5 Powerful Rituals of Mentally Strong People

5 Habits of People With Remarkable Mental Strength

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
―Maya Angelou

“My dad is a blind cancer survivor.  He lost both his eyes when he was in his early 30’s to a rare form of cancer.  Despite this, he raised my sister and I, and took care of my mom who was in and out of rehab for alcoholism and depression.  My mom is a fully recovered alcoholic now, my sister and I have graduated college, and my parents are still together and back to being happy.  I’m certain none of this would have been possible if my dad hadn’t been such a resilient, positive force in our lives.  My dad’s mental strength literally saved our family.”

Those are lines right out of an email I received this morning from Kristin, a coaching/course student of ours (I’m sharing this with permission).  Her portrayal of her dad is both inspiring and a wonderful reminder of the importance of inner resilience.  With enough mental strength, an ordinary human being can be an extraordinary hero.

And you don’t have to be born mentally strong either.  You can develop this vital trait with practice.  Here are five key things people with remarkable mental strength do daily:

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1.  They use passion and love to fuel their drive to get the hard things done.

Life is not easy, which is why you have to do hard things to be happy in life.  The things no one else is doing.  The things that frighten you.  The things others can’t do for you.  The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward.

Because those are the things that define you.  Those are the things that make the [Read more…]

9 Things You Should Do Every Day Before 9 A.M.

40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive

The morning is enormously important.  It’s the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have.

When I awake in the morning, my mind gradually gathers, and I begin to move as the early morning light is just starting to seep through the windows.  My family is still sleeping.  It’s a peaceful beginning.

I stretch, have a glass of water, start the tea kettle, and practice a gratitude meditation for ten minutes.  Then I enjoy a cup of tea as I read one chapter of a good book.  And finally, I write for an hour before the busyness of the day begins.

Once my family awakes, I pause to join them for a short time and we follow some simple morning rituals together too.

This is just a rough sketch of my mornings, and they make me happy.

It wasn’t always this way though.  I used to awake in a hurry, rushing and cranky before stumbling into work and errands and meetings.  It was awful, but it was my life.  I didn’t know any better, so I didn’t think I could change things.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

I’ve changed my mornings, so they work for me and not against me, with just a few simple rituals.  And I’ve shared these morning rituals with thousands of coaching clients/students over the years, and many of them come back to me a month or two later and say, “Thank you!”  Perhaps they will help you as well.

1.  Get an early start.

If your mornings are chaotic, the simple solution is to get up a little earlier than the chaos.  This, of course, starts the night before by going to bed a bit earlier too.

Adjust gradually, wake up just 10 minutes earlier each week for [Read more…]

7 Reasons it’s Time to Move On and Embrace Change

9 Addictions 90 Percent of Us Struggle With

Change isn’t part of the process; it is the process.  The bad news: nothing is permanent.  The good news: nothing is permanent.

Today, with the help of a friend, Brian Gardner (check out his inspiring site), we made the first design change to our site in nearly a decade.

Yes, a decade.

If you think about how drastically the internet and technology has matured in the past ten years, it’s impossible not to wonder why we didn’t update our site design sooner.

All details aside – and there are plenty of them – the answer is: Resistance to change.

Sure, in the past we’ve preached about prioritizing content over design.  And yeah, it wasn’t broken, so we didn’t absolutely need to fix it.  But these rationalities were just covering up the fact that we were stuck in our comfort zones.

In this subtle, yet obvious way, we weren’t practicing what we preach.  But thankfully we finally caught ourselves and came to our senses.

And as we rolled out the new design this morning, I couldn’t help but appreciate the synchronicity of this short email from a coaching/course student that popped up in my inbox at the same exact time (I’m sharing this with permission):

“I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks.  Today marks a full year that I’ve been eating right and working out regularly, which is, as you know, something I resisted for years.  This time last year I weighed 312 pounds.  When I saw my weight on the scale at the doctor’s office I knew it was time for a change.  And after some much-needed coaching from you and Angel, a year of exercising my willpower, and using no dieting pills or gastric bands or anything, I went back to the doctor’s office for my annual check-up.  ‘199 lbs,’ my doctor said.  ‘You know, your positive lifestyle change just added roughly 10 years to your life expectancy.’  My 9-year-old daughter, who came with me, grabbed my hand and said, ‘I look forward to spending those extra years with you, daddy.’”

Wow!  Talk about a beautiful reminder to embrace positive change in your life.

Yes, you may feel resistance, like Angel and I did with our site’s redesign.  It may not be easy.  But we all have to stretch our comfort zones and move our lives forward.

The truth is, living is a risk.  Happiness is a risk.  If you’re not a little scared sometimes, then you’re not doing it right.  Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try.  Worry about the life you’re not living and the opportunities you’re forgoing, as you merely exist in the safety of your comfort zone.  Give yourself permission to be one of the people who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them and grew into your strongest self.

