Friday, October 21, 2011

Uplifting your heart

"Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song."
Konrad von Gesner
Today's post is inspired by a gift I received this morning... Fellow blogger Susan Meyerott, who writes a great blog called 'Lightarted Living' (which I highly recommend), used one of my ideas and both created a cool blog post about it and also created some beautiful artwork inspired by it. So I thought it life enhancing to share her delightful artwork with you here, and write some more about the ideas behind it.


Communicating with your heart and gut brains

Over the last year or so I've been doing a lot of research on the enteric (gut) brain and cardiac (heart) brain and how they communicate and integrate together with the cranial (head) brain. I've been determining what the core competencies are of each of these neural networks and how best to work with them to align them.

[I've blogged in the past about the heart and gut brains, and you can read more about them here:
]

Together with a great friend of mine, Marvin Oka, one of the top NLP trainers in the world, we've developed a field we are calling mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques), and we are currently running Action Research Workshops to codify our research and findings. mBIT is based on behavioral modeling informed by the lastest neuro-physiological and neuro-psych research about the heart and gut brains.

One of the simple yet powerful techniques I've created for communicating with and aligning your heart and gut brains based on mBIT is the one that Sue blogged about and created her delightful artwork for.

The idea behind this technique is to use focused breathing, along with metaphor and positive emotion, to send messages to your heart and then your gut. This leads to a re-balancing of your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), from Sympathetic dominance, back to coherence between the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic arms of the ANS.

I'll be sharing more about mBIT over the coming months. Marvin and I have scheduled a 10 day writing sabbatical next month to begin work on our book about mBIT and the science and techniques involved with it. (Stay tuned and let me know if you're interested in hearing about when the book will be released. Let me know too if you're interested in attending any workshops or webinars that we'll be running later this year and into the next. You can contact me by leaving a comment or emailing me at: grant @ soosalu . com)

So what's the 'Uplifting your heart' technique?

Well, it's really amazingly simple. Whenever you are feeling stressed or in need of some uplifting or calming, simply take a few minutes to sit and breath in and out calmly and evenly, taking approx. 6 seconds on the inbreath and 6 seconds on the outbreath. Make sure the in and out breaths are of the same duration. (There's a reason and science behind this.)

As you breath in, imagine that the breath is uplifting your heart. Feel that uplifting feeling. And smile as you do this. Smiling makes a key difference. Really feel your heart being uplifted as you do this. You can imagine a color or light filling your heart with uplifting positive energy and love. And you can take that light, color and feeling and experience it going all the way from your heart to your head, taking these uplifting feelings and messages from your heart into your mind.

As you breath out, imagine your breath going down from your  head/heart to your gut, taking with it calming feelings and messages. Really feel that letting go, relaxing, calming sense fill your belly.

Breath in 'uplifting your heart', breath out and down 'calming your gut'. Continue doing this, as you smile, and feel so aligned and calmed.

It's really that simpe! Try it now. Practice it every moment you get a chance and it will serve you well in the stressful moments in which you might need it. There's a lot of science and logic behind what appears to be a very simple process. The heart leads the head and gut, and the heart itself can be guided through breathing and positive emotion. So use the 'Uplifting your heart' technique to guide and integrate your multiple neural networks and gain congruence and alignment in your life.

life enhancing smiles,
Grant


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eliciting Your Values

"Cheshire Puss, asked Alice. Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to go, said the Cat. I don’t much care where, said Alice. Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat."
Lewis Carroll


Ok, in the last few blog posts we've been exploring the importance of values and how in times of massive change we need to prioritize and simplify where we can...

Prioritizing your life

One of the keys to prioritizing your life, is to get clear about your values, get clear about what’s most important to you and focus your energies and time there.

Most people don’t know explicitly and specifically what’s vitally important to them. They don’t know their hierarchy of values. And without that explicit knowledge, how can they effectively track and focus their time and life?

In today's post, we are going to fix that by getting you to map your hierarchy of values - your list of values sequenced in importance to your life.

Mapping your hieararchy of values


Grab a pen and some paper, and write out what you think and feel are the most important things in life for you. Is it health? Love? Adventure? Learning? What are the things that make life worthwhile for you? Brainstorm this. What do you want out of life? What do you want with others? What is the sweet taste of success for you? What is important to you? What makes your heart and mind sing?

Get your values on paper. Make a mindmap. Write them in whatever order they come to you. There's no right or wrong in this. Just make sure you capture them onto paper or computer.

Content versus Process Values

Note the difference between Content Values and Process Values. Content Values are the ‘things’ you want in life, like love, health, friends, family, wealth, adventure etc. They are the ‘whats’ of life.

Process Values are the 'qualities' by which you want to achieve the ‘whats’. They are the ‘hows’ of life. For example, honesty, integrity, courage, flexibility are all ‘hows’. They are the qualities you want to bring to the way you live your life.

I like to make two separate lists. One for the Content Values and a separate one for the Process Values. The more distinctions you make about your values, the better you are able to articulate the whats and hows of your life, the more powerful they become as tools for change.

List the hieararchy

Once you have your list(s) it’s time to prioritise your values in a hierarchy. Ask yourself:
“If I could only have one thing in life, what would it be?”

Circle it on the list as number one. Then ask, “If I could have 2 and only 2 things, what would the second value be?”

Continue till you’ve prioritised your list(s).

Then re-write the lists so that the number one value is at the top, and so on.

Listen to your heart and gut. You'll feel the importance of each value in your heart. Your heart brain knows what's important. Your gut brain will concur. Tracking goals, dreams and values is a core competency of the heart brain. Your heart's desires often guide your mind and spirit and manifest in your thoughts and ideas.

Put your list where you will see it every day

Now memorise your hierarchy of values. Put your list(s) up high on a wall somewhere in your house or office. Make them bright and bold and colourful. Refer to them often and keep them updated as you grow, learn and evolve through life. You can even make a visual collage of them. Collect images from magazines and books that represent your values and that make your heart sparkle when you look at them.

And most importantly, use your values hierarchy to organise your life and make decisions. If health is on your list as one of your highest values, and adventure is a lower value, then make sure that none of your adventures do damage to your health. Use your values as a filter to decide where to prioritize and place your time, skills, behaviours, attention and energies.

The clearer you are about your values and their relative importance, the more your conscious and unconscious decision making will align with them. Your RAS (Reticular Activating System) is powerfully linked to and influenced by your values, so the clearer you are on your values, the more it will work to serve you.

Value your life

Values are life enhancing. Use them as powerful tools to ensure you get the most of your life limited time, resources and energy. Align your decisions, choices and behaviours with them. Become a master of articulating and choosing what's important to you. Other people will support your values only as much as you know what they are and as much as you hold them strongly aligned in your own life.

