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Monday, January 28, 2013

Searching for Meaning in Your Life?

Viktor Frankl would know about this. He earned a M.D. and Ph. D at the University of Vienna in which he specialized in psychiatry and neurology but was taken prisoner during WWII and spent almost two years in concentration camps to which he experienced first-hand the total emotional and physical destruction of the human spirit. Through this experience he noticed how some able bodied men would die while fatigued men would surpass their existence. Why? Perhaps they had a reason, a will, to endure what it took to survive.

“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How” ~ Viktor Frankel

Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, or a quest of power, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life.

Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning; in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another), and in courage during difficult times.  Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it. Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.

In Frankl’s case, he lived off the memoires of his beloved wife. Remembering everything he loved about her, the conversations they had what they did together, anything that took his mind and feelings to a positive place to escape his daily torture.

He came to the conclusion, in retrospect, that forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.  You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can ALWAYS control what you will feel and do about what happens to you. We are never left with nothing as long as we retain the freedom to choose how we will respond.

He awakened to the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers, the truth, that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. The greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.

He understood after having nothing left in his world, except his body, that he may still know bliss, if only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.  In a position of utter dissolution, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his suffering in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplations of the image he carries of his beloved achieve fulfillment. For the first time in his life he understood the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an ultimate glory.”

You can read all about his ordeal and revelations in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

There Can Only be One - And You're it!

You are unique, a one of a kind, one and only. Perhaps that is why you sometimes feel like you don’t fit in. Think about it. Every encounter, conversation and experience has made you who you are today. From the place you grew up, to the level of income, even the color of your hair, eyes and skin have molded you into who you are today. You are so unique that it shows up on a cellular level, fingerprints. However there is more to being unique than just the physical.

Even though identical twins have the same fingerprints, their parents will tell you that they are different. Why? It is because of the different experiences they encounter throughout their lives. Imagine being told from the time you can first remember that you were born two minutes later than your twin. What kind of effect would that have on you? Sure, it may be a fun tease but after a while, the underlying tone is that the other twin is somehow better than you. Of course, that’s not the truth. If identical twins end up unique then so do you.

Look at your own life thus far. What unique blend of natural talents and experiences do you have? You have something that makes you different, something that makes you stand out from others. You are blessed with unique gifts. Sure you may come across someone that you think is more gifted, but that would be like comparing apples to oranges because:
a. No one else has the same combination of gifts that you have.
b. No one else will express his or her gifts, as you will.
c. No one else will look, hear, or feel the same way that you do, therefore, it’s impossible for someone else to create or solve something in the same way that you will.

You have these unique experiences that have made you who you are today. Use them to your advantage. There are countless business people, performers and athletes, who have come from humble beginnings to beat the odds and go on to achieve great things. Everything they went through made them who they are today and if you ask them, they wouldn’t change a thing. It is precisely the experiences they had that gave them the drive and ambition to be who they are. The question to ask yourself then is would you change anything?

The great thing about you is that you are one of a kind. That means there can be no comparison, there is no one to compete with but you. You are in a league all your own.

If you think back to the times when you have experienced emotions such as envy, jealousy and low self-esteem it was likely when you were comparing yourself to others’ talents and success. The more you thought about it the more you began to feel bad about yourself.

"If you're able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is get closer and closer to that essence."

~ Barbara Cook

Instead, you should be rejoicing in their success because they have found a way to express what they do well. Better yet, you can to the same thing. It won’t show up in the same way as someone else because you will put your own spin on it, your own signature. For example, there are songs that have been redone by different artists, they each sing it a little differently by changing the breaks, phrasing and key it is in. Country artists will take rock songs and do them with a country flavor, while pop artists vamp up a country song like, “I Will Always Love You.” There is quite a bit of difference between Dolly Parton singing it and Whitney Houston. Each put their heart into it and the result was unique for each of them. The closer you get to who-you-are, your essence, the less competition you will have. The challenge is in discovering what makes you unique, your stand out quality.

You need to look deep inside yourself.

Give yourself the space to discover your own unique gifts

Acknowledge them,

Embrace them,

And finally ….Own them

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Four Questions that Will Change Your World

In the book, "Loving What Is ", by Byron Katie, she states that there are four questions that you need to ask yourself the next time you get mad, upset, and then judge someone. Actually it is good all the time.  It’s like being your own coach.  These questions help walk you through whatever situation you happen to be going through. The absolute thing you MUST do to make this work is to be HONEST.  You MUST be TOTALLY HONEST with yourself.

