Rising Above Negativity

Original post November 17, 2015

Most of us assume there is nothing we can do about negative emotions — they come as they will, and we must just suffer through them. However, we all know someone we’ve seen rise above these feelings. With the world facing so many unprecedented challenges, it is vital that we increase our ability to rise to the occasion and surmount negative feelings.

Rise Above Negative Feelings

It’s difficult if not impossible to overcome negative feelings while remaining in our everyday “waking” state of consciousness. We can say, “I am going to put those emotions aside and get down to the business at hand”, but many of us don’t seem to have the willpower to do it. The trick is to rise out of the “waking” state of consciousness and move into the Observer state, where we are able to more easily turn off unproductive feelings.

The first step is to turn down all distractions. Create an alone space where you can’t be interrupted, where you can’t hear voices in the next room, where there isn’t a TV or some other device playing, where you’re not under time pressure. Have writing tools handy, or a sound recorder. Begin to try to understand why you are in a negative state. Be patient and wait. Once your mind knows you are focused on just one thing, which is to diagnose why you feel the way you do, it will soon start to give up answers to the question. They may be obvious or not-so-obvious. You may find yourself writing down the not-so-obvious aspects or simple phrases that are now suddenly more revealing and meaningful than you expected, which cast new light or simply state things you already knew but in much sharper and more useful language than you had access to before.

What you are doing is called contemplation.  You are flying higher, getting above the weather, so whatever weather disturbance or turbulence you experience must be rejected. Put aside whatever feeling or thought is familiar, like you have been there before. Reject ordinary thinking and feeling. Say to yourself, “That’s not constructive, it’s not getting me anywhere, and it doesn’t lead to a solution. I need something NEW.”

Strip it away as it arises and see what is underneath.

Where is it coming from?

Where did the whole pattern start?

What did I want that led me to this negative mindset?

What is really happening?

What is IT trying to teach me?

How can this situation possibly be something that can make me better and stronger?

Get creative. Generate out-of-the-box ideas. Visualize what someone you look up to would do. Come up with ideas that will not engender resistance, where you go with the flow and not against it. In Taoism it is called getting into the rhythm of the Tao, linking into the underlying force of the universe.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village.

Originally posted 2015-11-17 10:06:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Power of Respect

Originally posted November 3, 2015

If you are a leader within your organization (and anyone can be a leader, at whatever level you’re at) the single best thing you can do to mentor, nurture and develop your team members, bringing out the best in each one of them, is to create a mood of mental optimization.

Mental optimization is a mode of consciousness that shapes our choices, our information processing priorities, indeed everything that we do.

Leaders lead by example.

In any situation, we can choose to quickly set aside anger or negativity and begin to define the problem, search for opportunities hidden or obvious, and refine solution-oriented, win-win action plans based on feedback along the way. This strategy turns challenges into wins by not wasting time with negativity or letting it interfere with our ability to find win-win solutions. Obviously, whatever the setting, we can’t come up with perfect win-win ideas if we want someone to lose because we are angry at them.

CHOOSE to let go of anger and negativity

Negativity is useless and obstructive.

If we model a positive attitude, everyone will more likely be in a mood of enjoying the game of making things better, each second, the way a hero/heroine does, without internal pettiness.

We all need to feel respected.

The thing that often causes people to quit their jobs ultimately comes down to respect. Either we didn’t feel enough of it, or our position somehow compromised our internal self-respect, or often both. People can be encouraged to stay with an organization if true respect is cultivated in the right ways, not out of misdirected fanning the flames of ego.

What is the right way to show respect?

  • No interrupting.
  • Provide just the right degree of autonomy i.e. don’t micro manage.
  • Don’t use lateral second-guessing as a method of quality control, which is a subtler form of micro managing.
  • Offer suggestions aimed at optimization goals held in common by those in the conversation, without putting down anyone else’s ideas.

