Monday, December 24, 2007

Thankfulness and Postive Thinking

With all the stress of the holidays let's remember the big picture and how truly blessed we are. As we focus on our blessings it makes positive thinking a reality no matter what's going on.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The BIG Picture

When you're focused on the big picture you don't see problems. You see opportunities.
When you don't see the big picture you focus on your problems. You don't see the opportunities.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Positive Attitude - All Tied Together

This post is a continuation of the previous post. It will be necessary to read it in order for this one to make sense.

Let's look at the next two ingredients necessary for a positive attitude and then we'll will tie them all together and give some examples.

#2. Not setting yourself up for failure.
Expecting things to turn out one way when there is a good chance it will turn out another way is a setup for failure. This means that you replace the word "will" with "might" or "may" for things you have no control over. So often we say to ourselves "this WILL happen this way" when we may very well have no control over it. When a woman comes home with a new hair cut and expects her husband to notice she is likely setting herself up for failure. Many men are not in tune to those details. Instead of saying, "he will love my new haircut." Saying, "he may or may not notice my haircut is a better choice.....

#3. Looking ahead. What good can come from this? W. Clement Stone is noted for saying, "Great!" when he was faced with an obstacle. He saw each struggle or obstacle as an opportunity for improvement - to make things better. It requires a future focus - remembering to see the overall picture (#1 from previous post) and how this obstacle can help you to better achieve your vision and goals. You see, when you have your priorities and focus set, no obstacle will hold you back - only present more opportunities. When you define the overall picture you can handle ANY situation that comes up - and grow from it! This is powerful stuff!!!

Let's look at an example: Let's say that you get married and then you have no focus in your marriage of where you want it to go. You have no real picture of how you want you marriage to be. You just get up every day and do the old mundane things life requires of you to get by and never really pay attention to your spouse. You don't work to make your marriage better because you're not seeing the big picture of how you want it to be. You might even say to yourself or your spouse that you want it to be good, but until you have made that a priority and painted a clear vivid picture of what a good (or great) marriage is to you it absolutely will NOT be a good (or great marriage).

Priorities, a clear vivid picture, focus, commitment and real belief that it is possible (belief is crucial) will cause your mind to start engaging in the right direction. Your mind will start to create ways to make it happen. And where you lack knowledge your mind will lead you to find the answers. Vision and focus make your mind open and your eyesight will become 20/20. And then you will have the most beautiful marriage ever. You will not fall apart with every little thing that comes up in the marriage because you see the big picture and are committed. Bear it mind that it does take commitment from both partners, but very often (not always, but very often) just a change in your attitude can create a change in your spouse's attitude which will create open communication to talk about ways to improve the marriage.

So how does not setting yourself up for failure fit into the picture? When you realize that you can't control your spouse and what he/she does you start changing your language. You become responsible for the things you can change - YOU! You start saying he/she "may" do this (whatever it is you expect or even ask of them) instead of saying he/she "will" do this and if they don't you are disappointed and fall apart. What if you told yourself that "he/she may do this, but if they don't that's o:k because I'm committed to the big picture of making our marriage the best it can be no matter what?" Our disappointments will diminish to very little just by changing one or two words and our attitude. This can be applied to any goals or priorities in life.

So what about looking ahead? How does it fit in. What about those obstacles that do arise? What if something does come up in the marriage that you just can't agree on? With a clear focus and commitment, you look for and find ways that you can use this to make your marriage stronger and better. Just believe that it can make your marriage better and you will find a way for it to do so. (Belief leads to action.)

Well, what if I do everything I can to make our marriage turn out beautifully just the way I want it and my spouse is just not in the game? What then?

What is the even bigger picture? What if your overall picture was to choose to be happy and have a positive attitude - no matter what?

What if you saw the real big picture - that we are here to bring glory to God - always - no matter what?...... Then you will find a way to use EVERY situation to bring glory to God............ And you will have so much peace in your life - because peace and a positive attitude do not depend on ANY situation.

Only when your mind is open you will start to see things crystal clear.

Positive Attitude: Open Mind Equals 20/20 Vision

This is likely to be a long (but VERY IMPORTANT) post because I just had a big revelation this morning....

