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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Dangers of Staying Quiet: Learning to Ask For Help

Her story really reminded me of that very moment where I fell and landed on my neck and had a concussion during my gymnastic years.

I knew I had the talent, I knew I had good dreams with this sport, but my heart just had to tell me that this isn't really what I want.

So speak out, someone out there will reach if not the universe will. Trust me, it will :)

Covered Lips
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard
My right leg lay twisted, broken and disconnected. As I regained awareness, I could hear a primal scream.
It took a while to register that it was coming from me.
At the time, I was supposedly living my dream, but in truth I was drowning in my loneliness. So I had stood almost directly behind a horse I knew was prone to kicking and pulled her tail.
She wasn’t malicious; if she was, I would be dead now, as I had lain under her until I was found. But I had invaded her space and she told me she didn’t like it.
That was fifteen years, three long operations, and one titanium rod ago.
I had been riding since I was four, and at the time I was twenty-two and competing professionally. I had trained with Olympic medallists and I had supposedly landed this great opportunity and I was on my way.
It all looked right and perfect. The truth was that I was miserable and felt completely out of my depth. I knew no one where I lived. I was isolated yet expected to succeed—to deliver without any support.
The more time went on, the more I hid the truth of my situation and how I felt from everyone who loved me, denying myself, because I didn’t know how to say I had made a mistake. I was struggling and desperately needed help.
I had realized I’d made a mistake by accepting this job. I didn’t trust the owner for whom I was working and I couldn’t do everything I was expected to do alone, but I didn’t want my friends and family to think I had failed.
It took me ten years to admit to myself that I was ashamed for having caused my accident.
I chose to sacrifice myself and put my body in danger so that I could make the situation end—to somehow be rescued and for things to change.
I was ashamed that I had caused drama in my life and trauma to myself as a way of getting what I needed. I got change, but the consequences were more dramatic than I could have imagined.
Not only did I lose my job, but I also ended my professional riding career for good.
I ended my dream of competing at the Olympics, which I had been striving, training, and working for my whole life. I lost my house and my friends, who I had left when I moved away to the new job. For a year, I totally lost my independence, and it would take several years until I was fully physically recovered.
I would live the rest of my life with physical scars to remind me, and internal scars that would haunt me for years.
It has been my greatest lesson in life to find a voice and not just speak, but to speak up and tell the truth about how I feel. To be true to myself and take care of what I need and want, and demonstrate to myself that I matter, by telling other people what is important to me.
We are taught in school that if we don’t understand something and need help, to put our hand up and ask. It sounds so simple, but why do so many of us see this as a weakness and instead believe we must struggle and suffer in silence?
My suffering in silence eventually led me to dramatic and potentially life-endangering measures.
When I lay on the floor waiting for the paramedics, before someone had covered my leg, I stared at it broken like a china doll.
I was lucky that I had been wearing calf-length leather riding chaps and it was to them that I owe the fact I didn’t lose my leg; it managed to keep everything together enough to be saved.
My physical healing was relatively easy, with some time, patience, and loving care. Although I did eventually get up and ride again, even compete, even though I was told I never would, the psychological damage stripped me of my trust in myself, something that would last for years.
I came to fear that I might self-sabotage again, betraying myself, and that there would be dire consequences if I took any risks.
So I quit trying.
For a long time my life was small and riddled with fear, which kept me prisoner—physically safe but, ironically, once again deeply lonely.
It has taken an immense amount of courage to change this, and sometimes I would start to feel better, only to end up back in my cell.
I had to stop waiting to be rescued by someone—anyone—who might telepathically know how I felt without me actually saying.
I laugh now, because I have been taught by life that real love means being encouraged to be the biggest, most confident, strongest version of myself, to be able to stand up for myself and tell the truth, even if it might hurt someone else’s feelings.
It is not my destiny to be self-sacrificing for fear of disappointing someone or hurting other people, but instead my responsibility to protect, love, and honor my well-being and happiness.
My mistakes, actions, or consequences no longer need to be catastrophic, as long as I speak up and be honest early on, ask for help, talk to others, ask for someone to listen to me or even sometimes just give me a shoulder to cry on or a hug.
A plaster always needs to be ripped off quickly to minimize the pain—and sometimes speaking the truth must be done in the same way.
Because I didn’t do this, the pain, grief, shame, and trauma of that time in my life got stuck in my body and festered, eventually becoming too painful to hide from. Strangely, though, it actually helped me find the strength I needed to face how I had let myself down.
I had chosen to be the victim, rather than speak up.
I finally chose instead to let the tears fall, to wash away the pain, and I started speaking the truth. It wasn’t pretty, but I wanted to find a way to forgive myself and finally let go of the past.
A few years on, I still sometimes struggle a little to speak up straight away when I am cross, in pain, and upset, but the truth always finds a way to bubble to the surface.
Something in me won’t let me be quiet any more.
With practice, I have learned to quieten the inner voice that tells me to ignore my feelings and keep pretending that everything is fine and dandy.
Instead, I have to practice speaking with emotional clarity to say what I need, even if I have to shout it, write it, or repeat it over and over again to be heard.
I have learned the simple truth that mistakes only happen when we are confused, don’t understand what is being communicated to us or expected of us, and when we don’t ask for help to make sense of something we don’t understand.
So, the next time you find yourself in that state of fear, confused about which way to turn, don’t stay quiet, don’t suffer in silence!
Remember our school lesson and put your hand up, either metaphorically or physically, and ask for help from anyone, whether in prayer or from another person.
Be honest, keep asking, and don’t give up until you find what you need.
You might not always find the answer straight away, but by talking about it, asking, and listening, it will come.
Photo by Mitya Ku

