The POWER to THRIVE: Key Practical Success Principles to Empower You to Breakthrough in Life Extremes! (By Vincent Wambua)

I recently published my new book The Power to Thrive in Amazon and I’m thrilled to share the fundamental tenets of the basic ideas that I majored on. The book largely centers on an intensive two decade research that throws a telescope lens on an area that we’ve been overlooking as we seek to optimize and pursue greatness both at a personal and global level-Nature. I’m a Paralegal Forensic Scientist and I study divergent spheres that touch and influence humanity, so it was inevitable that I will become interested in nature and environmental dynamics. The book seeks to unravel the success principles that enable nature (both Flora and Fauna) to flourish and thrive in the land of the extremes that push life to the limit. (Get the book here)

the power to thrive book


1. The Research

The relevance of key ideas.

2. Constant Change and how to adjust and Optimize

Real time changes in 2017 that necessitates the utilization of the ideas. 

3. Highlights of key principles detailed in the Power to Thrive

A brief breath into the life transformative principles.

While undertaking the research tabled in this book, I read over 200 self-help books, screened over 70 books on nature and wildlife and synthesized over 1000 journals written in regard to Flora and Fauna and documented key principles that stood out and enabled some animals to thrive while others such as dinosaurs were phased out. I also looked into the animals that were driven at the edge almost at the verge of extinction such as the giant Panda in the jungles of North Eastern China in early 1990’s and what principles they exercised to turn their population statistics around from almost less than 30 to the present day  1,864 giant pandas as noted by an international panda organization (more details here). 

As I delved in this research attributed to the previously tabled references, I was shocked to find out that no documentation shows how man, as a prerequisite element of nature can deploy these principles that are daily exhibited by nature around him to tweak his performance and rise in scale in his quest to pursue greatness. I was further amazed that what’s happening with most people in the 21st Century is that we’re more focused on selective aspects such as Meditation and shaping of habits that we overlook practical principles that our original teacher-nature is constantly attempting to demonstrate right before our eyes. Not that these aspects are not essential but there are other aspects that we can blend them to create a more significant and optimal life. When God created man-Adam, he placed him on the original reference that’s best for him-Nature (The Garden of Eden). Nature is the original reference to mankind’s well-being. The original reference maintains order in life. 

Why is order so essential? We are living in a harsh environment of global economic crises, family disintegration, political confusion, ideological reinventions and economic interdependence and to solve these challenges we need to seek our solutions from an area, different from where we are drawing the solutions that are in place and currently failing to solve these issues in the first place.  As I write this, vast concerns are looming the USA political aura as President Donald Trump announces Plan to Privatize Air Traffic Control (as reported by Fox News here). Also, Concerns over Donald Trumps narcissism and in line with his leadership were among pertinent issues that were raised by the USA today magazine in May this year (more details here). On June 30th, the last 4 days, both the Guardian and the CNN highlighted that Donald Trump had declared that his patience with North Korea is over (More details here ). These assertions are presented as North Korea advances their plans to build a missile and nuclear weapons. In South Africa, ANC head of policy renewal Fikile Mbalula has proposed major changes in the ANC constitution the last 3 days, which, if approved, will overhaul the party’s Constitution(more details here). In the Middle East, as reported by Aljazeera,  in a bid to end the Gulf rift, Turkey Troops touch down on Qatar in the eve of the New month.This is just a tip of an iceberg of the political threats and global disillusionment that are unfolding each day. The secret of success in these moments of uncertainty and confusion is going back to the original reference-Nature.     

The book charts a systematic study of key practical principles that you can begin to utilize today to make the most of your talents and gifts in the midst of a harsh aura in the modern 21st Century. I begin the book by introducing the essence and influence of our environment to our aspirations and dreams. Every creature and plant of the jungle knows how best to utilize the resources in its immediate environment for it’s survival and to thrive. I also touch on the aspect of our digital environment which is constantly bombarding us with tweets, notifications and distractions and how we can navigate through to make the best of our potential. Your environment sculpts your perceptions. Your perceptions molds your mindset. Your mindset creates your future. 

I further highlight a systematic documentation on how to curve your arena in life. Research shows that only less than 10% of the worlds population are following their passion. The worlds population is approximately 7.5 billion people according to the global census organization (details here), so you can do the math of how many people that are wandering around in the wild while playing the game of chance with destiny. Your purpose to be born should take precedence regardless of your current pursuits. In this book I document how you can finally pick the lost trail and make your way to your purpose that will matter most at the end of your career and at the end of your life. 

There are other vast aspects that I strongly feel that you should grab your copy in Amazon and spare 2-3 hours and make a lifetime difference by tapping into my two decade research and ignite your potential to become the best-version-of-yourself. The success principles were so deep and engaging that I felt it best to split them and compile a volume 2 series that I’m currently writing. I hope that this book will grant you the keys to thrive and become the CEO of your world as you extend to the source energy around you (Get the book here).  I’ll be highlighting updates on when my next book will be out. Follow me in Amazon otherwise you won’t know when my next book is published (Check out my Amazon author central Profile here). 

“If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is Nature’s way.”
-Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC)

Few hours before I began writing this a colleague who read my book was so thrilled by the spark of my message that they made a video review of the book.  I’m honored to share the video with you here. 

Here is to learning the key principles that we learn from nature and riding on their wings through the tempestuous winds of the current hurricanes of life.


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

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“What does the greatest physicist of all time say?

First off, who was the greatest physicist of all time? I say Isaac Newton. My opinion. Up there with Einstein. Why? Well, he discovered gravity, invented calculus, and built the telescope. Not bad! And did he believe in the Do Circle? Absolutely.

He explained it best in his First Law of Physics. ‘An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by a larger force.’

Put it another way: Start doing something? You’ll continue.

Why? Because motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation.”

Neil Pasricha from The Happiness Equation


See Also:The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

This is from a chapter on “Secret #7: How to Turn Your Biggest Fear into Your Biggest Success” in which Neil introduces us to his “Do Circle.”

Do Circle? Yep. Do Circle.

Too often we think that doing something moves from thinking we can do something + we want to do it and then we do it.

Like this: CAN DO —> WANT TO DO —> DO

Such that, if we don’t think we can do it and/or don’t “feel like” it in the moment, we can’t do it.

Neil challenges that notion and says it’s more like a circle with no endpoint. You can start doing something and THAT doing leads to a sense of “can do” + “want to do” that creates a ton of momentum and keeps you going.


HUGE distinction that we come back to in different ways throughout these blog posts. In fact, I took a break reading this book yesterday to watch a real-time interview ofTal Ben-Shahar (one of the world’s leading positive psychologists) about his book Choose the Life You Want.

In the interview chat, the interviewer asked him to tell us more about this Idea from his book. He asserts: “Fortunately, the research into procrastination has also identified practical ways that can help overcome the tendency to procrastinate. The single most important technique is called ‘the five-minute takeoff.’ It consists, simply, of starting to do the thing you have been putting off, no matter how little you feel like doing it. Procrastinators often believe that to do something one has to truly want to do it—to be in the right mood, to feel inspired. This is not the case. Usually, to get the job done, it is enough merely to begin doing it—the initial action kick-starts the process and often brings about more action.”


Tal said that this was one of the Biggest Ideas he’s implemented in his life—sharing that, although he loves to write and gets paid to do so, MOST mornings (!!) he doesn’t *feel* like it.

But (IMPORTANT “but”)… He just gets started—KNOWING that his feelings will follow his behavior. As he said: “Action leads to inspiration at least as much as inspiration leads to action.” We DO *then* we feel like doing. Just getting started with something creates the momentum that KEEPS us going. But… If we wait till we feel like it, we may never do anything.

This is one of the Biggest Ideas we’ll ever explore.

Thank you, Neil and thank you, Sir Newton.

P.S. We also lean into this Idea in Stephen Guise’s great book Mini Habits. If you haven’t explored that book yet, get on it.


Here is to learning from the physicists and drilling the practical wisdom to work: have an amazing month ahead!


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

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The Rhythm of Life-Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose (By MATTHEW KELLY)

“This is what I do know: You are capable of incredible things—things you have not even begun to imagine or believe in. Infinite possibilities are all around you,waiting to be explored, appreciated, grasped, and celebrated. You are using only a fraction of your potential . . . and that is a beautiful and exciting truth.

Every day you make hundreds of decisions. Some of those decisions help you become the-best-version-of-yourself, and others don’t. Life is a choice. Become a great decision maker and you will master the art of living. With each decision, simply ask: What will help me to become the-best-version-of-myself?

~ Matthew Kelly from The Rhythm of Life



1. Everything Is a Choice


2. What Would You Do…

If you knew you could not fail?


That is what Matthew Kelly is committed to helping us become and that is what this book is all about—becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves as we align with the rhythms of life.

The result? Living every day with passion and purpose.

I heard about Matthew from Hal Elrod in his great book, The Morning Miracle. Hal raved about Matthew and shared some extraordinary quotes so I picked up a couple of books.

Very glad I did!

The book is packed with wisdom. (Get it Here!) My copy is, as you’d expect, all marked up. I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!


“Everything is a choice.

This is life’s greatest truth and its hardest lesson. It is a great truth because it reminds us of our power. Not power over others, but the often untapped power to be ourselves and to live the life we have imagined.

It is a hard lesson, because it causes us to realize we have chosen the life we are living right now. It is perhaps frightening for us to think that we have chosen to live our life exactly as it is today. Frightening because we may not like what we find when we look at our lives today. But it is also liberating, because we can now begin to choose what we will find when we look at our life in the tomorrows that lie unlived before us.What will you see when you look at your life ten years from now? What will you choose?”

Everything is a choice.

But only every.single.thing.

Moment to moment we CHOOSE our destiny.

What are you choosing?!

We can choose to step forward into growth—expressing what Matthew calls the-best-version-of-yourself, or we can choose to step back into our addictive behaviors which would be, of course, the not-so-great-version-of-yourself.

Moment to moment to moment.

We make a decision.

Will we express the highest version of ourselves? Or not?

That’s Part 1 of this Big Idea.

Part 2: Fast-forward ten years. Look at your life. What do you see?

Is it what you’d like to see?

Imagine THE most amazing possible vision for your future.

Take a moment to bring a picture to mind. What does your life look like?

Now, KNOW that you are creating that destiny every.single.moment.

We are constantly making little decisions. As Matthew tells us, with each decision, simply ask: What will help me to become the-best-version-of-myself?

Then do THAT!

And you will create a life beyond your wildest imagination.


“I will never forget a question I once heard Robert Schuller pose in an interview with Larry King. They were discussing the effects of the fear of failure on our decision-making process, and Schuller offered this question as a guide: “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

Do not be afraid to dream. Perhaps your fear is of failure. There is no shame in trying to attempt mighty things and failing. The shame is in failing to attempt those things. Michelangelo, the great Renaissance artist and poet, knew the value, power, and need for dreams when he wrote,

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.””


What would YOU attempt if you knew you could not fail?

In Daring Greatly , Brené Brown shares this little story: “I took a deep breath and recited my vulnerability prayer as I waited my turn: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Then, seconds before I was introduced, I thought about a paperweight on my desk that reads, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I pushed that question out of my head to make room for a new question. As I walked up to the stage, I literally whispered aloud, “What’s worth doing even if I fail?””

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

And… What’s worth doing even if you fail?!

Just because we dare to attempt it doesn’t mean we’re sure to succeed. So, what is worth doing EVEN IF you failed?!

Remember: It’s all about the baby steps and baby decisions you make in pursuit of that dream.With each step on your hero’s journey, let this be your guiding question: What will help me to become the-best-version-of-myself?

A quick recap on the fundamental tenets highlighted in this blog include:

  1. You are making a choice. Every.Single.Moment
  2. You’re unconsciously creating a legacy, whether you know it or not. What you achieve is determined by what you do or fail to do, day by day and year by year.
  3. It’s always prudent to stop and blow up the question: Does any of these (whatever it is) help me become the best-version-of-myself? 
  4. Become more daring. Perhaps of late you’ve been too good and too soft to yourself. Toughen up a little bit.There is a balance. You must find the balance. Maybe it’s one part convenience, two parts challenge. Or maybe you are a little softer. Start out three parts convenience, two part challenge.

    Whatever balance you choose, choose a little more ‘toughening up.’

    Take a cold shower, take the stairs not the elevator, lift something heavy, run around the block, turn off the air conditioning for a day, read a hard book, do a hard math problem, take a martial arts class, do 100 push ups, go a month without buying any fancy clothes, go a week without any sugar.

    It won’t hurt you. In fact according to Martin Seligman, the famous happiness psychologist, it will make you a hell of a lot happier.

