Paralysis By Analysis
This is common problem I have. I will think about an issue or action over and over again. I will research, read books, articles, websites etc considering all the angles I can. Then the opportunity I was looking at will begin to expire.
I’m not going to ask why I do this and go down that rabbit hole, instead I am going to look for insight and ask why I shouldn’t be doing this. The answer came to me when I saw someone I know doing it.
I realized that there are two kinds of information out there. Dynamic information and Static information.
Static information is the stuff you find in books, articles, stories etc. It is from the past. There is a ton of value in this static information that will help your life in many, many ways. But for some people like me, this is all we focus on.
Then there is dynamic information. This is the stuff that is going on around you all of the time. It is the information that lies in the present moment. It is the stuff we fear. It exists in other people’s minds. It is the answer we get when we ask for something. It is the information we get when we try something.
For example questions like, “Will this person say yes if I ask them on a date?, Will anyone buy my product?” This information is not static, it is dynamic. You cannot read this in a book. The answer is not in the past, it is only in the present moment or the near future. Also, if you wait too long, the information can change, just as the present moment is constantly changing.
Paralysis By Analysis is our minds way of avoiding the present moment. It keeps our minds busy so we are feeling productive, or like we are moving forward. But in reality we are just computing static data. Eventually if we want to create some real change in our lives we have to face the present moment, get a reality check, and find out what is happening in the now. We have to extract dynamic information from the present moment and accept the reality of the information that is received from the present moment. This type of information is really valuable stuff. As long as we put our egos aside, remember our overall goal, and look to the present moment for the means to achieve that goal, we can begin to move forward.
Go get that Dynamic Information and Stay Present!
What the Heck is Action Anyway?
With all this talk of the benefits of Action, how do we know that we have taken Action?
I think we take Action every day and we don’t even think about it. So what does it mean to take Action as a way to improve your life?
One definition of Action I can think of is to create a change of some sort. This usually requires Action doesn’t it? Change can be physical or mental. Reading a book, calling a friend, even watching TV is taking some sort of action, and creating some kind of change. So why aren’t these actions valued over other actions. Why aren’t these life changing by themselves?
We want to create some kind of positive change. Negative change is atrophy (weakening), positive change is hypertrophy (growth). I think what is unsaid here is that we need to take some kind of actions that we fear. These are the limitations. These are the actions that we know we are doing. These don’t happen habitually, they take effort to execute. Sometimes we are still just picking up the phone to call someone, but the emotional dynamic in your mind is completely different and the effort is enormous. It is at these times we must remember that with great effort comes great growth.
It’s okay to be happy
I have been learning about Self-Sabotage. It’s when things are going good and that feeling scares us. Then we do something to screw things up so we feel better.
We have to tell ourselves every day:
It’s okay to be happy
Just saying that to myself gives me chills
What to do if you are laid off?
Getting laid off is tough, and being unemployed is even tougher. You don’t know how long the down-period will be. A few months, or is this going to last a few years? So what can you do?
1) The first thing to go after your bi-weekly paycheck is your self-esteem. We have identified ourselves, our egos and personalities with our career, our work, and what we do. If we did great work, we think we are great too. If we make a mistake, we take it personally. This is typical employee mindset. Now that you are not producing, your self-esteem takes a hit and you may not have much to fall back on.
There are a few things you can do. First, detach your self-esteem from your work. This is a key attribute for entrepreneurs and creative types. If they were to identify with their work, and the work failed, or was rejected, or boring, or got bad reviews, would think they are a bad artist? No. Instead they choose to think that it was just a bad piece of work and they will learn from it and try again. They are not “bad”. And if they create something that is wonderful, do they take all the credit? No, they humbly believe that the creation came from outside themselves. Keep this attribute in mind as it will help you with your journey as you learn to create value. This attribute will allow you to put your ideas “out there” without fear and procrastination.
2) Next, stop looking for the same old job you just go laid off from. If you have been laid off, most likely so have many others, and the market is just not hiring right now. Instead look for other opportunities. You can find opportunities by looking for gaps in markets, paying attention to peoples pains and frustrations, and by observing, reflecting, and making new connections. Look for new channels to distribute your talents such as freelancing websites.
3) Learn the word “Value” and what it really means. Why were you getting paid at your last job? What exactly was it you were providing? In a word, it was Value. Employees usually provide Value with their expertise and time spent doing what one is good at. But there are many more ways to provide value to a market. When you are laid off it just means that the middle-man (your employer), who was between you and the client, has been removed. With no middle man you now have to look for clients directly for yourself. You need to learn more about how to market and sell yourself and your skills.