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How An Injury Helped Me Break A Cycle Of Control

Dedicated to all of the Exercise freaks (including myself) out there!


I've been anticipating my upcoming summer trip to Italy forever it seems. I began buying sundresses six months in advance, started an official countdown at the three-month mark, and made my to-do lists blanketing the entire month leading up to my departure. Each day was accounted for. I had sunscreen and hats to buy for the hot Italian sun, walks and hikes to get me ready for strolling around the Tuscan countryside, and extra yoga classes to take before I put my body through twice-a-day classes there. Everything was going smoothly and according to plan.
And then, three weeks before I left, I broke my toe. A “hairline fracture,” the doctor explained to me with her optimistic smile, but broken nonetheless. Broken, just like it had been a flimsy string holding together my carefully laid out plans. Fractured, just enough to throw everything out of alignment. Cracked, just enough to cause everything leading up to the trip to change.
I do not do well with change.
For as long as I can remember, I've lived my life ruled by the appointments entered in my calendar. Schedules and structure make me feel safe and in control. Routines calm me, timelines comfort me, planning soothes me. Crossing an item off my to-do list triggers an almost sheepish feeling of satisfaction that I relish, and now, because of a silly injury, I would have an entire to-do list that was undone. It almost caused me to become undone. It feels ridiculous even to me that this little interruption in the regimen threatened to unhinge me. But so it was.
I went through various stages of grief as my carefully constructed plans slipped away in front of my eyes. I threw a bit of a tantrum, first with anger at myself (how could I do something so stupid?!), second with tears. Then a slightly longer pity party (I was the only attendee; everyone else sent their regrets). Bargaining followed (I will do anything to make this foot better!). Next came the questions, asked to myself out loud, and answered in a voice that sounded irritatingly like one of my friends.
Why me? (Well, why not you? Why should you be exempt from accidents?)
What if this ruins my trip? (It will only ruin your trip if you let it.)
What am I going to do now? (I guess you're either going to sulk and be miserable about it, or you’re going to get over it.)
And with that, the final stage, acceptance.
When even your own voice, the one that sounds like your friend who wants you to stop complaining and gain a little perspective, tells you to get over it? You listen.
You start to let go.
It was like releasing helium-filled balloons into the air.
First to go was yoga and those hikes — impossible with a foot injury; I let go of that string and the balloon floated swiftly away from me. Next released was the carefully constructed schedule — with a bum toe, standing at happy hours or combing the aisles of Target for travel-sized toothpaste were not a priority; that balloon practically jumped out of my hand. 
Hardest to part with was the control I felt I had when my calendar was full and my life was planned. Liberating that balloon took, ironically, the most strength; my fingertips were painstakingly pried open one by one, before I could finally let go, exhale and wave goodbye.
My balloons gone, I was left without a plan.
And for the first time, it started to feel okay. I adjusted. I took care of myself. I even looked forward to a day stretched out by lack of obligations. I let myself just… be.
When I returned to yoga to test out my foot, I was amazed. Bewildered even, at how this little injury had impacted me. My mind and my body were more in tune than I can ever remember them being. My movements were slower, more deliberate and more intentional. There were limitations, of course, things I simply could not do with a still healing toe. But for once, my mind heard the cues my body gave, and actually listened to them, resting when necessary and easing up at just the right moments. I felt at once stronger and lighter. For one hour, all I did was pay attention (which, coincidentally, was the theme of the class). It was a truly wonderful moment.
Breaking my toe was physically not much more than an annoyance and some minor pain. Breaking the cycle of trying to control and plan everything in my life was the unexpected and clearly much needed side effect of this little accident.
It’s amazing how even the smallest break can cause the biggest breakthrough.