"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values."
William S. Burroughs

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,
Grant


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Intelligencing

"Whether you think you can or think you can't -- you're right"
Henry Ford.

I came across the following life enhancing research report today from ScienceDailyScience News’ that I’d like to share with you:

“A new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, has found that people who think they can learn from their mistakes have a different brain reaction to mistakes than people who think intelligence is fixed.

In this study, Jason S. Moser of Michigan State University and his colleagues gave participants a task that was easy to make a mistake on. While doing the task, participants wore a cap on their heads that recorded electrical activity in the brain.

When someone makes a mistake, their brain makes two quick signals: an initial response that indicates something has gone awry -- the ‘oh crap' response -- and a second that indicates the person is consciously aware of the mistake and is trying to right the wrong. Both signals occur within a quarter of a second of the mistake. At the conclusion of the experiment, the researchers surveyed whether participants believed they could learn from their mistakes or not.

The results show that people who think they can learn from their mistakes do better after making a mistake -- in other words, they successfully bounce back after an error. Their brains also react differently, producing a bigger second signal, the one that says ‘I see that I've made a mistake, so I should pay more attention’.

The research indicates that these people are different on a fundamental level, Moser says. ‘This might help us understand why exactly the two types of individuals show different behaviors after mistakes.’ People who think they can learn from their mistakes have brains that are tuned to pay more attention to mistakes, he says. This research could help in training people to believe that they can work harder and learn more, by showing how their brain is reacting to mistakes.”

The power of attitude

Now isn’t that fascinating and life enhancing! Your attitude and beliefs about mistakes, learning and feedback makes a huge difference to how you respond to the world. Remember the blog post I wrote about ‘Learning from Feedback’? In it we explored how there is no such thing as failure, there’s just powerful and useful feedback. In light of the above research, you might want to give it a quick read to refresh your mind about this cool and life enhancing distinction.

Thinking Tool – Feedback


"No failure, only useful feedback!"


The process of Intelligencing

All of this comes together in what I like to think of as ‘Intelligencing’. That is, I believe that intelligence is not a fixed commodity, it’s not an object, but instead is a process, a set of skills and unconscious competencies. Your attitude to feedback and ‘mistakes’ is a core competency of intelligencing.

When you setup your unconscious filters to be able to use and appreciate the learnings and feedback of so called ‘mistakes’ then your brain reacts more intelligently to the information and rather than cognitive dissonance kicking in and limiting your learnings, instead you are able to intelligently use the feedback to learn and improve your self and your life. This creates a positive self-fulfilling cycle of ongoing learning and improvement. It generates more intelligencing.

It’s a cool distinction and powerful concept to apply in your life. I hope you find it as life enhancing as I do.

So embrace the research and the thinking tool above ‘No failure, only useful feedback!’ and turn all your ongoing mistakes into great opportunities for learning and improving your life.

many life enhancing smiles,
Grant

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simplifying and Valuing your Life

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. 
Henry David Thoreau 


As we've discussed in the last couple of blog posts, we now live in times of massive and accelerating change, and it's both necessary and life enhancing to embrace and lead that change. However, unless you embrace change intelligently, you can end up swamped and overloaded by all the newness that this brings.

In such times of overload and with so much happening in our lives, we need to learn to simplify where we can. Yes, you need to embrace change but that doesn’t mean you have to fill your life with noise, chaos and clutter.

Prioritise you life

In fact, one of the keys to coping with massive change is to prioritise your life, get clear about your values and what’s most important to you and focus your energies and time there.

Most people don’t know explicitly and specifically what’s vitally important to them. They don’t know their hierarchy of values.

So what are Values?

Values are those things you’ll spend time, energy, resources and money to move towards or away from.

The majority of people cannot consciously tell you their top 10 values in life.

Think about this. Your values determine what you’ll focus on and what you’ll do in life. Values help you make decisions. They direct your life. Yet can you tell me right now what your top values are, and in what order they lay in terms of importance?

You obviously can’t prioritise your time, energy and life if you haven’t decided what are the most important qualities and things you want in life. Priorities imply values. To be able to simplify your life and get the most beneficial use of your limited time, money, attention and resources you absolutely need to ‘value your life’. You need to get clear about your values and what the hierarchy is for them. Decide what’s the most important value, the second most important and so on.

Articulate your Values

The clearer your values are to you, the more conscious you are of them and the more able you are to articulate them, the more power they’ll bring to your life. In modelling successful people, the field of NLP found that successful people are incredibly clear on their values and the order of importance of them.

Clarity of values directionalises your unconscious mind and leads to what appears to be magical effects. It’s not voodoo or magic. It’s the power of the Reticular Activating System (RAS) – your mind’s attentional filtering system – to directionalise your energies and resources in achieving your values and outcomes. [You can read more about the RAS in a previous blog post here: Are there rocks on your beach? ]

It’s also the power and effect of self-fulfilling prophecies. Many, many books have been written about the 'secret' power of clarity and focus on values and outcomes. So make use of this to help you to remove the clutter and overload from your life.

It’s really very life enhancingly simple:
  • Identify what’s most important to you
  • Eliminate everything else

Start right now.

life enhancing thoughts,
Grant

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Changing to stay the same


Have you ever noticed those people who seem to be mired in the past? At one of the organisations I’ve consulted in over the last 15 years, there’s an individual who is exactly the same today as he was when I first met him. He dresses the same, talks the same, acts the same and has the same haircut. It’s amazing. In a world of massive change, he has managed to remain as if he is chained and locked in a time-warp.

In a world of massive and accelerating change

Now think about this... In the last 20 years, the world has changed massively. In my short lifetime I’ve seen milk and bread being delivered to our door via horse and cart when I was a child, through to the dying off of home delivery of these commodities and processes. Now we have racing cars that can do 0 – 100 mph in less than 3.6 seconds. A world wide web of interconnected information. Mobile devices that allow me to communicate instantly almost anywhere in the world. And I can order my weekly organic groceries via the internet and have them delivered free of charge to my door by courier. All in less than half a human lifetime. It’s a world of amazing and accelerating change!

And with all this amazing change, the individual referred to above has managed to ‘change to stay the same’. Yes, that’s right. For him to be able to stay locked in the past, in a world of massive change, he has to actively (though unconsciously) change to stay the same. It’s an incredible skill.

A change master!

Really, he is in some senses a change master!

The only thing is… he doesn’t realise that he has incredible skills at changing to stay the same. What’s more, he uses his unconscious competence in change mastery to stay locked in to a past that is no longer relevant. The truth is, where once he was a key player in the organisation, now he commands little respect. He is sidelined in a dead-end role and has spiralled down in self-respect. He is bored and is given no opportunities for change and advancement because he has made it obvious to management that he is not someone who embraces change and growth.

