The light of truth is the only lens through which we can see reality. All else that we witness is an illusion. We fool ourselves into thinking that we are operating independently of a greater power. We fool ourselves into thinking that we are "in control" of everything in our lives. We fool ourselves because we are in the darkness instead of in the light.
I recently watched the movie, "The War Room," where an elderly lady took a younger woman under her wing and helped her to understand the battle that she was really in. She helped her to step out of her life and see the spiritual connection that was missing. The younger woman had been going through life unhappy, without peace, and living in a marriage that was essentially loveless. The older lady taught her to do battle in her own "war room." By understanding the spiritual connection between herself and everything that exists, she began to see significant changes in herself. She forgave her husband for any wrong that he had done. She started spending time with her daughter and deepening that relationship. She started living in the light of truth instead of in the darkness of the illusion.
Many of the choices that her husband had made, which were not good ones, came to light when she began to love him without judging him. The love that she demonstrated in the marriage changed his heart. He owned up to the bad choices that he had made, including losing his job and his company car. He owned up to the bad choices that he had made in his marriage. He changed because he felt the love that is only felt in the light.
I know that there were a number of lessons in this movie, but the biggest lesson that I learned was that of seeing the miracle of healing. That miracle cannot exist in darkness. It cannot exist with unforgiveness. It can only exist in light of grace. Interestingly, grace is extended without condition. When we understand that it is not our place to judge. It is not our place to make the other person "change first." When we hold the light up to our own life and dispel the darkness and fear, we embrace a better path. It is one that was always prepared for us, but it is only visible when we live in love instead of fear or hatred.
People don't forgive because they are afraid that it isn't fair to themselves to forgive others. People worry that the other person will not forgive them back or they will not be gracious about the grace extended to them. The truth is that grace is extended to us all. It is given to us, not because we deserve it, but because we are loved without reservation.
We are not called into this life to change others. We are called into this life to live without fear, to love without hesitation, and to forgive without conditions. When we live in the light, the darkness of fear cannot coexist. We are called to simply live a life that is an example of love. When we do that, others will follow. And, if they don't, love them and extend grace to them anyway.
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
One of the quotes from my book, My Judo Life, that I have always loved and used quite a bit with my coaching clients is...
"You have to be honest about who you are and where you are right now in order to know which mountain you need to climb. If you cannot be completely honest about your weaknesses, you cannot discover your strengths. And once you discover your weaknesses, don’t think poorly of yourself, just find a way to fix it, to turn it around."
There are a number of mountains that each of us has to climb in life. The peaks and valleys of our lives are a natural part of what we face. When we are in the valley, we are introspective, identifying why we are in that low, why we are seeing challenges in front of us. Sometimes our mountain is financial. Other times it is relational. While still others it is systemic. Whether it has to do with the systems and processes in our lives, or the outcomes, or the connections, it can be daunting. During our time of introspection, we have the opportunity to reveal what is actually going on in our lives. For example, I work with a number of salespeople, coaching them to higher levels of success. One of the most consistent mountains that they face is that of disciplining themselves to do what they must on a daily basis. They have found themselves in a valley because they stopped climbing towards their goals, or they made excuses about the economy, or they simply never focused on doing the right things at the right times. These are all behaviors that can be mastered, but they begin with belief.
The question that they each have to ask themselves is whether or not they believe that they can climb again. When they believe that they are supposed to live in the valley, they stop looking for the mountain top. They then look at their situation and think, I am stuck. I will never get out of this. It is in this moment that they realize that when they cannot change their situation, they must change themselves. In changing ourselves, in growing, we realize that the mountain doesn't need to shrink because we have begun to grow stronger.
As you change yourself, you see the challenge of climbing as both joyous and exciting. You look toward the mountain top and think, there is no way that I can see myself in the valley. When you, yes you, embrace the idea of changing your view of yourself into someone that is always moving forward, always growing, always climbing, then you embrace the exercise of the valley and push towards the top and then over into the next opportunity to learn from a valley.
You are never in a fixed position. Your situation may be fixed, based on the skills that you currently have, but a simple change in yourself, your beliefs, makes the situation adapt to the new you.
My challenge to you is to look at the valleys that you find yourself in and know that by changing your belief about you, you change the challenge. You conquer your mountains by taking inventory of your equipment, gathering the new tools that you need, and then pushing forward with your eyes on the next mountain top.
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
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Day two was different than day 1. This one focused on the person simply taking control of themselves. Interestingly, the people who are generally happy anyway did not report to feel any different. They had already conditioned themselves to smile. One participant was taught when she was young to smile for the first 30 minutes of the day and now, she finds smiling to be her natural state. Several people had rough days related to circumstances in their lives and found the smile to be forced, but still having a positive impact on their day. Two people felt that the power attained from thinking that others wanted good for them (day 1) was more exciting than simply saying that they were happy because they wanted to be happy.
