Five Tips for Overcoming Anxiety and Fear

Being stuck in endless cycle of anxiety and paralyzing fear is no way for anyone to live… I know, I’ve been there.

Worse yet, it keeps us from moving forward and becomes literally crippling. Forget about goal achievement, constant fear and anxiety turns into a battle just to get through the day.

It’s easy from the outside to see how this sort of thinking can be so damaging to one’s growth— but, from the inside, it’s another story and can be truly debilitating!

Here are five tips you can use to instantly destroy and eliminate those anxious feelings fearful thoughts— to move yourself from literally paralyzed to a place of greater peace.

#1: Take Inventory of the Situation

In Buddhism there is something known as, “right understanding” or, “right view” derived from The Noble Eight-fold Path.

When you become extremely anxious and fearful, ask yourself while your in the moment— what is truly terrifying you? It’s likely that the moment itself is actually quite safe and that you are projecting out into the future with negative visions?

What, in the present is so dangerous?

Unless you are being car-jacked or chased by a bear through the woods or perhaps some similar immediate danger, chances are good, you are crafting a story about your impending demise!

You are using your imagination— creating visions, in your mind eye about a future filled with frightening and unfavorable events.

Thus, the counsel is simple; take stock in the moment, in yourself and your present thinking. Do your best to gain a healthy perspective about the actual situation, in the moment.

Often realizing it’s just a dire forecast (not necessarily an accurate or correct one)  and knowing that the future is in fact, unknown…  ask yourself, “Could not the exact opposite occur?” Then ask, “How many other possible outcomes are there?” The next question to ask, “Has anybody else gone through this — or worse — and made it through successfully?”

#2: Shift Your Focus

It’s been said, “What you focus upon expands”. Further, in my experience I’ve noticed that whatever I focus upon I tend to feel or have emotions about.

If I focus upon a great time, a great memory, I tend to feel great.

Focusing upon a great memory, or holding a thought of gratitude and appreciating something can instantly change your mood, emotions and feelings in the present!

And, since you can only hold one thought at a time, the quickest way to banish fear and anxiety is to replace those thoughts with something favorable.

#3: Challenge Your Emotions

Could fear just be excitement? The answer is YES – it could be…. There is a great video about this by Simon Sinek (bottom). Could your worry or fear be instead an exciting opportunity? Often a situation that presents itself as scary is a powerful opportunity for growth. There are two sides to every coin!

Think about the situation that’s giving you fits of anxiety and fear. List at least five different ways this could result in a superb opportunity if your thinking was flipped on its head.

#4: Take Action!

Fear drives insecurity, and insecurity creates inaction and hesitancy.

Henry David Thoreau says it best: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he imagines, he will he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

This simply means we must take action and move confidently — even if it’s slowly — toward our goals. And, here’s the kicker, even if we are uncertain and not confident!

“MOVE CONFIDENTLY in the direction of your dreams.”

The truth: NOBODY knows the future, those that are moving confidently in the direction of their dreams are doing so as blindly as everyone else yet, they believe and are hopeful!

#5: Accept the Fear

Finally, accepting and understanding fear can be a useful tool.

Fear has its origins in pressure and ultimately when we understand it better we can chose to refract the pressure positively.

Don’t believe me, ever hear of Lincoln, Gandhi, Churchill?

The “reality” is, we all have the ability to refract pressure away from fear, toward a hopeful, positive future anytime we can wrap some awareness around it (by acknowledging it!).

On one end of the spectrum is hope/faith on the other is fear.

I’m sure you’ve heard Yoda’s great line:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Choose hope and optimism by accepting and not rejecting the pressure and refract it toward the positive!

By acknowledging the fear, we take responsibility for it. When we become response-able and not just reactive! We regain the driver’s seat and thus have the ability to steer that fear toward hopefulness, opportunity and faith.

 

When Do You Start Counting?

Enjoy the pain

By: S. Kelley

When Do You Start Counting?

Let’s be frank (or Joe for that matter).

Most of us don’t like pain. Arnold Schwarzenegger, champion bodybuilder and erstwhile Terminator, viewed Muhammed Ali as a great role model for success. He recounted a terrific story about The Greatest in an interview in the ‘70s.

As Schwarzenegger explained it, Ali was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t know”. “I don’t count my sit-ups… I only start counting when it start to hurt! When I begin to feel the pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.

More Schwarzenegger and his “Six Rules of Success” can be found in our previous post here! But stick around first and try to FOCUS! ; )

So, what do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali and even great Olympic curlers have in common? Yes. They may all seem to be strange bedfellows, but they embody a basic tenet of success and goal-achievement:

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

While watching the 2018 Olympics the other day, I found myself mesmerized not by snowboarders or skiers and their death-defying leaps. No, it was curling that fascinated me. An ordinary-looking guy was sort of ice-bowling a disk while his partner furiously swept alongside the sliding granite stone. It almost looked . . . easy.

