Learn To Ask Better Questions

Get Results: ask better questions
Get Results: ask better questions

Asking better questions is a skill like any other, in that you get better with purposeful practice.

A while ago I read Warren Bergers, A more beautiful question – The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas, and it got me thinking about the power of questions.

It’s an interesting read and builds on the idea of using the WHY, WHAT IF, HOW questioning system, which I love, because  it encourages expansive thinking.

I’ve used questions a lot in my life, in fact my wife is forever warning me to stop asking so many damn questions, particularly when we meet new people. I must admit, I do ask lots of questions, but not for any other reason than because I’m deeply interested in people and what makes them tick.

Get Results: ask better questions
Get Results: ask better questions

Maybe that’s why questions aren’t asked so much by many adults, we get used to adults telling us, as kids, to shut up and stop asking them.

There is no doubt in my mind that question are a gateway to finding things out. I ask my wife about things from her past, about where she lives and what she did, and what other people in her life did etc. It surprises me how little she actually knows about a lot of people she has shared her life with.

Now don’t get me wrong, people have a right to privacy, they don’t owe anyone else an explanation. I don’t mind people telling me to keep my nose out of their business, but I do believe that questions provide us with an opportunity to get to know others on a much deeper level.

Get Results: ask better questions
Get Results: ask better questions

People often seem content with superficial conversation about what they watched on TV the night before and what such-a-person is doing or saying. Gossip  can be quite interesting sometimes, although I try to keep away from it where possible, mainly because I don’t want to be viewed by others as a gossip.

However that level of conversation doesn’t really connect people to others, it doesn’t tell you much about who they are, apart from that they too like a bit of gossip or in some cases, thrive on spreading it, which gives a deeper insight into their personality, I guess.

Get Results: ask better questions
Get Results: ask better questions

Questions are also great for learning about ourselves, increasing self awareness. We may ask ourselves, why we do what we do and don’t do what we don’t do. What’s driving our behaviour? The answer’s, if given with honesty, can be very revealing. Sometimes people don’t ask these kind of questions, because they don’t want to know or admit to themselves, the answers.

It is surprising how much of what we do and don’t do is conditioned into us by social persuasion, often referred to as social conditioning. Conditioning is drilled into us throughout the duration of our lives, but particularly as young children, when we are particularly susceptible.

Get Results: ask better questions
Get Results: ask better questions

Questions are also a great way to spark ideas and innovation. Moving us away from the thought processes and work practices we have historically been accustomed to and instead opening up the opportunity to do them differently, and to find a better way. Why do we do it this way? What if we could do it that way instead? and then figuring out the HOW from that perspective.

Personally I like to use the following questions to remind me about not falling into the trap of doing anything that would be wasteful, unimportant or unfulfilling, when I would be better doing something else instead. I find it’s a great productivity tool. The questions should be asked in order.

  1. Why am I doing this, at all?  What is my goal?
    for example is it to make money, because it’s interesting to me, is it to gain or avoid something (such as not getting left behind or being able to add value to others). You should seriously consider this question and try to unlock your big WHY. This will help with the remaining questions. Use the 5 why’s method of questioning to dig deeper, so each answer you come up with, is followed by another  why, do this, you guessed it 5 times. Doing this delves down to the emotional background driving forces of your thoughts and actions, and gives you an opportunity to question these.
  2. What is the opportunity cost of doing it? What else could I be
    doing instead? Doing anything means not doing something else, both in terms of time constraints and economics, so consider what you’re missing out not doing. Remember time is the one resource we can’t recoup, once it’s spent.
  3. Is it worth the opportunity cost?
  4. Is there a better way of achieving my goal, instead of doing this?
  5. What other alternatives are available? Consider as many as you can!

So there you have it, questions are powerful, and if you haven’t read Warren Bergers, A more beautiful question – The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas, I would highly recommend doing so, here is a link to Amazon where  you can read the reviews and even buy it.

Get Results: A more beautiful question
Get Results: A more beautiful question


Having Beliefs Worth Dying For

Get Results: seek the truth
Get Results: seek the truth

I recently commented on a post, that talked about how even people who believe themselves to be ENTITLED are often attached to beliefs, because they have invested a sense of themselves in these beliefs, and when challenged can become aggressive, and closed off to competing narratives, because defeat would somehow make them feel their sense of self to be less.

