You might have had your own experience of paying hundreds, or possibly even, thousands of dollars for a course that promised the world yet delivered very little.
Yet, despite the downside, I still love self-help for its optimism, idealism and redemptive promise.
More than that, though, it has some incredibly powerful ideas and practises.
Self-help books turned my life around.
I’d spent 22 years on this planet before I heard a single voice, either in person or through any other medium, telling me I could have the life I wanted (a poor reflection on the societies we live in). Then, I stumbled upon The Power of your Subconscious Mind and started learn about the mind-body connection.
This, in turn, introduced me to other writers, speakers, bloggers and more. Over the course of nearly two decades, I’ve experimented with multiple practises and principles, applied what works and discarded what doesn’t.
Now, in this blog post, I’ll present you with my findings. My hope is that you can apply what I’ve learned to your own life and share in the benefits I’ve experienced.
The premise of this practise is simple. You live in the now when you are completely absorbed in what you are doing in the present moment. There’s no thinking about what you did yesterday or regretting a decision you made 10 years ago. Likewise, there’s no thinking about what you’re going to eat this evening, worrying about a meeting you have next week or whether you’ll get ill at some point in the future.
I often ask clients with anxiety, ‘where are you now?’ I then get them to describe their surroundings and what they’re doing at this precise moment.
Do you understand what this does?
It brings you out of your head and into the world. When you live in the now you engage with your environment. You come alive and are responsive (as opposed to being anxious about the future or depressed about the past).
Although not always possible (and I’m not for a moment suggesting you ignore important parts of the human experience like grieving), this is the best way to live.
Your performance at sports, presenting, coaching and being present for other people will go through the roof. Furthermore, you’ll begin to enjoy life, appreciate the beauty and nature around you and possibly even feel more connected to the universe.
Whether you express this by keeping a gratitude journal, repeating 10 things you are grateful for when you wake up or any other practise you find beneficial, being grateful for what you have is the best way to maintain a positive outlook.
At any given moment, your life is full of negatives and positives. Even the person who lives the life of their dreams could probably find 10 things they’re not happy about.
But what do they, and you, choose to focus on?
This is what’s really important. What you believe is a 5/10 life can easily turn into a 7/10 one when you pay attention to what you have (rather than focusing on what you lack).
Of course, being grateful for what you have doesn’t mean you ignore the negatives, refuse to learn from your mistakes or give up on trying to improve and make your life better.
Instead, it’s about your overall attitude. You become someone who acknowledges the good things they have in their life (and everybody has something, no matter what) and uses these as a springboard to create something even better.
One of the greatest delusions you need to wake up from (if, indeed, you are experiencing it in the first place) is that positive results directly correlate to the amount of effort you make.
The relationship between results and effort is not 50/50 (fifty percent in, fifty percent out). Instead, it’s more like 80/20 (this can be eighty percent effort in, twenty percent result out or, if you get it right, twenty percent effort in, eighty percent results out).
19th century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, was the first to observe and codify this phenomenon. It can be seen in all areas of life.
The 80/20 principle is most valuable when it comes to eliminating waste.
Let’s say you spend 20 hours a week working on your new business. 20% of this time is spent promoting yourself on social media. However, social media only generates 5% of the traffic to your website.
What should you do?
The 80/20 principle would suggest you cut back on social media usage and redirect your time towards the few, key clients, customers, topics and platforms that are generating most of your revenue or positive results. Focus more of your attention here and watch your business grow.
Over the years, I’ve got into the habit of;
What does this do?
Primarily, recording everything gives you a goal to aim for and the motivation to get there. Furthermore, it keeps you focused on the small steps needed to achieve your big goals.
Often, when you have a big dream, you can get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task in front of you. By recording everything you do, you chunk down, and make yourself aware of a set of standards which, if achieved, will push you in the direction of being successful.
Critics will tell you that the law of attraction isn’t actually a law and that its claims are unscientific and unsubstantiated. However, have these same critics dedicated nearly two decades of their life to measuring the correlation between their mood/energy and their environment (both physical body and external circumstances)?
I have and here’s what I’ve learned.
There is a mind body connection. Changing your state and raising your energy can have a profound impact on your sports performance, sleep, socialising, creativity and dating.
Can it bring you untold riches and amazing opportunities though?
This is harder to gauge. From analysing my own life, I would say that raising my vibration and deliberately working on making myself feel good has played a role (although possibly not directly caused), the many breakthroughs I’ve experiences (getting a publishing deal for one of my books, finding love, building a following for this website).
What about you?
To experience the benefits of the law of attraction, start developing a greater awareness of how you’re feeling on a day by day, hour by hour, basis.
How would you score your energy?
If it’s at a 5/10, what could you do to move it up to a 6? Keep progressing in this manner and you’ll be amazed at how your life changes.
This is the promise of every major religion. If you let go of your worries about how you’ll survive, or achieve a goal, and, instead, have faith that God will always take care of you, then amazing things will happen in your life.
This statement may put you off if you’re not religious. However, fear not, as the principle can be detached from the dogma.
At its core, letting go is about the power of belief. If you believe in yourself, and believe that your life will work out the way you want, then there’s no need to worry, be fearful of anything or try to control outcomes.
This shift, and corresponding release of negativity, will have an amazing impact on your life. Instead of trying to force your life in one direction, you’ll be open to the plethora of ways it’s possible to succeed.
NLP made this concept popular. To master it, you need to look for the industry leaders in your field and replicate what they’re doing.
The idea is that, if they can succeed using a certain method, then you can experience similar results by adopting their strategy.
This is a huge time saver. Instead of wasting years in a trial-and-error process, you borrow from something, or someone, that’s been known to produce results.
You can also apply modelling to your mindset.
Ask yourself this question. How does the person you want to emulate think?
Let’s say you’re an insomniac and you want to sleep well. It therefore follows that you must think like the person who sleeps well.
Such a person doesn’t worry about getting enough sleep or panic if they’ve got something important to do the next day. Furthermore, they’re not super anxious in the evening, worrying about the time and concerned they might miss their ‘sleep window.’ In fact, they probably don’t think about sleep at all!
Learning to think like the person you want to become can remove all the inner blocks that are preventing you from living the life you want.
I hope you enjoyed my list. If you feel I’ve missed any powerful self-help principles and practises then please feel free to mention them in the comment section below.
(feature image taken from Angie flickr account)
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