Your Thoughts Become Your Reality

Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality Robin S. Sharma

Your mind is very powerful. Yet, if you’re like most people, you probably spend very little time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about thinking?

But, the way you think about yourself turns into your reality. If you draw inaccurate conclusions about who you are and what you’re capable of doing, you’ll limit your potential.

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings And Behavior

Your thoughts are a catalyst for self-perpetuating cycles. What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave. So if you think you’re a failure, you’ll feel like a failure. Then, you’ll act like a failure, which reinforces your belief that you must be a failure.

I see this happen all the time in my therapy office. Someone will come in saying, “I’m just not good enough to advance in my career.” That assumption leads her to feel discouraged and causes her to put in less effort. That lack of effort prevents her from getting a promotion.

Or, someone will say, “I’m really socially awkward.” So when that individual goes to a social gathering, he stays to in the corner by himself. When no one speaks to him, it reinforces his belief that he must be socially awkward.

Your Beliefs Get Reinforced

Once you draw a conclusion about yourself, you’re likely to do two things; look for evidence that reinforces your belief and discount anything that runs contrary to your belief.

Someone who develops the belief that he’s a failure, for example, will view each mistake as proof that he’s not good enough. When he does succeed at something, he’ll chalk it up to luck.

Consider for a minute that it might not be your lack of talent or lack of skills that are holding you back. Instead, it might be your beliefs that keep you from performing at your peak.

Creating a more positive outlook can lead to better outcomes. That’s not to say positive thoughts have magical powers. But optimistic thoughts  lead to productive behavior, which increases your chances of a successful outcome.

Challenge Your Conclusions

Take a look at the labels you’ve placed on yourself. Maybe you’ve declared yourself incompetent. Or perhaps you’ve decided you’re a bad leader.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to allow those beliefs to restrict your potential. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.

The good news is, you can change how you think. You can alter your perception and change your life. Here are two ways to challenge your beliefs:

• Look for evidence to the contrary. Take note of any times when your beliefs weren’t reinforced. Acknowledging exceptions to the rule will remind you that your belief isn’t always true.

• Challenge your beliefs. Perform behavioral experiments that test how true your beliefs really are. If you think you’re not good enough, do something that helps you to feel worthy. If you’ve labeled yourself too wimpy to step outside of your comfort zone, force yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.

With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. When you give up those self-limiting beliefs, you’ll be better equipped to reach your greatest potential.

This article was written by Amy Morin who is a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. This article was shared from the following website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/06/15/this-is-how-your-thoughts-become-your-reality/#32aac67a528a

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Setting Priorities

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your PRIORITIES Stephen Covey

The Story of a Woodcutter

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I have had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

Reflection:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

Author: Stephen Covey
From: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Story shared from the following website: http://rishikajain.com/2015/08/16/the-story-of-a-woodcutter-author-stephen-covey/

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Counting Our Blessings

We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count Neal A. Maxwell The Power of Counting and Speaking Your Blessings

Once upon a time, a wise man met with a king. The king challenged the man with a riddle. He said, “In my hands is a small bird. Is it alive or dead?” The wise man paused and looked down.

The wise man thought to himself, “If I say it is alive, he will close his hand and crush it. If I say it is dead, he will open his hand and let it fly away.”

The wise man turned his head up and said in a soft yet commanding voice, “It’s all in your hands.”

The same is true for us. Our lives are in our hands. It is not always easy. We face struggle, challenges, and difficulties. But we can derive blessings from them, if we are intentional. We can, to use the phrase of the late Debbie Friedman, “find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”

To make our lives a blessing, we need to make two critical choices: count our blessings and speak our blessings.

Counting our blessings

As a father of two young children, I am truly blessed. Yet, that’s easy to forget at 3:00 a.m. when one child’s loud crying wakes up the other.

One of the ways I remind myself is by following an ancient Jewish custom. In Judaism, the first thing we are supposed to do each morning is sit up and say the words,

I am grateful to you, Oh God, who has restored my soul from sleep and given me the breath of life.

No sighing. No turning our pillows over and burying our heads in them. We recognize the blessing of life. We prime ourselves to live with gratitude. We count our blessings and find happiness in them.

Saying blessings

It is not enough, however, to recognize and count our blessings. We have to say them, too. Acknowledge them. Speak them.

That’s why the ancient sages urged us to say 100 blessings a day. Something magical happens when we give expression to our feelings, when we use words to show gratitude.

About a month ago, I saw an example of this magic. I was in my office when a member of my congregation came by. He had a burning question.

