The Battlefield Is In Your Head Vol. 1 – and The “Do-Nothing-Challenge”

‘I feel raw like a carpaccio,’ I am contemplating the current state of my being.

Raw and juicy. Mmmhhh…

My current life situation provides a learning curve with a steepness I didn’t quite expect for the rest of this year.

I had no idea what kind of surprises the universe would hold in stock for me after experiencing a so-called ‘dark night of the soul’, which lasted for about five months.

After working a couple of night shifts in a row I am sitting in front of my computer. I’m catching myself ‘waiting for inspiration’ – whereas my body is screaming for rest.

What do I expect of my neurons? I should lay down and sleep, but of course I’m trying to finish an article I had been working on for way too long (as my inner judge proclaims). In the back of my head I’m beating myself up for not doing (more) yoga or practicing a foreign language.

Jep. My internal organs are contracting. A heavy weight around my ribcage is limiting the capacity of my lungs..

I know this feeling very well. My perfectionism is dragging me down. Anxiety drains my energy system.

“This is a potent time to be with…,” the words of Kendra Adachi, who assisted me in arriving in the present moment over and over again for the past couple of months, are flashing through my head.

She is right.

I am working a full-time job at a low-budget hostel after living a nomad life for the past couple of years. I’ve started a relationship with a man who massages my feet every day (and who I’ve known only for two months). Me and my vagabond soul are practicing ourselves in ‘settling down’… more or less voluntarily. (I still owe you a longer story of what had happened in the past eight months. As some of you might know – I’ve travelled to India and then I fell apart.)

I discover my own boundaries and I’m learning to set them where I still need to set them. I’m learning to receive. I’m learning to ‘not run away’. To make it short: I’m confronted with regular life in times of a global pandemic. Yay – great fun!

It’s a time of adaptation. More than ever before I can feel it – a new phase had ended and something new began. Where this new period of time will lead? I have no clue… But do I have to know the destination?

2020 has been profoundly challenging – for a lot, if not all of us…

I did my homework during lockdown and quarantine phases (partly self-imposed). I dove deep into the darkest corners of the blackness of my personality. I reconnected with my soul in the darkness. My physical body is still sympathizing with old patterns.

There is A LOT to integrate.

And I better take my time to do it – if I don’t want to scare the people away who are trying to love me (for a change).

Still it amazes me how accurately aligned this global crisis is with the personal crisis I’m going through…

‘Who do you think you are? Some sort of hyper-human?,’ I’m questioning myself…

Well, honestly, I do think I’m some sort of a transmutation or at least I consider my life as a research project – as you might have noticed.

Haha, it sounds like the same story as usual… but it is not quite…

I’ve asked for help and I’ve received it – in ways I have never expected. I’ve met the most inspiring and courageous souls that showed me my own strength and my own endurance.

The darkness became my friend in the end and finally it is my turn to actually apply the tools I had been gathering since I’ve started my journey in 2013 (or was it 2015? or 2017? :D)

‘Surrender or die’ – This is the short version of what I had learnt from my ‘dark night of the soul’. Dark night of the soul? Sounds more hip than just calling it a ‘depression’ or a ‘depressive phase’, right?!

I’m not even being pathetic here. It just wouldn’t be fair to call it a ‘depression’, because I was not depressed in the sense of ‘I couldn’t do anything’. I just lost track for a little while and remained paralyzed in a state of fear. I think that’s called trauma. That’s a difference. Argh, I didn’t mean to sound ironic here. It was really not fun. BUT… I FREAKIN’ DID IT!!! I SURVIVED AND I LEARNT A TON!!!

Anyway, probably I will dive into that further along the way… 😉

The challenge is to surrender. Surrender to the currents of life and trust that my life jacket will rescue me.

And how do I surrender? By doing nothing… First I wanted to call the challenge the ‘What-do-I-want-challenge”. This sounded too proactive and too ‘awwe, she is still searching’. Then I wanted to call it “Mindfulness-Challenge”, but come on?! “Do-Nothing-Challenge” sounds a bit more polarizing…

Another challenge? Well, the task is actually to destress myself. I want to give myself time to adjust…

I had attempted this challenge several times already. The task is to meditate for one hour a day for 30 days in a row…. And see what happens… I’m four days into this challenge and I’m already gathering some learning. By the end of the week I will give you an update.

 

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.

 

Recreate Yourself

Drink lots of water. Cry out all the tears that need to be cried. Go into nature. Breathe in some fresh air. Get out the old one. Enjoy the green and the blue. Ground yourself. Meditate. Let gravity take hold of you. Hug a tree. Search for unity. Eat vegetables. Nourish yourself. Sleep whenever you can. And don’t sleep when you can’t. Stretch. Move slow. Have patience. Plant positive thoughts and let them grow. Trust in the laws of nature. Let the elements heal you.

