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Transform Your Energy

May 28, 2017 by  
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Few people would argue against the proposition that Thomas Alva Edison, even though he only had three months of formal schooling, changed the lives of literally millions of people by bringing inventions such as the phonograph, electric light, typewriter, motions pictures, and the electric generator into the lives of people everywhere. Although Edison didn’t invent anything significant himself, he improved and promoted many things we still used today, patenting 1,093 inventions in his lifetime.

Edison worked from sun up to sun down, and beyond–in fact, sometimes from twenty-one to twenty-three hours a day! How did he generate so much energy to do such fantastic things? And how can you and I generate more energy so we can do much more than we are doing right now?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed into something else. That transformation is itself a kind of creation. How do people like Thomas Edison transform energy so they can keep going so long and hard? Perhaps the following illustration will help to answer that.

It’s early morning and you have to get up for work. You were up late the night before; you don’t want to get up. But you struggle into a sitting position and think about what’s ahead of you. It promises to be typically humdrum. You sigh and lie back down. “I can’t stand to go into that office one more day,” you think, and close your eyes. Ugh, you don’t seem to have any energy.

Contrast that feeling with this: It’s early morning and you have to get up to catch a plane to Paris or Hawaii. You were up late the night before but even though you’re tired you’re filled with excitement and feel a rush of energy. So, you jump out of bed and quickly get dressed and pack since you know that in just a few minutes a chauffeur driven limousine is going to pull up in front of your house. This will take you and a few of your closest friends on a trip to your favorite vacation spot where you will do exactly what pleases you and turns you and your friends on! So now you are all ready and up pulls the big beautiful limo. You feel great and have a ton of energy.

Why are these two situations so different? The answer is obvious. In the second example, your thoughts are transformed into energy! Isn’t it amazing that the simple act of thinking certain things can generate great physical and mental energy? I certainly think it’s amazing!

We all need to remember that so we can control and direct out thoughts to generate more and more energy. Great thoughts transform into great energy, while mediocre thoughts transform into only mediocre energy and may even be a big drain on our energy.

P.S. I must admit I copied the above from a great 1983 book, Goals, Guts and Greatness, but it’s just as true now as it was back then. And yes, I did get permission from the author … since it was my book.

 

Rethinking Stress

March 24, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about the good and bad sides of stress and what you can do to reduce the bad stuff. But I also mentioned that I had just found out something that came as a big shock to me. I had just learned about an 8 year study which discovered that how you think about stress can shorten or lengthen your life. Yes, just by believing or thinking in a certain way about stress can affect your health and lifespan. The good news is that you can change your thinking and gain benefits from the stress in your life.

Kelly McGonigal gave a Ted Talk back in June of 2013 and told of the results of the 8 year study. In that study, 30,000 adults were asked if they believed that stress was very bad for their health. There were many that said “yes” to that question and many that said “no”, then 8 years later the death records were examined and it was found that those who believed that stress caused health problems had a 43% higher death rate than those that didn’t think stress caused health problems.

In other words, just by the mind believing the stress was not bad for them protected those people’s health. The mind really does have a lot more power than we usually give it credit for. The healthy group even had a longer life span than the average person.

There is even one more pretty big positive benefit of stress when you have the right mind set—under stress, the body produces a lot of oxytocin which is a neuron hormone that actually increases your energy level. The difficulty is that if you believe stress is harmful for your health, your blood vessels become constricted which increases your chance of a heart attack. However, if you don’t believe stress is harmful then your blood vessels don’t constrict and you have the extra energy caused by that stress stimulating the production of oxytocin.

So, that is the good and the bad of being stressed and now we know that this good ole brain of ours can make it be one way or the other. To stay on the good side of stress, we all need to do mental work outs and practice controlling our thoughts and directing our beliefs to see, and benefit from, the healthy, energized aspect of the stresses we live with every day.

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.

The Easier Way to Reach Your Goals

November 12, 2016 by  
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Okay, first of all, there is no particularly ‘easy’ way to reach your goals but there are certainly easier ways and harder ways. Whether your goal is to make a million dollars, write a bestselling book or visit 100 different countries, the easier way to reach those goals includes a very simple thing … making lists. And I don’t mean in your head. I mean writing that list down. Why does writing out a list make reaching a goal easier? Because if you write it down it does some very good stuff inside your brain.

