Happy as You Want to Be – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday April 25, 2008

Well, our beautiful cruise in Hawaii is drawing to a close. I am planning a detailed blog when we return describing our wonderful experience.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I was struck with this today while waiting in line for two eggs over easy in the cafe on the ship. I listened as another passenger berated the cook about her poor experience aboard ship and how she’d heard from other people how much better other ships are.

This is April’s and my second Freestyling trip aboard Norwegian and we love it. This woman was complaining about the food, the service, the excursions…just about everything to this poor cook who has been working his tail off all week to take care of our needs.

I got to thinking that NCL is not responsible for this woman’s happiness on her vacation to Hawaii. She is. It’s a metaphor for all of us.

Our company and our boss are not responsible for our happiness at work. What we make or don’t make of our jobs is up to us. The same is true in every area of our lives. We are responsible for our own happiness. It’s not our parents or friends or circumstances or income that create or deplete our happiness. It is us and our mindset. It is our willingness to change what we don’t like and try to make it better.

Lincoln was right. We are about as happy as we make up our minds to be. Are you as happy as you want to be? If not, it’s time to do something about it. We all have the capability and the talent to change our situation for the better and make ourselves happier.

The question is will you?

Aloha from mid ocean between beautiful Kauai and Oahu.

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

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Be Here Now! – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday April 19, 2008

Very short blog today. April and I arrived in Honolulu yesterday. This morning we were sitting on the beach at Waikiki. I started thinking about our schedule for the week and our intinerary for returning home and , then, I stopped myself. I remembered Ram Dass’ old book Be Here Now.

That’s really what it is all about. We spend a lot of time in the past and the future. Now is what we have and the quality of our lives is diminished when we are not present in this moment. Everything we can do anything about, everything that is real and important is right here in this moment.

The past is the past. The future will care for itself. We need to be fully present, fully engaged in the now. That is where our peace, happiness, and fulfillment are to be found.

Then I was able to enjoy my morning on Waikiki. Appreciate and experience it the way I intended.

We have already been getting a heavy dose of that Aloha spirit. So many people from so many places here and everyone getting along. It is possible for the world, not just Hawaii, to be that way.

May you be who you are and where you are today without qualification and thrive in the present moment.

We’re on to the our cruise this evening.

Aloha!

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

6 Ways to Add Intentionality to Goals and Dreams – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday April 16, 2008

In my last post I talked about articulating your goals and dreams. Today we explore the concept of putting your intentions to achieve your goals and dreams out into the universe.

Dictionary.com defines intention as 1) an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. 2) the end or object intended; purpose.

Intentionality is about thinking, speaking, and acting as though your goal is already accomplished. There is a certain assumptiveness to it. You don’t question your ability to reach the goal. You begin to embody its accomplishment. You hear phrases like “fake it ’til you make it” and “live as if…” used in motivational contexts.

If your dream is to be a great painter, you begin doing the things that great painters do. You devote time to your art. You begin mingling with other artists. You start living the life you want today and let your art follow you to the dream.

Be practical and responsible. If your goal is to become a millionaire, don’t go out and spend yourself into debt on the assumption you are about to become a millionaire. Rather begin making decisions about your life like a millionaire. Begin envisioning yourself in that position. Begin taking actions to get you there.

Intentionality is about putting a stake in the ground and committing your mind, body, and soul to reaching your dream. That requires a decision. The moment of decision is like the splash of a rock being dropped into a pond. The intentionality is like the ripples that stem from that splash. A decision to act displaces the configuration of the universe as surely as a rock hitting the pond displaces water. It creates movement in the world.

The strength of the ripples (your intentionality) is determined by the size of the rock (size of your decision). The bigger your decision and the more determination there is behind it, the more powerful the ripples will be in the world. You can augment your intentionality by continually dropping rocks (renewing and recommitting to your decision).

There are six things you can do to solidify your intention to achieve a goal or a dream. Each is important in creating the ripples and the movement towards accomplishment.

