Life is only as good as your mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford

Is our mindset fixed?

Life is only as good as your mindset. The good news is that the mindset is not fixed. It can be changed and shaped so that it serves life and a higher purpose.

Through our beliefs and experience, we come to live according to some patterns. Every day we can program ourselves.

By understanding the program and the patterns of the mind, we see it is possible to achieve certain goals in life by changing one’s behaviour and mindset.

The mind is the meaning making machine

Some beliefs are mental habits based on irrational fears with no evidence to support them.

These patterns of thinking often turn into limiting beliefs. Beliefs that a person has, especially limiting ones, have an impact on the likelihood of success.

Every behaviour has value and serves the need of the rational mind to protect one from suffering.

Therefore, there is a positive intention motivating and justifying every behaviour.

Behaviours are good or bad when considered for their ability to achieve a certain result or purpose, to prevent putting oneself in a hurtful situation.

How do you know a belief is limiting? It causes you to be unable to do specific actions.

Some of the most common limiting beliefs are:

Fear of rejection, failing, not being good enough, abandonment, not being smart or beautiful, being a procrastinator, not having the skills.

Examples of thoughts that a person repeats in the mind and that lead to limiting beliefs: I am too old, I am too young, I don’t have the connections, I don’t have the support, I am not a leader, I don’t have the time, etc.

Steps to overcome limiting beliefs:

  • Gain awareness
  • Start defying limiting beliefs: identify and create experiences that prove them wrong
  • Invest in yourself
  • Heal the inner child
  • Trust your intuition
  • Find mentors
  • Dare to take risks
  • Celebrate success, no matter how big or small
  • Always use positive, encouraging inner talk

Photo credits: Irina Kostenich

NLP and personal development: steps to get what you want

Pessimistic people can  have tunnel vision as they tend to focus on one thing, often the problem. Optimism allows the brain to take in more information and process more of your environment.

Knowing the basics of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) creates an excellent basis for personal development making it easier for people to change their thoughts and actions. Here are 7 stages of personal change leading you to think positive and get what you want:

Stage 1: Developing Awareness

The motivation for change begins with the feeling that we aren’t fulfilling our full potential in at least one area of our life. This awareness can be subtle at first and it leads to your personal recognition that something needs to be adjusted either in your mindset or in a practical area of your life. Even before you can put your finger on the particular source of internal discomfort, you feel it on some level.

Stage 2: Discovery

The discovery stage is where your conscious mind has located the primary source of your discomfort and you are becoming more aware of its presence. At this stage you may experience some resistance from your ego.

The human ego often seeks refuge in denial, where it pretends that your discomfort is resulting from a source that’s external to you opposed to an internal one. For personal change to occur beyond this stage, it’s crucial that we accept that the source of our uneasiness is within ourselves and most importantly, in our ability to control. 

Stage 3: Ownership

We must take sole responsibility for our discomfort or unease with courage to fully acknowledge that the source of our problem/s is internal and not external. At this stage, we consciously recognise that it is our thought patterns, emotional inconsistencies, lifestyle habits, perception, limiting beliefs or poor reasoning that needs to be amended.

We alone are in control of how it is that we choose to respond or react to the circumstances/situations that we find ourselves in. In life, empowerment comes from taking responsibility and assuming full ownership of any given situation.

Stage 4: Exposure

In this stage, in the process of change we expand our search to identify the habit or attitude that has stopped serving us. This can be challenging for many reasons. The most important are: 1) logic is seldom a useful tool in the emotional arena and 2) we tend to assume that our beliefs are universal truths and consistently look for ways to justify them.

Once we recognise that we’ve been held back or limited by a particular idea, we will then have both logic and emotion supporting our desire for change.

Stage 5: Intention

This is the threshold of personal change. You have identified an old belief (or behaviour pattern), and you are now motivated to replace it with something more useful. You’re ready to move away from your previous stage and embrace the new. It’s time to choose a direction.

