Author Archives: Silver


Cycling through Change

Are you tired of having to deal with change?  It seems a week doesn’t go by without being asked to adapt to something new—a boss, an updated computer program or a new group of contenders on Dancing With the Stars.

Life comes at us pretty darned fast.

Whether the change in front of you is positive or negative, it will undoubtedly activate within you some unpleasant feelings.

First of all, change is an interruption and interruptions tend to annoy us. We haven’t allowed time for this change, it takes us from a routine with which we are familiar and, adding insult to injury, it requires us to learn something new! (Remember graduating from school and thinking, with that childlike innocence, “Finally! I’m done. I don’t have to learn one more thing!”?)

Having to learn something new activates a feeling most of us avoid like the plague. That feeling is vulnerability.  The kissing cousin of fear, vulnerability seems somehow worse:  it strikes at the core of who we believe ourselves to be.  It makes us feel small and dependant, like a child.

vul-ner-a-ble >adj. 1a. Not protected against harm or injury. b. Susceptible to attack; assailable. c. Easily affected or hurt, as by criticism.

Feeling vulnerable does not evoke your “A” game, that’s for sure.  More likely, it causes you to react—a chemical effect induced by adrenalin that triggers the ancient “fight or flight” instinct.

So we say things like, “People hate change,” when the reality is that it’s not the change itself that makes us cringe, it’s the feeling of vulnerability it induces.

When change occurs it causes us to fret, “Can I adapt this time? Am I capable?  What if this is the one time I really can’t do what they expect of me?”

For some, getting to the other side of the initial reaction to change happens rapidly.  These evolved beings cycle through change like Lance Armstrong up a 10-degree hill. When change strikes, they take the hit to the solar plexus and briefly panic. For a while they feel anger and a desire to punch something. Then their rational mind starts to wrest control, reminding them of how good they are at handling these sorts of situations, pointing out ways in which this could work to their advantage and coaxing them away from reaction and into response.

How are these mere mortals able to process changes so quickly?  They have learned how to manage their focus.

The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you focus on.  Your emotions are the strongest indicator of whether you are focused on something that will please you.  When you react to change, your focus is on any number of things, none of them positive. The longer you linger in the awful feeling of vulnerability, the more strongly you are attracting circumstances that will prove that you are, indeed, vulnerable.

Self-talk is the quickest technique to managing your focus. It’s negative self-talk that sparked your feelings of vulnerability and caused you to react.  It is positive self-talk that will move you into respond mode.  Moving from react to respond is an indication that your point of attraction is moving toward things that will please you and away from things that will not.

If you’re interested in becoming more like those who quickly cycle through the negative part of change to get to the “goodies,” then practicing soothing and positive self-talk is definitely the way to go. You will feel vulnerable for shorter periods of time, adapt more quickly to our rapidly changing world and, as a bonus, you may even learn to like some of the new batch of Dancing with the Starts contestants.

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‘tis the Season

The holidays are typically a time when our routines get disrupted in very big ways.  Even if you love this season, it’s easy to get thrown off by the additional pressures.

I cannot think of a better time to deepen your understanding of how to leverage the Law of Attraction to your advantage. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1.  You get more of what you focus on.  Is your focus on how much you love this time of year or on your Inner Martyr?  (Place the back of your hand to your forehead) I can’t possibly get all this done.  Why do I do this every year?  I need more hours in the day!

Try instead to hum along with the seasonal music, enjoy the store window displays, and notice all the beautiful decorations.  Any or all of these actions will result in your attracting more pleasure AND you’ll get more done!

2.  You can tell whether you’re focused on what you want or what you don’t by how you feel. Positive emotions are telling you, “You’re on the right track; keep going.”  Negative emotions are letting you know, “If you stay focused on that, you are not going to like the results!”

Plus, positive emotions are so much more fun, don’t you think?

3.  Your attention is a request for “more of this, please.” Wasted prayers and affirmations abound.  If you pray, “Please help me get through this,” your attention is on struggle and effort. If you pray instead, “Help me to have fun with this,” your attention is on what you want.  Semantics don’t matter; what you’re paying attention to does.  Putting the word “no” in front of something doesn’t automatically place your focus on what you want.  When you say, “No illness, please, your attention is on illness and that’s what you begin to attract.

I have a cousin-in-law who takes a multitude of vitamins and extraordinary precautions during cold and flu season, all toward the purpose of not getting sick. And every year he gets sick—more than once. His focus is not on being healthy.  He is completely focused on “no illness,” thinking, as so many of us do, that the word “no” negates what follows.

Repeat after me:  words do not matter; my attention does.

4. The fastest way to change your mood is to change your physiology. You cannot smile and be in a bad mood at the same time—it would make your head explode (okay, that last part I made up). Seriously, when you’re grinning or humming a happy tune or laughing, it instantaneously puts you into a good mood. I have used this technique for years and it never fails me.

