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This Monday Message appeared on October 12 2020.

Follow These Rules and You Will Never Look Back in Life with Regrets

By Thomas Oppong

You are responsible for your life, for your feelings, for your actions, and for every result you get. You are in control of your thoughts. You have the ability to stop thinking about something and to start thinking about something else.

Once you take personal responsibility for your life and actions, you will begin to improve your ability to respond to external factors you may not have control over.

You can improve your results and become smarter, faster, more intelligent, more kind, more able to contribute to your own success and happiness.

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You Will Never be Ready. Do it Anyway!

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” — Paulo Coelho

The bulletproof way to miss out on a career that means the world to you is to wait for the perfect moment. Your brain will always convince you into believing that you are never ready.

Never ready to take a step. Never ready to start a healthy habit. Never ready to start a passion project. Never ready to love again. Never ready to launch that project on your mind.

When it’s time to make the most out of your time, there are only two states: doing nothing and doing something.

Because doing something might be extremely uncomfortable for us we create a third state of mind, a slight nuance between the two predefined ones. We call it “almost ready”.

Don’t feed your insecurities. Perpetual cycle of helplessness can kill everything and anything you’ve ever dreamed of doing!

If you focus 100% on output without zero input you might just be fooling yourself into thinking that you are moving forward while in fact, you are spinning in circles.

The difference between those who start before they’re ready and those who wait is that the former knows you won’t know what you can do until you do it.

Do not miss the train. Opportunities are often late, but they always go away fast.

Pursue Your Ultimate Potential

“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.” — Elena Kagan

Every human brain has a built-in capacity to become, over time, what we demand of it. No ability is fixed. Don’t put an intellectual limitation on yourself. Whatever you want in life, you can become if you want it bad enough. Once you have a WHY, you will find a HOW!

Words of inspiration from Mozart to help you pursue your life’s work even if you think you are not talented enough:

“People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me,” Mozart himself once wrote to his father, as if to make this precise point. “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I.”

Every life is special. You matter. Your dreams matter. But it’s ultimately up to you to take action in the direction of your dreams, and when you do, you’ll be met halfway — I promise. You won’t be alone. Thousands, if not millions of people have been on that same journey before. There is so much you can learn from everyone else who either succeeded or failed.

Life’s work or meaningful project is different for everyone. For some it’s passive income. For others it’s intrapreneurship. For some it’s working 1:1 with clients. And for some, it’s being able to work from anywhere. In the end, it is what freedom feels and looks like to each one of us.

Your Input Predicts Your Output

“When you do something with a lot of honesty, appetite and commitment, the input reflects in the output.” — A. R. Rahman

The overwhelming reality about life and living it is this: we live in a world where most things are worthless, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable and improve or make you better. As John Maxwell once said, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.

Whatever you seek to change in your life, be it a bad habit to break, a good habit to form, a new approach to something, a new commitment or starting a passion project, your success depends on the quality of your inputs.

The quality of your inputs determines and predicts your output — habits, character, attitudes, beliefs, and results. Commit to working different. Commit to changing something… to change itself. Commit to the process of ever-improving results.

Everything you allow into your life through all your senses — input — is processed as output that creates your results. If you expect a different output, start analyzing your inputs.

If you are not satisfied with your current output and your results, including your beliefs and your mindset, pay close attention to everything you spend time doing. Most information is time-consuming, negative, and irrelevant to your goals and dreams. Don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Deliberate lifestyle design is based on massive consistent action — output. Increased output necessitates decreased worthless input.

You are probably due for input adjustment!

80% of Your Outcomes in Most Things You Do Come From 20% of Your Inputs

As Pareto demonstrated with his research, this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio.

At a micro level just by looking at your daily habits you can find plenty of examples where the 80/20 Rule applies. 20% of the people who are close to you influence 80% of your attitude and perception and either propel you forward or limit your ability to deliver and make the progress you deserve. In business, 80% of profits come from 20% of customers and 20% of products.

The important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs. Some of your time spent working inefficiently provide very little benefit.

When you start to analyze and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place.

The message is simple — focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you.

The key to making the 80/20 Principle work for you is focus. In every area of your life you can work out the few things that are really important to you and the few methods that give you what you want.

