As those of you who have been following along know, I decided to stop drinking soda for 10 days. Tonight that 10 days was up. What happened?
Listen to your ideas
Every great achievement began as a small thought in the mind of someone who partly doubted it, but acted anyway.
We are all amazing idea machines. We crank them out constantly. Most of them are not game-changers. Yet, I’ll guarantee you, if you’re breathing and reading this post, you’ve had ideas that would have changed your life if not the world.
The quote above describes how almost every idea that has changed lives and changed the world began. Occasionally, we’re swept up in an amazing idea, but usually it’s that little voice inside of us that says, “That’s a good idea.”
Most of us, though, move on with our day and forget about the idea until we see it manifested in the world by someone else.
Power hack: So, I’d like you to join me in a little experiment for the next seven days. Each time you have an idea – big or small – about something that could make a difference in the world, I want you to capture it somewhere. Don’t wait. Capture when you have it so you don’t forget. Don’t “try” to think of things. Just let it happen in the course of your day. Notice things that need solutions.
By this time next week, I’d be shocked if you don’t have several incredible, viable ideas. What you choose to do with them is up to you, but you’ll never again wonder if you’re capable. You are!
If you’re inspired to share them below as you have them, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for reading the blog. Your support means everything!
P.S. It is Day 10 of my 10-day soda detox. So, I’ve gleaned a couple of benefits. I’ve noticed I have better focus without the soda in my system. I also noticed the afternoon crash was not as severe, if it happened at all. I was hoping it might benefit my psoriasis, but I didn’t notice any improvement from that.
Tonight I will post a video of me enjoying a Dr. Pepper for the first time in 10 days. I am committed, though, going forward to significantly cut back my soda intake. What were your results? I’d love to hear below!
Breaking free from Groupthink.
If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.
~Gen. George S. Patton
Groupthink is a big challenge in our world today. You see it in politics, the news, and even at work.
There are two powerful forces at work here. One is that many people, sadly, would rather not think for themselves. They’re fine with allowing others to make the decisions and they fall in line with them.
The second force is that we are dangerously moving toward a more top-down approach in our culture. “Thought leaders” or others come up with the talking points and a large majority of people just repeat them. If you’ve ever witnessed a political debate on social media, you see this at work. It’s not a dialogue between two people. It’s a shouting of talking points heard on Fox News and MSNBC.
General George Patton lived a long time ago. So, this isn’t a new problem, but our age technological encroachment on independent thinking makes it more dire.
Power hack: Here are a few thoughts to help you break free from this malaise and think for yourself.
- Be an army of one – if you’re right, who cares if you’re an army of one. Be willing do you, regardless of what they say.
- Groupthink is often wrong – if you haven’t noticed all this groupthink – often called consensus – is wrong a lot. Everyone may think something, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. Do your due diligence, draw your own conclusions, and be willing to take a stand.
- Everybody believes it- be ready for the world not to like you sometimes. Being right on the Iraq War in 2003 was a good way to get yourself ostracized or even fired in some places. By 2015, you had politicians and news people who had full-throatedly supported that war admitting it was a mistake. There were a lot of us independent thinkers who understood the folly in real time.
- The experts don’t always know – experts know a lot of things, but there’s two things you need remember about the experts. 1) They have an agenda like everyone else. 2) They are tied to the status quo. Their expertise is tied up in knowing what is. They’re not really that good at seeing what can be. Get a visionary for that.
- So, you get one wrong – so once in a while you get it wrong by going out on a limb. So what! As pointed out above the groupthinkers get it wrong all the time. Here’s what I guarantee you. Think for yourself and you’ll come out ahead of the herd. You may miss big, but you’ll win big too. Groupthinkers are forever trapped in the mushy middle of mediocrity.
- Unique matters – your unique thoughts, that refuse to go with the prevailing flow, may be exactly what is needed to balance things, to right things, or even to solve them. Stay true to you!
