True Secret to Success (It’s Not What You Think)

Victory

VictoryIf you’re not exercising this emotional muscle, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.

I’m utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.

People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.

By contrast, people who lack gratitude are never truly happy. If they succeed at a task, they don’t enjoy it. For them, a string of successes is like trying to fill a bucket with a huge leak in the bottom. And failure invariably makes them bitter, angry, and discouraged.

Therefore, if you want to be successful, you need to feel more gratitude. Fortunately, gratitude, like most emotions, is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger and more resilient it becomes.

To learn how to put this into practice and about reprogramming your brain to become a more positive and successful person, read the full article here.

This method works. If you don’t believe me, try it for at least a week. You’ll be amazed at what a huge difference it makes!

 

How to Be Assertive Without Alienating Your Partner

Loving Swans

Loving SwansAsking for what you want—and setting boundaries around what you don’t want—is a key life skill. But sometimes in our enthusiasm to practice this skill, we over-do our own assertiveness and end up with a partner who shuts down, gets angry or feels resentful. Here are four tips for developing your assertiveness, that can be applied to any kind of relationship you might have; romantic, family, friendly, professional etc,  in a way that will actually strengthen, deepen and enrich your relationship—thus avoiding the “alienation trap”:

 

1. Get Clear.
Being assertive starts with knowing what you are—and aren’t—willing to be, do, or have. For many of us, coming to this knowledge is a real task unto itself. Here, it may be useful to ask: “In an ideal world, what would I like to happen?” Focusing on an ideal outcome opens our minds, prevents us from falling into passivity or “victim-thinking,” and helps us get really clear on what we want and don’t want.

 

2. Set Boundaries.
Once you know what outcome you need (or want), share it with your partner. Pay attention to the way stating your boundary feels in your body. With practice, you can actually sense when you’re hitting the “sweet spot.” It can feel really pleasurable, even exhilarating, to express your needs or desires out loud. Phrases like “such and such doesn’t work for me” are simple ways of being assertive while maintaining connection with your partner.

 

3. Make a Regular Habit of Stating Your Needs and Desires.
You can build your assertiveness the same way you build any muscle: exercise. Practice speaking up about your needs, big or small, on a daily basis.  When you speak up about things that are less controversial—such as where to go to lunch/dinner, requesting help unloading the dishwasher or with a difficult task—both you and your partner get used to your assertiveness. It becomes easier for you to practice and for your partner to hear. Also, when bigger issues come along, you and your partner will have a healthy process in place for dealing with differences in needs, and you’ll have greater confidence in the resilience of your partnership.

 

4. Give as Much as You Get.
Assertiveness is a two-way street. If you want your boundaries to be respected, you must return the courtesy to your partner. If she doesn’t want you to use the bathroom when she’s in the shower, don’t. If he asks you to give him a half an hour after work before you talk and connect, respect that. When it comes to following through on a partner’s reasonable request, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

If your partner isn’t respecting your boundaries even though you’ve set them clearly, it may be time for professional help for you and/or your relationship.

 

Contact me if you want help with improving a relationship of any kind. Maybe the one with yourself?

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2012 Claire Communications

How does it feel to be in flow?

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Mihaly CsikszentmihalyMihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: “When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” He is the architect of the notion of “flow” – the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

Increase in material well being does not seem to affect how happy people are and the lack of basic resources, material resources, contributes to unhappiness, but the increase in material resources do not increase happiness. He looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.

When children play they are in “the flow” – totally immersed, passionate and timeless. We are all born with the ability to achieve the flow by turning off our internal self critic.

Flow is all about allowing yourself to get lost in the doing of an action, instead of allowing your mind to wander away from what is occurring, but how does it feel?

 

Here is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s list:

1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.

2. A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.

3. Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.

4. Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.

5. A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.

6. Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.

7. Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

 

Watch the full TED talk here:

Accessing the Power of Gratitude

Rose petals

Rose petalsThe practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

 

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet it’s full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

 

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

 

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

 

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful rose petals, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, summer breeze, tomatoes, the ability to read, flowers, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?


Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

•  Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.

•  Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.

•  Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.

•  Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.

•  When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

•  Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

 

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at play.

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2012 Claire Communications

The paradox

Jumping girls

What does the paradox:Jumping girls If you can’t lose, the game is not worth playing; when you really play, you always win, mean to you?

For me it is about that every game we play makes us a better player, we practice to pursue mastery and we always win in the sense that we learn something new while engaging in the game.

While playing games, we don’t take failure personally since failure is expected and we can play games over and over again until we reach our desired results.

Do you want to play the game of your life better? Please contact me for more information or to schedule a FREE exploratory session.

Gamification and the PlayTwoWin method

Winning hand

The word “gamification,” Winning handmuch like the phrase “social media” a few years back, is being lobbed around in technology circles as the next frontier in web and mobile. Just as nearly every application, website, brand and marketer now employs social media in some capacity, so too will these entities gravitate toward game mechanics in the years ahead.

According to the Gartner report; “By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.”

If you want to read more about gamification a great place to start is here; Gamification: How Competition Is Reinventing Business, Marketing & Everyday Life

The PlayTwoWin method is just one of all the fruits of gamification. It is an excellent method of coaching you to play the game of your life BETTER and winning BIGGER. If you want to know more about this method, please contact me for more information or to schedule a FREE exploratory session.

 

Play improves work!

Kids playing in he wind

We have this concept that the opposite Kids playing in he windof play is work.
Our thinking is backwards…
The opposite of play is NOT work. The opposite of play is depression!

Some of the benefits of play:

  • Stimulates creativity
  • Increases our openness to change
  • Improves our ability to to learn new information
  • Provides a sense of purpose and mastery, two key motivational things that increases productivity.

Watch Steve Keil’s somewhat provoking TED talk for the full inspirational experience:

Play improves work and this goes hand in hand with my new coaching method; PlayTwoWin. If you want to know more about this concept of bringing play back into your life, workplace, relationships etc. Please contact me today for a FREE exploratory  session. This is a highly transformational development in one affordable and extraordinarily effective program!

Always look on the bright side of life

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley

Your life is getting better every day, and it’s high time that you realized it!

There are many people that just feel like they have been dying since the day they were born. This is a very grim way to think of life. Don’t think of life this way!

Every generation looks backwards and reminisces about how good it used to be. Wake up! It wasn’t as good as it is now and tomorrow is going to be even better!

Want some clarity on this subject? Read: The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley on how prosperity evolves.

On what principle is it that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?

As necessities and luxuries gets cheaper, do people get happier?

Just two of all the questions that will be argued in this book.

 

Photograph by John Watson

 

Play Time Isn’t Just For Kids…

Carousel

It’s important to your stress level and youCarouselr happiness quotient that you have at least one activity that you do regularly just for fun. Hobbies and other fun activities provide a fun way to sharpen skills, express your creativity, or just blow off steam. Also, when you get really engrossed in an activity you enjoy, you can experience a state of being known as flow, in which your brain is in a near-meditative state, which has benefits for your body, mind and soul.

Click here to read more about how to discover new potential stress relieving hobbies and find other resources for happiness and much more.

My favorite stress reliever is playing games. Games have a way of keeping us in the present moment, with a light-hearted focus, and laughter that comes easily. I recommend creating a game night with friends you enjoy, and letting your inner child come out to play on a regular basis. If you are a parent, really enjoy your time with your children. Whatever you do throughout the day, it can become more fun with a playful attitude, and this can melt away stress.

What are you doing for fun this weekend?

Play + Science = Transformation

Girl free field

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown saysGirl free field humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Stuart Brown’s research shows play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply involved with human development and intelligence.

Dr. Stuart Brown came to research play through research on murderers — unlikely as that seems — after he found a stunning common thread in killers’ stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he’s interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between success and playful activity.

I believe that play is pretty important for our survival and wonder, when was the last time you really played?

Engage in transformational kinds of play and you will have a better and more empowered life 🙂