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Sometimes It Is Not Easy To Be Positive

Sometimes It Is Not Easy Being Positive

One of my friends, some-one usually very upbeat and happy, said to me the other day “It’s not always easy to be positive”. This was from someone who lights up the room when she enters, is the life of the party and is always there to lend a hand to someone in need.

Having a positive outlook on life doesn’t mean that your life is perfect, and nothing ever goes wrong. “Stuff” happens to us all – we all are capable of feeling negatively towards an event, saying a harsh word in anger, being envious of a situation or just feeling a bit down on occasions.

This doesn’t automatically make us a negative person – it makes us human. The difference between occasionally feeling this way and usually feeling like this, is the difference.

How many people do you know that always find something wrong in any situation – the weather is too hot, or too cold, their neighbors are rude or too intrusive, their partner doesn’t show any love or are too controlling, their children don’t do as they are told or always expect things, they always seem to get sick, have no money, have people take advantage of them…..the list goes on and on….and on.

However, this post is not referring to Energy Vampires, but to the person who occasionally feels anything less than positive. This can be especially difficult when people have undertaken Personal Development Courses and feel that they shouldn’t be putting out negative thoughts and then feel guilty when they don’t radiate positivity continuously. A bit of a vicious cycle really!

So, what do you do when you feel less than positive?

  1. Firstly accept that you are experiencing these feelings. Don’t try and fight it or give out false words and expressions.
  2. Look at why you are feeling this way – is there something you can do about the situation or person or is it out of your control?
  3. If there is something you can do – maybe you are feeling a bit down – you don’t know why, but you feel things aren’t quite right…stop and ask yourself “What can I do right now to change this?” Maybe you could go for a 30 minute walk – instead of focusing on how you are feeling, take notice of your surroundings, focus all your attention on where you are walking, enjoy the moment.
  4. Write down your thoughts – don’t try and filter the words with positivity – write it the way you feel it. Simply expressing your feelings into words may be all it takes. Most importantly burn this writing after you have let it all go. Don’t go back and read and re-read all the words you have written – this can reinforce your negative thoughts.
  5. Take notice of your words and who you are speaking with. If you surround yourself with negative people continuously, you may find yourself following their patterns. (Refer to my previous posts on Energy Vampires and Am I An Energy Vampire?)

If you occasionally have negative feelings when you usually look at the bright side of your life, what is the message? What can you do about this message…and most importantly What Will You DO about the situation? This “doing” may just be an acceptance of decisions you have made and moving on from these decisions.

Whatever the cause, “Sometimes it is Just Not Easy Being Positive”…but then again, what in life worth doing is ever easy……..Food For Thought

What Is Your Love Language?

Understanding Love Languages

Love Language. What is it and what does it mean to you? Having been married for coming up to 30 years, you would think that my husband and I would have a good understanding of what was important to each other, and we do, even though it was a bit by accident.  So, what is a Love Language, and how does it work?

According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 main ways couples express and interpret their love to each other:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Gift Giving

It was only recently my husband and I spent time discussing this in depth and discovered that  both of our love languages (the way each of us express and interpret love) was almost identical. Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation and Quality Time are our top three. This simply means that we both highly value a touch, hearing loving words and spending time together with undivided attention.

What would have happened in our relationship if one of us had receiving gifts as a top priority? What if my husband thought that by showering me with presents on a regular basis was all he needed to do to show his love for me, and seeing this was the lowest of all my priorities – how would I interpret these gifts?

As Valentines Day approaches, have you thought about what it is that makes your partner feel loved and what is important to you in a relationship? If your partner values gift giving and you don’t send her the dozen red roses and that beautiful piece of jewelery she has been dropping hints about for the past month, and suggest you sit at home and watch a movie together instead with a bottle of wine, how will she interpret your actions? In your mind, and as a person who values spending time together, you believe you are showing your partner you love her. she thinks you are being cheap and stingy.

What about the woman who highly values acts of service, and spends hours ironing your clothes just the way she thinks you want them, cooks you a delicious meal every night and has the house immaculate everyday, thinking this shows how much she loves you. When all you need to be shown to feel love is to be held and hear those 3 special words “I love you” and you don’t really care if the house is a bit untidy.

It is equally important to understand your own Love Language, even if you don’t have a partner. By understanding what you value highly, and equally importantly what you don’t value very much, helps you understand why you react in certain ways with people in all areas of your life.

Are they really being inconsiderate, or do they just value different things than you do?

This understanding can help in work relationships as well. You may value Words of Affirmation and get upset if your boss doesn’t publicly acknowledge what a good job you are doing. He may think that giving you a Christmas Bonus is all he needs to do to show his appreciation.

