Our children, our young people and adults are being attacked from the inside. We can blame technology, our fast pace society, drugs, politicians or little green men from Mars but none of it is the problem. When we leave our hearts, our soul starts to erode. We have a simple choice in life, we can pick honor or we can pick outcome. Outcome is the fuel for fear because fear’s only job is to judge and control outcomes. When we choose honor we focus on what we want to give and not the outcome of that giving. If you asked most kids if they could cheat and get and A and could never be caught or get a C working twice as hard, sadly most would take the A. This is because they would see it as the smarter choice since working twice as hard for a C would make no sense. If all you are looking at is the outcome you would be correct. There was recently a big cheating scandal at Harvard and the punishment if you were caught was you could not come back to school for a year. That’s a bit less harsh than a punishment of being permanently expelled. What kind of standard is that? Why was the school afraid off kicking these kids out for good? What outcome did they fear? There is only one thing in this world that we control; what we want to give. If giving is based on a code […]
We all know that stress can be lethal, but do you know why? The human body can handle an amazing amount of stress, so why can it be so lethal? The type of stress that kills us is long term, sustained stress rather than normal short bursts of stress that we all encounter. Our bodies are designed to handle short bursts of stress in order to survive and avoid being eaten by other predators. I won’t go into all the physiological actions that happen under stress, but suffice to say that our bodies go into overdrive. As long as the periods of overdrive are not too long, the body suffers no damage. For example…. If you drive a sports car hard the way it was designed, then you do no damage as long as you don’t leave the engine at redline for too long. If you do, eventually the engine will blow. The same engine that was designed to be driven hard all day long is the same engine that you could destroy by pushing past redline for just 30 seconds. Many modern engines today will cut the throttle if you pass the redline, but unfortunately our bodies don’t have that feature. It is sustained stress day after day that is the killer. We were not designed to operate that way. One of the best ways to feel how the body deals with stress, and why stress is a contributor to poor health, is with the rubber ball test. […]
It’s impossible to get angry if you are not afraid. It is a simple fact of human behavior that it is impossible to get angry if you are not afraid. Anger is a fear response and cannot be generated in the absence of fear. Anger and fear go hand in hand. Most people will argue with this fact. They will even get angry and declare, “I am not afraid, I am just angry”, and they might even go as far as scream, “I am not afraid of anything!” I have often noticed that this statement often makes people angry, which is pretty ironic. Given that this is a truth that cannot be disproved, it reveals how scared we all really are. Whether it is politics, religion, sports or just a discussion of the weather, we often get angry. If we don’t accept that we can not get angry with out being afraid, then we fail to look at what scares us. As we scream at the referees on TV for making a bad call, do we ever look at our fear and question why that bad call scares us? When we talk politics or religion, do we look at why we get so angry and the deeper fear that specific discussion creates? We live in an angry society which means we live in a society that is afraid, but we don’t look at the underlining fear that causes this. Instead, we just scream louder. The next time you find yourself […]
This is a term that’s roots come from Buddhism. To most Western minds, this terms sounds like giving up, but it is quite the opposite and a requirement for true excellence. I was watching the summer Olympics a few of years ago. A female gymnast had just given the performance of her life and she was interviewed right after. She admitted that once she knew the gold medal was no longer in her reach, she felt no more pressure, and she focused on having fun and giving the best routine she could. This gymnast pre accepted failure and it led to her spectacular floor performance. We can only give our best performances when we let go of fear. To do that, we have to pre accept failure, which does not mean we are accepting failure. It means that we are at peace with giving our best and not trying to control the outcome. We allow what we have to stand for itself and by doing so, we rid ourselves of fear. How often have we seen an athlete ‘try too hard’ or ‘choke’ when under pressure to perform or win? How often have we seen come backs from athletes that had ‘nothing to lose?’ In order to give our best performance, we must let go of outcome and simply do our best accepting that even our best might not be good enough to ‘win.’