This is important because this mental positioning is what leads mankind into conflict and ultimately war. Now I’m not saying we are all capable of killing others to defend our beliefs, but given the right circumstance it is possible that even so called level headed, model citizens are capable of contributing to unimaginable things. Mankind’s history is littered with examples. World War 2 for instance, is often blamed on the Nazi party under Hitler, but we have to remember that German people voted him into power, because they believed his rhetoric, and the narrative that Jewish people where the problem.

The following conversation ensued, I thought I would make a post about it, because this is a good illustration of what happens when you attach to beliefs, now there’s no chance of this escalating into war or anything so extreme, but it hopeful shows how division starts, because one person feels threatened by the ideas of another, because they are invested in their beliefs..

Me: A belief in anything risks investing yourself in it. As soon as anyone feels the need to defend their belief they have probably gone too far.

Other: But what good is a belief if you are unwilling to defend it? I don’t ask anyone to become a Buddhist or think the same, but if they challenge my core beliefs, such as work telling me to take a sentient life, I will defend my beliefs to the end.

Me: and there lays the Ego dilemma. It is for the individual to pick their own path, but as long as you choose to defend your beliefs you automatically invest yourself in them. This is Ego at work. Beliefs forge separation (from contradictory beliefs) and form attachment (to the belief), both are designed by the Ego to make yourself more, because the more you have the more you are. Why would a person need to be more, if you were truly enlightened? I’m open to contradictory views, I don’t invest myself in this way of thinking, it’s just the best explanation available to me at this moment.

Other: this is not allowing another to breach my beliefs. It has nothing to do with ego. There is nothing wrong with belief and faith. It is what makes us spiritual and follow an ethical path. Without belief we are nihilists.

Me: I’m just saying we should be open to the possibility we might be wrong. Seeking the truth, rather than settling for something that could be wrong, and closing ourselves off from the truth.

Other: why do you assume that I have not investigated multiple beliefs and religions? I do not create my beliefs out of just accepting what my parents told me. If I did, I would be a Christian. I take refuge in the three jewels because of my investigation into truth and logic. Yes I am invested in my beliefs.

Me: I’m not assuming anything, I’m not judging you in anyway. You commented on my comment. I hope what you believe serves you, but that alone doesn’t make it THE TRUTH, but it is your best guess, as is my view for me.

Me: Many beliefs are built on assumptions, inferences and the testimony of others, rather than FACT. What actual facts back up your beliefs? (that is a rhetorical question, I don’t expect you to list them) but ask yourself this question for every belief you hold. We all should do this. Many of the BIG questions we have about life, can’t be proven as fact, there is often a lot of faith involved, so they are effectively guesses, we hold to be the truth.

Now I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass in this conversation, or attack the other persons beliefs, but he or she seemed to take it that way to some degree and the impression I got (which is often difficult to accurately gauge via a text only medium) is that they were agitated by my comments just a little bit, and as a result felt a need to defend their position. The comment about Christians just believing what their parents told them, could be construed as a dig at a different belief system, but generally I think we both approached this conversation with a balanced view.

I dare say if I’d have framed my language more aggressively, and the other person, likewise, this could have got into something of a slanging match, like we see all too regularly on social media.

My comments during the short conversation weren’t a criticism of the other person but a general statement that all of us should be very wary that our beliefs don’t close us off to competing ideas. It’s like a barrier goes up and perceptions are closed down. I liken it to a child covering their ears and humming to prevent hearing what is being said.

Hey, I’m as guilty as anyone else, for defending my beliefs in the past. I now have a different view of them, or I could even say I have a different belief about beliefs. You can’t get away from holding beliefs, they’re kind of an anchor for us to build from.

The problem seems to come from investing yourself in them, as I said in the conversation above.  But it is important to realise we often take what we need from our beliefs and ignore the rest. However this isn’t the best approach for uncovering THE TRUTH. Scientist generate an hypothese, and look to disprove it. The scientific approach prevents confirmation bias, and investment in the belief. It’s a best guess, until proven otherwise approach.

