Keith Richards Does Personal Development

Keith Richards Does Personal Development

CREATING YOU

 

“Great songs write themselves. You’re just being led by the nose, or the ears. The skill is not to interfere with it too much. Ignore intelligence, ignore everything; just follow it where it takes you. You really have no say in it, and suddenly there it is: “Oh, I know how this goes,” and you can’t believe it because you think that nothing comes like that …And you realise that songs write themselves; you’re just the conveyor.”

 

I love this quote from Keith Richards, not just because he’s always been a huge hero of mine but also because it points to the innate wisdom and inspiration that is inside us all.

 

Its what remains when we stop listening to our cluttered, personal thinking and choose to get in touch with our deeper truth instead.

 

Because have you ever done something that felt tricky at first but when you were in the moment you didn’t really understood where the drive came from?

 

Have you ever had an amazing idea that seemed to pop into your head from nowhere?

 

Have you ever tried really hard to solve a problem only for the solution to appear whilst you were out walking, or in the shower?

 

That’s your innate wisdom at work. And the great news is it it ALWAYS there if you get quiet and present and trust in its ability to guide you…

 

What would it mean for you if you knew you always had access to this deep source of inspiration?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

CREATING YOU

‘I’ll be happy when…’

I’m sure we’ve all said these words at some point in our development, or at the very least a riff on them:

‘I’ll be ready when…’

‘I’ll be successful when…’

I know I’ve said all three at some point in my life. And the rest…

You see its really easy to fall into this trap. We’re conditioned to believe that the world outside us is somehow responsible for our happiness and wellbeing.

We look at our jobs, our partners, how much impact we think we have and we decide that we are lacking. We wish that if we just had the success that the woman down the street has, or the lifestyle of that guy on Instagram then we’d have made it. We’d have won at life.

But I think we also know deep down that if we don’t stop comparing ourselves to others it only exacerbates our feelings of insecurity

For me initially it was other bands; the ones getting better gigs, bigger record deals, more airtime. Then it was other actors who I ‘knew’ were no better than me but were getting better roles, more exposure, had more dedicated agents.

Even when I first started coaching I looked at others – many of whom had been coaching for 10 years I might add, though we never consider these variables do we? These were people leading powerfully, charging higher-end fees, impacting their clients and doing amazing things. It left me stressed and feeling ineffective.

Because the thing is when we compare ourselves in this way we exist in a perpetual state of lack.

From this place it’s very hard to move towards a life of abundance. We stay at a certain level purely because we believe that in some way external circumstances have control over who we are and what we can and can’t do.

But what if you knew that you and you alone were responsible for your happiness, success, even feelings of readiness?

Other people, places, your bank balance, your work, the stories you tell yourself all have zero effect on how you feel and what you do with those feelings.

The truth is you work 100% from the inside-out. You create your world. And I don’t mean this in a hackneyed new age way but in the simple fact that your whole perception of the world is filtered through your beliefs, history, thoughts and ideas. Your experience is created inside of you.

This is why on some days you can feel motivated as hell about your business and the next day you can feel down and stuck. The business hasn’t changed, in fact its always neutral, so its only ever your thinking about it that informs your feeling.

Its also why on some days you can feel great about yourself and what you can do and other days you feel insecure and uncertain. Again, nothing has changed but your thinking about yourself.

You see, you are optimized for reality. It’s where you do your best work. I don’t know about you but I’m no good when I’m stuck in the past or worrying about the future.

Yet that’s where we often find ourselves when we allow ourselves to get stuck in stressful thinking.

Because of the way our minds work we have the ability to trick ourselves into believing we are feeling something other than thought. We think we’re feeling our work, or something someone said to us, or our partner, or our weight…..

When you see that isn’t possible it brings you back into the present.

And the present is where you’re really, really good at being resourceful, and impactful and less stressed.

When you understand this it means you don’t have anything to fight against.

There’s nothing actually to do here but connect with this truth. In doing so you are back to living in reality.  Away from ‘living’ in imagined futures or pasts that can cripple you.

With this realisation comes deep freedom. You are free to create, grow and impact from a place of grounded responsibility over who you are and what you want to do.

When you drop out of the misunderstanding about what creates your experiences you connect more fully to who you really are.

And that person is whole, strong, and capable no matter what.

All feelings are normal and they act to inform and guide us on our journey of creation.

And if you want something it’s all in your reach.

Another pitfall we all fall prey too at times is that when we’re imaging our dream scenario we forget that the person who’ll be experiencing it is still us.

For better or worse, we always take ourselves with us.

And this is a beautiful thing but for many the person we imagine being in those palatial surroundings, who has the perfect partner and dream career is somehow profoundly different to who we are.

So what often happens is that when we get to where we want to be we don’t feel any different. Yes we might be on some idyllic, sun-drenched beach with the waves lapping at our toes, but we still carry with us all those damned insecurities and limiting beliefs that we’ve always had.

This is why a lot of people who experience rapid changes in fortune often fall into depression. Somehow life isn’t better because they’ve just won the lottery and so the spell is broken. If we spend our whole life thinking ‘I’ll be happy when I’m rich’ – then you get rich – and you’re STILL not happy there’s really not anywhere to go.

I was reminded of this recently when I was looking over some old scripts from my acting days and fell on a piece from Before Sunrise that I used a few times as an audition piece. Here Jesse played beautifully be Ethan Hawke bemoans his experience of himself:

I have never been anywhere that I haven’t been. I’ve never had a kiss when I wasn’t one of the kissers. Y’know, I’ve never, um, gone to the movies, when I wasn’t there in the audience. I’ve never been out bowling, if I wasn’t there, y’know making some stupid joke. I think that’s why so many people hate themselves. Seriously, it’s just they are sick to death of being around themselves..

