I was unexpectedly tagged to play the Hi Vibe Game, a game/challenge for prolific and/or popular personal development bloggers. (I have been tagged by Cardin Lilly Routh of OptimimistLab.com http://www.optimistlab.com.)
In the grand spirit of the game, I’m going to tell you five of my secret “tricks” for Raising My Vibe. In no particular order, here they are:
- I read
And I read some more. High quality, wise personal development and spiritual material is a necessity for my life spirit. If I skip my daily allowance for too long, my appreciation for life and my wonder of life starts to decline. You never really learn something and then have it set in stone. You change and the meaning of the message changes somewhat. You forget … and then you rediscover it. You think you know most of what you need to know about a teaching/a lesson … and then life (or a new reading) presents it to you in a whole new light.
2. I take in various forms of creativity
I derive pure pleasure from partaking of the creativity of other writers and artists. For example, movies have moved (in my mind) from being a guilty pleasure to an art form that I require for my being. There are certain things you can do and say in a movie that cannot be communicated in any other way. And so I finally realized that movies – and other artistic food – are not guilty luxuries; they are truly food for my soul that I require in order to keep growing and evolving … to become a better, much more nuanced person.
3. I meditate
Because I tend towards impatience in learning, the trick for me was to purchase CDs that facilitate the meditation process. The CDs that I have take me to a much more profound level of meditation than I managed to achieve on my own. As an added bonus, I fall into such a deep state of relaxation that I re-enter the world refreshed.
4. I laugh
I admit it. I love to laugh, but even more so I enjoy making other people laugh. I literally sometimes do short stand-up routines for my fiancé. I don’t plan on becoming a professional comedian, but interacting with friends and cracking them up brings me true pleasure.
And when I really need a boost, I find a comedy special on HBO or On Demand (or a funny movie) and make myself watch it. Within five minutes my whole mood has changed. Amazing.
5. I drink a lot of water
Water is the wellspring of life, to my mind. I am astonished how little water most people drink. I didn’t drink much water for most of my life, but once I started drinking water in abundance, I couldn’t go back. It is obvious to me that most people are dehydrated, and this seems to affect our energy level as well as our overall health. The more water I drink, the better I feel.
Here are five other blogs/bloggers which I think will benefit you, as part of the Raising the Vibe Challenge.
- Guy Kawasaki, The Nine Biggest Myths of the Workplace, http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/05/the_nine_bigges.html, in his blog How to Change the World http://blog.guykawasaki.com/
- Christine Kane, Doubt is a Drag Queen
3. The Positivity Blog, http://www.positivityblog.com/, Why Some People Are Almost Always Successful, http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/03/21/why-some-people-almost-always-are-successful/
4. LifeHack, http://www.lifehack.org/, Interview with Tim Ferris of the Four-Hour Workweek, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/interview-with-tim-ferriss-of-the-4-hour-workweek-part-2.html
5. Seth Godin’s Blog on his book The Dip, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/the_dip/
That’s it for now. This challenge was great fun. I hope you enjoyed this post and the multitude of blog entries recommended by this post and other posts via the Hi Vibe game.
Most of us — including me — were taught to believe in luck. We believe that certain people have achieved certain successes or have experienced “good fortune” at least partially because of luck. Of course, we acknowledge that hard work and perseverance were involved to some extent, but we believe that “luck” is the critical factor in most people’s successes.
How many times have you heard someone say something to the effect of, “If you want to accomplish X, you’ll need more than hard work and credentials. You’ll also need to a lot of luck. It’s a hard business to break into (or succeed in, or rise to the top of, etc.).”
We nod our heads, subconsciously slipping into the trap of allowing ourselves the excuse of lack of luck whenever we fail to achieve something that we want . . . but which we secretly believed was out of our range anyway. It’s like when you approach that gorgeous person hopefully … and just know that she or he won’t be interested because s/he will look at you and decide you aren’t quite up to par.
That kind of thinking is poison … and it will manifest for you everything that you didn’t want to manifest!
Here’s the lesson: luck is self-created.
As Thomas Jefferson said:
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
“Lucky” people put themselves in the right place at the right time, they contact the people that they need to meet to get ahead or stay connected, they work hard and consistently to make sure that when an opportunity arises, their name and reputation are known — and they are ready to meet the challenge.
You can practice creating luck on a daily basis. Your opportunity may be just around the corner — but you have to prepare for it. Think of all the ways that you can create luck in your own life.
Perhaps that means sending out resumes on a daily basis. Perhaps it means calling five more contacts per day, being friendly to everyone that you meet, starting to write a business plan, writing that magazine article or query, or sending out a press release. Perhaps it means stretching your comfort zone just a little bit more every day.