Everyone knows cheating is wrong. You learn this the first time you look at another students paper in grade school. So why do we do it to the top levels of our society? The answer: we put outcome ahead of honor. We are all taught that ‘doing the right thing’ is it’s own reward. Having integrity and your word being your bond are taught at a very young age and the message has not changed, so what has gone wrong? Why do so many people cheat? Politicians, Wall Street, and professional athletes dominate the news cycle with cheating scandals. We get to watch these people look into the camera and swear they did not cheat only to find out later they did, and most of these people have already achieved high levels of success and yet, they still cheat. The answer is simple: fear. The only job fear has is to control outcomes. It is your basic survival mechanism; it creates tunnel vision and a sole focus on a specific outcome. This is a great reaction to have if you are on a battle field or a lion is chasing you but it is completely inappropriate in matters of integrity and honor. The head is controlled by fear and it is the heart that is control by honor. When a soldier jumps on top of a hand grenade to save a fellow soldier he overrides his head and survival instincts and acts out of his heart for a greater […]
Everything we do, if we learn to do it correctly, has a surrender moment. This is the moment when we have done our job and now have to allow the rest of the action to happen for us. Denise McCluggage, the author of the Centered Skier, wrote this about golf; “In golf there are things you cause to happen and there are things you allow to happen. This is true with everything.” It is no-where more evident than with the bungee jumper. In order to have the thrill of the jump they must surrender to the fact the cord will hold them. If they can not surrender to this fact then they can not jump. The baseball pitcher at some point has to let go of the ball and trust where it will go, etc etc… This pertains to all athletics, business and everything else in life. The problem is that most people find surrendering to be the most difficult, but it is that “letting go” to the part (which must be done for you) that holds them back. If you want to achieve the highest level in anything you must identify the surrender moment and ask your self if you are willing to surrender.
The personal growth industry is a billion dollar industry but what really is personal growth? If you read a self help book, does that mean you experienced personal growth? If you go into therapy, does that mean you experienced personal growth? If you attend a seminar by a famous self-help guru, does that mean you experience personal growth? Is personal growth different for every person or is it something that can be defined. And what happens if we don’t experience personal growth? Did people a thousand years ago experience personal growth? I think it is time that personal growth should be defined and the benefits of it explained if billions of dollars are going to be made from the notion we all should personally grow. So here is my definition… Personal growth comes when: 1. You face your fears. 2. You challenge your fear-based belief systems. 3. You take complete responsibility for your feelings and place in life. If those three areas are not met, then I do not believe personal growth is possible. I recently read and highlighted a great quote; “The cure for the pain is the pain.” Our journey of self discovery has to be through the pain that altered our course in the first place and which created our current belief systems. Then and only then do we really personally grow.
I think that person over there hates me. How can you tell? I can just tell. Our fear filter is the lens we look through when we sense danger. It activates our need to interpret a situation. But remember that emotions are not dangerous. Do you ever say to yourself, “What could that person be thinking? How could they perceive me that way? Why are they treating me like I am the enemy when all I am doing is trying to help?” Often times our well-intended actions have the opposite effect on people. This is because of their fear filter. When we are emotionally afraid we interpret the intention of others in the same way we would if the danger were a physical threat. We do this instead of trusting their intentions and giving them the benefit of the doubt. For example: If I try to give a friend advice with the purist of intentions and instead they see me as arrogant or bossy, then they are looking at the situation through their fear filter. Or if I decided to give a friend no feedback or advice, again from the purist intent, they might see me as uncaring or detached. It would be extremely difficult to correctly guess where another person is coming from, because the odds of getting it right through the act of interpretation rather then communication are slim. The reason we default to interpretation is because of our fear. It is a fear response. Once we believe […]
It is impossible to know what is good or bad. We live in a world of outcomes. We judge hundreds of times a day whether an event is good or bad. If the stop light turns red and we are late for work, we assume that is bad? If the light stays green long enough for us to get through it, that is good? We make these judgements all day long and we believe we know what is good or bad, but it is impossible to know what is good or bad. In order to know what is good or bad you would have to have complete knowledge of the universe and know how every other possible scenario would have worked out. Maybe that light turning red caused you to be next to the car in which your soul mate was in; whom you otherwise would have never had a chance to exchange smiles with and which ultimately lead to a meeting. Maybe that light staying green put you right in the grill of a drunk driver? But do we know if either of these is good or bad? The point is this: it is impossible to know, so why do we spend our lives judging things as if we could know? The answer is simple: we live inside our fear and not inside our hearts. Fears only job is to judge outcome and determine good or bad. Fear serves as a brake to stop us so […]
