ICARUS Online in the News


At the beginning of the week I was interviewed by a journalist from my local paper the Press and Jornal and talked about the work that me and David Bellamy are doing to help bring change to the military charities sector and also to speed up access to treatment for veterans, uniformed services & their immediate families.

Have a read and please share.

Thanks

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeenshire/1438690/turriff-based-ex-marine-sets-up-new-helpline-for-former-military-personnel/

When Life is Abruptly Put into Perspective.


strength-doesnt-come-from-what-you-can-do

Life has a strange way of shaking you up sometimes and not necessarily by directly affecting you but through family and friends.

The last 24 hours have reminded me of how fragile we as human beings can be at times. I’m not going to go into specific details here because that’s not appropriate, what I will say is that all is never lost. Even in what may feel like the deepest, darkest moment of your life there are people who want to help you, all you have to do is reach out and grab there hand and talk to them. You don’t even have to talk about the shit that is dragging you down, just talk to them, let them help you because they care about you.

Recent events have shaken me despite everything I know and what I do for a living and what I am reassured by is the old boy network and how hugely efficient it can be when combined with social media, because last night it helped save a life. It was awesome to see a group of people, friends from all walks of life, from all round the UK and abroad rally round and do everything they could to help a friend in need.

The other thing I want to say is if you have the feeling that someone you know and care about is in a bad way and may do the thing you fear the most and take their own life, make a call to organisations that can help and that includes dialling 999. This is ultimately what happened last night and they thankfully got their in the nick of time.

I’ve had a massive rethink about my business in the last few hours and the ways I can offer it to people and today, I will be making some significant changes so that my services are much more accessible to the people who really need my help.

Every day’s a school day and I’ve learnt a few very valuable lessons and for that I am extremely grateful.

So, look out for your friends and family, never dismiss other peeps feelings no matter how alien they are to you or uncomfortable they may make you feel and take action even if the person you help feels pissed off with you for a while.

You may just save a life.

Big hugs

Simon

Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

Altering Perceptions


A wise old gentleman retired and bought a modest home near a school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then the new school year began. The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful exuberance and after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, banging merrily on every dustbin they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.
The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. He stopped them and said, “You boyds are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the dustbins.
After a few days, the old gentleman greeted the boys again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recessions really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.
“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think were going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re mad! No way, we quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

Choice: Excuse or Success


My last post ended on the subject of choice, you have plenty in front of you and some of those in the past may have been considered as reasons for not doing things that help you achieve your goals. In truth, they’re not reasons, they are excuses. For one reason or another you chose a goal, or were given a goal that you did not believe in 100%, it wasn’t something that you were prepared to work hard to get or have, there wasn’t enough of a fire in your belly.

It’s actually really quite simple, your choice, you can either work to achieve your goals or you can stay as you are no keep making excuses as to why you can’t or won’t be able to achieve them. Whatever you decide is ultimately your choice and it’s you that has to live with that decision not me. What you must understand is that there is no third option and as Yoda said, “There is no try, only do.”

When you make the decision to work towards your goals, you will find that you discover a huge amount about yourself and for a large proportion of people that’s going to be quite a scary prospect, yet it can be one of the most significant times in your life as you discover more of who you truly are and what you’re capable of.

As part of this process you are going to experience a huge amount of change and despite every single person on this planet being familiar with change, there are still so many who are afraid of it and sometimes it’s inevitability. Change affects us on a daily basis whether we look for it or not and whether we like it or not and it can overwhelm our day if we approach it in the wrong way.

So, before you go ahead and make your choice, take some time to figure out the best way for you to accept change. To start with, accepting that everything changes, both good and bad, and when you look hard enough you can see the good and the useful/beneficial in every situation. Next, do everything you can to participate in the changes that happen in your personal and professional life and also in your community. Stop trying to react out of necessity and find ways to embrace the changes, that way you remove the fear of change. It boils down to you taking control of your life instead of letting others control it and dictate your outcomes. It is massively important that it is your actions and intent that influences your outcomes.

