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Many people involved with self improvement and personal growth give affirmations a thumbs down, actually saying they are worthless, but there are also many who give them the status of being the absolute key to success. So how do you look at something that is described as being at total opposite ends of the spectrum, from magic elixir of change to a useless waste of time?
I would like to inject some clarification into the topic of the usefulness of using affirmations in your self improvement efforts to change and further expand your life. The topic of affirmations is no different than any concept, there are two end of the spectrum which can be looked at. What I have found with most things there is a fine line in the middle between the two end which is where the value and power is found. And certainly with affirmations one can look at them from a perspective too far one way or the other.
Personal growth and development is an ongoing process and many people seeking to make changes in their lives know that any success comes from changing their thought. But also many find this to be not as straight forward as they thought. With the movie, “The Secret” the Law of Attraction has been brought out and embraced by many, but the movie actually is just a basic introduction on the Law of Attraction not a full blown ‘how to’ course.
Unfortunately many are left thinking that all they need to do is think their way into any success or new life experience. Managing your thinking is a large part of how you make changes but not all there is to it. It does not help that some teachers just do focus on the changing of your thought without delving any deeper. This basic part of The Law of Attraction deals with only your conscious thought, but does not get into the power your unconscious thought holds over your everyday thinking, feeling and behavior.Continue reading
Self-discovery happens as the result of conscious mental and physical action. Doing the same things over and over is not conscious mental action, it’s passive unconscious automatic beahavior.
We think we are thinking because our brains are working, that is not thinking. Real thinking is active curiosity, analysis, planning, dreaming and questioning. When you carry on only doing the same things each day in the same ways, you are essentially living one day many times. But when you are actively thinking, you are living a new day each day. And your personal growth and development is based on self-discovery. If you don’t find out more about yourself, who you are and what you can do, there is nothing to grow into. Becoming aware of yourself right now is the first important step- you can’t do anything about what you aren’t aware of.
I learned this lesson in my early 20’s when I was the night shift foreman in a precision sheet metal shop in the Silicon Valley during the initial electronics boom of the 70’s. The owner of the shop had hired a new brake operator who said that he had 20 years of experience doing the job. In this shop situation we did many small run jobs so there was always a lot of setting up the machines required all day long. The idea of someone with 20 years experience excited me because I was the main person doing all the set ups at the time, which kept me running from place to place to keep everyone productive.
When I was introduced to this new man, he looked at me, the 20-year-old, and gave me this look like, who are you to be my boss? I didn’t let it bother me as I had been working with others much older than I for some time. I showed him the machines where he would be working and gave him a basic run down of the current task at hand, and left him alone figuring he knew what he was doing. After about 30 minutes I got a chance to go to see how he was doing, I figured he would be well on his way.
He had not done anything! And guess what, his demeanor had changed. Right then I found out that here was a guy that had been using this kind of machine for over 20 years and did not know how to make a simple set up for one. All he had done for all those years was to put the parts in, hit the pedal to make it operate, and pull the part out – someone else had made the set ups.
Now I am not saying this to brag rather to illustrate the difference in how we can spend our time. Here was a man that essentially lived the same year 20 times, never progressing with his knowledge, skills and activities. Then, I was a 20 year old who started this kind of work when I was 16 and at this time had been doing prototype work and now running my own shift making most of the set ups for everyone there. My previous 4 years were each different as I progressed through the learning and skill development process.
My point here is not to judge someone for wanting to remain doing the same things for years but rather to illustrate how we can look at our use of our time. Everyone has their own life path and certainly can choose as they will. But if you are not experiencing life as you have dreamed, you can do something about it. It comes down to choice, if you are enjoying your life as it is great. But if you have been thinking about wanting your life to be different and you can see that you have been doing the same things in the same ways for a long time, you can do something about it.