Friday, June 21, 2013

40 websites that will make you cleverer right now

Well if not cleverer, definitely happier :P. Something to fool about indoors with the haze :P

Thanks inktank!

khanacademy.org – Watch thousands of micro-lectures on topics ranging from history and medicine to chemistry and computer science.
freerice.com – Help end world hunger by correctly answering multiple-choice quizzes on a wide variety of subjects.
artofmanliness.com – Blog/site dedicated to all things manly, great for learning life skills and good insights.
Inktank.fi – Awesome and awe inspiring articles all in one wonderful place.
unplugthetv.com – Randomly selects an educational video for you to watch.
coursera.org – Educational site that works with universities to get their courses on the Internet, free for you to use.
lizardpoint.com – A collection of browser-based games and the like to improve knowledge of geography, math, and such.
Litro.co.uk – All you need to know about the wonderful world of books and writing.
ted.com – Collection of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talks in which knowledgeable speakers address a variety of topics in short videos (< 18 minutes)
lifehacker.com – Learn to hack life! Tips and tricks for improving all areas of your life.
lifehackninja.com – Recently started life hack site that offers lists of useful knowledge
good.is/infographics – Collection of infographics which showcase useful information in an easy to digest visual format.
mathrun.net – Practice your basic maths skills with a simple game.
justinguitar.com – Hundreds of free guitar lessons as well as some basic music theory.
duolingo.com – Learn a new language for free while helping to translate the web.
memrise.com – Learn things quickly and efficiently with flashcards that are spaced based on the spacing effect
cookingforengineers.com – A site containing one man’s explorations in food, with step by step instructions for making a wide variety of dishes.
thedatingspecialist.com – A weekly blog run by a professional dating coach, offers advice on a wide variety of relationship topics.
conversations.nokia.com – Learn about the world’s most innovative smartphones and future mobile tech.
zenhabits.net – Blog about improving your life by making it simpler.
nerdfitness.com – Fitness resource for the average person.
mentalfloss.com – Interesting articles guaranteed to make you smile and get you thinking.
openculture.com – Compendium of free learning resources, including courses, textbooks, and videos/films.
charitynavigator.org – Site dedicated to reviewing charities so you can easily research any you’re interested in.
lettersofnote.com – Their tagline says it all: “Correspondence deserving of a wider audience”
thedailymiscellany.com – A daily dose of useful knowledge, quotes, and other random things.
MIT Open Courseware – Free access to quite a few MIT courses that are on par with what you’d expect from MIT.
codecademy.com – Website packed with introductory courses for various programming languages and web technologies.
investopedia.com – Learn about the world of finance, from basic terminology to in depth analysis of various areas of investing.
udacity.com – Free courses mainly focused around mathematics and programming. Aimed at people of all skill levels.
lang-8.com – Write posts in a language you’re trying to learn, get them critiqued by a native speaker (and in turn help that native speaker learn your language)!
careerbuilder.com – Job hunting site to help you find a new career.
ureddit.com – Reddit’s very own University. Learn from redditors, or try to teach them.
engineerguy.com – Collection of videos in which Bill breaks down various feats of engineering in layman’s terms.
zooniverse.org – Take part in a huge variety of interesting studies of nature, science, and culture.
quora.com – Ask questions you’re curious about, answer those you’re knowledgeable about. Tailor your own feed to fit what interests you.
thenewboston.org – A fascinating collection of videos and tutorials related to maths and computer science.
aldaily.com – Aggregation of articles from various higher education journals and publications.
noexcuselist.com/everything – A huge list of awesome sites to learn from.
livemocha.com – Community dedicated to the idea of everyone being fluent in multiple languages, teach or be taught another language with the goal of conversational fluency.
simplesciencefitness.com – Breaks down the science behind fitness into layman’s terms.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

