Tag Archives: uncertainty

It’s Resolutions Time! Again?

30 Dec

I often wonder who came up with the idea to create a list of New Year’s resolutions. A list of all the things we are unhappy with about ourselves, and the “wish” that we will miraculously change over the coming months.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in change and I believe that each of us has the power within to change practically anything about ourselves. We are that powerful. No, what concerns me about New Year’s resolutions is the way we go about creating these changes.

Often the buoyancy of the holidays (too much cheer, food, spending) gives us a false sense of optimism when it comes to changing lifelong habits. We believe that change will come automatically when we once decide to make that change. Nowhere within the listing stage do we ever ask ourselves, “Can I do this? What plan do I have to succeed? What sacrifices will I have to make? Am I biting off more than I can chew?”

According to a January 2013 article in Forbes magazine only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed. If a doctor wanted to perform surgery on you and then shared with you the fact that in better than 9 of every 10 patients the surgery was an utter failure, would you still agree to go under the knife. I have my doubts. Yet, millions of people will sit down over the coming days and create a list of changes they desire in themselves, yet knowing somewhere deep within, that they are going to fail.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions? Of course not. Go ahead and make your list, but then do the following:

  • Prioritize your list from least important to most important. Then choose the most important item on your list to begin. One item, no more. Once you succeed with this resolution the others will be much easier to attain.
  • Plan the next 90 days and how you’re going to succeed. I suggest learning and using SMART goals. You’ll find them in my book Overpowering Fear or just Google them. If you’re going to lose weight ask yourself, “What help do I need to accomplish my goal.” Over the years I’ve used Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. Choose a system that feels comfortable for you. Don’t think you’re going to accomplish this alone, YOU WON’T.
  • (This example can be used for most goals). If your goal is to get more sleep create a log to fill out just before you go to bed. Write down the time you went to bed and if you’re not getting to bed on time, write the reason. Review this log at the end of every week. You’ll see that the reasons you wrote down were meaningless. If it was important for you to watch Scandal to the end, ask yourself, what the episode was about? If you can’t remember then it wasn’t very important.
  • Accept the fact  that no great change happens without some sacrifice. Whether it be food, time, alcohol, video games, etc. you are going to have to give up something. Prepare to give up the known for the unknown.
  • Because you create your life through your thoughts, don’t let thoughts of failure derail you. Done right, you have a greater chance of success than failure. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind causing unwanted fear say to yourself, “Thank you for this thought but I choose not to accept it. Instead I ask for a thought that is just the opposite.” It may sound crazy but it works.

For those who try my plan for accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear back from you. Tell me your successes and your failures. My goal is to make this work for everyone.

Love,

Michael

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Fear is Like Gravity – It Holds You Down

1 Nov

Be thankful for gravity. If not for just the perfect amount of gravity we would all be floating around uncontrollably, which could be a real problem as we dodge other people, cars, trucks and virtually anything not nailed down.

Fear, on the other hand holds us down too, but unfortunately in a more insidious and harmful way. Fear, when not faced and overpowered, will often freeze us in place. Afraid to make a decision, afraid to make a choice, afraid to take a chance, we often do nothing.

I have a very close friend in that position right now and I’m not sure how to help him. Brent has been married for around 30 years to a woman I’m not sure he ever loved. They have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Brent was never a great father but he’s making up for that now by being a wonderful grandfather.

Brent has been out of work for approximately 2 years and has not found another job. And I’m beginning to believe he doesn’t want one. Money is now tight. Very tight. I have suggested to him that with the kids all grown and his marriage an empty shell to just walk away from the life he’s lead, and begin a new life, one of his choosing.

But Brent can’t choose. He can’t make a decision. And actually as I look back on his life, he’s always let others around him make the decisions for him. I wonder why that’s so. He grew up like me in Chicago, but I don’t think his parents or his siblings had problems making a decision, only Brent. Brent has always been paralyzed by fear.

Recently, I read an article about a study of how people respond to emergency situations and it described an airplane crash with survivors. Some people would get up immediately and head for the exits. Others would instinctively look around for other survivors and help them to escape. And then there were those who just sat in their seats, paralyzed with fear, who did nothing. And that’s where rescuers found them. Dead in their seats. And there were more of these people then you would imagine.

