What really makes a difference?

Lots of people have asked me the same question:

Vector set of various bubbles for speech

“What do you think really makes a difference?”

When I’ve managed to unpick exactly what they mean, it always comes down to the same thing.  They want to know if there is one simple thing that people can focus on to achieve lasting change.

The thing is… I think there is.  (only, actually there are three things!)

In making the positive changes I have made in my life so far I have realised that it is all about taking 100% ownership of your own life that leads to the biggest breakthroughs.

To my mind, the three key elements that you need to be fully in control of are:

Your thoughts

Your choices

Your language

I believe that it really is that simple.  In order to effect genuine lasting change in your life it is essential that you can control all three and then you will achieve all you desire.

Let’s take each one in turn and I’ll explain exactly why these are so crucial and what you can do to make them work for you.

Your Thoughts

It’s been said that our thoughts form the universe and that’s absolutely true.  Look around you and everything that has been created by humanity has first existed as a thought in somebody’s head.  This is why we all need to pay close attention to the quality of our thinking.

The English author, comic actor and wit, Stephen Fry tells the story of how he spent much of his teenage years moping around feeling that his best years were already behind him.  In fact he used to write notes saying “His whole life stretched out gloriously behind him” and this left him miserable, direction-less and confused.

To my mind, although this is an extreme version, I believe we are all guilty of a similar level of negative self-talk.  I spent many years in my life telling myself (in thoughts!) that I was unworthy, useless and uninteresting.  The reality I imagined is one that I started to create in the real world,

I looked for evidence that would agree with these beliefs and ignored anything that didn’t.  It made no difference how many times friends were positive about me, I only believed the story in my mind that I had constructed and felt wedded to.

Monitor your thoughts!

Are you being negative or unreasonable?

Could you think more helpfully?

Your Choices

The next area of life that can trap you and leave you feeling dissatisfied is the choices you make.  In a very profound way, everything that you now have in your life is a result of the choices you have made.

So one way to absolutely improve how your life turns out is to make better choices.

The key is to ask yourself, “Is this going to serve my long-term aims, or is it just a short-term gain with negative long-term consequences?”

Seriously, many of the things in your life that you are unsatisfied with are likely to be the result of unhelpful choices you made in the past.

So start today by thinking carefully about your actions.

Your Language

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to the rescue!

In a nutshell, if you ‘listen’ to the language you use day-to-day, you will soon spot examples of words and phrases that do not serve you well.

You see, there is no point monitoring your thoughts and choices, if your words give you away!

Be careful of catastrophising (always seeing the absolute worst!) and look out for words that don’t give you any room to breathe.

Examples:

I ALWAYS fail!

You MUST do this…

I can NEVER manage my time.

These ‘all-or-nothing’ words tie you up in knots.  Keep your words positive and hopeful!

So, watch your thoughts, your choices and your words!

*** UPDATE – I am going to post again in the next few days with details about my two brand new products – ICE My Stress and Audio Life Coach.  I’m very excited to be about to launch these! ***

Cheers for now,

Tony

 

Mid Year Stock Take

I have been busy….but in a good way!

That’s why I haven’t posted anything in over two weeks.

I mentioned last time that I had had a kind of epiphany and understood exactly what I want to do now.

Well … that’s exactly what I have been working on.

In order to keep myself moving in a positive direction and continually ‘rebooting’ myself so that I am ‘upgraded’ and functioning as I want to …

I have decided to create some self-help programs that might help other people.

The first one will be released in early July and will be all about overcoming stress.

As you know, I’m not a self-help guru or anything.  I genuinely don’t want to be Tony Robbins or Brendon Burchard (as much as I admire both of them!)

I’m just an ordinary bloke who is trying to improve his own life.  Along the way, I think I’ve picked up a few things that might help others.

Particularly in the area of managing stress.

I’ve worked in education in the UK for the past 15 years and that certainly teaches you a thing or two about stress!

Here’s my thinking …

If I force myself to take a leap of faith and produce something that might help other people improve their lives then this should have three very positive outcomes:

1. I will get really clear on what is important in my own life

2. I can share my recent experiences as an ordinary person who has been through it

3. I can make a difference to other people and gain real meaning and purpose

That’s why I am willing to put in the time and effort to create something.

Of course, it’s going to involve some risk.

Firstly, there is the worry … ie: ‘who am I to do this?  Why would anyone listen to me?’

In the end, I have to believe that everyone has something to share.  And in all honesty, I’d rather listen to someone who is normal and will suggest realistic answers that will work in the real world, rather than some expert super-hero who is operating at a much higher level than everyone else.

