Paul Strobl, MBA, CPC

Don’t Fear Fear

In my blog post awhile back, “20 Ways to Ruin Your Life,” I really messed up.  I missed the big one.  The one thing that will crack the foundation of your well-being to make sure your life will be a total failure:  Fear.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Latin American curanderos (folk healers) classify susto (fear or fright) as a destabilization or temporary loss of your soul. Symptoms can include insomnia, nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite or lack of interest in personal hygiene.  They don’t distinguish between physical illness and illness of the soul.  Does this sound familiar?  In Western medicine, this could be classified a disorder associated with stress and/or some type of depression.   

Physiology

So what is happening physiologically when we are stressed or afraid?  Stress hormones kick in–chemicals designed to give us a quick “turbo boost” (remember David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider?) to escape danger.  But if you’re living in turbo boost mode all the time, these chemicals are seriously detrimental to your health, causing high-blood pressure, reduced immunity, irregularities in your sex hormones and reproductive systems, digestive problems, and not to mention leaving you exhausted most of the time.

Read about some ways to reduce these here.

Stop Watching the News

In the words of Mark Twain, “If you don’t read newspapers, you are uninformed; if you do read them, you are misinformed.”  Aside from all kinds of reasons watching the news is bad for you, here’s what it does to your fear response. 

News items of sudden, unexpected events trigger our fear mechanisms.  Tsunamis, earthquakes, miners trapped in a hole, plane crashes.  If you don’t watch the news, you hear the latest “what happened” from a co-worker, from a family member.  Repeating this catastrophic news items is just like gossip.  It doesn’t help anyone, and it only passes around and negative mojo, or in this case fear and anxiety.  Want to feel happier?  Studies by social scientists have shown that if you stop watching/reading the news so much, you’ll be a much happier person in no time.  But it’s important to “be informed” you might say.  For whom?  Will it embarrass you in front of co-workers if you didn’t know that Lindsay Lohan was arrested again?  How much of what you read is based on looking smart or informed for other people, and how much of it really interests you?  We can’t all have the same interests, can we?

Control

In Freakonomics, authors Levitt and Dubner point out that the reason so many people are afraid of flying as opposed to driving is because they don’t feel they’re in control.  Even though statistically, there is a much greater chance to die in a car crash.  So in order to reduce your fears, let go of what you know you can’t control (you know, like the Serenity Prayer).  Look at the worst case scenario (if it’s death by an elevator cable snapping, then there’s not much you can do about it), and ask yourself if you can do anything to protect yourself without it getting in the way of living your life.  If you can’t, let it go.  You can’t fly the plane when you travel, and you can’t know when an earthquake is going to happen.  Let it go.

You’ll Be Fine

The truth is that fear is bullshit.  Whatever unexpected things happen, you’ll deal with it. Whatever you fear happening right now, go there.  Really go there.  What would you do first?  Then what would you do?  And then what would you do?  You’ve proven over and over again that you can deal with unexpected, and you’re just fine.

How does all of this affect you and your business?  Here.  I’ll let Danielle LaPorte pull it all together for you.

How to Double Your Lifespan: My 8-Week Mindfulness Experience

Are you skimming across the surface of life, or wading, diving, and swimming in its depths? We frantically do all kinds of things and spend all kinds of money because we want to live a better life. We want our bodies to last longer. We want to feel better.

But what if you could experience a concentrated version of your life? The colors more vivid, the flavors have more texture and depth, and those roses to stop and smell? They’re everywhere, and you can take them in while still fulfilling your life’s obligations.  You can double or triple your lifespan, not by making it longer, but by paying attention instead of just flying through it on autopilot.

As a coach who works with pragmatic people, I’m a skeptic. I can read the positive journalistic reports raving of the benefits of mindful meditation, but then I need to go further: how was the experiment designed? How did they choose the subjects? Were the effects statistically significant? Did they do them in humans, or put mice in the lotus position, fed them raw vegetables and played Enya?

When I looked into it, the data were convincing enough for me to experience mindfulness for myself.

For years I have been asked if I meditate, if I practice mindfulness, and I always said “sort of.” I “sort of” practice these things because as I learned to be the observer of my thoughts, and as I cleaned out lots of mind clutter, I’ve experienced great periods of peace in my life. With this peace being the “goal” of practicing mindfulness meditation (or so I thought!), my master coach high-horse would respond “I don’t need to practice mindfulness—I live that shit!”

