The Confidence Trap (Why I Stopped Trying to Build Self-Confidence)

confidence levelsI have spent a great deal of my life trying to be more confident.

I bought plenty of self-help books, attended many a seminar and even worked with coaches of all types to change beliefs, build my confidence, boost my self-esteem, improve my self-image, etc.

I used to be so insecure inside that I would be rude and nasty to people when I was in my twenties to hide my lack of confidence, especially in social situations. I just didn’t know what to do and because I lived in fear, I either lashed out to protect myself or closed up and was aloof.

I didn’t realize this about myself until recently, because I was afraid to admit how much time and money I had spent on building up my confidence. I was still covering over my desire to be self-confident and feeling like a loser for it.

I realized that for the last 15 years or so, I have been working towards an exalted and ever-living state of confidence where I would never feel fear or insecure again. Though that state doesn’t seem to exist for a human being, having a life experience rooted in self-confidence more than self-doubt, I have found to be possible, and what I have been experiencing now.

But I never anticipated the path to get here would have been what it was.

Through the years, I learned skills on how to appear more confident and fake it, to where many wouldn’t know that I lacked confidence, except for the fact that underneath felt extremely unconfident.

Because I wanted to be LIKE THEM.

When They Have Confidence, But You Don’t

I wanted confidence just like all those famous actors have, or sports stars, or top businessmen appeared to have. Or people around me that I thought were better than me, had achieved more, had more money, more fame, more women, more XYZ.

I mean don’t they have it all?

They are ALWAYS confident and have figured out the secrets, haven’t they?

That is what I believed and my projection onto those celebrities, stars and top one-percenters in their given field warped my view.

What is actually true is that the idea is just mental projection of my (socially conditioned) own, that’s it. None of it is real.

(Eureka!)

I also realized that the more I work on being confident, the more I stay stuck in always striving to be confident. Even if I am more confident, it is like I am an infinitely small step away from it, just by seeking it.

Never there, always seeking VS. “I am already there,” therefore the seeking is over.

It may sound very zen and paradoxical, and it is to the cognitive mind (at least to mine).

It never made sense in my deeper experience of life. This is NOT something I found I could change by practice some positive affirmations or doing deep-belief change work.

It was my serendipitous tripping over the Inside-Out Understanding, that helped to create a major shift in my level of consciousness, that had nothing to do with removing limiting beliefs or negative thoughts, or building confidence through all the way I had tried before. I had what I call a “crossover experience” which started at the beginning of the summer, with what the true nature of self-confidence really is.

How I Found Out that Confidence Doesn’t Need to Be Developed

I am one of those people who has traditionally been very hard on himself, like many of us are. Maybe you have been hard on yourself like I have been, too.

I get it, we were raised by people that were hard on themselves, that is how we learn it.

It’s not that I have been completely unconfident in every area of my life.

Where I have been easily confident is in areas like playing music/guitar, public speaking, and transformational coaching. These things I am fairly confident about, but that is based on my belief of my practice and skills development in these areas.

The distinction I am making here is the difference between being confident in our abilities (competence) and being confident in ourselves no matter what the area of life or skillset. Not assigning value to our true-self worth based on skills, what we’ve acquired or not, even who we think we are by role, age, stage or any other descriptor we can think of.

I am talking about fundamental, true inner-confidence.

We will never access true self-confidence when we believe confidence comes from what we do, how we act or what we have.

As someone who is not fundamentally confident in themselves might say or rationalize something like:

“I don’t know how to sell, I just don’t feel confident these days.”

We assign our inner confident to lack of competence in a skill.

“People keep telling me I’m good at writing but that’s all I know.”

We reason constantly that because we don’t know how to do other things, even though we are good at one thing, that we aren’t worth much.

Or even because we have something like…

“I’m feeling so good/confident/worthy because I have a great relationship, if I didn’t have Steve/Sara I don’t know what I’d do. I’m glad this relationship is there for me.”

And even…

“I’m feeling so confident today because my life is great. Everything is in order and that’s why I’m brimming with confidence!”

(By the way:

Confidence = Self-Esteem = Self-Worth.

They are all really the same thing.)

What you have confidence in here is your skills, something you have or something external to you, and not from inside yourself.

This is a backwards model, that will leave you starving for confidence forever. This is a simple, but a very important distinction to make.

So what is the path of least resistance to true self-confidence that only comes from within and isn’t externally based?

The Key: Self-Confidence Is Innate and Natural

Whenever we are seeking to build our confidence, we can’t be confident. We never can be – it is simple logic on one level, but it goes deeper than that.

I like to call this “profound logic” because it makes sense to both the intellectual mind, but also impacts the soul when we feel it on a deeper level that transcends everyday emotions.

When we are truly confident we are not thinking, ever, about confidence itself. We just are doing what we are doing, in the flow of the moment.

People may say “wow he’s really confident I like him.” But more often than not you ask someone who is confident what they are thinking, they are never thinking “I’m so confident.”

