conducts his famous “Exploration Sessions”, which are known for leaving people feeling motivated and excited about the changes they seek, contact him today and ask to be put on the next available schedule.
3 Powerful Visualization Techniques to Create a New You this New Year!
Visualization is a process in which you see things how you would like them to be. Prior to their turn at bat, for example, some professional baseball players practice visualization by seeing themselves making great contact with the ball and having a successful at bat. Actors picture a standing ovation after delivering an award winning performance. Both have found this technique helpful for achieving results they previously thought impossible.
Effective visualization requires very specific detail. It is not good enough to simply see yourself in your new house. To help clarify this dream, define the location of the house. Will you live on the beach? In the mountains? What color will the house be? How many rooms will it have? The clearer your picture the more real it will become.
There are many forms of visualization. Here we will discuss three of the most powerful techniques to help you achieve remarkable results in your life, simply by seeing them, in vivid detail, beforehand.
1. The Mental Movie
If you were to make a movie of your life, what would it be like? In this technique you act as the director of your life story and everything is possible. You create the scenery, the plot and the characters. You become the main character and every detail is up to you.
2. The Obituary
How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
This technique allows you to write exactly what you want said when you are gone. The script you will write will highlight your career, your family and your friends. It will point out all your strong points and your successes. Picture yourself any way you want, and use this technique to define what is really important to you.
3. Letter to a Friend
Here you will write a letter to a friend, but instead of the usual format, you will project how you see yourself 5-10 years from now. When you write, picture yourself as having already achieved everything you want to accomplish during that time period. Be specific!
Regardless of the technique you choose, keep in mind these important details:
1. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be distracted
2. Breathe deeply
3. Concentrate on what you want and your breathing alone. Let go of all additional thoughts.
4. Be very specific. Picture yourself and everything around you exactly how you want it to be. Give your picture color, texture, depth and clarity.
5. When finished, continue breathing and allow your vision to escape, knowing you can call on it again whenever necessary.
6. Repeat the process regularly and often. As you continue to use visualization, you will find it easier and easier to create the positive pictures in your mind.
If you really want to see your results skyrocket, combine your newly developed visualization skills with the power to Manifest with your Imagination!
The Nobel Laureates Prof Albert Einstein (1921) and Sri Rabindranath Tagore (1913) met at Einstein’s residence in Berlin, Germany, on 14th July 1930, as photographed. The recorded conversation elegantly demonstrates how the two utilised the language of music, as a metaphor, to forge common ground between science & spirituality.
TAGORE: I was discussing with Dr Mendel [mutual friend] today the new mathematical discoveries which tell us that in the realm of infinitesimal atoms chance has its play; the drama of existence is not absolutely predestined in character.
EINSTEIN: The facts that make science tend toward this view do not say good-bye to causality.
TAGORE: Maybe not, yet it appears that the idea of causality is not in the elements, but that some other force builds up with them an organised universe.
EINSTEIN: One tries to understand in the higher plane how the order is. The order is there, where the big elements combine and guide existence, but in the minute elements this order is not perceptible.
TAGORE: Thus duality is in the depths of existence, the contradiction of free impulse and the directive will which works upon it and evolves an orderly scheme of things.
EINSTEIN: Modern physics would not say they are contradictory. Clouds look as one from a distance, but if you see them nearby, they show themselves as disorderly drops of water.
TAGORE: I find a parallel in human psychology. Our passions and desires are unruly, but our character subdues these elements into a harmonious whole. Does something similar to this happen in the physical world? Are the elements rebellious, dynamic with individual impulse? And is there a principle in the physical world which dominates them and puts them into an orderly organisation?
EINSTEIN: Even the elements are not without statistical order; elements of radium will always maintain their specific order, now and ever onward, just as they have done all along. There is, then, a statistical order in the elements.
TAGORE: Otherwise, the drama of existence would be too desultory. It is the constant harmony of chance and determination which makes it eternally new and living.
EINSTEIN: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.
TAGORE: There is in human affairs an element of elasticity also, some freedom within a small range which is for the expression of our personality. It is like the musical system in India, which is not so rigidly fixed as western music. Our composers give a certain definite outline, a system of melody and rhythmic arrangement, and within a certain limit the player can improvise upon it. He must be one with the law of that particular melody, and then he can give spontaneous expression to his musical feeling within the prescribed regulation. We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a superstructure of melodies, but we expect from the player his own skill in the creation of variations of melodic flourish and ornamentation. In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.
