mindfulness

authenticity comes from worrying about yourself first

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how being selfish leads to being selfless.

Do not seek to help others in your creative endeavors. But instead seek to help yourself. Through the genuine pursuit of helping yourself, your authenticity will shine. 

This may seem like a selfish concept. But too often we put others before ourselves; forgetting to tend to our own garden. We forget that by first tending to ourselves, we will be of greater series to all those around us. Be selfish first, so you can be selfless indefinitely. 

A short food for thought today. 

 

isn't this all temporary anyways?

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The issue of fear comes up more than anything else in my life. Both personally, and with those I interact with. The fear of doing. The fear of starting something new. The feat of taking a leap, of chasing a vision, or reaching a goal. We are consumed by constant fear. 

For me, I think it is this sense of "well if I do that, can I go back?" As if every leap we choose to take is a completely permanent outcome, that can never be erased or reversed. 

To some degree, yes, you can never go back in time. If you make a decision, that decision will stand in that very moment, forever. But that doesn't mean you can't change the course of things once you have started. 

Once you start a new adventure, just like a captain of a ship, you have to make slight adjustments as you go to deal with factors outside of your control. No one who ever tried something new had a perfect road map. 

But the reality of this permanent mindset seems to be a bit foolish. We all know that our time here on earth is limited. I don't mean this in a morbid sense, it's just the way it is. So if we are essentially temporary beings in the grander scheme of life, aren't all of our decisions temporary as well? 

At first, this notion may be unsettling. But at the same time, I find it completely freeing. I head a quote the other day that in 150 years not a single living human on the planet will still be alive. 

This thought is quite striking. I think 150 may be slightly bold, but with modern day science, who knows, today's babies may just live to be 150. 

That means that in 150 years, no one is going to care that you quit your job, to start a business, that ended up being a flop. 

When you think about it for a while, it can really start to free your fears. When you start to adopt that "Oh what the hell, it's now of never" attitude, big things start to happen. Or at least have the chance of happening. You can't fail (or succeed) at something until you in fact start. 

Once we remove our expectations of certain outcomes, and our fear of permanence, and remember that everything in life is fleetingly temporary, it frees us to just live

So you hate your job? You want to quit and start your dream business? Why the hell not, there is no time like the present. You have a dream of going back to school? Or traveling the world? Or starting a family? What are you waiting for? 

Like I always say, you only get to live today once. So LIVE. Live like it's all just a big temporary beautiful disaster. If you fail, pick yourself up ad trying something else crazy. 

Life is too short to be scared. To be scared of failing. To be scared of what those around you think. To be scared of not being able to go back, to hit rewind, to have regret. 

I don't know about you, but I don't want to live my life in a constant loop of fearing doing, and therefore not actually doing  anything with my life. I am going to live. I am going to follow my impulses, my big ideas, my gut instincts, my intuition. 

I may not have the most money in the world. I may not make everyone around me happy. People may think I'm absolutely crazy, But by doing what I'm doing, I could have a huge impact, even just on a few people. Isn't that worth putting everything on the line? 

You only get one shot at this. And remember, it's all just a temporary roller coaster. So buck up beautiful, and find your inner lion. All you need is just the slightest inclination of bravery to get started. 

how positivity cultivates resilience

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I was reading Positivity the other day, by Positive Psychologist from UNC Chapel Hill, Barbara Fredrickson. Barbara has dedicated her life's work to the study of positivity. For so long, psychology was dominated by the study of negativity. Seeking to find cause and cure to the ever increasing depression that plagues our society. 

Not long ago, Barbara and other brilliant psychologists decided to turn the tables not his idea, and start studying the other side of the spectrum: positivity. Positive Psychology was born. 

In her book Positivity, Barbara talks about how cultivating more positivity can make us more resilient. It is proven that naturally positive people carry higher resilience than their not so positive counterparts. 

Resilience helps us to better react and recover from tough life situations that may come our way. Positive people are better suited to handle themselves in tough situations and bounce back after an event much quicker. 

A section of her book really hit me...

"...resilient people are highly attuned to the ever-changing circumstances in which they find themselves. They are emotionally nimble. They react to what is happening now, not to what-ifs. They don't spend time worrying about the future. Instead, perhaps appreciating that they can cope with whatever comes their way, they adopt a wait-and-see attitude. They're also quick to tell the difference between good and bad - they don't overgeneralize or overreact. They minimize their angst by cutting out advanced worry and afterglow obsessions, focusing instead on reality of the present moment." 

I feel like this is something so many of us struggle with. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the what-ifs of tomorrow. Spending hours ruminating about what could happen or should happen. But we really have minimal control over events that cross our path. We simply can control our thoughts and reactions to those moments. 

How different would things be if you too adopted this wait-and-see attitude? Choosing to live life in a much more intuitive, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of mindset. How refreshing would it be to just focus on now, and not worry about tomorrow? 

