Monday, April 15 2013
09 Apr 2012FinerMinds Team
The following article was written by one of our very own Mindvalley Team members, Dana, and is a piece from the heart. After receiving an astounding 318,000 shares we felt that it was only fair to share this with you so you too can identify the 15 practices, beliefs and habits that may be preventing you from being happy. The article is a little longer than usual but it is seasoned with powerful insights and peppered with inspirational quotes. Enjoy!
15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy
Here is a list of 15 things, which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and you’ll feel much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go and allowing ourselves to be stress-free and happy, we cling on to them.
Well, not anymore. Starting today, we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go!
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the “urgent” need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question from Dr. Wayne Dyer: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, co-workers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations and events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling the things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck and lie to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time, are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. This one’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening. But, you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all, life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us, is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too (it still is), but it’s not impossible. You get better and better at it with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another. Attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and selfless; where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot co-exist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them; they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them; to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need… and eventually, they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
Dana is the Product Development Manager for Mindvalley and the founder of Purpose Fairy Blog. A student of art, economics, and psychology, Dana draws inspiration from novels by Lao Tzu with The Tao Te Ching to the lives of leaders such as Wayne Dyer and Carl Jung. She infuses life-changing and mind-transforming approaches in the works she does, challenging people to challenge themselves.
Wednesday, April 10 2013
Being a Rookie
Chess is a game that I love to play with my husband. He is such an enviable strategist. When I first started playing with him, I felt like a complete fool every time he snookered my king and got me into check-mate.
When I let my pride take the back seat, I discovered a remarkable game that I could undeniably learn from whilst enjoying some quiet, reflective, quality time with my partner.
I found it a relaxing pursuit with red-hot moments of intensive brain-stretching — a great way to quantize your thinking. It not only takes the grey matter for a stroll around the yard but also teaches you valuable lessons in forethought, planning, awareness and defense tactics.
Has Anyone Seen the Bishop?
I started to see more spiritual truths in chess the more we played; in fact it was beginning to be a remarkable representation of life!
It aroused me to apply these teaching to my own life situations and, if not why not, to other people’s life circumstances too. A lot of people are already either inadvertently or deliberately playing chess with their situations and relationships.
It opened my eyes and taught me that there is usually either a way to slip out of trouble or to catch yourself and your opponent by surprise with your brilliant and calm maneuvering capabilities.
Be Your Own Knight in Shining Armor
Just when things start to look hopeless, you view your game from a different angle or perspective and you move to the side and allow danger to pass. What a great allegory for life!
Here are some of the life strategies chess has permitted me to comprehend:
Metaphors and Metamorphosis — from Pawns to Kings
When we can become the observers of life’s smaller things, like an innocent fixture of chess, and transform it into a fresh perspective of life, it changes us. We start looking all over for these spiritual growth sign-posts and we usually find them in the strangest of places.
Chess is the ultimate sport of existence and even though I know the strategies have been used in more negative life experiences, such as war and devious corporate obliteration, it can also be used to your advantage in co-creating your reality.
Give yourself a game plan and be flexible enough to discern inherent dangers whilst on track, this way you will be able to metaphorically duck and dive bullets (just like Neo in The Matrix movie). Be cunning and graceful and you will never be caught off guard. When you are, don’t give up, learn from it and reload your experience as ammunition for the next round.
There is never failure, only feedback.
Sunday, April 07 2013
Think about your biggest weaknesses at work and in life. What qualities are you most unhappy about? Of the following list of 16 typical weaknesses, look carefully and choose the three that resonate most with you:
Got your three biggest weaknesses? Great. (Don't be too depressed, the rest of this activity is more fun). Next, look at the below list, find the same three weaknesses, and look at the traits to the right of each of your three biggest weaknesses:
1) Disorganized ---> Creative
The three qualities to the right of your three weaknesses are all strengths.
Hidden in your weaknesses are your strengths.
Every weakness has a corresponding strength.
The idea here is simple: Instead of trying to change your weaknesses, accept them. Don't try to fix them - it's too difficult. Instead, be sure to leverage your associated strengths. You can look to colleagues, direct reports, and even supervisors to fill in the gaps where you are weakest. Don't be afraid to ask people for help- they can add value where you are weaker. But be sure to embrace your strengths, and build upon them. After all, your strengths (even those disguised as weaknesses) - will get you far in your career, and in life.
Now it's your turn. Did this activity resonate with you? Were the strengths corresponding with your weaknesses accurate? What are your greatest weaknesses - and strengths? What are the takeaways for you at work and in life? And here's to your secret strengths!
Dave Kerpen is disorganized, unrealistic and impatient - which means he's creative, positive and passionate! For more information about this activity, be sure to check out the excellent book Freak Factor by David Rendall. For more on Dave Kerpen, check out the New York Times best seller Likeable Social Media and the Amazon #1 best seller Likeable Business.
