Archive for July, 2011

28 jul

We All Have Our Off Days

Glad DoggettWe all have off days.

With this in mind, I have a confession. Actually I have several.

Today I ate two donuts for breakfast. I didn’t think twice. I just did it. And then I beat myself up for it all afternoon.

Then, I ate pizza for lunch. And it tasted delicious!

At least it was a veggie pizza. That counts for something, right?

And donuts again for dinner. I was racing to get my monthly allowance of carbs and fats, I guess.

Later, I argued with my daughter over something stupid. We know how to bait each other. How to hit the sore spots.

Today’s petty tiff was an I’m-right-you-are-wrong punch-fest. Verbal punches can be much worse than the physical kinds when you know where to land them.

Also, I skipped my exercise promise to myself. I planned to do it. But it was so hot outside. And I felt sluggish and over-full on donuts and pizza.

So I sat on my ass instead of getting up and moving.

Today, I read a few gorgeous blogs by popular bloggers I envy admire. I covet their followings, their connections and the relationships they have with one another. Even though I know better, I had a pity party. For one.

Today, I measured my morsel of influence in the blog world against the whole freakin’ pie sized influence of the cool kids. And I felt like shit.

Today, I sort of sucked in the self-coaching-love-myself realm.

But you know what? I’m human. And I have my off days. We all do.

So, instead of making this dip a crisis of enormous proportions, I’m going to see it for what it is. An off day.

I choose to be kind to Me today. I forgive my messy-not-so-disciplined-carb-loving-a-wee-bit-lazy Self.

Tomorrow is a new day, after all.

My name is Glad Doggett. I help people lean into change by helping them reconnect with their inner brilliance. Check out my online e-course re: Turn to You. You can find me on my blog Best Laid Scheme and on Facebook.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Glad Doggett on July 28th, 2011 in New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality, Uncategorized | No comments

28 jul

Don’t Take It Personally

RickHansonIs it about you?
The Practice
Don’t take it personally.
Why?

Here’s an updated parable from the ancient Taoist teacher, Chuang-Tzu: Imagine that you are floating in a canoe on a slow-moving river, having a Sunday picnic with a friend. Suddenly there is a loud thump on the side of the canoe, and it rolls over. You come up sputtering, and what do you see? Somebody has snuck up on your canoe, flipped it over for a joke, and is laughing at you. How do you feel?

OK. Now imagine the exact same situation again: the picnic in a canoe, loud thump, dumped into the river, coming up sputtering, and what do you see? A large submerged log has drifted downstream and bumped into your canoe. This time, how do you feel?

The facts are the same in each case: cold and wet, picnic ruined. But when you feel personally picked on, everything feels worse. The thing is, most of what bumps into us in life – including emotional reactions from others, traffic jams, illness, or mistreatment at work – is like an impersonal log put in motion by 10,000 causes upstream.

Say a friend is surprisingly critical toward you. It hurts, for sure, and you need to address the situation, from talking about it directly to disengaging from the relationship.

But also consider what may have caused that person to bump into you, such as: interpretations and misinterpretations of your actions; personal health problems, pain, worries or anger about other things, temperament, personality, childhood experiences; causes from the larger context, like our economy and culture, or world events; and causes back upstream in time, like how his or her parents were raised.

Recognize the humbling yet also wonderful truth: most of the time, we are bit players in other people’s dramas.

When you do this, you naturally get calmer, put the situation in context, and don’t get so caught up in me-myself-and-I. Then you feel better, plus more clear-headed about what to do.

How?

Really enjoy taking things less personally!

To begin with, have compassion for yourself. Getting smacked by a log is a drag. Also take appropriate action. Keep an eye out for logs heading your way, try to reduce their impact, and repair your “boat” – relationship, health, finances, career – as best you can. And maybe think about finding a new river!

Additionally:
• Notice when you start to take something personally. Be mindful of what that feels like – and also what it feels like to relax the sense of being personally targeted.

