Oasis Connection

Tools for A Self-Directed Life

Focus To Move Forward When You Feel Paralyzed by Uncertainty By Calvin

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

 

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle

A young man in a job, in a career that he is not enjoying finds that it is breaking his spirit, but he remains there for fear of what leaving will bring.

He doesn’t know if he will find another position that is better for him, yet he does know having his menial job will provide an income even if it is just a cut above having none at all.

 

Another young man’s dilemma is not moving at all towards options to acquire a job. So many kinds of job available and yet he worries that he has no experience in any of them.

 

Uncertainty is created in both these scenarios, they ponder whether or not their weighting the chances of if their decisions are right, and this keeps them rooted  in questions and their doing nothing, keeps them suspended in limbo, with a side into  moderate depression.  They are  caught in a claw of paralysis.

 

I think we have all known the harsh clutches of uncertainty at one time or another. That feeling , to waver about every decision we faced, feeling afraid to make a move one way or another for fear that some mistakes cannot be undone.

 

Thus, we resisted making a move to change. We resisted  going to a new job or starting our own business. because  one could fail.

 

Often times than not you will find people in this situation  unhappy and silently praying for something to happen to help them out. But they will continually stay their in a thought loop unable to move.

 

The philosopher, Emily Maroutian,  who is also an award-winning writer, and poet is quoted as saying  “You’re not stuck. You’re just committed to certain patterns of behavior because they helped you in the past. Now those behaviors have become more harmful than helpful.  The reason why you can’t move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get a different result.”

 

For some it has to get so bad that they wake up gasping for air, feeling that if they don’t move, they will die.

So, before it gets to all of that, how do you move forward in uncertainty?

1. Accept that the root cause  of uncertainty is fear of failure.

It is recognizing the fear, rather than what uncertainty  may bring in the future.  Fear, that a decision today will bring a more stressful or painful tomorrow. Not knowing that they are enduring  now, a worst-case scenario in their minds than the likelihood of that scenario becoming reality that is what really keeps them bound, and not the ‘uncertainty  itself.

 

An examination of what is their habitual thinking about their situation that loops through their mind. That stirs the emotions anytime they think about doing something that would create change.

 

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1. Understand that many times the initial efforts one would use for change can fail. Yet conscious attention on how something  failed holds the best opportunities for growth and moving forward. Thus,  go with it, and embracing uncertainty knowing it is the key to overcoming failure.

2. Feel okay about not being in control. Embrace the idea that nothing is completely within your control. Nothing in life is guaranteed. It is just as likely that you’d find a job leading to a successful career  or have a business succeed, as it is that it would fail. Life is a risk, and without uncertainty, surprises would not exist.

3. Be willing to be open ended to the universe. Releasing expectations of what should happen and instead be willing to make the best use of what is in your power to do and make do with the rest as it happens.”

 

To sum up, understand that the power of your habits in thinking, and your patterns of thought, are strong, strong enough to overpower  common sense and practical wisdom. Understand the need to observe your habits, to check out what you say about yourself in your daily routines is what creates the constructs that dictate your life.

Small Business Owner

Small Business Owner

 

So, if you are facing paralyzing fear of the unknown, your best solution is to move a step forward. Experience the negative effects, of uncertainty in your thoughts, as many have done before you, own up to the fear in your thoughts and take small steps to move pass them, make moves to change, and when you do, you too will survive and have a good chance to even thrived.

Tools for A Self-Directed Life

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Random Thoughts on Inspiration and Creativity

Breathe in, Breathe out, it is in this rhythmic process that we truly function and have our life fully lived. While I was sitting and paying attention to my breathing, watching the thoughts that where passing through my consciousness, my attention went to productivity and creative process.

I stopped here in my thoughts, I pondered. Many creative people, who may not even be aware that they are creative, will often spend their lives looking to consume the world around them and forget to also be productive that is to say bring about their own creations.

Like breathing, it is not an either /or situation but both, a rhythmic process of breathing in, and breathing out. So yes, you want to consume or catch fire with the ideas of other people, but don't ignore the power of your own actions to process that information for change, that is to inspire both you and others. The best fuel for this comes from the application of ideas, rather than the consumption of them.

Breathe in…You could say that it is easy to spend all your time searching for inspiration, that’s like breathing in. You would be rewarded with all kinds of finds - incredible videos, music, articles, emails, and news stories, from all sorts of source including your friends. But the only ones that truly matters are the types of inspiration that can be apply to your own goals.

Make no mistake: it's important to be a learner, any successful person in any field has to be able to soak up new information. Finding inspiration and motivation in the work and success of others, that is the action of breathing in.

But here's the problem: what has been breathe in and consumed must finish the process and breathe out again.. Acknowledging others success isn't the same thing as creating your own.

Instead, it is through the process of getting inspiration — activating that information in some form of creative act i.e.- trying out something for the first time, even failing at it, to learn how to better apply new ideas is our goals, and making mistakes is part of it— discovering who we are and what is important to us.

Inspiration is the fuel of long—term passion and enthusiasm. Working with new ideas making them your own through taking action and working them so they apply to your life will inspire you more than anything someone else could do or say.

Know that you need the learning and listening skills that can help you think about things in different ways, but by experimenting, reworking to create, and produce these ideas in to new ways of being, now that is what will give you momentum and propel you forward.

“If you come across a good idea, use it. We spend so much time trying to find more inspirational things to consume that it can be easy for us to forget that the best form of inspiration comes from what we create”. – Author James Clear

Now Breathe out.

