Thursday 29 May 2014

Speed of action

Last week I read Robert Ringer’s blog post as I always do. Robert repeated one of his usual messages about the importance of taking action. The famous quotation of Theodore Roosevelt came to mind
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
The downside of the occasional wrong action is much less than the problems resulting from delaying taking action. In one job my boss used to refer to this as paralysis by analysis. In many cases you look for too much information and don’t do anything. It is often said that you should fail fast and often and this is the best way of succeeding.
     I resolved to stop delaying. I resolved to publish my book as soon as possible. I have to review a few parts with some people and should just hurry up. But immediately I worried about my son’s First Communion party on the coming Saturday. He wanted me to hire a bouncy castle. So naively I phoned a few companies locally. There was no bouncy castle available for Saturday. Of course most Holy Communions are on Saturdays in May and many parents are pestered to do likewise. One company told me that she was booked up for months and some people are booking bouncy castles up to a year in in advance!
     Undeterred and with my new found commitment to take action I decided I would buy a used bouncy castle and sell it on after the party. I expected the difference in price would be less than the cost of one day’s rental. So for some hassle and short term cash flow I would have a castle. So I looked on Donedeal, Ireland’s foremost trading website. There were a few small castles 50 miles away, but it was the massive inflatable slide near Wexford town, my location, that caught my eye. The price was a bit more than I wanted to pay but with the intention of recycling the sale this was not such a big issue.
     I phoned and visited the seller in a village just outside Wexford where I had actually gone to primary school. The seller had been in my brother’s class. The slide was huge. We got the pump going and as the slide rose to the heavens I asked the seller how he had come to own it. He trades and renovates used shipping containers, that are often used as temporary lockable stores on building sites. He bought a container and the seller told him that he would also have to buy the slide if he wanted the container. After selling the container he would have nowhere to store the slide.
     I told him I had a 20 foot container that I bought when I built my house 8 years earlier. He said he would be interested to trade and would look at the container later in the evening. When he looked he valued the container at the same as the slide. I agreed, and best of all he would deliver the slide and take the container the day before the big communion party.
     I emptied the container that evening. I moved junk that had been in it for 7 years since I completed building my house. Leaving the container there was the opposite of speed of action. I was glad that the deal had forced me to do something I should have done years earlier. I found space in the shed for stuff worth keeping and space in refuse bags for all the trash. I then arranged neighbors to move the container to a more accessible position. He delivered the following day, Thursday, in plenty of time for the party.
     The party was great. The kids loved the slide. It was so much bigger and better than the average bouncy castle. The downside is that it is difficult to move. I will keep it for a few months until the kids are bored with it before selling it.

     It tells me the importance of taking action soon. If you want to do something and it is very difficult remember few things are impossible. Take action today and you will succeed. 

Wednesday 21 May 2014

The power of thoughts

‘If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.’ Peace Pilgrim

Early in the week the above quotation arrived in my inbox from Darren Lacroix. It summarized perfectly using via negativa the underlying belief of many of the writers who have inspired me, especially Joseph Murphy.
     So I wondered who was this incredibly wise person, Peace Pilgrim? I googled and found that Peace Pilgrim was Mildred Norman Ryder who walked across America eight times campaigning for peace. She started as Peace Pilgrim in 1953 from Pasadena, California. She walked with nothing bar the clothes on her back and the few items she carried in the pockets of her blue tunic which read "Peace Pilgrim" on the front and "25,000 Miles on foot for peace" on the back. She relied on charity for food and shelter. She wrote books about her campaigns and the inner peace it brought.
     This brought to mind my friend Bettie-Marie. Bettie-Marie (pictured) walked over 13 days from Belfast in the North-east of Ireland to Wexford in the South-east campaigning for Body-Whys, an organization that works to help those with eating disorders. She took two weeks off from her job as manager of Brandon House Hotel to walk this long walk in a bikini raising money for Body Whys. The power of a thought.
     Bettie-Marie is an immigrant to Ireland and proudly became a citizen this year. She was sufficiently inspired to walk over 200 miles North to South.
     What ideas have you had to do something inspirational? You should do it. Act with speed because the longer you delay the more negative thoughts you will have that will stop you. Beware of negative thoughts. If you feel one coming reverse it as soon as you catch it.  I love this anonymous passage 

Rather than being annoyed, be amused.
Instead of getting angry, become curious.
In place of envy, feel admiration.
In place of worry, take action.
In place of doubt, have faith.
Negative energy is just positive energy
that's flowing in the opposite direction.

