I Never Thought I’d Make It To 30

During my time as a 20 something, I had a profound sense that I would never make it to 30 years old. It was weird; almost like my ability to see my future past that point just stopped. It was a somewhat unnerving, yet serene experience – one I faced with a surreal kind of acceptance of fate. I have told very few people about this, but now I am telling you.

You see, due to my lack of ability to see any future past the age of 30, I just came to terms with the thought that something would happen to me between now and then which I couldn’t foresee, but that would change my life immeasurably – naturally, I just figured that would be death, and the end of my time here amongst the living.

That might seem seriously morbid and unnecessarily extreme to the reader, but it’s how I felt, right or wrong. It was a weird feeling, and not really a though that scared me, which I found particularly interesting.

Well, I am now 30 years old, and racing at full speed through my 31st year on planet Earth on a collision course with my 32nd – and life has never been better. I’m more alive today than I have ever been, and I have one thing to thank for it – my future vision, my mission, my legacy. I am no longer limited in what I see for my future – in fact, I now see a legacy that stretches until the end of time itself. That’s not ego or greed, it’s a vision for the World and the part I play in it that is bigger than me and my life, and that will live long beyond the point at which my body decays and rots back into the ground from which I was born.

Through my early years, and especially my teens and my 20’s, I was extremely naive and thoroughly ignorant. I stopped learning when I left school, and when I decided to drop out of college to work full time at Pizza Hut so I could focus on my career as a musician (or as I affectionately referred to it at the time, a ‘rock star’) I seemed to leave my curiosity for the World at the college gates.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and to be quite frank, I didn’t care. I didn’t think it was important, and I didn’t think it applied to me. I thought I knew what I needed to know, and so I fumbled through life for years, blinding hitting wall after wall of dissatisfaction and despair.

In my 20’s, I hated my job, and spent my days daydreaming about when I would become a ‘rock star’ and everything would be okay. Fulfilment was a pipe-dream, and satisfaction seemed to live on another planet, whilst I wallowed in the mud of disillusionment, accepting little to no responsibility for my lot in life, or the path I had chosen to walk.

Then, at 25, I started to wake up.

I have since come to realise that the reason I could see no future past 30 was partly that 30 was a subconsciously important landmark in my life (mainly as a result of extensive social conditioning around the importance of that milestone), and because I had no vision for my future.

You future visions is everything – it’s what makes you hungry, and that fuels the fire in your belly to get out there and smash through your goals. It’s what makes life worth living, and what drives us forward against all odds, and immense adversity. My future vision today would drive me through hell and back, and in a lot of ways it already has, testing my determination and resolve almost to breaking point on many occasions.

Still, my determination is unwavering, and my vision propels me forward, leaving a legacy in it’s wake that my children and generations to come can be proud to model.

Calcifying my vision, my reason for living – my ‘why” – was one of the single most important aspects of deep personal introspection I have undertaken. It sparked a flame at the end of what was an extremely dark tunnel, and lit the way to fulfilment of my desires and passions, and that showed me how I could take that passion, amplify it, and share it with the World in ways that cause tidal waves of positive change across the face of the planet.

My vision keeps me going when there’s nothing else left.

So here’s my message to you; find yourself. Calcify your vision, and set about delivering your legacy to the World. Know who you are, and how you can add value to the World around you – EVERYONE has value to add, and everyone has a message to share that can positively affect the hearts and minds of people the World over.

What’s your message? What’s your vision? What will your legacy look like and how will it impact the World when your meat cart has rotted and returned to the roots of the Earth?

Know this; the value you have is everything inside of you. Know yourself, and then take that knowledge of self out to the World to share the intrinsic value of compounded experience you hold within. Everything you need is inside yourself, and everything the World needs is inside each and every one of us.

I spent my life climbing the mountain with my eyes closed, my ears deaf and my mind numb, but when I started to wake up at 25, I removed my limitations one by one, and started to give myself to the World wholly and completely. This 5 year turning point period in my life marked the final road to the top of that mountain – to the peaks of clarity, providing a 360 degree vision I had never before experienced. Stood here on the peak I can see for miles in every direction, and it’s so clear to me now. I have the foresight to see each and every path available to me, along with the challenges and achievements that come with each path.

But it’s not time to descend the mountain; oh no. There is no going down from here, like most people will joke about turning 30 years old. I’ve spent my life climbing the mountain, and now it’s my time to spread my wings, take my leap of faith, and soar.

Today is the first day of your life, and you are a gift – whoever you are, wherever you are, please don’t waste it.

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My Heart & Yours

Last night, I once again had one of the most emotionally powerful and beautiful experiences of my life. It’s something I only remember experiencing with my second little boy in this way, as he is so much calmer than Reuben was, and still is. Xander has always been such a placid little baby, and in a lot of ways is the complete opposite of my persistently wilful eldest. It’s amazing how two children in the same family can be so different, yet so alike all at once.

Reuben would rarely fall asleep in my arms, choosing instead to breastfeed to sleep or, as he got older, mess around until he wears himself out. Xander, however, is a different story all together. Give me 15 minutes and some Ed Sheeran and I’ll have him sleeping like a, well, baby.

This in itself is a beautiful thing, as I can only ever remember Reuben falling asleep on me once or twice, but it’s what happens around 10 minutes in to that process that moves me beyond comprehension.

As any parent will know, but may not initially realise, when you pick up and hold your children (assuming they’re not massive attitude-ridden teenagers) you tend to bear their weight on your left side, holding them on your chest but slightly off to the left hand side rather than central. I believe this is instinctual, as this positions the child so that their heart is sitting directly on yours.

Holding a baby or young child close to your heart like this is amazingly powerful in so many ways. Your heart rate regulates your child’s heart rate, the warmth of your body helps to warm and regulate the your child’s temperature, and the carbon dioxide you exhale with every breath promotes regular breathing in your little one. This is, in part, why co-sleeping is such a wonderful thing – when done properly and when sound health and safety principals are observed (like not co-sleeping if you’ve been drinking, are a smoker or are overweight).

So, at roughly 10 minutes in to the process of singing my Son to sleep, the most wonderful things happens; our hearts synchronise, and I feel my heart and his beating as one. I feel the power of our beating hearts combined, and the combined power of their electromagnetic fields unify and strengthen. It’s a crazy feeling, because it feels like my heart doubles in power and pumping force – so much so, that it feels unnervingly like my heart might burst out of my chest at any moment. But it’s not the power of my heart alone, but the power of two hearts in unity, reinforced by the unbreakable love between parent and child.

Those last five minutes of getting him to sleep and some of the most spiritual I’ve ever experienced, and is the only time when I feel so connected to his life force that I feel like I can begin to understand the depth of connection that exists between mother and child. They, of course, have the advantage of having been once physically connected to their children – a process that studies show leaves protein deposits in the mothers brain; a gift from their unborn child. So, when it seems like mothers know things about their children from pure intuition, it should be appreciated that mothers have an extremely spiritual connection with them as a result of connections that form through the pregnancy process.