Yet, he is capable of making amazing changes in order to stay the same. It’s like an old guy I saw the other day in the centre of the City. He was a wizened little fellow in his 70’s, attired in an old suit, with his hair slicked back with hair-oil. Now, when I was a young child, back in the 1960’s, it was the fashion for men to use hair-oil to slick back their hair. It was the cool thing to do. This guy has continued to follow the same fashion and pattern for the last 50 or so years. Incredible! I didn’t even think you could buy hair-oil anymore. Think of the skill this old guy needs to be able to continue to source and use the same product for all those decades. All so he can stay the same.

Are you changing, evolving and moving forward?

You know, these are more than just funny stories. I use them to remind myself to keep changing, evolving and moving forward.


It's about ensuring you are leading the change! Rather than using your skills as a change master to stay stuck in the past, how about using them to break those chains and lead the changes that are happening in your world! Change is going to happen, so anticipate those changes by leading them. Whether it’s at work, in the clubs and organisations you are a member of, in your circle of friends or at home, continue to lead positive, generative and life enhancing change. And actively look for those areas where you are changing to stay the same and let them go. Change mastery! -- It’s an orientation and attitude that reaps many, many rewards and brings newness to your mind, life and spirit.

life enhancing smiles,
Grant

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Overcoming Stress - Choice and Control

"We have two choices: continue to blame the world for our stress or take responsibility for own reactions and deliberately change our emotional climate.”
Doc Childre & Howard Martin, HeartMath Solution
In today's post I want to explore some ideas and distinctions on 'stress' and how through the life enhancing skills of choice and control we can learn to master change and overcome stressing.

Choice and Control

We now have more choice than we’ve ever had before. We live in a time of massive and accelerating change. As the world changes and expands we end up with a huge range of options and opportunities. Research shows that paradoxically this increase in choice is making people:
  • Not choose
  • Regret their choices
  • Feel depressed
  • Feel overwhelmed
There are a couple of issues and insights from these findings.

Firstly, recognise that stress is an unconscious personal reaction to what’s happening to you. If a wide range of choice is stressing you or overwhelming you, notice that it is you who is stressing yourself over having to do the choosing. You create the stress, not the situation. Sure, you don’t do it consciously or deliberately. Nevertheless, it’s your brain and multi-mind (head-brain, heart-brain and gut-brain working together or working in opposition to each other) that’s generating the stressing response.

What this tells you is that you need to learn new strategies for coping with choice and control. That’s what this blog is about. Helping you learn and practice new skills for gaining more choice and control in life. That’s what life enhancing is all about.

Secondly, stressing over a large range of choices is indicative of a poor decision making strategy. It’s a signal that you aren’t clear about your values and outcomes and how to make a useful choice to satisfy them. We’ll deal with this in more detail in an upcoming blog post.

Before getting into decision strategies and values however, I really want you to understand the insight that you don’t ‘have’ stress. Stress is another of those nominalisations – a verb disguised as a noun. There’s no such ‘thing’ as stress. Instead there’s just the process of stressing.

The benefit of understanding this is that stressing is an action, it’s a process. It’s something you are doing. You have control over it. Or more to the point, you can learn to have control over how you are stressing and how you are relaxing. It’s your choice.

As Dr. Hans Selye, the father of modern stress research points out “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one”. We’ll be exploring this in more detail shortly. Once you understand that the process of stressing is something you can learn to control, you are firmly at a point of choice in your life. Now you can begin to gather the knowledge and skills you need to control how you respond to what happens in life. Remember the Law of Requisite Variety we discussed in earlier blog posts?

It says that the more choice and flexibility you give yourself, the more control you get over life. There is a sister law from Cybernetics that goes hand in hand with this law, and it says that for true control you need knowledge. So the formula can be written as:

Choice + Knowledge = Control

This explains in part why people who are given lots of choice end up in ‘overwhelm’ rather than feeling in control. They’ve got lots of choice, but they don’t have the right knowledge about how to do excellence in choosing. We’ll remedy this in upcoming posts by learning about values and decision strategies.

The formula also shows why it’s important for you to understand that stressing is a process you can learn (knowledge) about how you are choosing to respond to what is happening to you in life (choice). Get it! You are now on the road to controlling stressing in your life because you are learning both of these skills.

Yes it's certainly true that we live in a time of massive and accelerating change. Instead of being a victim of that change, you can learn to master change and lead it rather than being run over by it. You can learn to become energised by the sea of information and change rather than being swamped and overwhelmed by the waves of change. I personally find this life enhancing and something to be very happy about. We live in an amazing time on this planet and by using appropriate skills and attitudes we can live an awesome life of adventure, learning and happiness’ing. Now how cool is that!


life enhancing best wishes,
Grant


For more info on the process of Nominalisation and how you can use it to make powerful changes in your mind and life, check out my previous post: De-nominalising your world

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just say YES!

We all have the extraordinary coded within us... waiting to be released.
Jean Houston

What powerful and simple advice "Just say YES to everything!"

Years ago, when I first started my Consulting business, I was earning great money and doing fun and interesting work. But a good friend of mine was earning four times what I was earning from the same type of consulting work, and winning clients and opportunities I could only dream of. In the spirit of behavioral modeling, I asked him what his secret was, what was it that he was doing that generated his incredible success, and what I could do to emulate this.

His answer to me: "Just say YES to everything!"

Yes, it was as simple as that. The key to unlocking the extraordinary, was to say YES to every opportunity that came along, to say YES to every thing that was suggested or offered in any way. At first I thought it too simplistic. How could just saying 'Yes' create such amazing success? So I gave it a go, to see if it was true.

Amazing. When you start to say YES to everything, new doors and opportunities begin to open. It's like you're sending a positive message out to the universe. An unconscious message to clients, colleagues, family, friends, the world, that you are a positive and 'can do, will do' sort of person.

People respond. They start to offer things they previously never made available to you. You get invitations you've never got before. It's an incredible self-fulfilling prophecy effect. A snowball effect. Success builds on success. YES builds on yes!

The Yes Man

The powerful and life enhancing effects of saying YES to everything are superbly told in a wonderful and deliciously humorous book I've just finished reading called 'Yes Man: One Little Word Can Change Your Life...' by Danny Wallace.


Danny's book tells the true story of how 'one little word can change your life.... forever!'. It's the story of how, on the advice of a stranger, he decided to start saying YES to everything, and the amazing events that unfolded. His life changed over night. Amazing things started to happen and have continued to this day. [They even made a movie out of the book and the story of his adventures.]

