How to Think More Colorful

This was supposed to be a threesome, but it turned out as a wholesome!? 😉

Here we go:

I’m experiencing mood-swings at the moment between gratitude for being alive – especially (!) in those turbulent times (chaos makes me move…) – and between heavy anxiety and doom mood that is nagging my energy.

Oftentimes I am easily irritable. Other times I start laughing for no reason – for minutes… To me it sounds manic, but the fact that I can phrase it seems to display a decent level of emotional intelligence. (Even though, to be really honest with you, I am not sure anymore how much of an advantage that is, but probably I will figure it out on the way;)

During the night I’m grinding my teeth, because my stirred-up mind is strenuously “sorting things out”. (Without telling me what it is actually doing?!)

When I wake up I still feel the cortisol and adrenaline levels in my cells….. F*ck…. I don’t know about you, but to me the energies right now feel INTENSE – and my physical body responds alike.

I find release during the morning walks or during my casual little meditation in the early sun facing the urban greenery in the park nearby.

Yes, these are my tools.

But I can’t silence my mind forever…

On a lot of days the black and the white of my thinking is narrowing my field of view like stone walls in a dungeon.

In those moments I feel trapped.

“Just make your thinking colorful,” I figured the other day. But HOW?

This question was roaming in the back of my head for days.

I tend to think black and white a lot. When I really think about it, my thinking generally appears to be more black than white.

Luckily, there are mornings like this morning today….

At 8 am I went to this little post shop café a few streets away. I have never been there – until yesterday, when I forgot my ID-card that I needed to pick up the small parcel I was awaiting.

I had to return this morning, so I combined it with my little walk. And what can I say? Some small incidents renewed my energy!

“Buenos dias,” I greeted this South American man accompanied by his son and his dog at the traffic light of an intersection. Surprised they asked me for my name. We continued speaking in german.

“We are going to join a soccer game now. You should enjoy the sun today, too.” – “I will,” I replied with honest happiness radiating from my heart – and probably from my face.

Our paths split, but I continued walking with a smile on my face. A few meters ahead I met another man waving at me from the doorstep of his bar. A bar most people just pass by while I was strolling delightfully; occasionally gazing the environment. There was enough time for another friendly encounter. This time it was just a smile.

A few meters further I entered the post shop to successfully pick up the parcel – another two big smiles of the guy behind the counter and the woman in front of the coffee-machine that served me a taste “latte”.

I sat down in the fresh morning air, chatting with the man on the next table about this and that.

Do you know what? It made my day. This real-life connection to my surrounding. This appreciation of what is. This acceptance of where I am right now at this point in time.

“What if you were okay? What if you were where you are supposed to be at this point in time? What if you already are who you have desired to become for so long?”

These questions popped up in my head a couple of weeks earlier. They reappeared this morning.

I realized that I have colorful thoughts!

They are written in my notes. They are printed into my memory system. My head (and my notebook) is actually full of it. And I can create more of those thoughts just by acknowledging what is, just by witnessing my existence with all its appearances and by making the most of the tiniest moments….

Namaste.

 

How To Push Through Apathy

“Change doesn’t require motivation. It requires discipline.” I stumbled upon this quote by Mel Robbins and it hooked me. The past couple of weeks I have been struggling a lot – even though things are ‘getting better’ according to the general public, I have been confronted with a lot of anxiety, sadness and confusion.

Recently I have become impatient more often – not to say cranky, enraged or just plainly mad! Briefly: I’ve been doubting my sanity.

“How long can I handle this?” – It is easy to get stuck these days in a downward spiral.

On many occasions it was easier to not ‘do the work’. It was easier to blame the circumstances instead of taking responsibility for my own actions. But I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t find a way through…

What I learnt at the very beginning of the ‘pandemic’ (Or maybe even long before?) was that my mind doesn’t present answers to me that soothe the troubled waters of my psyche. 