As I said at the start, the buck stops with you and you have a really simple choice to make, do or don’t.

You may think that this is putting a lot of pressure on you, and tough shit, that’s the reality of it, it’s just the way it is and you will either work toward what you want or you will make excuses to justify, in your own mind, why you won’t or can’t.

Any one excuse is as good as another so you can pick from a long list, some of which are quite creative, yet they are all still excuses. So now that you know that it’s all your choice is there really much of a choice?

Are you going to choose to work towards what you do want or make excuses to justify staying where you are? Your life of excuses will be pretty much as it is now, it will not be much different, change will continue to happen round you, you will carry on reacting to it out of necessity and your levels of satisfaction and disappointment will be roughly the same as they always have been. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?

Now, how different would it be if you chose to take control of your life by making positive choices about what you do or do not want to do, have to be as opposed to having your life dictated to you?

What would it take for you to make that decision?
What would you have to do?
What would you have to sacrifice?

Well the first thing you would sacrifice is making excuses, that’s not really much of a sacrifice when you think about it, is it?

This is a very logical concept when you think about it. You will either go find what you want or you’ll make crappy excuses and all they do is keep you where you are right now. And, agreeing to do nothing achieves exactly yah same thing, it holds you back from moving on and achieving.

Now we all have a threshold of sorts where we reach a certain number of excuses and then that seals the deal for someone to give up. They can give a long list of excuses yet the bottom line is their intention, desire and ultimately commitment to achieve that goal was not strong enough.

There is a very long list of people throughout history who have made a choice to achieve something that they felt compelled to achieve, something felt very personally, and they made some incredible sacrifices in order to make it happen. Yet day after day, I speak to people who have trouble making a commitment to themselves let alone to anyone or anything else.

Why is this, why do the majority of us make up such crap, weak and pathetic excuses to stay in bed a little longer and not get up and exercise. To eat that junk food because you can always start that diet tomorrow or next week. To take those drugs again because what difference does once more make and I can give up whenever I want to, I’m not addicted?

We delude ourselves, lie to ourselves, limit ourselves, criticise ourselves and demean ourselves time after time. Why do this to ourselves when other people do it to us as well at times? Trust me I know, I’ve done all those things to myself over the years and occasionally I still catch myself doing it and then I have a quiet chat with myself, reframe what’s going on in my head and get myself back on track. I also have a small, select group of friends that help keep me motivated and on the right track.

This is a massively important piece of the puzzle and if you have people you currently consider friends, who are anything but supportive, I’m going to let you into a little secret, they’re not your friends, they are called wankers. True friends will support you even if they think you’re mental for doing what you’re doing, so if you haven’t already, get rid and find people who will support you regardless of what they think about your goals.

Have you ever written down the kinds of excuses you’ve used yourself and the ones you’ve heard from other people. When you put them on paper and read them, they do look and sound a load of crap and much harder to justify, because externalising them takes you outside of the excuses and allows you to see them objectively making it much harder to back them up. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll be quite surprised.

Some of the excuses I’ve heard are:

I haven’t go enough money

I haven’t go enough time

I don’t know how to

There’s too much work involved

I’m not fit enough

I’m not healthy enough

I’m too old

I had a bad childhood

I have one word for all of these and the myriad of other excuses out there. Bullshit!!!

They are not reasons, they are all excuses and there are so many amazing examples of people who have smashed these excuses to pieces and this makes those of you who keep using them look more and more ridiculous. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. Stop bullshitting yourself and be honest with yourself, you either want to do something or you don’t. If you don’t that’s absolutely fine, you don’t have to do it, however, if you do want to do, have or be something and you keep making excuses then you have no one else to blame for your continued failure but yourself. Stop blaming other people, circumstances, the weather and get off your arse, make a few hard choices and commit to something…commit to yourself that you will move your life forwards, make positive changes one small step at time and keep moving forwards.