10 Happy Habits You Should Start Now

Who wana happy habits!! Come come see see

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future;
it’s something you design into the present.
Nobody can pull you down if you raise your awareness to your own inner strength and positivity.  You are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life.  You can either give negativity power over your life, or you can choose to be positive instead by focusing on the great things that are truly important.
Here are ten simple strategies for doing just that:
  1. Nurture your inner child. – You need to put your own fulfillment and needs at the top of your priority list.  There’s an inner child within you who needs your love and patience.  If you’re always telling her to quiet down, to sit still and stop that bouncing… if you’re always reminding her that her thoughts aren’t real, just pretend, and that good girls do what they’re told… how will she ever be able to imagine a fulfilling life for herself as she grows, or be able to jump for joy when she finds it?
  2. Let loose and be a little silly. – Sometimes a little silliness is all you need to get a better perspective of life’s challenges.  Silliness is the carefree, sometimes crazy, and often misunderstood stepsister of happiness.  May you be a friend to both, and smile your way through life’s twists and turns.  Read The Happiness Project.
  3. Mind your own business. – Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something andit’s true, it’s not a problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not a problem because it’s not true.  So either way, whatever they call you is not a problem.  What they call you is their business.  What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your business.
  4. Stop the comparisons. – The more you judge and compare yourself to your fantasies of how you should be, could be, or would be, the worse and worse you will get at everything.  Such negative comparisons gradually de-motivate you, keeping your growth potential completely caged by the enormous resistance from your own thinking.  On the flip-side, the more you love and accept yourself exactly the way you are, the better and better you will get at everything.  Such self acceptance creates emotional freedom which inspires you to grow to your fullest potential.
  5. Focus on making the best of the present. – You can’t be happy if you’re carrying the burden of the yesterday on your shoulders.  Did you make a mistake?  Did you have a terrible experience?  Whatever it may be, the past is history and there’s nothing you can do to change it.  So breathe in the future and breathe out the past.  Focus on making the best of the present, and the past will take care of itself.  Read The Power of Now.
  6. Count your blessings one by one. – To be happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s yet to come.  Sometimes we get so caught up in seeing what we don’t have, that we fail to notice the little things that give life its magic.  The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under her feet.  Your life is filled with blessings and achievements, take the time to accept and appreciate these gifts.
  7. Help others find happiness. – Happiness doesn’t come through selfishness, but through selflessness.  Everything you do comes back around.  Greet people with a smile.  Encourage them.  Compliment them.  Notice their progress, cheer them on, and make them smile.  Smiles are contagious.  The more happiness you help them find, the more happiness you will find.
  8. Think about how far you’ve come. – The precursor of every positive outcome is a positive thought.  So in the heat of the moment when you feel like quitting, think about how far you have come and why you started in the first place.  Notice how fortunate you are, how supported you are, and how you are gradually being guided towards your aims.  It is already happening, the more you notice, the more of it you will realize and see.  Trust this light of gratitude to lead you through all the long, winding and misty roads of life.  Do so and you will eventually arrive at your destination with a smile.
  9. Visualize your ideal path. – Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine what your life looks like five years from now, and ten years from now, if you continue to live the way you’re presently living?  Look at your trajectory.  Where does your current path lead?  Notice how you feel.  Does it give you a sense of happiness, excitement and peace?  If yes, that’s wonderful; feel the gratitude.  If not, what small, yet significant changes can you begin making right away that will put you on a more fulfilling path?  Visualize yourself joyfully and harmoniously making these changes.  And begin.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  10. Invest your time in the things you love. – The most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the time that is given to you.  Trust me, before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”  So put your time to good use, and let yourself be drawn to the strange pull of what you love; it will not lead you astray.  Above all, live your life so that when you’re old, you never have to let the person you became fanaticize about the person you were capable of being.

