Ever considered keeping a journal? Here’s why you should totally do it.

Keeping a journal, simply put, will only improve your life.It’s no secret that my life has been… Well, challenging, to put it neutrally. But then, a couple of years ago, I started keeping a journal. And I tell ya, it’s played a big part in turning my entire life around.

Now, some people may consider themselves more or less the kinds of people to be keeping a journal. But I believe everyone could benefit from keeping a journal, and here’s why.

See, when I started doing it, I was inspired by The Five Minute-Journal. I might be kinda copying its concept, but hey, it works! And here it goes…

Every morning when I get out of bed, I write down:
– Three things I’m grateful for.
– Three things that’d be awesome to have done by the end of the day.
– A daily affirmation following the simple template of “I am [_______]”.

And every evening before I turn in, I write down:
– Three awesome things that happened throughout the day.
– The one biggest thing I learned during the day.
– One way in which I could’ve made the day even better.

Okay, so what’s the point of all this? Why, thanks for asking!

As for the three things I’m grateful for, I often do more than three. But don’t settle for less! Like I’ve said before, when we’re in touch with our gratitude for what we have, what we have expands.

The three things I’d like to have done by the end of the day, I’ve usually planned out ahead. So for me, the point here is to consolidate my already existing plans and make sure I get ’em done. But you’d might go about it any which way you’d like.

This also goes for the daily affirmation. Some people only use one word, e.g. “I am strong”, “I am happy”, “I am successful”, etc.. But I usually do at least one or two full sentences combined, like for example “I am a goddamn pirate, so don’t step to me or I’ll mess you up, kiddo.”

(I tend to go for something empowering.)

Now, the three awesome things that happened don’t necessarily have to be those I’d planned out ahead. On the contrary, I often try to notice what other good stuff happens and note that. Again, you can do as many as you want, but three is a good minimum.

And the same thing goes for the things you learned, and the ways in which you could have improved upon your day. In fact, it’s almost impossible to have too many of these!

But…

Yeah, I know. I know…

If you’re down in the dumps, it can be hard to find anything to be grateful for. It can be hard to get things done, learn anything, and appreciate whatever goes on in one’s life. And telling yourself that you’re just happy-go-dandy is simply downright awkward.

But do it anyway. Because, when you do this enough times, then what do you think happens?

That’s right.

What we focus on is the reality that we eventually create for ourselves. So, as you start to consciously focus on empowering thoughts, learning experiences, and valuable actions, that’s how your life becomes.

Alex Ikonn and U.J. Ramdas, the makers of the aforementioned Five-Minute Journal, claim that keeping a journal is “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.” And they’re not kidding.

Not only will keeping a journal bring you in touch with your happiness and help you focus on the good times. Furthermore, it’s an effective way to keep track of your progress, stay on track, and reevaluate your goals.

Seriously, go ahead and try it.

ACTION POINT:

1. Based upon the above outline, keep a journal every day for 30 days.

2. If you miss a day, keep at it. But start over with the next day being day 1.

3. Notice as the small changes start happening in your life.

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Are you grateful for what you have?

You can't focus on what you don't have, when you're grateful for what you have.You can’t focus on what you don’t have when you’re grateful for what you have.

I came upon this quote in a blog post by T. Harv Eker — a man who helps entrepreneurs like me dominate the world. So naturally, I listen to what he has to say.

Now, I don’t know for sure if Harv came up with the quote originally. (In fact, I’m pretty sure Tony Robbins also has a saying along those lines.) But it’s really not that important. What’s important is the message.

Being grateful for what you have takes you to a state of appreciation and calmness. And those of you who practice meditation will immediately see a resemblance.

But furthermore, those of you who practice meditation might also recognize a certain principle in how one, positive state of mind doesn’t allow the persistence of another, negative state of mind.

When you’re truly, deeply grateful for what you have, you’re not focusing on any lack or need there might be in your life.

(And yes, both meditation and being grateful for what you have ARE necessarily positive states of mind. In fact, find just one person who practices both regularly because it makes him or her feel worse.)

