Are You Defined By Your Circumstances?

Does something in your life define who you are?  Is the fortune, or misfortune that befalls you the only plausible metric to define your success, or failure in life?

At some point in my life I did allow my circumstances to be the master of my destination in life.  My circumstances defined who I was at the time, what I cared about, where I was going, and ultimately what I wanted.  This was a huge mistake.

By being completely reactionary in my life I was never able to push ahead for the things I truly wanted.  All of the things that I felt passionate about were burdened by circumstances, that I allowed to take mastery over me.

When I realized that I had the power to stop thinking of life from a reactionary point of view, and start looking at all perspectives as opportunistic, rather than burdens.  All obstacles melted away.  Anything that previously seemed insurmountable, became just another nuisance.  I gained true power.  Now I feel that power, and learn how to channel it more and more everyday into creating the life for myself that I truly want.

We must not allow our circumstances to define us.  We cannot become slaves to circumstance.  In order to be what we want, we have to take it, with action, not reaction.

How do we master our circumstances?  Quite easily really, but we must first understand them, and their ultimate source.  What I've come to learn is that my perspective on life is defined by my own personal filter.  Whatever I see, is what I expect to see.  Whatever comes into my life, is exactly what I believe my life is supposed to experience.

This may be hard to swallow for many people, it was definitely difficult for me to grasp.  Having been raised as a reactionary person, believing that there is an objective point of all reality made it incredibly difficult to grasp the concept of subjective reality.

I decided to try and use the same methods as I had in the past to alter my scope on reality, to see if any results would provide me with a positive proof to the otherwise assumed knowledge of an objective view.

To my surprise I did find positive results from my experiments with altered thoughts.  When I purposefully tried to maintain a positive disposition in life, positivity surrounded me, and not just in small bites, but quite abundantly.  With my mind now completely immersed and focused upon my personal happiness I was able to seemingly create it.  I was happy on purpose.  This may not seem like a feat for many of you, especially those of you who already have an optimistic predisposition, but for me this was tremendous, as my emotions have always been a rampant roller coaster, with huge downs, large neutral runs, and few ups.  For several months at a time I felt like I was literally "high" on life.  I used to laugh hysterically at the notion that one could induce a euphoric high without a substance, not anymore.

As I became more open to new experiences, being so pleased with the results of my first experiments, I learned that many of my previously held beliefs, and presuppositions were completely pointless to who I was now... Now I was a completely different person, though still myself as I know it, everything had shifted.  I feel like the only plausible explanation can be considered a shift in consciousness.  My thoughts have actually changed their direction from mostly negative to overwhelmingly positive, and I can continue to create this experience, with almost no end in sight, each time bringing a new shift, a new level of "high" if you will.. While remaining to be in complete control (as opposed to substance caused "high")

So this is how I was able to break free from circumstances.  It started with some positive thinking.  The realization that just because something had happened to me, or around me, didn't mean I was "supposed" to feel a certain way, react in a specific manner.  I had gained control over my emotions, therefore control over myself.  The wonderful freedom that I feel now is very difficult to describe but I will try my best in later posts.

Be a master of yourself, not a slave to your circumstance.

Shout OUT!

I wanted to give a brief shout-out to someone simply awesome in every way possible.  This person, for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he liked my blog decided to plug my blog on his blog!!  I was thrilled to see this, especially knowing that his blog freaking awesome.  Thanks for the ego boost 

Since one good turn deserves another I would sincerely urge EVERYONE to stop what you are doing, and visit both of these amazing pages, hosted by an amazing person

Now if you haven't heard Dubstep yet, you simply haven't lived.  Some of the most powerful music ever, and this  guy seems to have the knack for putting the best songs possible on a single page.

As for his personal blog, just brace yourselves, because you are in for a trip on the awesomeness express.

New post coming soon.

Will Smith : Inspirational :

Quite honestly one of the most inspirational videos I've ever come across.  I saw this video quite some time ago and some of the points Will smith makes, even in these small bites, are some of the greatest pieces of advice I've ever heard on being successful in life.  I urge everyone to take a few minutes and listen closely to this.