Having the experience I’ve had with my little one has given me a taste of how powerful and beautiful that connection is; one that I savour any time I am lucky enough to experience it.

Feeling yourself become one with your little one through the physical connection of a synchronised beating heart, and through the energetic electromagnetic connection is akin to becoming one with some abstract definition of God – the Universal energy that drives and guides everything, from what we see to what we don’t.

The Universe is within us all as we all are within the Universe, and when two hearts come together like that it provides the opportunity for the Universe to see the beauty of itself in it’s full and limitless glory. That depth of recognition of the intrinsic beauty within us all is an enlightening glimpse at the massive potential inherent to each and every one of us. Let’s not ignore something so powerful, and something so pure – it is a signpost to everything we are, and everything we can be.

 

Entitlement – Good or Bad?

Entitlement is a tricky subject these days, and it’s a word that often comes with negative connotations and pre-conceptions. Should a sense of entitlement be encouraged in children? What is the difference between someone with an attitude of entitlement, and someone without?

On the face of it, I would guess that most of you would associate the nurturing of entitlement in people negatively. We tend to think of entitled people as those who feel, act and live as if the World owes them something – as if they are born into this place automatically entitled to all the privileges life has to offer, without putting in any of the effort required to earn those privileges.

That, however, is a drastic oversimplification of the subject.

You see, entitlement can absolutely be a positive attribute in any person, but it relies on that sense of entitlement being nurtured in the correct way in order for it to be a positive attribute. You see, whereas believing you are entitled to privileges such as material possessions, a certain number of holidays a year or the undivided attention of your peer group with no consideration to earning those things or the effect such a sense of entitlement can have on those around you, it is imperative to success that everyone demonstrates a level of entitlement towards their lives.

If you don’t believe you are entitled to be successful in your career, will you be? If you don’t believe you are entitled to answers when you pose legitimate and thoughtful questions, will you actively seek out the answers your heart desires? Honestly, you probably won’t, and that results in a catastrophic dumbing down of society as a whole.

Too much these days do I see people who are all too willing to just accept the status quo as being the only version of reality available to them, instead of adopting an attitude of entitlement with regards to their intrinsic ability to shape their reality as they see fit. In order to achieve anything in life, we must first move to a space internally where we believe in our own capability, and in our inherent right to live the best life possible. But that takes work.

This is very different to the feeling of entitlement that disposes a person to believe that everything they want in life should be handed to them on a plate, and instead fosters a strong sense of self-belief that provides unwavering motivation and determination which propels us towards the achievement of our dreams and goals.

This is the main difference between the children of poor and middle class people, and wealthy people. Regardless of innate ability, the main determining factor of success in children is what social class they are born into. This may be hard to swallow for a lot of people, but extensive studies have shown this to be more true than most of us would like to believe.

The reason? Entitlement, or, practical intelligence.

One study followed children and parents of different socioeconomic backgrounds in an attempt to ascertain what the main factors were that determined success, and found that although children from poor families were better at being more independent, children from wealthier families were actively taught entitlement – they are encouraged to speak up if they are unhappy, and so develop a powerful ability to shape their environment to suit their needs. Now, there’s nothing to say that this has to be done at the expense of anyone else (as is associated with the word ‘entitlement’ in the usual sense), and in doing so empowers children from wealthier families to speak up and fight for the things they want to achieve in life. This is why these children tend to thrive – they customise their environment to suit their needs, and to set themselves up for success.

Although children from poorer backgrounds tend to be more independent, they often receive less praise and attention, and this is critical in developing a mindset of success. They learn fortitude and mental strength that empowers them to deal with and accept their hardships for what they are, but never empowers them to stand up and expect better. It breeds the ‘it is what it is’ attitude, and this only serves to suffocate and stifle in the long term. As Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently puts it in his book ‘Outliers: The Story of Success‘:

“In today’s World, a sense of entitlement makes you more suited to success than a sense of constraint.”

Where wealthier parents have more resources and time at their disposal to help foster their children’s passions by joining them at multiple after-school clubs, introducing them to new activities and experiences that force them to push the bounds of their perceived limitations, and other such activities such as public speaking and mixing with powerful and influential people which require their children to face their fears and develop a resistance to intimidation, the converse is strikingly different. Children from poorer backgrounds are faced with an environment where their parents are absent due to the hard work and time it’s often necessary for them to put in to make ends meet, and so were too busy to help cultivate the skills in their children afforded to those from wealthier backgrounds.

This observation is supported by Terman’s study of his ‘Termites’ – a group of children who were identified as intellectual ‘outliers’ at an early age, and who were observed as they developed into maturity. Terman’s final observations of this group of supposedly ‘gifted’ children are revealing indeed – although all of the children in the group were identified as gifted, their intellectual capacity was not the defining factor of success.

Indeed, Terman and others believed that having identified the a group of children with outstanding intellectual abilities, the expectation was that they would all, for the most part, excel in being high achievers – however, this was not the case. In fact, the results across the group of ‘Termites’ was mixed. So what was the determining factor? Class.

Even across a group of intellectually gifted children, it was found that those who came from wealthier backgrounds were much more likely to be successful in their lives and achieve great things, whereas those from poorer backgrounds achieved somewhat mediocre results, with some ending up in the clutches of addiction and squaller. It seems the defining factor was the way their parents showed up in their lives, and where the children from wealthier backgrounds had the resources and encouragement to develop a mindset of success, the children from poorer backgrounds were lacking in such qualities of mind despite being more independent.

As controversial as this conclusion may be, it’s hard to argue with the results of the various studies examining the subject. It’s something we should all take very seriously if we have our children’s best interests at heart, as I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all want the best for our kids, and we want them to have the level of success in their lives that they deserve – and every child deserves to be successful.

Really, it’s all down to mindset, and as parents and teachers we play such a profoundly important role in the development of our children’s thought processes. I honestly believe that 80% of everything is psychology, and only 20% the mechanics, and this holds true on the subject of success as it does in all walks of life.

The environment we build and perpetuate for our children has a massive effect on how they think about themselves and their World, and it’s potently important that we take such studies with more than just a pinch of salt. There is quite obviously a great divide between those who end up successful in life, and those who do not, and the only way we can hope to bridge that gap is by looking honestly at the facts, making a concerted effort to understand the things that make the difference in our lives, and the lives of our children.

In conclusion, it isn’t as easy as adopting the mindset that entitlement is a negative quality, and there’s a strong argument for fostering entitlement in our children – but in the right ways. Teach them to question authority, but balance that with a lust for learning through an inquisitive mind and a deep level of respect for their fellow human beings. Teach them to speak up when they are not happy with something, but balance that with an understanding that life isn’t always fair, and the trials and tribulations we face throughout our lives are a necessary and important part of the path to success in anything we do.

