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3 tips for ensuring a happy weekend

Most people work about 5 days a week and can’t wait to get a break on the weekend. But, when it’s all done, did you have a happy weekend? Do you wonder how you really could have ensured a happy weekend as a springboard to a great week?

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An article in Business Insider gives 13 tips for creating a recharging weekend. Some of my favorites that you can apply this weekend are:

  • Make appointments with yourself: setting specific hours or minutes aside for activities YOU want to do
  • Planning actually makes weekends happier: “looking forward” to things, being in anticipation of joy, gives us moments of joy now.
  • Plan 3 – 5 “anchor” events: You don’t have to plan the entire weekend, but having 3 clear events on your calendar, and doing them, can create a memorable weekend, rather than an unfulfilling & unmemorable weekend.

One of the other tips Vanderkam shares is to write a list of 100 things you dream of doing so you can discover things you can do right now. When we rise above the mammalian obsession with food, sex, and comfort on the weekend, we can find a couple hours to put into our dreams.

Making and keeping an appointment with YOU is especially important for the exhausted parents out there! Your children deserve to learn how to pursue their interests every weekend rather than see a sacrificial parent teaching them that “dreams are not important”.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you about how you used one of the 13 tips this weekend.

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Chris “Aston” Kutcher gave a very inspiring speech on Sunday at the Teen Choice Awards. It seems his recent role as Steve Jobs has had a deep influence on him. He passed on to these young people three keys for life maybe all of us could use:

  1. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.
  2. The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous.
  3. Everything around us we call “life” was made up by people no smarter than you and you can build your own things.

“Build your own life other people can live in.”

 

It’s great to see a young man at 35 realize his huge influence over young people and at least attempt to inspire them to live beyond their egos. As he said in this second tip:

“Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it.”

I had the opportunity to work with Ashton’s sister, who is a teacher, a few years ago on a project to teach enlightenment to children in the most challenging cities. I can tell you, they really seem to be very genuinely caring people, especially about children.

In a world where we are being conditioned to follow our own egos because we can’t trust anyone to be our role models, it’s great to see a young man at least take a shot at trying to inspire people. Of course, many will attack him, look for his flaws, so that he cannot inspire anyone. It has one wonder why the media circus is so against any form of real inspiration other can cat videos.

If we can take off our glasses of judgement and imperfection, we might find great inspiration in this short video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWeTZLeLcEQ

Brief highlights in this CBS News article: http://cbsn.ws/17vBs3F

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Find your stillness right now.

The mind is like a stormy ocean. The surface is constantly agitated, constantly agitated. We get caught up in the surface. But, if we go just a little below the surface of the turbulent waves, there is deep calm. Right now, go below your mind and just pay attention to your breath. Yes, pay attention below the head. Don’t try to change the deep waves of breath. Just watch them drift in and out, paying attention to every nuance of the undercurrent of breath. Be still now, just below the waves of the agitated mind. Stillness is always there. You ARE stillness, if you pay attention.

Pay attention to the sensation of being alive today. But only today. We wouldn’t want you to find peace every day of your life, would we?

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In a brief article on LinkedIn today, Bill Gates says:

“Not many people get to ask Warren Buffett for advice on a regular basis. I feel very lucky in that regard: The dialogue has been invaluable to me, and not only at Microsoft.”

Find out what wisdom Gates gets from Buffet here: http://linkd.in/11YPGWj

On this date, Bill Gates is the second richest billionaire on the planet at an estimated $67 billion. To get there, and make Microsoft so dominant, Bill must have a big ego. A big healthy ego (self-image) has him say, “I know what to do”. He’s really got to trust himself.

What most people don’t see in these “self-made” people is the team they surround themselves with. Typically, very successful people have mentors and coaches. The old term “self-made man” simply meant that his parents didn’t give him all his money. It didn’t mean he was alone in life. .

When Bill started Microsoft, Paul Allen, 3 years Bill’s senior, was not only his business partner but also a mentor and confidant. Steve Jobs looked for mentors, finding Suzuki Roshi (the great Zen teacher) and many other teachers. A big reason Jobs hired John Sculley, CEO of Pepsi, was so Sculley could mentor him and teach him about leadership.

What strikes me about Gates’ revealing statement above is that he asks “advice on a regular basis.” Who do YOU ask for advice on a regular basis or is your ego telling you, “I’ve got this. I need to do it all on my own to prove something”? Who do you check in with REGULARLY to play your best at everything? Who is your sounding board, your bullshit detector, so you aren’t a slave to your ego mind calling all the shots?

