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The Power of Repeated Thoughts

September 28, 2018 by  
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People commonly remark to themselves, or to other people, things like “I’m a real good people person,” or “You know, I’m not good with people. I guess I’m kind of anti-social.” Others say, “Hey, I’m really good at fixing things,” or “I sure am a poor public speaker, but I’m a very good writer.” How about you? What do you tell yourself and others that you are good at and things that you are not so good at?

This self-talk is a very powerful thing and it tends to make you much better at some things, but it also can reinforce negative ideas about your life and habits which can hurt you.

I’ve said for many years that I’m very good with numbers and that I am a good wordsmith but, when it comes to repairing or fixing things, ugh… I’m terrible. And for many years now I’ve said to myself and to others, “I’m really, really not physically flexible.” In fact, I can’t even touch the floor without bending my knees big time. But, a few weeks ago, I started thinking about the huge connection between the brain and the body and how my comments about my lack of flexibility was totally reinforcing that weakness. You see, by telling myself over and over again that I was not at all flexible, my body believed it, which wasn’t hard because I wasn’t doing anything to change it either. So, my body was just following the brain’s instructions.

It does surprise me that I didn’t have this wakeup call years ago. I just accepted having a stiff body as an unchangeable fact and by always saying that I was not flexible, I reinforced what my brain was telling my body.

So, having had my little epiphany, I decided to do something about it. I started a simple daily stretching routine and within just a few days I was delighted to see a slow but consistent improvement in my flexibility. Before my stretching program, if I had dropped something on the floor, I would ask my wonderful wife, Kimberly, it she’d pick it up and she always would. But now she doesn’t have to. Even though I’ve got a long way to go to be super flexible, I can see that it is going to happen, just a little bit at a time.

I’m not saying that we don’t each have some very natural talents and abilities but there is also a very strong connection between the brain and the body that can also affect our abilities. We need to remember that we can direct our thoughts to make changes and improvements in our body and in our life, changes that we may have thought were not possible. The bottom line is that our thoughts can reinforce good stuff in our lives as well as some bad stuff so we should pay attention to which kind of thoughts we keep repeating to ourselves and others.

Think about this and maybe experiment with ways to direct you and your body to change or improve. You might surprise yourself.

 

Life Changing Mornings

August 24, 2018 by  
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I just finished reading a great little book that my wife gave me titled, The Miracle Morning: The Not-so-Obvious Secret to Transform Your Life Before 8 A.M. In this very uplifting and motivating book, the author, Hal Elrod tells of how his life was dramatically lifted by setting an early morning schedule and routine. This was very difficult for him at first since he was defiantly not an early morning person, but as he says, “committing to my personal development in the morning … would give me a positive motivation to kick start my day.”

On that first morning he pulled out a list of what he considered life changing development activities that he had learned over the years but had not put into practice. “One by one, I implemented each one,” he writes. He had decided to use one hour each morning and spend 10 minutes for each item on his list.

Here are the 6 items that Hal thought were the most impactful for his life:

  • Silence – as in meditation where he would concentrate on his breathing for 10 minutes.
  • Reading – he grabbed the book Think and Grow Rich. (He had started reading it many times but never finished the book.)
  • Affirmations – he wrote down his list of self-affirmations including the things he wanted to become and what he was going to do to change his life.
  • Visualization – he created this after watching the movie The Secret (I have to watch that movie myself.)
  • Journaling – he had a journal but had not written in it for a long time, yet he found after writing a few things he was grateful for the way exercises her that motion creates emotion so drop down and did push-ups and insist for those 2 minutes of stopping by getting up one hour earlier as you normally do than you normally do and going through a routine it lifted his spirits.
  • Exercise – he had heard that “motion creates emotion” so he dropped down and did push-ups then sit-ups for those 10 minutes without stopping.

By getting up one hour earlier than you normally do and going through a routine, spending just 10 minutes on each item you set for yourself, you can change and enhance your life the way Hal Elrod has done. And Hal had some pretty huge setbacks when he was a young man. At age 20 he was hit head on by a drunk driver and was dead for 6 minutes. He suffered brain damage, 11 broken bones and was told that he would never walk again. He didn’t believe what he was being told and went on to defy the doctors, eventually running ultra-marathons, becoming a Hall of Fame Business achiever, and even recording as a hip-hop artist.