Okay, so what’s so great about this?”, you might ask. Well, the thing is, what we focus on is how our lives become.

People who are obsessed with never having enough money for this-and-that don’t GET enough money for this-and-that.

I know this firsthand, because I’ve been that guy for way many more years than anyone would need to.

And get this:

Even if we consider ourselves to be driven away from what we don’t have, our subconscious minds don’t get it. Our subconscious minds don’t GET a negative!

Go ahead: Don’t think about a blue elephant right now. A blue elephant is the last thing that should be on your mind. Whatever you think about, just DON’T think about a blue elephant.

… Yeah, we all know the example.

So it’s when we cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance that our subconscious mind starts to look for more abundance to be grateful for.

Now, let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that there’s two kinds of people in the world: Those who cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance, and those who cultivate a mindset of scarcity and lack.

Can you guess which group might be more confident, and which one might be less confident??

Attaboy.

Non-fident people, as I call it, tend to let their happiness depend upon getting new things. And I’m sure we’re all familiar with the idea that “things are gonna start to look up for me whenever I’ll get that [degree/job/car/house/relationship/whatever]”.

And then what happens? Well, either we get it or we don’t. And if we don’t, we immediately go into a state of disappointment and blame it all on NOT getting what we want.

… But if we DO get it…

Well, we might be happy. At least for a while.

But have you noticed how that happiness just never lasts? How you seem to think that you need to chase the attainment of one new thing after the other?

That’s because for some reason, you can’t be grateful for what you have. And as long as it’s like that, you’ll never be truly happy or truly confident.

Well okay, but what if I need to focus on my goals to attain them??”

Of course you do. — And you should. Eyes on the prize. But you’ll never get there if you come from a place of lacking and needing; you’ll only create more lack and need.

Paradoxically, we need to detach ourselves from our goals. We need to be happy without them.

This can be a bit of a mind-twister, I know. Especially if your goal is to increase your confidence. How can I be confident if I’m not confident, right?!

The good news is, even if being grateful for what you have doesn’t come natural to you, it’s a learnable skill.

Treat whatever confidence you DO have like you just treated that blue elephant:

Focus on it. Keep focusing. And be grateful for it. In time, it will, necessarily, expand.

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Do you sometimes confuse pleasure and happiness?

We all confuse pleasure and happiness. Are you doing anything about it?Let’s be honest here: We’re all confusing pleasure and happiness sometimes.

We’ve all found ourselves dicking around on the internet instead of studying.
We’ve all tried ruining our appetite by snacking on junk food instead of at least something healthy.
And maybe we’ve all been in a relationship that we knew was going bad but couldn’t get ourselves to end. Because the comfort, safety, kisses and caressing touches seemed far more appealing than the uncertainties and stigmatizations of being single.

Sure, some are prone to this more than others. But none of us are able to flawlessly distinguish between where one ends and the other takes over.

(Indeed, there probably is no such fine distinction.)

Just to make sure we’re on the same page here, pleasure is an immediate sensation of enjoyment. Often brought on by sensory stimulus, whether eating an entire bag of chips, watching Netflix all day, abusing alcohol, having sex, or gambling. In other words, an externally triggered instant gratification.

Happiness, on the other hand, is purely internal, and cultivated more slowly and meticulously. Happiness stems from a sense of confidence and purpose. — Two things that I’ve found to be related in quite a few ways.

Paradoxically, happiness comes from feeling good about continually doing the things that might not bring you immediate pleasure, but which you know will bring you… Well, happiness!

With happiness being less attainable, it’s no wonder why so many people seem to be virtually chasing one high of pleasure after another.

By the way, in my opinion, there’s nothing necessarily bad about taking one night of decadent partying, comprising alcohol and sex galore, followed by a day of restitution, comprising chips and Netflix galore.

In fact, I deliberately do this every month. Because I’m only human; because I wanna live my one life to the max every once in a while; and because acute pleasure does not in itself rule out long-term happiness.