I have become very wary of anyone who says they have strong beliefs, that they would defend with their very lives, because I believe them.

For more about improving self awareness, check out these posts

Removing Suffering In The Modern Age

Get Results: pain we create is avoidable
Get Results: pain we create is avoidable

I recently came across a question in a discussion group, which went..

“Attachments and expectations are the main reason for suffering and disappointment, It’s easy to say let go of attachments but how in ‘real’ life can we be without attachments and emotions, I mean not everybody can leave our loved ones in the midnight and go to a forest and just meditate under a tree, come on lets be practical, so my question is how to be like Buddha in this modern age?”

This is an interesting question, and one I’ve contemplated myself many times. The question misses something though. There is another element that is required for suffering to take place. As well as EXPECTATIONS and ATTACHMENTS you need PERCEPTION OF REALITY. These are all elements of what is known in spirituality circles as “THE PAIN GAP”, otherwise known as the EQUATION OF EMOTIONS. If we can change our perceptions, which are conditioned into us by the society we grow up in, we can break the pain gap. Our perceptions come from our beliefs and values, which are built on assumptions and inferences rather than facts and evidence. If you don’t believe me, question yourself about your own beliefs and values, where are they from, what are they based on?

As well as dealing with our perceptions of reality, we can work on reducing or removing our EXPECTATIONS for any given situation, whilst reducing or removing our ATTACHMENTS.

Rather than holding any EXPECTATIONS, we should instead embrace a sense of appreciation. Nothing in life is promised, so being grateful is a much healthy psychological position to take.

ATTACHMENTS are, by their very nature, impermanent. The life that you live, the house that you live in, the car that you drive, the relationships that you share, are all destined to end one day. Accepting this fact, while enjoying them while they last is much more pain free than refusing to accept the reality of the situation. Surrendering to WHAT IS, is the sensible thing to do.

If any one of these elements is resolved, PERCEPTION OF REALITY, EXPECTATIONS, or ATTACHMENTS, we can reduce or remove the pain gap (otherwise known as the equation of emotion), which will reduce or remove suffering from our lives.

However ultimately we should aim to do as Thrangu Rinpoche advises in Pointing Out the Dharmakaya.

“We cannot get rid of suffering by saying, “I will not suffer.” We cannot eliminate attachment by saying, “I will not be attached to anything,” nor eliminate aggression by saying, “I will never become angry.” Yet, we do want to get rid of suffering and the disturbing emotions that are the immediate cause of suffering.

The only way to eliminate suffering is to actually recognize the experience of a self as a misconception, which we do by proving directly to ourselves that there is no such personal self. We must actually realize this. Once we do, then automatically the misconception of a self and our fixation on that self will disappear. Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection.”

For more about spirituality, check out our spirituality guide, and a number of spirituality posts.

Fulfilment Is Not Beyond Achievement

Get Results: achievement and fulfilment
Get Results: achievement and fulfilment

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get swept along with the emotion of circumstance. Sometimes there may be good days, other times, bad. Debts might be piling up in one corner of life, relationship problems in another, an upcoming holiday to look forward to elsewhere, which gives us a sense of hope.

We might feel we are finally getting somewhere, only to find the next moment pulls us back a dozen steps, like a frustrating game of snakes and ladders.

Society has conditioned us to be restless, we have been taught to strive for more if we want to be more. We are shown what could be, if we work hard enough and do what needs to be done, particularly in the accumulation of wealth and status.

If we’re lucky to climb a few rungs towards success, we might feel some sense of achievement, at least for a short while, but underneath it all there is usually a sense of “is this it?”

Well the pursuit of achievement is a fools errand, if you’re looking for fulfilment. You see achievement is conditional, it depends on something outside of yourself happening. Fulfilment is not at the end of this road, you will never find it beyond achievement or success, it’s somewhere else entirely, it’s inside you.