My body does – if I listen. And my body wants to scream and shout a lot at the moment…

But yesterday my body forced me to move inward. It forced my heart to soften, my tears to clear the wounds that are flaring within me from the loss and the dissatisfaction of the past well over twelve months…

“Be the change, but be patient,” I recalled my own speech from the beginning of 2021. 

This morning I woke up at 6 am and I remembered: I have a choice. Either I seize the day, do my work, keep getting stronger. Or? Or what? There was no other option, but to move forward – to take another step.

Will my mental health become stable by itself? Hell, no! Will anybody apart from myself take care of my mental health? Probably not.

I got up, cleared my space and I went for a run. And no, I didn’t feel like it after a day of nearly only crying. But I knew that I had to do it in order to hold my head straight.

With every step my sight got clearer and the weight that I carried fell off my shoulders. By the time I reached the lake in the park close-by I had a smile on my face.

This threesome works as a reminder to myself. A commitment to my own power.

Writing it all down is my leap out of the apathy that I am facing right now.

So, how do I move through apathy?

1. Movement

Surprise, surprise. I get my body moving! “If you want to scream and shout. Dance it all out.” If you can motivate yourself to do one step, you can probably do the next one too. As soon as you start moving your body your muscles and all of your cells get flooded with oxygen, your breath gets deeper. The responses of your nervous system start to change and so does your way of thinking.

2. Do Things Differently

The other day we had no electricity at home (and in a big part of the city) and honestly: It was the best thing that could happen. It forced me to change my routine and to get out of my head (my computer). It forced me to change my perspective completely. “Let’s go and have breakfast,” I agreed with my partner and we left our ‘home office’ behind. It sounds like such a small incident, but it was a big thing as we were both suffering from some sort of cabin fever and inability to move on with our personal projects. Our cabin fever was gone. The phenomenon is called a pattern interrupt. 

3. Change Your Point of View

What paralyses you? What do you have to worry about right now? Is there truly something to worry about? Do you really have to take things personally? The other day I was paralyzed because of one message that I received. It triggered some painful memories inside of me. After a while I realized that I chose to take it personally. I can choose to step back. I understood that it is just words. They have nothing to do with me if I don’t make them about me.

 

How To Thrive In Times of Crisis?

I believe in miracles.

This year the universe conspired to an extent that I can’t simply call luck.

These days I’m blown away by the twists and turns that have occurred on my path.

My devotion to my personal journey is greater than ever.

My desire ‘to create’ is thrilling with a swooshing sound. There is this irrevocable force within myself that wants to express.

I don’t have the capacity anymore to carry out these patterns of self-doubt and hesitation.

I can see clearly now where my ‘shadow work’ of the past seven years had led me. (Nope, when I visited my first therapy session with a psychologist in 2013 I was not familiar with the term ‘shadow work’. But at this point I also didn’t know that I would actually find the answers in the corners where I want to search the least.)

Today I can see clearly in which areas I’m in need of support. I can see clearly in which areas of my life I have grown. I can see clearly where others could use my support.

It’s a process.

I can see clearly now that I have purpose.

This year was by far the most challenging year of my entire life. My mom got diagnosed with cancer. A relationship (I thought I was in) fell apart. This pandemic forced me to return home and explore my roots – radically.

I’m still searching for the words to describe what this journey looked like. As I’m aiming to finish this article (and eventually share some useful content) I won’t dive deep into it at this point.

I might have lost track for a while, but I have never lost hope. That’s what got me where I am now. Where am I? In a position that gives me the confidence to publish this here. And this already makes me proud of myself – for the very first time in a long time.

So. It is a pretty tough time for most of us. I’m speaking about ‘crisis’ from a existential point of view, but maybe you find some take-aways.

This is supposed to be a threesome;), but bullet point four is so important – I couldn’t leave it out.