The experiment yielded some interesting conversation as well. One gentleman responded back with a an observation that he was bobbling back and forth between what he thought the world (others) would define as happy and what he thought was the definition of happy. In that exchange, I asked him to define what it meant to be happy in one sentence. I think that he captured the essence of what many people miss and that is that being fully present, and living in the moment that you are in, allows you to let go of past stresses, forget about potential stresses in the future, and immerse yourself in doing what you love.
The experiment was not really about defining happiness, but it was a very interesting topic. The individuals that had rough circumstances forced a smile anyway. The people with great circumstances found the smiling to be easy and natural. The circumstances would have happened either way. The point was to choose to smile regardless of what was going on. Those who did reported that they were happier with the people around them and generally happier with themselves.
The idea for this came from a study at UC Berkley that was evaluating the effectiveness of controlling your physiology versus taking anti-depressants. In the study, they found that the individuals who smiled for one hour a day while looking at themselves in the mirror reshaped their image of what they were supposed to feel. Those who took anti-depressants had moderate improvements, and the control group who was taking a sugar pill actually improved more than the ones on actual medication but not as good as the ones who smiled at themselves. 99% of people who smiled at themselves in the mirror reported to be "no longer depressed" at all. That was more than double the positive response of those who took the medication.
When we smile, we begin to define ourselves as happy or positive or just in a good mood. When we hold our faces and our bodies in such a way that looks depressed or unhappy, then we either create or reinforce those negative or depressed emotions. I promise I am not going all "Tom Cruise" on you, but I am saying that smiling makes a positive difference for most people, particularly if you take the time to see yourself smile.
I look forward to reporting the findings again tomorrow! We have another experiment started already. If you want to participate, connect with me on Facebook and I will add you to the group. We added two more today.
To Your Success!
Author, Speaker, Trainer, Motivator... Smiler
I put together a group of 31 people, plus myself, to participate in a month long thought experiment. It was 32 plus me, but one person backed out after day 1 because he was too busy, LOL.
The premise behind the experiments is to see how people respond to their own thought impulses and how people around them respond differently when they intentionally direct their own thoughts. There is one new experiment per day, 5 days per week, that people will participate in. I will be writing a synopsis of results after each day is complete and the participants have shared their findings with me.
The theory is that everyone in the group will be happier, healthier, and more successful at the end of the month because they focused their thoughts in a specific positive direction, and others feel our thoughts. This premise has been presented by a number of other people, but very seldom have I seen an author discuss what people are saying. I look forward to sharing the findings with you, which will be later converted to an expanded book on the topic.
Day 1: The assignment given to the participants was to say the following once per hour... "I want the best for those around me and they want the best for me."
Going through the comments that were sent back to me, the majority of people did not say the mantra/saying every hour. Most started out with saying it for the first two or three hours and then "got too busy." Even with only saying it a few times, however, people consistently found that it reshaped the way that they looked at other people and the situations that they were dealing with. It had the greatest impact while they were actually participating and the impact diminished as they stopped focusing on the statement.
Responses such as, "It was a powerful statement, when I remembered to use it," and "It reshaped my approach to others when I was practicing saying it" and "I felt invincible and approached things with more confidence" were statements that were shared with me. On the other side of it, I also heard back things like, "I know that others don't want the best for me" and "there are just too many people that have wronged me" were also shared. The challenge that most people seem to have is in believing that others want the best for them. It is easier to see and believe that the "I" would want good for the world around us.
Going back to "The Attribution Theory" from psychology, the natural human tendency is to observe behaviors in others and then determine whether we believe them to be intentional and internally controlled our outside of their control. My observation is that we tend to assume that others have bad intentions (internal control) while we have good intentions (also internal control). This practice of stating over and over again that we want the best for the people around us and that they want the best for us is simply a way of beginning to reshape the conscious filter in the mind.
According to Dr. Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder, we will delete the things in life that are inconsistent with our beliefs, distort behaviors and events in order to align them with what we think they should mean, and generalize information into categories to keep them in line with our thoughts. Their research demonstrated that a person could reshape their world experience by reshaping their focus.
My assertion is that others will be much nicer to us if we believe that others are out to help us instead of out to hurt us. When we change out the lens of our perspective and focus on getting good from everyone around us, we approach them differently and they respond to our approach. Even when they are still jerks, or malicious, we won't experience it as deeply or as often because we consciously delete, distort, and generalize information that is presented to us. Day one was good in that it began to unlock in people's minds that they have a different, and better, day when they put very small amounts of effort into reshaping and consciously controlling their focus on an hourly basis.
I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow!
