Archive for the Category » Attitude and Motivation «

Sunday, April 18th, 2010 | Author:
Don't control you emotions

Don't control you emotions

In Part 1 of the “Do NOT Control Your Emotions” series we discussed the critical need to leave your emotions fully connected because they serve as your instrument panel on the journey of life.

In Part 2 of the “Do NOT Control Your Emotions” series, we discussed how in order to conduct yourself as a productive member of a civil society without controlling your emotions, the key is to use your emotions to direct your actions while staying calm and in control during flight.

And now in Part 3, we continue with how to use your emotions to change your life.

There a challenging difference between mechanical instruments on vehicles and the instrumentation that comes installed on people.  The mechanical instruments are well documented with known tolerances and an assurance of accuracy, while our emotions sometimes appear wildly inaccurate (almost to the point of seeming random at times) and there is no owner’s manual to refer to that can explain what a particular emotion means.  And no two people work exactly the same so you can’t even borrow someone else’s manual.

But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore or disconnect your emotions.  Rather, it means that you should work to learn what they mean and how accurate they are (documenting your findings for future reference).  Then you can use that knowledge to both improve the accuracy of what they are telling you and also to sharpen your “piloting skills” based on this improved visibility into yourself and your environment.

If you work to understand, improve, and master the use of your emotions you will develop a big advantage in the emotional dogfight called life.  It will be like bringing night vision goggles on patrol in a remote village. You will have developed the advantage of seeing into the blackness of night which others find impenetrable.

So moving from the conceptual to the practical, your goal is to learn to understand your emotions and what they are telling you about yourself, about your world, and about the real world around you, and then to use them to evolve your world so that your emotions and feelings can accurately and reliably guide your actions.

In order to develop accurate, reliable emotions, you have to methodically evaluate the accuracy and validity of your emotional readings.  When you encounter less than perfect emotional readings, then you undertake to reconcile your emotional reading with reality, and then train a more accurate response into your emotions.

This may sound incredibly complicated, but it is actually something that that you learn step-by-step, focusing on one relatively simple task at a time. In more or less the same way that a martial arts student advances through several belt levels to become a black belt, you can advance step by step, one skill at a time, to become an emotional black belt.

The ultimate goal of a pilot is to connect as many high quality, accurate instruments that give meaningful input as possible.  The ultimate goal in life is to do the same with your emotions.  By connecting several properly functioning emotional instruments, you will have be able to pilot your life towards the goals that really matter to you the most, and you will be able to maintain nice smooth flight conditions along the way.

The 52 Week Program focuses on building the skills needed to fine tune your emotional indicators for accuracy and to master their use to achieve happiness and success in life.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.

Friday, April 02nd, 2010 | Author:
confidently controlling your reactions

confidently controlling your reactions

Ok, so in Part 1 of the “Do NOT Control Your Emotions” series we discussed the critical need to leave your emotions fully connected because they serve as your instrument panel on the journey of life.  But if you aren’t going to control your emotions, how then can you possibly hope to get along with people and conduct yourself as a productive member of a civil society?

The key is to use your emotions to direct your actions while staying calm and in control during flight. If a pilot flew a plane the way most of us use our emotions it would be one jarring, frightening flight full of airsick passengers.  OMG!  We’re tilting left, FULL RIGHT RUDDER!  OH NO! We’re losing speed! FULL THROTTLE! CRAP, we’re spinning right, FULL LEFT RUDDER!

The problem is not in the instruments, the problem is that the pilot is treating every little input as a full on emergency, and applying maximum corrections to every variance.  Nobody wants to fly in a plane with a hamfisted captain.  Flying a plane requires careful consideration of the instruments, good judgment, and subtle application of control.

Well, guess what.  Nobody wants to fly through life with someone who over reacts to their emotions.  And as we said before, you shouldn’t turn the emotions off because nobody wants to fly with a pilot who’s likely to fly directly into a mountain either.

So what should you do?

The answer is the same as for a commercial pilot:  You should pay full attention to your emotions as they are the indicator of the conditions you are flying through.  But you have to learn to interpret them carefully in order to understand the true meaning behind them.  Then you have to exercise good judgment in your chosen actions.  And you should develop subtle control and finesse in implementing your chosen actions.

