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The Reason You Are Sabotaging Yourself

I used to often wonder why I continued to not follow through with things I said I wanted. Why I would start something and then find an excuse to stop. Why I would think about something over and over but never get off my behind and do anything about it. Sure I would find some convenient excuses, some were actually pretty good.

“I don’t have enough time.” “I don’t know where to start.” Or even something as simple as “I don’t feel like it,” or “I will do it later.” But those excuses I kept telling myself were just that, excuses. It was me giving myself permission to not do anything about it. To justify me not taking action.

Tony Robbins

The real reason behind me not following through, or not even getting started hit me like a ton of bricks when I attended Tony Robbin’s UPW event.

In an instant it all made sense. It all came down to my values.

Now I was familiar with values before I attended the event. I had even taken spent the time to determine what I valued most and to create a Top Ten list of my top values.

  • Family
  • Stability / Peace
  • Health
  • Freedom (of time)
  • Purpose
  • Learning and Growth
  • Compassion
  • Accomplishment
  • Simplicity and order
  • Contribution

But I wasn’t seeing the total picture.

The list above are the things most important to me and things I would like to experience more of. Tony Robbins defined these as TOWARD VALUES. I was however missing a crucial element that is even more important.

I never took a moment to understand and appreciate the emotions and values  that I want to avoid at all costs. Everybody has them. Robbins calls these your AWAY VALUES.

These are things like….

  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Loss
  • Pain
  • Loneliness
  • Pressure
  • Stress
  • Overwhelm

Our values as individuals can be very different. One person may be driven above all to seek security, while their friend’s primary motivator is adventure. Those primary motivators will lead to completely different behaviors and actions. The first will play it safe and be calculating risk at every turn. The adventure seeker will only feel truly alive when they are taking chances and embarking upon new experiences.

These values set up two targets for you on opposite sides of the spectrum. One target has you seeking pleasure and the attainment of your toward values.

The second target, the one I was missing, is steering you in the opposite direction of your away values and those emotions that you are trying to avoid at all costs.

Most of us, myself included, will do much more to avoid pain than they will to seek gain or pleasure. You can read more about that in this post.

Let’s say you want to start your own business, become wealthy, write a book, change jobs, or enter into a new relationship. You desire those things, but at the same time if you associate strong negative potential consequences as part of the process, you will be stuck in quicksand.

For example, you want a relationship, but your number one emotion or away value to steer clear of is rejection. Will you walk up to a stranger and ask them out? Will you put yourself out there and open yourself up to potential rejection? In most cases no, not if your fear is stronger than the potential positive outcome. Or perhaps you end up in a relationship, but sabotage it because of your fear of getting hurt.

Let’s look at another one. If your number one towards value is success, but your number one away from value is failure, you have a problem. Rarely does success or achievement come without failure along the way.

In fact, most successful people have a different view of failure. They realize that it is part of the process and is not something to be avoided. Failure is feedback. They learn to seek out failure, learn from it and move on. Failure is simply an event that is necessary on their path to success.

I truly wish I had a simple magic pill for you, a quick solution that could be explained in this blog post that would solve this problem once and for all. But many things in life aren’t quite that easy.

When I looked at my first two away values it all started to make sense. Above all, I had been avoiding rejection and failure. No wonder I would find excuse after excuse to keep me from getting out there and setting me up for any type of potential rejection and failure. It wasn’t worth it to me subconsciously.

I might be able to override it in the short term with will power, but eventually that would wear out and I would self-regulate where I started.

So what did I do?

First, I hired a coach. I knew I would need some help along the way. I would need someone to help me work on the rewiring and hold me accountable to each step in the process. I knew that even if I understood this concept logically, emotions are much stronger. That it would take time and repetition to get to where I wanted to be.

I still struggle with this from time to time. I am sure most of us do to some degree. A lifetime of habits and thinking patterns won’t disappear overnight.