What I saw what actually the thought itself “I’m not confident enough and need to build confidence” generates that lack of confidence, purely and simply. It does not come from having a lack of confidence that isn’t real.

Only the thought form “I’m not confident enough” generates that experience. It may not be those exact words and something it is just a feeling underneath, but that feeling is fundamentally a thought-generated experience.

It isn’t real.

It may seem stupidly-simple, but this was something I missed for years AND YEARS.

Even until a few months ago.

It was a profound awakening to see this.

My mind still goes into these bouts of un-confident thinking. But I now know without a doubt it is just thinking that has nothing to do with self-confidence, which is quite simply a lack of this kind of thinking.

Accessing true, innate self-confidence is an UN-THINKING.

No one who is confident sits there and thinks, “Damn I’m confident, if I keep thinking I’m confident then I’ll be even more confident!”

It just doesn’t work that way. The person we may label confident (or when others may label us as confident) is just doing what they are doing, being who they are being. They probably have little or no awareness of how confident they are or not.

This natural self-confidence is the kind of confidence that gets shaken when a top tennis player who has the top skills in the world, is mentally down in a match because they are caught in their thoughts, and looking at the circumstances of what’s happening in the game to determine their confidence and performance.

That is externally dependent confidence, and it is not true confidence.

Resolving the Confidence Struggle

The top areas I have struggled with my confidence are women I’m very attracted to (especially physically – though admittedly many men seem to struggle with this one), being able to make money on my own (not via a job and in my own business through sales) and lead-singing.

Again, I was assigning my self-worth to how competent I was at these things, and confusing the issue of what self-confidence really was.

No wonder I could never have it!

Magically, my confidence has risen without me doing anything.

Feeling more self-confident by not assigning my confidence to how good I am at these things, makes me naturally better at them and able to learn and integrate skillsets quicker, because I am more relaxed, in the flow and operating with a clear mind. My mind isn’t jammed up with thoughts of needing to build up my self-confidence.

It seems that I have come to a place to stop trying to generate confidence and trying so hard in these areas, or at all. Because I finally realized that it isn’t about anything outside of me that can generate self-confidence.

It is still an unfolding process, as I am so used to working on confidence, that those thought-grooves geared towards building confidence are still quite active.

But they just don’t affect me in the same way at all.

The Crossover Experience

This is why this isn’t a belief change, but a shift in consciousness, because the thoughts are still there, but they don’t affect in the same way. I see the nature of the illusion of these thoughts that tell me I need to be more confident and that they themselves generate this experience.

If I sound like I am saying the same thing over and over, I really want this point to shine through.

This is what we’d call an major insight, or what I’d call a crossover. When we can’t unsee something and though the thoughts are still there, we can’t go back to seeing things like we did before. Much like when it was discovered the world was not longer flat, but round, you can’t unknow that.

Like in the movie The Matrix and he eats the red pill. He can’t go backwards in his consciousness. He can’t unknow what he now knows.

That is how I define a “crossover experience.”

Now, when I get caught in thoughts of self-doubt, all I have to do is simply look in the other direction away from the confidence seeking thought system, instead of trying to think myself to confidence, which has never worked in the long run.

There are certainly is something to having a skillset/competence in my examples areas of talking to beautiful women, making money as an entrepreneur and singing in order to get results (and really any area in life) but they don’t have anything to do with my fundamental self-confidence.

Lack of fundamental self-confidence also affects the performance of how I do in any of these areas, because the more relaxed and clear I am (confident) the easier things go.

The more tight and tense I am, the worse things tend to go. This has everything to do with our state of mind (I like to call it “mindstate”) and how that affects our performance in any given area.

On top of that, any skillsets are much more easily learned and integrated when we understand how to access natural confidence. Because we are relaxed, in the flow, and present without being distracted by our own worry with thoughts concerned with confidence.

Unthinking Your Way to Confidence

What I finally have discovered after 15+ years of trying to build my confidence, the thinking that has been driving this lack of confidence isn’t real.

I thought I had to do something to have self-confidence was part of the system that kept my lack of it in place.

Like Albert Einstein said –

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Truth.

My believing this line of thinking, that I needed to build confidence, and that it wasn’t inherent for me (or all of us) has kept my mind stirred up all these years, and away from the natural confidence we all have within, as a default, innate state.

Those times when I actually did feel confident, I had no idea why and then would struggle to keep the feeling there. Which eventually would go away because I was creating more thinking that just kept me away from it.

More thought confusion, and layers on top of layers creating a thin but ever present barrier between me and my natural confidence underneath.

“See” It, Undo It

What I’ve learned is that if I simply see that this is how the thoughts create my experience of a lack of confidence (insert money fear, low self-esteem, poor self-image, etc) – I can be free of it.