There's no need to fight or run away from that
negative energy. All you need to do is change its
direction. The more negative you are, the more
positive you can be. An automobile that can travel
70 miles per hour to the east... can also travel
just as fast when going west. But first, someone
must turn it around.

When you sense yourself becoming negative, stop
and consider what it would mean to apply that
negative energy in the opposite direction. Turn your
sadness into caring. Transform your complaints into
useful suggestions. Change your bitterness into
determination. The energy is already there,
All you need to do is change its direction.- Unknown

Thursday 15 May 2014

Get up and do what you do

Lately I have been reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Verse 1 of book 5 is inspirational. I recommend you read it

At dawn when you have trouble getting out of bed tell yourself – ‘I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I am going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm? (from Gregory Hays translation, Phoenix 2004).

     It continues and is well worth reading the full verse. Coincidentally I also read a blog this week on Finding your daily motivation. Mike Figliuolo says that you should not pay attention to what keeps you awake at night. These are usually worries. You should pay attention to that which gets you up in the morning. This is your reason for living.
     I did find something to get me out of bed in the morning, writing. I awoke this morning to write this blog post. I get up every and write or edit books or a journal for an hour. I like to get up and get my children ready for school. I like to get up to go to work. It is what is in my nature. It is what I am good at.
     So find what you are good at and which inspires you. Get up every morning as early as you can and do what it is your nature to do. You have laid in bed long enough. Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? … Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

     Get up and make the world a better place.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

Think long and hard before you criticize, condemn or complain about anyone to themselves or to other people. Will any benefit come to you or them from your criticism?

When were you last criticized? Was it by your spouse or partner over a trivial household matter? Was it by your boss over your work not being on time? Was it by your mother or father over the way you do something that never comes up to their standard? Did you like it? I suspect not. I don’t like being criticized. I don’t like to be criticized by my spouse for comments I passed before we married. I didn’t like it when a very critical former boss criticized my work. I didn’t like it when my mother said I was odd and getting odder. No one likes to be criticized. So why do we criticize, condemn and complain about other people? They don’t like it either.
     One criticism my spouse makes of me from before we were married is that I complained about her spending and timekeeping. My criticisms must have cut deep, because I still hear complaints about my complaints 15 years later. Everyone knows their own faults. They don’t want to be reminded of them. So why do so many of us criticize others for their failings, major or minor?
     Chances are slim that someone will actually change their opinion or behavior as a result of something you say. So what is the point of saying it? What are you going to gain by doing so? Maybe you think you will get peace of mind by letting them know your opinion. You are not going to take it. But ask yourself whether this small amount of personal satisfaction is worth the extra animosity it may create in the mind of the other person.
     We are human, and most of us react to things we don’t like. We are programmed by evolution to react to attacks on us with a fight or flight response. This is appropriate for dealing with an attack by a saber-toothed tiger. It is usually an overreaction to the minor incidents that irk us nowadays. We need to realize that the other party is likely to react to our overreaction with a similar overreaction.
     The trick is to find a way of containing your anger without letting the other person know. A good method is to write an email to the person who annoyed you. Omit their email address. After you have written all that you are going to write, save a draft. Reread it 24 hours later and decide if you need to edit it before sending, or to send it at all. Chances are you will not feel quite so strongly as when you wrote it. Omitting the address is a good way to make sure you don’t accidentally send it.
     Dale Carnegie gives a good example of someone who learned to modify his condemnations of others. Young Abraham Lincoln would often write letters critical of others. He ended up being challenged to a duel by someone he had criticized in an anonymous letter to a newspaper. The duel with broadswords on a sandbank of the Mississippi was stopped by the seconds before any harm was done. The incident had such an effect on Lincoln that he modified his behavior and afterwards seldom criticized others. During the course of the American Civil War he had plenty to be concerned about when his generals were not doing as well as he would like. He wrote a letter to General Meade criticizing him for not attacking Lee’s forces before they retreated across the Potomac. Lee’s defeated army had been temporarily slowed by floodwaters of the Potomac after the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lincoln thought Meade missed a great opportunity to end the war 3 years early. But the letter was found in his papers. He never sent it.
     Think long and hard before you criticize, condemn or complain about others to themselves or to third parties. Think about complaints you may make about the government or businesses. Is your complaint justified? Will any benefit come from your criticism? In some cases there is good reason, but even in those cases be careful about the language you use.

