Monthly Archives: March 2013

Back 2 Basics – Step 1 – Exercise

I’m not talking about joining a gym, running a marathon, or anything extreme.  What I’m talking about is exercise as an IMMEDIATE form of mental therapy, and secondarily a tool for general health and physical fitness.


So – why IS exercise STEP 1… not step 4, or step 5?  Other things, such as what you put into your body for instance, are arguably more important than ‘planned’ exercise in many ways.  So why does exercise come first?  Here’s why:

Exercise has an immediate, positive effect on your outlook and mental well-being.

Don’t believe me?  Put it to the test and remind yourself of what you already know – it works.  You’re going to use this frequently going forward as you build up the rest of your foundation for success.

To be sure, exercise didn’t start out at the top of the list.  I was having a slow day – motivation was lagging a bit.  Mentally, I just felt drained.  I knew exercise would help, but it was a catch-22.  Finally I got tired of being tired.  I turned off that inner voice that was telling me how tired I felt and I just started ‘doing’.  I changed clothes, put on my shoes, and walked out the door to go for a jog.  By the time I got back home 30 minutes later, I felt great and I knew that Exercise had to be bumped up to Step 1.  If you’re looking for a quick and effective way to immediately change your mental state, exercise is it.

Use exercise as a mental health tool – a highly effective, all natural, very healthy source of mental energy.  Let it be the catalyst for changing the rest of your behaviors.

Since you’re using exercise as a tool, avoid any self judgement.  It’s very easy to focus on negative things, such as the fact that you can’t run a mile like you used to when you were younger… or the fact that you might have put on a few (or more) pounds, or that you’re out of breath after just a few minutes…. but your physical capabilities and appearance are not the point.  Focus on how you FEEL, your mental state, your energy level after exercise…. THAT is what’s important.


Secondarily, you’re looking for the long term effects of exercise.  You will find that you are less stressed and more easily able to cope with difficulties.  You will sleep better, and have more energy and endurance – both mentally and physically..  You’ll feel better, look better, and exude more confidence.  In line with the theme of one of my earlier blogs, Big Life Changes Don’t Like Being Alone, you’ll also find that you’re eating better (part of a psychological effect of investing the time in yourself, and wanting to make the most of that investment, IMO).

I didn’t talk much about what kind of exercise you should be doing.  Exactly what kind of exercise isn’t quite as important as the fact that you’re doing something.  Everyone is different – so find out what works best for you.  Most importantly, listen to your body… and if you’re not aware of how or what to do – start simple, with something like walking or simple stretching.  Educate yourself, and enlist a personal trainer if necessary.

Personally, here’s what I look for with respect to exercise as a tool for mental well-being and overall health:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Flexibility and range of motion
  • Low risk of injury
  • Something enjoyable

This doesn’t meant that everything you do has to fit those criteria, just that you want to be balanced  in order to help your body be as healthy as possible.


Be vigilant about fitting exercise into your life.  It doesn’t mean sacrificing everything else and becoming a health fanatic.  Again, think balance.  However, make sure to give a certain degree of importance to this so that a.) you find or make the time, and b.) you actually do something useful with the time.

  • Train yourself to look to exercise as a tool when you need it for an immediate boost.
  • Really focus on the positive state you’re in afterwards so that your body and mind have a definite cause and effect association between exercise and the positive effects.  
  • Use exercise as a catalyst to help you work on firming up the rest of the foundational steps – such as good sleeping and eating habits, which we’ll talk about soon.

So what are you waiting for?  GET STARTED! :)

Back 2 Basics – 12 Steps To A Foundation For Success

Firstly, what I’m going to advise you to do, you already know.  So why do you need to hear it all again?  Simply put:

You are either ALREADY DOING all the things I’m going to tell or you’re not – and if you’re not, you don’t have a SOLID FOUNDATION for success.

Without the basics, it will be very difficult to be successful, and very difficult to maintain success if you do get lucky.  With the basics, you’ll be HEALTHIER, HAPPIER, and BALANCED.

Obstacles that were once in your way will gradually disappear, and things will start to fall into place as if they were meant to be.

You’re going to receive 12 posts that will give you specific things to consider.  If you’re already in alignment with the advice, give yourself a pat on the back.  If you’ve been “in alignment” for less than a year in any of the areas – then use this information to reinforce your new behaviors so you don’t regress.

Some advice as you read the posts and try to make any changes in your life:

  1. Set reasonable goals.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  This isn’t a race.
  2. Go easy on yourself.  If you slip up, it’s ok.  Simply think about what happened – why you slipped up, and try to find a creative way to help yourself not slip up the next time.
  3. Enlist others for support. friends, family… talk to them about what you are trying to do.  For those of you that are on your own – be strong in the beginning and you’ll attract support as people see changes in you.