Now I’m not saying all is lost of course, far from it. But what I am saying is that THERE is never better than HERE. And, who you are right now is perfect.

We can never be happy there if we aren’t happy here right now.

And in fact doing the work that creates this moment to moment happiness is also a sure fire way of ensuring you create your authentic desires.

So remember this next time you find yourself comparing your life and career to other peoples or wishing yourself into an imagined future.

You’ll still be you.

But who you are is perfect.

You have ultimate power over what you create in the world. But the caveat is you can only wield this power if you are living in the real world. In a place where you have impact and where you can take action. Spending too long in an imagined future or a past that drags you down is stopping you from being all you can be.

Next time you get lost in this looped thinking, wishing ‘what if’, look down at your hands. Let them remind you that they only exist right now in the present and that’s where you belong too, a place where you can connect with your innate creativity and can take action from a place of grounding and courage.

Be well.

 

Can You Reduce Stress When Making Important Decisions?

Can You Reduce Stress When Making Important Decisions?

CREATING YOU

I think we all reach a point in our careers when we decide enough is enough.

Sure, the money isn’t to be sniffed at and you’ve risen far, but more and more it begins to dawn on you that this is not the life you had planned out for yourself.

And in fact the more you think about it, is this a life at all? Working 40 plus hour weeks for someone else’s ideal?

You’d do anything to reduce stress and start to live a life on your own terms but the way forward is clouded with uncertainty and doubt.

I know this because that was me a few years ago. I knew I wanted to do something more ‘me’, more inline with my values. Yet, the stress and overwhelm that came up whenever I thought about making that important leap forward and starting my own business crippled me for many years.

Thankfully with a lot of inner work and the help of my own coach I finally made that leap and I’m glad to say I’ve never looked back. I love every minute of my new life. The freedom, the small daily acts of creation, the clarity of thought it allows.

The work I do with my creative partners now centres around men and women who also want to live a more creative, fulfilling and prosperous life.

On their own terms.

These are courageous people who are already successful but who know something is missing.

They want to reduce stress, have more time to spend on what’s important and to live a more productive and exciting life.

Yet, what is often the case is that the qualities that have led to their current success are actually the very things that threaten to keep them from moving forward with new ideas.

Yes, critical thinking, problem solving and perfectionism are all enviable traits at a certain level, but there is also a shadow side to these qualities.

Attention to detail and deep consideration on important decisions is all well and good, but it doesn’t take much for this thoughtful nature to tip over into procrastination. Before we know it critical thinking morphs into OVER-thinking.

At this point overwhelm, stress and doubt are never far behind.

Indeed, a client of mine, Sarah, a successful director of operations, who was looking to start her own marketing business told me recently that whilst she thinks deeply ‘…it takes time and energy. In such places I often feel lonely which can make me freeze and question myself.’

This was something I too fell prey to.

For a long time I knew I wanted freedom from employment yet I routinely held myself back and, as a result, felt frustrated and unsettled.

You see, the problem was that while I cared deeply about my vision for what I wanted to do with my life, I was also spending too much time waiting to feel ready. I was very good at tricking myself that I was considering options and being productive when really I was just stuck in doubt and insecure thinking.

But if we don’t fully consider our options, surely we might miss opportunities and make the wrong decisions?

And I think this is where a lot of us can struggle.

We are so focused on doing the right thing by our company and our family and our community that we can become overwhelmed by all the different avenues available. Like Sarah, we suddenly feel very isolated and unsure of what to do next.

Here lies the trick we all fall for unfortunately. You see, we’re conditioned to believe that if we have a problem to solve, or a choice to make, the only way to find the answer is to go up in our heads and do loads of that really, really good thinking to find the solution.

But the reality is that in doing so we often get lost in loops of old ideas which lead to bad, stress-induced decision making and second-guessing ourselves.

As this contaminated thinking goes on we start to question our abilities.

We find ourselves stuck in a past that we feel is informing us of our shortcomings or a future we feel is warning us of impending errors.

Neither of these places are real of course. Because thankfully we are only ever in the present moment, in reality, and our feelings can’t possibly be telling us about anything but our thoughts in the present moment.

Whilst it might seem like our feelings are telling us about our abilities or the success (or not) of a future idea, they never ever are. They are just giving us feedback about our present state of mind.

And the really, really good news is that if we slow down and remind ourselves of this fact we can reset and, reduce stress and fall out of this cluttered, insecure thinking.

In doing so the right solution is allowed to show itself. Why? Because we’ve given it the space to appear.

When you’re clear headed and connected to the present moment you are open to new insights.

You create space for new thinking to appear. You connect back to your innate potential and inspiration where you know instinctively what the next course of action is.

You don’t ever need to think yourself into getting better results, you just need to trust that your innate wisdom is always there if you slow down and connect with it.

Taking the time to get present, get clear and getting connected with yourself will provide remarkably better results and ideas than any over-thinking would ever allow.

Having a clear mind allows you to acknowledge the reality of a situation while staying focused on strengths and open to insight. Your peace of mind then has a calming effect on your team and customers so more results are achieved.

The bottom line of all this is simple; learn to trust that when your head is clear of thoughts this isn’t you not being a good leader, this is exactly the right condition to allow new insights and the right course of action to show itself. Creative thinking will be free to occur naturally and you’ll find it much easier to move into a productive flow state.

