What You Think Becomes What You Feel  

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Interesting point about us that either can think what we feel, or then change our thinking and then feel what we think. I realized this today morning while listening to Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza.

What you think frequently is what you get used to and what will you gravitate towards. Our brain generates emotions which are in fact chemical mixes and then our brain likes to maintain homeostasis – a familiar mix of chemicals all the time. If this gets disrupted, our consciousness gets signals to restore the balance in form of cravings, wants and annoyances for example.

Considering the difficulty of changing emotional life, it does take a  long time. Yet it appears we have no choice.

As I understood it, the cells in our brains we decay and degenerate if nothing new happens: new experiences of learning. Repeating the same is the way for destruction when we are talking about cells.

This biology seems to support the idea of continuous growth and openness to experience 🙂

Exercise Advantage

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We are created to move. The benefits of exercise transfer to all areas of life. I guess one of the most underappreciated form of advantage is the cognitive advantages: people who exercise more learn faster and remember better.

Above all it is not even that difficult: we just need to reduce the passive time and substitute it with standing up or walking for example.

The 10 000 steps a day is a worthy goal. Even if you cannot make it to the 10 000 try 7 000 at first, it’s gonna transform your life in the long run, not just your body, but your mind as well.

Over time, exercise energizes. Exercise let’s us to rewire our thoughts and emotions into a more positive state as well.

Health is based on movement, nutrition and sleep. If you have enough of all these, you are likely to live a healthy life. Then there are exceptions to both directions. Those who exercise gain the health advantage, those who do not throw the advantage away.

What We Do Often Strengthens

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Learning is based on repetition. Yet repetition can sound daunting, boring or unnecessary. Yet the only way we learn is repetition, that’s the way our brains know which is important and which is unimportant. Important things are used often, unimportant things are not used to often.

Some emotions like fear can create a strong memory that will be remembered for a long time after the event. In everyday life it’s a bit challenging to evoke such strong emotions as our learning aids, so the second best choice is repetition and some funny associations.

Life is simply what we do and at what frequency. That which we do often, it’s particularly convenient to remember.

That what we do, and do often strengthens. Think carefully what kind of behavior you want to strengthen.

Enthusiasm and Bouncebackability are Ingredients for Greatness

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Enthusiastic person will be successful. The trick is to stay enthusiastic with everything life throws at us. Anyone with daring goals is going to face something unexpected that may be even called failure, although I dislike the word, because failure is only failure if you fail to learn and seize doing anything afterwards.

Winston Churchill said wisely: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Emotions are contagious. So while we may be enthusiastic, someone or something may offset an another, even stronger emotion usually due to a mistake or something unexpected. When we finally meet this emotion we are often struck with either negative or confused emotions: our enthusiasm will be tested.

Not so cool anymore huh? Today I had exactly such scenario. In the morning I was rather tired, yet I was also rather enthusiastic about new work week and possibilities. Eventually on my commute I decided to start reading Frank Bettger’s book “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” which I had been excited to peek on quite a while. I didn’t get very far, but on the first pages the book discussed about enthusiasm – one of my favorite topics.

Because emotions are contagious, we need to tune into positive emotions. I like the idea that since we are working we can do the work with excellent attitude and enthusiasm. So with these thoughts I started the day and everything went rather well until afternoon, an unexpected error happened and it left me a bit dazed and confused.

Because it was at the end of the work day, I couldn’t quite put my finger on to it. I understood that the ability to recover from setback is crucial and all in all I handled it all okay, yet the feeling wasn’t the same after all.

Something lacked, but I couldn’t quite put my finger to there and then. Now I know: enthusiasm.

Therefore bouncebackability it’s not only about doing what is necessary, it also means finding the enthusiasm quickly 🙂

Enthusiasm is found the way it is always found in the beginning of the day, the same routine we just may need to stop and restart. It’s mostly about directing focus: to the positive and to the things we can control.

There will be always setbacks, it’s up to us to face them with smile.

Synthesis from Science of Money and Some Other Books

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So I just finished Science of Money by Brian Tracy and I was thinking to write summary. However, just writing a summary isn’t right, because there are so many interesting things from other sources as well which I thought to throw in the mix.

Science of Money gets a big recommendation from me, if you are interested about money. On the measure of how much Kindle highlights I’ve made, this was a great book with a lots of learning as I exceeded the 10% with over five percentage points. The fact that I cannot even highlight and remember everything, is a very good sign that if you are interested, get the book.

Book starts by verbalizing what I have been thinking and experiencing a in my professional life: “Money remains one of the most thought – provoking , emotional , and polarizing subjects in the world.”

Whenever we start to talk about money with people we do not know well, it is a topic that does easily cause strong emotions and polarizes. Conversations can end or light up quickly.

What is money? Money is medium of exchange, the medium to exchange value. Things themselves do not have any value, only when there is someone to pay.

As Yuval Noah Harari put in Sapiens “money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.” Money is medium of exchange, and it’s based on trust and belief that you can exchange it tomorrow too.