- Think for yourself but not only of yourself – Thinking for yourself should avoid narcissism. Thinking for yourself does not mean thinking only about yourself. Independent thinkers can do amazing things for the group when they are allowed to do so. The group would be wise to let them.
Never concede your thinking to the group. Be flexible enough to follow the facts, as you know them, but always think for yourself. A world filled with people like that is a better world.
Make the radical choice to be happy no matter what.
Happiness is right here right now always, if we choose it. I promise!
You and I place too many terms and conditions on our happiness. We say:
- I’ll be happy if…
- I’ll be happy when…
Yet we achieve those conditions and they may bring momentary happiness. Then we’re right back into dissatisfaction.
It’s not surprising. Our mainstream culture is a skilled merchant in unhappiness, fear, and dystopia. They sell it in bulk on the regular. We are easily swept into these eddies of dissatisfaction. If we’re not careful, they become our home.
I’m preaching at me as much as you this morning. I do it too. I place small print terms and conditions on my happiness. I waste days waiting and working for my conditions to materialize.
Buddha said, “The worst things in the world are desiring something and getting it.” I believe he was talking about this very cycle. We’re stuck in desiring rather than enjoying life. Then we get what we want and it loses its charms and appeal.
It IS a radical choice to be happy no matter what in such an environment. So, how do we achieve it?
- Choose happiness over and over moment after moment. There’s no shortcut. Every moment presents us with a choice to be happy or be stuck in wanting and waiting.
- Be here now. This was the famous advice of Ram Dass. Most of our unhappiness, if you pay attention, exists in the past and the projected future. This moment is wonderful, if you choose to see it.
- Spend more time with roses and jasmine. This was the solution proposed by Rumi to his poetic question, “When you go to a garden do you look at thorns or flowers?” See the positive around you now.
- Be still and know. God or the universe, however you term it, has your back. Good things are coming. Be happy about them before they even arrive.
- Drop your terms and conditions and just be happy.
You are all awesome! Thanks for reading today’s post.
Why you need to think more positively…
A friend of mine, and someone who works in mental health and personal development, tweeted something yesterday that got me thinking. I’d written about this years ago, but it keeps cropping up.
It’s what I like to call the defense for negative (some call it critical or realistic) thinking. Her argument is that “critical thinking” is as valuable as positive thinking. She used the Yin-Yang metaphor to say that we need both to be grounded and balanced.
I have to tell you, I’ve been at this for a long time. Critical thinking is an important skill for analyzing the world and making judgments about it. However, it’s complementary to positive thinking not its opposite. I feel like this was one of those time when someone was calling negative thinking critical thinking.
Here’s the deal and your own experience will likely bear this out. Few human beings have a hard time thinking negatively. Few of us have any problem doubting ourselves or stopping before we start because we might fail.
We’ve got that down. Positive thinking and its necessary partner positive action are a counter-balance to the overwhelmingly negative tendencies of human beings. If you’re among that small percentage of the population who wake up blowing sunshine from your eye balls, I’m not talking to you.
Most of us have to work at staying positive, staying confident, and maintaining belief in ourselves long enough for it to make a difference. We don’t need an artificial infusion of doubt or balanced thinking. The positive thinking IS the balancing thinking.
Is it possible to lose your grounding and fly away into a false, dreamy stratosphere? Yes. When you get there, then you can worry about that. For most people, you’re working to get over the next hurdle and keep clawing for your dream. I’m encouraging you to keep taking mega-doses of the positive thinking. It’s the Yin to the status quo’s Yang.
There are NO coincidences!
Best laid plans…
Newsflash! In a shocking turn of events, life does not always go as planned. Sometimes the immediacy of life swamps your mission and your execution of your big goals. Today was such a day for me.
It began at 4 a.m. with our elderly dog Mia barking me awake to go out. She’s about to be 15 and so she sleeps downstairs in her kennel these days. Half an hour later my head hit the pillow again for, hopefully, a couple more hours sleep. Less than 30 minutes later, now out of her kennel, Mia came in nudging me to go out. I put her off a few minutes too much and I had an accident on bedroom floor to clean up.