EINSTEIN: That is possible only when there is a strong artistic tradition in music to guide the people’s mind. In Europe, music has come too far away from popular art and popular feeling and has become something like a secret art with conventions and traditions of its own.
TAGORE: You have to be absolutely obedient to this too complicated music. In India, the measure of a singer’s freedom is in his own creative personality. He can sing the composer’s song as his own, if he has the power creatively to assert himself in his interpretation of the general law of the melody which he is given to interpret.
EINSTEIN: It requires a very high standard of art to realize fully the great idea in the original music, so that one can make variations upon it. In our country, the variations are often prescribed.
TAGORE: If in our conduct we can follow the law of goodness, we can have real liberty of self-expression. The principle of conduct is there, but the character which makes it true and individual is our own creation. In our music there is a duality of freedom and prescribed order.
EINSTEIN: Are the words of a song also free? I mean to say, is the singer at liberty to add his own words to the song which he is singing?
TAGORE: Yes. In Bengal we have a kind of song-kirtan, we call it — which gives freedom to the singer to introduce parenthetical comments, phrases not in the original song. This occasions great enthusiasm, since the audience is constantly thrilled by some beautiful, spontaneous sentiment added by the singer.
EINSTEIN: Is the metrical form quite severe?
TAGORE: Yes, quite. You cannot exceed the limits of versification; the singer in all his variations must keep the rhythm and the time, which is fixed. In European music you have a comparative liberty with time, but not with melody.
EINSTEIN: Can the Indian music be sung without words? Can one understand a song without words?
TAGORE: Yes, we have songs with unmeaning words, sounds which just help to act as carriers of the notes. In North India, music is an independent art, not the interpretation of words and thoughts, as in Bengal. The music is very intricate and subtle and is a complete world of melody by itself.
EINSTEIN: Is it not polyphonic?
TAGORE: Instruments are used, not for harmony, but for keeping time and adding to the volume and depth. Has melody suffered in your music by the imposition of harmony?
EINSTEIN: Sometimes it does suffer very much. Sometimes the harmony swallows up the melody altogether.
TAGORE: Melody and harmony are like lines and colours in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of colour may make it vague and insignificant. Yet colour may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value.
EINSTEIN: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than colour. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.
TAGORE: It is difficult to analyze the effect of eastern and western music on our minds. I am deeply moved by the western music; I feel that it is great, that it is vast in its structure and grand in its composition. Our own music touches me more deeply by its fundamental lyrical appeal. European music is epic in character; it has a broad background and is Gothic in its structure.
EINSTEIN: This is a question we Europeans cannot properly answer, we are so used to our own music. We want to know whether our own music is a conventional or a fundamental human feeling, whether to feel consonance and dissonance is natural, or a convention which we accept.
TAGORE: Somehow the piano confounds me. The violin pleases me much more.
EINSTEIN: It would be interesting to study the effects of European music on an Indian who had never heard it when he was young.
TAGORE: Once I asked an English musician to analyze for me some classical music, and explain to me what elements make for the beauty of the piece.
EINSTEIN: The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.
TAGORE: Yes, and what deeply affects the hearer is beyond himself.
EINSTEIN: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.
TAGORE: And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”
The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”
Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
Morals of the Story: There are many morals that we can draw from this story. The main themes here are: Be thankful for what you do have at this moment. Find a way to be creative when approaching life. Always strive to be innovative. Think differently and positively, it can make a big difference in your results.
When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faithand drop the fear.
Meditation has been practiced for years and is a valued component of several different religions. More recently though, meditation has been used outside of traditional religions for the psychophysical benefits it offers. Here we will take a brief look at meditation: the definition, how it’s used and the benefits.
What is Meditation?
The word meditation is derived from two Latin words: meditari, which means to think, dwell upon or exercise the mind; and mederi, which means to heal. It is not, as many believe, simply a prayer or form of worship. To meditate means to become aware. Simple activities such as fishing or watching wildlife could be considered meditation as long as these activities are free from any outside or inner mental distraction.
The techniques involved in meditation have become widely popular. The health benefits associated with meditation have helped spread this popularity. Through meditation one tries to achieve awareness by ridding the mind of everyday thoughts and focusing on the “here and now.” The various techniques involved are known to improve concentration and relieve stress, creating a happier and more confident self.