There are times where thinking about the future is very beneficial. When we are visualizing our goals and dreams. This visualization can help us work through our thoughts, and form a clear vision and path moving forward. 

But when we start thinking through the negatives. the what-ifs of what could happen or what could go wrong, this visualization is no longer beneficial, but rather severely detrimental. A good question to ask yourself is simply: 

Is this useful? 

A certain amount of worry can be good, to safeguard us against danger, and to keep us alert, and in the here and now. But once you pass the point of a thought serving a purpose or bringing useful, it is better to discard the notion. 

Worry less about things out of your control. Think less about possible outcomes that do not match up with reality. Wait and see what happens before sending out the bat signal of despair. 

This week, try out being emotionally nimble. Let things roll off your shoulder. If you feel something getting under your skin, take a breath.

Know that a thought is simply a thought. And by increasing our positive outlook on life, we are setting ourselves up for greater resilience to safeguard against whatever life may throw our way. 

quit while you're ahead

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How stopping work when you are still energized can help you get more done, in less time, and eliminate the possibility of burnout. 

Over the years, I have gone back and forth on the concept of when to stop working for the day. We all have those days where we can hardly get going, and feel as if we are getting nothing accomplished throughout the day. And then we have those days there we are so "on." Where productivity is oozing out our pours, and we seem to just be flying through our to-do list. 

It has been suggested by minds far more advanced than mind, that it is in fact beneficial to stop working while you are in one of these energized, flow states of mind. Now I am not saying to stop right when you start the feel productive. Obviously if you get into one of these amazing flow states of mind, you should use it to your advantage. But the idea here, is to not push it. Know your limits, and stop working before you lose your flow, and move into the aftermath of burnout for having pushed past your limits. 

This is something that I first learned while working out. Being a college athlete, I was used to working out for 4 hours a day. As I got older, and didn't exactly have 4 hours to dedicate to hitting the gym anymore, it was hard for me to find my ideal balance between feeling like I got a good workout in, not wasting my entire day, and not completely exhausting myself in the process. 

I used to get up and work out for 2 hours to start my day. An intense 2 hours. Although I was getting in a great workout, I would come home exhausted, and honestly just want to sleep and eat for the remainder of my day. An activity that should have been waking me up, and getting me into a productive zone, was zapping my energy and killing my work flow. 

Finally I landed on the idea of only working out until energized. Work out long enough to wake up, feeling like I got a workout in, but not push it to ultimate exhaustion. This was not always easy. Some days a good workout would consist of a walk around the block. Others I wanted to keep going forever and ever because I felt great. 

Just the other day I was out for a run. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I hit my stride I felt amazing. Eventually I hit the 4 mile mark - which is really good for me since I was just getting back into running - it was the longest I had run in a while, and I felt fantastic. A big part of me wanted to keep running. I had more energy at mile 4 than I had my entire run. I knew I could run 5, maybe even 6 miles that day. 

Ultimately, I decided to stop while I was at the height of this energy. It was hard - I wanted nothing more than to run further just to prove to myself that I could. But I knew if I pushed it, I would approach the point of exhaustion. 

I ended up going into my work day completely energized, and in a great mood. I finished my entire to-do list before noon and was absolutely amazed by what I had accomplished, and how much of my day was left. Once again I was confronted with the idea of "do I keep going" or "do I stop?" Part of me was boring with energy and wanted to jump into tomorrow's to-do list and maybe finish that to. I was ready to take on the world. But once again, I stopped. 

I took the rest of the day, and read, enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and spent some time with my dog. I felt accomplished for having gone on a great run, finished my to-do list in record time, and had the rest of the day for some much deserved R&R. I ended up getting some more work ticked off later in the day, and went to bed well rested and ready for tomorrow. 

The next day followed suit. 

I could have easily taken advantage of my energy burst and road out my flow as long as possible. Maybe to the point to ticking through the following days to-dos and beyond. But knowing myself, I would have been completely burnt out at the end of the day. And odds are, it would have taken me days to recover. I would have been too exhausted to enjoy a day of sunshine and reading, and would have ultimately ended up at the same place on my to-do list a few days later. 

So maybe there is some weight to this idea of stopping while you are ahead. To try to keep yourself, body and mind, in a constant state of energy and excitement. If you avoid approaching the brink of burn out, you end each day with happiness, and accomplishment. And you start the next day with energy and excitement. If you ask me, that sounds like a pretty dreamy way to build your life and business. 

This week, set the intention to stop while you are ahead. And that doesn't mean just ahead on your to-do list, but instead when you are ahead emotionally. Stop while you are still energized, no matter what time of day it may be. Don't let yourself approach the point exhaustion, boredom, or burnout. Start living in a heightened state of energy and excitement every day in your life and business. Work less, play more. And above all else, put your happiness and wellbeing first. When you do that, everything else will work out better than you ever could have imagined. 

Show yourself some much needed grace this week.