3 Keys How To Stay Grounded In Your Own Energy

Today I want to talk to you about how to really connect with your own energy and “frequency”, regardless of what is happening around you. At times people might be negative or have a mean attitude towards you. We’ll talk about how you can stay strong, centered and aligned with your own heart. How you can stay on your path and purpose by seperating what’s going on for other people from what’s going on for you. I’ll show you 3 key points to empower yourself by taking full responsibility of your own thoughts and your own behaviour. Sound good?

For many years this was a big issue for me. I have always felt a lot of emotions when talking to people, ever since I can remember. Especially if the other person would be in a strong negative state or if what they said or did triggered something within me. I would be very affected. I used to get drawn into other people’s drama, but also self-created negativity a lot! I wouldn’t really take responsibility for my thoughts, roll with the drama and start blaming other people for my own emotions and reactions. Of course following this I would suffer the consequences… At some point I realised that I was harming myself more than anyone else and decided I would do what it takes to develop and maintain a positive mindset – regardless of what was going on around me. This clear decision for positivity has totally paid off. I was able to learn this skill on one hand by doing a lot of meditation and contemplation – on the other at my recent job. At my work I’m handing out information at railway stations to potential customers (doing promotion). I get all kinds of responses from people! There are really positive, kind and loving responses. Many people are super-happy and grateful and they chat with me and we have a great interaction. At the same time I get responses where people are just trying to unload their negativity or view me as a nuisance. People who might be having a bad day or are caught in their own drama and negative mental habits. For my own health and well-being I had to learn how to not take these things personally – to stay strong and grounded and positive within myself.
Now let’s talk about a few very effective strategies and a crucial attitude-adjustment for taking ownership of your own thoughts and emotions and for drawing clear and strong boundaries:
Key #1: Attachment
When we are affected by somebody else’s behaviour, it’s usually because we have an atttachment. We have a specific expectation of how we want that person to act and treat us. When this expectation is not being met, we are frustrated or get angry. We think: “If this person treats me nice, then I’m going to feel nice. I’m going to be happy”, but if that person  is really mean then we feel hurt and we think: “I’m not getting the love I deserve. I’m not being accepted!”. It is completely natural to want others to like us. Sometimes it’s the healthier choice though to let this go. The first step to getting back into your own energy is noticing and then releasing this attachment. If somebody is treating you in a mean way: Release expecting them to be any other way than they are behaving. When you really want them to be different – so that you can feel different, them not meeting your expectation is going to cause you a lot of pain! So you’ve got to say: “Yep. That person was super negative towards me. But that is their thing. I’m leaving it with this person. I don’t need that person to change in order to feel good. I’m taking full responsibility of myself“. You’ve got to feel the boundary: Try stretching out your hands (seriously) and feel your space of how far you can reach. That’s your own “space”. From there on it’s the other person’s responsibility how they behave. Even literally – if you need to take a step back or tell somebody to not get closer then do that – it’s your good right to keep your space clear. But you’ve got to take ownership only of your own space – not try to change the other person. Because the thing is you probably can’t. So the first step to getting grounded again in your own energy is to release your attachment of having others be or having things go exactly as you wish. You’ll feel immediate relaxation from that!
Key #2: Intention
I talked about our own space – now we take full ownership of that space and of ourself. We set a clear intention of where we want to go from here. Whenever there is emotional confusion and drama and we are getting triggered, we have to connect with our heart and really allow ourselves to feel – within our own space: “What is my emotional need in this moment? What do I want? What is my goal and Intention for this situation? What is my own agenda?” We have to do these things for ourself – not trying to change the other person but getting in harmony with ourself. It’s not about the other person’s agenda – their agenda might be to unload some negativity and vent their anger, but your own agenda. When people are talking to me my goal is to do a good job and I want to take great care of myself emotionally. I want to have positive interactions. Now if I talk to someone and they are being excessively negative, even after me trying to be empathic: at some point I’m going to say: “I don’t want to talk anymore”. If the interaction is very negative then I don’t want to harm myself with that contact. So I’m having a strong feeling that I want to do things that are good for myself. I want to use my time effectively. Then really feeling this intention. Especially when we get confused  and lost in some drama, emotion or reaction it is important to step back and ask ourself: What is my goal in this situation? I want to have a clear and positive state of mind. I want to be positive and productive. I want to be in great contact with myself and contribute something to the people around me. Once you have a clear intention of where you’re going it’s much easier.
I encourage you to also think about this beforehand. Let’s take an example: If you often have difficulty with some coworker you’re always getting triggered by then you could reflect at home: “Okay. My intention is to have a positive state of mind for myself. A positive attitude. Why? Because I want to stay productive during the day. I want to stay emotionally healthy and balanced and I don’t want to ruin that by engaging in some victim mentality, blaming, hating or engaging in drama with or of others. I want to stay positive. Why? Because I want to move along with my work and priorities. Because I want to have an amazing day where I’m happy and enjoying myself. Because I want to nourish habits that actually support my long-term growth and I want to slowly weaken habits that are harming me”.
It’s really important to have a strong intention for that situation. Then your plan of action can be: “If this thing happens with my coworker then I’m going to connect with myself and draw a boundary. I’m going to be nice to that person even if they’re being mean and I’m going to end the conversation. I’m going to say that I don’t want to talk anymore and that I will continue working. “Have a great day”, and then I’ll just do my thing. This would be a clear intention which will help you in a possible conflict situation. You’re going to remember your intention and values and this will help you stay on your path and in integrity with yourself.
Key #3: Positivity
We might think that when we are “pushing” somebody away in our mind who is being very negative towards ourself, that we actually solve the problem. We might start blaming or criticising them in our head. BUT the thing is: It’s not really about our thoughts. It’s not of we are the victor in our mind over the other person. If we think: “I am a better person, I am much kinder”. The question is if and how our emotions are affected. Once we are emotionally affected and feeling strong negative emotions towards that person this is a sign that we have already started engaging with the drama or negativity. We have become passive. How do you take responsibility of the situation and release the negativity? It’s by taking great care of your emotions by releasing the attachment. Letting go of wanting the situation or other person to be different.
There’s a great saying: If you don’t like a situation you can either:
a) change the situation
b) change your attitude
c) remove yourself from the situation.
Next you get clear on your intention, what exactly do you want, and your course of action. Then you remove yourself from the situation, you put up a healthy  boundary, or you start being empathic and develop compassion for the other person’s situation.
I want to encourage you to take a few seconds and reflect on your values, as your values are what give you orientation and direction in life: What’s my intention, what are my feelings, what are my needs and priorities? What are my values in a conversation with somebody? How do I want to communicate with others? What impression do I want to make and how do I want to show up in the world? What influence do I want to have on other people around me? What habits do I want to nourish? Once your values get clearer and clearer you will begin auto-correcting your own behaviour in challenging situations and be in more and more integrity with yourself. As you make staying positive a habit, then even if people are being negative a part of you will just not buy into it anymore. You’ll keep up a smile and focus on doing what is beneficial for you and for others. This is a great learning process and as you start taking more responsibility of what you’re thinking and doing in these situations you’ll be letting go of needing to change others. Now with a clear intention in your mind and heart you will be feeling more connected with your own energy and manage to stay aligned with your purpose, values and goals. Being empowered in this way you are able to take strong action and draw clear boundaries where necessary. You can feel this positive attitude, which gets you where you want to go – no matter what’s going on around you!
 
