Affirmations don’t work (unless you do this)

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Have you ever used affirmations–to lose weight or increase your income or improve a condition of some kind?

Many people have tried affirmations and nearly everyone has given up when they didn’t work.

Including me.

Years ago, when I first started walking and wanted to lose weight, I used to affirm that I was “thin”. I told myself that, over and over again, because that’s what I wanted.

But, despite all that walking and affirming I didn’t get thin.

Years later, I found out why.

I found out that by affirming something I didn’t believe (that I was thin), all I was doing was perpetuating what I did believe–that I needed to lose weight.

I was telling my subconscious mind, over and over again and with feeling, that I needed to lose weight so it obediently made sure I continued to be overweight.

Because that’s how our minds work.

So now, when I choose an affirmation or a goal, I make sure to choose something I believe.

Things like, “I enjoy walking,” “I like knowing I can take small steps toward improving my health,” “It feels good to know I’m on my way towards being lean and strong and healthy”.

And, this time around, walking has served me well. I’ve lost weight and feel stronger and healthier.

Yeah, this is a bit airy-fairy, but why not give it a try? What have you got to lose (besides some unweighted weight)?

Choose something you want and believe and affirm it or journal about it or meditate on it, and let your subconscious mind do what it does best.

I just got back from my walk and thought I’d tell you.

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In the midnight hour she cried, more, more, more

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The secret to success isn’t really a secret. You already know it. You know that the key to building a successful business, career, marriage, or life lies is giving people more than they expect.

More than they want, more than they need, more than they deserve.

Even more than they paid for. When a client pays you $1000, give them $1100 of value.

If you can’t do more, do it better. Faster. Or cheaper. When the client expects the work to be done in two weeks, do it in one. When they expect to pay $5000, send them a bill for $4500.

Give your referral sources more referrals and more introductions. If you pay referral fees, give them a bigger percentage. Give your prospects and subscribers more information and more attention.

When you give people more than they expect, you earn their appreciation, their (repeat) business, and their referrals.

No, not everyone will reciprocate. Some will hire you, some won’t. Some will send you lots of referrals, some won’t send you any. Some will promote your events, share your content, and give you positive reviews, some won’t lift a finger.

That’s okay. Because giving more isn’t about quid pro quo. It’s about establishing a mindset of abundance and a reputation for generosity. It’s about invoking the Law of Attraction.

When you give everyone more, you will get more. You just won’t know when or from whom.

You don’t have to go crazy and give away the store. Value comes in many different colors. Write and call a little more often. Be a little nicer or a little more accessible. Serve a better brew of coffee in the office (and use real half-and-half, not that powdered stuff, k?).

Continually ask yourself, how can I do more in this situation? How can I exceed expectations?

When giving more becomes your default, you will find yourself getting more.

One way to exceed expectations is to manage expectations. This shows you how

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Is too much positive thinking bad for you?

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The Law of Attraction posits that “like attracts like” and that we attract what we think about. Think about the outcomes you desire, they say, because that’s what you will attract or create.

Research confirms that our subconscious mind does in fact cause us to act in a way that is consistent with our thoughts, whether those thoughts are about what we observe (our current reality) or what we imagine (our desired outcome).

But some psychologists warn that too much positive thinking can make you complacent. According to one researcher, “Positive thinking fools our minds into perceiving that we’ve already attained our goal, slackening our readiness to pursue it.”

Is that true? If we imagine things the way we want them to be are we are less likely to take action towards their achievement?

I’m going to go with “no”.

I know that when I think about what I want, I feel good. Research confirms that positive thinking can relax you and lower your blood pressure and that’s a good thing.

I also know that I’m not a fool. I know the difference between imagining a positive outcome and believing that it has already been achieved, even if my subconscious mind does not. Thinking about what I want makes me more likely to take action, not less, and to do so with clarity, deliberation, and positive expectation.