My brother is in town so we got around, went to breakfast, and stopped at the craft store for April on our way back. Then I went with my brother to get him a new phone and a new computer. I’m the “tech geek” in our family, which doesn’t bode well for us.
We arrived home about 1:30. I ate some lunch and then was ready for an afternoon nap. I awoke at 5 p.m. wondering where the heck my Saturday – by big day to get things done on my goals – had gone.
Tomorrow I’ve got a day job project to finish, taxes to complete, and we’re going to go spend some time with some friends north of the city. I don’t see me working on anything – except Day 104 of this blog – tomorrow.
And then, as I’m writing this very blog and eating, a piece of a tooth just broke off. And, of course, today was Day 6 of my 10-day Soda detox. Move over, Job!
Now, I’m not telling this story to make you feel sorry for me. I’m glad my brother came to Boston. I’m glad Mia is still alive and kicking and that I get these special late days with her. It’s wonderful to have friends. Taxes to pay means you are fortunate enough to have steady work.
The thing is, though, weekends like this put you behind on your big goals. It’s easy to feel cheated out of needed time to work on the things that fire your soul. You feel like the universe is working against you or you’re wearing off some cosmic karma. I’ve experienced it before and I’ll bet you’ve had weekends or days like this too. What can we do?
Power hack: When you have days like this, you have two choices. You use it as a reason to just give up or back off your goals or you get more determined to be the person you came here to you be.
You get up tomorrow morning with a smile on your face, put your best foot forward, and take the next step on the journey of a thousand miles.
That’s my plan. That’s always my plan. I hope, when you have days like that, it’s your plan too. Obstacles are nothing but shortcuts to something better than you had planned!
Get “The C Factor”
As some of you know, I write sales training for a Fortune 100 company during the day. A few years ago I was tasked with developing a training that would help high-level sales reps selling to our biggest customers be more confident. We dubbed the course “The C Factor.” Catchy, eh?
No matter how cool, how successful, how rich, or how spiritual you may be, every single one of us has insecurities. We must battle them daily if we wish to make the “dent in the universe” we want to make. Confidence is an attribute we can all develop and the best way to overcome the self-doubt.
Here are 10 ways to build your confidence.
- Give yourself credit – you are a one-in-a-trillion miracle. You are here to make a difference and make dent. You have everything you need to do just that.
- Easy successes – start with small things that give you easy wins and progress to more challenging goals. You may need to do this over and over in life as you embark on new avenues advancement.
- Remember past wins – draw strength, courage, insight, and determination from past successes you’ve had in other circumstances. These can and do apply to your newest, most challenging endeavors.
- Visualize success before it happens – whether through affirmations, vision boards, or visualization meditation, see yourself succeeding in your mind before you attempt it. As Sun-Tzu wrote, “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” See yourself how you want to be. See it, smell it, hear it, taste it, touch. The more senses you can involve the better.
- Take your own side – some people are constantly deferring to others. They never take their own side and become their own biggest supporter. This is not to say you act like and arrogant ass. Simply always be in your own corner. Really care about yourself and your dreams.
- Help others achieve their goals – nothing gives you more confidence than losing yourself in service to others. You can forget your challenges, loosen your mind, and get a new perspective. All this can help you build your confidence. Plus, you just might put some other people in your corner when it comes to going for your dreams.
- Do one thing that scares you – each and every day, do one thing that scares you. Confidence is about stretching yourself. When you “toughen up” in tough situations, it makes everything else easier.
- Shush your inner critic – your inner critic is always going to be your harshest critic. It’s not your friend. It’s not there to protect you. It’s there to hold you back and it will if you let it.
- Take wise counsel – nothing builds your confidence more than talking to people who have been where you’re going. Why wander in the wilderness when someone can give you a map?
- You got this – Stop hiding your light. Start feeding the greatness within you. Yes, you suffer setbacks, but they will make you stronger in the end. All the lessons on your journey become a new confidence within you that you can – and you will -handle anything!
“The C Factor” is yours for the taking!