• Be careful about making assumptions about the intentions of others. Maybe they didn’t do it “on purpose.” Or maybe there was one not-so-good purpose aimed at you all mixed up with a dozen other purposes.

• Reflect on some of the 10,000 causes upstream. Ask yourself: what else could be in play here? What’s going on inside the other person’s mind and life? What’s the bigger picture?

• Beware getting caught up in your “case” about other people: the inner prosecutor that keeps pounding on all the ways they’re wrong, spoke badly, acted unfairly, picked on you, really really harmed you, made you suffer, etc. etc. It’s good to see others clearly, and there’s a place for moral judgment – but case-making is a kind of obsessing that makes you feel worse, plus more likely to over-react and create an even bigger problem.

• Try to have compassion for the other people. They’re probably not all that happy, either. Your compassion for them will not weaken you or let them off the moral hook; actually, it will make you feel better.

And – really soak in the growing sense of ease, strength, and peacefulness that comes from taking life less personally.

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and Huffington Post, and he is the author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. He writes a weekly newsletter – Just One Thing – that suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on July 28th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments

26 jul

How to Shine When You’re on the Spot

RenitaKalhornToday, we’re going to talk about how to be at your best when you’re taken off guard.

That’s what one listener wanted to know during my interview with performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama at the Mental Toughness Summit last April: “What do you do when you’re put on the spot by your boss or board of directors?”

As Noa pointed out, our general tendency is to blurt out an answer without taking a moment to collect our thoughts. Then what happens: we end up rambling without making our point or backpedaling if we misunderstood the question.

So take a moment (this is where that working memory comes in handy) and ask a clarifying question to understand exactly what the person is asking – what is top of mind for you may not necessarily be what they had in mind. In some cases, rather than give a partial or incomplete answer, the better, more confident response may actually be to jot down a few notes and say you’ll get back to them later that day with a more complete, informed answer.

In the meantime, practice being prepared for anything.

Eugene Lehner, a long-time violist in the Boston Symphony, tells how one day at rehearsal early in his career, the conductor Serge Koussevitsky called on his friend the great composer, Nadia Boulanger, who happened to be in the audience listening, to take over the rehearsal when he was having difficulty getting the results he wanted.

(That’s a little like Jon Stewart asking Tina Fey to step in for him on the Daily Show.)

In the 43 years since then, Lehner says he hasn’t had a dull moment in rehearsal as he sits wondering what he would say to the orchestra if the conductor suddenly called to him: “Lehner, you come up here and conduct. I want to go to the back of the hall and hear how it sounds.”

You can stay on your toes in the same way. Waiting for the elevator, ask yourself: “What would I say if the CEO came up right now and asked me for a valuation on the Acme deal?” As you’re headed to the bathroom: “What would I say if I ran into the senior partner and he asked about the status of a certain case?”

No more flustered fumbling. Now, the next time you’re under fire for real, you’ll have already rehearsed the scenario dozens of times and be able to produce a confident, surefire response.

Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on July 26th, 2011 in New Directions, Uncategorized | No comments

26 jul

How Do You Measure Up?

RenitaKalhorn“What gets measured, gets managed.”

Are you familiar with management guru Peter Drucker‘s famous quote? Here’s my version: measurement motivates.

That is, the simple act of paying attention to something inevitably leads to improvement in those areas – and often without noticeable effort. I love this story that Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Workweek and himself a tracking fiend, tells about Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote.

“Phil had tried diets and exercise but it was inconvenient, it took time and he’d always regained the weight. He decided to see if there was a lazier way. He simply weighed himself every morning and created a spreadsheet with a graph in Excel. He had a slope going from where his current weight was, to his ideal weight. The graph also had a maximum allowable weight line and a minimum allowable weight. He would weigh himself and see where he was on that graph.”

