Friday, July 27, 2007

How Questions Can Help You Focus - By Mohamad Latiff

Focus. That is the single most important ability determinant of your success. The lack of it is also the single most common problem faced by a major portion of the general populace.

The average person cannot focus his or her mind on any one thought, task or thing for extended periods of time if he or she wants to.

Just try this - picture a circle of any colour you choose for at least 68 seconds. That's only 8 seconds over a minute. Do this without letting any other stray thoughts, images or inner voices intrude in your mind. Not even one speckle of a thought should creep in your mind, other than that circle of your favourite colour centered in your imagination.

Try it now!

Ouch! Treacherously difficult, isn't it?

I notice a few things after several unyielding trials at meditation and concentration exercises.

If I am focusing on an image or visual object in my mind, that visual object or image tends to "morph" into something else, shifting shapes, changing colours and moving about with a life of its own.

I think that this stems from our mind being bored by our forcing it to concentrate on only one perception at a time, after having been exposed to a life-time of perceptual cognitive bombardment.

It just fights to let other thoughts and perceptions come in to kill its boredom, like a baby that is quickly bored by one toy and wants to play with the next.

If I am trying to focus on a word, a principle, a concept or idea, the intangibility of that thought and vagueness thereof simply demands other related (and un-related) ideas and concepts to flood into my mind, thus killing my concentration exercise.

Either way, I'm trapped.

The supreme kind of focus that is achieved by meditators and the highly successful (meditators are not necessarily highly successful, and vice-versa) only comes about through disciplined training and diligent daily practice.

But I'm not going to tell you to go through that kind of rigorous training to sharpen your focus until it becomes as a laser beam.

Most people do not have the time nor the stamina to take the torturous path braved by those few. Maybe you're one of them, like me, maybe you're not.

Don't worry if you're from the previous group. It's not now, but not never either, just, perhaps another time for you.

But do we really need that kind of perfect and supreme concentration ability? To be able to only think one thought and let no other, not one inkling, come in? To focus so deeply and intently on one idea and be immune to distractions both inner and outer?

The answer is no. We don't have to shave our heads bald and don robes to sharpen our mind. There is a way for you to help yourself focus your mind and all your resources on achieving a certain objective when you really, really need to.

It is through questions.

That's it. Just ask yourself questions about, relevant and pertaining to the thought, idea or thing you want to focus on. Only questions relevant to the object of your focus. Nothing that strays too far away from the theme or subject matter.

Questions are naturally thought focusers. That means, by their very nature, questions are designed to make your thoughts focus on what is being asked about.

Just think of riddles or puzzles. I just got one in my email concerning the 3rd word in the English language that ends in "gry".

Here it goes:

"There are 3 words in the English language that end in 'gry'. One is angry and the other is hungry. Everyone knows what the 3rd word is, and everyone uses it every day. If you listened carefully, I've already told you what it is. What is the 3rd word?"

The question "What is the 3rd word?" got my mind thinking so hard, and all my thoughts, for that moment, so focused and intent on finding the elusive answer to that puzzle that it distracted me from the actual answer itself that is already presented to my face (for the answer, go do a search on Google).

Or think back to a time when you were doing an English comprehension paper. I can recall myself doing my 'O' Level English Comprehension Examination paper. The article has got something to do with early child development and the human brain.

When you were trying to answer the questions, what do you do? You were searching for the answer in the comprehension article, right?

Or if it was a thinking-type question, you were also searching for the answer in your mind, in your memory, trying to find related ideas and concepts that could somehow match what the comprehension question demands.

If you were observant, I've already told you the purpose of focusing.

Okay, I won't play riddles with you. The chief purpose of concentration or focus is to search for something. You want to search for something, you focus on it.

Scholars, monks, philosophers, thinkers and writers who are in search of what they hold to be the Ultimate Truth, focus on it in order to find it. Some fail, some succeed; and the difference between the two is how much they know about what they are actually focusing on (or searching for) and why.

So here's one tip to help you focus better:

KNOW what it is you want to achieve with your focusing. What are you searching for? Where are you heading for?

How does one KNOW? How does one attain knowledge of something? One asks. Therefore, questions help one focus.

For example, you want to focus on a book that you're reading. You can't seem to understand what it is about, either because the author sucks or you are not focusing well enough on the contents and ideas presented.

Let's assume it's the latter case.

First, ask yourself some questions about WHAT information or knowledge that you want to extract from reading this book.

Second, think about HOW you're going to go about and retrieve that information or knowledge that you're seeking in the book.

Third, just for added motivation, ask WHY you want to or need to have that knowledge or information you're searching for in the book.

Fourth, formulate a few What, Why, How, Who, Where, When questions (whatever applies) to get you into "Search mode"; pretty much like a search engine, in order to get you to FOCUS on only those parts of the book that can provide you with the answers to your questions.

While you notice the CAPS that I wrote in the previous few paragraphs, do you see the connection now between focusing, searching for answers and asking questions?

Or let's say you're doing one of those concentrating-on-an-object exercises. You know, like candles, fruits, pictures and stuff. I don't know what the purpose for these kinds of exercises is, other than that they help you train your mind to focus, somehow, albeit on seemingly unconstructive things.