By understanding what is important to you, and how you feel loved and appreciated, and  share this with the people who are important in your life, whether that is an intimate partner, your friends, or your children and in turn understanding their Love Language, your relationships can blossom and grow.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone.

Why not spend some time discovering what is truly important in the lives of those you love?

Human Spirit

Are You At Peace With Yourself?

Human Spirit. What does this mean to you? Is it “ordinary people doing extraordinary things?” Is it “finding the strength to carry on when times are tough?” Whatever the definition by words, I have witnessed an amazing wave of human spirit throughout our State in the past few weeks.

As many of you have heard, Queensland in Australia is suffering one of its worst natural disasters on record. I am living in an area which experienced the “Inland Tsunami”, and the clean up and rebuilding has begun and the search for missing people is in full force. Meanwhile in other areas, flood waters have affected over 75% of our beautiful State with many people losing their homes and livelihoods. Some towns have experienced numerous flooding episodes in recent months.

The one thing that has prevailed through all this is the spirit of the people, not just those directly affected, but others throughout Australia and indeed the World. I am touched by the generosity and heartfelt emotion, and the dogged determination to rebuild lives and communities. Complete strangers offering homes, food and clothing. Communities cleaning up after the flood water has subsided. Volunteers working hand in hand with Government and charitable organizations to clean homes and businesses and streets, working tirelessly to get the job done.

My daughter penned this poem which epitomizes her feelings -  The Human Spirit, which in the words of Anna Bligh, our Premier – “We are the People They Breed Tough. This weather may break our hearts, but it will not break our will, and in the coming months, we will prove that beyond doubt. Together we will pull through this”

The Human Spirit
Calm your mind, you need to rest
We need all our strength to be our best.
There is no room for anger when there is so much despair
it is so easy to fall down and get trapped in the void of a personal lair.
Australians have bent before and the time has come again
Together we will work and as one we will stand
Queenslanders……..we are just that
Gear up people, “Who’s stepping up to bat?”
Even though we are spread far and wide
Together we will sweep our beautiful land with a new tide.
We may be a little damp right now but it will not soak our core
because each of us will keep working even if we are sore.
The loss feels so vast right now that it feels like it will never stop
But the only way to rebuild is to start with a simple mop
Some of us may be barely floating,
But that means we are still on top.
We may feel a little scared, but that won’t make us stop.
We are Aussie Battlers under rain, hail or sun
And today, this week, this year and forever more
We stand united as one.
Danielle Freeman
13 January 2011

Learn to Appreciate What You Have in Your Life

Learn To Appreciate What You Have In Life

A lot of people, myself included have been guilty of taking things for granted at times. No matter what you do, who you meet or what you get, there is always something more!

It is important to strive – but sometimes you need to stop and appreciate what you have already done or have; otherwise you may end up feeling like the dog running in circles – never catching its tail.

No matter what your life situation is right now – what you want but don’t have, or everyone is against you, or that you never have any luck – it is time to stop, re-evaluate and decide….that’s right, DECIDE what is important to you, right now.

I am currently in Thailand for 3 months and if there is one thing I like most about traveling to non-western countries, it is the ability to feel a deep sense of gratitude for being born where I was and being able to live the life I have so far.

Let me tell you that there are a lot of people out there in this world who go without the most basic things that we take for granted and probably don’t give a second thought too. If you ever want to feel more grateful for what you have or for those around you, an easy way is to go out and experience how other people live in some  countries – you will soon see that your average life isn’t so average.

This article isn’t about donating money or fixing the worlds problems by words. I just want to bring awareness to what you already have in your life.

Things like:

  • Sewage treatment
  • Storm drains
  • Clean drinking water
  • Big grocery stores with fresh food
  • Clean clothes
  • Air conditioning or fans
  • Well-constructed homes
  • Safe electricity with proper grounding/earth
  • A bed
  • A car
  • Disposable income
  • Showers
  • Hot Showers

Do you have clean drinking water, a place to sleep, a place to sleep in a well built house? Do you have heating, clean clothes, a grocery store or supermarket nearby to buy refrigerated fresh food? Did you ever feel grateful that you had those things?

Above is a common Thai house. It’s not one house by the way but several houses joined together. Maybe this is your idea of paradise and I’m not here to judge but for most of us – would you like to live in this building with no floors, metal sheets laid for a roof in a place where the “cool” temperature at night time is 25 degrees celsius or 77 Fahrenheit? That rental home isn’t looking so bad now is it?