 

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.

 

We Grow When We Sleep

Yesterday I fell asleep before I could post anything. The casual pre-tooth-brushing-five-minutes-nap turned into a six hours pass out. I woke up when the dawn was already breaking.

But now I’m happy, because it inspired me to post something more meaningful.

The topic of my heart turned out to be healing. Cultivating self-love, spiritual growth, personal development, overcoming pain, reclaiming compassion – in the end it all comes down to the same thing: Healing.

Yesterday night after a two days storytelling coaching job I’ve decided to have a piece of pizza and a glass of red wine at this tiny pizza bar near Rosenheimer Platz in Munich. “What’s this?,” with childlike curiosity the guy behind me in the queue pointed at the pizza ‘salsiccia spinaci’. The spark in his eyes resonated with my wave-length. Unhesitatingly I sat down on his table to share a moment of company.

Immediately he opened up and told me the story of his past weeks. “I just came back from fusion festival,” he reminisced and reassured unintentionally that we belong to the same tribe.

It turned out that he just dropped his medicine studies. Becoming a doctor collided with his worldview. According to him being beneficial for humanity and working in the – irritatingly called – ‘health sector’ is a contradiction in this society. “We learn medicine for 70-year-olds,” he complained with a last trace of disillusionment. “Modern medicine is more about ‘interfering’ with the human body than about maintaining health,” he summed up.

You decide to be sick.

I could totally comprehend what he was saying. Taking responsibility for our own bodies should be something we learn in school, but instead we rely on a dubious system to keep us alive when we are sick.

“You decide to be sick, ” he advocated for our ability for self-healing. Through his words I found myself releasing a lot of tension that had built up during the past weeks of traveling and working.

Things like meridian lines, qì or kundalini energy are referred to in human history since decades. So, why would I not feel what is happening inside of my body if I learn to pay attention to it?

Dis-ease is what’s causing illness. And what is the state of health? ‘To be at ease’. Only when we find relaxation we find health.

I soaked up every word of the conversation – well aware that this encounter was a once in a lifetime one.

I smiled at the universe pondering the lessons of my past months: Healing takes time and not constant action. By re-acting all the time, by planning, by overdoing I’m ruining my (karmic) energy and in the end my physical and mental health.

“When you change your perspective things change automatically.” Briefly we’ve started talking about politics, but this quote applies one to one to the good old habits.

There doesn’t have to be a direct cure for everything. As soon as we are making an effort to change a small thing, e.g. what we eat, how much we sleep or how we work we eventually find great results:

Things fall into place automatically. We find the time for the things we love, our stress-level drops and in the end we might even become healthier.

I need a practical example for this: Since I’ve started to seriously reduce processed foods and industrial sugar my overall ability to focus had improved tremendously. Automatically I’m getting more stuff done (like this writing experiment). THIS is healing on a higher level.

It doesn’t take as much as I thought to become the human I want to be IF I’m willing to honestly change my point of view, question what I thought was ‘me’, if I’m willing to seriously try new lifestyles…

Through these changes I rattle the fundament of my thinking patterns and eventually the truth reveals.

By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

When we are planting a seed we just need to water it. If we are looking at it all the time and try to convince it to grow faster nothing will happen, but we will stress ourselves out.

Our body is a living entity of organs, chemical processes and microorganisms. It is a part of nature. An autonomic system of nerves and neurotransmitters takes care of it. I don’t need to ‘be aware’ of it all the time. It is better to let it be sometimes. By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

“We grow when we are sleeping.” – I woke up with this sentence in my head this morning. It really made me smile as normally I would have been disappointed that “I got nothing done” last night. Instead my body decided to get some rest before I could even tell him to do so.

There is a built in regulation system that protects me if I let it. By trying to control it all the time I hinder it from doing its job.

I can’t believe it took me such a long time to understand the connection between my stress level, my immune system and my productivity.

Again it became obvious to me: If I want to grow I need to let go.

 

Learning to Unlearn

At the beginning of this blog in summer 2017 I thought this is all about ‘learning’. My aim was to expand my toolbox in order to be more productive, more balanced, more happy (Whatever that meant to me at this point in time.). I thought: “If I’d just learnt this lifehack.” “If I’d just be able to master my mind like successful person xy.”, everything would be perfect.