Monday, June 17, 2013

10 Life Lessons People Learn Too Late

This article really hits the spot deep down. Read it slowly, read it relaxingly, and take it all in

Before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”  So take time to figure yourself out.  Take time to realize what you want and need.  Take time to take risks.  Take time to love, laugh, cry, learn, and forgive.  Life is shorter than it often seems.
Here are ten things you need to know, before it’s too late:
  1. This moment is your life. – Your life is not between the moments of your birth and death.  Your life is between now and your next breath.  The present – the here and now – is all the life you ever get.  So live each moment in full, in kindness and peace, without fear and regret.  And do the best you can with what you have in this moment; because that is all you can ever expect of anyone, including yourself.  Read The Power of Now.
  2. A lifetime isn’t very long. – This is your life, and you’ve got to fight for it.  Fight for what’s right.  Fight for what you believe in.  Fight for what’s important to you.  Fight for the people you love, and never forget to tell them how much they mean to you.  Realize that right now you’re lucky because you still have a chance.  So stop for a moment and think.  Whatever you still need to do, start doing it today.  There are only so many tomorrows.
  3. The sacrifices you make today will pay dividends in the future. – When it comes to working hard to achieve a dream – earning a degree, building a business, or any other personal achievement that takes time and commitment – one thing you have to ask yourself is:  “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t, so I can spend the rest of my life like many people can’t?”
  4. When you procrastinate, you become a slave to yesterday. – But when you are proactive, it’s as if yesterday is a kind friend that helps take a load off your back.  So do something right now that your future self will thank you for.  Trust me, tomorrow you’ll be happy you started today.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  5. Failures are only lessons. – Good things come to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve tasted failure, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt.  So never regret anything that has happened in your life; it cannot be changed, undone or forgotten.  Take it all as lessons learned and move on with grace.
  6. You are your most important relationship. – Happiness is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for anyone else’s approval.  You must first have a healthy relationship with yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with others.  You have to feel worthwhile and acceptable in your own eyes, so that you’ll be able to look confidently into the eyes of the people around you and connect with them.
  7. A person’s actions speak the truth. – You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times; but in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by.  So pay attention to what people do.  Their actions will tell you everything you need to know.
  8. Small acts of kindness can make the world a better place. – Smile at people who look like they are having a rough day.  Be kind to them.  Kindness is the only investment that never fails.  And wherever there is a human being, there’s an opportunity for kindness.  Learn to give, even if it’s just a smile, not because you have too much, but because you understand there are so many others who feel like they have nothing at all.  Read Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
  9. Behind every beautiful life, there has been some kind of pain.– You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn.  You’re human, not perfect.  You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive.  Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love.  Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty.  We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend.
  10. Time and experience heals pain. – Several years ago when I askedmy grandmother about overcoming pain, this is how she explained it to me:  Look at the circles below.  The black circles represent our relative life experiences.  Mine is larger because I am older and have experienced more in my lifetime.  The smaller red circles represent a negative event in our lives.  Assume we both experienced the same exact event, whatever the nature.  Notice that the negative event circles are the same size for each of us; but also notice what percentage of the area they occupy in each of the black circles.  Your negative event seems much larger to you because it is a greater percentage of your total life experiences.  I am not diminishing the importance of this event; I simply have a different perspective on it.  What you need to understand is that an overwhelmingly painful event in your life right now will one day be part of your much larger past and not nearly as significant as it seems.
Negative Life Experiences

Sunday, June 16, 2013

10 Things You Think About Too Often

Thank you SO MUCH Marc and Angel

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
―Albert Einstein
You do know you talk to yourself in your mind all the time, right?
Pretty much every one of us has a non-stop stream of thoughts – a mental monologue – that has a powerful impact on how we feel, how we behave, and how we live our lives.  Too often, this mental monologue consists of unhelpful thoughts that hinder our happiness and effectiveness.
Which is why it’s time to stop thinking about…

1.  Who everyone else wants you to be.

You were born to be you, not who they tell you to be.  You are not here to be perfect; you are here to be true.  Be gentle and kind to your heart and soul.  Accept who you are, where you are, and where you came from.
Don’t make a decision based solely on popularity, or based on what others think is right for you.  Just because others are doing something doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.
Listen to your gut.  Now is the moment to follow your intuition and pursue what matters most to you.  Reach deep within yourself and awaken to the purpose that moves you and makes you feel alive.  The world is filled with opportunities to do an infinite number of things, so why not align your efforts with the activities that speak to your soul.