However, there’s something wrong about chasing instant gratification to an extent where it substitutes any happiness you might’ve had otherwise. And it seems most of us are far too prone to chase pleasure rather than happiness.

It’s not that it’s any surprise. In the words of Tony Schwartz, “enduring happiness often requires delaying gratification”. In other words, choosing happiness over pleasure IS harder for us.

But one thing is that it’s hard for us to deny ourselves pleasure; another is that it’s treacherously easy to get pleasure and happiness mixed up.

In fact, neuroscientists have even mapped out the hedonic brain circuitry — the part of our brain responsible for rewarding pleasure-seeking — speculating on the “potential interaction of hedonics with eudaimonic networks“.

… Meaning, in other words, that the two areas are difficult to distinguish even from a neuroanatomical standpoint.

(So don’t worry!)

Like with the above example of choosing to stay in a stillborn relationship because it feels better, it can also seem better. Of course we know that eating a burger meal instead of salad isn’t exactly healthy. But that’s not the only way we might confuse pleasure and happiness. Far from it.

And what I’ve found is that the lower one’s confidence, the lower one’s level of awareness. And the lower one’s level of awareness, the harder it is to make the crucial distinction between pleasure and happiness. — Necessarily!

It’s true that certain pivotal factors determining our happiness is beyond our control. For example, the global economy might impact certain local conditions adversely. And, by the way, anything else imaginable from civil war to our internet connection going down.

Other factors, we might be able to influence. Some people seem to be genetically more prone to depression than others. For certain ones, it’s probably out of their hands. But for most people by far, the ability to influence one’s attitude towards the world is far greater than one thinks. It’s all a matter of continually improving thereupon.

And then, continuing in this vein, there is a vastness of factors which we THINK should affect our happiness, but really don’t matter. For example, if you’re letting your happiness depend on whether you have holes in your socks, or whether the other supermarket queue is faster, you seriously need to take your idea of happiness into reevaluation.

(And I’m telling myself this just as much as I’m telling you.)

So, then, how do we get better at making a distinction that probably isn’t even there in the first place?

Good question. Like I said, it has much to do with the aforementioned awareness. And awareness, like any other state of mind, can be trained and nurtured.

You might wanna start by doing the following:

Should you find yourself unable to make a choice because you can’t seem to distinguish between pleasure and happiness, ask yourself: Will this bring me short-term pleasure? Or, will this rather bring me long-term happiness?

Keep this in mind from now on. It will get easier over time.
ACTION ITEM:

Cut off as many external sources of pleasure — and, indeed, distraction — as possible. For as long as possible.

Which sources of pleasure and distraction do you have in your life?

Internet? Television? Smartphone? Social media? Junkfood and/or candy? Alcohol? Regular sex?

How many of these do you rely upon for comfort on a daily basis? Are you able to cut them all off? If not, then how many? And which ones?

The only way to find out just how truly happy and stable we are is to abstain. The longer we’re able to feel genuine happiness without the use of external stimulants, the stronger we are.

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Judging things: Are you doing it right?

When we're judging things, we might learn about ourselves.It’s often said that how we’re judging things says a lot about us.

This, to a large extent, I think is BS. Partly because there’s a big, fat, blurry line between judging things and talking about things. The notion of “judging” is highly subjective and relative to the thickness of one’s skin.

Partly because it’s the all-time easiest way to derail a perfectly good debate if someone feels a little too exposed for comfort. It’s basically a way of saying “you’re one to talk” instead of addressing whatever point being made.

However, when we move beyond conveniently attributing Freudian defence mechanisms to someone smarter than ourselves, there’s a certain truth to it. And to examplify this, I will turn to my man Marcus Aurelius.

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked towards ancient southern Europe for an empowering quote. And, seeing as how the old Greeks and Romans practically perfected the art of the empowering quote, this probably won’t be the last time.

See, among many others, Marcus Aurelius had this saying:

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

What does this mean, then?

Well, it means that there’s a difference between what happens, and how we think about it.