    And as Charlie Munger says it will make you a hell of a lot richer too.

As I conclude, Today am ain’t being too nice as I always am. There is an **infamous** phrase that says that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions. This book will shape your mindset and sharpen your decision making skill sets. Pick it at the earliest opportunity. I **highly** recommend it. If there is, but one book that you read by the end of the next 4 months, let it be this book. Thank me later 🙂 !


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!

If you’d Like to read more empowerment posts on FaceBook: Click Here 

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Creativity- The Psychology of Discovery and Invention By (Mihaly Csikszentmihaly)

“Just finished reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book “Creativity”
Subtitled-The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. The book simply wraps up the essence of creativity. The books explores what creativity really is and blends life changing aspects of what an optimizer needs to keep in check throughout the journey of creative discovery of their worthy course. This blog is meant to spark the dreams  of a creative youth or a 90 year old dreamer who needs to get started on their architectural life designs. I’m sharing these aspects hoping that your dormant dreams will be  activated by the creative will that exists within you and that the precious arts and other worthy treasures that are hidden deep within you will submerge into the physical realm where they can aid, guide and shape humanity for the better. 


creativity book


1. What Is Creativity?

Domain + field + person.

2. Attention

+ Being kinda weird.

3. Complexity

+ Resolving dichotomies.

4. Rhythms

Your ideal days?

5. Creativity + Flow

The 9 elements.

“This book is about creativity, based on histories of contemporary people who know about it firsthand. It starts with a description of what creativity is, it reviews the way creative people work and live, and it ends with ideas about how to make your life more like that of the creative exemplars I have studied. There are no simple solutions in these pages and a few unfamiliar ideas. The real story of creativity is more difficult and strange than many overly optimistic accounts have claimed. For one thing, as I will try to show, an idea or product that deserves the label ‘creative’ arises from the synergy of many sources and not only from the mind of a single person. It is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively. And a genuinely creative accomplishment is almost never the result of a sudden insight, a lightbulb flashing on in the dark, but comes after years of hard work.”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Creativity

Creativity with a capital C—the type of Creativity that changes the world.

How can we go about cultivating it in our lives? That’s what this book is all about.

Our guide is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—one of the founders of the positive psychology movement.

Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “cheeks sent me high”) is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and the former Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago who wrote the classic book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

This book features the wisdom gained from over three decades of research along with over one hundred interviews with extraordinary people—from scientists and business leaders to artists and poets.

Warning: Although deeply insightful, it’s not an easy read. If you’re looking to understand creativity at a deeper level via one of the world’s leading (and legendary) psychologists then I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. (Get the book here.)

It’s packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!


“So the definition that follows from this perspective is: Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one. And the definition of a creative person is: someone whose thoughts or actions change a domain, or establish a new domain. It is important to remember, however, that a domain cannot be changed without the explicit or implicit consent of a field responsible for it.”

Being the brilliant, precise scientist he is, Csikszentmihalyi takes the time to establish what he means by creativity and who qualifies as a creative person.

There are three aspects to his systems definition: the domain, the field and the person

Creativity with a capital C—the type of Creativity that changes the world.

How can we go about cultivating it in our lives? That’s what this book is all about.

Our guide is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—one of the founders of the positive psychology movement.

Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “cheeks sent me high”) is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and the former Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago who wrote the classic book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

This book features the wisdom gained from over three decades of research along with over one hundred interviews with extraordinary people—from scientists and business leaders to artists and poets.

Warning: Although deeply insightful, it’s not an easy read. If you’re looking to understand creativity at a deeper level via one of the world’s leading (and legendary) psychologists then I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. (Get the book here.)

It’s packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!


“So the definition that follows from this perspective is: Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one. And the definition of a creative person is: someone whose thoughts or actions change a domain, or establish a new domain. It is important to remember, however, that a domain cannot be changed without the explicit or implicit consent of a field responsible for it.”

Being the brilliant, precise scientist he is, Csikszentmihalyi takes the time to establish what he means by creativity and who qualifies as a creative person.

There are three aspects to his systems definition: the domain, the field and the person.

First, we have a domain that has been changed. Mathematics, physics, biology, art, philosophy.

These are domains. Creative individuals substantively change (or create!) a domain thereby changing culture in the process.

Second, we have the field. These are the gatekeepers who decide which ideas are accepted in the domain. Without the field integrating the new ideas, a domain has not been changed.

Then, of course, there is the individual person who actually uses the existing symbols of the domain to create something new. But, very importantly, Csikszentmihalyi stresses the fact that this type of creativity can only exist via the system that includes the domain and field.

Which leads us to an important distinction. We often call an interesting or witty individual “creative.” But, unless they’re making a unique contribution that substantively changes culture, Csikszentmihalyi would call them “brilliant” rather than creative. This book isn’t about them.


“Another consequence of limited attention is that creative individuals are often considered odd—or even arrogant, selfish, and ruthless. It is important to keep in mind that these are not traits of creative people, but traits that the rest of us attribute to them on the basis of our perceptions.

When we meet a person who focuses all of his attention on physics or music and ignores us and forgets our names, we call that person ‘arrogant’ even though he may be extremely humble and friendly if he could only spare attention from his pursuit. If that person is so taken with his domain that he fails to take our wishes into account we call him ‘insensitive’ or ‘selfish’ even though such attitudes are far from his mind. Similarly, if he pursues his work regardless of other people’s plans we call him ‘ruthless.’ Yet, it is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it and thereby appearing to be arrogant, selfish, and ruthless to those who believe they have a right to the creative person’s attention.”

Csikszentmihalyi kicks off the book talking about ATTENTION and creativity. He makes the incredibly important points that a) our attention is finite and b) it takes a TON of it to master and then change a domain.

And… c) An unfortunate by-product of that is the fact that the most Creative among us are often considered odd because they so fiercely immerse themselves in their chosen domain—channeling so much of their precious attention in pursuit of what matters most to them.

Get this: “For example, Leonardo da Vinci, certainly one of the most creative persons… was apparently reclusive, and almost compulsive in his behavior. If you had met him at a cocktail party, you would have thought that he was a tiresome bore and would have left him standing in a corner as soon as possible.”

Hah! I think that presupposes da Vinci would have even shown up at that party, eh?! My hunch is Leo would have appreciated Laurie Helgoe’s (author of Introvert Power) quip: “I like to party  and by party I mean read books.” 🙂

Back to this important point: “It is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it.”

Spotlight on YOU. What Domain are you committed to mastering? Is it business? Art? Science? Parenting? Whether you aspire to be Creative with a Capital C or just more personally creative, it’s *essential* that you dedicate your precious attention to that which you aspire to master. Are you? And, are you willing to be viewed as a little weird by those who don’t quite get why you’re so committed to focusing your attention on what matters most to you?

P.S. Csikszentmihalyi conducted 100+ interviews of exemplary Creators. He sent out invitations to the individuals he hoped to interview. Many declined for various reasons. The great management thinker Peter Drucker was one of those who declined. He did so via this note:

“I am greatly honored and flattered by your kind letter of February 14th—for I have  admired you and your work for many years, and I have learned much from it. But, my dear Professor Csikszentmihalyi, I am afraid I have to disappoint you. I could not possibly answer your questions. I am told I am creative—I don’t know what that means. . . . I just keep on plodding. . . .

. . . I hope you will not think me presumptuous or rude if I say that one of the secrets of productivity (in which I believe whereas I do not believe in creativity) is to have a VERY BIG waste paper basket to take care of ALL invitations such as yours—productivity in my experience consists of NOT doing anything that helps the work of other people but to spend all one’s time on the work the Good Lord has fitted one to do, and to do well.”


P.P.S. Keep this in mind: “It is often surprising to hear extremely successful, productive people claim that they are basically lazy. Yet the claim is believable. It is not that they have more energy and discipline than you or I; but they do develop habits of discipline that allow them to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. These habits are often so trivial that the people who practice them seem strange and obsessive. At first many people were mildly shocked that the great Albert Einstein always wore the same old sweater and baggy trousers. Why was he being so weird? Of course, Einstein wasn’t trying to upset anybody. He was just cutting down on the daily effort involved in deciding what clothes to wear, so his mind could focus on matters that to him were more important. It may seem that choosing slacks and shirts takes so little time that it is pretentious to worry about it. But suppose it takes only two minutes each day to decide how to dress. That adds up to 730 minutes, or twelve hours a year. Now think of the other repetitive things we have to do throughout the day—comb hair, drive cars, eat and so on. And then think not only of the time it takes to do each of these things but of the interruption in the train of thought they cause, both before and after. Having to choose a tie could derail a whole hours’ worth of reflection! No wonder Einstein preferred to play it safe and wear the same old clothes.”

And… This reminds me of Adam Grant’s “idiosyncrasy credits” from Originals (see Notes). This is worth keeping in mind: “Idiosyncrasy credits accrue through respect, not rank: they’re based  on contributions. We squash a low-status member who tries to challenge the status quo, but  tolerate and sometimes even applaud the originality of a high-status star.”


“Are there then no traits that distinguish creative people? If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it would be complexity. By this I mean that they show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes—instead of being an ‘individual,’ each of them is a ‘multitude.’ Like the color white that includes all the hues of the spectrum, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves.

These qualities are present in all of us, but usually we are trained to develop only one pole of the dialectic. We might grow up cultivating the aggressive, competitive side of our nature, and disdain or repress the nurturing, cooperative side. A creative individual is more likely to be both aggressive and cooperative, either at the same time or at different times, depending on the situation. Having a complex personality means being able to express the full range of traits that are potentially present in the human repertoire but usually atrophy because we think one or the other pole is ‘good,’ whereas the other extreme is ‘bad.'”

The personalities and behaviors of creative people vary widely.

He tells us: “One can be creative by living like a monk, or by burning the candle at both ends.

Michelangelo was not greatly fond of women, while Picasso couldn’t get enough of them. Both changed the domain of painting, even though their personalities had little in common.”

Got it. Creators have different personalities. But if we’re looking for one word to capture the essence of what makes them unique? Complexity. Like the color white, creative individuals “tend  to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves.”

Let’s take a quick look at ten of these dialectical poles creative individuals are able to integrate without internal tension:

  1. “Creative individuals have a great deal of physical energy, but they are also often quiet and at rest.” <— In other words, they MAKE WAVES #smokeybot style!
  2. “Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naive at the same time.” Csikszentmihalyi tells us that beyond a certain basic threshold, IQ isn’t that important and reminds us of Goethe’s wisdom that “naïveté is the most important attribute of genius.”
  3. “A third—paradoxical trait refers to the related combination of playfulness and discipline.” Creators have a “bounce” of playfulness AND a tenacious work ethic.
  4. “Creative individuals alternate between imagination and fantasy at one end, and a rooted sense of reality at the other.” Sounds a lot like Mental Contrasting/WOOP to me!
  5. “Creative people seem to harbor opposite tendencies on the continuum between extroversion and introversion.” “Hello ambivert!”
  6. “Creative individuals are also remarkably humble and proud at the same time.” Csikszentmihalyi tells us these individuals don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the past as they’re so excited about the future. As Emerson advises: “Genius appeals to the future!”
  7. “In all cultures, men are brought up to be ‘masculine’ and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as ‘feminine,’ whereas women are expected to do the opposite. Creative individuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role of stereotyping.” Csikszentmihalyi describes this as a sort of “psychological androgyny” where one can be simultaneously aggressive and nurturing.
  8. “Generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent. Yet it is impossible to be creative without having first internalized a domain of culture. And a person must believe in the importance of such a domain in order to learn its rules; hence, he or she must be to a certain extent a traditionalist.” Think: Being both traditional + conservative AND rebellious + iconoclastic.
  9. “Most creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.” Simultaneously attached and detached. ALL IN while open to feedback to optimize!
    1. “Finally, the openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering

    and pain yet also a great deal of enjoyment.” To want to change things, we must be sensitive to what’s not working—and be willing to endure that pain. AND… We need to have fun. Creative individuals LOVE what they do and feel blessed to be able to do it!

    P.S. In many ways, this book reminds me of Maslow’s work. Rather than “self-actualizers” having “peak experiences,” Csikszentmihalyi studied “Creative” people in “flow.” One of the 19 characteristics of his self-actualizers that Maslow talked about in Motivation and Personality was a “resolution of dichotomies” such that: “The dichotomy between selfishness and unselfishness disappears altogether in healthy people because in principle every act is both selfish and unselfish.”

    P.P.S. How about a little Whitman? “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am vast. I have multitudes!”


