WHAT SEEDS DO YOU WATER?

Many people struggle with the Law of Attraction or how like can attract like. Start explaining how thoughts become things and you might lose a good portion of people. You may also get quite a few skeptical looks. I think a lot of this stems from a lack of understanding of this concept. The movie The Secret brought this concept to millions of people who may not have pondered it before. I think the biggest misconception is that all you have to do is sit in your house and think positive thoughts and your life will turn around. That is not quite the way this works.

In order to explain the Law of Attraction or LOA as we will call it, I like to use the analogy of a garden. If you think of your average garden, there is lots of planning involved. First you have to select a good plot of land, or how best to use the plot of land you have. This can be likened to your life. We must decide where and what kind of life we want to live. That includes what we want to have in our lives, what we would like to do for a living, the kind of people we would like to share life with. Some of you may be asking, “Do I really have to plan my life?” The short answer is no, but if you want to create a life of your choosing yes. It is like choosing what kind of things you would like to grow in your garden.

Next is preparing the soil. The plants we are going to grow, do they like sandy soil? Will these plants need to be planted in a space that receives lots of sun, or a little? Just like the elements of our life need to be prepared for. If we are looking to become a best-selling author, hypothetically, then we need to learn about publishing, what is required and begin to practice our writing. We must prepare the soil and plant the seeds of what we want to grow. If you want a healthy and active spouse to share your life with, but you spend every free moment you have grabbing cocktails at the club, you are not planting the seeds for that healthy and active spouse. Your time would be better spent in the gym, or attending healthy cooking classes or even joining online groups and forums that specialize in healthy active lifestyles.

Ok, you have prepped the garden of life and planted the seeds of what you would like to grow in  your life. Now all you do is wait right? Let me ask you what would happen if you planted a garden and just sat back and waited? Two things come to mind – weeds and weather. If you never watered your garden and just relied on mother nature to have the perfect set of circumstances you might get lucky, then again you might have a monsoon or a draught. Ironically, that is how a lot of us approach life. Let us use our aspiring author example. Maybe he writes every day and expands his vocabulary and knowledge. Then he waits for a publisher to discover him in passing. May happen, but chances are it will not. There will be times of good fortune, and tough times. If he sends out applications, or maybe even learns about self-publishing, that is fertilizing and watering the seeds he has planted. The chances his life will blossom and he will have a nice harvest increases greatly the more he tends to his seeds.

Then there is the matter of weeds. Weeds can be viewed as the problems of life. They will always be there and seem to need little or no help to grow. As soon as you pull one weed, another, or maybe two, take its place. If we just close our eyes and say to ourselves, “There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” which is what we do when we expect our thoughts to manifest themselves with no action on our part, our garden will soon be overrun. Conversely, if all we do is look at the weeds and focus on how terrible they are and how they always seem to come back, we can become disgusted with our garden. It is the same when all we do is focus on the problems in our life. It can seem overwhelming and make us want to abandon life all together.

The solution for life is the same as it is for the garden. Continue to water and take care of the seeds we have planted while we pull out the weeds one by one. In life we have to work on our goals a little every day and approach our problems one by one, not allowing ourselves to get overwhelmed.

 

WHAT ARE YOU TAKING TIME FOR?

When I first read the above picture I had to take a second and appreciate how profound that actually is. Sure, we all like to vent and sometimes that is very helpful, but how far is too far when it comes to venting? If you find yourself spending more time finding ways to complain and share your pain and unpleasant emotion state with the rest of the world than actually working on a solution to change your situation, that is too far.

If you look at the above example we could learn a lot. The first thing, feel like sh*t, some people like to just stay in this state. I could never understand that. If I am upset, angry, sad or any other unpleasant emotion I will do anything to change that state.  If it doesn’t work, then I will do something else, if that doesn’t work… well you get the idea.

The second item is complaining. Again, venting is one thing, but dwelling on it is certainly another. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and speakers put it this way, “Don’t bother telling other people your problems. 80% don’t care and 20% are glad it’s you.” This sounds cynical, but it is true. Unless you think the person you are telling your problems to can help you, tell them something you are grateful for instead. It will help both of you feel better.

The third item, checking social media. If you are already in a bad mood adding the drama of others, or reading any unpleasant news would only serve to bring you down further. You would be better served visiting a motivational website, or reading a good book.

Let us look at the solutions they offer. Meditate. It can help you feel more relaxed and think clearly. It can offer a different perspective on your situation. It brings down your heart rate, releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals and creates an overall sense of well-being. Going hand in hand with meditating is writing in your journal. Anyone who knows me even a little knows how much of a fan of journaling I am. A journal is like a therapist that is always open and does not charge a great amount of money to listen to you. Much like meditating, it can offer clarity and a sense of release.