Tools For The Self Directed Life

An Effective Strategy To Keeping Your Focus

 By Calvin Harris H. W., M.

Self Adjustment.png

 

We are daily bombarded with more information and communications, sometimes its call new and improved, and the pitch we receive is that to get it will allow us to  Have it all, be it all, and do it all. Particularly if it applies to our careers. Sometimes we think that utilizing all the new information that comes our way, is the only path to success.

The result is, you find yourself spending more hours, downloading cool new apps, and trying to keep up on social media. Now I ask you, how is that working out for you?

Inherent in that behavior is the risk factor of burnout. You can find your time and energy being drained away and add to that  Instant connectivity through our phones and computers and your time and energy is really gone, and yet, the time for your path to success becomes less and less and is really under pressure to happen at all.

Have it all, be it all, and do it all. .  is a lot easier said than done.  To say “yes,” too often means ending up overwhelmed. But how do you prioritize competing priorities to stay ahead without driving yourself crazy?

You need to stop, step back, review and analyze where your attention has gone, then recalibrate new habits to invest your attention wisely to get ahead.

 

I Suggest An Attention Charter

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

A quick overview about an Attention Charter and Why  You would want to  create one. Starts with a Georgetown University computer science professor, Blogger, and author named Cal[vin] Newport. Newport popularized the Attention Charter in his writings about the “intersection of technology and society.“ In his blog - Study Hacks Decoding Patterns Of Success, He points out the impact of new technologies on our ability to perform productive work and to lead satisfying lives.

TheAttention Charter is a document that lists the general reasons that you’ll allow for someone or something to lay claim to your time and attention. For each reason, it then describes under what conditions and for what quantities [of time] you’ll permit this commitment.” – says Mr. Newport.

It takes a bit of effort to create these guidelines and then set them as habits, but once you do, your attention is no longer distracted whenever something comes along demanding your immediate attention. Instead of reacting in the moment—and thus losing sight of what’s truly important—you would follow your outline charter.

This helps you own your time, and to be more intentional with it. You’re the one setting the limits and yes, that can be scary, but it can lead to better results. You could even spend fewer hours in a week working on projects and yet find that a greater portion of your time is spent being proactive on what actually matters.

That extra time, could be used to take better care of yourself, maintain healthier relationships, and maybe even to sleep better!

 

 

How to Create an Attention Charter

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Your Attention Charter is a list of guidelines to help you weigh competing priorities.

It is not a blanket ban on all of your activities. Emails, phone calls, and meetings are going to happen it is inevitable. The trick is coming up with the right proportion  of time vs activity to be vital in keeping to your visions of success, while not having these activities distract from reaching that success. In fact some of these activities can be an integral part of your equation for achieving success by focusing on the big picture.

For example, you might limit yourself to:

  • Only attending meetings with a 60-minute time limit and a clearly defined agenda

  • Not to respond to text messages between certain hours (9 and 5 ) unless it’s during a break, lunch, or an emergency

  • Not to access a certain website (social media, porno, etc.) during certain times frames of your day.

  • Not to schedule social or professional contacts for 3-hour lunches more than twice a month

  • To travel to a educational/ industry/professional  conference each quarter

You decide the guidelines. They can be as general or specific as you like. Notice how the examples above aren’t too strict. They allow for certain exceptions or situations where you would want to engage in the activities. It’s not about banning things; it’s about being more intentional with our choices.

Your focus is to think through the different ways you could limit distraction. Once developed, you want to have this list available, written down on paper or on your computer, or laptop or phone for reference when you need it.

Radhika Nagpal, a computer science professor, used some of these principles to earn tenure at Harvard. She calculated the maximum number of hours she could devote to her career each week without neglecting her family. Working from that limit, she created rules for herself (like traveling only five times a year) that allowed her to advance her career without getting burned out by unimportant distractions.

 

Enforcing Your Attention Charter

Okay, you’ve created your Attention Charter, and you are ready to make them habits. You might find  when getting started it tougher to stick to it, or you slip up, at first that’s okay. Do the best you can. The point is to practice and exercise the new habits when you can. Just a few better choices each day really add up.

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You might, like me, have to confront some bad habits you’ve been struggling with for a while now. In moving pass bad habits Willpower will only get you so far, yet conscious focus and practicing the tools will keep you on track.  

Computer or Apps Junkies might find Website blocking apps empowering in blocking distracting websites, apps, or even the entire internet during hours when you need to be productive.

Small steps or goals at first, there’s no shame in starting small. After you become comfortable with the habits you’ve set with those guidelines, you can gradually add more. Your Attention Charter will evolve with time too, as the new habits become a natural part of your daily process.


 Make Better Choices—Without the Burnout

A workday can feel a lot like an obstacle course or tug-of-war for your attention.

Fortunately, by developing a focused attention on new  habits, like in the use of an Attention Charter, it will help you choose which direction to move without responding to compulsions  in the moment.

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Like Mr. Newport, I have to admit  I’m still monkeying around with my own attention charter. In other words, you’re hearing about this as a fledgling project, before I’ve made it into full functioning habits. Yet I’ve already found value in it, as one of us whose battle against distraction both unavoidably important and unavoidably nuances.

 

I’d like you to try it and then email me a comment and let me know what you think!

Why Are We Having So Little Sex?

Why Are We All Having So Little Sex?

