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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Dear Negative Thoughts…

Your negative thoughts are like people: You can outgrow each other.Dear Negative Thoughts

You’ve been serving me for a long time.

Not necessarily in a good or bad way, but for a long time, anyway. That’s why I remember you.

And that’s exactly the status you have with me now: A memory; an echo. A faded photograph of an old place that’s no longer worth visiting for me.

I think you’re still here because I have a hard time forgetting. Because forgetting would feel like losing an important part of my identity.

I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. Some things are probably fine to remember; others might be inhibitive. I think you’re still around because you’ve felt like part of my identity for long.

But I think it’s time to let go, Negative Thoughts.

I want you to know that I actually love many of the times we’ve shared. The nights where I just stayed at home, drank by myself and listened to my own music have felt amazing. Hell, I might even do it some other time in the future. But at that point, it will be because I genuinely want to; not because I feel safer that way.

And today, I feel safe enough to dare letting you go. I’m sure there’ll be others who’ll take care of you, because they’re at a stage of their lives where you’ll get along. But you and I don’t get along anymore. It’s not that you’re wrong or bad; it’s just that we’ve outgrown each other.

Don’t worry: There’s plenty of need for you out there. The world is a huge place that can easily feel insecure. There’ll always be a lot of people who need someone like you to support themselves. You’re not gonna have trouble finding anyone to take care of you and be much better for you in the long run. I’ve actually seen many of your kind all over the place. In fact, you’re gonna have a ball!

But you and I must go our seperate ways now. I know it’ll be hard for both of us to adjust to the fact that our time together is over. But it needs to be this way for our common good. You’re no longer expressing yourself fully with me, and I no longer  need you for support. And so, splitting up is all for the better, no matter how much it hurts.

You can cry if it makes you feel better. Personally, I will no longer be spending my energy mourning, but learning, evolving, and full-out enjoying the recovery of a part of myself which I’ve been without for all too many years. That is, until you and I started drifting apart.

I hereby let you go. And so, it’s only a matter of time until we separate entirely. Because I know how stubborn you are, and how forcefully you hold on. But I’m letting you go now.

We’ll probably be seeing each other around a lot. Hell, it’s practically inevitable, what with all our mutual friends. You’ll probably see me and consider me something unattainable and therefore irritating in all my self-assuredness, determination and optimism. And I’ll probably see you and consider you someone else’s problem, truth be told.

I know there’s a deep discrepancy there, and that it hurts someone like you. But I’ll ask you to respect my choice and accept that it wouldn’t lead to anything durable — much less something at all good — if we were to try and get back together.

Once again, thanks for all the instantly gratifying times. I know there’s probably some phrasings here that might be interpreted as though I’m keeping a door open for reconciliation. Just to make it entirely clear: It’s only you who’s interpreting it that way. You can’t help it; it’s your nature.

But it IS entirely over between you and me. I’m married to Confidence now.

Goodbye, Negative Thoughts.

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Don’t be that guy…

Nobody likes someone who moans and bitches, be it online or IRL. So whatever you do, don't be that guy.You know how in every comment section online there’s always that one guy who’s bitchy and moany about whatever the subject matter? Yeah, don’t be that guy.

Often, there’s more than one. (Lookin’ at you, YouTube!) And of course, girls do it too, but they tend to be more passive-aggressive, whereas guys can be more up-front.

As far as I see there seems to be a strong connection between that type of behavior and low confidence/self-esteem.

This doesn’t mean that all of my readers are “moaners”, as it were. (Au contraire, I like to think that you’re smarter than that.) It’s simply a matter of how non-fident people tend to think, and how many people seem to use online comment fields as an outlet for all-round negativity.

You see, non-fidence and negative thinking go hand-in-hand. If you tend to have negative thoughts about yourself, you can’t very well have a positive outlook towards life in general, right?

And, conversely, if you tend to see flaws, ugliness and shortcomings everywhere, it would likely include yourself.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with questioning and critical thinking per se. But the line between critical and negative tends to be blurred, at best. And when you’re non-fident, it’s all too easy to let negativity take over.

I hereby implore of you…: Don’t be that guy.

Whether online or IRL, just don’t moan and bitch. Those people bring about nothing constructive. Their attitudes and choice of words are poisonous towards a normal, healthy environment.

But what if I’m being negative towards something that really deserves it, like racism, misogyny, corruption, global warming, or reality-TV??

Look. Sensible people know perfectly well that those things are messed up. But what matters isn’t how we talk about them; it’s how we act towards them.

If you really wanna solve a problem, do something constructive to solve it. You solve nothing by simply pointing out negative aspects.

Don’t be that guy who bitches and moans without bringing anything constructive to the table. Don’t be that guy who does nothing but increase our collective amount of verbal sewage.

If you bitch and moan about things, chances are you’ll not only look less cool to those who oppose you, but you’ll likely become ingrained in the very habit of negative thinking. And that’s tough to unravel when you need momentum, lemme tell ya.

So, am I not ALLOWED to speak my mind all of a sudden?!”

Yeah, notice how you’re still making negative assumptions rather than taking my words to heart. 😉

Bottom line: Yes, there’s a downside to everything. But we gotta ask ourselves: Which side would serve me best to focus on? Which side is more beneficial and constructive? Which side would be ideal working towards?

I wage that 99,99% of the time, it’s the positive side.

ACTION ITEM:

Note three things which you usually perceive negatively. For each of those, write three paragraphs of 50-100 words apiece, each concerning one positive aspect of that thing.

This exercise challenges our usual habits of thinking, and makes us see things from a different, positive perspective. It’ll probably surprise you how tricky — and beneficial — it is.

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