Jim Carrey, wearing his philosophy hat said “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Something I discovered a while ago was to learn to look at life through fresh eyes, to strip away all the BS, and focus on the really important things, the things that matter, and what are they you may ask? Well a truly enlightened person would say, there isn’t anything that really matters, because everything you can engage or interact with is part of “form” which is by it’s very nature, fleeting and impermanent.

The house you live in, might be legally owned by you, but in reality, it’s not yours, it will pass to someone else at some point in the future, whether you like it or not. Same with the car in the driveway, and all of your possessions.

Even the relationships you currently enjoy, will pass over one day.

You can accumulate all the wealth in the world, a billion dollars if you like, but one day, that too will be gone from your possession, you can’t take it from this life. You can’t take any form beyond death.

In reality, you own nothing of form, and that shouldn’t really be a troubling thought, because, form doesn’t matter, in the great scheme of things, it just isn’t important. It’s within the realms of achievement.

So if achievement and the pursuit of form is a fools errand, what should we be focused on, what should we spend our attention on, where will we find fulfilment?

Well, EVERYTHING ELSE, is the answer, and what is everything else, when you take away FORM, which is the physical world? Eckhart Tolle would answer… THE FORMLESS. The formless that allows form to be, after all, without space, the planets could not orbit, without the observer of form, form could not be.

Space, the formless is not something you can see or touch, that is the problem for many, they only believe what they can see, touch and prove, everything else is seen as fantasy.

At the same time, we are happy to be completely controlled, directed and driven by THOUGHT, we “think” more than we do anything else. We incessantly talk to ourselves in our heads, reliving past glories, re-running past arguments, projecting future scenarios, telling ourselves stories of this and that. We use thoughts to work things out, to make sense of things, and to find answers. Yet thoughts can’t be touched or seen in the material world, yet they exist without doubt. But thought are not formless in the sense that, we should be focusing our attention on them, in fact, we should be spending less time than we do in thought, particularly emotionally driven thought that we invest in, with our sense of self.

We should use thought, and not be used by it. It’s a kind of form focused formless ability that we have, but it’s not who we are. Thought is in fact a barrier to finding who or what we really are. Take BELIEFS, which are really just rigid thought patterns; we hold onto them, defend them, fight for them, even kill for them. They are our beliefs and they matter to us. In reality most beliefs are built on assumptions and inferences, rather than evidence and fact. Go through your beliefs, write them down, then ask yourself where they come from, what are they based on? Show me the evidence of your convictions.

Beyond THOUGHT and beyond FORM is where we should be focusing attention, it’s the space and formless that flows through us, and everything else in the world, this is where fulfilment can be found, it’s in us, everyone of us. We are connected by the space between objects, between planets. It weaves its way through and around all form, allowing all form to be, we are that space, we exist in it, we are part of it, we experience it through CONSCIOUSNESS, which is attention in the moment. You can find it when you rise above thought and above form or at least the thought of form.

From consciousness, you can enjoy form, play with form, appreciate form, but are not burdened by being tethered to it.

From consciousness you can use thought to navigate the world of form, but are not used by it. There is a big difference.

In the realm of consciousness, fear does not exist, because fear is part of thought, and part of form. If the real you is formless, what have you got to fear?

So in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get swept along with the emotion of circumstance. Sometimes there may be good days, other times, bad. Debts might be piling up in one corner of life, relationship problems in another, an upcoming holiday to look forward to elsewhere, which gives us a sense of hope. But none of that really matters does it?

For more about spirituality, check out our spirituality guide, and other posts about spirituality.


Warning: Beliefs, Opinions and Convictions Are Present

Get Results: Never ASSUME
Get Results: Never ASSUME

I Grew up thinking strong beliefs and convictions were a sign of strength, but having become more spiritual over recent years I’m more aligned to the school of thought that thinks belief systems are more of a hindrance than a help.

We shape our sense-of-self through our beliefs. They become part of us and how we see ourselves in the world.

We have a tendency to look for confirmation of our own beliefs and any opinions that flow from them. Confirmation is designed to uphold our sense-of-self. We may even go as far as to defend our beliefs with our very own live’s. How many have died to defend their belief systems, history is littered with examples.

Surely we would be better advised to do as science does, and formulate a hypothesis which we then try to disprove. This approach frees us from beliefs supported by nothing more than assumptions and inferences and ensures we only believe things backed by actual evidence and facts.