I failed adapting most of productivity hacks. I couldn’t develop these ‘healthy routines’ that supposedly would project an undreamt-of-degree of happiness into my life. Nothing improved. I might got slightly more stuff done, but my overall well-being hadn’t improved. And: I didn’t have the slightest idea how I wanted to feel.

“Why do you only think black and white?”, my therapist during this time called upon my lacking self-compassion. I didn’t have a proper answer. There was only this massive wall of perfectionism sealing off my potential. I could touch it, but I didn’t know how to demolish it.

I had to dig deeper. This was for sure. What I found was a lot of pain buried deep down under my obsessive will to ‘improve myself’. Under the pain there were my strengths downtrodden by my negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviours.

My mission was not to add something to my personality, but to reveal my individual traits. These characteristics are my weapons. These are the tools that help me to fulfill my purpose in this world. Happiness or let’s call it contentment is what comes naturally with accepting and integrating these peculiarities.

My task in this lifetime is to eradicate toxic habits in order to root up my real me. This requires commitment and courage. I can’t just ‘adapt’ other peoples methods of being productive, creative or self-disciplined. I have to develop my own strategies.

What I found out was that my bad habits and my thinking-patterns are not my own. I adopted them. I’m conditioned to think in a certain way. I’m conditioned to judge, to react, to be afraid. The good news is: I have the power to change.

But how? How do I unlearn? How do I re-condition? By pausing. By observing and by questioning my behaviour and my thoughts. The following to-do’s are not necessarily consecutive, they are interdependent. You will understand why:

1. Observe Your Behaviour

The first step in our process of unlearning is to observe. By observing we create a gap between us and our actions. Things change aggregate state as soon as we look at them. Habits lose their power as soon as we catch them unattended. They move from a subconscious level to consciousness.

This is something we can integrate into our daily life. “Again I wasted my energy for some stupid shit.” So what? This realization is the type of observation we need in order to create a gap.

It doesn’t only apply to actions, but also to thoughts. If the immoderate perfectionism is lurking, we just ask him what he wants. And there it is again: The gap. As soon as you look right into the eyes of your perfectionism it loses its power.

2. Detach From Your Conditions

If I keep telling myself “Stop this stupid perfectionism” I’m narrowing this gap again. I become a victim of the characteristic that I want to eliminate.

By punishing myself my mind becomes my enemy again. My whole body gets tight. I’m falling into subconscious behaviour.

The only option is “to let go”, to detach from it. To not see it as my trait, but as something that occurs every now and then. This way I look at my supposedly mistakes and surrender. If I take them lightly I don’t get trapped again.

3. Question Your Desires

Questioning became my tool to explore my needs and get to the core of my being. I found out that I can’t know what I want, but I can feel it – if I ask honest questions and take the time to find the answer.

To stay with the example of poisonous perfectionism: I asked myself. “Why am I such a perfectionist?”. The answer is that I’m not allowing myself mistakes, because I’m afraid to not be lovable. So, the desire under my desire to be perfect is to be loved. This reveals a complete different need. My need is not to be perfect, but to be loved.

More and more it becomes obvious why all my attempts to live happily failed. By following all these notions and desires blindly I distracted myself. I cured the symtoms, but I didn’t try to heal myself.

4. Connect With Yourself

I didn’t question if what I wanted was what I really wanted or just what I was told to be wanting or what I thought could fix my lack of self-esteem.

I wanted to become somebody instead of accepting who I am. I was not able to connect with myself and find out about my real qualities. It is not possible to find purpose anywhere else apart from at the very core of my being.

5. Alter Your Habits

There is always this thin line between not being too hard on myself and becoming the person who I want to be. But after all it is inevitable to start walking on the tight-rope of self-improvement.

In order to unlearn there needs to be the willingness to change. That’s the only reason why we should look at our behaviours, question them, detach from them and finally connect with ourselves. The next step is to do what is good for you – for your real you. And then DO IT. Alter it. Don’t do what doesn’t serve you anymore….

Through this whole procedure we reach a complete new layer of consciousness. This is how we are diving into the unknown – how we connect with the divine of our existence.

 

Rules Of The Road

This is a worksheet. It started off three years ago with a page in my notebook with the title “Things To Consider” and it issued into this blog. Haha, but I condensed some of the things here. There is no order. Everything is crucial for my survival.