How this all fits into self-discovery is this, when your mind is actively working with questions, finding solutions, being creative, and trying new things you are setting yourself up to discover more. Just ask yourself this question, if what you are doing and how you are doing it is working and satisfying, why would you seek a different or better way? You wouldn’t. You mind is designed to help automate as much as possible for you so doing simple tasks and operating your physical body do not require a lot of conscious thought all the time. Can you imagine the mental burden if you had to consciously think about all this basic stuff?
Your mind is consciously engaged as you choose to engage it. Your conscious mind does always have something going on, but if you do not actively engage it, this thought tends to be mainly repetitive, as you know. In order to engage your mind you are actually asking it questions or giving commands. Your brain will serve to solve these questions and fulfill the commands. And this is when you really discover many things. You discover more about yourself, more about how to do something, and more of what is possible for you. All this because you are engaging your brain with active thought.
Take a look at what you are doing? Enhance your self-awareness. Are you moving forward at the pace you are happy with? Do you feel stuck in a repetitive cycle? Do you like where you are, or not? Asking questions of yourself is a great way to stimulate self-discovery and get your life moving in the direction you want. And, to find out what you are truly happy with right now. Personal growth and development is a daily ongoing process, to keep it going, pay attention every day.
A recent study has proven that your brain uses the same neurons when you
recall a memory as it did when you initially had the experience. This
has been thought to be the case for some time but the study now shows
scientific proof. This is good news for your personal growth and
For the brain, remembering is a lot like doing. This is powerful! When
you realize this is how the brain works, you can use this knowledge to
your advantage. It has been believed that your brain does not know the
difference between an actual occurrence, a memory or specific thought
about a possibility.
In this new study conducted by a team of American and Israeli
researchers, they were able to pinpoint the location of mini-storms of
brain activity that occurred with the initial action as well as the
later recall of it. They were able to show that both occurred in the
same brain cells concentrated around the hippocampus region of the
It has been found in other research that the brain does not really know
the difference between an imagined action, a real one or the memory of
either. Similar to how you can affect your body and mind from input to
one or the other. It has been commonly known that you can train your
body to do specific motions through your thoughts, and it has been shown
that you can affect your thought by specific physical movement of you
body. In other words, an athlete can train their mind to control the
body by physically doing an activity in exactly the way you want and the
brain will learn how this is done.
All of this continues to build support for how you can direct your
thoughts and actions through visualization and affirmation. There is now
more proof that the memory of and the actual occurrence of something are
no different in your mind. This leads to your being able to pre-program
your mind to ‘know’ specific things without them actually happening yet.
Your brain will allow you to do something, which it knows, easier than
When you create a powerful vivid imagined scenario in your mind, backed
by appropriate emotions, you can program your mind much like it has
actually occurred. Your mind likes to do what it is familiar with, so if
you create this familiarity with clear emotionally backed thought your
brain acts as though it has happened. It is easier to do again what you
are familiar with. There is a natural hesitation to what your brain does
not know, so make it known and familiar through your imagination.
Familiarizing your brain with what you want through emotion backed
visualization and affirmations acts to program it for desirable
situations making them easier to do again and again. Also your
unconscious mind and inner self attempt to support and assist the
thoughts you hold. Just like the more you physically practice a sports
technique the more your mind helps you fulfill the desire, your mind
will attempt to help fulfill thoughts of any clear desires.
Learning how your brain works helps you to understand how you can use it
to your advantage. After all, it will be doing these things anyway, why
not direct them to your wants and needs? Use tools such as affirmations,
visualization, treasure maps, writing your story, act as though, or
anything that can help familiarize your mind with what you want.
Remember, use thoughts of what you DO want, not what you don’t want or
like. Your mind will act to support whatever you think about with
emotion and clarity – good or bad!
John Halderman, for more daily growth and self discovery tools and
methods – http://www.effectivepersonaldevelopmentblog.com
Are you a done with yourself or are you continuing to discover more
about yourself, seek personal growth and development?