As I imagine things the way I want them to be, I spend more time thinking about them. I’m more likely to notice things around me that I can use to pursue my objective. My positive thoughts invoke my instincts which lead me to make better decisions and take the right actions.

I also know that when I think about what I don’t want, whether that’s based on my observation of “what is” or my imagining what might happen, all I want to do is change the subject. If a thought feels bad, why continue to think it?

If your current reality is negative, don’t dwell on it. Staring at the problem is unlikely you to lead you to the solution.

But don’t ignore a negative reality. Peak at it, because knowing what you don’t want can help you to know what you do want.

Once you know what you want, think about it a lot, imagine it in all its glory, enjoy the feeling, and then do what your inner self guides you to do.

That’s what I do. How about you?

I built my practice with referrals. You can, too

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Are you riding an emotional roller coaster?

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You’re excited. you’ve got a new client or a new project and you love waking up in the morning and getting to work. Life is good.

And then it happens. You discover a flaw. Or something isn’t working. It looks bad. Real bad. And now you are discouraged.

Then you figure out how to solve the problem. Or you get another new client. And you are excited again.

Until the next time something goes wrong.

And there you are, excited one day, ready to stay in bed in the next. You’re riding an emotional roller coaster, up and down and up and down, and you’re about to get whiplash.

You’re heard that you must get off that roller coaster. If you don’t, you’ll get burned out. You’ve heard you need to even out the highs and lows and achieve a state of equanimity and balance.

But is it that true?

Clearly, you don’t want to be discouraged or depressed. But what’s so special about equanimity? Why can’t every day be exciting?

Is that even possible?

Yes.

I know, crap happens. We have problems we can’t solve, we’re human beings and we have bad days.

True. But just because we feel down and discouraged doesn’t mean we have to stay that way. We can turn a terrible day into a great day, and we can do it in a matter of minutes.

Not by ignoring our problems. By changing how we feel about them.

You’ve got a problem and it feels bad. You’re discouraged, unhappy, angry, frustrated. You’re at the low end of the emotional scale. How do you get to the “high” end–excited, happy, positive, optimistic, etc?

You do it incrementally, one thought at a time.

Think about where you are emotionally. Let’s say you’re discouraged. Things are bad, you don’t see any solution. You’re down in the dumps.

Now, think about the situation a bit and see if you can find some aspect of it that feels better. Even just a little.

Maybe you realize that the worst case scenario is highly unlikely. You know from prior experience that there has to be a solution, even if you don’t know what it is.

You feel a little better. You’re no longer discouraged. Your life isn’t over. You’re hopeful, and hopeful feels better than discouraged.

Now, reach for another thought that feels even better. Perhaps you remember a similar problem from the past that eventually got fixed. You realize that this solution may also work for the current problem. Or you realize that if you solved the former problem, you can probably solve this one.

You still may not know how you’re going to do it, but now you’re optimistic. And that feels better than hopeful. Which feels better than discouraged.

So you reach for another thought that feels even better. You realize that you have many resources available to you: tools, friends, ideas, experience. And you realize that the problem doesn’t need to be solved immediately, you have some time to figure things out.

Okay. Now you’re feeling even better. You know you can solve the problem. You might even be feeling enthusiastic. You’re on your way to being excited.

And that’s how you do it.

You reach for a thought that feels better when you think it. And then you reach for another thought, and another, moving up the emotional scale, continually improving your emotional state, until you feel excited.

You don’t have to settle for feeling bad or sad or down or discouraged. And you don’t have to settle for equanimity. You can move up the emotional scale any time you want to. You can make every day exciting, one thought at a time.

 

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Owning your future without breaking any laws

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I met a law student once who told people she was a lawyer. I explained to her that she could get herself into trouble that way, that it’s illegal to tell people you’re a lawyer when you’re not. Why she didn’t know that is beyond me.

I don’t think she had any nefarious intent. I think she was trying to own her future, to motivate herself and take a step closer to making her dream come true.