I have been in that place, making excuses, complaining about not achieving what I wanted, all be it I was a teenager. Then I joined the Royal Marines and I learned even more self discipline and I made a commitment to myself that I would complete training, which I did and I had a great time in my career. That set me up for everything else I have achieved in my life to date.

Now you don’t need to be a Royal Marine to achieve your goals in life, what you do need is a similar mindset. A stubborn, pigheaded desire to win at all costs, to make a plan that is flexible and adaptable, broken down into small manageable chunks, to remove the word excuse from your vocabulary, be solution focused. Once you know there’s a problem there is no need to focus on it, what you need to do is to focus on finding a way to resolve it, that’s a much more productive use of your time and energy.

The essence of this post is about taking responsibility and accountability for your own life, taking the lessons you can learn from your past and using them to create the future of your choice. From this moment on you can take charge of your present and your future and live your life full of positive intent, free from excuses and full of smart choices.

“Life isn’t measured by the quality of your excuses.”

“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.” Carlos Castaneda

What You Believe Leads to What You Achieve


In my last post, which was on Boxing Day, I talked about reviewing the last year and how much of what you set yourself to achieve came to fruition and to look at why you did or didn’t achieve that and your beliefs around it.

This is a continuation of that theme because throughout January I have had some interesting conversations with clients about this very subject as I helped them to review and plan for this year. It seems that there are certain things that my clients have been lead to believe that are not achievable for them or forbidden, they are not worthy of it. This is obviously complete bullshit and they have been conditioned to believe this by people they know, trust, respect, love even and most probably with the best of intentions. However some may have done this out of jealousy because they don’t want to see them succeed.

In my experience there are two kinds of people, those who do as they are told when something is forbidden and stay away from it, and those who rebel and flip a middle finger at those who say they can’t do it, have it, be it etc. I’m one of the latter and I find it hard to understand why some people chose the first option and limit their lives. Each to their own.

The thing is when things are forbidden, it generally fires off our natural curiosity as to why it’s forbidden, why we can’t have it and it’s been used by religion, politics, education etc for thousands of years to gain control and hold over over us. All this does is undermine the personal and sometimes global significance and validity of your goals and dreams, and no one has the right to do that.

So, what if this thinking is completely wrong and undermining the significance of our happiness, our purpose has the opposite effect. How can denial of our purpose, which has been driven by men and women over the years who were and are, bitter, frustrated individuals who want to control who and how you are through the illusion that you have no control over that be possible?

Since when has self denial made anyone truly happy, what does it really give you on a permanent basis. I agree that there are times when this is actually highly beneficial, however not for the entirety of your life. On a personal front, denial for too long makes me miserable and crave things all the more and this is where balance must be applied, because, short term denial can be a great motivator when applied in the right way for any individual.

The purpose of this post is to help you find ways to make you happier and make changes that you want to make and, it may say things that some people might not like or agree with and that’s ok. This can create interesting discussion and debate which I thoroughly enjoy.

I hope that this post and the ones that follow it will generate in you excitement and perhaps a little guilt. What do I mean by that? Well as I offer you the opportunity to create change for yourself you will also become fully aware of the other option, which is to stay where you are with your life and not change, improve, refine yourself and become better at being you. If you are happy being where, how and who you are for the rest of your days then I am very happy for you. If not then you have a choice or choices to make.

In simple terms, this series of posts are designed to manipulate you, not in some dark occult way, in a way that enables you to see the choices in front of you that you may not have been aware of yet. Now, you may have been a bit concerned over my use of the word manipulate, however, manipulation is at the very heart of all of our relationships.

