Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Learn how to be attractive

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action.” ~Deepak Chopra

Here’s the bottom line: we want people to like us. Even when we say we don’t care what people think, we really do.
We desire to be loved, respected, and viewed in a positive light. Our human interactions are vital to our sense of well-being, self-esteem, and happiness. When we discover that someone doesn’t like us or rejects us in some way, our emotions can run the gamut from defensive indignation to deep pain and profound sadness.
For any of us who have attempted to be likable and attractive to everyone, you eventually realize the futility of this exhausting endeavor. 
It is impossible to “make” everyone like you, and even if you could, you will ultimately lose your self in the process. When you morph into a people pleaser or an actor playing roles to accommodate those you want to impress, you often alienate the very people you hope to charm.
Only when we see ourselves as lovable and embrace our own authentic qualities, needs, ideas, values, and personality traits, do we release the pheromones of being attractive to others. Although not everyone will be intrigued by your authenticity, those who are attracted to you will generally be emotionally intelligent, mature individuals who value genuine and unaffected relationships.
Self-love, self-confidence, and authenticity are the foundational elements of attractiveness. To strengthen this foundation and foster the transition from “trying to impress” to naturally attracting wonderful people into your life, there are some specific changes and shifts you can adopt.

Learn how to be attractive by taking these 36 actions:

1.  Develop your own personal operating system. Carve out and define your own reality, philosophy, values, and interests rather than automatically  accepting those of your family, peers, religion, or culture.
2.  Begin to let go of the need for validation. Don’t be motivated by the opinions or others or the desire for recognition. Be driven by what is important to you and what you value.
3.  Trust your instincts and allow for experimentation. Get to know yourself and discover what you enjoy and find exciting, even if you have to fail a few times.
4.  Accept others as they are. Begin letting go of judgments and criticism of others. Focus on people’s strengths rather than their faults. Learn to deal with difficult people without diminishing yourself.
5.  Really hear people. Go beyond just listening and understanding. Let people know that you really get them.
6.  Take care of unresolved matters in your life. Restore your integrity. Forgive and ask for forgiveness where necessary. Reclaim the energy you have given to these matters.
7.  Embrace a healthy lifestyle. Get some form of exercise daily. Eat healthy foods that support your body, not your emotions. Do this because you respect yourself, not to impress others.
8.  Cause things to happen. Don’t wait for them. Be a creator, an instigator, a collaborator. Share your enthusiasm.
9.  Show people you care. Don’t just talk about it. Show them in ways that are meaningful to them, not you.
10. Require the best of people. See them not only for who they are, but who they can be. Lovingly reflect that vision to them.
11. Ensure your own needs are met. Discern your primary needs, and communicate fully what is important and valuable to you in your relationships. Don’t compromise these to keep peace or hang on.
12. Speak constructively. Use your words to uplift, inspire, motivate, and encourage. Don’t offer “constructive criticism” or subtle digs.
13. Laugh easily. Have a lightness about you. Take life less seriously and choose to find and create fun and joy.
14. Cease gossip. Choose not to talk about others in ways that are openly or subtlety critical. Don’t share information for the feeling of power or intrigue.
15. Make requests, not complaints. If you need something from someone, ask for it directly. Don’t whine or complain to them or others.
16. Handle situations fully. Kindly but clearly deal with negative issues as soon as possible. Don’t tolerate anything if it causes resentments.
17. Be done with arguments. Smile and walk away until healthy communication is possible.
18. Offer help only when asked. Don’t assume that others want you to fix them or that you know best for them. Be available and give help only when asked.
19. Care deeply, but remain detached. Let others know you care deeply about them when they have problems, but don’t get caught up in their problems.
20. See with your heart, not your eyes. Look beyond superficiality when seeing someone. Financial status, appearance, notoriety, all mean nothing. Look for the authentic person inside.
21.  Don’t say yes when you mean no. If you mean no, your yes will be harnessed with resentment. Say yes only when your yes is given freely.
22. Let others know you are grateful. Tell them and show them that you feel blessed to have them in your life.
23. Never play the guilt card. Don’t try to manipulate or hurt someone by trying to make them feel bad about their choices, decisions, or actions.
24. Give more than is expected. Don’t over-commit, but freely give more than you promise.
25. Be inter-developmental in your relationships. Don’t be controlling, dependent or co-dependent. Create relationships that are mutually uplifting, reward, and satisfying.
26. Be a big person. Don’t try to take credit, diminish others, or hold back on praise. Offer acknowledgment and power when it is needed and deserved.
27. Be confident enough to be humble. Be able to laugh at yourself, acknowledge your flaws and failures, and accept that they don’t define you.
28. Be open to learning. Don’t flaunt your intelligence or superior knowledge. Recognize that there is always something to learn, even from those who appear “less than.”
29. Be more engaged than engaging. Show your sincere interest in others. Use the word “you” more than “I.” Listen intently and reflect back to others who they are.
30. Give gifts that others want. Not just gifts to impress or that are important to you.
31. Challenge yourself constantly. Don’t settle for mediocre. Don’t languish in past accomplishments. Keep moving forward and exude enthusiasm about possibilities and the actions to make them happen.
32. Detach from adrenaline. Simplify your life enough so you are not rushed, stressed, cluttered, or distracted. Allow yourself time and room to focus.
33. Embrace the incredible power of now. Nothing is more valuable than this moment. Make it the best moment you possibly can right now.
34. Don’t fight the flow. Don’t struggle against people or situations you can’t control. Move effortlessly in a different direction.
35. Keep evolving. Stay on a path of self-improvement and stay alert for opportunities for shifts and growth.
36. Accept that you won’t be attractive to everyone. As you evolve and become more attractive, fewer people will be attracted to you — but what an incredible group they are!
What other qualities or actions make people attractive to you? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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See You At The Top,
Joseph Montes