Consider your emotions carefully to learn what they are telling you

Every time you have an emotional reaction to something, positive or negative, it is telling you something about yourself and the world around you.  The trick is to figure out just what it is telling you, so you can take appropriate action.

If you find that your emotions are not giving you an accurate picture of reality, then you need to develop and evolve your emotional instruments until they are giving you a reasonably accurate picture of reality.

This is done with behaviorist methods, i.e. by practice and repetition.

Developing good judgment in responding to emotions

Once you have trained your emotional responses to give you valuable accurate information about the world around you, you then have to develop good judgment in choosing the best actions to take based on your accurate perception of events.

This required not only an accurate version of what you know, but also an accurate version of what you don’t know, of what context may be missing, of what assumptions you are making, of the relevance that the missing items may have on your interpretation, and the likelihood that the information you do have is both complete and definitive.

This judgment is developed by using your emotional reactions as trigger points to initiate closer examinations of the key issues involved in choosing a course of action.

Developing subtlety and finesse in taking action

Once you have chosen a reasonable course of action, you have to develop subtlety and finesse in being able to implement the actions you have chosen.  This includes the ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and sometimes persuasively, while still adhering to principles and beliefs by which you guide your life.

This is accomplished by practicing the specific skills that you value the most over and over until you become quite good at them.

These three concepts may seem vague and not very helpful, but the 52 Week Program teaches specifically how to achieve them, and guides you through exercises to reinforce these critical skills.

Stay Tuned for Part 3, Changing your Emotional Responses.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 | Author:
Controlling Emotions

Controlling Emotions

And yes, before we get started, I really do mean it… do not try to control your emotions or your feelings. Learn to use them instead.

Little kids are told to control their emotions over and over again. This gets taught early and reinforced throughout life. But it turns out that the lesson is not quite right. You should not be controlling your emotions. You should be controlling your actions and reactions to your emotions.

Your emotions are like the instruments on your car. Controlling your emotions is like controlling the speedometer on your car so it says exactly what speed you want regardless of how fast the car is really going. When you drive you don’t control the speedometer, you control the speed of the vehicle using the speedometer as a guide.

So why would you expect the vehicle of yourself to work any different? You need your emotions, your instruments, and you need them to be working as accurately and with as much precision as possible.

An unfortunate majority of the people in the world spend their entire life working to control their speedometers rather than their actual speed. It happens with emotions, it happens in business, it happens in politics… it is just a part of our human nature. Unfortunately, the only possible outcome of controlling your instruments instead of using them to control your vehicle is that you end up flying blind. You are unable to tell where the you are, how fast you’re moving and where you’re heading. You may very well slam into a mountain, the ground or any number of other things. Turn off or reduce the accuracy of your instruments at your own peril.

OK, so you leave the speedometer connected, but maybe you don’t like risk so you decide to just drive 40 on the freeway so you can easily stay safe. This almost works, but easy safety is seldom as safe as it appears. In this case, going 40 on the freeway to create safety from getting a ticket and safety from losing control of your own car also creates a new risk, namely that someone else will crash into you as they are not expecting you to be going 40 on a freeway.

In the same way as creating safety in one area often also creates a consequent risk in another, disconnecting your emotions also creates a consequent risk. The unintended consequence of disconnecting your life instruments, your emotions, is that you will be living an emotionally blind life, and you will have little chance of ever creating the only thing you really want. You will have little chance of ever finding true happiness and satisfaction in life.

Imagine a video game: You are a pilot flying a plane in a race or a battle across uneven terrain with obstacles such as trees, buildings, mountains, and canyons.

In this game, your engine makes more power the closer you are to the ground, and less power the higher you are. Therefore you can go faster near the ground and the obstacles, but slower if you’re up high away from the obstacles. But the lower you fly, the less time you have to react to the obstacles and terrain. Also, the faster you go, this problem is increased. But to do your best in the game, you have fly as low and as fast as you can.

Now imagine it is foggy out, and you have only your instruments to guide you.

This is a pretty good analogy for how we live our lives. We are the pilots. The obstacles and the terrain represent our interactions with other people. Our lifelong pursuit of happiness, success, and love is the race. And our emotions are the only instruments available to guide us through the fog.

