Mindset

Radical Mindset Shifts to Upgrade Your Life

mindset shifts

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s not your challenges that cause problems in your life, but the way that you’re thinking about those things?

It might be all in your head. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

I struggled with low self-esteem, anxiety and all the typical challenges of ADHD for most of my life – until I made a shift in my mindset, as I articulated in this post and in this one. I know what it’s like to fight against myself, to feel like I’ll never get caught up let alone get ahead, and to feel like there’s something wrong with me right down to the core.

It doesn’t matter if I had good reasons for feeling that way. I just did. Until I didn’t anymore.

You might think you have a lot of good reasons to feel like a piece of shit. It doesn’t matter because there are no good reasons. There are just feelings. Feelings can be changed.

Now, I’m not going to sermonize the nitty-gritty details of how I managed to break free from those struggles. But I am going to share with you a few curious and absolutely far-out-there mindset shifts I made – shifts that accelerated my growth because I learned to embrace radical self-acceptance. And that, as they say, is what made all the difference.

 

1. Nothing is As It Seems

I walk around this world with an over-talkative roommate in my head, who feels the need to comment about everything. She never shuts up. And she’s sooooo annoying. She’s like that guy who’s been to Cancun once and thinks he knows everything there is to know about Mexico and the people who live there.

I’ve learned to disregard half of what she says. I accept that my verbose roommate might not be the most accurate narrator.

As Michael Singer says (in Untethered Soul):

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”

 

2. You Don’t Have a Right Not to Have Challenges

Why me? Why can’t I just be normal?

I wondered that endlessly too. Until I thought… why not me? Why should anyone else have these struggles instead of me? And … God-forbid… what if I had someone else’s struggles instead of my own? Life could be a whole lot worse.

I have a right to live. That’s it. I don’t have a right to be stress-free, wealthy, fit, or any other condition I might covet. Those are things I have to work for. Read more about this in Mark Manson’s counter-intuitive book on living a good life – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F!*$. It’s in my top 5 favourite non-fiction books. In fact, its tied for the number one spot.

 

3. Normal Does Not Equal Correct

ADDers struggle with this a lot. They think there’s something wrong with doing things differently than other people.

Normal isn’t the same as good. It’s quite normal to waste a lot of your work-day chatting to colleagues, responding to never-ending email threads or watching Youtube. Millions of white collar workers get up to that tomfoolery every day. That doesn’t mean it’s effective.

If your way is weird but effective, so be it.

 

4. You Have Very Little Control over What Happens

Bad things happen to good people. And vice versa. Some people work hard and get nowhere while other people have their fortune handed to them in a silver sippy cup. It’s not what happens to you that matters most – it’s how you deal with. So deal with it.

More on this… read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. It’s also in my top 5 favs, tied at number one. (I read it 5 times – back to back!)

 

5. Things Will Get Worse, but Then They’ll Get Better

You know when you walk into the bathroom of a nightclub to preen yourself and suddenly the bright lights illuminate just how horrid your skin looks and yellow your teeth appear? (Maybe you don’t look as fugly as I do when you’re intoxicated. Lucky you!)

When you shine a spotlight on your challenges, they will look worse. A lot worse. Before – you didn’t notice your ADD getting in your way. Now you’re noticing it all the time, and it looks like a freaking mess. That’s okay. You gotta see it first before you can begin to clean it up.

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden

 

6. It Aint about Happiness

We all want to be happy. But happiness isn’t a place. It’s not even a situation or a condition. It’s a feeling. One that comes and goes. So collect as many happy moments you can before you die. You can cultivate a happy moment from watching your dog fetch a stick out of the lake or from sitting alone with a good book and a cup of chai. You don’t get happy, you make happy. So enjoy it when you make it.

On the other hand, happiness isn’t really the point of life. Growth is. You can’t be happy every single moment of your life, but you can grow – continuously and endlessly – if you choose to.

 

7. Success is Measured in Moments not Miles

If you tally your life and see that you have done more good than bad, you are a success. End of discussion.

Success, however you define it, is impermanent. Quite simply because one day – you’ll die and it’ll all be over. Your legacy is not what you leave your children, or the world for that matter, it is the culmination of moments – whether you were washing dishes or starting a multi-billion dollar company. So put some effort into each moment.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

I won’t pretend that I invented these mindset shifts. But I slowly imbibed and adopted them as part of my paradigm, making them my own. Through doing that I saw radical shifts in my life. Not in what I was able to achieve, or how well I did in my endeavors, but in how felt about (and enjoyed) the simple experience of being alive.