I’m stymied. I love Brent like a brother and I’m at a loss as to how to help him. If I just gave him money he’d use it to pay his immediate bills, but in a matter of weeks he’d be back to where he is now.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t help Brent. Maybe all I can do is offer him the tools, the encouragement and the support, and the rest is up to him.

Love,

Michael

What You Are Thinking is What You Are Feeling!

11 Oct

What Are You Thinking?

Let’s begin with some bad news. Social scientists report that you have around 60,000 thoughts in a day. Of which, 54,000 can be classified as negative. The remaining 6,000 thoughts are positive.

It’s been said that you are what you think, so do the math. For every positive thought you have in a day you think nine negative ones. NINE! No wonder our mantra is, “Same crap, different day!”

But it’s not just the trash talking thoughts about you that you thought today. You’re the sum total of every thought you have entertained going back to when you were a young child. And, every negative comment you’ve heard others say to you or about you.

Think you’re a klutz? You’ll be tripping over things. Think you’re stupid? You’re almost guaranteed to fail the test. Think you are a procrastinator? Nothing will ever get done. Think you have two left feet? You’ll never learn to dance. Think you’re poor? You’ll never get rich.

We become exactly what we think.

And Feeling?

Here’s some more bad news for you. If you are feeling sad, lonely, fearful, dejected, doubtful, worried – you can thank those 54,000 negative thoughts. Yes, it’s true. Negative thoughts create negative feelings.

I suggest everyone learn to monitor their thoughts and replace every negative thought with a positive one. Now that you know a negative thought will generate a negative feeling it is easy to monitor and change the wrong thought to the right one.

Change your thoughts and you change your mind. Change your mind and you change your life.

With Love,

Michael

The Fear of Giving up Your Ego

17 Jun

In past blogs I talked about getting rid of your ego. I suggested killing it off so it will never again have the opportunity to stand in your way of having, being and doing all that you desire.

The reason I am so against the ego is that I believe it has only one function; to compare you and your possessions to others and their possessions. When you compare yourself favorably to another you feel pretty good about yourself, sort of superior. But, when your comparison finds you inferior to another it is a totally different story. A negative judgment manifests itself in fear, doubt, uncertainty and always disappointment.

Frequently these negative emotions cause us to lose confidence in ourselves along with our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Often, we feel deflated and no longer the king of our domain. It becomes difficult to work at maximum efficiency, especially when our heart just isn’t in it.

The best example of this is the salesperson doing walk-ins and cold calls. When this person is rejected by the suspect, their ego, as the designated defender of their person, floods their mind with fear, uncertainty and doubt. These thoughts turn into the feelings of fear and emptiness felt within the body, and soon they’re ready to give up, to quit and throw in the towel.

While many people have agreed with this based upon the responses to my earlier blogs, many have expressed fear about what would happen to them if they did eliminate their ego. They saw the ego as their personality and their personality is how they are known, respected, valued and loved. Their fear is that they would no longer be themselves. That instead of the outgoing person with a terrific sense of humor they would now become a human zombie. Devoid of all emotions. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you voluntarily give up your ego the only thing that changes is the constant comparisons to others, and the negative feelings they engender. The loving, generous person with the funny personality doesn’t change one bit.

With no ego, you will now see people as who they really are and they’ll get to see the real you. Who could ask for anything better than that?

With love,

Michael

Courage

3 Jun

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

Wouldn’t it be nice to live a life completely free of fear? Where we could and would try anything new because we would not be constrained by those awful, uncomfortable feelings fear causes us.

Well, it’s not going to happen. Nor would we want it to. Without fear, some of us might decide to do some pretty stupid things in our quest to posthumously receive the Darwin award. So in some instances experiencing fear is a good thing.

But most of the fear we as normal humans experience daily is not real. It is created by the delusional negative thoughts we entertain. Something like 54,000 of the 60,000 thoughts the average person thinks in a day.

So, as Mark Twain said, we are never going to reach a place of total absence of fear. But, we can stop fear from negatively affecting our lives by resisting fear and mastering it. And we do that by changing the fearful thoughts we think to positive ones.