Secondly, there is the very real worry that no one will be interested.

I’m less worried about that now.

The reason is that there are many people out there looking for solutions.  That’s why people read blogs … including this one.

I have already made a product in the past (Happy New You).  You may have bought it?

I made that just to pull together everything I had learned so far on my journey and I’m pleased that it has helped so many people. I also didn’t really believe it was possible to be able to sell your ideas like that.  But the feedback I have had has been very positive!

But now, I want to really work hard at providing specific solutions to specific problems!

I’m going to continue to use this blog to share everything I am working on in my life.

It really is a great place for me to explore my ideas and share them with a growing audience.  And I am so grateful for you continuing to read these posts!

As it is approaching the half-way point in the year, I thought this would be a good time to share with you what my aims are for the rest of 2015.

So, here is a kind of mid-year ‘stock take’.

 

Aims for the rest of 2015

1. Continue to focus on my health and get weight down to 12 stone

2. Study improvement and develop my motivation, energy, success and happiness

3. Create self-help products and build my business

 

I read recently that the human mind works best in 3s.  We can’t really remember much more than that.  So my 3 are health, improvement, business.

At the end of the year, I am going to see exactly how far I have come in those 3 areas.

I’d love to hear what the 3 key areas you are going to work on and achieve massive improvement in by the end of 2015. Please comment below.

 

Cheers for now,

Tony

The Mediocrity Trap

Customer service evaluation form with tick on averageA friend asked me a difficult question the other day: “Why aren’t you satisfied with what you’ve got?”

Here’s my answer.

I would like more in my life, not because I am ungrateful and selfish, but because I want to be the very best version of myself that I can.

Then I will be able to help more people and make a difference.  That’s not selfish is it?

But it occurs to me that the reason my friend asked the question is because we have been brain-washed into thinking that if we strive too much then we must be selfish and ungrateful.

I’m sure it starts at school.  We are all encouraged to do well, up to a point.  It’s okay to be ‘quite bright’ as long as you don’t make everyone else feel bad by really succeeding.

That’s why we end up in…

The Mediocrity Trap

This is where you are doing ‘okay’ and really don’t have any reason to moan, but you are hardly living a truly passionate and purposeful life where you feel you are really making a difference.  You are doing…(dreadful word)…FINE.

To me, this is a state that we have to really guard against.

Surely life is about being excited and energised and challenged to be the very best we can, not an ‘okay-ish’, mediocre, reasonable existence.

So I make no apology for striving and wanting to change.  I know that I will make my own life better and everyone else’s life too.  I was meant to shine…

…we all were!  So let’s do it!

Tony Robbins says that if you are excited or scared, then you can change, but you need to worry about being okay.

The other thing to beware of is when you start seeing others as being grasping or careerist maniacs on a mission.  If you think they are trampling over you to get where they want, it may actually be that you are standing still and they are just going past you.  You aren’t in their way, they have just moved forward in their life and you have stayed exactly where you were.

And that’s not their fault is it?

This is why we have to guard against being average.  We are worth more than that.

I know, by definition, not everyone can be above average.  But you are already better than most people because you are unusual enough to care about creating a compelling and wonderful future and taking consistent action to make sure it happens.

Have you noticed that children rarely talk about things being quite good?  To them, everything is ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Rubbish!’  We need to start seeing things with greater clarity and emotional significance and stop wallowing in a grey puddle of mediocre sludge.

NLP To The Rescue!

Luckily, we have Neuro Linguistic Programming to help us.  All you need to do is keep a careful look out for average thoughts and average words.  Try to be aware of moments when you are settling for ‘okay’ and using language that limits you to a ‘satisfactory’ life.

For the next few days, listen to the words other people use and see how limited their expectations are.  Most people are now acting in a defensive mode where they see the world as a scary place and life as a struggle where they can lose what they have.

It’s much better to live like you see life as a game where you have nothing to lose but everything to gain as you aim for an extraordinary life!

You can be playful and committed to achieving goals.  They are not mutually exclusive.

The thing about seeing life is a game is that, just like in chess for example, if you are not doing well, you can reset the board and start again.  You can learn the rules and study strategies to get better.

That’s got to be a much better way to see life than a constant unending struggle where you are always in danger of being crushed.

Switch how you see the world, and life becomes lighter and more full of possibilities instantly!

Back to Gratitude

The reason that I know that I am not selfish and ungrateful is because I have actually started making gratitude a conscious willed choice that I make.

I spend time every day mentally listing all the things that I am grateful for – the skills, experiences, friends, family, hopes, challenges and resources I have that make me feel truly alive.

