Category Archives: Self Awareness

Yin Yang

3 Ways to Use Challenging Times

Challenging times, no matter how difficult, can be a portal for development. When you feel anywhere from stressed to hopeless, take some time to see, and feel, what’s happening. In the moment of experiencing where you are, you have an opportunity… an opportunity to evolve your consciousness.  An opportunity to step out of the stress or suffering.  An opportunity that others, in more seemingly “comfortable” situations, simply do not have.

1. Use your emotional energy to change your situation.

Step one is to observe the situation that you are in.  You may feel any number of negative emotions: frustration, anger, resentment, sorrow, hatred, etc.  Feel the situation fully and accept the situation for what it is.  Use the emotional energy to propel you to take action. Action may be internal or external if you are capable of doing something about your situation to improve it… use the energy to push through the difficulty.  If your external situation is truly beyond your control, then go deep into the emotional energy and accept it as it is.  The “stress”, “pain”, or “suffering” you are going through is a result of non-acceptance of your situation.  By accepting your situation you are no longer creating the internal stress, mental pain, or suffering for yourself.

2. Recognize the opportunity for growth.

On a constant basis, recognize even minor challenges and frustrating situations as a time for growth.  As soon as you catch yourself feeling any negative emotion, step outside off the emotion and observe yourself.  Strive to catch yourself immediately – as soon as the emotion starts.  This may happen at work with your boss, at home with your spouse, with your children, with strangers, or even with yourself.  Don’t fight the negativity, but don’t feed it – just observe.  Become aware of it, accept it, then let it go because you know it’s not serving you.  By recognizing the “challenging situations” as opportunities, you will inherently become more mentally balanced, and at peace.  You will also start to notice that many of the negative situations you were experiencing simply stop happening or become much less intense.

3. See the challenge as a catalyst for something new.

Every situation that we perceive of or label as negative does have a positive side effect.  For some, it takes time to develop the ability to re-frame your experiences into something positive.  The positive aspect of your situation does exist – no matter how difficult it may be to recognize it in the moment.  Learn to use your situation to open your mind to new possibilities.  You will eventually be unable to see anything as inherently good or bad… When you catch yourself labeling or categorizing events or times of your life along the spectrum of good or bad, step back for a moment and realize that this is a chance for you to grow.  These experiences are what make you whom you are…they are the catalysts for change.  They are necessary to guide you and teach you.  They are portals for change, providing you with the energy (motivation) to act.  Focus on being open to the opportunities these moments create.


Want Positive, Be Positive

Jim Rohn said it best:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”

You need positive people in your life.  People that believe anything is possible.  People that support your dreams.  People that are developed enough to not be afraid of your success, that help you think farther and help you stretch your own boundaries.

How do you find positive people?  Be that person to others and they will find you.

Accept people as they are and be careful not to judge or criticize people that may show some negativity or not be as supportive as you would like.  You attract positivity by exuding it, not by forcing it upon others.  Remember, you choose with whom you spend your time.  Just because you would like to spend time with one person or another, and you would like him/her to be supportive doesn’t mean it will ever happen.  Not everyone has to have the same hopes, plans, and dreams as you do, and that’s ok.

When you start paying attention to the “positivity level” of others, positive people will stand out.  Take an inventory of the people in your life right now – who falls into the positive, optimistic, can-do-anything personality category?  What’s even better is a do-er rather than a dreamer…Most people will be hard-pressed to think of anyone…

As you exude and attract positive people, you can’t help but be changed.  Others supporting you, showing you that something you thought was impossible is possible through their own actions… others supporting you when you attempt what some would claim is impossible, unrealistic, or unlikely… You need that when you’re facing those challenges.  The accumulation of subtle shifts of mindset on a daily basis is critical to your success.

So as you finish up this week, and the rest of this year, look for positivity.. use the holidays to make new connections, and develop new personal relationships.

– Want positive, be positive.

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.


Big Life Changes Don’t Like Being Alone…

We’ve all had to try to untangle a pile of things that are all jumbled together.  Christmas lights – bingo.  What about computer cables for the geeks out there – when you need to swap out one device, but the cables are all tangled up together…Sometimes you can easily see how to remove the problem and replace it with something that works…Sometimes it’s just easier to unplug everything, clean up all the dusty mess, and reorganize.