We are designed to manipulate, we learn to do it as kids in order to get what we want and some people are better at it than others without even trying, they just have a flair for it. You’ve all met people like this before. They persuade and influence with consumate ease and seem to get whatever they want/need in life. In my humble opinion manipulation is neither good nor bad, it is the intention behind that makes it one or the other.
In order to understand and be able to manipulate others, you have to first learn how to manipulate yourself. How good you are at this depends on several factors:

Your personal happiness
Your satisfaction with your own life
Your current perception of your ability to get what you want

This series of posts may for some people be inappropriate, incorrect or whatever other way that can be perceived as negative and that’s fine, they are free to choose whatever perception they want of this. Those of you who read this and find your curiosity and interest perks up, you will find that you are going to enjoy them and get a huge amount from them.

There are no spiritual ideals, abundance, manifestation ideals, wealth awareness or any other such personal development principles or ideals, this is purely about helping you understand how to change the way you think and believe in order to achieve/get what you want out of your life.

I am not decrying any particular spiritual or any other concept here, I have my own and I encourage you to identify and develop your own too.

We all have needs, right from the most basic, essential life needs as brilliantly illustrated by Abraham Maslow and the updated version of his Hierarchy of Needs incorporates transcendence, which is the point where you are now able to help others to the point of self actualisation. When all our basic material needs are met and the nice to haves as well, it makes any path you choose in life much easier. A crucial step is to raise what you want above greed and spiritual enlightenment and make it the absolute essential piece of your journey.

By doing this you will develop a much clearer understanding of yourself as you identify your deepest wants and needs and the obstacles that my be in your way, this includes your own limiting beliefs, fears and excuses as to why you can’t or won’t achieve it. Being completely honest with you, this is going to happen from time to time along the way, and recognising, accepting and preparing for that makes it a much smaller hurdle to step over.

I want you to remember that there will always be people who do not want you to succeed and some of these people depend on your continued ignorance, desperation, poverty and dependence in order to control you. They do not want you to become independent and free thinking. You may think that at this moment in time you are free thinking and independent. Are you really, when you look closely at who and how you are?

Being independent and free thinking makes it much easier to get what you want in your life and this of course potentially puts so called gurus and consultants out of business because they are not needed, however, there are always going to be some people who are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. They want to be told what they need to do by someone else in order to feel accountable for their actions and that’s ok too, it’s a personal choice.

The main advantage of this is that these consultants etc have an objective view of your life and who and how you currently are. When you learn to do this for yourself it makes life much easier and cheaper and you can learn to do this for yourself.

What you need in order to do this is take a global view of your life, as if you’re looking down on your life from a high point. This allows you to see it from a detached perspective where you can see each facet, your goals, objectives, obstacles etc and join the dots, rearrange, add or takeaway whatever needs to be adjusted. This has a huge impact on your ability to play the long game and be so much more strategic in your goal planning, as opposed to being reactive, it makes you phenomenally proactive and responsible and accountable for everything that you do in your quest to get what you want in your life. Choices and decisions become easier because you can see the big picture, from where you are now to where you want to be and it all makes sense.

The great thing for me is I don’t know you, so there is no emotional connection, and what I write here can be open and honest from my experience and for some of you what I say may seem harsh and get your back up. That’s a good thing because it means I’ve touched a nerve for you to respond that way and you need to take a deeper look at why you responded that way. Maybe I’ve hit on a truth that you have been shying away from, not admitting to yourself, embarrassed by. Whatever it is, identify it, accept it and and commit to changing what needs to be changed so that you can get what you want in your life and stop being the one responsible for holding you back.

It’s so important that you understand yourself on this level, that you “get it”, rather than it be externally driven because then, it’s you that drives the change and this internal motivation for change is far more powerful than you can imagine.

Mind you, you have a choice at every step, you can stop reading this and future posts on this theme and carry on regardless the way you have been, perhaps banging your head against a wall never quite getting where and what you want in your life. It’s entirely up to you.

This brings me nicely to my next point and something I really can’t stand. Victim culture and victim mentality. Are you one of those people that blames everyone and everything else for your situation, never taking responsibility for what happens to you. If you are, being blunt, you need to sort your shit out!! Grow a set and a back bone and start taking control of your life, be at cause not effect in what happens to you. What I mean is be proactive, take responsibility, accept that shit happens and do everything you can to keep yourself on track. Victim culture is rife in modern society and it really pisses me off. I see it in corporate culture on a regular basis, people, are afraid to make decisions in case they do something wrong, managers and leaders aren’t managing or leading because they are perpetuating this cycle by micro managing, they are not developing their teams and allowing them room to grow.