It's a wonderful story that had me rolling on the floor with laughter at times, and deeply contemplating the philosophy of yes at others. Quite a roller-coaster of a book. Definitely worth a read! Something worth saying YES to :-)

Say YES to this

So there it is. A simple, powerful and life enhancing strategy. Start saying YES to the positive opportunities and life enhancing offers that life brings. Don't say no. If you hear yourself being negative or responding with a no to an invitation, turn around and say YES! Watch what happens in your life as you send out a clear and congruent message that you are YES! kind of person.

And let me know how you go and what adventures and experiences unfold as you bring out the extraordinary in your self and your life through the power of YES!

Remember: Just say YES to every life enhancing thing!


life enhancing thoughts,
Grant

ps As Danny found out, there's a caveat to this strategy, make sure you only say YES to those things that meet your values. Don't say yes to anything that transgresses your values, involves unacceptable risk, is illegal or might hurt you. Only say YES to those opportunities that enhance your life!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Failing the Failure Formula

“Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”
Jim Rohn

You know, it takes more work to fail than to succeed. Failing is a skill. There is a structure to failure and it is encapsulated by the following formula which turns the NLP Success Formula on its head:

The Failure Formula
1.    Ignorance – Don’t know what you want or what’s important to you.
2.    Don’t do anything about it – don’t take congruent action or take inefficient or meaningless action.
3.    Ignore all feedback – don’t learn from experience.
4.    Don’t change – be very inflexible, keep doing what doesn’t work.

It’s really obvious!

It’s obvious really repeated failure comes from being very skilled in one or more of the steps above. You can easily sabotage success by not knowing what you want, or following poorly-formed outcomes; by not taking action or taking incongruent and ineffectual action; by ignoring feedback or advice; and by being stuck or inflexible and not changing as required. Oh, and remember: make sure you complain and whinge about how cruel life is to make all this happen to you...

The wise aphorism of ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’ expresses quite well the fact that failing creates more work and requires more energy from life. If you are clear on your outcomes and proactively do the ‘stitch in time’ to fix things before they fail, you’ve only invested a small amount of energy to succeed.

However, if you neglect to get clear about what you want and need in life or fail to take action in time, then you’ll end up having to do ‘nine’ times the work to remedy the failure. You will constantly be expending far more energy, time and resources just to get by.

A cool idea…


And here’s a cool idea… If you are skilled at failing, then why not fail at failing? Just stop failing. Fail at following the Failure Formula. Hmmm, obvious really: Turn failure around and do its converse – success.

Yes, failure takes work and is a skilled incompetence. Anytime you find yourself not getting what you want in life, examine your behaviour to see if you’re unconsciously following any of the steps of the Failure Formula. Look for examples of the Failure Formula in your life. Then assiduously and passionately pattern interrupt them and do the converse.

Place your focus and motivation onto the steps of the Success Formula. Get clear about your goals, values, strengths, outcomes and dreams. Prioritise and focus your well-formed outcomes. Take congruent action and follow through. Learn from the feedback life provides as you take action and then change flexibly to keep adjusting your behaviours till you’ve achieved your desired results.

If it’s possible in the world, then it’s possible for you. It’s never a question of ‘if only I could do it’, it’s simply a question of learning ‘how’ to achieve your desired success. Learning comes when you are open to feedback and open to advice. Look for role models – people who have already achieved the results you desire. Then learn from them and model their actions.

Invest in your Self

This life is yours! It’s the life you lead! So lead it well. Your life can be fantastic if you stay strong, stay focused and put action to your dreams.

Invest in your life, your future and your self. Build up your knowledge and skills. Determine your strengths and then build on them. Focus your life. Gain as many and as varied experiences as you can.

Educate yourself. The more you invest in your self and in creating a meaningful life, the more you’ll be able to live great dreams. Life is a wondrous adventure and there is nothing like living an amazing dream to create an amazing future now.

And you can learn more about all of this in my new book: 'Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS'

http://www.ae2h.com

So Take Action! Follow the Success Formula. Be the changes you want to see in your world. Watch out for the Failure Formula in your own life and those around you - Pattern interrupt it whenever you see it. You can do it! You really can make a life enhancing difference!

smiles and life enhancing wishes,
Grant

Friday, June 17, 2011

The hidden power of smiling


Heya, here's a short life enhancing video that my friend Mike shared. In it, researcher Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results.



[In case the embedded vid doesn't work for you, here's the link:

And if you'd like more info about the power of smiles, check out my post Smile about this it'll put a smile on your face :-)

life enhancing smiles,
Grant

Monday, May 30, 2011

The power of words...

Words can change your life. They are the tools you use to construct your reality and your connection with others. Here's a short and powerful vid that both uplifts and demonstrates the amazing power that words can have. As the description to this vid says "This short film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world."

Let me know what you think.



[and here's the youtube link to the vid in case the embed above doesn't work for your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU ]


If you'd like to learn details about the neuro-linguistic effects that words have on your mind and body, check out my previous post: Life Enhancing Language


smiles, Grant

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The kindle is cool

I recently purchased a Kindle and thought I'd share my experience with you about how it is such a Life Enhancing Device (LED).


Apropos of my last post about the importance of learning and gaining myriad life experience, the Kindle opens up new possibilities and more cost effective and easier access to books, reading and learning.

The Kindle is Amazon.com's foray into the eBook Reader market. With the Kindle 3, it's now at the third version of the device. And most techo companies require three versions to really begin to get their technology matured and close to functional usability. The Kindle 3 has now reached that point, and with a price that equates to a couple of tanks of petrol (or for those in the USA 'gas'), you're crazy if you don't get yourself one.

The Kindle 3 comes in a 3G with WiFi version, that has international free roaming over the 3G network worldwide. Free that is for purchasing and automatically downloading books from Amazon.com, along with browsing wikipedia.com. It also allows you to email pdf's and MSWord .doc files to a free.kindle.com email address that automatically converts the files to .mobi format, the native format for the Kindle, and downloads them for free to your Kindle via any WiFi connection.

With thousands and thousands of free and inexpensive eBooks available at sites like ProjectGutenberg.org and Amazon.com, you can now fill your Kindle with more books than you'll ever be able to read. And if you want to buy a new book from one of your favorite Authors, you'll find that you'll recoup the price of the Kindle with the purchase of your first few Kindle versions of the books, compared to the inflated prices being charged for dead-tree books these days. Browse online with the Kindle, click to purchase and the book is downloaded, ready for reading in seconds. You'll never be without something to read again!


The device is thin, light, brilliantly easy to read with it's cool e-ink screen technology. And the battery lasts for weeks between charges (providing you turn off the WiFi when not requiring it). This means you can take your Kindle on overseas adventures and not worry about trying to find a place to recharge it.