With this new understanding you can approach your mission with clarity, confidence and new insight, seeing where you’re going and what you need to do to get there.

Everything Has Changed…

Everything Has Changed…

CREATING YOU

I’m writing today as a lot is changing. And, a lot has already changed for me over the past few months.

I’ve been working with a new mentor and attending life-changing retreats where I’ve had some major paradigm shifting insights in terms of how I coach and the way I work with clients.

I’m very excited about these new experiences and I now feel ready to share them with you.

These are profound new ideas based in reality, away from the clichés and standards of the mainstream self-help industry – which I now see was only ever papering over the cracks.

This new way of working doesn’t rely on fancy tools, or ‘techniques’ that can feel at best a bit silly, at worst confusing and frustrating.

Instead this work shows you how to fully connect with the resourceful, peaceful, resilient power that exists in all of us, so you can finally create the life, career and relationships you deserve.

These are 3 principles that have already changed my life and the lives of 1000’s of others.

I now see this understanding as the future of psychology and even humanity. (With no hyperbole).

I am so excited about working with you on this new understanding because I know 100% that it works, forever.

Its profound, graceful and truly life-changing.

– Together we’ll turn traditional psychology and coaching on its head.

– We’ll explore the inside-out nature of reality, and how experience can transform in a matter of moments.

– This is not just about enabling you to get the future you want, it is about transforming your understanding of how your future is even created.

– This is not about incremental change. It is a profound and permanent shift in how you relate to yourself, other people and the world at large.

The combination of all these aspects is designed to shift your attention and assist you in seeing yourself and the world more clearly.

It’s been a profound and truly freeing experience for the people I’ve worked with to date.

All problematic behaviours and limitations are normal responses to an incomplete experience of reality.

When we learn to see more clearly, the problems we thought we had always melt away – inevitably – and we can relax into a deeper, more authentic experience of aliveness. This aliveness then becomes the new foundation for a much happier and more meaningful life

Whatever seems to be the problem, looking beyond your current thinking will release blocks and bring you home to true happiness.

Solutions become obvious.

Opportunities are everywhere.

Life is good.

The biggest benefit for most people is they get to know themselves in a deeper and more authentic way. They feel more comfortable in their own skin. They appreciate things they didn’t even notice before.

As you explore the nature of how you think, you’ll start to free yourself from limitations that have been holding you back for years – perhaps in ways you don’t even realise yet. It can be extremely liberating! True confidence is then the natural result of being happy and comfortable in your own skin. You’ll create a wonderful life for yourself, from the inside out.

 

Want to know more, contact me today to book in a conversation.

Looking At How To Increase Confidence

Looking At How To Increase Confidence

CREATING YOU

I had my eyes tested last week for the first time in well over 3 years. I normally wear contact lenses with the same prescription as my glasses and from what I could tell, my eyesight hadn’t changed much.

Yet, I fancied a new pair of glasses so decided it was worth getting my eyes tested at the same time.

I knew I’d be told off for leaving it this long between checks; but I wasn’t entirely prepared for my eye doctor’s melodramatic display of incredulousness. Still it was a fun little show that made the experience more enjoyable as I settled myself in his leather chair and read…

…pretty much none of the letters on the chart in front of me

I think I managed two rows down before it was a sheer guess whether that ‘M’ was actually an ‘M’ and not an over familiar ‘N’ cosying up to its neighbouring ‘I’.

My doctor, now smugly vindicated in his shock, asked me if I’d noticed how bad my eyes had got. And the truth was, I hadn’t noticed. At all.

Now I’m not in Mr Magoo territory yet, thankfully, but for the last year at least it seems I’d been viewing the world at maybe only 70-80% of what it should and could be. Edges that were once sharp were now a little blurred. Colours that were once bright Technicolor were being viewed through one of those washed out Instagram filters.

And just like that, we hopefully give a collective ‘Ah-ha’ as we understand that – mercifully this is not some dull tale concerning my routine eye test but perhaps something else. Because what I realised is that this is actually quite a beautiful and fitting metaphor for the way our lives can go if we aren’t mindful of the situation.

Life’s All About How You Look At It

We all experience life through our own lens. But often we become so accustomed to this lens that we stop being aware of it. The phrases we use, the thoughts we think and the beliefs we hold all create our reality. The thing is we spend so long viewing the world a certain way, doing the same things day in day out that we sometimes don’t even realise it’s a little out of focus.

And this got me thinking about where this can show up in other areas of life.

Where are we certain that we can see things perfectly, but really it’s gone a little blurry? In our relationships? Our careers? Our lives.

The beauty of this is that just having the awareness of things going a little out of focus means you are able to start to bring things back to clarity. When this happens become mindful of it in your daily work. Be more curious. Ask better questions of things. Practice being present with yourself and others.

I personally like to remind myself of the concept; how we do anything is how we do everything. When we can be present in each moment and see everything clearly, and how it is, now how we expect it, or want it to be, we can take back control over our world.

Hard Lines

This is best highlighted I think, rather aptly with another glasses metaphor as told me by one of my mentors a few years ago. You see when we wear glasses, of any kind, we very quickly become accustomed to them. We forget we have them on and simply go about our day. All is fine.

Yet the thing is, now on either side of our vision are the arms of our glasses, literally, hard lines that are there but we choose not to see. Our mind doesn’t want to notice them so it simply blocks them out.