Again, leading by example is vital. In meetings, make sure everyone is allowed to finish their thoughts — subtly, especially if it’s someone else’s meeting. Rare exceptions would be, for example, when someone is talking too much and slowing things down — be careful to use respect and ensure respect from the team to the person who is being longwinded, while keeping things moving. One elegant way to do this is to offer an offline meeting with that person at a later time, at which time you would show respect in offering constructive feedback. Your team member will appreciate the feedback if it’s done in the right way — the optimization focus with respect — not a put-down.

The optimization mood gives you permission — in fact mandates you — to tell team members the hard truth of what they need to improve on, but with respect so they can actually get it.

When all team members display a positive attitude and show respect across the board, all organizations will run enormously better. The list of benefits is endless.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-03 10:41:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Smell the Sweetness — Revisited

Originally posted October 27, 2015

Have the daring to do the risky thing - Bill Harvey

Annie was moving fast. She always moved fast. She did everything fast. She even laughed fast, and then quickly moved on to the next thing.

She whisked through the garden doing the necessary watering without noticing the sweet fragrance of new-mown grass and wildflowers. The softly scented breeze on her bare arms itself felt delicious and somehow combined into one thing with the scent. Faintly and unheard, a small inner voice related the moment to the song about a kiss you could build a dream on. The perfumed wind and quiet meditation could have been a winged heart dream, but all this was literally beneath her attention as Annie had things to do and if asked she would have said all her concentration was on getting the job done. There was some truth in that. She was intent on getting the tasks behind her, but not because there was good stuff ahead that she was eager to get to. And there was nothing like a state of concentration going on in her head.

Like so many of us, Annie’s mind was all over the place. It was not focused. Her movements were not based on a carefully-thought-out plan with clear priorities. She was just keeping up with the to-do list — in line with the pervasive tone of life in the Accelerolithic Era (aka Acceleritis). Most of us spend our time in this distracted state, which precludes Flow. There’s too much noisy messy input, with seemingly not enough time to process it.

Annie could be an artist. She is good with her hands and can envision a piece and create it. Doing that got her into the Flow state, where she did her best work — her gift to the world.

Making money at her art seemed like an idle fantasy judging from the toughness of the world, her surroundings and friends and the lives they all led. There was great beauty in her surroundings but the mood created by the difficulty of making enough money to live pleasurably without constant fear of money problems made that beauty literally invisible.

If Annie were hypnotized and asked patiently about why she is always moving so fast, eventually she would come to realize something she does not know: it is because she is always unconsciously striving to make money. Without knowing it, she feels that she will make more money by doing everything as fast as she can. She does odd jobs for friends and acquaintances, like working in a dress shop, washing cars, walking dogs, and landscaping, so there is some logic in that unconscious thought. However, in reality the fast motion causes a slowdown due to the need to fix things not done properly. Of course this also eventually causes her to not get as much work from her employers as she would if everything were always done rather than half-done.

One layer deeper she might realize that the quest to make money isn’t really because she wants to buy specific things so much as to please her partner and also to have other people be proud of her or realize that she is more capable than the way they have treated her.

Annie went on a hike one day and as the sun passed its zenith and the breeze began to be cold, she nevertheless remained bare-armed and slipped into that waking dream where she was uplifted out of Acceleritis-mode and into the Flow state and into what You Are The Universe calls “Soul-Level Two” — the bliss state, ananda. She was not moving fast. She was not under the dominance of any have-to-do compulsions. Her mind and body and every aspect of her were all lined up in the moment. There was no rush. She could see everything around her, hear it, smell it, enjoying the moment itself with nothing causing her to lose freedom or break the fast on motion.

This is the place all of us can live at every moment. And because we then give our finest performances at any beloved Game, we get paid more money for it. We cannot get there if we give up the inner drive to do a specific thing we love to do because it seems unrealistic, and instead settle into a mortgaged life of second-choice work that is steady and dependable. Like the hero or heroine in a movie, in real life we must pursue our highest calling: have the daring to do that seemingly extraordinarily risky thing.

Then we will smell the sweetness of Life. And because the Universe is us, if we actually do what we are uniquely designed to do so that we provide true value to others, the dreams will come true in the end as if by magic.