If someone like that created and is using the “Miracle Morning” technique, you know that the method is certain to create success. It did work for him and I think it can work for anyone who is willing to set up the schedule and go after what is important to them.

Ok, here’s a good way to start that will give you a little more direction and additional motivation to get out there and improve your life – go by Hal’s book! You won’t be sorry. https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Morning-Not-So-Obvious-Guaranteed-Transform/dp/0979019710

Forgiving Ourselves

June 8, 2018 by  
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How do you and I feel when we set our sights and goals very high only to fall short of those objectives?  If you are like me, it’s very easy to get down on yourself and beat yourself up and that can set you back a few miles mentally, making you feel terrible or pretty much worthless.  This can happen to anyone, even the very rich and very famous, as we have sadly seen with a number of super-rich and famous people that have taken their own lives.

I grew up in a culture that pounded into my head the bible scripture of Matthew 5:48 which says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Quite frankly, I think that did me more harm than good, because as a young boy, I tried and tried but couldn’t seem to be “perfect” in anything at all. I would look around at other people and saw many that seemed to have a perfect life.  Little did I know then that pretty much no one on the planet has had a perfect life. If a person spends too much time and effort trying to become perfect, it can absolutely ruin them. Quite frankly, I think that scripture passage has been the cause of more than a few suicides.

We certainly don’t want to stop trying to reach our lofty goals and become better and better at whatever we choose to do, but we also must learn and practice forgiving ourselves.  It’s kind of strange to me that sometimes it seems easier to forgive someone else when they screw up but much harder to forgive ourselves. I totally agree with John M. Grohol Psy.D. when he wrote his “5 Ways of Letting Go of the Past”

  1. Make a decision to let it go.
  2. Express your pain and your responsibility.
  3. Stop being a victim and blaming others.
  4. Focus on the present, the here and now, and joy.
  5. Forgive them and forgive yourself.

Then there is some super wise advice from a great writer by the name of a Noah St. John. It’s from his book called The Book of AFFORMATIONS®, regarding a program he calls “Permission to Succeed”:

  1. Admit your past mistakes.
  2. Realize you did the best you could do at the time.
  3. Take actions to make sure you don’t repeat those mistakes.

Our brains also play a big a part in our success and failure, as Noah notes in another book of his, Get Rid of Your Head Trash: How to Avoid 3 Big Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make.  I love this title because it really says it all.

In Noah’s book The Secret Code of Success, he maintains that we all need to let up on ourselves and give ourselves breaks and take time to enjoy and celebrate the self. You need to let go of the past when it’s hurting you and accept the present. He states that the key to letting go of the past – and I’d say even if it’s the past of 5 minutes – is to forgive yourself and others that may have mistreated you. That’s great advice that works to make our lives so much better, more successful, and more productive. Perhaps we don’t have not perfect lives, but they can be pretty darn good ones with so much less stress!

 

Stomach Cancer and the Negative Brain

March 30, 2018 by  
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I’ve had a great and healthy life but just last week I got thrown big time when I thought I had stomach cancer. Did that ever hit my brain hard! I’ve always thought my brain was a huge asset and was a big help to me in my life and that’s why I’ve been so big on those “positive affirmations” that Paul J. Meyer taught me. One of my favorites that I repeat almost daily 20 times is, “I am very happy and very healthy.” Well, I must admit that the possibility of possible stomach cancer certainly challenged my “positive thinking”.

This all happens when I quite suddenly had a very bloated stomach. I called my doctor for an appointment as soon as I could. I had to wait a few days to get in and as I waited, the bloating got worse, keeping me awake virtually all night with huge stomach pains. So, I sought out answers on the internet, hoping that my stomach symptoms were from something else. What I found online only made things worse. I found I had 4 out of 6 of the symptoms for stomach cancer.

Did that ever bring on some very bad brain messages and thoughts. And the more I thought about it, the worse the pain became and the less sleep I got. Ugh! My positive self-talk had turn very negative.

I got to the doctor and told her my symptoms, asking her if she thought I might have stomach cancer. She answered by asking if I had changed any of my eating habits or began taking any new medications, supplements, or vitamins. At first I told her no, but then thinking about it for a few minutes, I recalled that I had started taking a couple new supplements. Her advice was to stop taking those and to come back in two weeks if the bloating hadn’t stopped.