And we all have these hard lines that we’ve placed around our lives. We constructed them a long time ago and then chose to stop looking at them. But these hard lines keep us constrained, they keep us small. They often stop us from doing what we truly want. The thing is though just like the arms of our glasses, these constraints we’ve placed around ourselves now exist in our blind spots. So very often we can’t even see them.

We’re all so close to what we want but at some point in the past the little kid inside of us put up these hard lines as to what is possible. But they made a mistake and we need to learn to give that child permission to let go of the beliefs they held onto so tightly and begin to push through these barriers; to see the world again in focus.

As a great man once said, if you think you can’t do something, you’re correct.

Yet if we just begin to be aware of the limitations we have placed around ourselves we can fight against them. We can start to change our reality

Of course this isn’t always easy. These hard lines usually have a pattern of fear behind them that stops us doing what we want. There’s also that pesky information bias which tells us we need more information to take action.

But this too is a blind spot and we don’t actually need anything in place except the will to try. We all learn best by taking action. By experiencing a reality and learning from it. What I’ve also learnt over the years is that confidence is a result not a pre-requisite. It isn’t a requirement. Confidence comes after you do the thing. Its repetition in action.

Ask yourself what is the worse that will happen? Because honestly, in the best possible way, no one cares if you mess up. You’ll pick yourself up and learn from it. But just by being aware of your blind spots and going for it anyway you’ll be experiencing life in full focus again.

Visualization Techniques

Yet, what is even more exciting for us is that research has proved we don’t have to actually do the thing over and over. We can gain confidence in our abilities by using our minds eye. By using the sharp focus of our imaginations, by reliving past achievements and mentally rehearsing the thing we want to excel at. Your subconscious mind really is that powerful.

Studies have shown that the mind cannot tell the difference between something vividly imagined and something that actually happens in the outside world.

When we imagine being happy and confident, we can actually begin to create those emotions for real. In essence we feel amazing when we start to have amazing thoughts and we have amazing thoughts because we think our thoughts are amazing.

The sad thing is of course, a lot people still keep their focused blurred – or worse focussed on the bad events in their lives. They dwell on unpleasant episodes because their ego, their sense of self, was rocked for a moment and they feel wronged, but by focusing so much on these episodes, rather than finding answers, all they’re really doing is attracting more of the same to them

Change Your Focus, Change Your Life

So ask yourself; what is my focus right now? Are you focusing on something you want or something you don’t want? Are you seeing the opportunities or only the obstacles? What are you looking at?

I actually heard a story just the other day that illustrates this perfectly; so imagine you’re driving your kids back home on an icy day and all of a sudden you lose control of the car and it begins to skid uncontrollably into a tree.

Now, where do you focus? At the tree? Or the road?

You see when we’re afraid we stare at the tree. We stare wide eyed at it because it’s so prevalent in that moment. But we need to shift our focus, we need to look at the road ahead, on where we need to go. On what we need to do to save ourselves. Doing so means we not only focus on action and growth but it takes our minds off the things that scare us.

When someone submits to a self-defeating mentality their thoughts and beliefs begin to focus only on the bad and thus the more demotivated and negative they begin to feel. The more demotivated and negative they feel the more focus is placed on other problems and issues, and so it goes round and before they know it their world too is being seen at just 70%.

It’s easy to think that life is against you at times. Because, well life seems like it’s against you at times. But I’ve always believed that every one of us has the power to create our own reality.

As Shakespeare wrote so eloquently in Hamlet, over 400 years ago; ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’.

Everything that happens to us is filtered through our own perception of what is happening, by the frames we choose to experience it through. These frames can be fully focused or a skewed, blurred version of life.

What this means though of course is that if we can focus on bad stuff and make ourselves feel bad, we can also play our imagination at its own game. But this time have it help us on our path.

Just like the person who focuses solely on their bad luck and, vis a vis, always seems to have bad luck, we can start to actively use past wins to fuel confidence.

Studies have shown that when we make a point of only focusing on times in life when we’ve achieved amazing results, our subconscious will quickly align with this way of thinking.

To the point where, over time, because we’re focusing on success we start to notice more opportunities for that success everywhere we go, re-tuning our minds to seek it out.

The more focus we place on past success, the more confident we become over time. These moments can be any time where we felt confident and strong, though it doesn’t have to be some huge feat of grandeur. It could be passing a driving test, making a first sale or even just a time when we felt on top form for no reason in particular.

How To Increase Confidence

You can try this yourself today, whatever it may be, recall a moment when the planets aligned for you. Focus vividly on how you felt, on what you saw and heard. Make it multi-sensory, fully relive those feelings of pride and accomplishment. Put yourself back there in the moment and completely immerse yourself in the experience again.

When we recreate the event in our minds we begin to feel the same emotions we actually felt the first time round in our pleasure receptors. Doing this regularly, going over successful simulations in your mind will slowly over time build your self-belief. Then, with stronger belief in ourselves and our abilities, the more likely we are to take action on our goals.

There’s another way we can use our imaginations if we want to know how to increase confidenc in our abilities; by mentally rehearsing a coming event, even though it hasn’t yet happened.  Studies have proven time and again that vividly imagining an experience is as useful, and in many cases in fact better, than the actual real-world experience.

By visualising a future paced version of events the subconscious cannot tell the difference and thus reacts the same way.

One of these studies was done using basketball players, who were working on bettering their free shots. The players were split into two groups, one of which practiced their free shots on the court every day, while the second group did nothing but spend all day sat in a room mentally rehearsing the shots.

Remarkably when the final test came and each group took the same amount of shots it was the actually the second group that ultimately triumphed. Researchers thus came to the only probable explanation; that the difference was in the group that had only mentally rehearsed the free shots they had never missed one.