So the first thing we must do is identify a negative thought we are thinking. And here comes the tricky part, because I know you’re going to ask, “Michael, how do I do that?” Actually, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

How you feel at any given moment is a reflection of what you are thinking. A positive thought generates good feelings. A negative thought bad feelings.

Acknowledge when you’re feeling fearful, afraid, uncertain, or doubtful. Then stop and identify what you were just thinking. It should be easily recognizable as a negative thought. Then let go of that thought and replace it with a positive happy thought. In moments you’ll find yourself feeling better.

There are times when I like to ask my higher power for help in taking the negative thought from me. Typically, when that happens a positive thought will immediately come to fill the vacuum. I usually ask the Holy Spirit the following: Holy Spirit, I cast the burden of this negative fearful thought about ___________ on you, and I go free.” It is best to say this out loud and as many times as it takes to unburden yourself of the thought.

If at first this doesn’t work for you don’t worry, it will. As you make this a habit you’ll find your belief system will change until you reach a point where you ask your higher power to take your negative thought fully expecting it to disappear. And, it does.

With Love,

Michael

Arrogance and Your Ego!

21 Mar

Arrogance has its roots in the ego. Get rid of your ego and you’ll no longer believe you’re a legend in your own mind. ~Michael Luckman in Luckman’s Laws

I admit it. I have been accused of being a little arrogant in my past. Well, perhaps more than a little bit. And maybe more times than I care to remember.

Arrogance can often be mistaken for self-confidence. But if you read my book Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life you would know that my arrogance caused me some very difficult, uncomfortable and unhappy times in my life.

Where did my arrogance come from? I believe it came from my ego. You see your ego, which has never been your friend, compares you and your possessions, to others. Very often with disastrous results, especially when in comparison to another you don’t measure up.

Arrogance is really the hard protective shell on the outside that protects the fear, doubt and uncertainly you feel on the inside. The shell becomes your “false front” or the face and personality you show the world.

If you’ve been branded as arrogant first look to your ego and then past it to your fears. Focus on those fears and then overpower them. Once those fears are gone you’ll see that with their departure they graciously took your ego with them.

No ego, No arrogance.

With Love,

Michael

Beating the Bad Habit of Negative Thinking

11 Mar

Negative thinking is a lot like smoking. It’s a habit. One that we have accepted and live with every day of our lives. And like smoking, a BAD habit. We have accepted its consequences and believe that we will never get out from under it. So we hardly even try. We sort of just live with it. But negative thinking can be overpowered.

The first step to breaking this or any habit is to acknowledge it. Accept that you are for the most part an average person. And the average person thinks 54,000 negative thoughts a day and approximately 6,000 positive thoughts. Just looking at those numbers; nine negative thoughts to every one positive one makes you wonder if you can do it. But you can.

Okay, you say. I’m average and I think all these negative thoughts. But I don’t recognize my thoughts as negative. In fact I’m not even aware that I’m even thinking a thought, be it positive or negative. And herein lies the problem.

So the next question you ask yourself is, “How do I know when I’m thinking a negative thought?” Actually it’s really quite easy. Every negative thought engenders a negative feeling. So, when you’re feeling frightened, sad, depressed, worried, anxious or any one of countless negative feelings, stop and analyze what you are thinking. I guarantee you are thinking a negative thought. And it’s front and center in your mind as part of a story you are telling yourself. It could be a new story or one you have been beating yourself up with for decade after decade.

So once you identify a negative feeling what do you do then? In my book Overpowering Fear, I lay out a number of tools I use to clear my mind of negative thoughts. But, the one I like best I learned from Florence Scovel Shinn’s 1925 bestseller, The Game of Life and How to Play it. It involves using your higher power. I use Infinite Spirit as does Ms. Shinn.

Infinite Spirit, I cast the burden of this negative thought about (fill in the blank) on you and I go free. Start with saying it three times and see if the negative feeling has lifted. If not continue saying it until you feel happy and full of joy. Because happiness and joy will fill the vacuum left by the negative thought.

If this seems like a lot of work, you’re right. Old habits, especially life long ones, will take work to overpower. But my faith is in you. I know you can do it.

With Love,

Michael