That’s what I wish for Angel and me, and that’s what I wish for YOU.

So in a general sense, here are some good reasons it’s time for all of us to embrace change and move onward…

  1. Everything changes, whether you embrace change or not. – If nothing ever changed there would be no sunrise the next morning.  Most of us are comfortable where we are even though the whole universe is constantly changing around us.  Learning to accept this is vital to our happiness and general success.  Because only when we change, do we grow, and begin to see a world we never knew was possible.  And don’t forget, however good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace it, and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it. [Read more…]

9 Addictions 90% of Us Struggle With

9 Addictions 90 Percent of Us Struggle With

We are addicted to our thoughts.  We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

“I’m addicted!” she said.

“But didn’t you just tell me you’ve been clean for 15 years?” I asked.

“I have been,” she said.

“So what are you addicted to?” I asked.

“To doing what I shouldn’t be doing, even though I know better,” she said.  “I’m addicted to doing it the wrong way, because it’s easier and safer, and just the way I’ve always done it.  I’m addicted to letting my negativity and anger and fear get the best of me every day.  And honestly, that’s just scratching the surface of it.  But the scariest part of it all is that I know dozens of other people who are just like me in this regard.  We’re all addicts and we don’t even acknowledge it!”

Those are lines right out of a live chat session I had this morning with a coaching client and student of ours.  I’m sharing this with you (with permission) because nothing could be closer to the truth.

Almost every one of us is an addict, and what we are addicted to is…

1.  Wanting and expecting everything to be easy.

All great achievements require time and work.  Good things don’t come easy.  And patience is the only way you can endure the grey periods.

When we want things to be easy, and expect them to be, we are inevitably disappointed.  Our disappointment then motivates us to give up too soon.  And the thing with giving up too soon is you never know.  You never know whether you could have put in the effort and done something incredible with your life.  I made changes because I was sick of not knowing.  What about you?

Find the courage to [Read more…]

5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Everyone Thinks of You

5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Everyone Thinks of You

You could spend the whole year worrying about what other people think of you, but it wouldn’t get you anywhere.

“What’s wrong with wanting others to like you?”

That’s what several of our course members asked me in response to one of my recent course member emails.  And I’ve been asked similar questions over the years too.  So today, I want to discuss why it’s not healthy to spend lots of time worrying about what everyone thinks of you, and how to stop yourself from doing so.

In a nutshell, tying your self-worth to everyone else’s opinions gives you a flawed sense of reality.  But before we look at how to fix this, first we need to understand why we do this…

From wanting others to think we’re attractive, to checking the number of likes and comments on our Facebook and Instagram posts, most of us care about what others think.  In fact, a big part of this is an innate desire that we are born with.  It has been proven time and time again that babies’ emotions are often drawn directly from the behaviors of those around them.

As we grow up, we learn to separate our thoughts and emotions from everyone else’s, but many of us continue to seek – and in many cases beg for – positive social validation from others.  This can cause serious trouble when it comes to self-esteem and happiness.  In a recent survey we did with 3,000 of our course members and coaching clients, 67% of them admitted that their self-worth is strongly tied to what other people think of them.

As human beings, we naturally respond to everything we experience through the lens of our learned expectations – a set of deep-rooted beliefs about the way the world is and how things should be.  And one of the most prevailing expectations we have involves external validation and how others ‘should’ respond to us.

Over a century ago, social psychologist Charles Cooley identified the phenomenon of the “looking-glass self,” which is when we believe “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am – I am what I think that you think I am.”  This kind of external validation has insecurity at its core, and relying on it for even a short time chips away at our sense of self-worth and self-confidence.

The biggest problem is we tend to forget that people judge us based on a pool of influences in their own life that have absolutely nothing to do with us.  For example, a person might assume things about you based on a troubled past experience they had with someone else that looks kind of like you, or someone else who shares your same last name, etc.  Therefore, basing your self-worth on what others think puts you in a perpetual state of vulnerability – you are literally at the mercy of their unreliable, bias perspectives.  If they see you in the right light, and respond to you in a positive, affirming manner, then you feel good about yourself.  And if not, you feel like you did something wrong.

Bottom line:  When you’re doing everything for other people, and basing your happiness and self-worth on their opinions, you’ve lost your moral center.

The good news is we have the capacity to watch our thoughts and expectations, identify which ones serve us, and then change the ones that do not.

So, in order to stop worrying so much about what others think, it’s time to inject some fresh objectivity into your life, and develop a value system that doesn’t depend on others every step of the way.  Here are five things you can start doing today:

1.  Remind yourself that most people are NOT thinking about you anyway.

Ethel Barrett once said, “We would worry far less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.

Forget what everyone else [Read more…]