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.

 

“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

Sam Says: My Philosophy for a Happy Life, Sam Berns (10/23/96 – 1/1014)

What a guy!

Sam, YOU are the man… Thank you! What an inspiring young man!

You are/were the perfect example of how anyone can overcome ANY obstacle. You taught us where to put our attention, energy and focus. You understood the importance of setting goals, not letting circumstances dictate your attitude and the value of positive relationships.

The thing you (the reader) should know is this, Sam insisted that above all, he was HAPPY! Yet, here was a guy suffering from an incurable, debilitating disease.

HAPPY.

“I’m HAPPY!” He would say again and again – and that he wants to change the world. The funny thing about changing the world (as I’m sure you recognize) is you first have to change yourself, then influence another– and, another and so on. The process is rather slow to start but catches steam pretty quickly. With 2 Million plus views – his message isn’t going unnoticed.

Sam’s Secrets to a HAPPY LIFE:

#1) Focus on things he CAN DO vs. the things he can’t do
He might not be able to ride a roller coaster but he could read comic books
He might not be running a marathon but he could watch his favorite sports teams
He couldn’t carry a snare drum but they found a way to work around the obstacle!

Q: What do you want to accomplish and think you can’t because of a “real” or made up obstacle?

#2) Surround yourself with people you want to be around
Sam recognized and appreciated his supportive family and friends.
He loved his great friends and called themsleves “band geeks”
He would insist that the music they created together was bigger than any disease and allowed him to transcend his condition
this happened BECAUSE of other people – great relationships!
MUSIC served as an escape and made him feel good.

Q: What are you doing to appreciate and express love for your family and closest friends? How are you acknowledging and appreciate your mentors and community?

#3) Keep moving forward.
Sam shared a Walt Disney quote “we keep moving forward opening new doors and doing new things.” Sam believed keeping your eyes on the horizon helped to keep his spirits up. Perhaps it was an upcoming family trip or ball game.

Now, there may be some “confused” people who might judge this mindset and accuse it of not being present or in the “now” (not zenlike perhaps) if he’s constantly looking forward. However, they would be a bit off base since one of the great values in setting goals is it helps to bring your present into focus and alignment. For instance, if I have a marathon I’m looking forward to my present will be more focused on good choices. And, there is another terrific benefit. With any future event, the seed of “HOPE” is always planted and this helps us through those moments of great challenge. As Sam said, “A bright future ahead may get me through some difficult times.”

Always remember, where there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.

Sam’s words again, “I always try to have something to look forward to.”

Q: “what are you looking forward to?”

Finally, Sam insists that YOU shouldn’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself… accept it /acknowledge it and then move past it. “Being brave isn’t supposed to be easy.”

“I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself.
I surround myself with people i want to be with.
and i keep moving forward!”

Finally, Sam ends it with this little gem and you get a sense just how he looks forward to events and leave’s us with,
“Never miss a party if you can make it!”

One Day To Live, The Immaterrial and an Exercise of a Lifetime

It’s great to hear that you have your “dream” list of goals and material “toys”. It’s pretty exciting to think about the big house you will own and the 4 high performance or luxury cars, maybe even that ridiculous 135 ft yacht, etc. And, there is no reason you shouldn’t have that list. But, there is a different list…

Do me (and you) a FAVOR right now. Consider for a moment, what you would do if you found out you had only ONE day to live. Do you have any idea how you’d spend it? And, here’s the kicker, with WHO would you spend those last precious hours and minutes?

You see, as unfortunate a scenario as that might be, it takes the often muddied waters of our priorities and values and bring them to the fore with pristine clarity. The fact is, your dream mansion would be worthless, your luxury cars or yacht would all have no redeeming value as you said your final goodbyes.

My guess is this; upon finding out you had only A SINGLE DAY TO LIVE, you’d be immediately reaching out to the one’s you love the most. You’d be sharing your deepest feelings of gratitude for their love and friendship and support over the years.

In short you’d dive into LOVE and GRATITUDE. Love for all those who’ve supported you throughout the years and gratitude for the opportunities and relationships that enriched your life.

One day to live would mean
No BullSh*t….  No wasted time
No fake gestures… little to no concern about what other people think

One day to live would mean:
Focusing on the people you love. Sharing your most meaningful thoughts and ideas.
You’d probably identify some regrets and missed opportunities for time squandered—for losing focus on what was truly important in your life. You’d probably even do some last minute mending of fences and going out of your way to reconcile— to leave this world in peace.

The Reward?
If you have truly processed this mental exercise for all that it’s worth you will have a great idea of WHO and WHAT is most important to you and WHY

Create that list now. Who are the people? What are they experiences and why are they meaningful. Have there been opportunities lost? What are they, can you re-write the outcome. It all begins with clarity.

Expectations or Reality?

Great lesson from Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People) about self-fulfilling prophecy and human potential. If you are a PARENT, COACH, TEACHER – basically, ANYONE who deals with kids, you can NOT afford to miss this message. I’ve personally witnessed so many teachers and parents unfortunately limit their kids’ with unintended and believed to be innocent statements.