“I was dining at a restaurant in New York,” he began. “A few tables away from me a man stood up and proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, and everybody in the restaurant cheered. Then the man walked quietly over to a corner, put on a yarmulke, and said some type of blessing. His and his fiance’s eyes filled with tears. Rabbi, do you have any idea what blessing he said?”

I recited a blessing I thought it might be, and he said, “Yes, that’s it! Do you have a copy?” “Sure,” I said. “Why do you ask?”

“I am planning to propose to my girlfriend this weekend, and I want to say it with her.”

With tears in my eyes, I handed him the blessing.

How a blessing works

Blessings express our feelings. They need not be traditional ones. They simply need to come from the heart. When they do, they can change lives.

I experienced this truth near the end of my grandfather’s life. We were very close. Up until his death, I tried to talk to or visit him every day. We would usually end our conversations with my saying “Talk to you tomorrow.” We did not say, “I love you.” He was not a warm fuzzy kind of guy, and it just did not feel right.

But during the last few weeks of his life, something changed. Perhaps it was the birth of my daughter or his declining condition. Whatever the cause, our moments became more infused with meaning.

When I said, “I love you”

A month before my grandfather died, I was sitting by his bed, talking to him. As I got up to leave, I felt a twitch in my stomach. Turning to him, I said, “Grandpa, I love you.”

He didn’t say anything. Our connection, however, had changed. Thereafter, we ended each conversation with my saying, “I love you.”

Saying ‘I love you’ to our dearest ones blesses them and us. It is a way we make our lives a blessing. It is something each of us can do today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.

This is one more way we can speak and share our blessings. When we do, we learn the discipline of gratitude and the importance of words in our daily lives.

Everyone has an opportunity look at his or her life and decide what to focus on. Will it be the tragedy, the pain, the hardship? Or will it be a blessing? You decide.

The Blog post I am sharing today was written by Evan Moffic and is from the following website: https://goinswriter.com/count-your-blessings/

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Thankfulness vs Gratitude…

Thankfulness is measured by the number of words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions. David O. McKayWe understand that the human experience is filled with emotions. Emotions are the spice that give the cake flavor.

What we don’t always understand is the power of our emotions for both good and bad.

I often see the powerful effect of emotions. As a result of those experiences, I believe that our emotions may be the single most important factor in regards to our health.

There are two things that I believe can redeem our health (all areas) more dramatically than anything else: The emotion of Gratitude and the Act of Forgiveness.

When we read in the scriptures about becoming as a small child, I think of Gratitude and Forgiveness. A small child is naturally grateful and naturally forgiving. As we grow into adulthood those tendencies often become less and less automatic. Often, the gift of gratitude and forgiving must be cultivated deliberately.

Take some time to reflect today. If all areas of your health were dependent on your ability to have gratitude and to give forgiveness, how well can you realistically expect to be? Do you feel good about where you are or do you need to do some work? (I always need to do some work but that’s okay as long as I keep working at it!)

I share today’s story because even though it does not directly address forgiving or thankfulness – underlying the story I believe is a complete foundation of thankfulness and gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

Thanks For Taking Care of Me

— Author Unknown

Like most elementary schools, it was typical to have a parade of students in and out of the health clinic throughout the day. We dispensed ice for bumps and bruises, Band-Aids for cuts, and liberal doses of sympathy and hugs. As principal, my office was right next door to the clinic, so I often dropped in to lend a hand and help out with the hugs. I knew that for some kids, mine might be the only one they got all day.

One morning I was putting a Band-Aid on a little girl’s scraped knee. Her blonde hair was matted, and I noticed that she was shivering in her thin little sleeveless blouse. I found her a warm sweatshirt and helped her pull it on. “Thanks for taking care of me,” she whispered as she climbed into my lap and snuggled up against me.

It wasn’t long after that when I ran across an unfamiliar lump under my arm. Cancer, an aggressively spreading kind, had already invaded thirteen of my lymph nodes. I pondered whether or not to tell the students about my diagnosis. The word breast seemed so hard to say out loud to them, and the word cancer seemed so frightening.

When it became evident that the children were going to find out one way or another, either the straight scoop from me or possibly a garbled version from someone else, I decided to tell them myself. It wasn’t easy to get the words out, but the empathy and concern I saw in their faces as I explained it to them told me I had made the right decision. When I gave them a chance to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know how they could help. I told them that what I would like best would be their letters, pictures and prayers.

I stood by the gym door as the children solemnly filed out. My little blonde friend darted out of line and threw herself into my arms. Then she stepped back to look up into my face. “Don’t be afraid, Dr. Perry,” she said earnestly, “I know you’ll be back because now it’s our turn to take care of you.”