What beliefs do you hold with any kind of conviction, and what evidence supports them? Is it a belief built from the testimony of experts? If so, what evidence supports what the expert is telling you, and has this evidence been interpreted without personal bias and preference by the expert that promotes it? You may find much of what you believe or have heard from others to be made up of a great deal of inference and assumption, on your part and theirs.

So what can you believe? Even personal past experiences can be unreliable. For instance memories can be mistaken, if you could meet yourself at different ages memories would likely to be different in each of yourselves at different ages.

When we experience an event we use all our senses woven together with our internal model of the world to make up that experience and as the memory gets older it becomes less vivid, and subsequent events can supersede it and affect how we feel about it.

It’s even possible to implant completely false memories, if plausible enough. In a past experiment, a participant was told they had been lost in a mall as a child, and after the passing of some time, more and more detail began to creep into the false memory. The participant embellished the false memory, because as humans we are very imaginative storytellers, and we are all capable of doing this.

Our memory of the past is not a faithful record, it’s a reconstruction, a mythology. Our memories are not particularly reliable because they don’t just record what happens, they allows us to simulate what is coming next. It is a narrative that links the past with the future, so that we can work out what we need to do tomorrow.

Also past experience doesn’t necessarily predict the future. People’s behaviour is greatly influenced by their environment and circumstances far more than we give credit for, and we’re not always privy to the underlying context of other people’s behaviour, we may just be witness to the resulting actions. We then build a narrative around this behaviour which says more about what’s going on inside us, rather than anything else. We kind of project our thoughts on to what others are doing and believe this to be the other person’s truth.

So maybe we should all be more skeptical about our own beliefs and opinions, and those of other people as well, I’ve learned to do what the wise man does and question everything, and believe nothing at face value because this actually leaves us more open to alternative ideas, methods of thinking and doing as well as different approaches to living life. We also become more tolerant and empathetic as a result.

You might think the opposite would be true, that skepticism closes you off to new ideas, when in fact holding rigid beliefs does that far more effectively. When you have a fixed mental position, you will reject anything that counters that position, because your sense-of-self depends on it.

Don’t invest anything of yourself into ideas, beliefs and opinions, stay clear of convictions and be open to provable evidence and facts, and even then be wary of any possible misinterpretation of these.

Remember what the famous quote says; “The more I know the more I realise how little I actually know.”

Feeding The Ego, Or Using The Ego As Motivation

Get Results: feeding the Ego
Get Results: feeding the Ego

I recently came across a post on Facebook that read..

“If you want to feed the homeless than feed the homeless. But the moment you post it on social media you’re also feeding the Ego.”

To be honest it’s one of several with similarly framed messages, that I’ve seen recently and judging by the comments it can easily be taken as a message of criticism towards individuals that broadcast their activities of goodness.

Let’s just check we’re on the same page of what is meant by the Ego. The Ego is the unobserved mind, it’s the illusion that our thoughts are who we are, they are us. I describe this as an illusion, because thoughts are just thoughts, they are not us. They are fearful, irrational and conditioned, they are based largely on assumptions and inferences and while they can be used as a very effective tool, they are very destructive masters, if we blindly follow them. For more about the Ego check out our spirituality guide.

Now back to the post, I prefer to believe it’s a reminder, a double check to make sure the Ego is not taking over the intentions of such individuals. It’s an opportunity to bring AWARENESS to the situation, rather that blindly feeding the Ego’s sense of self, which isn’t particularly healthy.

Spreading positive vibes is a good thing, I’d like to see more of it. We are bombarded through the media with negative events, after all we’re genetically wired to be interested in bad news to ensure our own survival if we ever find ourselves in similar circumstances in the future.

Also seeing people doing good deeds can act to inspire others to do the same, and that’s no bad thing. Goodwill can be contagious, it reminds us that giving, and helping are spiritually good for us.

Feeding the Ego, by doing good deeds, isn’t bad in itself either, we can use the Ego to provide motivation for us to do THE RIGHT THING. In such circumstances we can use the Ego as a motivational tool, rather than allowing it to inflate itself without us knowing that it’s actually doing so.