Stop being a Yes man, disagree, argue your point when you feel it’s needed, challenge the status quo otherwise you will not change and neither will society.

Victim mentality is based on the belief that emotions are reactions to circumstances and not choices. Choices give us power and control over our own lives, whereas being reactive leaves us a puppets on a string.

Despite what I have said here, shit does happen and bad things do happen to good people through no fault of their own, and we do need to show compassion for others when this happens. I am always delighted to see on the news or Youtube videos etc that are posted of people being selfless and helping others without being asked, just purely out of their own desire to show compassion for someone else in need. It’s a shame that it usually takes a significant event for this side of humanity to be openly displayed. My aim is to enable people to make better choices in difficult circumstances so that they can respond better when bad things do happen as opposed to reverting to the victim role.

As Human beings we all have a default setting/reaction when shit happens, this is not set in stone for life though, we can learn to change it to a proactive useful response. Transactional Analysis describes two ineffective roles that we will look at now. These are the persecutor and the saviour and both these roles limit our ability to freedom and flexibility of thought.

The persecutor responds with anger and contempt in the same way a victim responds by feeling victimised. TV dramas and movies are great for depicting this, you can see the characters flitting between victim and persecutor. Until you can step out of these roles you remain a puppet. The roles you take on manipulate you until you choose to respond in another more positive way, and until you do, you make it considerably more difficult for you to achieve what you want in your life.

The saviour is a role we take on when either the victim and/or the persecutor is in play by others and this role doesn’t bring much enjoyment or satisfaction because you feel you have to be the knight in shinning armour who has to save the day. Yet again this is reactive and not a choice and all roles like this are reactions not choices and seriously limit you and your life. In order to achieve what you want in your life, you need to create more choice for yourself.

Part of this is learning about your choice in your behaviour to other people and in how you assess others. Do you judge people on what they say or what they do, their behaviour, because there is a huge difference. We can all have bad days and say things we don’t mean when we feel stressed or under pressure and it is so easy to judge someone as being an arse because of that and decide to not like them. However, we are not what we say or what we do, they are just external expressions of our state of mind and not who we truly are and as such, we need to learn to reserve judgement at an identity level based on words and actions. Of course we can be pissed off with someone’s language and behaviour, this does not mean that that person is always like that and we may find on another day we actually get on really we’ll with them. So yet again it is a choice to reserve judgement and cut people some slack as we do not necessarily know what’s going on in their lives.

The foundation of this post is that there is no objective reality, it is purely subjective and all down to perception. Reality is a perceptual illusion and as such it can be what you want it to be. This can be quite disconcerting if this idea is new to you and may lead you to question everything. This is a good thing, trust me.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE!!

Getting what you want in your life is down to your perception of what is achievable and desirable. This is the same for getting what you want for yourself as well as what you want from other people and this is based on the tried and tested principle that when you control what someone else perceives you control them. It’s a scary thought I know and it happens day in day out.

Knowing this you can now turn your attention to yourself and your goals and desires and manipulate your own perception, therefore manipulating yourself just as you would someone else. This can be quite an eye opening experience, accepting that your perceptions and reality are not real, they are purely your choices at that moment in time, and you can make different choices to create the reality you truly want. Despite this knowledge being widely available, some people prefer to wallow in the self made prison of their own inadequate, ineffective subjective reality instead of questioning their current perceptions and changing their reality through different choices.

Guilt and shame, both self induced and imposed by others is what keeps many people in that self made prison and this is often from religion, gangs, political groups etc and used purely to control you. Understanding that you have other choices strips others of their power and control over you.