This is an extract from ‘Improve your life’ by George Nicholas. It is based on ideas of Dale Carnegie from ‘How to win friends and influence people’.

Thursday 1 May 2014

The power of your subconscious

Use your conscious mind to influence your subconscious with positive images.

The power of your subconscious is beyond measure. It never sleeps. It controls all your bodily functions. It stores vast amounts of information. You can use this power by plainly telling your subconscious before you go to sleep that you want it to perform a specific task.      Your subconscious is the source of your ideals, aspirations and altruistic urges. All the great artists and writers from history tapped into the potential of their subconscious mind to come up with the great ideas that inspired their work. 
     This great power can be used to control your body to help cure medical ailments. In the 1840s a Scottish surgeon called Dr James Esdaile carried out 400 major operations on patients in India. This was in the days before anesthesia or a proper understanding of control of infections. Esdaile hypnotized his patients before carrying out the amputation or removal of a tumor. They felt no pain. None died during surgery. None had infected wounds. The same power that inspired Esdaile and protected his patients can be yours.
     Murphy himself used the power of his subconscious mind to cure skin cancer. The subconscious makes the body. It processes food and turns it into tissue. Older cells are constantly being broken down and processed through your kidneys. The subconscious has made every cell in your body, so all you need to do is to tell it to make them better. Murphy wrote a prayer and repeated it aloud for 5 minutes two or three times a day. He told himself that all his bodily organs were created by the divine intelligence of his subconscious. It knows how to heal him. It is using that power to fix every cell in his body. He thanked it for fixing him. In 3 months the cancer was gone.
     You should make up a prayer in your own words and repeat it morning and nighttime to use this power to control your body. I myself used to suffer from rectal bleeding of internal hemorrhoids. Since I told my subconscious to strengthen the walls of the blood vessels in my anus I have not had a recurrence.
     Your whole life is there in your subconscious. Whatever thoughts, beliefs and theories are imprinted onto your subconscious will manifest externally. Therefore you must impress correct thoughts on your subconscious. If you think negatively, those thoughts generate destructive emotions that are also expressed. What do you feel about yourself now? About your body, finances, friendships, relationships, social status?
     What you feel is what is expressed. You injure yourself with negative thoughts such as anger, fear and envy. You were not born with those negative thoughts. Feed your subconscious positive thoughts to counter these and they will be wiped away.
     Your subconscious works night and day controlling your body. While you sleep your body continues to breathe, to pump blood, to digest food, to repair damaged cells. Your conscious mind does not know how to operate these processes, but it can interfere with them. Imagine that you go to the cockpit of an airliner. You would not be able to operate the plane, but you would be capable of interfering with the captain to make it difficult for him. The role of the conscious mind can be similarly destructive with bodily functions. Thoughts of stress, worry and anxiety from your conscious mind can interfere with your health.
     When you feel stressed or anxious you need to learn to relax. You need to talk to your subconscious mind in a way that helps it operate your body, not in a way that harms it. You should set some time aside each day to allow yourself to relax. While relaxed tell yourself you are relaxed. Tell yourself that your subconscious knows how to make you perfect. Create an image in your mind of the way you want to be.
     Use your conscious mind to expect the best. Convey a positive image to your subconscious. Do not dwell on the negative. Picture yourself succeeding, in good health, solving problems. Feel the thrill of achieving these things. Your subconscious will let it come to pass.

This is an extract from ‘Improve your life’ by George Nicholas. It is based on ideas of Dr Joseph Murphy from ‘The power of your subconscious mind’.