First, ask yourself WHAT that thing actually is (I realise how silly this sounds, but I have a gut inner feeling that I'm on the right track, and I trust my intuition very, very much, and I don't want to betray it). Okay, so, it's an apple. Ask yourself what it is that makes an apple, an apple. What are the elements constituting an apple that determines it to be an apple.

Second, ask yourself HOW an apple becomes the way it is. Think about how it was originally planted in the Earth as a seed. Think about how it grows, with the proper nourishment of sunlight, water, minerals, nutrients and other things you learn in high school science.

Third, think about WHY an apple exists. (Laughing out Loud) This is where you can get existential-philosophical. What purpose does it serve in our reality? In this world? In the universe? Ask why is it red? Or green? Why is it juicy and scrunchy? Why is it sweet? What makes it so?

Fourth, generate more questions surrounding that apple. The more you ask, the more you'll find that you're thinking deeper and deeper about that apple, and while you're thinking deeply about it, you're actually focusing on it, and you've exercised your focusing abilities, and hence have enhanced it, by an incremental percentage; and I think if you're focusing on it hard enough, you might just feel compelled to grab it and take a MUNCH!

Fascinating, isn't it?

I'll end this article with a few Meta-Questions:

Why must I focus on the most constructive thought at any given moment?

How can I focus on the most constructive thought at any given moment?

What if I am already focusing on the most constructive thought at any given moment?

How do I know I am focusing on the most constructive thought at any one time?

How soon can I be able to easily focus on the most constructive thought at any given time?

What is my purpose for focusing my mind on this thought I am thinking now?

How can I know that my purpose for focusing my mind on this thought I am thinking now is positive, constructive, optimal and serves to better my condition in the best possible way?

What am I really searching or seeking for while I am focusing on this thought?

What am I focusing on right now? (Ask this question from time to time, to keep track of your thoughts. Most people spend 99% of their time letting thoughts pass in their mind unchecked)

Why am I focusing on this thought right now?

Can you think of more questions already?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Overcoming Rejection by Cultivating High Self-Compassion - By Peter Murphy

How does one go about overcoming rejection? We all encounter rejection at sometime in our lives - we could be at a check-out counter and the clerk ignores us because she is too busy talking to someone else. Or perhaps we rush home to our parents with a great report card, only to be brushed aside because they are busy doing something more important. We react to situations when we are rejected with one or more of the following defensive responses:

1) You try to get clarity - this means attempting to find out what you did to make the other person reject you this way. This is because you want to be able to rectify the situation and eliminate your feelings of rejection. You will probably ask yourself one of these questions:

- Did I do something wrong?

- Did I say something to offend the other person?

- Maybe there is something wrong with me?

- Are the other people surrounding me worth more than me?

2) You ask forgiveness from the other person. This response may not necessarily mean you did or said something wrong. You might try this response because you just want the other person to stop rejecting you.

3) You might resort to defensive ostracism, meaning you opt to try to get rid of the other person if possible. If the person who rejected you is a friend, you could opt to reject them in return and seek other friends instead. If the rejection came from a client, you might back out of the contract and look for other clients instead. This strategy occurs quite commonly.

4) Resignation is another defensive response. You feel that the other person is better than you so you become resigned to the feelings of rejection.

5) You might get angry and attempt to humiliate the other person in return. Why should I be the only one to feel rejected - let him know how it feels as well!

6) You opt to leave the person who rejected you completely alone. You probably say to yourself: well, if that is how he feels, I better go someplace else for awhile. You might also resort to this because you want the other person to feel rejected as well.

There are other defensive responses you could resort to - these are just some of them. But how does one overcome rejection then?

To preserve your feelings of self-esteem, you might resort to fostering a high degree of self-compassion.

1) To have a high degree of self-compassion means being able to be kind to yourself even when faced with rejection from other people.

2) People who have a high degree of self-compassion are able to acknowledge to themselves that everyone makes mistakes at some point.

3) Such people who show self-compassion are able to avoid labeling themselves as losers or failures.

4) To have high self-compassion may help provide a buffer against negative feelings of self-worth brought about by rejection.

5) Research shows that it is possible to induce self-compassion. It results in positive cognitive and emotional impact on the mindset of the individual.

6) One great advantage of having a high degree of self-compassion is that the individual is able to admit to himself that he has made a mistake, without resorting to self-blame and self-punishment.

7) A person who is known for low self-esteem can benefit from a high degree of self-compassion.

8) A person with high self-compassion actually becomes a more responsible person because he is able to take responsibility for any mistakes he makes. He then opts to rectify his mistakes.

So if you want a good way for overcoming rejection, try developing high self-compassion for yourself.

Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What Are Values, Personal Values, Family Values, Core Values? - By Thomas Drummond

Values are what motivate us. But when we use words over and over they become buzzwords which is...a word that has only vague meaning... because we can't define it. But we continue to use buzzwords and think we are communicating something to ourselves and to other people.

Politicians talk of family values...and everyone lets it pass because “everybody knows” what those are. But schizophrenic families don't have the same values as investment banking families.

So let's follow the rule Aristotle gave us for defining any term...a rule that scientists have followed ever since. You define a thing...or idea to show how it differs from other things and ideas. So how do personal values differ from core values and from other values?

Here's the rule.

What you're defining must belong

1.) to a general class (a genus)...and that general class must have

2.) examples in it that are specifically different from each other (species).

