Monthly Archives: January 2011

what is your success IQ?

What is the difference between those who are successful and believe and those who aren’t?   It turns out that it isn’t IQ that predicts success.   Only 25% of success is contributed to IQ.   That explains why the “C” student with a good idea and passion can become more successful than the overachieving “A” student.   

What then are the key factors for success?   Success follows happiness.    The happier and more positive a person is the more likely success will occur for that person.    Just shifting a thought from negative to positive will make a difference.   Shifting all negative thoughts to positive ones will make a huge difference.   When that small voice starts speaking to you and telling you that you aren’t capable of doing it then replace that thought with a positive one that says, “Yes, I can”.    The brain can only process one thought at a time so replacing a negative thought every time one happens with a positive thought will benefit you.    Keep the positive thoughts in your head and life will become better.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse

Practice shifting your thoughts to positive ones and work on that daily, it will make a difference.   Louise Hay has some comments on positive thinking, check out this video.

results that matter

“No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it.”
Richard Bach

Results matter.   Results are the outcome of change.   For every action you take there is a result, there is an outcome, whether or not the outcome is the desired outcome there is a result.    Recent research shows that happiness precedes success.   For many people happiness is just on the other side of the success rainbow.   As you approach a rainbow it will appear to move away from you.   Happiness isn’t about reaching the rainbow it is about seeing the beauty of the rainbow.   So, what does this have to do with getting results?

For many people happiness is believed to happen once you get there.  However for far too many getting there means resetting the goal and just moving out of reach of the outstretched hand as the goal is approached.  This type of thinking has permeated management for decades.  It is the carrot and the stick approach to managing goals.   Companies still use that mantra of when we get there we’ll celebrate and for those who labor diligently to reach the goal only to have the goal reset or changed just before you “get there” there is no more disheartening impact on the people.   The carrot is always just out of reach, just an inch away but unreachable.   This mindset has infected every aspect of society from how we educate children to how adults are managed.   It turns out that the formula is wrong. 

People believe that they are unable to achieve the results they desire because there has been and always is the belief that once you approach the goal it moves and after a while there is no energy to pursue a worthy goal.   If the result is not achievable then why bother.  

Another vivid illustration is this.  For many professional athletes the end game is winning the gold medal, the sought after ring, the trophy, the belt or some other award that suggests greatness.   For many reaching that goal has left them empty and wondering, was that it?   Reaching that hard sought after goal didn’t bring them the happiness they were looking for.  

The formula is backwards.   Being happy on the way to the goal will make the goal worth achieving and celebrating once the results are obtained.

For more on happiness, watch this video or this one.

When you are working on getting a result what are you feeling?    Are you waiting for the result to make you happy?

act on your decision

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”  John Locke

A decision without action is nothing more than a passing thought.   Imagine the person who has spent hours upon hours to arrive at a decision and then not to take action on that decision.  Think about the millions of people who make a decision to do something (“New Year’s Resolutions”) and then fail to take action on the very things they want to do.    What stops people from taking action?   It could be the fear of success as well as the fear of failure.    If you succeed then all the power of being a victim is removed.   If you fail then what you believe about yourself becomes more of the truth you are hoping to escape.

What needs to happen to take decision to action?

What does it take to be conditioned for success?competitions,iStockphoto,people,soccer games,players,cleats,world cup,sports,women,teamwork

  1. You need to believe that you deserve to be successful. 
  2. You need to invest the time and energy to be successful.   Success comes with time and continual effort towards a goal.
  3. You need to have endurance, success just doesn’t happen in an instant, and living in a culture where the belief is that everything can be had in an instant only serves to hold people back.
  4. You need to give up something else to get what is more important.   The decision to lose weight requires that you put down the food that has the most calories or the least benefit and exchange it for something that does have value.    Most people could lose weight if they ate less.   We live in a society that offers virtually free high calorie meals and in a society that spends more and more time in the easy chair than in the gym it is easy to see why people can gain a lot of unneeded weight.
  5. It doesn’t need to be perfect.   A decision made should be a decision kept, but for the perfectionist reaching for the goal is not going to work.  It hasn’t worked in the past and why should it work in the future.   So, instead of action the words become a litany of excuses of why it can’t be done.   There is a decision; it is just that the decision is never honored by action.
  6. Find someone who can non-judgmentally support your activity.  
  7. Change the inner dialogue.   Yes, that little voice that isn’t so little.   It needs to change so you can change.   So, when you hear words that are supporting your goals and decision change the words so that they are in 100% alignment with who you are.    If you are thinking “I am not good enough”, change that to “ I am confident today”, change your words so that they are positive.  Work on it day after day until the habit of poor thinking is replaced by good thinking.