    “Most creative individuals find out early what their best rhythms are for sleeping, eating, and working, and abide by them even when it is tempting to do otherwise. They wear clothes that are comfortable, they interact only with people they find congenial, they do only things they think are important. Of course, such idiosyncrasies are not endearing to those they have to deal with, and it is not surprising that creative people are generally considered strange and difficult to get along with. But personalizing patterns of action helps to free the mind from the expectations that make demands on attention and allows intense concentration on matters that count.”

    —> “Most creative individuals find out early what their best rhythms are for sleeping, eating, and working, and abide by them even when it is tempting to do otherwise.”

    Dilbert-creator Scott Adams would agree.

    He’s ALL (!!!) about creating the systems to crush it. (Which is the only way you can create nearly 10,000 (!) comic strips.)

    Here’s how he puts it in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: “One of the most important tricks for maximizing your productivity involves matching your mental state to the task. For example, when I first wake up, my brain is relaxed and creative. The thought of writing a comic is fun, and it’s relatively easy because my brain is in exactly the right mode for that task. I know from experience that trying to be creative in the midafternoon is a waste of time. By 2:00 P.M. all I can do is regurgitate the ideas I’ve seen elsewhere. At 6:00 A.M. I’m a creator, and by 2:00 P.M. I’m a copier.

    Everyone is different, but you’ll discover that most writers work either early in the morning or past midnight. That’s when the creative writing juices flow most easily.”

    So… That begs the question: What are YOUR best rhythms?!

    When are you most on? Are you structuring your days to optimize your energy + attention and sticking to it even when you’re tempted to do otherwise?! Let’s do that.

    P.P.S. Oh, yah. There’s that “creators are often seen as kinda weird” thing again. Yep. That theme comes up a lot. Gotta own it if we want to crush it! 🙂


    “The flow experience was described in almost identical terms regardless of the activity that produced it. Athletes, artists, religious mystics, scientists, and ordinary working people described their most rewarding experiences with very similar words. And the description did not vary much by culture, gender or age; old and young, rich and poor, men and women, Americans and Japanese seem to experience enjoyment in the same way, even though they may be doing very different things to attain it. Nine main elements were mentioned over and over again to describe how it feels when an experience is enjoyable.”


    Understanding this state of optimal experience is what Csikszentmihalyi is best known for and what he dedicated his career to understanding. (Again, see Notes on Flow!)

    Let’s take a quick look at the nine main elements of creating flow in our lives:

    1. “There are clear goals every step of the way.” Quite simply: You CANNOT have flow without starting with a clear goal/target/focus for your attention. Period.

    2. “There is immediate feedback to one’s actions.” The rock climber knows if they’re doing well b/c they’re still on the mountain. The musician knows if his last note was on.

    3. “There is a balance between challenges and skills.” Too much challenge = anxiety. Too little challenge = boredom. Find the flow channel right at the sweet spot where challenge = skills.

    4. “Action and awareness are merged.” In short, we’re focused. We have one-pointed attention. We’re not thinking of one thing while doing another.

    5. “Distractions are excluded from consciousness.” We’re in DEEP WORK mode. Our attention isn’t splintered by a million distractions. We’re all in and intensely present.

    6.”There is no worry of failure.” We’re too focused and engaged to think of failure.

    7. “Self-consciousness disappears.” There’s no room for self-consciousness when you’re truly ALL IN. Sure sign you’re out of flow is when you’re wondering how you’re looking.

    8. “The sense of time becomes distorted.” It can feel shorter or longer than it was but: “Clock time no longer marks equal lengths of experienced time.”

    9. “The activity becomes autotelic.” Autotelic is Greek-speak for something that is an end in itself. Most of the time we do things as a means to an end. In flow, the activity itself is its own reward. <— Making our entire lives one little autotelic moment after another—from the most mundane dishes to the most sublime experiences = true mastery.

    Well, there we go. That’s a super quick look at this great book. Time to get our flow on as we tap into our Creativity and optimize + actualize!

    If you liked this Blog, you’ll probably like:



    As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

    Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!

    Like My FaceBook Page: Here 

    Follow me on Twitter:Here 

    *If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here

    Spread the love, Tag a friend, share the blog post far and wide… Your feedback is highly appreciated and thanks alot for the support!!

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth- (What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything) By CHRIS HADFIELD

“See, a funny thing happened on the way to space: I learned how to live better and more happily here on Earth. Over time, I learned how to anticipate problems in order to prevent them, and how to respond effectively in critical situations. I learned how to neutralize fear, how to stay focused and how to succeed.

And many of the techniques I learned were fairly simple though counterintuitive—crisp inversions of snappy aphorisms, in some cases. Astronauts are taught that the best way to reduce stress is to sweat the small stuff. We’re trained to look on the dark side and to imagine the worst things that could possibly happen. In fact, in simulators, one of the most common questions we learn to ask ourselves is, ‘Okay, what’s the next thing that will kill me?’ …

The upshot of all this is that we become competent, which is the most important quality to have if you’re an astronaut—or, frankly, anyone, anywhere, who is striving to succeed at anything at all. Competence means keeping your head in a crisis, sticking with a task even when it seems hopeless, and improvising good solutions to tough problems when every second counts. It encompasses ingenuity, determination and being prepared for anything.

Astronauts have these qualities not because we’re smarter than everyone else… It’s because we are taught to view the world—and ourselves—differently. My shorthand for it is ‘thinking like an astronaut.’ But you don’t have to go to space to learn to do that.

It’s mostly a matter of changing your perspective.”

~ Chris Hadfield from An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

astronauts guide on earth


1. Have an Attitude

How’s yours?

2. The Colonel Says!

Be ready. Work hard. Enjoy it!

3. Astro-WOOP!

What can go wrong?

4. Sweat the Small Stuff

It’s all small stuff.

5. Deep Love

Schedule it!

6. Finish Strong

Be a hero at the end.

7. Everything Counts

So make it count.

After reading Adam Steltzner’s great book The Right Kind of Crazy about his incredible experience landing a rover on Mars, I decided to stay in deep space and read this book.

I’m glad I did. It’s awesome.

You might know Chris Hadfield as the guitar strumming astronaut in outer space—if you haven’t watched this astonishing video of him singing a revised edition of Space Oddity while aboard the International Space Station, check it out!

The easiest way to describe the book is to imagine how cool Chris must be to create THAT video and then imagine how cool a book of his would be. That’s this book.

As the sub-title suggests, it’s all about what going to space taught him about ingenuity, determination, and being prepared for anything. It’s a wise, witty, humble and fun look at how to rock it on Earth. (Get the book here.)

It’s also packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to explore some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!


“In space flight, ‘attitude’ refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen:the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death.In the Soyuz, for example, we use every cue from every available source—periscope, multiple sensors, the horizon—to monitor our attitude constantly and adjust if necessary. We never want to lose attitude, since maintaining attitude is fundamental to success.

In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.”


If you’re flying through space at crazy speeds, it’s best you keep very close tabs on it.

And… Same thing with life on Earth!!

As you keep good track of your attitude, keep this gem by Walter Rusell (see Notes on The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe) in mind: “Joy and happiness are the indicators  of balance in a human machine, just as a change in the familiar hum in a mechanism immediately indicates an abnormalcy to the practiced ear of the mechanic. An inner joyousness, amounting to ecstasy, is the normal condition of the genius mind. Any lack of  that joyousness develops body-destroying toxins. That inner ecstasy of the mind is the secret fountain of perpetual youth and strength in any man. He who finds it finds omnipotence and omniscience.”

So, how’s your attitude?

Let’s keep track and adjust in flight! 🙂


“My kids are endlessly amused by what they see as my earnestness. For years now they have played a game they call ‘The Colonel Says,’ which involves parroting sayings of mine that they find particularly hilarious. My son Evan’s personal favorite, which I barked at him from beneath the family car I was trying to fix: ‘No one ever accomplished anything great sitting down.’ Recently, they’ve joked about creating a ‘Colonel Says’ app that would spit out sayings appropriate to any situation. It’s a great idea, though I think you’d only need one: ‘Be ready.Work. Hard. Enjoy it!” It fits every situation.”

Head on over to your local app store and download ‘The Colonel Says’ app for some fresh wisdom from the good Colonel.

Download complete. Now, fire it up!

It says: “Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!”

Refresh: “Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!”

One more: “Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!”


Fits every situation. 🙂


“It’s puzzling to me that so many self-help gurus urge people to visualize victory, and stop there.Some even insist that if you wish for good things long enough and hard enough, you’ll get them—and, conversely, that if you focus on the negative, you actually invite bad things to happen. Why make yourself miserable worrying? Why waste time getting ready for disasters that may never happen?

Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive. …

My optimism and confidence come not from feeling I’m luckier than other mortals, and they sure don’t come from visualizing victory. They’re the result of a lifetime spent visualizing defeat and figuring out how to prevent it.

Like most astronauts, I’m pretty sure that I can deal with what life throws at me because I’ve thought about what to do if things go wrong, as well as right. That’s the power of negative thinking.”

The chapter titles throughout the book playfully go against a bunch of modern self-help ideas. For example, there’s “Sweat the Small Stuff” and “Aim to Be a Zero.”

This Idea is from a chapter called “The Power of Negative Thinking.”

Gabrielle Oettingen would approve. In her GREAT book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she scientifically confirms the power of Chris’s wisdom.

In short (as we’ve discussed), it’s not enough to simply visualize your life unfolding perfectly.

Gabrielle tells us we need to “mentally contrast” that ideal vision with the obstacles that may get in the way of us attaining our goals.

It’s EXACTLY what Chris says: “Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive.”

When we’re willing to rub our ideals up against reality, we can plan appropriately. THAT leads to a true, deep confidence because we know we’re ready to deal with whatever life throws at us.

= The power of negative thinking.

Remember to WOOP!

W: Start with your ideal Wish.

O: Feel the benefits of achieving that Outcome.

O: THEN look at the potential Obstacles within *you* that might get in the way.

P: Then create an if… then Plan to rock it and voila!

You’ve ASTRO-WOOPed your way to awesome.

<— Let’s do that.

Right now.

Wish:          ___________________________

Outcome: ___________________________

Obstacle: ___________________________

Plan:          ___________________________


“Later, discussing what went wrong, we all suspected the droplets from my water bag—maybe they mixed with a bead of sweat, or something from my hair, or something inside the suit itself. We were going over all the possibilities with Mission Control when CAPCOM asked, ‘Chris, did you remember to anti-fog your stuff?’ Of course I had. The night before I’d polished the visor of the suit so it wouldn’t fog up like a ski mask. ‘Well, we think you didn’t do it perfectly. Probably you didn’t get it all off.’ Apparently the solution is basically dishwashing detergent; mix it with a few droplets of loose water and it’s as though you’ve squirted soap directly into your eye. My first response to this news was, ‘Really? We’re using detergent? No More Tears baby shampoo wasn’t an option?’

But my second response was, ‘Next time, I’ll be even more detail-oriented.’ A spacewalk with a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment that was—is—absolutely vital to the construction of the ISS was jeopardized because of a microscopic drop of cleaning solution….

That’s why it’s worth it to sweat the small stuff. And even in my line of work, it’s all small stuff.”

Imagine doing a spacewalk to install an incredibly important piece of equipment to the International Space Station. (The Canadarm2—a robotic arm that would be essential to building out the ISS, which was then in its infancy.)

After a year and a half of training and an entire life of preparation before that, you’re out in space. (SPACE!!!) (Seriously. Imagine that. NUTS!)

Then, midway through a long day of hard work in OUTER SPACE (!), imagine going blind as some weird irritant gets in your eyeball and painfully eliminates your vision. If you stop now the mission would be a (very expensive!) failure. (Yowsers!)

Then, remember how astronauts think—keeping their *attitude* dialed in with an empowered, “I’ve got this!” mindset. Good news: You’re able to work blind for a bit and tough it out—blinking your way through the scary challenge and doing what needs to get done. #highfives!!

Then… As you troubleshoot with Mission Control, you learn the issue that nearly jeopardized the whole spacewalk was tied to a slight imperfection in how you anti-fogged your mask. Countless millions of dollars to get you out into space and a microscopic drop of DETERGENT nearly ruins the whole thing.

Reminds me of Adam Steltzner’s story about Radio Shack in The Right Kind of Crazy where he tells us: “When you’re building something like an Entry, Descent, and Landing system to put a spacecraft on Mars, it’s easy to devote all your attention to the “naughty bits,” things  like phenolic impregnated carbon ablators, Mach 2.25 disk-gap-band parachutes, and high- thrust, deep- throttling hydrazine monopropellant engines, the innovative, glamorous new designs that push the boundaries of the physical laws. And it’s all too easy to completely ignore the more mundane elements that are just as essential. It pays to remember that you can have written the most sophisticated EDL software known to man, but all it takes to kill your billion- dollar project is failure in one component the likes of which you could have picked up at Radio Shack.”