Great. Values is the general class and personal values...and core values are separate species...that have to be different from each other.

Here goes.

Values are in the general class of ...strong desires that lead to action...either 1.) to keep something...or 2.) to get something.

A politician desires to keep her senate seat as a gain the presidency.

So each sub species of values will have strong desire that leads to action in common. But then...they must be be different in other ways.

So here goes. Let's define them to see what their differences are.

Personal values

...would be strong desires that make you take action to keep or to get something...that enhances you as an individual. Family values are group oriented.

For example... Sue...who's an actress...goes after and gets a new type of keep her popularity at the box office high. She takes action on these values to make them reality.

Bob is a physicist who wants to...get...a publisher for his new book so he can...keep...his scholarly reputation as a man on the cutting edge of science.

Petey...a generic kid...wants to get a mountain he sweeps company parking lots after school to keep the money coming in.

You get the idea...a value is a strong relevant get or keep something.

Family Values

...are strong desires to be identified publicly as a group called the Joneses or the Smiths...or the clan MacDonald. And to keep the rules and image of that family intact...a parent will tell an adolescent... “As long as you live in my will abide by my rules.” A MacDonald only wears the clan one else's. The Hatfields don't marry McCoys.

Family values reflect common commitment among the members to get or keep...

  • house rules

  • Christmas traditions

  • birthday traditions

  • occupation selection

  • family secrets

  • clan loyalty...etc.

Core Values

...are the strongest desires of a person on which their other values rest. The probably untrue legend of George Washington makes the point well...when he supposedly said... “Father...I cannot tell a lie...I chopped down the cherry tree.” He kept to the truth...regardless of what he would get as the consequences.

Unlike personal values where what you keep...a senate tightly connected to what you want to get...the presidency...core values are things you feel strongly enough about to keep regardless of what you get.

The early Christian martyrs kept their faith...despite getting the run around from the lions in the arena.

Your core values are those strong desires which you will not yield on. They are the bedrock of your life...your morality...your other goals and your actions.

Patrick Henry made it clear that he would prefer death...if he could not keep his liberty. Liberty was the core value on which all else in his life depended.

What about people who have strong desires but nothing seems to work in their lives? They lose their jobs...they don't get the jobs they want...they never get ahead.

A couple of things could be possibly...the other definitely.

Possibly people may not have a strong enough desire for what they say they want. Many people want a better job...but...they say...the benefits here are too good to pass up. It's good benefits they want...not a better job. They find something to use to explain their desire away.

And so what's missing is...they take no action. They only...wish...for a better job.

But values result in action. Wishes have to be granted by somebody else taking action on your Santa Claus...or the munchkins of the lottery hope and pray...are frantically looking for your ticket before the drawing deadline.

The other problem people definitely have when their lives do not go according to their stated values or desires is...they do not want enough. They don't think big enough and so...they are not motivated to take action. Someone once said he wanted to make "a pile of money" by the time he was thirty.

But when he was offered a job at $15 an hour...he turned it down...said it wasn't worth his while going out all day for $15 an hour. You couldn't make real money at that rate.

To motivate yourself to act on your desires...desire on a big scale. If you want to make a hundred thousand dollars this year...go ahead. But you'll get up earlier and work longer...smarter...and use every resource you have...find every resource you don't have...if you make that goal one million dollars. It takes the same amount of smarts and energy to make a million as to make a hundred thousand dollars.

To get the action you need to make your values real...think big...and then up the ante on yourself and think even bigger.

Ask a lot of life...then get active and do the you won't have to wish for your life to pay off.

Thomas Drummond, Ph.D. is trained in clinical, developmental and neuropsychology. He has worked with the problems of clergy and religious of the catholic church for more than 20 years. Many had ministry values that were not strong enough to motivate them. And so they became bored and looked for meaning in ways that were contrary to the strongly held values of their church and religious congregations. Learn more at

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life Is What You Are Doing Right Now - By Michael Sean

Well, its time to get back to work here. Don't you hate it when life interferes with what you really want to do? OK, stupid question. Life is doing what you want and need to do. Sometimes, you just have to stop and get off the treadmill of others expectations and do the things you want and need to do. Thats what I have been doing the last few weeks. Living off line.

That's why I'm writing this. Living off-line. Reaching your potential, while living life to the fullest. Thats what personal and professional development is all about in the end anyway.

So the ultimate development personal program is about action and not really about creating the perfect personal development plan. Its about action! Doing things, not planning to do things. Many of us when working on developing ourselves spend a lot of time planning, reading, thinking and worrying. Time is wasted on all this and its equally wasteful counterpart, procrastination. Nothing gets done and you stay the way you are, with all kinds of plans and ideas about what you will do someday when you get to be when "you have made it".

What a load! You'll never make it unless you actually do something. If you are going to try reaching your potential, it will require not only study and planning, but DOING!

What is doing though? Doing in this area means acting. Do you want to meditate? Meditate. Do you need to meet people? Well, then meet people. Going to write a novel? Start writing. Don't think about it. Don't find reasons not to do these things. Because you never will. You'll never find the "perfect" thing or timing. And don't tell me or yourself you don't have the time, the money or the skills.

Doing doesn't always require great planning. Its requires a dedication and commitment. Anybody can take action. Just do a "Nike"... Just do it. What is keeping you from doing something you want to do?