By “seeing it” I mean one a deeper level of reality creation, not just “oh yeah that makes sense” but more like “OH SHIT, THAT ENTIRE THOUGHT STREAM CREATED MY LIFE EXPERIENCE! WOAH!”

On a level of profound impact, that can’t be un-seen or un-known.

It is the kind of seeing that hits you in the gut, in awe. Not just some intellectual understanding.

This is where when I work with very heady/intellectual people (I used to fall in this category) and they just think they’ve got it and want to move onto more information. They want more advice that they think will move them forward, when it is actually a lack of confidence and clarity that is really stopping them.

They are not slowing down enough to get the insight they need to transform their world from a lack of confidence into the possibility of experiencing true self-confidence from here on out.

What’s more is that I don’t have to think those thoughts. It’s not “don’t think those thoughts” but the fact that they aren’t real and I DON’T HAVE TO think them.

This is a very fine, but powerful point. I find that giving people instructions like “don’t think that thought” is never nearly as powerful as giving them the choice that they don’t have to think the thought.

Same goes for me. Tell me what to do, and I want to tell you off.

Give me the choice, and I am open to the option and probably will take it.

I can be a stubborn bastard – part of what brings you this post today has been my many year struggle with confidence and self-worth.

When my mind settles down by seeing the nature of how our experience is created by thought (both conscious and unconscious) clarity comes forth. As does well-being, peace, ease and yes…even natural self-confidence.

Without doing a thing.

The Bottom Line: We Are Made of Confidence

That is why I say we are made of confidence, it’s part of the natural space of our mind when it’s still.

No, we don’t have to meditate to have a still mind. You can if you want, but you don’t have to.

Do I feel unconfident still? Yes it happens of course, but it’s simply because I am caught in a thought-storm which would have me believe I am not confident.

It will resolve naturally if I let it, and look back to the direction of how my experience of my life is a thought-generated one.

That feeling of unconfidence isn’t real, because it comes from thoughts that aren’t real. It sure feels real, but it is not.
It’s a real mirage.

How do I know? Time and again I show myself that if I simply do not believe those thoughts to be true, it all disappears. I’m back at my default state of natural confidence.

Self-doubt and a lack of confidence is becoming like a whisper of the past to me now. But the more I realize that it’s all made up, and that there is nothing to do to be confident, that it is natural for all of us underneath any thought storms we might have.

So when learning a new subject or skill, any thought that brings in self-doubt or judgment about how well you’re doing or not, is just getting in the way of the natural confidence you have underneath.

Knowing how to access your natural self-confidence by unthinking also makes learning a given skill (like public speaking) much easier and faster integration, without thought clouding the mind and affecting your confidence to learn.

It really can be that simple when I say:

Like stardust, we are made of confidence.

This was the key I was looking for that I thought was outside of me, or that confidence had to be transferred in. All along it was right under my nose.

Special thanks and massive gratitude to those teachers, coaches and mentors that have helped me really see all of this. That includes Michael NeillAmy Johnson, and those spiritual teachers no longer with us Alan Watts and Sydney Banks, founder of The Three Principles understanding.

Don’t look outside yourself, look within and unthink your way to confidence.

It is there already.

We are made of confidence.

With Love,
David

Living From Your Greatness

greatnessI have been a hardcore self-growth junkie for the last eight years straight.

I’ve seen it all.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I have often found it is easy to want to focus on bettering my weaknesses (aka beat the hell out of myself), break through fears (after which nothing is there to inspire me), and overcoming adversity (now I’ve overcome this one, let’s find another to make me miserable!), than it is to go for living fully form greatness, passion and inspiration.

I have played that game for far too long, and far too many times.  I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this old model of improvement, that is still around and has been ingrained in me.

Can you relate?

What if we switched our primary focus to always looking at what we are great at already, or cultivating more greatness. It doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge our failings…but what would happen if we didn’t focus on always trying to better them?

What if by focusing on our greatness it naturally improved our “weaknesses” too?

We all have greatness in all of us. Yes it is more refined in some that others, because it has been tapped into more often, or practiced more.

I certainly doesn’t mean our own limiting perspectives  barriers, and fears  won’t come up…they will. It means that they come up as part of the path of letting greatness lead and are points of growth and learning, instead of issues to overcome.

Of course there is the flip side too, the airy fairy “positive thinking” only movements, and a lot of poppy Law of Attraction garbage that is riddled with ego-based nonsense that you can have anything you want (as if that would actually bring true joy, having more stuff). You just have to think it and it will manifest like magic. Then happiness just follows.

Bleh.

So here’s the question I have for you:

What will you choose to practice?

Overcoming your “issues” or…

Connecting into the greatness that is already there, that you’ve been ignoring that can naturally help you learn how to lift yourself up to your next level?

When Big Changes Hit You on the Head

Life transition can often come because of a big life event. But it also can hit us more slowly, a deeper feeling that we need to move in a new direction. Or perhaps we’re just getting tired of our current job or pl8662898826_0e8bb783ab_zace in life.

