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I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. ~Joe Walsh

>> 30 June 2009

Have you ever noticed how much of your day you spend complaining?

  • About the weather (too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy).
  • About your boss (he doesn't 'get me', he gives me too much/not enough work, ...).
  • About a colleague (she is just lazy, he's all show and no work...).
  • About traffic (it will make me late again).
  • About your shitty life (if only I had a boyfriend/won the lottery/had a better job etc I'd be happy).

We whine, we complain, we gossip, we criticize.

And by doing so our attention gets stuck on the problem. We focus on the negative. And we look for like-minded people to support us in our blaming, to confirm our beliefs that life is a piece of crap and the boss is just a looser and if we had a better one we could unfold all of our wonderful potential.

Well, letting off steam may do you some good, but it also keeps you focused on the problem and thus prevents you from even considering finding a solution.

As Maya Angelou says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

According to A Complaint Free World, there are 5 basic reasons why people complain.

  1. Get attention:
    the primary need people have is to connect with others. A person may complain to a stranger about the weather or a local sports team as a means of starting a conversation (The traffic was horrible this morning --> talk to me)

  2. Remove Responsibility:
    People will complain to avoid trying to improve society and themselves. (Nothing will ever change --> I don't have to try because what I do won't make a difference)

  3. Inspire Envy:
    A complaint may be a cry of superiority. It implies that the complainer feels that they don't have whatever fault it is they are complaining about. (My boss is incompetent --> I am superior to him)

  4. Power:
    People often complain to incite other to abandon an alliance and switch to their point of view and/or build support and power by focusing on what's wrong with another's position. (Her idea is lame --> support my idea instead)

  5. Excuse poor performance:
    A person about to sing before a group may complain they have a scratchy throat to lower expectations should they not sing well. (This client is constantly delaying the production schedule --> and don't expect me to manage the situation any better)

“Complaining is like bad breath.
You tend to notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth,
but not when it comes out of your own.” – Will Bowen

As I told you in my recent post about 'energy flows where goes', I am following this course and when you notice where your attention is going you realize that a lot of it goes into complaining. So Christine Kane gets our attention focused on going complaint free.

And it is tough!!!!! I have managed hours, sometimes days going complaint free. And then, something happens, and boom: off I go. But the course, and her website, give irresistible reasons to go complaint free.

If you want to tell people at work that they should stop complaining before entering your office, you can also go to Jon Gordon's web and download no complaining posters.

So check them out and join me.


Energy flows where attention goes -- Christine Kane

>> 25 June 2009

I am following Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life program. The above quote is from lesson number one. And it is very powerful.

Let's say you're in a hurry and you're driving along this road and you get stuck behind this slow moving car with no possibility to overtake it. You will most likely get stressed because you think you will be late and upset at the driver because he is the cause of it.

That is your attention going. And where your energy is flowing to.

And you choose this.

You can also tell yourself that you will be late, so what? That it's not worth a risky overtaking, that you cannot change it and might as well accept it. And breathe.

The difference between the two reactions is that at first your attention is going towards the negative and focusing on blame (i.e. playing the victim). The effect of a day full of these reactions is that you feel drained, stressed, full of resentment and just hate the world.

The second one is not like your stupidly accepting a situation where someone does you harm or treats you unfairly. It's just about not sweating the small stuff and focusing your energy on more important things. And at the end of the day you will have much more energy left to give to your loved ones or put into projects that you love.

It is a big thing. And it is powerful once you start noticing it, channeling it into the right direction. It takes some effort at first.

You will not always get it right and that's ok. Forgive yourself and move on.

And after a while it becomes part of you, or your normal being and behaving. And that is just wonderful. Try it out.


If you're anxious you cannot be creative

>> 20 June 2009

Watch John Cleese on creativity and humour:

  • Anxiety kills creativity.
  • Repeating kills creativity.
  • All you have to do is believe in it.
  • If you're bored, you cannot be creative.

And Don Norman agrees that happiness triggers creativity:


Love the questions

>> 11 June 2009

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves ...

Don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is, to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke


Reclaim your creative self

>> 9 June 2009

Last week I presented my first guest post on Craig's Enlightr blog. Today I am delighted to share his guest post on creativity with you.

Craig is a 22-year-old student currently studying psychology at Bournemouth University. He runs a self improvement blog and community filled with useful advice. His main aim is to help people exceed their expectations and reach their true potential.

If you like what you find there, please
subscribe to his RSS and follow him on Twitter to keep up-to date with his articles and blog posts.


Reclaim your creative self

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” - Albert Einstein

You, like everyone else was born with unlimited creativity. You knew this when you was a child but misplaced the knowledge while growing with a strict, social conditioned life where creative ventures are outlawed in favour of rules and boundaries. The aim of this post is to allow you to regain your creative self by ejecting the systematic social conditioning that plagues our minds.

Social Conditioning

Social conditioning is your desire to fit in and be a part of society with whatever rules, regulations and norms it happens to spew at you. The drawback of this type of conditioning occurs when the social norm moves away from our basic human roots and begins cramming the fronts of magazines with worthless advice and ‘must haves’.

Social conditioning is what keeps you back from your dreams. It’s the nagging voice that tells you to go on a diet, to go to the gym or to not wear those shoes with that top. It’s what we must reveal and dismantle in order for us to achieve a truly successful life of happiness with bountiful creativity and fun, just as you were as a child, just as you still can be with a portion of effort on your side to follow the next few points of creating creativity.