By BELINDA LUSCOMBE -TIME Magazine writer - Health - October 26, 2018

 

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Ms. Luscombe article is coming to you by submission of one of my readers who also is a good friend, William Fennie, H. W., M., a mentor and counselor in his own right. His foresight into the relevance of this article and the nature of my Blogs made it a natural fit for the SOC website, Thank you William.


Matt, a 34-year-old data analyst from Texas, and his wife dated for seven years before getting married in 2013. When they didn’t live together, they had sex every time they saw each other. After they moved in, however, he says things changed. Their sex life became inconsistent. They’d have a really active week and then a month with nothing, or just one at-bat. It began to hurt their relationship…..he didn’t know how to talk about sex with his wife.. “I really didn’t want to be pushy on that issue,” he says. “She has the right to say no, always and forever.”

 

If Matt’s story sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. Americans are …not having sex in droves, according to the General Social Survey, a profile of American behavior that has been gathered by the National Opinion Research Council at the University of Chicago since 1972, the fraction of people getting it on, at least once a week fell from 45% in 2000 to 36% in 2016. One study of the GSS data showed that more than twice as many millennial’s were sexually ‘inactive’ in their early 20’s than the prior generation was. And the sharpest drop was the most recent, in the years 2014 to 2016.

 

How can this be? …This is the era when …social stigma around premarital sex is gone, hookups are not considered shameful, and the belief in limiting partners to one side of the gender line is no longer universal…. Contraception has reduced the risk of serious physical consequences… technological … helps willing partners find each other, endless free online porn to rev the engines… and [Viagra type drugs] to overcome the most common physical limitations for men.

What hasn’t changed, is that sex remains as exhilarating as it was for our ancestors. In fact, a safe, consensual romp with a loving and appropriate partner is one of life’s…delight with no downside…and pure, free fun.

 

Yet there is a slump. Nearly 20% of 18- to 29-year-old’s reported having no sex at all in 2016, an almost 50% rise over those who were celibate in 2000. “The downward trend is very real,” says Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at University of Maryland, College Park.

 

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology, San Diego State University wrote a much-cited paper for the Archives of Sexual Behavior about this downturn, says one big reason is marriage—…. Married people… have more sex than single people of the same age… because they’re already going to bed with someone who …is  having sex with them. The supply side of the equation is solved, only the demand side is a riddle.

 

What has remained constant, while the number of 20-something spouses has dropped. And increasingly, young people are eschewing having a relationship with one partner, and instead hanging out with a loosely assorted group of friends…[results] less convenience sex is going on.” says Twenge. “So there’s a larger proportion of people in their early 20s who are not having sex at all.”

 

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Married folks, are falling down on the job too. “The number one issue being, says couples therapist Ian Kerner, author of the book She Comes First. -is “discrepant libido and low libido and no libido.”

Twenge’s study shows that the highest drop in sexual frequency has been among married people with higher levels of education... This may be …child-centric family anxiety. “We know there’s more parenting anxiety,” says Cohen. “That could be turning into generalized family stress.”

Seems, only the 60-somethings are bucking the trend…Unlike the retirees who came before them, they’re putting the sex back in sexagenarian, with an average coital frequency that is slightly higher than in two decades earlier.

 Many couples have perfectly good reasons for not having sex: they’re exhausted, they’re unwell, they have too much else to do, or the kids are in the bed with them.

 

The trend for using beds for other activities beside sleeping and making whoopee is so robust …“We’re one of the few species that mate face to face,” says Sue Johnson, a Canadian psychotherapist and couples technique counselor: “And face to face interactions seem to be going down everywhere. We turn to technology instead of to people….”  The sex toy industry has been growing briskly and is worth about $15 billion annually. Astonishing numbers of hours of pornography are being consumed online. And VR porn is taking off… Some neuroscientists have argued that for some people, heavy porn consumption can recondition the brain’s arousal circuitry to respond more to the screen than a human.

 

Therapists have noticed the shifting dynamics in both male and female patients…” Another complicating factor is the changing conversation around consent and sexual advances, shaped by the ‘MeToo’ movement. Matt, along with other struggling sexual partners interviewed as background for this story, expresses uncertainty about where the boundaries lie. “There was always the question in my mind, am I being unreasonable?” Matt says… This adds a layer of complexity to a subject that couple are already notoriously bad at, talking about [Sex]. “I do think that conversations around consent, and what consent is, are becoming much more real,” says Lori Brotto, a Canadian  Professor at UBC in research of Women's Sexual Health. Brotto. ... “This can mean that [male]partners are initiating less [sex], that they’re sitting back and waiting for the female to initiate. And then feeling rejected when they don’t.”

 

One of the more alarming discoveries to emerge so far is the large number of women for whom sex is actually painful. “One in five young women 18 to 29 experience chronic pain during sex,” says Natalie Rosen, a psychologist and associate professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia… Rosen found that a third of women never mentioned it to their partners because they were ashamed, felt inadequate or feared being dumped. “Or they end the relationship preemptively without telling their partner why,”

 

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Gender dynamics are having an impact too. One of the oldest and sturdiest reasons for abstinence: mates are not finding each other attractive. Review that looked at sexual frequency and chore distribution found... We are interested in that which we are lacking, thus household chores should be gender specific. …Other studies found that in homes where guys pitch in more women are less stressed, less resentful and therefore... their relationship is better. A study released in April from the University of Utah found: Men who share the grocery shopping report more sexual satisfaction than men who don’t, but if they do more cleaning and laundry than their spouses, sexual frequency goes down. For women, washing up was the libido killer.