You see it all around how science keeps going, discovering more and more
about the world and universe we exist in. As technology improves, which
is change, science is able to understand more about our universe plus
obtain more ways to describe it all. For example, this picture of a
supernova remnant was not possible just a few years ago even though the
object was there.
This is how life is, ever expanding in its awareness of itself. Plus,
the increasing awareness of humans to what is already there. Much of the
change seems to not exist or that the change is very slow, but it is
there. Everything in the universe grows and changes we are certainly not
excluded. We have the ability to continue to change and grow throughout
our entire life, including our final change here, death.
But at the same time there are so many people who are ‘checking out’ so
early. Getting tired, feeling aches and pain, feeling beat down –
telling themselves they are wearing out -that it’s too late. I’m not
trying to tell you that pains should be ignored, but how you look at
them can have a huge affect on the power they play in your life.
The biggest factor to your growth is your thinking. What you think about
your life and your growth determines what you see, feel and do. If you
see possibilities – you will see them, and if you see the ‘end’ in your
mind, you will see it in your life. If you think you are too tired, sick
or whatever – you are.
Time to check yourself:
· How are you the same today as you were 10 years ago?
· How are you different?
· What are you doing that you thought were not possible for you a few
· Do you look at things in the same way you did several years ago?
· Do you see possibilities for your life or feel hopeless?
· Do you feel that your life continues to move on or do you feel stuck?
· Are you open to new ideas and concepts or do you want to keep things
the way they are?
· Do you feel your problems hold you back, sap your energy and nix your
· Are your dreams alive or have you given up on what you want in your
Can you change any of this? Well yes you can – much of it. Many times we
let one thing affect all of our life. We allow our attitude and outlook
to be clouded when one thing has happened when we don’t need to.
Certainly there are situations where something may temporarily set you
back but it does not need to be for all time. Only you can determine if
you are temporarily off or if it has been too long. You will need to ask
yourself honest straight questions about it. The easy answer is of
course, “I will just suffer a little longer” but maybe not the best!
The truth is that a broken foot does not come with a bad attitude,
that’s our choice. A marital separation does not come with resentment
that carries through all of your life, that’s our choice. Because
something did not work out for us does not mean nothing ever will,
that’s our choice to think so. The thing to be careful for is that when
something that appears negative happens don’t allow it to affect all of
your life any more than is necessary.
Ask yourself some key questions that help enhance your self awareness so
you discover how you think and feel about everything. There is always
more out there for you if you allow it and if you are open to recognize
it. When you are clouded by negative reactions it may not seem so, but
you can always change and grow. Your outlook on life is a choice –
yours. You are never done, unless you choose.
John Halderman – More on daily life actions to support a better life,
What keeps us from doing all that we want? Many say that personal
growth and development and self awareness are our number one
priorities in life, yet most spend very little time and attention
towards this end. Some people do not realize how important it is to
continually grow, in fact they may not even realize they can. Many
people know that they can continue to grow, develop and become more
self aware, but they don’t do much about it.
And then there are those few that seem to be able to actively keep
moving forward on their life path. Why? They allow their thinking
to focus on their enlightenment, on how they think and act on a
regular basis, not just once in a while. They are able to let their
mind calm down and get quiet, allowing the chatter to fade away.
They are willing to allow their fears, doubts and worries to be
present in their thought, knowing that these thoughts can’t
actually harm them – knowing that avoidance just postpones not
There are different reasons why we all don’t actively participate
in our own personal enlightenment, but one of the main reasons is
due to distraction. The human mind can actually do only one thing
at a time, those of you that think otherwise are just good at
rapidly switching from one focus to another. So what we choose to
think about determines much of our life experience. In relation to
distraction, when we think about is something that helps us feel
comfortable or think we should be doing because of our life
responsibilities we are not focusing on growth and self
Now I’m not here to tell you what is and is not important in your
physical life, but I know that you need to apply some of your time
and attention to your inner growth which includes how you think and
act. So what keeps you from doing this you may not even be aware
of. Since it is normal for humans to seek happiness, which we
equate to comfort, we tend to avoid uncomfortable thinking and
feelings. And we do this in many ways, some are our daily
activities. We may not be aware of how our daily activities can be
getting the way of our growth and self-realization
Things you may do to avoid discomfort:
Listening to music
Listening to talk radio
Playing video games
Hold on! You say, “these are normal things.”
