Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled Volume 1 by Zero Dean
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The awesome power of asking yourself good questions.

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” — Leo Babauta

In yesterday’s post I talked about how changing “If only” statements into “How can I” questions creates a much more positive mindset that leaves one’s subconscious mind free to search for solutions (instead of creating a mental roadblock).

The manner is which one talks to one’s self is not only important in maintaining a positive attitude, when used correctly, it becomes a powerful tool. For example, how one forms questions they ask themselves can have a serious impact on the answers one gets in return. One of the reasons for this is because your subconscious mind doesn’t care what you ask. And it will automatically try to find that answer to your question. This is great. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.

Whatever you choose to ask yourself, your subconscious mind will diligently seek an answer to your question. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.

So if you ask it a question in the form of a negative, the answer you get will also be in the form of a negative…

Here are some extremes…

  • Why can’t I attract the love of my life?
  • Why can’t I stay in a long-term relationship?
  • Why don’t people think I’m funny?
  • Why don’t more people like me?

— and your subconscious mind will answer, “You can’t [do these things] because….”

Because you asked in the form of a negative, the answer you get back is also in the form of a negative.

If you like to beat yourself up or feel drained or powerless in the world, this is a great way to do it. (I don’t suggest that.)

Don’t be fooled, your question doesn’t have to have a “can’t” or a “don’t” in it to be negative.

For example:

  • Why am I always getting things wrong? (You are always getting things wrong because…)
  • Why do I keep falling for girls/guys that are bad for me? (You keep falling for people who are bad for you because…)
  • Heck, I even did it in a blog post: “Why am I not a better person?” (You are not a better person because…)

So if you want to avoid beating yourself up, pay closer attention to your thought process and take charge of it whenever you have a tendency to form a thought in the negative form vs. the positive. (You may recall that this is #1 of 12 ways to find encouragement, “train or retrain your brain”).

So when you are talking to yourself, always remember to ask yourself empowering questions in the form of a positive:

  • How can I improve areas in my life and get more things right? (You can improve areas in your life by…)
  • What can I do more of (or less of) to attract the love of my life? (You can attract the love of your life by…)
  • How do I attract the right girl/guy for me?
  • How can I be wicked funny like that Zero Dean fellow?
  • How can I become more likable like that dear, dear, friend of mine, Zero Dean?
  • What is Zero Dean’s phone number, because I feel like… whoops! Sorry.

Do you see the difference? Or more importantly, do you feel the difference?

Related:

“If only” is a roadblock on the highway of life.

A few words about “IF ONLY”…

“IF ONLY” …

  • If only — IT was easier.
  • If only — THEY were…

If you can’t control something, then focus on what you can control (which is how you think about it)

“IF ONLY” …

  • If only — I was stronger.
  • If only — I was more…

Adding the “*I*” is a step in the right direction because then you’re focusing on something you can control, but it’s still not a very effective way to approach a problem.

The issue still lies with “If only”. Ditch it.

You can ditch “If only” by asking yourself a question…

“How can I…?

Now you are not only putting yourself back in control, asking this question implies there is an answer to it.

And the fact that you are now thinking about a problem as if there is an answer to it provides you with a huge benefit — and that is it allows your subconscious mind to begin looking for a solution for you rather than be stuck with the belief that there isn’t one.

Come on, even Captain Jack Sparrow knows this…

“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.” — Captain Jack Sparrow

When you approach a problem in a way that implies you are powerless to address it, you create a mental roadblock and leave very little room for problem solving. When you approach a problem in a way that implies there is a solution to it, you open up a world of possibilities.

“If only” is a roadblock on the highway of life. “How can I…” is a roadblock breaker.

Use as needed.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” — Bruce Lee

Likability. Being liked and unliked.

Being liked.

While some people are naturally more likable than others, it is a fact of life that no matter how nice, how giving, or how generous you are, not everyone who crosses your path is going to like you.

