Exact Goal

Time Out
Begin by determining exactly what your own personal vision, mission and goals are. One of the best ways of doing this is to take yourself out of the hurry and scurry of daily living and spend one hour alone. This ‘time out’ should be done on a regular basis as it is imperative to your success.

People who constantly rush about and who never take the time to be quiet often have to work very hard without ever reaching their goals in life. If you do not put forward the effort to set goals, your accomplishments will be far less than your capabilities. Statistics have shown 70 percent of the population do not set or write down their goals. Don’t let yourself fall into this statistic. Instead, take this one hour of time and make the effort to reach out toward your potential.

Both your intuition and creative imagination function well in times of silence and isolation, particularly during periods of relaxation. These quiet periods are the times when your inner powers are best able to gain your attention and release the information you need. You are more able to hear your inner promptings and thus receive rich, fresh ideas for you to action.

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed by outside noises or people. Nothing of importance can easily be solved until you have faith in yourself and you are able to relax. Physical and mental relaxation is mandatory. Your best ideas and solutions to problems will come when you are relaxed and quiet and the more relaxed you are, the more successful the results will be. You will find it easy to secure new ideas and improve on your old ideas and you will be able to accomplish more things with less effort and without strain.

First, take a few minutes and meditate on your vision and what you want to do with your life and set your vision and mission now. Think about what you hope to achieve. As you think and contemplate these things, let them grow in your mind as expanded ideas that will move you to action. The only way any of us can grow is to keep stretching our capacities. Everyone meditates at some time, whether you are aware of it or not. The word ‘meditate’ means “to think about, contemplate, to consider deeply and continuously”. Whatever you think about constantly is the subject of your meditation.

Whenever you learn to tune in to the power deep within yourself you will be able to create the conditions that will enable you to set your goals. Sit quietly and listen to the creative part of your subconscious. This part of your mind is like your radio. If you turn off your contact between the creative subconscious and your conscious mind the ideas, information and answers to your problems cannot come through and you will not receive those ideas. But if you ‘tune in’, the unlimited power of your creative mind will allow the conscious mind to receive the ideas, directions and messages it is sending out and they can help you point out the way to attaining your goals. This powerful act gets your conscious and unconscious mind seeking more of those opportunities that are aligned with your purpose. That is why it is so important to be receptive. It reinforces to you the fact that you are the only one creating your unique future. If you can make full use of your quiet time, it will help you make the right decisions even when you are busy.

Begin by believing in yourself and, although you are relaxed, remain mentally alert and gently let your mind expand on your vision and goals and prepare to write everything down.

Your Vision
During your hour alone, write down your vision. A vision is important because it is the foundation for your goals. A vision requires engagement on a daily basis, which is called a mission. This mission is the path that you take to get there and the specific means by which you accomplish your vision. The vision and mission should be put into practice by setting out specific, measurable steps designed to achieve the mission. Those steps are called goals. Write your vision for a five-year, ten-year or twenty-year time frame. When you write your mission simply describe the general path that will lead you to accomplishing it. Remember, your vision and mission may have minor changes over time, so don’t try to set them out perfectly now. Review them every year and rewrite them as you find yourself getting a clearer picture of what you want.

Once you have defined your vision and mission, you have identified your objectives.
1. Be aware of the importance of your vision and make it a driving force for the attainment of your main goal.
2. Have strong faith in your vision and demonstrate your confidence that any challenges can be met.
3. Be wholeheartedly and enthusiastically engaged on a daily basis toward your vision. Remember that it is your mission.
4. Cherish your vision. Keep it before you always so you won’t grow weary of working towards the vision’s fulfilment and you won’t become complacent or get sidetracked into doing things that do not contribute to its achievement.
5. Speak to your vision as if what you want to see accomplished has already been done.

The principle of creating a vision is not wishful thinking or daydreaming, but what successful people call ‘burning desire’. This is the attitude which says, “I don’t care what it takes, I’ll do it.” Such a desire stretches our capacities, makes us move out of our comfort zone and do things we have never done before. Don’t be afraid to feel that burning desire.

The story is told of a young man who approached the philosopher, Socrates, and said, “Socrates, teach me what you know.” The great teacher looked at the young man and said, “Do you really want to know all that I know?” “Oh, yes, teacher, I do,” the student replied.

“Walk with me for a time,” Socrates said. So they walked for a while in silence. The learned philosopher slipped his arm around the young man’s shoulder and guided him off the path and into the shallow waters of a lake. The young man thought that was a strange way for the philosopher to teach him what he knew, but after all he was Socrates, so the student decided to go along with what was happening.