Guess what: Phil didn’t consciously try to improve his diet or get more exercise. But the subtle effect of awareness on thousands of tiny subconscious decisions led to him losing between 30 and 50 pounds.

In Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, Atul Gawande writes: “If you count something you find interesting, you will learn something interesting.”

When he was a resident, he began counting how often surgical patients ended up with an instrument or sponge forgotten inside them. Although it didn’t happen often – about one in fifteen thousand operations (phew!) – when it did, there were serious ramifications.

With a little more sophisticated tracking, Atul found that the mishaps occurred predominantly in patients undergoing emergency operations that revealed the unexpected (such as cancer when the surgeon had anticipated only appendicitis). This led him to work with some colleagues to come up with a device that could automate the tracking of sponges and instruments.

It’s also important to measure something important — to you. For businesses, it may not necessarily be the bottom line. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek shares the example of Bridgeport Financial founder Christina Harbridge, who wanted to create a different kind of collections agency.

Rather than using the typical harassing tactics, she believed that people would respond positively when treated with respect and integrity. So instead of incenting employees according to the amount of money they collected, she rewarded them based on the number of thank-you notes they sent out. Ultimately, she created a culture that valued and listened to individuals – despite the fact that they owed money.

So, what are you going to track?

  • Productivity: How often do your team meetings start/end on time?
  • Work-life balance: How often do you leave the office by 6:00 pm?
  • Effectiveness: How many cold calls does it take to make an appointment?
  • Health: How many nights do you sleep eight hours or more?
  • Finances: How much money you spent?

Let me know how it goes. I’ll be waiting to track the results!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on July 26th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments

26 jul

Embrace Death, Live Life

MikeRobbinsNewMy mom, Lois Dempsey Robbins, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in early March. The disease spread very quickly and on June 13th, she passed away. I was honored and grateful to be with her through her dying process. It was both horrible and beautiful at the same time.

My mom’s physical pain and deterioration, realizing that she was going to die and that at thirty-seven years old I would be without either of my parents (my dad died almost ten years ago), and knowing that my girls would grow up without their grandma (who absolutely adored them), were some of the most difficult parts of the experience.

However, the closeness, family connection, deep conversations, healing, insights, love, forgiveness, and support have been some of the most wonderful aspects of all of this – while she was sick, as she was dying, and in the past month or so since her death.

Four of the most intimate and sacred experiences of my life have been the births of our two girls and the deaths of each of my parents. I’m grateful and honored to have been able to experience all four of these magical moments live and in person. Although the emotions of the births and the deaths were quite different, the level of intimacy, sacredness, and profundity were of similar impact and depth for me.

I’m deeply engaged in my grief process right now – doing my best to stay present in the midst of the intense and contradictory thoughts and feelings I’ve been experiencing. While I’ve been feeling sadness and pain, I also feel a lot of love and appreciation – both for my mother’s life and all she taught me, and for the experience of being with her through her death.

Death teaches us so much about life and about ourselves, even though it can be very difficult to comprehend and experience – especially when the person dying is someone very close to us. As a culture we don’t really talk about it, deal with it, or face it in an authentic way. It often seems too scary, mysterious, personal, loaded, heavy, emotional, tragic, andmore.

What if we embraced death – our own and that of those around us – in a real, vulnerable, and genuine way? What if we lived life more aware of the fact that everyone around us, including ourselves, has a limited amount of time here on earth?

Embracing death consciously alters our experience of ourselves, others, and life in a fundamental and transformational way. It allows us to remember what truly matters and to put things in a healthy and empowering perspective. Doing this is much better for us than spending and wasting our time worrying, complaining, and surviving the circumstances, situations, and dramas of our lives, isn’t it?

One of the most profound things my mom said a few weeks before she died was, “I want people to know that they don’t have to suffer through this.” As the end was getting closer, my mom’s awareness, insight, and desire to share her wisdom increased and it was beautiful.