Their free shots were perfectly timed and angled every single time. What we can conclude from this is that the more often you imagine an event with a successful conclusion, the more you experience the feelings and impulses caused by the success and the more your self-belief and confidence in what you can achieve builds.

Visualization Techniques Work For Winners

We can list many other famous names; Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo; all athletes at the very top pinnacle of their respective sports and who have all been on record extolling the virtues of visualization in assisting them in becoming world-class.

They all mentally rehearsed their strategies and plays in vivid detail. They practiced that winning swing, or free kick perfectly in their heads before it happened. They visualise the full game or play going just how they want it and then when the time comes their minds and body work for them as if the outcome is already inevitable.

By visualising the desired outcome it creates neuro-sensations in the muscles, which means our whole being expects the event to go just how we’ve visualized.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all puts his success down to something similar, what he calls his Success Videotape. In an interview I read recently he spoke of each night before going to sleep he plays himself a movie of the perfect swim in his mind, to mentally map out his performance for the next day, and 28 medals later, it clearly works.

There’s also a story I heard about a prisoner who spent all his time inside working out in the prison gym. Every available opportunity he had he was in there pumping iron until one day he got into an altercation with another inmate. The wardens split them up and both were locked in solitary confinement. No books, no space, no gym. Nothing.

Visualization Techniques For Baddies

This health conscious prisoner knew he was going to be in there for some time so with nothing else to do and to keep his mind active he began to vividly imagine doing the workout he’d normally do each day. He played it all out in his head second by second, rep by rep, set by set.

Even though he was in the hole for over 60 days, when he came out there was no muscle wastage at all. He weighed the same as when he went in. Because of the neuro-sensations he was vividly creating in his mind, his body thought he was still working out. So it acted accordingly.

What I’ve found is that this process works for all kinds of situations too, not just sport. It can work just as effectively for important meetings or a first date, any time where you need an edge. All you have to do is spend some time leading up to the event visualising the situation in rich detail. The more vivid your imagination, the better the results will be. See everything in your mind as if you were your best, most confident self; how you’ll walk, what you’ll say, how you’ll say it, how you’ll handle any feelings of anxiety.

Plan everything in advance and go through every eventuality and by the time you walk into that boardroom or restaurant you’ll have everything in hand. When you see yourself confidently achieving what you want you will begin to create those same neuro-sensation as you feel how it feels and see yourself happy and fulfilled, handling the situation so well.

Once we shift our focus and begin to notice where we aren’t seeing things as best we could we can start to once more sharpen our focus and begin to enjoy life to its fullest.

When we expand our focus in this way it gives us permission to start expecting happiness and success at all times. In this new space we can start to look about us again and enjoy all the world has to offer.

As we see, so we act. As we act, so we see.

And my new glasses are very nice if you were wondering.

Its All In The Words We Use

Its All In The Words We Use

CREATING YOU

I read the book 1984 in 1994.

At the time I was a typical 14 year old boy; concerned mainly with things most 14 year old boys are; music, social status, girls. Not necessarily in that order.

Yet I also remember even then being shocked at how shrewd this book was. As if Orwell had just gotten the date wrong by 10 years.

Back then Big Brother the TV show was still just a twinkle in the black, sharks-eye of John De Mol, but yet I still saw in those pages, not just a work of fiction but a grim foreshadowing of what was actually starting to become a reality. Orwell, writing across the decades was speaking to me of a future that was approaching at a lightning speed.

However, I’m not here to tackle the current plight of our culture or indeed our civilization.

There are far, far better political and strategical minds than mine available to comment on these matters. Rather I am interested here in exploring the semantics of language used in Orwell’s seminal work– and more so, what we can take from this to help us gain more confidence in ourselves and our abilities and how it helped me ultimately in developing my Morning Rituals.

You see, what I found most compelling while reading 1984 was the controlled deconstruction of language imposed by the totalitarian state Oceania.

Its All In The Language.

The premise is simple but profound; if we don’t have the language to describe something, then we cannot have the concept of it.

If we are unable to articulate our anger at the system then we don’t know how to act on it. Winston Smith cannot conceptualize a revolution because he has no word for revolution.

The idea that language and thoughts are intrinsically entwined is by no means a new notion. Indeed the concept can be traced back all the way to Plato and indeed thinkers throughout the ages, from St Augustine to Immanuel Kant all realised the power of language to experience and define our world.

In 1984 the prescribed language; ‘Newspeak’ reframes negative concepts with their more affable counterparts to keep the civilians calm and subservient. The idea a devious switcheroo; create new positive associations with once terrifying administrations.

In this vein then the Ministry of War becomes the Ministry of Peace; the Ministry of Plenty deals with starvation, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love, torture.

As the novel goes on we realise just how much the populace of Oceania are manipulated through the alteration of everyday thought and language. It would be brilliant if it wasn’t so chilling.

Change Your Words, Change Your World.

There is a positive message however in all of this, we too have power over our language which in turn is power over our thoughts.

When we change the language we use to describe ourselves and our experiences we can influence our thoughts. By doing so we can alter the way we see our world.

Thoughts are formed due to lots of different factors; ego, past experiences, fears, ingrained beliefs. All these things are designed to protect us, to keep us from harm, which of course is important, it’s our survival instinct at work.

But what happens when these instincts become too over protective and begin to have a detrimental effect on our lives? It’s natural to have moments of doubt of course, but when these moments grow into days, or weeks then we can find ourselves in a negative tailspin, focusing too much on unhelpful thoughts, begetting even more unhelpful thoughts.