As my friend Ryan said recently, after he'd purchased and used his new Kindle, "I love the Kindle, it's the best thing I've ever owned in my life". Which is a BIG claim given he is a techo from way back and is definitely not gadget challenged. Yup, I do totally agree with him, the Kindle is a Life Enhancing Device. It's cool.

smiles and life enhancing wishes,
Grant

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Think about this...


Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Here's some some thought provoking ideas and life enhancing logic explorations I've been playing with today:
  1. What differentiates people in life and largely determines the results and outcomes they achieve is their actions and behaviours
  2. Actions are predominantly created and generated by attitudes, beliefs, and decisions
  3. Attitudes, beliefs and decisions are in turn engendered through thoughts, ideas and intuitions
  4. Thoughts and ideas are guided and triggered by knowledge, learning and experience
It's kind of obvious when laid out like that... what differentiates the quality of your life over the long term is the quality of the knowledge, learning and experience that you build into your life. It really all comes down (and up) to knowledge, learning and experience.


Your thoughts guide your decisions and behaviors, but you can only think with the tools you have available in your mind. The more ideas, experience and wisdom you have in your toolbox, the greater the chance you'll think intelligent thoughts, have intelligent and life enhancing attitudes and beliefs, and correspondingly the greater the chance you'll do intelligent and life enhancing actions and behaviors. Hmmmm, simple really!

So here's the logical conclusion... If you want an intelligent and enhanced life, you need to fill it with intelligent learning, experience, knowledge and awareness. The more of that you do, the better you'll differentiate your life.

So that's my thought for today... What can you do to make a difference to your life? What books are you going to read this week? What online articles will you google and read? What learnings are you going to put into your life this week? Ongoing? How specifically are you going to learn and experience more in your life? What are you going to do to enhance your life today?

You learn something every day if you pay attention.
~Ray LeBlond

life enhancing thoughts,
Grant

ps in my next blog post, I'll share with you a cool life enhancing device that I've been using to do more reading and learning with!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Looking past limits

Here's an incredibly inspiring and life enhancing video that is well worth the few minutes of your time to watch it now.

It's about believing in yourself and looking past limits to create an enhanced and enhancing life for yourself and others.


[here's the link to the talk if the embedded vid doesn't work for you: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng//id/1116 ]

I hope you enjoyed the video and found it useful and life enhancing.

smiles, Grant

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adventuring

Hey there,
Adventuring is life enhancing!

I've just recently returned from an incredible month of snow adventure travels in the USA, and thought I'd share with you how life enhancing adventuring can be and encourage you to do more adventuring in your own life.


I feel so refreshed and alive! So filled with a renewed sense of how magical our world truly is, how wonderful it is to meet new people, see new places and deeply connect with nature.



We started our adventures with a couple of weeks snowboarding and skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. What an amazing place it is! Incredible snow and incredibly friendly people. Fresh powder falling from the sky most nights. Blue sky days. Stunning views of the Tetons. It was so much fun that you'd wonder if it's legal :-) I have to say, as I've said before in this blog... snowplay is incredibly life enhancing! If you love the snow, then make sure you get out and play in the fluffy white slippery stuff this year. And if you haven't ever availed yourself of the magic, then let me say, you really owe it to yourself to give it a go. Snow creates a fresh palette of beauty to explore, play and adventure in. It opens up new ways to move through gravity. It facilitates immediate flow state. Meditation in motion. Fun! Exhilaration! Incredible!


We followed this up, with 10 days in Togwotee, Wyoming. An amazing place, where back country snow-mobiling is king! Here we enjoyed sled trips out to Yellowstone's Old Faithful and Grand Canyon regions. Such a stunning contrast of volcanic activity, steaming guysers and the pristine beauty of ice and snow.
 



Snow-mobiling is an incredible way to explore the wilds. The power is awesome! Snowmobiles really are Life Enhancing Devices! And going backcountry on 160HP freedom machines is a whole 'nother way to mix adrenalin with passion and scenic beauty. I was in petro-sexual heaven :-D




We also went dog-sledding. Gliding along the trails in sleds pulled by 12 trusty and ever-willing hounds. What a hoot! It's also a wonderful way to explore the back-country. And boy do those doggies love to run! They are ever so eager and wag their tails the whole way there and back. Hearts of gold and boundless energy. After a day of dog-sledding I felt uplifted and inspired by both the experience and the role-models set by our team of dogs. They know how to make exercise fun and how to pull together to achieve. Wonderful.


Finally we hopped across from Wyoming to Minnesota for 10 days of snow adventures with our good friend Thomas 'Sully' Sullivan. Sully is an amazing person. So full of life and passion for making the most of every single day. He is a writer with some 80 published novels and short stories and his work broadly ranges from the excellent and Pulitzer nominated literary satire THE PHASES OF HARRY MOON through to sci-fi and thrillers, including his latest paperback release THE WATER WOLF (free chapter on his web page). If you haven't already, check out my blog posts on some of Sully's takes on life enhancing: Inspiring your Soul and Freedom is life enhancing.

Sully invited us over to the States to stay with him and go x-country skiing under the stars in the back trails around Elm Creek and Crow Hassan. He was the impetus and seed crystal for our snow-adventure holiday. An incredibly generous and gracious host, he took us out snow-shoeing and x-country skiing in all his favorite places, where we got to appreciate his fine culinary treats (raisin bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with melted coffee blast ice cream...) and all the fractals you could ever desire in the starkly contrasted decidous trees silhoutted by the moon or sun, depending on the time of day we were out adventuring.


Along the way we got to do an ice fishing adventure, and serendipitously connected with some of the wonderful people we met on our travels.


Adventure is life enhancing!

Yes, adventuring is truly life enhancing! New things, new people, new places. It connects you with a deeper sense of self. Connects you with the world. Opens your horizons. Suffuses your life with freshness, passion, adrenalin and energy. Adventuring makes you feel alive in ways that normal day to day life just can't provide.

So here's my gift to you... a question...

What adventures can you bring to your life now? What adventuring could you do tonight? this weekend? this month? Soon. Now!!!!

Adventures don't have to be huge or involve overseas travel. They can be as simple as a walk in the park at sunset. Or a ride on your bike along a new pathway you haven't yet explored. A visit to a beach or forest you haven't been to in a while. Getting out with some friends to a new restaurant. Going away for the weekend. Anything that you find fun, different and inspiring. And even better if it involves being out in the natural world.

As Sully reminds us "The cues to magic are all around you... The magic is in the effort".

So make the effort and go adventuring. It's truly wonderfully life enhancing!

smiles and cheers,
Grant

Friday, March 18, 2011

Self-Reflection and Meta-Emoting

"Resentment, anger, frustration, worry, disappointment—negative emotional states, justified or not, take a toll on your heart, brain and body. Don't let justified emotions rob your health and well-being."
Doc Childre and Howard Martin

In today's post I want to explore the incredibly important skills of meta-cognition and meta-emoting...

