From reading more than 600 self-help books, Susie Moore distilled what she learned into 3 top lessons. I think they are worth sharing:
1. You must take 100% responsibility for your life
This is Jack Canfield's No. 1 Success Principle, capturing the importance of owning every part of your life, including your mistakes. There is no success nor joy in blaming others and relinquishing control to other people or your circumstances.
Forget your parents, your exes, and the lack of opportunities. Your life direction is entirely up to you. No excuses. Success has no prerequisites, and there is no quality, certification, background, or nationality that has a monopoly on success. It's all up to you.
2. You are allowed to be, do, and have anything you want
"Inherent in every desire is the mechanics for its fulfilment" - Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. It's no accident that if you love to sing/write/teach/build companies/fill-in-the-blank, you were given talent in this area. And you are meant to be doing it!
The extent to which you use your gifts and skills is up to you, but they exist to be shared and to serve others. You have an obligation to be who your heart knows you can be. That way you make your highest contribution to the world and live regret free. There are no accidents or unreachable goals within your desires. You are also worthy of receiving the blessings (including financial) that result when you bring value to others.
3. There's always a higher power at work - and it's on your side
A version of this truth is in every biography: Do your best work and trust in a power that is bigger than you. We are all terrified. We all feel uncertain about a million things. We are all just doing the best we can. But when you apply the above principles of ownership and action, you'll be unstoppable. Why? Because you're not alone here. We're all connected. We're all from the same source.
The higher power at work in our lives (it doesn't matter what you call it) is working right alongside you, always. In moments of discouragement, remember you already survived everything that’s happened to you so far, and will continue to do so. The universe's helping hand is on call, waiting to lift you back up as soon as you centre yourself and allow it in.
"Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution." - David J. Schwartz
Addiction is widespread and new addictions keep arising, like internet, shopping, or selfies. What can you do if you struggle with one of these?
One of the most effective ways to combat addiction is to change your environment.
The best evidence for this came from US soldiers after the Vietnam War. Many of them had become addicted to heroin, but when they came home most were able to stop using. Heroin is a very difficult addiction to kick, so that’s a big success story. Partly it was because the army provided good support and monitoring, but the biggest factor was that the environment changed. Back home in America, it was much harder to get access to drugs, it was less acceptable to use, and mostly the psychological trauma of the war was over.
That’s why it is important to focus on social changes, not just on biological ones. Specialists now suggest addicts begin by changing their circle of friends or rearranging their house: anything that breaks up your routine can prevent you falling into old habits.
Then look at your inner environment. Addiction is like scratching a wound: the more you scratch the more it itches or gets infected. If you can experience the itch and hold back on the scratching, it starts to heal. Wounds release histamine, which helps the healing but also causes the itch. Scratching releases more of it. Put off the scratching and the itch will start to fade.
That vital gap between thought and action is where we learn to pause and make choices. It’s not the itch, it’s the thoughts about the itch. The deepest addiction we have is to our thoughts.
“If a flower is wilting, you change the environment in which it is growing, not the flower.”
In a recent experiment, a group of students were asked to sit quietly and reflect for ten to twenty minutes. They were hooked up to a machine that administered mild electric shocks, and told that if they were bored they should press the button and give themselves a shock.
One guy did this 120 times over twenty minutes. Two thirds of the male students and one third of the females pressed the button at least once.
They found the experience of sitting quietly so unpleasant that they preferred to get a shock to break up the anguish of doing nothing but thinking. The study shows how easily we give in to any distraction however disturbing it might be. It stops us having to confront any of our thoughts or feelings.
This is probably why so many of us choose to do extremely challenging things, just to keep our minds occupied. Hundreds of books tell us how to have a more peaceful and undisturbed life, but in truth, very few people want to have one.
What is Kindness? ‘Behaviour marked by a warm and pleasing disposition and a genuine concern for others’. It is usually considered a virtue, though some unfairly associate it with weakness. In fact kindness requires a strength of character and a strong sense of oneself.
Practising kindness daily can have significant benefits for wellbeing. Research shows that kind people enjoy increased energy, happiness and serotonin levels, plus lower levels of stress and anxiety. Here are the top benefits of practising kindness in your daily life:
- Kindness makes you happier
A natural high floods our being when we do something nice for someone else. Even a thing as simple as holding the door open for a colleague can make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Biochemically this is known as ‘Helper’s High,’ and it seems that the good feeling arises from elevated levels of dopamine in the brain.
- Kindness is contagious
By performing an act of kindness you benefit not just yourself, but you also affect the people around you. Studies show that people who witness an act of kindness experience an improved mood and are more likely to be kind to others. So every time you are kind to another person you are also paying it forward and passing on the kindness to the people around you.
- Kindness helps you age better
To be kind is often associated with warmth of character. Emotional warmth has beneficial effects on your heart and brain, as acts of kindness and emotional warmth produce the hormone oxytocin. Research from the American Journal of Physiology suggests that this hormone reduces levels of inflammation in the cardiovascular system and in turn slows ageing in the body.
- Kindness has long-term effects
The Journal of Happiness Studies finds that kindness has a long-term effect on happiness, as there is a ‘positive feedback loop’ between the two. In other words, acts of kindness increase happiness, which increases your likelihood of being kind. They will inspire someone else, who will inspire another, and so on. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
"Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street."
This is rule 12 of the ‘12 Rules for Life’ by Jordan Peterson. Each of his rules has an obvious surface meaning, and then deeper layers as you think about them.
So, "Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street".... Notice and enjoy the little enjoyable things happening all the time around you.
From Peterson's book... "If you pay careful attention, even on a bad day, you may be fortunate enough to be confronted with small opportunities of just that sort. Maybe you will see a little girl dancing on the street because she is all dressed up in a ballet costume. Maybe you will have a particularly good cup of coffee in a café that cares about their customers. Maybe you can steal ten or twenty minutes to do some little ridiculous thing that distracts you or reminds you that you can laugh at the absurdity of existence."
Today, watch for 'cat in the street' opportunities. And maybe tomorrow too. Think about the deeper meaning underneath this seemingly simple idea, and its connection with other ideas like being in the moment.
If you are curious about the other rules, there’s a summary at https://blog.12min.com/12-rules-for-life-summary.
If you'd like to hear more from us, you can subscribe to one of our mailing lists.
Subscribe to our monthly email newsletter
Get news about Life Lounge
Subscribe to the BWIS blog