For example, one might receive a letter from the bank. (They still do that once in a while, right?) And, without having even opened it, one might fear that it’s a bill, or a declaration of suspended credit cards due to overdraft.

Or, one might look at the date and think it’s probably just the annual account balance statement. (That’s also a thing, right?)

Okay, so maybe not the best example. But the point is…:

Are you judging things and occurrences as curses or blessings in disguise? How we perceive the world reveals our level of confidence.

But wait a minute! What if I broke my arm? Wouldn’t I be in tremendous pain then?!

Well, probably, yes. However, one thing is that instances of not feeling pain until you’re aware of your injury are actually fairly common. But furthermore, it’s even possible to hack your brain into not feeling any pain at all.

And even so, the way I read the quote is that it’s not so much about some inherent quality of what happens to us, but what we take away from it.

Sure, you might break your arm. And sure, it would suck. And initially, you would probably curse the fact that it happened, as would I. We’re only human, after all.

But at the end of the day, our confidence benefits far more from judging things like that as challenges to be overcome, thereby strengthening us. Even if that involves having to spend months rehabilitating a broken limb.

ACTION POINT:

Think of one thing which you absolutely cannot stand. It doesn’t have to be something downright horrible (e.g. a deadly disease). But still, try to find something worse than simply brussels sprouts or wet socks.

Now, having this thing in mind, try to think of at least THREE positive traits or aspects about this thing. Again: They don’t necessarily have to pertain to you. But you have to be able to acknowledge those positive aspects.

Optionally, try to come up with even more.

Congratulations: You’ve just discovered a whole new way of judging things.

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What people falsely believe about destiny — part 2

Destiny: The idea that everything or possibly less has a reason or purpose that may or may not serve you.In my article “What People Falsely Believe About Destiny“, I argue that the entire concept of destiny is not only outdated, but potentially dangerous. Because it ultimately takes away more or less of our personal responsibility.

I’d hereby like to elaborate on the inherent flaw of the concept of destiny.

There’s a huge correlation between what I call non-fidence and having somewhat of an obsession with the idea that there are manifold powers beyond our control. And ultimately that life is something that happens to us, rather than something we create ourselves.

However, I’ve also seen the exact opposite attitude towards an analogous belief.

Not only having done research into confidence and self-development for years, but also being an entrepreneur, I’m highly aware of the vast amounts of self-development in the world of entrepreneurship.

Hell, if you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t NOT cultivate confidence and self-development. There’s not ONE single successful entrepreneur out there who has low confidence and/or self-esteem.

But here’s the funny thing. Considering the above, one could, then, very well expect entrepreneurs to think the exact opposite of non-fidents. But I’ve found that there’s a clear tendency amongst entrepreneurs to talk about destiny.

Or, maybe more accurately, about how something is “meant” to happen or “meant” to be.

The difference, of course, is that people with higher confidence often see these alleged instances of destiny as favorable rather than detrimental towards them, and to take considerably more action towards their goals rather than let themselves be overwhelmed and paralyzed.

However, it’s the exact same idea of destiny at play. And no matter how high or low one’s confidence might be, the idea is nothing but superstitious BS.

There’s a perfectly good theory surrounding how we consider our internal forces vs. the world’s external forces in our lives. It’s called the theory of the locus of control. And it basically says that we can attribute autonomous control in a certain degree towards both external circumstances, and towards internal abilities.

Why, then, would we even need to talk about destiny? In my original article, I point towards pre-scientific, outdated ideas of higher powers. And, towards how the idea of destiny has simply become ingrained in our common sayings.

The problem with sayings like, e.g, “There’s a reason for everything” is that they’re essentially not saying anything. Because the very word ‘reason’ is ambiguous.

Indeed, to what extent does any instance of alleged ‘reason’ pertain to something internal or external? And how would anyone go about demonstrating this??

There’s no manual other than what one might choose to believe.

Listen: Stuff happens. It’s what we choose to take away from it — or, indeed, not to — that gives said stuff its meaning.