Dismantling Limiting Beliefs

What is a limiting belief?  Any belief is something you know to be the truth about reality, upon some level.  Beliefs are usually clandestine, lurking in the deepest recesses of our minds.  Even still their potential to negatively or positively alter our perceptions and regulate our actions is quite strong.

A limiting belief is a belief held by someone that causes a negative reaction to situations, or prevent positive reactions that would benefit that person.  All of us have beliefs.  Most of us have limiting beliefs.  Truths that we hold about the world, the way things are, the way we are, that we set as a standard guide to how our actions effect us.  

Limiting beliefs can stifle your potential in life.  They can derail you from partaking in risk that generates massive rewards, and the saddest part is that they are usually completely arbitrary.  Some beliefs that inhibit us and negatively effect our perspectives on life, and our own potential can be so damaging, while incredibly subtle.  We may not even know we hold these beliefs, but they are deep seeded, and reign over our lives completely. 

Do you have any limiting beliefs?  Don't worry, its actually quite normal to have them.  If you don't, you are probably a fairly extraordinary individual.  If you do, you are just like the rest of us.  Have you ever thought or felt you weren't good enough for a specific task?  Did you ever think of making a drastic change, but detoured due to your feelings about failure, or taking risk?  Most limiting beliefs are brought about during our childhood, through conditioning we are given positive rewards for what is considered good behavior and usually punishment for what is considered bad behavior.  Each person has different experiences, but often those experiences felt at a very young age resound with strikingly similar conclusions about the world, and how we can apply ourselves in it. 

 The realization that our beliefs have an effect on our behaviors, our life, and the choices we make is quite an empowering one.  Especially when we realize that our beliefs aren't set in stone.  Beliefs are as malleable as clay.  We can shape and mold our own personal beliefs to fit whatever design we wish, it only takes a bit of time (usually less than 30 minutes) to identify our beliefs, and rearrange them into positive ones.  

As an example I chose the belief that failure is bad.  There are so many opportunities that I've personally missed out on due to my fear of failure, because my belief is that failure is bad.  This belief has helped shelter me from trying, thus kept me from failing, but all the while stunted my growth as a person, and caused me to give up in various situations, where if I had simply persevered, or even attempted, the results would have been extraordinary.  

I picked up this belief in my childhood, from my parents, grandparents and other people along the way.  While I've always been a bit of a dreamer my dreams have been repeatedly shot down at a young age, lending to a fear that they are too large an order to be fulfilled.  I realized not too long ago that these beliefs were simply self defined meanings to circumstances that without my help, had no meaning.  When my relatives would shoot down my ideas they were simply protecting their own insecurities.  When my friends would scoff at my creativity, they were driving an idea into my head that success in the creative world is too tough, and failure is inevitable.  I allowed those thoughts to turn into my interpretation of a belief.  The belief that failure is a bad thing.  

It wasn't until recently that I realized that failure is not a bad thing.  Failure is in fact a driving force, a learning tool, and an experience to be had.  If one never fails it only means that one has never tried.  Realizing this led me to believe that in truth, the only failure is in not pushing towards a goal or dream.  

Take Thomas Edison for example.  He is credited with the invention of the light bulb.  He had made and estimated 1000 or more attempts before his invention worked.  He never once considered any of his previous attempts failures, in fact he stated, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  In his optimistic disposition he realized that through persistence his dream would be realized regardless of how many attempts didn't manifest his goal.  He had the right mindset and eventually made his dream a reality.  

Do you have the right mindset?  I urge you to explore your mind and see if you can find any negative or limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from explosive creativity.  Is there anything you feel that you can't do?  If so, test that theory.   Dig deep and see if any one situation or experience in your past led you to believe that in particular.  When you find it, test other theories against it, see the experience from several different angles, and realize that your original assumption was no more than one possible meaning among several meanings that you, yourself applied to the experience.  