  1. Think about your dreams – don’t let the day-to-day struggle of life prevent you from focusing on your dreams. Keep them “top of mind”. Write them down and keep them in front of you.
  2. Share your dreams with others – there is additional power created when we share our dreams with another person. Sometimes others can support you creating a synergy of action that you cannot achieve alone. This also involves articulating your dreams – another important step in bringing them into action and reality.
  3. Pray or meditate on your dreams – ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened. In your quiet times ask, seek, and knock on the door of your dreams. Your quiet time is the time where you solidfy your intentions and handle the obstacles you encounter. You get recharged, re-energized, and refocused.
  4. Believe in your dreams – most great people go through a period on the way to their dreams when they are the only one who believes. You may face that and you need to be prepared to push forward.
  5. Act on your dreams – thoughts and words are the foundations of achievement, but action is the engine of it. If your thoughts and words are never translated into action, you will never achieve.
  6. Begin living as if the dream is already accomplished – be the person you want to be and live the life you want to have and let the reality follow the actions.

If you do these six things, you will create a powerful intention to see your dreams and goals become a reality.

Now go out there and make a big splash! Create your ripples and get on to achieving your heart’s desire.

Be positive Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray


Things I Learned from My Dog Part II – The Affirmation Spot for Friday February 8, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to share lessons learned from your pet.



copy-of-ray_hawaii1.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life




Be sure and visit the blog Saturday for our weekly Saturday poll. Last week’s poll asked, “What one thing would you do to make the world a better place?”



mia_snow.jpgMia is our beautiful three year-old black lab. She is doesn’t know it, at least I don’t think she does, but she is a master teacher on the subject of life – a kind of canine Confucius. You see, she lives her life the way many of us set out to live ours. She knows what she wants and she goes for it and she never gives up.

You can characterize this trait as persistance.

When Mia wants something she can be highly persistent. For instance, I rarely get to sleep in on weekends anymore. Mia usually makes sure I’m up no later than 7 a.m. She doesn’t have to go out she just wants me out of bed. She has a very subtle approach and a clear strategy. She doesn’t bark or run around the room.

No, Mia persists with kindness. 

It usually starts with her getting up on the bed and finding a way to lay her head on my chest.This is usually enough to wake me up. Then the licking begins. She licks my hand until I sleepily hide it under the pillow. Mia persists. She inches up her way up so that she can lick my chin.I’ve always been a night owl. On nights when I don’t have to go into the office the next day, like Friday nights, I’m often up late reading or working. So, I’m pretty determined to sleep in until at least 8:00. Mia, however, has different plans.

She’s probably spotted squirrels out playing in her backyard. She is, afterall, the fiercest squirrel warrior in five counties. She wants me to get up and let her out.  I want to sleep for a little longer.

Now she works her way up to my ear and starts licking. I’ve had enough and I tell her to go lay down. She complies, but she doesn’t give up. Mia persists. Usually, within five to 10 minutes, she’s back. She jumps up on the bed and plants herself on top of me with a sigh. She thinks she’s a lap dog even though she weighs 55+ pounds.

I hide my hands immediately. I mean I’m smarter than the dog, right? So, she starts with the chin and starts inching her way up until she’s licking me right on the face. Not one or two kisses, mind you, but a full barrage designed to end the stalemate.

Sometimes, depending on exactly how late I’ve been up the night before, this can go on for two or three cycles before I concede the point and get up and let her out. On the mornings this strategy doesn’t work, Mia has back up plans. Mia persists.

She waits until I’ve just dozed off again and then she sits at the edge of the bed and makes “crying sounds”. It’s like one of those alarm clocks that starts out low and grows louder until you turn it off. If this doesn’t work, Mia persists. If this strategy doesn’t work, she turns to her last hope – April. She starts bothering April. She’s not really trying to get April to get up. She just wants April to convince me to take her out. I usually don’t make it to 8:00.

Looked at in one way, not my tired early morning view, it’s all pretty humorous.

Persistence is one of those attributes that helps you go where you want to go in life. Unfortunately, you sometimes lose steam along the road to your dreams.