In understanding the social and environmental constraints we put on ourselves and those around us, we can provide the best of both Worlds for ourselves and our children – the strength and independence demonstrated by those from poorer backgrounds, and the success mindset able to stand up to their fears and challenge the status quo that ultimately allows us to evolve and grow as a race. Both are so important, and helping our children to develop with both in balance is one of the most valuable gifts we can give them as teachers, mentors and leaders.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

– Neale Donald Walsch

As nice as it is to be warm, safe and comfortable, are they states that benefit us? Yes and no. In times of recovery, rest and recuperation, the luxury of being in a state, place or environment that facilitates, and even radiates, comfort, warmth and safety is absolutely beneficial for us, but we must not forget that we must first have reason to require time for rest in order to recover and recuperate.

If we need to recover from something, I think we can all agree that the something in question must have been an activity or situation that was either stressful, challenging or in some way outside of your ‘comfort zone’. That could be psychological or physiological; stressors followed by recovery is an important cycle for the optimal health of both.

Rest and recovery is great because it’s when we use what we’ve experienced to build our bodies and minds, and ultimately to grow in some way or other. But without this rest being preceded by some sort of effort, a source of stress on either the body or the mind, there is nothing to recover from, and so no recovery takes place. It is just rest. Rest for what sake? Everything has a purpose in life, and rest is important for recovery from stressful experiences or situations. Without this rest has no purpose and so becomes devoid of value and even detrimental to our health.

Perpetual rest is stillness. What else do we know of that is still with no purpose? Dead things. Cold things. Lifeless things. Movement is life – the more you move your body the more alive you feel, the more energy you have and the more powerful you are to take life by the reigns.

Yes, rest has it’s place, but it must be a balanced equation. You are either growing or you’re dying – you’re either building muscle through hypertrophy, or losing muscle through atrophy; there’s no middle ground. Growth is the only way to stay alive, because it keeps you moving forward.

That’s why it’s so important to have the courage to step outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Try new things, immerse yourself in new experiences, and visit new places. Always have an open mind and you’ll be amazed at the things you learn from the opportunities that come your way. When we are open to what life has to offer, we allow ourselves to see the abundant opportunity all around us.

Discomfort is a powerful catalyst for growth, and I urge you to harness it. Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, do something that scares the shit out of you. Write down how it feels, and what you learn about yourself in the process. This is all about introspection, and self-analysis – the better you know yourself, the better you will both understand and command your World.

The more you do things the perpetuate growth like this, the more you will find your capacity for everything in life grows. The more you expand your experiences and understanding of yourself and the World around you, the more your comfort zone will expand and the more people and opportunities you will welcome into your field of view.

If you do the things you have always done, you will get the results you have always got. If you’re happy with where you are right now, then I congratulate you – you’re doing great. However, if you’re not so happy with where you are right now then it’s time to start thinking about doing some things differently. Start going to some different places, with some different people and having some different experiences to expand your World view and open yourself to a new way of seeing and being that better serves you.

Remember, fear never goes away for any of us, but the definition of courage is to act in spite of fear. So I challenge you to be courageous – you’re life depends on it.

Everything I See Is A Reflection Of Me

As I look out on the World as I journey through life, and as the World pours into me, I am acutely aware that my perception is but a projection of myself upon my environment. The information comes in, mixes with my filters, biases and rule sets, and then gets spat back out by it’s creator under the guise of representing reality.

This holds true for each and every living creature in existence, and so you have to ask – what is reality?

We tend to think of reality as something fixed – a string of moments flowing along the space-time continuum, the parameters of which defined by strict rules, principals and expectations. But, it would seem more plausible to think of reality as being more flexible, dynamic and diverse.

Each and every person’s version of reality is different, and the reality defined by a human being is a lot different to that of a cat or a fish. For all these different experiences to co-exist in harmony as they do must require that reality be extremely diverse in nature, flexible in it’s manifestation and something not quite as solid and definable as we might otherwise like to believe.

We should be mindful of this as we move through our lives.

When we encounter others who do not meet our standards or who do not deliver on our expectations, it’s very easy to get caught in the trap of believing that it is the other person who is at fault, rather than taking some time to be a little more introspective and seeking out the real reason for the failed communication.

If you are struggling to get through to someone, the first thing most people might assume is that the person listening to the explanation lacks the intelligence to understand it. Whereas that might be true, it is always the obligation and responsibility of the person explaining a new concept, theory or skill to explain and teach it in such a way that it is easily understood and remembered by the student.

You might not think of yourself as a teacher, but we are all teachers in life. We teach others through our actions and by our example both consciously and unconsciously, and it is the latter we must strive to be most mindful of. Often, people remember things from their childhood which are extremely emotionally significant for them, and that shaped the way they viewed the World from the moment onwards, but that the other person involved can’t even remember years later because the event had no emotional significance to them. This is particularly relevant in parent-child relationships. As parents, we must always be mindful of the potential effect of the things we say, and the behaviours we demonstrate in their presence. Even the smallest of things, can have a transformationally profound effect on young minds.

Each and every one of us has within us a wealth of things that others would find value in learning. We teach others every day when we interact with them through the course of living our lives, by effecting their experiences and altering their perceptions and interpretations of their immediate World space. Be mindful of how much power you have over others. Choose a positive, strong state, and wake up each and every day with so much purpose and passion it’s all you can do to stop yourself from bursting out and showering the World in light.

Purpose and passion – two excellent reasons to be alive.

What does the way you see your World and use those things to shape your reality say about you? What is your reflection showing you?

Pain or Pleasure?

There are two prime movers in life that provide motivation to change where we are, and improve our position towards avoiding one, and moving towards the other; enter pain and pleasure. But, which is the more powerful motivating force in our lives?

“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”

– Tony Robbins

Ultimately, it comes down to these two things, and these two things alone. What are the sources of pain in our lives? These are the things we are motivated to move away from. Anything that causes us pain, will be a motivator for some sort of change in our lives as the only way to move away from a present source of pain is for it to be not so present anymore. If we change who are, who we associate with and how we behave then are able to facilitate changes in ourselves, and thus our lives, which reduces the amount of pain we feel.

Equally as important and motivating (especially for the male species it seems) is the desire to move towards experiences and behaviours that give us pleasure. Any experience that increases happiness, fulfilment or love in life is going to act as a powerful force pulling us towards more of the same. Who doesn’t want more pleasure in their lives, right?

But here’s the thing; are the two really equal in their power over us? Surprisingly, no.