Notice in this video the deep significance and impact of OUR/YOUR “FRAMING” present “REALITY” whether it’s social or even personal, (You talking to yourself).

The gist is really this; ANYONE’S POTENTIAL is as much their “REALITY” as their past behavior. To put this another way, when you belittle another (OR, more likely yourself) you not only inhibit that potential for growth you dangerously shift/alter and change your present reality by altering your FUTURE expectations.

Since NOW is the only moment YOU, Continue reading

Guest Post: Kill Your Inner Cynic

“What is a cynic?
A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

I read a magazine article today about cynicism, and it really got me thinking. The author basically stated that the reason that men fail in their endeavors is an abundance of cynicism. And of course the cynics in us all are automatically skeptical of this statement, but he further goes on to ask us to stop and see if we can think of ONE successful cynic. Just one. It’s damn near impossible.

Incredibly successful people, whether they’re actors, entertainers, athletes or just general moguls, all share one thing: a sincere belief in themselves and in other people. It’s not enough just to be self-confident and self-sufficient. To be successful also requires that you sincerely believe in the good of mankind.
Continue reading

10 Great Success Lessons from a Legend: Coach John Wooden

“Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to become the best at what you are capable of becoming.”

~ John Wooden

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Whether you like basketball or even know what a basketball is, chances are you would have been moved and inspired by this man! Up until his death at the age of 99 in 2010, John Wooden was regarded a quick wit and sage to many players, coaches and friends who sought out his friendship and counsel. To give you a little flavor, here’s another quote from the same article referenced above.

“When asked about the keys to successful aging, Coach was quick to respond: stay busy, stay active, enjoy every day like it is your masterpiece, have some variety and try to learn something new every day,” Castel said. “One of Coach’s famous quotes, ‘When I am through learning, then I am through,’ illustrates his lifelong commitment to learning.”

“Make every day your masterpiece!?”

I almost let the brilliance of that comment escape me. It sounds too cliché, right? “Make every day your masterpiece.” Wow! That is super powerful. If I could only possess that type of presence, that type of awareness — to make each encounter, each moment of each day a masterpiece. In order for each day to be a masterpiece, each moment would have to be a masterpiece. By definition that is what a masterpiece is, right? All pieces/component parts masterfully interwoven to produce magnificence? I ask you, just what affect would that have on my life’s outcome?

And, “Lifelong commitment to learning.” Sound familiar?

Based on the above statements, I think it’s obvious why I’ve taken some time to spotlight the “Wizard of Westwood.” Certainly, a site like this, dedicated to success philosophy, is going to harmonize with so many of coach’s philosophies.

Yes, the “coach” is synonymous with “Success.” In fact, you’ll recall that in “The 3 C’s of Succcess,” he is referenced for his storied commitment and direct study of success as well as his 14-year refinement of his “SUCCESS PYRAMID.”

woodenpyramidjpg

Take notice! At a relatively young age the Coach started to ASK questions — he wanted to understand SUCCESS better. In fact, he cites a story where his math teacher forced the class to consider what success meant to them (sound familiar?). It was a profound moment in young Wooden’s life and he never forgot it. What is success? He wondered. As a young teacher he became disillusioned by seeing the pressures and expectations certain parents put on their kids if they didn’t receive an “A” or a “B.”

Those judgments he felt were hurtful, limiting, and in some cases unfair. He thought long and hard about success and what it ought to be — what the definition should be. Sound familiar? (See 3 C’s).

So, he ultimately settled on this definition, believing it provides everyone equal footing. In many ways his definition is attributed to this poem, which he often cites…

At God’s footstool, to confess, 
A poor soul knelt and bowed his head.
”I failed,” he cried. The master said,
”Thou didst thy best. That is success.”

Widely regarded as the best college basketball coach of all time and  named the “Coach of the Century” by ESPN. John Wooden had a knack for cutting to the core issue, focusing on fundamentals and expertly dealing with different and difficult players – their unique personalities, star egos — and all the while forging character. In short, he was a remarkable coach. His methods earned his teams unparalleled success. In 70-71,71-72 his teams went a perfect 30-0, winning back-to back NCAA championships. Only a few coaches have ever had one undefeated season. In fact, during a 12-year stretch, he won an astonishing 10 national championships

Here are a few quick lessons I’ve learned from his many insights:

1. Ask questions and focus upon what you want to master.
He elected to ask questions and focus on success and therefore came to know success. If you become what you think about most of the time, what better concept to focus upon, contemplate and learn about than success? He spent 14 years — YES, 14 YEARS — developing a success pyramid. How many DAYS have you thought about your definition of success and its component parts?

2. Life is a TEAM Sport.
Wooden embraced diversity and worked to find all players’ strengths.

3. Don’t treat everyone the same.
To COACH effectively you don’t treat everyone the same. Everyone responds differently. Some require encouragement and some require increased pressure and challenge. Same goes for management.

4. Concentrate on what you can control.
Coach would never let his teams dwell on the opposition. They remained focused on what they could control — mainly…

5. Practice Fundamentals FIRST and LAST.
He was legendary for grinding even the best players on the basics. He knew they could do fancy dunks — but could they hit a clutch free throw or bank shot when it counted? Do you know what your fundamentals are?