More important than money, is however the value. And because we all exchange our services for something, we better be always looking to create more value. Because of this, Brian Tracy puts it well that everybody works on straight commission. To me this was a breakthrough thought that instantly connected with another thought from Daniel Pink’s book to Sell is Human: “selling is moving people”, therefore we are all in sales.  I think this thought by Brian Tracy is really interestingly combined with this thought and creates even greater thought:  we are all in sales with straight commission.

When we begin to internalize this, we start to think more about the value we create in the hours, days and weeks. Brian puts it well that wealthy people work for six days a week. They also keep on investing on themselves to keep on learning new valuable skills.

Earning ability, the skills is important. Even more important is the habit of saving money from what you earn, after that you can scale up.

Parkinson’s Law and How to Use It

More importantly Brian goes through most relevant laws that govern money and earning. They all important, yet in here I would like to focus on Parkinson’s law that says expenses rise to meet the income. Or “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

On contemplating this, I’ve successfully understood why Elon Musk for example divides his time into five minute chunks to get more done. Even bigger chunks such as 30 min or 45 minute will work. Setting a time limit for a task will make sure that it will get done.

Identity and limiting beliefs

Brian goes to length talk about limiting beliefs, self-doubt in particular that as he shares in one story, is the tool of the devil as the metaphor.

As a medicine for self-doubt he recommends the inverse paranoia (believing that world is conspiring to make you succeed) that was practiced for example by W . Clement Stone who was worth 800 million $ at the time he died.

Many of us live with kind of (socially programmed) level of self-worth in money and social as well. This is mostly unconscious, we inherit from our childhood and youth environment and strive for it. If we are below the level of our programmed level of living standard, we are willing to work harder. If we are above, we will find ways to spend and get rid of the money.

Changing your identity about money happens as with any habit: slowly and surely. As with getting anywhere, visualizing the success and using the imagination to be actually already there is the first step to achievement. This is the way for example soccer hero’s are born: young boys watching their childhood heroes on the field. Or for any pop star as well, it all starts with a dream – a visualization and then a long journey with many tiny steps towards that dream.

Money is not the end goal, as said, money is just a metric on how much value you are creating. However, be patient, learn, learn and learn. You will be surprised: this is a more probably road than winning a lottery.

“The most important principle of personal or business success is simply this; you become what you think about most of the time.” – Brian Tracy

Since all money just measures how much value is being created, the value creation is critical. All value is created from nothing. This makes life a wonderful adventure, because it means we there is no limit to the value we can create if we are imaginative.

If your work is profitable then it’s worth of your time and effort, a nature’s way of guiding us.

 

Work and Humility

“When you go to work, work. Put your head down and work.” – Brian Tracy

Brian gives about working and understanding that working is exchanging value and then value should be maximized. With the acknowledgement that we are all humans, I like this kind of thinking. When we work, the focus should be working and creating value for the customers. To create value for customers we need to be finding new ways to serve these people in customer organizations.

Then I might add a different point of view as well, that our focus as human beings is rather limited. There are no such things as 12 hour productive streaks. We need to stay focused and productive during our day, however in between there should be smart breaks, a bit of exercise, and why not some laughter as well.

Overall I really like the idea of recognizing when you should be focusing and working and when you should be having fun is a big difference and I like the humility here as an approach.

Cause and Effect

 “All wealth, all happiness, all prosperity, all success are the direct and indirect effects or results of specific causes or actions” – Brian Tracy

To conclude so much content, I would say that value creation, through work and imagination are the basis. One important thing is what is called secondary consequences. This thought really hit me, that I actually see think about this stuff! Most people think only about what happens next, primary consequence if you do this or that. However, there are also the secondary consequences which will happen eventually from other perspectives.

Whatever you want to achieve in life you can either achieve it by chance or doing something differently. Study the cause and effect, and think of the secondary consequences too.

Super Productivity of a Team

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We do not achieve anything worthwhile just by ourselves. Life is a team work, and human being is a social being.

Recently I have been pondering what is the determining factor on how well we work with each other?

We are unique human beings with different strengths and qualities. Yet if we are given X and Y, why is the end result sometime 0,8, sometimes 1 and sometime more than one i.e. 1,2? I am talking about super productivity and what is behind that.

If our neutral state is one, what could be our enthusiastic, open, kind and cooperative state? I would say that would be 1,2. Then again when we are a reluctant, tired and selfish we our input in a group regresses to 0,8.

What factors of our own input are in our own control?

  • We cannot choose our feelings, we can choose how to respond to them. By choosing how to respond to emotions we can set our emotional state which is far more than just the whims of single emotions
  • We cannot choose our circumstances, however we can choose our attitude
  • We may not always decide who we are with, yet we can decide to be present and mindful

Great results are always the result of your best input: you can choose if your attunement , i.e. do you bring something to the table or take something from it.