The announcer must have been reading my mind. “Don’t forget, folks. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.” Turns out that hurtling a 40-pound rock down a sheet of slippery ice while trying to hit a small target takes (certainly) some level of athleticism, patience and an enormous amount of SKILL.

In short, becoming an Olympic curler is likely to take years of hard work, training, sacrifice and involve some pain.

Piers Steel, author of the Procrastination Equation, talks about an elite cyclist’s trick for pushing past the pain threshold: micro-goal-setting. “Ivan Basso (aka Ivan the Terrible) is one of the best mountain bike riders of all time. One of his motivational tricks is to set a series of targets for the race, each one within sight and as short as thirty seconds if negotiating a series of bends. One at a time, he focuses on finishing each one.”

Steel recounts a similar story about micro-goal-setting — but one with life-or-death consequences.:

“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard. How powerful is this mantra?

Joe Simpson, in one of mountaineering’s greatest survival stories, used it to save his life. Left for dead at the bottom of a crevasse in an isolated Peruvian mountain with a shattered shinbone, he had three days to pull himself to a base camp through five miles of truly treacherous glacier field or be really dead.

He was already utterly exhausted from an arduous marathon of an ascent, with no food and only a little water, so this journey should have been impossible, except for one critical survival tool: his wristwatch. With it, he set goals. Setting the alarm for twenty minutes at a time, he made for a nearby rock or drift — he was elated when he reached it in time and he despaired when he didn’t. Battling exhaustion, pain, and eventually delirium, he repeated the same process hundreds of times and ultimately reached the perimeter of the base camp just hours before his friends’ intended departure.”

(Read the entire article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-procrastination-equation/201207/breaking-the-pain-barrier.)

Crazy, right?

It ALL comes down to pain. Or, to be more accurate, your pain threshold. How much pain and frustration can you endure before you give up? Can you be like Ali and Schwarzenegger and use pain as the signal to BEGIN counting?

Challenge yourself every day — starting today. Become uncomfortable with comfort. Brian Tracy likes to say that “Comfort is the great enemy of success.”

Become comfortable with discomfort AND pain. DO the work until it hurts AND THEN START COUNTING!

More PAINful advice here:

A great article in Runner’s World, “Tricks To Push Through Midrace Pain,” (https://www.runnersworld.com/psychology/mental-tricks-to-push-through-midrace-pain) offers some advice for making it through a seemingly impossible challenge, with techniques that can be applied to any discipline, not just running. The author discusses how to stick to the grind despite the pain by recalling past sacrifices, practicing gratitude and even meditating.

Another insightful article similarly discusses the idea of “training for pain.”  (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/fashion/29FITNESS.html). Pushing your training in intervals, it points out, increases your tolerance for pain and exertion naturally. Tricks such as external distractions and relaxation exercises can help nudge you farther on your quest (be it a race or another type of goal achievement. If all else fails, we are advised to: “Suck it up.”

So, dear reader, one final time, when do you start counting?

 

The most important SKILL you can learn? SELF CONFIDENCE and Why you’ll want to write yourself a letter

Self confidence is a skill.

How do you develop it? Check this out — the answer is a bit of a no-brainer but bears repeating. Here’s a clue – how do you develop any HABIT? Plus, why writing yourself a letter is a good idea and how you process feedback is essential. All good messages shared by Dr. Ivan Joseph in his Tedx talk, The Skill of Confidence.

Remember, if you aren’t going to believe in you… who is?

Enjoy!

P.S. check this out for a related podcast – How Life Expands!

“How Can I Be Happy?” A Timeless Lesson told by a Personal Development Legend


How can I be happy?

If you Google “how can I be…”
Care to guess what Google will autofill? No guessing required… (see image below)

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 2.37.11 PM
only here is the dilemna.

“The art of happiness is to serve all. To be truly happy, we must think not only of how we can help ourselves, but how we can help others.” ~Anonymous

I wrote extensively about this here (see post)

I love the above video, here Jack La Lanne underscores all the above! Watch it at least three times this week and see what happens!

Enjoy!
~mws

It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck.

A brilliant commencement address which, like most things genius, requires not one listen but multiple. And, while I don’t expect you to watch it over and over, my request is that you revisit this in about a month. Tim’s bio and background are here.

A few of the highlights and at the bottom is a link to his personal blog and you can read the entire transcript if you’d like. Enjoy!

Highlights:

1. You Don’t Have To Have A Dream.
I never really had one of these big dreams. And so I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.

2. Don’t Seek Happiness!
Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Contented Australophithecus Afarensis got eaten before passing on their genes.
>>NOTE: if we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times in this blog ; )! Happiness is a choice, it’s a responsibility it’s what the Buddha meant when he said, “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” see post)

3. Remember, It’s All Luck
You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born… I suppose I worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I’ve achieved … but I didn’t make the bit of me that works hard, any more than I made the bit of me that ate too many burgers instead of going to lectures while I was here at UWA.

Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.

>>Comment: Taking credit for even your hard work is fool’s gold. Everything and everyone have helped you to forge that work ethic — take NO credit, remain humble!

