It’s inevitable, you know.
One day you realize that everything you’ve been trying hasn’t worked. You’ve read the books, gone to the seminars and retreats. Maybe you’ve tried to work through your issues with friends and family members. You’ve journaled and even done all the exercises in all the programs you’ve bought (which only about 2% of people who buy programs actually do).
Maybe things have changed a little (or maybe not). But you still feel stuck in the same issue, swimming in circles and getting very tired.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?
You might be tempted to keep doing more of what you’ve been doing, hoping that this time it will be different. But don’t. That’s what I used to do, and I created more problems than I got rid of. Several times, my “improvements” produced even worse results than I was getting before. I couldn’t believe it.
It took a while, but eventually I learned that just because you’re doing something different doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. If you want to turn your life around, you can’t just change what you think is wrong. You have to base your improvements on objective evidence, timeless wisdom, and advice from experts.
Study What’s Working (and What’s Not)
All too often, we decide our approach is wrong because of how our life looks to us. We don’t feel as happy as we think other people are. We’re not as successful financially, emotionally and in relationships as others. We feel that our lives are lacking because of what we think our lives should look like.
Because it looks that way to us, we believe that it must be that way, and therefore, we have to change it.
The truth: no matter how successful you are, something in your life will always look wrong to you. If you allow it to distract you, you can spend your entire life chasing little, nitpicky problems, and you’ll never get to the big, hairy monstrosities that really deserve your attention.
How do you know what those monstrosities are? Easy: you look at the results in your life. Before making any changes, you should consider:
■ Past results – What have you done in the past that worked? Why? What hasn’t worked? Why?
■ Reactions – What have you done that others notice?
■ Relationships – How has what you’ve done affected your relationships? How do others describe you?
■ Feelings – Where do you feel the most stress and resistance in your body and in your life?
Study these long enough, and you’ll probably begin to see patterns of what works and what doesn’t. If you’re like me, you’ll also be surprised by how much time you’re wasting on stuff that doesn’t work and how precious little time you’re spending on stuff that does.
Easy fix though, right? Start doing what works, and stop doing what doesn’t work. It’ll turn your life around faster than anything else.
Base Your Changes on Timeless Wisdom
Of course, you can’t learn everything you need to know from looking at these results. That’s merely the low hanging fruit. At some point, you’ll want to find out what has worked for others and then try a similar approach for yourself.
Reading all the personal development advice is a good start, but you should also look outside that arena. Some of the most useful insights you’ll discover will come from books and articles that have absolutely nothing to do with personal development.
Sometimes reading fiction, fables and poetry can open your mind to new ways of seeing things. Many fiction writers are geniuses at assessing the human condition and creating ways to transform lives.
Do yourself a favor and learn from them.
Stop Trying to Figure It Out On Your Own
It has taken me most of my 44 years to figure out how to be happy. I tried and failed, tried again and failed again, looking for so many people, things and experiences to make me happy. My relationships never lasted. Everything in my life seemed temporary.
And then, finally, I got it. I felt like someone handed me the key to the magic door. Funny thing was, the key was sitting right in front of me all the time. It was like I didn’t want to see it until someone pointed it out to me.
What happened this time around?
I stopped trying to figure it out on my own. I worked with someone who had achieved much of what I wanted in life. Most importantly, I was open to their advice and mentoring.
He looked at my past, pointed out some of my mistakes, and helped me refine my ideas for a new life. It totally changed the way I thought about my life and happiness. Without my mentor’s help, I’m don’t think I’d be the Shiny, Happy Puppy I am now, or happy at all for that matter.
The truth is that sometimes we don’t see what we’re doing wrong, and we need someone else to point it out to us. It’s usually embarrassingly obvious when we see it, but we never would have noticed, if not for an expert offering us another perspective.
Of course, not everyone can afford to hire a mentor for long periods of time. So what should you do then?
Well, I hope I don’t regret this, but let me throw out an idea.
Get on the Phone with Me for 30 Minutes for FREE
You know that whole idea of giving back? Well, I figure I haven’t done enough of that lately. So, I came up with this idea:
Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to do 3 telephone consultations. I’ll get on the phone with you for 30 minutes, and you can tell me what’s troubling you about your life. I’ll then give you advice specific to your exact situation.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m going to do it absolutely for free?
All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your biggest frustration right now. I’ll contact you by email, have you complete a brief questionnaire, and then we’ll schedule a time to chat.
Good then. Together, we’ll have your life un-screwed up in no time. So start writing that comment!
Congratulations to LynzM, Linda and Mary Carol for winning the free mentoring sessions! I’m really looking forward to them!
I just found my new favorite mindfulness app: Chill. It's just what I need in the middle of a hectic day to remind me that all is well in this moment and to simply breathe. You can set it to give you up to five reminders a day to be mindful like:
"Take a moment to think of someone you love. Feel that love inside you. Sit silently with that feeling for a moment."
"Feel the silence inside you. Feel how expansive that silence is. You're as vast as the sky."
"You are right here, right now. Don't let your thoughts tell you otherwise. Breathe in this moment."
Chill also provides beautiful daily quotes from Buddha, Lao Tzu and other Zen masters on a backdrop of a peaceful image. With a touch of a button you can also share these quotes via text, email and all the social sites. The app's curator is a Buddhist ordained in the tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. The quotes are based in Buddhist ideas of mindfulness but come from many traditions. They speak about the challenges we all face, and how to mindfully center ourselves in the midst of modern life.
It's free or $1.99 if you want to get rid of the little ads at the bottom. It works on iOS and Apple Watch. You can find out more or download the app HERE.
What if the only thing between you and the answers you're looking for is the right question? The kind of question that can instantly cut through years of confusion, is worth a thousand words of advice, connects you to the wisdom of your heart and unlocks the truth inside you.
What is the right question? You can find yours somewhere in your deck of Inquiry Cards.
Each Inquiry Card - each question - is an opening to insight, intuition, intention, integrity, inspiration, inner compass, introspection, instinct, inner vision, involvement, integration, innate intelligence, intimacy and infinite possibilities.
It all begins with Inquiry. Because the answers are inside you.
I am loving my deck of Inquiry Cards! I've been using them for the past couple months. They come with a beautiful wooden stand where you can place the card/question that you're focusing on. Simply seeing the card on the stand on my desk reminds me to pause, take a deep breath and spend a moment asking my True Self the question and being open to whatever answers arise.
Have you been trying to start or maintain a meditation practice but life keeps getting in the way? I'm there with you - and I found a solution: Daily Meditation Videos delivered to your inbox every morning. They've been gently nudging me each day to take just a few minutes in the middle of my day to stop and breathe. The creator has done the hard part of culling great guided meditation videos from YouTube and delivering them to you in a simple, beautifully designed email. All you have to do is click, listen, relax and breathe.
The Mindful Body program includes many ideas that you can use every day to avoid gaining extra weight while keeping your energy and spirits high. It’s also a great gift to share with the special people in your life.