But now when I catch myself procrastinating or avoiding something, I know why. I can then decide to go to work on overriding my exaggerated fears and re-frame what is holding me back.

The good news is that you usually only have to do this long enough to get out there and get started. Once you are in the process it becomes much easier and the more you get into the process the more your comfort zone grows with each attempt. That is the key to life anyway, PROGRESS.

So what are your top five toward values and what are the three away values that you seek to avoid above all else?

If you have a certain area of your life where you keep taking one step forward and two steps back, reach out to me and see if working with me is right for you. This is what I help people with every day. Josh@sitegoal.com

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

 

 

 

Are You An Optimist or a Pessimist?

Is your glass half full or is it half empty? I am sure you have heard that saying before. But what the heck does it really mean and does it matter?

The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity. – Winston Churchill

My post today was inspired by this quote which was at the top of my 5 minute journal this morning. Let’s start by defining what it means to be an optimist or a pessimist.

Optimistic (op-tuhmis-tik) – Reflecting a favorable view of events and conditions and the expectation of a positive outcome .

Pessimistic (pes-uhmis-tik) – The tendency to expect only bad outcomes.

To put it simply, do you have a tendency to look for the positive in events, or do you focus on the negative?  

Think about taking a picture of something or someone. Your photo is the result of only one angle. There are many angles from which you could have taken the same photograph, however the angle you choose will have a drastic impact of what you see. Our perspective about lives events isn’t much different.

Ten people could have a similar event occur, or even witness the same event and all walk away with slightly different meanings or perspectives of what just happened. For some a “breakup” means sadness or even devastation – for others freedom or opportunity. Time can also change your perspective regarding that very same event. The loss of a job that was a calamity at the time, allowed you to start the business of your dreams.

If we dive a little deeper, Dr. Martin Seligman who is the Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and was President of the American Psychological Association offers further explanation.

In his book Learned Optimism, Dr. Seligman breaks our thought process down to three categories.

Permanence – Do we believe that bad events are temporary or permanent?

Pervasiveness – Is an event specific to a particular area and compartmentalized or is it translated globally to our entire life?

Personalization – Are the causes due to external circumstance or are they internally caused by us?

PESSIMISTS
Pessimists tend to believe bad events will last a long time (permanence), will undermine everything they do (pervasiveness) and are their own fault (personalization). As a result, they give up more easily and get depressed more often.

OPTIMISTS
When optimists are confronted with the same obstacles, they tend to believe defeat is a temporary setback, confined to this one case and is more a result of external circumstances or other factors such as bad luck.

IT IS ALL YOUR MOM’S FAULT
According to Seligman, the way your mother talked about the world when you were a child had a marked influence. The mother’s level of optimism and the child’s level were very similar for both sons and daughters.

It is also widely believed that we all have a certain “set-point” for optimism. Shawn Anchor suggested in his book The Happiness Advantage that the set point could be as high as 50%, with your external circumstances accounting for 10% and the way in which you view the world making up the other 40%. Remember that picture?

Does it matter what filter we use to view our world?

The Benefits of Optimism

There are many benefits of having an overall optimist outlook. Research and studies have shown that optimism is often associated with better health and a longer life. Optimists also tend to be less affected by defeat and perceive it as a challenge and try harder. As a result they do better in school, work, regularly exceed predictions of aptitude tests and are healthier

As I discussed in a previous post, your brain runs optimally in most situations at a positive level versus negative or even a neutral state.

So should we just force ourselves to think positive all the time and live in La-La Land? Of course not….

In some situations, negative thinking offers a clear advantage.

If predicting potential pitfalls or diagnosing problems is a key to success, you don’t want to be overly optimistic. One study of 207 entrepreneurs found a negative correlation between entrepreneur’s optimism levels and success of their new venture.

Other studies have shown that optimistic gamblers lose more money. “Come on, I feel it, I know it will hit on red this time!”