“People will do more to avoid pain than they will do to gain pleasure”

– Tony Robbins

It seems pain is a much more powerful agent for change than gaining pleasure – something Tony has noticed after working with millions of people over the course of his career in coaching people to ultimate personal success. Increase someone’s level of pain they feel around something they’re not happy with in their life and they’re considerably more likely to make the changes necessary, and more importantly to embed those changes as a new way of live, than they are if they were to attempt to motivate themselves with the promise of pleasure as a reward for changing.

There are a few reasons for this, and it makes sense when you think about it. Firstly, if you’re in a position where you are feeling deep pain it’s like being in an oven turned up to maximum heat. You will do anything to stop the pain because it’s very real in the here and now. The alternative you’re trying to move towards might not even be pleasure, but just a more benign state that is more bearable than the searing heat of your current situation. In a state of pain, the here and now is far from comfortable, and this is a huge motivating factor.

Conversely, if the level of pain is more bearable, and you are attempting to motivate change by focusing on the pleasure of achievement, of reaching your goals, then your here and now is a lot more comfortable. Sure, it would be great to lose that weight, or to get a better job that you enjoy more, but that seems like a lot of work compared with the relative comfort of your present position. When the current level of pain is tepid, the motivation to get off your arse and do what needs to be done can wane quickly, like water through a sieve. Comfort is a dangerous animal, and we should all take great care to not spend too much time there – when we’re comfortable, we aren’t capable of achieving our greatest potential for personal and professional growth.

“In this World you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow”

– Lou Holtz

In the words of T. Harv Eker; you have to grow you comfort zone to grow your money zone. This is true in all walks of life; you don’t grow a muscle without first stressing it through exercise, and pushing it to the limits of it’s capability. You don’t improve your VO2 Max or marathon time without stressing your cardiovascular system and pushing it to it’s limits on a regular basis. Stress is the prime mover for growth, whether it’s physical stress to strengthen the body, or psychological stress to strengthen the fortitude of the mind. Just take a look around you, look deeply at the World and you will see this law of nature all around you as you start to notice the mechanics of life.

This is why so many people talk about wanting to change – and they really do want to change – but never actually do. It’s because they’re too comfortable where they are, and although they aren’t happy with their situation, they aren’t in enough pain to get the motivation required to take action and make the changes they need in their lives. A typical example is someone who complains constantly about their work life; they hate their job, their boss is an arsehole and the office politics are unbearable. Yet, those same people are still in the same situation after years of suffering because they are too comfortable. They might hate their jobs, but they make excuses like; I have a family to feed, I have a mortgage, I have obligations and commitments, and that’s why I am stuck where I am.

Bullshit. You’re stuck where you are because ever day you wake up and make a conscious choice to stay in a life you despise. Take some responsibility, own your life and your decisions, because no one is holding a gun to your head. You and you alone are the sole person who has made all the choices in your life, and if you haven’t then you have let others make your choices for you – which is still you making a choice to abdicate from making your own choices.

I’ve been that person, so I speak from first hand experience.

So, if you are not happy with some aspect of your life you need to make the experience more painful. Take that pain dial and turn it up to 11! Trying to coax yourself to change by dangling the carrot of pleasure is unlikely to have the motivational power required to make the significant changes in life that can really move the needle in your level of happiness and fulfilment. Instead, step into the pain of where you are and amplify it. A great exercise you can practice to do this is to meditate on the things that you’re not happy with in your life, and imagine traveling through time into your future – 5 years, then 10 years, then 20 years…. and see yourself and your life as it will be if you don’t make the changes you need to make in your life. What have you lost? What opportunities did you miss? What does it feel like to deal with that level of pain and despondency for all those years? How bitter have you become as a result of your resentment and low self-esteem? As you move years into your hypothetical future amplifying those feels and seeing all the negative effects not changing has had on you, your loved ones and your life as a whole, a determination builds up in you like no other. When the pain is so great from being fully aware and present in how your lack of action will manifest in your life years from now, you will also find an overwhelming motivation to get in motion and start doing things differently. From that state, go back to the present and commit fully to making the changes you need to make in your life – the pain from your current path now being so great that staying there is unbearable, and moving away from it is a must. See how those changes play out in your life, and feel all the rewards, happiness and fulfilment they will bring you over the coming weeks, months and years. The more present you can be throughout this exercise, the more potent the experience will be.

This is such a powerful method for combining the power of both pain and pleasure as agents for change. It’s an experience I have personally been through, and I can tell you it was a like a roundhouse kick to the face in waking me up and getting me making the changes I needed to make in my life.

Amazing things happen when you stand up and take ownership of your choices in life – doors open that you never knew existed and everything starts to come together. Is it easy? Fuck no. Remember what this blog is about? You NEED discomfort to grow! You need pain because it is a powerful prime mover. We are all going to feel both pleasure and pain in our lives no matter what decisions we make, because we can’t get it right all the time. That being the case, we need to learn how to make the pain and pleasure we experience work to serve us and build our character.

Pain and pleasure are both wonderful teachers, and they each teach very different subjects. The lessons taught by painful experiences cannot be taught by pleasurable experiences, and vice versa. We need both to grow, and to live in harmony and balance. That can be a hard thing to accept, especially with some of the decadence and brutality we see in the World, but in accepting this we allow ourselves to take back control of our lives and our destiny.

Life doesn’t happen to you, life happens for you.

The Entrepreneur Revolution

Today’s post is inspired both by the conversations I’ve been having with other business owners and entrepreneurs over the last few weeks, and by the inspiring book by Daniel Priestley – Entrepreneur Revolution: How to develop your entrepreneurial mindset and start a business that works. It’s an excellent read, filled with inspiring and thought provoking insights into the emerging world of entrepreneurs.

Obviously, entrepreneurial types have been around for as long as social groups have existed, so the existence of such people in the world should come as no surprise. However, we are now witnessing an acute landscape of change, and one in which the entrepreneurial mindset is not only fertile, but also increasingly more necessary.

Jason Silva made an interesting point in a recent interview with BUILD in New York City when he talked about how the rate of change in the world, like technology, is increasing exponentially. That means there is more change happening at a faster pace now than ever before, and it is getting faster and time moves on. The result of this has found us standing on the precipice of a serious paradigm shift. Right now, at this point in time, the rate of change in the world has increased to the point at which that process of change is now noticeable across one human lifetime, and this has never before been the case.

Sure, there have been major catastrophic events that have caused mass extinctions and had a major affect on the flora and fauna of the Earth, but I am talking about the rate of progress and that’s completely different. I’m talking about the progress we are making in our technological advances, the progress we are making in medicine and understanding the laws that govern life on this planet and beyond, and the progress we are making in understanding the universe we live in and how we relate to each other on an energetic level.

And so here on the precipice we stand. What lies ahead, we can only begin to imagine – but it’s so important we take that jump. In fact, we no longer have the choice. The momentum we have built to this point will push us through and into our next phase of existence as a race. These are exciting times, as this has massive potential to be a very positive shift for us spiritually and culturally.

