Aura of Success

If you treat life with love and appreciation, it’ll treat you likewise. Whereas if you’re fearful and insincere in your appreciation, life will respond accordingly. Also, you keep assuming life is an all-powerful realm that’s controlling you by marionette-strings, and that you should be afraid of such domination. But, it’s YOU that’s powerful, it’s YOU that shapes life.

Not to throw anyone under the bus, so I won’t name names, but I’ve seen this guy, he’s a “musical artist” despite the fact that he can’t sing, can’t dance, he’s weird looking, thinks he’s funny but isn’t, and has no perceivable charm whatsoever. Yet, he’s rich and famous. People even claim to be fans of his “music”! Huh!? There’s something way more powerful than dumb-luck at work.

He asked for success and life answered, there’s no two-ways about it. He’s basically my inspiration. I’m anything but charismatic, I don’t have looks or talent and no one finds me amusing — therefore I’m the perfect candidate for success!! For no particular reason, and don’t ask me why, but I call this philosophy The Drake Principle of Success.

Being several decades old, I’ve seen this pattern repeated MANY times: someone with no discernible talent achieves a state of unbridled success. People will chalk it up to luck or simply call detractors “haters” that don’t understand. But the pattern is there, and it keeps happening. A person believes himself successful and eventually enough people go along with it.

I’m going to start believing in myself, seeing myself as a crazy-successful guy. This in turn will create an aura of success. “Hey that guy’s obviously successful! Let’s give him stuff!”, “Hey I want to hear what Rich thinks about this, he’s always full of good ideas!”, “Wow I never noticed before, but boy Rich, you sure are a smart guy with plenty of talent!”.

First of all, I want to thank my fans for supporting me all this time, you’re the ones helping me to make this dream possible. I hope that through my success you can achieve your own dreams. And last but not least, I want to give a shout-out to the creator-of-all-things, whoever/whatever that may be, for the opportunity to live such a wondrous existence — for that I am truly grateful.

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Book Notes – Mental Training

The following are my notes on the book The Art of Mental Training – A Guide to Performance Excellence by DC Gonzalez. My friend started reading it to me the other day and it seemed relevant to my current mindset. I just finished the book and took some notes on each chapter:

Never look where you don’t want to go.

A bad attitude can ruin your life.
Failing is merely an opportunity to improve.
Keep internal-dialogue positive.
Remain hopeful.
To take control, make the decision to do so.
Decide to maintain a positive attitude.

Recall past and present scenes of success.
Enjoy the feelings these mini-movies stir-up.
Imagine and feel future successes with vivid intensity.
Let triumph surge as scenes play within the mind.

Rushing results in mistakes.
Don’t rush, “smooth is fast”.
Catch negative chatter and replace it with positivity.
All performance, good and bad, originates in the mind.
For any event, first practice it in the mind.
Visualize scenes that stir feelings of victory.

Believe you can win.
Relax, then imagine yourself succeeding.

Confidence begins in the imagination: see and feel the victory.
Keep repeating scenes of success within the mind.
Picture challenges being overcome.
Shut out images and feelings of defeat.
Feed the mind only with achievement.
Relax, then through repeated rehearsals, see it and feel it.

Use relaxation to shut down the criticizing part of the mind.
From there, show your desires to the deeper, “doing” part of the mind.
Create movies that illustrate what you want to accomplish,
captivating movies that evoke emotion as you watch them play.

To have a trained mind, practice training the mind.

Anger degrades performance.
A well-trained mind reins in anger.
Who is in control? Is it anger? I am.
I am calm, cool, and collected.
The energy of the anger can be redirected and repurposed.
Never betray the trust others have in you by demonstrating your anger.

Either you control anger or anger controls you.
You decide.

We can’t control every situation,
but we can always control our response.
Disappointment is okay, just don’t dwell on it.
Think instead of your comeback and eventual triumph.

Goals aren’t instantaneously accomplished, failure happens.
Do not fear this failure, doing so will hinder your progress.
Do not seek to perform flawlessly, mistakes are part of the path.
Do not criticize yourself, simply use failure as feedback to learn from.

Fear is a reaction of the mind, and the mind can be managed.
Focus on the breath to keep the mind from wandering.
Then use reason to talk yourself out of being afraid.
Always interrupt negative thoughts, replacing them with positivity.
In any situation the only energy you feel is excitement,
don’t interpret it as fear.