Dr. Seligman also says in his book that the best lawyers are pessimists.  His explanation:

Pessimism is seen as a plus among lawyers… The ability to anticipate the whole range of problems and betrayals that non-lawyers are blind to is highly adaptive for the practicing lawyer who can, by so doing, help his clients defend against these far-fetched eventualities.

So what are we to do?

Like most things in life, things are rarely black and white and balance is incredibly important.

William Ward had a great quote that I think is appropriate.

“The pessimist complains about the wind.”

“The optimist expects it to change”

“The realist adjusts the sails”

There is overwhelming evidence that optimism wins the day in the majority of situations. Your ability to view negative events as temporarily, contained to one area of your life and changeable will make you happier, healthier and quite frankly more fun to be around!

It will also help you get up when you are knocked down and persevere through adversity, something that is critical to success in any endeavor.

That doesn’t mean you bury your head and the sand and assume you will win the lottery tomorrow. Looking for threats and possible pitfalls has its advantages and is necessary in the right situations.

From a natural and conditioned set point, I have the pessimism role down pretty well. That tends to come naturally if I am not careful. I have no problem projecting a small failure into the future, or taking it personally which keeps me stuck in the mud.

In order to bring me into balance and set me up for optimal performance I need to condition myself for optimism and override my thinking when I notice it heads down a path that is not helpful. I have found this necessary with many of my coaching clients as well.

So which is it, are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

How to Get Out of Your “Funk”

I had a coworker come into my office this week, slump down in the chair in front of me and ask, “how do I get out of a funk?” “I am in a bad mood and just can’t seem to break out of it.”

We all have those times where, for whatever reason we are in a bad mood, or just don’t feel like ourselves. Often times we can’t even put our finger on the root cause.

It could be something as simple as a negative trigger that registers more on the subconscious level. A song on the radio that reminds you of a breakup with a significant other. An envelope that triggers all the bills you haven’t paid yet. A messy office that causes a feeling of overwhelm and a loss of control. It could stem from a few negative thoughts that popped up out of the blue, which now has you thinking worst case scenario, or focusing on all the things that aren’t going well at the moment.

Either way you have a choice. Do you want to stay in your funk, or do you want to take control and get out of it? It sounds like an easy question, but sometimes we are actually meeting some needs by being down. Every emotion can be effective at one time or another. Maybe it is your brain and body’s way of getting you to slow down and recharge.

However, in most cases, I know I want to snap out of it and get on with my day!

Here are a few ways that I have found to be most effective to jump start you out of a bad mood:

Movement – Nothing can shake off the blues quicker than getting moving. You don’t have to hammer away at the weights, or run yourself to death on the treadmill. Sometimes just something as simple as taking a walk outdoors is enough to turn the tide. There are many benefits, but for one it will increase your oxygen levels and boost your circulation. If it is during the day, the sun can even give you an added vitamin D boost, something many people are deficient in. If you don’t have the time or are unable to walk outside, just doing some jumping jacks will work, or strike a power pose mentioned in one of my previous posts. Just get moving!

Music – It is hard for you to sit in your chair with a frown on your face when your favorite song is blaring! Select some of your favorite tunes and you will be on your way in no time. Our brain actually responds differently depending on the type of music we are listening to. One study showed that the type of music participants listened to affected and influenced how they interrupted a neutral expression whether the music was happy or sad. As a bonus, dance around a little bit and you are hitting both M’s with Music and Movement!

Drink Some Water – Your brain uses up to 20% of the water and nutrients that you ingest (or don’t ingest). Unless you are walking around with a water jug all day, you probably aren’t drinking enough water. Even “mild” dehydration affects the way you feel and can cause you to have lower energy levels and decreased mood. Typically “thirst” doesn’t kick in until you are 1 – 2% dehydrated, which means you could already be in the mild dehydration zone. Next time you are feeling down, or low in energy,  grab a big glass of water and you will be surprised at how well it works. I have been doing this for years and it still amazes me how many times my low energy is due to lack of water and how quickly it comes back up after I drink a few glasses..

