“You could be great at listing goals but for them to become reality, you must truly believe in your ability”

 

Why goals don’t translate to results

Ever wondered why despite carefully laying out your goals on paper, planning a path, yet your goals continue to be elusive?  And still, some people in their lifetime are incredibly productive.  Why are some more driven than others?

We know that action is required to take a goal from inception, nailing down the details including the deadline, to completion.  However, to take relentless action one must feel the hunger, the zeal or drive.  It is a consistent record of actions that results in measurable progress.  How do you commit on a long term basis consistently to produce the results you seek?  Any goal, for example, lose 15 pounds in 3 months, requires the sustainable drive that takes you from zero to 15 pounds.  Many are able to commit to a plan with the initial excitement and euphoria of something new but somewhere further along into the actual grunt work, we lose motivation or interest. 

When interviewing high achievers, they were asked, “what keeps you going every day with the drive to complete your goal?”  The answers share a common timbre.  They feel the excitement of  arrival at the destination with such clarity that their actions become not a question of whether they will fail or not but simply  steps to an inevitable realization.  They are very connected day in and day out, to the results.  They don’t see their daily tasks as mundane, inconvenient or too hard, but simply key steps to get to the destination.  This is paramount to the process.  I remember asking one such productive person, how did she manage to keep her drive level high.  She confessed to me that there are some low days, but few.  The other days she just did what she had to do.  I asked what made you just do it.  She replied, “because I had a plan and I knew that this action today would lead me further along towards reaching my goal and that today’s action was a critical part of reaching my goal”.  “Without completing today’s tasks, I would not be able to move closer to the completion of my goals”   She regarded each day’s actions as important blocks in the structure that would eventually be formed as the completion of her goal.  Incredibly she went about her task with a joy as though they were one and the same as the actual goal.  Such was the vividness of her faith?  High productive people seem to never lose sight of the destination, staying very connected always to the goal.  Their daily lives are structured towards this goal, becoming like a religion, a deep faith.

I was reading Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles.   He says after writing your goals, you must feel the arrival point of your dream with such intimacy that it drives your current actions.  Are religious people more successful?  A study by the University of Miami suggested that religious people viewed their goals as sacred, willed by God.  It seemed that once they believed that, they put more commitment and effort towards their goals with the conviction that success was bestowed upon them by virtue of actions seemingly guided by a higher power.   Is God the reason people achieve more?  I personally don’t think so but I am not that arrogant to discard it totally.  What do I know?  Well apart from my personal “confusion”, there is no evidence to support this or deny, like most results related to God.  However, there is a phenomena that occurs when you feel more confident in the outcome of your actions as a result of faith.  This is supported by the study mentioned earlier.  It is simply that faith which drives a  confidence in your actions such that every hurdle becomes a test of delayed glory, glory that is inevitable because of a higher power behind you. 

What if you don’t believe in God?  How do you harness this security that your destination is only a matter of time and certain.   You can develop faith in yourself.  Faith in God evolves from a confidence in the power of God.  What if you believed in your power to make things happen?  Pete Sampras, winner of 14 major grand slams in tennis, at the top of his game, had an aura about him when he played.  He was confident that as long as he played his game he was going to win.  When he was challenged, he raised his game because he knew that the game was his to win.  Was Pistol Pete religious?  I never saw him mouth a prayer to the skies during the difficult points or after a hard fought victory.  He would seem to look towards the skies but once you followed his gaze, he was looking up to his very beautiful girlfriend at the time, Bridgette Wilson.   This is the faith that can be attained by someone who is not religious, faith in yourself.  Faith in yourself only comes from a record.   That record I refer to, is not only of winning grand slams, it is one of completion, the feeling, the belief, the confidence, that you are someone who is able to complete tasks.   You must develop a record of task completion.  But you say, that is the problem! Completing tasks!!  Well you develop this record by starting with little things with great chances of success.  Gradually you move up to higher level tasks.  It is like building a muscle, a muscle that you will be able to place your faith in.   (If you are unable to have that type of faith in you, there is a way to get there – TBA)  