What I’m already realizing as I’ve begun my 8-week course by reading Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World and listening to the online MP3s, is that yes, I “understand” mindfulness practice, and while I had a general skeleton as to how it all works, the actual practice seems to be filling in the gaps. In my first week, I’m on autopilot less, and swimming in the depths of the moment more. It feels more complete, and it’s delicious (in an uncomfortable, challenging kind of way).

If you think you know what meditation is all about, there’s a good chance you’re wrong. Have five minutes for a sample? Go get a raisin (or any dried fruit) and try this one:

Click here for The Raisin Meditation

What I noticed: my tongue is a super-dexterous piece of meat like an octopus tentacle. It can do all sorts of movements, and I don’t even have to think about it. How many more parts of my body are doing this stuff? How can I not be amazed by this shit all the time?

What did you notice? (there are no wrong answers here) How did you used to eat raisins? What if you could apply this type of mindset to more of life’s activities?

VIDEO: How to Make a New Year’s Resolution Stick

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi I’m Paul Strobl, International Personal Coach for CEOs and Business Owners.  

The thing I want to talk about today is the elusive New Year’s resolution.  Why am I doing this before the New Year?  Well the main reason is that it’s important think about how you set the goal on the first place.  

Now, I’m not talking about SMART goals– that it’s specific it’s measurable, that it’s achievable–I’m not talking about that stuff.  What I’m really talking about is motivation vs inspiration.  

Most clients come to me originally and say they want to be motivated toward a particular goal.  Motivation, to me, is putting yourself through something unpleasant to get to some desired outcome.  It doesn’t sound very nice, does it?  So what I try to do is to dig down deeper, and once we have explored things a little bit is finding what’s really important about the goal – the goal the goal may change – it’s really important to find out what the client’s inspiration is, and when inspiration is moved to the forefront, that person doesn’t need motivation anymore.  So inspiration is like the pull toward the thing that you want, and it’s really inspiring because it’s part of who you are and it’s in line with your goals and values–the things that you really want, so when you have an inspiring vision, it pulls you toward it.  And motivation is  kind of the push. It requires accountability and discipline and all these other things.

So I challenge you to find an inspiring vision for the next year, and not just something like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to make more money”–there must be a really compelling reason within your being to want to get to the goal.

Now once you have the inspiring vision, the next thing is how to keep it conscious.  It’s one thing to say you want the thing, but it’s another thing to keep it in mind everyday.  There’s all different kinds of ways to do this everybody’s a little bit different.  I’ve had clients who got a new tattoo for their vision they want to create, a new piece of jewelry, or putting a stuffed animal that they keep their computer desk so every time they use the computer they see it; you could use Google Calendar, you can use reminders–something that’s going to be in the way of your everyday life, so you can see it, stop, think about it, and make sure that it’s constantly there.  As long as you have something in place where it becomes a must, and you have that reminder that you hold the vision, and if it’s an inspiring vision, then it’s going to come true.

So I’m here and the beautiful Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria, and I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine.   I raise a toast to you for this next year, for you achieving your inspiring vision, that you hold yourself accountable for achieving it, and you maintain that vision every day.

If you want to let go of the sand bags that are weighing you down and truly live, go ahead and  book an appointment–there’s absolutely no charge for a consultation.  We’lll have a chat for about an hour and we’ll see if we fit for working together.  

 

Nazdrave!

VIDEO: Holiday Dinner Survival Tips

TRANSCRIPT:

As someone who helps my clients with communication, many times with very toxic and dysfunctional people, I get a lot of calls this time of year.

This is the time of year that we all sit down at holidays dinners, we’re ready to battle, so to speak and nerves are exposed. So I get a lot of calls of how to manage these waters, how to make our way through it.

Just about everybody no matter how healthy your family is, there’s one or two people who are difficult to deal with, so I want to talk about the three “Don’ts”–three things not to do in order to have a nicer, more peaceful holiday dinner, and so you don’t set of these landminds that may be around you with some of these difficult personalities.

The first thing is: Don’t take anything personally. You may have heard this before, maybe in The Four Agreements, I’ll put a link here to so you can check it out. The thing is, for some of your relatives, you’ve been frozen in time. In their mind, you’re still 5 years old or 14 years old, and they have this opinion of you that is very, very set. So when you have new information, they don’t really take it in, they don’t really believe you.