Here are Mia’s persistence tips:

  1. Be clear on what you want in your mind.
  2. Pursue your goal with all your might, but be kind. The world is full of mean people willing to succeed at the expense of others. Don’t be one of them.
  3. Be patient. The first lick doesn’t always do the job.
  4. Involve others and get their buy in to help you.
  5. Have back up strategies. Sometimes Plan A fails. That doesn’t mean your goal or your dream must fail. Devise new ways of succeeding.
  6. Never give up.
  7. Enjoy life. Mia always does!

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Unrealistic Affirmations

cp.gifThe affirmations a person uses depend on many factors. What is the person trying to accomplish? Where is he or she now in relation to that goal or dream? What is their belief factor? Is he or she aspiring to something big or just looking for incremental improvement?

One of the biggest knocks critics have against affirmations is that they encourage unrealistic thinking.

It is ridiculous, they say, to encourage a sixth grader who can barely play “Hot Crossed Buns” on the saxophone to use an affirmation like, “I am a world-class saxophone player”. That’s just delusional, they argue, to have a child believing something so out of touch with reality.

I absolutely agree!

“What,” you say, “I thought you were in the business of promoting affirmations and encouraging others to follow their dreams?” I am. And, I still agree with those critics. Oh, I believe emphatically that affirmations are for everyone, but I do not believe every affirmation is for every person.

Yes. The critics are correct. This affirmation is completely unrealistic for any sixth grader who believes it is unrealistic.

They are also correct that a smart sixth grader is probably going to doubt the affirmation at some point. Sooner or later the sixth grader using this affirmation may have the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’. I’m not a world class saxophone player.”

These two pieces of information do not match up. The sixth grader, like most human beings, will search for a way to make the ideas congruent. When this happens it is decision time for the sixth grader and his or her dream of being a world-class saxophonist.

Whether they know it or not the critics are citing and the sixth grader is experiencing a well-known psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance.

This theory states that when we hold two incongruent pieces of knowledge in our minds there is a very strong psychological impulse to bring the two conflicting thoughts into agreement.

The idea being that our sixth grader cannot hold the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’,” in his or her mind while at the same time holding the idea, “I am a world class saxophone player.”

The classic example is the mother on the news who cannot reconcile the baby she brought into the world with the possibility that he may have committed a crime. So, she believes in his innocence even against overwhelming evidence.

Now, here is where the critics’ logic fails. They assume, I suppose, that the only option for this newly self-aware sixth grader is to stop using this unrealistic affirmation and stop pursuing such lofty and unrealistic dreams. Basically, “Give it up, kid, there’s no chance.”

The cognitive dissonance theorists tell us that there are actually three options (besides “getting real”) open to resolve this dilemma.

  1. Change beliefs – the sixth grader can change one or both beliefs to be more in line. “I know I’m not a world-class saxophonist right now, but I can be someday.” He or she admits the first fact and changes the condition for the second to bring them into congruence.
  2. Adding beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It’s true I cannot play “Hot Crossed Buns”. It’s true that I’m not a world-class sax player right now.” “It’s also true that Charlie Parker was not a world-class saxophone player in the sixth grade and look what he accomplished.”
  3. Alter the importance of the beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It doesn’t matter that I can’t play “Hot Crossed Buns” right now. I will be able to some day. I still have it in me to be a world-class saxophone player.” He or she chooses to diminish the importance of the current state and focus, instead, on the future possibility.

Part of the confusion, candidly, comes from affirmation gurus who promote the idea that your affirmations must be adhered to with unshakable belief to make a difference. Doubting – the cardinal sin of affirmationdom – must never be allowed to rise or else the magic potion will be spoiled.

People are people. Some days we believe in our dreams fervently and other days we completely lose sight of them. That’s not being negative that’s just being human. The path is not lost by one moment of doubt.

This affirmation may or may not be appropriate for the sixth grader in question. It depends on how he or she resolves the cognitive dissonance associated with it.