Below are some of the key lessons I learned from her as she began to embrace death in the final days and weeks of her life. These are simple (although not easy) reminders for each of us about how to live life more fully:

1. Express Yourself – Say what you have to say, don’t hold things back. As my mom got closer to death, she began to express herself with a deeper level of authenticity and transparency. We had conversations about things we’d never talked about and she opened up in ways that were both liberating and inspiring. Too often in life we hold back, keep secrets, and don’t share what’s real – based on our fear of rejection, judgment, and alienation. Expressing ourselves is about letting go of our limiting filters and living life “out loud.”

2. Forgive – My mom and I come from a long line of grudge holders. Like me, she could hold a grudge with the best of ‘em. I watched as she began to both consciously and unconsciously let go of her grudges and resentments, both big and small. It was if she was saying, “Who cares?” When you only have a few months (or weeks) to live, the idea that “Life’s too short,” becomes more than a bumper sticker or a catch phrase, it’s a reality. And, with this reality, the natural thing for us to do is to forgive those around us, and ourselves.

3. Live With Passion – Going for it, being bold, and living our lives with a genuine sense of passion is so important. However, it’s easy to get caught up in our concerns or to worry what other people will think about us. My mom, who was a pretty passionate woman throughout her life, began to live with a deeper level of passion, even as her body was deteriorating. In her final days and weeks, she engaged everyone in conversation, talked about what she was passionate about, shared grandiose ideas, and let go of many of her concerns about the opinions of others. It was amazing and such a great model and reminder of the importance of passion.

4. Acknowledge Others – At one point about a month or so before my mom died she said to me, “It’s so important to appreciate people…I don’t know why I haven’t done more of that in my life.” Even in the midst of all she was going through and dealing with (pain, discomfort, medication, treatment, and the reality that her life was coming to an end), she went out of her way to let people know what she appreciated about them – and people shared their appreciation with her as well. My friend Janae set up a “joy line” for people to call and leave voice messages for my mom in her final days. We got close to fifty of the most beautiful messages, all expressing love and appreciation for my mom – most of which we were able to play for her before she passed away. Appreciation is the greatest gift we can give to others – and, we don’t have to wait until we’re dying to do it or until someone else is dying to let them know!

5. Surrender – While my mom clearly wasn’t happy about dying, didn’t want to leave us or her granddaughters, and felt like she had more to do on this earth, something happened about a month and a half before she died that was truly remarkable – she surrendered. For my mom, who had a very strong will and was a “fighter” by nature, this probably wasn’t easy. However, watching her surrender to what was happening and embrace the process of dying was truly inspirational and life-altering for those of us around her and for her as well. So much of the beauty, healing, and transformation that occurred for her and for us during her dying process was a function of surrendering. Surrendering isn’t about giving up, giving in, or selling out, it’s about making peace what is and choosing to embrace life (and in this case death) as it shows up. Our ability (or inability) to surrender in life is directly related to the amount of peace and fulfillment we experience.

My mom taught me and all of us that even in the face of death, it is possible to experience joy – what a gift and a great lesson and legacy to leave behind. And, as each of us consciously choose to embrace the reality of death in our lives, we can liberate ourselves from needless suffering, worry, and fear – and in the process experience a deeper level of peace and fulfillment.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 26th, 2011 in New Directions, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

24 jul

If It’s Not Working – Change It

Jodi ChapmanThere is something very empowering about realizing that we control our own lives.

When we recognize that our thoughts become our realities, we also recognize that we have the power to create the exact lives that we want.

This can be a wonderful feeling—and it can also be a scary feeling.

When we realize that we are in the driver’s seats of our lives, we are no longer able to blame others or be a victim if things aren’t working out how we would like. And it’s so much easier to just point the finger at someone else. You might want to say, “It’s their fault that I’m in this situation. If they hadn’t done that to me, I wouldn’t be suffering now.”