Writing down what you are grateful for and your goals can work in two amazing ways as well. Focusing on what you are grateful for can change your feeling from lack to abundance and from sadness to joy quicker than just about anything else I know. Goals will not only change your focus on whatever crappy situation you are in presently to the fabulous situation you want to be in, but will also get you moving. Instead of focusing on where you don’t want to be, which is feeling bad, you can focus on where you want to be. By doing so actions that will bring you closer to that will come in to focus as well. So, next time you find yourself tempted to do any of the first three things on the list, try instead to do one of the last three and notice the difference.

GAIN A NEW PERSPECTIVE 

This is me…on the roof of my work. Every few months I like to go up there and look for things that need fixing. This serves a dual purpose. First I check for things that need fixing on the roof. Today I found some broken metal brackets and loose covers. Last year it was a few bad goose eggs stuck in a vent.

It also allows me to do something else. As I walk around the border of the roof I can examine things on the ground below at a quick glance. I can see the entire landscaping and what needs attending to. I can see the parking lot and where there may be issues. In short, I can see a lot of things that may not be apparent when I am looking at them on the ground.

What does this have to do with living an amazing life? Life is not much different than what I do here. Sometimes in my life I need to take a step back and view things from an entirely different angle. I think it was Les Brown who said, “sometimes it is hard to see the picture when you are in the frame.” In other words, when we are emotionally involved in a situation it can be hard to see it objectively.

Have you ever been working on a problem for what seems like forever and a friend comes along and points out what is a simple, and should have been obvious solution? How frustrating is that? We were so focused and attached to the problem we were unable to see the solution. Albert Einstein said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

That is what I am going to suggest you do for the next 24 hours. Try looking at situations from a different viewpoint. Pretend you are someone else, maybe even someone who has the opposite views you do. If you are facing a challenge try this simple method, write down all the facts of the matter with as few opinions and beliefs attached to them as possible. When you are done, trying looking at the problem from as many different angles as you can. You never know what ideas may come to the surface.

PROBLEM OR POSSIBLY?

Yesterday we spoke of our ability to choose happiness or sorrow. Sounds easy on paper (or computer or phone however you read this) In reality however, it is one of the most difficult challenges.

Enter the picture above. I hear so many people go on for hours explaining to me a problem and how bad it will affect their lives. When I ask them “What are you going to do now?”. Almost without fail I receive the same three word answer, “I don’t know”. So let me get this straight, you have spent enough time thinking of how bad it is to tell me about it for an hour, but when I inquire as to what solutions you might have explored you simply do not know.

I am not putting anyone down here. This used to be something I did quite often. On occasion, especially at the onset of a challenge I am still likely to do this. With every challenge and bit of bad news in life there is what I like to call a mourning period. Take a little time, have some self-pity. Notice I said a little time. You can say “this is not fair!” or maybe even “why me?”. Then realize life can not be fair. Sometimes it is just your turn. Everybody has things and periods in their life that just, in a technical term, suck. We all do, it is called life. It is what we do and what we choose to see in those challenges. That separate different kinds of people. It is a chance to show your true character. In fact, Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and speakers advises to never say you are having a bad day instead say you are having a character building day. It is a chance to show the world you are tougher than what life can throw at you. Perhaps it is a chance to let your friends have the satisfaction of helping you. We all like to help and feel we have been of use to someone, but are afraid to give someone else that opportunity.

Remember, problem or possibility it is all up to you.

LET US NOT SOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS!!

Again I would like to remind you that Living a positive rewarding life is not a goal, but a path to set on. Just as the goal is not to solve all of your challenges. Although that sounds very appealing and can be realistic for a very brief moment in time, it actually is not our end here. Sure a life free of problems sounds like a great idea anytime, especially Monday mornings right? There is two major problems with this way of thinking. First, challenges add excitement to our lives. you are probably thinking “Neil that is some excitement I could do without.” The purpose of this blog is not to eliminate those stressors from your life, but show you how to overcome them and use them as opportunities to grow. Let’s face it with out a challenge how would we ever feel like we accomplished anything? Anytime we feel a sense of accomplishment whether it be winning a game, building a car from scratch, solving the family budget or landing that dream job, it all began with a challenge. Sure playing a game may be fun and involve a little luck, but when you begin the challenge is to work within the parameters of the rules to accomplish the goal of winning. Your opponents are your adversaries, even though they might just be friends and family. Even if you do not win the game, but you give it your best shot you can still leave feeling like a winner. How many times have we heard athletes say “We left it all on the field” or “We played our best game” even if they lost they are often more happy than teams who win while playing bad. Life is not much different. When we are looking to land a new job we must do several things on our half. We must work on our resume, updating our skills, practice our interviewing skills, maybe research the company we are applying at. If we do all of these steps and are still not chosen for the job we may feel disappointed with the situation, but we can know that we gave it our best shot and often may be more inclined to think of ways in which we can improve for next time. So take a good look at your problems. Do you have some that seem to come up over and over? Do several of your problems seem to have something in common? It is time to use your problems instead of letting your problems use you.