No one could have ever done a better job. The kids sent me off to my first chemotherapy session with a hilarious book of nausea remedies that they had written. A video of every class in the school singing get-well songs accompanied me to the next chemotherapy appointment. By the third visit, the nurses were waiting at the door to find out what I would bring next. It was a delicate music box that played “I Will Always Love You.”

Even when I went into isolation at the hospital for a bone marrow transplant, the letters and pictures kept coming until they covered every wall of my room.

Then the kids traced their hands onto colored paper, cut them out and glued them together to make a freestanding rainbow of helping hands. “I feel like I’ve stepped into Disneyland every time I walk into this room,” my doctor laughed. That was even before the six-foot apple blossom tree arrived adorned with messages written on paper apples from the students and teachers. What healing comfort I found in being surrounded by these tokens of their caring.

At long last I was well enough to return to work. As I headed up the road to the school, I was suddenly overcome by doubts. What if the kids have forgotten all about me? I wondered, What if they don’t want a skinny bald principal? What if I caught sight of the school marquee as I rounded the bend. “Welcome Back, Dr. Perry,” it read. As I drew closer, everywhere I looked were pink ribbons – ribbons in the windows, tied on the doorknobs, even up in the trees. The children and staff wore pink ribbons, too.

My blonde buddy was first in line to greet me. “You’re back, Dr. Perry, you’re back!” she called. “See, I told you we’d take care of you!”

As I hugged her tight, in the back of my mind I faintly heard my music box playing… “I will always love you.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/truestories/thanksfortakingcareofme

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7 Common Habits of Unhappy People

Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself in your way of thinking Marcus Aurelius

7 Common Habits of Unhappy People

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

Circumstances can certainly make life unhappy. But a part – often a big part – of unhappiness comes from our own thinking, behavior and habits.

In this article I’d like to share 7 of the most destructive daily habits that can create quite a bit of unhappiness within and in your own little world.

But I’ll also share what has worked, what has helped me to minimize or overcome these habits in my life.

1. Aiming for perfection.

Does life has to be perfect before you are happy?

Do you have to behave in a perfect way and get perfect results to be happy?

Then happiness will not be easy to find. Setting the bar for your performance at an inhuman level usually leads to low self-esteem and feeling like you are not good enough even though you may have had a lot of good or excellent results. You and what you do is never enough good enough except maybe once in a while when feels like something goes just perfect.

How to overcome this habit:

Three things that helped me to kick the perfectionism habit and become more relaxed:

  • Go for good enough. Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being finished. So go for good enough instead. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.
  • Have a deadline. I set deadlines every time that start with a new premium guide. Because about a year ago, when I was working on my second e-book, I realized that just working on it and releasing it when it was done would not work. Because I could always find stuff to add to it. So I had to set a deadline. Setting a deadline gave me a kick in the butt and it is generally good way to help you to let go of a need to polish things a bit too much.
  • Realize what it costs you when you buy into myths of perfection. This was a very powerful reason for me to let go of perfectionism and one I tell myself still if I find thoughts of perfection pop up in my mind. By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection. It sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.
    But in real life it clashes with reality and tends to cause much suffering and stress within you and in the people around you. It can harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this world. I find it very helpful to remind myself of this simple fact.

2. Living in a sea of negative voices.

No one is an island. Who we socialize with, what we read, watch and listen to has big effect on how we feel and think.

It becomes a lot harder to be happier if you let yourself be dragged down by negative voices. Voices that tell you that life will in large part always be unhappy, dangerous and filled with fear and limits. Voices that watch life from a negative perspective.

How to overcome this habit:

Replacing those negative voices with more positive influences is very powerful. It can be like a whole new world opening up.

So spend more time with positive people, inspiring music and books, movies and TV-shows that make you laugh and think about life in a new way.

You can start small. For example, try reading an uplifting blog or book or listen to an audio book while eating your breakfast one morning this week instead of reading the paper or watching the morning news on TV.

3. Getting stuck in the past and future too much.

Spending much of your time in the past and reliving old painful memories, conflicts, missed opportunities and so on can hurt whole lot. Spending much of your time in the future and imagining how things could go wrong at work, in your relationships and with your health can build into horrifying nightmare scenarios playing over and over in your head. Not being here right now in life as it happens can lead to missing out on a lot of wonderful experiences.

No good if you want to be happier.

How to overcome this habit:

It is pretty much impossible to not think about the past or the future. And it is of course important to plan for tomorrow and next year and to try to learn from your past.