Upon reaching this stage in the process of change, it is relatively easy to identify what your desired state is (where you want to be). The same comparison process that exposed your source of initial discomfort will have now revealed the end goal of your ideal future. At this point, embrace a proactive mindset and formulate your plan of action!

Stage 6: Action

Taking consistent action is the only means by which an individual can achieve real time results. If you don’t take an action, nothing will change and your discomfort with the present reality will intensify due to your now greater awareness of it.

Taking an action demands that we let go of fear and limiting beliefs, and embrace faith and uncertainty, as we step out of the comfort zone and move towards where we envisage ourselves being.

Stage 7: Integration

This is the last phase of the process of personal growth where change has happened. What started with a mental awareness, a need for adjustment has resulted in an evolution in your journey of personal growth and development.

You have now grown in your appreciation of what’s achievable for you, and you are letting go of an established belief or pattern of behaviour that wasn’t serving you any more. 

This has now been replaced with something more useful.

Try it out and replace what is no longer serving you.

Note: this article is inspired by Kain Ramsay course on NLP.

To learn more of abilities and functions of the brain, go here.

Photo credits: Marisa



Don’t believe all your thoughts!

What you hope for in life, does it tend to happen?

Take a moment to think of your dreams. How much time do you allow for concrete and specific actions and act to make them happen?

Living life governed by habits creates comfort, ease and also an autopilot mode decisions. It is when we no longer stop to look at or question our day-to-day life, see weather we have ownership over our time and energy, if our actions and decisions serve us, if actions and decisions go towards what we dream of and envision for ourselves.

People are driven by various motives: career, wealth, stability, family, a partner we are committed to; all serving the greater purpose and search for happiness. Weather it comes from outside – the happiness we wish and feel – or from inside, it  is entirely our making.

The brain is a record of the past.

The moment you start your day, the brain is a record, a collection of memories that can remain in the past or shape the present.

Each memory has an emotion associated with it. What do you feel if the memories are sad? Do you have the strength to deal with it and keep a joyful and hopeful mind? 

The result of emotions leaves a print on the mind. Then how and what you think creates your state of being, your mood; it determines your lifestyle.

If you believe your thoughts, the past will determine your destiny.

If you can’t think greater than how you feel, you are thinking and living in the past. You are creating your past – all the past habits connected to what is known in life.

Each person has a set of routine behaviours: same things that are repeated through the day, same people, same emotional buttons. To a certain extent, the day is governed by the routine, it grows into a program. You lose your free will to a program.

Some studies show that by the time a person is 35 years old, there is a memorised set of behaviours, beliefs, attitudes that lead to functioning like a computer program.

There will be moments in life when you  feel you need a change. But your life, your body, your emotions most of the time are on a different program. It is never easy to change and seems to get even more challenging as we grow older.

Meditation can play a crucial, transformative function. Its role is to teach people how to change the brain.

It gives us time to slow down, see the system, how it operates, as if seeing yourself from outside. From here you can take actions and make changes.

Often we wait for a time of crisis to make changes. But you can act in a time of pain, lack of direction or can do it in balance and when you feel joyful.

Don’t settle to live in stress or survival mode and always think of the worst possible outcome! Change is even harder to make from there. When everything is conditioned by past experiences and thoughts, the servant becomes the master.

The result is that you are in the known, you are living in the known and making the same mistakes – till you learn the lesson. Being in the known is familiar and leaves little room for growth.

In meditation mental barriers and beliefs in yourself and the world are left behind. It’s a process conditioned by the meditation experience itself. Time and inner space expand.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

There is a simple way to reprogram and renew the mind: close your eyes, rehearse an action, visualise it and manifest it.

When we feel better inside, we act and manifest on the outside differently. You become a creator of your world.

Same thoughts lead to same decisions, emotions and actions.

The more you become conscious, the less you drift away and get lost into your day.

In meditation you know yourself and renew yourself.