So I know that I am very thankful for all I have and will be more grateful than most people for the future successes I hope to enjoy.

I would love to hear how you try to avoid the Mediocrity Trap in your life.  What do you do to avoid being distracted by the average herd?  How do you keep true to your mission?  Please comment and let me know.

 

Hang in there – find your WHY!

a little scottish fold kitten is hanging on the ropeI’ve had some real challenges recently and things have not been as positive as I hoped.

I had the results back from some tests my doctor sent me for, and it turns out that I have an underlying condition.  I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

To be frank, it was a bit of a shock.  I am still in my early 40s and this particular condition is more usually diagnosed in much older people.

My initial reaction was fear – I wanted to know what how this would affect me and whether it would shorten the length of my life.  I also wanted to know how I had got it.

My doctor was very reassuring.  He told me that as long as I continue to live a healthy life and (crucially!) avoid smoking completely, then there is every possibility of it not affecting my life or limiting the length of it! Phew!

He explained that it was most likely caused by a combination of smoking for 20 years and not controlling my asthma properly in the past (I used to forget to take my inhalers).  Hearing this caused me to experience a powerful and very unhelpful emotion…guilt.

Basically, the reality is that it is at least partially my fault that I have this chronic disease.  This made me feel real regret mixed with anger at my stupidity as well as shame for not stopping smoking much earlier.  And this cocktail of emotions is quite a powerful one!

So..what did I do?

I did two things, and they both really helped:

1). I went for a long walk on my own to think it all through.

2). I forgave myself.

I admitted to myself that I had done a very stupid thing (smoked 20 a day) for a long time, but I made an absolute vow to myself that I will NEVER smoke a single puff of a cigarette ever again.

I explained to myself that I learned from the mistake I made in the past and would now use this knowledge to create the best life possible for me now and for the future.

Now, if I’m honest, when I first found out I did think, “Right!  There’s no point me carrying on trying to be healthy if I have this disease.  Why don’t I have a beer and just enjoy myself?”

And it was a powerful suggestion – I was very tempted!

But… I went for my walk and started seeing things differently.

I realised that I have already improved the quality of my life and that I feel so much better living a healthy life and being much more positive.

Also, I realised that if I stop living positively then I will be back to being my old unfit, negative self, with the addition of a chronic condition,  Not a good plan at all!

So, I made the conscious, willed choice to accept responsibility for my past mistakes, learn from them, forgive myself and move forward with strong intention and determination to be better.

I think the thing that really kept me going was my WHY.

The more I study self-development, the more I realise that the thing that keeps everyone on the path to a better life is having a compelling reason to change, or a WHY.

What is a WHY?

Your WHY is simple… What Heals You?

I think it’s essential that when life throws crap at you…and it will!… that you have a compelling reason to keep going.  And that’s your WHY.

Once you know the thing that will make you feel whole again and like the real you, then you have found What Heals You!

For me, it is all about being healthy, happy and authentic.  Hence the blog tagline!

The healthy and happy are very clear for me – I want to be doing things that make me feel energetic and alive as well as things that I genuinely enjoy doing.

And the authentic part is me saying that I need to be honest, genuine and real.

Not just on here when talking to you, but also when talking to myself!

So that is my WHY and it’s keeping me on the path.

I’m not going to let an illness define or limit me.

It’s actually a positive thing, because it allows me to show myself just how far I have come and that I truly know where I am heading.

Good luck finding your own WHY!

Cheers for now,

Tony

Why is Self-Improvement total BS?

Now that might strike you as harsh or unfair?Very surprised screaming housewife

Please hear me out.  ‘Cause it makes me feel like she does  ==============>

You see, I think that there is a whole army of self-obsessed, patronising and pretty horrible people out there who don’t care about you, your problems or how you can solve them.  They just pretend they do.

They only care about selling you some false hope, just enough to keep you hooked as a Self-Improvement Junkie.  They only want you to keep coming back for more, more, more!

On the other hand, I honestly do believe that there are genuine, real and positive people out there who are motivated by helping you to be your best.  There are some awesome people in the self-development world and they make it all feel worthwhile.

People like Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins and Danielle Laporte are truly inspirational, but I think that’s because they are into Self-Improvement FIRST and are marketers SECOND.  And that’s the way it should be, if you ask me.

I have no problem at all with someone who is genuine, real and has knowledge and wisdom to share, doing just that. I know that they will need to hype up their products and services a little to get our attention.  That’s absolutely fine.  It’s when you know you are just getting some empty platitudes wrapped in some marketing BS hype that I start to get cross!

(I know I should accept the things I can’t change with grace, but honestly…ARGHHH!)