These two things make money: Creating a product (Product Development) and getting it out to the world (Marketing)
Here are a few ways to provide value:
· Problem/Pain Solving
· Esthetics/Design (making things beautiful)
· Time Savings
· Providing Data
· Providing A Unique Combination of skills and abilities
These are all things people are willing to pay for besides your expertise and time.
New skills you should learn are:
1) Teach yourself Lateral Thinking, google it, read this book, and this article.
2) Adopt a Growth Mindset. Realize that your brain changes itself. Value effort over results. Work hard and congratulate yourself for trying. Become better, smarter, change your type, become what you want to be.
3) Volunteer, It’s important not to become isolated and depressed. Keep yourself feeling good, connect with new people, give your value, make connections, always look for opportunities, and get out there and help people.
4) Join or Create a Meetup Group: Public speaking, entrepreneurship, book clubs, small business/consultant marketing etc. Continue learning and push your comfort zone, build new skills, and surround yourself with positive people whom you admire.
In the end you will have to decide if you want to stay an Employee looking for Work, or Turn yourself into an Entrepreneur looking for opportunity. Below is a list of some key differences.
Employees tend to look for security, Entrepreneurs look for opportunities.
Employees look for a boss or middle-man to find them clients, entrepreneurs look directly for clients and market themselves.
Employees ask for direction, Entrepreneurs break new ground and learn to give directions.
Employees try to get value per hour, Entrepreneurs try to give value on a massive scale.
The Illusion of Time
Our minds love to create meaning. Our minds are constantly looking for and creating meaning. We need a way to store this meaning in our minds. To do this we use pictures and symbols. We have used symbols so well to reflect physical reality that we can barely tell the difference between the two unless we make a conscious effort. For example, we make physical vibrations with our voice, and we have added meaning to the vibrations which are the spoken word. Then we took these vibrations and created shapes which we call letters, which make up written words. Symbols are great for communication.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a consonant and a vowel? To make a vowel sound your throat must close for a moment. It is a physical difference.
Here is a list of other symbols we use regularly:
· Written and Spoken Words
· Written Music
Money is a tool, a number that is supposed to be reflection of actual value. It helps us keep track of things. But because it is only a symbol it can be manipulated and detached from actual value. Is the arrogant rich wife really as valuable as she believes herself to be? She may have a lot of symbols and large numbers representing her value, but what contribution is she making? What is human status really based on?
Time. What we call “one second” is the time it takes for an electrical current to pass through a rock of quartz. But what has actually happened? Has a second gone by, or has a change simply happened and our minds recorded it, and added meaning to the change, a meaning of one second.
A few days ago I when I was meditating, which includes sitting absolutely still, with my eyes open, observing the world around me, and my body, a thought popped into my mind. As I sat there I heard creaks and sounds throughout the house. I heard the wind blowing outside. I realized that there were many other things going on outside of my awareness. The earth was spinning, people across the planet were moving, things in outer space were moving and changing too. I realized that everything is in a state of change, flux or metamorphosis. I realized that what was a second ago, no longer is now.
So how do we use this knowledge?
We need to ask ourselves, what is more important, the fact that one second went by, or the change that has been incurred?
Try paying attention to the changes that are happening, even the small changes, and ignore the symbols for a while.
What changes are you creating each day? What changes are happening in your body right now? Pay attention to every change. When you cook eggs you have just changed the eggs from one form to another. Does it really matter that five minutes have gone by?
Some changes are catalysts, like writing an kindle book and uploading it to amazon. This change will trigger more changes, changes that can benefit you.
Some changes are benign. Driving to work, only to drive back home again. What was the point of that? Will that change ever benefit you beyond that day of pay? Maybe if you invest it.
What changes are happening during your vices? How is your mind changing while you watch Netflix? How is your body changing while you drink that beer? How will this change affect your future?
So, in summary, don’t fall for the illusion of time, it is symbolic for change, instead pay attention to actual changes, and consider them carefully.
My Predictions For 2015
There will be ups and downs, comings and goings. Some things will change, and some will stay the same. You will feel good, bad, and everything in-between. People will be nice to, rude to you, help you, and ignore you. You will be cut-off in traffic, and you will be let in. You will meet new friends, and lose old ones. You will face fears, take on new challenges, make mistakes, and get things right too. You will be misunderstood, and you will misunderstand, but you will also connect. You will grow, learn and change. By 2016 you will be a different person just as you have changed since 2014, twelve months ago. With every variation, bump and bruise, you will become tougher and smarter. You will be ready to take the bad with the good, and you will learn how to feel more of the latter. You will see that with every pain, loss, or insult, there is a gift to be found that you will unwrap within it.
Look back to 2014, find your regrets and learn from them,
Then find your Proud moments and actions, and do more of those.
2015 will be new, different, and exciting, mostly because you will be new, different and adventurous.