How to Meditate
There are several different forms of meditation, but all of them have the same goal in mind: to focus on the present moment and improve self-awareness. Many mediation experts agree that this awareness will come in hierarchal stages as the meditation progresses, but as a beginner it’s best to keep it simple. You can get started by following these simple steps:
1. Choose a quiet place and sit comfortably. Remember to keep your back straight. This will help facilitate breathing and focus. Place your hands comfortably on your knees or in your lap.
2. Clear your mind and begin taking deep regular breaths. Breathe deeply, inhaling with your nose and exhaling with your mouth. Feel the breath fill your stomach activity.
3. Now you are going to focus on your breath and your breath only. If another thought comes into your mind, recognize it and then get back to your breath. The goal here is to think about nothing. Focusing on your breath will help to clear your mind.
4. If you wish, you can use a mantra to help keep your focus. Different religions use different mantras for this purpose. For example, Christians often use phrase such as “Jesus is Love,” repeated over and over to help them concentrate only on their breath.
5. Continue this for 10-20 minutes focusing only on your breath. If you feel distracted, recognize the distraction, and continue your measured breathing.
Meditation allows you to focus on the moment and the moment only. Regrets about the past and worries for the future can create harmful stress and keep people from maximizing their potential. Mediation will help quell these worries and help you to become more relaxed and alert. Below are some of the common and most widely reported benefits of mediation:
1. Accessible. Meditation is always accessible. It can be done at home or the office whenever you wish, and can be done alone. You need not drive across town and waste half the day at an appointment.
2. Free. It won’t cost you a thing.
3. Easy to learn. Just follow the simple steps above. Every time you engage in mediation you can improve.
4. Healthy. Meditation is used to help treat a variety of conditions by providing the simple opportunity for focusing on the present. Among the conditions are:
5. Empowering. Many people and corporations are using meditation as a way to improve self-esteem, focus and productivity. By eliminating stress and increasing awareness, individuals are learning to lead fuller lives.
Start today and see if it works for you!
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When Abraham Lincoln took the Oath of Office as the 16th President of the United States in March of 1861, the country was anything but “united.” The country was so divided over issues such as slavery and individual rights that seven southern states had seceded from the Union, and the nation was on the brink of Civil War. Facing these obstacles, Lincoln could have easily and understandably succumbed to the pressure and relented to the demands of the South, but his values prevented him from doing so. He was willing to face an unprecedented War within the United States for what he believed to be fundamentally right.
History, both ancient and recent, is filled with examples of ordinary people acting extraordinarily and according to their values in the face of overwhelming challenges. People who refused to accept things they felt were wrong with the world, and who truly believed they alone could make a difference. People, such as Rosa Parks, who simply could not wait any longer for someone to act on her behalf.
In the face of personal harm and the risk of arrest, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, singularly protesting the accepted laws of segregation, thus beginning the Civil Rights Movement.
When people follow their passion and act upon what they know in their hearts to be right, amazing things can happen. All change begins with an individual—an individual who sees something wrong with the world or perhaps something that can be improved upon, and has the courage to initiate the change.
The trick, of course, is to find something you are passionate about. What types of things are important to you and what can you do about it? Next, you must act. No stone begins to roll without the first push, and you alone can get the ball rolling and create positive change that supports your personal values. Don’t wait around for someone else to do what you can start right now. It’s not easy, but when you truly believe in something you’ll find that the motivation to continue will come very easily.
As a simple Catholic Nun, Mother Theresa dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate. She refused to accept that people should be hungry or denied medical care simply because of where they lived or their circumstances. She took personal responsibility for what she believed was wrong and acted accordingly. She was neither rich nor powerful. She did not seek fame or fortune. She simply wanted things to change because they were not aligned properly based upon her value system.
Isn’t it possible that you too could take a cause you believe in and make it your own? What could you do to improve upon this world?
All too often in life, we wait around for someone else to instigate the changes we want to see. We doubt our own ability and become paralyzed to action, thinking either we are not solely capable of bringing the changes about, or that someone else will get around to it. This inability to act alone is all in our head. Each journey begins with a single step, and our first step may set in motion a journey that could change the world.
The world is indeed a better place thanks to Lincoln, Parks and Mother Theresa. Their values and the courage to act upon them changed the status quo and set in motion events that make this earth a better place to live. The only “special power” they shared was an unshakeable belief in what they thought to be right and the guts to do something about it. Individuals can make a difference, and it begins by answering two simple questions:
1. What’s wrong with this?
2. What can I do about it?
Click here to read how you can start to Manifest with Imagination.
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