Bottom line: The creation of luck entails different things for different people. Figure out what it entails for you, and practice the creation of luck every day.
Expect to be lucky, prepare to be lucky, act like you are lucky, and you will create your own luck.
Every book by a self-reliant, defiant, and successful person that I have read has taught me several life lessons that you can ignore only at your peril.
1. Dump the act of acting small.
It simply belittles you and your life, and it does the world no favors.
You are much more valuable to the world once you begin acting like the strong soul that you know you are.
2. Put yourself in a position where you stand out.
If you are highly intelligent and well-educated, it makes little sense to go into a profession in which everyone is just as smart as you. Look, if you really, really want to be a doctor or a lawyer, great … the world needs more people who love what they do. Otherwise, strike out on your own in a field in which your smarts and know-how are rare. You don’t want to find yourself fighting over the juiciest meat among a pack of the best lions, do you?
3. Forget everything they told you when you were a child.
Most of us were taught to get a great education and then get the best job possible. What a scam. For people who are talented, being an employee is really a high-risk endeavor. Employ yourself whenever possible.
While there are many great personal development (“PD”) writers and speakers, the PD industry is huge (and lucrative) and thus attracts many folks who merely regurgitate what someone else said, give vapid advice, or give misguided advice. In this post, I am going to discuss three P.D. “tips” of which you should be very wary.
1. Follow your passion and the money will follow
Er, not exactly. I strongly believe in following your passion, but sometimes simply being passionate isn’t enough. Obviously hard work is required, as is talent. Sure, if you are a passionate hard worker and you are good at what you do … the odds shift in your favor. But I have read too many posts on personal development forums wherein some young dreamseeker quits her day job to follow her passion … and ends up living on Ramen noodles. Even if you follow your passion and the money does follow, there is likely to be a period of time (even if it is only a few months or a year) during which you generate no income from your passion. Blend passion with practicality. Plan, work hard, be honest about your talents, and have a plan for transitioning from what you do now to what your gut tells you to do.
As Miguel de Cervantes said:
“Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.“
So be practical and diligent in following your passion … and the money will follow.
2. Damn all the naysayers
Often, people critical of your dreams are just that — critical people. But sometimes they are people who have your best interest at heart (and more experience) and are merely trying to gently (or not so gently) steer you away from a major life disaster. Now, disasters often turn out okay … so even that wouldn’t be the end of the world. But don’t think that everyone who questions your dream is a bitter, dream-sucking goosestepper. Some of them are, of course. Feel free to damn these naysayers.
But try to carefully pay attention to criticism and ascertain whether it is well intentioned and comes from a knowledgable source. Even then, you may decide to proceed with your plan — and it may turn out fabulously. But take valuable, free advice when it is given … and then decide what to do with that advice, based on your own intuition.
For example, I have had many people in my life criticize me. Nevertheless, I have had a fairly successful life. This is due to many reasons, but one of these reasons is that I pretty much ignore advice or criticism from people who clearly don’t have my best interests at heart. For the people that do, I listen carefully and decide whether I agree. Sometimes being a critic doesn’t mean someone is a naysayer … it just means that they are your friend.
3. Visualize and receive.
There are certain folks who would have you believe that if you visualize what you want, it will drop into your life like magic. I concede that this may happen sometimes (well, every once in a while) … but generally more is required. As many critics (and even proponents) of The Secret DVD have pointed out, that something more that is required is action. If you want to be rich and you sit around visualizing winning the lottery … well, good luck. Don’t quit your day job.
Similarly, if you want to attract a loving partner and go about your day not changing any of your routines, habits, or behaviors … then you might find that special person soon. But more likely, your repeated patterns and ways of being will keep producing the same results. So no partner arrives; it’s just you sitting in your chair visualizing that perfect person.
You have to take action. If you want to be wealthy, start taking practical steps toward that goal. Read, become informed, and then take action toward that goal via tangible acts. Whether you start a business, begin investing in stocks and mutual funds, become a real estate mogul, or simply start an aggressive savings plan, your key to wealth is action. If you want to attract a life partner, take action towards that goal — join a dating service, join a gym, update your wardrobe, become comfortable with your own self, etc.
Of course, you are in the meantime visualizing your success via vision boards and other means. But the key is action.
Visualize, act, and receive.
If you are interested in Wallace Wattles and his work, The Science of Getting Rich, Debra Moorhead has a great seven-part commentary on applying the science.
Her first blog on the topic is available here.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
One of the big challenges in life is to recognize when you perceive that you have “failed”, and then to make something good come out of that.
When we allow ourselves self-pity for too long, we ultimately start feeling not only like a failure — but also like a victim.