So what is Meta-Cognition?

Meta-cognition is cognition about cognition. It's thinking about your thinking. It's an important part of self-reflection.

Self-reflection involves processes such as feeling an emotion, experiencing it and taking the time to think about and understand it.

Thinking about your feelings and thoughts, reflecting on your behaviours and emotions and deciding whether you support them or want to change and improve them is key to life intelligence. You can produce amazing results in your life by thinking positively and generatively about your emotions and behaviours and then using the NLP Success Formula to change and adjust:
  1. Clearly know your Outcome
  2. Take congruent Action
  3. Sensory Acuity – Learn from Feedback
  4. Behavioural Flexibility – Change and adjust to achieve your Outcome

Creating your reality...

You can create hell on earth in your own life in the same way. It's the same process, just different content. For example, if you feel angry about something -- that is, if you do angering of your self over something -- and then you get angry about the anger, you set yourself up to spiral out of control. The angering about anger is a meta-emotion - an emotion about an emotion. You need to be very careful about the meta-states you are generating in your mind and body. On the other hand, if you were to feel entertained by the anger, you would find the anger dissipating and not so impactful on your mind, body and behaviour. It's a much more useful meta-state to be in.

As highlighted in previous posts, it's all about outcome and purpose. What and how do you want to 'do' yourself? Stop, self-reflect, and get clear about how you want to think and feel in your life, on a moment by moment basis.

The capacity to do meta-cognition is vital for success, life enhancing and deep happiness’ing. Going 'meta' to yourself and observing your behaviour, observing the patterns and quality of your thinking and emoting, is a skill you want to practice and practice and hold as a high process value.

Really value this and make it salient in your life. Make the time and space in your life to think about your thinking and feeling. It's a key strategy for enhancing your life.

life enhancing smiles,
Grant

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Values In Action - Strengths and Virtues

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses”
Marilyn vos Savant
One of the key insights of Positive Psychology is that happiness and satisfaction are markedly increased through the exercise of virtues and strengths.

Positive Psychology has identified six core virtues:
  1. Wisdom and knowledge
  2. Courage
  3. Love and humanity
  4. Justice
  5. Temperance
  6. Spirituality and transcendence

These core virtues in turn are comprised of 24 strengths or 'Values in Action'. The research has shown that each of us has relatively enduring preferences and propensities for certain of these strengths and that satisfaction and happiness are increased whenever we utilise these strengths and values in our daily lives.

The creators of the field of Positive Psychology, Prof. Martin Seligman and his colleagues, have developed a test to measure your key or signature VIA (Values In Action) strengths. You can access the test from the following web page:


once you have registered, select ‘VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire’.

Take a moment to complete the test and determine your top 5 or so strengths. Alternately, look through the following list of strengths and pick out 5 that really speak to you; that you consider to be the most important and valued for you.

VIA Strengths
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Love of Learning
  • Perspective
  • Bravery
  • Persistence
  • Integrity
  • Vitality
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Social Intelligence
  • Citizenship
  • Fairness
  • Leadership
  • Forgiveness & Mercy
  • Humility & Modesty
  • Prudence
  • Self-Regulation
  • Appreciation of Beauty
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • Humour
  • Spirituality

By focusing on these and other strengths and virtues in your life you can build emotional resources and resilience. Using these will increase and strengthen your ability to enhance your life and create happiness both in your own life and the lives of others.

Strengths based living is definitely a crucial step to life enhancing, so add it to the tools you use to make the most of your life. Look at all the contexts of your life and find ways to enhance them using your key strengths and values. You'll make a positive and fantastic difference.

life enhancing smiles,
Grant

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Authentic Happiness & Positive Psychology

“Purpose is what gives life a meaning.”
 Charles H. Perkhurst


Research in Positive Psychology has shown there are three major components to enhancing your happiness and your life: Pleasure, Engagement and Meaning.

The Pleasurable Life

The more you increase and experience pleasure in life, the more happiness you'll feel during and immediately after these experiences. However, such positive feelings are short-lived. Think about relaxing in a warm bath, or enjoying a massage; in the middle of the experience, you are filled with relaxation and positive feelings. A day, week or a month later, the experience is merely a dim memory and doesn’t contribute to lasting feelings of happiness.

The Engaged Life

Engagement is about flow, absorption and gratification. Whenever you engage fully in an experience, with total involvement and concentration, you’ll usually find you are left feeling strong, alert, refreshed and invigorated. Indeed, research in Positive Psychology has shown that engagement and flow measurably increase levels of happiness and life satisfaction. The positive effects of engagement are not short-lived either. Flow builds psychological and emotional capital. It can bring exhilarating feelings of transcendence, and help dissolve emotional problems and challenges.

The Meaningful Life

Of all the components to happiness, meaning provides the longest lasting, strongest and most durable effect. By having a purpose that is bigger than yourself, by living a life of meaning and significance, you can measurably increase your levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Purpose and meaning are the paths to truly enhancing your life.

Using this knowledge

As you can see from the diagram above, to create an enhanced life of happiness and satisfaction, you need to focus on all three components of happiness. You need to put in place activities and processes that increase the amount of pleasure and engagement you experience. Most importantly though, these need to be underpinned with a foundation of meaning and purpose.

The outcome of this blog is to help you understand what this means and guide you in achieving this in your life, so stay posted and I'll continue sharing with you practical ideas and strategies from NLP and Positive Psychology for how to get more out of life.

great life enhancing wishes,
Grant

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Learning from Feedback

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Ken Blanchard

We discussed the NLP Success Formula in the previous post on Questioning Assumptions. The Success Formula says that to maximise your chance of success you need to operate the following strategy:
  1. Clearly know your Outcome
  2. Take congruent Action
  3. Sensory Acuity – Learn from Feedback
  4. Behavioural Flexibility – Change and adjust to achieve your Outcome

From this strategy comes the insight that there is no such thing as failure, there's only life enhancing, useful and valid feedback. If what you are doing isn’t working or is moving you further from your outcome, then this is really excellent feedback and allows you to use requisite variety to change and adjust your actions ‘til you are moving closer to your outcome. Excellent. There’s no failure, only feedback. What a great thinking tool.

Thinking Tool – Feedback

"No failure, only useful feedback!"


Too often people see negative feedback as failure. They hate hearing or seeing that something isn’t working or that they are wrong. They then go into denial or distort the facts in order to delete such really useful feedback. When you understand there is no failure, there's only fantastic feedback that you can use to support your success strategy, then you empower yourself to accept reality and make positive use of it. The facts really are our friends. They point us in the direction of our happiness and success.