Chapter 7 in Henriette Klauser’s wonderful little book entitled Write It Down, MAKE IT HAPPEN tells the great story of her friend Sydne who turned her life around mainly from the single action of writing down her list of goals. Klauser says, “Writing a list gets it out of your head. Heads can be dark swamps, the conversations, the constant chatter, whatever you want to call it, keeps interfering. Writing a list gets it out of the swamp, onto paper. You can see a list in black and white and it’s real. When you reduce your goals to a list, it helps keep your focus.”

So, if you write your goals it basically changes things in your brain. She goes on to say that if your lists are very specific your brain will more likely help you reach those goals. “When you are vague and general, you are safe. Get to the essence of it; that’s when things happen. Nothing can happen when you’re generalized and safe–nothing changes.” When the writing of those lists put Sydne on the path of reaching virtually all her goals, her motto then became simply “Do it easy.”

The author’s advice is to “use listing as an opportunity to crystallize your intent–to learn what matters most to you.” She goes on to say, “Keep that list handy, and look at it regularly, especially if you lose heart or feel scared. Emblazon it in your mind. Repeat to yourself ‘This is what I want and it is waiting for me.’” Remember, keep your list very specific even for things such as buying a car. As the author says, “Don’t simply write ‘car’, write the type of car with make, model, and mileage.”

I must say that goal setting and writing down the specifics has changed my brain and improved my life in many and huge ways. When I was 27 years old I set the very specific goal to make a million dollars by the time I was 30 and yes I wrote it down and looked at that written goal on a regular basis. I went to work to find ways and means, along with great help from a couple of fantastic mentors, to hit my target. Oops I missed the goal, that is I missed the date by one year but reached it at age 31. Pretty much the same thing happened when I set the written goal to write a bestselling book. That book was How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You which eventually sold over one million copies.

I am absolutely convinced that writing it down did in fact change my brain and made it all happen.  I know that it works and if you are not already writing your specific lists of goals down, I hope you start doing so right now.

 

 

Write it Down

September 30, 2016 by  
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If you have followed my blogs you know that I am a huge believer in goal setting. Goal setting can change your life and lift it to a much higher levels in so many parts of your life. Recently I came across an incredible book that has expanded my belief in goal setting as well as teaching me, among other things, some very fascinating science about how the setting of goals effects and influences the human brain.

The book is Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. She talks about and explains how writing a goal or putting a thought or question on paper alerts or activates a part of your brain known as the “reticular activating system” or RAS. As I read, I thought about my own experience and what a huge difference writing it down makes in my own goal setting. When I actually wrote the goal down on paper, rather than thinking it though and trying to set the goal just in my mind, the written goal really got to me and it wouldn’t let me go without me taking some action or at least making progress toward that goal. It’s almost like that note on paper took control of my brain and wouldn’t let go until I did something. And now after reading Klauser’s book I see that there are some actual scientific reasons for that—the RAS.

Thinking back all those years ago when I was 27 and decided I wanted to be a millionaire, I remember writing out my goal to hit a million-dollar net worth by the time I was 30 years old. At that time, I was making about $35,000 a year, so I certainly didn’t have much of a nest egg to get started toward my goal. But some very interesting things started happening in my head. My brain seemed to take over and I couldn’t help but take note of rich people and how they made their money. I began reading everything I saw that was related to making money. I read and studied various wealth formulas and financial secrets then began following and duplicating the wealth methods that I was learning from other people. It seemed that all this financial stuff was automatically falling in my lap. I see now that it must have been that good ol’ RAS at work.

One last tidbit of advice would be to start using a “tidbit journal”. As Klauser recommends, “purchase and carry with you a small memo pad to gather your ideas immediately as the come to you.” That’s great advice since it’s so easy to forget those little things that cross our minds when we are out and about. This little notepad/journal will become like a suggestion box for your brain.

Klauser goes on to say, “Carrying a tidbit journal makes you keener to the workings of the RAS. Having a wheel book or a tidbit book ready at hand stimulates your thalamus to alert the cortex, telling it, “Wake up. Open your eyes. Look and see. Be present to the signs all around you. Life is on your side”.

This is all so much good stuff. Remember writing it down starts to make it all happen. Our brains are so much better than I think most of us fully realize.

 

Powerful Daily Questions

July 29, 2016 by  
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In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about Marshall Goldsmith’s great advice that you can read about in his book Mojo. He reveals ways to greatly improve your odds of lifting your Mojo (your personal happiness and fulfillment in life) and increasing your chances of making greater progress toward your goals and what you want your life to be.