While you can fly carefree and safe at 30,000 ft, doing so will leave your engine weak, and you will miss out on any chance of performing well. To follow the analogy, you can keep a safe emotional distance, but doing so will dilute your interactions with people.

You can detach yourself from your emotions, turn them off, decrease their accuracy, or simply ignore them. But doing so has dire consequences, as your emotions are the only instruments you have by which you can measure your happiness, stress, loss, sadness, joy, etc.

Controlling your emotions rather than controlling your reactions to your emotions is a lot like controlling the altimeter of the airplane rather than using what the altimeter is trying to tell you in order to keep from crashing into the ground.

Rather than controlling your emotions, work to improve the ACCURACY of your emotions and to control your REACTIONS to your emotions.

Stay Tuned for Part 2, Redirecting your reactions to your emotions.  (Part 2 is now available).

Don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay updated on new articles, and with news about the development and availability of the 52 Week Program.

Tuesday, March 02nd, 2010 | Author:

By Jason Wilton

What traits do the very best leaders exhibit? When you know what great leaders do, it’s easier to develop your enlightened leadership skills. So, let’s examine some of what the best of the best do on a regular basis.

Great leaders look backwards and forward.

You’ve probably heard many people say that enlightened leadership is forward-thinking. That’s definitely part of the story. The best leaders are always looking over the horizon, seeing what’s ahead and visualizing the best future course of action. That’s just half of the process, though. The great leaders also look back to history. They want to know how things got the way they are and what empirical evidence shows them about possible future courses of action. They look forward while learning from the past.

Enlightened leadership is an honest process.

The best leaders don’t bother stretching the truth, shielding people from uncomfortable realities or otherwise engaging in dishonest behavior. They recognize the role trust plays in leadership and they treat it as something sacred. They know that being honest is the best way to gain respect and to persuade others to follow their lead. There’s no room for dishonesty in enlightened leadership.

Awesome leaders take time to listen.

Communication is an essential aspect of quality leadership. That means that leaders must do a good job of conveying their ideas and messages. That’s not all of what goes into great communication, though. There’s a listening component at play, as well. The very best leaders make time to listen to others. They really pay attention to what’s said and they use that information and opinion as part of their decision making calculus. They’re not insulated and aloof. They’re accessible and they really do make a point of caring about the perspectives of others.

Those three characteristics are definitely among the most significant components of enlightened leadership. It would be a gross oversimplification to claim that anyone exhibiting those three traits was guaranteed to be a fabulous leader, but it isn’t an exaggeration to argue that all good leaders will make a point of looking back and into the future while being honest and accessible.

If you’re sincerely interested in becoming a truly wonderful leader, you’ll note those traits and do everything in your power to make them part of your approach. They’re not sufficient to elevate you to your full potential, but their undoubtedly necessary for anyone who wants to display enlightened leadership skills.

This periodic journal of practical leadership and management tips provides great material about leadership development: http://www.enleadership.com/blog Enlightened leadership is one of many topics you can learn about at this great site.
Article Source: Three Significant Components of Enlightened Leadership

Saturday, February 20th, 2010 | Author:

Some people seem giddy all the time while others are always gloom and doom… but the healthiest emotional mix is appropriate to what’s actually happening, with as much positive outlook as possible.

Ever notice how some people are always supercharged with happiness to the point of coming across as a little creepy, while others always have a cloud of gloom over their heads?

It’s all right to be gloomy. Yes you read that right. It’s all right to be gloomy… when you need to be, but you’ve got to be giddy when you should be too.

Just like how a good cup of cappuccino has just the right amount of coffee to wake you up, a frothy milk smoothness to soothe you, and perfect balance of bitter and sweet… a healthy mix of both negative and positive emotions is a good balance as well.

Think of how you used to be as a child. If someone told you a goofy joke, you laughed. If you got hit by a bully, you cried. But as you grow up, you start resisting these emotions. You pick a couple of emotions that you feel are appropriate to express in society and you express these few continually without really trying to find that balance.

But self control doesn’t require suppressing your emotions. Self control is about how you express them. The trick is to learn to express ourselves in a socially acceptable manner, while still being able to feel and experience the emotions too.