Not being liked by every single person on the planet is normal. Some people will just naturally “get you”, others won’t.

That’s life. And it’s a good thing, too!

If we were all the same and liked all the same things, we’d never have our beliefs or values challenged. We’d be unthinking automatons (robots) and life would be boring! Contrast in life is a good thing. And it is our differences that make us great and help us to grow.

It may help to remember that some of the most loved people in history actually made history because they were bold and they often thought or acted contrary to popular belief at the time. They had more than their fair share of critics.

If you want to self-actualize (reach your fullest potential), then you must learn to accept yourself for who you are & who you want to be and take personal responsibility for your life and how you feel.

And along the way to self-actualization, you must be prepared to be unpopular. Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.

Those who achieve greatness in life don’t let others dictate how they feel about themselves — and neither should you.

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.

So if you’re doing the best you can, and you still have your critics, remember to put your focus on where it belongs — on your greater mission and on the people who want you in their life, not on those who don’t.

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Tease

Likability and Success

So if you’re not supposed to worry about whether everyone likes you or not, what’s the big deal about being likable at all?

Well, being likable, connecting with others, and forming relationships — whether it’s with an individual or an audience — can be (and often is) an integral part of being successful in life.

And being liked (or unliked) can (and often does) have a direct impact on your health, your wealth, your general level of happiness, and how effective you are at achieving goals.

This is — in part — because your potential is enhanced by the people in your life who find you likable enough that they are willing to take action at your request — or on your behalf — or provide you with assistance in times of need.

While it is impossible to be liked by all, the keys to being likable are traits that can have long-lasting positive effects on your life, your personal and business endeavors, and your relationships.

So while being liked by all should not be a focus in your life, increasing your likability can have a dramatic and positive effect on what you want to accomplish.

Seinfeld: How can anyone not like you (link to video)

A few keys to likability

  • Having personal integrity
  • Being open and able to communicate effectively with others
  • Having a positive mental attitude
  • Projecting self-confidence (but not arrogance)
  • Having the capacity to connect with others in a meaningful way
  • Being comfortable with yourself
  • The ability to empathize with and see things from others’ points of view
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Allowing one’s self to be vulnerable
  • Using positive body language

Additional Resources:

Links:

Books:

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” — Zig Ziglar

“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Related:

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It’s your life. Live it to love it.

When you think about all the things you could do or all the places you could go or all the opportunities you could take advantage of, it’d be nearly impossible to fit them into a single lifetime, let alone a stage of life.

And yet many people put off doing things until some fictional future when “everything will be right”. A distant future that rarely arrives.

Don’t waste opportunities to do things that are actually worth remembering by sitting idly as they pass. The things that a person can sit down and “do” today are generally the same things one can sit down and “do” a decade from now.

So get up, get out, and really do something.

A person only gets so many opportunities to do certain things at certain times in their life. What a person plans for matters, but what a person actually does matters even more.

Any time you’ve taken care of your responsibilities and you find yourself with the luxury of time, ask yourself, “Am I doing something worth remembering?” And if what you’re doing isn’t worth remembering, think of something that you can do that is, and then do that.

If you want to love your life, do things worth remembering. Don’t just “exist” and then wonder why your life isn’t all that interesting when you’re bored.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” — Sun Tzu

It’s your life.
Live it to love it.

If you want to LOVE your life, get out there and LIVE it!

  • Take chances.
  • Try something new.
  • Do something out of character.
  • Express interest in others.
  • Say YES! more.
  • Offsite: Create a bucket list.
  • Take the long way home.
  • Eat dessert first.
  • Perform a random act of kindness.
  • DO more, watch less.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Wear a smile!
  • Participate in something you haven’t tried before.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee or toll fare.
  • Hatch a plan to make a new friend.
  • Call an old friend.
  • Say “thank you” like you really mean it.
  • Pay off your debts.
  • Thank someone you appreciate.
  • Resolve to eat better.
  • Take charge of something.
  • Drink more water.
  • Move your body.
  • Find something to be passionate about.
  • Do things that make your heart beat faster.
  • And most importantly, get out there and…

DO SOMETHING WORTH REMEMBERING!