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The lead researcher, Dan Carlson, at the University, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies, found: “Homes with more traditional gender roles have sex more often because the men get to make the call as to whether there will be any knocking of boots. And homes which are really egalitarian also have more sex because the couples are communicating better...People wanting a egalitarian marriage…are happier when they can achieve one,” Carlson says. It’s the murky middle, those couples that desire gender equality but haven’t quite perfected it, who are sleeping facing the wall.

 

 

More prosaic reasons for desire discrepancy, ….the unhappy situation in which one partner wants a lot more sex than the other- .,, from genetics to upbringing to hormonal changes to sexual history to general healthiness. Higher rates of obesity, for obese men are more likely to be impotent. “There are health implications,” says Maryland’s Cohen, “and there is the social self-image, feeling attractive...”

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

 

Then there’s the public health epidemic: depression. “Seen in every national probability study is that depression rises to the top as a leading causes of low desire, specifically,” says Brotto. Treating depression can further hurt desire; many common medications for depression, such as SSRIs, are known to lower libido.

 

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Might people have become less happy since the turn of the millennium? Twenge thinks so. Another of her papers found that general happiness among those over 30 had dropped markedly since 2000. There could be any number of reasons for the fall, but one intriguing suggestion is that the economic trends that have shaped the current political climate may also have affected our more intimate relations. A 2011 study from the University of Virginia that analyzed GSS data between 1972 and 2008 found that Americans reported being happier in the years when income inequality was at its least fierce. Not because they were richer, the study suggested, but because times seemed fairer. Many more American workers have had to embrace erratic work schedules because of the 24/7 work economy. That makes it hard for couples to spend time together.

 

 

Economic pressure might also explain why young people have experienced the steepest falloff in sexual activity. Millennials and the generation below them, sometimes known as Gen Z, have suffered more in the great recession. Young men, especially, are finding it harder to find jobs; more than a third of 18 to 34-year-old Americans are living with their parents, an arrangement usually mutually exclusive with having a stellar sex life.

 

“I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

All of this, Twenge believes, may be leading to a generation of young people who are not interested in partnering up, who are moving away from pair bonding into the sexual equivalent of a gig economy. Instead of having a job or steady relationship, people have to find their own opportunities. “The theme that comes up over and over [among young people] is the increase in individualism,” says Twenge. “More focus on the self and less on social rules.” That would explain both the openness around sexuality and the drop in actual sex.

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

 

 

Whatever the causes, say therapists, the solutions don’t change. Couples need to figure out their sexual needs and wants, communicate them and perhaps put down their phones for a while. That doesn’t always mean having more sex. Cohen notes that the drop in the rate of sex has not been accompanied by a rise in divorce. “I could imagine a positive scenario where people communicate more and better within relationships now and the low interest partner talks the high interest partner out of it and they’re happier,” he says. “I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

This was the key for Matt and his wife. “Sometimes there’s still a libido mismatch,” he says of his marriage now. “And not every week or month is perfect, but my wife and I have learned to communicate better, and we’ve both learned to listen better.” Things are going so well that they recently decided the time was right to try to start a family and in October they found out they were pregnant.

 

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Conversation, it seems, is the most powerful type of foreplay. “If you want me to give my advice to the American public about this, it would be, ‘Talk to each other about sex,’” says Klein. “Talk to each other about how you want to feel. Do you want to feel attractive? Do you want to feel desired? Do you want to feel young? Do you want to feel graceful?” And then you have to decide if you’re willing to put the work in, he adds. “Gourmet sex is like gourmet cooking,” he says. “They don’t happen without focus.”

Tools For The Self Directed Life

Yearly Retrospect: How to Maintain Focus of Your Life

Focusing on Life

Focusing on Life

by Calvin Harris H. W., M.

As we are in the third quarter of 2018, and before the holidays fast forward us to the end of the year, Now may be the time to consider planning and directions for 2019. Let’s take a moment to look over events and activities to see what this past year in retrospect, has indicated to us about being on course with our strategic plans and goals.

 

For many, it was not a year with a lot of forward movement. Experiences and activities throughout the year seemed tempered with a “watch and see undercurrent”, as if to say be patient. For others,  whose ideas, creativity, political and business plans, all seemed ready to launch, yet, somehow fail to launch fully, or the trajectories where off.  

Decisions to Reflect

Decisions to Reflect

 

Looking closer at this dilemma, of the pass year’s progression, it could be an indication to slowdown and to re-align habits for normalization. Sometimes life moves at such supersonic speeds, we get so busy, that we stop thinking, become automatons in our thought s and actions. An entire year can go by without us taking a moment to think deeply about whether we are following the right course, or if we should turn off to a new direction. This slowdown could be the move needed to rethink, research, and re-calibrate who we are, where we are going, and what we want to achieve and the Habits we have in place to do it.


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A book out right now that you may want to read is called Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. Ms. Rubin indicates to us that Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives, and she provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits--as well as change them for good


Personal and professional life compete for priority, meaning clarity of objectives and focus will be needed in finding a balance going forward. If we are looking to make a change, then slowdown, reflect on what we identify as important to achieve. Build habits aligned with what can produce that goal. The results can come later as we perfect our presentation.  As a result, what we manifest, call our outcomes, cannot be imagined, because they happen by paying attention to habits aligned with core values and then out of the blue, there is achievement.

