365 Days to a Better You – Day 56 -Your Achilles Heal

Achilles was a Greek hero. When he was a baby, his mother was warned that he would die young. To protect him, she dipped him in the River Styx because it was said to provide strength and invulnerability. However, she held him by his heel, leaving him unprotected there.

As an adult, he became a great warrior. Despite his strength and power, the prophecy was fulfilled when he was struck in the vulnerable heel with a poison arrow.

In our time, we know this story through the phrase Achilles heel, which refers to a weak spot or vulnerability.

All of us have one. There’s some physical condition or circumstance in your life, that despite your best efforts, you can’t defeat it. All the prayer, affirmations, counseling, and meditation hasn’t changed it. What do you do?

I have two such circumstances in my life. One is an auto-immune disease called Addison’s Disease. It’s one of those 1 in a 100,000 diseases. JFK had it too, but it’s very rare. Even treating it, I often find myself short on energy or needing a nap in the middle of the day, particularly as I get older. I live with this every day. I’m fortunate that my condition is not as severe as some with the disease. Still, it takes a toll and gives me a mountain to climb each day.

My second Achilles Heel is a profound difficulty in swallowing many foods. This began when I was 15. I nearly choked to death and became very afraid of eating many foods. This led to massive and regular panic attacks throughout my teens and 20s. I had no life, no confidence. I was going nowhere fast.

Imagine having a fear like this that you have to face three times a day every day. Not only that, it’s a fear that the people around you don’t understand because eating is a source of joy and togetherness for them. It really isolated me from the experiences of other people.

These two issues came together when I was 25. I became extremely ill and weak. I was not able to eat or drink. I could not walk across a room. When I would receive change back at a store, I had to count it several times to make sure none of the coins had become lodged in my throat. That’s how bad it was.

I wound up spending two stints in the hospital totaling about three months. This is when the phobia and the Addison’s crossed paths. I was diagnosed with Addison’s and had to face my fear of eating. Early in my stay, I couldn’t even swallow a sip of apple juice.

Everything about my life changed during that time. I often say that my life started over. I emerged from that situation as a seeker of the meaning of life. That was a passion of mine at an early age, but the years of phobia had stolen it from me.

Today, I still struggle with this phobia, as do hundreds of thousands of others. A trip to a restaurant is always a balance of enjoyment and terror. I have managed to mitigate it and make peace with it over the years. The panic attacks are fewer and farther between than they used to be, and not as severe or long-lasting. I’ve learned techniques to get them under control or even hide them from others.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. 30 years ago it looked like this would dominate my life. I thought I’d never have a career or a family. After years of hard struggle, I decided I didn’t want my life to be a constant battle over this issue. Defeating it might have been possible. It also might have consumed my life.

I didn’t want that and so I made peace with it. I learned to mitigate it and live with it. Even people close to me don’t always understand it. It’s just so foreign to their experience. I have learned to understand that and mitigate this discomfort in others. I often will fix my own food. I can do restaurants (some with this condition literally cannot), but it’s never easy.

There, I’ve laid myself bare. I have shared this issue with people close to me, but I’ve never written about it publicly. The affirmations, meditation, and prayer became tools of mitigation and co-existence.

I’ve accomplished and overcome much in my life. It’s not that I don’t know how to beat a challenge. However, some things are just our Achilles Heel in this life. The best we can do with it is to refuse to allow it to stop us from living our lives. That’s been my victory over this.

What’s your Achilles Heel? Have you defeated it, mitigated it, or are you still in battle with it? I’d love to hear your experiences below.

Power hack: Today’s power hack is that victory over your deepest challenges does not mean you have to completely banish them. That would be nice and I hope you will. Don’t beat yourself up if some things are just meant to be your challenges. You can still grow from them and most of all, while they cause you angst, you don’t have to let them bring your life to a halt. Find ways to live your life despite them.

Most of all, your Achilles Heel does not define you. You are a one-in-a-trillion miracle. Don’t let your challenges steal your light. Shine on!

Ray

365 Days to a Better You – Day 12

Ask for what you want.

ask-2341784_640

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” There is a power in asking.

Picture my wife April and I driving down the road. I look behind me once and then again. She feels a tinge of frustration.

Are you trying to get over,” she asks?
Yes,” I reply.
Do you have your turn signal on so they know you want to get over?”

It seems silly, but we walk around in our lives acting as though the people around us and the Universe already know what we want. We’re all adults and we’ve learned that simply asking doesn’t get us everything we want in life. It gets us a lot more, though, than not asking and expecting the world to somehow infer our intentions and wants.

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” Failing to ask is failing to shoot.

Power hack: Use these seven power words up the power of the ask. The goal is not to control others. The goal is to make your asking for what you want as powerful as it can be.