Moral of the stories? SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!!!!

What’s your mission these days? Launching a business? Navigating your relationship through an asteroid field? Recovering your health?

REMEMBER: Eat. Move. Sleep. Train your mind. Master the fundies.

Sweat the small stuff. It matters way more than you may think!!

Question: How can you dial in the Radio Shack aspects of *your* life just a little more today?


“When you have great backup, as I have always had, you can start to take it for granted or become selfish and just expect that your needs will take precedence. I’ve tried to guard against that by making sure that when I have any wiggle room in my schedule, Helene is the one who sets the agenda, whether it includes me or not. I also make a point of actively looking for opportunities to spend time together. On Sunday mornings, for instance, no matter what else is going on, Helene and I try to walk the dogs, then go get coffee and do the New York Times crossword puzzle together. Prioritizing family time—making it mandatory, in the same way that a meeting at work is mandatory—helps show the people who are most important to me that they are, in fact, most important to me.

And it’s not exactly unpleasant for me, either.”

In How to supercharge our days we talk about some key elements to creating the kind of great days that will add up to a great year and a great life. Scheduling time for family is one of the core Big Ideas.

We know that “time blocks” are the #1 time-management power tools out there—we need to schedule our Deep Work time blocks if we want to do great work.

AND… We need to schedule Deep LOVE time blocks as well—that are just as non-negotiable as any other essential meeting we might have during the day.

I’d never be late for a meeting with my hero. So, why am I so consistently late for adventure time with my sister or family time at the end of the day?

Note to self: Show the people who are most important to me that they are, in fact, most important to me!

Note to you: When’s your next Deep Love time block? Schedule it!


“The lesson for me was that the very last thing you do on a mission is just as important as the first thing you did—perhaps even more important, actually, because now you’re tired. It’s like the last mile of a marathon: the effort has to be more deliberate and you’ve got to push yourself,hard, to keep going right to the very end. It’s tempting to tell yourself, ‘I’ve only got 20 steps left,’ but if you start anticipating the finish line, chances are that you’ll let up and then you could make mistakes—ones that could be fatal in my line of work.

It’s dangerous to think of descent as an anticlimax. Instead of looking back longingly over your shoulder at what you’re leaving behind, you need to be asking, ‘What’s the next thing that could kill me?'”

Remember the Sanskrit word for being a hero in the beginning? You know, when you start a new project with trumpets and fanfare and then tip-toe out the back door the moment it gets hard. Arambhashura.

Astronauts LITERALLY can’t afford to be heroes in the beginning. They need to make it home and be heroes at the END.

Paulo Coelho tells us: “To avoid falling into treacherous traps, it is best to consider that you have covered half your journey only when you have walked ninety percent of the road.”

And, then, we’ve STILL gotta finish strong!

As one of my mentors reminded me during the dot-com implosion, “It’s not how you start something, it’s how you finish it.”

Let’s FINISH STRONG! Again and again and again.


“If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on.”

One of the key themes Chris comes back to many times is the fact that astronauts are ALL (!!!) about the process—the daily grind of practicing a certain maneuver again and again and again.

When we think of astronauts, we think of the big launches and spacewalks and other magical things. But the fact is that most of their lives are dedicated to the extremely mundane aspects of getting there and back safely.

It’s anything but sexy. (Which reminds me of Darren Hardy’s gem from The Compound Effect:“I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of  mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time. Know, too, that the results, the life, and the lifestyle of your dreams can be yours when you put the Compound Effect to work for you. If you use the principles outlined in the The Compound Effect, you will create your fairy-tale ending.”)

Tom Rath tells us we have ~500 million moments and that it’s all about appreciating the small moments day-in and day-out that leads to sustainable happiness.

So, let’s celebrate our launches and moonwalks AND appreciate the mundane moments of joy as we optimize, actualize and flourish in this precious life on Earth.

If you liked this Blog, you’ll probably like:

  1. What to say when you talk to yourself
  2. The Miracle Morning
  3. The Happiness Equation
  4. Excuses Begone!


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!

Like My FaceBook Page: Here 

Follow me on Twitter:Here 

*If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here

Spread the love, Tag a friend, share the blog post far and wide and thanks alot for the support!!

Are You Fully Charged? -The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life (By TOM RATH)

“To discover what creates a full charge, my team and I reviewed countless articles and academic studies, and interviewed some of the world’s leading social scientists. We identified and catalogued more than 2,600 ideas for improving daily experience. As we narrowed down the concepts to the most proven and practical strategies, underlying patterns continued to surface. Three key conditions differentiate days when you have a full charge from typical days:

  • Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
  • Interactions: creating far more positive than negative moments
  • Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health …

The good news is that you don’t have to go on a retreat in the woods to find meaning, you don’t need to find new friends at a cocktail party to have better interactions, and you certainly don’t need to run a marathon or embark on a fad diet to create physical energy. The biggest changes for your daily well-being start with a few small steps.”

~ Tom Rath from Are You Fully Charged?



1. The 3 Conditions

= Meaning + Interactions + Energy.

2. Meaning

= Strengths + Interests + Needs.

3. Your Talents

Double down every turn.

4. 45 + 15

Work. Rest. Repeat.

5. 500 Million Moments

Use them wisely.

6. The iPhone Effect

Put your smartphone away.

7. Making the Connection

Btwn daily decisions and energy.

8. Infusing Good Things

While we can.

Are you fully charged?

Tom Rath tells us it’s all about what we do DAILY and that if we want to improve the quality of our lives (and sense of aliveness!), we need to focus on optimizing three key conditions: Meaning + Interactions + Energy.

Tom himself is an incredibly inspiring guy. Diagnosed with cancer at 16, he discovered that he has a rare gene mutation that shuts off a powerful tumor suppressor. As a result, he lost his left eye and has spent a week in the hospital every year getting tests to make sure his various cancers (in his eye, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands, and spine) are in check before getting a new 12-month lease on life. (Wow.)

Being the superhero he is, this has catalyzed him to make the most of every day. He’s written a number of books (including StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Eat Move Sleep) that have sold over 6 million copies and spent 300+ weeks on The Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

Tom also wrote one of our absolute favorite children’s books (which complements this book) called The Rechargeables featuring two little kids (Poppy and Simon) who learn how to get their charge up via moving, eating and sleeping then go on a mission to help the rest of their town.


The book is packed with wisdom that distills a *ton* of research into fun-reading, actionable goodness. (Get the book here.)

As always, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Ideas so let’s jump straight in!


“You create meaning when your strengths and interests meet the needs of the world. Knowing your talents and passions is critical, but that is only half of this supply-and-demand equation. What may be even more important is understanding what the world needs from you and how you can productively apply your strengths and interests. …

One of the rightful critiques of all the ‘follow your passion’ advice is that it presumes that you are the center of the world, and pursuing your own joy is the objective of life. Those who make a profound difference, in contrast, begin by asking what they can give. Starting with this question allows you to direct your talents toward what matters most for others.”

Creating meaning on a daily basis is the first condition of getting fully charged.

Two things here.

First, Tom’s critique of the “follow your passion” advice reminds me of Cal Newport whose great book So Good They Can’t Ignore You is essentially a treatise pointing to the perils of what he calls the “passion mindset” vs. the power of the “craftsman mindset.”

Here’s how Cal puts it: “Whereas the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most  people approach their working lives.”

In short, it’s not all about us. So, how do we create meaning?

—> “You create meaning when your strengths and interests meet the needs of the world.”

Strengths + Interests + Needs.

What are you good at?          _____________________________________________


What do you want to do?       _____________________________________________


What does the world need? _____________________________________________


Deep, sustainable meaning is created at the nexus of those questions.

I’ve journaled a similar version of this set of questions countless times. Business writer Jim Collins tells us that great companies and great humans focus on what he calls the Hedgehog Concept—the nexus of what you love, what you can be the best in the world at and what the world needs/is willing to pay for.

These questions are worth exploring again and again. And, most importantly (of course), living.

Here’s to creating meaning!


“If you spend most of your life trying to be good at everything, you eliminate your chances of being great at anything. Unless your goal is to be mediocre at a lot of things, starting with what you are naturally good at is a matter of efficiency. Focusing on strengths is in many ways a basic time-allocation issue. Every hour you invest in an area where you have natural talent has a multiplying effect, whereas each hour you spend trying to remedy a weakness is like working against a gravitational force. Yet many people spend years or even decades working on weaknesses in hopes that doing so will make them well-rounded.

Do everything you can to avoid falling into this trap. While well-roundedness may be helpful for acquiring the basic tools in any trade—such as reading, writing, and arithmetic—it loses value as you get closer to finding a career. At that point, what’s more important and relevant is what sets you apart. If you want to be great at something in your lifetime, double down on your talents at every turn.”

Tom is ALL ABOUT focusing on our strengths. I need to do a Note on his best-selling StrengthsFinder 2.0. For now, let’s do a quick check in.

First, a review of the first question above: WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?

Second, where’s your focus? On developing your strengths or on your weaknesses?

We need to put enough energy into making sure our weaknesses don’t ruin the whole party, but beyond that, we need to have the courage to FOCUS on our strengths.

What sets you apart?

Are you willing to double down on your talents at every turn?

IDEA FOUR: 45 + 15

“The answer to this question may lie in DeskTime, a software application that meticulously tracks employees’ time use throughout the day. When the makers of this software looked at the most productive 10 percent of their 36,000-employee user base, they made some surprising discoveries. What the most productive people have in common is an ability to take effective breaks. These elite 10 percent work for 52 minutes at a time, then take a 17-minute break before diving back into their work.

According to Julia Gifford, who works with DeskTime and wrote the report, the reason this pattern helps productivity is that the top 10 percent treat the periods of working time like a sprint. ‘They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then rest up to be ready for the next burst,’ Gifford wrote. She also noted that during the 17 minutes of break, the group was more likely to go for a walk or tune out rather than checking email or Facebook.”

That’s from a mini-chapter called “Focus for 45, break for 15” in which Tom talks about the Finnish educational system where, for every 45 minutes in the classroom they are given a 15-minute unstructured break.

Apparently the results are astonishing so Tom wondered if the same results would apply to adults. Short answer: It does.

We talk about this a lot. Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr describe it as “making waves”—honoring our natural “ultradian” rhythms and alternating intense bursts (/sprints!) of work activity with equally intense periods of rest (PS: If you haven’t read it check out my blogpost here )

ON and OFF.

Rhythmically expanding the amplitudes of the waves me make throughout the day.

How’re you doing with that?

What’s ONE thing you could do today to get a little better with it?

P.S. Later in the book, Tom talks about K. Anders Ericsson’s classic research on elite performance. We all know about the 10,000 hour rule at this point. A less known fact from that data is that the best performers RESTED more than the sub-elite. A lot more. They slept more and they napped more—after working in intense bursts like we discussed above.

P.P.S. I promise to keep bringing this up as it’s huge. 🙂


“The actions you take throughout every single day accumulate to shape your years, decades, and overall life. However, when you think about a typical day, it’s easy to take these moments for granted.

Even brief interactions count, such as exchanging a smile or greeting while passing someone on the street. If you look at moments as three-second windows, there are 1,200 moments per hour and 19,200 in a day. That equates to roughly 500 million moments over a lifetime.

The frequency of these brief experiences, within a given day, is far more important than their intensity, as research on this topic confirms.

For example, a person who has a dozen mildly positive things happen during a day will feel better than someone who has one single truly amazing thing happen. Even in a single day, it is the little things that count. My team’s research found that people who reported having great interactions throughout the day were nearly four times as likely to have very high well-being.”

One of the key themes of the book is that our life is *really* made up of small moments, that,when looked at over the course of a day determine our sense of aliveness and, over the course of our lifetimes equate to our overall sense of well-being.

3 second moments.

They matter a LOT more than we may think.


There are a LOT more of them than we may think.

500 million moments.

The quality of our lives are determined moment to moment to moment.

Let’s make our interactions as positive as we can. And feel our charge go up and stay up!


“Nothing adds more value to life than close social relationships. This is why it is so important to focus on the people you are with when you are with them.

There are countless distractions around you. In some cases, these distractions can be helpful.When I’m stuck in a long line in a grocery store, my digital pacifier (smartphone) is remarkably useful. Having the Internet in my pocket turns boring and frustrating moments into an opportunity to learn something or text a friend. However, these distractions create problems when you use them while spending time with friends, colleagues, or loved ones.