The key is to acknowledge that your hopes did not pan out — but that this experience means that you are meant for something different, and usually something better.
I had an a-ha moment watching one of the two Oprah shows on The Secret, wherein Oprah said something along the lines of, “If you’re fired, you should thank them … because that just means you weren’t meant to be there anyway.”
Similarly, I saw Donald Trump speak a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and he recounted the story of a friend who was talented but doing abysmally in his line of work. Trump kept telling him to quit — but he wouldn’t. Finally, he was fired. Thereafter, the friend started some sort of golf business and has never been happier.
Often when we fail — assuming we are working diligently — it is because we really are supposed to be doing something else. It means we are on the wrong path.
And often that “something else” is so much bigger than what we were doing.
What’s great about this is that if we think about it hard enough and creatively enough, the opportunity presented by the “failure” often dwarfs the problem.
An obvious example would be being laid off from your job and being forced to start your own business … which you have wanted to do forever but didn’t have the guts for. In this case, life has given you a kick in the pants.
Another example would be attempting a freelance writing career for niche magazines, and being rejected over and over. You might realize that you have been thinking way too small and decide to sumbit to the big national magazines, write a book, or even start your own magazine.
A less obvious example: your website/business is not doing as well as you hoped. You visit your traffic stats and notice that 50% of the people who are your visitors/customers are interested in X. You have been focusing on X, Y, and Z and everything in between.
Out of this failure you can recognize that there might be a huge market for X. You build the website and products centered around X … and your niche idea takes off.
A still less obvious example: what have you been criticized for your entire life? Arrogance, timidity, too loud, too meek, inability to cooperate with others, a desire to have everyone approve …
Whatever it is, that is part of you. And you should use that in a unique way that makes you stand out like no other person could.
For example, if you are criticized for being self-centered and money-focused — go for it. Start a business and use your (rare) arrogance to instill confidence in your employees.
If you have been criticized for being meek and wanting everyone to like you … use that! Work at a non-profit at which you aren’t front and center (at least for now) and do your best work for others.
Our personalities are uniquely ours, and we must use them for distinct purposes.
If we do not do so, we become yet another member of the crowd who damns his or her “flaws” and hopes for a better day.
But you are the master of your life. You create your life through your thoughts and your expectations.
Shape it according to your will and mold it to the form of your own unique personality.
Michael Beckwith, one of the “teachers” in The Secret DVD, is incredibly charismatic – and intelligent. BTW, I realized as I watched this video that he reminds me of a close family member in my life who is also ridiculously charismatic and intelligent.
At any rate, here is Michael’s reaction to the materialistic aspects of The Secret:
“People kind of gather around how to get things fast in their life. That is not the real message [of The Secret]. The real message is that as you begin to change internally, your life begins to reflect that change. And that does include prosperity, it does include health, it does include life relations, it does include ideal employment. It includes using the Law to stabilize your structures in Life. Health, your mental and emotional health, finances. You stabilize the structures so that ultimately you can be a beneficial presence on the planet.”
All I can say is that Michael’s words are wonderful, but be careful about becoming so identified with a guru that you stop thinking for yourself. Read more about this in my post, Be Your Own Guru.
View the CBS video here; I mentioned the video in an earlier post but didn’t comment on it. It’s fairly good … but take what you need and leave the rest.
Our life is either working for us or it is not.
Either way, we know.
In fact, I think for most people life is not working. And that’s O.K. The problem is that they don’t do anything about it.
Worse, the people who think they are doing something about changing their lives tend to be really into personal development. So they’ve bought the tapes and read the books and been to the seminars.
And yet, nothing has changed for them. They essentially keep doing the same things, with a few patches here and there from the latest guru.
I recently had a startling moment of clarity. I realized that if you really want to change your life, you have to ask yourself a basic question: is what I am doing working for me?
I don’t simply mean your job … or your TV habits … or your drinking habits … or your work ethic.
What I mean is something much bigger: is your way of thinking and being in the world working for you?
If the answer is no, then you cannot keep subscribing to your current worldview. You have to adopt a new worldview that works for you.
For example, for most of my life my worldview of achievement and winning worked well. Competition and “life awards” were the way I kept score. And I always won.
But as my life passed into a new phase, that mode of being no longer worked. And the harder I pushed my old way, the worse things got.
So I realized that I needed an entirely different way of living. I will write about this in the future, but I basically realized that what I was doing was not working … and yet everything I was doing was what I had been taught. So I needed to come up with new ways of thinking and doing — and I mean entirely new ways — if I wanted to enter a new realm of life.