I’m more curious about your radical mindset shifts  – tell me how you’ve changed your thinking (or plan to) and what effect it is had on your life in the comments below!

Mindset

Meaning In the Moment

living in the moment

What if each moment of your life had meaning?

And everything that happened played an important part in the story of your life?

What if every detail, experience or event unfolding before your eyes – was just as momentous as the one before and the one yet to come?

What if everyone you met was an essential character in your story?

And every word exchanged between you was significant?

Then – as you took your dying breath – you realized that the value of the life you lived was tallied by all these things.

It wasn’t measured by the occasional breakthroughs and major achievements,

How far you got in your career or what you did for other people…

But by how well you lived each moment.

On the other hand…

What if, by chance, you discovered that none of these things were important?

All that really mattered was the big stuff?

All the details and events and exchanges with people were completely irrelevant.

And the significance of your life was condensed to the “big moments”.

How diminished would your life become?

Would you grieve for the smallness of it?

Now: Imagine one more thing…

That neither of these scenarios were truer than the other.

All you were left with was a choice between the two –

A life full of significance and meaning in every moment

Or a life full of white noise, punctuated by a few moments of epic importance –

Which one would you choose?

The truth is – the choice is already yours.

 

 

Mindset

How to Feel Proud of Yourself

proud

No matter what you do, it never quite feels good enough, does it?

You may be growing a career, plodding your way through a difficult university course, or rearing a brood of children…it doesn’t matter what forum of life we’re talking about. In everything you do, you’re nagged by the sense that your efforts aren’t quite good enough.

Today, I am writing specifically for a few of my clients who struggle with this lack of self-belief, knowing that at least a handful of my readers (if not more), will know exactly what I’m talking about.

You see, so many people, and none more than those with ADHD, struggle with the notion that they should be doing better than they are. They should have gotten a better grade. They should have a better paid job. They should be a more patient parent, with exemplary kids, who excel in all they do.

I have felt this sense of “less-than” on many occasions. For example, I worked my butt off on my Post-Graduate dissertation and was rewarded with merit – only a few points short of a distinction mark.

A few of my classmates did get distinctions. I should have been celebrating my achievement but instead I was disgruntled with myself. I was just as smart as them, wasn’t I? Why wasn’t my best effort good enough to raise my work to the status my colleagues achieved? My topic was original and poignant, I nailed the arguments, used all the right language and references….

But somebody didn’t think it was good enough.

But actually – a merit is pretty good. In fact, just passing the course was quite an achievement. And heck – even being enrolled and showing up for the classes was quite a feat. When I come to think of it, my essay writing involved a grotesque process, with coffee-stained papers littering my living room for days, garbage piling up in the corners of the room, maintaining the upkeep of the resident mice in my South London flat. It was utter chaos. I should have been proud that I even handed that 10,000-word whopper in. Yet I was dismayed that I didn’t get the best mark. Not by a long shot.

It’s because, secretly, I never felt like I was good enough to be taking part in that Post-Grad in the first place. I felt like a fraud, rising above my station. In my mind, I had to do the best, in order to prove I was worthy. Anything less than best would show me up.

Well, I guess I got showed up. And what has it meant to my life since then?

Nada.

It’s ridiculous when I think of it. But we all apply this logic to our thinking at times.

It’s called “focusing on the outcome”. As in: I’ll be good enough when I am successful. Or when I am rich. Or when my kids are successful. Or when I get to the top of the corporate latter.

But “when” never comes. The bar we measure ourselves against lifts itself higher and higher.

I realize, as I write this, this topic is not unique. But I’m writing about it anyway, because I feel I’ve got to say this:

My ADD comrades – they tend to judge themselves extremely harshly. I know many ADDers who feel like they have to work harder and do better than everyone else, just so they can feel good enough. Note what I just said: good enough. They don’t want to feel better than everyone else. But the only way they get to feel like equals, is to excel.

Not really a fair contest is it?