Even our parents didn’t grow up in a world where the rate of societal change was so profound, and maybe this goes some way to explaining why they can sometimes so easily be left dazzled by the onslaught of the technological world the now engulfs us. Maybe is goes some way to help explain why they struggle to let go, when by comparison the younger generations adapt to change as easily as a leaf shifts it’s flight path in a gust of wind.

My generation and younger have grown up with this level of change – we grew up with it, watching it mutate and transform the world around us, even as we ourselves transform from babies, to teenagers, to adults. We have lived this pace every second of our lives; it’s part of us, and it even helped to shape who we have grown up to be, as it will for every generation that follows.

This observation blew me away, as it makes so much sense.

Relating this to business, it tells us that there is no longer any space in the market for company’s who wish to find a niche and rest on their laurels, failing to adapt and grow with the market place. This is where modern entrepreneurs thrive. They move at a fast pace and they are always thinking 10 steps ahead of where they are, with clear vision and passion driving them to get to where they need to be. Standing on the verge of a major paradigm shift, with change the only thing in life that comes with a 100% guarantee, now is the time of entrepreneurs.

This position is further compounded by the exponential advancement of technology – specifically, automated robotics. Make no mistake, technology is decimating the jobs market and it will continue to do so at an ever increasing rate over the coming months and years.

Elon Musk has recently been in the news speaking of his advocation for a basic minimum financial allowance for everyone on the basis of the same argument. With the way that technology is evolving, and the speed at which advances are being made, it isn’t going to be long before most service and engineering jobs are fulfilled by machines. Robots already build our vehicles, and we are already serving ourselves via supermarket ‘self-service’ checkouts. That time is all but here. Ask yourself – could your job be done more cost effectively and more efficiently by a machine utilising technology that exists today? For a lot of people, the answer will be a resounding yes.

So, what does this mean for the jobs market?

In my opinion, it will result in an inevitable shift of focus to creative pursuits and will therefore result in more innovation at an exponential rate. If people aren’t able to take the millions of jobs they currently utilise for income because those jobs are now taken by machines, then what will they do? Become entrepreneurs that have the freedom and time to perpetually innovate, dream and speculate. Can you imagine the power of an intelligent species that has taken care of everyday needs through the development and implementation of advanced technology, and who therefore has ever waking hour to think about, plan and take acton on making the world a better place and exploring the expanses of the universe?

It’s a powerful vision at the very least.

Who knows what the future holds in store for us, but given the way the landscape looks right now, I would say that the age of the entrepreneur is well and truly upon us.

It’s time to start thinking a little differently, and, as Daniel Priestley would say, it’s time to make a Dent

Take Responsibility for Where You Are

“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life”

– Hal Elrod

One of the biggest societal challenges we face in this modern, often faceless, digital World is a complete lack of accountability. This is mainly the result of a lot of people in society – I would argue most from my own personal experience – being completely unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, their decisions and actions, and ultimately taking every opportunity to blame external forces as a way of explaining away the point at which they find themselves in their lives, and why they aren’t where they want to be.

These people are lying to themselves.

I tend to hear the same old excuses time and time again – I don’t have time, I can’t afford it, I’m not qualified, I haven’t got the right education, I don’t know the right people.

All nothing more than excuses, and when you hear someone speak in this way it’s usually the first tell tale sign that they are ignorantly drifting through life on a whim and a prayer whilst blaming others for their misfortunes or lack of opportunity. For goodness sake, please don’t be one of those people.

Do you think you would hear those excuses from someone society would deem to be classed as ‘successful’? No chance.

You have the same number of hours available to you each day as Richard BransonElon Musk and Warren Buffet. You don’t need money to make money, so ‘I can’t afford it’ is not a valid excuse – Robert Kiyosaki and his wife started with nothing, living out of a beaten up old car for weeks when they first started their journey as entrepreneurs, and yet they are now multi millionaires with international businesses that help educate people worldwide. Besides, most people who use the excuse of having no money usually still spend money on liabilities that they don’t need (like the latest technological gadgets, and generally bigger and better material belongings) so it’s more a case of their operating on a values hierarchy that is out of alignment with their desired outcome. If someone values partying at the weekend more than investing in their future then they won’t ever have any money spare to invest in themselves because that isn’t a high enough priority in their values hierarchy (yet they still complain at every opportunity about how life isn’t fair and the system is out to get them).

Don’t get me wrong, there are most certainly many underprivileged people in the world – even today in the 21st century – and for clarity, I am not talking about these people (though the same principals can apply, just in vastly different circumstances and at a different scale). I’m talking about the guy down the street who earns £60,000 a year and still complains that he doesn’t have enough money, that he hates his job and that there’s nothing he can do about it because the system has him held to ransom. I’m talking about the people who complain that immigrants are taking all their jobs leaving their landscape of opportunity a barren waste land of hopelessness and despair, whist simultaneously denouncing those same immigrants for sapping the country through their unjust benefit claims. Well, which is it – are they stealing our jobs or sucking the country’s benefits system dry and sending all the money overseas? When you hear someone making claims such as these, it’s an early warning sign that whoever you’re talking to is desperately grasping at any excuse they can find to explain why they’re not responsible for the situation they are in.

The sad thing that people with such attitudes seem to fail to realise is that by taking this approach – that being the approach of blaming everyone but yourself for your failings and shortcomings – they are disempowering themselves, and removing their control over the direction their lives are taking. These people are not directing their own lives – their lives are directing them. They believe that in order to be happy they have to control things that cannot be controlled – like other people behaviour – rather than seeing that the only person they need to master control over is themselves. This is a surefire way to leave yourself feeling like a victim of life’s whims, with no way to change anything in your life for the better. Hell, most people have never even given any thought to where they want to be or what their end goal is, so how on Earth do they expect to get to a destination, or travel a life path, that leaves them happy and fulfilled when they don’t know what makes them happy and fulfilled? Most people understand that if you get in your car without knowing where you’re going you’re unlikely to get to a destination you find desirable – you’ll get to a destination, but without the proper route planning it’s pot luck as to whether you end up somewhere you want to be or not. Unfortunately, this is how most people seem to be living their lives – no direction, no responsibility and no congruent focus.

I cannot control what others say to me, but I can control what I say to others. I cannot control the economy, but I can control my investments in a way that evolves as the markets evolve, I cannot change a bank’s decision to reject an application for a loan but I can control my thinking in such a way that I allow myself to consider what other options are available thus increasing my resourcefulness and therefore increasing the resources available to me. I cannot control the way things are in the World, but I can control my perception of those those things and make an effort to learn something from each situation that allows even the biggest challenges and setbacks to add value to my life. Focus on controlling what you can and being aware of and learning from the rest, rather than focusing on the things you can’t control and allowing those things to define you.