So, I stopped taking those supplements and 2 days later it seemed that the bloating had gone down a bit. Even though I’m not yet completely sure that it’s isn’t cancer, I am totally in awe of how much that little bit of progress has changed my brain and my self-talk. In fact, it changed so much that yesterday, being so thrilled and hopeful and having such a positive brain again, I broke my all-time record for steps taken in a day. I walked just over 40,000 steps which is equivalent to playing 13 sets of tennis– something I have never even come close to doing.

So now I’m waiting and carefully watching my stomach and hoping to cancel that next doctor’s appointment. Isn’t it absolutely amazing how much our self-talk can make our lives better or worse. I’m not out of the woods yet but my brain is certainly pushing me in the right direction now. It just needed a little encouragement and some positive thoughts to keep me in a positive mood. That is something to keep in mind the next time negative thoughts are bringing you down. Find something positive to hold onto and pull yourself out of a cycle of negativity to have happier and more productive days.

Direct Your Mind

February 16, 2018 by  
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To make yourself $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 or $10,000,000 takes a lot of planning and work. You must learn and follow the right formulas, techniques and methods but it can be done. We’ve all seen it. So why do some people make it and others fall short? I think most wealthy people would agree it all comes down to how motivated a person is and to make a fortune, you need big time motivation. The good news is that self-determination and motivation is something you can create, control and direct towards any goal that you choose.

One of my favorite mentors, and a very dear friend, Paul J. Meyer, taught me how to motivate myself as well as being an example to prove his point. Paul grew up without money or connections to rich people but by the time he passed away he was worth about half a billion dollars. His writings and motivational recordings alone sold more than $2-billion’s worth. Probably the greatest lesson he taught me was the great power of “self-talk, self-affirmation, and self-suggestions.” That is, by the way, also the name of the great little booklet he wrote.

He states—and I totally agree with this—that, “regardless of all the similarities –and even differences—every successful person is self-motivated.” He also wisely notes that “the most effective motivation is that which is self-generated.”

The great Plato said “take charge of your life. You can do what you will with it.” Buddha taught that, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor certainly agreed saying, “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”

But can you control and direct your brain and make it think and guide you, to get out of life, anything you want, lifting you to the level of millions in net worth? Could that control greatly improve any part of your life? The answer is an unqualified “yes”. Mahatma Gandhi, William James and James Allen all agree on that point as well.

Next week I will share with you what they had to say about controlling and directing your brain to give you anything you want as well as going into detail about what Paul J. Meyer taught me in order to show you what any person can do to program their minds for whatever kind of life and success they want to have.

Your Own Affirmation List

October 21, 2017 by  
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In last week’s post, I challenged you to come up with some affirmations and positive self-talk. What did you come up with?

Never forget that the human brain can be programmed and you can teach it just about anything you want to–repeat those affirmations to yourself over and over again and your brain will believe it. It can and will improve your life and move you toward any goal you have set for yourself. It’s just like what science has discovered about forcing a smile on your face to make you feel better—the brain doesn’t realize it’s a fake smile and so releases the same feel good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, as if it were a genuine smile.

If you are still working on coming up with more affirmations and positive self-talk, here are a few of mine that I try to repeat each one ten times every day, many times when I’m taking a shower, bath or sitting in my hot tub.

  1. I am feeling more upbeat and positive.
  2. I am happy and healthy.
  3. I live in the great right now moment.
  4. I set big goals but am satisfied with baby steps.
  5. I forgive myself for mistakes I make.
  6. I love my wife, I love my life.
  7. I feel calm and collected even in stressful situations.
  8. I am making a difference in the world for the better.
  9. I love people and I listen to others.
  10. I am strong and worthy.
  11. I eat a healthy diet.
  12. I love to exercise.
  13. I appreciate other people.

By the way, before I play a tennis game I do some self-talk as well. For example, I repeat over and over in my head, “I have a very power forehand. I have a very accurate backhand. I am fast and flexible. I have a very accurate and fast serve.” It always seems to help my game. I am convinced this self-talk was a key to helping me win 4 gold medals in singles tennis at the Huntsman World Senior games.

So, go ahead and give it a try in whatever aspect of your life you’d like to improve. I am convinced that if you take time to make up your own list of daily self-talk comments that you will be so glad and satisfied that you did and it will improve your life and those around you.

Do you find this information inspiring? You can get these every week in your email so you don’t miss one, by going to the top of my website page here: http://ignitemylifenow.com Search through the recent posts and archives sections on the blog page to find more super helpful thoughts and ideas.