Transition came in a big way for me when my mother got sick over 3 years ago. I left my big city life in NYC, quit my job, said goodbye to my friends and moved back to Colorado.

Very quickly everything was very different. It felt like I had lived on Earth and was transported to Mars.

My living situation went from having my own apartment that I loved, to moving in my parents’ house, feeling just like I did when I was growing up.

I went from having a six-figure job in a hedge fund to living off savings and my first entry into starting my own business.

Not to mention, going from living a metropolitan lifestyle surrounded by skyscrapers (which I got quite used to after living in New York for 10 years) and back to a suburban one with open blue skies.

Believe it or not that was quite a shock to my system.

For 2 years I felt like I couldn’t get my feet on the ground. I was home, but didn’t feel rooted or grounded. I couldn’t because the kid that grew up there, was gone. I was a different person now, transformed by 10 years of city living.

Then my mom died. It was a very hard and sad time and the healing continues from that. She suffered a lot up until then end, and we all suffered with her.

I woke up one day months after she died and decided to quit doing what I hated (which wasn’t making me much money anyways), and to start doing what I loved.  Since then I’ve found my calling for my career as a transformational coach and speaker, and I’ve moved to Denver. A happy medium between New York and my hometown. Things are evolving everyday, I’m happy to say.

When a time of transition hits, it is hard to know what you’ll feel and experience. It is different for everyone. It often feels overwhelming and doubt can take over. It can be very difficult and bumpy.

Yes that is part of the process at times to go through the emotional turbulence, but there’s also the possibility it could be easier than you thought it could be, no matter what the circumstances are.

You can read pop articles and advice on the internet from sites like MSN or Yahoo…some of it might be good…but most of it will be regurgitated tips from some “expert” aka web journalist that they probably got from other articles. But have they been through it?

Maybe, maybe not.

For those of us who have been through big transition know what is feels like from the inside out.  When changes hit that are unexpected it can feel like a rollercoaster ride we’ve never experienced, because no transition is ever the same for anyone. Even in our own life, because the flow of life is ever-changing as are we.

So here are some questions to reflect upon and answer as many as you like below:

1. What has your experience been when big changes in life come your way unexpectedly?

2. Did you see them coming or have a sense of knowing about them beforehand?

3. How did you handle these changes and what did you learn from the process?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, experience and wisdom in the comments below.

-David

Take The Pressure Off Yourself

pressureThe ominous pressure.

To do more. To have more.

More, more, more.

I am very, very susceptible to putting pressure on myself to get things done.

As I come upon 38 years of age, I feel it now more than ever.

And what about you, can you relate to the stress-pressure feeling?

For me, it is both a blessing and a curse.

While it drives me towards success, it also can drive me to the point of exhaustion. It doesn’t lend to the path of least resistance which I believe is the best for taking more efficient action.

For me it feels like a constant, pushing feeling, when I am caught in a pressure trap. As if there’s an inner pressure pushing out of my head, and the pressure inward that tries to push me forward.

I can feel my vitality being squeezed out of my mind, body and soul.

Or it can feel like a hamster in wheel type of energy. In my head, in my chest.

Like today, I have been exhausted from a weekend out and about. I came to realize that yet again, after many months of constant networking and working on new projects, I still feel the impact of that.

I am in a big growth phase of my self-growth and coaching business, I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough. Not uncommon when you are growing your business that is a common feeling to have. No don’t cry any tears for me, seriously.

But still, I am talking about something different here.

This is a feeling I’ve had most of my life. This pressure-beneath-the-surface of always need to be doing something, changing, moving forward and progressing. I love that about myself, because it makes me challenge myself, to keep learning and to go for what I want.

I think it makes me push beyond the status-quo. That’s the story I tell myself, at least.

And yet, I also hate this ambitious, pressuring drive, because I will inevitably burn myself out, take actions that are unnecessary and waste energy. It prevents me from taking right aligned action.

Though I’m a big believer in helping people bust apart limiting beliefs and mindsets, our bodies have limits clearly. Stress takes its toll, energy gets depleted.

I am not saying that putting pressure on oneself is always the primary reason. I am taking this as a slice of life than could be a major player in feeling overwhelmed and/or exhausted. Diet, exercise, sleep and other factors certainly play a role, too.

So what can we do to take the pressure off, that we’ve learned to put on ourselves to get results at the cost of our aliveness and vitality?

Chill – Sit – Wait.

That is right, chill out. Turn off all electronic devices. Get a glass of water, cup of coffee or tea and sit. And wait.

Don’t act on that pressured feeling. Let it runs its course and then act after it subsides. We have to untrain this pressured do-do-do response. Otherwise we keep rewarding ourselves for acting on it and keep the cycle going.

In fact, I am going to take a short break right now as I’m writing this, because my eyes are bugging out of my head, and I’m feeling the pressure to push on through to the finish.

Ok, I’m back. I ate a mango, and a piece of chocolate. Drinking some water.