2.  What you don’t have.

Instead of thanking the heavens for two strong legs and a body that’s capable of running and jumping and dancing, lots of people complain about their weight and appearance.
Instead of appreciating that they live in a country that protects their basic human rights and civil liberties, lots of people complain about laws, taxes, and politicians.
Instead of being grateful for the roof they have over their heads, lots of people wish they had a larger house and a fancier car.
Don’t be one of these people.
To witness miracles unfold in your daily life, count your blessings and be thankful for what you DO have.  Lots of people aren’t so lucky.  Read The Happiness Project.

3.  What you fear.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt so profoundly said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
That’s the honest truth.  The real thing that keeps you down is fear.  The reason your fears have so much power over you is simply because you give them this power by thinking about them – the worst-case scenario, what you don’t want to happen, etc.
It’s time to take a stand.  It’s time to clear your fears from your thoughts.  It’s time to acknowledge that your fear of grief is far worse than the grief you fear.

4.  Old mistakes.

Why regret?  This moment doesn’t have any mistakes in it yet.  It’s brand new.
You have a choice to make right here, right now.  You can hold onto old mistakes or you can make progress going forward with the new beginning you’ve just been given.
It’s time to be bold.  It’s time to stop reading the previous chapter of your life and start writing the one you’re currently living.  Learn from your old mistakes and march confidently on.  Sure you’ll make new mistakes along the way, but that’s the whole point – you want to learn from new mistakes, not rot alongside old ones.
Living means taking chances that are worth taking and making mistakes that are worth making.  Right now is simply a new chance to get it right, but you have to let go and take this chance.

5.  Old wounds.

You will grow much stronger and find peace once you stop picking at your old wounds.  Consciously replaying a painful memory over and over in your head is self-abuse.  Your past has given you the strength and awareness you have today.  Don’t let it haunt you.  Celebrate it.
Your wounds are your wisdom.  Let them heal.  Let them scar.
In order for this to occur, you must know why you felt the way you did, what you learned from it, and why you no longer need to feel that way.  It’s about accepting the past, letting it be, and pushing your spirit forward.
You may carry a small scar with you for the rest of your life.  Realize that this is perfectly OK.  A scar is the effect of healing – it’s what makes you whole again. Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.

6.  Impressing the wrong people.

You could spend your entire life trying to impress everyone around you.  Of course, it wouldn’t get you very far.
Purposely impressing people is an act that brings nothing but a fleeting ego boost.  Be real instead.  Connect with fewer people on a level that is deeper and more profound.
If you want to impress someone, impress yourself by making progress on something you’re sincerely proud of.  It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish when you aren’t worried about what everyone around you thinks.

7.  Important dreams you aren’t actively pursuing.

The point here is simple:  STOP thinking and START doing.
The road of life is jam packed with dreams that aren’t going anywhere.  Why?  Because the people driving these dreams haven’t started their engines.  So many people endlessly put off until tomorrow what they could do today.  There are literally millions of promising, intelligent people in this world who have no plan at all, who wait for others to drive and steer their lives and their dreams for them.
Having a dream without an action plan is exactly like a beautiful sports car without an engine.  You know what she could do if she could do it, but she can’t. Turn your dream into an actionable plan and then start executing your plan.  Make no promise for tomorrow when you have the opportunity to make progress today.

8.  The impossible looking aerial view of a big project.

An aerial view of a big project always looks daunting.  But once you break it down into small parts, suddenly it’s no longer a big, impossible project.  It’s simply a bunch of little, achievable ones.
The key is to subdivide a big project into smaller tasks and break each task down further into logical steps for each task.  Thinking about the big picture is important on occasion to keep track of your progress, but on a daily basis you should be focused only on the step you’re taking at the time.
The toughest part is laying out what you actually have to do to get each task done, but it’s worth the time and effort.  By thinking about it, and breaking it down, you’ve already accomplished the hardest part – you’ve built yourself a step-by-step instruction manual for getting the project completed.  Read Getting Things Done.

9.  Situations you have zero control over.

Some parts of your life are simply meant to be lived, not controlled.  No matter what happens, no matter the outcome, you’re going to be just fine.  Let the things you can’t control, happen.
Spend your thoughts and efforts on controlling what you do have power over, rather than wasting your peace of mind on the uncontrollable.