Is it time to stop living with the Point System? Nature always has a plan. Each species has instincts and behaviors to insure their survival and humanity is no different. I call nature’s plan the Point System and here is how it works. When males are born, they start with zero points and when females are born, they start with a hundred points. A male has to quickly learn to perform because this is how he earns points. The stronger, faster and smarter he is the more points he earns. His value is determined by strength and leadership and the success that follows. A woman’s points are base on youth, sex and beauty. She has to try to hang on to her points as long as possible because eventually time will start to take them away from her. The point system is designed for one thing: survival of the race. Not happiness or romantic love. It wants the strongest men to be motivated to protect and provide for the most beautiful fertile woman. Weak men and unattractive woman should be discarded. The Point System makes perfect sense as to why men try so hard to rise above other men in sports, war and business and why woman put so much of their efforts into trying to stay young and sexy. I have heard plenty of woman say it isn’t fair men get better the older they get and to this I say it isn’t fair that men start out with […]
Most of us will never be professional athletes, we participate in athletics for recreational purposes. The professional athlete has an obligation to continually improve over their career but for the rest of us we can “arrive” when the purpose of our sports is recreational. Children start out as Zen (Honor) athletes and quickly, fear and expectations destroy that ability and they turn into “Outcome (Fear) athletes.” I want to contrast the difference between what I call a “Zen (Honor) Athlete” and what I call an “Outcome (Fear) Athlete.” Outcome (Fear) ZEN (Honor) A constant struggle for external recognition. Measures self-worth solely based on outcome. Focus on attaining perfection. Treat goals or sport as something to conquer. Unrealistic expectations leading to frustration, anger and disappointment. Blames other, cheats, makes excuses to calm anxiety from fear of failure. Competitors are the enemy. Looks for internal satisfaction. Measures self on what they gave. Ethic, honor, effort, etc… Sees life as a journey in search of excellence. Tries to achieve “oneness” with activity. Realistic expectations, sees the process. Focus on what has been learned and effort given. Competitors are partners who facilitate improvement. An Honor athlete eventually “arrives at the level they want to achieve and no longer see themselves as students or feel the need for improvement. This day comes when the maximum amount of enjoyment can be achieved with the current level of ability. Outcome athletes never have an “arrival” stage because the fear of losing and pursuit of […]
We can’t be in our hearts and our heads at the same time. When I say the “heart,” I am obviously not referring to the literal meaning of the organ that pumps our blood. I’m referring to our soft giving emotions and inspiration. When I say the “head” I am being literal because that is where we process fear. So I am going to talk about the heart as the place we give from and the head as the place we process fear. It is impossible to be angry unless you are afraid (yes that is a fact) and anger is the quickest way we mask our fears. Once we are afraid we can no longer give, the mind is solely focused on what it needs to no longer be afraid. When a soldier charges to the aid of another soldier, he is surrounded by danger. I am sure is scared but his heart has over ridden his fear out of the love for his fellow comrade. You can be scared and give, but you cannot be emotionally afraid. Other soldiers have been so emotionally afraid it left them frozen and unable to follow orders. Courage and bravery are matters of the heart, and both override fear. Bravery is when the danger is real, like the soldier. Courage is when the danger is not real but we think it is, like being afraid of rejection. Both are behaviors of the heart. The quickest way to stop fear is to […]
This is a subject that gets talk about a lot but never really defined. I hear people say: “I feel good about myself because….” and they list an accomplishment; but is self love really about accomplishment? What if you have failed? Should you forfeit self love? Self love can not be dependant on an outcome or accomplishment. Self love is the belief that you have value. As such, everyone in the world must care about you, if they do not, they should not be in your life. When I say care, it could be as simple as asking a homeless person to please stand ten feet away while they talk to you because this makes you comfortable. Not eight or nine feet but ten. If they do not honor this then you do not have to honor their desire to talk to you. Or it could be a serious and a deal breaking discussion you need to have with a boss or mate. They must listen in order to honor you, tuning you out or dismissing you is not an option. If you have self love you believe you always have value and that value must be honored. When a person does not care about your needs they are saying it is okay not to value you. We chase the world to gain approval and never give it to ourselves. Self love is not selfish or self-centered or egotistical, it is feeling your value and honoring that value […]
The Case Against Competition No Contest, which has been stirring up controversy since its publication in 1986, stands as the definitive critique of competition. Drawing from hundreds of studies, Alfie Kohn eloquently argues that our struggle to defeat each other — at work, at school, at play, and at home — turns all of us into losers. Contrary to the myths with which we have been raised, Kohn shows that competition is not an inevitable part of “human nature.” It does not motivate us to do our best (in fact, the reason our workplaces and schools are in trouble is that they value competitiveness instead of excellence.) Rather than building character, competition sabotages self-esteem and ruins relationships. It even warps recreation by turning the playing field into a battlefield. No Contest makes a powerful case that “healthy competition” is a contradiction in terms. Because any win/lose arrangement is undesirable, we will have to restructure our institutions for the benefit of ourselves, our children, and our society. For this  revised edition, Kohn adds a comprehensive account of how students can learn more effectively by working cooperatively in the classroom instead of struggling to be Number One. He also offers a pointed and personal afterword, assessing shifts in American thinking on competition and describing reactions to his provocative message. Take a closer look: http://www.amazon.com/No-Contest-Case-Against-Competition/dp/0395631254