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Author, Speaker, Trainer
When I was starting out in business in 1999, I had read some great books on Poetry, religion, politics, science fiction, and history. I had not really read anything on the power of the mind, however. I had always known that I could "refocus" my attention to make my life seem a little better, but I had not really understood that it was my mindset that was creating the reality in which I was living. Admittedly, I have lapsed time and time again into believing that it my circumstances are the reality and my mind is the reflection instead of the truth. The truth, as James Allen so eloquently stated it in 1902 is that environment is my looking glass. It the power of our minds that moulds and makes the reality that exists for us.
Have you ever seen a group of people looking over at you and and then looking away and talking? Did you create a dialogue in your head of what they were saying? Have you ever gone to be around a group of people, or a single person, and played out all of the bad things that the person was going to say or do, even though they had not done any of them yet? We create this angst in our heads without even having the experience. Once we do that, it is difficult for us to pull ourselves back and choose a new path. I would even argue that 97% of people in the world are dirtying up their own looking glass because it is more comfortable for them, mentally, to have a horrible life.
I have know lots of people who believe that their god wants them to be unhappy and wants them to suffer because it somehow makes them more righteous. I have known people that said over and over again that they would be taken down to their last dollar and took pride in fulfilling that destiny. I have even know people who believe that the more people that hate them, the better they are doing. On the other side, I have known people who believe that God wants them to be happy and successful. I have known people that see that they were created for greatness and therefore live into that intent.
The simple reality was grasped by Allen before the turn of the last century. If we were created by God and given dominion over this earth, this reality, then we are to claim our power as a co-creator with God. We get to create heaven on earth, or we get to create hell on earth. Some must focus harder than others, but all have the option to focus on what they will. They do create, in their minds first, the reality that they will experience. Because of this, we are advised not to be unequally yoked to another. In any relationship, if one desires to create suffering on earth and the other desires to create joy, the two should not be connected for any reason. The demons of doubt are sneaky and will often infect the minds of men (and women) who would accept someone with the desire to suffer. This drags down the thoughts of the one desiring heaven on earth and corrupts their focus. In doing so, both will begin to share the looking glass of despair.
The best thing for any of us to do is to spend time every day creating joy in our minds and hearts and then searching for those things in our reality. The things that we earnestly desire will always appear.
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Author, Speaker, Trainer, Motivator
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William James, considered the father of American Psychology, once said, "That which I perceive is my reality." For each of us, it is our interpretation that matters more than the collective interpretation. In other words, when you are in a situation where you feel harassed, then in your mind... your reality, you are in that situation. Growing up with two brothers, it has been interesting to see the three different ways that we label things in our lives. Each of us has created our own unique set of labels/meaning for what money means, what family means, what work means, etc.
When you think about the labels that you have given to the events and conditions that you have experienced in life, you begin to see that the meaning that is "real" is the meaning that you have accepted. The tricky part comes when we have given a meaning to something that is destructive or negative. When we begin to look at life through a "cracked lens" instead of with clarity, we will begin to pick out the bad stuff and embrace that as our truth. The more this is done, the more intense the negative becomes in our world. People will often begin to embrace more intensely bad or negative meaning and lose sight of any of the good things that are happening around them.
Dr. Richard Bandler explained this by saying that our conscious minds will delete, distort, and generalize information to make it fit with our belief systems. Our belief systems are simply the collective set of labels that we have embraced about life. In order to begin deleting the bad or distorting the negative, one must first change the underlying label or meaning that they have given to something. In business, this often means that supervisors must stop believing things like, "All employees are lazy and stupid." In schools, teachers must look at every student and believe, "Every child has potential and deserves my best effort as a teacher." When supervisors or teachers look for the bad in a kid instead of the good, they will often manifest that result in the object of their label.
Our world has continued to change so rapidly that it can be difficult to keep up with meaning. When I was a kid, if a person was older, they were referred to as sir or ma'am. When I was a kid, the teacher or supervisor was right and I was wrong. Interestingly, I was reconditioned by those who wanted to protect young people from teachers being bullies to stand up for myself and not accept negative behaviors. It was in this lesson that I learned that I can choose what label I give to any group of people and even to myself.
Watch what labels we create in the minds of our kids because they are what define reality for them later in life. Watch what labels we accept in our dealings with staff, supervisors, leaders, etc, because they are what shape our responses in this world. It is the meaning that we give things, not the things themselves that stick with us. Because of that, make every effort to give your circumstances the right, and empowering, meaning. When others strive to bring you down, strive to make this world better. Stand up for yourself with respect and confidence! Choose good labels.
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Jody is a writer, motivational speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has been the keynote speaker at over 250 events around the world. Jody speaks more than 150 times per year at different programs, and he has given more than 10,000 speeches during his career.