Shifting Focus.

Thankfully we do have some power over this if we focus our attention elsewhere.

By consciously and habitually changing the language we use to talk to ourselves we can free ourselves from the downward spiral of limiting beliefs. By actively using positive language we in turn change how we experience ourselves.

We begin to see our world differently, things that once seemed impossible suddenly feel possible. As we believe, so we act. As we act, so we become.

Just like in 1984, the awareness of the semantics in language is what counts and in In personal development terms it’s this distinction which separates the idea of conscious thought from more esoteric ideas such as the Law of Attraction.

If we are to accept as true – that what we focus on creates our reality – we must understand that this isn’t simply because wanting something enough magically ‘manifests’ it into existence.

But rather, when we actively use positive language and learn to rid ourselves of negative self-talk we start to focus on what is possible. We don’t so much conjure it up as start to expect it, when we expect it to happen then our subconscious spends all its time trying to support this ‘reality’.

The structure of our language can strongly influence or determine the way we interact with and experience this reality. For instance the oft-quoted fact that Inuit people have 50 words for snow means that they can think more intelligently about it. Whereas people in hotter climes are happy with just the one word Inuit communities need to paint a broader picture, their language contains more sophisticated and subtle words to help them distinguish different forms with different effects and uses.

When we actively use language that supports our goals and fuels our self-belief it helps us believe in our abilities to achieve these goals all the more.

The 4 Minute Mile Secret.

This is summed up nicely with the story of Roger Bannister and his amazing achievements. Before Bannister ran a mile in 3 minute 59.3 seconds in 1954 no one in the world thought it was possible.

In fact up until the moment he completed his run in under 4 minutes people actually thought a human might die or burst into flames if they ran that fast. It was a truly remarkable feat made possible by training and self-belief.

Yet, what makes the story even more remarkable is that this record was beaten just 46 days later and after this people from all over the world began running their own 4 minute miles, achieving something that just a few years earlier everyone thought was physically impossible to do. And the difference? They now believed it was possible.

Availability Bias.

Because of a heuristic Daniel Kahneman labelled the Availability Bias we give extra weight to that which is most easily available to us.

This mental shortcut operates on the notion that if we remember one outcome more clearly than another, it must be more important, it must be true.

Often this can have negative effects on us – such as a recently reported plane crash giving us disproportionate fears about flying – yet used correctly this bias can also be tweaked to help us achieve better.

With this bias in mind we can consciously engage in recalling our past successes so that when the time comes we are much more likely to believe we can do what is needed.

Indeed, studies have shown that when we make a point of only focusing on times in life when we’ve achieved good results, our subconscious aligns with the belief that we can and will achieve our goals.

To the point where, over time, because we’re focusing on success we start to notice more opportunities for that success everywhere we go, re-tuning our minds to seek it out.

Just like the person who focuses solely on their bad luck and, thus, always seems to have bad luck, we can start to actively use past experiences to fuel confidence. The way we make something possible is if we believe it is possible.

‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’.

We think we can because the language we use and the thoughts we think tell us we can. As Shakespeare wrote so eloquently in Hamlet, over 400 years ago; ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’.

Everything that happens to us is filtered through our own perception of what is happening, by the frame we choose to experience it through and the language we use to describe it.

What this means though of course is that if we can focus on bad stuff and make ourselves feel bad, we can also play our imagination at its own game.

Our thoughts are actual physical pathways in our brains, actual grooves in our grey matter. The more we think a particular thought the deeper we make the groove, the stronger and more pronounced we make the path.

Thus the thought becomes easier to have again and again. That’s why negative thoughts need to be addressed immediately. The more we think bad things about ourselves we create a self-fulfilling prophecy that means it’s harder to shake those limiting beliefs.

Because of a cognitive dissonance our subconscious mind cannot hold two opposing thoughts at the same time, so when we use negative language to describe ourselves our brain seeks out information to back up what we’re saying.

Yet on the flipside of this, if the language we use about ourselves is focused on positivity and success, because of this dissonance the brain will then find ways to prove we are indeed happy and successful and ignores any contrary evidence.

The quality of our thoughts and the language we use is highly connected to the quality of our life. When we use positive language and think great thoughts we cultivate a stronger self-image, which fuels our feelings and actions and interpretations of the world.

So then for instance if we have two options presented to us; to try for a big win with the possibility of failure, or to not try and stay safe we are now likely to risk it if we are always focused on achievements.

We have the confidence to succeed because our thoughts and language have created a reality where success is possible.

Making Morning Rituals Stick.

This semantics of language can be explored in even smaller ways too.

When I began my personal development journey, doing deep work on myself I started by writing out a list of morning rituals; things I knew I needed to do each day to propel me forward.

These were activities such as going to the gym, scripting out my day, meditation, drinking green juice. Most likely the sort of things most people interested in self-growth would have on such a list.

However for a long time I found it hard to stick to these rituals, sure I did them whenever I could, but I would err, some mornings I would fancy a lie in over jumping out of bed at 5.30am and hitting the gym.

Now we might say that the problem here was that I was yet to make these things habitual, that they were yet to become a part of my world. However I believe that the real reason why I now do all those things without fail every morning is simple, I started to refer to them not as rituals but as ‘disciplines’.

It was this simple distinction in language that made all the difference for me. It was a word that resonated with me. Whereas for me ‘rituals’ meant an activity done often, perhaps even in a stuffy, religious context, ‘disciplines’ had more depth, more history behind it. For me it inspired feelings of control, of adhering to a superior code of behaviour. Self-mastery.