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Be Happy While Achieving Your Goals

Goals.  We’re supposed to have them.  Theoretically, we can’t accomplish anything without them.  I beg to differ.
I used to be a goal-seeking nut.  Every day I would read my goals, visualize them, break them down into steps, set specific dates and follow all the usual goal “rules.”
And the process drove me crazy.  I met very few of those goals and got more depressed because of it.  There had to be another way.
I realized that goals are a little like diets (which don’t work).  You set a target (goal), put a date on it and make some temporary changes in your life to get you to your goal.  Once you meet the goal, you go back to your old ways which bring you back to where you were before you met the goal.
Or you meet the goal and see that it wasn’t as big a deal as you thought and you look for the next “thing” to feed your always-hungry psyche.
It’s a vicious cycle either way.
Instead of always striving for more, more, more! how about striving for just a little better each day?
One of the agreements in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is to always do your best.  That doesn’t mean that every day must be better than the last.  It means doing your best in the moment.
If you’re not feeling well, your best now may not be the same as yesterday when you had more energy.  And that’s okay.

The Mindful Approach to Goals

Instead of setting goals, how about setting intentions for how you want to experience different aspects of your life?
That way, there’s no striving and beating yourself up for not hitting your arbitrary target.  You set your intention of doing your best each day and follow through.  Each day, that results in things getting a little bit better.
What I’m suggesting is applying a dose of mindfulness to the process.  Instead of always yearning for something in the future (the goal), what if the goal was to simply be happy in the moment, with the way things are?
If your goal is to lose weight, you could:
  1. Feel bad about how much you weigh now. (Does hating your body really help anything?) Eat things you don’t like or starve yourself and knock yourself out at the gym in order to weigh a different weight.  or
  2. Love and accept your body the way it is right now. Instead of focusing on all that you can’t have, be grateful for the tasty, healthy foods that you can enjoy.  Feel the increased self-confidence you gain by moving your body in ways that you enjoy and help you to get stronger.
If you chose option 2, you probably wouldn’t want to stop doing the things you had been doing once you reach your target weight.  You would want to continue because they make you feel good.