Interestingly enough, if you’re already doing all the basics right – you WILL be happy – and for some of you, this will be enough to find peace, happiness, and enjoy life to the fullest.

Some of you will have aspirations for more based on lifelong dreams, the need to provide for your family, or maybe the desire to help others.  Don’t fret.  Once we have our foundation underway, we’ll immediately start on the 6 Key Steps to Build Up Your Life.

Here’s a hint on Step 12 – Help Others.  Start by sharing this with those you care about – friends, family, loved ones.

Also, the easiest way to receive the new posts and updates is by liking the Your Higher Level Life! page on Facebook.

Stop Living by FEAR


Just seeing the word itself can raise your heartbeat.  The problem with many of us is that we live our lives, making (or avoiding) most of our important decisions based on FEAR.

Each one of us has this built into our DNA for survival.  Fear is a good thing when it’s not running rampant in our lives.  Without it, few of us would survive past adolescence.  But in our modern world, the same fear “wiring” that kicks in when we’re afraid for our lives – that would save us in the “wild” – cripples us when it shouldn’t.


Imagine you need to cross a chasm to reach a land of riches… but the gap seems too far.  You can live where you are and survive forever, but it will be a meager existence.  If you were to make the jump, you’re dreams would become reality.  Now imagine you’re being chased by a hungry lion… running for your life, with nowhere else to turn – you sprint to the edge and jump with everything you’ve got!


Life Expectancy in the US:  

78.2 years.

4066 weeks.

28,465 days.

There’s not much time.

What we should really be afraid of is letting our time on this planet wither away without going after our dreams before it’s too late.

Your Life Is Your Life!


OK, straight out of the gate, I want to talk about one thing – taking responsibility for your life.  Your life is your life and nobody else’s.  Let that sink in for a minute.


It is empowering, isn’t it?  Doesn’t it give you OWNERSHIP of your life?  Your life is yours, and nobody else’s.  You control your mind.  You control your feelings.  Nobody else.  Period.

There are a few things that result in your life once you have this powerful belief.  One is that it gives you control of your life; you can make decisions for yourself.  In fact, no matter what anyone else says or does, you are the one making decisions for yourself in all situations, how you want to react, and how you want to feel – no matter what.

The second thing that happens once you have this powerful belief that your life is yours is that you inherently take responsibility for your life.  You immediately change the way you see situations – you lose the (I hate to say it, but it’s important).. the “victim mentality”.

But life does get in the way, and bad things sometimes happen to us.  We’ve all had a string of bad luck hit us, had people screw us over.  We’ve all been hurt by someone, and we’ve all had days where nothing just goes right and bad luck just won’t leave you alone.


That was a test.  Do you know what the problem is with the commiserating statements above? It is so easy to feel comforted by words and phrases like that.   We are human, and we do need companionship, and for people to understand our suffering.  Understanding is good, but commiseration is bad.  Re-read the paragraph above, and think about how it is phrased.  I purposefully worded things so that things were happening to you, pain was put upon you, bad luck was personified into a villain.

Successful, happy, optimistic people aren’t accidents.  In the beginning, when you’re young.. you learn from people around you – by modeling what you see… interpreting the events in your life, building your beliefs about what is possible and what is not possible.  But now you’re an adult, and you’re able to make decisions on your own.  You’re able to learn on your own.  You sometimes wonder how someone you see can accomplish so much – it defies your beliefs.  You think they’re different in some way.  Well, it’s true – they are different in some way.  They’re different in their beliefs, and that’s something that you can change.  They believe that they can do anything.  They’ve pushes through the point that they thought was their own limit and have become limitless. You now are also learning that you too can change your beliefs.

I’ll write more about beliefs soon, but for now I don’t want you to be left without any tools to use.  Simply saying something to yourself, while good if it’s something positive, isn’t enough.

Listen To How You Talk To Yourself.

If you catch yourself wording things in a way that things are happening TO you, change the way you’re looking at the situation and take ownership.  For example, suppose you’re late to a meeting because you get stuck at every light along the way. The meeting is important, and because you’re late a deal falls through.  You lose your commission.  In your mind, you have a ton of frustration, maybe even anger and some of the people that were driving slowly in front of you blocking all the lanes so you ended up getting stuck at a light instead of making it through… You hear yourself thinking, “I can’t believe that those ***** slow people made me lose this deal!”.  How should you be looking at this?  You should take responsibility and be doing two things… 1.) Thinking “I knew I should have left earlier…that won’t happen again”, and 2.) Reframing (something I’ll write more about) the event from a negative into a positive…”I slipped up today, but I’ll find a way to fix this tomorrow”, or “something better is coming and I’ll be ready for it when it does”.

Observe How Other People Talk About Things That Happen To Them

Because with many people, it seems like they always word things so that things are always happening TO them if they’re bad, but if something good happens, they’re always the one that DID it.  Don’t be critical, just observe.  The more you see it and hear it in other people, the more you’ll be aware of it in yourself.