There are lots of simple, painless ways to start this “stripping back” process so that you can begin applying the 80/20 Principle and reaping the practical benefits in your everyday life.

Experiment Boldly

“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” — Cadet maxim

In our search for perfection, many of us end up finding comfort, stagnancy, and mediocrity. Every time you speak up or have a public “aha” moment purely for validation purposes, your creative expression takes a hit!

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are — what others say is irrelevant.” ― Nic Sheff

Study the greats. Read their biographies or autobiographies. Learn the good and know the bad. How did they work? What were their successful routines? Try and err. Most people don’t express themselves enough to get good at what they do, and so have low volume of work to know what works and what doesn’t.

Picasso was exceptionally prolific throughout his long lifetime. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs.

And there are about 870 paintings by Vincent van Gogh existing today. His earliest date from 1881 and the latest from July 1890.

Aim at total self-expression. Create a lot, launch your ideas, write posts, take many shots, practice more than your strongest competitor. Most of what you do may suck, but you need the bullshit if you want to find your authentic self.

Embrace Ambition Without Hesitation

“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” — John F. Kennedy

In following your inclinations and moving toward your ultimate potential, you make a great contribution to society by sharing with the rest of us. You enrich the world with your discoveries and insights. You become a contributor instead of a consumer. You inspire others to also take action.

If you have chosen to read, watch, consume, travel, explore and learn — then share as you grow so others may benefit from your skill.

Bless the world with meaningful and unique solutions that solve problems, limitations and frustrations. You are capable of satisfying wants, needs, hopes, dreams and desires.

You have every chance of fulfilling someone’s dream if you can be bold enough to show up and share yourself. Start chasing something bigger than yourself. What really matters is that you create something you are proud of that becomes a powerful addition to your body of work.

Dare Greatly, Fall Down and Get Back Up

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” — May Sarton

Most of us go through life doing what we’re supposed to do, what society or family expects of us instead of what we want, subjugating our own dreams and desires to our perceived social obligations.

When you have to make a decision, don’t start by asking yourself what you’re supposed to do. Instead, first ask yourself what you want to do. What makes you come alive.

Then, ask yourself if there’s any compelling reason why you shouldn’t do that. If there aren’t, go ahead and do what you want. If there is, and it’s within your control, do something about it.

Civilization has too many rules for you, so do your best to rewrite them! Deciding to live life on your own terms. As Steve Jobs once said:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

The Obstacle is Always the Way

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. — Woodrow Wilson

When you bet on yourself and choose to pursue your life’s work, don’t take failure personally. Most people abandon their efforts too early in the face of challenges.

There is so much focus on quick and easy life hacks that we forget that true, deep, authentic, meaningful, and lasting work comes from deliberate consistent practice. Purposeful practice over time gets you closer each day to the success you crave. If you are not making progress as you expect, try changing up your pattern. There is not single path to meaningful work. It matters that you don’t stop.

Anyone going through a significant discovery stage in life will face enormous setbacks. But remember, a setback is a set up for a comeback.

Instead of giving up, find a new way to approach a scary task. Break it into tiny little bits. Work from a totally different location. Ask someone to talk you through an idea so you gain a new perspective and get out of your own head. Go for a walk.

Draw a picture of the solution, instead of trying to write about it. Change how you work. Sometimes you get so engrossed in your own passion project that you lose sight of the solution you seek which may be hidden in plain sight.

If you don’t feel joy in the goals you have set for yourself, try changing your goals, but whatever happens keep moving in the direction of your dreams!

Sometimes, the path towards originality isn’t pursued because its origins are so humble. Take any start or foothold you can get. Embrace humble beginnings and do the work that others don’t want to do.

To truly excel, you must first create for the most important audience of all: yourself.

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    This Monday Message appeared on January 11 2021

    5 Things You Need for a Successful Mindset

    What’s the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t? Mindset. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference and is the primary catalyst driving your feelings of self-worth, competence and confidence.

    Make no mistake, the most successful people have it. And if you intend to ascend to those coveted ranks, you’re going to need it, too. Are you willing to do the work and elevate your mindset to achieve uncommon success?