1. Stick to Routines

…and if you can’t: Don’t be hard on yourself! Allow yourself some rest. Take a nap if you can or go for a little walk and just allow yourself a couple of minutes to breathe…

Take a step back and see, if there is anything else you can improve? And then find a different routine that might suit you better in your current situation. What do I mean by that? For example if you are suffering from a trauma it is very likely that you suffer from a temporary biochemical imbalance within your body. There is no point in trying to develop a rigorous productivity habit, while your body is in fight-flight-freeze mode.

The best thing you can do is attempting a routine that supports your physical body for example drinking enough water or meditating for five minutes in the morning or doing some stretching. Even the smallest goal will support you on your healing journey. How? Because you set an intention. And by setting an intention you are signaling to your subconscious that it is time for change.

2. Be Honest With Yourself

“You can’t change anything in a state of denial!” I don’t remember where I’ve heard this statement. Probably it was by Jeremy Goldberg from longdistancelovebombs. This is spot on and so my experience. The whole scope of ‘seeing things clear’ dawns me more and more every single day.

Acknowledge the crisis for what it is. No matter what you go through – is it a serious disease or a divorce. Be clear about the situation you are in and the challenges your are facing – even if you have to start your life from scratch. Sometimes you are being forces into change. Every new beginning also inherits a lot of opportunity to start things anew.

NO MATTER what you are suffering from – by being transparent with yourself about the blockages you are facing you are moving closer towards your healing. No matter how painful this process might be. If you leave out the ‘nitty-gritty’, you will never proceed in your personal development! The good news is: The moment you start seeing things clear, is the moment when your life takes momentum again… Which leads me to my next point:

3. Think Positive

Even in the darkest hour of your life you can choose. You can choose empowering thoughts. Or you can choose disempowering thoughts. Hal Elrod demonstrates strikingly where positive thinking can lead you. He suffered from more than one major strokes of fate and always recovered with sheer willpower.

These days it is sometimes hard to distinguish which thoughts belong to you and which to somebody else. In these times it is even more crucial to direct your thinking towards thoughts that serve you and that don’t drain your energy.

It is a bit tricky: On the one hand you are called to name your fears but on the other hand it is crucial to focus on ‘productive’ thoughts. When you find yourself in a crisis where you are not able to change anything in the external, there is one thing that you can change for sure: Your way of thinking.

4. Ask for Help

Big one – this is massive. I’m exploding of gratitude, because I am able to share this one with confidence now. ‘Asking for help’ was probably one of my major challenges this year.

“You will need help!” – Last year in November I met a shaman at the esoteric fair in Munich. He predicted the upcoming challenges on my path. “Me? Help? But I’m doing it all by myself! How can I receive help?,” my Aries-me responded panically with the outlook of asking for help.

The moment was there. One ‘tower-moment’ after another ripped my illusions about life apart. I had to re-gather myself. I couldn’t have done it by myself.

I asked for help. Who? Coaches, friends, family members, random strangers, doctors…. It changed everything – seriously.

Only now writing this down, I realize that this is material for another article. I can’t emphasize it enough: ASK FOR FREAKIN’ HELP! You will be surprised what the universe does.

 

3 Simple Ways To Develop Self-Discipline

Yay, the threesome is back – ‘just in time’ in ‘these days’.

What is the secret to personal growth? More and more I come to the conclusion that it is all about consistency. The consistency of doing one step after another.

Self-discipline became a fundamental component of my life. Not only in order to circumvent procrastination or to regulate over-thinking, but in order to basically get anything done.

Of course – change doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes there are these massive fall-backs.

At the beginning I didn’t get this straight. I couldn’t establish discipline. It frustrated me. In the end it even increased my anxiety – the thing I wanted to learn to manage.

Until I understood that this whole personal development thing is not a straight line. I had to learn to set my intention right. I had to learn to focus. And I had to learn to get up – again and again and again after every single fall-back.

Also I had to learn to household with my energies, because I pressured myself so much.