Do you see now how ridiculous it is to blame circumstances outside your control for what you perceive as your life’s shortcomings? The first step to changing this is to accept the things you cannot change and have the courage to change the things you can. It is the realisation that although you have no control over what life throws at you, you have every control over how you react to it. For example, if someone verbally insults you then you have a choice; you can’t change that fact that someone has verbally insulted you, but you can decide how you react to it and thus whether you give that event any power over your life. You could choose to get really upset and return some verbal abuse of your own, and then spend the rest of the day complaining to everyone you see about how vile people are and how the youth of today are moronic thugs. You could pick the victim mentality, and ask self-defeating questions like, ‘why do people hate me?’, ‘why can’t I even walk down the street without people hurling abuse at me?’, and ‘this always happens to me’. self-deprecation gets us nowhere, and has an immense power to instantly put you in one of the most unresourceful states imaginable. When this happens, we find ourselves with a lack of resources and therefore do not have the tools we need to achieve the results we desire.

Read that last bit again, but backwards; we aren’t getting the results we desire, because we don’t have the tools to achieve those results, and we don’t have the tools because we chose to react negatively to an externally driven situation and put ourselves in an unresourceful state.

An example of how we might be unresourceful following the example detailed above, is that because of our negative self talk we have put ourselves in a depressed state where we feel valueless. This results in a lack of focus on the things that are important to us, and we don’t get the results we want because we have failed to focus on the things that will get us those results – we were too busy focusing on the negative event of earlier that day, allowing it to negatively shape our thoughts, degrade our view of our own self-worth and infect every action that followed by diverting our focus and attention away from what’s important to us. Successful people realise that when that happens it’s because of a choice they made and they take responsibility – not only that, but they are highly self-aware and because they have taken responsibility they empower themselves to make the necessary changes in their life to grow from the experience and to do better next time. Unsuccessful people blame others, and as a result give themselves no opportunity to learn from the experience and grow from it emotionally. What they fail to see is that it is they who have taken away their own opportunity for growth!

Conversely, someone who gives no power to negative events, but instead makes every effort to see the lesson in them, no matter how hard that may be sometimes, will keep their focus on what’s important to them and will realise a level of personal growth incomparable to those who choose to adopt the ‘victim’ mentality. Those who keep their focus on the things that empower them and add value to their lives and the lives of others, whilst being aware of and learning the lessons from the challenges they face along the way, are the ones who have the most resources available to them because they make a conscious effort to exist in a resourceful state. These people don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking – they kick the door in and introduce themselves. They don’t wait for or expect someone else to make them happy of fulfilled – they see the best in everyone, take the best from every experience, and take responsibility for their own happiness and fulfilment in life. After all, allowing your happiness to be dependant on the whims of others or other external factors is a surefire way to completely give away any control you might otherwise have, leaving yourself powerless to live the life you truly want.

No one can change a challenge into an opportunity if they don’t first take personal responsibility for their lives. How can you expect to solve a problem if you don’t know there is even a problem in the first place? Be honest with yourself – it will pay dividends in the long run.

It has been a long hard road for me, and the challenges will never end, yet I take responsibility for everything in my life; good and bad. I understand that no matter what life throws at me, it is always an opportunity to learn something and to use that new knowledge to be a better person, and to give myself better tools with which to leverage my life and give me the resources I need to reach my desired outcomes. This approach to life is what gives me the ability to continuously build and adapt my own personal road map for success.

We each need our own road map, and we are each responsible for building our own from our dreams, experiences and values. I am a huge advocate of modelling successful people (a concept first introduced to me by the infamous Tony Robbins) but we are all individuals in this world and so although it is important to model others who already have a proven model for getting to where we want to be, it is also imperative to adapt the models of others in accordance with your own experiences and values so as to evolve what you learn into a road map for success that’s personalised for you as an individual. This is something I have been studying fervently for the last 4 years, and I can help you do the same. The effect that living in this way has had on my life has been nothing short of astounding – I am a million miles from the person I was even a year ago and not because I have changed as such, but because I have taken the best bits of who was an evolved them into being even better whilst taking the bits I wasn’t happy with and evolving them into things that work for me rather than against me.

The first step is the hardest part, but it’s the best thing you’ll ever do and once you see the results, you’ll never look back.

Take responsibility for where you are, and then take responsibility for getting to where you want to be. All it takes is a choice – everything starts in your head, and where most people fail is getting their dreams and ideas out of their heads and into reality.

If you want help getting your dreams out of your head and onto an achievable personalised roadmap to get you on the path to achieving your dreams and goals you can e-mail me at littlegreyjk@gmail.com or fill out the contact form below for a no obligation consultation.

Financial Wealth: What, How & Why

On the back of Tony Robbins releasing his latest book Unshakeable: Your Guide to Financial Freedom, I want to talk a bit about how my philosophy on financial wealth has evolved over the last couple of years and my current view on why building personal wealth is so important.

We’re all aware (or at least should be) that there are many definitions of what wealth means to a person. There are many extremely wealthy people in the World who have very limited resources – for example, people who are blessed with the unwavering love of a family and support network yet barely scrape enough money together to pay the household bills each month. These people are emotionally wealthy, whilst being financially poor.

Accepting this, today’s focus is going to be around describing what financial wealth is, how it is generated and why it is important to build personal wealth in the first place.

First, some background.

Over the last 10 years I have managed to do a complete 360 on what money and financial wealth means to me, and how I leverage it in my life. When I was in my early 20’s I was playing in a rock band and living for the many and varied social experiences that provided for me. I was also hanging around with people who called themselves socialists, and who generally had a very dim view on money and the effect it has on people – in their eyes, and mine at the time, money was the source of all evil.

My view today couldn’t be more different and I wrote a full post describing my current view on money explaining how it is one of the most ingenious systems we have devised, with it having the power to harness the resources and will of an entire global species – it is the ultimate tool for progress and provides and incredible amount of leverage to get things done. What let’s it down is the people behind it – not the system itself. You can read more of my thoughts on the subject HERE.

Money often gets a bad name because of the unethical and dishonest intentions driving it. After all, it’s like any other tool – if it’s put in the wrong hands it can be extremely destructive. With a system or tool that possesses the insane amount of leverage that money commands, the downside has the potential to be as powerful as the upside. This is why, as we all know, it is so important to ensure the powerful systems we design are used correctly, and with the best of intentions. A bullet in a gun can either be used to kill food to feed your starving family, or it can be used to murder them – same tool, same level power/consequence, completely different outcome as a result of the different intentions driving it.

I hope you can see how ridiculous it is to blame money – or any other tool for that matter – for our short comings. It’s about time we take responsibility for ourselves, so we can harness the full potential power of the systems we’ve designed to effect massive evolution on our planet before it’s too late.

So, what is financial wealth?