Fear? Are you afraid of failure? Get over it. Most successful people have failed many time before they succeeded. Winston Churchill was viewed as a washed up loser, past his prime with nothing left to offer when WWII broke out.

No Money? Do you really need money? Many new businesses have been sold from an idea before anything real had been created. Not only did it work, But it allowed the creator to modify his ideas with real input from real customers. Saving money and time.

You lack skills you say? Oh my! Stop worrying and start doing it. The unskilled often create or do things that no one with so-called skills ever thought of doing in their area of expertise. No one thought the ipod would make it. It came from outsiders, in a market full of experts. There were many mp3 players already on the market. The Ipod change the landscape and the market. You can to!

If your not an insider, you can always become and insider. Or maybe you don't even need to become one. Sometimes the outsider has a better perspective.

You don't have time? The best one for anybody, isn't it? Find the time. Skip the TV shows, skip the romance novel, skip the gold outing with the buddies. Just do what os is you have always wanted to do. Find an excuse to do it, not to avoid doing it. Do a little or a lot. Just get started.

This blog is an example of both the things we don't do and the way to start doing it. At first, I had the idea. And it just sat there looking at me. Then I started making action plans for its development. Finally, I just decided to do it and am now working on it more every day. I have lots of plans for the site. But mostly, now I am working on it. Its getting done. I am finding my voice and the plan such as it it seems to be getting done.

All of our personal development plans are much like this. Whether it's meditation, fitness, diet or a new business. Yes, you do want to have an very good idea of where you are going. But don't plan to death. I think the phrase is paralysis through analysis. You can't keep waiting for the perfect time, the perfect plan or the the perfect anything. Life isn't perfect. So again... GET OVER IT!

Lets look at the smaller personal development actions you can take everyday. Things that one you do them, begin to build a foundation of real change. Actions you can take all day long.

If you are eating like crap. Just start eating a little better. Don't buy the candy bar. When you go to lunch get a burger and a salad. Skip the fries. Buy real food when you go to the store. Skip the chips this time. A little start, is a lot better than no start. Change your mindset. Its not things you are giving up, its eating things that will make your life better.

Can't seem to get get to the gym? Remember, you're paying for it. If you paid for something you might as well use it? Even once a week. Build it into your schedule somehow. Go before work for an hour. Before you get home. Because when you get home, there are things to do. Don't plan on hours and hours there every day. You can do a good workout in about an hour. Three times a week and you'll start feeling better and get interested in what you can do to make that little amount of time more effective for yourself.

Your relationship kinda sucks? Its your fault! So do something about it. Don't expect it to happen magically. Take the time to talk. Take the time to walk. Read a book and figure out what you can do. I'm sure if your relationship needs work. You both know it. And admitting it, will at least start the ball rolling.

You are a great procrastinator? Join the club. So am I. So I just make my mental lists and start doing what I can. Sometimes, I choose the easiest and get into the flow of things. Working my way up. Other times, I just choose the nastiest and hardest, just to get it out of the way.

Everyone has reasons for not doing what we should do. Thats just another way of saying excuse. Put the excuses aside and do something. Instead of making excuses, take action on your personal development plans.

I guess my point in all of this is simple. Not doing these things, is not living. Living is doing. Doing is living. Don't waste your time existing, excusing and avoiding. Action makes life worth living.

    My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.

    – Elaine Maxwell

The author is the owner of a blog about life, living and reaching your potential.
Check it out today for more articles to improve your body, mind and spirit.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Life is a Journey - By Nicole Matoushek

Life is a journey: A journey filled with off road stumbles and on road bliss. This journey can feel like it is all uphill for those who are coping with a financial troubles, relationship woes, chronic illness, addictive disease or an injury-related condition. But life is a journey. We have a choice to make it our journey and live the life we dream about. Anyone can do it. It is easy, and it is all up to you.

“He who chooses the beginning of a road, also chooses its destination.”


For every journey, a roadmap is helpful in order to get to the destination timely and see all the sights and do all the activities along the way, which one has planned. Many of us travel or have traveled on our journey of life, without such a road map. We all need direction at some time, although many of us don’t typically ask for directions. But how will you know where you want to go if you do not have a goal or destination in mind? Or if one has a destination, but no road map, one may circle around endlessly, reaching the destination long overdue or even worse never at all. Everyone should have a road map for their journey of life. On this road map, it is important to establish what you really want, who you really want to be, your purpose and how you will travel.

“A man without a plan for the day is lost before he starts.”

-Lewis K. Bendele

Learn and Seek Information: Often times we need a teacher or mentor for some guidance. We all do. Those who are most successful at living the life of their dreams seek information and seek guidance. I recommend everyone do this, life is a marathon, and we are in the process of learning the entire way, we are always evolving.

Goal Setting: A journey requires goals. Think about it, what do you really want? If you do not know, how can you receive it? Once you identify what you really want, write it down and if you have it already; fantastic! If you do not have what you really want, then establish it as a goal. Choose what you really want to be your experience.

“To choose is also to begin.”


Identity Statement: It is really important that we establish who we really want to be. We have an opportunity to be who ever we want. We are the creators of our universe, we become what we think and focus about. So it is really important that you create and think about who you really want to be. Take a few minutes to reflect and think about whom you are today and who you want to be. If it is a match; fantastic! For many of it, it is not a match. It is important to establish objective, detailed and finite goals of what you really want.