And while blaming others takes the responsibility off you in the short term, it creates low self-esteem and powerlessness in your long term. Imagine how great you would feel about yourself if you simply accepted that you have the power to change your life. It’s all in your hands. You are in control of your own destiny, and if you don’t like something about your life you can change it.

Spend some time today thinking about your life. Is there any part of it that isn’t working or flowing as well as you would like it to? If so, you can follow the formula below to start making the changes and begin living the life you were meant to live:

  • First you figure out what isn’t working.
  • Then you take responsibility for your part in whatever isn’t working.
  • Ask yourself how did you help to create this?
  • Next you visualize how you would like your situation to change.
  • Finally you create a new thought pattern that would create your new life. And you keep saying these thoughts and affirmations over and over. And you really believe them—you really feel them. You really take the time to feel what your ideal life will be like.

And pretty soon, you’ll start to notice that your actual life is becoming your ideal life. You’ll start to notice that your positive thoughts are creating a positive reality. And you’ll feel great, empowered, and happy knowing that you have taken responsibility for your life. These are such wonderful things to realize!

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jodi Chapman on July 24th, 2011 in New Directions, Spirituality | No comments

21 jul

See the Person Behind the Eyes

RickHansonWho is behind the mask?
The Practice
See the person behind the eyes.
Why?

Most of us wear a kind of mask, a persona that hides our deepest thoughts and feelings, and presents a polished, controlled face to the world.

To be sure, a persona is a good thing to have. For example, meetings at work, holidays with the in-laws, or a first date are usually not the best time to spill your guts. Just because you’re selective about what you reveal to the world does not mean you’re insincere; phoniness is only when we lie about what’s really going on inside.

Much of the time, we interact mask-to-mask with other people. There’s a place for that. But remember times when someone saw through your mask to the real you, the person back behind your eyes. If you’re like me, those times were both unnerving and wonderful.

Even though it’s scary, everyone longs to be seen, to be known. To have your hopes and fears acknowledged – the ones behind a polite smile or a frown of frustration. To have your true caring seen, as well as your positive intentions and natural goodness. Most intimately of all, to feel that your innermost being – the one to whom things happen, the one strapped to this rollercoaster of a life trying to make sense of it before it ends – has been recognized by someone. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on July 21st, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

14 jul

Keep Hope not Fear Alive

RickHansonThis recent series of posts has used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as an illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — a major feature of the brain’s negativity bias that helped our ancestors pass on their genes. Consequently, as much research has shown, we’re usually much more affected by negative — by which I mean painful — experiences than by positive ones.

Besides the personal impacts of this bias in the brain, it also makes people, and nations, vulnerable to being manipulated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.” Colbert is mocking those who play on fear, since we surely don’t need more efforts to keep fear alive.

Your Brain on Negative
Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish — and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others, or your own, in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing and worry. There’s plenty of challenge in life already — including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age and death — without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra dose of pain each day.

Yet as my last post explored, your brain evolved exactly such a “negativity bias” in order to help your ancestors pass on their genes — a bias that produces lots of collateral damage today. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on July 14th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

14 jul

The Magic and Mystery of Death

MikeRobbinsNewIn the past few weeks, two important people in my life suddenly passed away. These deaths have been shocking, sad, and painful for me. And, in the midst of sadness I’ve once again been reminded of the mystery and magic that I often experience when someone close to me dies.

I find death so mysterious because it doesn’t make much rational sense and often seems so random and unfair. I also find it frustrating that we don’t do a very good job in our culture of talking about, dealing with, or embracing death. It’s seen by most of us as a universally “bad” thing – awful, tragic, painful, hard, and negative in most cases. While all of these things can be and often are true for us about death, especially when the person who dies is someone we love and care about and/or happens to be someone we consider “too young to die,” there is so much more to it than just this.

As I’ve also experienced these past few weeks and at many other times in my life, there can be a great deal of magic, beauty, and joy that comes from death. Due to the fact that we often avoid it, don’t want to talk about it, or would rather not deal with it (unless we are forced to do so) – we miss out on the magical and positive aspects of death and in doing so we aren’t able to live our lives as deeply and with as much freedom as we could if we embraced death more fully.