When you realize that you have attributed meaning to your beliefs.  You find you are the master of your beliefs.  The master of yourself, and the creator of your own life, in the specific way that you mold your interactions with the world based on your beliefs.  Realize that you can change them, by exploring yourself at the deepest depths and uncovering the underlying reasons why you've assembled yourself in such a way.  

Here is the empowering part.  You are the master of your own destiny.  Create your own new beliefs that grant you no limits, only possibilities.  Push towards whatever dreams you wish to manifest and know that they are yours, and nothing will stop you from achieving them.  

Facing Down Fears

Everybody, without exception, has some sort of fear.  Fear is often scoffed at, discouraged, and heavily misunderstood.  Fear isn't a bad thing.  Fear is one of our most native forms of self preservation, and should be regarded as natures best warning system.  Fear, like any good protection, can also be a double edged sword and overwhelm us, put limitations on us and completely debilitate us.  Think of it this way, your Antivirus/Firewall can protect you from some threats, but when you completely block out all traffic (a function many firewalls offer) you'll completely shut down the web, fear can be so crippling that it blocks you from all sorts of success, relationships, or opportunities, the things you want and desire are subdued by fear, causing the wrong reactions, or even worse inaction.

When our fears are irrational, or the fear becomes overwhelming it does far more harm than good.  Fear can cause us to make poor decisions and stop us from achieving greatness.  I believe our fears can become submissive to us, and lead to courageous action despite our fears.  When this happens we become thrilled with the sensations of accomplishment.  There is little more satisfying than conquering a fear.

So what are you afraid of?  Do you fear social embarrassment?  Do you fear failure?  In today's modern world there is less to rationally fear.  We aren't going to get malled by a wild animal on the way to work (in most cases) and the lack of fear can possibly lead us developed humans to creating new ones....Highly irrational ones.

When we deeply examine some of our worst fears we can often find that they are silly, illogical, and easily conquered.  Interrogate yourself on how you let fear drive your actions.  If inaction is your response to difficult situations then you are just on autopilot letting fear rule the day.  Have you ever talked about starting a business, then gave up the idea because you felt the fear of failing.  Well here's what I've used to conquer some of my own worst fears, maybe you can to.

Do not shy away from fear, it only grows stronger.  When faced with a fear that you know is likely irrational, and poses no threat of physical harm, take a stand.  Ask yourself these questions.  "What is the worst that can happen if my fear comes true?  When you allow yourself to wander in your fear you find that the outcome might not be so terrible, or even desirable.

Twist your fears into their opposites by positive thinking.  This often takes some time and persistence, but it is well worth the effort.  Using self-suggestion or affirmation daily to negate a fear is a powerful tool.  Let's say for example you have a fear of social situations.  You can try telling yourself (preferably out-loud and when you are alone) "I am an awesome individual, people enjoy my company."  Find a positive opposite of whatever fears you face and affirm their opposites in a routine manner.  Positive affirmations reinforce your willingness to face down your fears.  When you finally do grab the bull by the horns and face that fear down you'll fear incredibly powerful.

Another positive technique to rid yourself of fears is to visualize yourself conquering them.  This will build up your confidence as you create a perfectly detailed vision.  When you do this, hold the image in your mind firmly and allow yourself to feel the emotions attached to the imagery.  Most people will get a positive boost from this activity.  I know I do.  

One of the most common irrational fears I see abundantly in the world today is the fear of failure.  I hear great ideas all the time from people that want to start their own business, get out of the 9-5 swing and really create a great future for themselves, only to watch them resume "normal" behavior afterward.  They console their real failure by creating cognitive dissonance, and claiming that failure is what they are avoiding.  Failure is a tricky thing.  Fearing it is hilarious in my opinion.  The only real kinds of failure are giving up on something you passionately desire, and never trying.  So if you are one of those that things big, then acts small, fear may be what's holding you back.

One of my greatest fears has been that of criticism.  When putting a project together, or writing, I would feel smothered by fear that I would receive bad feedback.  In fact, this fear is lingering on I'm writing I can feel it trying to convince me not to press the publish button, for fear of my views not being well received.  Well here's to facing our fears.  Good luck conquering yours.