Creating a New You

The beauty of option 2 is that you become a different person in the process.  This is another key to any change process.
You can’t be the same person, have the same thoughts and beliefs and take the same actions and expect different results.
You have to change in the process.
Instead of your old self believing that “healthy foods” can’t taste good and griping about the changes in your diet, you need to make a shift.  Ask yourself, “How would a slim, healthy person think about this?  What are their beliefs about their health?  Given those beliefs, what would they eat?  How would they see and experience movement?  How would they feel about their body?  What are their daily habits?”
Then be that person and think, believe and act how they would.  Ultimately, you’ll end up with their results.
When you see people who are successful in an area where you want to be successful, find books they’ve written, articles written about them or interviews with them to better understand how they think, believe and act.  Then do your best to do the same.
If you find yourself coming up with excuses as to why you can’t be more like them, you’ll know why you haven’t achieved what they have.  Your excuses are the stories you’ve told yourself to keep you “safe,” to keep you from venturing out of your comfort zone, to keep you stuck in the life you’re unhappy with.
Those stories may also be hiding your fears about what your friends and family might think of you if you were successful.  You might think that they will no longer accept you, so you stay where you are.
If that’s the case, know that there are supportive groups of people and good friends you haven’t me yet who are already doing what you want to do and will welcome you, hold your hand and help you along the way.

The Compound Effect

The greatest things are accomplished in baby steps – the daily habits you practice because of who you are and what your values are.
I’m listening to The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy that explains all the ways that this concept is true.
While big changes might produce big, immediate results, those kinds of results are usually temporary.
It’s the minute, barely perceptible changes that compound over time that produce the significant results that last and continue to improve.
The only way to stick with these little changes is to turn them into daily habits.
Is it too much to save 10% of your pay now?  Start with 1% for a month.  Bump that up to 2% the next month.  Increase your savings by 1% each month and you’ll painlessly get to 10% without a significant change in your lifestyle.
Are you completely out of shape but dream of running a marathon?  Start by walking a quarter mile once a week.  Increase that to one mile over the course of a month.  Then walk three days a week, then daily.  After that, start each walk with a light jog until you’re tired and walk the rest of the way.  Jog a little further each time until you can jog the whole way.  Each week, add another quarter mile to your distance.  In six months to a year, you’ll be running five or ten miles a day.
These are just a couple of the many examples in the book and I highly recommend that you read the book if you’re having difficulties making the changes you want in your life.

The New Way to Create Change in Your Life

If you’ve struggled with goals like I have, take the mindful, happier approach to change.
  1. Find your “why.” Why is it important for you to make a change now?  Without a strong “why,” it will be too easy to slip back into your old routines.
  2. Get clear on what you’re changing. Visualize what your life is like after you’ve made the change in as much detail as possible.  What do you do each hour of the day?  How do you feel when you do those things?  Who do you surround yourself with?  How do you move?  What do you eat?  How well do you sleep?
  3. Find others who are already doing what you want to do. Do an online search and read about these people.  Listen to interviews with them.  Read books and articles they’ve written. Meet them in person (this is easier to do than you think). Find out how they think, what makes them tick, what’s important to them.
  4. Adopt one small new habit. Adopt one of the daily habits of a person you admire.  If you have difficulties adopting new habits, Barrie Davenport has a wonderful class that I’ve taken called Sticky Habits.
  5. Don’t expect overnight success. Real change takes time, persistence, perseverance.  It’s a process, a journey without a destination.  It’s the illusion that we’ll someday arrive and our world will be different that makes goals so disheartening.  Learn to enjoy the ride.
  6. Reflect on how far you’ve come. Every six months or so, reflect back on how far you’ve come.  The changes that you’ll experience will be so small that you’ll hardly notice them.  But their compound effects are huge.  Take the time to reflect on how you’ve powerfully changed your life in the direction of your dreams.
Rather than trying to chop of your life with “one and done” goals, see your life and all of your experiences as a journey.  Where are you headed and how do you want to feel along the way?

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See You At The Top,
Joseph Montes

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Karma - Good Or Bad?

The role of karma in relationships is real and we can see it play out in our daily lives and the people around us.

By now we’ve all heard of karma, and we’ve gotten the impression that it’s some malicious force that punishes us for our bad deeds. Not so! Karma is an old Sanskrit word that simply means “deed” but the ethical concept of karma dates back thousands of years in India.

Let’s clarify karma a bit so we understand its real influence over our lives:

What is karma, anyway? 
Karma is actually the accumulation of our every thought, intention, and action from this and former lifetimes. It’s like a piece of luggage we carry with us on our trip from life to life only unlike luggage at the airport, it never gets lost! And bad karma doesn’t punish us; it makes us punish ourselves.

Negative karma sets us up for negative cycles that are seemingly never-ending. But just as there’s bad karma, there also exists good karma that protects us from harm and allows us to evolve towards personal joy.

Our ultimate goal is to settle old karma and generate as much positive karma as possible. So how does this energy play out in our romances?