Where was all the alleged “meaning” one billion years ago? Take away humankind from the Earth, and show me what meaning is. (Optionally, include all the animals.)

Nothing has any inherent meaning apart from what we apply to it. And whatever meaning we do apply speaks volumes of who we are.

But wait a minute! If entrepreneurs tend to believe that things happen for them, isn’t that simply a convenient belief that I could just totally adapt to become successful?

Well, it probably couldn’t hurt. But that doesn’t mean that things DO happen “for” you.

It’s all a matter of how we see the possibilities for growth and learning around us. And you don’t need to believe in destiny to do that.

Raise your awareness. Confidence will follow.

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Introducing… Star Wars mindfulness!

Star Wars mindfulness: Master Yoda lays it downLike any other pre-90’s kid with a beating heart, I love the classic Star Wars mythology. Now, with the obvious out of the way, you’re probably wondering what Star Wars mindfulness is all about. In fact, how are the two things related at all?

If nothing else, you’ve at least heard of Star Wars, because you have an internet connection, and a fairly normal human perception. Mindfulness, on the other hand, although a greatly expanding phenomenon, still seems to be somewhat less pervasive in the public domain.

This is also part of the reason it seems near-impossible for anyone practicing mindfulness to talk about it in a manner that doesn’t seem like they want you to join some neo-religious cult of sorts.

But if you haven’t heard of mindfulness before, it is, among other things, a way of practicing meditation. This description from Psychology Today is quite apt:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.“

I shouldn’t have to elaborate as to the benefits of meditation if you’re often struggling with low confidence and self-esteem. In fact, practicing meditation could reduce quite a few of the problems of non-fident people.*

Anyway, as it turns out, Star Wars mindfulness is just totally a thing.

It first occurred to me when I was watching “The Empire Strikes Back” for the umpteenth time, having learned about mindfulness since the last time. For this purpose, I’ll be concentrating on Luke’s initial Jedi training.

When Luke first visits master Yoda, he’s restless, edgy, and impatient to get started. Yoda, being Yoda, then tells like it is:

“For 800 years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment; the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away. To the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was; what he was doing.“

Non-fident people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future. Confident people accept their past by learning from their mistakes, and they prepare for the future by making the best of the present moment.

From then on, those Star Wars mindfulness moments just keep piling up.

When Yoda trains Luke in lifting rocks, he tells him to “feel” the rocks, and to concentrate. Of course, concentration per se might be a little misleading, since mindfulness isn’t about deliberately straining our minds.

But mindfulness IS about undivided focus. And to lift the rocks, Luke must give them this focus by “feeling” them, by concentrating on them, one at a time.

It becomes even clearer when Yoda tells Luke about the Force before he is to enter the Cave of Evil: “Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.“ About how the dark side is “quicker, easier, more seductive”. And about how one will know the difference between the two sides when one is “calm, at peace, passive“.

This is, essentially, all another good reason to practice mindfulness. We so often give in to the basic human condition of fear that we often get carried away by it, only to find ourselves struggling negative emotions galore.

But when we’re calm, passive, and at peace, it’s much easier for us to distance ourselves from those emotions.

When Luke starts asking questions, Yoda quickly cuts him off: “No. There is no “why”. Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions”.

This, like mindfulness, is about acceptance. When we’re mindful, we accept things for what they are. We neither actively reject or pursue any information or idea. We simply let them pass through us without judgment.

Finally, before Luke enters the Cave of Evil, Yoda tells him that it contains “only what you take with you”. This applies to how we perceive and judge things. When we’re mindful, we observe things without labelling or judging them. But when we label or judge something, we ascribe it certain traits — positive or negative — that we bring along.

It’s only because Luke fears Vader that he sees him in the cave. — And, as he destroys the apparition and sees his own severed head, he sees how the fear might end up destroying himself.

Ultimately, when Luke returns to face Vader in “Return of the Jedi”, he is stoic and calm. You can almost detect the hint of a smile in the corners of his mouth. Having successfully learned the ways of the Jedi, he is able to withstand the temptation to fight the Dark Side, throw down his lightsaber, and take the path of calmness and peace.