Now, to turn this around for a second, I have a question for you: What could one of your relatives (pick one) say or do that would significantly change your opinion of them? Probably nothing, right? Unless they showed up high on heroine and threw up on the table, you would probably have the same opinion of them. Same thing for them. Let them have their opinion. Don’t take it personally.

Second, don’t ask or answer “why” questions. This may sound strange, but here’s something I know after years of experience, why or why not questions make people defensive, it’s very sensitive, so when people already kind of ready for battle, if you will, that extra little factor can set somebody off. The other thing is, in answering why questions, if you are explaining, you are losing.

For example, somebody throws a question at you like “Why the hell did you get re-married?” You can ask with curiosity, not sarcasm, “well, how do you mean?”  You can answer a question, with a question. There’s no reason you have to be explaining things, so keep that in mind.

The third thing is: don’t engage. So when you’re not in agreement with someone, people are going to be talking about politics, sensitive family issues, etc. You don’t have to engage with them – you can use phrases like “I get that” or “I hear you” – it doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with them. You’re still being honest and true to yourself that you listened to the person and you understood their point, you don’t have to agree or disagree. You don’t have to get in this battle of who’s right. You don’t have to keep people from being right – let them be right if they want to, and you don’t have to hang onto your thing of your having to be right, okay? So let go of that.

So those are the three: don’t take it personally, don’t ask or answer why or why not questions, and don’t engage.

Those are my three “don’ts” to have a happy holiday season, and if you are looking to let go of the things that have been weighing you down, and you want to truly live, give me a call, totally free of charge to have a chat, we’ll just have a casual conversation and see if we’re a fit for working together.

Happy Holidays.

[blooper reel]

The One Thing that Makes the Ultra-Successful Miserable

Business image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

* To address previous reader comments, I am sure what I describe in this article can pertain to many Western countries – I am simply writing from my American perspective.

It always surprises me when I uncover an insight into my own culture. I did an undergrad in Anthropology and lived on three different continents, so when something has been in such plain sight my entire life, I wonder why no one else is writing about it.

Humans love stories. We tell them to pass on valuable cultural knowledge, to entertain, to move us emotionally, and how we tell our personal story not only can shape how others view us, but how we view ourselves.

According to renowned author Kurt Vonnegut, every great story has one simple structure: 1) Man falls in hole. 2) Man climbs out of hole.

But what if you never fell in a hole? What if you were born into a family with plenty of resources, a good upbringing, school was relatively easy for you, you studied what you wanted, you became great at it, you started a business and it made you millions? What if you got everything that was promised to finally make you really happy – you married someone great, have great kids, they’re happy and doing well in school – only to find that something inside you felt wrong, heavy, like there’s something missing?

Having worked with hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and business owners over the years, the vast majority of these clients who “have it all” suffer from the same thing: guilt.

The guilt is from not having suffered. Funny, isn’t it? Incredibly successful people who have never really suffered, end up suffering for not having suffered. It’s like a form of Surivor’s Guilt (which is now grouped with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD in the DSM-V) in which family, friends and colleagues seem to have this story of suffering that is either ongoing or something they overcame, and the client feels guilty for not having gone through any serious ordeals to achieve what he/she has.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, American culture has a deep-rooted Protestant Christian psyche. In the Bible, when Paul goes through an enormous amount of suffering and near-death experiences, God’s answer to him when he pleaded for healing the thorn in his flesh was basically “be grateful you’re alive and stop being a little bitch.” There’s a repeated association throughout with a lack of suffering being associated with being a sinner. It’s as if suffering is noble and good, and if you don’t do it, you’re just not a good person.

So here’s the message: you can’t achieve or have anything good come into your life without paying the price of suffering. When good things happen, many of us are waiting for the bad thing to happen in order to balance it out. In fact, we criticize people who have had it easy. Even many parents who are attached to their own story of suffering, who went to great lengths create a life for their children to minimize suffering, ironically end up berating their own children for “having it easy” or being “soft.”

When working with these “ultra-successful” clients (I used quotations here because most of them would not classify themselves as successful), I repeatedly find this guilt as a big driver of their lack of satisfaction. They may have carried around this extra heaviness for years thinking that’s just how it has to be.  It isn’t, and getting the right professional to help you lighten the load may be just what you need.

What’s your story of how you got to where you are today? How much of it has suffering in it? What areas came into your life easily and without suffering?