What if you had a goal that you firmly believed that an immense force was behind you to help you achieve it, that it would not be without failures or challenges, but that the force behind you would help you overcome such pitfalls as long as you believed in the success of your efforts?  Feel it, live it, stubbornly believe that there is no way that you will fail.   This kind of mindset affords an individual the faculty to overcome challenges that are inevitably part of the road to success.  The next time you write down a goal, remember to think of it as not just a goal but something that has almost already happened or inevitably will.  Note that I am not asking you to be religious, I am asking you to have faith in you!  BELIEVE IN YOU!  Imagine what you could be capable of if you believed that you had the ability to achieve whatever your heart desired.  Don’t you have that ability?  How do you know?  Have you ever committed 100% to something consistently and really failed?  Or wasn’t it true that your failures were painted by a discouraged disenfranchised mental fortitude that robbed you of the commitment to consistent efforts necessary to succeed, and be what you were really capable of?

Writing down a goal should not just be a casual experiment of what you might be possible, it should be something that you feel with conviction and would be just a matter of time!  Remember Jim Carrey’s story?  The one where when he was driving his old Toyota  and struggling as an actor.  At that time, with nothing to his name, he wrote himself a check for $10M AND dated it Thanksgiving 1995 and carried it in his wallet from that day forth.  We know how that worked out.  In case you don’t, just before Thanksgiving 1995, he found out that he was going to make $10M for Dumb and Dumber.  I have to depart my consciousness to appreciate that movie’s humor but it made a helluva lot of money so what do I know?

What do you have to lose in having faith that your 100% effort will produce results?

FAITH OVER FEAR!

 

 

No. 5 – Healing Mind Series

Immersed religious activities

Placebo Effect

You don’t have to be religious to do this.  We will get to that later.  First the religious, the people of religions, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jewish and so on.  Being immersed in your faith allows one to feel security in a life of unknowns and unpredictability.  This security gives the mind the ability to relax.  The state of a relaxed mind is the state that promotes the healing qualities for your body.  The placebo effect is still unknown but certainly valid and effective.  Modern medicine has made many conclusive prognosis about a patient’s outcome and potential for healing only to be defied by unexplained results devoid of the benefits of medicine. 

The Atheist Dilemna

To unleash the healing ability of the mind, it needs to reach a certain state, the state of relaxation mentioned earlier.  How do you achieve this without religious activities or chemicals?  The idea is to be similarly immersed as you would in a religious activity, in an activity that engulfs your consciousness and brings about the feeling of relaxation.  For some people, it is simply like meditation but like religious activities, it is about putting your faith into something that releases you from worries.  What if you are an atheist could you put your faith in such a state?  I don’t think it is possible, for the mere belief in the existence of an all powerful force that is good and protective is what facilitates the release of fear and worry.  This seems so unfair, as though the life of an atheist is so crude and fearful, fearful of the next occurence that is beyond his or her control.  Therefore for the atheist to achieve this state, he must have an acceptance approach, a resignation to a future that just is what it is, and to accept is as it comes and deal with it as best as possible.  Is an atheist therefore without fear?  I doubt that, but maybe in the moment of fear the atheist finds peace in his acceptance of the outcome, whatever that may be.  A person of faith normally attributes this to God’s way.  It is really quite similar in that sense, God never gets blame while that atheist doesn’t assign blame through acceptance.  It is what it is.  I felt this in the chaos surrounding the events leading up to the eventual passing of my father.  

It is what it is

Being not a person of religious acceptance and pursuits, I have merely entertained the existence of a powerful force but the atrocities of life never afforded me the adulation of this powerful being who apparently allows evil to triumph over good, the untrustworthy over the sincere one, the complainer over kind tolerance, as if there was no accountability for bad behavior, as should be in the existence of God.  I recalled that my father had a DNR activated against my wishes leaving me no recourse but to accept that he would be abandoned mortally even if he had a breath of a chance so to speak.  I remember resigning to this inevitability that grew even worse when a date was quickly set to take him off life support.  “it is what it is” I said to myself and reached a state of quiet acceptance and resignation to an outcome beyond my control.