6. Moderate and Simplify.
Wooden exemplified this on the court and off with his simple demeanor and tremendous humility.

7. Focus on effort not the result.
Knowing that practicing fundamentals takes time, he was concerned solely with effort and commitment, understanding that success is a byproduct of said constant effort.

8. Quality Leadership and management require teaching.
Effective teaching requires coaching. Effective coaching requires caring and caring requires listening! Even today, ex-players recall his impact because he cared and took the time to listen and teach.

9. Balance is everything.
He said this often — balance in life and balance on the court. He put balance only second to LOVE. Balance is everything. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” This, in essence, is balance; controlled action in all areas of life.

10. Love Rules.
See above. He used to say “the purpose of discipline isn’t to punish but to correct.” With love in his heart and by always seeking to measure intent and effort first, his players would quickly align with the teams goal — a national championship. They never feared or second-guessed his intentions.

So, when you combine all his methods, it becomes fairly easy to see why he has been so successful on and off the basketball court.

Thank you Coach! All the best Sir! Thanks so much for your tremendous gifts — your thoughtful consideration and study of SUCCESS has no doubt made many a person’s path more swift and assured. We are all likely to go farther faster because you have contributed so generously. We have indeed been fortunate to benefit from your wisdom.

Continued peace, health and happiness.

~MWS

Note: Be sure to watch this feature TED talk Wooden gave at the age of 91 about success. RIP Coach. You’ve left us all a little wiser and we can never repay you (the way you would have wanted it- see #10 below).

TED TALK -> http://bit.ly/9ji96g (priceless wisdom coming from the Coach himself)

ESPN Glenn Liebman Fav Quotes

CERTAINTY and FAILURE

toaster

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

~Clint Eastwood

Seems we all want a guarantee these days.

Similar to the microwave ‘complex’ (post) the majority of people seem to fear failure. They seek certainty. Who can blame them? Unfortunately, the problem with certainty is it simply doesn’t exist- not in this world. Don’t take my word for it. Consider this quote straight out of Wikipedia, “It is widely held that certainty is a failed historical enterprise.” How good is that?

The absence of any certainty creates FEAR.

(Zig Ziglar acronym for FEAR is; False Evidence Appearing Real) which prevents people from trying new ideas, learning new things and often times even pursuing their dreams. Simply put, FEAR can cripple one’s ability to create their ideal future.

Fear is the path to the dark side
Fear leads to anger
Anger leads to hated
Hate leads to suffering

~Yoda

Have you ever considered what the opposite of SUCCESS is. Remember, it’s probably best to have a definition of success and preferably not some trite little slogan like “to have a lot of money and a lot of friends”. I humbly recommend you figure out that definition prior to attempting to understand its opposite. (see earlier post).

So what is failure and what is its definition? (a good question indeed) Typically, students tell me failure equals the opposite of success. But, we all wondered collectively, could that really be the opposite of success?

Consider Thomas Edison and his 10,000 + failures to develop the light bulb. Had he not “failed” so many times he wouldn’t have realized the end result – the incandescent light bulb. No, “failure” you should be VERY HAPPY to note is NOT the opposite of success.

I came upon a great answer many years back in one of my early ‘Success Skills’ classes. A wonderful Hispanic girl, I can’t recall her name, provided an answer so profound I nearly fell down. “Hopelessness” she declared with a sense of pride. I was so blown way. “That is it!” Of course, who could possibly become a success if they are hopeless? Without hope there is no possible way to succeed! And, with hope all things are possible.

I strongly encourage you to always maintain a sense of hope. Hope is both a thought and an emotion only YOU can control! Typically, when one feels hopeless they are forecasting a dismal future. They are leaving the NOW, the present moment and putting their attention and focus (even using their imagination toward an image or an outcome that is totally discouraging). The ‘reality’, of course, is they have the ability to use those same ‘mental tools’ to project from a hopeful perspective and to positively envision a victorious outcome just as they might a discouraging one.

Often times, hopelessness arises from the absence of certainty. Since we now understand certainty to be nothing more than an illusion we can feel liberated rather than discouraged! If there is no certainty – you have nothing to fear. GO FOR IT! Those who are successful are not only the people who have failed multiple times, they are the same brave souls who recognize there are no guarantees! That success is a process and failure is a requirement for success.

When one can accept these truths; that failure is a prerequisite for success and that certainty is an illusion, they are likely to find the route to success much more enjoyable and ‘arrive’ far more quickly.

You are encouraged to move forward bravely. To use your powers of imagination to aid you in the attainment of your goals and not to let fear or uncertainty prevent your from taking those critical initial steps. (see Belief Tree post below).

~MWS

P.S.  This will be the last month to download the full version of “The 3 C’s of SUCCCESS” the success ebook at no cost. The Book is going to print next month and the download version will then be abreviated. Be sure to download and share the link with your loved ones while the full copy is available at no cost.

All the best. Enjoy!