But to dwell on those things rarely help.

So I try as best as I can to spend the rest of my time, the big part of my time each day, with living in the now. Just being here right now and being fully focused on these words I am writing and later as I cook and eat my lunch and work out be fully focused on doing that.

Whatever I am doing I try to be there fully and not drift off into the future or past.

If I do drift off then I focus only on my breathing for a few minutes or I sit still and take in what is all around me right now with all my senses for a short while. By doing either of those things I can realign myself with the present moment again.

4. Comparing yourself and your life to others and their lives.

One very common and destructive daily habit is to constantly compare your life and yourself to other people and their lives. You compare cars, houses, jobs, shoes, money, relationships, social popularity and so on. And at the end of the day you pummel your self-esteem to the ground and you create a lot of negative feelings.

How to overcome this habit:

Replace that destructive habit with two other habits.

  • Compare yourself to yourself. First, instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself. See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals. This habit has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done.
    You feel good about yourself without having to think less of other people.
  • Be kind. In my experience, the way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big, big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself. Judge and criticize people more and you tend to judge and criticize yourself more (often almost automatically). Be more kind to other people and help them and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself.
    Focus on the positive things in yourself and in the people around you. Appreciate what is positive in yourself and others. This way you become more OK with yourself and the people in your world instead of ranking them and yourself and creating differences in your mind.

And remember, you can’t win if you keep comparing. Just consciously realizing this can be helpful. No matter what you do you can pretty much always find someone else in the world that has more than you or are better than you at something.

5. Focusing on the negative details in life.

Seeing the negative aspects of whichever situation you are in and dwelling on those details is a sure way to make yourself unhappy. And to drag down the mood for everyone around you.

How to overcome this habit:

Overcoming this habit can be tricky. One thing that has worked for me is to kick the perfectionism habit. You accept that things and situations will have their upsides and downsides rather than thinking that all details have to positive and excellent. You accept things as they are. This way you can let go emotionally and mentally of what is negative instead of dwelling on it and making mountains out of molehills.

Another thing that works is simply to focus on being constructive. Instead of focusing on dwelling and whining about the negative detail. You can do so by asking better questions. Questions like:

How can I turn this negative thing into something helpful or positive?
How can I solve this problem?

If I am faced with what I start thinking is a problem I may use a third solution, I may ask myself: who cares? I most often then realize that this isn’t really a problem in the long run at all.

6. Limiting life because you believe the world revolves around you.

If you think that the world revolves around you and you hold yourself back because you are afraid what people may think or say if you do something that different or new then you are putting some big limits on your life. How?

Well, you can become less open to trying new things and growing.You can think that the criticism and negativity you encounter is about you or that it is your fault all the time (while it in reality could be about the other person having bad week or you thinking that you can read minds). I have also found that my own shyness used to come from me thinking that people cared a great deal about what I was about to say or do.

How to overcome this habit:

  • Realize people don’t care too much about what you do. They have their hands full with worrying about their own lives and what people may think of them instead. Yes, this might make you feel less important in your own head. But it also sets you free a bit more if you’d like that.
  • Focus outward. Instead of thinking about yourself and how people may perceive you all the time, focus outward on the people around you. Listen to them and help them. This will help you to raise your self-esteem and help you to reduce that self-centered focus.

7. Overcomplicating life.

Life can be pretty complicated. This can creates stress and unhappiness. But much of this is often created by us. Yes, the world may be becoming more complex but that doesn’t mean that we cannot create new habits that make your own lives a bit simpler.

How to overcome this habit:

Overcomplicating life can involve many habits but I’d like to suggest a few replacement habits to what have been a couple of my own most overcomplicating habits.

  • Splitting your focus and having your attention all over the place in everyday life. I replaced that complicating habit with just doing one thing at a time during my day, having a small to-do list with 2-3 very important items and writing down my most important goal on white board that I see each day.
  • Having too much stuff. I replaced that habit with regularly asking myself: have I used this in the past year? If not then I will give that thing away or throw it away.
  • Creating relationship problems of any kind in your mind.Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate. This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste or time and energy.
  • Getting lost in the in-box. I spend less time and energy on my email in-box by just checking it once a day and writing shorter emails (if possible not more than 5 sentences.)
  • Getting lost in stress and overwhelm. When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind then, as I mentioned above, breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out. This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again. Then you can start focusing on doing what is most important for you again.

Today’s article was written by Henrik Edberg and is shared from the following website: https://www.positivityblog.com/7-habits/

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