Of course, Luke already has the Force within him that enables him to destroy the Death Star in “A New Hope”. And that’s kinda the beauty of it all. Because I totally think we all have the Force within us, and we should all find out how we’re gonna use it. And mindfulness helps us do that.

I could go on and on about Star Wars mindfulness. But don’t just take my word for it. Other people have long made the same discovery as I. Like I said: Star Wars mindfulness is totally a thing.

I was planning to be totally original and end this with a well-meant “may the Force be with you”. But for the purpose of generally writing about confidence and confidence-related issues, I’ll quote Yoda one last time. From when Luke complains about being unable to levitate his X-wing fighter from the swamp:

So certain are you. Always with you what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?


* Sources: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2013/03/how-mindfulness-can-increase-self-confidence/; https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift/201411/overcoming-low-self-esteem-mindfulness; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-and-deb-shapiro/meditation-self-esteem_b_1803862.html

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Regretting past decisions is lame. Here’s why.

Regretting past decisions often involves an "I could have been [X]". Well, then why AREN'T you [X]?"We’ve all found ourselves regretting past decisions at one point or another. It’s part of being human, I guess. You live, you learn. And as we learn and accumulate experience, we begin to see our inexperienced past through experienced eyes.

This can make for regret.

We might realize an unintentional wrongdoing right away. Or, we might only realize it years later. Regretting past decisions, of course, pertains to the latter.

Confident people are usually calm and accepting towards past decisions. Whereas non-fident people tend to be governed by regret rather than acceptance.

When we’re regretting past decisions, we often make the mistake of beating ourselves up over something we allegedly “could have” had, said or done. But surprisingly often, it’s something we could have been or become.

Sure, I could have been famous….

I could have been a lawyer…

I could have been married by now, if only…

Yeah… No. No you couldn’t, and here’s why:

At any given time, we’re acting in perfect accordance with every single relevant internal disposition and external influence.

(And yes: Even when we’re regretting past decisions.)

At any time, there are a number of factors at play, all simultaneously determining the outcome of any given situation.

Some of these factors are within us; others are beyond us. Some people will claim that they’re mostly within our control; others will claim that they’re mostly beyond it. But that’s not the point here.

The point is that if you could have been something, you necessarily would have. Take any one of your statements following the logic of “I could have been [X]”, and then tell yourself why you DIDN’T become [X]. The explanation you’ll come up with is the reason why your statement is wrong in the first place.

I know this sounds harsh. So hey, take me as an example! I might tell you that I could have been a musician today. But really, I couldn’t. Because when my will to do it was at its highest, I still carried around way too much insecurity and existential indifference, and certain occurrences made me prioritize differently — in accordance with both these occurrences and my insecurity and indifference towards life.

So, am I regretting past decisions concerning my would-be musicianship? Well, I could. And I sure have. And from time to time I do find myself feeling that slight hint of regret that I didn’t practice just five minutes more every day.

Like I said, we’re human after all.

But generally, no. Because…

Regretting past decisions is lame, because we have no control over them today. Wanting to change something we can’t change is nothing more than setting ourselves up for failure.

But wait a minute! If internal and external dispositions govern everything we do and say and become all the time, what about our free will?

Yes, I’ve talked about this before. And, paraphrasing myself in all humility here, it doesn’t really matter whether we have free will or not.

What matters most is that we act rather than re-act. That we’re proactive rather than re-active. That we act in accordance with our desires and values, and that we feel good about the choices we make. No matter how many contributing factors determine these choices.

While regretting past decisions IS lame in itself, there’s still a lesson to be learned from our specific regrets. Like our physical pain is there to tell us about harm being done to our bodies, our regrets are there to tell us about harm being done to our desires and values.

Like with our physical pain, regret in itself will do you no good. But learn from the bitter memories surrounding it, and you’ll be able to see your path clearer and walk it more confidently.