I could keep going with the list above, but I am sure you get the point by now. Did you know the average Thai construction worker makes $137 US a month? $137 US dollars per month! That’s about $147 AUD or 88 pounds. PER MONTH – and they work from the early morning until night. Don’t forget at least 6 days a week. What about holiday pay or sick pay? Definitely not.

The truth is, if you are from a country of opportunity like me, you are already extremely lucky and you have the resources and opportunities to succeed. Did you know that most of the top 10 billionaires today were born to poor families and inherited absolutely no wealth? Think Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey, who have become some of the most inspiring leaders of our day.

As Warren Buffet would put it, you have won the ovarian lottery, just by being born in places like the UK, USA, CA, Australia and other western countries you have the opportunities to build yourself up in your lifetime from literally zero to billions.  Yes, there are opportunities everywhere, and they are available for everyone.

These countries provide free education, medical help, money for the unemployed to name a few of the big ones. You have access to all of these right now, just by having the opportunity to get a good education and a good job you are already luckier than a large majority of people in the world.

I don’t know about you but it gives me a different perspective now when I hear people complaining about the most trivial of things like how slow their pizza took to cook or how long they have to wait in line for something. Puts everything in perspective for me.

If you are guilty of taking things for granted, and to be honest, I think we all have been occasionally, cut out all of these little petty things and focus on the real challenges in your life. There may be many challenges that you will have to face so don’t go around inventing more when you don’t have to. Do this and appreciate what you already achieved and you will be on your way to a happier you.

One of my favorite sayings is from a song filled with life advice called “Wear Sunscreen” and it goes something like this:

“The race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself

Define what success means for you and don’t put other people down along the way, celebrate your achievements and praise others’ achievements even more.

Now stop, step back, consider all of things you already have and all the tools and resources that are available to you right now. Life isn’t so bad, is it?

Don’t Put Up With Someday Disease

Don't Put Up With Someday Disease

“Someday I will go back to College and further my education” “Someday I will get out of this job that I really don’t like and have my own business” Someday, I will start to go for a walk in the mornings” Someday, but not right now….the timing isn’t right, the children are too young, my finances won’t stretch that far…….someday, someday……NEVER!

How many times have you seen an opportunity and let it float right by without even putting up a fight. That opportunity could have been a chance to learn something new, meet new people or improve yourself in some way.

And then afterward you kick yourself and live with regrets telling everyone “What could have been”? Then you think about the 47 things you could have done instead to make the outcome different.

Then, a similar circumstance occurs, and  what happens?  You do the same thing and the cycle continues again and again and again.

If you are waiting for the “right time” before you make changes….I have a newsflash for you. There is never a right time for anything….all you need to do is make the time right.

You learn as you go, you make any necessary adjustments, you plan, you act, you grow.

For those worried about things going wrong “Don’t worry that you’ll take a shot and you’ll miss. The fact is, you’ll miss every shot you don’t take”. author unknown

Don’t put up with “Someday Disease”.  Someday I’ll do this or someday I’ll do that. This will make sure your dreams go to the grave with you.

Don’t stew on past mistakes, learn from them and adjust your actions when a similar situation arises again.

If you ever wanted to know the secret to success in any area of your life, this is it!

Get back up one more time then you fall down and you are a success:

Not someday……but NOW

Are You Thinking Your Way To Change?

Are You Thinking Your way To Change?

How many of us dread the alarm ringing early on Monday morning? That feeling of dread as you slowly open your eyes and realize it is the start of a new week? You begin to think of the numerous calls you need to make, the tower of paperwork in your in-tray, having to deal with your critical boss for another week or being at home alone with the children doing the mountain of washing that has built up.

Is this really what life should be like? That feeling of dread, knowing you have 5 long days to go before you get 2 glorious days respite called a week-end. Then again, maybe that respite doesn’t even come on the week-ends, and each day merges into the next dreary, long existence? Should our lives be this sad? Or have we made it that way through our own thoughts?

On the other side, do you know people who enjoy working, whatever that work may be? I bet they also enjoy other aspects of their lives as well; the weekly shop, walking the dog, playing with the kids, or even visiting the in-laws. Think about it. These people can come up against the same issues as you do.

So what is the difference? What makes them jump out of bed every morning looking forward to another day rather than wishing for a future date “when things will be better”.

Could it be they are just lucky not to have the same problems you do? Or could it be that no matter what the circumstances in life, some people are never happy?

“If only” becomes the catch cry. “If only I had more money” “If only my boss realized my potential” “If only I was married to some-one who understands me” Do you know some-one like this – perhaps very well?