 

Serendipitous Affirmations

October 14, 2017 by  
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While unpacking my jammed-up suitcase in Paris, I was quite surprised to see a very small booklet that had been in my suitcase from a previous trip. The booklet was written by my very good friend and wonderful mentor, Paul J. Meyer, entitled Self-Talk Self-Affirmation Self-Suggestion, co-authored by John P. Gardner.  I glanced through the booklet and was a bit surprised by some fantastic quotes and great advice for super success as well as building yourself into exactly what you want to be and do in life.

Then I remembered that Paul Meyer used to teach a great reading lesson.  He said, in reading self-help type books or ones that are truly life inspiring and life changing, that “instead of reading hundreds, just read the ones that truly touch you and motivate you to be all that you can be.” He followed that with this key part that I have learned to be so true: “Keep re-reading the best books over and over again since all of us humans tend to forget so much.” And while you’re at it, I would strongly advise you to underline and write in the margins those principals and motivational directions that speak to you and help you become a better you.

So, when that hit me in the face I started reading that great little booklet again, even though I had read it many times before and, yep, I read some things that I had forgot all about or at least I had stopped doing or thinking about as I should have been.  Let me give you a few of his affirmations that struck me and hope they strike you and help you as well, even though you may have read or heard them many times before. So here are a few of those lines, starting with Paul Meyer’s definition of affirmations

To quote Meyer, an affirmation is “a declaration or statement about yourself, in the first person (I…) in the present tense (I am) specific, and about what you want to be, to do, to have, etc.”  We have learned through scientific study that you can actually trick the brain into believing what you say, especially if you say it over and over again.

French physician Dr. Émile Coué used to tell his patients they would improve faster if they said, over and over again, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”  By the way, those that followed his instruction found that his method worked in spite of the ridicule of others.

” A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it,” Marcus Aurelius said.

Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

I would encourage you to think hard about a self-talk statement that would improve your life and be a great benefit to yourself, your family and the world. If you need some help, just refer back to some of the great self-help books you have read in your life. Or you can search my blog posts for more ideas for affirmations and positive self-talk.

Are you finding this information helpful? Sign up to get these posts by email by going to the top of the blog’s post page. If you are not reading this on the blog page, then go to http://ignitemylifenow.com/blog/ to sign up and also have a look through the recent posts and archives sections you’ll find on the right-hand side. There’s even a search button on the top to help you find the subjects you’re most interested in reading. I hope you find more super helpful things in my past posts as well.

Break-Through Journaling

February 10, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about writing in a journal and I shared that I had written some of my very negative thoughts in mine. These are words and inner feelings that I had never shared with anyone. But what the journaling did for me and these thoughts was amazing.

A few days after writing these thoughts down, I re-read what I had written. Man, oh man … what a powerful reaction I have had in the days since.  It has lifted me up and has enhanced and improved my life almost like magic. I was so very surprised that just those few words that I wrote down on paper could have such a powerful effect on me and my life. Here is what I wrote:

“I didn’t have total follow through yesterday on my writing list of my intentions or goals and in fact I am finding that for a long time now I’ve not lived up to my self-promises and I see that I’ve been so very self-critical and have been berating and beating up myself cause I’m just not perfect like I want to be. I’ve been seeing that I’m very hard on myself and I really don’t forgive myself much although I forgive other people. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been feeling very good for going on two years. Maybe I ought to start forgiving myself and take more baby steps that really can turn into giant progress toward my goals like I’ve preached to my readers of my blog. Hmmm … I need to think about that.”

I was very surprised that, within a few days of re-reading those words, I began to feel so much better and noticed that I was not being so hard on myself. I kept thinking about taking baby steps and so now I am not inclined to berate and beat myself up. I think that this change of mind set must be due to my writing down my inner thoughts and that the act of writing it down changed something in my brain. What a breakthrough!

So, I would suggest you give journaling a chance if you haven’t already. Write down your inner most thoughts, especially the ones that you are struggling with or are getting you down. Then put them away and read them a little while later and see what your brain does with it. I’m sure it will get you to think about it and find a way to help yourself feel better along with being a great way just to get it out of your head and safely down on paper where you can, literally put it away for a while. At least until you are ready for your own journal break-through.10

The Super Power of Writing to Yourself

February 3, 2017 by  
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I’ve written about the huge value of keeping a journal of your life before. Writing about what you do, where you go, people you meet, and, probably most important of all, your inner most thoughts as you go through your life. I’ve kept a journal going on 55 years now. Yes, sometimes I go months without making any entries but still, I must say, I’ve made some major discoveries about myself and life in general from the entries I have made and they have helped me beyond what I ever would have expected.