In the video above, Kevin Hogan mentions the research of Dr. Ellen Langer. Here’s more information on the power both of asking and, specifically, of adding the word because.

Then there’s the work of Dr. Robert Chialdini. He’s studied the universal principles that persuade people to say yes. We’ll get into these in more detail in a future blog. For now, watch his very popular video overview of the topic. You’ll definitely pick up some things you can use right away.

There’s no question that asking ups your chances of getting what you want in life and how you ask influences the response. It appears that asking is the key to receiving.

Stay inspired!

Ray

For tons more motivational content, please visit the TAS website or YouTube channel.

365 Days to a Better You – Day 11

Thought of the Day
Have the weed’s mentality. Grow under any circumstances.

~Ray Davis


dandelion-729693_640
Good morning, friends. I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for reading these messages each day! It is my highest desire that you’ll take something valuable each day from them and that, if they help you, you’ll share them with your friends.

Today’s life hack is be resilient. Ok, all the gurus are saying we need to be more resilient, but how do you do it?

Here are practical things you can do to be more resilient.

  1. Opinions – have you noticed? Everyone has one, especially when it comes to you and your dreams. Wayne Dyer used to say, “Free yourself from the good opinion of others.” Rachel Hollis reminds her audience that the people with all those opinions won’t be around to live the life you don’t have because you let their opinions stop you. Get over other peoples’ opinions.
  2. Make lemonade – it’s old advice, but sagely advice. The results are in. Life is not always going to go your way. Things change, people change, bad things even happen to good people. Life will hand you the proverbial lemons. When that happens, make some lemonade from them. The alternative is to let the taste of those lemons sour your life. That’s not who you are!
  3. Higher purpose – these moments that can take you down for the count are the biggest reason you need a bigger life’s mission – a definite purpose – as we discussed a few days ago. Without it, all the bumps in the road will soon leave you in the ditch of life. With it, they seem like small speed bumps on the road to your Nirvana. Stay focused on your big picture.
  4. What lies within you – Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “What lies behind us and what lies before us ate tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Remember who you truly are. You are not this temporary setback. You a hero on a hero’s journey meant for greatness. You are a one-in-a-trillion miracle indispensable to the successful operation of the universe in this moment. You are a force of nature that can’t – that won’t – be stopped.
  5. The experts said – this is similar to the first one, but even more important. You might be able to dismiss the opinion of people you know because what do they know? But, many get stopped in their tracks at the moment of setback because they start listening to all the experts. The train, the television, the Internet, Michael Jordan as a basketball player, Mickey Mouse as a good idea, the Colonel’s original recipe chicken are just a few examples of things the experts said would never work. I’m not counseling against taking good advice. I am saying that if you have a definite purpose and a burning desire to achieve it, don’t let the experts get in your ear at a moment of setback. They’ve been wrong many, many times. Every amazing breakthrough had had a chorus of naysayers jeering it along. Yours may just be the next great example of the experts being wrong.
  6. Affirmations, Affirmations, Affirmations – when your mind turns against you, turn it back. It does work for you, you know. Change your mind by changing your thinking. Everyone from Jesus to Buddha to the latest YouTube motivation sensation has said it in one form or another. Your thoughts become you. If you want to change yourself, change your situation, or change your life, change thoughts. Your thoughts are the greatest creative force at your disposal. Power them up in your moment of setback.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is by professor of medicine and promoter of meditation for stress relief, Jon Kabat Zinn. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Grab a board! Life won’t stop coming and neither should we!

Ray

If you enjoy these posts, you’ll find tons more motivational content on the TAS website and YouTube channel.

365 Days to a Better You – Day 9

woman-1820868_640Good morning, my friends

Welcome to the ninth day of 2019. April and I are headed on the road this evening. We’ll be spending a few days in L.A. and then traveling on to Kauai. I’m super pumped. It’s been a couple years since we’ve been to our favorite place on Earth!

It’s interesting how the energy of certain places just resonates with us. We feel like we’ve temporarily stepped out of time and space. We get a moment to breathe again. Where is that for you?

If you know where that is for you, I want you to stop what you’re doing, sit back, and close your eyes.

I want you to think about your favorite place in the world. It might be somewhere close to you or some dream vacation destination. Make sure it’s that one place in the world where you feel your absolute best.

OK. Got it? Close your eyes and take a deep breath. For the next 30 seconds, I want to you to completely experience that place. Visualize the sites, hear the sounds, smell the smells…be there. Be there for 60 seconds.

Open your eyes. I bet you FEEL a lot better than you did 60 seconds ago. Drink in that feeling. Try to maintain that energy as you go through the rest of your day.