Bringing AWARENESS to the situation gives us space to observe the Ego inflating our sense of self. If you realise this is why you’re doing it, if it feels good and your sense of self feels better for it, you’re using the Ego, rather than being used by it, there’s a world of difference in that space between observer and intention. This becomes an opportunity for spiritual practice while at the same time helping others, and what can be bad about that. I say, long may it continue.

For more about spirituality.

For more about self awareness.

Criticizing Poor Decision Making

Get Results: Productivity requires better decision making and problem solving
Get Results: Productivity requires better decision making and problem solving

It’s easy to accuse high profile people of poor decision making, whether they are the government, local council, business leaders, or football managers. Hindsight is a great tool for scrutinising the choices of others, especially when results deviate from intentions.

But hindsight contains the full picture, where the initial decision is made on a best guess basis, relying on past experience as a pointer to future repeatability, and a great deal of hope that luck will work its magic on subsequent variables that could fall for or against a position.

Many critics comment from a position of ignorance, often unaware of the true complexity of a situation, which on the face of it seems obvious, until you dig into the detail sufficiently to actually affect change.

Most people are poor predictors of future outcomes, particularly with regards to their own circumstances. So what makes them experts in things they have less experience dealing with. People are quick to blame others, outside influences and unforeseen events for their own shortcomings when it comes to decision making, but are less willing to extend that courtesy to others.

Next time you feel the need criticise others for making a poor decision, take a pause, and think that maybe, just maybe there is more to it than meets the eye, and realise that maybe subsequent events didn’t fall favourably for the decision maker.

At least they made the decision in the first place, fear of change and uncertainty is often enough to paralyze decision making and subsequent action taking, it’s easier to play safe and do nothing. Give them some credit for trying, by doing so, you give yourself permission to take a chance and make a change through the decisions you make.

If your outcomes are not as predicted, use the power of hindsight to learn lessons about where it went wrong, so that you shorten the odds for unexpected results next time, that’s the best you can really hope for, and so it is for others.

Free Yourself From Your Opinions

Get Results: bother each other with opinions
Get Results: bother each other with opinions

Strongly held BELIEFS and the OPINIONS that come from them, are often considered a good thing, but they are in fact the worst thing for the individual and for society at large, let me explain why..

It is amazing how people are able to convince themselves something is true or false, even in the face of contradictory evidence. They grab onto something, will often defend it with their very lives, and only pay attention to data that confirms their beliefs. Whether it be a religious, political, cultural belief or ideology, they have an unwavering conviction to their cause.

You can fool yourself into believing just about anything, if you set your mind to it, even without definitive proof or evidence to support your belief. Many beliefs and the opinions that come from them, are built on nothing more than assumptions and inferences rather than hard facts, and are ultimately motivated by fear.

History is littered with examples of opinions that have resulted in horrific consequences, such as Hitler’s conviction to rid the world of Jews, Bush and Blair’s conviction to fix Iraq to make the region and the world a safer place, both stem from beliefs built on assumption and inference driven by fear, and little to do with fact.

These are extreme examples, but we are all guilty of holding onto a belief far too tightly, and dismissing or ignoring anything that counters it, for recent examples of issues that have divided opinion think of Brexit here in the UK or Trump in the US.

In the case of Brexit, whether you’re a remainer or leaver, you hold onto a mentally constructed position with unwavering determination. Those that oppose your view, are considered ignorant, racists, cowards, undemocratic, or uneducated, depending on which side of the fence you find yourself on.

Have you ever wondered why you feel such affiliation to your position?

Eckhart Tolle is a revered spiritual teacher, his books talk about escaping the control of THE EGO. The Ego is the unobserved mind, it is identification with thought. It is the illusion that your thoughts are who you are. He recommends bringing awareness to the process of thinking, and by observing thought, you remove yourself from it. The moment you start to observe it, you remove yourself from within it, and from this perspective you can take control back.

His explanation for why people hold mental positions and the emotional responses they inevitable experience when challenged goes like this….