It’s like running a marathon. If you burn all your energy at the beginning of the race you won’t be able to finish.

There are these punchlines circulating in social media: ‘Change comes in an instance.’ Yes. It does – but only after a long training period. You might read these quotes by inspirational speakers (Is this still a term?) like Tony Robbins or Simon Sinek (just as an example). But did you ever study their whole story?

Every success story is a rocky road. No matter if it’s the story of a company, an artist or a thought leader.

It is the incremental change that paves the road to self-mastery.

For me personally everything in my life became an act of balance. I can cope with the adversities of life only (and just about), because I made the decision to practice self-discipline at the beginning of this blog in 2017.

Before that I was not able to make a living.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but seriously my life was a mess. Slowly (!) the fog is lifting and there are things that I can share confidently with you now…

1. Timer

Let’s start very practical. I established meditation, yoga, writing and language learning in my life – step by step. On this path the timer became my best friend. For some time I used a method called ‘pomodoro method’ to keep me going. Check out this threesome to find some more inspiration.

2. Cold Showers

Probably you read this already – maybe even on my blog. In my opinion cold showers are still highly underrated. I mentioned it earlier as a trick to reduce stress. It doesn’t only support the immune system, but it also helps to develop self-discipline.

If you manage to turn the tap on ‘cold’ in the morning every challenge of the day becomes easier. Additionally to that cold water can function as an antidepressant. How? Apparently a cold shower triggers our peripheral nerve ends. This trigger could drive forth a series of impulses that help to rewire the brain. My theory is that you receive such a shock moment that you forget about all your worries.

3. Practice ‘Delay of Gratification’

What do I mean by that? We are animals and as we can train our dog we can train ourselves.

This is indeed as easy said as done – if you are committed to change.

For example: If you don’t want to relinquish chocolate completely from your life, but you want to reduce sugar and at the same time you wish to exercise more – then set yourself some rules.

You are allowed to eat a piece (or a whole bar) of chocolate if you go running for 30 minutes.

My example now would be: I finish this article right here and then I will make my third coffee of the day and listen to music.

What else?

I don’t believe in super tough measurements anymore. This was one of my major lessons after my numerous self-imposed micro challenges. I can’t just apply the productivity tools of others. But what really helped me to integrate my own tools was the practice of self-discipline.

Add-on:

There is a thing that startles me a lot right now: Some people seem to expect ‘change’. Some people seem to wait for the moment when ‘things get better again’. But only very few individuals understand that it is about us – especially in ‘these days’. It is about us to take positive action towards a better world. And this requires some sort of discipline – especially in times of chaos.

 

3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.

Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?

There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.

More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?

Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?

To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.

1. Practice Being Alert

Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.

It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?

Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?

By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.

2. Slow Down

Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.

“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.

By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.

3. Find the ‘Why’

I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.

I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.

We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.

 

3 Ways To Eventually Get Things Done

A few days ago I told you why I get nothing done. Writing this down I realized a recurring pattern: I’m too hard on myself. Tadaa! – Nothing new. However I won’t give up on changing this mindset. I do it by reprogramming my belief system, nurturing self-love on a daily basis, but also by classical change of behaviours. This article touches all of these ‘categories’.

A long time ago I shot off my first threesome about how to tackle procrastination. This is a good sequel.

1. Be realistic

I’m contemplating about writing since I’ve started writing – especially this blog. But only recently I had some major breakthroughs. I started to read a lot more about writing and – most importantly – about the people who write things I want to write.

Most of them don’t have this ‘regular life’ – whatever that is. Also they invested a lot of time in their work. And this made me realize: My goals are just unrealistic and this is why ‘I get nothing done’.

I used to think: “If I don’t publish an article today, I’m not a good writer.” Ironically this belief spirals me deeper into my negative thinking patterns instead of pushing my motivation. And isn’t this what I want to change with this blog?