If he or she cannot come to terms with the disparity, then an affirmation like “I am becoming a world class saxophone player” or “I am a better saxophone player every day” may be more acceptable and reduce the cognitive dissonance.

Conversely, the previous affirmation is ideal for a college student majoring in music performance on the saxophone. That person has already put in many years and is now an expert on the instrument. He or she may be planning a career playing the saxophone. That college student certainly can realistically aspire to becoming a world-class sax player.

Here is what I have learned from more than 17 years experience working with affirmations. There really are two classes of affirmations – aspirational and incremental.

Aspirational affirmations are your “big thinking” affirmations. They are the ones that remind you that something far greater than right now lies within you. That knowing is not for anyone to label as delusional or unrealistic. It depends on you and your belief.

Incremental affirmations are affirmations that are more finely tuned. They focus on specifics and immediate steps. They are the trees to the aspirational affirmations’ forest.

In my view, they are both part of a healthy affirmation diet. Just like protein and calcium serve two different but beneficial roles in the body. Both kinds of affirmations add value to your over all growth. One is today’s weather forecast and the other is the long range forecast.

Let me illustrate the difference with a couple examples.

A high school quarterback with big dreams might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am the next John Elway.”
Incremental: “My completion percentage is improving each and every game.”

A person trying to climb out of depression might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am completely happy with all aspects of my life.”
Incremental: “Today I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.”

A person focusing on creating a better financial future might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “My million dollar idea is on its way to me right now.”
Incremental: “Today I am paying my bills on time.”


It’s not about being unrealistic. It’s about using the very real power of your thoughts to support your immediate goals and your long term dreams.

So, if you are a sixth grade saxophone player with a passion to be the world’s greatest saxophonist, I say go for it! One thing is for sure. None of your critics will be there to beat you out!

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorRay’s 2015 speculative fiction novel, Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation, is turning heads. Where did humanity really come from and where is it going? This is Book 1 of a trilogy. The Awakening has begun!

Learn more about the trilogy and order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com.

Moving Mountains Beginning with Mole Hills – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 18, 2007


Today’s affirmation is:

It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”

mountain.gifThere is a famous quote variously attributed to several people that says, “Whether or not you believe you can do a thing, you’re right.”  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus audaciously states, “Had you the faith of a mustard seed, you could command a mountain to be moved from here to there and it would be so.”

Both statements clearly to remind us that we have within us an astonishging capacity to do what would ordinarily be considered miraculous. In both instances, the fuel for the miracles is our belief.

I have often pondered this statement of Jesus and thought, “Ok, I believe it. I command the mountain to move.”  Immediately, even before I can get the words out, “common sense” enters my mind and says, “This is nonsense. The world does not work that way.”  Doubt has entered the picture. That’s why Jesus started his statement with, “Had you the faith…”

In Buddhism, doubt is one of the “five hindrances” to wisdom and considered the most difficult to overcome. We live in a society that teaches us that doubt and mistrust are prerequisites for our own self-protection. I wonder if the doubt spread by this world view is hindering us, individually and collectively, as we pursue our goals.

Although easier said than done, if we could suspend our disbelief just long enough to allow a firm belief in ourselves and our potential to take root and flourish; we could begin bringing the miraculous into our lives.

Maybe we start with things smaller than mountains like succeeding in our career, or strengthening our friendships and relationships, or simply achieving peace of mind.  Then perhaps we can tackle the mountain.  But then as Edmund Hilary stated, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

How true!

Everyone have a great Thursday. Find a situation today to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow your miracle.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Quitting is the Answer – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 13, 2007



Today’s affirmation:

“Today I am ready to convert my perseverance into success.”

Quitting is the answer to your dilemma. You know you want to give up. So, do it. You have a dream, but it is just pie-in-the-sky nonsense. What are you thinking? Are you crazy?

Do you really believe you could be the next great childrens author. Are you really visualizing yourself sitting on Oprah’s couch discussing your latest best seller? YOU??? Come on! Get real. You’ve sent 20 manuscripts out and how many rejection letters? That’s right. 20.

