Everyday we are making countless decisions; some that matter and some that are inconsequential. Our lives are filled with daily obligations, responsibilities and tasks where we are called upon to make instant choices. How best do you attempt to make the decision right or the right decision?
To better solve almost every personal quandary in your life there exists a simple and quick method to ease the discomfort associated with effective decision-making. A quick guide that I discovered many years ago came from a book titled, 10-10-10, 10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years, A Life Transforming Idea by the author Suzy Welch.
She devised a system to help balance one's multiple roles, (both professionally and personally), as well as to better navigate any of the daily dilemmas that fill up an over planned existence. She termed this technique the 10-10-10 Rule.
How does this work?
Simply, each time you find yourself in a situation where there appears to be no easy solution that will make yourself happy or others, you ask yourself these three powerful questions:
What are the consequences of my decision in the next 10 minutes?
What are the consequences of my decision in the next 10 months?
What are the consequences of my decision in the next 10 years?
The answers usually will inform you of what you need to know. It is a great way to 'check -in' with yourself. They will assist you to not only to make the most reasoned move for yourself but also to explain (if needed) your choice to those impacted by your decision. The use of these profound questions when you feel yourself stuck and not sure what to do next can help you transform any uneasiness into a much clearer perspective.
"Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking." - Malcolm Gladwell
It turns out that it does have an impact on one's longevity. According to a newer study as reported from the journal Aging, those that do laugh the most may indeed live the longest! Researchers have found that people who possess certain personality traits, based on their genetics, may live longer than others without them. Those identified traits are as follows:
1. An optimistic nature
2. An ability to laugh a lot
3. An easygoing disposition
One research study focused on analyzing over 200 people with an average age of 97.6. What they discovered from the participants was they had personality qualities that clearly indicted they possessed a positive attitude towards their lives. The researchers had a premise that perhaps the study subjects had survived longer because they were mean and ornery. The common perception of most seniors is that they have a diminished capacity to enjoy their current existence. They can be considered to be both difficult and cantankerous to deal with. However, the research proved that the contrary was evident. The findings indicated that the majority of the individuals were much more fully engaged in their lives, by being more outgoing, more optimistic and easygoing. Instead of whining, complaining and viewing life as hostile or negative they had a positive outlook that served them well. They tended to share their emotions with others more freely rather than keeping them "bottled up" inside. They had established a large social network and viewed laughter and fun as an important part of their lives.
Furthermore, the researchers concluded that the study participants scored in two distinct aspects; the first measure was that they scored lower on tests for neurotic personality disorders and the second measure was that they scored higher on tests for conscientiousness. Thus, this aging population scored better on these two indicators as compared to the U.S. population. In another study, it found that those who are happy have a 35% lower risk of dying over a five-year period than unhappy people.
So what does that mean for you?
It appears that a link really may exist between living longer and one's personal contentment. A prescription for one's happiness is perhaps the best medicine you can give to your health and the quality of your life.
Your Attitude + Your Choices = Your Life
As you age, you will hopefully feel like you have aged gracefully. As an observer of people, you may have noticed how worn out and old someone appears. It may seem that they may have aged way beyond their chronological years. It is as if their appearance shows an actual road map of their life. You cannot tell at 'face value' what their life story has been but you can sense that they may have had a harsh existence.
What does your facade reveal about you? To others, do you think you appear to be happy? Brooding? Depressed? Indifferent? Hostile? Friendly? Likeable?
Since we cannot be our own observers, some honest and genuine feedback from our significant others may provide you some valuable insight. What your outward appearance shows to the world may be your 'mask' to cover up how you have chosen to treat yourself throughout the years. In addition, from your past behavior, you teach people how to treat you as well.
To better improve how you do take care of yourself is first understood with the important concept of 'extreme self-care.' Extreme self-care is simply the act of making the active care of you a priority. You do so by establishing that you deserve to be #1. By putting yourself first, you are being selfish in the greatest possible sense. Selfishness in this context is not synonymous with being either egocentric or insensitive. It means you care about you and what is in your best and highest interest, without any harm or disregard to others.