The continued to walk into the water; it rose to their ankles, then knees and hips, until finally they were standing in water to their shoulders. Suddenly the arm that was around the young man’s shoulders tightened around his neck and pulled him underneath the water. This was a very strange way to teach the student what he wanted to know. But this was Socrates, after all, so he submitted. He grabbed a breath before he went under, so he wasn’t bothered for the first fifteen or twenty seconds, but after about 30 seconds he wondered when Socrates was going to let him up. He gave him a signal to indicate that he had been under long enough and wanted to get out. Another few seconds and the young man began to fight with all he was worth. He kicked and clawed and scratched, but the hold was strong and he lost his strength. At that moment, Socrates pulled him out of the water, dragged him to the shore and began to revive him.

When he caught his breath, angry and confused, the student looked into the face of one of the greatest philosophers of all time and said, “What was that all about?”

Socrates looked into his eyes and said, “When you want to know what I know as much as you just wanted to live, then you will know.” That kind of desire is what is known as burning desire!

Specify your Goal
The first step to producing results in your life is to be very clear about what you want. You must find a purpose for your life. If you have no purpose, you have no power and no desire. Purpose is like the concrete foundation we lay before building ourselves a house to live in. It provides the framework within which goals can be organised and prioritised. It gives guidelines and boundaries in which to work. Many people do not get what they want because they are too vague. When you are specific you have a clear target to shoot for. If you know what you want and why you want it, the how to achieve it will unfold before you each day.

Secondly, if you are to attain success, you must first have a ‘burning desire’ to succeed and then be very precise about the goals you set for yourself. The more specifically defined your outcome, the better guided you are in your goal pursuit and the better your chances of attaining it.

Decide what you want. Don’t decide what someone else wants for you. What is the goal that you are aiming for? Set it for yourself; vague definitions will produce vague results. Sit quietly during your hour on your own and decide what you want by defining your goal exactly – clearly and specifically. Clarity of purpose will drive you forward in the times when you face obstacles.

With your vision before you, now write down the goals you need to reach to attain that purpose. Sharpen your focus and use your imagination. The reason most people fail to achieve their goals in life is that they never set them in the first place. Goals direct you to your final destination and they tell you when you have strayed off the path and bring you back on track.
To release your deep-seated desires for prosperity and success you will need to centre your attention on one big exact goal at a time. Your main goal should always include a number of smaller goals.

It is important to write down your deep-seated desires. Don’t see them as impossible dreams. Draw up a potential plan and make a list of ideas towards your main goal. Feel free to change, revise, reform and rearrange as your ideas unfold. This clarifies the desires in your mind and the mind produces definite results only when it has been given definite ideas through which to work.

Your goals should be specific and written out in detail. Setting goals simply involves writing out the steps it will take to accomplish them; that should include thinking about what you expect to be doing for the rest of the year and beyond. Include both personal and professional goals. State your goals positively and specify when the results will be achieved. When you read your goal aloud, check if it sounds ambiguous. An ambiguous goal leads to ambiguous results.

Setting goals is like programming a computer. Both tasks take skill because nothing can be assumed or left out. Goal-setting is not easy but it is worth every minute spent on it. Set short-term goals that build toward your long-range purpose. This incremental approach will help you to success. By setting a number of smaller goals it is easier to make a correction if you find yourself off target.

There are two kinds of goals:
Objective goals which are the visions you want to pursue for your future rather than end destinations.
Activity goals have specific outcomes and are a means to achieve the objective goal. Activity goals are part of planning.

Objective goals usually remain the same long term. Activity goals change over time. For example, your objective goal may be to become prosperous and your activity goal would be to sell a given number of properties each year.

Always define your objective goal first, followed by the activity goals needed to achieve the objective goals.

Clearly differentiating between your objective and activity goals enables you to see the big picture and by clearly articulating your objective goal first, you can then be guided by several activity goals tied to your objectives.

Make sure your activity goals are measurable. They should come with a deadline and a value you can measure against. For example, your activity goal may be to sell two properties (your measurement) in one year (deadline).

Always begin with the end in mind. Don’t emphasise the task that is needed to get the result you want, but focus on the outcome. This will build the fastest track to goal achievement as the actions needed to be undertaken will naturally fall into place. When you focus with the end in mind you learn to anticipate and plan for contingencies for successful goal achievement.

Think about the Law of Attraction (i.e. what you give out you will attract). When framing your goal, frame it in positive terms, not negative. For example, instead of “Eliminate poverty”, try “Create unlimited abundance”.

Remember, goal-setting is not a one-time exercise; it is an on-going exercise. Goals will need constant review so you need to be constantly aware of the goal-setting process. It is a good idea to review your goals with someone you trust, someone who has already been down that same path of success. As each small goal is reached, reward yourself and celebrate each achievement. Focus on your goals and tackle them one by one. As soon as one goal is accomplished, another goal takes its place. An awareness of the goals that have just been accomplished should be a great encouragement to you. Prioritise your goals; make them realistic. Set high goals but make sure they are attainable. Once you set your goals use negative and positive feedback to adjust your decisions along the way.

Goal-setting brings many benefits. It simplifies the decision-making process and provides a system that measures your progress so you may enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Goals also generate respect and they produce persistence. Remember, goal-setting is an ongoing exercise. You cannot do it once and ignore it.