Sometimes re-reading what I wrote years before brings me unexpected break-throughs. You know one of those ah-ha moments that really hit you hard and sometimes changes your life for the better. The latest breakthrough started when I began reading the “Life Story of Kathryn Baird Haroldsen” which are the writings of my mother, all gathered up and put together into a book by my father, Dr. Edwin O. Haroldsen, in 1995. Both of them have long since passed away but their writings still speak to me with great power.

Reading my parents’ words about their travels all over the world and their many great and exciting experiences was so very insightful for me. But when my mother shared on paper some of her inner most thoughts and feelings, it motivated me to get out my journal and put on paper some self-defeating and disturbing thoughts that I have had these last 2 years. These are thoughts that I haven’t shared with a single soul.

For some reason that maybe only our brains know about, when I later re-read my very negative inner thoughts it changed me and, surprisingly, did so in a very good and positive way. I now want to share that experience and the lessons I learned with others so they may have a positive breakthrough like I did that will help their lives. Next week I will share exactly what I wrote and how it began to change me and my life. In the meantime, if you don’t already, start journaling about whatever comes to mind. You never know what you might write down that will bring you your own break-through in the future.

January 15, 2016 by  
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For many years, science has proven that there is a definite mind/body connection. That is, our thoughts and self-talk can stimulate changes in our bodies. We’ve all experienced changes in our bodies when, for example a sudden fearful thought pops into our mind. Our bodies can quickly begin to perspire, produce adrenaline, or make our faces flush.

Likewise, a very pleasant thought or positive self-talk can relax our muscles, slow our heart rate and even lower our blood pressure. If we use that mind/body connection in the right way, we can make big and positive changes in our lives. I have certainly experienced that on the tennis court by doing a lot of specific positive self-talk before I play a match. I repeat over and over again statements like, “I have great stamina and energy,” I have a very powerful serve,” or “I stay positive and upbeat.” On the negative side, I learned a long time ago not to say, at critical times in a match, things like, “Oh, I just can’t double fault now!” as apparently the brain locks onto the “double fault” words and misses the word “can’t”. And yep, that’s when a double fault happens.

But now comes some new discoveries about this connection. It’s kind of the reverse—it’s a body/mind connection. Several recent studies have shown that certain things we do with our bodies send a message to our brain. Those messages can be very helpful or very hurtful.

This body to mind connection was introduced to me just last month when I heard Amy Cuddy, an American social psychologist, talk about it. I was so surprised and impressed that I bought her book, Presence, the first day it was released. What a great return I am getting as I see and understand more about how the body can change your brain.

Last week I quoted Amy on the subject of better ways to set new years’ resolutions by using baby steps and nudging yourself. I thought her advice on goals setting was good but Chapter 8 entitled “The Body Shapes the Mind” uncovers, what I think, are brilliant ideas. Amy Cuddy, along with some very bright collaborators, began experimenting to see if the human body holds certain poses for about two minutes would that affect or change the human mind. They chose 5 positive poses and 5 weak poses. Probably the most powerful pose was standing up very straight, shoulders back with hands on your hips–what she called the superman pose. Not only did that pose make the person feel much more powerful, happy and confident it also improved their body chemistry. By using blood samples and saliva samples they found that the men and women who participated in the study showed a 19 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol–which is a stress hormone.

On the other those people that held a 2 minutes low-power pose like slumped down in a chair, head down and tucked in arms, had a 10 percent decrease in testosterone and a 17 increase in cortisol. Amy goes on to say “the way you carry yourself is a source of person power–the kind of power that is the key to presence. It’s the key that allows you to unlock yourself, your abilities, your creativity, your courage and even your generosity. Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. It’s also about the fact that we pose in powerless way much more often than we think and we need to change that.”

So when you want to feel better about yourself and feel more powerful in your life, remember that how you hold your body can change things in your brain. I’m going to start power posing before my tennis games like Amy does just before she gives a speech. In the quiet of her hotel room she stands in the superman power pose for 2 minutes which gives her the right attitude and confidence to go out there and give a terrific speech!

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