It made me want to be more.

It made me want to try.

The subconscious mind doesn’t judge thoughts as good or bad, or useful or not useful. It doesn’t know. It just goes where we tell it to go most-often.

It doesn’t know if a thought came from some deep issues or past experiences or whether it simply came from our conscious self. It just hears the language we speak most often and then acts accordingly.

So next time you are having trouble finding the motivation to do something remember it might just have something to do with the words you are using to explain it to yourself. Words create your thoughts and your thoughts create your reality.

Just like in 1984, if we actively take control over the language we use to define our world we can change it.

But this time for the better.

If there is no word for ‘cannot’ we only ‘can’.

Embrace Your Weirdness

Embrace Your Weirdness

CREATING YOU

My name’s Matt and I’m a little weird.

*sits down to gentle applause from the group.

This statement is true and I accept that.

Because weird just means unusual – not  the mainstream. And for me, that’s good. The more we become at ease with who we are on a deep personal level the happier we become.

What’s more, the most successful people in the world have always been a little weird. Not in a geeky, awkward way but they usually had little care for what others thought of them.

Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando, Steve Jobs, Vivienne Westwood, John Lydon, Tracey Emin, Jesus, Gandhi – all charismatic outsiders, all a little eccentric, all rebels who didn’t care what the world thought about them. They had laser-focused minds and were so in touch with their vision that they didn’t feel they had to prove anything to anybody

They were too focused on their vision to care, too excited about achieving their goals to worry. Unfazed by what others ask of them.

It behooves us to take heed of this.  Whoever we are. If someone tries to push our buttons, we don’t have to rise to it.

We always decide how we show up to the world and we alone hold the power over how we react to things.

ACT DON’T REACT

When we become our best selves we don’t rely on others to feel good about ourselves. We create motivation and happiness from within. We act because we are driven to, not because something provoked us.

Being reactive and trying too hard isn’t giving to the world. It’s taking. It’s dull, uncreative, boring.

Its easy to be the same as every single other person. The real challenge is allowing yourself to just ‘be’. To hone who YOU are authentically – and embrace your weirdness.

When we’re happy to let people make their own minds up about us and are comfortable to be seen as a little enigmatic and different to everyone else we immediately stand out.

When we become unapologetically ourselves, and give our truth to the world, everything becomes so much more fun and engaging and freeing.

We can start this by noticing and being conscious of how we feel in situations. If you’ve been following this blog we’ve already looked at our vision, our core values and our purpose and you’ve no doubt done deep work on this already in some form.

The next step is to cultivate a position where you are someone who is unapologetic about their place in the world.

It’s time to become your authentic self

To be bold.

To be YOU.

We cannot be truly happy and successful until we know who we are as people. When we take the time to align with ourselves fully it means we never have to do anything for the sake of it, or worse, because we think that’s the way others expect us to react.

If people think you’re a little weird, go with it, in fact we can use this to our advantage.

Silence is your friend.

A quick way we can do this is to practice the art of silence, or more importantly, never fearing silence.

Don’t be in a rush to fill a gap in the conversation. By being this way we allow the whole process to slow down a little which, in turn, allows better communication and a new deeper connection with our truth and other peoples.

From now on, when there’s a pause, rather than nervously trying to fill the silence –  try taking a deep breath, acknowledging it and then just…waiting.

This shouldn’t be about a battle of wills of course, but about simply ‘being’ with the other person, without feeling the need to talk. Sometimes the most amazing connections we create with another person are when we share silence together.

I know as a coach that a lot of the most powerful moments I’ve had with clients is when I’ve slowed everything down and given them the space to find the insights they need.

Silence is where magical things happen. Where miracles occur.

When we learn to enjoy silences in conversation we demonstrate how confident and relaxed we are, and how different we are from most people, who are all so desperate to prove themselves. When we’re calm and comfortable with ourselves and the situation we don’t have to fill every moment with chatter.

When we trust in ourselves to slow down and enjoy the silence those we are with pick up on this and suddenly the whole mood shifts.

Everything becomes more relaxed, we’re more in tune with each other and the moment, and ultimately we can connect on a more personal level.

BE YOU

By taking a step back and slowing down our interactions we can relax into the moment.

Sometimes that split second of real presence is all we need to connect with who we are.

When we do this we can then choose to act from a place within ourselves not because of some outside influence.

We choose withIN, not withOUT.

So try it yourself next time you experience a gap in a conversation; take a deep relaxing breath, enjoy the silence and just be; allowing your best, weirdest most unique self to show.


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Know Your Core Values & Life Gets a Lot Easier…

CREATING YOU

There’s a famous Mark Twain quote; always tell the truth and you don’t have to remember anything. It’s a great quote about always giving out truth to the world – but we can actually go one better; know your core values and you never have to remember anything.

When you take the time to know your values and live your life according to them you start to live all your days as someone who is self-aware, confident and forward thinking.

I strongly believe that taking the time to define what I stood for and what I wanted out of life with my own coach was one of the most important exercises I ever underwent.

Now any decision I make is straight forward. If there’s a choice to make I just ask myself: does this fit with my values? If it does I do it, and if it doesn’t, I don’t. No more stress, no more wondering what the right decision is. Freedom of thought. Always.

In general, people are very attracted to someone who knows their own mind; who has principles and values that they stick to unfalteringly.

KNOW YOUR CORE VALUES

By investing a little time and energy to get clear on your values and life purpose you also can harness this power.