I hope that you don’t see this as just someone whining in a negative way (If you do, then see point 2 below).  I really am pushing myself forward in my life and taking action, but some of the crap I’ve seen out there just makes me MAD!!

(Although I do try to rise above it all and remain calm and serene :-) )

So…here are my Top Five Self-Improvement BS Detectors!

Keep your nose primed to sniff these out, and uncover their horrible stench before they sap your positivity.

1. It’s All Your Fault

This is a classic.  I’m all for people taking responsibility for their lives and owning their own mistakes as well as their success (or lack of it).  That’s a really powerful way to take-back the sense of power that so many people have lost in their life.  You can then start taking purposeful action to achieve your OWN goals.  That’s just dandy!

But…when you have tried everything that the self-appointed Self-Improvement Guru suggests and none of it has worked, then is it really your fault?  It is quite convenient that some Self-Improvement programs come with in-built terms and conditions which basically say; “If you use our product and it doesn’t work, then it’s your own lack of positivity that caused it to fail, despite ‘developing your positivity’ being one of the things we sold you.”

2. You Just Need To Be Positive

This one is definitely linked to the first.  If only you are positive enough then you will make huge progress!  Again, I have no problem with the power of positive thinking and I agree that upward spirals of positive thinking, leading to positive action, leading to more positive thinking etc can really work.

But…if a Self-Improvement Guru tells you that it is just down to positive thinking and nothing else then you should just laugh and find another mentor.  That is complete crap!  If wishes alone were enough, then I would look like George Clooney.

Positive thinking and creating your dream life will only take you half way.  It will give you clarity and vision, but it won’t manifest what you want into the world.  You also need to take CONSISTENT ACTION to actually achieve your goals.  Even then, you are limited to some extent by nature, however hard you try.  That is not simply a ‘limiting belief’, but just a recognition of reality.  Sure, you can develop much further than you ever thought possible, but there are limits.  Don’t fall for the easy ‘think your way to _____’ BS!

3. How To Get A Job By Mr. Unemployed

One of most annoying things is being told how to do something by someone who hasn’t done it themselves.  ‘How to Get Rich’ by A. Bum etc.  If someone hasn’t had results doing the thing they are selling, then what makes you think that you will?  This is another example of someone understanding the marketing ‘trigger’ words to get you to buy, but having no real understanding or interest in the product they are trying to sell you.

Quite simply, you need to see their results and know that they actually understand and really care about what they are talking about.  And quite a few of them don’t!

4. Total Ecstasy in 1 Minute

Another BS marketing approach that some so-called experts take.  They promise to take the thing that you have struggled with for all these years (weight loss, motivation, career success, financial freedom or whatever) and show you how to succeed to the max in a ridiculously short time.

Wow!  They must really know what it takes to be able to sort my life out that quickly, without any effort and in no time at all!  Or…are they just selling me an easy, no-effort-required dream that will make me feel warm and fluffy with excitement as I hand over my money, but leave me empty, cheated and $50 poorer?

The reality is that any real change takes effort, commitment and determination and there are very few Super-Fast Success Short Cuts at a special introductory price that will ‘turn your life around’.

5. You Need Me To Tell You To Think For Yourself

The last way to tell if you are being fed some Self-Improvement BS is to look at how you are being coached.  Often the Self-Improvement Guru will tell you that YOU must think for yourself and start to take responsibility (See Point 1).  At the same time, they will also say that only THEY can help you to solve your problems.

So, who should you listen to?  Yourself? (because you are taking responsibility and ownership of you own development) or the Guru? (who knows exactly what you need to do – including taking responsibility for yourself)

Ouuuccchhhh!  My head hurts now!

Okay…I do realise that it is possible to understand that someone else might need to advise you to think for yourself.  It’s just an example of the kind of deliberate ‘mystical’ uncertainty that some of these Gurus use to keep us confused.

Why would they do that?

So you accept their authority without question and continue buying their products?  Could be!

Now, as I said earlier, there are many genuinely inspiring Self-Improvement coaches and mentors out there and I really don’t think that all Self-Improvement is BS.  But, hopefully you will agree with me that some of it is.

Keep an eye out (or a nose, I suppose?!) for the BS Detectors above and just stick to the good stuff!

Or buy my “How to spot Self-Improvement BS and Feel Like a God in 5 Seconds” Mega-Course which is available for a limited time only for $10,000 😉

Cheers for now,

Tony

Please comment on your own experience of Self-Improvement BS and share this article on social media.

I’d LOVE to hear what you think! Thanks :-)

(Even if you just think that there’s nothing we can do about it…but that’ll just be your negativity talking 😉 )