            Do what you like to do. You’re going to be doing it for a long time.                                                   — George Burns, while puffing cigar

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, “Program Environment Can Add +35% to +37% ROI Lift.”

Originally posted 2015-10-27 12:09:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Imagine Living Your Dream from This Day Forward

Originally posted October 13, 2015

Each of us is more interesting and exciting than any character in a movie because reality is actually happening. Movies are fiction, life is real. As exciting as fiction can be, real life is even more exciting.

Many of us have stepped behind the lens, watching instead of directing our lives. We may feel we have lost sight of the joy and excitement in life because of the challenges and complexities we face each day.

Imagine the rest of your life as a movie...

The first step to reconnect with the excitement of life is to connect with what we really want to do the most.

What is your ultimate dream or mission?

My life dream is to see really positive change take place in the world and to be part of making it happen. What’s yours?

”Follow your dreams” refers to your waking dream, your dream of what could be. And though our night dreams taken as a collection may seem full of disconnected seeming irrelevancies, we may find they sometimes contain clues about our mission.

      Where are you now and how do you reconnect to your mission?

Are you focused on living your mission in your daily life and if not, what would be the way back onto that radio beam?

On paper or whatever device you prefer, make two columns. In the right-hand column, articulate and write down the big dream — what you always wanted to be when you grew up or what you realized you wanted to be along the way.

In the left-hand column, define where you are in the plot trajectory. What part of the challenge slope still lies ahead? What needs to happen in order to get from where you are now to THE dream? And how will the challenge slope itself change as you focus in the direction of THE dream?

If you need more clues as you articulate your dream and plot your trajectory, try this: see yourself as a character in a movie, playing the game of life, the LIFE MOVIE. Recognizing that challenge is the mainspring of plot, look back at the main moments of supreme challenge in your life. See the ones where you caved. See the ones where you rose to the challenge, when you were at your best. In movies, we identify with and immerse ourselves in the characters that are portrayed doing some noble act early in the movie. Recall your noble acts.

               You are not only the director of your Life, you are 
               also the scriptwriter as well as the protagonist.

You will enjoy the movie the most if you believe you are up for the challenge and then just do it, setting your sights on your mission without getting too attached to the outcome. In other words, be happy in the trajectory, even if it doesn’t take you to the exact pinnacle you aimed for. Let it come out however it comes out. Stay focused on the dream. Do it for the fun of it.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, Program Environment Can Add +35% to +37% ROI Lift.

Originally posted 2015-10-13 12:38:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Freedom from Fear

Originally posted October 6, 2015.

Today many of us live in fear of losing our job, and maybe we’re also fearful about our health and the health of our family and friends. And with a daily news diet of horrific acts of violence seemingly happening everywhere, many of us may be fearful about our safety and the safety of our loved ones.

Some of us are afraid because we’re constantly trying to prove ourselves to our mother, father, spouse, critic or rival sibling, or to one of the people who has been unknowingly cast into taking over one of those roles. These “critics” become internalized as hidden senators in our mind, playing the taped and aped voices of others.

Cultivate Freedom from Fear

Our fears are often hidden, even to ourselves. Cultivating a state of being the Observer can help to remove the hidden blockages within, empowering us to be more present in the moment. The Observer state can be used to detect flashes of fear that come and go so fast that we aren’t usually aware of them in our normal waking consciousness state. In Observer state, one is actually observing the mental function of repression taking place, which can feel quite amazing.

Here’s one method to help you get into Observer state. Give yourself some alone space. Whether it’s outside in nature or in a room with the door closed, the idea is to remove yourself from all distraction. (Eventually you’ll be able to create this “alone space” mentally, even in a crowded airplane.) Concentrate on your breath, just letting it flow in and out, and keep your eyes on whatever is in front of you. For the moment, you are concentrating on what you see and experience subtly.