Takeaway from Bhagavad Gita: World is Us

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Arjuna – pic by Ilussion – Own work, CC BY 3.0

Bhagavad Gita is a book that is little known in western world. It’s called the holy book of Hinduism, however it’s actually just a part of greater epic. Bhagavad Gita or Gita just in short is rather practical guidebook to living a life.

Gita is written in the form of dialogue between an Indian Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna. Krishna represents selfless servant, who gives advice to the prince who struggles with the questions of life: love and war.

The themes in the book are very practical. As example, Arjuna is in a difficult position where war seems inevitable and yet he wouldn’t want to go into a war where he would have to face his relatives and in the end he wouldn’t be happy even if he would go to war and win, so he is struggling with the fact that should he then just accept defeat and be done with the life?

Krishna teaches and clarifies Arjuna’s thinking through giving Arjuna a better understanding what really matters. As Krishan is representation of something greater, his advice has perspective about purpose of life.

Krishna helps Arjuna to see his life as part of something greater as well and therefore helps Arjuna to see purpose.  Basic message is that there is a greater self beyond what we can see. A self, that is interconnected.

World Is Us

World is us, even though we live ourselves in the illusion of separateness.

Also because we can observe ourselves, it means we are greater than merely our thoughts, emotions and our bodies. While this concept is a bit difficult for me, it could be either the greater self, or soul in more Christian way thinking. The greater self or soul is indestructible unlike the body.

Because of this indestructible part, our purpose is longer term than just this life. This life is wonderful opportunity do take this longer term perspective and start doing the good and right things for the whole interconnected system we are part of.

This concept could be described best as the middle way saying no the bad options, yet being courageous about values and virtues. From this kind of thinking, the greatness has risen, as example the non-violent movement: people remain courageous while still withholding their human rights and not succumbing to the oppression.

Because world is ourselves, it would be foolish to hurt ourselves purposefully. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Therefore the suffering we cause the others is also suffering caused upon ourselves. Cycle of suffering continues and increases. This was communicated in such clarity that I decided to go vegetarian.

Values are Worth Sacrificing for

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Unless you are willing to pay a price, either actual or emotional for something, you do not have any values. Having values means to have suffer the consequences.

Usually having to make a choice, involves a consequence and suffering. Because choosing also means not choosing something else, and it is saying no to something, in order to say yes for something.

You have chosen something in hopes that it will lead to a change in circumstance or outcome. Making a choice, means that the destiny has been set. If you change it, then the destiny has been changed again. If you stick to it, you might eventually might manifest something out of it.

Put your values to work. Virtues are values in action. When it comes to virtues, usually most highly esteemed are the ones that put the collective good before the individual. We arrive at selfless service and purpose of life.

What is your purpose? How does your values reflect that? What are your values in action?

If the purpose is worth striving for, so are the values worth actualizing for. You are choosing to go through the jungle without hurting a thing, it might require tremendous effort from your part, but will make a better person out of you in the end.

Values are worth sacrificing for, because through them you will become what you are capable of becoming.

Attention Makes Us Thrive

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Attention is the currency of love and power.

As humans we literally crave for attention. Lack of attention is worse than negative attention.

Attention to people doesn’t cost any money, yet this is one of the most easily overlooked sides of leadership. Attention does take time and caring effort.

It’s not money, luxuries or drugs we care, it’s attention and caring.

It’s hard for us to admit it, however it is so.

I think the way to give the attention is the caring way. It’s at least better than the denying angry or upset way. Because in the end all of us crave for the attention at least the caring way is a  very nice to give the attention.

We are the Creators of Our Own Emotional Rollercoasters

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Mammals have this amazing quick and effortless ability to feel. Feeling emotions makes communication incredibly quick.

In groups of animals there is the emotional contagion effect. Same is in humans, the strongest emotion in a group will take hold after about two minutes and set the tone for the rest of the group.

Because emotions are quick and effortless, they become easily chaotic. There starts to swing many emotions around and soon emotions are difficult to control, especially if you do not have any training.

With chaotic emotions, it is very easy for people to get hurt either really or through misunderstanding. Most often the time we hurt each other simply because we do not understand each other well enough. We may jump to conclusion or misinterpret even good intentions without full understanding.

At times we are right and the fault is not in us at all.

We have right to feel what we feel. That being said, although we feel, does not mean we are what we feel. We are not our feelings, because we can observe them.

Understanding the passing by nature of the emotions helps us to manage the chaotic nature. First things is to recognize and give a name for the feelings. Through recognizing we take notice, and because we can take notice – we can let go as well.

Recognize and let go. Deep breath.

Our feelings do not dictate our emotional life. Feelings come and go, emotional life is what stays. We are working for longer term emotional life. If feelings are the ups or downs of the rollercoaster, the emotional life is the whole ride.

We are the makers of our own rollercoasters. We can determine beforehand what kind of ups, downs and loops we add there. We can then accept that this is our rollercoaster and enjoy the whole ride even though some turn might feel bad, the overall is our awesome creation.