In fact, a 2014 study titled ‘The iPhone Effect’ shows how the mere presence of a smartphone can ruin a conversation. In an experiment with 200 participants, researchers found that simply placing a mobile communication device on the table or having participants hold it in their hand was a detriment to their conversations. Any time the phone was visible, the quality of the conversation was rated as less fulfilling when compared with conversations that took place in the absence of mobile devices. People reported having higher levels of empathetic concern when phones were not visible.”

A couple primary things of note here.

1) The quality of our social interactions is one of THE key drivers to our overall well-being.

2) Although they can be handy when we’re alone, smartphones are TOXIC when we’re hanging out with other people.

I love the fact that scientists have actually studied this.

If you want to reduce the quality of your interactions, then make sure you keep your phone visible while you’re hanging out with people.

AND, if you really want to diminish the quality of your social experiences, hold your smartphone and glance at it often as you get new messages—that will let your friends/family/etc. know you are either a) a rat addicted to your stimulant and/or b) you just don’t care about them. (Hah.)

Remember the iPhone Effect.

Be present. Put the phone in airplane mode. And put it out of sight.


(This has to be one of the simplest, most powerful ways to bring a TON of presence and mojo back to your relationships. As a former iPhone addict, it’s been remarkable for me to practice this. Try it!!!)


“Making the connection between better decisions and my daily energy levels has done far more to change my behavior than all I have learned about longer term health consequences. When I have an important day ahead, I make sure to get some activity in the morning so I’m in a better mood and my thinking is sharper. I base my decisions about what to eat for lunch on whether the meal will help sustain my energy into the afternoon and evening. If I am active throughout the day and eat well, I know that I will then have a better night’s sleep, which will give me a head start on the next day.”

The third key condition to getting our charge up?


We MUST prioritize adequate sleep, healthy eating and consistent movement.

Tom’s wisdom above echoes Michelle Segar’s research on the science of motivation from her great book No Sweat  where she tells us:

“As it turns out, research shows that even reasons that sound very sensible and important may not lead us to the results we’re seeking. Some years ago, my colleagues and I conducted a study in which we examined the impact of people’s reasons to start exercising on their actual involvement in exercise. We first asked the participants to state their reasons or goals for exercising… Then, to uncover their higher-level reasons for exercising, we asked them why they cared about obtaining those particular benefits. My colleagues and I found that 75 percent of participants cited weight loss or better health (current and future) as their top reasons for exercising; the other 25 percent exercised in order to enhance the quality of their daily lives (such as to create a sense of well-being or feel centered). Then we measured how much time they actually spent exercising over the course of the next year. The answer may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true: The vast majority of the participants whose goals were weight loss and better health spent the least amount of time exercising overall—up to 32 percent less than those with other goals.

Think about that for a moment: Our most common and culturally accepted reasons for exercising are associated with doing the least amount of exercise. How can this be?”

In short: Forget the abstract, long-term benefits of healthy living. Focus on how simple decisions you make today will effect your energy levels TODAY.

Want to feel great? Eat Move Sleep.



“You have a limited number of days to make a difference. This is one of the few certainties that everyone shares. It can also be an extraordinary motivational force. Embrace the fact that you need to infuse a lot of good things into this world while you can. You have the opportunity to decide how you will spend your time. Use this knowledge to stay focused on doing what’s most important every day. …

Start with work that creates meaning. Invest in each interaction to strengthen your relationships.Make sure you have the energy to be your best. Doing these three things, in combination, is the definition of being fully charged *and* adding a positive charge to those around you.”

As we all know (but often like to ignore), we have a finite number of days to make a difference.

TODAY is the day to stay focused on what matters.

I love the way Todd Henry helps us capture the power of this reality in this thought exercise from Die Empty.

In short: He tells us to imagine someone following you around all day, taking copious notes about when you get up, what you do, how you treat people (and yourself)—basically everything from the moment you get up till the moment you go to sleep. Then that person catalogues their notes and creates a summary of your *entire* life based on that one day.

If you had that person following you today, how would you act? Would you bring more meaning to your life? More presence to your interactions? And more energy to the whole day?

Here’s to getting our charge way up as we optimize, actualize and give ourselves most fully to the world!

If you liked this Blog, you’ll probably like:

  1. The Miracle Morning
  2. The Happiness Equation
  3. Excuses Begone!


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!

Like My FaceBook Page: Here 

Follow me on Twitter:Here 

*If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here



The Miracle Morning-The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8 AM (By HAL ELROD)

“Whether you want to make significant improvements in just a few key areas, or you are ready for a major overhaul that will radically transform your entire life—so your current circumstances will soon become only a memory of what was—you’ve picked up the right book. You are about to begin a miraculous journey, using a simple, but revolutionary process that is guaranteed to transform any area of your life… all before 8:00 am.”

~ Hal Elrod from The Miracle Morning

miracle morning


1. Taking Life Head On

Is the only way to roll.

2. Writing a Good Story

Includes big challenges!

3. Why Mornings?

Because they’re super important.

4. Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

Are miraculously awesome.

->S Is for Silence

The secret sauce.

->A Is for Affirmations

Rewire through repetition.

->V Is for Visualizations

See yourself performing.

->E Is for Exercise

You exercising?

->R is for Reading

And S is for Scribing!

->Habits 101

Unbearable to unstoppable.

Hal Elrod is an inspiring guy.

At 20 years old he was hit head on by a drunk driver. At 70 mph. (Ouch.)

He was found dead. (Yikes.) After 6 minutes of that (near-)death experience, he spent several days in a coma and awoke to discover he had suffered brain damage and was told that he may never walk again. He defied the odds and proved we’re all capable of overcoming obstacles while creating the life of our dreams. (Amazing.)

Years later, he found himself in a funk and discovered The Morning Miracle. And, here we are!

One of my dear friends (thanks, Latifah!) recommended this book and I’m glad he did. It’s fantastic.

If you’ve been looking to jump start your life—or just take it to the next level—there’s no better place to start than by dialing in your morning routine and Hal is the perfect guide to help us discover the “not-so-obvious secrets” to rockin’ it before 8:00 am!

The book is packed with Big Ideas. Hal does a really (!) good job of helping us architect our miracle mornings—whether that’s a 6-minute plan to start or 60. In this Note, I’m going to focus on a handful of my favorite Big Ideas. If you’re feelin’ it, get the book (here) for a deeper dive and connect with Hal at

For now, let’s jump straight in!


“I believe it is crucial for us to embrace the perspective that anything another person has overcome or accomplished is simply evidence that anything—and I mean anything—we need to overcome or want to accomplish is possible for us, no matter what our past or current circumstance. It begins with accepting total responsibility for every aspect of your life and refusing to blame anyone else. The degree to which you accept responsibility for everything in your life is precisely the degree of personal power you have to change or create anything in your life.”

Step 1. We need to take COMPLETE responsibility.

Challenging things happen. Weird things happen in life. (Like getting hit by a drunk driver head on at 70 mph.) We can’t control that. That’s just part of the deal.

We CAN, however, choose how we will RESPOND to those challenges.

As Hal tells us, it *all* starts with taking absolute responsibility for how we respond to life.


And I just love the way he describes the fact that anything another person has overcome or accomplished is evidence that WE can overcome and/or accomplish the same things.

Marcus Aurelius echoes this wisdom. He tells us: “Because a thing is difficult for you, do not therefore suppose it beyond mortal power. On the contrary, if anything is possible and proper  for a man to do, assume that it must fall within your own capacity.”

Joseph Campbell echoes the power of taking our challenges head on as well. He tells us: “There is an important idea in Nietzsche, of Amor fati, the ‘love of your fate,’ which is in fact your life. As he says, if you say no to a single factor in your life, you have unraveled the whole thing. Furthermore, the more challenging or threatening the situation or context to be assimilated and affirmed, the greater the stature of the person who can achieve it. The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.”

Here’s to loving our fate, swallowing demons and getting its power and taking life head on!


“Know that wherever you are in your life right now is both temporary, and exactly where you are supposed to be. You have arrived at this moment to learn what you must learn, so you can become the person you need to be to create the life you truly want. Even when life is difficult or challenging—especially when life is difficult and challenging—the present is always an opportunity for us to learn, grow, and become better than we’ve ever been before. You are in the process of writing your life story, and no good story is without a hero or heroine overcoming their fair share of challenges. In fact, the bigger the challenges, the better the story. Since there are no restrictions and no limits to where your story goes from here, what do you want the next page to say?”

That. Is. Awesome.

Watch a good movie lately? Did the hero/heroine face any challenges?


It’s the challenges and the process of overcoming them that makes any great story great.

Guess what? The same holds true for our lives. We need to quit telling ourselves that a great life always goes perfectly. The great life is one in which we dare greatly, are willing to be in the arena, get knocked down, get back up and give it our best shot. Again. And again. And again.

Remember, we’re the author of our own hero’s/heroine’s journey.

What will the next page of your wonderful adventure say?! 🙂


“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused,unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”

Want to have a great day? (And therefore a great week + month + year + life?)

Start with a great morning.

Want to have a mediocre day? (And therefore a mediocre week + month + year + life?)

Start with a mediocre morning.

It really IS that simple.

You can’t have a truly extraordinary day/life if you’re starting off lethargic and rushed and stressed. (Sorry to break it to you. 🙂

Mornings are where the magic begins.

Now let’s look at some of Hal’s Life S.A.V.E.R.S. to help us create some miracles!


“In order to save your Level 10 life from being neglected and limited by the demands of your life situation—which ultimately leads to a life of regret, unfulfilled potential, and even mediocrity—you must prioritize and dedicate time each day to your personal development. Enter The Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S.—a set of six simple, life-enhancing, life-changing daily practices, each of which develops one or more of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life, so that you can become who you need to be to create the life you want.”

Life S.A.V.E.R.S. = a set of six simple daily practices that help us rock it.

They are:

  • Silence
  • Affirmations
  • Visualization
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Scribing

= Magic.

Let’s take a (super) quick look at each!


“If you want to immediately reduce your stress levels, to begin each day with the kind of calm,clarity, and peace of mind that will allow you to stay focused on what’s most important in your life, and even dance on the edge of enlightenment—do the opposite of what most people do— start every morning with a period of purposeful Silence. The life-enhancing benefits of Silence have been well documented throughout the ages. From the power of prayer, to the magic of meditation, some of the greatest minds in history have used purposeful Silence to transcend their limitations and create extraordinary results.”


It’s the secret sauce of awesome. (Seriously. 🙂

How are you going to connect to that power that’s bigger than you if you’re always (!) filling yourself up with stimulation and noise? (Answer: You’re not.)

We need to slow down, take some time for silence, and allow ourselves to connect to something bigger than ourselves.


Hal goes into detail about the various ways we can experience silence (meditation, prayer, etc.).

Check out the book for more.

For now, know that starting from *that* place is the first step in making your morning a miracle!

The next?


“You can use affirmations to start programming yourself to be confident and successful in everything you do, simply by repeatedly telling yourself who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. With enough repetition, your sub-conscious mind will begin to believe what you tell it, act upon it, and eventually manifest it in your reality.

Putting your affirmations in writing makes it possible for you to choose your new programing so it moves you towards that desired condition or state of mind by enabling you to consistently review it. Constant repetition of an affirmation will lead to acceptance by the mind, and result in changes in your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Since you get to choose and create your affirmations, you can design them to help you establish the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that you want and need to succeed.”

A is for Affirmations!

We need to reprogram our minds.

And affirmations are a stellar way to help us do that. They’re kinda like the Western version of “mantras” which comes from the Sanskrit word that literally means “mind tools.”

We need to get in there and tighten the screws on the good stuff. 🙂

In With Winning in Mind , Lanny Bassham talks about the importance of directing our Conscious minds to reprogram our Subconscious minds. He tells us we have decades of “imprints” and need to create a ton of NEW imprints of the type of person we aspire to be if we want to change—while affirming that it’s “like you” to do the right thing.

Affirm who you aspire to be again and again and again.

And, every morning. 🙂


“Visualization, also known as creative visualization or mental rehearsal, refers to the practice of seeking to generate positive results in your outer world by using your imagination to create mental pictures of specific behaviors and outcomes occurring in your life. Frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance, visualization is the process of imagining exactly what you want to achieve or attain, and then mentally rehearsing what you’ll need to do to achieve or attain it.”


Note: Hal doesn’t tell us to just visualize the *outcomes* we want. (Those are nice but focusing on that is not enough.)

We need to mentally rehearse WHAT WE WILL DO to achieve or attain those outcomes.

Too often we get too distracted by the vision board and forget that we need to spend the majority of our time imagining the things we will do to rock it.

DC Gonzalez calls it “Imagineering” in his great little book The Art of Mental Training. Here’s how he puts it: “Imagineering — the technique of showing our minds how we want things to go, and a term first made famous by the legendary dreamer, Walt Disney. We should all take his advice and allow ourselves to practice sensory rich Imagineering.