What’s the point of publishing at all costs if I’m just ‘not ready yet’? If I do an hour of writing a day and afterwards I still think “I did nothing.” Come on, Uli, THIS is self-destructive. I will drop that from now on and instead cultivate healthy writing routines – no matter if I publish or not. This leads me to the next point:

2. Set the stage

Sometimes I’m ‘not in the mood’ to write. I don’t have a desk. I don’t have ‘inspiration’. I have people around, because I sleep in a hostel or or or. These things work as perfect excuses. What I learnt is to just ‘make space’ for my head.

If I don’t have the right setting to get work done and I’m not able to shut off the distraction, sometimes it is enough to just change the location. Either it is just changing the room or going to a café or a library. Other times I might have to improvise – change device or just hide in the forest with my notebook. Where there is a will, there is a way.

3. Take your goals seriously

This is a very personal advice. I notice over and over again how I downgrade my own priorities. For me writing is a really big part of my life. In the past I’ve always tried to ‘fit it in’ into my daily life. And a lot of times it didn’t fit in, because I replaced it with other – what I considered – priorities.

Of course, we have to work and sometimes we have to do things if we want it or not in order to make a living in this world. But if we don’t take our personal goals seriously there is not a chance to reach them.

This applies to any creative activity, but also to a change of diet, exercising, going for more walks, spending time with the kids or whatever. This fits into the category of self-love. Love yourself and do what you love! This should be the highest priority.

In one of my next articles I will explain why self-care is so essential for making the world a better place.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Lao Tzu

 

Why Gratefulness is a Practice

… and three ways to practice it.

“You don’t know why you do it, but life will reward you. It’s like going to the gym,” Adriano is annotating my – at times exhausting – nomad life style. I still have to smile about the metaphor as my lifestyle is not at all healthy at times.

I learn a lot during travelling – about: being happy with less, appreciating privacy or a space to live in, valuing a fully equipped kitchen, absorbing hugs from people I just met a few moments earlier… These are a few of many things travelling taught me. But what do I benefit the most from? Probably it is the skill of ‘being grateful’.

‘Be grateful’ might sounds a bit platitudinous. It is one of the phrases that got exploited by our ‘cultural narrators’ (I have to admit, I stole this expression from school of life.)

Nevertheless it is so important to cultivate this well-quoted ‘gratefulness’ in order to live life properly. Recently I found out that it is actually a skill to be grateful.

First you might have to think about things to be grateful for: “Today I had a coffee and a really good chat with a friend, my boss or the taxi driver was in a good mood, the weather was good…”

Appreciation grows exponentially.

If you practice being grateful everyday, you will notice more and more things to be grateful for. Appreciation grows exponentially. It’s like a perpetuum mobile that keeps moving as soon as you prompt it.

One day, you don’t need to tell yourself anymore to ‘be grateful’. It becomes your natural trait.

What happens when you are grateful? Life loses its tightness automatically. You are beginning to appreciate the huge miracle you are a part of. It is here. It is you. You are beginning to appreciate the beauty.

When you know good things will come float into your life, you will walk through life only with curiosity. But you need to initiate it. You need to get in touch with the core of joy in order to cultivate it. At the beginning you need to search for the beauty. But as soon as you find it, you can nourish it – like a plant that grows inside of you.

Alright, but how do we practice gratefulness? Here we go with the not-so-threesome-style threesome.

1. List of Gratefulness

Write down what you are grateful for regularly. Maybe you even start a small book only for things to be grateful for. It can be the tiniest things, you will see how this will change your whole perspective on your day.

2. Gratefulness as a Reward System

Let gratefulness be your reward system – appreciate your own achievements. Every time you finish something during the day take a moment of appreciation. For example if you tick off a task of your To-Do-List, this can be a reason to smile. It can be the smallest task. But if you take a moment every time you accomplish something, you will automatically gain gratitude. A positive side-effect is a rise of motivation as you honour yourself much more.