I see other people who go too far in the other direction. I read an article this morning by someone who described herself as an “aspiring writer”. I’ve got news for her, she wrote the article I was reading, ergo she is a writer.

She may not be getting paid for her writing but she’s still a writer and she should own that.Telling her subconscious mind she is an aspiring writer might keep her “aspiring” and make it less likely she will get paid.

How about you? Do you aspire to fame and fortune or do see yourself already on that path? If you aspire to it, you might not be owning that future. If you already see yourself as the person you are working to become, you’re closer to making your dream become your reality.

Or are you?

You’ve heard people say that we should envision our desired future, in detail. See yourself with lots of zeros in your bank account and lots of clients in your waiting room, if that’s what you want. But if you believe that there is some truth to the Law of Attraction, as I do, telling yourself you’re something you’re not might help you create a future that’s just the opposite of what you want.

Why? Because when you think about yourself raking in the dough, or whatever, or you use affirmations to tell yourself that you are rich and successful and you’re not, your current reality intrudes and tells you otherwise. You start thinking about all of the reasons why you’re not the success you envision, the obstacles in your way, and so on, and your focus is then on “not having” and you attract more of that.

It comes down to the fact that deep down, you don’t (yet) believe that you can achieve that dream.

Since our beliefs create our reality, you’re better off envisioning something you can believe.

Instead of thinking about the results you want (e.g., new clients, money, fame, etc.) think about doing the activities that will bring about those results. See yourself in court, for example, delivering a closing argument. See yourself talking to prospective clients and telling them how you can help them.

If you believe you can do those things, you will attract cases that require you to go to court, and prospective clients who want to know how you can help them. And that’s how you will create your successful future.

Own your future. Just make sure you don’t break any laws along the way.

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My New Year’s wish for you

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As the wheel turns and we enter a new year, my wish for you is the habit of focusing on the positive in every situation.

I believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe we get what we focus on, good or bad, and that our thoughts create our reality.

Think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Think about what you have, not what you lack.

If you think about problems you get more of them. If you think about making progress, finding solutions, and achieving success, you’re on your way towards a better future.

Don’t bury your head in the sand. When you notice something you don’t want, when something bad happens, acknowledge it, but don’t dwell on it. Instead, shift your thoughts towards the positive aspects of your situation.

Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do. Count your blessings, tally up your accomplishments, and remind yourself of the resources at your disposal.

Think thoughts that feel good when you think them. Because we get what we think about.

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What you focus on grows

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What are you focused on right now? If you said, “doing client work,” or something similar, I understand. You have bills to pay so you draft documents, negotiate settlements, or attend hearings because, well, that’s what you do.

If you want more work like that, great. Keep thinking about that, because what you focus on grows.

But what if you want more? What if you want better clients or bigger cases? What if you want to dramatically grow your practice and income?

If you do, you have to stop focusing on your work and maintaining the status quo and start focusing on the future you’d like to create.

Because what you focus on grows.

Think about the kinds of clients and cases you want. Think about the bigger fees you’d like to charge. Think about getting referrals every day, and about what your practice will look like when it is running smoothly and efficiently and helping you create the lifestyle of your dreams.

When you change your focus from your current reality to the way you’d like things to be, your subconscious mind goes to work and helps you create that future. It causes you to notice things you have previously ignored. It helps you meet the right people and say just the right things, organize your thoughts and priorities, and re-distribute your energy.

Your thoughts create your reality.

So think about the reality you’d like to create. Pretend you have a magic wand and can make it come true with a simple flourish. What would your new reality look like? Write that down.

Then, think about it often. Read your description several times a day. Imagine your better future in all it’s glory. If those thoughts feel good when you think them, you’re on the right track. You will be guided towards the activities you need to start or modify or eliminate, and you will start moving towards your better future.

If you have doubts, if a “yes but” inserts itself into your thoughts, acknowledge it and then let it float away. Those are old tapes playing old messages and you should just let them go.