Goethe wrote, “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

What actions are you going to take to get the results you desire?

too many choices …


Your decisions to do things are based on emotions.   Oh, not you, you’re the logical one who makes decisions by doing a very factual analysis and what the data tells you is what the outcome will be.   When you were developing that factual analysis where did the values you were going to score come from?    Perhaps it was the things you care about most.  The values that you have and the experiences are the motivational forces that drive your “thoughts” and “emotions”.     Beliefs and values are largely emotional when acted upon. 

So, if you’re the analytical type what you value is “getting it right”, not about “feeling right”, but getting the right answer so that you can feel good about the answer.   Apart from you all the analysis in the world won’t change anything about the reason for or against any decision.    It is better to buy gold or diamonds?   You can have a analysis done that shows that diamonds matter more to some buyers than others, so what is right?  What is right for you?   The decision goes back to an emotional need how you arrive at the conclusion whether analytical or emotional is part of the justification to “feel good” about the decision.  

Not making a decision is a decision as well.   Taking action is one choice and not doing something is a choice.   There isn’t a right or wrong about the choice it is just a choice.   There is a right and wrong choice for you and your desires and goals.   Let’s take buying a car.   Buying a car for some is easy, the car matches the color the person really loves, and the deal is done.   For others there is a whole sequence of steps that have to be taken to arrive at the right car for the right reason, safety, gas mileage, reliability, resale, performance, options, model, … and the list goes on and oh, the price had better be right or no deal.     There is no right or wrong about buying a car, it just has to meet your emotional desires.    The car doesn’t care who the owner is, the purchaser is the only one who cares.

Many, many people pour over a decision and worry and fret about making the “right” decision, the “right” choice, what makes it the “right” choice?   The choice of career, the choice of a partner, a choice of home purchase, a choice of medical care, a choice of moving, a choice of colors, a choice of texture, a choice of being self-employed or being employed by others,  a choice for personal development, a choice of spiritual matters, and more choices.    Some of the choices that are made don’t work and some work well and at the moment the choice was made it was your best choice.   It was the best at that very moment because it “felt” right and because of the information you had or the strong emotions you had it seemed like the best possible choice.    Turning the clock back, the decision that was made may not have seemed like the best choice, it may feel like the worst choice that was ever made.  Only if there was more time and more information to make a more informed choice.     People who long for more time and more information often have trouble making a choice.  Taking a risk feels too uncomfortable.

What choices would you like to make over again?    How would they serve you if you did get a chance to do it over?

What choices will put you in a better position to face tomorrow?   Will today’s choice bring about a better tomorrow?

 “When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.”

Sigmund Freud

living with less anxiety

“With stress levels continuing to rise all over the world, people are becoming more conscious not only of the long-term effects of stress, but also of how unmanaged emotions compromise the quality of one’s day-to-day life, limiting mental clarity, productivity, adaptability to life’s challenges and enjoyment of its gifts. At the same time, most of us have experienced how positive emotional states, such as appreciation and care, add a quality of buoyancy and coherent flow to our lives, significantly enhancing our efficiency and effectiveness.”  Research Overview; The Institute of HeartMath

People are stressed out.  Not just a few but many are weary of the everyday impacts of the noise of “news”, the constant bombardment of negativity so it is no wonder that people are suffering from all kinds of problems.   Our thoughts lead to emotions and emotions are what we use to determine how our life is going for us.   Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, worry, loss of self-esteem, lower job performance, loss of purpose, and more can all be tied emotions that have become overwhelmed.    Demands on individuals have never been higher and continue to rise daily.  

The bad economy and loss of security in the workplace is only increasing worry and anxiety.   College students worry about their careers and finding meaning in their lives.   Parents try to balance the needs of children with work.    Time seems to blur and days grow shorter and the “to do” list grows longer. 

It is no wonder that there is a lot of emotional stress in people’s lives.  

Emotions play a huge impact on the decisions that are made and how happy a life one experiences.   At some point the fear and anxiety just becomes a habit.  Any new thought triggers a moment of fear.   Doc Childre writes that “Anxieties that have become ingrained are just there.  They rule your life, and you never even noticed you handed power over to them.”  (Transforming Anxiety pg. 27).  

The way to overcome anxiety driven moments is to first recognize the event that trigger the anxiety/fear.   Let the moment pass and try to understand where the emotion came from.  The next step is to decide if that fear and anxiety was justified.  What was the really happening?   What can you do about it once you recognize that negative impulse of energy was there?   Identifying and understanding where the feeling came from is one step in reducing anxiety in your life.

It isn’t just moments of anxiety; it is all the draining emotions that are experienced that can be tamed and transformed.   The image of self can be transformed once there is a conscious understanding of where the feelings came from.  