Change Your Focus – The great news is that we can control what we are thinking about, focusing on and doing at any moment. The bad news is that we rarely actually do it, instead flowing down the river of our external stimuli.  If all else fails, grab an inspiring book, watch something motivational on YouTube, look at pictures or videos of your kids, relive a big accomplishment, or count your blessings. Wherever our thoughts or focus goes, so does our feelings and emotions. Change your focus, change your mood. Sometimes we just need to put things in the proper perspective.

What else works for you?

Now it is time for me to go get a big glass of water and go for a walk!

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

Happy one year anniversary to the SiteGoal Blog! It was last June when I posted my first blog post, many more to come. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any topics you would like me to write about.

The Kryptonite of the Potentially Great

When I work with my clients and students there is one thing that I see hold them back more than anything else.

Excuses.

I am no different, this is probably my biggest challenge as well.

Nothing is more efficient at shutting down your accountability, your creativity, your problem solving ability, and your energy than excuses. It is the fast track to mediocrity and unhappiness.

But what really is an excuse? Here is one definition – A reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

Excuses are a great self-defense mechanism. They protect you from having to put yourself out there. It gives you a free pass because it is not your fault! It is a convenient way to shift the blame and accountability from yourself to someone else, or even better – external circumstances.

Sometimes they come automatically without us even realizing it and stop us in our tracks.

My challenge to you

When is the last time you felt true pride and accomplishment from something that came EASY? It is through fighting adversity that we really discover what we are made of. It is the adversity that shows us how strong we are and gives us our greatest sense of accomplishment.

A challenge is something that can often be overcome, but doesn’t necessarily come easy. This is where real growth and accomplishment is born.

Who doesn’t like a challenge? Something that gets our attention, gets the juices flowing and gets us engaged. When I find myself making excuses, i do my best to turn it into a CHALLENGE.

Next time you think, or verbalize an excuse. Stop and clarify. Is this a fact that is truly insurmountable? Many times it is not.

Has anyone else ever overcome something similar? If someone else is capable, you are as well. Think of someone you greatly admire or respect. A role model or mentor. What would they do in this situation, would they stop, or engage the challenge and find a way?

This simply shift in moving from an excuse to a challenge can be the catalyst to get you headed in the right direction. You see, an excuse is a dead end. A reason to throw your hands up without accountability. A challenge will allow you to see solutions you wouldn’t otherwise see.

My favorite “excuse” is that I don’t have enough time. I am too busy, I am too overwhelmed to workout, to write more blogs, to update my website, and to get together with friends. As soon as I accept that excuse it absolves me from figuring out a way to make it a priority. It shuts me down. It is the easy way out and I know it.

I often think of the quote I have heard many times.

“If it is important you will find a way, if not, you will find an excuse”.

When I am truly honest with myself (not always an easy thing to do), I often end up admitting the real challenge is that I don’t “want it bad enough”.

The TRUTH is that I have 24 hours each day and 168 each week just like everyone else. The challenge is to prioritize the time I do have and figure out systems to be more efficient. To make best use of the time I do have. To say No to things that aren’t important and to schedule and commit to the things that are.

When I eliminate excuses, I take back accountability and put the focus on what I can control. When it is a challenge that can be overcome I am willing find a way through experimentation and trial and error. When it is an excuse, I give up.

What about you? Are you making any excuses that are really challenges just waiting to be solved?

No Excuses!

 

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

Am I the only one battling with these thoughts?

You can’t do that, what if it bombs, what will others think?

I used to believe that most people didn’t deal with that inner dialogue that second guesses, points out all your flaws and is hyper sensitive to criticism and what other people think. That maybe I just wasn’t “built” to be someone  who is fearless, willing to take risks, or get up after getting knocked down ten times.

Now to be fair, I have only lived inside my own head for 40 years. I am sure there are people that are more predisposed to adventure, not caring what others think and are able to let things bounce off their chest like Superman.