Break Huge Goals up into Smaller Manageable Steps

How easy is it to watch water boil?  When the results aren't initially clear we impatient humans quickly give up and go about other business.  An incredibly similar situation can occur with goals.  Upon setting a goal, whether precise or vague, we can become distracted, disoriented and lose sight of the main driving picture.

If you are anything like me, your mind wanders easily, and focusing on long term goals is difficult.  Our  kind requires a special brand of persistence to maintain our focus.  In order to re-enforce that focus and keep driving us towards the inevitable achievement of a goal, I recommend breaking our goals down into smaller pieces. 

Before you start piecing up your goals lets examine them, and really dig deep to find out whether or not we're setting our goals wisely.  A key factor in goal setting is to make them precise, and measurable.  It's not necessarily as important to know the full scope of "how" we'll achieve what we want, but its incredibly important to have a detailed view of the final result.

Let's say for example that you want to lose a few pounds before summer arrives.  Don't simply state, "I'm going to lose weight for the summer."  Take a few minutes to measure yourself, hips/waist/chest, write down your measurements and set your goal with the slimmer version of you that you want to see.

It is also important to be realistic, and having a measurable goal will help keep you in line with reality.  Nobody is going to lose 40 lbs and 10 inches within a month without some serious health issues, or being fairly out of the ordinary, so identify what you feel is a reasonable and realistic goal.  On average weight loss is about 1-2 lbs per week.  If you set yourself up with an unrealistic and often unattainable goal all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure, and when you don't hit that goal you'll inevitably feel annoyed and dispirited by not reaching it.

As a bit of a contradiction to my previous statement you shouldn't limit yourself to what you, and others, "think" isn't possible.  In fact I would encourage you to think outside the box and push towards whatever you can imagine, but make sure that your goal is realistic to you.  KNOW that you can achieve it.

When you've jotted down a few realistic, obtainable goals, you can start to break them down into mini-goals.  The reason you want to split your goals into smaller pieces is so that the big picture doesn't lose focus, and so you don't lose motivation when you aren't satisfied with absolutely huge results.  Put together what you know about your goal and break it down.  If we are using the previous example of weight loss we can estimate that on average a person loses 1-2 pounds per week, and since we're especially awesome we'll stay on that high range.  Our first week goal is to be 2 lbs lighter.  Now if we started out saying we wanted to lose 20 lbs in 2 months and we weighed ourself the first week, we might be discouraged.  ONLY one POUND!?  Seeing it in the light of small steady progression gives us a different angle to view our goal from, we can see each small result happening before our eyes and that keeps us pushing towards the end gain.

I once knew a guy that played his life like a video game.  We talked often about how motivated we both were to excel in video games, playing hours on end.  Our conversation led us to saying something along the lines of, "Man if we only did this sort of thing at work, we'd be rich by now."  From that day forward he would apply "experience points" to each activity of his life.  If he read a book he gained "Knowledge points."  When he would exercise he gained a point for stamina, one for strength...well you get the picture.. Needless to say he lives quite lavishly nowadays, and with good reason.  He found a way to achieve his goals in a way that excited him daily, kept him pushing and striving for a better him.  All he had to do was find out what kept him motivated and channel that energy into whatever activity he needed to excel in.  Take an example from my friend.. After all, Life is a game isn't it?

Finding Your Own Passion in Life

It's been said before, and I repeat it here.  One who works doing what they Love never works a day in their Life.

I hold steadfast to this notion, and with the entirety my being I feel elevated by the very thought.  Finding your passion in life gives you purpose and reason, and any expressive medium that true passion flows through becomes an easily performed task, and with time an excellently performed one.  There is no strain or struggle.  No plodding, nor regret for the work of the future, as it is looked forward to gratefully by one who possesses such a personal connection to their craft.

I found my passion when I began to write, creatively and effortlessly.  The thoughts that flow and drive my words upon paper (or computer page) are drawn from within.  Each sentence reverberates throughout my entire body, as though a part of me were being detached, and put towards the expression I create when I write.