Champions use Imagineering prior to their events. It’s also often used by people in order to help them achieve successful completion of a project or an important goal over time. This simple practice has been proven to be so essential and so effective that the athlete who fails to practice this technique apparently never plays to his true potential. (Interestingly, the same results have been observed with actors and musicians as well.) For performance of any kind, mental preparation is as important as physical training. So, if you leave “Imagineering” out of your preparation, you will be hurting yourself and helping your opponent.”

So, back to you.

What’s your ideal performance look like?!

Let’s get our Visualization on!! (Every morning! 🙂


“If you don’t take time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.”

~ Robin Sharma

“Morning exercise should be a staple in your daily rituals. When you exercise for even a few minutes every morning it significantly boosts your energy, enhances your health, improves self- confidence and emotional well-being, and enables you to think better and concentrate longer.”




As we discuss all.the.time., it’s huge.

Remember leading Harvard scientists tell us *not* exercising is like taking a depressant. And that exercising is kinda like taking a little bit of Ritalin and a little bit of Prozac—it sharpens our attention and boosts our mood. Those are good things. 🙂

One of my biggest takeaways from the book was to prioritize my exercise for the mornings. I had been doing it in the afternoons and it’s been *awesome* to create an AM slot to rock it.



“Reading, the fifth practice in the Life S.A.V.E.R.S., is the fast track to transforming any area of your life. It is one of the most immediate methods for acquiring the knowledge, ideas, and strategies you need to achieve Level 10 success in any area of your life.

The key is to learn from the experts—those who have already done what you want to do. Don’t reinvent the wheel. The fastest way to achieve anything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it. With an almost infinite amount of books available on every topic,there are no limits to the knowledge you can gain through daily reading.”

Reading. It’s a (very) good thing. 🙂

I (obviously) read a TON. I always like to imagine that I’m sitting down for a cup of tea with a brilliant (!) human being who spent a year or three articulating their absolute best ideas into an awesome little book. What a gift!

Hal recommends 10 pages per day. That’s 10-15 minutes. Every day. That = 18 (!) books! Little things add up when we do them consistently over time. (So, lets!)

P.S. May I suggest including my blog in your daily reading rhythm? Great way to get the essence of a great book in quick little burst! Do that daily and you’ll get thru the best Ideas from hundred of books. (Yayuh!)

P.P.S. The final “S” is for “Scribing.” Aka writing in a journal! 🙂


“Considering that our habits create our life, there is arguably no single skill that is more important for you to learn and master than controlling your habits. You must identify, implement, and maintain the habits necessary for creating the results you want in your life,while learning how to let go of any negative habits which are holding you back from achieving your true potential.”

Amen to that.

Hal has a GREAT chapter outlining the three phases of habit creation—each 10 days (or so) long.

First, the new habit is UNBEARABLE. It’s a pain. We don’t like doing it. At all. But we persist.

The second phase is UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s not quite as bad as the first phase but not quite awesome. Yet.

The third phase is when we become UNSTOPPABLE. We feel the benefits of engaging in the habits, don’t need to use so much willpower to get ourselves to do them and are now UNSTOPPABLE. #bam!

So, here’s to creating the habits that will change our lives. And starting by making each morning another miracle!


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!

Like My FaceBook Page: Here 

Follow me on Twitter:Here 

*If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here


“What to Say When You Talk to Yourself: Powerful New Techniques to Program Your Potential for Success!” By SHAD HELMSTETTER, PH.D.

“After examining the philosophies, the theories, and the practiced methods of influencing human behavior, I was shocked to learn the simplicity of that one small fact: You will become what you think about most: your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming—what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself. It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple, but powerful, fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”

~ Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. from What to Say When You Talk to Yourself

what to say


1.Thoughts Are Things

Let’s choose them wisely.

2. First Step

Change your programming.

3. What Is Self-Talk?

5 levels. Go for Level IV!

4. Why

Imagine two versions of you.

5. The How

What area do you want to work on?

6. Self-Conversation

And “Shower-talk.”

7. The Greatest Challenge

= Mastering your mind. Let’s!

What do YOU say when you talk to yourself?

Is it empowering? Or not so much?

Dr. Shad Helmstetter tells us that inner dialogue that’s going on all.the.time is THE most important thing we have going on. We become what we think about and our internal dialogue forms the bulk of our thoughts.Therefore, if we want to optimize and actualize, we need to dial in that conversation. And, of course, helping us do that is what this book is all about.

I picked this book up after seeing Lanny Bassham recommend it. Lanny’s the gold-medal winning author of With Winning in Mind  whose work focuses on cultivating a powerful self-image. How we talk to ourselves is a huge part of creating a powerful self-image; hence, the recommendation. I’m glad I followed his rec. This book is fantastic. Get a copy “here”.

Of course, it’s packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!


“Every thought we think, every conscious or unconscious thought we say to ourselves, is translated into electrical impulses which, in turn, direct the control centers in our brains to electrically and chemically affect and control every motion, every feeling, every action we take, every moment of every day. Whatever ‘thoughts’ you have programmed into yourself, or have allowed others to program into you, are affecting, directing, or controlling everything about you. From the day we were born, we have received a staggering amount of programming. It would require an immense computer just to compute the number of individual pieces of information we receive from the world around us in just one year. Some of the programming is obvious, but much of it we are never even aware we are receiving.”

Every single thought we have has a biological and chemical impact.

Thoughts are, in fact, THINGS!

(That’s still hard for me to believe but it’s true.)

Which, of course, begs the question: Are your thoughts good things or not so good?

As Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us: “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

So, let’s look at some Big Ideas on how to get those thoughts optimized!

The first thing we want to look at is how we’ve been programmed.


“It is our programming that sets up our beliefs, and the chain reaction begins. In logical progression, what we believe determines our attitudes, affects our feelings, directs our behavior,and determines our success or failure:

  1. Programming creates beliefs.
  1. Beliefs create attitudes.
  1. Attitudes create feelings.
  1. Feelings determine actions.
  1. Actions create results.

That’s how the brain works. If you want to manage yourself in a better way, and change your results, you can do so at any time you choose. Start with the first step. Change your programming.”

T. Harv Eker echoes this wisdom in Secrets of the Millionaire Mind  where he tells

us: “Your programming leads to your thoughts; your thoughts lead to your feelings; your feelings lead to your actions; your actions lead to your results. Therefore, just as is done with a personal computer, by changing your programming, you take the first essential step to changing your results.”

Both Eker and Helmstetter use the metaphor of a computer to get the point across.

In short, imagine a monitor, a keyboard and a floppy disk. Laughing. Yes, this book was written in 1982 when floppy disks were awesome. If you remember them, high fives. If you’re not old enough to remember floppy disks, God bless you. 🙂

Now, our old-school computer is only going to run whatever program is on the disk. If you want a better program, you need to erase the old floppy and program some better stuff on it.

Same basic idea with our lives.

If we’re running our show on OLD programming, we’re going to get results consistent with the quality of that programming. If we want to upgrade our lives, we need to upgrade the programming.

According to Helmstetter, that programming creates our beliefs which creates our attitudes which creates our feelings which determine actions which create results.

The best way to reprogram?

Change the way you talk to yourself.


“What is Self-Talk and how does it work? The definition of Self-Talk can be simply stated: Self-Talk is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions. Self-Talk is a practical way to live our lives by active intent rather than by passive acceptance.With Self-Talk, we have a way to give new directions to our subconscious minds by talking to ourselves in a different way, consciously reprogramming our internal control centers with words and statements which are more effective, more helpful to every part of us that we would like to improve. The Self-Talk statements paint a new internal picture of ourselves as we would most like to be.”

So, Step 1 in creating an optimized identity is to optimize our Self-Talk—“overriding our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions.”

Shad tells us there are five levels of Self-Talk. We need to start by identifying our current Self-Talk and elevating it.

Here’s a quick look at the five levels:

Level I Self-Talk = The Level of Negative Acceptance. This is dominated by thoughts like, “I can’t . . .” “I could never do that,” “I’m tired and just don’t have the energy I used to have,” and other such gems.

Unfortunately, this is the dominant form of Self-Talk for most people. It needs to go. 🙂

Level II Self-Talk = The Level of Recognition and Need to Change. This is dominated by phrases such as “I need to . . .,” and “I should . . .” It’s slightly better than Level I but not where we want to spend our time. As Shad tells us, the problem is that it recognizes a problem but offers no solution.

Level III Self-Talk = The Level of Decision to Change. This consists of phrases like, “I never . . .,” and “I no longer . . .” Now, you’re committed to change and are clear on what you’re going to stop doing and say things like, “I no longer smoke,” and “I never put off doing things that are important.”

This is powerful because you’re programming new instructions to your subconscious mind!

Level IV Self-Talk = The Level of The Better You. This is the most powerful kind of Self-Talk. This is all about “I am . . .” statements like “I am in control of my life. I am a winner! I am healthy, energetic, enthusiastic, and I’m going for it!”

As Shad tells us: “Level IV Self-Talk inspires, encourages, urges, and implores. It tugs at our hearts, touches our hopes, and paints the pictures that color our dreams. It excites, demands,and pushes us forward. It strengthens the armor of our spirit and hardens the steel of our determination. This is the Self-Talk that challenges us to do battle with our fears and end up the victor. It is the Self-Talk which stirs us to action, fills us up with self-belief, and plants our feet firmly on the solid bedrock of success.”

This is the level we want to spend most of our time at as we optimize and actualize! Let’s take a quick look at Level V and then come back to this for a moment.

Level V Self-Talk = The Level of Universal Affirmation. This is the Self-Talk of the ancient mystics who experience oneness with God/the Universe. It’s awesome. And… Shad advises us to focus on establishing a solid relationship with OURSELVES before we jump too quickly to this level!

So, back to Level IV.

Shad tells us: “There are hundreds of examples, already written, of this special, powerful, reprogramming Level IV Self-Talk:I am a winner! I believe in myself. I respect myself and like who I am. I have made the decision to win in my life and that’s what I’m doing!’ Can you imagine going through the rest of your life with that kind of Self-Talk on your side? Think of the programming that kind of direction would create. It is yours for the taking. It is yours the moment you decide to choose a better way. You deserve the best out of life. Perhaps it’s time to do something about it!”

Take a moment to imagine the rest of your life with your current Self-Talk.

Now imagine the rest of your life with the super-empowered Self-Talk.

Which destiny do you want?


“If there were two of you, and one of you became a positive, productive Self-Talker, and the other did not, for whom would you cast your vote? I know which one I would vote for, every time.”

That’s a Big Idea.

Let’s slow down for a moment and REALLY absorb the *WHY* here.

Imagine two versions of you.

One develops strong Self-Talk. The other does not.

Which life do you want?

Are you ready to commit the energy to mastering your Self-Talk?



“If you would like to change an old habit, seek out your old programming, recognize it for what it is, make a minor decision to do something about it, and erase it and replace it with something better.”

The book is PACKED with examples of specific Self-Talk phrases to deal with various areas of your life you’d like to master. Check out the book for the detailed examples.

For now, know that you want to start by identifying the challenge(s) you’d like to master and the current Self-Talk you engage in. (Shad tells us to identify the Top 10 most disempowering things we say to ourselves. And says if you can’t find 10 you aren’t trying! We ALL have work to do!)

Once we’ve identified areas that have opportunities for optimization, we want to go to Level IV and create a script of positive, present-tense declarations of how you’d like things to be.

For example, Shad shares some awesome Self-Talk on dealing with fear and anxiety.

He shares a dozen or so passages like this to conquer worry: “I do not fear problems. I solve them. I do not ignore problems, I confront them. I do not avoid problems, I conquer them!”

Plus: “I never worry. I turn ‘worry time’ into positive, constructive, ‘solution time.’ I keep my mind alert and open to all solutions—and solutions come quickly and easily to me.”

In Shad’s model, you’d write those down (along with another constellation of a dozen phrases like them related to the issue you want to solve) and then you’d read them aloud to yourself three times a day.

And, if you were really feeling it, you’d record yourself (or someone you love) saying these phrases and groove that into subconscious via what he calls “tape-talk.”


“There is, however, a less conspicuous and safer way to use self-conversation, and it is a way I recommend you try at your next available opportunity. I refer to it as ‘shower talk’ and it works like this: Tomorrow morning, when you step into the shower, say ‘Good morning!’ to yourself. Say it out loud, and say it with a smile in your voice. Greet the day with your chin up, your attitude high, and tell yourself just how great the day ahead is going to be. ‘You look great today! You feel good, you’re in good shape, and you’re ready to tackle anything!’ And then respond—give yourself an answer back. ‘I feel terrific! Today especially! I feel good, I like who I am and I’m glad to be alive and going for it!’