Yes they are, but they can all be used as a distraction. And only
you can know what role they play in your life. Like anything,
moderation is usually the best.
There are two situations you may be avoiding.
1)If you tend to go to any activity when you feel
uncomfortable, you are probably escaping. Sure you will feel better
doing something you are familiar with, but this behavior can just
postpone what you are avoiding or even make it worse. What I’m
referring to here relates to more discomfort than simple relaxation
2)One of the biggest things you may be doing without
knowing it is avoiding real thinking. This is when you are
uncomfortable with allowing your mind to run through the incessant
mind chatter, which shakes your worries and doubts in your face, to
the point where your mind is clear.
Life requires balance, and what I have found is that for most, any
self-growth is pushed into a small corner receiving only spare time
attention – sometimes. Are you running in circles doing the same
things each day and not seeing any change? Are you frustrated with
your life? There could be an initial feeling of discomfort when you
choose to allow yourself to think freely and not choose a
distraction, but this will pass. Using methods of relaxation and
meditation will help.
If you want more for yourself take a look at what you do and why
you do it. Take a look at what you do everyday towards your own
personal growth and development, to what you are doing towards
self-realization. Only you can know if you are using activities to
avoid something that is actually more important. Choose to set
aside time to just relax and think – this is how you can get in
touch with your inner self on a more regular basis.
The choice of how you spend your time is yours and the result is
your life experience.
Tips and tools for daily personal growth, increased happiness and
I’m sure you have heard about the Qantas Airways Flight 30 jet that had to make an emergency landing at the Manila International Airport shortly after leaving Hong Kong while in route to Melbourne, Australia. It was discovered that there was a large hole in the fuselage and a this point no explanation has been given as to how it happened, although it’s not likely caused by a terrorism act. All the passengers are fine and were very calm during the unknown course of actions needed to get the plane down safely in Manila.
This is just the event that can trigger your personal growth and development. Have you ever been in a situation where your life is quite possibly in imminent jeopardy? If you have, you will know first hand how you quickly go through an awakening, which commonly includes ’seeing your life flash before your eyes’. You all of a sudden see yourself and your life from a different perspective. It is much like the perspective many people come to when they are at the place of imminent death from old age or illness. They are able to see in a new light many of their long held feelings, thoughts, and perspectives from a more ‘outside looking in’ point of view.
When you are living ‘in’ your life you have a harder time taking an outside view of what you are doing. What you think is important or necessary may not actually be so. Your perspectives and your interpretations of the people, situations and events in your life may not be the most desirable to have to support the life you really want. When your life has evolved as it has, you accept much of it as ‘how it is’ and don’t really look at it as something that can be different.
When an event wakes you up so to speak, you are sort of knocked off kilter a bit and suddenly you are able to see things differently. At this point many people do a lot of reassessment of what is important to them and of their priorities, making changes that are more aligned with their true feelings. As undesirable as the trigger event may be, it can be a wake up call for you to take a look at how you are using your life.
Like at old age when people look back and say, “I should have done this or that, or not have acted that way” and regret what they did for so many years. Why wait the facing of death to reassess your life? You can do it any time you choose. Just because your life has evolved mostly in an automatic way, you don’t have to let it stay that way. You can shift gears and change direction any time you want. The first point is to realize that you can, and you can. You don’t have to be shocked into it, although that can make it quick!
There are many helpful methods and tools available for you to use helping yourself see your life in a new view and then with making any alterations you may choose to make. The second requirement is you must want to change, as your mind will most easily keep doing what it has been doing up to this point so you will need personal motivation to override this. You are intended to continuously change and evolve throughout your life, but many get stuck and don’t realize why they feel unfulfilled and frustrated.