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    Consider the following five elements to help you develop a successful mindset:

    1. Self-Talk

    Ever think the only conversations that matter are the ones you have with someone else? Not quite. The conversations you have with yourself are the most important ones you will ever have. To be clear, we talk to ourselves all day, every day. Eventually, all that robust data adds up to create our individual self-concepts. Be careful what you say to yourself. Plant seeds of positivity and inspiration, rather than criticism and doubt.

    1. Intentions

    Your intentions set the tone for how skillfully you navigate personal and professional success. Have you set yours high enough to challenge the status quo? If not, think bigger and push past your comfort zone. Get comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s where the real growth happens. Setting your sights high and believing in the most remarkable outcomes you can attain changes the way you show up in the world. Believe me, no one has ever regretted embracing the power to think big.

    1. Grit

    When it comes to success, world-renowned psychologist Angela Duckworth says, “Talent counts, but effort counts twice.” Got grit? If not, know this: Both passion and perseverance are vital to your long-term success. Experiencing initial excitement when deciding to pursue a New Year’s resolution is quite common. Less common and far more difficult is the sustained focus and drive—throughout long periods of time—needed to achieve it. Grit helps us push past the desire to give up, especially when things get rough. Fortunately, it can be learned and continually developed over time.

    1. Strategy

    Declaring a goal, without more, will do little to ensure its success. Only substance and structure will successfully ignite and move it forward. Begin by chunking your goal into smaller segments to organize it, making it more manageable. Then create a strategic plan with scheduled activities and outcomes that will help to assure its success. Notice what works and be proactive about tweaking key elements where necessary. Be open to feedback and embrace innovation along the way.

    1. Execution

    Creating a strategy is one thing, but executing it is another. Decide in advance that taking strong action will be the litmus test for your success. Sure, there will be days when you won’t feel like working or perhaps even be discouraged. No matter. Your goal is to take bite-sized pieces of the apple until it is finally consumed. Whether making a phone call, sending an email, or physically maneuvering to achieve the next steps, dig deep and take action. Execution helps you build trust in yourself, as well as reflects successful past performance, bringing you one step closer to your desired outcome.

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        How to Create …. The Power of Many

        Why a Mastermind Group?

        A good Mastermind group can change your life.  There is no better way to navigate the difficult challenges in life, and in entrepreneurship, than the collective experience of others.  When you surround yourself with smart and engaged people who share your view of life, you are exponentially more powerful than you alone.  Mastermind groups allow us to tap into our shared know-how and wisdom to help each other solve problems together, or keep us accountable to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

         

        The concept of the Mastermind Group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill.  In his timeless classic “Think & Grow Rich,” he wrote about the Mastermind principle as:

         

        “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

         

        He continues…

        “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

         

        You’ll gain tremendous insights, which can improve your business and personal life.  Your Mastermind Group is like having an objective board of directors.

        You will receive:

        •  Experience, skill and confidence
        •  Real progress in your business and personal life
        •  An instant and valuable support network
        •  A sense of shared endeavor – there are others out there!

         

        Steps to Create your Mastermind Group

        1. Choose the Right People

        Because of the group nature of a mastermind group, a commitment is required.  Look for highly motivated people who are willing to ask for and give help and support.

         

        You want 2 to 8 people who:

        •  Share similar experience levels
        •  Share similar ambition levels and desires for achievement
        •  Share similar values, beliefs and ethics
        •  Are positive and forward thinking

         

        2. What Type of Mastermind Group are You?

        Topic based – Formed around a specific topic such as weight loss, fitness etc.

        Mission based – A group with a shared singular mission.

        Business – To help members grow their business, regardless of niche.

        Goals and Accountability – To help members keep themselves accountable for their goals, business related or not.

        3. Define Your Purpose

        Once you’ve identified your group type, define the group’s purpose.  Write a mission statement such as:

        “The purpose of this group is to keep each other accountable with one common purpose – Be the Best We Can Be.  We will meet weekly on line to check in with each other, review our annual goals and the progress we are making toward achieving those goals.  Through our combined mind power and network we help each other to live for our purpose and reach our highest goals.”