“Two or more people express their opinions and those opinions differ. Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions that are invested with a sense of self. In other words, identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions, thoughts, I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously I feel and act as if I were fighting for my very survival, and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief, they become turbulent. I am upset, angry, defensive, aggressive, I need to win at all cost, lest I become annihilated, that’s the illusion. The Ego doesn’t know the mind and mental positions have nothing to do with WHO YOU ARE, because the Ego is the unobserved mind itself.”

So, if you do find yourself holding very rigid mental positions, bring awareness to them, observe them, question their underlying purpose. What are they doing for you? If you feel a negative emotion, next time you are challenged, step back from the emotion and observe it, and bring yourself out of the control of your Ego, step out of the emotion. You will feel better for it and mankind will only benefit in the long term. Emotional reactions don’t serve anyone.

Also question the accuracy of such beliefs and opinions, how much is built on assumption and inference driven by fear, compared to hard facts you know to be true, not from the testimony of authority figures and so called experts but from your own experience. After all, authority figures might be telling you only what they want you to believe, for their own gain, rather than in your best interests. Question everything you are being told, and be more flexible with regards to your beliefs. Science takes the approach of trying to disprove rather than prove hypotheses and this is a more effective approach to uncovering THE TRUTH.

For more about spirituality, click here.

For more about self awareness, click here.

It’s okay to be OFFENDED

Get Results: take offence for it to work
Get Results: take offence for it to work

There are many things we can be OFFENDED by….

  • by inequality,
  • by racism,
  • by extremism,
  • by animal cruelty,
  • by bullying,
  • by media bias,
  • by politicians pursuing their own career goals over that of their constituents,
  • by emotional and physical abuse,
  • by religious doctrine,
  • by greed,
  • by anger,
  • by selfishness,
  • when people are rude,
  • when people don’t acknowledge when you let them go first,
  • when people push in, or don’t wait their turn,
  • by people that get offended and try impose their values on others.

There are so many things you can be offended by, if you choose, far more than I’ve listed above and it is okay to feel offended. Yes really, if you choose to take offence about anything, you can. But understand that taking offence is a choice, it’s an internal process about an external situation, event or occurrence.

It stems from your EXPECTATIONS and/or PREFERENCES that aren’t being met by the situation, event or occurrence.

It also comes from your ATTACHMENTS to ideals, ideologies, ideas, causes, things, people and your thoughts about all these things.

And finally it comes from your PERCEPTIONS of situations, people things, ideas and the world, universe and of existence itself.

The question becomes where do your EXPECTATIONS, ATTACHMENTS and PERCEPTIONS come from? Are they self generated or influenced by the society and culture you have grown up in, or are surrounded by?

Do you have a right to EXPECT anything from anyone or anything? Okay you can be excused for preferring one thing, or outcome, over another, but you don’t have any right of expectation, and you can’t really complain if your preferences aren’t met, can you?

Is it healthy to form ATTACHMENTS to anything or anyone. After all nothing really belongs to you does it? Your partner, your kids, your family, your friends are not really yours are they. They are people you share time and space with, who you love, of course, but when you mentally add a “my”, “mine” to them, you are more than identifying something in a descriptive manner, you are investing a sense of yourself in them. This is attachment. Your mind does this to make itself bigger, better, more. In our consumer focused culture, we are conditioned by society to seek more.

Society’s call to consumption works very well because it plays to our self preservation instinct and our fear of being nothing, because deep down in our psyche, we believe we are a fleeting, temporary particle in time and space and as such vulnerable and insignificant. Society benefits from telling us the more we have (the more we attach to), the more we will BE, because modern society is built on economic growth, it wants us to keep consuming products and services.

With regards to PERCEPTIONS, there is extensive research showing our perceptions to be deeply flawed and influenced by our inner belief systems and values. We see, hear, feel, taste, smell what we think we should see, hear, feel, taste and smell, what we’re primed to, and what we expect to. We run a story over our sense perceptions that works to join the dots, but rather than drawing a direct line, embellishes and exaggerates with story-telling imagination.