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How action reduces fear

Action reduces fear, because doing something scary effectively tells our fear to shut up.Action reduces fear, so act.

Truth be told, this neat little quote isn’t my own. It’s one that I came upon while reading a summary of David Schwartz’ classic “The Magic of Thinking Big”. But it stuck with me.

For someone plagued by low confidence and self-esteem, the idea that action reduces fear could very well seem counter-intuitive. Because often, it’s when we need to take action on something — especially something important — that fear arises.

There’s the fear that we’ll mess something up, and that, as a result, people will judge us and ridicule us. But there’s also the fear that we might successfully carry through with our endeavor and advance to a higher level. — We’d have expectations coming at us from all sides! And responsibilities!

Whether it’s one or both, or some other fear, fear associated with taking action is definitely real. So, why would anyone claim that action reduces fear??

To find the answer, take a moment to think about another topic that seems to cause non-fidents a lot of pain: Over-thinking.

We’ve all been there. Stuck with a seemingly unsolvable choice, entirely unable to weigh out the pros and cons. Or, having done just that, unable to make a decision because either option seems just as good — or bad — as the other.

No-one’s exactly a fan, that’s for sure. But still, as it is said in the personal coaching world, there’s always a pay-off.

You see, over-thinking is, deep down, a defense mechanism. When we over-think something, it’s because of exactly those aforementioned fears.

No-one likes over-thinking. But it still feels way less uncomfortable than having to make a tough decision or do something that makes you feel exposed and put on the line.

Over-thinking, then, is the antithesis to the action that it prevents. The two cannot co-exist. It’s either one, or the other.

Sometimes, the over-thinking wins, and we end up doing nothing at all. That’s when we really give in to our doubts and fears.

And so, it’s when we stop thinking and just do it that action reduces fear.

Action reduces fear, because when we act, we only do it because we’ve sufficiently silenced that fearsome part of our brains telling us to abort and run away. Like I said, the two cannot co-exist.

But doesn’t that mean that I’d have to compromise my thinking if I want to get things done? What if I, like, really treasure my thinking?”

Sounds like a defense mechanism to me. 😉

No, seriously, it does. But I DO get where you’re coming from. I was there.

The thing is, thinking isn’t necessarily good for us altogether. Thinking isn’t a means to an end. We have more thoughts every day than can be measured, and that’s not exactly beneficial.

On the contrary, many a study have been done on how meditation helps us by training us to simply observe our thoughts and stay focused on the ones that matter, rather than blowing the insignificant ones out of proportion.*

Also, after we’ve done whatever frightening actions we’re doing, we can evaluate ourselves and get better at it the next time. And, of course, we wanna start out by taking babysteps. This goes for whatever we’re doing. Some people even get help from a confidence coach. (Something I obviously highly recommend doing.)

Bottom line: If you’re feeling anxious about doing something, it probably means it’s important, and you should do it. And really, there are lots of ways to go about your challenges safely and securely. But only the action reduces fear. And, as another quote from the initially mentioned summary goes: Nothing happens just by thinking.

Yes, it’s scary. Do it anyway.


* Sources: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719544/; http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

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Forget about never being made fun of: Here’s what to do instead

Being made fun of happens to everyone, and it's not up to us to decide the details. So we might as well embrace it.Being made fun of is probably one of the most common fears among people with confidence and self-esteem issues. And for many a good reason.

With the possible exception of Larry David and other deliberately self-deprecating comedians, nobody likes being made fun of. When somebody makes fun of us, a part of us is involuntarily exposed beyond our control. We don’t get to decide when it happens, or in front of whom, or the specific subject matter.

If we feel particularly vulnerable towards ridicule, we might feel like preventing being made fun of by only surrounding ourselves with asskissers and yes-men. But really, show me just one person who’s effectively made that idea work.

Or, we might feel like not surrounding ourselves with people at all — yet another common go-to idea amongst non-fidents. And can you guess if that’s really a good, sensible idea?

Yeah, I thought so.