And you, thinking you are the next great country music star. You’ve made five demo records and not one call back. You’ve been at this for three years now. When are you going to face reality?

Oh, and Mr. basketball, you have dreams of a major college scholarship and then the NBA? Yeah right! You play three minutes a game on your high school team. The coach barely knows your name. And you think you’re the next Michael Jordan? Face it, my friend, basketball is a dead end for you.

Do you ever have thoughts like these? Do you ever hear those around you say things like this because they “care about you”? There’s always someone around to shoot down your dreams, if you are not already doing it. In some cases, it’s even an expert – an editor, a coach, or record producer. I mean they know what they are talking about, right?

The next time you have these kinds of thoughts I want you remember the following.

His sophomore year in high school, Michael Jordan didn’t even know he was the next Michael Jordan.

Michael JordanHe was cut from his high school basketball team. I don’t know if that high school basketball team was unbelievably talented or the coach just wasn’t a very good judge of ability. Can you imagine arguably the greatest basketball player ever cut from his basketball team? The coach was presumedly an expert.

Michael could have taken the expert’s word and given up. He could have taken up the vilolin or given up on school activities all together. Instead, he worked harder; became more determined. Three years later he was starting for one of the top college programs in the country and on his way to a Hall of Fame NBA career and six NBA championships.

What if Michael Jordan had accepted the judgment of an expert and quit? The man revitalized a sport, gave a city with a reputation for losing the opportunity to be champions, inspired millions of young athletes, and gave every fan a highlight film that will run in their minds forever.

Back in the 1920s there was an unknown cartoonist from the midwest shopping his idea for an animated cartoon featuring a mouse. Walt Disney made two cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse that were rejected by distributors. Then timing and adaptability intervened.

disney.jpgDisney latched on to the new sound technology in Hollywood and created a third Mickey Mouse film with sound called Steamboat Willie which debuted in New York on November 18, 1928.

The mouse and Walt went on to do quite well for themselves. A major media empire and the world’s number one tourist destination bear the name Disney because he believed in his idea and he did not stop at “no”.

Had Disney quit generations would have been deprived of the eternal childhood represented by Disney message.

A retired motel and restaurant owner in his 70s spent two years driving the country pitching his secret recipe for fried chicken to restaurant owners. The story goes that Harland Sanders heard no over 1000 times before someone finally said, “yes”.

Today Kentucky Fried Chicken is served in more than 80 countries around the world. Everyone knows about “The Colonel’s secret recipe.”

What is the common element here? Belief? Yes. Commitment. Sure. The real common element here is perserverence converted into success. These people pushed through their own doubts and the opinions of others to achieve their goals.

They also didn’t listen to the experts who said it couldn’t be done. The experts thought the train, the automobile, the airplane, radio, television, and the Internet would never succeed. Experts are always learned people about “what is”. They are entrenched in “what is”. Experts are weak at seeing what “can be.”

That takes a visionary. Find a visionary who believes in you and what you are trying to accomplish. That restaurant owner who finally said yes to Colonel Sanders was a visionary.

The world would have been worse off if any of these men had given up. What will the world be missing out on if you quit on your dream?

So how about it? Are you up for that 21st manuscript submission? Are you ready to make another demo and make this cut the one that gets noticed? Are you ready to give a little extra at practice today and let the coach really see what you can do?

If you are inspired to keep going, continue visualizing Oprah. If you are motivated to take Nashville by storm, keep seeing yourself accepting your award as newcomer of the year in country music. If you are ready to take the court with a new purpose and determination, then keep dreaming of the NBA.

Others are going to call you crazy. “They” called Jordan, Disney, and Sanders crazy too. “They” called the Wright Brothers and Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci crazy.

You might have another bout of you calling yourself crazy. That’s normal. Just don’t give up on your talent, don’t give up on your passion, don’t give up on the promise of your dreams.

Start right now by restating your dream to the universe and your commitment to achieving it. I’d be honored if you began by leaving a comment on this blog.

Quitting is an answer. It is just not the right answer when it comes to your dreams.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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