You might have heard that laughter is the best medicine. And it is. But a little bit of gloom from time to time is good medicine too. Emotions shouldn’t be restricted to what a self-help book asks you to do or what is appropriate in a social situation. Emotions should be natural and should stem from what you really are feeling in a situation. If you didn’t like a joke you heard you need not force a laugh or if you really didn’t feel sad about a certain piece of moving news you don’t need to force the emotion. Forced emotions put stress on you and steal away your spontaneity.

First, experience and feel the emotions, then direct your actions and reactions with purpose and control.

All that been said, whether gloomy or giddy; you’ve got to keep up that positive outlook.

What do you think of when you hear the term positive outlook? Do you picture a smiling face? Well positivity doesn’t mean that you need to keep up an ear to ear grin at all times. It merely means that you keep the faith that you hold in yourself or in the situation and you don’t let negativity and self doubt take control. So even if a certain situation brings a wave of gloom over you, while feeling the sadness, you’ve hold onto your positive feelings toward the outcome. So you are allowed to mope with the gloom for a moment… but you can’t let it crush the hope out of your life.

You don’t have to abide by the “generally accepted” correct emotions. Your emotions are your own and you don’t necessarily get to choose which ones are invoked. But you do get to choose what to do about them.

Even when you can’t be lost in a fit of uncontrollable giggles, even when the somber, gloomy face takes over, keep that die hard positive outlook alive!

Monday, February 15th, 2010 | Author:
When your day has gone astray, don't give yourself flack, get it back on track

When your day has gone astray,
don't give yourself flack, get it back on track

Everybody has an unproductive day once in a while, sometimes for the most trivial reasons.  Maybe you couldn’t stop thinking about what your friend said about you or maybe you just didn’t feel like getting out of bed. A single unproductive day occasionally may not bother you much, and it may even be the break you need to recharge and refocus.

But a series of unproductive days could really put you back on your schedule, make you feel stressed out, and even affect your self esteem. But be it a single unproductive day or a series of them; if you want to move forward, you need to treat the wasted day like you would treat an expired carton of milk. Throw it away and move on and use the next one wisely.  This day is gone but how can you counter the ramifications?

Triage the loss before it’s final

Usually, you see a lost day coming.  You realize you won’t be able to get done what you wanted to get done.  Decide early what things you can let go, and what things are critical.  Try to juggle in some less critical things that you also enjoy doing and see if they’ll fit in instead.  If you don’t feel like working on the car, painting the house, finishing your cousin’s wedding album that to promised to do… maybe take the time with your spouse and kids and fit in a surprise outing together.  This may be just the break you need, and it can also buy you time tomorrow to get back to what you need to do.

You have to realize that “me days” are not wasted!

Everyone needs days for themselves.  Everyone needs days they can spend doing nothing.  Everyone needs time to disengage, let the mind run free, or even not run at all.  So don’t be afraid to give yourself a day from time to time.

Get over it

Before you do anything else, get over it!  First off, if it was just a single lost day and you enjoyed it and relaxed, then stop thinking about the day as being wasted.

It’s a better idea to simply let the day go rather than waste more time moping about the unproductive day. Stuff happens! It’s all right, you can power through this.

And if it was a day of dealing with outside stuff that popped up, then realize that most of that stuff had to be dealt with eventually.  Getting it dealt with now could just give you a sense of relief rather than a sense of loss.  You just have to see it from the right point of view.

Where did I go wrong?

Often asking questions of yourself is the best way to figure out where you’ve messed up.

Being bold enough to ask yourself where you went wrong in the first place is the starting point to combating the effects of an unproductive day.  Retrace your steps and try to figure out what factors led to you being unproductive.  Could it be a series of unproductive phone calls or web chats?  Or was it some silly thought that buzzed in your head the entire day?  Think about each factor and make a note of it.  Don’t overlook the trivial ones too: bad lunch, tickle in the throat, sight of neighbor’s annoying dog etc.

Things to NOT do

Instead of focusing on what you should be doing, focus on what you shout not be doing first.  Often, you focus too much on what to do and in the process you might tense up with anxiety, procrastinate and end up feeling quite miserable and emotionally worn out.

Think about the things that you simply must not do; like wallow in bed long after you wake up or drink too much the night before a busy day or chat online late into the night and end up drinking a six-pack of Red Bull to pull you through the day.  Once you eliminate the strict no-no’s you wouldn’t have a similar situation in the future.