         

        4. Develop a Formal Agenda

        Set a schedule and stick to it so that your meetings are as productive as possible.  Rotate the meeting leader and time keeper each meeting so that all members share this responsibility.  Also have a note taker.  Some groups start their meetings with a prayer or a grounding exercise.  Ask each member to share what successes or challenges they have had since the last meeting (1 to 2 minutes max).  This is a wonderful way to celebrate and encourage each other, while also staying updated with what is going on with each member.  Have each member state the goals for the upcoming week and any help they require from the other members.  Assign the leader and timekeeper for the next week’s meeting.

        Demartini – Turning Setbacks into Comebacks – Part 1

        Dr. Demartini shares how to transform what you PERCEIVE to be a setback into a catalyst for GROWTH.

        Did you know that there is ONE question you can ask yourself to help you transform ANY setback into a comeback?

        I am sure that, like every other person on this planet, you have experienced something that you perceived as a setback. Perhaps it involved your grades at school, not getting into the college or university of your choice, a relationship that did not turn out to be what you had hoped, or maybe even a lack of financial or business achievement that you had anticipated or planned for.

        Perhaps you chose to work through these setbacks by trying again or working harder. Maybe you began blaming others for the role you perceived they played in your setback. There might even be a story that you are running in your head about how others have it “easier” than you or that you may as well give up because you never seem to catch a break.

        I would like to give you an alternative view today – something tangible that you would be wise to consider using every time you face something you perceive as a setback. I am certain that it will assist you in transforming these setbacks into comebacks.

        There are only three things that you have control of in life: your perceptions, your decisions, and your actions.

        Not only do you have control of these three things, but you can also change them:

        -Your PERCEPTION of the event that you call a setback.

        -Your DECISION regarding what you decide to do; and

        -Your ACTIONS around it.

        So, while you may not have control over what has happened on the outside, you do have control of your perceptions and decisions on the inside, and of the resulting actions that follow.

        As a result, you are not ever a victim of your history but instead a master of your destiny.

        No matter what happens to you, you have the ability to change how it is in your mind.

        I teach a course called the Breakthrough Experience and have seen people come in with all kinds of situations that they perceive to be setbacks.

        One of the things I do is give them a new set of questions to ask, so they:

        – Become conscious of things they were not conscious of.

        – Balance out perceptions that they thought were “IN the way”; and

        – Turn the same experience into something that is “ON the way”.

        If something happens that you see as a setback, you are choosing to see the downsides and not the upsides.

        It would be wise to ask yourself: “What are the upsides to this happening?” or “What would be the downsides if this hadn’t happened?”

        For example, “What would be the downside if my parents had stayed married when I was younger?” or “What was the upside of my parents’ divorce when I was younger?”

        Both questions will assist you in getting to the point where you are balanced in your thinking and grateful for what you had previously perceived as being a setback.

        I am not promoting positive thinking but balanced thinking.

        When you can find the downsides to the things or fantasies that you are infatuated with, you can release the distress, have the setback dissolve, and balance your thinking. A depressive setback is often a result of a comparison of your current reality to a fantasy you are holding on to about how it could or should have been.

        Let me give you an example. Let us say that you become infatuated with a woman who then leaves you. Instead of focusing on all the ways she was “perfect”, imagine that you then began to look at all the downsides to either her or to your relationship with her until you are no longer infatuated but instead neutral and balanced. As a result, you will tend not to be resentful or unhappy, nor will you tend to give the relationship valuable real estate in your mind.

        So, it is not about positive thinking but instead about bringing your thinking back into balance:

        – If you perceive more drawbacks than benefits or more downsides than upsides, then you may need to come up with benefits or upsides.

        – If you are infatuated with somebody or something, you may need to come up with the downsides or negatives to breakthrough your unrealistic perspective.

        Balancing out the equation is what liberates you.

        Anything that you are infatuated with occupies space and time in your mind and runs you, so you need to see the downsides to set you free. Anything you resent where you see downsides without upsides, also occupies your mind and runs you and here you need to see the upsides to set you free. It all depends on what the original setback is.

        If you have lost someone that you are infatuated with, you may need to see the downside of the individual that you are attached to and the upside of them being gone.

        If you are resentful of somebody, you may need to see the upside of why they are coming around you and the drawback if they were to go away. If you take those two sides and balance out the equation, there will be nothing there except an event that you are now grateful for.

        In other words, a perfectly balanced mind is more objective and becomes grateful.