What steps can you take to start lowering anxiety and fear in your life?

 (next time … thoughts that drive decisions)

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
Marcus Aurelius


What I think I become …

“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.” -Mahatma Gandhi


Values, beliefs and experiences drive our thoughts.   What we think about we become.  Our thoughts are transformed into emotional energy, fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, or happiness, peace, joy, confidence, self-assurance, and contentment which ultimately shapes how we live our lives.  Most people experience far more negative information in their lives than positive.   The messages that are received from others begin to transform our beliefs about ourselves over time.   Messages that we receive as children enter our mind in the formative years and become a strong part of our story.   It is not that the story is true, it is that we believe that the story is true for us and we start living in that story rather than the story of our own making.   In other words for some reason we focus on the impacts of negative thoughts more so than positive thoughts.  It is as if we are taught to believe negative thought as being true and positive thought as wishful thinking.   Martin Seligman writes “Frequent and intense negative thoughts about the past are the raw material that blocks the emotions of contentment and satisfaction, and these thoughts make serenity and peace impossible.”

What can one do in order to shift the thoughts that drive emotions so that there is more positive thinking being done?  

  1. Focus on positive events in life and  opportunities to be grateful.
  2. Forgive the people in the past that may have strongly influenced the negative thought patterns.

Positive emotions lead to better health, both physical and mentally according to research done by Sarah Pressman.  

Positive thinking leads to positive emotions which increases the overall satisfaction with life.   Who wouldn’t want more of that?

What can you do when a negative feeling or thought comes screeching at you?

  1. Take a deep breath.  Acknowledge the emotion (“I feel …. “)
  2. Shift the energy of that emotion.   (This is mental Aikido …) and gently push the emotion to a different place.  
  3. Replace the thought with something better,  a favorite vacation, sunset, something admirable, peaceful, enjoyable and inner smile event.
  4. Take another deep breath.

Read the words of David Whyte and see what message is trying to convey.   We are often trapped, bombarded by information, and most of it is negative information, sensationalized news, stories that are all designed to pull us into believing everything in the world is negative.   Negative information sells and is profitable but it is not the world of truth, it is only a speck of truth in the total amount of information that is available.   Sometimes it is the negative news that provides momentary relief from personal suffering that people seek.  However a constant bath of negative information soon becomes the truth about the world and about the self and it takes more depressing negative news to feel just a tiny bit better.   

Surround yourself with positive news, positive thoughts and positive people and you’ll start feeling better about whom you are, and what you can accomplish.  It turns out that the more positive things you bring into your life the better your life becomes.  

Loaves and Fishes

This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

  — David Whyte
      from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

I do what I don’t want to do

Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

There are all kinds of things people want out of life that they aren’t getting.   Life for many is a series of painful events or disappointment or lack of confidence or not knowing what direction to go.   What if all that could change?    What if you had direction?   What if you had purpose?   What if you were able to change sadness about life into hope and happiness?    What would that mean to you?

Let’s look at direction.   Life is going in the wrong direction and it’s tiring to have to fight through each day.   You might be screaming inside “I want something different … but I don’t know how to get what I want?”    The compass of your life isn’t pointed in the direction you desire your life to be going.   Deep within there is a compass for your life that points in your “true north”.   Living your life such that the compass isn’t pointing in your true north will be painful; you’ll be living out of character for you.   Getting your life aligned with who you truly are takes a bit of work.   It takes knowing what your values are and what your “virtues” are.  What are your signature strengths, values and beliefs?   

For some people the true self has been masked by years of being a fake person and not living the life they should be living.   There are a number of reasons that people start to hide who they really are.   It may have been an event early in life, a belief that in some way, in some manner they believe they aren’t good enough.   So, when someone doesn’t believe they are good enough they invent a new self, not the true self, but a fake self, the imposter, and they start acting in their new role as the imposter.     The imposter doesn’t make them any happier, but it does help them manage the pain of not living with the person they truly are.


Take a look at the image and you’ll see at the base are “values and beliefs”, those are a combination of experiences, events and the truth of who you are.   This is the starting place for thoughts.   Thoughts emerge from the values, beliefs and experiences of life.   Happy thoughts, sad thoughts, angry thoughts and peaceful thoughts and thoughts about who you are come from the values you have, the beliefs about who you are and what others said you were.   People who had to survive at some point in life started figuring out how to do that.   In order to survive some aspect of life they had to adapt, to start believing in what others said they were and in doing that pushed aside their own life.

Complete this sentence starting point:

I believe I am __________________________________.    (Find at least 5 endings to this sentence, more than likely you’ll find more).

Next time, we’ll talk about thoughts and feelings.

“All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.”
James Thurber