Karma will wreak havoc in our love life if left unresolved (no pressure). Being blind to our individual karma will cause us to blame other people for the wrong things that happen to us.

We might be settling for the same type of partner, or making the same mistakes in relationship after relationship, but our karma won’t allow us to see that. We’ll think it’s bad luck or that all people are liars and cheats.

If we haven’t lifted the burdens of our past, they will block our future. Life is a circle. We travel ‘round and ‘round, meeting the same situations, circumstances, and people because they are part of our unique karma. But if we left the road a piece of baggage on the road some miles back, we’ll meet it again when we come around the circle.

This is why it’s essential that we clear our roadblocks for a smooth trip.

Karma, in action. 

Breaking karmic patterns can be tricky because we may not have identified the karma that’s causing us to endure the same obstacles. The only way to break the barriers is to take different actions.

Everything we do comes back to us and even the most trivial choice we make now can have a massive impact later. Many times we ignore our karma and act in bad faith or out of ego and selfishness.

Take the case of Mary, who fell in love with a man who was married and had four children. These facts didn’t deter Mary, however, who was tenacious to have John if it was the last thing she did! Eventually, Mary charmed John to the point that he actually divorced his wife and left his four children. Mary couldn’t be happier, and quickly became pregnant with her own child with John. But John’s former wife outwitted them both. She sent all four of her children with John to live with him and Mary. These children had been thoroughly instigated against Mary and they figuratively ate her alive. She became desperate but John wasn’t seeing the problem, partly because these were his children whom he loved dearly. The kids were also influencing John against Mary, fabricating stories about bad things she had never done. After a few years, the situation became so strained that Mary actually gave up on the man she had fought so hard to be with. She saw the grim reality of what she had done: she had taken a man away from his family, and the dark karma was now turning against her.

Your story may not be as dramatic, of course, but if you’re not completely happy in a relationship then a karmic component could be the cause.

Use these three principles to create positive karma if you feel something is wrong in your relationship:

Keep sacred your karma

The golden rule to clean karma is to act with integrity not for other people, but for your own sake. Smile at everyone, even if they don’t smile at you. Keep sacred your karma by remaining aware of your thoughts, intentions, and actions.

It doesn’t matter who has mistreated a million times. You must continue to act according to your karmic reputation and not in response to the other person’s actions.
Continue to be compassionate yet indifferent. This doesn’t mean that you should keep sacrificing for a person who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve, or that you have to yield to their every whim. But you must still show a degree of understanding under any circumstance.

Don’t retaliate

Our first reaction when we’ve been wronged is to seek revenge, and this is normal. But in the long run this causes us much more harm than the temporary good it brings. Whether you’ve been betrayed or not, don’t resort to betraying another person.

Remember the phrase, do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Never forget it! If you’re unhappy in your relationship, simply move on but never purposely fool or mislead others just to satisfy your ego. Taking revenge will only backfire on you as it will trap you and perpetuate bad karma so that it continues on indefinitely in your life.

See the bigger reason

When we make a mistake, we tend to blame and criticize ourselves endlessly. Mistakes help us to resolve karma if we make the right choices. We all have some sort of outstanding karma. Karma certainly builds up in time and it’s nearly impossible to keep a completely clean record.

Errors in life are sometimes necessary because they can help end our karma, our soulful ties with people, places, or things. For example, many of our readers have made mistakes that have ended the relationship with their partner. At first they couldn’t forgive themselves but in time they’re actually grateful that the relationship came to an end because they weren’t completely happy.

There’s no escaping our karma, and why should we want to? If we keep our karma unstained and honor our karmic duties, we will get exactly what we deserve: inner peace, endless joy, and a truly fulfilling relationship.

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See You At The Top,
Joseph Montes

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Be Your Own Hero

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.~Christopher Reeve 
What makes us love Harry Potter or most action movies? Why do we always cheer for the good guys? Why do we love a good story of challenge, perseverance and triumph?
Why makes these stories timeless?
The story of the hero has not changed for thousands of years. Since ancient times our traditions and culture venerate the myth of the hero on a mission. A hero leaves his or her home, faces challenges, triumphs and usually returns home as a changed man or women.
In 1990 the late American writer and intellectual Joseph Campbell wrote of the hero’s journey — the mythological journey that all men and women go through in life. He believed that the highest purpose in life was to complete this journey like some mythological voyage.
A hero is without shape and beyond time; the human need for heroes transcends all cultures.

The Need For a Story

What makes a hero unforgettable is not their strength but rather their will. We admire their ability to transcend defeat and persevere. When we watch them we temporarily become them. We live vicariously through them. This is the lure of sports — an average person can experience the glory of the players.
What makes a hero so undefeatable? What makes him stand up after being knocked down a hundred times? The answer is simple. A story. Not just any story, but one that involves a deeply personal path that the individual walks alone.
It may be a story that his or her grandparents told them while sitting around the fire or one a mentor once inspired in them or perhaps it’s the result of some deeply powerful event.
Regardless of the medium, the story has been absorbed deep into the hero. The ups and downs of his/her adventure are not seen as separate events but rather as parts of one whole.
Like a beautiful cloth the ups and downs of the journey weave together to form his life.
This is real motivation — motivation that sees past the failures and successes to some grander purpose of life.
Each goal, each step, each time you fall down is seen within a bigger context. Like seeing the forest in its beautiful entirety, a hero doesn’t focus on the individual trees and plants.

 Focus Rather Than Reaction

When we look at the bigger picture of our lives, we see the highs and lows as part of the journey. We avoid myopically focusing on separate goals and focusing our attention on a million different tasks. Instead of just reacting to events, we keep our focus.
To be honest, I have stumbled for the majority of my life looking for real motivation — one that lasts. I have jumped from goal to goal like a series of unsuccessful college romances.
My goals have served me well, but my direction hasn’t remained consistent.
It wasn’t until I questioned what was MOST important for me that my story became more well-defined. I wanted to do too many things in life. I can’t be the hero of my own story if I am trying to do everything and do nothing at the same time.
So I defined it. 

How to Find Your Story

The first step is defining what is most important is focusing on what you want and cut out the rest. This clarity came to me in the form of a yellow legal pad and twenty-five well-thought-out things I wanted in life.
These were my goals, my dreams and my desires. I had a lot but I could only pick five. Doing this focused my attention and my life on the few things I really wanted. It allowed me to regain my purpose without feeling scattered like I did before.
Deciding which five things were the most important for me and physically writing them down acted as an affirmation of my own values. I put them on my wall to remind me.
The most powerful change always comes from the simplest things.
The exercise in priorities was not my trick but rather Warren Buffet’s. Buffet recommended this to his pilot who was struggling with what to do with his life. He advised him that the secret to ruthless determination is to collect your focus and only invest it into several dreams. Do not disperse it among twenty.
The moral of the story is that if you want motivation that transcends the individual goals and to-do lists, one that unites them all together in a greater purpose, you must define your story.
You are already a hero. You just need to create your story and live it.

1. Focus Your Energy

Use the exercise above. Using pen and paper or computer, write twenty-five things you want in life. Pick five. Set aside some time, an hour or so, to do this. You don’t want to be distracted.
You now have two lists — one to focus all your energy on and one to avoid. Put your lists on your wall in a place you can see them daily.

2. Embark on the Journey

This is both exciting and scary. Don’t start tomorrow. Start now. Like literally NOW.
  • Want a blog? Sign up for one now.
  • Longing to travel abroad? Go today to get your passport.
  • Interested in becoming a photographer? Sign up for a class today.
There is no perfect time. Starting is the first step of the journey. Write down your goals. I break mine into yearly, every three months and weekly.

3. Battle Monsters

Happiness is a by-product of meaningful experience. It cannot be directly pursued, and if it is it won’t last.
Instead challenge yourself to battle the monsters in your life. Know that failure is part of the process.

4. The Hero Returns

The hero always returns home wiser and better. Reflect on your journey and share it with others. Nothing in life is as worthwhile as sharing with others.
Our modern world, with all the amazing progress and technology, has forgotten many of our roots. Modernity has slowly annexed the role of tradition.
As our world becomes more integrated, it becomes easier to forget our individual relationship with life.
We increasingly look outside for motivation. We love quotes and uplifting speeches, but rarely do we turn our attention inward and see that true motivation lies in your own story.
Define what you truly want in life and reclaim your motivation.
What helps you get through those hard times? Drop a comment below, and let me know how you keep yourself motivated.

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Much Success,
joseph montes

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