This one hour on your own is essential to help you prepare yourself properly for reaching and managing your goals. Think about how your mind functions so you can get it to work for you rather than against you. Speak to your goals. They need to be said aloud with confidence as often as possible. It helps to hear yourself affirm your goals. Genuinely expect your dreams to come true. Once you have set your goals vividly imagine how you will feel when you have reached each of your goals.

Values
Values are distinctly different from goals in that they are usually the qualities behind what you are seeking. For example, if giving to others is something you like to do, the value behind it is generosity. These are principles or standards you live by and they are critical to getting you to your goal. They keep you true to yourself and to the path you wish to travel. The course you take will be based on your ethics, or beliefs, and what is most important to you in your life. You will tend to be drawn to people with common values, which in turn creates enthusiasm and greater productivity when working together.

Your vision and values are important, but they will never be realised unless a goals program is put in place and followed faithfully. The vision will stay the same over a long period of time and the mission and your values will correspond to the vision. But goals should be reviewed frequently in order to adjust them to changing situations so that the vision can be realised.

Habits
Have you ever stopped to think about your habits? They can include always being late for appointments, feeling depressed and cynical and giving voice to those feelings; overeating and nail biting. They are all subconscious habits that are learned and they suggest a selfesteem problem.

During your hour alone, think about your habits and reassess yourself. Ask yourself if your habits will take you where you want to be. Write down your habits then examine them and decide on new habits to put in their place. Make sure your new habits support your goal. To change your habit you will need to modify your self-image and use constant self-awareness to bring about a permanent change. Choose to change from bad habits and be aware it takes at least three weeks to change a habit.

Willingness to Change

Change is a matter of choice. We have two main choices in our lives: to accept conditions as they exist or to accept responsibility for changing them.

When you were a child, did you receive encouragement or criticism? At school, were you part of the dominant group or were you lonely, teased or bullied? If you were loved and encouraged as a child you are likely to have grown to adulthood with high self-esteem and change may be easier for you. If the opposite is true, however, and you were criticised and teased you are likely to have low self-esteem. Unfortunately the latter is all too common, however well it is masked in our everyday lives.

As human beings we tend to seek the comfort of the familiar; therefore, change is always painful and we tend to resist it. If you know you need to be a different person to succeed, you will know that your attitude needs an adjustment. The difficulty is knowing where to begin. This poses the question you need to ask of yourself: What do I really want from life? The answer is you have right now exactly what you want! You are responsible for the life you are leading; are your thoughts centred on your failures and rejections or are you looking forward to a positive future?

If you are willing to change, stop listening to the negatives of the world for a time – switch off the radio and television and don’t buy newspapers. Avoid as many negative conversations as you can. Spend the time, instead, reading inspirational books and listening to CD’s that talk about how the mind works and point the way to a successful future and associate with successful people. Whatever you focus your thoughts on becomes a reality in your life. Begin to put what you learn to practical use.

Give yourself time to make the necessary changes. If you give yourself positive selfdirection you will be able to draw on the power within you and achieve your goals. Don’t forfeit responsibility for your success. It takes just as much effort and energy not to achieve change as it does to achieve change.

If you have been told all your life that you can’t do something, you are unlikely to be able to do it. You place limitations on what you do and you convince yourself that you are unable to stretch your mind and develop to your potential. It is possible, however, to reject the negatives and limiting beliefs from your past and change. If you concentrate on your strengths you will feel like a winner, you will see yourself a winner and you will be a winner.

Just how do you go about making changes in your life? It begins with a raising of your awareness and a strong desire to make a change. Once you have that very strong desire you must then go about the task of changing your mindset, or paradigm, about who you are and what you choose to create for yourself. This change must be made at the subconscious level of mind then it must be carried out at the creative level of mind.

If you think you can do better, you will. When you set your mind to change you will find that you put forward more effort into everything that you do, and you will have better results. It will help you if you get yourself a strong support system and reinforcing positive feedback.

Begin by believing in yourself and your potential. Raise your awareness of the problems you currently face in your life and continue to have the courage to seek change. To raise your awareness simply means to become conscious of what needs to change and how to change it; so often people have a feeling of frustration and helplessness due to a lack of awareness of how to change. It may help to observe or study the experiences of successful people. Seeing what they have and what they do can give you an awareness of positive patterns of behaviour which you can repeat with the expectation to experience similar results. In order to make a successful change you also need to see what actions are required to make the change happen. Problem solving begins with problem awareness. Note that just thinking positively will not make the depth of change necessary for a major paradigm shift. You will need to make use of outside forces such as speaking out and writing down. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and try the following strategies.

Imagine yourself about to take a big step toward your ultimate goal of success. What feelings come up for you? Is there resistance or hesitation? Do you automatically start thinking of excuses as to why you can’t move forward? Write down all the feelings that come to you as you imagine yourself taking this step. Don’t push the feelings down, allow them space and try to identify where they are coming from. Did a past experience contribute to your feelings?