10.  Another time and place.

Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on past experiences, that it is not where we should be or want to be.  But the truth is, where you are now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.
The present moment is always filled with wonder.  Right now is a phenomenon.  Right now extraordinary things are happening.  If you are attentive, you will see them.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Revealed: Why You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be by Now

It's because you're comparing....stop comparing and start loving yourself!

Thanks Stephanie :)

Do you ever compare yourself to other people your age and feel like you don't measure up?
Do you look at your life and think you should be "further along" by now?
Do you know that this kind of thinking is precisely what is holding you back?
Why We Compare (And Why It Sucks)
Because you're human, it's natural to formulate opinions based on information you've accumulated up until the present moment. Everyone does it -- we compare new people to people we know, like, dislike, trust and don't trust. We compare products to other products, pricing, which store is better to buy from and why. We compare cities we've moved to against cities we've lived in previously.
It's natural and necessary in certain situations... but not when it comes to your life and who you are.
If you live in a state of constantly comparing your life, relationships, career and self to anybody else, you will never be able to fully appreciate what you have in the present for what it is. You will be stuck seeing what it is not, what it "could be," and quite frankly, making yourself miserable.
How to Start Living in This Moment, as You Are
1) Know that who you are is perfect.
You are a unique and beautiful blend of personality, talent, skills and smarts.
When you spend all your time obsessing over how you measure up to the details that make someone elsetheir unique and beautiful self, you fail to see your own beauty and effectively squash the very things that make you amazing, along with the gifts you have to give to the world. Practice appreciating yourself for who you are, not who you are in comparison to someone else.
Your laugh is not better or worse than anyone else. It's simply your laugh. You are not ahead of, or behind, anyone else. You're simply where you're at, on your journey. You have not failed, fallen behind or done things the wrong way. You've simply done things in your own way, on your own terms.
There is no right or wrong. You have the freedom to live your life however you choose.
2) Start living in the moment and seeing things as they are.
If you find that you're constantly comparing yourself, you're not spending enough time in the present moment. Instead, you're indulging in negative self-talk and missing out on your amazing life -- the one that's happening right now. This causes you to miss opportunities and experiences, perpetuating that feeling of being behind, or not where you're supposed to be.
Engaging in your life, as it is now, knowing that you are perfect and exactly where you need to be, is essential to your happiness. When people and opportunities show up, you'll be able to see them for what they are, without getting distracted by how they measure up to your past experiences, current relationships, fears, opinions or preferences. You'll be able to do this because you're present in this moment, seeing what is right in front of you, completely detached from any negative mind chatter.
Cultivating this ability in your day-to-day interactions will allow you to turn that non-judgmental, open-minded and loving eye on yourself and your own life.
3) Know that your comparisons are usually unfair.
When you compare yourself to someone else, you're never making a fair comparison. Are you comparing your weaknesses to their strengths? Are you comparing your lifestyle to that of someone with more money or a completely different profession and background? How about this one... Are you comparing yourself to someone with a different personality, skill set, passion and style?
The answer to that last one is yes, you are. And that always makes for an unfair comparison because it isimpossible to fairly compare any two people that exist in this world.
Take Action Now!
Leave a comment below and share the number one way you've been comparing yourself to others, along with a reframed view of the situation. If you're an artist who feels like your work is nowhere near as good as so-and-so, tell me why your art is unique and beautiful in its own right. If you're not sure how to reframe, leave your comparison in the comments below and I'll help you out!
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Here she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help young women build passion-based businesses. Click here to download her free guide, "The Unexpected Trick to Transforming Your Life With ONE Single Question."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taking Back Our Dreams: Releasing the Drive for Wealth and Status

Have you ever tried dreaming? She has :)

Thanks Tiny Buddha!

“The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream.” ~Harry Kemp

We’ve all been there. You’re having a great time playing a game with your friends, and then all of a sudden, things start to get tense.

What started out as fun turns into a fierce competition, as everyone is desperately trying to collect gold coins, red flags, or whatever happens to be the game’s currency.

To an outsider, it would be clear that we are all playing a game. Just like the kid with the tallest stack of red coins, the adult with the largest home and fanciest car receives the admiration of his or her peers.

Originally invented to simplify the trading process, money has long surpassed its intended purpose. Of course, we all need money to survive, but it doesn’t end there.