What is the difference? We have all heard stories of human endurance when life brings horrendous circumstances. People lifting a car to save some-one’s life, people managing to travel many kilometres with a broken leg or surviving an unimaginable event like the holocaust. From his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, it states that “every circumstance conspires to make a prisoner lose his hold. All the familiar goals in life are snatched away. What alone remains is “the last of human freedoms” – the ability to “choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”

What attitude have you chosen given your circumstances?

Reverend Norman Neaves gave a sermon in Nov 21 1976 at the Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City, about a railway employee who was mistakenly locked inside a refrigerator rail car, and couldn’t get out. He tried to get anyone’s attention, and began banging on the inside of the car, but no-one heard him.

The man realized that if he had to spend the night in this car, he would freeze to death. As the hours went by, the man decided he wanted to record his last moments alive. He wrote on the inside of the car notes to his loved ones. “I’m slowly freezing to death” “I’m half asleep,” “I can hardly write” and finally he wrote “These may be my last words”…….which in fact they were. When the railway car was opened the following day, the man was dead.

The amazing thing about this story was that the freezing apparatus on the rail car was malfunctioning and had not been freezing properly. In fact, the car had not got below 9.4C (49F). In other words this man died because of an illusion in his mind. He believed he was going to freeze to death, and his life was over, when in fact there was no real reason to make this presumption at all. Even though the temperature had not fallen below 9.4C (49 F), this man died.

There are many of us doing this with our lives, aren’t there? We misread the signs of our predicaments, we presume things are far worse than they really are. This man let what he thought were his circumstances control his thinking, and the result was his death. He believed death was the only possible outcome from the time he was locked inside the car.

We all have the ability to look at ANY circumstance in our lives and make it the way we want it. Have you been in a situation when something occurred and you thought it was a tragedy, only to find some-one else looked at the opportunity of the event?

Unfortunately many people have a well worn track in their minds which they travel on a regular basis. This well worn track is traveled without thought, similar to driving a manual car. Remember starting to drive and the concentration it took? Now your hands and feet move automatically when gears are to be changed.

The ease of movement is a blessing here, but think of examples in your own life when you have automatically done something without conscious thought and afterwards wondered why you took the actions you did. Thinking about it further, you might see a familiar pattern in many aspects of your life.

If you want circumstances in your life to change then you must change. Become aware of your actions (or inactions) and thoughts. Results happen all around you.

Do you want to play a major role in your life, or be a passenger, and then complain about the outcome? The Choice is Yours!

How Do I Keep Going?

How Do I Keep Going?

You have made your decision. Something in your life is going to change. A new job, a change of address, becoming a non-smoker, incorporating exercise into your daily life, improved eating habits…….the list is endless. We all have something in our lives which we could change, but how do you keep going when it gets to be a struggle?

No matter what you want to change in your life – there is a common stream running through them all. It will be too easy to go back to doing what you have always done, and getting what you have always got without this. There is no magic formula, no magic pills, no guru that will make it easy for you…….it all comes down to you and the decisions you make for your life

Now, I know this can be a scary thought for many – I can hear the words now.

  • I am not strong enough
  • The cravings are too much for me
  • It’s in my genes
  • What if I can’t get another job?
  • I am addicted to the nicotine
  • It’s too hard to find the time to exercise

It’s pretty easy to come up with excuses – so How Do You Keep Going when all you want to do is go back?

Here are the simple steps to start this process. It is extremely important to write down your answers to these questions. Simply speaking the words will not bring sufficient emotion into your actions. I also like to date my writings. Now, it is time for absolute complete honesty with yourself – write YOUR TRUTH in answer to the following questions:

  1. How is your life being affected NOW by what you are doing? Be honest with yourself. Remember – no one else has to see your writing.
  2. On a separate page, write down how your life has been affected SO FAR. What has this prevented you from doing, what are you missing out on, how has this affected your health – physically and/or mentally?
  3. How long you have been practicing this habit, or how long you have wanted to make a change in your life? Was there a defining moment in time that triggered this desire to “smoke, drink, take drugs, start a new career, leave an old relationship, begin a new relationship? – whatever it is you want to change, there is always a point in time which triggered either your commencement or cessation.
  4. What has this prevented me from doing or having or being?
  5. Am I READY to let go and make these changes to my life?
  6. How has what I am doing (or not doing) affected my self image and/or self esteem?

While you are writing your answers, you may be surprised by your responses. Let your writings flow – don’t THINK about what you will write down – just start writing, and writing, and writing. Once you have completed the previous 6 steps, then comes the most important.

  • After you have made your change HOW will your life be different? WHAT can you achieve, WHERE can you go, and WHEN will that be?

Your WHY must be strong enough to counteract the complacency, the cravings, the everyday distractions which will inevitably come your way.