Make a list of the pros and cons of taking action verses not taking action. Write down your emotions so you can see everything on paper. This is a great way of bringing previously unknown or unremembered negative emotions from the subconscious to the surface of the conscious. By studying what you have written you can provide yourself with a strategy for changing your patterns of behaviour. When you have decided on the path you wish to take don’t just repeat but drill yourself in your new behavioural patterns with the expectation to experience good and positive outcomes. If you do it right in the drill, you’ll do it right in life! Remember, you have the ability and the responsibility to choose and define that which you wish to be, to do and to have.

Changing your built-in belief structure from negative to positive is not easy but it is well worthwhile. Your attempts at change may come up against a wall of difficulties and you may battle through periods when your own self-belief is faltering. It takes a strong character to move past these battles and to keep striving. Persistence will keep your faith in yourself unwavering and you will succeed. Make positive change a reality in your life now.

Staying Power
Your greatest opportunities can be disguised as insurmountable problems, particularly when you become aware that you need to free yourself from limiting perceptions which have held you back from the success you so desire.

Difficulties will present themselves but the key to overcoming them is perseverance. Persevere in changing a limiting paradigm. Then persevere in following your vision. Every problem has its own solution and although the solutions are different, staying power is the key to each one. It can overcome a host of impossibilities.

Many prominent people, at some time, question whether they should give up. When those moments hit they can strengthen their staying power by remembering their vision and focusing on their goals.

Do not blame yourself if you falter. Just pick yourself up and continue on. Don’t try to do it all on your own – surround yourself with encouragers and choose a mentor who has been in your position before you and can help you through.

Staying power ensures success because it indicates a strong awareness to a commitment.

Making the Brain Work in Your Favour – Paradigms

Paradigms are sets of belief systems that act as filters of perception through which we view the world and everything in it. The world we see around us and the people in the world are constantly triggering our automated behaviour which is directed by our subconscious mind and carried out by the creative level of mind. So we react to life rather than living life in a creative, positive and spontaneous way. The majority of people automatically do the same things in the same way over and over again. Why? Because the thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday and they create the same experiences for us. So, although we have great potential and the possibilities are endless, we fall back on recreating the same experiences again and again until we choose to think differently.

We are not normally consciously aware of our paradigms. They reflect cultural and other conditioning we received early in our lives and remain below our level of awareness, where they continue to be active, until we consciously bring them to the surface and examine them. They influence our thinking, decisionmaking and actions.
The subconscious mind accepts all our beliefs, positive or negative, and acts according to their dictates, until we bring them to the surface and change them. The motto of the subconscious mind is, ‘Your wish is my command’. This is the role of the subconscious and it continually works at fulfilling your wishes by attracting thoughts and experiences aligned to your current paradigm.

The power is becoming aware of our paradigms, bringing them to the surface, examining our beliefs and consciously working to change them for the better – usually from negative to positive, hate and bigotry to love, fear to confidence. Each time we shift a paradigm, information that previously escaped our awareness now comes into view. This new information then influences our thinking, decision-making and actions – and that promotes change. A change at the level of belief produces fresh perspectives.

A good example of how paradigms limit our awareness can be found when we want to buy a new car. There are thousands of cars on the road but generally we don’t take too much notice of them. When we decide to buy a car, however, and identify the type and colour of the car that interests us, we begin to notice those cars everywhere. It will seem that more of those cars are suddenly on the road, but that is not the case. What has happened is that the act of considering, or imagining, owning a car of that type creates a new image in our imagination. This image sends a signal to the subconscious mind that it is now important to receive information relevant to that picture, whereas, before it wasn’t. This illustrates that whenever we shift a paradigm, new information comes into view.

When we become aware and begin to recognise how powerfully our unconscious thoughts affect our perceptions, we become more careful of what we say, more reticent to judge ourselves and others and more observant of our own thinking. The more we search out our unconsciously held belief systems by writing them down and questioning them, we bring them to the surface where we can question their validity and make changes that are appropriate. It is this constant cleaning of our unconscious filters of perception that enables us to perceive the world differently, make new decisions and reshape our reality.

How the Mind Works

To fully utilise the power of the creative mind it is necessary to become aware of just how all the parts of our mind work.

Conventional thought teaches us that we have two minds – the conscious and the subconscious mind. These are two absolutely distinct selves within us and both are intelligent, but while one is conscious the other is unconscious. Although each one works independently they always co-operate with one another when necessary. There is a part of the subconscious, however, that forms a third mind which is called the ‘creative level of mind’.

The Conscious Mind.
Nearly 30 years ago computers were used to merely process and store information. Today they are used for just about everything and they are a key element of our lives. We know they can do more than just store and process information, but just how much they may be able to do we are yet unsure although we continue to expand their possibilities daily.