Money has long been a status symbol. It is precisely for this reason its appeal is so difficult to resist.
Our social status and income level are closely intertwined. We’ve even coined the term “socio-economic status.” In this society, you simply cannot have high status without the money to back it up.
Okay, so what’s the problem? Why do I say all this as if it’s a bad thing?
Because it comes at a price. A very high price.

As we strive to win this game that society wants us to play, we give up on something that matters a lot more than money and prestige. We give up on our dreams.


The chain that locks us down to jobs we hate has two ends. On one end stands wealth and status. At the other end is fear of poverty.
Of course, we all need food to eat and a roof over our heads. Now here’s the catch: If you dare to dream even an inch outside the status quo, society is quick to assume that you will be an utter failure, left with nothing to pay the bills.
For example, say you always dreamed of being an actor. When people think of actors, they think of Angelina Jolie, Nicolas Cage, or other stars. “Actors make a killing, but hardly anyone makes it!” they may tell you. Indeed, hardly anyone becomes a star.
You see, without even realizing it, they are back to wealth and prestige. But what they forget are the many working actors who are not world famous, who nevertheless make enough to support themselves while doing what they love.
Another common misconception is that in order to pursue your passion, you must quit your job immediately. Doing so could indeed be a recipe for disaster. You see, pursuing your passion is a process. Many quit their jobs only after their passion can support them.
Society tells us that wealth and status will make us happy, while simultaneously scaring us that pursuing our dreams will leave us penny-less. Both of these are fallacies. There is a middle ground: Your passion can support you, if you’re willing to give it a chance.


I was born with the heart of an artist. I dreamed of being on stage as a singer or an actress. I wanted to express myself through music, dance, and writing.
Despite these dreams, at the age of 18 I had an entirely different plan. I was set on becoming a manager at a software company.
I worked hard to get into a prestigious computer science program, and for my first internship, I landed a position at well-known firm. I was overjoyed. It looked as if my plan was working out.
But, a couple of months into the internship, something completely unexpected happened: I found myself hating my life. I don’t mean just my job. My entire life felt empty, meaningless, and downright painful.
I would wake up early to go to a job that bored me. Then, I had to spend most of my waking hours effectively tied down to a chair, staring at a computer screen. I was a slave in the free world.
By the time that this dreadful internship was finally over, I was so broken down that I swore never to do this to myself again.
It wasn’t easy to figure out what to do next. It took the next ten years to go through layer upon layer of fears and insecurities. I started out with such a rigid perception of what is “normal” and “acceptable” that I had a very long road to travel.
Three years ago, I finally took my first singing class and started to write. I couldn’t begin to tell you what a difference this has made in my life. Every morning I jump out of bed, eager to start the day. My work excites me, energizes me, and brings me a deep sense of personal fulfillment.
For the first time in my life, I no longer feel a divide between myself and my job. All that I do is an extension of who I am.
But then, I go out into the world and interact with other people. People who wish that they didn’t have to work. People who sacrifice their lives for a handsome paycheck. People who have forgotten their dreams.


How did this happen? When and where did we lose track of our dreams?
If I were to come up to a person with a passion for pursuing their dream, and ask them, “How much money would it take to get you to forget about pursuing your dreams?” they would surely send me away. Nobody would knowingly sell their dreams.
But there is something else, something more powerful than money that can make us give up on our dreams—that is, our sense of self-worth. Without realizing it, we end up giving up our dreams in an effort to feel good about ourselves.
Society teaches us that you are what you do. We are bombarded with this message from childhood. We are constantly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Combine this with the clear connection between status and money, and the formula is complete. We work at jobs we hate in order to attain high social standing, so that we can feel good about who we are.  
The trouble is that our dreams rarely line up with what society happens to consider prestigious. And so, in an effort to reconcile our ambitions with our need for approval, we replace our dreams with what society wants us to do.
And if, during a moment of clarity, we decide we no longer care about wealth and prestige, then they get us with the fear of poverty. “Do what we tell you, and you will be rich. Disobey, and you will have nothing.”
That’s when most of us give up and forget about our dreams altogether.
But I don’t believe that it is possible to completely lose our dreams. Like a precious jewel that accumulated years of dust, our dreams are waiting to be uncovered from beneath layers of fears and insecurities.
Taking back our dreams is the first step to building the life that we want—a life that is true to who we really are. It may seem intimidating at first, but if you find the courage to reclaim your dreams, they will light the way to a meaningful, fulfilling life