Dare to see your life in analogy with a garden: if you plant a garden, you tend the soil, you pluck the weeds from past and current year. You plant the seeds with hope and water them with care. If you are not moved and driven by an image of the future, you are left with the memories and habits from the old life.

For the TIPS that will help you turn off the autopilot setting in your brain and start making more conscious choices in your daily life, go here.

Photo Credits: Echo Yan@unsplash

Turn off autopilot, be a warrior with an open heart

Habits, morning routine, places we go out to eat, the behaviour towards our partner – this all can slip into an autopilot mode. To be mindful and turn off this mode means to be a warrior with an open heart.

Sometimes the battle is against being on autopilot mode, which due to its familiarity, can be quite a comfy state. It keeps one in the comfort zone but prevents access to new experiences, to what our heart truly desires.

Here are some tips that will help you turn off this setting in your brain and start making more conscious choices in your daily life:

  • Create a morning ritual: pay attention to the way the alarm makes you feel, the way your restful state changes if you start the day with checking your phone. Set an intention for each day.
  • Alternate your work out and physical activities you do and the time you do them. Moving the body – walking, dancing, swimming – works wonders for your health and mood.
  • Take your partner on a date and try different locations for your regular hang outs with friends as if you were just discovering each other.
  • Take a different route to work, observe the scenery and the environment. Using different vehicles to get to the same place can prevent your commute from turning into a routine.
  • Connect with others. Try to be a good listener, receive pieces of information and personal stories that are being shared with you with compassion and without judgement.
  • Unplug. Watch less TV, take breaks from social media and you’ll find yourself having more time for the unexpected, even challenge yourself to start learning something new.
  • Volunteer. Find a cause in your community that you are passionate about and feel the urge to make a difference on it. Along the satisfaction that comes from helping you’ll meet interesting individuals you don’t normally interact with.
  • Spend time in nature. Observe the colours, the layers of vegetation, the silence and peace of mind that it generates.

These practices open insight on simple ways to break out the rut, find inspiration right where you are and genuinely connect with others.

Photo credits: Jason Leung @unsplash

Look Inwards, Act Outwards

Personal growth happens from the point where we can be at peace with difficult questions, with thoughts that are troubling us, from the moment we can celebrate good qualities without the rise of ego. It happens when we allow the space to apply certain methods to find out what our passion and mission is.

In the words of Antoine de St. Exupery “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” One needs to be willing to put in the time and effort to identify those aspects connected to one’s passion, mission, vocation and profession and proceed with consistent planning.

Genuine answers don’t often come when we are busy, running, stressing out and feeling exhausted, but from the place of inner balance and calm.

Apart from this, a crucial aspect is to be able to look outside yourself, to be outwards oriented.

To know your life purpose, ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I do?
  3. Who do I do it for?
  4. What do these people want or need?
  5. What they get out of it, what changed as a result?

Here’s what you can do to make the process easier: don’t overthink, be honest, don’t judge, it’s OK if you are still working on some aspects and you are on work in progress. We are never done with learning.

Having a sense of purpose is an essential requirement to be driven and fulfilled. The important people in life, those whom we rely on and who rely on us, whom we love, cherish, respect constantly help refine our sense of purpose and connection.

Photo credits: Joey Kyber@unsplash

Know Your Passion To Lead a Happier Life

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. To access and manifest the best version of ourselves, we first need to look inside with honesty and apply careful and persistent effort. Learning as much as we can about our passion and mission in life is directly related to the amount of happiness we experience.

The quest for self, the “why am I here?”, “what is the reason for being?” never gets out of fashion. If we begin with asking ourselves “why am I here?” – we might not get too far. Instead, here is a simpler and a more structured way to start:

Ask yourself and write down the answers to the following questions:

1) What you Love (it helps identify your Passion)

2) What the World Needs (it helps identify your Mission)

3) What you are Good at (it helps identify your Vocation)

4) What you can get Paid for (it helps identify your Profession)

Then, you can answer some additional questions to help you get more detailed answers about yourself:

1) What do you Love? What aspects of your life bring you into your heart and make you feel most alive?