However, I have been surprised and relieved to find example after example of people who have accomplished great things, but dealt with the same challenges. It is not that they don’t face the same type of thoughts, they just don’t allow themselves to live there for too long.

In fact, our brain is designed to give priority to and pay more attention to the negative.  

Let’s say your ancestors were walking along in a forest and came across a delicious fruit tree, their favorite! But a split second later along comes a Tiger. Now they could be really hungry and really want that fruit, but the danger of the Tiger is going to get their full attention. If it didn’t, if your ancestors ignored the Tiger you wouldn’t be here today!

When I learned to view some of these thoughts as a benefit and not a hindrance it helped….. a little. I understand this “logically”, but many of our negative thoughts bring with them pretty powerful emotions, so I still struggle with it sometimes like anyone else.

One thing I have noticed as I read more and more books and speak with people I admire and respect, they face the same challenges. They deal with fear before they hit the “publish” button. They wonder what people will think about their book. They thought about giving up and wondered if they were good enough. They get hurt when they get bad reviews or receive negative comments online. It is not that they are immune to all that. It is how they handle it when it occurs.

I was amazed to learn that when I had dinner with James Clear , an amazing writer with one of my favorite blogs, that he wrote for a year without publishing ANYTHING! He kept it on a document and was too scared about what his friends or family would thing to even post that material.

We ALL face these thoughts, doubts and insecurities.

So what do we do about it? Here are some ways to get you over the hump when that negative voice starts holding you back.

  • Acknowledge it and say “thank you” – Thank you? Yes, your brain is simply trying to protect you. That is its job, it is YOUR job to decide what is best for you in the moment. Just that simple awareness can help you realize that these are natural thoughts, but that you are not your thoughts, you can choose to move forward and push past the doubts.
  • Remind yourself of past successes – When the negative thoughts start flowing, it is common to start thinking of all your failures and where you have gone wrong in the past. Instead, take a deep breath and force yourself to head in the other direction. Replay all the things you have done well, your accomplishments, the adversity you have overcome, the people you have helped. Stick with it long enough and you WILL reverse the path.
  •  Stare down the worst case scenario – This may sound counter intuitive, but often times, even the worst case scenario is not fatal. Other people might judge you? So what? Is that your problem, or their problem? By facing the fear head on, it removes some of its power over you. Many times, you will see quickly that even a failure is only temporary and that it is not worth holding you back from moving you forward.
  •  Realize that you are a work in progress – Many fears and negative thoughts stem from a fear of failure. Carol Dweck wrote a great book called MINDSET (LINK) that discusses the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. When you are in a fixed mindset, failure isn’t an event, it is an indictment on you as a person. It is a label. You didn’t lose the game, you are a l-o-s-e-r. Having a growth mindset is realizing that you aren’t perfect and are always growing. You realize that knowledge, wisdom and success come from experience and experience often includes missteps. Did you just hop on a bike and ride off into the sunset on your first attempt? Probably not. Any new skill requires a period where you just aren’t very good.
  •  Just take the first step – Action is often times the antidote to fear. Jump off the cliff. Force yourself to take that first step. The hardest part is almost always just getting started. Once you get started. Establish that habit of just jumping in, ready or not!

When you find those negative thoughts popping up and holding you back, give some of these suggestions a try and see what works best for you.

Do you have any other approaches that work for you? If so, share them in the comments!

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

Do You Meditate?

I was listening to an interview Tim Ferriss had with Arnold Schwarzenegger this week and was surprised to learn that Arnold meditated twice a day for 20 minutes each session for a year – in the 1970’S!

Can’t you just picture the Terminator meditating? Yeah, me neither.

blog terminator

In the 1970’s, Arnold’s career really started to come together. He was having great success in real estate (who knew), his body building and his movie career started to gain traction and take off.

