When I first started working with Paula, she was a multi-tasker who used to start out strong at the beginning of the day, but by lunch time her mind was a muddle. After receiving coaching and gaining the benefits of understanding the intelligent design of the way our minds work, she was able to maintain her mental clarity throughout the day. The result was that Paula took her company from a net 5% loss to a 29% profit in one year.
Now, however, Paula was in a situation that she didn’t know how to handle. One of the factories that manufacture her clothing line had been shut down due to flooding. Thousands of orders had to be put on hold. She didn’t have the cash flow to keep the company going until the problem got straightened out.
Paula was in a financial crisis that threatened the survival of her business. She felt panicked, discouraged – even hopeless. This happens to all of us at times – it’s not like you can control your reactions to challenges even when you understand the role that Thought plays in your experience. When there’s a real crisis like this one, it can stop looking like our feelings are coming from thought. But the mind always works the same way – no exceptions.
As we talked, it became apparent to Paula that, while the financial issues she was facing with her company were real, her thinking in the moment was still the only source of her feelings about the situation. She realized that her feelings of panic and stress fluctuated throughout the day, even though the crisis remained the same. Paula even realized that she had moments of light heartedness, like when she was with her daughter, or had a positive encounter with someone at work. Nothing had changed about her financial crisis, and yet her feelings were completely different. What had changed? Her thinking in the moment.
As she remembered where her experience was actually coming from, Paula calmed down. She realized, once again, that if thought in the moment is really the only causal link to her feelings, her panic had to be thought-created, not crisis-created. With her new found mental calm and well being, she began to have a trickle of common sense about how to handle the situation – she became responsive, rather than reactive. She remembered that there was another factory that she had considered hiring to manufacture clothing as her business expanded. She managed to get a short term contract with them to supply the clothes at a reduced rate until her financial crisis was resolved. They were thrilled to have the business and Paula was able to meet her customer orders. The unexpected bonus was that with this added factory she was able to expand her business ahead of her projected time schedule, and increase revenues by an additional 23%!
What brought about the turning point? “Remembering that even my experience of a financial crisis was being generated by thought in the moment,” Paula said. “As my mind settled down, the creativity that I needed to meet the challenge emerged. And then the challenge turned out to be an unexpected opportunity!”
I’m running a webinar series on Resiliency in the Workplace for a group of leaders in Florida. One of the participants asked: ‘What is it about the spiritual nature of the principles that is helpful to people’?
I can’t say that I have the answer to this question. Principles are infinite in their implications (how they work and how they don’t work) as well as their applications (ways that they are useful in life). What people gain from them can be as varied as there are people to learn about them. But here’s one idea that was offered by one of the participants from the webinar series: because principles are consistent and constant, knowing about the psycho/spiritual principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought gives you a feeling of always having a place to come home to. There’s comfort in that. I can add that as you continue to look there, and experience the benefits of re-connecting with that sense of ‘home’ – feelings of psychological security and safety, as well as mental calm and well-being – it becomes second nature to know that, no matter how far from home you stray – how anxious, insecure or stressed out – you know from experience that psychological safety and security are just a thought away. This is one of the many ways that the spiritual nature of the Three Principles is helpful to you. It’s simply a question of remembering that they’re there and aligning yourself with them.
It surprises me sometimes how many people think that in order to be productive you have to have a busy mind. Most people know that a busy mind causes stress, and that stress is not only the leading cause of disease, but it leads to a loss of mental clarity. In fact, research now shows that mental stress literally lowers your IQ. How can you be productive when your IQ goes down and you lose your mental clarity?
While yoga and meditation help you let go of the mental habits that cause stress, most people find that the mental calm they experience from such activities only lasts a short while.
The good news is that there is a way to achieve and sustain mental presence without the use of techniques. I teach individuals, couples and leaders about a new paradigm that removes a fundamental misunderstanding about how the mind works. Incredibly, the simple removal of this misunderstanding is allowing countless people around the globe begin to lead lives from a state of mental presence that is sustainable.
Mental presence is the antidote to stress. As a leader, it allows you to connect better with your teams and workforce, create trust, communicate effectively, and have high functioning teams. It gives you the mental clarity you need to get good ideas and insights to evolve your business. And all the energy that gets freed up from not coping with ongoing stress is energy you can use to be productive.