2) What are you Great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What talents have you cultivated and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?

3) What Cause do you believe in? What change would you most love to create in the world? What would you give your life for?

4) What do people Value and pay you for? What service, value or knowledge do you bring? Something that people need and are happy to pay for or share some value in exchange.

Keep the list close and update it each time you feel like you discovered something new about yourself or connected with what you already know. The answers usually reveal when we are in the flow and engaged completely in what we are doing. Look back with honesty and identify these moments in your life.

Doing this will help refine your focus, attention and be more selective with your time and what you engage in. Allow less time and space for activities that take away your energy and do more of what gives you the positive energy. Don’t be afraid of failure. You won’t know if something is rewarding unless you’ve tried it. Life is made by our daily choices and habits, not predetermined. Knowing your mission and passion will bring more happiness and joy on daily basis.

Photo credits: Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

What is really going on with addiction?

The first thing that comes to my mind when seeing the word addiction, is drugs. On a second glance, I associate it with alcohol, cigarettes, sex or sugar. What is really addiction all about?

According to the Webster’s Dictionary, addiction is the “compulsive NEED for and USE of a habit-forming substance (heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; a persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”

Yet, most addicted people use no drugs at all. Moreover, addiction cannot be understood if we restrict our vision of it to substances, be they legal or illegal.

Beyond drugs

In fact, addiction is manifested in any behaviour that a person craves, finds temporary relief or pleasure in, but suffers negative consequences as a result of. Yet, the person has difficulty giving up, accompanied by effects such as craving, relief, pleasure, suffering, impaired control, violence and more.

Therefore, the definition of addiction goes beyond drugs or alcohol, it stretches across any human behavior, from sex to eating, shopping, gambling, extreme sports, TV and compulsive internet use – the list is endless.

Addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, overwhelming stress, lost connection, loss of control, deep discomfort with the self.

Treating addiction or pain?

Testimonies show, without failure,  what addiction compensates for: “It helped me escape emotional pain… helped me deal with stress… gave me peace of mind… a sense of connection with others… a sense of control… a sense of power”.

Hence, addition is one aspect of the urge to stop the pain. To treat the addiction, which is a symptom, without treating the pain underneath means to deal with effects rather than its causes, prolonging cycles of suffering, ruining lives.

Often childhood trauma is associated with addiction.  Not necessarily horrific events, but any event that imposes more pain on the child than his or her sensitive being can process. Any failure to respond to the need to be seen, held, heard, made to feel secure. And each of us has an inner child.

“Trauma has become so commonplace, that most people don’t even recognize its presence.” Peter Levine

Developing connection: an example from Portugal

Connection, belonging, safety can be learned and accepted as opposite to the addiction. Hence, developing healthy interpersonal connections as a part of recovery and healing is not easy, but it generates the desired sustainable life changes compared to approaches based solely on isolation and medication.

A story of success is Portugal and how the country chose to handle the situation with drugs differently,  in a way that can help people, one at a time. For 40 years the authoritarian regime of António Salazar imposed measures to keep the population docile. In the 70’s Portugal opened to new experiences, including marijuana and heroin, however in 2001 it became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances.

It led to a cultural shift, where health services, psychiatrists, employers, housing services started to work together to serve the communities, saving one individual at a time. The country’s policy rests on three pillars: 

(1) There’s no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs;

(2) Individual’s unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals a lack of  relationships and support of loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves;

(3) The eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal.

There is no one-size-fits-all or universal solution, just the daily search for balance, inner peace, diversity,  connection and meaning.



Photo credits: Emily Lau @unsplash

What We Can Do With A Sense Of Awareness

A realization that comes with an age is that we don’t get a second chance at the days that go by. Have you ever felt that you move through your life like a sleepwalking person, feeling demotivated and drained? How to cope with that and how to make the most of each moment that we experience? The answer is awareness.