When the pressure’s on, don’t be afraid of looking bad.
Focus on something else — something outside rather than inside.
Breathe.

Pressure originates in the mind, and the mind can be managed.
Pressure pushes you to rush; rushing results in poor performance.
To perform well, remain calm.
Breathe.
Exhale not only air, but tension and anxiety.
Relax your muscles.
I’m calm, cool, and collected.
Zoom out, widen your perspective.
Feel as though you have nothing to lose.
Enjoy the performance, forget about outcomes.

Criticizing yourself leads to poor performance.
Silence the critic.
When adversity strikes, speak only in positive terms to yourself.
Encourage yourself to succeed.

Too high of an intensity leads to poor performance and burn-out,
seek an appropriate level of intensity.

Follow your dream, letting it drive you on a path.
Without a dream you’re going nowhere.
Clearly define what you want.
Vividly imagine the life you want to live.

Your goals are good if they inspire you to action.
They should spur improvement through a desire to achieve.
Goals should be beyond reach, requiring effort to attain.
Set long-term as well as daily goals.
Goals must come from within, discover what you really want.
A goal is only what you want — not what you don’t want.
Believe you can achieve your goals.

Commit to a goal and put effort into it.
Don’t coast, keep improving.

Use weaknesses as challenges to overcome.
Work to turn weaknesses into strengths.

Your mental state is a result of your thoughts.
You can change your thoughts and consequently your mental state.
What does the internal-dialogue of a winner sound like? Do that.
You’re engaged in a game of pretend, in this round be a winner.
How does a winner move his body? Do that.
You’re a winner, carry yourself as such.
How does a winner breathe? Do that.
You’re a winner, breathe smoothly and fully, relaxed.
By performing this process you become the winner.

When engaged, the goal is to become absorbed in the activity without chatter interrupting.
There’s no pressure, no anxiety when the mind is still.
Catch your mind when it wanders, then focus on breathing.

Visualize and rehearse in the mind.
Remove doubt.
When engaged in activity, leave the conscious mind out of it.
To be a winner, act like one.

Unlock self-imposed restraints.
If life changes your path, don’t distrust and over-analyze, accept it.
Create new goals and keep going.
Walk on and discover what awaits.
Trust life and believe in yourself (you can do it!).

Goal Selection

It often comes up in the world-of-success, that we must choose a goal. After thinking about it a bit, I’ve selected one. My long-term goal is to enjoy life. My daily goals therefore are to enjoy each and every day. For much of my existence, I didn’t enjoy life and I dreaded every day. “Oh-no! What’s next!” I’d lament. I was so afraid of life that I hid myself away the best I could.

“But Rich, isn’t that goal a bit self-centered or even hedonistic?” I come from the Anxiety-ridden Pessimist’s Club. To us, life sucks and then you die. As you can guess, that’s a horrible outlook and leads to a miserable experience here on Earth. Now just imagine if members of the APC see one of their own rise up to achieve a state of satisfaction with life….

Well yes, of course they won’t accept it at first. They’ll accuse me of being born an optimist, of being a fact-denying coward that keeps his head in the sand while refusing to acknowledge the gritty reality of life that they so bravely face head-on. But, perhaps after some time, my example might convince them to come to the lighter side of life where they can begin enjoying themselves too.

I like this goal. And coming from my original “realist” perspective, it really is a challenge. And yes, obviously I’ve been working on this task for the last few years, but now I’m simply stating it formally. I, Rich, being of sound mind and body, do officially declare that I have as my selected goal the state and condition of enjoying life.

Focus Part 2

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

In the not so distant future:

So the windfall came in. I’m a lottery winner. You’ll laugh of course, thinking I’m joking. And I will be, but not in the way you think. When you finally do believe me, you’ll laugh again, this time about how unbelievably lazy I am: first in my unwillingness to put forth any external effort, and then in my lack of creativity in devising a means to make money. But I’ll remind you that I did play the game, I entered into an ancient covenant by moving into a trailer-park several years ago thus aligning my fate with a lottery win. You’ll laugh again at my silly antics, at the stubbornly offbeat way I choose to go about my journey through life.