Think about what you want, not why you can’t have it, and you will attract what you want. Because what you focus on grows.

You need a marketing plan. You can get one here

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Are you doing “Positive Thinking” the right way?

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Many studies prove that positive thinking is good for us. It can improve our health, help us live longer, improve our performance and productivity, and improve our lives in many other ways.

Other studies show that positive thinking can sometimes make things worse.

If you imagine a goal, for example, but ignore the obstacles that lie between your current reality and the achievement of that goal, you’re not going to do what needs to be done to achieve it.

I’m not an expert. I don’t even play one on TV. But I’m going to clear this for you, my friend, based on what I have learned about the Law of Attraction.

I know, many people think LOA is a lot of nonsense. Indeed, there are a lot of aspects of it that make me scratch my head. But some parts make sense to me and that’s what I’m going with.

According to the Law of Attraction, “like attracts like”. When you think about something, good or bad, those thoughts attract similar thoughts, ideas, people, even circumstances. I won’t get into the quantum physics aspects of this, because I don’t really understand it, but supposedly, it has to do with the fact that all matter vibrates at a sub-atomic level, our thoughts are energy and energy is matter.

If this sounds too flaky for you, just think of it in terms of the subconscious mind which uses the Reticular Activating System (RAS) to filter stimuli, protecting us from harm and improving our awareness of the world around us. (You just bought a new car, now you see that car “everywhere”. That’s your RAS at work.)

Anyway, back to positive thinking.

When we think about something we want but don’t have, what we really think about is the fact that we don’t have it. Your dominant thoughts are not about the goal, they are about not having that goal (and all of the reasons why). The Law of Attraction says that like attracts like so we attract more of “not having it”.

If you set a goal of earning $10,000,000 and you’re not even close to achieving that, the more you think about the goal, the more you think about not having it. You think you’re moving towards the goal but you’re doing just the opposite.

We don’t attract what we want, we attract what we think.

Does that mean we should only choose goals that are realistic? No. Long term “dream” goals are fine. It can be exciting to think about your magnificent future. But only briefly, to set your course. Don’t dwell on it.

Instead, think truthful thoughts about your current reality that are connected to your big goal.

How do you know you’re doing it right? Your feelings give you the answer. If the thought feels good, you’re moving in the right direction.

When you think about having $10,000,000 and realize you’re not even in the ballpark, it feels bad. You might tell yourself that the goal is exciting and feels good to think about, but when you’re that far away from it, your thoughts are primarily about how far you have to go.

Choose thoughts that feel good when you think them.

For example, you might think about how you’re good at your work, and getting better every day. That’s a thought that is both true and feels good and moves you a step closer to your goal. (If you’re not that good yet, take a step back and think about how you are working on your skills. True? Feel good? You’re doing it right.)

Then, reach for another truthful thought that feels good. Maybe you realize that you know some sharp business people with exciting projects you might be able to get involved with. True? Feel good to think about? Likely to move you forward towards the big goal? If so, you’re doing it right.

Perhaps after that you think about how well you get along with some of these folks. You’re spending more time with them, learning about their business, contributing ideas. These truthful, positive thoughts that feel good when you think them continue to move you forward, step by step, towards your long term goal.

Eventually, your current situation will be such that when you think about your goal it actually feels good. It feels imminent, not far away. At that point, you are on the brink of achieving that goal.

Doesn’t this make more sense than simply clinging to a thought we know isn’t true?

Thoughts lead to action and action leads to results. Continually reach for thoughts that feel good about your situation and you will continually be lead to actions which move you towards your goal.

Think about what you want, not what you don’t want, because whatever you think about, you attract.

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You’re not thinking big enough

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If you’re not wealthy, there’s a good chance you’re not thinking big enough.

In, 10 Ways in Which Wealthy People Think Differently About Money, the author says, “The wealthy think big”:

When you focus on just surviving through retirement or paying the mortgage, you will just survive through retirement or pay the mortgage. Your brain needs something big to dream about. You must aspire to be something huge. Stop dreaming of only a million bucks. Write down the biggest dream you can think of and multiply it by 10. That’s thinking big.