Ultimate Purpose Statement: During our journey, it is important to have an ultimate purpose. A journey is more gratifying and enjoyable, if and when there is an ultimate purpose and a direction or vision. Every business organization knows that when they establish their Mission Statement. If one wanders without direction, one can get distracted and easily led off track. Therefore, having an ultimate purpose statement to guide your journey will keep you on the safest and fastest road to your dreams. In our journey of life, we as humans have three general purposes:

1)To know true happiness and joy. This means our life’s mission is to live our lives to the fullest and to strive to reach our fullest potential.

2)To know that we are all connected, as one God force or energy source. To give back to mankind to advance life.

3)To learn how to co-create our reality with the help of the universe or Higher Power. To learn how to apply the power of positive thinking and guide our thoughts to manifest the experience that we desire.

Rules of Conduct: With any journey or trip, one must have rules or conduct or laws to abide to determine how one will get there. When one is driving a car, one must follow rules of traffic in order to maintain organization, efficiency and not to do harm to others. When one is performing at the workplace, there are rules of order and discipline. The same rules apply in life. It is important to know what rules of conduct guide you and your direction. You should establish your rules of travel or your rules of conduct. When you are following your set rules, you will know you are living or being who you really are.

Having Faith: No one can tell you when or how or when your goals will be achieved or your journey will be complete; you must leave that up to God or the universe or Higher Power, most people believe in a Higher Power of some sort and by some name. But go into each day believing that you are on your journey of life, become who you want to be, adhere to the rules of conduct and following your road map to your destination. Live one day at a time and live each day to the absolute fullest. Be efficient and complete with your actions. Reward yourself for small accomplishments. That will not only make this process more fun, but will help to keep you positive, hopeful and continuing to practice the process that you are learning in this book. Acquiring hope and acquiring health is a process.

Imagine that you are traveling from Florida to California in the darkness, you know that if you can see the 200 feet in front of your car in your headlights, you will reach your destination. Life is the same principle; it unfolds bit by bit in front of your eyes. Live each beautiful day, knowing that there are many other beautiful days coming your way. With each day unfolding step by step and mile by mile. Live in the moment, let go of the past, and don’t worry about the future.

“Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is the only cash you have-so spend it wisely.”

-Kay Lyons

Define your destination and all the sights and experience that you wish to have along your journey and have the faith, everyday, that it will happen for you.

Nicole Matoushek, MPH, PT has 15 years of experience in clinical managed care and disability management. She is founder of ErgoRehab Inc. She has authored two books "Acquired Hope: A Journey of Advanced Recovery and Empowerment" and "365 Days of Abundant Hope" both available on She is inspired and advancing her success through: The Secret to Getting Rich: target="_new" href=""> She lives each day in hope and is passionately dedicated to helping others succeed in obtaining abundant health, wealth and a fuller life!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Law of Attraction Should be Renamed The Law of Distraction - By Craig Harper

Today I'm stepping out on to the cyber high-wire.
I'm performing a high-risk blogging manoeuvre.
No safety net.
No cyber-harness.

I'm going to write a brief opinion piece on the Law of Attraction (LOA).
Possibly a no-win situation for me.
Aah well.
Advocates (of the concept) will disagree with me.
(I'm okay with that... as long as you're okay with me thinking differently to you).
And opponents are already with me.

I personally think the LOA should be re-named the Law of Distraction (as the title of my post suggests) as it (in my opinion) actually distracts people from change principles which actually work.
(Just lost half my readers).

Firstly, I am not a vocal opponent of the LOA (as such), in that, I have never written or spoken publicly about it.. but I am a seeker of the truth... and it is my belief that it (the LOA) may not be the 'answer' so many believe it to be.

When it comes to creating forever results and believing in something (which we all want), I want proof, I want consistent evidence, I want impartial analysis, I want large-scale, irrefutable results over an extended period of time and I'd prefer someone who's not trying to make money through the peddling of this or that particular philosophy or program (to be the person doing the talking).

So why am I doing this post?
Clearly, I'm a masochist.
Who wants to be popular anyway?
It's overrated.
I sat back for a while (about a year) and observed the fervour surrounding the LOA... and while I get some of the thinking (no, I don't disagree with everything), I have a few issues (no, not those issues... other issues) to discuss, points to make and questions to ask.

So let's put a ripple (or tidal wave) in the personal development pond and see what it's about.

Note (2): Yes, this is an open forum for you to voice your thoughts.. just keep it civil, nice and constructive and we can all explore (debate, argue) together.
We don't all have to agree.. (that's the beauty of being a grown-up) we just have to live on the same planet.
And be nice to each other.
Even though... we have different beliefs.
Hmm, maybe we should tell our leaders that?
Wanna join my political party?
Me either.
By the way, I love a healthy, good-spirited debate... but not some inane verbal attack from a bitter, twisted, angry zealot who simply wants to impose his or her opinion on the rest of us.

Which leads me to my next comment....

What I am about to write are my thoughts and opinions only... don't get offended, defensive or angry (well, I'd suggest you don't anyway).
Feel free to agree, disagree or stop reading at any stage...
Sometimes it ain't about right or wrong; it's about what we think, believe and choose.
Let's commence boys and girls....