Once we realize that we are endowed with a sense of awareness, we see how it can greatly support our life purpose and passion. Moreover, we are better prepared and  able to cope with the challenges that life gives to us. Here are some tips that may help put you on the right track of understanding some aspects of life, and hence staying more aware in day-to-day situations: 

1) Know that highs and lows are a part of a life and accept it

Life seems to constantly move towards a greater complexity. The secret to happiness is to spend more time in appreciation of life in all instances, no matter if they seem positive or negative at first glance: hunger, inspiration, loss of someone, making decisions and facing the reality of what we really want. Observe your feeling in those situations and stay aware, realizing that each situation comes to prepare you for even greater challenges in the future. 

2) Let go the fear of  time

We often hear that there was not enough time or simply we did not know what to do, we wanted something and did not have the courage to get it or did not see the way to achieve a certain goal.

It is not that there is no time, it is more that we sometimes take too long to start something. We can experience a fear of missing out or the pressure to make a decision. Know that difficult decisions can lead to a happy life, and easy decisions can lead to a miserable life.

3) Know that clarity is power

To have clarity, one needs to be aware; aware and clear on what we want to achieve: in personal life, in our bodies, in our relationships, at work, in our career.

Why? Knowing the reason gives you motivation. It’s not easy, life is not easy, there will be obstacles. Yet, knowing the reason and motivation gives you the drive to make it happen.

When you have a sense of awareness, you can easily channel your energy towards what matters. Energy goes where our thoughts go.

Ask yourself: how can I nourish myself in the next hour, in the next day so that I build up the life that I want and  deserve.

What we can do with a sense of awareness is serving our life purpose, allowing ourselves to experience a change from inside out and making the most of each moment that we are blessed with.

 Photo credit: TN NGUYEN@nguyentrungnguyen


The Top 5 Regrets To Avoid for a Happier Life

Have you ever wondered if there is something you could learn in this moment of your life; if there is a source of wisdom you could access by connecting with those who are your seniors that could give you some advice on how to save your time, energy and prevent you from repeating the same mistakes?

One way to do it is to go through the top 5 regrets that people express as they reach the end of their lives:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself

It is important that on everyday life you accept yourself as you are in the present moment, get in touch with your feelings as often as needed, listen to your inner talk, be honest, forgive yourself, and feed your curiosity.

Then, dream big and know your heart’s true desire, – and the path will reveal.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

Stress, burn out, feeling overworked and underpaid from taking on too many responsibilities is the cause of many stress-related illnesses. In order to maintain work-life balance, set appropriate boundaries and intentionally look for a career and a position that will allow you to make a good living and enjoy your life.

Health brings freedom and a multitude of possibilities, so use it right. Money is not the goal, but the means to fulfil your desires.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

What we feel but don’t manifest is often not fulfilled. Bitterness and resentment affect both the mind and the body. Here are some steps to get the courage to express your feelings: clarify your intentions, consider the risks and benefits involved, take accountability for your own emotions, start small and practice regularly, respect others and keep a positive attitude.

4I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

It has been proven that the quality of our relationships with others will dictate our level of happiness. Wondering what you need to do to stay in touch with friends often? Call them, set weekly reminders, meet regularly, contact close friends in times of “crisis”, be present on important occasions, find ways to show appreciation and know when to say “sorry”.

5I wish I allowed myself to be happier

Here’s what you can do to be happy every day: wake up early and plan your day, prioritise your health, make time for regular meals and being outdoors, learn something new, declutter – social media included, spend time with your loved ones and do something nice for yourself every day.

Happiness is a choice. Feeling comfortable in patterns that keep you miserable shuts the door to happiness.

Be bold and set compelling goals that are motivating. Take time to get a clear vision of what it is you would like to achieve and try to see yourself in 5 years, having achieved all these goals. Imagine yourself having accomplished your goals in bright colours and fine details, turn up the volume and hear the excitement in other people’s voices. Keeping yourself busy, motivated, surrounded by the right people leaves no space for regret.

Photo credits: Leon