As I said, I kept doing what I always did and for a while I kept getting what I always got … which was very good stuff. But after awhile, this competition mindset no longer worked for me and the universe pushed back. Hard.
So now I realize that as my soul is transitioning to a higher level, my consciousness and ways of thought have to change.
Otherwise, I would remain stuck.
Actually, I would move backward because my consciousness was operating at a higher level than my habitual ways of thought.
Finally I feel as though I am experiencing forward movement again, like a ship slowly going back out to sea. But I consciously have to operate from my entirely new mindsets everyday. If I don’t, I have a “stuck” day.
I realized I could keep living under the fog of life that I was brought up to believe would produce happiness and success … or, once my soul started reaching for higher levels of consciousness, I could set out to find my own way(s).
In exploring my new ways of being, I am excited every day to discover that life is so much richer than I ever imagined.
Every spiritual teacher tells us that gratitude is imperative to personal development.
Yet gratitude is a more difficult concept than many would admit. For example, I am grateful for my life, what I have, my loved ones’ lives, and everyday beauty (for example, I love watching the birds and squirrels in our backyard scampering and flitting about).
But this feeling of gratitude can pale in comparison to the many things that are not quite right in one’s life. And so the gratitude exercise can sometimes be a little difficult.
So when I feel this way, I force myself to take in precisely what I have. And everytime I do this … I realize I have so much.
I don’t want to get too off-topic here, but as a professional with a nice car, I have sometimes been treated to forms of abuse — being cut off, yelled at — by people who I believe see me as a rich snob. Actually, I bought the (stereotypical rich person’s) car used — and it probably has a year or three before it is retired to a mechanic. But to some people, my life seems so much different than their own because I drive an “expensive” car.
Please. I – like all of us — have a myriad of problems and difficulties. Moreover, I am on a personal development journey that is requiring all of me to stay on course.
So I realized that the way I look to some people — rich and carefree — is the way the richest and most famous people seem to me.
And then I got it.
We all have our own experiences to live out, whether in a beatdown apartment or a grand mansion — but we’ll always still be the same soul and experience the same life hurts and difficulties.
So yes, Richard Branson’s life looks grand to me. But to him, I am sure it feels just as ordinary and problem-ridden as any other life.
So the key is to just enjoy whatever level we are at. In terms of Earth’s population, I probably have a better life than 99% of people. So to grump and groan seems a bit ridiculous. Sure, I always strive to make life better but the fact is … life is pretty good.
And I want to remember that as my life, wealth, and abundance grows. Actually … only if I appreciate that will my abundance grow.
Over at GeniusTypes.com, Brian Lee offers an article titled Why People Fail. Although it is not a cheery title or subject, the wisdom Brian imparts is priceless. He speculates that even though many people are presented with the precise information on how to become successful and wealthy, 99% of people won’t do anything about it.
Why? He gives five reasons, all of which are things most people avoid:
1. Hard Work
2. Taking Risks
3. Doing Research
4. Getting Organized
The truth hurts, but it can also be liberating if you are honest with yourself.
Read the full post here.
One of the greatest assets any person can secure is a reputation for eccentricity. If you have a reputation of this kind you can do a lot of things … Many an act which, if performed by an ordinary person, would arouse indignation, animosity and antagonism can be performed by a person with a reputation for eccentricity with no other result that that of exciting mirth …
Paul Graham has one of the best articles I’ve read, How to Do What You Love, on finding your passion.
Some of the best passages:
Why is it conventional to pretend to like what you do? … If you have to like something to do it well, then the most successful people will all like what they do. That’s where the upper-middle class tradition comes from … [C]onventional attitudes about work are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of the attitudes of people who’ve done great things.
His thoughts on prestige:
Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
That’s what leads people to try to write novels, for example. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies.
And perhaps my favorite observation:
Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.
I do disagree with him on one point. He says that in finding what you love to do, you shouldn’t worry about the opinions of anyone beyond your friends. I’d go even further: don’t worry about what your friends think. This is your life to live, so choose accordingly.
Read the full post here.
For those of you interested in the recent critiques on Oprah’s recommendation of The Secret, please read this thoughtful and dead-on response from Steve Olson.
I am more than thrilled that an intelligent person shot back with a very smart response. I am not linking to the infamous criticisms because they are linked to in the article that I recommend; more importantly, I prefer not to link to vitriol.
Happy reading and contemplating!
For those of you who enjoyed the original Oprah show on The Secret (DVD), here is a link to the aftershow (provided by Whatanicewebsite.com).
It is also a good show. Once again, one of my favorite quotes came from Michael Beckwith (this is a quote to say to yourself in the mirror):
“I am available to more good than I have ever experienced, realized or imagined before in my life.”