With all that opportunity, Arnold struggled to keep everything separate in his mind and was increasingly anxious, worried and overwhelmed. He decided to give meditation a try and after a few weeks of meditating twice a day, he was able to disconnect and rejuvenate his mind.

Arnold also credits Meditation with increasing his focus and helping him to stay calm through all the challenges that were coming at him. Arnold says that even today he benefits from that year of meditation and is able to keep things from merging together and causing him stress and anxiety. He is able to take one challenge at a time, fully focus on his current activity and then reset his brain and move on to the next challenge.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but it has really become more mainstream in places like the United States within the last few years.

But is it worth the effort?

It turns out that study after study shows numerous benefits on health and well-being. Research across 19 universities and over a span of more than a decade show that experienced meditators see significant changes in their brain structure and function.

One study showed that a group of participants that averaged 27 minutes a day practicing mindfulness exercises experienced increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus part of the brain. This area is known to be important for learning, memory, self-awareness and introspection. They also reported reductions in stress and decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala which is known to play a role in anxiety and stress.

Who couldn’t use more focus and less stress these days?

There are different types of meditation, below are two examples:

Mindfulness – This approach focuses on the awareness of thoughts, sensations and particularly emotions that you are experiencing at any given moment. The key is a deliberate focus on being less emotionally reactive to the particular emotion or thought in the moment. Research has shown this type of approach to lead to decreased brain activity in areas related to anxiety. It has also shown to lead to an increased brain volume in the prefrontal cortex. This area is responsible for executive function and plays a strong role in focus, attention and processing sensory information. Meditators also had a decrease activity in the amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for processing fear among other things.

Focused attention – The focus of this type of meditation is to quiet and center your mind and fully focus on the present moment. As distractions arise (they always do), you simply refocus your attention. By choosing to focus on one thing and one thing only, you are able to begin to quiet down the mind. There are multiple options for your area of focus. Some focus on their breath, others a word or “mantra”. Some will even use the image of an imaginary or real object. When your focus shifts, you get distracted, or random thoughts start popping up (which will happen), you gently come back to your object of focus. It is that simple.

If you are new to meditation and want to give it a shot, don’t overthink it. Keep it simple and just give it a try. You don’t need a special room, special pose, or fancy incense or rocks.

There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Start with 10 minutes and give it a shot!

If you are having an especially hectic day and only have 2 minutes, take those two minutes. Close your eyes, take deep breathes and for those 2 precious minutes, just focus on your breath and only on your breath. You will notice that it can really help calm you down, reduce some of the overwhelm and get you back on track – in a very short period of time.

If you would like some extra help, there are many apps you can download for your phone that offer guided meditations, many of them free. Pandora even has a “Calm Meditation” station that I used just yesterday.

If Arnold can meditate, so can you!

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

Why Most of Us Are Focused On The Negative

While at the gym yesterday, I noticed that while I normally feel pretty good about 15 minutes into my cardio, I was in a bit of a funk. Was I starting to get sick? No. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Nope, my kids even sleep through the night!

At that moment it hit me. I normally like to listen to videos, podcasts or audiobooks on some type of motivating, growth oriented content. That day I had a particular video picked out, but was having issues getting it to play and finally aborted my plan and watched the TV’s in front of me.

The programming was pretty typical at that time in the morning at my gym. The E! channel was on my left, ESPN straight ahead and CNN to the right.

As I paid more attention, these were the three items on the air simultaneously:

1)      The Kardashians – Momma Kardashian was complaining about an upcoming luxury first class trip to Thailand. The complaint? Having to spend too much time with her husband. Kim meanwhile was complaining about how nobody in her family was excited enough about her being on the cover of Vogue. The nerve!

2)      ESPN was talking about “Deflategate”, whether or not the New England Patriots purposely let air out of the football below league rules in the AFC Championship game. Did Tom Brady lie at his press conference, are the Patriots cheaters? Does everybody cheat and they just got caught?

3)      CNN had a story about how 60% of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

No wonder I was in a funk!