4. Exercise!

I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve… You can’t be Kant, and you don’t want to be.

Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run… whatever… but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly a hundred, and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could not have dreamed of. And this long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed!

But don’t despair! There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise.

5. Be Hard On Your Opinions
A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs…Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions…

By the way, while I have science and arts grads in front of me: please don’t make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another….If you need proof: Twain, Adams, Vonnegut, McEwen, Sagan, Shakespeare, Dickens. For a start.

6. Be a teacher.
Please be a teacher! Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher.

7. Define Yourself By What You Love
… We have tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff; as a comedian, I make a living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

8. Respect People With Less Power Than You.
I have, in the past, made important decisions about people I work with – agents and producers – based largely on how they treat wait staff in restaurants.

9. Don’t Rush.
You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life… I said at the beginning of this ramble that life is meaningless…

You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old. And then you’ll be dead.

There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it!

…life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running(!), being enthusiastic. And then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.

It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck. Thank you for indulging me.”

Hope that provides you a sense of guidance and strangely comfort ; ) (comfort in the meaningless of it all). In many ways it’s a recipe for happiness and a fulfilling life…

Set goals. Work hard. Go after it. Be humble. Exercise. Assess your own beliefs and opinions regularly. Be a teachers —share your genius. Define self by what you love not what you hate. Respect everyone. Slow down.
(you can find the entire transcript here).

Thanks Tim!

Until next time friends,

5 Keys to Breakthrough Stress

I challenge you to watch this five times! Yes! five times!

Something pretty incredible happens around the third time, particularly if you’re taking notes. Now, I’m not saying you need to watch it five times in just one sitting. But, try to watch it at least 3x in one sitting (and take notes!).

The video is ONLY 2 minutes so you’d be INVESTING 6 minutes to alter/shift/change direction of your life (if that is what you’re looking to do.

Enjoy!

Procrastination and the Monkey Brain

This should help you understand the forces at play that both control and direct your behavior and subconscious thinking as it relates to getting things done and procrastination. While the presentation itself could use a little improvement, the message is great. Notice how many times he mentions “HABIT” toward the end.

A few key points, the importance of visualizing the outcome and even the steps being completed! The idea of thinking about thinking (meta-cognition). Planning for resources and the process not just the goals. Recognizing and anticipating setbacks and roadblocks – actually, planning for failure and knowing how you are going to respond!

Finally, the ability to recognize there is no perfect time to BEGIN! To get STARTED! Whether it’s giving money to charity or writing your book or planning your goals for the upcoming year or quarter. NOW is always the best time and he shares a Napoleon Hill quote to underscore that.

Enjoy!

Are your Habits Aligned with your Dreams for Tomorrow?

The above video and corresponding post was originally published on 4/20/2014 – years ago.

Steph Curry has now willed his team to multiple NBA FINALS AND he managed to WIN (by vote) the league’s MVP award (for regular season play).

On his march to the NBA finals, Curry has shattered every 3 point record that’s existed in league history–and the playoffs aren’t done yet!

Pay special attention to the statement,

“I knew he was going to be a future NBA superstar and here’s how I knew that, it was all because of his work habits.” And, it gets better from there… at one point the voice over guy explains how AFTER practice, Curry would not leave until he swished five free throws in a row. Do you know how hard that is? The moral of that story is that success is NOT an accident, success is a CHOICE…”

YOU can take if from there… enjoy this video/ post and the NBA playoffs 2015 ; )

>>>>>Original Post below
Happy Easter!

SUCCESS IS NO ACCIDENT.

This applies to whatever you are interested in becoming great at!

And, speaking of great— this is a short video that beautifully illustrates the power of habit (that seemingly magical force that has the ability to take what was, at first, difficult (driving, shooting a basketball, playing piano, tying your shoes) and, over time, through diligent practice and repetition, make it easier… seemingly effortless.

“Habit is, as it were, a second nature.” ~Cicero.

The highest form of competence is a state of natural mastery (in developmental circles it is called unconscious competence), where once there have been many thousands of hours of practice, it’s actually harder for a person to err than performing the skill/task correctly. In fact, I believe Tony Robbins cites a story about Larry Bird who was once filming a commercial and was asked to miss a basketball shot badly— unfortunately, he kept making his shots.

THE REAL TAKE-AWAY
The ultimate take-away is actually far more compelling than “success is no accident” — the real gem here is everyone (YOU) has this built-in, all powerful achievement device, a gift really — and that is the ability to develop any habit necessary to help them achieve any goal or to help them realize their vision of success.

Ask Stephen Curry. ; )

And, it’s worth asking yourself, what habit (link to a free habit building template) you are trying to develop? How are you developing it?

There is no Elevator to Success… You Have to Take the Stairs

Motivational Master, Zig Ziglar outlines (brilliantly) the steps you must take to achieve the things you want in life!

Great story about his wife and how great patience and “taking steps” is essential whether it’s dating or climbing the steps of success.

“You gotta climb the steps… you can’t skip them” ~Zig Ziglar