Why worry

This would mean for an atheist to reach this state of relaxation, he would have to use his energies as permitted and able, to bring about a desired outcome while at the same time understanding that the outcome is “what it is”.  Maybe in essence, this is a peaceful approach to life.  Do your best and don’t worry.  Again, my father’s memories resurface because this was his mantra.  He would say, “Why worry, just do your best”.  Although a fairly realistic and practical man, he did practice his religion, Hinduism.  He tried to impart this culture upon his children, succeeding largely with his first daughter,  My brother and I adopted more of a cynical approach to the concept of God.  I continued gamely to worry about perfection and the prospect of failing.

Salvation of an atheist

Still it eludes me as to how the atheist reaches the same state of mind of relaxation as a devotee of Christianity.  For me I struggle mightily against acceptance of outcomes that are not desirable.  For example, I cannot accept the possibility of being overwhelmed in the middle of the night by an intruder so I take paranoid steps to prevent that, at some times playing the part of a victim in some thriller movie and role playing all possible vulnerabilities to be most prepared.  This is why I have no peace. This unfortunately means that my state of mind is destructive to my body.  My recourse would be drugs or some method to induce a relaxed state of mind.  Alcohol works.  CBD now very popular may also become a player in this thriller.  This may appear to explain why atheists are likely drug users.
There it is.  Atheists can achieve this state of mind and must do so regularly by inducing this with the procurement of creative facilitators.  It sounds like I am recommending a routine of regular hits, but I would hasten to emphasize that I am only suggesting this on a recreational basis not to the extent of destructive addiction.

Nirvana for all

There are other ways of achieving this though.  Find your own place of worship and immerse yourself in it.  For me that would be my favorite place of a kayaking or photographing birds.  It is true, i do become naturally completely immersed in those activities.  My wife’s place although she is a devout Christain, would also be the beach.  She glows after coming back from the beach, her face alight with radiant health.

So in essence, find your place of worship, the temple, the mandir, the church, your own altar at home, the quiet spot on a beach, your favorite riding or running route, etc., and immerse yourself totally in it.   The state of mind derived during the course of this exercise will promote the

healing abilities of your mind over your body.

Exercise – No. 4 on Healing series


Of the 10 things that promotes a healing mind, exercise is number 4 on my list.

It increases heart rate we all know but did you know that by sending more oxygen to the brain, it aids the growth of brain cells by releasing hormones?  In other words, working your muscles builds your brain bulk!  I don’t mean that your head will explode but the tiny membranes and connectors.

There is a lot of science about increasing connectivity in many cortical areas of the brain and so on.  You can read about this in detail if you like, but the bottom line is that exercise makes your brain work better, aiding in decision making and solving problems.

 

 

Mental Power

However the mental benefit is what is most fascinating.  There are antidepressant-like effects due to a drop in stress hormones due to exercising.  A Stockholm study tells you more about this.  The main point is that exercise has effects on your mind that enables it to heal and be more capable.  A mind that is more whole and functioning better is also one that enables the body to heal better.

Here’s a bonus.  Exercise slows down the aging process of the brain by enabling the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with memory.  How’s that for another reason to exercise if you are getting up there in age?  Exercise your way to a longer and fuller life!  We tend to view exercise as beneficial to getting that summer body or bulking up to impress the girls (or guys, hey everyone has needs)  Now we, that is all age groups, can see exercise with a more profound benefit, the well being of our minds, our brains!  It’s a beautiful cycle.  A healthy body is a healthy mind, while a healthy mind fosters a healthier body.  By a healthier mind, we are referring to the physical and mental states of the mind.

In today’s world where social networking and unrelenting connectivity is producing a population plagued by  anxiety and depression , exercise is once again the answer. How?  Well I am no expert but there is ample information online which I will share with you.