Your mind is like a computer except you are only using it to record and process information; it does not have the ability to create anything. The conscious mind learns through the five senses then it judges, remembers and compares, evaluates and analyses and observes and labels what it perceives through the senses. Critical thinking occurs in this state of mind. The conscious mind has also been given the wonderful gift of choice, but it is limited in its wisdom, therefore, it often makes mistakes. It is, however, capable of doing more. If you know how to use your mind correctly you can create everything you want in life.

An aware person realises that their judgements may not always be right because they know they perceive the world through filters of perception. They know they bring their own biases, prejudices and beliefs to every decision and recognise that it is necessary to listen to others’ opinions as they can be just as valid, if not more so, than their own. A person who is aware of their perceptions can begin to consider new ideas, shift their thinking and effect real change in their life.

Unfortunately, for those who are unaware that this is how the mind works, change is often difficult, if not impossible. They continually keep the same mind set and repeat the same patterns over and over again, never learning from past mistakes.

Just like a computer the conscious mind relies on other components to make it work – mainly the subconscious and the creative level of mind.

The Subconscious/Unconscious Mind.
The metaphor of an iceberg is a good illustration of the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious mind very well. The tip of the iceberg represents our conscious mind, the part of our thinking we are aware of, and the part of the iceberg below the waterline represents our unconscious mind. Lastly, the waterline itself represents imagination (the creative level of mind), the membrane through which the conscious and unconscious minds pass information.

The iceberg metaphor also illustrates that, at any given moment, consciously we are only aware of a fraction of the total information at our disposal. The rest we are largely unaware of. The subconscious mind, just like the iceberg below the waterline, is vastly larger than the conscious mind and far more powerful. It not only contains vast potential and possibilities, it is also the storehouse for all our memories from the beginning of our lives. It controls the events of our lives according to the instructions we have given it. Those instructions are called belief systems, or paradigms.

One of the most important aspects of the subconscious is that it automatically directs the creative level of mind to carry out all of our habituated behavioural patterns for us – the way we walk and sit, etc. The subconscious also breathes us; keeps our hearts pumping and circulates the blood throughout our body; it is in charge of digestion and elimination and carries out all involuntary functions of our body. Our subconscious mind never requires sleep – it works for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days of the year.

Intricately interwoven with the subconscious is the third mind – the creative level of mind. All three minds are intertwined and work in conjunction with each other. The creative level is the area from where our intuition and imagination rise. It is also the energetic source of power for our creations. The ideas we receive and the creative ability we possess comes from this part of the subconscious.

The subconscious is also the home of our emotions – which is why it dominates the conscious mind. We know this is true because in most cases our emotions will easily overrule our rational mind and our will. When there is conflict between the conscious and subconscious minds, the subconscious almost always wins out. The subconscious never judges, analyses or rationalises; it simply accepts all information presented to it. It can’t tell the difference between an actual experience and an imaginary experience that is vividly repeated. It has no desires or volition of its own, yet it has infinite knowledge and powers. It acts in response to suggestions given it by your conscious mind and it works to bring about the exact condition you believe in.

The subconscious mind creates everything in your life based on the messages and information you send to it. These messages are your thoughts, beliefs and actions and a large percentage of them are working against you. If you constantly think and speak in a negative manner you will reap a negative reality. If you don’t think you will be capable of accomplishing your goals – you will never accomplish any of them. If you think there are no opportunities for you – the right opportunity will never appear. Why? Because the subconscious mind always works on the information you send it. It does not analyse the information, as the conscious mind does, it is quite impersonal. Whatever you send it, it will produce. It is like an automatic guidance system within you. If you send positive messages of success goals it will produce success. If you send negative messages it will produce failure.

How does it do this? Once the subconscious mind receives the message from the conscious mind it connects with people and events that will help create the situation based on your message. If you are certain of success with your goals the mind will draw you to the people and events that will help you attain your goals. It is important to understand that the messages to your subconscious mind are not just your thoughts. Everything you do, say and consciously believe is picked up by the subconscious mind.

There is a saying, ‘What you say is what you get’. Countless people limit their happiness and success in life because they never realise the importance of words; words of all kinds. If you expect the best, and say so, you will receive the best. If you expect the worst and speak out your complaints, you will receive precisely what you have spoken, for ‘what is in the heart the mouth speaks’. It is your attitude to life that makes your life and you will always get exactly what you expect … good or bad.

Lateral Thinking

Another way to use your mind to your advantage is to be aware that you have the power to go beyond your old thinking habits and thought patterns. You have the ability to question the way you think and how you are living your life and then change those things in imaginative and creative ways. It is called “lateral thinking” or “thinking outside the box” and it broadens your thought processes so that you can use your mind in a more productive manner. Expanding your mind in this way enables you to come up with innovative solutions to problems.

You have a mind that has the power to do things far beyond what you can imagine. It absorbs everything that goes on around you even though you may be unaware of those things such as the sounds and smells in the background and conversations going on around you even though you may not be listening to them.

Most people only use their intellectual, or rational, part of their mind. They analyse ideas and compare them with their own preconceptions. They then interpret them in such a way that supports their existing view of world. No wonder we are told time and again that most people only tap into a very small percentage of their potential.