Tuesday, April 02 2013
In their words: Michelle McQuaid & The secret to ‘kick ass’ work relationships
As a natural introvert, relationships with other people – especially at work – have never come easy. Overly invested in my own anxieties about being ‘good enough’, finding the confidence to just walk up to people and expect them to like me is an attitude I’m still learning to pull off.
To be honest, most of my career I’ve been happy just to put my head down, get on with my work and hope what I do will eventually earn the respect and affection of others. That was until I came across some research suggesting rather than what we do, it’s who we do it with that predicts our levels of engagement and wellbeing at work. In fact, having a best friend at work can make you better at engaging customers, help you to produce higher quality work and it’s less likely you’ll be injured on the job.
“Our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world,” explains George Vaillant, a leading psychiatrist who is famous for overseeing on one of the longest running psychological studies of all time – the Harvard Grant Study which found social bonds don’t just predict overall happiness but also eventual career achievement, occupational success, and even income.
Convinced it was worth trying to shake up my introverted tendencies, I decided to test three different positive psychology techniques to see if I could improve my relationships at work:
Hunt for strengths
I put this one to the test with one of my most challenging colleagues and quickly realised her strength of “delivering on a plan no matter what”, was being regularly tried by my strength of “contributing creative ideas”. We were like oil and water!
The funny thing was once I was able to see and value her strength for what it bought to our business – rather than being personally affronted by her aversion to risk – the animosity soon drained from our relationship and we‘ve been able to get along much better.
The VIA Institute has a great free guide to character strengths you can use to help you spot what’s good in others.
I decided each night before I’d log off at work, I’d take the time to genuinely thank at least one person for something they’d done. Sometimes it was face-to-face, by phone or even email, but I was always specific about what they’d done and why I appreciated it.
In less than a month the most amazing thing started to happen. A tidal wave of gratitude started being returned to me. Emails of thanks and messages of appreciation were pouring in … many from people I hadn’t even reached out to yet! It changed the way I felt about my colleagues.
Try it before you log off each night for one week. Who would you thank and why?
Create connection rituals
Sick of always telling people “we must catch up”, I decided to create a ritual to invite a colleague to lunch every Tuesday. Soon even my naturally extroverted husband was amazed at how these workplace friendships were spilling over into our personal lives.
Be it coffee, a lunch or a walk around the block, who would you like to connect more with at the office?
Like most of positive psychology none of these techniques are rocket science, but rather simple, practical habits that can improve the quality of our lives and our levels of happiness.
Monday, April 01 2013
The effect of praise on mindsets
If you’re a parent, you can be forgiven for thinking your child is brilliant. After all, that’s what mums and dads are supposed to think and it’s why they praise little Ethan or Ella to high heaven whenever they get something right, whether it’s solving a maths problem, playing a piece of music, or colouring within the lines.
But how many parents stop to consider whether the way they praise their kids actually helps or hinders them? If you’ve always thought that just to be praised at all is positive then you may be interested in learning what Professor Carol Dweck has to say on the subject.
Dweck, a presenter at next year’s Happiness & Its Causes conference – her session is Mindset: The new psychology of success – is an acclaimed psychologist and researcher in the field of motivation, who’s talking here about a very simple idea with profound implications.
According to Dweck, there are two different mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is innate and can’t be changed. A growth mindset is the belief that success is the result of practice, effort and hard work. Dweck’s research has been to examine how to best promote the latter since that is what produces more confident and enthusiastic leaners.
In a now well-known study in which Dweck and her team examined the effects of praise, they gave fifth graders a set of puzzles to solve. Initially, they gave the children a set of easier puzzles to do. When these nine and 10 year olds successfully solved them, they were praised for either their intelligence or the effort they made.
Next, the children were given a much harder set of puzzles to solve, the idea being to observe how the type of praise they received affected their confidence. Either they stopped liking the puzzles because they didn’t think they were any good at doing them, or they persisted despite experiencing difficulty, thinking they just needed to try harder.
The researchers also asked the children what puzzles they wanted to work on some more, the easier ones or ones that were even more difficult.
Interestingly, Dweck and her colleagues found – and the results have been replicated in subsequent studies – that the kids who’d been praised for their intelligence preferred to revisit the easier puzzles. They also believed that the fact they’d struggled with the harder ones meant they weren’t smart or competent at the task, all signs of a fixed mindset. “A very discouraging conclusion,” says Dweck.
Conversely, those students praised for their effort showed a growth mindset in that they wanted to work on harder puzzles they could learn from. That is, they felt smart just by really applying themselves to a challenging task and making even incremental progress.
Dweck concludes from this, “that kids and adults are exquisitely sensitive to what’s going on in a situation, what other people value, what they’re being judged on.
“What is that voice in their head saying? Fixed mindset things like ‘oh, you better not make a mistake, you better look smart, people are judging you’, or growth mindset things like, ‘here’s an opportunity, here’s a mistake I can learn from, I feel smart when I do something difficult’.”
I know which one I’d prefer hearing.