The benefits are related to  neurogenesis (the generation and creation of new neurons) and europlasticity(synaptic plasticity, or alterations to the strength of already existing synapses)  I have no idea what all this means, I am not a doctor but there are studies to back this up.  

Many of these benefits are due to the ability to reduce insulin resistance and inflamation. (Goldman, 2014)  You can read more on this here.

 

 

No. 3 – Why Sunrises and Sunsets are good for your health

 

When you witness a sunrise, you are normally aware of a feeling of euphoria, of hope, of a greater power, a feeling of awe.  The same goes for a sunset.  Also accompanying this feeling is a feeling of calmness.  This calmness is what’s good for your health. 

“There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats.”  Studies show that optimistic people are less likely to get sick.  We know that a positive outlook has unexplained healing benefits.  Look at the effects of placebo application where they are shown to bring about a healing effect in patients simply because they believed that they would be cured.

Just the feeling of optimism and gratitude that tend to accompany these moments of sunrise and sunsets is what puts your mind in a state that promotes the healing and immune system abilities of the body.  

 

 

  The Power of Positive Thinking

 John Hopkins Medicine

 

 

 

 

Today I embark for the second time to lick my body into shape. There is an element of embarassment that I am starting my benchpress at 65 lbs, but I already know the power of cosistency. Consistency is engine behind the rewards of Compounding Marginal Return.

 

Today I am starting at 65 lbs but with consistent application of marginal effort and incremental progress,I expect to be benching more than body weight by Thanksgiving, exactly 3 months away, the 24th of November.

1/22/2021 – Update

I failed.  I did not stick to my program.  Other things took precedence.  This is life.  There will always be things that will interrupt your path to your goal.  So here I go again.  Results matter, reasons excuses are the mediocre way.

Remember to be consistent, just follow the basic focus. “Stop thinking, just do”  or “Mat socho bas karo”  As I have said before your mind is what stops you from being consistent.  Just stop thinking and move…forward.  As I write this, I am saying it to myself too, because I need to be coached to be pushed to get it done.  Did it before and will do it again.  I did it using the Mat Socho Bas Karo way.

 

The Power of Nature

– Love Yourself Series

It is very tough to wake up early and go on a hike to see sunrise or nature in its best light.  As a photographer who previously photographed professionally portraits, weddings, quinceñeras, and other events, my favorite type of photography was that of capturing nature.  Sometimes just the process of leaving early in the morning, fighting the urge to slip back within the comforting caress of a warm soft bed is a battle.  But I can tell you without any hesitation that I have never regretted waking up early to venture out into nature.  Even if I didn’t get any great shots, which is rare, because of that beautiful light, I would still feel the euphoria of being up early in the solace of the early morning when nature comes alive in its unabashed glory.

However, being in nature appeals to deeper instincts within us that affect our mindset, our creative wheels, releasing our mental faculties to function without the constant noise.  In a 2012 study, a scientist by the name of Strayer, found that given our environment plays an important role in how we function mentally and intuitively, exposure to nature increased our ability to function cognitively and creatively, including our problem solving skills.  He found that there is a unique effect of being immersed in a natural setting on our mental capacity.

 

But nature does more.  In a 2015 study by Gregory Bratman, of Stanford University, he found that those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination (focused attention on negative aspects of oneself), and negative affect, as well as more positive emotions, in comparison to the urban walkers.  There are numerous studies that support the positive effects on a person’s perspective and outlook towards life.  

From experience I can tell you that I experience an exhilaration from my encounters with nature.  When you are in nature, for example when I am kayaking, you have to stop thinking about worrisome thoughts and pay attention for your very survival.    Nature with its beauty brings threats which require you to be attentive and alert in your surroundings. This state of being is what allows us to escape the noise of modern life. 

This removal from negative thoughts into basic instinctive almost primeval state is what fosters the removal of stressful weights of life, the relentless schedule of making a living, a social life, preserving status, impressing others and so on.  All this is discarded allowing room for unrestrained unprescribed thinking.  When I return home, I am tired physically but mentally refreshed.

