Category Archives: Uncategorized

No. 3: Your Essential Worthiness is a Fact (meaning what you are is good enough)

Research over the last half century – beginning with Carl Rogers and Aaron Beck, and more recently with Yale’s David Rand – has revealed two essential facts about human beings that are enormously positive, which means they reveal something enormously positive about you personally.

Fact #1: The essence of your being is love, which means your basic nature, when functioning freely, is constructive and trustworthy. Love, in this sense, is not a romantic emotional state, but rather an exquisitely rational, coherent, and positive intelligence, guiding your life forward with subtle and ordered complexity toward the goals you are endeavoring to achieve.”[1]

Your essentially loving nature establishes your worth and belonging as a human being, meaning you are inherently golden exactly as you are right now, have been in the past, and are in the process of becoming. It’s the truth and science backs it up. The fact that your worth as a human being is inherent means it is always true. There are no conditions you need to meet, no prerequisites to qualify you, no hoops to jump through to earn it. Your worth is not earned; it’s given. Your successes and failures in life neither increase or decrease your worth. Whether you live in a penthouse on Fifth Avenue or under a freeway, you are worthy. Whether you are a tea-tootler or an alcoholic on a bar stool, at core you are golden. Whether you are the chief of police or a behind bars, you belong.

The research of Brene Brown found that there was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of self-worth and belonging from the people who struggle for it. The one and only variable is that people with a strong sense of self-worth believe they are worthy. They accept it as fact (which it is). Your unqualified acceptance of yourself as worthy is fundamentally all it takes to experience it.

Fact #2: There is one central motivating force in your basic nature that drives you to fulfill your potentialities. It is called the formative tendency, which directs you to express and activate all your talent and competences to enhance your life and reach your complete development as a person. A simple way of identifying the formative tendency in you is to make a list of qualities you experience when you are at your best, functioning at “the top of your game.” Simply list 10 words or short phrases that describe your experience when you’re in the flow, in the zone, running on all cylinders, making things happenThis will help you identify the experience of the directional force emanating from your essential nature.

The code for your essential nature is embedded in the very neurocircuitry of your brain, unwrapping to express the creative, curious, explorative, playful, constructive, peaceful, loving, joyful, compassionate, sharing, and cooperative forces within that move you forward toward self-actualization.

In short, what lives in you as you is not only powerful, it is beautiful. What you are is good enough, and all you have to do is to be it openly. So, if all this is true, and it is, then why do you struggle with shame and self-doubt?

Although you are by your very nature intrinsically worthy and forward moving, your inherent core of worth is so overlaid with layer after layer of negative thoughts, fears, and doubts as to feel nonexistent. Thus, your challenge in life is to remove the layers of fear and negative thinking so your intrinsic worth can emerge naturally. How do you accomplish that?

A Simple Practice to Accentuate Your Self-Worth

You can begin simply, by waking up each morning ahead of the morning rush to spend a few minutes to starting the day on a positive note that asserts your worth. Here’s how:

Follow your breathing and gradually relax into a feeling of peace and freedom. Feel your mind expand as you relax.

In this spacious state of mind, remind yourself that the essence of your being is inherently worthy, meaning you’re inherently golden, exactly as you are and are becoming, right here, right now. Remind yourself that your worth as a human being has no prerequisites. It’s simply true, in and of itself.

Next, take a moment to frame your day in a positive light. Begin by feeling appreciation for the gift of another day of life; another day to share with the people you love; another day to pursue your dreams.

Set your intention to have a great day, achieving meaningful results in all your endeavors. Equally, set the intention to succeed at sustaining a peaceful and positive attitude on the inside, regardless of what happens on the outside.

Research shows that people who believe in their intrinsic worth aren’t thwarted by shame-based thinking and self-doubt that says, I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not successful enough, etc. The research also shows that people who start the day mindfully experience more positive emotions during the day, exhibit more interest in their work, and are more likely to feel connected and supportive toward others, all of which predicts successful outcomes. They also sleep better that night. All this for devoting 5 minutes in the morning to a simple practice.

[1] Rogers, Carl. On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy (pp. 194-195). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1960.

Click for Don’s book @ Amazon

No. 2: Correct your mind and the rest of life will fall into place

Lao Tse, one of the world’s greatest philosophers, said: “Correct your mind and the rest of life will fall into place.”