While there are volumes of information on the LOA, the following is an assortment from a range of sources and seems to be indicative of the general thinking, principles and beliefs... and there's also some thoughts, suggestions and questions from me thrown in (of course).
The stuff in blue (or purple... I'm not sure!) is me.
(Probably woulda figured that out all by yerself).

Some Definitions of the LOA:
(1)People experience the corresponding manifestations of their predominant thoughts.
I think this is a fancy schmancy way of saying "you get what you mostly think about"... gotta make it sound like pseudo-science though. I could give SO many examples of people focusing on (the attainment of) certain things for years.. and never getting them... but do I really need to?

(2)People have direct control over reality and their lives through thought alone.
Mmm.. surely at some stage WHAT WE DO is gonna have some impact on our reality?
Thought ALONE... don't think so.
It's an ingredient... but it ain't the whole recipe.

(3) A person's thoughts (conscious and unconscious), emotions, beliefs and actions are said to attract corresponding positive and negative experiences "through the resonance of their energetic vibration."
I'm a scientist (a crap one admittedly), so I've explored this a little... and nobody can tell me how the resonance of an individuals 'energetic vibration' (which apparently occurs when they focus on stuff) can help them lose weight as they sit on the couch, while simultaneously inhaling beer and donuts.
Stupidly, I thought losing weight (for example) may involve getting off the couch and at some stage, expending some energy.
Thought it may have something to do with behaviour not JUST thoughts.

(4) The "law of attraction" states "you get what you think about; your thoughts determine your destiny."
I wonder how the billions of people who live on less than a dollar a day feel about this ideology... no wonder those LOA workshops never took off in the Sudan.
"C'mon you guys over there in that mud hut with no food... your attitude and your thinking is holding you back.... stop limiting yourselves with your crappy mindset!"
"Stop it with those negative thoughts."
If you think I'm being insensitive, how do you think they (people in the Sudan) would feel about someone telling them that their thoughts are responsible for their reality?

LOA Principles:
(1) Know what one wants and ask the universe for it. (The "universe" is mentioned broadly, stating that it can be anything from a god to an unknown source of energy).
Okay... I want to be able to run a hundred metres in nine seconds (a world record)... the fact that I'm fat, slow, forty three and don't train for the event shouldn't be a problem... the only thing which might get in my way is my negative energy... (and I thought it would be my hamstrings).

(2) Feel and behave as if the object of one's desire is on its way.
Hmmm, let's say the object of one's (such a funny word... I sound like the queen) desire is to be a rock star and right now I'm flipping burgers for seven bucks an hour.
(1) As long as I'm working at Big Sam's Diner, I'm never gonna feel like Bono (good in theory, stupid in practice)... but I need to keep working there 'cause right now I'm not a rock star and.. I need the money.
(2) If I walk around behaving like a rock star.. I'm probably gonna get punched in the head by someone who doesn't share my reality.
(3) Perhaps I actually need to get off my ass, practice my music, develop some skills and do some work.
(4) Perhaps I'm never gonna be a rock star 'cause I don't have any musical ability.

Just a thought.

(3) Be open to receiving it.
I'm open to creating it, chasing it, working for it... not so open to sitting on my ass and waiting for it to knock on my front door.... call me old-fashioned.

"Er.. hello Craig, it's the universe here... I'm at the front door with that tropical island and that incredible singing voice you wanted.. let me in..."

(4) Proponents say that by abiding by these, and avoiding "negative" thoughts, the Universe will manifest a person's desires.
My experience tells me that (by and large) the only person/thing that will create forever positive change in my life is ME... yes, thinking plays a role but typically it's more about my actions, my life choices, my ability to persevere and deal with discomfort, my ability to adapt and... my drive to create something from nothing.

Some quotes from LOA websites:
(1) "The Law of Attraction is fun to learn and use because you are always watching, waiting expectantly for your desires to manifest. You can deliberately use this law to create your future!"
Part of the appeal (in my opinion) of the LOA is the whole notion of how easy and fun the process is.
Who wants to buy hard work, self-control and discipline when the universe can manifest your desires while you pull your nose hairs?
Easy (fun, quick, painless, convenient) is what people wanna buy.
Don't believe me?... look at how weight-loss and fitness products are marketed.
Look at how money making schemes are sold.
I don't like waiting for things to manifest.. I like creating.

(2) "You get what you put your energy and focus on, whether wanted or unwanted."
I know plenty of people who have focused on finding Mr or Mrs right for years... if only they'd lose fifty pounds, get a job, change their crappy attitude, use a mouth wash and stop whining.
But what do I know?

(3) "A major factor behind this universal law is the energy and vibrations of our emotions and feelings. Any thought you may have, when combined with emotion, vibrates out from you to the universe and will attract back what you want. You can leave all the details to the universe. Let the universe figure out the method of delivery, when you will receive it, etc. Now all you have to do is Allow It."
Sorry.. couldn't help myself.
(I'd been so grown-up too).

In the last month I've (did I mention I'm back in black now... hey, isn't that a song?) spoken to a bunch of people who tell me they have no plan and no idea how they will achieve their goals... but know they will (achieve their goals) because "their thoughts alone will attract whatever it is they desire"... they just need to put "that energy" out there at "it (their desired outcomes) will come to them".
When I ask them for more of an explanation, one of three things happen:

(1) They say they don't know how it will happen and they don't need to... just need to allow it.