You really do want to know what works and what doesn’t work in the world. You want an accurate and useful map of your world. So value and appreciate all feedback -- it's life enhancing. Learn and grow from it.

life enhancing wishes,
Grant

Monday, January 24, 2011

Questioning Assumptions

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”
Thomas Jefferson

So much of our model of the world is based on unquestioned assumptions absorbed from our culture, our families and friends. Unquestioned assumptions are life denying when they limit your choices and cause you to repeat patterns that no longer serve you.

A great learning metaphor that demonstrates this is the story of a young woman cooking a roast. She’s about to cut the meat into two, to put into the baking tray when she wonders why she is doing this. She decides to call her mother and ask. Her mother, perplexed by the question, says “I don’t know darling, that’s just the way I was taught. You’ll have to ask your Grandmother”.

The girl calls her Grandmother. “Grandma, how come when I cook a roast I have to cut it in half? Why do I do that?” “Oh darling” says the older woman, “You don’t have to cut it. In fact, it’s better if you don’t, that way the meat won’t dry out as much”. “It all started with your Great Great Grandmother. Back in her day, the stoves and baking dishes were very small. So to fit a roast in the tray you had to cut the meat in half. She taught her daughter that way, who taught my mother that way, who taught me. In turn, that’s what I taught your mother, and she taught you. It’s just the way we’ve always done it. But no, now that you’ve asked, you’re right, you don’t have to do it that way any more”.

This story is so typical of many habits and patterns, many assumptions, we have and do in our life. We learn things from family and society and unless we question the assumptions that these learnings and patterns are based on, we end up doomed to repeat the inefficient and unproductive patterns of the past.

Many practices from the past, especially those embedded in our culture, come from a time of scientific ignorance and superstition. Unless questioned, these practices cause you to metaphorically cut your roast in half. Leading to dried out, shrivelled results in life.

Question everything!!!

It's life enhancing to begin to question everything. All the old patterns and habits in your life. Ask yourself “Why do I do X?” Figure out the purpose and outcomes of your behaviours. Question the assumptions inherent in each of the patterns in your life. Then use the NLP Success Formula below (and described in the blog post on Living your Dreams).

NLP Success Formula:
  1. Clearly know your Outcome – know exactly what you want and ensure your outcome is well-formed, that it’s positive, achievable, believable and ecological.
  2. Take positive Action – congruently and wholeheartedly take action to achieve your outcome.
  3. Learn from Feedback – use your sensory acuity to determine if your actions are moving you closer or further away from your outcome. There’s no such thing as failure, just great feedback, cause if what you are doing is not moving you closer to your outcome then you need to perform the next step –
  4. Flexibility – change and adjust your behaviour (step 2) till you move closer to your outcome.

Apply this to the patterns in your life...

So get clear on your outcome, take new action, use your sensory acuity to learn from feedback and with requisite variety, change and adjust your behaviour flexibly to keep moving closer to your explicit outcome. Throw away old patterns that are a life denying enemy to your happiness and replace them with new patterns that serve you. Be honest with yourself. Question the presuppositions and patterns that form the basis of your life. It is life enhancing to question your assumptions!

Awareness Questions – Questioning Assumptions

Ask Yourself:
  • What is this behaviour or pattern based on? What are the assumptions this action is based on? Why am I doing this?
  • What outcomes and purpose does this pattern achieve? How else can I achieve the positive intent in a more useful and productive way?
  • Does this behaviour still serve me? What else can I do to achieve more life enhancing happiness?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1956, Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger heard about a group of doomsday cultists who were predicting that the Earth would be destroyed by aliens at midnight on December 21st of that year. Festinger and his students decided to infiltrate the group and covertly study what happens to people when their strongly held beliefs are disproved. What he discovered lead to the powerful and life enhancing theory of Cognitive Dissonance.


So what did happen, in the minutes and hours after midnight, when the prophesied destruction and the predicted appearance of alien spacecraft to save the faithful didn’t occur?

Initially there was shock and disbelief by the members of the group; many had left jobs, colleges and spouses to prepare to escape on the flying saucer supposed to rescue them. Within hours however, people began to deny they ever believed in the doomsday prophecy. They were saying things like “I didn’t really believe it, I was just going along for the adventure.” Or, “Because of our strong faith, the aliens chose to save the planet”. Basically, they said and thought anything other than the truth which was that they’d all been duped.

Based on this research and thousands of subsequent laboratory and real-world studies, Festinger posited that the unconscious mind does not like what he called ‘dissonance’ and will do anything to remove it. Dissonance is the disagreeable feeling we get when faced with mismatching cognitions or beliefs. Our mind likes harmony and congruence between our thoughts and beliefs and will utilise a number of unconscious strategies to remove cognitive dissonance. The tension of cognitive dissonance leads people to change either their beliefs and attitudes or their behaviour.

The importance of this is that it leads people to denying reality and deleting or distorting their cognitions and perceptions. Cognitive dissonance can be incredibly life denying if it leads to denial of reality and un-sane distortions or behaviours. Of course, cognitive dissonance is like any tool or process, it can be used positively or negatively.

For example, you can use cognitive dissonance and the unconscious mind’s response to it to assist you in a life enhancing way to positively align your thoughts, values and behaviour. However, when cognitive dissonance occurs outside your conscious awareness to minimise your life and lead you into ignorance then it is a dangerous enemy.

The key to using cognitive dissonance constructively is to be aware of what are known as ‘Dissonance Signals’ and track for them in your life. When you notice them, you need to pattern interrupt the typical dissonance removal strategies and replace them with more useful strategies and behaviours. To do this you need to know about Dissonance Removal Strategies and your own Dissonance Signals.

Typical Dissonance Removal Strategies

There are a number of unconscious strategies that people’s minds normally use to remove cognitive dissonance.
  • Avoidance – people avoid information that is likely to lead to dissonance
  • Distortion – people delete and distort facts and beliefs to reduce dissonance
  • Confirmation – people are attracted to or perform selective bias on information that confirms or bolsters their cognitions
  • Reassurance – people look for reassurance from others that their cognitions are correct and ok
  • Re-valuation – people change the importance of existing and new cognitions to reduce dissonance

You should also note that research has shown that the more effort and time invested in a decision or the forming of a belief, the larger the potential dissonance created if mismatching evidence is discovered. Therefore, the more important the outcome the more likely your unconscious mind is to perform the above strategies. For example, if you purchase a low cost item, you are unlikely to experience buyer’s remorse. However, for an expensive item that you spent a lot of time evaluating, you are more likely to experience buyer’s remorse and therefore more likely to go seeking confirmation and reassurance after the purchase.