Urgent/important

An easy way to get back on track is by segregating things into what’s urgent and what’s important.  When your phone rings it’s urgent since you need to pick it up before it gets disconnected.  But if it’s your friend who just called up for the heck of it, it’s not important just urgent.  You can always talk for a bit and then hang up saying that you’ve got something important to do.  Focus on what’s important rather than what’s urgent.

Make up for the backlog piecemeal

So you had an unproductive day or a series of them and you’ve accumulated some backlog.  The only way to deal with the backlog is piecemeal.  Break down your work over the week or the next couple of weeks, and tackle one thing at a time.  Don’t look at the whole list and get discouraged.  Only think about the task you are doing.

You might choose to work a little longer each day but it won’t stress you or bother you since you are choosing to work in order to accomplish each task.

Or you might choose to dedicate an entire day, and work long to knock off the list.  Just remember that it’s one task at a time.  If the tasks are errands, you may need to plan them so you can chain them together into a series, but you are still doing only one task at a time.  But if you choose to make it up in a hard day… make sure you plan for the downtime you’ll need to recharge afterwards.

Be a success junkie

Instead of getting addicted to the adrenaline rush from procrastination, get addicted to the feel-good effect of success in even the smallest of challenges.  If you’ve got ten reports to do, break it down and enjoy the success you get from completing each one.  As you wade through all your work, the feelings of accomplishment only increase.  If you enjoy the feeling of success from mini challenges, you won’t be motivated to procrastinate or let your day go by unproductively.

Also, it helps a lot if when you get 9 of those 10 reports completed, that you can feel 9 small successes and 1 small failure (I do hope you did the most important reports first, right?) rather than feeling 1 big failure.

While you may have your occasional wasted day, don’t let it bog you down with negativity. Tackle it practically rather than letting it get to your emotions. By tackling unproductive days with days of continuing productivity, you end up being more productive overall and increase your satisfaction and morale in the process.

Monday, January 25th, 2010 | Author:
Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

It doesn’t matter who you are, how popular or how hated, how rich or how poor, ultimately, every single night of your life, there is only one person you have to sleep with. You.

Your spouse can send you to the couch or kick you to the curb, but only you can make peace with yourself.

The road through life is long, if you’re lucky that is. And if you’re not so lucky and life turns out to be short, then all the more reason not to waste a single moment regretting the past or fearing the future. On any long journey there will be ups and there will be downs. Some days seem perfect, and others are disasters. But no matter how your day goes, when the dust settles and you’re alone with only your thoughts in the still of the night, are you at peace?

If not, then you are neglecting the most important relationship in your life. If you can’t find peace with yourself, then you will not likely find peace with anyone. Sure, there will be those who are peaceful with you… but you know in your heart that they only make peace because they are pacifists. So you discount them, you don’t respect them, and their peace, being a product or their weakness and not of your merit, means little to you.

So then, are you happy to be you? Would you truly be a different person? Are you happy with your life?

Here’s a secret: if you are satisfied with your life, satisfied with who you are and where you are going, then you don’t have to get to where you strive to be to enjoy life.

And here’s an even bigger secret: Only you can let yourself be happy. Only you can let yourself enjoy life. Unless you are jailed for a crime you didn’t commit, and really even then too, so I guess that means there really are no excuses at all. Only you have the choice to enjoy yourself. Nobody can make that choice for you, and nobody can take it away from you. They can try, oh how you can bet they’ll try. Some people will do anything and everything in their power to make you miserable. But ultimately, they can only make you miserable if you let them.

So what’s the point? The point is simple. If you haven’t yet been able to get right with yourself, now is the time to step up and do it. And if you find yourself at peace with who you are, then it’s time to take back your own happiness, your own satisfaction, your own pleasure on this long road that you travel.

It’s time for you to go in peace. It’s time for us all to go in peace.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 | Author:

Yes you! Put down that book you are about to buy. Drop those self books out of your
Amazon shopping cart. And listen up.

I bet you already have more than enough self help on your bookshelf to last you a lifetime. Yet there you are still looking to buy more. Why is that?