Look for a better way

By better, I mean more relaxed, more efficient. Things that stop you from spinning your wheels, or doing extra busy work.

Here’s a zany idea: hire a personal virtual assistant (cheap if you go overseas) and teach them to do tasks you don’t want to do. I am talking to everyone here, not just business owners.

Show them how to do things that drive you bat-crap-crazy (thanks Mia Voss) – so you can straight chill and recharge your vitality. So you can focus on expressing your brilliance, instead of keeping up with the mundaine, energy drains that drag down your soul.

Call a friend, ask them to come help you out, or talk to you so you can chill out.

Leverage resources we have in this modern day and age to work for you. And friends, leverage the hell out of them, lean on them.

You see, your time and vitality is important. Important as hell.

Lastly, go with the flow. Surrender to it.

When all else fails, succumbing to your tiredness. Stop working for a while. Clear your schedule. Surrender to the overwhelm.

We are all caught in the drift of life, and so much is out of our control. This even rubs me as I type this, because I help people shift their perspectives in order to gain more personal response-ability, and yet so much is out of our control.

Yes, it is a zen paradox of letting go of control to have more control.

Control over the little channel of life that passes through us, and comes from that which is so much greater than us.

Your life vitality is important, and the pressure to produce and get things done is just chasing the dragon, when your life suffers from it.

When the pressure is on, stop the chase.

Let it go.

If you came this far, you must like what you’ve read, so please click here to share this post on Facebook if you appreciated it.

-David

My Complete Guide To The Best Of Self-Improvement

“These are a Few of My Favorite Things!” – Rogers and Hammerstein

OK, so I lied. There are much more than just a few things here.

There are many, many resources here my friends; 25+ things that are the best of the best in my book.  

I’ve put this together for all of you that arrive here at Everlution.

All of my current top recommended self-development resources live on this page because I can no longer hide them from the world.

I’m going to keep adding to this list, so it’s the most comprehensive guide I can conjure up; and hopefully on the entire web.

Non-Stop Self-Growth for the Last Seven Years Straight

I’ve been a pretty hardcore student of personal development for sevens solid years now.

Though I picked up my first self-help book over seventeen years ago, I didn’t start my active, lifelong student journey until after my transformational coach training, which kicked the doors wide open for me.

From woo-woo methods to scientifically-backed psychological approaches I’ve tried many, many things in self-growth since then.

Some of you might be newer to the self-growth game, so a warm welcome to you, as you read this.  Others of you are certainly veterans on the scene, probably having done your own studies and practices for many more years than I have.

Wherever you’re at in your self-growth journey, I sincerely hope you come across some gems here in this guide that will shape your life for the better.

[Read more…]

A Counter-Intuitive Way To Increasing Your Productivity

increasing productivity - slow down

Time.  The elusive chronological time.

We all want more of it, but it just keeps ticking away.

In recent weeks, I’ve been voraciously interviewing people by phone to find out their concerns, challenges and frustrations in life.

I’ve been doing these to get in touch with current burning challenges and issues, in order to see if there’s a way to serve the world via online personal development programs and one-on-one life coaching.

What I’ve been noticing is a BIG TREND of the amount of overwhelm and lack of time that seems most of us experience in the fast-paced, ever speeding up days.

No surprise there right?

I certainly experience plenty of this myself, though lately I’ve been taking a very different tack in my approach to getting through the seemingly insurmountable pile of obligations constantly coming my way.

[Read more…]

Positive Thinking & Affirmations – Why & When They Don’t Work

positive thinking and affirmations - BS?I’ve used affirmations for years, and I’ve seen many folks teach them.

So do affirmations actually “work”?

Sure they CAN, but you have to define what “they do work” means.  

Do they bring you total success and fulfillment? Hardly.

That’s where we need to define what we mean by affirmations “work”.

Let’s talk about when they “don’t work” first.

When Affirmations Go Wrong

Consider the story from Tom Campbell teacher and author of My Big TOE (Theory of Everything).  He talks about a man that set an intention (an affirmation) of getting $100K.

He wanted it so bad, that’s all he focused on.

Did he get his $100K?  He sure did, after his family died in car accident and he received an insurance check for $100K.

Clearly an affirmation of intention gone wrong.

And what about when they plain and simple just don’t work?  

[Read more…]

Are You Living In A State of FOMO? Banish The “Fear Of Missing Out”

The fear of missing out is BS.

It’s a mind game, that you don’t have to play, anymore.

I love Leo Babuata’s blog Zen Habits. Talk about a modern-day zen master.

I’m sure you’ve probably heard of Zen Habits if you are into blogs on personal well-being and happiness.

Leo recently wrote an article entitled “How To Live Well”.

Leo has learned to write in a refreshingly simple and direct way that really gets me into the moment when I read his posts.

I want to focus on the point he made here especially on the “fear of missing out” which is all prevalent in our culture.