Keep Negative People in Your Life…for a Little Bit

There’s a lot of talk out there about getting rid of negative people to live a happier life.  You know, the ones who drain you when you spend time with them.  While no one wants to have unpleasant experiences, you may be making a huge mistake.

The most difficult people in your life teach you the most about yourself.  If you don’t undo the stuff that made it okay for them to be in your life, you’ll attract another one just like them.  The question is this: “what part of you decided it was okay to be with them in the first place?”

When you are honest with yourself, you will see that you are re-creating interactions and contexts from your past.  Interactions that you didn’t want, but they were very familiar to you.  Much like a woman who had an abusive father and repeatedly chooses abusive boyfriends, we are attracted to the dysfunctions we grew up in – they are “comfortable.”

Acceptance

There is a key distinction between agreement with someone’s behavior and acceptance of the facts that they are how they are. When you are in acceptance, you see a person with emotional limitations, and not how you think they should be.  We don’t berate someone in a wheel chair for not being able to compete in the high jump and think that they should be able to jump.  That would be absurd.

When you let go of the shoulds of others and realize that they are who they are right now, and that there’s nothing for you to do to change them (nor is it your responsibility), you can decide whether to keep them in your life or not in a practical, balanced way.

Once you’ve learned your lessons, and see where you have to grow, then you can peacefully kick them to the curb.

 

How Renaissance Entrepreneurs are Wired: A Conversation with Joe Abraham

I recently caught up with Joe Abraham, author of Entrepreneurial DNA and founder of BOSI Global, an operating partner for high-growth companies.  Joe has a deep understanding of how Entrepreneurs are wired, which is why I chose his methodology as an important piece for identifying the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

The follow is a transcript of a recent conversation we had where we talk about what sets apart the Renaissance Entrepreneurs from other entrepreneurs:

Paul:  What is the Renaissance Entrepreneur?

The BOSI Quadrant

Joe:  What we’re finding more and more is that what you define as the Renaissance Entrepreneur (RE) ends up being a “right quadrant” entrepreneur. Typically “O” (Opportunist) or “I” (Innovator) DNA.  They’re not in this just to earn a paycheck, they’re not in this just to be their own boss, they are on a much greater mission, and they don’t really care how they get there. They really see business as a vehicle to either get them to their goal of financial freedom, or it’s a vehicle to help them change the world. The Opportunists see it as an opportunity to make pile of cash and attain financial freedom. The Innovator sees it as a way to change the world with what they have come up with. But in both cases, they don’t care how they get there-they want to be as creative as possible on the way there, so they aren’t as obsessed with what happens today, what happens tomorrow and what’s the micro detail control factor.  They don’t concern themselves with how much of the process they control and how much of it is going to be them to feed their ego. It’s more like “Look, I’d rather hand off some of this operations stuff to someone else–I’d rather find creative ways to get to my goals, than the old school way of show up to an office and sit there from 8 a.m. to 10 o’clock at night.” We call them a “Renaissance Entrepreneur” because they are not treating their business like a job. Left quadrant entrepreneurs on the other hand, especially S’s (Specialists) really turn their businesses into glorified jobs- they show up at 8 o’clock in the morning, they leave at 5 o’clock at night, they do all the work, they see every customer, they have to know every customer, visit every customer, sign every track, they have to know the QuickBooks system inside and out. They get so obsessed into the doing that they end up essentially with a job. Meanwhile, the renaissance entrepreneur is like “The last thing I want is a job–I want this business to work for me, I want people running it I want to enjoy my life.  I don’t want to be doing this 5 years or 10 years from now.”

Paul:  They have other interests, they have other things they identify with that they enjoy, they love learning, and they maybe have a garage full of things that represent different hobbies that they’ve played with. Whereas the left quadrant, the left side is more likely to do this one thing, identify with it, not a ton of hobbies – just one or two things they enjoy.

Joe:  Yeah, this is my identity if I’m on the left side of the quadrant.  On the right side of the quadrant, the business is really just a way to accomplish something really big. And so it’s just a perspective: Renaissance Entrepreneur, or the right quadrant entrepreneur is just happier, they are much more easy going when challenges and setbacks happen. They don’t take business so seriously that everything is wrapped up about their identity or wrapped up in what happened today.  We all know the reality is businesses have their ups and downs and we find that Renaissance Entrepreneurs are much more nimble; they are much more pliable, and they get through those challenges much better as long as they clearly understand their weaknesses. There is a dark side of the Renaissance Entrepreneur, however, the dark side of the renaissance entrepreneur with no guard rails or a renaissance entrepreneur who actually thinks they have mostly Builder DNA. These RE’s don’t ask for help, they try and do it all themselves, and they usually blow up the ship along the way.