One of Goldsmith’s very effective methods was to ask his friend, Jim Moore, to pose a daily list of questions that Marshall had put together. These questions included want Marshall wanted to get done and how he wanted his life to be. Both men were amazed at how well that daily questioning worked. Even though they lived miles apart and Marshall does a lot of traveling, their commitment to this has them connecting on the phone and going through the process of asking those same questions about 85% of the time. The process has kept Marshall focused and moving forward.

So if you want to greatly increase your Mojo and reach your goals, write a list of what you want to get done and how you want your life to be and then find a good friend or a close relative to ask you those questions on a regular basis. Remember that it’s important to keep track of your progress as well so you can be inspired by your success and work on the areas that might need a boost.

Although you will want to come up with your own questions, I thought Marshall’s basic 6 questions might be helpful:

“Did I do my best today to …

  1. Be Happy?
  2. Find meaning?
  3. Build positive relationships?
  4. Be fully engaged?
  5. Set clear goals?
  6. Make progress toward goal achievement?

After this list, Marshall goes on to list questions he specifically needs for himself such as, “How many minutes did you spend writing?

Then there are some health questions such as,” How many sit-ups did you do?” To which he gets to answer with statements like “Today I did 200 sit-ups at once. Not bad for a 64-year-old guy.” You know that has to be encouraging!

As for work, it might be “With how many clients are you current on your follow-ups?”

Then there’s family and relationships. “Did you say or do something nice for your wife? How about your son or daughter?”

In the book he also asks himself, “Why does this process work so well?”  The answer is that it forced him and his friend Jim to “confront how we actually live our values every day. We either believe that something matters or we don’t.  If we believe it, we can put it on the list and do it! If we really don’t want to do it, we can face reality and quit kidding ourselves.”

The above is just a brief sample. Your list should be much longer but how long depends on what you want to get done in your life.

Marshall asked his wife, Lyda, a psychologist, if she thought this process would work as well with a computer-generated list of questions instead of sharing with another person.  She said, “No, it is a lot easier to blow-off a computer than another person.”

So the bottom line for you and me is to start making our list and then find a friend to help, the kind of friend that you trust and one that won’t criticize you when you fall short of your goals and ambitions. You can do likewise for your friend and together you can really build up your Mojo!

 

 

Talking Yourself into Great Mojo

July 15, 2016 by  
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Last week I introduced you to a terrific book by Marshal Goldsmith entitled MOJO, How to Get it, How to Keep it and How to Get it Back. Mojo is basically your happiness factor, your zest for living and your feeling of fulfillment. There are a few secrets that can help you get your Mojo back if you’ve lost it, or increase your Mojo if you want to have even more of it.
Some of these methods of are from Goldsmith’s book and some are from my own experience. From his book, Marshal says “When we define ourselves by saying we are deficient at some activity, we tend to create the reality that proves our definition.” I’ve said for years that I am no good at doing the details of anything. Saying that so much to myself and to other people cements this belief in my mind. Then I go on to prove that I was right. However, according to the book, Mojo, I can change that.

Goldsmith makes a big point about this. He says that if we want to change ourselves, we need to ask ourselves who we want to become in the future and/or what we want to accomplish then if we want to become that person we can.

So how do we change ourselves and increase our Mojo? There are several ways to do it. One way is by simply changing our self-talk, what I also call that chatter box inside our head. We need to start saying the positive things that we want to do and become.

I’ve started telling myself that I’m becoming better at detail stuff and I’ve notice a change for the good. Another negative thought that I’m working on is to be more decisive, because as they say, ‘making a bad decision sometimes is better than indecision.’ So I am pushing myself to be more decisive. I’m also working on a lifetime habit of telling myself that I’m no good at fixing things. That’s going to change and, believe me, my wife will love that.

Reflections in Lieu of a Christmas Card

December 18, 2015 by  
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Now, a week before Christmas I received this email from a very dear friend of 40 years.  He’s a great guy, now a retired doctor, whose life was turned upside down 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live.  After going through a 9-hour surgery and painful recovery he’s still hanging in there and has embraced life with incredible energy and enthusiasm, fully living life every single day.  He is a positive, lovable human being who is setting a wonderful example for all of us, a man I am proud to call a great friend.