An excerpt from the book titled, The 28 Laws of Attraction, by Thomas J. Leonard: Living in today's world places many demands on your body, mind, heart and spirit. The purpose of extreme self-care is to create a positively selfish focus on balance, well-being, and quality of life.
The 7 Ways to Effectively Practice Extreme Self-Care are:
1. Find tangible ways to nurture yourself every day. You alone will know what feels right. It can be a simple pleasure that you enjoy experiencing (a morning cup of coffee, reading a book uninterrupted, taking a long shower, eating a delicious meal, etc.) Set aside an increment of time (your most precious resource) to indulge yourself in ways that bring you joy and comfort.
2. Attempt to reduce unnecessary stress. Handle items that you deem priorities and seek to eliminate those that are unwanted. Follow the system of the four D's to facilitate lowering your personal stressors:
Delegate to others what you do not have the time or skills to do, to better manage you.
Delete or Dump what is not needed. Just like you take out the trash, do so by clearing out physical and mental clutter in your environment.
Diminish any unnecessary responsibilities or tasks that you deem may be unworthy of your time or commitment.
Delay by temporarily postponing issues or items that are not important to tackle today.
3. Stop treating others better than you do yourself. Ask right now, how would I like to be treated in this situation? Does this feel right to me? What is best for me?
4. Listen to your intuition when you are asked to do something for someone else that you may not really want to do. Say NO when you really mean it, instead of yes and later being angry with yourself for allowing it to happen.
5. Do not wait for a health crisis to remind you to be number one. Becoming ill is a state of 'dis-ease' and it requires your intense determination and motivation to become whole and well again.
6. Adapt the concept and understand the true distinction of being self-full and not selfish. (Another blog article was posted in-depth on this topic: http://www.e3coaching.net/1/category/selfishness/1.html )
7. Becoming more mindful about practicing extreme self-care will not only allow you to get the immediate full benefits but it will also positively impact the well-being of others in your circle. You hopefully will have avoided the overwhelming sensation of being 'burned-out.' You'll have the reserves of your good intentions and energy to share and be generous of spirit to others.
Nothing is more important than being you own best caretaker. Life is short; there are no guarantees how long we may live but we can become much better stewards of our minds, body and spirit by how we choose to treat ourselves going forward. Take time to take care of yourself, before time takes care of you!
I invite your comments.
It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate. - Dalai Lama
The Merriam-Webster's defines compassion as follows: 'Sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.'
To obtain a better understanding of the broader scope of what compassion means we must first acknowledge the origin of the word. It comes from the Latin stem 'compati' meaning, "suffer with, feel pity." From these Latin origins, the word compassion is the ability for an individual to feel what the other individual is feeling. This is being either empathetic, sympathetic or both. Taken once step further, the essence of compassion is the ability for a person to fully feel the emotional grief and/or suffering of another person in the present moment. Being both fully present and focused with that other person and not into your own self-serving needs. You are not pre-occupied with what ever is happening to you instead you are totally aware to the other person. This is the key and vital definition of compassion that distinguishes it from many other words.
Compassion therefore is a quality that brings people together. It is in effect giving freely of yourself to another, with full respect and your undivided attention to their current situation. There is no greater emotion than to feel and absorb the pain of someone else to help ease his or her burden. Therefore, compassion is helping other humans in the present moment, to lighten their discomfort.
A wise selfish person will have compassion for oneself as well as for others. To be compassionate is the act of taking mindful notice that another human is suffering. It means not ignoring or being indifferent to witnessing or experiencing someone else's difficulties. In addition, it means that you feel moved by others’ pain so that you are able to respond in an empathetic way. This refers back to the Latin definition of 'to suffer with." Immediately you feel the need to respond with your concern, caring, and your genuine unselfish desire to help the affected person in some tangible aspect. It is your willingness to react in your most sincere way that is needed in the moment. It must be spontaneous and feel right for you and the other individual. Having compassion also means that you offer your understanding and kindness to others when they may have failed or made mistakes. This is done without any judgment or criticism on your part. The recipient feels you have understood them with your authentic caring and tenderness. They will then begin to feel more 'at-ease’ from your actions. Whenever you feel heartfelt compassion for another (rather than pity) you will be able to clearly recognize in yourself and in others the important realization that suffering, failure and imperfection are universal experiences for all of us. This is the shared collective human experience.