        Adaptability comes from a balanced mind.

        You are not adaptable if you are highly infatuated with something because you fear the loss of it.

        You are not highly adaptable if you are resentful of something and fear the gain of it.

        You are likely to only be set free when you have a balanced mind and neutralize your seeking or avoiding.

        In the Breakthrough Experience, I teach the Demartini Method which is a series of questions that equilibrate the mind and liberate you from the bondage and baggage of emotions that weigh you down, which you label “setbacks”. In this way, you are likely to be free, resilient and adaptable to whatever is happening.

        If you have a perfectly balanced mind and something has been taken from you, you are likely not to feel devastated or stressed, but free.

        A perfectly neutral mind is what liberates people from the stresses and the setbacks. Or, as I like to put it, a setback is nothing but an imbalanced mind.

        Sometimes, the setbacks we have in life are not even setbacks but comparisons of fantasies that we are addicted to.

        If you hold onto a fantasy about how life is supposed to be, then what it is may tend to feel like a setback or challenge.

        It is for this reason that I am a firm believer in balancing out the mind.

        Once you balance your mind, you are likely not to even see a setback, only an opportunity.

        You will tend to find the hidden order in your apparent chaos, and actually be grateful that it happens.

        I often say that anything you are not grateful for, somehow you have a skewed view of. If you balance out your mind, you are likely to experience an abundance of gratitude.

        Again, a perfectly balanced mind is grateful.

        When someone sees the balanced hidden order, they will not even perceive a “problem”. They only thought they had a problem when they imbalanced their thinking and perception.

        By asking the question: what is the upside if you are down, and what is the downside if you are up, balances it out and liberates you, and then you tend to realize there is nothing there except “thank you”.

        No matter what is going on in your life, a master is able to turn whatever is happening into an opportunity.

        It is just about asking the right questions because intuitively balanced questions help you see unconscious information. The second you change your perception, your decisions of what to do with it change, and your actions change.

        Then, if you choose prioritized actions that are inspired and that are according to your highest value, you are likely to have the most resilience.

        “How is whatever I’m experiencing right now helping me fulfill:

        – What I value most?

        – My mission or purpose in life?

        – My inspired vision?

        If you ask that question – no matter what is going on – you might be surprised that you are able to see things as being “on the way” instead of “in the way”.

        You may not see it at first, but if you hold yourself accountable to look and discover what that is, you will tend to realize that this thing that you perceive to be a setback was not actually a setback but an opportunity.

        When you are living in alignment with your highest values, are more objective and embrace both challenge and support in your pursuit of what you feel is your purpose in life, you are likely to have way more resilience and no longer experiences challenges as “setbacks”.

        As a result, you will tend to be more adaptable and flexible, and no longer see gains or losses. Instead, you are likely to live in a world of transformation.

        Why do redundant daily actions that are not inspiring to you when you can free yourself up to do those inspiring actions you really love, that are more meaningful and productive and that provide greater opportunities for other individuals to do the same? 

        Dr. Demartini shares his views on why learning the art of delegation can help you live a more inspired, productive, meaningful, and financially rewarding life.

        Eckhart on Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety

        QUESTION: I’m 34 years old and have a good job and a good home; I’m married to a wonderful man. I have bad anxiety, and I have no idea what I want from my life. I have low self-esteem and I get defensive easily. I’m rarely content or grateful. My thinking is so negative. I need approval from others.

        ECKHART: This doesn’t seem to be a question but there’s a question hiding in there. First, I’d like to congratulate the questioner on her self-knowledge because she is aware that she’s anxious. Not everybody who’s anxious knows that they are anxious. They are just taken over by anxiety, and it is virtually their normal state. If you ask them, “Are you anxious?” they reply, “No, I’m not anxious.”

        The question, “I have no idea what I want from my life,” looks like the beginning of the place of not knowing, which is good. “I have low self-esteem,” indicates that you have the awareness that you have low self-esteem. “I get defensive easily,” again, this indicates that you know that you get defensive; the question is… in the moment of getting defensive do you know that you’re getting defensive, or do you just know it afterwards? “I’m rarely content or grateful,” is a good self-observation, too. “My thinking is so negative,” is another good piece of self-knowledge. You can ask, in this moment, what other thoughts are going through my head?