We’ve all had plenty of reasons to feel “not-good-enough”. Always late. Never paying attention. Breaking things. Failing classes. Losing jobs….When our lives are dotted with experiences like these, how can we learn to feel proud of ourselves? Or, at the very least, like we are good enough?

Go back in time. Somewhere along the line, that message was fed to you like an airplane-spoon full of porridge into a baby’s mouth. Somebody or somebodies made you feel like you didn’t measure up to what was expected of you. They made you feel screwed up.

But when you look over these times, you’ll always ignore one fact. Those people who made you feel screwed up… were just as screwed up themselves. They’d been elevated to status of judge-jury-and-executor when they had no right to have that kind of influence over your entire self-perception. Those in glass houses, right? But it didn’t matter – their perceptions hooked your psyche like fishing in a barrel.

But the truth is – we’re all screwed up. Every. Single. Person.

So what’s there to feel proud of?

Feel proud of your efforts. Not of the outcome, but of your efforts. Feel proud that you showed up and did the work. That you tried, even when the trying got hard. That you pushed yourself past your own limits. That you learned when you messed up. That you learned some more when you messed up again. That you kept trying. Whether or not anyone noticed it. Whether or not you got that grade. That bonus. That promotion. That whatever.

Those things do not define your worth as a person. They are only minor benchmarks in the timeline of your life span. When you measure yourself – only against yourself – and focus only on the effort you make each step of the way… that’s when you get to feel the kind of pride in yourself that never goes away.

Tell me today: what are you proud of?

Mindset

The Purpose of the Curious but Unfocused Life  

curious

Synopsis: You may not know what your passion is, but living a curious, unfocused life may just be your purpose in this world. 

Some time ago, my mom emailed me a link to an Elizabeth Gilbert video. At that time, I’d been feeling disheartened about my creative work, or rather – lack of it. Even though she didn’t know it, the message was EXACTLY what I needed to hear, at that EXACT moment. How do moms do that?

Whenever you have half an hour, watch the video (linked above). If you don’t have time now – make sure you come back to it. I promise, it will free your wandering soul from psychological entrapment. Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t name the ADD mind specifically in her talk, but she was definitely talking about US!

Free the Curious “Hummingbirds”

As Elizabeth described, a “hummingbird” is someone who has many curiosities, but no defined passion. This kind of person takes up many interests, and gives up just as many. They float from one hobby to the next, jump from job to job, or even from one country to another – never quite settling on any one thing, or any one place.

Know any hummingbirds?

The hummingbird analogy she used resonated with me. For long, I have been frustrated with myself for not being able to settle on one “passion”. I’m interested in a little bit of this and that, but never fully, wholly absorbed in one thing – not to the extent that a highly-focused and driven person with complete, obsessive passion would.

I wonder how much more successful I could have been with my creative ventures if I’d been really serious about one thing. I grieve for a lack of focus and determination towards a single pursuit.

“I could have been something! I could have done more! If only I knew what the heck it was I really, truly wanted to do”. Essentially, it’s what I was talking about in this post.

I’m not alone. Many of my ADD clients have the same regret.

We want to know why we can’t find that one thing that lights up our entire world, keeps us hooked and committed to living out our purpose.

Why can’t I settle on one thing? Why don’t I finish anything? What’s the point in trying, when I’ll only get bored and quit?”

There is a point, a really beautiful point. I can’t say it any more eloquently than an esteemed author could so I’ll quote Elizabeth directly:

Hummingbirds spends their lives doing it very differently. They move from tree to tree, from flower to flower, from field to field, trying this, trying that. Two things happen. They create incredibly rich, complex lives for themselves. And they also end up cross-pollinating the world. That is the service that you do if you are a hummingbird person … you’re perspective ends up keeping the entire culture aerated, mixed up, open to the new and fresh. And if that is how you are constructed by your Divine Maker then that is how we need you to be. You just keep doing that. That is what the path is that you’re supposed to lead.

Isn’t that a stunning way of looking at it?

We tend to think that our life’s purpose is mapped out by a single path. If we don’t find that path, or we’re never really sure that the road we travel is the one we’re meant to be on, or even want to be on – then we’re truly lost.

But for some of us, our purpose is not a single path but many interweaving paths, going in all sorts of directions. We seldom end up where we intended to go, but the journey is breath-taking when you allow yourself to really enjoy it.

Free your hummingbird. Floating around from one thing to another, then to another and another… IS its purpose.   