Paul:  And from the coaching standpoint, there are some of these things like the “hot and coldness” of creativity where they get a whole flurry of creative ideas and then they struggle to be productive.  It’s important that they have an understanding that those flurries of ideas got them where they are–not the down time where they beat themselves up.

Joe:  And then when they really start to measure how long it’s going to take to implement the idea, that’s what’s draining to the O or I entrepreneur, and that’s when, if they are a Renaissance Entrepreneur, they will say “who can I trust or who can I hand off to implement this for me?” so I can stay in creative mode or I can stay in an acquisition of new ideas mode. Every O and I knows that the minute you start focusing on the implementation and how every detail works, you’re outside your sweet spot.

Paul:  Yeah, and it’s not a new idea anymore, right?  A new idea is always more exciting, it’s that “what’s the next thing?” that really excites them.

Joe:  So if somebody reading this and identifies themselves as a Renaissance Entrepreneur, they’ve scratched their heads in the past thinking “yeah, all my peers want to do it by the book, and they are so analytical, and they just want everything cookie cutter, and I’m more out of the box–I want things to be different, creative, unique and game changing.”  If this is you, then you probably are a Renaissance Entrepreneur–you don’t have an office full of people slogging away making widgets all day long, and you don’t enjoy sitting there watching them make widgets. If this is you, then you’ve got to stop going to the events everybody else goes to.  You’ve got to stop hiring consultants that everyone else is hiring.  You’ve got to start getting around people who understand who you are and know how to coach you through those things and help you build your business the way it should be built. The risk you run is hiring that next marketing firm or that next business coach or that next employee who doesn’t understand the Renaissance Entrepreneur and ends up implementing things that are going to drive you insane.

Paul:  Agreed, and much of the business philosophy out there like The E-myth and Traction, and stuff like that just won’t work with the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

Joe:  Yes!  All those systems-focused ideas and many of the other operating systems are essentially built for the Specialist and S’s are very comfortable with those and can get some great results, but they are not built for the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

***If you are interested in knowing about your Entrepreneurial DNA, Click Here for a free 10-questions assessment.

Latest Interview with Stephan Wiedner at Noomii.com

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

Stephan:  Hi my name is Stephan Weidner-I’m one of the co-founders of Noomii.com. Today I’m interviewing Paul Strobl originally from Houston, Texas. Welcome and thanks for joining me.

Paul:  Thank you very much Stefan.  

Stephan: So tell me, Paul, who are your ideal coaching clients?

Paul:  My ideal coaching client is an entrepreneurial-minded Renaissance man or woman–somebody who has a ton of different interests and they have an entrepreneurial bent, and they’ve experimented or have been highly successful and the ventures they’ve been involved in haven’t quite done it for them, and they’re not quite sure why–even if they’ve had tremendous financial success, or even sold off a company, they’re not completely sure what’s next for them, or it didn’t do what they thought it would do for them.

Stephan:  I’m curious what do you do to help them? What’s your system or process or approach?

Paul:  My approach has been refined over a very long period of time, partly of my own personal trial and error of years of my life that I’ve spent kind of struggling with that idea that I’m supposed to do this “one thing” the rest of my life that people tell you’re supposed to do, but my interests have always been very diverse, and in addition to even going through some of the chaotic childhood that I was in…so I really connect with those black sheep-type clients.  My process is basically taking away all of those things that I did wrong and finding all those things that I did right, along with hundreds of books and materials that have worked for a lot of my clients over the past 10+ years. I wish I could say that there was a perfect 1-2-3 process; it’s actually more like a 1-7-3-8 process depending on who the person is, but we get there a quick.  Nobody works with me for more than 12 sessions to achieve the peace and clarity part of what they want next.

Stephan:  Peace and clarity… well, I would love that, perhaps as much as most of your clients do.  Are there any other side benefits, shall we say, of working with you?