        If you apply this awareness to the present moment when these things arise – defensiveness, low self-esteem and anxiety — you’ll see that certain repetitive thoughts in the mind are the voice in the head that tells you – this is low self-esteem. There might be certain emotions that go with the thoughts, but the basis for low self-esteem is the thoughts that you tell yourself about your low self-worth. The questioner knows that she has low self-esteem, and if she can recognize the thoughts in the moment of low self-esteem arising, she may realize the repetitive, conditioned thoughts are not necessarily true. Perhaps, the low self-esteem started in childhood – it often happens to people whose parents are very critical or tell them they are never good enough. It might have started there; it’s a conditioned way of thinking.

        The awareness that’s already present in the questioner needs to be there in the moment when these thoughts arise — to recognize them as thoughts — and then, you are no longer completely trapped in what these thoughts are saying. In other words, your sense of being is not in the thought anymore; it is in the awareness of the thought. To use an analogy, the vastness of the sky is your awareness and the clouds are your thoughts.

        Remain the sky (the awareness) and allow the clouds (the thoughts) to come and go. You are the awareness behind the thoughts. This applies to any kind of negative thinking – it arises, you recognize it as automatic– it’s a thought. You are the awareness that knows this (low-self esteem) is a negative thought pattern. This way you are no longer feeding the conditioned thinking, so you are taking your identity out of thinking and no longer renewing old patterns.

        If your awareness can grow, which means deepen, because it’s already there to some extent – then those conditioned patterns will diminish and get transmuted.

        Another point mentioned in the question: “I get defensive easily,” defensiveness happens very quickly in human interactions; it’s an automatic pattern. You may only recognize it afterwards, and say, “That was defensiveness again.” These are all ways the ego tried to protect itself– the ego being the mind-made self. Defensiveness will come up with any lie just to keep its ego identity intact.

        A Course in Miracles has a lovely saying, “Whenever you become defensive about anything, know that you have identified with an illusion.” That’s interesting. For example, you say that the distance from here to the moon is 350,000 kilometers or so – and the light takes just over one second to travel from the moon to the Earth. Then somebody else says, “No, that’s completely untrue; it actually takes one minute.” This is just a difference of opinion, but you know that the other person is wrong. If you say, “No, that’s not right,” is that defensiveness? It depends on how you say it. The question is…are you identified with your mind, which has a position that happens to be true, but are you identified with that mental position? Do you derive your sense of self from thought? If you’re identified with the thought, you will get angry and defensive with the other person who is completely wrong and you might say things like, “You always doubt me.” That’s the ego trying to protect itself.

        The A Course in Miracles saying applies because you have identified yourself with an illusion. The illusion is not that it takes one second for light to travel from the moon to the Earth; the illusion is that you identified with the thought — a mind pattern — so you are strengthening an illusory identity by strengthening your mental position– that’s unconsciousness. This shows how a difference of opinion can degenerate into a huge conflict because the ego becomes defensive. Alertness is required on your part, so that you know when the ego arises.

        The key is your awareness. When awareness deepens all those patterns you mentioned will weaken. There’s already a considerable amount of awareness in this questioner. The awareness isn’t the person, but it’s deeper than the person. You apply the awareness to the present moment when things arise, but not in some abstract way, for example, “Will I ever become a person who is not negative? I can’t get rid of my patterns,” that doesn’t matter; this moment is what matters. So just apply your awareness to this moment; you can’t change things into mental constructs – “How can I change, I don’t want to be that kind of person anymore?” Forget it! This moment is where you apply Presence. I sometimes say, “The sword of Presence that cuts through time.”

        Joe Vitale Raw

        My most recent global interview was raw, intimate, inspiring, practical, personal and surprising.
        The host said –

        “This was a magical episode — really, truly amazing. Please give Joe my tremendous thanks, was truly a pleasure to spend time with him and he is welcome back onto the show anytime. Easily in our top 10 best episodes ever.”

        You can hear it at –

        Youtube: https://youtu.be/7U4WrjFzZ_U

        Website: https://thehumanxp.com/episode-143/

        Expect Miracles.