Simply put, healthy financial wealth is when you stop working for money and start making your money work for you. Most of us are stuck in jobs that leave us feeling overworked, under-appreciated and under-paid. We have locked ourselves into this limiting pattern where we have convinced ourselves that our only options for increasing our personal wealth is to work harder, more often and for longer. Is it any wonder most people just accept their situation for what it is and make do? It doesn’t make sense to do more of what you hate to realise a relatively insignificant rise in personal income whilst in turn leaving you with less free personal time to enjoy the additional income. Besides, even earning hundreds of thousands per year through employed income would mean paying significant sums of money over to the tax man and you would still have to put most of that away to be able to have any hope of saving enough for retirement.

Financial wealth is a change in mindset from exchanging your time for money, to making your money generate income you can live off so you can focus your time and energy on leading a fulfilling life. The key to financial wealth is working less, not more!

Remember what ‘job’ stands for – ‘Just Over Broke’

Now I’m not saying you should go out and quit your job tomorrow, and neither am I suggesting that this path is any easier to walk than the job route, but the journey is rich with fulfilling experiences and can be extremely rewarding when you know what the rules are and how to play the game. For most people who don’t have rich parents or a nest egg of savings they can call on, a job will be necessary to fund the first few years of the wealth building process but it should only be seen as one of the many stepping stones to the attainment of financial freedom and as such, only temporary.

How can the average person achieve financial wealth?

Financial wealth, and ultimately freedom, is something that is an inalienable human right and that can be achieved by anyone in the western world who makes the effort to take the steps required of them. This involves learning the rules of the game, increasing your financial literacy and intelligence, and putting what you’ve learned into action.

Remember, knowledge is only potential power – real power is in putting that knowledge into action in your life.

In the beginning, I recommend reading a lot of books, watching a lot of on-line content and talking to knowledgable people who are already executing their plan to realise their own financial freedom (or even better, those who have already got there). I didn’t say it would be easy, and I certainly didn’t say it wasn’t going to take hard work and dedication – suck it up; if you want the life you’re dreaming of then you’re going to have to damn well work for it. This, and this reason alone, is why most people will never achieve financial freedom – they are lazy, comfortable and apathetic. These are the people who focus on wealth for the wrong reasons and who have no purpose behind their actions, as we shall discuss in more detail in the ‘why’ section that follows.

Building wealth starts with saving some money; remember, money is a tool with the power of leverage and as you will see, utilising as much leverage as your personal risk/reward plan allows is key to expediting the process of wealth building. The best way to save money is to open a separate account where it can be stored safely without getting mixed up with your personal family finances. It really doesn’t matter how much you save per week or month, just that you save something. Everyone can save something – even if that’s 50p a week in a jar on your bedroom windowsill. If you never start – even with saving relatively small amounts – you’re guaranteed to fail. By starting with even the smallest contribution to your fund, you are growing your financial freedom fund every day/week/month/year and as it starts to grow in value, so does the power of leverage you are able to command.

Once you have a pot of money – whether it’s a few hundred or a few thousand – you need to start thinking about shifting your focus on how you can start making that pot of money generate income for you. There are many ways to do this, and my top five are listed below:

  1. Investing in the stock market – Tony Robbins recommends a well balanced portfolio of index funds to keep fees and costs to a minimum and to achieve market based returns
  2. Investing in commodities like Gold and Silver – commodities like gold and silver should be, in my opinion, part of any sensible investors portfolio for the simple reason that as the stock market goes down, commodity prices rise and vice versa providing a level of security against such bearish markets
  3. Investing in property for capital gains – there are two property investment strategies, and this is one of them; it should be noted that there is no guarantee that property prices will continue to rise, though overall they do tend to follow a similar sort of pattern to the stock market – although it does regularly crash, the floor it hits is usually higher than the floor it hit during the previous bearish period and it usually returns to strength hitting new all time highs. This being the case, and as with stock market holdings, investors should be prepared to hold their investment interests for long periods in order to realise the best returns. Be warned though that profits from gains will be subject to CGT and this should be accounted for when calculating your potential returns
  4. Investment in property for cash flow – this is my preferred property investment strategy and is not concerned with repaying the principal loan of a given property resulting in an increased cash flow from rent due to utilising the leverage of interest only mortgage repayments. The amount of leverage it is possible to utilise in these types of property investments can be insane when structured correctly, and can be a very lucrative source of increased personal cash flow. Buy to let mortgages are assessed on the ability of the property in question to generate roughly 1.25x the monthly mortgage repayment, and so in theory there is no limit to how many properties you can structure under this arrangement within reason and assuming you manage your portfolio effectively. A small portfolio of 10 or so rental properties realising a couple of hundred pounds in additional cashflow each month is going to get you to a point whereby your living expenses are covered by your passive income relatively quickly and is not subject to the same volatility as the stock market or ‘flipping’ properties – in fact, in difficult financial times, rental demand tends to increase and so rental property investments are extremely good at weathering the storm of a financial crisis… so long as the bank doesn’t pull the rug out from underneath you
  5. Start a business – this one by far is going to take the most amount of time and effort and so should not be considered lightly. On average 400,000 businesses are incorporated each year in the UK alone, and of these 20% will no longer be around after 1 year. 50% will have failed within the first 3 years. Again, the reason behind this shocking level of failure is that the people starting these businesses often don’t do what is required to really set themselves up for success. They don’t embark on the journey of learning the new skills required to set themselves up for success, and thus the pitfalls of business eventually catch them out along the way and force the closure of their baby. Owning your own business can be an excellent investment if you put the effort into it, as you are investing in something in which you have a legal insiders view that you have significant control over – there is no such thing as a risky investment, just risky uneducated investors. Whether you build your business to provide regular income, to solve a need (such as a property management business to manage your investment property portfolio) or to eventually sell for billions it can be a fantastic way to build long term wealth

Anyone can incorporate their own business, save a few quid a week towards their wealth building fund and invest their money in accessible ways that will begin the process of making their money work for them rather than the other way around. All it takes is the desire for something better, and the willingness to learn.

But, why?

Ah, the million dollar question.

I’m sure most of you are expecting the following answer at this point; you should focus on building personal wealth so you can be comfortable in life, provide for your family, have a life rich with experiences of all shapes and sizes and not have to waste your time going to work every day for a boss you despise.

Well, yes but that answer only focuses on the effect increased personal financial wealth will have on you and your immediate family. Although these are excellent reasons which should not be discounted, and that I’m sure highly motivating, I have a much better one.

We all have an obligation to build personal financial wealth to the point where we all have financial freedom not because of what that freedom means for us but because of what that freedom means for what we are then able to give back to the World around us.