Think of a situation or issue involving another person that is happening to you right now and ask yourself these questions.

1) Is it true?
2) Can you ABSOLUTELY know that it's true?
3) How do you react when you think that thought?
4) Who would you be without the thought?

In the first question what typically is stated as the truth is actually assumed, presumed, or only half true and sometimes it is just some one's personal opinion.

The second question is a kicker because many times you may only know part of the story and then the rest of your opinion, viewpoint is filled with assumptions.

The third question has to do with how you feel when you think these thoughts. How many times have you found out some unpleasant information and then started to fill in the rest with the "what ifs" all the while having your emotions run higher and higher when in reality you know very little about the actual facts.

On the fourth question you ask yourself how you would feel if you didn't have that thought. What would your mood and emotions be like?

when you get done asking yourself, honestly, the questions you had about another person, then you turn it around and replace that person's name with your own. Yes, with your name.

- Is what you’re upset about really something that you're not doing or being?

- Are you all those things that you've just blamed onto someone else, most of the time it is?  Another word for it is mirroring and sometimes we don't look too pretty when it’s really yourself you’re judging.

If you don’t like what you see, change the picture.

You can go to www.yourtrueheartsdesire.com to view other books I recommend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Stops You From Moving Forward?

It can all be summed up in a four letter word. F..E..A..R. It’s the true culprit behind every regret, indecision and inaction. It shows up in name calling, foul language and judgment. Often times it masks itself behind other nasty emotions such as anger, mistrust and worry.

The inappropriate need to be in control is fear-based. If the anger is coming from a feeling of not being in control, then the fear is a feeling that you are being controlled by someone or something outside yourself, which is not actually possible! Fear and judgment create separation.

You may want to ask yourself what you are afraid of. “What am I afraid of most: not being enough, not doing enough, or not having enough?” Then ask yourself, “What is it that I am not being, am not doing, or don’t have?” It’s a good idea to write down the answer so that you can more easily find a solution and take action.

If fear keeps you from moving forward than what would make it much easier?

You must learn to trust your abilities and decisions. Trust is basically having the confidence and reliance on good qualities especially fairness, truth, honor and abilities.  When abundance and trust are present in every area of your life, fear is absent.  It has no home to reside in. When the fear is over, a sense of release or euphoria is experienced. I’m sure you’ve experienced a time in your life when the worst scenario engulfed your life only to experience an emotional sigh of relief when your worst fears were found to be untrue.

The key to clearing fear is to feel the fear and do it anyway. It’ll always be there but it doesn’t have to rule your life. If that were that case, many of our highest achievers would not have accomplished what they did. Acknowledge the fear is your conscious mind talking you out of what you really want to do. Make the decision to go ahead anyway. Set your goal and continue to take forward-moving action on your goal.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

What You Can do to Find Your Path to Success

You’ve heard the term to take the path of least resistance.  There is a reason for that.  It’s the easiest and simplest way as evidenced through nature.

Water takes the path of least resistance.  A river flows through mountains, hills and valleys and all the while finding the easiest way to flow.  If there are hills and rocks in the way it goes around it. And another thing about rivers, there is a part of it that has a groove or channel where the water flows faster.

What has this all got to do with you? Picture yourself as a river.  When you are using all your talents and strengths to your best ability that is when you are in your groove. That is when you flow.  Ever have a time in your life when you were in the zone, hitting on all cylinders?  If you look back you were likely not only using your talents and strengths but doing what you love to do.  Wouldn’t you like to get that feeling back? You can.

Often times we get distracted by what other people are doing, wishing and hoping we were as good as they are.  Instead you should be concentrating on what makes you unique and special. What attributes do you have that could be put to better use? If you want to get back in the zone, you need to do what you do best.  It’s that simple.  Don’t worry about what other people are doing.  They are in there own river.  Your river flows in a different direction and in order to get it to flow effortlessly you need to take the path of least resistance by using all the resources you possess.

Don’t know what they are? I can help you with that.  Check out “7 Steps to Finding Meaning in Life and Work” at www.yourtrueheartsdesire.com.