        Ao Akua,
        Dr Joe

        PS – Be sure to visit my new site with lots of goodies, many are freee:
        http://www.VitaleLifeMastery.com

        Be Slow In A Hurry

        My dear friend Michael Abedin, publisher, author, editor, and so much more, passed away last month. I wrote this article for the tribute issue of his magazine, Austin All Natural:

        “Take Your Time in a Hurry” Or, As Fast as Wayne Newton, As Slow as Wyatt Earp By Dr Joe Vitale

        “Can I see the revolver?”

        I’ve known Michael over ten years. We’ve shared everything from Cuban cigars to old Scotch, fast cars to great books, spirituality to marketing, Reiki to Bach Flower Remedies, to our lives personal ups and downs. He was the greatest storyteller I ever knew.

        I had him MC my events, like Attract Money Now Live and the Advanced Ho’oponopono retreat. He was also the MC when I performed as a singer-songwriter on stage at The Townsend in Austin with my Band of Legends. He also published my feature articles for more than ten years, and put me on the cover of his magazine, Austin All Natural, more times than I can recall.

        We got together often, and shared our struggles and triumphs, usually over a bottle of aged Scotch.

        Once Michael visited my home and wanted to see the old Colt six shooter I own. It used to belong to actor and bodybuilder Steve Reeves. It was part of my collection of Reeves memorabilia. I had the revolver and the leather belt Reeves wore in spaghetti western movies like A Long Ride from Hell. Michael knew it and was eager to see it.

        Michael put on the belt and put the gun in the holster. It fit his tiny waist. He looked ready to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

        He walked around with attitude, the leather gun belt low on his hip, and looked like he was about to step into the O.K. Corral. With his long hair, boots, and jeans, he fit the part of old cowboy. Or an eccentric modern one.

        Being Michael, he repeated advice from Wyatt Earp.

        “Fast is fine but accuracy is final,” Michael said, paraphrasing the famous gun-slinging sheriff. “In a gun fight, you need to take your time in a hurry.”

        “Take your time in a hurry.”

        Michael and I loved the phrase.
        It was a Zen-like reminder for every aspect of life: slow down but be aware.
        Act but be present.
        We both had a drink of Scotch to toast the old lawman and his wisdom.

        “Have you ever fired it?” Michael asked, holding the Colt.

        “Never,” I said. “It’s just part of my Steve Reeves collection. I never intend to actually use it.”

        Michael stood and practiced his fast draw. While he convincingly looked the part, he wasn’t ready to be in a duel. He fumbled several times. The gun seemed to stick in the holster. Michael looked frustrated. He really wanted to get this right.

        Because we were such close friends, I pulled out my phone and started filming him. That made him even more self-conscious.

        He tried a few more times, doing his best to consciously will himself to be calm. He wanted to “take his time in a hurry.” He used his three decades of martial arts experience to center himself.

        But he still withdrew the revolver too slow or too fumbling.

        In a real gunfight, he’d be smoked.

        “Pretend you’re Wayne,” I suggested.

        “Wayne who?” he asked, his hand on the pistol.

        “Wayne Newton,” I replied.

        Michael stopped, his mouth agape, his eyes searching mine for meaning.

        “Wayne Newton?” he repeated, baffled.

        “I mean Wyatt Earp.”

        “How did you get Wayne Newton out of Wyatt Earp?” he asked.

        I shrugged. I didn’t really know. I was just trying to get him to loosen up.

        I pointed to the now half empty bottle of Scotch.

        Michael shook his head, took a deep breath, calmed himself, and pulled the gun out of the holster. It was smooth.

        “Be slow in a hurry.”

        Fast.

        Easy.

        Smooth.

        He did it again.

        And again.

        Once he had the maneuver down pat, he stopped. But he spent the rest of the evening wearing the gun belt. We sat at the kitchen table, finishing our bottle of Scotch, talking, sharing, all with the gun on his hip.

        On one level, it was surreal.

        On another, it was simply Michael being Michael.

        I loved him.

        I miss him.

        I comfort myself thinking Wyatt Earp, Steve Reeves and a long line of other greats, are gathered around Michael and listening to his stories. Maybe even watching him practice his quick draw.

        And him reminding them, “Take your time in a hurry.”

        Ao Akua,

        Joe