Finally, do me a favor. Make plans, as soon as you are able, to return to that place. There’s a reason you feel so good there. You need to spend more time. Whatever it takes, make it happen! You’re worth it!

I believe in your dreams! Meet me halfway and believe in them too.

Ray

For tons more motivational content, please visit the TAS website and YouTube channel.

Evening Motivation – Roadblocks Are Shortcuts to Something Better

Hey, my friends!

I hope you’ve had a fantastic day! Here’s a little evening motivation for any of you who have ever hit a roadblock or a detour in your plans. Sometimes it’s the best possible thing that can happen. Here’s an affirmation you can use to remind yourself of that profound fact.

Enjoy your evening and sleep well!

Ray

Twice Victimized

Today’s Thought

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.
~Buckminster Fuller

wrists_ropes_brokenGood morning, my friends. I want to talk about victimization today. Sadly, we live in a world where many, many people have been victims of horrific events in their lives. Victimization comes in many forms – physical, psychological, spiritual, sexual, violent. The way humanity currently operates – selfishly, greedily, thoughtlessly – this is too common.When these things occur in our lives, they can temporarily knock us off course or, for some people, it can be a life-destroying situation. It’s natural and healthy to take some time to assess and heal. The amount of time necessary is different for each person. Yet, heal we must or we risk being victimized a second time and a third and fourth by our own victimhood.

Our popular culture has elevated victimhood to a badge of honor. Something that empowers you. Any careful assessment of that philosophy will quickly show you that’s faulty logic that will only keep you locked in a downward spiral.

I have some good news, but some of you will find it hard to hear. You may even become angry in defense of your victimhood. That’s OK. It tells you it’s your good friend, but it’s not. It’s that destructive kind of friend who promises to protect you from being hurt again. In reality, it only protects you from living your life. Please know I am coming from a good place in sharing this with you. You see, I lived it for a number of years in my life.

There is a way out and up for you. It requires you to do something challenging and difficult, but necessary, to get your life back on course. It’s time to release and forgive your victimizer. More often that not, your nemesis is an unhealed victim themselves. That doesn’t excuse their actions, it does help us to see them again as a human being, just like us, dealing with demons.

Secondly, and even more importantly, it’s time for you to release the guilt or other negative feelings you hold on to…the ones that are causing you to remain a victim instead of the sovereign champion of your life.

Over my years, running The Affirmation Spot (@affirmationspot), I’ve had so many people reach out to me suffering from this victim state. I posted a number of original quotes for them to post in their daily lives to remind them that being a victim is something that happened to them. It IS NOT who they permanently are and it IS NOT who you permanently are either.

I hope they help you claim your courage and your determination to shift course and have the life you deserve.

  • Every time you start to play the victim today stop yourself and remind yourself WHO really you are.
  • Whenever I play the victim role, I have given my power to someone else to decide who I am. Today I refuse to do it!
  • To understand your thinking creates your circumstances, is not blaming the victim. It’s empowering you not to be a victim anymore.
  • Victimhood becomes a comfort zone. You remain a victim as long as you play a victim. Stop it! You’re better than that!
  • As long as you play the victim, you’ll be the victim. Your hero is waiting for you in the mirror.
  • No one can victimize you as completely, as your perpetual belief that you are a victim.
  • You are the director if your life. The only way you keep playing the victim is to keep casting yourself in the role.
  • Today I choose to be the beneficiary of my positive thinking rather than the victim of my negative thinking.
  • You are a victim of your conditioning, until you become master of your thinking.
  • Every time you play the victim, you give your power away.If your bliss is playing the victim, who are your dreams to stand in the way?If you believe you’re a victim, you are. If you believe you’re unstoppable, you are.

Don’t let your victimizer win by taking the life you might have had from you. Free yourself to be who you want to be!

Stay inspired!

Ray

The Symbolic Mind – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday August 10, 2010

Today’s Affirmation:

My world is what I MAKE of it and today I CHOOSE to make it a beautiful place to be.


I find everything related to our minds fascinating. There are three vast unexplored frontiers in our world – the ocean floor, deep space, and the space between our ears. That third one just may be the most vast and amazing of all.

On the way home this afternoon, I heard a very interesting story on NPR’s afternoon news and information program All Things Considered.

Reporter Alix Spiegel did an amazing piece called “When Did We Become Mentally Modern”. The story talks about the importance of symbolic thinking in the way we conceptualize the world.

Listen to the Story

When you think about it this concept of symbolic thinking is very important describing and understanding our mental states. Often thoughts, ideas, and feelings appear in our minds as imagery in symbolic form. Those images and the stories we tell ourselves in support of them are critical to our mental well-being. The story provides plenty for you to consider as you learn to pay attention to your symbolic thinking.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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