That is my passion...what is yours?  Are you following your passion willfully, or are you following your conditioning, social constructs that beg you to "BE This", "Follow that", when you would much rather spend your time in a different way.  If you aren't then I would suggest that you aren't truly living.  Certainly bills need to be paid, and a living earned, but when we truly look back on our lives and look at all the opportunities and true happiness we passed up to embrace the safety of a next paycheck...will it be worth it?

Never mind success. Ignore monetary gain and focus yourself upon the task you perform, with grace, and fluency.  Allow your mind to wander to whatever depths it wishes as you develop your skills in whatever you wish to achieve.  As you perfect your art, you will feel it.  Rising like a fire inside you, driving you, inciting your native desires, and pushing you to new limits you never thought possible.

Ignore all limiting thoughts of doubt, or worry, and set aside fear for a later time.  Allow your passion to invoke the infinite potential within your own creativity.  Throw out the social conditioning that has aligned you with something you truly dislike, and ignore any nagging friends or family.  Do what you love.  Then when your life is finally at a close, you can gratefully look back at what you've created, inspired by passion, and feel truly alive.

Pro-Tip: Use physical cues to create habitual happiness.

I've been practicing this technique for quite some time and I must say that it's usage has payed off in a great way.  Whenever I begin to feel down for whatever reason I can call upon one of my several programmed physical cues to incite an emotional/chemical response that lifts my spirits.

A physical cue is simply a particular touch, movement, or automatic behavior that you associate with certain feelings in order to create a systematic response to the re-occurrence of the movement.

In other words...It's a life hack that promotes a general feeling of happiness, just like a smile, which can cause a mental shift in attitude.

Choose a particular movement or touch that you perform regularly, and begin programming it with memories and thoughts that bring pleasure.  If you encounter an experience that brings you joy, use that motion you've chosen to continue programming.  After several weeks of programming if you feel you need a pick-me-up at any time try using your cue and watch as those emotions come flying at you.

At first I would swipe my hand across my forehead whenever I recalled an emotional event that brought me joy, or a new exhilarating experience occurred giving me more ammunition for my programming.  After several weeks of incorporating this habitual movement into my routine I decided to test the effects out.  Each time I would swipe my forehead flashes of those memories and their connected emotions would rush back.

If you've ever been a smoker you can understand how this works.  We program ourselves with the actual use of nicotine, and then associate the hand-to-mouth movements, the feeling of fullness in the mouth etc., with the pleasurable feeling.  This is why it is recommended upon quitting to replace these movements with similar objects, only without the harmful tobacco smoke.  (Think chewing gum as an example)  The reason these physical cues work is because the body, being trained to the physical motion of smoking, has programmed itself to begin a reaction, in which dopamine (key to pleasurable feelings in smoking and other addicting activities) is released, upon fulfilling that desire.

Give it a try (you've got nothing to lose.)

Great News! I'm Still Alive

I woke up at roughly 5:40 A.M. this morning and realized something marvelous.  I was still breathing! 

I know that may not seem like great news to you, but it was miraculous news to me. 

Now I'm sure you are asking yourself exactly what I'm talking about.  What sorted affair or circumstance leads me to this unusual conclusion.  Was he in an accident?  Was he hurt?  Does he have some sort of disease or dysfunction.  The answer is no.  There is no looming death sentence, or even a close call.  I'm still enthralled to see that I woke up yet another day, a new day to live and express myself.

How often do we look at the potential before us?  How many of us actually take stock and see how glorious it is just to be alive?  The sheer opportunity that arises each time we wake to another breath.  I never used to.  Living was simply the state of being I was in, floating along with the rest of the population and looking pessimistically (what I had considered realistically) at each circumstance.

One day I just decided enough was enough.  I wanted to be happy.  I wanted greater things for myself, and I didn't care how, but I knew I would achieve them.  I decided to make an effort to push myself into an abundant state of living.  To be grateful for each breath I had and live each life to the fullest, before it passed me by completely. 