So, what do we do about being made fun of, then?

Well, as with a great many other things in life, there are options. And, as with life in general, there’s no manual. So, in practice, it really comes down to personal preference and simply winging it.

However, if we wish to take the path of confidence, there are certain things to consider.

You see, confidence is all about latitude and inclusiveness. The more confident we are, the bigger we consider ourselves. And the bigger we consider ourselves, the more we allow ourselves to contain. Even being made fun of.

This doesn’t mean we should lie down and take one insult after another like a little, submissive bitch. It means we should consider the reasons we might FEEL like a little, submissive bitch. Is it someone else “making” us feel this way? Or would we feel this way at all if we weren’t disposed towards it in the first place?

This is a provocative question, I know. And as such, it’s all the more important to consider.

And here’s something else…

Have you ever noticed how no matter what happens in any given week, satirical shows will necessarily find a way to poke fun at it?

In fact, have you ever noticed how you’re not the only person being made fun of? And, indeed, have you ever noticed how anyone can, in principle, make fun of anything, at any time?

Yes, they can. And this just so happens to include you. And me. In fact, everyone.

This is one of those inescapable conditions of being human. There’s no changing it.

And this is why, when we try to actively escape or refrain from being made fun of, it only makes us look even more pathetic and hilarious. Because, considering how far we’ve come as a civilization, certain human traits ARE still pretty inelegant.

So accept it. Forget about never being made fun of. Instead, learn to embrace and love the idea that anyone can, in principle, make fun of anything, at any time — including you. Anything else is just fear-based insecurity.

Which everybody has. It’s just that confident people act in spite of it. And Hell, confident people even make fun of themselves.

MENTAL EXERCISE

1) Turn off your phone, and eliminate all other possible distractions.
2) Close your eyes.
3) Now imagine that you’re 200 feet tall and made out of diamonds.
4) Get heavy on the details. Imagine your surroundings. Where are you at? Is it a city? If yes, which one, and which part of it?
Try walking around. What do people, buildings, animals, cars, streets, etc. look like from up there?
Engage your other senses as well. Are you hearing the wind more clearly up there? Maybe tasting the cool air?
Are you walking slowly and confidently? Do movements seem slower? Maybe less risky than usual?

Try doing this for 5 minutes. Notice how you feel afterwards.

It’s when we think of ourselves as big that we grow a little.

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Why the long break?

Stay confident while I'm away...

Hi everyone!

So, some of you might be wondering why I haven’t been doing any blog posts for a while.

I’d love to be able to tell you something really cool. E.g. I’ve been on an important mission for an undercover intelligence agency, or I’ve been three weeks in Mumbai for an intense kama sutra course.

The truth is, though, I’ve simply been enjoying the summer and hitting the festivals for this season. (Probably none that you know of, by the way.). So, yeah, I guess that’s not entirely uncool after all.

I hope you’re all enjoying the summer as well. And I hope that this season finds you as strong and confident as possible, and that you’re working towards the life you truly deserve. The way that certain world leaders seem to be acting right now, we need more confident people on a grassroots level.

People like you and me.

I wanna take this opportunity to thank you for coming back here for more of my thoughts and advice. Having a following really does mean a lot to me. (Even if you’re just one of Google’s crawler bots.) So thank you.

And rest assured that I’ll be coming back soon with more confidence-building thoughts, lists, tips, ideas and advice. If everything goes according to plan, there’s gonna be more motivation, inspiration and empowerment for you sometime next week.

Also, in the near future, I’ll be adding a ressource page to my site. On there, I’ll be gathering tools, lists, quotes, possibly links to future collaborators etc.. However, it’ll be a work in progress, and I’m not gonna be launching it until I’ve amassed enough ressources for it to make sense. So don’t hold yer breath.

And on a longer scale, there are other, greater things on the way as well. Hold yer breath even less for those, though.

Oh, and the next time I suddenly go into vacation mode, I’ll try to let you know beforehand. 😉

‘Till next time…

Rise above.

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