Watch How Other People Talk To YOU

This is important, because you can catch yourself talking to yourself and change it.  You can listen to other people talking about themselves, and observe it.  But someone else talking to you, trying to be a friend, family member, parent, etc… might inadvertently be passing along some of their way of looking at things, which is NOT always going to be the RIGHT way of looking at things.  It’s easy to listen to someone consoling you… it feels good, it makes you feel loved, cared for, not alone.   But be careful – take in the emotional gift of support, but BE CAREFUL!  If you hear someone consoling you and saying something like, “I’m so sorry, I can’t believe this happened to you again”… Don’t let those words ride the emotional highway into your brain.  With some people trying to console you, you might need to turn things around and console them – rephrasing what they’ve said so that they hear the change in perspective!  Pass along your GOOD way of looking at things and you’ll help them more than you know and they won’t even realize it.   Magical, isn’t it?

Be Aware of How You Talk To Other People

Don’t keep this gift for yourself.  You don’t have to preach to other people, or judge them when you hear them phrasing things in a way that you hear them giving up their lives.  Over time, you’ll come to recognize this pattern of behavior in people almost all day, every day.  Instead of judging, stepping up on a soap box… Listen to them.  Give them understanding.  And most importantly,  phrase things in a way that gives them control of their lives – you’ll help them more than you (or they) will know.

You’ll see how this shift in perspective will build a foundation of belief… a belief that is extremely powerful in all aspects of your life, and how  your life effects the lives of others.

Businessman on the ledge 1996


Want to know what to do to get unstuck?  Want to change something in your life?  Want to just get started and don’t know how?  Afraid of rejection, failure, being laughed at, made fun of…afraid of getting hurt, not succeeding.  Fear is debilitating, crippling, paralyzing.  Why?  First of all, if it weren’t we’d all be too damned reckless and our species would probably have died off a long time ago.  You’re mentally and physically wired up to literally become paralyzed when struck with enough fear.

You MUST become aware of this.

Think about something you’re afraid of….maybe it’s a fear of heights… maybe it’s a fear of public speaking…maybe it’s a fear of dogs, or confined spaces, or being alone or helpless.  Find something for you that makes you truly afraid.  Picture yourself up on the ledge of a 90 story building – wind blowing… trying to look over the edge without falling… and an unexpected gust hits your back and…… you’re unable to keep from going over the edge… Your body dumps adrenaline into your bloodstream, your mind races, you get tunnel vision – you freeze, or panic and flail.. you scream.

Really get into the state of mind and body that it’s happening – really feel it.  Feel the instant wave of weakness that hits your arms and legs – the feeling in your stomach as you begin to feel the sensation of vertigo – of falling.

Why is it SO IMPORTANT for you to really feel what I described above?  You have to learn to detect it… to sense it… to feel it in yourself.  If you don’t know what it is, you won’t know how to recognize it.  You need to fine-tune your self awareness so that whenever the sensation hits you, you challenge it… if it’s not warranted (i.e. unless there’s a very real lion about to pounce on your back), get control of yourself and if that fear is holding you back from success – challenge that fear!

I’m not trying to get you past your fear of heights.  That’s not what this is about.  I’m trying to help you find, with pinpoint accuracy, the areas of your life that you MUST work on to succeed.  If “Doing Different” is what you want, you need to see what is currently controlling your behavior.  You need to understand WHY you keep making the same mistakes… WHY you keep procrastinating… WHY you’re NOT ***TAKING ACTION***.

Now that you know what ‘feeling’ inside yourself… inside your mind and body… that you need to keep an eye out for, catch yourself when you feel that fear and figure out what, exactly, is causing it.  The fear can come from anything – having to speak up on a conference call, having to converse with a stranger (a guy trying to pick up a girl he’s attracted to, or a girl being approached by a guy she finds attractive), even little things like avoiding confrontation – like having to return an item and you don’t have the receipt.  Maybe it’s talking to a loved one about something important that you’re afraid may impact your relationship (fear of being alone / of loss).

Here’s the hard part… don’t even keep reading if you’re happy with your “status quo”… Since you’re reading this in the first place, my guess is you WANT CHANGE.

If you want the life of your dreams… happy relationships… financial success.

Your fears are the compass for how to get to where you want to go

(feel free to quote me on that – it sounds good, doesn’t it?)

If you want to fast-track yourself – take your biggest fear… turn towards it – face it square on… and charge at it like your life depends on it.  Do whatever it takes… Public speaking?  Join toastmasters… speak in groups, build up confidence.  Fear of failure?  Best way to beat that is to fail until you succeed.

Rinse and repeat.

Your mounting successes will replace fear with excitement… paralysis with action…weakness with confidence.  Like this guy:


This will lead to the most empowering and liberating changes you’ve ever had in your life.