 

Habits moving you forward

Habits moving you forward

 

Blogger James Clear reminds us “Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes. Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.”
















Tools for the Self Directed Life

Things to Do to Move You Past Self-Doubt

by Calvin Harris H. W., M.

Photo by Scot Williams

Photo by Scot Williams

 

In our August 2018 issue of SiteOfContact, we discussed the importance of ‘Mental Toughness’ as part of your Life - Skills Tool Box. We talked about such tools as imagination, grit, consistency, and re-tooling habits to move you towards your mastery in life, even in a transitional economy.

An issue we all deal with from time to time, is this post's focus: Not being able to Get Started, and or Indecision, and or Non-actions caused by Self- doubt.

Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, founder of logotherapy, and author of Man’s Search for Meaning suggest: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

I am reminded of a story my teacher, Thane, the Master Teacher of an Esoteric School (called The Prosperos) use to tell. 

Horse Photo by Angi Carelli

Horse Photo by Angi Carelli

A blacksmith, a man that made and repaired horseshoes, was being squeezed out of business due to the invention called the Automobile.  Cars were replacing the horse, and the need for his craft was dwindling down to nothing.  He had to re-imagine himself,  he had to see himself, not in the ‘horseshoe’ business, but in fact, in the ‘Transportation’ business if he were to survive.  To understand this new business model,  would take for him to open up to new possibilities for his skills and craft in expanding his business options. 

Car Part by Jason Beamguard

Car Part by Jason Beamguard

A client I was coaching years ago in the auto repair business, complained that his competitors were getting more of the business in his area than he was and because of that, he may have to close his doors. His focus was so much on his competitors rather than on his business that he was unable to take actions, or to make the needed changes to keep the business solvent due to his indecision and self-doubt. That's when he came to me. In the course of our session, I asked him: Who is your biggest competitor? While he was thinking about it I held up a mirror and said, "there in the mirror."

I pointed out his biggest challenge was the thoughts that he allowed to run wild through his own mind, such as his competing with time running out and his preconceived ideas of how things should be. Once this was understood, a shift in his thinking took place, he relaxed. Then we began to brainstorm on how to lower his pricing, also bring his cost down and profits up. He focused in on the business, how that ran compared to others operating in that business. He came up with a plan, customers would bring in their own replacement parts, and he would perform the service and labor, but where he would differ from his competitors who offered similar service was that he would offer a customer satisfaction guarantee on work or service,  his competitors had no such warranty package.  

In that moment, he had gone from an embittered competitor, crestfallen in confidence and a failing balance sheet to a self-empowered master of his own fate.

John Herschel the famous mathematician, astronomer, and inventor is reported as saying: “Humans always have fear of an unknown situation – this is normal. The important thing is what we do about it. If fear is permitted to become a paralyzing thing that interferes with proper action, then it is harmful. The best antidote to fear is to know all we can about a situation.”

The moment you find yourself challenged in your head, stewing in doubt or overwhelmed  I suggest taking this actions:

Statue called Anguish

Statue called Anguish

1. When you slip up, get help to get back on track as quickly as possible.

Ask someone you trust to listen and advise on how, if they were faced with a similar situation, would they get back on track. This can have benefits by offering you an objective perspective on the issue and help to get you out of your preconceived thought loops, and perhaps into a brainstorming mode.

 

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2. Do an On-line inquiry into the problem. 

A search engine like Google can search Case Studies; Creative Marketing; Growth Strategy; or Success Stories. You may be surprised at how fast you find ideas that can help solve your challenges and erase the self-doubt.

 

 

3. Road-test the advice and data you receive. 

The world is your oyster —Once you've determined your real challenge and the new model for action, then use them to your advantage, getting out of your own head. Your task is to see yourself in a whole new way, creating a new narrative beginning with the idea of you as a Conscious Creator and Observer of your circumstance; you want to observe those concepts that seem to control, drive, and sometimes divert your life and then use it for an alchemy of change.

The beauty in the consciousness of these new components, these new models, is that they lead to a boost in imagination. and building our skills. These areas begin to strengthen each other, and  this new looping  model of intelligence becomes seamless. As this process grows and improves upon itself, it becomes easier for meaning and empowerment to manifest in our lives.

The Layers of Being William Floyd

The Layers of Being William Floyd

 The Meaning of Life is to give Live Meaning.

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

Tools for the Self Directed Life

Developing Mental Toughness. 

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Under my other voices heading I present to you an article,  brought to my attention by one of my clients on obtaining objectives and success through consistency. 

The article or blog was called "The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Your Health, Work, and Life."  by blogger James Clear. whos work and be read on JamesClear.com
 

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Why do some people accomplish their goals while others fail?

What makes the difference?

Usually we answer these questions by talking about the talent of top performers. He must be the smartest scientist in the lab. She’s faster than everyone else on the team. He is a brilliant business strategist.

But I think we all know there is more to the story than that.

In fact, when you start looking into it, your talent and your intelligence don’t play nearly as big of a role as you might think. The research studies that I have found say that intelligence only accounts for 30% of your achievement — and that’s at the extreme upper end.

What makes a bigger impact than talent or intelligence? Mental toughness.

Research is starting to reveal that your mental toughness — or “grit” as they call it — plays a more important role than anything else for achieving your goals in health, business, and life. That’s good news because you can’t do much about the genes you were born with, but you can do a lot to develop mental toughness.