You’ll wonder where I’m going next, then like after a Super Bowl win, I’ll declare: “I’m going to Disney World!!”. And I will. I’ll stay at several of the deluxe resorts, a few nights each, as well as the new Four Seasons from where I’ll make an appointment to browse some properties over at Golden Oak. Just think, they developed an actual residential neighborhood literally right down the street from Fort Wilderness, my childhood dream home. It would be downright disrespectful of me not to look. You’ll laugh again about what a goofball I am for wanting to live with Mickey and the gang. But the puzzle piece fits — why else does such a place exist?

Who knows though, I like having options, I’ll live where ever it feels right. But Disney World has always felt like home. Just walking into the lobby at the Grand Floridian feels right, especially at night when the band’s playing. A bunch of years ago, we had a vow-renewal at the Wedding Pavilion right next door. Although I’ve visited the Grand Flo many times, I’ve never actually stayed overnight — so perhaps that’ll be the first stop. And I think my wife always wanted to try the large guest-only pool at the Beach Club, so that’ll be another stop. I always enjoy walking around the Boardwalk area and going through the International Gateway into the France pavilion, now it’ll be right next door.

And when I tire of pastries from the Boulangerie-Patisserie, maybe then we’ll go stay at the Four Seasons and tour the houses I mentioned. I reckon I’ll be able to stop over for a day-visit to Fort Wilderness next-door too. You have to keep in mind that some people’s lives are dedicated to creating these magical places — and what good would that devotion be if there was no one to appreciate it? Imagine you develop an awesome thing but nobody gets it. With Disney, I get it. I want to be there. I appreciate the spectacle, the show that’s put on by cast members each and every day.

There’s all sorts of roles in this grand play we call life, somebody’s gotta be the wealthy patron. I know that’s my role, I feel it. When my undemanding ever-appreciative over-tipping family shows up, it’s gonna make people’s day. “Gosh, what a nice family that was!”, “Hey Rich! Wow, nice to see you back! What can I get for you today?”, “Of course I’ll get you a refill, it’s my pleasure!”, “Don’t worry Rich, your reservation is all set!” I’m no longer going to be embarrassed about my silly dreams. This whole world is an amusement park, and I should be doing what amuses me — that’s how you live life right!

P.S. Of course I haven’t forgoten about you, Celebration. I’ll go and visit, heck I’ll probably check out some homes there too.

Focus Focus Focus

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

When I was a boy, most times I was either in the classroom or in my bedroom. But when we went camping, boy it was a whole other story. As soon as we parked, I was out the door and barely returned until our trip was over. I was free, ridin’ my bike, meetin’ other kids, money in my pocket, goin’ to the arcade, grabbin’ a bite to eat, explorin’ everywhere I could. Life was a vacation, the days were the perfect weather with perfect temperatures. What were authority figures? Responsibilities? Twernt nothin’ but distant memories soon outweighed by fun and freedom.

Now mind you, I do enjoy the good life — make no mistake. Although some nights I slept in a tent, it was sittin’ but feet from a large motor-home with all the comforts of home. One of my favorite places to visit was a Yogi-Bear themed campground. You could see me tearin’ down those dirt roads on my bike on the way to play mini-golf and grab a slushy at the snack-bar. And once in awhile you’d catch me swimmin’, canoein’, or even fishin’ in the river that flowed lazily alongside the campground.

But my most favoritest place? Well shoot, you know it has to be Fort Wilderness in Disney World. If I coulda lived there I woulda. Just a kid ridin’ my bike down to grab some french toast for breakfast at Trail’s End! Mmm just thinkin’ ’bout it makes me remember how much I loved it. Just hand ’em my card and it was all paid. There weren’t no stoppin’ me there, I was out and about livin’ however I pleased. Heck, one time me an’ my friend grabbed a bunch of newspapers from the dispenser and delivered them to campsites just to be paperboys for the day.

My favorite excursion while there was always boardin’ the Magic Kingdom boat from Fort Wilderness. Twas a magical journey from the frontier to a realm of pure imagination. My second favorite excursion was the Monorail to Epcot, it was like travelin’ into the future, a world of tomorrow. Boy, did I love Spaceship Earth. And nighttime twernt nothin to come in from, why that’s when the light-shows and fireworks would be in full-effect. Transportation ran the same either way. And the rides in the parks, why those would be walk-on at that point.