We will each need some compassion from someone, someday, and sometime in our lives. The famous quote: "There but for fortune, go I."
I invite your comments.
How do you unlock your intuition?
How does utilizing your intuition benefit you to successfully manage your daily life?
Is it easy or difficult thing to do? To answer these concerns and to learn how to connect with your own intuitive powers, follow these simple guidelines.
To tune into your intuition use this process:
1. First, get comfortable by sitting quietly.
2. Close your eyes and take several long slow deep breathes.
3. Slowly quiet your mind by letting your thoughts go free. Allow the mental chatter to be dialed down.
4. Feel the energy moving through your body as you continue to breathe comfortably by taking deep cleansing breaths.
5. Release any tensions in your body by feeling yourself going into a deep peaceful place.
6. Feel your heart by tapping into your wise self, which knows exactly what you need.
7. Ask your wise self what is most important for you to focus on today.
8. Next, notice whatever has come up for you. It could be a thought, an idea, a feeling or a mental picture. Take a few moments to experience this clearly.
"There is always one true inner voice ~ Trust it!" - Gloria Steinem
Learn to pay close attention to what your inner voice is trying to tell you. Your intuition is never wrong. Tap into the questions you have asked whenever you want some clarity on an issue. Intuition is really your internal guiding force. It is present to inform you what is right for you. It can function as a 'built-in' way to protect you from a danger. It's important to 'check in' with your intuition when you sense it is trying to communicate with you. It is like having your own finely tuned GPS navigation system that just has to be turned on everyday. With continued practice your intuition will come through both easier and easily daily.
As a simple example, you may use it while you are driving in traffic to decide which direction to turn or which route to take. See what happens. Did your intuition help to assist you? Did you avoid a delay from a major accident that occurred on the highway by taking a different exit? Did you arrive at your destination more quickly and feel more relaxed?
Your intuition, which really is your wise self, can serve you by assisting you to make better decisions and choices. Therefore, your intuition ought to be used every day, in every situation as much as possible. Being totally aware that your inner voice will always have your highest and best interest at heart. It's looking out for you!
"Your gut is the voice of your higher self. It's your personal GPS system to guide you and to try to keep you out of danger's way. Out of harm's way. That is the gift of fear." - Oprah
I invite your comments.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs
Have you ever experienced your intuition telling you what's wrong or what's right?
Have you found that consciously choosing not to listen to your inner voice resulted in the least favorable outcome?
Have you learned that following your intuition usually exists as a means to guide you in the right direction - but you end up forgetting to rely on your intuition anyway?
In our busy lives every day, we are constantly faced with making a multitude of decisions. Some have little or no consequence while others may determine a significant outcome depending on the given situation. I have used my own intuition to assist me getting where I needed to go by making an impromptu decision and to later learn that I had made the right choice in that moment. By utilizing and developing this wonderful skill you will be better able to manage your life much more successfully. In addition, you may find that you'll navigate yourself that much easier throughout your day.
By following your intuition, it will enable you to greatly improve your decision-making skills and choices and will benefit whatever it is that needs your attention to accomplish routine tasks. It could be as simple as deciding what to buy when you are at the grocery store or shopping for an item of clothing. It could be as significant and/or as difficult in whether or not to purchase a car or a home. If your mind is clear and calm, your intuition will guide you when you are actively making these types of important decisions that do have a lasting impact and consequence for you at work, at home, with your finances and personal relationships.
Recently, on the Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz interviewed the world renowned Intuitive Medium, Char Margolis. She shared with the audience that she believes everyone possess a 'sixth' sense, our intuition. To best serve you, learn to use and fine-tune this special sense. Recognize it by listening to your 'gut instinct.' What are you sensing in that moment in time is your 'inner voice.' Then act upon what it is that you have learned.
This is your life and it's a brief one. Do accept your own true choices. Do not let others put a cage around you. Be confident to diplomatically speak up for yourself when it's appropriate. Express your feelings and what you are thinking when you get a signal from within that doesn't agree with others. Do what you genuinely feel "fits" for you. Say yes when you really sense it is right for you and say no when you sense it isn't. After all, you are the one who has to live with yourself!