Why is mental toughness so important? And how can you develop more of it?

Let’s talk about that now.

Mental Toughness and The United States Military

Sun Run  Fort Bragg, N.C., Army photo by Sgt. Gin-Sophie De Bellotte

Sun Run  Fort Bragg, N.C., Army photo by Sgt. Gin-Sophie De Bellotte

Each year, approximately 1,300 cadets join the entering class at the United States Military Academy, West Point. During their first summer on campus, cadets are required to complete a series of brutal tests. This summer initiation program is known internally as “Beast Barracks.”

In the words of researchers who have studied West Point cadets, “Beast Barracks is deliberately engineered to test the very limits of cadets’ physical, emotional, and mental capacities.”

You might imagine that the cadets who successfully complete Beast Barracks are bigger, stronger, or more intelligent than their peers. But Angela Duckworth, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, found something different when she began tracking the cadets.

Duckworth studies achievement, and more specifically, how your mental toughness, perseverance, and passion impact your ability to achieve goals. At West Point, she tracked a total of 2,441 cadets spread across two entering classes. She recorded their high school rank, SAT scores, Leadership Potential Score (which reflects participation in extracurricular activities), Physical Aptitude Exam (a standardized physical exercise evaluation), and Grit Scale (which measures perseverance and passion for long–term goals).

Here’s what she found out…

It wasn’t strength or smarts or leadership potential that accurately predicted whether or not a cadet would finish Beast Barracks. Instead, it was grit — the perseverance and passion to achieve long–term goals — that made the difference.

In fact, cadets who were one standard deviation higher on the Grit Scale were 60% more likely to finish Beast Barracks than their peers. It was mental toughness that predicted whether or not a cadet would be successful, not their talent, intelligence, or genetics.

When Is Mental Toughness Useful?

National Spelling Bee

National Spelling Bee

 

Duckworth’s research has revealed the importance of mental toughness in a variety of fields.

In addition to the West Point study, she discovered that…

  • Ivy League undergraduate students who had more grit also had higher GPAs than their peers — even though they had lower SAT scores and weren’t as “smart.”
  • When comparing two people who are the same age but have different levels of education, grit (and not intelligence) more accurately predicts which one will be better educated.
  • Competitors in the National Spelling Bee outperform their peers not because of IQ, but because of their grit and commitment to more consistent practice.

And it’s not just education where mental toughness and grit are useful. Duckworth and her colleagues heard similar stories when they started interviewing top performers in all fields…

Our hypothesis that grit is essential to high achievement evolved during interviews with professionals in investment banking, painting, journalism, academia, medicine, and law. Asked what quality distinguishes star performers in their respective fields, these individuals cited grit or a close synonym as often as talent. In fact, many were awed by the achievements of peers who did not at first seem as gifted as others but whose sustained commitment to their ambitions was exceptional. Likewise, many noted with surprise that prodigiously gifted peers did not end up in the upper echelons of their field.

—Angela Duckworth

You have probably seen evidence of this in your own experiences. Remember your friend who squandered their talent? How about that person on your team who squeezed the most out of their potential? Have you known someone who was set on accomplishing a goal, no matter how long it took?

You can read the whole research study here, but this is the bottom line:

In every area of life — from your education to your work to your health — it is your amount of grit, mental toughness, and perseverance that predicts your level of success more than any other factor we can find.

In other words, talent is overrated.

What Makes Someone Mentally Tough?

1936 Olympic workout of Jesse Owens and Frank Wykoff

1936 Olympic workout of Jesse Owens and Frank Wykoff

It’s great to talk about mental toughness, grit, and perseverance … but what do those things actually look like in the real world?

In a word, toughness and grit equal consistency.

Mentally tough athletes are more consistent than others. They don’t miss workouts. They don’t miss assignments. They always have their teammates back.

Mentally tough leaders are more consistent than their peers. They have a clear goal that they work towards each day. They don’t let short–term profits, negative feedback, or hectic schedules prevent them from continuing the march towards their vision. They make a habit of building up the people around them — not just once, but over and over and over again.

Mentally tough artists, writers, and employees deliver on a more consistent basis than most. They work on a schedule, not just when they feel motivated. They approach their work like a pro, not an amateur. They do the most important thing first and don’t shirk responsibilities.

The good news is that grit and perseverance can become your defining traits, regardless of the talent you were born with. You can become more consistent. You can develop superhuman levels of mental toughness.

How?

In my experience, these 3 strategies work well in the real world…

1. Define what mental toughness means for you.

For the West Point army cadets being mentally tough meant finishing an entire summer of Beast Barracks.

For you, it might be…

  • going one month without missing a workout
  • going one week without eating processed or packaged food
  • delivering your work ahead of schedule for two days in a row
  • meditating every morning this week
  • grinding out one extra rep on each set at the gym today
  • calling one friend to catch up every Saturday this month
  • spending one hour doing something creative every evening this week

Whatever it is, be clear about what you’re going after. Mental toughness is an abstract quality, but in the real world it’s tied to concrete actions. You can’t magically think your way to becoming mentally tough, you prove it to yourself by doing something in real life.

Which brings me to my second point…

2. Mental toughness is built through small physical wins.

You can’t become committed or consistent with a weak mind. How many workouts have you missed because your mind, not your body, told you you were tired? How many reps have you missed out on because your mind said, “Nine reps is enough. Don’t worry about the tenth.” Probably thousands for most people, including myself. And 99% are due to weakness of the mind, not the body.