Nature with its innocent routine devoid of ego, conflicts of personalities, goes about business as usual without judgement.  It is an environment that appeals to your better “nature”.  It reminds you of the need to embrace life more fondly.  A healthier state of mind fosters self appreciation which is the root of self love and a more robust and resilient self esteem.

Try it.  Wake up early.  Go for a walk in the park, by the beach, near a lake. Experience the company of birds, animals, the sounds of nature, the pleasant natural order of life.  Bathe in this and feel your heart swell.  Do it alone.  Do it with your loved one, with your family, just do it regularly for the love or you!  It works!  Science says so.

 

Impress yourself first


In life we begin by trying to impress our parents, then relatives then friends, bosses, peers, and the list goes on and on.  Pretty soon our own concept of what it is to be a good person who we can love gets drowned out by the voices of others impressing upon us how we should be, to garner enough likes, enough followers and basically the approval of others.  We may say that we know what we want to be but how often is that enough for us?  How amazing would it be to just be a person that meets our own expectations of ourselves. As a bonus, this practice actually gives our self esteem an energizing boost!

I once read that how we see ourselves is based upon how we think others think about us.  Why not cut out the middle man and just base this upon how you see yourself without filtering that perception through the eyes of others?  It would be liberating, wouldn’t it?

Try this.  From now on, just focus on impressing yourself based upon YOUR OWN expectations.  Try this for a week.  Word of caution:  you know those instagram posts that you like to browse? watch out, they are a culprit of how you think about yourself too, especially the ones with a gazillion of likes.  For this week of trial of impressing yourself, have a vision of the person you would like to be and make a list of tasks based upon that vision.  This week, have some tasks to complete that fuels this vision, simple tasks that you WILL complete, like reading a few chapters to a child, which may be part of your vision to be a great parent.  

Impress yourself first and you end up being well planted on a path that yields a journey you will love to reflect upon proudly.  Do it!  Impress you first!  As always, mat socho bas karo.  Don’t think, just do!

– Love Yourself Series

 

Can’t seem to have enough time

Intention without execution

Lately it seems that my time runs out, it gets late, but I am not covering those tasks that need to be done. I remember starting with the list approach and getting stuff done but now it seems that my list has once more become just an intention without execution. I know that life is short that you start with a goal/objective, spin off the tasks to get there with a deadline and go forward. However it seems that I am involved in things that devour my time and I am left once again feeling unaccomplished.

First of, there needs to be honest accountability. “What we can measure, we can change”, the motto of my employer. I know this to be true so I need to start reviewing where my time is going. It is obvious that time is limited and even more so if you squander it. What is squandering time? By doing things that are not relevant to your purpose and goals? Don’t you need down time? I know this to be important which is why I like to have Sundays as the day without disciplined time slots. It is a day to use my time carelessly and freely. These days I normally schedule, I can never get a way from scheduling, to do things that I love, like kayaking, golfing, etc. I should add reading to that mix. Imagine kayaking to a nice remote safe area, putting up a hammock and reading a book? This is definitely going to be scheduled for a near Sunday.

I believe that answer to this predicament lies in my pattern. Habits reveal the path you are on towards your future, which is why it is important to review your habits from time to time.

Remember though that there are tasks that need to be done, household tasks, family tasks, financial budgeting and record keeping tasks, and so on. Therefore there needs to be a balance. In the past I have assessed my time by allocating it to segments of my life on a pie chart to see where the time was going. I need to do this again.

Action plan. Review current/past pattern and correct. Ensure that time is spent on the meaningful tasks of your purpose

I am excited to review, revive and refocus! It is a journey without perfection but with perseverance towards perfection.

7/29 Update

Finding out that I’m easily diverted into activites that eat up time. Once you set time constraints on how long you have to do a task, you realize that you’re very inefficient. Fix: Acknowledgement of weakness is first step. Now to lock myself into a task and finish on time. Doing this frees up more time for other fun stuff. Here we go.