There is, however, a part of the mind that is often hidden unless the mind is allowed to expand beyond the intellect into the areas of intuition. When the expansion happens that person can come into contact with concepts and ideas that they have never previously thought about and which, often, have been quite contrary to their usual conscious beliefs.

To allow yourself to think laterally, therefore, you may need to question your assumptions in a given situation or, perhaps, imagine the complete opposite of that situation. This may allow you to see a predicament from different points of view. You may even be able to compare your current problem with another, similar, problem which was happily resolved. Whenever you are faced with difficulties, try to think laterally or “outside the box” of conventional thinking. After all, we as humans are unique because we can question the world around us and we can ‘think about how we think’. That means we have the ability to change the way we think and that is something quite special and amazing.

You Have A Difficult Relationship With Your Adult Children

Your relationship with your adult children is troubled. One of them is not working full time and usually only comes to you when he wants money. He drinks too much and you think he may be dabbling in the drug scene. You have tried to help him in various ways but he is unpredictable and generally irresponsible. He often becomes angry with you because you have found it necessary to refuse to give him money when he asks. You know it will be spent on the wrong things so you have told him he needs to stand on his own two feet now and earn his own money. His brother is altogether different; he has a job and takes responsibility for his life. However, because you have stopped helping the wayward son his brother feels you have done the wrong thing and thinks you are cruel. This, therefore, has caused difficulty in your relationship with both sons. You still love them but their actions make the relationship very difficult.

Where did it all start? You tried to rear your children to be independent and welladjusted by instilling in them values to live by; so what went wrong?

Some children are born with a difficult temperament. I remember a family who lived opposite us. The young parents had 3 children. The 2 eldest boys, about 12 and 9 years old, were exemplary children always well-behaved. Then the parents had a third boy who was a very active child. From the time he was born they had problems and as he grew into a toddler, he became naughty and more and more difficult to handle. He loved to irritate his older brothers by hiding their clothes and their schoolwork. As he grew older he would get up in the middle of the night and steal food from the kitchen. He had to be watched carefully as he often tried to run away. That boy would have grown up by now and I don’t know whether he ever outgrew his bad behaviour. Certainly he came from a good home, full of love and care for each other and all the children. What I have said is merely an illustration that some children seem to come into this world with aggressive tendencies that are difficult to control.

Other children may start their lives with promise and deteriorate because of problems in the household or difficult behaviour may begin after a particularly debilitating illness. Some children may be autistic or demonstrate a disorder such as attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are those children who have been given every advantage in life from a very loving household and yet they opt out of school and later seem to opt out of life and particularly out of the lives of those who loved them. The latter may be what has happened to you.

The reality of life is that things often do not work out the way you may want them to. “So what”, what can you do? Do you give up on them both and walk away to live your own life? Do you try to come to an understanding with the “good” brother and forget the one who has gone off the rails? Or do you keep trying with both of them? There is no magic “right way” to act but giving up on another human being, particularly your own flesh and blood, does not seem the way to go.

The choice is yours. It would seem to be easy way out to walk away from a difficult situation but when that situation concerns family, it becomes very complex. There is always a bond between a parent and son, however hard one may try to break it. A strong and positive relationship, however, needs both parties to contribute to that relationship to make it work. So you may be in a quandary about what to do. If you allow the whole situation to play on your mind you can become upset and depressed and make things worse. If you allow your emotions and thoughts to run rampant you may walk away and never see either son again. That is a worst case scenario. There is a better choice – that, without interfering in their lives, you keep on doing all that you can to draw both sons back into the fold as responsible and loving adults.

A lot of adult children are the way they are today because behavioural problems were never addressed as children. It may also be necessary for you to look long and hard at your parenting skills and any problems that may have arisen during the years of raising your children. It is obvious that no parent is perfect, but, if you honestly look back over those years, there may be a time or times where one particular child ‘went over the edge’ and was unable to handle some emotional areas in his life. There may be a combination of factors such as genetics, the environment or some particular experience that happened that had a deep impact on a young mind. Only do these exercises with the attitude that something that happened in childhood may aid you to help your sons now and build a better relationship with them. It is important that you don’t apportion blame to anyone, including yourself and certainly don’t move into the area of having feelings of guilt.

“So what” do you do? Do you stand your ground and tell one son to ‘get a life’ and pull himself together, clean himself up from drugs and get a job? And do you tell the other son that he is being unfair to you by taking sides with his brother against his parent? That would seem to be trying to win a war by meeting the other army head on. You might win some battles but there are going to be a lot of casualties along the way – and one of them may be you!