Maybe I'll turn it into more than one post....

The last week or two I have had this mental block on moving forward and achieving my goals and have been working to try to figure out what it is and this morning as I was reflecting on something else my eyes were opened.

In our classes that we have been going through on acquiring the attitudes and skills necessary to lead a happy and peaceful life we were taught the ingredients that make up a positive attitude. I wrote them all down, knew it sounded good and was right, but I have struggled with what 2 of them meant exactly. It was as if I had a mental block on that also.

So this morning I determined that I was going to have a positive attitude today and was going over all the ingredients that make up a positive attitude. There was that block on those 2 things that I couldn't quiet figure out so I thought about it and started writing things down and the more I wrote the more my eyes were open and everything was crystal clear. It was great.

Let me first go over these first 3 ingredients for a positive attitude and then I will explain my revelation.
1. Seeing the overall picture
2. Not setting yourself up for failure.
3. Looking ahead. Asking "What good can come from this (situation)?"

I was having trouble distinguishing between number 1 and 3. They just seemed the same.

Here's what I finally was able to see:

Seeing the overall picture does mean looking into the future like number 3, but it most definitely precedes number three - or makes number 3 possible to do. Number 1 means you have vision and focus. You have goals and are focused on them. You know what you want out of life. You have defined your priorities and set them in order. You know exactly what is important to you and you act accordingly.

You don't allow yourself, your life to get caught up in the insignificant things that don't matter and neglect the things that really do matter and just drift through life. You don't just lay around and watch TV all day - not that a little TV is bad, but you don't let it consume your life because you have no purpose or meaning. Positive thinking and Seeing the overall picture requires you to define exactly what is important to you and BECAUSE it is important to you.... you act accordingly. You do not let your life somehow slip away from you without even realizing it has BECAUSE you had no focus..... When you see the overall picture, each day you wake up with vision, focus, priorities and goals. You know precisely what is important to you so you engage in positive thinking to live it out and make it happen. When you have vision you don't wait for things to happen TO you. You not only look for opportunities, but you MAKE OPPORTUNITIES. You MAKE things happen the way you want.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Filtering out the Positive: Another Thinking Error

So how else can we make our thinking more positive? What else can we do to bring peace into our lives? What other thinking errors can we rid out minds of to make positive thinking prevail in our lives. This is a pretty popular thinking error:
Filtering out the positive in order to point out the negative.

This is an easy one to participate in. I know I have done this one a lot. It goes hand in hand with many of the other thinking errors, but let's focus specifically on this one.

A good example would be my husband's thinking toward being in school. I hope he doesn't mind me using him as an example. (He has actually worked really hard on this one and is doing MUCH better, but it's the best illustration that comes to mind.) He totally does not want to be in college (once again) right now, but because of good choices he has made that's where life has taken him at this point. He thinks about all the bad things about being in school: how it takes all of his time, how he doesn't have free time to do the things he wants to do, how he doesn't have time to spend with me as much as he would like, how he has to do school work from dawn until dusk, etc, etc. What has been filtered out is that his schooling is being payed for, it will allow him to get promotions quickly - more money to save for retirement and do to do fun things, how that after only a year in school he will have all that free time back and a guaranteed job to go along with it, not to mention a wealth of knowledge.

It usually only takes one negative thought, and then a whole chain reaction of negative thoughts arise and build on each other so that nothing positive is visible. The key is recognition of that first negative thought before we are blindsided. Once awareness takes place then we can start to think about the positive things of the situation and more positive thinking will arise. Sometimes, we may have to work hard to begin finding the positive, but all successful people are able to find good in any circumstance. It just takes some effort and we find more peace starting to fill our lives.

Friday, December 14, 2007

How to Choose a Good Coffee

So why pay more for coffee when you can get a cheap bag or can off the shelf at the grocery store? Isn’t it all really the same? I mean, is there really a difference besides the price? What constitutes a good quality coffee?

Let’s talk about freshness.