For instance, a number of years ago, I went out for a drink with a good male friend of mine. I genuinely forgot to take my phone out with me, this was the days before phones became an extension of our hands. When I got back after 2-3 hours I noticed 15 missed calls from my then, casual girlfriend. Listening to the messages in turn, the content went from a casual, “just giving you a call to see what you’re up to, give me a call back when you get this message”, becoming increasingly agitated with each subsequent message to the last one saying “I know you’re with someone else, why are you treating me this way? CALL ME NOW!!!” Let me just say, I wasn’t cheating on her, I had no intention of doing so, but she was unable to rationally explain the fact that I wasn’t calling her back, which I would normally do straight away, and began to let her imagination run riot, believing I must be cheating on her. I later found out she had been cheated on by an ex boyfriend and as a result had trust issues, but I must admit I was rather freaked out at the time.

Hopefully this makes the point that perceptions are interpreted by internal mental processes, which give all meaning to them. First the event or situation occurs, then the mind tries to find an explanation, which is based on individual beliefs and values, which in turn are built from our own personal past experiences, learned thoughts and behaviour patterns and habits.

I’ve highlighted above some of the reasons we might feel OFFENDED, and if you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ll have noticed the outrage and offence that people seem to feel these days about all sorts of issues, some major some minor. Offence is taken rather than given much of the time. I might offend you by something I say or do, but with no intention from my perspective to do so, but you take offence all the same. You will be offended if what I say or do, doesn’t match an EXPECTATION or PREFERENCE of yours, or if it involves something you have some ATTACHMENT to, or if your PERCEPTION tells you some story about it that isn’t in alignment with your EXPECTATION/PREFERENCE.

It’s okay to be offended, it’s impossible not to be at some point in life if EXPECTATIONS/PREFERENCES, ATTACHMENTS and PERCEPTIONS are at work, but OFFENCE has to be taken to be felt. Remember this, because often AWARENESS is the biggest weapon we have at our disposal to battle internal processing of external events, situations or occurrences and how we feel about them.

For more about self awareness click here.

Coping Strategies For Failure: Making Excuses, Blaming, Complaining

Get Results: overcome blocking coping strategies
Get Results: overcome blocking coping strategies

If you’re guilty of saying the following statements, you need to sign up to my email list

  • I’m not getting quality leads anymore from [X]
  • [X] is not delivering[ Y], and that’s why my business is failing
  • People just aren’t buying anymore
  • People don’t want to pay for [Y] anymore
  • Everyone wants something for nothing these days
  • Too much competition, charging ridiculous prices, I can’t compete, they
  • won’t be around long, but long enough to hurt my business
  • There’s downwards pressure on prices
  • It’s a dying industry, technology is disrupting my business model
  • It’s much harder to make money in this industry now

All of these statements are excuses; they are examples of you complaining and blaming other people, organisations, circumstances, situations, and/or events for your predicament. They are COPING STRATEGIES designed to deflect responsibility from yourself onto others. This may seem like a good strategy, after all, if someone else is at fault for the position you find yourself in, then you don’t have to deal with the feeling of guilt for messing things up.

But in fact by blaming others, by complaining about how life has conspired against you, you are not just passing on blame, you are also passing power, the very power you need to get yourself out of the mess you find yourself in.

Until you TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your situation, you will not be able to access your RESOURCEFULNESS. You need to have the right mindset to be able to make a sustained effort to make things right, and resourcefulness is required to find the innovative approach you’re going to need to succeed.

3 step method for success

  1. Increase SELF AWARENESS and banish the COPING STRATEGIES/mechanisms that are allowing you to accept your unsatisfactory situation,
  2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for yours and other people’s actions and the consequences of those actions on you and your business. You might think it’s harsh to have to take responsibility for what other people do, but at the end of the day, it’s you and your business that will have to pick up the pieces if things head south. So make sure you vet those that you invite into your life/business, either as friends, partners, investors, employees, suppliers or customers. Don’t rely blindly on others’, do your due diligence and have the necessary checks, controls and plan B contingencies in place to make sure you are living up to your responsibilities, for youself,
  3. Open up your mind to the possibilities, enabling you to access your RESOURCEFULNESS to find that innovative approach which is going to turn your fortunes around and allow you to achieve success.