I suppose what I loved was the limitlessness to engage. Pickin’ and choosin’ from the buffet that was laid before me. There were no thoughts of complaints or “I can’ts”. It was paradise made manifest before my eyes.

P.S. You’ll have to forgive my drawl y’all, but I’m originally from southern Massachusetts — so sometimes my heritage peeks through. Been readin’ a bit of Tom Sawyer recently too, probably had an influence….

Middle-Class Dream

I was talking to my friend the other day about life and what she wanted from it. I was trying to ascertain her true aspirations through the veil of nebulous data she provided. Even though she’s been around for a few decades, she feels as though she’s still wandering around aimlessly. In our discussion, what she described was essentially a middle-class lifestyle, but she just didn’t know how to get there.

Currently she’s living a low-income lifestyle in a trailer-park. It’s a very nice trailer-park, but such places are still the butt of many jokes. And she doesn’t have money for restaurants or vacations or anything beyond the essentials. I suppose you could sum up where she wants to live as a classic Trick-or-Treat-able neighborhood. She doesn’t want anything too fancy, just Toyota not Bugatti. And for a hobby she’d work part-time jobs just for the fun of it (my mother did this for instance).

As for me, the two things I care about are my friend and being a decent father. I wouldn’t mind going back to a middle-class lifestyle. I suppose my earlier negativity kept me from ever appreciating it. But the quandary I’m presented with, is how do we get there? In my previous mindset, I’d say it’s simply impossible. But that’s the old me — I’m no longer limited by my negative thinking. If that’s what she wants, then that’s what she should have!

From all I’ve heard about “success”, using the resources available to me right now won’t work. I have to go beyond the basics and use extra-terrestrial powers (not aliens, just powers beyond that of mortal man). Yes, that still sounds strange to me, but that’s the prescription — who am I to judge? You gotta believe in something, and my belief in “lack” got me exactly what I wished for: living a low-income lifestyle. Now it’s time to believe in something better.

And by the way, you would not believe the amount of belief, visualization, affirmation, abundance, manifesting, success stuff I’ve been inundated with over the past few years, especially lately. I almost feel like a self-help expert. And mind you, I wasn’t specifically seeking this stuff out, it kinda found me. Perhaps it’s time to put all this info into action. I have to believe magic is real, that the world is pliable and I can shape it — and I do believe — now let’s find out how good of a wizard I am.

A Life

For the A-students and/or the competitive-minded folks that want to be the best at life, how do you go about doing so?

Being the best at this game means maintaining focus on the stuff you prefer while dismissing the stuff you don’t prefer. In other words, if you walk into a buffet and grab whatever’s convenient, filling your plate as fast as you can — you’re probably going to have a mediocre time at best. Whereas if you ignore the stuff you don’t prefer and instead pick the most pleasing items, the ones that suit your preferences — you’ll likely have a much better time.

The trick of course, is figuring out what your preferences are. If you’re brand-new to the buffet, how will you know what you’ll like until you try it? You can’t know! That’s why a varied feast is laid out before you, and that’s why you’re presented with things that you might find unappealing. Now if you’re playing the game poorly, you’re going to get caught-up on this gross stuff and assume the entire buffet is crap and not worth your time.

Whereas the best players are going to simply note what they don’t like and keep trying other things until they find whatever suits their palate. The worst players are such because they’re easily offended when presented with something they don’t like and forever-after maintain a pessimistic attitude. The best players simply assume that life is fundamentally fun and full of items for everyone — and if they come across a disgusting item, they let it go and move on — NEXT!

Like any game, you do want obstacles and challenges, that’s what makes things so interesting. But the best life is one in which obstacles are formed from the things you want to overcome, not peripheral stuff you don’t care about. If you’re a poor player, constantly focused on what doesn’t interest you, you’re going to be up against the worst stuff you can imagine. Whereas the best players, having focused only on what interests them, are presented with appropriate tasks and objectives.

But keep in mind that winning at life has nothing to do with actually completing a bunch of goals — the goals are meaningless in a sense — they even vary from person to person. The goals simply give you something to do. Therefore, the way in which you display a mastery of life, is by the sharpness of your focus. The best players aren’t distracted by all the stuff they don’t like, they’re busy concentrating only on what they prefer — living the life that aligns with their nature.