How to create creativity

One thing you’ll notice about creative people is their undying understanding of themselves. A creative, happy person is uniquely at peace with themselves, they are assured of their own identity. They know exactly who they are and what they must do. They are also calm, healthy and thrive without a false sense of needs or desires. Does this sound like you, when you were 2 years of age?

1. Become aware of yourself

Being aware of yourself is the highest possible thing you could accomplish in life. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self actualisation is at the very top.
To become aware of yourself you need to sit down, on your own without any interference with just a notepad and pen. You’ll need to stay in this position, staring at the paper until you can answer these two questions without a shade of hesitation –
  • What do I enjoy doing the most?
  • What makes me happy the most?
These two questions will allow you to decide what your purpose in life is. Don’t be ashamed if what you’re currently doing in life is nowhere near your enjoyment or happiness path, there’s always time to change. While sitting you may flick through hundreds of ideas, decisions and scenarios where you don’t fit but eventually after minutes, hours or years. You will know the one purpose that holds both enjoyment and happiness at the same time. Grown men are known to cry when they realise their purpose in this way.

Me on the other hand, I feel my purpose is to help people reach their potential. It’s the activity that gives me the most enjoyment and happiness combined; therefore I must be on the right track. Once you’ve got yours, you’re on the right track too. All you need to do next is follow the path. On the way you will discover yourself and who you are. You will gain self actualisation and you will smile with unlimited creativity once more.

2. Become aware of your surroundings

The next step in gaining the creative juice is to be aware of your surroundings, your environment and the people that fill your life. This requires you to open up, experience and feel every moment, object and person deeply with the creativity and curiosity as you once did as a child. Refrain from the boundaries of social conditioning and feel the experience of walking down the beach with sandals and socks or singing in a busy shopping centre. You are not controlled by your surroundings; they are there for you to play with.

3. Become silent

Next you want to become silent. The most genius and creative hunches strike you when you are at your quietest. The mystery of DNA came to the founder when he was asleep, there’s no saying your unlimited creativity can do something even better.

The reason you want to be silent is again related to social conditioning. Before you could speak, what was the voice in your head communicating? Interesting question huh... perhaps there was no voice in your head? Whatever you think the answer to the question is you’ll want to realise that stressing, worrying or thinking about which celebrity is in the next film will distract your mind away from its purpose and creativity. You can’t create the next big discovery while watching Friends.

4. Know you are already everything you want to be

Lastly, know you are already everything you want to be and you are just enjoying experiences and having fun in life, just like you did as a child. This is the final step forward. Your desires to be someone in a field you don’t enjoy because it pays well are bland, boring and unhealthy to your short existence on this planet.

Aim to follow your purpose and become who you are meant to be, that’s all you need to do to have complete happiness in your life.

To sum up, you are everything, you are unlimited creativity, and you are free. The reason you many not think that now is because you’ve misplaced the knowledge within the struggle of social conditioning and the stress it creates. Apply these steps in your life and you will see a major difference in your emotional state as well as every other level of your life.


What is self improvement and how do you 'get it'?

>> 6 June 2009

I am excited and honored to present to you my very first guest post over at Enlightr dot com:

At Enlightr, 22 year old Craig has managed to set up what I would call a self improvement portal. It contains several sections and categories, so depending on what subject you need enlightenment, you do not have to weed through many irrelevant posts but are directed right to the topics that you are interested in.

So if you like what you read there, you can subscribe to his RSS and follow him on Twitter to keep up-to date with his articles and blog posts.

I hope you like my guest post and please leave a comment over there. I will be posting Craig's post on creativity next week Tuesday, so be sure to check in.


Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. -- Frances Moore Lappe

>> 2 June 2009

I am not particularly fond of politics. It is usually one of the three topics that I try to avoid talking to people about (the other two being religion and sex) because I find that many seem to define themselves by it and immediately jump into an arguing, defending mode.

I prefer to talk about their ideas, their family, their dreams and what they love to do. Politics, religion and sex often trigger a preset collection of prejudices. And I find that we already make judgments about people too easily for such topics to add another stamp on someone before we really get to know them.

However, in one week is election day. Communal and European elections. I must admit that I have so far never voted in my life. I am Dutch but don't live in the Netherlands. Voting is not mandatory there, so I figured 'why go through all the hassle and paperwork for a country I do not live in?'.

And living in Luxembourg as a foreigner I had no right to vote for communal elections. That has changed some time ago. Now the law says that you have to live here for 5 years in order to vote. And strangely you only have to live here for 6 months in order to become a candidate yourself.

So I am voting for both on Sunday June 7th. I have been listening to the parties' messages and debates and it just confirms what I was already thinking:

Most of them are FIGHTING AGAINST THE OTHERS much more than FIGHTING FOR THEIR CAUSE. It seems to become such a personal Ego war and I get the feeling that they forget that they are supposed to do this for the us not themselves.

So I have made up my decision and I will vote green. I am not saying these people are not in it for the ego. But at least they are fighting for things that interest all parties and all people in some way or another.

I vote green, because I think it's nice to have a job, a good health care system or well organised public transportation. There will be enough people voting the parties who lobby for these things.
But if the planet is dying there is no more room for any of that. I am usually a 'people first' person. I will give to a charity that supports the lives of people before giving money to animal rights for example. In this case, I feel that fighting for the planet concerns us all.

And if I can give my tiny vote to participate in making our planet a better place, then that's what I'll do.


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