By being aware that your evolved animal brain doesn’t like negative change, that it doesn’t like things that don’t match, you can begin to transcend this potentially un-useful pattern. The facts are our friends and knowledge is power. Denying reality and ignoring facts just because the evolved patterning system of the brain desires congruence, is dangerous and crazy. Use the following success strategy to learn about and track for cognitive dissonance signals and then support yourself in facing reality, in looking at all the facts and evidence. Don’t let your unconscious mind seduce you into the enemy of ignorance. Instead, build life enhancing patterns in your life of overcoming cognitive dissonance and using valid, valuable feedback and knowledge to gain greater happiness and meaning in your life.

Thinking Tools:
The facts are our friends!

Success Strategy – Tracking Cognitive Dissonance

1. Remember a time when you experienced cognitive dissonance. A time when you were faced with facts that challenged one of your beliefs, or a time when your behaviour didn’t match your values or self-concept. Role-play and re-live that situation. Fully access what you were feeling then, seeing then, hearing then and thinking then. Totally associate into re-living the experience now. Once you are totally in the dissonance state, track for and note what feelings you are doing in your body. Track all of the pressures, movements, flows, temperatures, textures etc. of the experience. Many people experience dissonance in the gut region or heart region. Notice also the submodalities of any pictures and sounds. Write these onto a piece of paper for you to remember.

2. Pick two other cognitive dissonance experiences/times and note the dissonance signals for these. You should find that the three experiences have similar signals and components.

3. Determine what the main indicators are for the state of cognitive dissonancing. Think about how you can now remember the signals so that in the future you will know when you are doing dissonance and be able to become more aware of your own unconscious processes.

4. Think about what you can do to overcome cognitive dissonance in a positive way, without giving in to it. What can you say to yourself? What can you do to support pushing through the dissonance to face reality and not deny it?

5. One very powerful way to overcome dissonance is through humour. By laughing at the dissonance feeling, by seeing it as humorous, you can shift your cybernetic loop to one of positive feelings. Anything that helps you overcome the negative emotions of dissonance will help you push through and stop the typical dissonance strategies.

6. Finally, by being aware of the possibility of cognitive dissonance and knowing your dissonance signals you can float above the dissonance feelings by just acknowledging them and telling yourself “Oh, that’s just cognitive dissonance – I can ignore and transcend it, it’s just an animal response, I’m better than that!

Well, there you are, a quick primer on the powerful process of Cognitive Dissonancing. I hope you found it interesting and useful. It can be truly life enhancing to be able to track for and control dissonance in your life, your mind and your world.

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,
Grant

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ignorance is Dangerous

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”
Thomas Jefferson

The start of a new year, and a good time to explore some life enhancing distinctions on how we create our world through what we learn, what we pay attention to, and what we ignore...

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people?

It might seem obvious... but ignorance and stupidity are life denying and dangerous. They can kill you. At the very least, they severely impact your success and happiness.

Some of the dangers of ignorance are:
  • You can’t prepare
  • You can’t see what’s coming
  • It limits your choices and power
  • Amplifies consequences
  • Leads to more mistakes and greater costs

Whilst most people would agree with this, nevertheless, the majority of people are largely ignorant of the most important things and processes in their life. They don’t know how their mind, brain and body works. They don’t know how they unconsciously generate their own reality and happiness. They don’t know the enemies to their success and happiness. They can’t even articulate their values and core beliefs, let alone improve and refine them for greater success in their life.

Such ignorance means they end up living average and unhappy lives. They make stupid mistakes that cost them peace of mind. They bounce from failure to failure in their relationships, finances, careers and health. The outcome of this blog and upcoming posts and the skills you’ll gain from reading them is to change all of that. The first step is awareness. The next step is gaining and expanding your knowledge. Finally, through practice you’ll have achieved new skills and mastery.

Knowledge and choice provide power and control. By instilling in your unconscious mind a desire for learning, and a passionate move away repulsion of ignorance and deception, you can make an incredible and life enhancing difference to your happiness.

Denial of Reality - A Story

One of the most life denying enemies to knowledge and happiness involves denial of reality. While philosophers might argue over it, for the rest of us, reality exists and denying or ignoring any part of that reality can cause problems and issues in your life.

A great story that shows the futility of denial is the one about the guys driving across the desert. They drive and drive and eventually run out of fuel and become dangerously stranded in a barren and hostile environment, miles from help. The passenger looks at the fuel gauge, which is still sitting on full, and asks the driver “Hey, how come we’re out of fuel?” The driver turns to his stranded companion and says “Yeah, I don’t understand it, I disconnected the wires from the gauge, and it’s still showing a full tank. We should still have plenty of fuel!

What foolishness you might think. What craziness! Yet, how many people live their lives exactly like that. They delete and distort their model of the world; deliberately ignoring facts and evidence ‘til the consequences impact their lives so painfully that they can no longer deny their reality. How many people ignore the evidence of infidelity in their relationships? Or the warning signs of failure in other areas of their lives? The indicators of ill health or financial difficulties for example.

It reminds me of another story, a very real story. One of my father’s work colleagues, we’ll call him ‘Old Bill’ had an excavator, a large machine used for digging dirt and soil. It was a very expensive machine and was the main component of his business. One day he was servicing it. He had the side of the machine open, when the phone rang and he had to leave it and take the call. When he returned, he saw some kids running away and noticed some sand and gravel sticking to the edge of the opening into the side-case of the machine.

Now I have to explain that this particular machine is filled with very expensive and complex hydraulic motors and pumps and sand in the internals would destroy them in a matter of seconds. Well, Old Bill decided that it would be a huge amount of work to strip down the machine and clean out any sand, if the kids had thrown it into the machine. So he figured he’d just ignore the evidence and pretend that nothing had happened. He finished the service, re-assembled the machine and started it up.

In a matter of seconds, he heard terrible noises and the machine ground to a halt. The kids had definitely filled the side-cases with sand and gravel. Now not only was Old Bill faced with having to clean out the hydraulic system, he was also faced with the incredible expense of replacing all the pumps, lines, filters and motors. The machine was a wreck. His denial of reality caused him even more cost and delay than if he’d faced up to the truth from the start. This was a valuable lesson for both Old Bill, and for me when I heard it. Never ignore the facts. The facts are our friends.

Thinking Tools:

The facts are our friends!
Ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignorance is dangerous


As we've now seen, ignorance is NOT bliss! Ignorance is risky and dangerous. Ignorance can kill you! Lack of knowledge, stupidity and deception of yourself and others are all life denying and can destroy happiness and meaning in your life. Replace them immediately with a life enhancing desire for knowledge, wanton curiosity about your world and an ever increasing store of wisdom and skills. Remember: Knowledge brings choice and control.

And in coming blog posts we'll explore some more key skills and distinctions on how to embody learning and overcome the largely unconscious processes of ignore-ance.

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,
Grant