—Drew Shamrock

So often we think that mental toughness is about how we respond to extreme situations. How did you perform in the championship game? Can you keep your life together while grieving the death of a family member? Did you bounce back after your business went bankrupt?

There’s no doubt that extreme situations test our courage, perseverance, and mental toughness … but what about everyday circumstances?

Mental toughness is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop. If you haven’t pushed yourself in thousands of small ways, of course you’ll wilt when things get really difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Choose to do the tenth rep when it would be easier to just do nine. Choose to create when it would be easier to consume. Choose to ask the extra question when it would be easier to accept. Prove to yourself — in a thousand tiny ways — that you have enough guts to get in the ring and do battle with life.

Mental toughness is built through small wins. It’s the individual choices that we make on a daily basis that build our “mental toughness muscle.” We all want mental strength, but you can’t think your way to it. It’s your physical actions that prove your mental fortitude.

3. Mental toughness is about your habits, not your motivation.

Photo Artist Jason Beamguard during  his Book Challenge 2018

Photo Artist Jason Beamguard during  his Book Challenge 2018

Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes.

Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.

Mentally tough people don’t have to be more courageous, more talented, or more intelligent — just more consistent. Mentally tough people develop systems that help them focus on the important stuff regardless of how many obstacles life puts in front of them. It’s their habits that form the foundation of their mental beliefs and ultimately set them apart.

I’ve written about this many times before. Here are the basic steps for building a new habit and links to further information on doing each step.

  1. Start by building your identity.
  2. Focus on small behaviors, not life–changing transformations.
  3. Develop a routine that gets you going regardless of how motivated you feel.
  4. Stick to the schedule and forget about the results.
  5. When you slip up, get back on track as quickly as possible.

Mental toughness comes down to your habits. It’s about doing the things you know you’re supposed to do on a more consistent basis. It’s about your dedication to daily practice and your ability to stick to a schedule.

How Have You Developed Mental Toughness?

Artist Juan Coronado photo of Actor/Model Jimmy Flint-Smith

Artist Juan Coronado photo of Actor/Model Jimmy Flint-Smith

Our mission as a community is clear: we are looking to live healthy lives and make a difference in the world.

To that end, I see it as my responsibility to equip you with the best information, ideas, and strategies for living healthier, becoming happier, and making a bigger impact with your life and work.

But no matter what strategies we discuss, no matter what goals we set our sights on, no matter what vision we have for ourselves and the people around us … none of it can become a reality without mental toughness, perseverance, and grit.

When things get tough for most people, they find something easier to work on. When things get difficult for mentally tough people, they find a way to stay on schedule.

There will always be extreme moments that require incredible bouts of courage, resiliency, and grit … but for 95% of the circumstances in life, toughness simply comes down to being more consistent than most people. 
 

Tools for the Self Directed Life

Activating Your Mission, Meaning, and Mastery

by Calvin Harris H.W., M

The World is your oster.jpg

 

I suspect the College education model as practiced today, as the best means to secure wealth and fame is fading as a goal for many young people. Even the famed ‘SAT’ or other IQ Test used as barometers of intellectual superior advantage and the indicator that one is on the fast track of wealth and success may not be holding up as factual as better living.

 

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A Wall Street Journal correspondent and author of the bestselling book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.”- Dan H. Pink has been quoted when asked of what portion of our career success does IQ accounts for?   His answer: “between 4 and 10 percent.” Which has been backed up by Researcher Daniel Goleman and the Hay Group.

 

 

The first step then, to begin activating your mission, is getting clarity on some of the contradictory data that we have. Data that act as models or guides to what you believe better living or success to be and how to get it.

IQ testing for some when going through school became a worry and an impediment to setting a life course decision and a delay in trying to craft their innate mission. A struggle waged over would they be good enough to achieve the outcomes in life they set out to do? A struggle waged in the mind.

I feel we all live in our heads so much of the time that when we are faced with the circumstance that forces us to acknowledge that we also operate in a three-dimensional world and navigate through it by our somatic body, a body many times driven by unconscious decisions, this can be a shock to us.

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We look to models as the guidepost along our journey in life to help point our way through. One guidepost often forgotten, but that has the propensity for success, is how we spend our time. If we would observe, we would find we spend most of our days in random thought and to a lesser degree imagining outcomes to situations that may or may not take place. In fact this process is the mechanism for life long learning. This process of our consciousness, is an alchemy of emotions, rational mind and our analytical capacities that act both as our allies and as obstacles. In our endeavors to live successfully, they can greatly move us forward in life, if focused with clear accurate data, barring that, then an acute observation and courageous adaptability must be developed. These qualities move us forward without trying to second guess ourselves or worse diverting ourselves away from our mission-meaning in life.

A second model or concept that needs reviewing is the idea of Education and the potential of learning. We are life long learners. Education is not a series of memorized pieces of data that we recite back for a short time and then forget. Nor is the potential for learning a test score number from an intelligence test.  Education is learning and engaging with information useful to our life that when implemented moves our life course forward. So many think of their education as acquiring a piece of paper that says ‘Degree’ on it, thinking this is the magic key to immediate success and fortune. So many, because of buying into just getting that paper, that degree, and perhaps not comprehending all of its variables, are left with a Degree, debt, and having feelings of disappointment and or betrayal.  