Paul:  Side benefits would be “learning to put down the stick.”  What I mean by that is, the clients I work with have this up and down in productivity, and when they’re up, everything is good and amazing and can even be overwhelmingly good when things are really firing.  But when they’re down, they beat themselves up and they put themselves in a funk.  Learning what to do in order to shorten that down-swing, that down cycle, and getting back on the up-swing where you feel good and motivated and your creativity is flowing… that’s a huge side effect.  And you know of course, that kind of thing has a huge ripple effect into your relationships, your marriage, other parts of your work; obviously, if you’re feeling really positive, it affects the people around you. A huge benefit.

Stephan: Tell me a little bit about your own background and why you gel so well with these types of clients that you’ve been describing.

Paul:  Well, for me it was really that when I grew up, my father was a big executive at an oil and gas firm, so he had “the formula” that was passed down to me – this may be a generational thing, right?  You do X, Y and Z, you get with a big company,you work with them for 30 years and you’re done–you can retire.  And I never fit in that formula.  I was great at math early on, so I started following the formula, and I got into all of the top engineering schools out of high school. I was just going to follow that same formula that everybody says you’re supposed to do….and I failed out in my first year!  It was obvious that I wasn’t an engineer, even though I was really good at math and science. I was good at a lot of things–I had a lot of interests, so I understand the struggles of trying to force a square peg into a round hole that doesn’t even really exist anymore. People don’t really work for the same company anymore for 30 years, so having been through the struggle of changing my major several times even moving around to different countries to understand different cultures and see how I feel in them, I’ve really done a lot of trial and error and realized a couple things.  One, is that maybe there is no “one thing” for me and for some of us who love learning, and a lot of the tools and resources I’ve researched that have worked, if there isn’t that “one thing,” how do you create a life in a career with all these different interests?   So I’ve created this for myself; I not only a coach – that’s my principal business – but also work with a company that does a private equity-type play, so I get to be two different things. I do most of my work in Houston, but I am also able to work remotely right now I’m in Argentina (update: Bulgaria in 2017) and it’s finding that thing that works for you, that is the sweet spot, where you get to learn.  My clients are natural learners – if you find that equilibrium, you get to learn about different stuff, you get to explore different things, try different hobbies but at the same time you still have fulfillment in your work.  

Stephan:  Paul thank you for your time today it’s been a true pleasure

Paul:  Thank you Stefan

 

Balancing Business and Life

Life Balance Houston CoachIt has occurred to me when working with clients that many of us have the tendency to think of life balance in terms of daily or weekly perfection, and if we don’t do all of the habits or tasks within a given time period, we are “out of balance.”

There tends to be guilt while at work and away from family, and guilt while with family and not working.  Or maybe even the self-criticisms of not exercising enough, or eating too much, or whatever.

I have two thoughts on this:

1)  Let yourself off the hook a little more.  Most of us cause ourselves more emotional anguish beating ourselves up for what we haven’t done rather than just accepting that we didn’t do it.  Chill.

2)  Think of life balance more as the way science defines equilibrium.  Equilibrium is the point through which a system passes-not a perfect balancing act on a daily basis.  Maybe you miss a couple of workouts because a friend had a family member pass away.  Maybe you don’t see your friends much for a couple weeks because you are starting a new project you are excited about.

Broadening the length of time you evaluate your “life balance” may find yourself feeling good about the equilibrium you have, and giving yourself a little compassion isn’t going to drive your business or career off a cliff.  If you don’t like where you are, you let go of the past, and chart a new course.

Circular Things

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” –Albert Einstein

Transformational Coach HoustonWe have evidence that the universe is hostile because we know what it feels like when things don’t go the way we want them to.  The question is:  where does the pain come from?

It comes from ourselves.

When the outcome is negative, we beat ourselves up.  “I should have known better.”  “I’m stupid.”  We wait for ourselves around every corner with a big stick to beat ourselves up for making a mistake because that is what’s comfortable.  We’re used to it.

So do we fear the outcome, or do we fear what we do to ourselves when things go awry?

When we believe that the world is hostile, we are always vigilant. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We are tensely anticipating the next attack or bad situation.  We tell ourselves stories about other people:  “He probably thinks I’m a loser.”  “She’s disappointed with my work performance.”  “They think I’m a terrible person.”

In our defense (to our own negative thoughts), we react, we attack or we run away from people and situations and cause conflict.

We create a hostile universe for ourselves.

If we dropped our stories about other people, the world would be friendlier.  If we put down the stick, we would learn to have compassion for ourselves.

Don’t believe everything you hear – this includes your own thoughts.  Question them and get rid of what is stressful.  The universe will suddenly become more and more friendly.