Especially with all celebrity/star/wealth focus of the media and too much success/money focus.

I fall prey to this line of thinking all the time. But I’ve learned to identify the conversation and keep dropping it as I go.

Here’s what Leo writes in his article:

“Be driven by joy and not fear. People are driven by the fear of missing out, or the fear of change, or the fear of losing something.

These are not good reasons to do things. Instead, do things because they give you or others joy.

Let your work be driven not because you need to support a lifestyle and are afraid of changing it, but by the joy of doing something creative, meaningful, valuable.” From the post “How To Live Well“.

Here’s something I’ve been dealing with lately, that is an easy sign that we are living from a fear of missing out, not doing enough, not being enough compared to someone else.

Don’t get trapped in your comparison state of mind.

When we are caught up in a noisy, comparing, petty mind-space, the comparison conversation almost always shows up. It’s judging and harsh of both ourselves and others.

“If I could only have what she has! Look how great she looks and that guy she’s with!”

“Man, if I could only have as successful of a business as his. He’s got it all.”

“How can I get my body into shape like that? I wish I wasn’t me right now!”

Or ever had a friend say “You should have been there, you really missed out!”  Or perhaps you’ve even said it to people, I know I have.

We’ve all been brought up under the same comparison-mind programming.

What you or your friend probably meant to say was “I wish you were there.”

All lies, lies, lies…lies of the mind.

So stop comparing, already.

While it’s true you may not have what they have externally, when trapped in comparison mind you are projecting what you think their lives are like in comparison to yours.

You really have no idea.

What’s more, is that you are literally continuing to create your fear-based reality, through belief filters that you think are you, but are really just your beliefs.

Plain and simple.

And very limiting beliefs at that. Maybe it’s time to stop that negative thinking and comparison, eh?

Here’s a new story you can tell yourself: “This is my life, right here, right now. It’s all I’ve got. I’m just projecting mind garbage onto the world and other people, and it’s just hurting me, no one else.” Don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging with just that.

I’ve got some things in mind here to help guide you away from your FOMO state of mind.

So how do we shift from this fear-based state of missing out, into something more useful and enjoyable?

1) RECOGNIZE! Recognize that this comparison conversation is not us, but a conditioned, survival-based way of thinking is the first step.

If you aren’t familiar with the practice of self-awareness or mindfulness, this will be difficult to do, AT FIRST.

However practicing things like mindfulness meditation, will help you getting accustomed to observing your thoughts and feelings that generate this state of fear of missing out, change or losing something.

2) SELF-ACCEPTANCE TIME. Learning to love yourself and treating yourself with compassion has got to be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things to do.

We are so conditioned to hate ourselves, to compare ourselves, and to buy the next product or service designed to make us “feel good” for a short time, and then it’s back to square one, or lower.

Learning the art of compassion and self-acceptance, being gentle and open with yourself, especially when you are feeling anxious, depressed or not good enough will make all the difference.

It should be taught in Kindergarten, seriously, I’m not joking here.

Think of how different the world would be if this was taught at a young age all across the world.

fear of missing out

Photo: mikebaird

3) WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO, CAPTAIN? You are the captain of the ship of your life. Oh Captain, my Captain.

It’s a vast and beautiful ocean of life out there – at least that’s how I see it – and I didn’t believe this in the past.

There will be storms and waves and sharks circling your boat and all kinds of challenges.

But you can get to where you want to go. You can reset your course at anytime you get lost, back towards where you want to go.

You have to explore the possibility of what you can do, not what you can’t.

Can’t is boring.  Can is sexy.

How you can collaborate, instead of compete. How you can learn, grow and give instead of take, hide and play it small.

4) FOLLOW YOUR BLISS. LIKE, RIGHT NOW. The legendary Joseph Campbell coined the phrase “follow your bliss” that so many love, including me.

As I write this post, I truly am following my bliss. You better believe that fear conversations come up as I write this like “will this be any good?” or “will people think I’m a nutcase for talking about self-acceptance and love?”

Those thoughts, matter not in terms of my bliss.

So take action based on where you want to go, while working on your self-awareness and acceptance everyday, and acting in spite of any fear of missing out, not doing it right or limiting beliefs that show up.

And if you can take action yet, don’t worry about it. Maybe you need to play in the space of possibility for a while before taking action.

But more often that not, taking a small action and then another, builds up a momentum and new space of being.

Something simple like picking up the phone to talk to that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while; sending an email to reach out to someone who you think is “better than you” and wouldn’t speak to you; or taking a step outside of your house to go to that place or event you’ve been afraid of going to.

Whatever it is that when you think you can’t do, that smallest step could take your life in a direction you never thought possible.

We need possibilities to show us where to go, but without action and energy applied, nothing will manifest. It’s all hocus-pocus until we act.

You can recondition yourself out of this type of comparison and fear of missing outthinking. If I’m doing it, you can.

And many others have, too.