What’s equally sad however is that most people will never take the time to consider what they believe in, what they live for; what they would die for. Yet this means when we do take the time to understand our values and live by them we rise head and shoulders above all the competition.

Imagine how much more reliable, confident and successful you’ll feel with this clarity of thought. Ultimately our values define who we are and without them we are in danger of drifting through life with no clear purpose or vision. Our values impact every aspect of life and that is why it is so important to know what you value and also why you value it.

Once we do this we no longer have to think about what to do in any situation because we just know. We know how to react because we’ve taken the time to realise and now we’re free to express who we are and what we stand for unapologetically.

With this in mind then it’s important to do deep work on this. If you are still unsure of your core values please take some time now to consider them. It is a bit of work on your part but really, you’re here to work on yourself, to become the best version of you, so the effort will be worthwhile.

To help with this I’d suggest first making a list of all the things that are important to you in life. For instance, some of these might be; going out with friends, working on your career, personal growth, keeping fit, having lots of money, being a good lover; whatever it is write it down.

Free flow for a little while, there’s no rules here so try and be as open to ideas as possible, not just what you think you should be writing. Once you’ve written down everything you can think of read them out loud to yourself, notice how each of them makes you feel in your body. Then circle the five items that you feel are most important to you.

GO DEEPER, THEN DEEPER STILL

Next go through these five things and go even deeper. Consider what each of them truly means for you. For instance if one of your five items was having lots of money what does having lots of money mean for you?

As an example of this I was working with a client a few years ago and he stated how important having an expensive car was for him and that having a status-symbol car was a core value.

However, when we dug deeper, we worked out that he really only valued his car because it gave him freedom. In reality it was freedom that was his core value, not the car. That was just a representation of his value.

Thus, it’s not always the first thing that’s apparent so spend some quality time working out what value each of these things represent for you.

These are your core values; the values that you live by. Now if something comes up that goes against these values you’ll always know what to do.

Of course, life has a habit of throwing us curve-balls and you might end up going against these values on occasion.

However, even if it feels a little uncomfortable, you now understand why you feel that way, you’re out of alignment with what you stand for you.

Whereas, in the past, being out of sync this way may have caused feelings of anxiety, unease, maybe even depression, now you can quickly get back on the right track. Once you lock these values in you’ll be surprised just how free you feel, how uncluttered your life becomes and how much more confident, powerful and happy you are.
Quite simply, you become the person you deserve to be; your best self.

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Live Life On Your Own Terms

CREATING YOU

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Live Life On Your Own Terms

I doubt there’s many people reading this who don’t bemoan their lack of productivity on occasion or wish they could be more in control of things. We could all benefit from more balance in our lives. To live life on our own terms.

But we also know this isn’t always easy. Life has a way of stamping you down, keeping you in line.

Keeping you safe.

But being safe isn’t the way to finding your true potential.

Sure safety is….safe… but nothing really good happens inside that bubble.

Nothing exciting, or world-beating or victorious happens inside our comfort zones and true confidence and self-mastery only really comes when you start to live life on your own terms.

Or to put this a better way – when you stop caring what other people think of you.

We need to remember we aren’t living our lives for anyone else. Not our parents, or boss, not our spouses or friends.

We must remember too that we only get one go at this life. And its so sad that many people just sleep-walk through life, oblivious to the fact that when the end comes they can’t just hit reset (or bother friends on Facebook for another life.)

Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.

Regardless of your beliefs or ideas on an afterlife, as far your time on planet earth goes…

This is it.

So please – make it count.

And its so sad because most people out there, aren’t happy. They work 9-5 jobs for faceless companies. They go home to relationships that they fell into and feel trapped in. They watch mindless TV for hours each night and at the weekend they numb themselves with alcohol or drugs – to get out of their heads for a few hours.

Is this the life you want for yourself?

No of course not.

So if you refuse to live like this then you have to be different from everyone else. This might sound harsh at first but you have to put your own deepest needs first. Always.

If you’re living your life for other people and pushing your needs aside you aren’t going to be the best version of you

And because you aren’t – eventually you’re going to end up bitter and jaded. And unhappy. And that’s not good for you and it’s not good for those around you.

So it’s not selfish at all to put yourself first.

Because doing so means you allow yourself to be the strongest, happiest version of you – the kind of generous, good energy giving person your family and friends will love being around.

So everyone wins.

But let’s be clear, at first your choices may disappoint or offend people that might be part of the old you. Your old life. But you have to accept this.

And if people really can’t accept you living the life you want. You may have to consider dropping these people from your life altogether.

Because we all have soul vampires in our lives, dragging us down; trying to suckle on our energy.

You have to cut those people out of your life if you want true success.

It might sound tough, but if you’re serious about growing, if you’re serious about becoming the strongest, most confident successful person you can be then it’s a sacrifice you have to make…..

And those people who really matter, who want the best for you no matter what? They aren’t going anywhere I promise.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

So build relationships with people who are positive, action-oriented, and supportive.

And only then can you truly begin to live a life purely on your own terms.

A good tip to help with this is to plan out your day every morning.

Script your day out so you know exactly what you’re going to be doing from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed. And then if something else comes up, you decides whether you do that new thing.

Your choice

Live a life you have planned out for yourself. Be the person who is always moving forward. Who is always in control of what happens to them.

And because you’re living the life you want to live, you’re going to free yourself from any doubt or jealousy or other limiting feelings..

And you will live the life you want.

On your terms. Always.

MATT HATTERSLEY

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