3. Minute of Appreciation

It took a while – but nowadays I’m trying to use technology as my tool (and not my undertaker as it used to be due to self-diagnosed social-media-addiction.) Set a daily alarm for a “Minute of Appreciation” (or three or five minutes, it is up to you.). Only one minutes a day will help you to activate the flow of gratitude. It doesn’t matter which time of the day it will be. In the morning it will boost your energy level, but also it can be a good way to balance the afternoon low. Or even before going to sleep it can be a good fertilizer for positive dreams.

All this – of course – is perceived from the perspective of a spoilt western european. But funnily I learnt the most about appreciation/gratefulness from people who have the least.

 

3 Things That Really Hold You Back From Achieving Your Goals

It is time for another threesome – my way of condensing my learnings and unlearnings. So, this is pretty basic down to the core of ‘getting stuff done’. Enough of the eye-washing! This is the truth about why you don’t achieve your goals (lessons to myself, of course):

1. You’re not following your true goals

Firstly I need to clarify this: When I speak about goals I’m not necessarily speaking about career goals. I’m talking about what you do in your life, how you spend your time, what you eat, how you live.

Maybe you are not quite satisfied with your life, but you don’t really know what is wrong? On the surface you might have everything you need, but this is might not be what you really need.

What did you like doing when you were a kid? What filled you with excitement when you were ten years old? You might say “Yeah, but now I’m grown up. I don’t have time to climb trees, to play, to test myself.” I don’t say this is what you are supposed to be doing now, but maybe it gives you a hint. Maybe the huzz and buzz in your life just stopped you from doing what you love?

2. You are not working on your goals

This is pretty straight forward, but the hardest part of it all. Let’s assume you have an idea of what you want to achieve or do. Now the hard part is to break the big goal down into small steps and actually start making these steps. The funny thing is – as soon as you start walking things will evolve automatically. But finding the balls to get started and not to be outmaneuvered by self-doubt or inadaquate perfectionism – this can be a challenge.

Maybe you still have too many things to do? You need to focus on what you really want to do. This involves dropping some other tasks or what you consider as your responsibility. I just read a good article on saying no. (Have you ever heard about the rule of two thirds?)

3. Your comfortzone is still your sacred ground

Maybe you already made some steps in the right direction, but you got comfortable in your current position. In order to really achieve the goals you need to expand your comfortzone. You will never improve, if you don’t risk any of your comfort.

It is always good to question your current habits and hobbies in order to move forward. What are you not willing to give up? But what do you might have to give up in order to come closer to your goals? You know it. You just need to open your eyes. Also: Setting the goals higher than you feel comfortable with is a useful tool in order to come closer to your desired way of life. It will force you to get out of your comfortzone.

 

3 Fertilizer for Personal Growth

Alright, this is real life stuff right here. The threesome goes into the next round without mercy. This is the essence of this whole personal development thing on the spot: The willingness to learn, to adapt and to be open for change. What helps us to not stop learning? What keeps us on track on our journey of personal growth?

1. Being Patient

“I can’t do this.” “I’m too stupid.” “This is not for me.” “I will never change.” How many times in my life had this negative believe system prevented me from reaching my personal goals? It took me a long time to really understand that learning is a long process. I don’t learn a language within a day and for sure I don’t change my believe system within a day.

It takes actually a lot of time and it always starts with the first step. A steep learning curve can be frightening, but by doing one step at a time we automatically learn. It’s like climbing a mountain. (Sometimes it’s the mountain without the peak.) We don’t fly to the top. Physical effort is needed and in the meantime the view is our reward.

Patience is crucial for this learning process. Don’t expect to be perfect at anything from the very beginning. Mistakes are not only okay, but necessary to improve and to internalize learnings. This is simply how our brain works. Perfectionism is preventing us from learning.

A couple of weeks ago I published “Fail Fast, Learn Quick” if you feel like diving deeper into this topic.