If you want to win the war it may be better to come in from the flanks. It will be a matter of using your mind to your advantage and using wisdom to work out what can be done. When family is involved, never withdraw your love from either son. That doesn’t mean being wishy-washy; it may mean hard love at times. Throwing money at the wayward son will not help but keep the door open to your home to both sons. Offer meals to him and a bed sometimes when he really needs it but don’t question too much. Allow time for him to trust you again. Once trust is re-established you may be able to help him by getting him to drug rehabilitation classes. By taking the softly, softly approach you may also regain your other son’s trust as he sees you are trying to help. It is important to have him on side by telling him you want to help his brother get back on track and you need his help. It may take time and a lot of effort and it will need both of you working together to make any impact.

In the long run, both sons are grown, emancipated men and they hold the key to their own lives. As a parent, never give up on them and always be there for them.

Perhaps those sons never got around to learning the importance of gratitude. When you have a thankful heart and you are grateful for what you have, good things happen to you. Life is peaceful, relaxed and harmonious and flows along bringing favourable opportunities. Take time to say “thank you” to parents for the years they have given you and for their teaching; thank your partner and children for their love and thank friends for being faithful. It is only a little word but it has a world of meaning.

Positive Thinking On Its Own Doesn’t Work

It is very important to remember that, first of all, positive thinking is a mindset – a way of looking at the world around you. It is not something you do, like repeating a mantra for days or weeks and waiting for something to happen so you can get what you want. It is not a form of bargaining that says if I do this then I should get that in return; it just doesn’t work like that. Instead, it is a way of using your thoughts to help you move forward creatively rather than letting them run rampant in an unco-operative manner, making you feel discouraged and trapped. Your mindset doesn’t pretend the obstacle isn’t there and it doesn’t do the work for you but it does remain open to change and to taking action by finding a detour around the problem. So the switch that makes positive thinking work is ACTION! When you are up against an obstacle, a positive thinking mindset helps you recognise opportunities that will remove the obstacle where others merely see a brick wall – but then you must ACT on those opportunities.

That is why the “So what” system works so well. It gives you the right mindset to recognise opportunities which will bring about a forward-thinking and achievable result. Practice it many times and when a disappointment or crisis occurs you will be ready to meet it head on and come out the other side confident in your capacity to live life to the full.

Changing A Belief System

We were not born with our belief systems in place; they were built up from our childhood with input from our parents, our environment and our friends. Since those beliefs were put there we can change them. However, it took a long time to establish those beliefs and it may take some time to change them. How long? Well that depends on how deeply they are ingrained into your system and how much effort you are prepared to expend to make the necessary changes. If there is a belief system in your life that you know is holding you back and you are prepared to change, you can do so by taking your thoughts captive and concentrating on the new thoughts consistently. Like children, your thoughts need parameters so don’t allow them to run rampant and take charge of your life. Don’t allow yourself to serve your thoughts by allowing them to roam wherever they will. Unrestrained thoughts bring unrestrained actions so train your thoughts to obey you.

You can only think one thought at a time, so determine to keep your thoughts in the realm of constructive thinking by concentrating on your assets and focusing on your strengths. Make an effort to free your mind from distracting thoughts and restless thinking. Doubt and scepticism will try to intrude but stay aware of them and deliberately concentrate on the good that can come out of a situation.

The key is to replace contrary and pessimistic thoughts with new, positive and beneficial thoughts. Repeat silently to yourself the thoughts you want to retain and then speak them out over and over again. Thoughts on their own, however, will not make the change; actions which mirror the new thoughts must be repeated enough times to embed the new beliefs into your subconscious mind.

For example, it may be necessary for you to change your beliefs and thoughts about money. If you are ‘desperate’ to make money you may find you are pushing away the very opportunities you are looking for because you are unable to control your focus. The more emotional you are the less control you have. Your attention and focus needs to be on enjoying what you do and giving service to others rather than on the money itself. Money should be seen merely as a tool to get you where you want to go. It is important, therefore, to let go of your desperation and become emotionally detached. This will take a change in your thought life and in your attitude toward money. Change your thoughts from ‘wishing you had money’ to ‘believing you will have it’. The former attitude will keep you poor; the latter attitude will allow you to let go and become relaxed enough to be able to work toward what you want and prosperity will follow.

Be careful of the words that come out of your mouth. What you say is a good indication of your belief system and if you speak negatively such as, “I can’t do it” or “nothing ever goes right for me” then you are cementing that belief deeper into your psyche. Rather change the words to “I can do it” and “everything is going right for me” and keep it up. Whenever the wrong words come out, stop and say, “That is not right” and repeat the affirmative version several times. If you do this consistently, stay focused and confident and believe in yourself, you can throw off a restrictive belief system and win. When you change your beliefs you change your life.

A Death In The Family

It is something that touches every family on earth but that does not make it any easier to bear; particularly if you have been very close to that family member. It can never be a pleasant experience. It is doubly difficult if he or she has been taken early in life by an accident or disease.