In my work with leaders and teams, the bottom line is always productivity. But what really makes you more productive? People look to be productive through external processes such as streamlining their business, following tips for organizing and prioritizing, and changing the furniture around, and increasingly by internal processes such as trying to think positively, not sweat the small stuff, and calming your mind through meditation and other techniques. This is because there’s a growing awareness that the thing that interferes with your productivity the most is an overactive, stressed and busy mind. As long as your mind is overactive, you’ll lack the mental clarity required to be really productive.
What’s missing in this picture is the awareness of something built into you that allows your mind to be calm, present, and as a consequence, productive. Understanding this design for optimal mental functioning allows you to get before you create all that unnecessary thinking, which you are then trying to help with techniques like meditation. Your mind is designed to be productive; you just have to understand the nature of its design.
The principles that revealed the fact of this innate design for mental clarity and productivity were discovered over 40 years ago by a man named Sydney Banks. In essence, once you see the logic of these principles, it dissolves the illusion that you can experience anything outside of you – a busy work schedule, difficult boss, problems at home – and it becomes crystal clear that in fact the only thing you ever feel is your thinking in the moment about such events and circumstances. This simple but essential shift in perception cuts out enormous amounts of unproductive thinking. It’s the key to aligning with nature’s design for a productive mind.
My wish for every leader and team member is that you begin to experience the incredible power of this built-in system for mental calm, clarity and productivity. Nature is so much better at designing things than we are!
Two months ago, some people I had hired to help me with my social media gained access to all my passwords and started hacking into all my accounts. What a wild ride it was, particularly in the beginning, before I found some people who knew how to help me fend off hackers. I worked as quickly as I could for days on end, trying to change passwords before they got into various accounts. They dismantled my new website, redirected my PayPal account to theirs, etc. etc. I kept changing my passwords, only to find the next day that they had changed them to something else. I worked my way through this, learning to successfully hide my passwords, put 2 step verification on everything I needed to, and changing my passwords to really complicated ones. When I noticed I was tense, I remembered where the tension was really coming from (thought in the moment about the hackers, though it sure looked like it was coming from them!).
Initially, what bothered me most about it, besides the feeling of violation, all the extra work it created for me and the money I had to spend getting it straightened out, was having to create new, really complicated passwords that I wouldn’t be able to remember. What an inconvenience going forward! But as I got inside out about that – again, remembering where my feelings were really coming from – my head kept clearing, and eventually I began having new thoughts about it. To my surprise, I started enjoying the challenge of creating complicated passwords with weird symbols in ways that I would be able to remember, at least some of the time. And the thought kept occurring to me that this was a great, ongoing exercise to keep my memory sharp. As I got inside out about the hackers, the stress disappeared, and in its place, came good ideas and even gratitude. It was a forced short course in the internet and technology, things I am always needing to get better at; none of my financial accounts were compromised; I now have passwords which give me the opportunity to feel delighted when I can remember them, and on top of that I found much better people to help me with social media and my website! This is what resilience is all about – getting through challenges with minimal wear and tear, and not only learning from them, but truly benefiting from the experience.
I had a client recently, whom I shall call Sarah, who was stuck in her life, and had been for years. A successful artist, Sarah’s marriage had also been stalled out for many years. When she found me, Sarah had been studying the Three Principles online for several years, and while it had helped her in many ways, she was also using the Principles to avoid her uncomfortable feelings about her marriage. “I can use Thought anyway I want,” Sarah would tell me, “and I’m not upset about my marriage unless I think about it in ways that upset me.” Not only did the marriage continue to remain stalled out, but so did the rest of her life. She was isolating herself from friends and social activities, and hadn’t been in her art studio in years.
I finally told Sarah that what I sensed from her when she talked about her marriage was fear. She was startled but very interested. “Fear!” she said. “That’s something I’ve never been able to have.” Given her background and growing up experiences, I understood why Sarah felt that way about fear. Simply becoming aware that she was afraid in that moment was the beginning of significant change. She knew that the fear was coming from her thinking in the moment about her marriage. Knowing that gave her confidence and a sense of calm about her fear. Her head cleared, and she began to get good ideas about the challenges she faced. She had some good, hard, honest conversations with her husband that allowed them to adjust their marriage so that it worked for both of them. Then she began re-connecting with friends and getting involved with community events. She even got back in her studio and started painting again. The last time we talked, Sarah said: “I’m tasting joy in everyday moments. I’ve never had that experience before. I’m making a point of noticing that.”
It doesn’t get better than that!