5.  Your brain doesn’t know the difference between pretend and reality.  (This is what makes #4 work.)  If you act as if you’re on top of things and everything you need to do is getting done on schedule, your brain believes you and floods your system with chemicals that produce positive emotions.  Positive emotions attract more of what you want and so, voila! circumstances line up to prove you right!

This is why self-talk is so critical.  There is a huge difference in results when you say, “This is a piece of cake” versus “I can’t figure out how to do this!” Either way, your brain believes you.

I caution you; don’t believe a word written here.  Instead, experiment for yourself! Print this, put it in your purse or wallet and pull it out when you’re facing something that is typically challenging: shopping in a crowded mall, making holiday travel arrangements or trying to stay sober while making your traditional Harvey Wallbanger Christmas Cake.

The holidays are a time when we all feel the need to multi-task and I, for one, say, “Go for it!”  Grab that “to do” list in one hand, the Law of Attraction in the other and watch how smoothly things go. When you do, you will have one of the most fun holiday seasons ever!

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Relax and Receive

What if it was your downtime, your lounging-in-bed-too-long time, your walkabout time, and your blow-Friday-off time that made possible your greatest achievements? Would they still make you guilty?

TUT-Notes from the Universe (www.TUT.com)

Never have we been so intently busy with so much to show for it:  stress-filled sleepless nights, 60 hour work weeks, health problems and mountains of debt.  Who said we were underachievers?

The tragic irony is that the harder we strain and the more we stress, the further away we push the things we are working so hard to achieve.

Stress and strain as the pathway to riches is a concept that has been sold to us by employers who want us to work longer hours. They can’t say, “Hey, I want more money so why don’t you work harder?” They don’t think we are quite that gullible. So instead, they dangle the carrot in front of us, “Work hard and maybe someday you’ll be rich—like me!”

So we fret over unfinished projects and tasks, chase antacids with coffee and count the days until retirement when we fantasize that (what, exactly?) will happen.

We look for someone to blame and the usual scapegoats line up in our imaginary firing line: parents who didn’t raise us right; teachers who were demeaning instead of encouraging; bosses who clearly didn’t know the level of talent they were dealing with; and co-workers who undermined us for their own ambition.

It was never supposed to be this hard.  Most stress is a by-product of where we place our focus and what we tell ourselves during the process.

Always remember—your brain doesn’t know the difference between pretend and reality.  When you say, “This is really hard,” it is equal in power to, “This is really easy.”  The first triggers your brain to release stress hormones; the other triggers the “feel good” hormones.  Both declarations are true to the degree that you believe them to be so.

It is time to remember how to relax and receive.  We are born knowing how to do this—we spend the better part of the first years of our life sleeping, amusing ourselves and letting others take care of us. Sometime between then and now we began to believe the ridiculously popular notion that things outside of ourselves would make us happy and the only way to obtain them is through struggle and effort. Do you see babies struggling?

I have friends in varying economic situations—some are unemployed and looking for work, others are living paycheck-to-paycheck, some are comfortable and others are rich.  I can tell you unequivocally that their level of satisfaction with their lives is not caused by their circumstances. I can also say with equal conviction that the circumstances they find themselves in have everything to do with their ability to receive.

The Law of Attraction says that you attract more of what you focus on.  The reason the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is because each group expects to receive what they’ve always received.  When someone who is wealthy starts to judge his bank account as “not enough,” the downward spiral begins. And the moment someone poor starts to dream about better circumstances, the upward spiral is put into motion.

How are you at receiving?  Do you allow others to do for you or are you always the one doing for others?  When you receive a gift, do you feel grateful or unworthy? If someone picks up the tab at lunch, do you feel obligated to do something of equal value for him or her?  Can you allow yourself to be happy even when circumstances aren’t perfect or are you delaying it until things line up?

The reason I wrote, “relax and receive” is because this is different from the grabby and defiant “I deserve this” mode of receiving. When you relax and receive, you are aligned with the natural order just as you were when you were a child. The difference now is that you can appreciate it so much more because it’s a leap forward from the difficult approach you’ve been using.

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Fun I Almost Missed

Over the last thirteen months I learned something profound about myself that you’d think would have revealed itself much sooner:

I love physical adventure (and I don’t use the word “love” lightly.)

I swear I did not know. In fact, if asked, I would reply that I was definitely not interested in things like hiking, kayaking and white-water rafting. I was convinced that people who do such things were slightly off their rockers. Back when I was dating, if a man revealed that he was into any of that, there would definitely be no second date.

What a lot of fun I missed over the years.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.

Herbert Spencer, Victorian
Biologist and early social philosopher

That’s what I suffered from—contempt prior to investigation. Because I had not previously been exposed to outdoor adventure as a child or as a young adult, I dismissed it out of hand as something I didn’t like, even though I had never tried it and knew very little about it.

What have you declared as “not your thing” even though you haven’t tried it and know very little about it? Where have you deprived yourself? How have you shut down possibilities?