When you buy a can or bag of coffee at the store what are you getting? Well, who knows? Who knows how long it has been in storage at the factory? Who knows how long it’s been in storage at the store or how many weeks, months, or even years the stockers have pushed that bag or can to the back before it finally made its way to the front where you pick it up and take it home? (I know personally how it works. I have worked at those stores.)

So does that matter? Don’t coffee beans stay fresh in that bag or can, especially those bags that are vacuum sealed? Well…. No is the answer to that question. The vacuum helps, but the coffee beans still degrade or break down. The break down process begins immediately after roasting where it begins to lose its flavor. Time only continues the process.

Some companies claim to provide you with freshly roasted coffee, but it’s always a good idea to check. If flavor and quality is important to you then finding a company who roasts it fresh to order is the only way to go. Once you taste coffee that has been truly freshly roasted you will notice the difference and never be able to go back!

So what else is important in finding the best quality coffee?

Let’s talk about roasting.

Our friends at Wikipedia tell us that coffee roasting transforms the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans into a roasted coffee product that we then consume.

Most coffee companies use conventional drum roasters which will roast the coffee, but because the chaff remains in the drum it begins to smolder and leaves a smoky tarry oily film on the bean giving it a bite and bitter aftertaste.

Convection air roasting is by far the best coffee roasting method. Heated air is forced up through the coffee beans and the tarry chaff is carried away immediately. The roasting is even every time. The result is the most incredible and highest quality taste imaginable. It is very clean and smooth going down and no harsh aftertaste is present. It’s pure ecstasy. Once you have tried coffee roasted this way going back to anything less will not be an option in your mind or to your tastebuds.

This information is very personal to me because I used to think coffee was coffee. It all pretty much tasted the same to me. I was finally given the opportunity to try Raven’s Brew Coffee®. I was hooked from the first sip. It’s the freshest and smoothest I’ve ever tried. It has just the right amount of sweetness. I can’t even fathom going to anything else.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Level 5 Leadership

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins clearly distinguishes between good and great companies. Jim and his research team present a hierarchy of business leadership styles. The great organizations have what he calls Level 5 leadership. If you can imagine a pyramid with 5 levels, the bottom layer is the level 1 leader (highly capable individual), level 2 is a contributing team member...all the way to the top with a level 5 leader.

The level 5 leader is an executive that builds enduring greatness within the organization. When things are going well, the level 5 leader gives the credit to others. When things go wrong, he/she takes full responsibility for missed chances (rather than participating in thinking errors, such as blaming or controlling). In addition, the level 5 leader is humble, and has the attitude, "It's not about me." Instead, he/she sets an example, and channels ego needs away from himself (has a low me factor).

All of the great companies in Jim's book had level 5 leaders. In my opinion, level 5 leadership can be applied beyond the workplace. I need to be a level 5 leader for my family, in my community, at church, etc. Can you imagine the impact we could have if we were surrounded by level 5 leadership?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blaming vs. Peace

As I looked up the definition for peace the other day on the internet the definition really struck me as interesting and I have been thinking about it over and over again over the last few days. Every definition I saw defined peace as an absence of something (war, hostility, troubles, etc.). So fascinating! You hear about people wanting to acquire peace and we get caught in the trap of looking and looking for it, when what we need to be doing is looking inward to see all the junk we need to be ridding our minds of. I see it as a need for a cleansing of our lives, of our minds of the unnecessary garbage we have allowed to penetrate it - of the thinking errors and negative thoughts we keep feeding our selves....

The thinking error that has been so prevalent on my mind lately is blaming. Several events in my life recently have unveiled to show me the need for removing this thinking error - and ridding it of my thoughts completely. I believe blaming is the one thinking error that I have always struggled the most with. I have figured out that blaming others is the easiest thing to do, while taking responsibility is the hardest, yet most rewarding thing we can do in our lives. How many times have I shrugged off responsibility and just put the blame on others for causing things to turn out the way they have for me. We blame others for ruining our lives because of something that"they did to us" and then we just sit back and have a pity party and say we can't move on with our lives. What happens when we blame is we rob ourselves of life itself. Notice I didn't say that "we allow others to rob us of our life." That language still puts the blame on others.

