Positive Affirmations or Action?

It’s a trick question! As many of you know, I am a vigorous proponent of positive thinking and affirmations that inspire one to focus on what is really important to ones’ happiness. Many of us who have been following along the path of self-sustaining success applied the teachings of the 80’s and 90’s that said that we needed to be sure to have positive affirmations as part of your daily life.

I know I had many affirmations written down and referred to them daily for years. This had the very positive effect of keeping me positive and with a happy outlook on life. It also had the effect of revealing that things do not simply happen because we have a positive affirmation written in current terms as though it already exists. I realized fairly early on that an essential element that was not spoken about was missing. The gurus of the day were intent on giving us what was wanted by all baby-boomers. A very easy and simple “pill” that would take no effort and would get us what we wanted NOW!

I know that most of the writers and speakers of the day knew that simply having affirmations was not enough. Most assumed that we would not be so simple-minded and would naturally take actions based on the affirmations. Well most did not really understand the action part so a disillusionment set in. People became cynical and tended to turn away from “positive thinking”.

Taking the time to set down your positive affirmations is a very good step to get focused on what is important to you in your life and for your happiness. It has the effect of setting worthwhile goals for your brain to work on. However, you must also set in place plans for action to put these affirmations into effect. You simply cannot achieve goals with no action steps.

Have your affirmations. They are very important o a positive outlook and approach to life. Then be sure to figure out what actions need to be taken or are congruent with your affirmations. Then, DO STUFF!

DO Stuff!!

I just heard about the findings of a study done by a Dr. Diamon(d?) and it struck me that it has lots to say about being happy. She put some rats into a sterile and separate environment; some in an environment where they could watch the next batch of rats; and finally some rats in an environment where they had lots of toys to play with and the toys were changed rather regularly. The idea was to see what the difference would be to the development of the brain. It turned out to also indicate something about longevity as well.

The rats were all treated exactly the same except for the specific differences in their environments. Same food, same temperatures and that sort of thing. When the rats died, they had their brains examined to see what areas developed and the relative size of their brains as well. No-one was particularly surprised to see that the rats that had the toys had larger brains and they were more advanced in the “intellect” areas of the brain. It was no surprise to find out that the rats in the sterile environment were much less developed. There were two surprises however.

It was a bit of a surprise to find out that the rats that could just watch the rats that had the toys did not show much difference in their brains and “intellect” areas from the rats in the sterile environment. In other words, just watching does nothing to develop brain function. You have to do stuff and learn from actual experience and interaction.

The other surprise was that the rats that were in the highly stimulating environment that had the toys lived considerably longer than the other two sets of rats. That has an interest for us because it indicates that those that are doing interesting things live healthier and longer.

Therefor, I come to the conclusion that we must be human doings, not just human beings. We need to get out and interact with others. We need to try stuff out for ourselves and learn from our own mistakes. We can learn from the mistakes of others but then move on and advance the ball more by allowing ourselves to try different things and if mistakes occur, at least they will be new ones and we can learn more from them and move on yet again.

Don’t just watch others (TV and the like), don’t stay inside away from all contact, get out into the world and “play with the toys”. Experience and enjoy. DO stuff!!!

Symbiotic or Parasite?

What an intriguing concept. I had a thought that I wanted to share. I would love to hear what you think.

Can you imagine the world as being a living organism? Our globe is an ecosystem that has lots of activity on it. There is life galore! It is exactly like life forms here on the globe. Some life forms have other life forms on or in it that are dependent on the host.

I think about those antelopes in Africa that have little birds always on them, pecking at insects. I think about the small fish that latch onto larger fish and eat the parasites that gather around the eyes and body of the host. I think of the bacteria that live in our gut that we have to have active in order to process food and survive. All of these are examples of symbiotic relationships that depend upon each other for survival. The host needs the other organism and the other organism needs the host.

Then I think about parasites that invade a host and suck the life out of it. When the host dies, so does the invading organism. What a strange life form It only lives to destroy and then dies when it successfully destroys its host! The Ash Borer is the latest in the news these days. Cancer could be considered another example in a way. Cancer cells split and reproduce at the expense of the host organism. When the host dies, so does the cancer!

I think it is safe to say that man is a huge presence on the globe (and growing). The question is, are we a parasite or do we live in a symbiotic relationship with the globe? I think we used to live symbiotically until recently. Now, I think we are actually a destructive parasitical infestation that is destroying its host. We need to stop our tendencies to live as parasites (taking away from the host and not replenishing or allowing for the replenishing of resources) and return to living symbiotically.

Some think that symbiotic living includes making changes to “enhance” natural phenomena. There is danger in that. It can be a slippery slope. We need to exercise caution and review carefully what actions we take and consider what will be the impact on future generations and on nature in general. It is a good guideline to look at least seven generation ahead as some aboriginal peoples did in the past.

Let us be symbiotic, and not parasites.