I am very familiar with Priming and new instantly what was going on.

Each of us has the most powerful tool on earth at our disposal.Our brain. There are between 80-100 million neurons in our brain and each one of those connects to thousands of others. It has enormous processing power, but most of this processing occurs behind the scenes in the subconscious.

For every one neuron in the conscious part of the brain, there are 1 million neurons dedicated to subconscious processing. This part of your brain is very active even though you aren’t aware of it most of the time. It is monitoring bodily functions and processing all the sights, sounds and input from the external world.

I heard one neuroscientist describe our conscious mind like a “post it note” and the subconscious like a “NASA super computer.”

So why is this important and how does this relate to my experience at the gym?

We are heavily influenced by our external circumstances, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. When you read something, are engaged in a conversation, or interact with others – your brain is automatically predicting what is most likely to happen next.

For example, even if I leave out a few ______ from this _______, your _____ can still read it and understand it just fine.

Let’s look at another example I picked up from Steve Pavlina. Read the following words below.

  • Distance
  • Car
  • Gasoline
  • Petroleum
  • Mileage
  • Efficiency

Now fill in the two missing letters and complete this word:

 F_ _L

What did you come up with? When I use this exercise with my clients and students, 80-90% choose U and E to create FUEL.

There are many more possible combinations, but almost all will pick a word that correlates to the words you read right before the activity. Makes sense right? I primed your brain to process fuel by the choice of words listed.

Now this is a simple exercise, but we are being PRIMED all the time. This happens even when we aren’t consciously aware of it (remember the role of the subconscious).

The TV’s in front of me at the gym were all focused on the negative. No wonder I felt lousy!

Most of us are bombarded by information all the time: news, the internet, social media, and other people.

How much of it is positive and conducive to putting you in a great state?

The media’s primary motivation is ratings. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is. Most media programing is designed to disturb you and get your attention, more so than inform you. “If it bleeds, it leads”. The more they shock you, the more you will watch. If you really start to pay attention, I bet you will find that 80% – 90% or more of the content is negative. Death, fear, sickness, terrorism, poor economy….

If you prime your brain constantly with the negative, your brain will react accordingly. It will point out all the negative in the word, alert you to all the things missing in your life, constantly alert you to what might go wrong and lead to stress, worry and fear.

Your brain is not designed to keep you happy and successful. It is designed to protect you and keep you safe.

YOU must take control and prime yourself with the right information, the right people and the right input.

What is one thing you can change in your everyday life to prime yourself for success and happiness?

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

How much of your potential are you using?

An American psychologist James Flynn has studied something he calls “capitalization rate”. To keep it simple – the concept revolves around how efficiently someone like you or me, or a group of individuals makes use of its talent.

For instance, I spent a good deal of time growing up in Minnesota and in elementary school, my best friend who happened to be from Canada was an amazing hockey player. Canada is highly capitalized when it comes to hockey players. If you have any raw talent for hockey, believe me, it will be developed. Just about every kid is not only exposed to hockey, but grows up watching it, idolizes its stars and plays hockey for countless hours on Canada’s many frozen ponds and outdoor rinks.

Contrast that to someone living in Africa. There are probably many children with great hockey potential living in that country. But lack of exposure, access and desire will lead to very low capitalization rates in that particular country.

James Flynn has even looked at the capitalization rates in the United States for different occupations. For example, Flynn estimates that only 60% of US males who are “capable” of holding a top tier professional or managerial position,  actually end up in those types of positions. That means 40% are fully capable, (they have potential), but never get there.

I fully believe that as a society we place a much higher emphasis on “TALENT” than anything else. We have been taught that if a person becomes really successful, it is because they are really talented, or that it came easy to them. In fact, if you study many high achievers, this simply isn’t the case. It is much more about the “process”. The hunger they had to succeed. The hours they put into their craft and the perseverance they demonstrated when they came across the inevitable obstacles.