So banish the fear of missing out, and start sailing where you want to go, Captain.

The Process Of Living A Happy Death

the process of death and dying

Photo: {link url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/” target=”_blank”}woodleywonderworks{/link}

Everyday I wake up I think about living and what’s next to do.

I stress and dream and push and relax and excite and dip down under my soul and…go through the myriad of emotions we all go through in this human-being-cycle of existence.

But it’s quite possible I might not live much longer, just as it’s possible as it is I’ll live to 80 or 90.

I just don’t know, and really it’s quite boring to think about how long I’ll live and when I’ll die, then to live right now, while feeling that sense of death and impermanence pervade me.

My favorite member of the iconic rap group, The Beastie Boys, died today.

His name was Adam Yauch and he went by “MCA”. He had a smooth, yet deep scratchy voice that had a lot of power and soul.

From what I understand, he was an incredibly kind man, and certainly he was a great talent, now lost.

When I awoke this morning I certainly didn’t plan to write this post, and tie in the death of an entertainer into the contemplation of life and death, but alas this is the being I’ve evolved into I suppose.

MCA had hope. Or so it appeared.

He had hope to overcome the cancer in his neck, and in the video below, he was talking about his cancer as just a setback, that it was easily curable, as that was his doctor’s prognosis.

He definitely had the right attitude to beat it from both a healing standpoint, and also from a quality of life standpoint. Unfortunately, it turned out that it wasn’t easy to beat and he’s gone.

Another one in the name of love, as Bono eloquently sings in “Pride”.

While there is sadness and a sense of loss for me with MCAs passing, there’s also acknowledgement of the reality of death as a part of living vitally.

Sound weird. Maybe.

But I’ll tell you why.

With my mother’s death last year involving Lou Gehrig’s disease, I watched her go from hope to despair on a daily basis, as did we all in my family.

We tried all kinds of alternative therapies to help her, but to no avail. I can only barely scratch the surface of imagining what she felt like, and I imagine MCA and his family and friends went through the same roller coaster of emotions.

If you’ve found this post you and your loved ones might be going through the same, and I feel for you as the suffering can be great, but I hope the words I write will inspire you to think in a different way through the pain.

Though MCA’s prognosis was much more hopeful with his cancer than that of my mother’s diagnosis, I can’t help but think about circumstances vs. perspective in this dance of life and death.

What is our underlying attitude from which we live everyday concerning life and death? I believe we all have a choice.

We can believe, shift or let go of virtually any story we like in the process of death and dying.

What story do you want to live from when it comes to life and death?

That life is good, and death is bad?

That you must do everything to avoid death?

Most likely, it’s a mixture of the two, and certainly living to avoid dying, isn’t really living, at least to me.

There are times in my life when I don’t think about death and dying, but lately it’s been crossing my mind a great deal. It just has.

As I sit here and write this on an absolutely beautiful Colorado day, with a clear baby blue sky, blazing bright white sun, and emerald green leaves on tree branches waving in the wind, everything so alive, yet impermanent and transient.

There is an intensity in the aliveness of it all, and also the deep understanding that I die, you die, my cats die, stars die, and that we all die in this impermanent universe we live in.

Yet we were born, and we get to live right now. And infinite things are born and die in the universe.

Existence is actually weirder than non-existence if you think about it. It’s and uber-strange and wonderful feeling, it’s a deeper sense of conscious existence that we can learn to live from whether we are meditating, drinking a glass of water, or itching our butts.

If you haven’t heard of Alan Watts, then I highly recommend you explore his amazing, deep, silly wisdom-spewing soliloquies.

Alan is a self-proclaimed “spiritual entertainer” and not only knows all of the major spiritual traditions, but he has deeply contemplated them along with existence (and non-existence) itself.

When I first heard his talk “Happy Death” about the general Western view of death, is one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever heard.

Along with this attitude of “don’t bring me down”, there can often be this total sense of gloom and doom story in Western culture when people are in the process of dying.

It’s long faces, lots of tears, anger and frustration and sadness. Yes, it’s OK for all that to happen.

But why the focus on it? Why does that seem to be the mainstay of the death process in Western culture?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I now get what the Buddhists mean by attachment to impermanence creating suffering.

Those dang Buddhists…talk about masters of cognitive therapy!

But let’s get into the lightness of death, shall we? Alan’s basic attitude was this:

Why all the seriousness? Don’t you have a big celebration for it? You’re gonna die here and you’re moving on from this world, so let’s party!

Death is not sickness, it is a natural process. Life and death are intertwined. Congratulations, you’re going to die! Liberation! No more worrying about bills and such.

In this talk below, “Happy Death”, Alan explains this celebratory perspective on death.

My favorite illustration of the “down on death” perspective so prevalent in a fundamentally Westernized belief system is the story Alan tells of the dinner party.

Sir Roderick is asked what he thinks about death.

He replies “Oh! I’m perfectly certainly I go to heaven, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy everlasting bliss.