Why we avoid dealing with death

There are many reasons we avoid dealing with or even talking about death. From what I’ve seen and experienced, here are some of the main reasons:

It can be very painful, sad, and scary

We often aren’t taught or encouraged to really deal with it – just to simply follow the “rules” and rituals of our family, religion, or community in order to get through it

– We don’t know what to say, how to react, and don’t want to upset people

– It can be overwhelming for many of us to consider our own death, or the deaths of those close to us

– We aren’t comfortable experiencing or expressing some of the intense emotions that show up for us around death

– Our culture is so obsessed with youth, beauty, and production (in a superficial sense), death is often seen as the ultimate “failure” – the complete absence of beauty, health, and productivity

– It challenges us to question life, reality, and our core beliefs at the deepest level

For these and many other reasons, death is one of the biggest “taboo” subjects in our culture and remains in the “darkness” of our own lives on a personal level. Sadly, not dealing with, talking about, or facing death in a real way creates a deep level of disconnection, fear, and a lack of authenticity in our lives and relationships.

The magic of death

What if we embraced death, talked about it, or shared our thoughts, feelings, questions, concerns, and more about it with the people around us? While for some of us this may seem uncomfortable, undesirable, or even a little weird – think how liberating it would be and is when we’re willing to face death directly.

One of the highlights of my life was being in the room with my father and holding his hand when he took his last breath about 10 years ago. It was incredibly sad, but at the same time deeply intimate, personal, and beautiful. He was there when I came into the world and I got to be there when he left. And, by facing death in a direct way – we can learn so much about life and ourselves, as I did when my dad died. As one of my mentors said to me years ago, “Mike, if you live your life each day more aware of your own death, you will live very differently.” This is true for all of us.

There are so many beautiful lessons that death teaches us, even in the midst of the pain, loss, confusion, anger, fear and more. When we’re willing to embrace death and remember that everyone and everything in physical form will eventually die, we’re reminded to:

– Appreciate ourselves, each other, and life – RIGHT NOW

– Let go of our attachment to other people’s opinions, our obsession with appearances, and our self consciousness about many superficial aspects of our lives

– Connect to others in a deep, intimate, and vulnerable way

– Speak up, go for what we truly want, and live in the present moment

– Be grateful for what we have and for life as it is, not “someday” when things work out perfectly (which never happens anyway)

Death can be one of the greatest teachers for us in life – but not if we spend most of our time avoiding it because it can be painful, scary, or uncomfortable. Take a moment right now to think about some of the important people who have died in your life. What did you learn from them both through their life and their death? What gifts have you been given in the form of tragedy in your life? How could embracing death more fully impact your life in a positive and important way?

As we consider these and other questions about death, it’s obvious that the answers aren’t simple and easy…neither is life. However, when we’re willing to engage, embrace, and deal with death (and life) with a true sense of empathy, passion, and authenticity – we’re able to not only “make it,” but to actually learn, grow, and thrive – regardless of the circumstances and even in the face of death.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 14th, 2011 in General, Personal Stories, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

07 jul

Confronting the Negativity Bias

RickHansonMy previous post used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — since that helped keep our ancestors alive — so we are very vulnerable to being frightened and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.” With this march, Colbert is obviously mocking those who play on fear, since we certainly don’t need any new reminders to keep fear alive.

Some Background
This vulnerability to feeling threatened has effects at many levels, ranging from individuals, couples, and families, to schoolyards, organizations and nations. Whether it’s an individual who worries about the consequences of speaking up at work or in a close relationship, a family cowed by a scary parent, a business fixated on threats instead of opportunities, or a country that’s routinely told it’s under “Threat Level Orange,” it’s the same human brain that reacts in all cases.

Therefore, understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on July 7th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,