The death of a parent is a particularly difficult experience and it can affect you as the child, whether young or adult, in a number of ways, but one thing is the same; a void has been created in your world which you feel can never be filled and it can shatter you. You may feel that your life is spinning out of control with no way of coming to a stop in the near future. Your grief will entail heartache, pain and sorrow, often in immeasurable amounts and all these feelings have to be dealt with as time progresses. Grief can be compounded when there are siblings and other family members who are also expressing their loss in various ways. It can actually help you if you can help them through their grieving period. Helping others can be quite therapeutic.

It is very important to grieve for that person but it is also important that you do not stay in that state continually. It may be the most difficult season for you in your time of grief, but it will pass and when it does, if you keep the right attitude, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.

Often, the grieving process can contain phases which include very deep anger, denial, bargaining, loneliness and depression. You know you are coming out the other side of that process when there is acceptance and eventually peace about what has happened.

We know there is a grieving process that we must all go through in varying degrees but it is how far one allows the grieving process to take over their life that decides whether they spiral down into depression or whether they take a deep breath and get on with living. It is sad just how many people allow the death of a loved one take over their life, withdraw within themselves and refuse to embrace life fully again. Queen Victoria was one of those people who did just that. She lost her beloved husband, Prince Albert, after only 21 years together and mourned his passing for the rest of her life.

Grieve for a loved one lost, yes, but do not withdraw from life. You may feel stress during this time which is normal; knowing how to manage it, however, can help you move forward. Distress is caused by a pessimistic attitude and becomes a negative response by the body when stress continues without relief. It can cause illness by upsetting the internal balance of the body which show in many ways such as blood pressure problems, headaches, insomnia, panic attacks and anxiety.

Instead, make an effort to think and do uplifting things to help you move on with your life. This can be done by interacting with others, especially those who have lived through and survived a similar experience. Also do things with people who nurture, comfort and recharge you. It can be helpful to plant a tree or flowers in memory of the person you have lost and make time to relax and think of the good times you had with them without allowing those memories to overwhelm you. Instead, perhaps you could fill a scrapbook with letters, notes and poems or put together a photo album of their life with all the good memories; such things can keep your thoughts balanced and positive.

Give yourself permission to feel sad and allow tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent steam in private; it may help to get it out of your system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and let people know your needs. Don’t ever think of yourself as being a burden to others; most people get immense satisfaction from being able to help someone in need whether that need is practical or emotional. Give yourself plenty of exercise; just walking can help to relieve the stress and tensions you feel and it can help to improve the way you think. Also sleep and eat properly and remember to laugh. All these things help you draw on your strengths and give you a positive attitude.

As hard as it is for you now, you will survive. There are others who are close to you who depend on you to take the right attitude and to be prepared to help them along the road that is life. Take the attitude of “So what! I can go on and I will live life to the full.” You will never forget your loved one, but if you fill your thoughts with happy memories you will be able to enjoy life and move on to bigger and better moments.

Your Belief System

Your belief system creates your reality. Now that is quite a mouthful and you may need to read it several times to understand its importance and far-ranging consequences. First, what is your reality? It is how you see the world from the point of view of your beliefs. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between internal and external ‘reality’. Internal reality is made up of our thoughts and external reality is the evidence of our five senses (touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing). That explains why our belief systems have such an influence on our lives and why it is important to recognise the power of our thoughts.

The distinction between a fact and our attitude towards that fact is our belief system. It is the single most important influence we have and our beliefs are so remarkably powerful that they control the direction and destiny of our lives. No belief is right or wrong – it is either empowering or limiting; however, our beliefs become habits and we all know how difficult it is to change a habit. Once the limiting beliefs and habits have been identified and acknowledged it will be easier to change a particular behaviour pattern. Knowing this should stimulate us to be the master of our thoughts and beliefs and not a servant to them. Unfortunately, sometimes emotions get in the way and they are a major cause of limiting beliefs.

I am explaining our belief systems because how you see your reality and what you believe about yourself and about others will determine how you handle life’s difficulties.

Limiting beliefs can trap people in a revolving door of hardship and fatalism where their concentration is on the negative things of life and the feeling that they were meant to struggle and the ‘good life’ is only for “other people”. They sit around with their friends and agree that life is unfair. They don’t believe they can get jobs that would take them up the ladder of success and if they find they have spare money, they spend it.

When disappointments or crises arise a limiting belief system will see to it that no matter how hard you work or how much effort you put in, you will always be severely limited in your achievements. It will tell you that you will be unable to cope with the situation, that you have failed or life is not worth living. You think about your problems incessantly and your emotions may swing like a pendulum from anger to feeling sorry for yourself as you see no way out. Negative emotions will control your thoughts and while that is the case you will not be able to think clearly about finding a solution to your situation. When your mind is in this realm your reality becomes clouded.

An empowering belief system, on the other hand, will certainly feel the pain or the disappointment but that person will control their thoughts and remain expectant that something good will happen because they know the time will pass and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. They will “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again” as the song says. Empowering beliefs allow us to keep our mind clear so a solution can be found and it allows us to seek help if that is necessary. If the crisis is a death in the family, it is the knowing that “this too shall pass” and that life must continue.