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I am reminded of Chad Grills, the writer of the book “College or Not” when he was purported as saying “It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if we don’t have a high IQ, brand name college degrees, or a high GPA, we don’t have a propensity for meaning. Or, we worry that because we don’t have a sufficient degree of these (old) measures of intelligence, our ability for growth and service will decrease (an impediment to meaning). The reality is, science and research increasingly show that these old credentials and measures of intelligence don’t matter that much.”

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To gain meaning in your life today, one must overcome outworn definitions and measurements of yourself.  Your task is to see yourself in a whole new way, creating a new narrative beginning with the idea of you as a Conscious Observer, you want to observe those concepts that seem to control, drive, and sometimes divert your life. It’s not necessary that you completely discard information found within concepts, but it is important that you examine the messages you accept from the information, especially those with a negative bent, thereby lessening negative effects to your talents and your overall success or mission. ⁠

Researcher Daniel Goleman and the Hay Group have shown that IQ placement accounts for a baseline of intelligence, therefore for a person to have mastery in life, would be more a matter of that person working with that baseline to create a mindset, and exercise  the ability to do critical examination and the agility for correction on faulty conclusions. Allowing them to hone and strengthen their natural abilities and talents to consciously move in the direction of their innate and chosen path in a way that leads to the intersection of where preparation, talent, and opportunity meet.

So, if the old Learning-to-Success model components are changing, what does one use as guidepost or indicators of attributes and skills needed in the new model for success? What traits, abilities, and skills can you emulate that can activate your quest toward meaning, success, and mastery now?

 

I suggest the concepts of Grit + Imagination + Skills as basic components of the new model. We are at a time in history were some of the world’s most innovative companies are looking for people driven by the new model to drive their missions and success. Why not use them to drive your own mission and success?  What do these new skills or traits look like?

Innovating or Practicing ideas.jpeg

Grit

Wikipedia defines grit as:

“A positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include ‘perseverance,’ ‘hardiness,’ ‘resilience,’ ‘ambition,’ ‘need for achievement’ and ‘conscientiousness.’

We talked earlier about 'courageous adaptability.' Call it a short hand to describe  Grit.

Viktor Frankl book Man's search for meaning.jpg

Grit has in its makeup, conscious regulators,  such as patience and a unique attitude perspective in any given situation. Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, founder of logo-therapy, and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, flushes out for us a key perspective on 'attitude,' with his words: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

 

If we can become conscious of our 'spaces between', our ‘timing’, and patience, as we endure what life throws at us, we’re well on our way to building grit, and from those experiences to make us stronger and also more compassionate of others.

 

Consciousness.jpg

Imagination

Imagination is that alchemy between our emotions, rational mind, and our analytical capacities, aka Creativity: once harnessed it is unmatched as a talent. Creativity harnessed is one of the most sought-after commodities in the world today. It has become a innovative and integral component of the new technologies that is needed to evolve, and propagate the many new products and services on the horizon. The alchemy of creativity becomes the futures great bastion of human expertise to perfect and master.

Building creativity skill can start as simply as by writing down ideas every day. Harnessing it can take longer. Needed then is the conscious awareness, the perception, and emotional balance brought into action during development, and implementation, of new ideas and products. Creativity coming forth as ideas are worked from good to desirable, to beneficial, and on to lucrative. Strategic thinking becomes then part of the blend in the creativity equation to produce better solutions and resources to problematic situations.

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Skills

The one skill that will be prized above others will be the mastering of our emotions. Emotional mastery can be tricky for it is the practice of observing our thoughts and feelings as they arise and determining from what sources they spring. Choosing the ones that serves us and dismissing the ones that cause pain or frustration.

This is necessary in setting a life course and move us to our innate mission. Along the way, we find we produce marketable skills and our creativity builds value, in some cases where none previously seemed to exist. These marketable skills of the future may fall into one of the categories for: Business, Engineering, Design, and Science. 

The beauty of these new skill sets is that they’re all self-reinforcing. That means that if you’re willing to build grit by operating in uncertainty, you naturally start to develop ideas to solve your challenges. This leads to a boost in imagination. As our imagination increases, we’ll have to find an outlet. Searching for an outlet to channel our energies will lead us towards wanting to build our skills. These three areas begin to strengthen each other, and the process of increasing this new type of intelligence becomes seamless. Once we are self-taught in one skill or field of study, we can repeat the process again and again. When we’re growing and improving, it becomes easier for meaning to manifest in our lives.

So in conclusion, I want to give you some insights from one of the New industries leaders thinking on the ideas of the new models of  Learning-to–Business success by Lazlo Bock.

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Laszlo Bock is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of the Company named Humu, in Mountain View, California. He is the author of "WORK RULES! Insights from Inside Google to Transform How You Live and Lead", (which has been named one of the top 15 business books of 2015). He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and on the PBS Newshour 

Bock's marketing slogan for Humu is: “Making work better for everyone, everywhere, through science, machine learning, and a little bit of love.

Bock's previous job was as the man in charge of hiring at Google, and this is what he had to say about the skills he looked for when they wanted to hire under his watch:⁠

“For every job, though, the #1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.”

Laszlo went on to say “the second most important thing they’re looking for: …is leadershipin particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is, were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”

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We’ll uncover more about these attributes and traits in-depth in future articles. In the meantime think on these words

I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life". - Maya Angelou

So if you need to get a handle on this or in moving forward drop me a note. We can go over or discover activities, habits, and techniques, without harassment or harsh judgment that is advantageous to a solid re-invention of a successful you.