I’ll tell you why… It’s because as a culture we are conditioned to buy solutions to our problems. Unfortunately, however, the solutions to some problems can’t be bought. The only way for you to get where you want to be in life is to put the principles you find in those books into practice.

And that means stop buying new self help books and focus yourself on implementing the ones you already have. You don’t need to do more reading, what you need is to do more practicing.

So how should you proceed? Well there are many good practice guides available, both online and in your bookstore. OK, so maybe you can buy one more self-help book, but this time, make sure the book has a concrete action plan that you can implement in your life.

Or, you can join my mailing list (it’s over there on the right –>) , and in a few months you’ll be able to participate in my program, “52 Weeks to Success, Love and Happiness.” Just so you know, the program will be free, at least for a while. So you can relax. Your wallet is safe here.

Unlike most online stuff where people just pitch you with some hyped up crap to buy some some crappy half baked e-book and then the forget about you, this program makes a commitment to engage you, work with you, and support your efforts for a full year. It guides you and measures your progress as you put those self help theories, tips, mantras and bromides to actual use in your actual life, where you will get actual results.

This is a life changing program because it enables you to change the way you live your life.

The program will be run in groups where you can discuss the material, but more importantly you can also discuss the challenges you encounter in applying the program in your life in a confidential, supporting environment. It’s an ongoing, rich, dynamic, interactive processs of building the skills you need in to apply any self help lessons in your life.

So put down that self help book, and get started practicing the skills you need to change your life. Start a personal enrichment program today and start making actual changes in your life.

Sunday, January 03rd, 2010 | Author:

“Life is unfair.” I’ve yet to find a single person who will debate this. We struggle all our lives to be happy and in the end we die. It’s supremely unfair! The person who said “Life’s a bitch and then you die!” sure hit that particular nail square on the head. Most people seem to follow the same haphazard path of unhappiness in life.

For almost everyone, life is just one endless series of grim problems. You work hard to achieve something, and the world conspires against you, casting your plans and dreams and hard work into a violent of despair and doubt. When that crisis gets resolved, another more serious one arises that makes all the rest look trifling in comparison! It’s just one thing after another.

Are you nodding your head?

You aren’t the only one. We live in the present but we worry about the future. All through our lives, we worry about financial security for our retirement, a permanent home over our heads, food for the future and money to support our children. It’s an endless race to reach something that may or may not even be there for us! Think about it. Is there any guarantee that you will live to retirement? We take it for granted that slaving right now will allow us to enjoy our money in the future. But what is the guarantee that you will live to enjoy it? We just don’t have any other way to live our lives. Right?

Stop nodding your head now.

I once met a person who was really happy all the time. She wasn’t rich… quite the opposite in fact. She lived in a rented house and her family of five scraped by on her husband’s income which was paltry. But SHE WAS HAPPY! How could this be possible? I spent an entire week wondering about this before I could gather up enough courage to ask her about it. And the answer stupefied me!

She said, “I have a husband who loves me, children who are really great and help out in any way possible, a home and a happy family! What more could I want?”

What more could she want??!?!

Be Happy...everything else is incidental

Was she blind? Did she not have eyes? Just look around you and you will see no shortage of what more can you want. How could she not want what everyone could plainly see that she didn’t have? What was the difference between her and me? The answer, when it finally arrived, was jarring to my senses and to my sensibilities… What she had was a simple joy in the present and what she had right then.

I realized that this is what we all want and strive for. Happiness and joy. But in our stressed out lifestyle, we think we are working for happiness and joy in the hypothetical future we are creating. We want to be happy but we assume that slaving miserably today for financial security, educationally and emotionally secure children and a permanent home will create happiness for us in the future. But that is not true and deep down you and I already know it. If you can’t find that joy and happiness today then you won’t find it tomorrow either.

It’s not easy to aim for the present and to enjoy it completely… I know that… I find it difficult too. Find joy in your spouse, your children and what you have at present. Take the time to slow down, and care for yourself. Take a day off from work; the world will not fall apart if you don’t go to the office for a day. Walk in the world and observe and enjoy. You already have what you need to make you happy. You just haven’t noticed it yet.

PS. If you have trouble finding the joy that she has, the joy that is your birthright to have every single day of your life, you should consider trying a life enrichment program.