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman

Related:

if-you-want-to-love-your-life-zero-dean

Appreciation and Gift Giving

Global manufacturers would like us to believe that holidays are the best time to show appreciation by buying more “stuff” for the people we care about.

And every holiday we do it with cards, flowers, chocolate & confectionaries, and a million cheap trinkets of all kinds made by overworked & underpaid employees in foreign lands.

And we buy into this idea — holiday after holiday — because we like LOVE to be appreciated.

In fact, feeling appreciated is one of our greatest emotional needs. So we don’t tend to mind so much that the primary reason people show us appreciation on holidays is because they are expressly being reminded told to through advertising.

While there is certainly something to be said about being appreciated & showing appreciation on mutually agreed upon and culturally convenient dates, one could make an argument that the most sincere times to show appreciation are those times when a person you care about was simply on your mind and you thought enough of them to take the time to say so. Not because it was a holiday. Not because it was convenient. But just because it felt right and you truly wanted to do it.

I think most people would agree that any time is a good time to be appreciated. But by that same token, any time is a good time to SHOW appreciation, but if you truly want to maximize the experience, the BEST times to show gratitude for those you care about might just be the times when it isn’t a common cultural phenomenon.

(* within obvious social norms)

So if today isn’t one of those holidays — or even if it is! — is there someone you could show appreciation to right now?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo F. Buscaglia

Related:

Appreciation and gift giving

Go ahead, make someone’s day…

Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled by Zero Dean

Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and think of someone who has made a positive difference in your life.

I mean it — really stop and think about it and how it makes you feel.

Now — with that in mind — know that one of a person’s greatest emotional needs is to feel appreciated.

Is there someone in your life you could show appreciation to right now? Perhaps it’s the person you were just thinking of? Perhaps it’s someone else?

Do it. Do it now.
It will only take a moment.

Go ahead…
MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY!

Related:

Who we are today

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Who we are today is a result of all the decisions we’ve ever made in life. Whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions. To become who you wish to be, simply determine how that person would act and then, little by little, act like that person.

You are who you choose to be.

Related:

Growth and Discomfort : Getting outside of your comfort zone

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Growth & Discomfort: Getting outside of your comfort zone

Dealing with discomfort, fear, and situations we don’t want be in — or situations that we are completely unfamiliar with — is an absolutely essential part of growth.

Who we are is a result of everything we’ve had to overcome in life and the attitude we chose to adopt during – or as a result of – challenges we’ve had to face.

You can choose to look at difficulties as disruptive and something to dread – or you can look at them as opportunities for growth and self improvement. Because difficulties & discomfort are simply one side of a coin while opportunities for growth are the other.

You can’t have growth without some degree of discomfort.

We may not be able to choose or even like the challenges that life throws our way, but we can always choose our attitude towards them.

Related:

Life isn’t always easy

Excerpt from: Who are you going to be this year?

Life isn’t always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you’d never had a problem in your life, you wouldn’t be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?

Life isn't always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you'd never had a problem in your life, you wouldn't be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?

As I look back at the entire tapestry of my life, I can see from the perspective of the present moment that every aspect of my life was necessary and perfect. Each step eventually led to a higher place, even though these steps often felt like obstacles or painful experiences.” — Wayne Dyer

"Life isn't always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you'd never had a problem in your life, you wouldn't be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?" -- Zero Dean

Related:

I don’t like pop-ups. But the fact is, they get people’s attention. And here’s the deal, I want your email address. But rather than put a form here that 99.9% of people ignore, I want to provide you with a link that tells you exactly why I want your email address.

I promise it’s not a waste of your time. But if you suspect it is, I get it. (I’ve been tricked before, too).