2. Talking To People

Nowadays every person is exposed to different cultural influences through the media, through work and social relationships. This makes everyone of us a very unique human being. The good thing about being highly individualized is that we can learn a lot from each other – from actual skills to habits through to different ways of interacting with each other.

Every person has a different worldview and every conversation is the opportunity to learn something new. Every encounter with another person can be valuable if we are open to listen closely and ask questions with real curiosity.

3. Embracing the Unknown

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – After all it is really important that we are opening up to the unknown. Facing new situations, new skills or experiences unbiased and with a positive attitude is the base for personal development.

Sometimes we might face a situation that we never thought we would master. If we maintain a positive mindset in these situations we are going to grow. Considering different perspectives as mentioned before helps us to gain understanding for foreign circumstances.

 

“You will learn in spite of yourself; that’s the rule.”

Carlos Castaneda from “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”

 

3 Steps Towards Positive Thinking

Alright, it is time to revive the threesome. I’d like to call it writing exploration. What do I explore here? There are a lot of insights that I want to integrate into my life myself. In order to manifest my discoveries I need to write them down here. This growthbuddy is here to help me and hopefully you too. The other day I watched a talk that inspired me to write this article. I condensed the most valuable insights here.

1. Make timetravel a routine

What do you have in mind right now? Are you consumed by negative thoughts? Do you feel stress or tension inside of you? Take a moment to recognise what is going on inside of you. And now think about something really really positive. Some event that made you really happy – no matter if it was in the distant past or recently. Go back to this emotion and smile. Was it this amazing sunset at your last holidays? The birthday of your daughter or your son? Extensive dancing last Saturday?

Be as happy as you were in this moment. Take a moment to really go back to this place and enjoy the feeling. It’s the best if you do this with your eyes closed. But really take a couple of minutes to dive into this experience that lifted your heart higher.

Wow – that was intense. But isn’t it interesting? You were able to relive a feeling only with your mind. Imagine you have all these positive memories in your head. Like in a house with a very sunny balcony, where you spend a warm autumn afternoon, there are these positive thoughts in your mind where you can always go back to. So why go back to the dark and damp basement of your mind all the time?

How we feel depend on where we are in our head. What I realized over the past years of self-exploration: I can actually control where my thoughts go if I really want to. And it is actually not that hard.

2. Cultivate positive thoughts

A long long time I thought. “I’m just a pessimist.” “I’m paranoid.” “I’m different.” Until I found out that it is only me who focusses on negative thoughts. I’m actually addicted to negative thinking. “THIS is inanity.” – I thought to myself. But this time I didn’t say it with the bashing voice in my head. No, I actually understood that this is not insanity, it is just the wrong conditioning. I always felt like a slave to my thoughts until I figured that I just have to change them. Now that I write it down I can’t believe I didn’t understand that earlier. I just took my own thoughts way to seriously all the past 30 years. And this became my reality.

Okay, it is easy to change my thoughts from negative into positive once. But how do I manifest positive thinking as a mindset? Well, how do I get better at anything? Yes, by practice. It is just like going to the gym. I need to exercise positive thinking. As soon as a negative thoughts hit me I acknowledge them. I say “hi” and then I switch to the warm soothing voice in my head. This voice reminds me that there is a lot of positive stuff happening in my life.

Like our home we need to clean, maintain and sometimes refurbish our mind. A bed of beautiful flowers stays beautiful as long as we care for it. I always thought positive thinking is rocket science. I need to study it. But fortunately not – I can just do it. I can just think positive.

3. Create your happy place

Okay, this one is a bit over the top, but for me this metaphor helps me to survive my vivid travel life: I made my mind the most wonderful place on the planet. Well, sometimes it’s still messy, haha.  But having a cosy home in my head helps me to bare my own presence. If I really think about it, where else would I feel really at home in this messed up world apart from “in my head”?

Sounds crazy? For me too!