YOUR WHY MUST BE COMPELLING TO YOU

For example: You may want to become a non-smoker. You have tried the patches, cutting down, giving up for your partner, any number of times. You know you “should give up” Everyone knows the health risks………but that craving creeps in when those familiar times come along…..and your “will power” just want hold out any longer. What do you do?

Decide on your WHY….If the health reasons are not sufficient – what about a reward? Maybe you have always dreamed of a trip to the Greek Islands…set up a special savings account and put away the exact amount you would spend on your cigarettes each week, and watch your dream of travel become a reality.

When those cravings strike, take out your writings, and read your WHYS – keep focused on what you are gaining rather than what you are giving up.

If you want circumstances in your life to change then you must change. Become aware of your actions (or inactions) and thoughts, and remain focused on

YOUR PERSONAL WHYS

Where Is Your Focus?

Where Is Your Focus?

What do you spend your time focusing on? Do you even know what you are focusing on most of the time?

As you are reading this post, I want you to notice things around you. What are the sights and sounds you hear and see, while still paying attention to reading this post? What did you notice?

Now, really concentrate on the sights and sounds around you – listen to your heart beating, feel the air going into your lungs, feel the pulsing of your blood through your veins. Listen for those sounds you normally don’t take any notice of – the clock ticking, your neighbor pruning their garden bushes, the hum of a fan or the sound of your computer working.

Were there any new sights and sounds that you heard this time that you hadn’t heard before? These things were always there, but you hadn’t noticed them.

Now, imagine that you’re walking through a busy airport terminal. Think of all the noise – hundreds of people talking, music, announcements, luggage carriers. How much of this noise is brought to your attention? You can definitely hear a general background noise, but you don’t notice every individual sound. Then, suddenly you hear an announcement over the public address system – saying your your flight number is delayed or canceled. Suddenly your attention is full on. You have just tuned in to something specific and useful to you.

Why is this?

At the base of the brain stem, about the size of a little finger, is a group of cells whose job it is to sort and evaluate incoming data. This control center is known as the Reticular Activating System (R.A.S).

The R.A.S sends the urgent information to the active part of your brain, and sends the non-urgent to the subconscious. The R.A.S awakens the brain to consciousness, and keeps it alert. This is why parents can hear their baby cry in the night, but why they don’t notice the non-essential night time noises—the dripping tap, the cats outside the window, or the neighborhood traffic.

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “we filter around 2 million bits of information per second down to 7 plus or minus 2 chunks of information.” In other words, the data available to your central nervous system goes through a process of deletion, distortion and generalization in order for you to make sense of all the information.

The system in charge of sorting the information is called the R.A,S. The R.A.S is a self-filtering system that chooses what you accept and reject based upon your beliefs, values and prejudices.

We are literally bombarded with sensory images, sounds and goings on all day long. Just imagine what your life would be like if you were aware of every single one of them—it would be overwhelming. Our R.A.S. determines what you focus on or pay attention to and also deletes out things you don’t need to focus on at that time.

How can we use the R.A.S. to our benefit?

Remember, this small group of cells continuously determines what you focus on. It is like a filter and takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. It allows in what you believe is important.

If you think the world is tough and life is a struggle, you will find references to support this.

However, if you believe that every day is a special day, and the world is filled with amazing experiences and people, you will find countless references to support this also.

In life, you get what you focus on. Your experience of life is dependent upon what you are deleting at any one time, and you won’t experience the things you delete. Imagine all the opportunities you may have missed in your life because you weren’t focused in that particular area.

As the R.A.S determines what is important for you to focus on, you need to “program” this group of cells to focus on things which will move you ahead, not hold you back or limit your view of the world.

By consistently putting images of what you want in life, you will begin to train your R.A.S. what to focus on. Get a clear image of what you want, and implant that image into your mind. Make it specific to your needs, and visualize in your imagination the outcome you want.

The subconscious can’t tell the difference between the real and the imagined, so be very specific of the outcome you want to achieve. It does this by bringing to our attention all the relevant information which otherwise might have remained as ‘background noise’.

State your desired outcome in the positive. For example “I am fit and healthy and enjoy exercising on a daily basis” rather than “I don’t want to be sick anymore”. By writing your goals down, it is like setting up the filter so the R.A.S can focus on those areas which will will help you achieve your goals.

You can deliberately program the reticular activating system by choosing the exact messages you send from your conscious mind. Napoleon Hill said “that we can achieve any realistic goal if we keep on thinking of that goal, and stop thinking any negative thoughts about it”, and of course, take action towards that goal. If we keep thinking that we can’t achieve a goal, our subconscious will help us – “not achieve it”.

What are you going to choose to focus on?