Great coaches and mentors, like Buffet, ask powerful questions. You’ll notice that in the Gates article. They help you ask the right questions rather than tell you exactly what to do. A spouse is often a great bullshit detector. They can’t hear the chatter in your mind so they can just ask you better questions that you can on your own. Talking to a therapist regularly can be a great journey to be happier and play a better game. You might find a business mentor that has built a big business already. It could be a one-on-one connection to a spiritual teacher where you can explore true fulfillment. If you are committed to happiness, you wont’ try to do it alone. That’s just the ego trying to make us suffer.

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MP900443269I’m currently doing research on the “masks” we wear for success. The word “personality” comes from the Ancient Roman word “persona” which was the word for the mask a stage actor wore. Thus, our “personality” is the mask we wear in the world. Words have a lot of power and insight in them.

Yes, we all wear masks. When we are young, we wear a mask to cover our insecurities and get approval from our tribe. We keep wearing those masks our entire life. Inside, honestly, probably every single human is insecure. Even the Dalai Lama wears a mask, if you think about it. When millions of Tibetans are killed while you are the leader, it still hurts, but showing that all the time serves no one.

Advertisers recruit the top young psychologists to tap our deepest human fears and needs so they can show their product as the answer to fill the hole. It’s funny I’m doing this mask work and I just saw this new commercial, released March 7th, which shows a young man wearing his mask. His mask gets him the money and the sex! The mask covers that inner Gremlin’s voice of doubt, which we get to hear. We laugh because it’s uncomfortable to look at the truth of our experience in the mirror.

Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUIBXyaVTBI

 

Of course, advertisers attempt to condition us to believe that buying their product will improve our mask. That makes for a very frail mask that’s always in need of another product, which is great for consumption, but lousy for the human. This is an outside-in approach to building our mask. We can call this outside-in approach “personality”.

What we want is an inside-out approach to building our mask. This could be called “character”. It’s kind of like the evolution of acting. Actors stopped “putting on” a mask and have been progressively learning to build the quality inside and have it come out in the “character” they portray. It makes for a more authentic performance. And in real life, it makes for a more authentic, integrated, and joyful human when the great inside comes out perfected in the mask. The mask is no longer a cover but instead becomes a laser of focused light. My best quality magnified.

How do you build this inside-out mask? I’m glad you asked! You could spend years studying on your own and trying to do it in a closet. But the best way to build your mask is with others! Work with people that can give you real feedback and tools to build your inner world so it comes out. With this  inside-out approach, the gap closes between your mask (who you desire to be) and how you feel inside. You move through the game of life because you’ve built the right equipment for the game. Like an American football player charging to the goal line because he’s got the right equipment and training to use it.

Click on to the comments and let’s hear your thoughts about the mask.

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Typos and taking risks.

Macaulay_Culkin1Hey gang! Well, right there in the headlines, black and white, I typed the wrong word. In the headline yesterday, it said “say your relationship” when, of course, it should have said, “SAVE your relationship.”

Great to see there are so many people reading the articles, paying attention, and offering feedback. One of the risks of getting out there in the world is making mistakes. What a great reminder to go big, take risks, just correct and continue. Never let little mistakes slow you down. Our goal in life is to be WHOLE, not perfect.

Hope you enjoyed the video!

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In over a decade of men & women relationship studies, one of the best teachers I’ve found is Alison Armstrong. Here’s an awesome 5-minute educational video she just released where she sums up her major distinction that helps men and women to overcome their challenges in relationship.

Men and Women are different!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MZgIiJNvPo

You can make 5-minutes to transform your understanding of relationship, one of the most important yet frustrating things of being human, OR skip it and think you “already know” everything there is to be a successful human.

Yeah! I’m challenging you today. Everyone’s got 5-minutes to be more free. It’s all about trust. I’m here for you! Go for it! Watch it with your mate and talk about it. It may be the first time you’ve every really talked to each other about being different and how great that is.

Maybe you’ll even leave a comment on the blog about what you discover from the video?

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As a coach, it’s still interesting to me how many people have this strange deep, hidden, belief that there is some bonus from the Universe for doing things all by yourself. The real source of this is EGO! That’s right! Your ego wants you to be all alone and suffer instead of being truly happy and successful. It tells you stories like “it only matters if you do it by yourself”. Well that’s just B.S.! Belief Systems of a 2 year old child.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that top athletes thought of getting personal coaches. Sure, a team had a coach, but they thought that was just to push them and keep them from killing each other. But then tennis great Björn Borg showed up at a match with this “coach”. The other players were snickering at him saying, “what a loser, he needs a ‘coach’”. Well, Borg CRUSHED everyone on the court and they all ran out and hired coaches the next day. Sports haven’t been the same since. (BTW, I heard the story directly from a tennis player who got beat by Borg.)