(2 ) They get very defensive.

(3) They get aggressive, grumpy or critical of non-supporters.

So... like many Personal Development philosophies or ideologies, I guess the underlying motivation for any individual to embrace the LOA is to create positive change in an area or areas of their life (I think both sides of the fence will agree with this).
We all have this in common; the desire to create positive change... to have more... whatever 'more' is for us (peace, fun, love, money, power, recognition, happiness... and so on).

I guess it's a matter of us finding what really works.
For us.
I know what works for me and the people I work with... but that's my truth.

Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.

He can be heard weekly on Australian Radio SEN 1116 and GOLD FM and appears on Australian television on Network Ten's 9AM.

Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What Motivates People to Change? - By Arlene Harder

Are you actively working to change some aspect of your personality — and absolutely can't understand how someone else (perhaps the "significant other" in your life) doesn't have a clue that anything is wrong with him or her or seems inexplicably unwilling to do anything about it?

Why, you ask, are you so willing to change and the other person is not? I've asked myself that many times, since I'm one of those who constantly scrutinizes my problems to see how I might be contributing to the situation. That doesn't mean I've been completely successful in changing some of my more tenacious bad habits, but I do work at it (which can, paradoxically, also be a curse for those of us who are recovering perfectionists). Nevertheless, for many years I found it difficult to understand why others weren't as introspective as I.

Over the years I've learned that basically the reason some people want to be the best they can be, while others only like to complain is because the latter type of person isn't in touch with, or is able to deny the pressure of, what I call "pain, pull, or push forces." Unless people experience one of them, they are pretty well stuck right where they are.

Pain Motivated Change First of all, most people change (or at least are willing to consider changing) if they are in pain. We're all familiar with this dynamic. When there's something in our life that makes us uncomfortable, we may initially hope it will go away. If it doesn't, we start with small and relatively easy steps to change the situation. Finally, if those efforts are unsuccessful, we get to the point that we can't stand it any more. "I'm sick of this!" we scream. That emotional or physical pain gives us the courage to take other steps that may be more difficult, but are more likely to solve the problem permanently.

The point at which this happens varies widely from person to person. We all experience pain in different ways, but some of us are very good in putting on blinders and ignoring a situation that would drive someone else up the wall. Yet we all have a breaking point. Exactly where and when we reach that point varies from person to person.

For example, take the case of a weight gain of ten to fifteen pounds by a woman who has reached menopause. If she had previously been in top physical condition, has a job that requires interaction with members of the fashion industry, and enjoys looking slim and attractive in her expensive clothes, she will likely be well motivated to take off the weight and keep it off. That weight is painful for her.

On the other hand, suppose she doesn't work in a job that places emphasis on looks and has friends who are either quite a bit overweight or who have come to accept their weight as okay. There is no great pressure on her to change. So pain is not part of the change equation for this woman, even though her weight may be far from ideal.

Yes, pain is definitely an important ingredient in developing healthy habits. It provides the incentive to work toward the very behaviors that can relieve our pain. For example, it has long been recognized that an alcoholic seldom takes steps to stop drinking until he's sick and tired of being sick and tired of all the problems alcohol has caused in his life. In fact, if he goes to a therapist who works to build up his "self-esteem" (on the theory that he will then have the courage to join AA or enter into a treatment program), his newfound self-esteem can be counterproductive. Why? Because alcohol and drugs are marvelous self-medicating techniques he can use to keep from looking clearly at the mess he's made of his life. Having an "expert" tell him he's "okay" is not as effective as reminding him of the pain he's in.

However, as much as pain is a good motivation for many people, there are a few problems with focusing only on pain as an incentive to change.

  1. Constantly reminding yourself that a given situation is painful keeps that situation at the forefront of your mind. Then, because change is seldom as rapid as we would like, we can be discouraged by the slow progress we're making and, feeling as though the pain will never go away, may talk ourselves into adapting to difficult situations.
  2. An opposite problem occurs when change comes too quickly. It's not uncommon for clients who enter therapy to deal with a difficult problem to experience a positive change in their situation after seeing a therapist for only a few sessions. Feeling good about this reversal of their lives and assuming change is easy, they convince themselves they no longer need outside assistance. There's even a name for this phenomenon. It's called a "flight to health." So future sessions are cancelled, although there is still a lot of work to reinforce the minor changes that have been made.
  3. Pain can actually be viewed as positive by those "martyrs" who use it as a technique to punish and control others. (You may have one of these in your own family.) They unconsciously cling to their pain because they don't see any other way of getting what they want.
In these cases, a more effective motivation for change may involve an awareness of the forces that can pull us toward change.

Change Created by Being Pulled Toward New Behavior People change if they are acted upon by forces that can pull them toward modifying their behavior and shifting their perspective of the world, forces that arise in three areas.

The biological imperative to grow and enter the next phase of life Why does a baby learn to crawl and walk and run? It's not because the parents want her to. Her body is hardwired to move through these stages. And remember those hormonal changes in adolescence when we began to see classmates of the opposite sex in a different light and weren't sure what do with our new feelings? We couldn't have ignored those changes if we'd wanted to. Even the physical and emotional changes created by increasingly frequent aches and pains of aging offer their own lessons.