What you may see is that in one moment you were in a pretty normal state of mind and in the next moment your mind is naturally quiet and your senses are highly attuned. You are not easily distracted, you feel centered and aware, balanced and unafraid. Your attention is on everything around you and there is no obsessive stream of internal dialog. You are making no effort toward this whatsoever, you are not striving. It is doing itself naturally. When ideas pop into your mind while you’re in this state, you may notice that they are unusually insightful and self-evidently important to your life. With practice, you’ll experience this more often.

Use the Observer state to root out things you are hiding even from yourself, and make a deal with yourself to expunge all negative emotion — including fear. Through this doorway lies the Flow state of consciousness, the ecstasy of simply being, with freedom in place of fear.

In Flow state, inspirations keep popping even in the middle of a sentence and you incorporate them easefully because you are not afraid you might say or do the wrong thing. Not because doing or saying the wrong thing is impossible in Flow but because it is irrelevant. If you are communicating in a state of Flow, the object is not being right but instead collectively reaching truth and right action — as Socrates pioneered.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, Identifying the Ethical Limits of Persuasion in Advertising.

Originally posted 2015-10-06 12:03:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Infusing Life with Meaning

Originally posted September 29, 2015

In the absence of knowing, I’ve found a way to arrive at decisions that works extremely well for me. I call it Game Theory.

With Game Theory, when I don’t know what the outcome will be, I list possible outcomes and then see which ones I like, and what end result I want to create. Then see if I can make decisions that will get me moving in one of those preferred directions.

How much meaning do I want to see in life, in my every day, second-to-second life? If I want there to be rich meaning abounding, then I can choose to use a lens that gives me that view — a lens that makes things more explainable and understandable.

For example, in terms of the nature of reality, there are really only two clusters of lenses to choose from. One says there is something like a God, and the other says there is nothing like a God.

Through the lenses that say there is something like a God, there may appear to be an abundance of meaning in our lives. In the other cluster of lenses, there may appear to be a dearth of meaning — much happens that makes no sense, nor do we expect it to make sense.

I was in this lens for many years. It came from being so impressed by science as a kid. I can testify that there are good things about this lens. For one thing, it makes us feel terrifically autonomous, as independent thinkers, since most of the world is viewing things from the other stance. It sometimes strips away so many considerations that we quickly look at situations and see the barest of elements, the quintessence. There is a certain minimalist “cleanliness” if not clarity to this view.

Emotionally, the lens of being alone in an unbenevolent universe can be toughening, allowing us to more easily become fatalistic and to shed many of our attachments. We don’t make assumptions but are very common sense and down to earth: very empirical. We don’t lean on illusions or faith or anyone else to define reality. All of which can be good.

Another viewpoint, which I have dubbed the “Something like God exists” lens, affords meaning to everything.

Imagine Everything is a gift from the universe.

If you yearn to have more meaning in your life, I suggest using this lens without believing it to be the truth or disbelieving it. This way, you will always see the meanings you ascribe as tentative, without becoming locked into them or attached to your view. You may also see a wealth of value in using this lens, imbuing more meaning in your life.

Pope Francis’ visit to the US offers a great example of the utility of wearing the “Something like God exists” lens. Regardless of the religious beliefs you hold (or not), it’s difficult at best to not acknowledge the palpable message of love, hope and caring for one another that emanated so powerfully from the Pope’s presence even more than from his words, which were also so beautifully spoken.

None of us, not even Pope Francis, really knows the meaning of life. It is all a wonderfully thrilling awesome unknown, which makes life interesting, mysterious-mystical, immense, awe-inspiring. Wouldn’t we be missing something if we did know everything?

Since God or a universal intelligence of some kind* cannot be ruled out, wearing the “Something like God exists” lens allows you to start seeing possible reasons why certain things have happened — as if the universe is trying to help you by putting certain training obstacles in your path. I call this noia — being the opposite of paranoia.

By seeing things as possible gifts from the universe even if they are not, and even if they don’t feel like gifts at the time, we gain some leverage from being able to see how to use the event constructively.

Best to all,

Bill

* For a deeper dive into universal intelligence, see my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post,

Originally posted 2015-09-29 09:45:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter