Category Archives: Inspiration

You Have No Idea What Your Limits Are

The term ‘self-limiting belief’ has been thrown around a lot in the inspirational literature world over the last few decades, so much so that it has almost become a cliche. We all believe things that aren’t true. We all know this, because we don’t know everything. Apparently, though, we believe a heck of a lot of things that limit us, that restrict us from reaching as high as we could.

And we can all reach higher than we think, much higher.

We think things like ‘I’ll never be good at that,’ or ‘Some people are just lucky, and I’m not,’ or any other variation. We think lots of things, and these things are true … largely because we make them true ourselves. We think we aren’t good at something so we don’t do that something, and that immediately and irrevocably prevents us from getting better.

I’m here to tell you something: this is true. We do this, and it’s a damn shame, because none of us know what our limits are. We have no idea. Continue reading

Little Things Add Up, Part Two

A few months ago I wrote how little things add up. Doing a little bit every day is often better than doing a lot at once. If you’re going to eat an elephant, it’s a lot easier to do it bite by bite rather than one big gulp. The same is true for most things. Not everything, but most things. The bigger the goal, the better this approach works.

I now have evidence of just how much this works. Since June 2015, I’ve written a blog post every single day. They started small, but they’ve gotten better and better as I’ve gotten used to writing more. I’m also enjoying it far more, but I want to focus purely on the numbers. So far, I’ve written a little bit more each day in 2016 than I did in 2015. It’s just a little bit more each day … but that’s every day, and 2016 is more than half over. Those little bits have really added up.

Added up to over 40,000 words, to be exact.

Back on August 5th, that marked the 218th day of the year. From June 1st, 2015 until the end of the year, that worked out to be 218 days as well. In both cases, over 200 days of of writing, but one averaged an extra 200 words a day. That’s three paragraphs… and three paragraphs times 218 days equals 43,000 extra words.

Continue reading

Smithy’s Wager: The Law of Attraction

When it comes to the law of attraction, people fall into one of two camps. Either they nod along and agree with every tenet, often while sipping spiritual tea and caressing a hemp keepsake, or they dismiss it as nothing more than pseudo-scientific garbage, and ‘pseudo-scientific’ is being generous at best. I suppose there’s a third group as well, the group that doesn’t know what the law of attraction is.

You can trace tenets of it back a long way, if you look hard enough.

Let me address that group first. The law of attraction is a new age spiritual principle that basically says, in a nutshell, that thoughts attracts things. If you think happy, positive thoughts, then you will attract happy, positive things into your life. Conversely, if you think negative thoughts all the time, then you will have more and more negative things happen in your life. What you think becomes your reality.

Yeah, I know, it sounds like complete rubbish. I agree … but I think you should follow it anyway. Continue reading

Working with People who have no Talent

I’m a martial arts instructor, and I mostly teach children. Teaching kids has a certain challenge built into it. In general, you can split them into two groups. I want to say ‘good kids’ and ‘bad kids,’ but that’s not really true. It’s really easy versus hard. Some kids are just plain easy to teach. They listen, they follow orders, they don’t goof off, that sort of thing. They might not necessarily be good at karate, but they are easy to teach.

Once in awhile you get one of those kids that’s not just easy to teach but good at everything they touch. Those kids just make you go ‘Wow.’

The flip side of the coin are the kids that are hard to teach. Some of these children are really, really good, but they often have some sort of quirk or behavioural issue that makes it tough to be an instructor. Some just want to talk to their friends, others like karate in general but hate the conditioning aspects required. Some, frankly, don’t listen half the time and require constant attention and motivation to do even the simplest tasks.

All of these are behavioural issues, and they make up the bulk of the hard-to-teach group. There’s one more possibility, though, and this may be the hardest of them all: a complete lack of talent. Continue reading

The Power of Praise

As a general rule, 90% of all emotional communication is either negative or filler. Negative is pretty self-explanatory. Such-and-such sucks, or this thing is terrible, or the weather is horrible. Sometimes it’s outright negativity, sometimes it’s passive aggressiveness, sometimes it’s just complaining. Negativity is everywhere.

Many people default to negativity because it makes you appear smarter. Other people are making mistakes, not you!

The other half, perhaps even more than half, is simply vacuous filler. It’s often disguised as positivity, but it’s really just filler. How was your day? “Good.” How are you? “I’m doing okay.” How was your weekend? “Can’t complain.” These are societal niceties, almost polite fictions. We say them just to keep conversation going without really adding anything to it, to avoid rocking the boat. If you really listen to people, it’s amazing how much is said without ever anything really being said.

The above make up roughly 90% of standard communication. The last 10%, the truly positive part, is much smaller but, holy crap, is it ever effective. Maybe it’s effective precisely because it’s smaller. Continue reading

Fake It ‘Till You Make It

If you ever meet me in person, you’ll likely think the following pretty quickly: I’m very positive. And I am. You might think other things as well. I’m pretty tall, pretty thin, pretty quiet. I listen far more than I talk. I have a slow but constantly growing smile. If you pay attention, you might notice my subtle humour. Maybe you’ll even notice how good looking I am!

Pre August Haircut

That would involve you being blind, or obscenely drunk. Or both.

Mostly, though, people notice how positive I am. People regularly call me the most positive person they know, and many others have commented that they appreciate my up-beat personality. My closest friends and family have used me as a pillar of strength, someone who can prop them up when they are feeling low. My happiness can be infectious, or so I’m told.

But here’s the thing: though I appear positive, I’m not always positive on the inside. Sometimes, I’m not even close. Continue reading

Three Wishes

Anyone who has ever watched Disney’s Aladdin has dreamed about finding a magic lamp of his or hers own. What could you do with three wishes? It could be anything you wanted, and so the question becomes simple: what do you want?

Also, there’s a good chance you’ve had ‘A Whole New World’ stuck in your head at some point. Probably right now, in fact.

This question is actually deeper than it first appears. Many people don’t know what they want. Some people are so bad at making decisions that they can’t even decide what to have for lunch. Not me. I’m planning ahead. If I ever find a magic lamp, I’m wasting no time on my three wishes. I’ll have them all figured out, exactly. Well, maybe. Let’s brainstorm at least, shall we? Continue reading

The Rush From Overcoming Obstacles

For the last week I’ve been on a bit of a health and fitness binge, at least as far as this blog goes. I wrote about how eating healthy makes life and workouts better, about how much I like fitness and about how much I really like fitness. You can see a pattern, and it’s no accident. In fact, that pattern will continue today, but in a slightly different form.

Yes, another excuse to post fractal patterns!

There’s a reason I’ve been so gung-ho about this, and it’s because one day I really didn’t want to do my workout. I had about eight-thousand excuses, and I listened to them. I agreed: today would not be a good day for a workout. The problem was if not today, when? The rest of my week is booked solid with commitments, and if I leave it until the weekend I’ve gone a whole week without. That’s not good.

What is a man to do? Well, I went all excuse-busters, and now everything is coming up Milhouse. Continue reading

Changing My Life, One Habit at a Time

There are good habits and there are bad habits. By and large, we spend too much time focusing on bad habits. “If only I didn’t do X,” we think, “I would be so much better off!” Maybe it’s over-eating or smoking or watching too much TV, whatever. We spend a lot of time focusing on what we don’t want, on what is holding us back.

A dog not eating food? I smell photoshopped!

Often, when you try to change this behaviour, you find it really tough. Bad habits are hard to break, and brute willpower only gets you so far. There is an alternative, though. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want. Create good habits. Instead of lamenting on what you should not be doing, do thing you should be doing. This change in approach has, literally, changed my life over the last two months. Continue reading

The Pathology of Being the Best

I like being right. Who doesn’t, right? It’s a good, empowering feeling. Whether it’s something simple, like predicting the Superbowl winner, or something big, like deciding on what career to go in, everyone wants to be right. I mean, no one goes out consciously to do something wrong, right?

Unfortunately, there are degrees of rightness for most things. It’s a sliding scale, like a percentage. You can be mostly right, or half-right, or 75% right. You can be wrong about all the little details but still get the big picture correct, and the opposite is also true.

Wow, this may be the most philosophy-thing I’ve seen since leaving university.

In addition to being right, this also relates to being good at something. Take writing. You can be a good writer, or you can be good at certain types of writing, say fiction but not academic essays. You might rate yourself as in the top 70% of all writers, and that’s a fine thing.

Unfortunately, I and many other people view that 70% as not an accomplishment but a failure. It’s be the best or be a bust. Continue reading