I truly hope that this and the rest of my posts in this series open up your mind to the endless choices available to you and help you realise that if you’ve felt stuck up till now, it has been your choice and that there is no discernible honour in self imposed poverty, whether that is financially, spiritually, emotionally or on any other level, unless those sacrifices are necessary for you to keep moving in the direction of your life’s purpose.

” Live for today because tomorrow is a gift, not a guarantee.” Simon Maryan

Making the Most of Your Heroic failures


quote_dream41 I am going to succeed 2013-10-08 06.58.45

Who you are matters.

What you’re trying to make out of  your life matters. The skills you are developing as a person and in your career matter. You won’t always be “winning” in your life, that is an unrealistic expectation for anyone to have.

What REALLY matters is that you don’t allow your setbacks or failures to become an excuse for you to give up on yourself. Whenever you feel yourself giving up on yourself or becoming discouraged on your journey to achieving what matters most to you – take heart in these stories:

  • Sigmund Freud was booed off stage the first time he presented his theories to a group of his scientific peers in Europe. He went on to win the Goethe Award for his work in psychology
  • Winston Churchill failed sixth year and lost every election he ran for until he was elected Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of 62
  • Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, couldn’t read basic words until he was seven and was expelled from school. He eventually revolutionised physics with his Theory of Relativity
  • Henry Ford failed at farming, at being an apprentice and as a machinist and went bankrupt five times. Yet he modernised mass production
  • Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too clumsy”. He won eight Davis Cup championships and is considered one of the greatest doubles tennis players of all time
  • Charles Schultz had every cartoon rejected that he submitted to his high school year book. He was rejected by Walt Disney. He went on to create the most popular cartoon series ever: Peanuts
  • Van Gogh only sold a single painting his entire life — to a friend’s sister for about $50. He painted 800 masterpieces, seven of which are together worth almost $1 billion
  • Leo Tolstoy flunked out of law school and was labelled “unable to learn” by his professors. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest novelists with War and Peace
  • John Creasey failed as a salesman, a desk clerk, a factory worker and an aspiring writer, getting 754 rejection notices from publishers. He wrote more than 600 novels and is considered one of the greatest mystery writers ever

 

What about you?

How will your story read like?

More importantly, how do you want your story to read?

Hopefully there will be a few failures for you along the way so you get to fully appreciate the success you’re going to become in your life.

That is my honest hope for you.

Because we all fail. The best of us fail most often! That’s because the best are always striving for success and as a result create more opportunities for failing. It’s those “failures” that are the stepping stones to your success.

And our “failures” make what we ultimately achieve MATTER all the more!

Here’s to Heroic Failures and the opportunities they bring.

Have an awesome week.

 

Simon 🙂

Leave Your Past in the Past 


At various times throughout our lives we can feel overwhelmed with sadness, loss, bitterness, anger etc and it’s hard to believe that your life will ever change, or you’ll ever be able to smile or laugh again. The truth is you will, it won’t always be this bad and there are things you can do to move on with your life in a truly happy and positive way:

1. Choose to face your pain. An unresolved past does not go away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So find the courage and a way to resolve the pain.

2. Accept there’s nothing you can do to change the past. What’s happened has happened, and what’s done is done. There’s nothing you can do to turn back time, however, there are ways such as Timeline Therapy, that enable you to rewrite the story so the ending’s positive for you. And, you can change how you think, and you can start over again, and build a different future that leads you to the life you want to have.

3. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad – or write off any good times and happy memories.

4. Consciously let go and set your focus on the future: All your baggage, failures etc of the past, can affect your identity or self esteem, if you let them. When you see them as opportunities to learn and refine how and who you are, they empower you to become stronger and better equipped to live life to it’s fullest. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.

5. Remove your past from your future. We can at times have a tendency to think that the past will morph into our future and become our lot in life. That only true if you think that’s true. The future’s a blank page. You can change your expectations and work towards those goals. Instead, look hard for the exceptions, the times when things went right and notice what you did that resulted in success. You still have those same strengths, skills and great qualities and more.

6. Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers – and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days and when you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

How Scarcity Affects Our Minds


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I mucked up this morning and missed out this link referring to the original  author of this article, Dr Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. who writes for Psychology Today and has her own practice in Marin County:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201401/the-psychology-scarcity?quicktabs_5=0

When we experience emotional deprivation in childhood, this feeling of not being important or lovable enough can persist into adulthood as a “deprivation mindset.”  We may never feel as if we have enough of the things we need.  This sense of insecurity can harm our close relationships. We may expect our loved ones to let us down, never express our needs directly or choose romantic partners who are avoidant of intimacy. Feeling deprived of important resources like love, food, money, or time can lead to anxiety or anger. We may obsess about the thing we are deprived of.  Or we may feel like we need to operate in emergency mode—penny-pinching or scheduling every second of our days. New theories and research about the psychology of scarcity provide some insights into how perceiving scarcity negatively impacts our brains and behaviour.

How Scarcity Affects Our Thinking

A scarcity mindset narrows our time frame, causing us to make impulsive, short-term decisions that increase our difficulties in the long-term, like putting off paying credit card bills or not opening the envelopes, hoping they will magically disappear. Poor farmers in India do better on cognitive tests at the end of the harvest when they are flush than at the beginning of harvest when they are running out of money. The size of this effect was equivalent to a 13-point drop in IQ! Dealing with extremely limited resources increases the problems and barriers we have to deal with, resulting in mental fatigue and cognitive overload. Other studies show that being lonely or deprived of food results in an unhealthy obession, hyperfocus, and overvaluing of the thing we don’t have. Ironically, the nature of scarcity itself impedes our coping efforts.

Scarcity and Motivation

Stress and anxiety associated with scarcity interfere with motivation, causing us to be more vulnerable to temptation. Do you notice how people buy stuff they don’t need at after-holiday sales when they’ve already spent most of their money? Perceiving scarcity, we’re unable to resist the time-limited super-bargain. Similarly, crash/starvation diets make us more likely to binge eat—not to mention the physiological effects of hunger on thinking and performance.  Lonely people see themselves and others more negatively and may counterproductively avoid joining group gatherings and activities for fear of rejection.

 What To Do

So, how do we overcome this scarcity mindset without becoming too complacent and living in ‘la-la-land’?  While different people may be comfortable with different levels of scarcity versus abundance mindset, the following suggestions can help you feel less deprived.

  1. Practice Gratitude – Deliberately focus your mind on what is good about your life, including the people who support you, the sense of community in your neighborhood, your achievements, or your exercise and healthy lifestyle. This can stop you from magnifying the importance of any one scarce resource like time or money.
  2. Don’t Compare Yourself With Others – You will always be exposed to people who have more time, money, or possessions and may experience a touch of envy. But in reality, you don’t know what it’s like to walk in that person’s shoes. As the saying goes, “Don’t compare your inside to everybody else’s outside.”  Your struggles may have created inner strengths that you don’t fully appreciate.
  3. Stop Obsessing – It is easy to get caught up in mental scripts about all the wrong decisions you made or worries about “what if.”  To break these cycles requires a lot of effort and preparation. Make a plan for what you will do if you catch yourself ruminating. Getting up and getting active can activate the left side of your brain, which breaks the depressive emotional focus. So, take a walk, call a friend, tidy your house or read a book.
  4. Take Preemptive Measures – Make a list when you go to the supermarket or program automatic appointment reminders and deposits into savings accounts. Don’t take your credit card to the shopping mall—take a frugal friend with you instead. Put the biscuits on the top shelf or give them away before starting your healthy living plan.
  5. Don’t Be Greedy – When resources are scarce, people get competitive because they think that more for somebody else means less for you. In fact, when you help somebody else grow their business, they may be more likely to refer extra business to you. Being helpful to others can lead to deeper friendships, gaining respect and reputation, creative bartering, or making allies.