  1. Surround yourself with people who are lifting you higher.
  2. Express your gratefulness as often as you can.
  3. Be happy and let the world know it. Happiness is contagious.
  4. Don’t put too much value and truth in words, ideas or concepts, but trust your intuition.
  5. Have always positive intentions. Think ONLY positive (I always thought it is normal to have doubts all the time, but no, it’s not. If negative thoughts loom, don’t make a movie out of it. Just stop it. Think about something else.)
  6. Appreciate endings, because they are always new beginnings.
  7. Drop your perfectionism. Forgive yourself mistakes immediately. Best case scenario: Drop the word ‘mistake’ from your vocabulary completely, because there are no mistakes in this world.
  8. Be as loud as you want. Be as quiet as you want. Be you.
  9. Don’t re-act all the time. Be passive at times. Only act, when it’s necessary. (Kung-Fu)
  10. Stay grounded and always balance your energy level. Don’t let emotions take you over.
  11. Never forget: You’ve got a treasure in your heart. You’ve got all the beauty inside of you. Just release it. Turn it into energy. You’ve got the power – use it.
  12. Don’t be afraid of the nothingness. It is taken care of you. Everything you need is right there.
  13. You don’t have to do anything. Do what is good for you. Say no to everything else.
  14. You don’t need to be “professional”. You don’t need to be anything. Just be you.
  15. You can heal yourself from the inside. And life itself can cure you.
  16. Keep in touch with the planet. Mother nature needs you (how you are).
  17. Be in service. Be available for the people around you. Listen, give hugs and smile at people as much as you can.
  18. You are welcome. Everywhere you go.
  19. Don’t be scared. Trust.
  20. Stop reaching for more. Be happy with less.
  21. Don’t forget who you are, but don’t take yourself so f*cking serious all the time. You are just one of many human beings. So stop trying to be a saint.
  22. Don’t see the obstacles, but see the opportunities.
  23. Slow down. Take a break. Never rush. It’s unhealthy for you. Impatience is your enemy.
  24. Don’t hesitate, but do not hurry.
  25. Follow your excitement.
  26. The force is with you.

Amen.

 

Why I Get Nothing Done

It’s not accurate that I get nothing done. I just don’t get done what I want to get done.

I found this verbal outpour in my inexhaustible source of notes. What stunnes me is how accurate I describe my – I would like to call it – ideation process. In a few years probably I will smile about this type of examination, but right now it illustrates my behaviour lively. My goal is still to write my heart out here – believing in the process and stuff. So, here we go:

“Why I get nothing done” – Well, this is actually the wrong title for this article, because it suggests that I know why I get nothing done. Reality is, I don’t know, really. But if I continue searching I might won’t publish anything (like in most cases as you will find out later on).

In the hope to unclog my blogging-pipeline I will just press the publishing button in a few minutes.

What happens if I want to write an article?

Phase 1: “I have an idea”

Well, it all starts with an idea (some random situation, metro, bed, toilet, any kind of waiting room, forest, plane, train,…) I write down the rough idea/insight into my notebook or on my phone. I think to myself “This is already half the article. Great I will just sit down for half an hour more and than it is all ready to publish.”

Happy and half-accomplished I continue my day knowing that I will write an article the next time I’ll sit on my computer.

But than reality strikes. I open my laptop. I even close all the unnecessary tabs and windows and I start writing. At the beginning it all looks promising. Until one point. Let’s call it the point of no return.

I’m overflowing with ideas and all of a sudden I realize that I have to start another article, because I already reach too many aspects with this one article. And then I think: “Wait a second?” – “Do I actually know what I’m talking about here?” – “What does this word actually mean?” All of a sudden I’m losing control over my own thoughts. I start another document. Maybe a third one where I’m trying to filter my thoughts. Let’s call it ‘outtakes’.

Then I get so confused and I decide “I leave it for now” and rather listen to some 432 Hz forest sounds.

Phase 2: “I want to finish this article”

A couple of weeks later another idea crosses my path. And than it comes in to my mind that I already had started a similar article a few weeks back. “I should have a look and re-read what I thought a few months ago”.

“Wait – I think I read an inspiring article about this topic in a blog. Or was in a book? Or did I have a conversation about it? Or was it Alan Watts who visited me in my dreams and told me about it? 🙂 ”

And this is already the beginning of the end. In this case either I will find out how shitty and unispired my idea is or I just get sucked in by ‘inspiring talks’ on youtube or the odd TED talk about “How to travel the world with no money” or something like this… You get the point.

Phase 3: “Procrastinating procrastination”

But then, sometimes something magical happens – I catch myself watching stuff not related to my topic and miraculously I shake an article like this one off my sleeve.

Hm, I’m not sure if I’m crazy or if this is just part of the process? Maybe I’m just learning? I guess it’s part of the process. I also guess it’s time for The Artist’s Way – many people I admire recommended me this book. The thing is – I write so much already, but none of my ideas gets out of my way. So – maybe this is my way? We will see.

Cheers from the procrastination front

 

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!