You Have No Free-Time, Yet!
I was having trouble today getting motivated to work on my “freedom projects”. It’s my Christmas vacation and I realized that I didn’t want to give-up any of my free-time to work on these projects. I often run into this dilemma on evenings and weekends too. My free time is so limited I hate to give it up to do Work. Even if the work is for myself and is going to benefit my future-self. I know our monkey minds dislike having to give anything up. We as humans cannot stand to lose things. We will work harder to not lose something, than to gain something. So as I thought on paper, I wrote to myself, that I think I am losing my free-time if I work on freedom projects during vacations, evenings and weekends. I realized this was coming from a trapped mindset. With time divided into free and un-free categories. And then I realized the truth, I have no free-time yet! Any free-time I think I may have in only an illusion. This is not free-time, this is a trick. For as long as I am employed to do work that keeps my heart in a cage, then I am not free. If you give a dog more slack on the leash is he free? Of course not. So work hard when you have slack on that leash, you are not losing your “free-time”, you don’t actually have any yet.
We Are All The Same – How To Raise Your Self Esteem
I spent the last few days thinking deeply about Self Esteem. The Optimist Test (Martin E. Seligman) told me that I have moderately low self esteem, which really got me thinking. I know I am not the most confident person in all situations, and I have really had to push myself to get to the level I am at now. I did many sales jobs to force myself out of shyness. Even today I find myself avoiding tasks that threaten how I feel about myself. Something as simple as making a doctor’s appointment can raise this reaction, forcing me to reassure myself and make the call. Something about phone calling really gets me.
In spite of all this my ambitions include:
- Doing an hour long interview with famous authors I admire and publishing as a podcast
- Becoming an Author
- Becoming a Public Speaker
- Becoming a Business Consultant and Strategist
But why haven’t I done it yet? Why is it a struggle to do the simplest things sometimes?
I thought it was mainly out of a general feeling called ‘fear’ but maybe it has more to do with self esteem.
So what is the solution? After a bit of research, I decided that higher self esteem is not a very good goal. This can lead to self serving bias, when individuals reject the validity of negative feedback, focus on their strengths and achievements but overlook their faults and failures, or take more responsibility for their group’s work than they give to other members, they are protecting the ego from threat and injury, taking the mind further away from reality.
Instead, I discovered Self Acceptance which was recommending for countering low self esteem by psychologist Albert Ellis. This struck a chord with me. I remembered several quotes that I had heard throughout my life that instantly changed my perspective and how I felt about myself.
“You are the child of the universe, no less that the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here” – the Desiderata
“You are only human”, “Everybody makes mistakes” and similar variations.
“You are a spiritual being, having a human experience”
“Do not judge”, this came to me in a dream at the age of 19 when I asked, “how can I improve my life?”
I began to realized that there is a connection between how I think of others, and how I think of myself. I work very hard not to judge others, but this is usually a second thought, the first thought is pure judgement. This happens in a negative and a positive judgement of others. I may judge someone so positively that I am intimidated to talk to them!
During all this thinking I decided to take a walk to the bookstore and see what new great business books are out there. And maybe take a peek to see if they have anything good on Self Esteem too. Working against my ego, I forced myself to picked up “You are not so Smart” by David McRaney, and was glad to discover it’s a book about one of my favorite subjects, cognitive biases. Cognitive Biases are documented counter intuitive errors in thinking that all humans make naturally. It made me realize that we all have the same biases. We all make the same mistakes in thinking. We are really all the same at the core. I wandered away from the Well Being section and over to Business with this thought in mind. I looked at all the books and wondered how I would ever interview these authors. Then I thought, every one of these authors must have felt insecure about their book at one point or another. Just I as feel insecure about my ambitions. There I was, looking at hundreds of books, each representing an author who once felt as I do.
I’m beginning to think that hearing about how special and unique I was when going up, may not have been as useful as learning about how I am similar to everyone else.
Recognizing that we are all the same at the core has the benefit of “equalization”. No one can be a superstar or a thud. Everyone is the same as you. Is this the core of Self – Acceptance or Self Esteem?
Recognizing that everyone, I mean every single human being that has ever lived, and every one on this planet right now, has had these fears, insecurities and doubts at some point in their lives. It’s completely normal. Accept it, and meditate on the thought, “We are all the Same”.
Please leave a comment below I would love to hear your thoughts.
Think Differently and Create Change
The only way to change your life is to do something differently
The only way to do something differently is to think differently
But How? Here are three ways to change your perspective
Change your focus from the black to the white, from the small to the large, from the extremes to the moderates. Whatever your habitual way of thinking is, change it to the opposite, or something in-between. If you are always thinking of getting, think about giving. If you are an engineer and always think rigidly, put your artist hat on and think abstractly. Try putting different “hats” on. Ask, what would an entrepreneur do? What would Richard Branson do? This is a form of lateral thinking. It means you have to find new ways of interpreting the situation. An exercise for this is to look at a photo from a newspapers, try and generate different possible scenarios for the photo. Another is to recall a bad memory or experience and see other possible interpretations and causes, the more the better, but aim for 10 minimum.