Too often we are like small children, wrinkling our noses at unfamiliar food, stubbornly refusing to even try it.  We are impatient when children exhibit this behavior but how often do we do it?

You get more of what you focus on. When we focus on limiting ourselves to only the familiar, we begin a subtle process of shrinking.  My friend Bill puts it this way: “There is no hover. You are either progressing or regressing.” Contempt prior to investigation feeds regression.

In my change consulting practice, I see this all the time—so-called leaders who are unwilling to try something new, employees who cling to the familiar even when it’s cumbersome and no longer efficient and salespeople who are trying to sell a solution to the wrong problem.  The more of these shrinking violets there are in an organization, the more quickly the business condemns itself to obsolescence. The world simply passes it by.

The same is true for individuals. Even when what we are doing no longer serves us, we continue on the path because it is familiar and we are afraid to try new things.  Of course, because we are so used to operating this way, we don’t even realize that we are afraid. Our explanations, said in proudly defiant voices are phrases like, “I guess I’m just set in my ways,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or my personal favorite, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Ironically, those of us who cling to the familiar in those areas of our lives over which we have control, often embrace change in areas like technology.

For some, if we approached technology like we do our lives, we’d still be watching a black-and-white television with rabbit ears for the antenna and using rotary phones that are tethered to the wall.

Contempt prior to investigation is a habit and, speaking for myself, a poor one.  Now that I’ve become aware of how much fun I’ve been missing for years by declaring, “I’m not outdoorsy,” I’m looking at other areas to see where I’ve placed myself in regressive mode:

  • What software programs have I dismissed that might make my life easier?
  • What board games have I declared myself not interested in that might turn out to be fun?
  • Which people have I not taken an interest in because I thought we had nothing in common?

The next time you find yourself wrinkling your nose like a 4-year old, ask, “Is this contempt prior to investigation?” and investigate! You have nothing to lose and a world of adventure to gain.

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Living Happily Ever After

The standard of success in life isn’t the things. It isn’t the money or the stuff—it is absolutely the amount of joy you feel. — Abraham Hicks

The formula is so simple. The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on.  When you zero in on that which brings you joy, you begin to attract more circumstances that make you happy. If you make it your overriding goal to live happily ever after, then you will experience a life beyond compare.

What trips most of us up is that we put conditions on what “happily ever after” looks like:

Condition #1 – Lots of money. If you require a certain amount of money before you are happy, then you are on a dangerous path.  As you continuously ponder the absence of that dollar amount, you experience a feeling of lack. Now you are attracting more of the same.

My friend Peter has lots of money and an incredible lifestyle to match—homes in exotic places and first class travel at the drop of a hat. As I have gotten to know him over the past year and heard the story of his life, I have come to understand that his early circumstances were unhappy, to say the least.  I’ve also learned that he is naturally upbeat.  He has always found a way to have a blast, wherever he is and whatever he’s doing.  Because of that, he has attracted more of what matches his optimistic nature.  Wealth was never a goal—having a good time was. The more he enjoyed himself, whether in the office or out on a kayak, the more he attracted circumstances that matched his natural ebullience.

Here’s the most important thing to know: Peter is no happier now than he was when he had nothing. If you don’t have his kind of wealth, you will undoubtedly scoff at that. But think of your own circumstances.  You likely have had abundance in your life at one point, whether it was having your own apartment after you left home or even living the American Dream of home ownership. Has it made you any happier?

Condition #2 – The people I love have to be doing well. Good luck with this one. First of all, are you the one who defines what “doing well” means? Other people’s paths, including the journeys of your family, are not yours to control.  You have a full-time job with your own.

My teacher, Abraham Hicks said it better than I ever could:  you cannot get poor enough to make someone else rich and you cannot get sick enough to make someone else well.

There will always be people around you who aren’t living up to the expectations and dreams you hold for them.  The best gift you can give them is to demonstrate, through your example, how to be happy despite imperfect conditions. After all, isn’t that what you want for them?

Condition #3 – A “to do” list with nothing on it. This is the funniest one of all.  The game of life is to add things to your list, not get rid of the list altogether.

We are all incredibly busy.  We think it’s gotten worse because we have selective memory.  We forget that, ‘lo those many years ago before the Internet and cell phones and 400 television channels to choose from, we still felt rushed. That feeling isn’t being imposed on you from the outside; it’s coming from inside you.

The logical conclusion is to think that, if we had less to do, we would feel better.  I have tried it and I am here to tell you, it is a false belief.

All those items on your “to do” list summon Life Force through you.  The energy you feel when you are busy is extraordinary—unless you resist it.  It isn’t getting things done that tire us, it is fighting the work involved. Think of the difference in how you feel when you whistle as you work versus complaining every step of the way.

Living happily ever after is a decision, pure and simple. It is life affirming and a boatload of fun. Are you in?

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