But I wish you wouldn’t indulge in such a depression conversation!”

Can you see and feel the fundamentally different perspective here? Maybe you were lucky enough to grow up with this wider perspective that Alan talks about, I certainly wasn’t.

Of course I’m not nearly as eloquent as Alan was, and he says much, much more in his talks. All I can say is there’s an ease, a softness, jubilation and ultimately a weird feeling combined in one when I ponder my existence.

I can feel the oneness of life and death in the same space with his words.

Now of course Alan speaks mindblowingly on many topics, but listening to his frank words in these talks forever changed me and my perspective on life AND death.

Act as if death doesn’t exist, deny it, repress it, chase the feel good only life…I say that ain’t really living, my friend.

Here’s some more Alan to finish off this little essay, because I think he’s a bad-ass of consciousness.

If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, just leave a comment below this article.

Harnessing The Power Of The Mind

Harnessing the power of the mind allows words to be turned into new realities. In the 20th century, science came to a revolution of thoughts regarding the human brain and mind, because fundamental perspectives changed with the advent of quantum physics.

For years, common thought regarding the brain was what developed as a child stuck with the individual throughout life.

In addition, it was thought that chemicals and neural connections were to doom the human thought process, consciousness, behaviors, habits and ultimate reality.

The idea of free will was ignored for the most part.

Today, new breeds of science like quantum physics, digital physics and even plasma physics offer hope that the mind has the power to influence changes in physical reality.

Harnessing The Power of The Brain

You may find it fascinating to know that all human tissues, including the brain is made of essentially the same ingredients.

Somehow, the cells that make up the brain provide man with conscious thought. While a computer recognizes keystrokes, it is not conscious of what it is receiving.

However, man perceives and processes thoughts with a consciousness that he is doing so.

The brain is made of neurons, specialized cells that grow axons and dendrites. Axons distribute information to other cells while dendrites receive input from the cells.

The communication takes place through chemicals over synapse.

At birth, the average human has 100 billion neurons. Each has already or will soon make connections to help the body to act and the mind receives input.

Neurons map connections during growth based on one’s experience. The mind is not mapped through DNA alone.

Through time as well as repetition, the brain learns connections needed to thrive and function.

A newborn has no sense of location on the skin where touch is happening.

This comes through experience so that every speck of skin learns where it is being kissed or touched. The mind is mapped based on experience.

While babies from birth to six months can perceive vocal inflections of any language, once the child reaches the age of one year, he or she can no longer recognize the sounds of other languages.

The brain has trimmed away neural connections that have not been used repeatedly. For example, those whose primary language is Japanese find it difficult to distinguish between the words rake and lake.

As children they did not need to distinguish between the English L and R sounds and the ability is weeded out.

The weeding out process takes place between ages 0 and 3 as well as during puberty. These periods can affect brain chemistry and habits.

The more neural connects are used, the stronger they become, increasing mind power. Habits are formed.

Tendencies become groves worn into the mind through life experience.

However, this does not mean life is hopeless and the brain fates you to live the life you lead.

Rewriting Your Brain – The Power of the Mind

Scientific experiments with amputees show the mind rewires the brain to feel sensations that would normally be felt in the now missing limb in other parts of the body.

The process is called cortical remapping and works because the brain is “neuroplastic“. This process can even improve the brains of those who have suffered strokes.

The limb is rehabilitated by continuing to use until the brain determines its needs to map the input being received. This has lead to remarkable recovery.

The mind is in a constant state of flux. The brain maps can change based on what people are doing and the areas of the life and body needing most attention.

the power of the mind - how to harness it
Remapping Your Mind

In a 1995 experiment one group of pianist physically practiced 5-fingered piano exercises while another only thought about practicing the same exercise.

Each group was instructed to put their full attention to the exercise, a single note and finger at the time.

Both groups experienced changes in the motor cortex to the same degree.

The mind has power to change the state of the brain.

Because the brain is in constant flux and responds to the environment as well as sensory input on a continual basis. This gives hope to increase the mind power.

Even though modern physics and neurobiology have given great insight into how the mind and brain work, and even affect reality, they don’t always explain practical application of how to increase mind power.

Three Powerful Ways to Develop & Harness the Power of the Mind

1) Meditation: it has been scientifically shown that meditation increases mind power, self-acceptance, relaxation, presence, task-focus, and overall well-being and success.

There are even methods based on quantum physics like quantum entrainment which are highly recommended for exploring this space of mind power building.

2) Visualization: this is a second powerful tool, though not necessarily better than meditation.

For visualization to be powerful, it should be combined with mindfulness or meditative states to amplify it.

3) Brain Development Technologies: Using methods such as auto-hypnosis/affirmation software, brainwave entrainment and bio neurofeedback is an excellent way to develop your brain’s plasticity, to increase awareness, psychological flexibility and develop the power of your mind.

Brainwave Entrainment Software