The “rest of life” means the health, wealth, and love that eludes most people. So, what’s the correction you need to make?

According to Lao Tse, it’s the shift from fear to inner peace, and 2,500 years later neuroscience has proven the ancient sage was right.

Research has established that the mental shift from stress and fear to inner peace resets your brain state to the calm, creativity, and optimism that predicts success in your endeavors.

People who have mastered the shift from fear to peace make few if any mistakes. They tend to stay out of trouble, instead of chronically struggling to get out of trouble.

As a result, their peaceful brains mobilize the intelligence (that stress hormones retard) to reach greater and greater heights.

“Seek peace,” Jesus said, “and all things shall be given to you.”

So, how do you make the inner shift to peace when the world around you seems to vibrate like Grand Central Station at rush hour?

Here’s a prescription from Lee Ufan, the great modern artist:

“Agitated, busy people. Stop and stand still for a moment. Look at the sky. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. If you do this, you will change and the world will come to life.”

You can begin simply by taking a one-minute timeout for peace.

  • Simply stop what you’re doing, resisting the compulsion to keep working, and step away from the busy-ness of the world for a moment.
  • Let go of what you were thinking and allow your mind and body to relax.
  • Take a deep breath and allow yourself to relax even more.
  • Let go of everything. Feel your brain relax as you let go.
  • No worries, no problems, no goals, no one to please, nothing to change or fix. Just you and the freedom to simply be yourself for a moment.
  • Take a slow, easy breath – and as you do – let your mind and heart open wide.
  • Allow peace to begin to emerge as your experience, all by itself.

Do this two or three time a day for a week and see if your life begins to fall into place.

Click for Don’s book @ Amazon

No. 1: Everything is Mindset

Consider this. Everything for a human being is mindset.

And further, there are really only two mindsets.

The first mindset creates an experience of contraction that feels like the walls are closing in on you. It’s built on the fearful, stressful, pessimistic thinking that makes you believe you’re a victim of circumstances.

The second mindset creates an experience of expansion that makes you feel like the sky’s the limit. It’s built on love, inner peace and optimism and makes you believe you’re larger than circumstances.

And here’s the trick: when you are contracted (meaning stressed, afraid or judgmental) simply accepting yourself completely for the neurotic way you are being at the moment generates the shift into an expanded experience of self.

In other words. being at peace with your painful state of non-peace restores the expansive feeling of peace. It’s how you end stress.

Test it for yourself.

Click for Don’s book @ Amazon

The New Formula for Success in Business

canstockphoto16449710The new research I am about to summarize could not be more important to a company’s
success. Taken as a whole it tells us that the more stressful the job, the lower the employee engagement; the lower the employee engagement the less efforts succeed.

By extension, if a company is not focused on resolving stress, it’s not succeeding fully. Resolve stress in a floundering business unit and it’s more likely it will begin to thrive. Resolve stress in a unit that’s just hitting its numbers and it’s likely to double the expected result.  Resolve stress where employees excel and they’ll likely achieve what’s never been done.  Here’s the research that supports all this.

Finding #1: Companies that achieve high employee engagement outperform their competition across all business metrics. Those in the top half of employee engagement nearly double their odds of success compared with those in the bottom half (Gallup, 2016).  Those at the 99th percentile have four times the success rate of those at the first percentile. Business units that measure high in employee engagement generate 20% more in sales and are 21% more profitable than business units who measure low in engagement.  Add to that, the fact that employee engagement is positively correlated with job satisfaction (Bin Shmailan, 2016) and employee retention (Lado and Wilson, 1994).

Finding #2:  Only 24 percent of nearly 600 managers surveyed by the Harvard Business Review considered most of their employees highly engaged (HBR, 2013).  Yikes! Add to it the finding that business units with disengaged employees suffer nearly twice the absenteeism and 31 percent more turnover (Harter, 2006). This suggests that 3 out of 4 business units are either failing or lackluster, falling well short of the level of success they would achieve if everyone was fully engaged.

Finding #3: It turns out that stress and disengagement are highly correlated. Nearly 60 percent of employees experiencing high levels of stress are disengaged. That means if you’re on a project team of ten, only four are swinging for the fence; the rest are striking out. It’s even worse with sales people, who research shows are much more likely to be chronically stressed (Sagar, 1994).  In contrast, only one in ten employees with low stress levels are disengaged and half of this group claimed to be highly engaged (Willis Towers Watson, 2014).