Money is a tool which provides a powerful leverage over the World we live in. We have a duty to ensure that there are more good people wielding that kind of leverage than bad people in the World, and that we use the leverage we hold power over to consciously go out and make a difference in people’s lives. I have met so many millionaires over the last few months and there are two things that consistently amaze me – how much of a difference they are personally making to the underprivileged and under resourced people in the World, and how little we hear about it in the media.

If it bleeds, it leads. Rich people building schools and wells in Africa who bypass the system of charity organisations because they want to make sure 100% of their money goes to the cause as opposed to being swallowed up by the operating costs of some not-for-profit doesn’t sell newspapers or hook people into news shows. It’s a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. These people are not interested in fame or fortune – they are interested in, and solely focused on using their power of leverage to change the World for the better.

This is why YOU have a duty to become financially free and to build your own personal wealth. The Governments of the World are part of the problem, on average only 8-10% of the money you donate to charity actually makes it’s way to the front line, and most people are too lazy and comfortable in their sheltered existence to give a shit. If you truly want to see a better World then you have an obligation to get up off your arse and start being the change you want to see – if you want to see a World filled with people who are financially free, living their dreams and furthering the evolution of the human species, then step up – change starts at home. Lead by example, show others the limits they’ve previously imposed on themselves are a choice, and light the way by using the leverage you empower yourself with to help build a World where everyone is afforded a basic standard of living.

If that’s not something worth building wealth for, then I don’t know what is. The personal benefits are just a pleasant side effect.

Thank you for reading, and I hope my words have helped you think about wealth and money in a slightly different way. This can be a particularly emotive topic for some people, and I would like to encourage active discussion in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if this has changed how you think about money in your life I’d love to hear how.

If you would like to discuss any of the subjects in today’s post in more depth, or discuss strategies you can implement in your life to set yourself up for success, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at littlegreyjk@gmail.com – I am in the process of launching a coaching service around business, health and personal development and would love to hear from you.

Have a fantastic day!

Are You Being Honest With Yourself?

Pain is a common experience in life; one that we will all have to deal with at some point or other for a multitude of different reasons.

Pain is a symptom of some underlying cause – no one in history has woken up one and being in physical or emotional pain for no reason. There’s always a catalyst. Physical pain is usually the result of physical damage to your physical being; your body. Whether it’s cut and bruises or a broken arm, damage to your physical self will result in a pain signal being generated which triggers a heightened awareness of the damaged area (as well as notifying you that potentially serious damage has been caused) and kicks various bodily processes into gear to begin repairing the damage.

Emotional – or mental – pain is no different.

When we find ourselves experiencing emotional pain, it too is a symptom with an underlying issue as it’s cause. Whilst we are usually aware of this fact, we tend to only scratch the surface in our analysis of the problem. For example, I may be angry (anger, depression, anxiety, jealousy, envy as all forms of emotional pain – categorised as such because they are detrimental to both our mental and physical wellbeing) because of things said in an argument with someone close to me and my initial reaction would be to assess my anger as being the result of factors external to myself – the callous and untrue things the other person said to me in that argument. This though, is the first mistake.

Whenever we blame factors external to ourselves we immediately relinquish all control over the situation and our reaction to it to others – other people or other factors outside of our control. This immediately puts us into a completely unresourceful state by demanding that we adopt a victim mentality. You see this through all walks of life – if someone loses their job they blame the economy, if marriage breaks up each party more often than not blames the other, and if employees in your business fail to perform and deliver results then it’s their fault for being incompetent and lazy.

Taking this attitude is the fastest and surest way to guarantee repeated and perpetual failure; the result of which being a frustrating life filled with lack of direction and lack of fulfilment. After all, if you have given away control of your life to others by blaming everyone around you for your problems then how can you possibly hope to put yourself in a position to empower yourself to solve the challenges YOU face?

Another great example is when trying to explain someone to another person. The first reaction most people default to when trying to explain something the other person doesn’t understand is to blame them – we say things to ourselves like, ‘why is this person so stupid that they can’t grasp this simple concept?’. Notice that this again puts the blame onto the other party – but did you stop to consider that you had done a shit job of explaining it? It might make sense to you, but it’s your idea – if it doesn’t make sense to you then you shouldn’t even be talking about it outside the framework of speculation and philosophy! When we blame the other person, we end up putting ourselves in a position whereby we find ourselves banging our heads up against a brick wall as we get more and more frustrated with the other person for not understanding. This approach will more often end in a disagreement and bad feeling, and is therefore completely unproductive – even counterproductive.

However, when we shift the focus back to ourselves and take responsibility for not explaining the idea in a way that others can understand we immediately empower ourselves to do better in getting our message across. You see, you have no control over others – but you have every control over yourself (or at least you should be aiming to achieve this level of self control).

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!”

Take ownership. Take Responsibility. You and you alone are responsible for your life and how you deal with what it chooses to throw at you. There is value in everything, and it’s your job to find it.

It is this lack of ownership that causes people to experience emotional pain, and it’s a direct result of not being honest with yourself. In the example above, I am not being honest with myself if I blame the other person’s apparent stupidity before first looking within. I am relinquishing control over that element of my life to forces I have no control over because I am not being honest with myself about my ability to explain my idea. It’s the easy way out to blame others, it’s a lot hard to be introspective and self-critical in the way I have described. No one likes to admit fault or being wrong, yet it is one of the most important skills you can learn to set yourself up for massive success in life.

No matter what life throws at you, or what situations you find yourself in, it is so important to take ownership for how you got there in the first place to empower you and give yourself the tools you need to get the best out of each situation. You must be honest with yourself, as if you can do this consistently it will be sure to drastically reduce the amount of emotional pain you feel throughout life. When you feel emotional distress or pain, go deep. Go past the situation that appears to be the cause of the problem, and look at the underlying causes that sit behind it. Ask yourself, ‘am I being honest with myself about the details of this situation, and am I taking ownership of my role in this? Am I blaming others when I should be looking at how I could have handled that situation better?’

Life really is whatever we make it, but there is a level of ownership and responsibility that comes with learning how to build the lives we desire. Pain is a clue that there are things in your life that are out of alignment with your core values. It is a clear signal of a severe lack of congruence between the way you think a situation is and the way it actually is. With this in mind, use pain for the purpose it was designed for – to increase your introspective awareness of yourself and how you are interacting with your environment so you can take ownership and move forward. Pain is a clue, and a big red flag that most people fail to address because they have surrendered their power to do so to the situation itself. Take the hint, and look at yourself and the part you play more deeply.

So many people spend their lives looking outside themselves for the answers to their questions when all the answers they need they can find within themselves if they bother to look. It is in the ability to do this – be self-observant and introspective – where true personal power is realised, and this power potential exists in all of us. The only difference between us is our motivation to put feet to the dirt and ask the tough questions of ourselves to uncover and harness it in all it’s glory.

You might get away with lying to others, but you can never lie to yourself.

If you do one thing in life – be honest with yourself.