Here's the even better news.  You can TOO!  It is so incredibly easy to shift your current state of expression from a negative, unmotivated, uninspired, dull life, to an incredibly satisfying plethora of experience every single day.  Embrace each breath as though it were your last.  Live to love, learn, grow and expand in every way possible.

Pursue your dreams, don't just fantasize, start planning them.  Visualize your success and achievement of greatness and watch as your emotional meter rises to overflowing.  Embrace family, friends, and loved ones alike with a smile and give all of yourself to them.  Envelope yourself in warmness and feel the ecstatic vibrations pulsing through you. 

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
-Thomas Jefferson

Be an Optimist

I see a growing trend amongst people these days.  It is seemingly 'chic' to be a "realist" or a pessimist by definition, and to walk through life always seeing the negative points to any situation or circumstance.

I suppose most people that tend to align themselves with this personality trait have rationalized it to themselves in some shape or form, however, I can't help but think they would enjoy life a bit more with a different perspective.

The marvels of modern science have given us clues as to how a person's predisposed reactions can affect them both physically and mentally.  Optimists live longer, plain and simple.  Several studies have shown time and time again that persons with a gloomy outlook on life tend to contract life threatening diseases at a higher rate than those who consider themselves optimistic.

Not only that but these optimists in general had better health, and financial means. 

If your health and your finances aren't a good enough reason to change your outlook on life I don't know what is.

The question remains, "Can a person who is pessimistic by nature become an optimist?"  My answer is yes.

The transformation is actually fairly easy.  First take a look at everything in your life and count your blessings.  The fact that you can read this shows you are in a position of abundance.  Access to the internet itself is a huge blessing that many easily take for granted.  If you are able to read you are likely educated to some degree, there are places around the world that can't even afford schools, and have extremely high illiteracy rates.  Further if you've eaten at least once today, that's more than many starving persons in third world countries.  In fact, every other second someone dies from starvation.  Are you dead?  No?  Good just checking.  So you really have to look at your surroundings and realize that personally, you already have it pretty good.  Just being alive is a huge blessing that has to be recognized in order to be an optimistic person, each breathe you take is a gift, live your life feeling grateful for having that opportunity.

Life is to be expressed to its fullest at every minute, every second is an opportunity, don't waste that expression on feeling negative.  

Quick Trick for Motivation.

In general when people feel down, unmotivated, and utterly unmoved by any inspiration they tend to find some outlet of expression that proves in itself to be utterly useless.  Mindless entertainment, such as watching TV, indulging themselves with food or drink, or any number of distractions from the state they find themselves in. 

I fall into this trap from time to time as well.  There is really nothing wrong with relaxation, and in fact it serves a purpose of regeneration, but it can often be overdone, just look at the obesity problem for evidence to that fact. 

The only way I've ever been able to effectively deal with lack of motivation when I'm in a "down" state, is to proactively destroy it with emotion.  Positive emotions can be used to revive a state of mind that is dull, and uninspired. 

Of course, anyone could have told you that.  My goal, however, is to remind you how to collect positive emotions, and use them, as a sort of "catalyst" to spark motivation in whatever it is you want to do.

My technique is to first smile.  Randomly and occasionally I will smile for absolutely no reason.  As I do this I'm automatically giving my body a physical signal, which it reacts to by encouraging those feelings of joy. 
Then I will generally laugh.  Laughter is a powerful motivator.  Obviously I sometimes need some help in finding true laughter, but you'll notice that even a fake laugh can almost immediately lift your spirits.  We often contain in our brains snippets of quippy material that we hold in memory, and we might as well put them to use.  Another tool is to visualize, where possible, myself in a situation where everything is lavishly beautiful. 

The best visualizations tend to be things I'm naturally passionate about, this can be anything really from friends and family, to long term goals actualized.  Live in the visualization and "feel" it as though you are partaking in whatever expression it has to offer, and watch as your mood jumps up several notches. 

With positive emotions you can drive yourself towards any goal.  Give it a try and see how it works for you.