I agree. You get what you focus on, big or small, good or bad, so you might as well focus on the biggest and best.

Money may not be your primary motivation in life. I get that. But let’s put aside that debate for now and continue to use money as a metaphor for success because that’s how we keep score and because more money means you can do more of whatever else it is you want to do, even if that means giving away most of that money.

Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, before reading further, do the exercise. Pick a big number and multiple by ten.

Got it? Let it roll around in your brain for a few seconds. Imagine yourself in possession of that amount. That’s your annual income. Or your total assets.

Now, don’t think about whether or not it’s possible or how you could do it, just answer this question: When you think about that number how do you feel?

Does it feel good and proper or does it feel like an impossible dream? Does it feel exciting and make you smile or does it make you nervous or fearful?

If it feels good, great. Continue thinking about that number (or a bigger one) and use it to pull you forward towards a wealthier future.

If it doesn’t feel good, we need to talk.

Okay, no lectures, and no psycho-babble about self-esteem or about negative money messages that were drilled into you at an early age. But if the thought of big money scares you or makes you feel anything bad, it means something.

For one thing, it means you’re not on a path towards wealth. Your subconscious won’t allow it. It doesn’t want you to feel bad, it wants you to feel good. Pick a smaller number. Keep going smaller until you feel good about the number. Your subconscious mind approves of that amount.

So now what? If your logical brain says you want big(ger) money but your subconscious brain says you can’t have it, do you give up and surrender to your inner fears and limitations?

No. What you do is forget about the dollar amount for the time being and find a thought about money that feels better when you think it. If thinking about earning ten million dollars makes you nervous, reach for a thought you can accept. You might think, “There are things I could do to earn more than I earn now,” for example.

How does that thought feel? If it feels good, move forward. Think more thoughts that feel good about the subject, and keep doing that until you feel good about the subject most of the time.

What happens is that over time you’re subconscious begins to accept those increasingly positive thoughts about money as truths and good for you, not something it needs to protect you from. It will then guide you towards activities that lead to results that are consistent with those thoughts.

In other words, don’t try to force yourself into thinking big. It’s not about will power. Simply reach for a thought about money that feels better and continue doing that. Before long, you will find yourself thinking big about money, or at least bigger than you did when you started.

The process needn’t take a long time. Practice thinking thoughts that feel good (about money or anything else) and in thirty days or less you will see demonstrative changes in your attitude towards the subject.

Your attitude guides your activities, your activities determine your results, and your results determine your happiness. (Cue Pharrell.)

There’s the bell. Class dismissed. Open book test on Friday.

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The foundation for all abundance

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Eckhart Tolle said, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Tolle is probably right. It might be The Law of Attraction. I can’t give you a cite, but I’m sure it’s a law somewhere.

It might be religious. Giving thanks to God is a good thing.

It might be a subconscious mind thing, where when we think about good things we instruct our mind to help us get more.

So let’s do it. Let’s acknowledge the good.

Get to a place where you won’t be disturbed, get quiet and think. Think about your life, right now, and note all of the good things. Write things down if you want. Consider the 7 areas of life:

  1. Mental/personal development
  2. Career/business
  3. Financial
  4. Family
  5. Social
  6. Physical
  7. Spiritual

Give it ten minutes. Think about the good in your life: what you have, what you’re working towards, where you’ve been, and where you are going. Note whatever comes into your mind. You don’t have to touch on all 7 areas.

If you notice a negative thought, replace it with something that’s true and feels better. So if you think, “I’m not making the kind of money I want,” replace that with: “I’m earning more than I did before,” or “I’m learning about marketing and on my way to earning more this year.”

Whatever your beliefs about the efficacy of appreciating the good in your life, you can’t deny that thinking about the good feels good. And that is it’s own reward.

I appreciate you. Namaste.

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