You have your thinking, reasoning and the ability to choose which are your basic tools to navigate your personal evolution through life. Your connections with your inner self and your intuition serve as guidance as you go but can only respond to what you seek. A life unquestioned is a life unchanged except by outside influences. Allowing outside influences to be your only guide, you will be much like the ball in an old style pinball machine bouncing from peg to peg with little to no choice.
Choice is part of your basic equipment, learn how to use it and do so. Don’t wait for some outside event or near death to wake you up, assess your life and how your feel now. What is working and what is no? Everything in the universe is in constant change, what makes you think you can remain the same and feel good about it? You can’t – dissatisfaction, unrest and unhappiness are the result. Rather, learn to navigate the change to best suit the life you are guided from within to live and you will see your happiness and satisfaction increase dramatically.
As you navigate your natural change, as guided from within, you will actually feel more calm and secure than when you were seeking comfort by trying to keep everything the same. Let this latest in air emergency be the catalyst for you to asses your life, don’t wait for something to happen to you. If we can learn from what happens to others, we may not need to experience it ourselves. Your first choice is to take a look at yourself – or not.
John Halderman writes and trains in personal growth and development focusing on what can be done daily to enhance your happiness and satisfaction with life through the understanding of how life works, managing your thoughts and purposeful actions. Find out what you can do daily to improve your life. And see the Effective Personal Development Blog for insight, methods and tools for life growth.
Another article in the ‘Daily Action For Self Improvement’ series, articles focusing on the personal development and growth actions you can take daily to support a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your life.
In looking what you can do each day to support what you want in your life – check your thinking throughout the day.
Ask a simple question of yourself, “Am I a magnet for what I want?”
You see, your predominate thoughts direct your magnet. Unfortunately, spending a lot of time thinking about what we don’t want seems to be the norm.
But doing this just defines your creation magnet – so you are essentially requesting more of what you don’t want.
You do this when you re-play in your head;
What you don’t like,
What you are upset about,
What you worry about,
What you are afraid of
And, this is so easy to do, it is automatic. But it doesn’t have to be. You can stop and shift ‘thought gears’ whenever you want.
The first option is to switch your focus onto something, anything that you can feel good about. Get yourself to delve into this topic for a while to divert your attention.
It is easier to replace thought with another thought than it is to try to get yourself to just stop the current thinking. Replace your thought with something desirable.
A second option when you catch yourself stuck in ‘the negative thought spiral’ is to look for the opposite of what you are thinking. Usually at the opposite of a dislike is something you would want. Identify this and place your focus on it, allowing yourself to feel better.
Wherever your mind is – you are seeking more, even if it is what you don’t want. So, train yourself to not remain in that state of whirling around in what you don’t want – use that to look for the opposite, what you do like. Or even just switch to thinking about anything to get your mind into a happier place.
To get yourself to begin to notice more often what you are thinking about try this:
Get a 3 x 5 card to take with you for the day.
Write on it –
“What am I thinking about right now?”
“Does it make me happy?”
“What else can I be thinking?”
Keep this where you will see it often. It’s good to put it somewhere where you will accidentally notice it without thinking about it. This helps you catch yourself off guard so you can take notice of your thoughts. Using a tool like this can help you to learn to take more notice to what you are thinking all the time.
When you are aware of your thoughts, you can decide if you want to change them.
John Halderman teaches and writes in the areas of personal growth and development focusing on effective methods for self actualization, increased satisfaction and happiness. For more:
Another article in the ‘Daily Action For Self Improvement’ series, articles focusing on the personal development and growth actions you can take daily to support a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your life.
How many things have you began and put aside before completing?
If you can answer, “many”, you are a ’starter’.