Four D’s Lead to Happiness

Have you paid attention at all to how you feel after you have checked your e-mail or in-box at work? You quickly looked at what was there and then started to do your regular work or duties. In the back of your mind you were feeling a bit pressured by all that you needed or wanted to do but felt you had to do something else right then. Then the next time you checked your e-mails or in-box, the same things happened and it accumulates! This leads to living very much in the “urgent-urgent” quadrant of life.

You need to take control of e-mails and in-box stuff. I suggest applying the 4 D’s. But, before that, plan when you are going to check those areas of your life. You do not have to do it every second or when you here the “ding” indicating new e-mail. Turn the alert off. Set a time or two each day to check e-mail. Then apply the 4 D’s.

The first thing you need to decide when you open an e-mail is can I Dump it? Is it just garbage or general info that needs no action? Dump it if you can.

The next thing to decide , if you cannot dump it, is can you Delegate it to someone else? I don’t mean just send it for info to someone else. I mean, can you really refer it to someone else to handle? If you can, will you be able to just let it go or will you need to keep track of progress or completion? If you can let it go, should you tell the originator that you have given it to someone else to handle? Then, delegate it if you can and mark when you need to take any further action on the matter in your calendar. Don’t forget to indicate where the information resides.

Some stuff takes time. You need to consult with others, gather info or wait for others to let you have what you need. You are going to have to Delay this item. But, again, delay it to a specific time in your calendar. Set aside time in your calendar to deal with this item and leave a note about where the relevant info resides.

If all else fails, Do what you should do right away before looking at any other documents or e-mail. If a short note is required, do it. Resist the temptation to copy the world. Just respond and file or delete it.

So, the four D’s are:

  1. Dump it!
  2. Delegate it!
  3. Delay it!
  4. Do it!

You have taken control of a large chunk of uncontrolled input to your days and this leads to feelings of comfort, contentment and happiness. Even if you have lots coming at you, you can be happy anyway. Just take control and handle input once when you first touch it.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.

Baby Steps

Have you ever noticed that it sometimes does not work to set goals? We are often exhorted to set goals and work towards the achievement of worthwhile goals. The working towards worthwhile goals is one idea of a successful life (Earl Nightingale). We are told to set big goals! Reach!

Our brain has a regulator devise installed that keeps us from getting too far ahead of ourselves. This regulator develops with experience early on in life and gets firmer and more controlling over time. We don’t like to fail so we try less and less over time to do things that are new or a stretch. Here we are being told to set big goals but we find that we really can’t achieve them so we eventually stop setting the big goals. Then drudgery sets in!

Is it wrong to set big goals? I don’t think so at all! We do need to find our passions and set big goals that give interest and meaning to our lives. So what can we do to address this seeming contradiction?

Take baby steps. Go ahead, if you want to, and set big goals. However, then break it down to smaller goals. And then, even smaller ones. Our brain has to really believe that we can achieve the goal that it is going to be actively working on. So make it small. Really small at first.

This is just like building up muscles or stamina or any skill. We start by doing something at the level that we can do it and get used to success. The brain then learns to accept this way of working towards achieving goals that we want in our lives. When that is working well, stretch a bit and make the goals a little larger. Like adding weights in your workouts or running a bit further or doing a more complex task. Step by step we build up our goal achievement ability.

So, start setting small goals, achieving them, and then making larger and larger goals and achieving them as well. Good luck. Don’t forget to enjoy the process! The voyage counts!!

Universal Guidelines to Live By

My two Universal Guidelines:

  1. Do no harm to others.
  2. Help others who need and will accept help to the level that you are able to help.

The sages through history have espoused some version of “treat others as you yourself would want to be treated”. That is perhaps the higher form of both the Universal Guidelines. You should stop to think before you do anything and ask yourself – “what do I want the outcome to be as a result of this action?” When you do this, you must look far enough out in time in examining the outcomes to see just how they will relate to the two Universal Guidelines.

This seems so basic and straight forward that it is difficult to write about. Yet, I suspect that there is no one alive who can live absolutely consistently in accord with the two Universal Guidelines. We have world strife and wars. We have enslavement. We have huge poverty while we have huge concentration of wealth. We have theft. We have murder. We have one person striking out in anger at another. People leave garbage where ever they please. On and on it goes. All of these are anti-social and create divisions, discord and unhappiness.

My thesis is quite simple. If enough of us will try to live as close to the standards of the two Universal Guidelines as we can, the trend will grow and eventually prevail in a group of people, a location, a region, a country, a group of countries and eventually the world! I liken it to “phasing” in quantum physics. At a certain critical point it will take on a life of its own and line up together so that we are all in concert with each other and the two Universal Guidelines.

Understand, I am not speaking about a bland, vanilla world of sameness. Not at all! There will be plenty of room for difference. Ideas should still be challenged. We will still organize in societies with governments. Everyone at every level will just always work in consideration of the two Universal Guidelines.