Ask Different Questions
We habitually ask the same questions in our mind. Try changing it up. Instead of asking what could go wrong? Ask, what could go Right? Instead of asking, what’s wrong with me, or what did I do wrong? Ask, What’s right with me, and what did I do right? Carefully form your questions to direct your focus. For Good Things focus on how more good will come from this good, and how this good will allow for more good things to happen. For example your savings account could generate interest income for you to life on, giving you free time, and the free time giving you more opportunity. Or your courses/groups can lead to meeting new people which leads to new opportunities and knowledge and more income and more freedom. For Bad things, focus on how temporary and unimportant they are. Will this matter in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years?
The mind is able to generate answers to any question you derive. Seek and you shall find type of situation. Close your eyes, think of the color red, then open your eyes.
Try generating answers to these:
List 100 things that are Good about your life
List 100 things that are Good about you
List 100 things that you want to do before you are forced to leave this earth
List 100 opportunities that are available to you that will make your life better
Change your Statements
Don’t Say, I suck, or I’m okay, I wish I could…, I can’t…, I don’t have…, or I should…
Say, I could…, I will…, and I can…, I have…, I see…, I feel… This language allows your mind to open up and see possibilities. You first need to see the possibilities before you can take any action.
Use “I have” statements to force you to generate, realize and see what you have
I have money
I have good people in my life
I have opportunities
Use “I see” statements
I see good people
I see opportunities
I see abundance all around me
Use I “feel” statements
I feel love
I feel connection
I feel good and happy
Sometimes just saying Power Words from THE SWITCH will help you. For example, if you are tired, muster up some strength and Say ENERGY, VITALITY, LIVELINESS, again and again, like you have it! When you recall these words, the neural pathway to these images/thoughts and become stronger, and easier to recall in the future. Recall them often, the effort you feel is your brain changing.
With Reframing, Questions and Statements you can learn to Think Differently. You will begin to See Differently, Act Differently, and Be able to Create a Different Life for Yourself
Optimisim Test – How You Can Learn to Be Optimistic
Here is the Learned Optimism Test.
The results are vague unless you read/listen to the book "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman, or see my interpretation below.
Take the Test First, Then Come Back and Read the Interpretation Below. For this Optimism test, you want to score high on the Good, and low on the Bad shown below.
But first, take the Learned Optimism Test. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Now that you have finished your test, let’s look at the criteria.
There are three categories that determine optimism. Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalization
Permanence and Pervasiveness affect what you do, Personalization affects how you feel. Seligman says that Personalization is less important that the former two.
What the Scores Mean
Permanence Bad Score: How permanent you think bad things are
Permanence Good Score: How permanent you think good things are
Pervasiveness Bad Score: How pervasive you think bad things are.
Pervasiveness Good Score: How pervasive you think good things are
Stuff Of Hope: The sum of you above Bad Scores (lower is better)
Personalization Bad Score: How personally you internalize bad things.
Personalization Good Score: How personally you internalize good things
Total Bad Score: Sum of Bad scores above
Total Good Score: Sum of Good scores above
Good Minus Bad Score: Overall Optimism Score
Here are my results with my interpretation below:
I scored very low (good) on Permanence Bad & Pervasiveness Bad. This resulted in a high hope score. It means that my explanatory style can find a positive way to interpret negative events as localized and temporary.
Unfortunately my Permanence Good & Pervasiveness Good score was also low. This means I see positive events as localized and temporary too!
For example I think to myself, “that person liked me”, not “I am a likable person”.
Another way to put it, I am pessimistic about good events, but optimistic about negative events when they happen.
My personalization Bad Score was high, meaning I might be taking too much personal responsibility for negative events, causing low self-esteem. For example if someone is in a bad mood or being a jerk, I will think I did something wrong.
My personalization Good Score was moderate, meaning I could take more credit for the good events in my life.
I found these results very thought provoking and I am going to try and adopt these beliefs:
· Good things can be permanent or long lasting
· Good things can be pervasive, universal, spreading and growing, touching every area of my life
· I am going to try and take personal responsibility and credit for the Good things that happen in my life
· I will try to externalize responsibility for bad things, and realize that I am not the cause of them
· I will allow myself to think highly of myself, and not be afraid to think highly of myself
Here is the Affiliate Link to Martin Seligman’s wonderful little book “Learned Optimism” on Audible, Kindle and Amazon