Life-cycle stages Courtship, marriage, birth of children, the launching of grown children and the onset of old age each create different climates that allow for the evolution of personal growth and development. For example, a quest for deeper spiritual meaning often increases in later stages of life. In fact, the more we're in touch with these naturally occurring "pulls" toward change, the easier it is to shift directions when old patterns no longer fit. As the scriptures note, "To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the sun. . . "

Response to information and inspiration Every day in school teachers struggle to instill learning and new ideas that will make a difference in their students' lives. Thousands of sermons are preached every Sunday in the hope that the words spoken from the pulpit will resonate within the hearts and souls of the congregation and encourage at least a few people to live with renewed commitment to a set of high principles. If you think back on your life, there is sure to be a time when you were inspired by words of encouragement from parents or other relatives, by a teacher, by a friend, by a story you read in the paper, etc. Even more, you have probably been an inspiration to others, even though you may be unaware of it.

Change Forced by a Push from Someone Else or by Circumstances Now we come to the form of motivation that is the least effective method for creating permanent change, but one that is used by many a spouse and boss. That is the effort to push someone into a corner in order to get them to change as well as the consequence of circumstance that force a person to consider change as the only way out of a bad situation.

Yes, I know, you'd love to demand your significant other make the changes you think would be good for him (and that would sure make your life easier). I've tried it. It's not easy and it seldom works.

When someone is being pushed by another person, the pushee will often make an initial, halfhearted attempt to change so the pusher will get off his back. The wife starts a different diet every week because her husband threatens to leave her if she doesn't "do something" about her weight. So she satisfies the requirement to "do something," but it's not permanent and doesn't get to the root of the problem, which may be the more serious matter of a demanding husband and passive-aggressive wife.

Bosses can be a bit more effective in pushing someone to change because they control the money angle, but the best supervisors know the most effective ways of applying pressure on their employees.

Although being told by someone that you have to change "or else" is seldom a strong enough incentive for permanent change, at least it can cause a person to get their body into a therapist's office. Once there, if the therapist is perceptive, he or she can discuss why that person might want to change - regardless of whether someone else wants them to change. In fact, a good therapist can often use the fact that a person was "forced" to come in to see them as a springboard for how painful it must be to find themselves in that situation.

Incidentally, if you are in the position of feeling you "have to" do what someone else tells you to do, remember that you ALWAYS have a choice. Unless you are bound and dragged into the office of a therapist or doctor, if you are there, you chose to come, albeit without great enthusiasm. You may not like the choices offered if you didn't go there, but you did - and that is the first step in acknowledging you ARE in control of your life to a much greater extent than you may want to believe or acknowledge.

When we look at the push of circumstances beyond our control, an excellent example is the change forced on people by the September 11th attacks. The lives of some of the people who were directly involved have had to change because their workplace and homes were destroyed or they have lost an important member of their family.

At the same time, there have been many people who were not directly connected with anyone in New York or Washington or on the planes who, nevertheless, realize they cannot count on the security of a terrorist-free country. The horrendous pictures of carnage on television have forced them to the conclusion that life has more meaning than Jerry Seinfeld and Sex in the City. The outlook and behavior of these people has shifted because someone else has pushed them to see the world from a new perspective. Hopefully many people will make significant changes in what they believe and how they behave. But for too many others, the changes will fade like New Year's resolutions.

Why Do YOU Want to Change? In the end, your motivation to change something about yourself may come from a variety of sources, perhaps a little because of pain, a little because you're inspired to be a better person, and a little because your spouse would like you to stop a habit that's driving both of you crazy. Becoming aware of your primary motivation to change is the best source for setting off on a new path, a new direction in life.

But it's not easy to leave the familiar. That's why I have found it helpful to have clients reinforce their motivation to change by articulating the basic reason why they want to be different than they are. As you read the following examples, notice that some contain more than one of the three basic motivating factors:

"I will stop smoking because I am tired not having enough energy and breath to walk comfortably for a distance that my friends can do easily and I will be left out of the fun activities they plan if I can't keep up."

"I am determined to become more assertive because I am sure that unless I learn how to speak up for myself, I won't get the promotion I really deserve."

"I am going to work on being less critical of my son because I don't like the physical tension that always seems to arise when we argue, and I'm afraid that if I don't back off, I won't be able see my grandchildren very often."

"I am going to see a nutritionist and learn how to manage my weight because I know it is very important to my husband and I'd like to live with him for another twenty-eight years. Besides, I want to look better in my clothes."

No matter who or what the circumstances, every person who is considering changing something about herself or himself has a reason, a motivation to change, that can reinforce and strengthen the resolve to change when change becomes difficult.

Putting These Ideas Into Practice Here are some ways you might use this article as motivation for change.

  1. Make as accurate a statement about what it is you want to change as you can.
  2. Be aware of what motivates you to make that change.
  3. Write it down.
  4. Put the paper some place you will see it often.

Arlene F. Harder, MA, MFT is Founder and Editor-in Chief of the websites and She has been a licensed psychotherapist for more than 20 years. Her specialties include healing imagery and reflective meditation techniques, and she is certified by the Academy for Guided Imagery. She is a co-founder of The Wellness Community-Foothills in Pasadena, California, and the author of the book Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do is Never Enough, and the upcoming book Questions to Ask Yourself When You Want Your Life to Change. Arlene can be contacted at and can be found at her blog,