Mindset

Fear Less

fear

Fear is not the enemy. Fear is the friend who keeps you safe – grabs your shirt and holds you back from dangerous leaps and treacherous bounds.

Fear is not an enemy who means to hold you back. It’s just that… he’s afraid. Afraid you won’t succeed, that you’ll embarrass yourself. Afraid that you’ll get hurt or won’t ever recover from missing leaps and tripping on bounds.

Fear is also the friend who hangs around too much, comes over uninvited and interrupts you when you’re trying to get things done.

He’s the friend who nags you to do what he wants you to do, even when you want to do something else.

He’s the guy who calls late at night when you’re trying to sleep, who thinks he knows everything and ignores what you have to say. He overshadows your accomplishments with his own victories and “I told you so’s”.

He’s a friend. But not always a very good one.

Though you shouldn’t shut him out completely, you may have to kick him out when he won’t go home. And though shouldn’t ignore him, you’d do well to remember he’s not your only friend.

Confidence is also your friend – the one who’s got your back. Who says “You can” and celebrates when you do. He’s the guy that listens and nods when you tell stories of success and gives you a nudge when you confess your failures.

He’s the friend who wants you to succeed because he knows you can. He’s the one who consoles Fear then gags him and sticks him a closet so he doesn’t ruin the party.

Fear and Confidence… they’re both your friends. But it’s up to you which one you hang out with more.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
Dorothy Thompson

Mindset

Relentless Positivity

Positivity… we all know it can help you go farther in life…

Positivity, at best, inspires you to keep going, move forward and reach for your highest potential. At worst, it softens the blows when something doesn’t work out like we hoped it would.

The most successful people in life are not those who have had no obstacles. They are the people who have fallen and gotten back up – tougher and stronger than before. They are the positive people, who no one can hold down for very long.

But positivity isn’t something that can be achieved easily for everyone. For some of us, we are negative by nature. We don’t mean to be downers, but our set point simply hovers around zero. For others, life has thrown so many curve balls, the only way they can avoid getting hit any more is to constantly look down.

But there is, objectively, no more reason to look on the downside than there is to look up. Looking up can actually inspire you to get back up – try harder, do better, push yourself until you achieve the success you desperately want. On the contrary, negativity does nothing more than hold you down in the trenches with the heel of its boot pressed up against your ear.

How do you get more positivity in your life when can’t find anything to be positive about?

You have to fight for it, of course!

You have to pursue it, relentlessly, until it can escape you no longer.

No one said that positivity has to come easily in order for it to be worth it. You need to look for the reasons to be positive. You need to search your soul and itemize every single thing you have to be grateful for, no matter how small. You need to dig deep, find the beauty in every moment, and be glad simply because you are alive. Turn the other cheek, not to get smacked again – but to see what you have been missing. There is always a silver lining. If you don’t see it, maybe you haven’t opened your eyes all the way.

I know its not that easy…

But you have to treat positivity as something to be sought after… coveted. And anything you want that badly – you’ll fight for.

The harder and longer you chase positivity, the more likely it is you will find it.

For more motivational videos, check out motiVRations!

 

Mindset

Shine Like the Sun – The Significance of You

Ever wonder what your significance in this world is???

Today’s post is a little different. Its actually based on a video.

My husband and I have been working on a project together, creating motivational videos in a 360 Virtual Reality format. Being that he is a 360 videographer, and I like to write motivational scripts… it seemed to be a natural fit.

When we created them, we really had you in mind. Countless times I have been emailed by ADDers telling me that it is difficult to focus when they’re reading. So for these are for you – no reading here. On top of that, you get to “look around” while you watch the video. The 360 format allows you to look left, right, look behind – even above – if you want.

About this video:

If you ever doubt the meaning of life, your significance in the world, or whether or not you make a difference – this 360 video is for you. Shot during sunrise over Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia on New Year’s Day 2016, we’ve captured the inspirational beauty of the sun and assimilated it to the magic of being human. We hope that watching it moves you as much as the moment moved us when we shot it.

At motiVRations we help you unplug from all the distractions in your life, and get in touch with your inner strengths. By immersing yourself in stunning scenery and focusing on life affirming messages, our 360 videos are the perfect pep talk to kick-start your day or a great way to visualize your future before drifting off to sleep. These videos are best viewed on a Virtual Reality (VR) headset but can be watched on any device.