Recently, I have made a conscious effort to to not blame anyone or anything for any thing that I do or that happens (no matter how small). Even the little things like tripping over a toy "my dog left lying around" can get my mind in the blaming mode. I could get mad at my dog for leaving the toy there and let my anger level rise or I could say "I should have been watching where I was going" or "I need to teach my dog to put his toys up." Taking responsibility only presents opportunities for improvement and growth.

Ridding our lives of blaming - just one more step towards removing the junk in our lives that keeps us from having peace and a positive attitude..... Each time I feel my anger level rise, I'm going to ask myself if I'm engaging in blaming.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Peace and Thinking Errors

Thinking Errors
Video sent by SFTtrainer

Thinking errors cause us tremendous amount of difficulty in life. SFT Awareness training helps individuals gain the skills to think effectively helping to create a stress free, depression free life.

The subject of thinking errors have been on my mind a lot lately. As I think about how to have peace and positive thinking I realize that none of it is possible without ridding our minds of thinking errors.

I want to greatly expand on this thought over the next few posts, but as for now I'm completely exhausted.

Peace.......... Peace.......... Positive thinking.............I'm so glad it's possible............

Friday, December 7, 2007

Straight No Chaser A Capella Version - 12 Days of Christmas

This one is just for fun. It is an amazing, outstanding hilarious mix version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

read more | digg story

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Unique Christmas gift idea for the Hard to buy for

Wow it is cold outside tonight. The wind will just cut right through you.

I was bouncing around on the internet tonight looking for some unique Christmas gift ideas for "the hard to buy for". It seems like a lot of the men in my family are very hard to buy for. I know I'm probably exaggerating, but most of them either have no real hobbies or they have everything they need. I found this neat Fold-n-go Grill/cooler Combo I thought a lot of the men in my family would enjoy. At least some of them are outdoorsy guys.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Raven's Brew Coffee®

Who me, drink coffee? No way...

Until I found Raven's Brew Coffee® I was an occasional coffee drinker. As a matter of fact, before that, I used to could not even put coffee near my mouth. I thought it was yuck (of course my dad did make it thick enough to eat). As my brother would say, "it would make your nose hairs dance." Anyway, with my first sip of Raven's Brew I was hooked and I was addicted within a matter of days. Best coffee I have ever tasted, hands down. While I enjoy the Santa Caws and Organic Mahogany Sweets varieties, my favorite has been the Organic Peruvian Decaf. All I know is WOW! Can't wait til my next cup! I still can't believe I'm a coffee drinker.

Is inner peace a reality?

Have you ever had someone say to you, "Well, just get over it" or "just let go of it?" The question is how do you do that?

What about those people who just seem to have it together? - those people who never get their feathers ruffled, no matter what's going on around them. Are they born that way? Maybe a very few, but most have learned it. Peace is learned. Whew, what a relief!!!

So what is peace and how do you get it?
Peace is the absence of carrying around emotional pain.
Through a tried and proven method/program I learned what peace is.

People who live with peace have learned to the art of accurate thinking instead of feeding themselves thinking errors. People engage in thinking errors all day every day and have absolutely no idea they are doing it. I know - I did it for about 30 years ( Now I enjoy picking them out in my thoughts when they do creep up). We engage in thinking errors as a way to "protect" ourselves, but all we are doing it lying to ourselves.

There are at least 15 thinking errors that people engage in on a regular basis. One of them is Labeling. That involves name calling or labeling. - i.e. using names or labels for people, things or events to justify not liking them. Ever done that? I know I have. If I only had a nickel for every time.....


Welcome to the Empowered Reader blog!

This blog and accompanying website - have been the result of a strong desire to make a real difference in this world and many many long hours. That's how passionate I am about what I'm doing. I love it and can't pull myself away.

My passion is to help people develop a positive attitude, and to achieve inner peace, happiness, contentment and success in their lives through the proper mindset. I know this is possible for anyone because I used to be stuck in a rut of negative and small thinking. Thankfully, through a program I found, I now have a positive attitude and have so much more peace in my life and am succeeding at what I'm passionate about.