Listen to your heart. Even though it's on the left side, it's always right. - Unknown
Next month, I will share in more detail how to connect with your intuition and why it is in your best interest to allow it to guide you to be able to live a much happier and fulfilling life.
I invite your comments.
Are you ready to make a plan for yourself?
Now that New Year has started, have you established some realistic goals for your future?
Are you thinking, how do I get started?
How can I create significant results?
If you’d read my last month’s blog topic on “In With the New and Out With the Old,” you’ll have a keen understanding of how important it is to set yourself up for measurable success in meeting your intended goals. Intentions are just that; what you “intended” to do but not what actually did. Everyone has intentions but not everyone takes actions. What happens is based on the choices you make plus the actions you take, plain and simple. The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” is apropos here.
If you give yourself the gift of some quality "down" time to carefully reflect on the changes you feel the most strongly about, then you are ready to create a plan for this year. By tapping into your inner most self or what I refer to as your “inner work,” you will have most likely generated a mental list to build upon. If you feel stuck with this portion and feel unable to move forward, ask yourself this provocative question and see what spontaneously bubbles up to the surface. Sometimes one must first come up with the powerful question before an answer will appear. A simple way to effectively stimulate your thinking is to ask this question:
What do I want that I am not getting?
The three differences between having a tangible goal and a visionary dream are accountability, a definite timeline and lastly measurable results.
To become accountable, to establish a chronological timeline and measure your results utilize these steps:
· Visualize and create a documentable list of things you wish to accomplish in the next month, next 90 days and by this time next year. Your items can be categorized into short, middle and long-term goals. Post this list where you will be able to refer to it regularly. As a suggestion, have your list displayed on your bathroom mirror, on your personal computer monitor or even on your phone. The key is to allow it to be a constant visible reminder to follow through and not slack off or quit altogether. You have now made a serious commitment to yourself to execute your desired goals to benefit your well-being.
· Make an action plan with multiple steps to begin to fulfill each of your listed goals. The metaphorical question: "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is "in small bites." If a goal has become unattainable, too difficult or unrealistic, then re-evaluate it to better fit your expectations. If necessary, re-negotiate your plan, as needed. You can always add another goal and raise your aim higher, once you have accomplished the preceding ones. You are now in the position to better manage yourself and hold yourself fully accountable for the outcome(s) you foremost wanted.
· Lastly, check in with your results. Have you accomplished what you intended to do? What is solid evidence that your actions have succeeded in providing the outcomes you wanted? A life coach can assist you to indentify your challenges, help you with strategizing a concrete plan and hold you accountable to your chosen personal vision.
In order to get anywhere, we must learn to walk before we are able to run. It’s very important to always reward yourself for your efforts. Research has shown that heavy doses of self-criticism and self-doubt re both counterproductive to increased motivation and self-control. By being both self-supportive and compassionate you are being kind to yourself. Even with occasional setbacks, you can re-adjust your plan's outline and be self-forgiving in the process. It will bring you more satisfaction in receiving what it is you really want. Both small and sizeable action steps bring you that much closer to attaining your personal goals. You have led yourself that much closer to manifesting what it is you wanted to achieve in the first place! Congratulations to you! Keep up your efforts by investing the time and energy in yourself. Don’t give up easily – you are really worth it!
As always, I invite your comments.
It’s the beginning of the New Year and with it you may have expectations for what you’d like to see happen. Have you challenged yourself to make any significant changes in your life? Have you made any conscious decisions about what you really want to do differently this year? This process of self-reflection is necessary to evaluate your current status. By taking a personal inventory of what has occurred in the last year, you will be in a better position to determine where you are right now. By allowing yourself to look back you will be probably be able to quickly pinpoint your issues of dissatisfaction. And make better choices for your future.
An easy way to begin this process is to ask the following:
What are my successes?
What are my failures?
Next, what do you feel is within your own personal power to effectively change? What is better to leave behind? If you have some generated some solid ideas to improve your current circumstances, congratulate yourself! You have already gained momentum to move forward.
3 SIMPLE QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED:
What do you want?
What’s in your way?
Who do you need to become?