We’d love to know what you think. Does this format work for you? Could we make it BETTER? Please share your comments or stop by and check out our Youtube Channel: motiVRations . Make sure to like us and share!

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Mindset

Passion We Can All Access (Really!)

 

Life can feel pretty empty at times. Yet I hate all the stale maxims about passion out there.

Follow your passion and … what???

It’s fine advice for retirees with nothing else to do. When you have mouths to feed and heads to put a roof over, passion is the last thing to worry about.

Besides, most of us don’t know what we’re passionate about. They don’t teach passion in school, unless you count teenage experimentation as extracurricular instruction.

Even if we were lucky enough to feel rapturous about something, who’s got the time to do anything about it?

Just stop wasting time, they say. Productivity experts propose cutting out TV or social media as if they are soul-sucking, passion-decoys. Give up these time wasters and you’ll have at least a couple of extra hours a day. Great advice, but it neglects the reason we rely on these crutches in the first place.

After a long day, your brain is numb and you have no energy for anything else. That’s why you flake out in front of a screen every night. A fatigued and dazed mind isn’t apt to feeling passionate about anything. Screen time asks nothing of you. Which is good because, most nights, you have nothing left to give.

Get up early, they say. Successful people start their day while everyone else is still in bed.

I don’t see the logic… passion is an entity awoken by an alarm clock?

Day in and out, we go through the motions, exhausted by the sheer irrelevance of the “to do” lists we serve. The lists that are, by the way, fertilized by pen ink and grow larger each time we strike an item off. We make a bed, it gets unmade. We wash a dish, it gets dirty again. We pay a bill… whammo! It comes around again the next month.

Not exactly the ideal life we imagine we’d have when we find our passion, is it? Yet beds will still get unmade and dishes will get dirty, even when you’re living out your dream.

There is one quote I do like, really like, about passion.

Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) writes:

“Naturally successful people want you to believe that success is a by-product of their awesomeness, but they also want to retain some humility. You can say passion was the key to your success because everyone can be passionate about something or other. Passion sounds more accessible. If you’re dumb there’s not much you can do about it, but passion is something we think anyone can generate in the right circumstances. Passion is very democratic. It’s the people’s talent, available to all. It’s also mostly bullshit.” (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big)

Thanks Scott, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Here’s the solution.

You were hoping I’d get to the part where I make you feel better about the problem by now, weren’t you?

Well, here goes.

I don’t think that the key to a happy life is to do what you’re passionate about. We do what we do to get by. And most of the time, what we do kind of sucks. But it pays the bills.

Some of us will be lucky enough to find passions that pay well. Others do what they’re passionate about only to find that making a career out of it actually kills their passion.

Most of us, however, will go through the daily grind feeling less than satiated. Perhaps we’ll even feel a bit numb. Or bored. Or empty.

What we can do, in these instances, is this:

We can learn to be more passionate about living.

Let me be clear: by this I don’t mean Nike-advert, just get out there and do it, carpe diem, seize-the-moment passionate.

I mean this kind of (real life, accessible to all) passion:

Holy crap, I’m alive! Of course, I’m dying every day (as each of us are) but for now, I am still alive. I get to work and live in a first world country, where I have access to food, clothing, shelter and health care. Every day I wake up, without fear of violence or violation, because my world is basically safe. So safe, in fact, that I actually have no bigger concerns than what might or might not happen in the future. I have responsibilities and people that need me, which culminate in endless to-do lists demonstrating how rich my life really is. And the fact that I feel empty, despite all the busy things I do in a day, means that I am the owner of a brain capable of higher level, self-analyzing and reflective thinking.

In essence, life is not about following your passion.

Being alive is something to be passionate about. You could very easily be dead, or at least – much, much worse off than you are now.

Look around. See the beauty in the world around you. Eat some chocolate. Listen to music. Talk to a friend. Hug a child. Dance with your partner. Take a long shower. Run down a beach. Wear fuzzy pajamas. Draw a picture. Try a new recipe. Drive a different route to work. Smile at a stranger. Pray to God. Meditate. Think. Cry. Laugh. Love.

If you feel empty, be passionate about finding meaning in the small things in life. That kind of passion is not bullshit.