Even two or three minutes of that kind of rousing internal motivation can get you started on the right foot, facing the day, looking forward to it, and get you moving and believing in a way that can change an average day into an exceptional day. And it works! Think how much better that kind of invigorating, positive day-starting, confidence-building self-dialogue can be than the other ways we often use to start our day.”

That. Is. Awesome.

100% wacky. And equally awesome! 🙂

So, Self-Talk is when we repeat things to ourselves that help us re-program at the root level.There’s no “dialogue” with ourself, just one-way goodness.

Self-Conversation, on the other hand, is when we actually strike up a conversation with ourselves. You can use it to fire yourself up in the morning and you can use it to help solve a challenge.

For example, you could be having a bad day and have this chat with yourself—we’ll pretend it’s me and me chatting:

“Hey, Vincent! How are you?”

“You know, I’m having a challenging day.”

“I’m sorry to hear that! Quick question for you: What’s the most empowered thing you could do right now to feel a little better?”

“Hmmm… Good question. Probably take a deep breath and go spend some time with the family.”

“Awesome. See you when you’re back!”

That’s obviously a hyper-simplistic example, but you get the idea.

Self-Conversation reminds me of Tal Ben-Shahar’s 110-year-old you exercise where he has you imagine hopping into a time machine and having a fifteen-minute chat with the 110-year-old version of yourself.

The point of Tal’s exercise is the fact (!) that we already have all the wisdom we need. He talks about how individuals diagnosed with cancer often radically change their lives. It’s not that they suddenly got more information on how to live but that they finally tapped into that wisdom.

All the wisdom we need is pretty much already there. We just need to take the time to check in and tap into that reservoir of wisdom.

Self-conversation is a fun way to do that—whether that’s in the shower or at your desk or while you’re washing the dishes.

Try it out!

(Oh. Gotta go! Vincent wants to hang out again. Hah! 🙂


“Learning to manage, control, and direct the resources of your mind is the greatest challenge you will ever face.

The key to all management, the management of others, the management of your resources,and the management of your future is Self-Management. ...

Talk to yourself! Learn the words—the right words—and use them. Make Self-Talk an everyday,unconscious, self-directing habit. Talk to yourself in a way that is kind, loving, caring, strong, demanding, and determined. Talk to yourself in the right way, every day.

When you do, you will give yourself the greatest gift you will ever give.”

The greatest challenge we will ever face is mastering ourselves.

And the greatest component to mastering ourselves is to master our mind.

We get that right—we learn how to reprogram our minds—and our beliefs, attitudes, feelings and behaviors follow with a grace and power that will astonish us.

Here’s to creating incredible Self-Talk and giving ourselves the greatest gifts we’ll ever give and receive!!


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!


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*If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here




“The Happiness Equation:Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything” By NEIL PASRICHA

“So don’t you think every college, university, and library would be full of courses and advice on how we can become happier? On how we can make decisions that spur ourselves into positive action every day? When I asked a hospitality CEO if he knew a book, model or website that actually helped people navigate and simplify their most challenging decisions so they can live with contentment, freedom, and happiness, he said, ‘That book doesn’t exist. It would be like asking every high-powered executive, successful person, and positive leader to distill all the personal mental models they’ve created over their lives into one book. Nobody has ever done it.’

I know this is true because I’ve been searching for a practical book with real frameworks on leading myself to happiness for years. I wanted something beyond stories about generals, parables about penguins, and research studies with data pointing any which way. I wanted real, I wanted practical, I wanted clear. I wanted an action book that I could use every day.

This is that book.”

~ Neil Pasricha from The Happiness Equation

Happiness 2


1.The Big 7

Ways to boost your happiness.

2.Waking Up w/Icky Guy

Is really important.

3. Tip from a Great Physicist

Just do it.

4. It’s Saturday AM

What do you do?

Neil Pasricha is awesome. And so is this book.

Neil’s a fascinating guy—a Harvard MBA who runs a site called who also happens to be the director of leadership development for Walmart, one of the most popular TED speakers ever, the director of the Institute for Global Happiness AND the best-selling author of The Book of AWESOME series—with over 1 million books sold. (<—That is awesome.)

He’s also a funny, great writer who packs a ton of super practical wisdom into this quick-reading book. I highly recommend it. Get a copy here.

The book features Neil’s 9 Secrets for rockin’ it. I’m excited to share a few of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!


“Positive psychology is a new and growing field. I have sifted through hundreds of studies to find the Big 7 ways to train your brain to be happy. Many of these studies have been discussed in journals, conferences, keynotes, and research reports, but I’ve brought them together for you here. If you do any of these seven things for two straight weeks, you will feel happier.

So what are the Big 7?

Three Walks + The 20-Minute Replay + Random Acts of Kindness + A Complete  Unplug + Hit Flow + 2-Minute Meditations + Five Gratitudes”

This book has a bunch of great stories backed by great research. As you know, I LOVE positive psychology. 

Let’s take a super quick look at our Big 7 ways to boost our happiness and remember that science says the Happiness Equation STARTS with happiness.

It’s Happiness —> Great work —> Success NOT Great Work —> Success —> Happiness.

1.Three Walks. Exercise is as effective as Zoloft in reducing depression. Even just three brisk walks can do the trick! Remember that *not* exercising is like taking a depressant and get out there and MOVE YOUR BODY.

2. The 20-Minute Replay. Writing for 20 minutes about a positive experience is a GREAT way to boost your happiness. Scientists call it savoring. Groove the good stuff!

3. Random Acts of Kindness. Did you know that THE fastest, most reliable way to boost your mood is to do something nice for someone else? Yep. Find ways to do something nice!

4. A Complete Unplug. We’ve gotta make waves. Fully on. Fully off. Repeat. Are you training your RECOVERY as much as your “on” phases? Remember that it’s not that we work too hard but that we don’t recover enough. #waves

5. Hit Flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi tells us that the optimal state of human experience is found when we are engaged in activities that stretch us such that the challenges match our skills. Too much challenge = anxiety. Too little = boredom. The right match? FLOW. Find it!

6. 2-Minute Meditations. Meditation is huge. As we discuss in Meditation 101, you don’t need to be a levitating monk in the Himalayas to experience significant benefits. Even just a couple minutes a day keeps the gremlins away.

7. Five Gratitudes. As Neil says, “If you can be happy with the simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.” Find things to be grateful for and focus on them often. What are YOU grateful for today?

There ya go. The Big 7. Which is your favorite and which one do you want to lean into more?!


“While we think of retirement as the golden age of putting greens, cottage decks, and staring at the clouds, guess what they call retirement in Okinawa?

They don’t!

They don’t even have a word for retirement.

Literally nothing in their language describes the concept of stopping work completely. Instead,they have the word ikigai (pronounced ‘icky guy’), which roughly means ‘the reason you wake up in the morning.’ You can think of it as the thing that drives you most.

In Okinawa, there is a 102-year-old-karate master whose ikigai is to carry forth his martial art, a 100-year-old fisherman whose ikigai is to feed his family, a 102-year-old woman whose ikigai is to hold her great-great-great-granddaughter.”


Quick context: Okinawans are basically the longest-living people on the planet. They live an average of 7 healthy years longer than Americans and have the most people over 100.


Neil walks us through the incredibly recent invention of “retirement” and how absurd + detrimental the idea is to our well-being.

Quick re-cap there: Otto von Bismarck instituted mandatory retirement at age 65 in Germany in 1889.He wanted to free up jobs for younger people and guess what the average life expectancy was at that time? 67.

Then, in the 20th century, other countries started instituting a mandatory retirement at the arbitrary age of 65 and—get this—marketing gurus spent a ton of money CONVINCING us that leisure was awesome, work sucked, and, well, here we are.

Longer chat but the short story is simple: Retirement sucks. If we want to feel great and live long, we need a reason to get up in the morning. We need to wake up with our Icky Guy! 🙂

Neil shares the story about how he created little ikigai cards with his wife. They wrote down their reason for getting up. His wife’s: ‘To turn young minds into future leaders.” His: ‘To remind myself and others how lucky we are to be alive.”

He makes the important point that you don’t have ONE ikigai now and forever. Roll with it. Whatever inspires you. But you need to have one!! (His was “Finish writing The Happiness Equation” for a while.)

What’s YOURS?

(Mine? “Help people OPTIMIZE by creating the greatest collection of wisdom ever.” Makes me smile just typing that and hop out of bed, high five the Icky Guy and get to crushing it. 🙂


What does the greatest physicist of all time say?

First off, who was the greatest physicist of all time? I say Isaac Newton. My opinion. Up there with Einstein. Why? Well, he discovered gravity, invented calculus, and built the telescope. Not bad! And did he believe in the Do Circle? Absolutely.

He explained it best in his First Law of Physics. ‘An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by a larger force.’

Put it another way: Start doing something? You’ll continue.

Why? Because motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation.”

This is from a chapter on “Secret #7: How to Turn Your Biggest Fear into Your Biggest Success” in which Neil introduces us to his “Do Circle.”

Do Circle? Yep. Do Circle.

Too often we think that doing something moves from thinking we can do something + we want to do it and then we do it.

Like this: CAN DO —> WANT TO DO —> DO

Such that, if we don’t think we can do it and/or don’t “feel like” it in the moment, we can’t do it. Neil challenges that notion and says it’s more like a circle with no endpoint. You can start doing something and THAT doing leads to a sense of “can do” + “want to do” that creates a ton of momentum and keeps you going.

HUGE distinction that we come back to in different ways throughout these Notes. In fact, I took a break reading this book yesterday to  sneak a peek at Tal Ben-Shahar’s “Choose the Life You Want” .

I got an elaborate Idea from this book where Tal Ben-Shahar notes: “Fortunately, the research into procrastination has also identified practical ways that can help overcome the tendency  to procrastinate. The single most important technique is called ‘the five-minute takeoff.’ It consists, simply, of starting to do the thing you have been putting off, no matter how little you feel like doing it. Procrastinators often believe that to do something one has to truly want to do it—to be in the right mood, to feel inspired. This is not the case. Usually, to get the job done, it is enough merely to begin doing it—the initial action kick-starts the process and often brings about more action.”

Tal says that this was one of the Biggest Ideas he’s implemented in his life—sharing that,although he loves to write and gets paid to do so, MOST mornings (!!) he doesn’t *feel* like it.

But (IMPORTANT “but”)… He just gets started—KNOWING that his feelings will follow his behavior. As he said: “Action leads to inspiration at least as much as inspiration leads to action.” We DO *then* we feel like doing. Just getting started with something creates the momentum that KEEPS us going. But… If we wait till we feel like it, we may never do anything.

This is one of the Biggest Ideas we’ll ever explore.

Thank you, Neil and thank you, Sir Newton.


“What do you do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing to do?

Ask yourself that one crucial question, think about it for a second, and answer it out loud. What do you do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing to do? Do you go to the gym? Do you record yourself playing guitar? Take whatever answer you have and then wildly brainstorm ways you can pursue opportunities that naturally spew from that passion.

There will be hundreds. Love going to the gym? Personal training, coaching a baseball team, volunteering for a walking group, running a yoga studio, teaching phsy ed, starting a supplements company. And it goes on. Love recording yourself playing guitar? How about teaching guitar online, editing music, learning to DJ, starting up an instrument company? One of the happiest people I’ve met was a high school music teacher who decided to start importing, selling, and teaching the ukulele.

Your true self will be drawn to these ideas.

They make you richer, stronger, and happier in your work life, too.”

It’s Saturday morning. You have nothing to do. Ahhhh… What do you do?

That simple question is a GREAT way to get more clarity on your authentic self. And, embracing the true you is a HUGE part of the Happiness Equation. As Neil says in Secret #8, we need to optimize the most important relationship in our lives: Our relationship with ourselves.

The most direct way to dial that relationship in? BE YOU. “Be you and be cool with it.”

Back to your Saturday morning. What are you up to? And how can you make related activities a more prominent part of your life?!

P.S. On Saturday morning’s with nothing to do I read 🙂


  1. Embrace the Big 7 : Three Walks + The 20-Minute Replay + Random Acts of Kindness + A Complete  Unplug + Hit Flow + 2-Minute Meditations + Five Gratitudes”
  2. Create an Ikigaiikigai (pronounced ‘icky guy’), which roughly means ‘the reason you wake up in the morning.’ You can think of it as the thing that drives you most.Decorate in your diary or a card,live every moment to the task to accomplish it-moment to moment. 
  3. Motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation. How you feel doesn’t have to determine the outcome. What does your feelings have to do with it? Get started, then get going!
  4. Ask yourself, “What would you do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing to do? Take whatever answer you have and then wildly brainstorm ways you can pursue opportunities that naturally spew from that passion.