Everything in your current life is connected to everything else, one way or another… most importantly everything is connected DIRECTLY THROUGH YOU in some way or another.  We often look, closed-mindedly, at one aspect of our life and tell ourselves that we wish things were different.  “I wish we had more money”, “I wish didn’t have to work as much”… or for some people in a bad place, “I wish I could stop <insert vice here>”… “I wish I could lose weight”.

The problem is that when you’re trying to change one thing, there is a LOT of resistance to change.  Everything else wants to stay the same… it has settled into a routine, and depends on everything else.  Try to take one thing out, and something else starts pulling back – doesn’t want to let go.  Think about the computer cables, or Christmas lights.

Say you want to feel better health-wise, have more energy, feel more attractive… and you think that losing weight and getting in shape will do it for you.  You have an image in your mind of yourself that you see when you look in the mirror, and it’s not the same as what you see.  So you set goals for yourself… to lose X pounds by some date.   You’re going to walk/jog/bike/run/swim/whatever… go to the gym, do yoga, aerobics, or spin classes…P90X, BeachBody… take your pick.  WHY is it so hard to stick to the plan?

For one, there are a lot of things fighting for your time.  Work, kids, social events, house cleaning…etc.  Nothing else is willing to give up the time.  It resists change.

Here’s a test:  What’s wrong with the above sentence: “Nothing else is willing to give up the time.  It resists change.” ?

If you didn’t notice, it’s an important lesson.  What some may have noticed is that it’s a personification of things in your life that may not, in fact, have a mind of their own.  It is worded in a way that many people speak of things… a way that acts as though things are beyond your control. How do you feel when we phrase it this way:

“It’s not easy for YOU to DEDICATE the time… YOU resist the change”.    We often blame outside factors and word things creatively so so to make it sound like we’re not able to change them – as if they’re not within our sphere of influence.  We give up before we even start.

The reality is that we have painful choices to make if we really want to make things happen.  If we really want to change things in our lives.

For the person trying to lose weight, it might mean going to bed earlier… which might mean not staying out as late with your friends the night before a morning at the gym.  It might mean that you have to give up a hobby that you like to MAKE the time.  It might mean that you have to give up that feeling of sleeping in that you love so much (ok, that’s one of my favorites).  It might mean that you have to pack a lunch so that you can hit the gym in your office on your lunchbreak instead of going out to lunch with your buddies.  To do that, you have to have things on hand to make lunch – so you have to get organized at home.  You get the idea.

Just to really drive the point home… Think about a lottery winner – so many are not happy even  years after they win what they thought would be the answer to their prayers.  Why?  Their entire life changes… they lose their friends, their coworkers, their hobbies, their activities… they move to a new place where they don’t know anyone, and they feel out of place.  Everything changes.

What about a drug addict trying to get clean?  They must consciously make a decision to change their lives completely – change friends, change hangouts, change routines, change their lives.

Now what about you?  What have you tried to change, and what has stopped you soon after starting – think about it… what “pulled you back”?  Or… what other CHANGES were CONNECTED that you were not WILLING TO ACCEPT to be successful?



It’s critical to be aware of how things are CONNECTED to be successful in ANYTHING.  Whether or not you consciously think of dependencies, your subconscious mind knows what will happen “if…”. Part of  your mind will not want things to change.  It’s a proven fact (I’ll have to come back and insert a reference) that different parts of your brain have different opinions… truly fascinating.. demonstrated via experiments using patients that have had their Corpus Callosum severed (the communication bridge between the left and right sides of the brain) that showed that the left and right brain, in one case, differed on “their” belief in God.  It’s a sure bet that part of your brain likes being lazy, and hates the fear of failure…

A close second to your own subconscious is the pressure from others.  We’ve all heard that misery loves company… it’s true.  Other people don’t want to lose you.  The minute you start changing things in your life that appear, for valid or even unwarranted reasons, to be a threat to your relationship with another person, the other person will resist…Either via more passive means such as not being supportive, or more aggressive means such as using emotional pain to pressure you to stay.  Unfortunately for some, things get even scarier – downright sabotage or violence.

The reason it’s so very important to be aware of this is that you don’t have to be a bull in a China shop with your own life to make changes happen.  Sure, people and and do effect massive change by uprooting their lives drastically and violently, but you can avoid a lot of that by just being aware of what can happen.  Meditating (literally) on the things that you want to change in your life will help you see what else has to change as you FEEL the resistance… You must then learn to accept what has to change and BE OK WITH IT.

Taking things one step at a time in your life… looking at them, visualizing where you want them to be… opens your eyes to how things will have to change.  Once you can let go of the things that are holding you back, you’ll be free to move on.