Eric Schmidt talks about his coach.

This brings us to Eric Schmidt, the CEO of a little company called Google. Eric talks here in the interview about his coach and even shares his own earlier limiting thought about having a coach. So you see, everyone has the ego voice in their head that wants them to go it alone so they can suffer. But, the top players in the world get coaches, often several, to help them brainstorm, clarify their thoughts, see the big picture, and play bigger.

Maybe it’s time you got a coach? Or, you could just continue hanging out doing the same things over and over expecting different results? It’s 2012 twelve in just a couple days and maybe you’ll imagine making the commitment to actually achieve your New Years’ resolutions and transform your life? We’ll see…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVfeezxmYcA

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Your mind is like a puppy. It MUST have a master.

Sebastián Dario via CompfightYou can learn a lot from a dog and a Dog Whisperer. Years ago, I saw Oprah bring in a dog trainer, Cesar Millan, to help her with her out of control dog. You know she only works with the best! This dog wouldn’t stop barking. It was out of control when she took it for walks. It tore up everything when she left the house. The neighbors were getting angry about the crazy dog she left behind every day. The bottom line from Cesar was that Oprah had to stop treating the dog like a human baby and treat it like a dog. “Dogs must have masters or they will literally go insane” was his rule. They are pack animals, not humans. They must have a leader, a master. Your mind is just like that dog. Either it is in control or YOU are. So, first you must realize: YOU are not your mind. They are separate. What am I talking about? It’s that mind that never shuts up in your head. It’s running around in 10,000 directions, chasing every distraction like squirrels. Put a bowl of food in front of it and it won’t stop eating. It tears up relationships like a pair of shoes when you aren’t in charge. But you think YOU are that mind. You think you are all those random thoughts collected from years of living. You think you are all those emotions caused by the random thoughts. When would NOW be a good time to decide who’s the boss and be the master of that puppy mind? There are many simple practices for doing this. The best is to learn meditation. Meditation is mentioned in the Bible and has been around in many cultures for thousands of years. But, your puppy will do everything in it’s power to be your master. It won’t let you meditate because you think you are freer by letting the dog pull you around. Another great tool is to have a regular disciplined schedule. Make a template for your most supportive week. The week that supports your goals. Define the areas of life you want to master and allocate time. Then use that template every week to fill in your day timer. Demand that your mind follow this schedule. You are the master, not your puppy’s desire to eat, poop, and tear up the furniture and do whatever it feel like. Years ago I created a simple template so people can design this supportive week. Check it out on my site in the resources area. So who’s the master, you or the dog? Most people want to be like Oprah and let the dog run around until it goes insane. They think the dog is free. But the master becomes the slave. It’s your choice. Good luck!

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Whether it’s money, love, driving fast, or playing hooky from work, even war… it’s all about freedom. All of us crave freedom deep in our soul. Look at most things people seek or do. It’s about freedom.

The truth is, we see actors and athletes that have the fame, fortune, and good looks but still they suffer or self-destruct. Look at a Bernie Madoff that couldn’t get enough money, no matter who it hurt, driving him to prison. Or a Lindsey Lohan, who seems to get worse every year. So, it’s not these external things that create freedom.

What is freedom then? Most people think freedom is doing what you want when you want to. But that isn’t freedom, as we just realized. It’s not having, doing, or being anything. The only true freedom is freedom from your ego mind. That chatty monster in your head that never shuts up. That monkey that runs your life and causes ALL of your emotions. News flash: nothing outside of you causes your emotions. It’s your monkey that does.

Either YOU can be free or your MONKEY is free. Which one is it going to be? The monkey says, “I don’t want any discipline. I don’t want rules or schedules. I don’t want goals or anything to practice. I want to be free.” It’s the same monkey your parents had to deal with when getting you to brush your teeth. It’s the same problem you see in your own kids running around crazy. But the monkey is powerful and it makes you think that YOU are it.

It’s your choice now. You can’t play ignorant. You know now. Either you let the monkey in your head be free, crazy, running around or you have some loving discipline for the monkey so it serves YOU, your true self, higher self.

This is the ancient battle played out in the news even today. The inner screaming monkey wanting to be free vs. your human self being free. Which one’s it going to be? It won’t be easy, but YOU will be free.

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