Next, to move past the concept thinking stage you will need to make a plan, set goals and commit to act upon them. The difference between a having a realistic goal and having a dream are three key factors: accountability, a timeline and be able to have measurable results. All the wishing and hoping will not create the tangible quantifiable results you alone seek to accomplish. The old expression “Talk is cheap” fits well here. A true commitment to effect change and a plan of action steps insures you much greater chances of success.
How will you hold yourself accountable?
How will you be able to measure your results?
What do you need to do to set yourself up to accomplish your intended goals?
How will you plan to reward yourself?
It’s 2012. Now is the time to begin to assess your personal challenges. Seize the moment to invest the necessary time and energy for yourself. You are worth it! Make a conscious decision to change whatever it is that hasn’t worked well for you this past year. Become more pro-active and aspire to do what you want this New Year. Next year at this time, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. You matter. Make this your best year yet! So out with the old, bring in the new you!
Note: Next month I will address how to establish goals and be accountable to obtain your desired measurable results.
I invite your comments.
Have you ever heard of a “Happiness Account?” It’s the kind email subject that gets forwarded on and on like an old worn out chain letter. One that you may easily delete because you feel it’s not worth your time, however, this one has an interesting and relevant twist. Upon attempting to de-clutter some old files I came across this story about an old man and his happiness account. I am glad I made the good choice to read it rather than sending it to trash. I’d like to share it with you and perhaps you’d like to pass this along to someone who might need a gentle reminder to focus on what is really important.
Subject: Happiness account
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
'I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
'Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.'
'That doesn’t' have anything to do with it,' he replied.
'Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged, it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.’
'It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can choose to get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.’
‘Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.’
Old age is really like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.
If you follow the old man’s advise you would be wise to deposit a lot of happiness in your bank account. So, how is your Happiness Account? Is it full of fond recollections of your life experiences or are you emotionally bankrupt? I’d like to think we all need to make more deposits into our own, so that when we need to make withdrawals in the future, there will be a bounty for you to enjoy.
“Happiness is not ready made, it comes from your own actions.” – Dalai
I invite your comments.
What is an energy vampire? It is a person in your life that leaves you feeling very emotionally and/or mentally exhausted after interacting with them. Their conversation centered on their long laundry list of troubles. Energy vampires always have something to consistently complain about, and/or problems that need to be fixed. They’ll drain your energy by forcing you to listen to their problems or by giving them excessive amounts of attention.
These vampires heavily rely on you to help them solve their issues. They need you to be the “chosen one” to listen. They are most likely addicted to “awfulizing” what is happening. It can make you feel good to be the “open door” go-to person to be there when the need arises. However, the distinction to be mindful of is the recognition of how often this happens to you. How much does this individual contact you? How frequently? Do you feel that they have expectations for you to come up with solutions each time?
It is important in life to have a confidante to be your “sounding board.” A trustworthy person that you feel is both caring and logical. This special individual really ought to hold your best interests at heart. Sometimes we need to have someone be our best friend and guide us. To help you navigate what is worth concerning yourself with. This designated person is someone whom you have deemed can clearly separate fact from fiction. They may be wise and very pragmatic. From your past involvement with them they have proven to you that they have an objective non-judgmental approach.
There is an old expression of “Misery loves company.” This is the primary motive of the energy vampire. They bring you down because they are down. They may not want to put forth or expend their own mental or emotional energy to try and work on resolving their dilemmas. It is much easier to seek out answers and obtain advise from you. I firmly believe in the following astute quote:
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” - Carlos Castaneda
How to avoid these energy vampires? It is a matter of learning to set limits on how often and how much you are willing to tolerate. When you make the conscious choice to establish and stick to your boundaries you will be controlling how much you allow them to “suck” you dry. Let this person know ahead of time that you do not want every conversation to be a long complaint session. That you truly care about their well-being but they must own up to their own problems. It is in their own interest for personal growth to try their best to put forth the necessary effort to improve their situation. You can even turn it around on them and ask them what they plan to do to “fix” it. You can help them create an action plan and hold them accountable. Then reward them with praise on how well they did. You can acknowledge and reinforce that they can be both capable and resourceful. Like raising little children, you attempt to “catch them being good” and they will become less of an energy vampire to you!