I truly believe that very few of us have fully capitalized on our real potential. Meaning, we are capable of so much more than we have achieved to date. That is what got me started studying high performers, how the brain works and how those that are truly successful and happy think and act. That is what lead me to coaching and why I love working with my clients to help them tap that potential that lies asleep within all of us.

What are you truly capable of if you really wanted it, designed a plan to achieve it, and worked towards that end every single day? What if when you got knocked down, you got back up every time with more resolve than the first time?

It is almost scary isn’t it?

Unbelievable success, happiness, fulfillment is not just something that the “lucky few” have access too. It is for anybody that knows the recipe and is willing to work for it, each and every day.

The good news is that with neuroplasticity (your brain is constantly rewiring and changing), you have the ability to rewire your brain by the way you think and act. Over time, those become new habits and it becomes more and more automatic and ingrained in your nervous system.

So start today. What is it that you have always wanted, but have never committed to?

What do you KNOW you are capable of, but have never gone after?

You have the ability, you have the POTENTIAL, but will you capitalize on that potential?

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

What “GIFTS” are you accepting?

Many of my clients and students mention their struggle with negative influences in their life. Most often times this shows up with the people they are closest to. They could be coworkers, friends and many times are family members.

The easiest approach to limiting negative influences can be to simply eliminate those types of people from your life, or limit topics of conversation. That can be difficult if they are family members or people you care about.

There is another approach that I think is powerful.

If someone offers you a gift of some kind, whether it be for your birthday or “just because” and you declined to accept that gift. Who would the gift belong to?

My clients will invariably answer “well, the person who is giving me the gift still owns it, because I turned it down”.

Many times people will bring their negativity, anger, jealousy, or frustration to you as a “gift”.

Are you accepting that gift, or do you decline?

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

 

 

 

Do you HAVE to? Or are you choosing to?

I have to wake up early tomorrow and take my kids to school. I have to go to the gym this week. I have to attend that function at work. I have to lose some weight. How many times do we tell ourselves we have to do something? Upon further inspection, what do we really have to do?

This list gets pretty short if we are really honest with ourselves. You don’t even have to wear clothes when you leave the house! Would you get some odd looks? Maybe get arrested? Sure, there would be consequences, but you don’t have to wear clothes. You choose to wear clothes.

HAVE TO

 How do you feel when you have to do something? Thinking in these terms creates a feeling of resistance and of being a victim. When we get pushed, whether it is by someone else or even from our own doing, it is a natural reaction to push back and negative consequences are inevitable. Below are just a few examples of the consequences we may experience:

–         Procrastination

–          Excuse making

–          Poor work

–          Complaining

–          Withdrawal

–          Minimal effort

–          Negative self talk

–          Anger

–          Resentment

blog 5 powerless

When you say you have to do something, what you are really saying is If I had my way, I would be doing something else. But I don’t have my way, it is beyond my control. I am powerless. It is also often associated with an “or else” consequence driven by fear. Your reason for going through with the task comes from a negative place of avoiding some undesired consequence.

CHOOSE TO

It may seem like a small shift, but when you choose to do something, it releases energy inside of you and it is based on free will. It is your idea, your choice. You are in control. You have the power and freedom to act and are a willing participant.

How do you feel when you choose to do something? There is a sense of ownership and empowerment. You are in control and it is your choice. The natural by-product of this attitude is:

–          Striving for excellence

–          Energy

–          Determination

–          Resolve

–          Resilience

–          Clarity

–          Action

It what areas of your life are you feeling resistance? What are you avoiding and putting off?  Are there things you feel you have to do? When you find yourself feeling like you have to do something, ask yourself:

What would happen if I don’t do it?

Am I ok with the consequences?

What are the benefits of my taking action?

Why is this really my choice?

What are some of the things in your life you feel like you have to do? How is that perspective holding you back?

What would it look like if there were no more things you have to do?

Your partner in excellence,

Josh Paulsen