Design for Life

Trees Photo: Sakura Trees by Petr Kratochvil

 

It’s been another hot summer’s day. Walking along a tree-lined pathway, it occurred to me that in nature, things effortlessly follow their own blueprint. I’m sure that trees don’t doubt their ability to grow tall and strong. A stalk of grass probably doesn’t compare itself to a neighbour.

Do we have our own “Design”? I think if we’re guided by our intuition, we know when something feels right. But we don’t have to follow it, and often Life gets in the way to drown out our inner voice.

We have the ability to rewrite our plans, over and over – which can be a blessing or a curse. Having the freedom to create our own life, means that if the doubts creep in, we can end up settling for less than our best. 

It’s an obvious statement, but Life is all about Creation. I used to believe that we have to take whatever Life throws at us. I now see that we actively co-create our experience together with Life. We are deeply involved in the process, every second of every day. Whether we’re aware of it or not.

Surely, we have a responsibility to ourselves to find what lights us up, and pursue it, to the extent that we can. Even if it remains a hobby, rather than a career. But more than that, if we lift ourselves up, we pass the benefits on to those around us, and subconsciously give them permission to do the same.

So, you know what to do… Find your talent. And shine your light.

It’s the Thought That Counts

idea Photo: Idea by George Hodan

“Change your mind – your thoughts, your emotions and beliefs – and you will change your life”. David R. Hamilton PhD

Having recently read ‘It’s the Thought That Counts’, by David Hamilton, not only does Positive Thinking work, but also there is a huge amount of scientific data to back it up – it’s not just wishful thinking. The key message I took from this book is that our thoughts have the power to change ourselves, other people, and the world around us. Either positively or negatively.

Our mind and emotions can influence the health and well-being of our body and even the structure of our DNA. The author uses his background as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry to provide extensive medical evidence to back up his claims. But it is his own positive attitude and faith in human potential that really brings this book to life.

Many people are familiar with the Placebo Effect. Thinking that a course of treatment will make them better, is more likely to produce that outcome in a person, even with no active medication involved. But it goes further. The more a person believes in the whole process, the more positive the results tend to be. Receiving medication and reassurance from a convincing “man in a white coat” can lead to improved medical outcomes – if that fits with the patient’s view of professional medical care.

Studies have shown that even people affected by dementia can regain cognitive skills. By engaging with them in ways that stimulate brain activity, neural pathways can be created and strengthened – with tangible results. In simple terms, if people are treated as being “younger” than their age, they act “younger”. Having a positive outlook leads to positive changes.

The book also explores the idea that with our thoughts we can all connect with what renowned Psychologist Carl Jung termed the “Collective Unconscious” – a Universal source of knowledge.

David Hamilton isn’t suggesting that we ignore traditional medical treatments, but he believes that we should view the patient holistically, and promote positive thinking and lifestyle changes. The book is a fascinating read and gives a medical and scientific view on the power of Positive Thinking.

Make a Choice!

everyone-has-a-choice

Photo: Everyone has a Choice by George Hodan

We are our choices” Jean-Paul Sartre

Life seems very difficult, when so much of it appears to be beyond our control. Turn on the News and you see death, disaster and mayhem on a daily basis. Scary stuff. And there’s nothing we can do about it! Or is there?

There are three things that are always under our control, although we often forget it: our thoughts, feelings and actions. We always have a choice.

Of course we live in the real world, and sometimes compromises have to be made. And occasionally the best option is the “least worst” one. But you can always look for temporary solutions, while you move through a situation. You don’t have to get there in one leap.

Break your problem into smaller manageable chunks. First of all, clearly define your goal. What is your desired outcome? If you can’t see the whole path to the end result, develop a strategy to get you closer to where you want to be.

For instance, you may not like your job, but quitting it now may not be your best option:

  1. Firstly, make your current job more bearable. Look for the positives. Think what you’d miss if the job was to end tomorrow.
  2. Do your job better! You may not like your job, but you can like how you do it. There is satisfaction in doing the best you can.
  3. Can you get retrained? Evening classes may offer courses that may help you to find alternative employment.
  4. See your current job as a stepping-stone that allows you to develop the skills you need to achieve your desired goal.
  5. What are you passionate about? Almost any hobby can be turned into a business. The Internet has created a global market place. Someone, somewhere will appreciate your skills and knowledge. Start in a small, affordable way in your spare time.

This process can be used for any issue we experience. By staying solution-focused we allow ourselves access to our inner creativity. Instead of reacting to circumstances, far better to be proactive and make our own choices.

Virtual Reality?

digital-binario

Photo: Binary Digital by Marcos Tulio

The penny dropped for me, while watching the BBC documentary “Wonders of Life”. The programme explained how different animals perceive the world in completely different ways. The Catfish, for example can “smell” the chemicals in the water to help orientate itself. Each species has its own way of making sense of its surroundings, and experiences life in its own way.

It occurred to me that we do a similar thing. Our brain interprets the signals it receives, to give us our individual picture of the world. But is it “reality”? Can there actually be an objective reality, when all our experiences are self-filtered?

If we don’t experience a “standard” reality, then our experiences should be open to change. In the same way that we can literally change the images we see by wearing sunglasses, we can consciously change our outlook by changing our thoughts.

How we view what happens in our life is really only our perception anyway. So if you don’t like what’s happening to you, “go within” and change your outer world.

Inspired Action

sunset-on-the-beach  Photo: Sunset-on-the-Beach by George Hodan

There’s taking action and then there’s “inspired” action. What’s the difference? Only you can know – by trusting your intuition. And the best way to make a connection is to be in the right frame of mind for you to get creative. It’s that “zoned-out” feeling. Like when you’re daydreaming, or half-awake. Your brainwaves are in alpha state, and it seems to help in forming original ideas. New solutions to old problems.

What is the first step to take down your particular path of choice? What single action could you take to bring you one step closer to your goal?

Focus on your end result, then “switch off” and let the answer come to you. If you’re not clear about your goal, how can you know where to begin? Positive thinking doesn’t work without positive action. The key is to move your feet, and soon. But if success was purely about putting in a good shift, there would be a lot more winners out there.

On the other hand, sitting in a cave for a month isn’t my idea of fun, and it’s probably not yours either. Instead, five minutes peace and quiet might do the trick. A few deep breaths actually do help. Breathing from your diaphragm helps to oxygenate your brain, allowing you to think clearer.

Force a smile! Smiling or laughing, even when it’s fake, causes the brain to release ‘feel-good’ chemicals. Which makes you feel better. There’s truth in the saying “Fake it ’til you make it.”

Set your intention, then get ready to move!