The elements of Decision Making

Analysis Paralysis

Read More

No Perfect Decison

Commitment

The Path

 

More Info

No perfect decison

Many outcomes that are beyond expectations did not start with a perfect decision.  It appears that the only perfect decision is the one to begin.  From that decision, evolves a process of more decisions that intuitively lead to a desirable outcome.  One thing one must overcome is the natural tendency to overrate our ability to fail.  

Lesson:  It is a learning process and invariably you cannot make the perfect decision with the current knowledge at that moment.  You must begin to arrive.

 

Commitment

Once the decision is made, the single ingredient needed at this venture is commitment.  This commitment to learn and adapt towards that desirable outcome.  In other words, you must inform yourself that there will be pitfalls and hurdles to overcome and the need to constantly review your progress, in order to adapt your strategy as you gain knowledge from experience and further insight into your goal and yourself.  You must have an unshakable resolve that your destination is achievable, even as it changes. 

Lesson:  Your committment is what will hone and support your decision(s) to the perfect or desirable end.

 

The path

The path to a desirable outcome sought, consists of less than ideal decisions.  However this path is the journey of gathering further data and information to aid in further decisions and improvement of performance.  This newly acquired information would not have been available had you not embarked upon the unfettered path of your virgin decision.  This is what creates further decisions that refines your goals, improve your productivity and clarifies the path.  

Lesson:  Begin with the understanding that the means to the end involves learning and adapting as you go.

 

Conversation with a veteran, a marriage veteran.

Met a 98 year old woman today who was married for 60 years.

MARRIAGE RATE: 6.5 per 1,000 population

DIVORCE RATE: 2.9 per 1,000 population

*https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm

 

Me: “Wow, that is unheard of these days. What age did you get married?”

Her: ” I was just out of high school, so 18.”

“So if your husband passed away in 2010, then you were married for 60 years!! That is incredible but maybe not so unusual for your generation.”

“Not really, back then when you got married, that was it. You had no other choice so you only thought of making it work or working with it”..chuckle.

“Now it’s one thing to be married for a long time, but were you happily married?”

“Now that’s the thing about marriage. You are not always going to be happily married. You make it work.”

“That’s very different from today. Today, it’s “I deserve better”, “Oh my, I made a bad choice”….too much second guessing, too many escape options”

Disclaimer:  I divorced and remarried.  I am happily married.  However what I know now, may have saved my first marriage and avoided much inconvenience for my children.  I was married the first time for 15 years and now happily married to a beautiful and diligent wife, herself a divorcee.  We were engaged for over 7 years before we officially tied the knot.  Talk about caution!  

The legacy of marriage

First the cold reality of a happy marriage:

  • For better or worse but not forever
  • Expect unhappy moments
  • Don’t entertain “other options”
  • It’s worth it in the end, i.e. your legacy
  • Physical abuse is a deal breaker

Your Legacy

Most seasoned married people, happily married, meaning in a marriage that they would prefer to stay in due to a level of sustained enjoyment, would tell you that they experienced periods of unhappiness where they may have even hated their spouse. It takes time to truly understand each other and not take issues personally. You will have fights. You will want to leave. However, if things don’t improve, it is time to have a third party be involved.

Someone, a woman of many married years, in her intuitive wisdom, said, “A woman looks for love and a man looks for respect, in a relationship” This doesn’t mean that the woman doesn’t need respect or the man doesn’t need love. It means this is their respective priorities in terms of needs and expectations.

Of course this is not to condone divorce, but only as a last resort when love has been extinguished or there’s physical abuse involved. There are also cases where destructive patterns do not get cured but then there is the issue of how long should the other spouse wait. It should certainly be at least a year if it’s not related to infidelity. In other words improvement may not be immediate or in the very short term.

All of this is based upon talking with and observing couples in successful marriages.  We will continue to consult with men and women to provide real advice from folks who speak from experience not theory. 

A successful marriage fosters and yields a great legacy normally, the effect of which is felt by generations to come. In the same manner broken marriage may inflict damages that have a cascading effect on subsequent generations.