Here is his “Reflections in lieu of a Christmas Card”

I stayed out of the hospital this year.

I played golf or pickle ball almost every day.

I enjoyed friendships, new and old.

I’m learning to say goodbye reluctantly to some
friendships that didn’t work.

I made a few new friends.

I love my kids and grand kids who each seem to be
on their own unique journey.

I continue to know less about more.

I own my own faults and will probably keep
most of them.

I travel less and enjoy my home and Robyn more.

I value things less and ideas more.

I totally reject trying to change anyone else.

I seek forgiveness for hurting anyone.

I reject exclusion, pettiness, manipulation, passive
aggressiveness, and revenge.

I love knowledge, insight, information.

I love competition and discussion.

I reject polarization, cliques, political and
group collectivism.

I advocate for things I believe and not for groups,
causes, or labels.

I advocate for health, fitness, and science.

I love animals more than people.

I reject political correctness and distribution of
wealth.  I advocate for self-determinism.

My identity is not in my possessions.

I resolve next year to reduce drama in my
life by avoiding those who need it.

I want to live as long as possible if there is good quality.

After pancreatic cancer, I’m not afraid of much so
I will speak to my beliefs.  You can have yours
so don’t be offended.  I can disagree with you
and love you.  Don’t react with anger.  Just
listen or not.

I can’t be offended unless I choose to be.

Life is short, don’t withhold love.

Don’t take yourself seriously.  Laugh at your
mistakes and embrace them.  Don’t worry
about what others think.  Worry more about
what you think of yourself.  I want you happy.

If this all sounds pontifical, it probably is.  It’s me at my best and worst.

Love to all.

–Craig Davis

Side Notes on Uncertainty

December 6, 2015 by  
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Years ago I picked up a habit that has served me well for many years and I still do it to this day. It’s simply this: When I’m reading a book–especially a book with good advice, concepts and life lifting ideas—I write notes of those statements that I find profound and powerful,  those things that I don’t want to ever forget.  I write those gems on the blank pages in the front or back of the book with the page number of the quote.  That helps me tremendously weeks, months or years later when I want to quickly review the high points in that particular book, and I can do so in a matter of a few minutes.  Those quick reviews re-motivate me, remind of many things that I’d forgotten, and help me find and follow good pathways.

Let me show you what I mean. Here are my notes from Pema Chodron’s book Living Beautifully with Uncertainly and Change.

Page 3.  “Our attempts to find lasting pleasure, lasting security, are at odds with the fact that we’re part of a dynamic system in which everything and everyone is in process.”

Page 6.  “Change….when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment….”

Page 7.  “What a fundamental ambiguity of being human points to is that as much as we want to, we can never say, ‘This is the only true way. This is how it is. End of discussion.’  In an interview Chris Hedges also talked about the pain that ensures when a group or religion insists that its view is the one true view.”

Page 10. Our habitual response to feeling ensues…when we’re hooked, we turn to anything to relieve the discomfort–food, alcohol, sex, shopping, being critical or unkind.”

Page 12. “…emotions like anger that are an automatic response last just ninety seconds from the moment it’s triggered until it runs its course.”

Page 16.   My thought from reading this page is I try to notice when I am trying to escape from the fundamental uncertainly of life!

Page 26.  “We all have our familiar exits: zoning out in front of the TV, compulsively checking e-mail, coming home at night and having three or four or six drinks, overeating, overworking.”  Note to self: I need to become more aware of these escape methods and not do them myself.

Page 29. “Don’t believe everything you think.”

Page 30.  My thoughts from this page are that I need to think about what I’m thinking but then I shouldn’t try to totally repress thoughts I don’t like but I need to work on refraining from doing it again.

Page 50. “Accept yourself as you are right now.”

Page 53.  “Loving kindness for self means making time for meditation and self-reflection, for kindhearted, compassionate, self-honesty.”

Since we all have limited time in our lives (even if you live to be 80, that’s still only 960 months and you know how fast a month flies by!), we all need to be as efficient and productive as we possibly can and that’s why I encourage you to use your time wisely. I really think my habit of capturing the best items of the best books as you read is a great habit to develop for life enhancement and productivity.

I hope you glean as much wisdom as I did from these high points of Pema’s great book. I will post the rest of the notes that I made in the front of her book next week. Right now I need to go to my club and play some more tennis. Yep … we all need to balance our lives to get the most out of the limited time we have here on the planet earth.

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