The stories you tell about yourself become self-fulfilling prophecies. They drive your behavior, influence how others respond to you, and either empower you to achieve your dreams or place unnecessary limits on your potential.
Let's look at an example. Imagine that you are a high school student and you tell yourself this story: "I am not very good at school."
This belief would make you feel insecure and anxious in the classroom, which would likely make you reluctant to participate, as well. This would cause your teachers to judge you poorly and give you lower grades, which would corroborate your belief in your academic ineptitude.
All this would probably make you less likely to try very hard at your schoolwork, which would further perpetuate the cycle.
On the other hand, if you told even a slightly more empowering story, the cycle would perpetuate on a more positive track. Imagine if this were the story instead: "It sometimes takes me longer, but I always figure it out."
Daydreaming offers a chance to believe that your desires are possible.
When we first have desires, they can feel out of reach—too big to even hope for. Daydreaming allows you to expand what is possible and explore those kernels of passion you have stowed away in the deep recesses of your heart.
Every great athlete imagined standing on the podium receiving a gold medal. Every great musician imagined playing in sold-out concert halls or sports arenas. Every great actor imagined giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars.
There is power in imagining that a dream could possibly come true. Daydreaming is a building block of believing, and when we believe, we take steps toward making our dreams come true.
We live in a time when we are attached to devices that ensure we never have to be bored, but this means we never daydream. This means we cannot hear our Inner Wisdom or tap into our inner sense of creativity.
There is a...
Forgive people. Even if they do not deserve your forgiveness, you deserve to be free of resentment, sadness, and anger.
These negative emotions feel bad—to you. They are appropriate, at times, but carrying them around forever will degrade your life. Your negative feelings might have no effect on the person with whom you are upset, but they will certainly enslave you to the harm that was done to you in the past.
Each time you think of your anger, sadness, or resentment, you inflict that painful emotion on yourself. Someone else might have inflicted that pain upon you initially, but you are one who continues to inflict it on yourself.
Why keep punishing yourself for what someone else did to you?
Choose a more powerful path. Feel your negative emotions. Acknowledge them. Accept them.
Then, when you are ready, allow them to be a voice of your needs by asking yourself: “What do I need to feel better, and what can I do to get that need met?”
Another good question is:...
The most important habit you can develop to become more resilient is this: Practice resilience.
Resilience isn’t really something that you are. It’s something that you do over and over again as a habit.
We all move in and out of resilience cycles. Sometimes we feel empowered. Sometimes we feel disempowered.
The difference is this: The people who make...
As early as preschool, people start asking children what they want to be when they grow up. And while there is certainly nothing wrong (and a lot right) with encouraging children to think about their futures and consider careers that might interest them, this question fails to convey several important things.
First, the question is asking about what career your child wants to have, but a job is only part of the story.
A better question might be—"Who do you want to be when you grow up?"—because it evokes thought about the myriad of components that factor into who we are as humans.
"Who do you want to be?" prompts thought about not just career, but also family, values, hobbies, lifestyle, and legacy. It starts a conversation about how your kids want to show up in the world, how they want to be perceived by others, and how they will try to balance all of the things that will matter to them.
The second and most important thing the question fails to convey is the process of...
We all want to raise children who have emotional intelligence, but despite the fact that we spend about 13,000 hours in school just to receive our high school diploma, most of us never learned the basics of emotional intelligence.
We learned that the capital of Illinois is Springfield, even though Chicago makes more sense. We learned how to make potato batteries, which has come in handy exactly zero times. And we learned about all the movers and shakers of the Renaissance, including but not limited to Francesco Petrarca, whose major accomplishment was writing a collection of poems about Laura, a woman he loved but could not be with.
Yet, most of us don’t know much about emotional intelligence, despite the fact that 100 percent of us will face obstacles, and despite the fact that resilience skills are necessary life skills.
(The same cannot be said of learning Hot Cross Buns on a recorder.)
In fact, if we are asked rudimentary questions about emotional intelligence, most of us...
Have you ever considered some of your maladaptive coping skills? You might turn to drugs or alcohol after a bad day. You might do a little retail therapy after a big fight with your spouse.
Do you know WHY you do this?
It’s often because you want to feel better immediately. You want those bad-feeling feelings to go away, if only for a few minutes or hours.
And who could blame you? Of course you want those bad-feeling feelings to go away.
But be careful that you do not brush your negative emotions under the rug permanently. Being distracted in healthy ways, like watching a funny video or going for a run, is a good way to relieve yourself from a flood of emotions, but ONLY TEMPORARILY. Your bad-feeling feelings will always find a way to rear their heads if you try to avoid them.
It is helpful to use an analogy to explain this. Imagine that your body starts feeling a little bit achy, so you take a painkiller. The painkiller makes you feel better almost immediately, but the effects are...
From the time we are children, “positive thinking” is pounded into us.
We are bombarded with sentiments like:
The sentiment behind these pep-talks is admirable: A lot can be said about focusing on positive, empowering thoughts.
But the truth is that forcing positive thoughts when you feel lousy doesn’t work.
In fact, it can actually make you feel worse.
In one study, subjects were told of an unhappy event, but then instructed not to feel sad about it. They were, in essence, told to stay positive.
Guess what happened?
They ended up feeling worse than subjects who were told of the event, but given no instructions about how to feel.
That’s right ...
If you are told to feel better when you aren’t ready to feel better, you end up feeling worse.
We call this the “tyranny of positive thinking.”
Sometimes, it can feel...
Here are two tips for helping your children build healthy paradigms about money:
1. Replace “We can’t afford it.”
This phrase (and the belief it expresses) sets up a paradigm of being powerless with regard to money. On the other hand, if you frame it as a choice, such as, “I’m not going to choose to spend my money on that today,” you take your power back.
Sometimes you actually can afford it, you simply don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on the trivial or useless thing your child is asking you to buy. If you say, “We can’t afford it,” you are wasting an opportunity to say something that proactively builds a better paradigm about the relationship between values and money. More on that in a bit …
Even if you truly cannot afford it, saying that over and over to your child builds a disempowered model in their head of your family’s relationship with money. It communicates that you are never in a position to...
Our friend and the president of the Santa Monica PONY Baseball league, Marc Shrake, has this to say of coaching: “Most of the kids know what to do; they just need to be taught how to figure out for themselves how to do it.”
In other words, the wisdom exists inside of them. They just need to be taught how to find it.
He goes on to say that kids don’t need to be told every single time what to do when they swing and miss. Intellectually, they know what they are supposed to do.
“Most of the time, they need to be told to relax, take a deep breath, wait, trust their hands.”
The goal of coaching, he says, is that the kids learn to coach themselves. Instead of looking to the coach for step-by-step instructions, they look inward at what they already know.
This is also the goal of teaching resilience. The goal is that over time, your kids can figure out for themselves how to tap into their Inner Wisdom. The goal is that they figure out for themselves...