 “What Idea *most* resonated with you? What Idea reminded you of something you already know and just need to embody a little more?”

Get on it, brace yourself, then rock it 🙂


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone :)

Connect To Me, I’m quite Social!


Follow me on:Twitter 

*If you are looking for poetry and my life empowerment program materials  click, Here




Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits BY DR. WAYNE W. DYER

“It’s been said that old habits die hard, implying that it’s next to impossible to change long-standing thought patterns. Yet the book you hold in your hands was created out of a belief that entrenched ways of thinking and acting can indeed be eradicated. Furthermore, the most effective means for eliminating habitual thoughts is to go to work on the very system that created, and continues to support, these thinking habits. This system is made up of a long list of explanations and defenses that can be summed up in one word: excuses. Hence, the title of this book is really a statement to yourself, as well as to that system of explanations you’ve created. It is my intention that all excuses be . . . gone!”

~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer from Excuses Begone!



1.Excusing vs. Choosing

Time to make the shift!

2. Affirmations

To conquer excuses.

3. Cultivating Awareness

Es muy importante!

4. The Now

It’s wise to be on friendly terms w/it.

5. Self-Actualizers Focus

On what they want.

6. Contemplation

Bowling + manifestation averages.

7. Commitments

Beat pronouncements.

8. Passion

Always trumps excuses!

9. Exquisite Beliefs

Are better than excuses

I just love his simple, inspiring, practical wisdom.

In this book Dr. Dyer walks us through how to finally (!) get rid of disempowering thoughts. It’s packed with goodness.

Here are a handful of my favorite Big Ideas!


“The truth, as I see it, is that everything you think, say, and do is a choice—and you don’t need to think, speak, or act as you’ve done your entire life. When you abandon making choices, you enter the vast world of excuses. Right now, while reading this book, decide to begin choosing instead of excusing. You can instantly decide to reprogram and direct your life toward the level of happiness, success, and health that you prefer.”

The first step in making our excuses be gone?

As Wayne says, we’ve gotta move from excusing to CHOOSING—shifting from a helpless victim to a powerful creator.

We need to see that everything we do, speak and think is a CHOICE.

Little by little. Thought by thought. Word by word. Action by action. We can change our lives.

Shall we? 🙂

“Through discipline, effort, and continual practice, it can also accomplish almost anything you focus your thoughts on.”

~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer


Wayne walks us through the 18 most commonly used excuses. He then gives us 18 affirmations to counteract those excuses.

Check out the book for all the goodies. Here are a few of my favorites:

“1. It will be difficult: I have the ability to accomplish any task I set my mind to with easeand comfort.

  1. It will take a long time: I have infinite patience when it comes to fulfilling my destiny.
  1. It’s too big: I think only about what I can do now. By thinking small, I accomplish great things.
  1. I don’t have the energy: I feel passionately about my life, and this passion fills me with excitement and energy.
  1. I’m too busy: As I unclutter my life, I free myself to answer the callings of my soul.

That is what we call hot sauce.

You got excuses?

What are some affirmations you can use to counter them?!

P.S. Reminds me of some goodness from “Mary Elaine-Jacobsen’s great book”  where she shared a set of criticisms with new responses:

“CRITICISM #8: “Can’t You Just Stick with One Thing?” NEW RESPONSE: “No, Probably Not.”

CRITICISM #10: “Why Don’t You Slow Down?” NEW RESPONSE: “Going Fast Is Normal for Me.”

CRITICISM #1: “Who Do You Think You Are?” NEW RESPONSE: “A Humble Everyday Genius Called to Serve.””


“Cultivating awareness is indeed the preliminary activity in the “I-opening” experience of meeting your authentic self. Living your life oblivious to your thinking patterns and beliefs, day after day, year after year, is a habit that encourages and elevates your ego or false self… The way I see it, if you’re going to practice an Excuses Begone! life, your primary relationship needs to be 100 percent with your authentic self.”

Amen to that.

The first step is to cultivate awareness of our current habits. We need to SEE what we’re doing before we can shift it, eh?

Vernon Howard has a great take on this in The Power of Your Supermind  where he tells us: “Encourage yourself by remembering that any detection of negativity within you is a positive act, not a negative one. Awareness of your weakness and confusion makes you strong because conscious awareness is the bright light that destroys the darkness of negativity. Honest self-observation dissolves pains and pressures that formerly did their dreadful work in the darkness of unawareness. This is so important that I urge you to memorize and reflect upon the following summary: Detection of inner negativity is not a negative act, but a courageously positive act that makes you a new person.”

Detection of negativity is a courageously POSITIVE act.

Here’s to the honest self-observation that allows us to connect to the Highest within ourselves more and more consistently!


“Rather than seeing your present moment as an obstacle, see it as the supreme miracle. “Wayne, this is the only moment you have,” is a sentence I often say to myself to keep me on friendly terms with the now. Think about that: the only moment you have. When you realize the significance of this, you’ll immediately want to shift into a state of awe and gratitude for it, regardless of what is transpiring.”

Newsflash: NOW is the only moment we have.


Reminds me of Marcus Aurelius’ wisdom from Mediations  where he tells us: “Were you to live three thousand years, or even thirty thousand, remember that the sole life which a man can lose is that which he is living at the moment; and furthermore, that he can have no other life except the one he loses… This means that the longest life and the shortest amount to the same thing. For the passing minute is every man’s equal possession, but what has once gone by is not ours.”

Here’s to having a *really* good relationship with this now.

And the next.

And the next.

(On that note, what can you do to improve your relationship with the now? 🙂

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

~ Dale Carnegie


“I learned a long time ago from one of my mentors, Abraham Maslow, that self-actualizing people never use their minds to think about what they don’t wish to attract. They don’t worry about an illness getting worse, an absence of funding, a downturn in the economy affecting them, a negative outcome in a business venture, their children getting in trouble, and so on. Their minds focus on the conditions they wish to produce—then the lucky break, the right people or circumstances, or the synchronistic opportunity somehow presents itself as a result of their contemplation. We all become what we think about, so it’s pretty important to pay attention to those thoughts.”

We go off on the 19 characteristics of a self-actualizing individual as noted on Abraham Maslow’s Motivation and Personality.

The essence of Maslow’s ideas around self-actualizing can be expressed in this iconic passage: “Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization… It refers to man’s desire for self- fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming.”

Guess what?

Self-actualizing individuals do not become what they are destined to become by thinking about all the things going wrong in their lives.

They get their by, as Dyer tells us, “focusing their minds on the conditions they wish to produce.”

Begs the question: What conditions do YOU want to produce?

(Are you focusing your energy on that goodness or on all the things you think are getting in your way? Choose wisely! 🙂


“View the practice of contemplation as action, rather than as passive mental meandering…An hour a day throwing a bowling ball is action that leads to a higher bowling average; a few moments several times a day musing about what you intend to manifest in some area of your life will have precisely the same effect on your manifesting average. Contemplation is action. It’s necessary mind training for the implementation of anything you desire.”

I love that image.

If you practiced bowling every day you’d increase your bowling average.

Got it.


If you practiced contemplating what you want to create in your life, you’d increase your MANIFESTATION average.

Especially when you combine that contemplation with diligent, patient, persistent and playful action, eh? 🙂

So, back to you. Let’s spend a few moments on this.

What do you want to see in your life?

How’s your health?

Your relationships?

Your professional life?

Your financial situation?

Take a few moments and imagine your ideal in each of those domains right now.

Then get in the habit of doing that often while aligning your behaviors to match your ideals! 🙂


“It’s one thing to make a pronouncement in a moment of inspiration about what you intend to manifest in your life or what kind of person you intend to become. It’s quite another thing to make a commitment to holding that vision regardless of what difficulties or obstacles may surface. Holding the vision involves an unwillingness to compromise what you’re visualizing for yourself. It means being willing to suffer through criticism and what appears to be an uncooperative universe.”

Reminds me of some wisdom from  Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes where he tells us: “Superheroes understand that creativity is not an impulse, but a process.”

It’s REALLY easy to get all geeked up about something for a day or a week or a month.

It’s an entirely different thing to show up day-in-and-day-out bringing that seed of an idea to fruition.

All the great teachers talk about this.

Eknath Easwaran puts it this way in Conquest of Mind : “In Sanskrit we have a word which means “heroes at the beginning”: people who take up a job with a fanfare of trumpets but soon find that their enthusiasm has tiptoed down the back stair. Those who go far in meditation are the ones who keep on plugging. They may not be very spectacular; they may never hear a trumpet. But they keep on trying day in and day out, giving their best in every situation and relationship, never giving up. Such people are bound to reach their goal.”

Here’s to committing to holding the vision regardless of what difficulties or obstacles may surface!!

P.S. As you do that, keep this wisdom from Russell Simmons (on Do You!) in mind as well: “Focus on your vision and keep going until you hit the finish line. Don’t be one of the people who believe in their vision at first but then give up. See it through, no matter how long it takes. Understand that obstacles are just part of the game. Whatever you imagine, you can achieve. Once you realize this truth, no one is going to be able to stop you.”

P.P.S. To what areas of your life do you need to apply this mojo?


“Memorize these four words: passion always trumps excuses! However, keep in mind that when I use the word passion, I’m not referring to the romantic notions that this concept conjures. Instead, I’m equating it to a vigorous kind of enthusiasm that you feel deep within you and that isn’t easy to explain or define. This kind of passion propels you in a direction that seems motivated by a force beyond your control. It’s the inner excitement of being on the right path, doing what feels good to you and what you know you are meant to do. It’s my contention that the mere presence of passion within you—and the enthusiasm that comes with it—is all you need to fulfill your dreams. And let’s take a brief look at the word enthusiasm. As the novelist and woman of letters Madame de Stael noted in 1810: “The sense of this word among the Greeks affords the noblest definition of it; enthusiasm signifies God in us.””

This is awesome.

 I just LOVE the idea of a “vigorous kind of enthusiasm” that drives us to fulfill our dreams.

How do we cultivate this kind of vigorous enthusiasm?

Glad you should ask.

“By all means, love your family (and everyone else on this planet). Treasure all of your relationships, but first and foremost make your relationship to your highest self your priority.”

~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Dyer tells us: “The best way to keep your passion alive is to make your number one relationship in the world be that between you and your Source of being. Stay in a state of wonderment and bewilderment over everything and everyone you encounter. Go through life being continuously grateful and appreciative—give thanks for all of nature and the multitude of miracles you see appearing before your eyes each and every day. This is a daily practice for me, and it’s the most prominent factor I can identify for keeping my zest for life alive and well.”

Love it.

I like to think of it this way: My #1 job is to do the things that help me plug into the Divine within

  1. As I do that, I naturally shine with a radiant enthusiasm.

Paul Ray puts it this way in The Highest Goal : “The highest goal is simply to be in this experience of connection or truth (no matter how you refer to it) all the time. That remains a goal, of course, because this is something you spend a lifetime working toward rather than attaining. But your commitment motivates, inspires and guides your journey, and gives you more and more time in this state of connection.”

What about you?

Are you rockin’ the fundamentals that help you stay plugged in?

Sweet! 🙂


“Without these excuses, what would life look like? Here again, you’d bask in the exquisite belief that you possess all of the physical and intellectual abilities you could ever need. Your life would flow naturally from a position of supreme confidence in yourself and all of your God-given, natural abilities. You’d take risks and be capable of trying anything, content with whatever results were to ensue. You’d exude courage because you’d be unable to manufacture doubtful thoughts that manifested as excuses. You’d never compare yourself to others or evaluate your abilities on the basis of what others do—how you measure up to the performance levels of others would have no bearing on you or what you attempt. You’d know that God doesn’t make mistakes,so whatever levels of personal strength and intellectual proficiency you possess are absolutely perfect. In short, you’d be content, grateful for who you are and all that you’d been given, in both the physical and perceptual realms.”

I’ll take it!

You? 🙂

Here’s to making our EXCUSES BEGONE! as we go out and joyfully rock this precious little life of ours!


About the Author of “Excuses Begone”


II wayne-dyer

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He is the author of more than 30 books, has created numerous audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York. (from Amazon)

About the Author of This Note



Vincent Wambua is a lover of wisdom (aka a “Philosopher”) and a passionate student of life who’s committed to inspiring and empowering millions of people to live their greatest lives as he studies, embodies and shares the universal truths of optimal living. He harts his job.


As always,Let’s Keep Optimizing and see you at the top where there’s enough room for everyone 🙂

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