So here is the million-dollar question: Is there something that can be done quickly and effectively to cut the stress employees experience.

Finding #4: There is now a solution to stress that neuroscience has identified that goes far beyond conventional stress management. Here is what science now knows.

  • During three decade of stress management programs, stress in America actually went up 30 percent. This was largely due to the fact that much of stress management focuses on changing stress-related behavior, and most of these behaviors are hard-wired into the brain.
  • There are biological factors associated with stress, meaning if we have a problem with stress, it has more to do with genetics than the job. Genetics and past traumas can wire our brain for a hyperactive stress response system, meaning fight, flight or freeze reactions, the latter two of which lead to disengagement. Thus, the solution to the problem of stress requires changing the way the brain is wired.
  • Breakthroughs in neuroscience over the last 15 years have established the capacity of a human being to down-regulate the stress gene and rewire the brain, through a mindfulness approaches that change mental attitude, and in as little as 8-weeks The technical term for the rewiring process is positive neuroplasticity. It not only quiets stress reactions, but also amplifies the higher brain function that predicts success.  “Mindfulness” simply refers to a definable practice that facilitates the fundamental shift in attitude that relates to stressors with the level of calm, creativity, and optimism that solves problems, instead of reacting stressfully.

ProAttitude, a human performance firm with programs that facilitate positive neuroplasticity has trained more than 4,000 people in high pressure companies, cutting stress levels by 40% and raising people’s performance, creativity, and well-being.  Clearly, positive neuroplasticity should be on every manager’s agenda.

Stress is contagious and kids are catching it at the expense of their developing brains

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) study on stress found that nearly half of America’s kids are stressed.  This is bad news because it means unhealthy amounts of stress hormones are coursing through the developing brains of these children and that causes learning and behavior problems. The area of the brain most vulnerable to stress hormones is the prefrontal cortex. It generates intelligence, learning, and the top-down regulation for impulse control, which means that a child’s stressed brain will struggle with learning and be prone to acting out. Stress hormones also dampen the immune system causing more frequent and more intense colds and flu.

PARENTS TAKE NOTE

The same APA study found that 91 percent of kids say that what stresses them most is how stressed their parents have become, and that 69 percent of parents were oblivious to the impact their level of stress is having on the kids. This finding corroborates a previous study by the Families and Work Institute that found what kids want most is “stress-free parents.” In this study, interviewers asked children to make one wish for a change in their parents. Parents were then asked to guess what the children wished for, and most parents guessed it was for more quality time. It was the wrong answer. The majority of children wished for their parents to be free of stress. It turns out that kids are very good at detecting subtle cues about a parent’s stress, such as their down-turned expression, heavy footsteps, and fatigue.

SCHOOLS TAKE NOTE

Teaching school is a highly stressful occupation and now a study in Canada, the first of its kind, has found that a teacher’s stress is also impacting kids. In this study, researchers examined the connection between teacher burnout and students’ cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and a biological indicator of stress. Researchers collected saliva samples from over 400 elementary school children and tested their cortisol levels. They found that in classrooms in which teachers experienced more stress or feelings of emotional exhaustion, students’ cortisol levels were elevated. Higher cortisol levels in elementary school children have been linked to learning difficulties as well as mental health problems.

THE KEY TAKE-AWAY

The same APA study I cited earlier found that 83 percent of Americans are doing little or nothing to lower their stress level. These new findings should help motivate us to take stress seriously.  Stress is not something we should someday do something about.  It needs our attention now, especially parents and teachers. A child’s ability to tap their full measure of brain power depends on it.

FREE STARTER KIT FOR BUSTING STRESS

But don’t stress. Take heart. The picture the research paints is something we can change. It’s simpler than you might imagine and results can accrue faster than you might think. It takes a commitment to understanding your pattern of stress that a painful past and genetics wired into your brain, and then learning the shift in mindset that rewires your brain to instill more joy in your work, more peace in your life, and more harmony in your relationships.

We can change our brain in ways that achieve a better day and turn each and every day into a better life. The studies that prove it are now piled high.  Click here for a free starter kit that begins the process of making you, your home, and the classroom happier and more peaceful.