Do you have a tendency to get excited about doing something, begin it, then soon get sidetracked by interest in somewhat new. This can be any type of project, a new career or job, a hobby, a business idea, even a relationship – whatever, just anything that gets put aside when your interest clings to something new.
If you can relate to this, you are also perhaps quite frustrated with the lack of money, satisfaction and happiness in your life. What’s the problem? You try so hard; you are always involved with or working on something yet you don’t see the results you initially desire.
What is going on with this repetitive cycle you are stuck in?
* You do not have a clear course in your life to act as a beacon keeping you on track.
* You don’t have a clearly defined set of specific goals, targets or a vision to serve as benchmarks in your progress.
* You are not managing your time properly nor sticking to appropriate tasks.
* Allowing your focus to bounce around shows you are not fully committed to a big picture.
* You are not benefiting emotionally from the reward and satisfaction of accomplishment.
* Your personal confidence is likely not how it ought to be.
* Your frustration level is damaging to your personal power, energy and motivation.
* You are likely to be questioning or even doubting your ideas and decisions.
Now look at what a success cylce can be like.
The fact that you are bouncing your attention from idea to idea indicates that you are not aware enough of your purpose. Your purpose is what you are here to do to serve the universe and your work supports this when directed properly. Discovering or getting a better sense of your purpose in life gives you a specific direction to focus much of your attention. From this you will be better able to decide where to place the focus of your thought and the energy of your actions.
Seeing and feeling your purpose will reveal a deep intent and a strong motivation. You should feel strongly like you are on a mission. This helps you to remain focused and on task. You will have the inner strength and conviction to take command of your thinking, directing your thoughts and actions towards supporting your mission.
The questioning and doubting mentioned above comes up when your inner self is hampered by your conscious attempts to seek happiness and satisfy your ego mind. Without consciously knowing your direction you will not be giving your all to what you should be focused on. You can actually cause your inner guidance to be clouded to your perception, not receiving it’s full benefit.
When you determine a direction based on your purpose you can more appropriately set up the steps and focused actions that will support this. You don’t need to know every step in the beginning, just enough to get yourself going and more is revealled as you go. Through your inner guidance, intuition and conscious thought details are exposed as you are immersed in the process. If you sit back and attempt to figure it all out ahead of time before starting you will remain stuck. You must begin, in trust, taking steps forward in order to discover the next steps.. You will see the way forward as you procede in the right direction.
Accomplishing some goals or targets along the way definately gives your confidence and motivation a boost. This is crucial in keeping your energy and interest at a high level. Continued accomplishment and motiovation supports willingness to do what is necessary.
Daily planning and refocusing on the specific tasks to be accomplished each day is important to keep yourself from getting mired in daily life. You must have an intention and the burning desire behind it every day in order to trigger the self-discipline to stick to it, as it is so easy to get distracted amid everyday things that do not directly support your purpose. You can be busy all day and not get done anything that you had set out to if you are not diligent. Time management is critical to your overall satisfaction and progress, there is not time to do everything you can think of in a day. Learn to be selective with the thoughts you hold and the activities you are involved in so that you are not merely getting moved by life but rather focusing on your desires.
This should be reinforced with daily reminders of your purpose, intent and goals. Set up a daily plan for your activities every day, be determined to stay on course, and check yourself often, it’s very easy to veer away. If supporting your purpose includes several things, know that you can’t do everything at once. One thing accomplished provides far more motivation than 3 things half-done. Determine the method and order that projects will be done and commit to when they are to be completed. Focus your focus and atttention to the first or most vital step then go through the list – you are now on a mission. You will soon develop the positive habit of the success cycle.
Your personal development is your responsibility, take control of your scattered thought and find the key to focused attention. Happiness and satisfaction are the result of purposeful accomplishment.
John Halderman is a trainer and writer dedicated to assisting people with ideas, methods and tools to help them do, be and feel better enhancing their overall happiness and satisfaction. Get the guide detailing many activities you can use to daily support your personal development and growth.