What if you still get lost in drama or negativity, get emotionally confused or have difficulty seperating other people’s feelings from your own?
What helps in these situations is to seperate other people’s “stuff” from yours. You can recognise that this other person was negative to you, they were blaming or they brought some difficult energy. You just acknowledge that. Then you can say: “Yes. That came from this person – and I’m leaving it with that person. It’s like this person brought the negativity and drama as an unwanted gift and you are saying: “Nope, I don’t accept that gift. That gift of negativity is with you and it remains with you. You have responsibility of that and I am not taking it“. You really seperate yourself from that strongly. Then of course you’ve got to take full responsibility and full ownership for what’s going on in your own mind. For what you might be perpetuating. Most likely there are judgemental thoughts, negative thoughts or hateful thoughts. It might seem like these thoughts make us the “winner” or “better” than the other person. Yet the reality is that we are losing when we do that. We are harming ourself more than anyone else. Emotionally we are stepping right into negativity and this can really impacts our emotional well-being, our performance and even darken our whole day. It’s never pretty! You really want to avoid that and the big load of unnecessary stress hormones in your system.
As you can see staying in your energy by finding your own values and getting really clear about them is extremely powerful. The more you practice it, the stronger and clearer you get and the more connected you will feel with your own purpose and with your own emotions. Then it becomes easy to see if somebody is trying to push negativity on you. You recognize: “Yeah,  that’s coming from this person” and you no longer feel compelled to engaged with it. You have a clear standard for what behaviour you accept from yourself, as well as from other people. You might even notice yourself becoming empathic and begin understanding that: “This person is really having a bad day. They’re not happy right now”. It’s such an amazing shift to go from anger to compassion. Instead of being judgemental to gradually start seeing other people’s pain and manage to stay empathic, even if they’re being mean. This is an extremely empowering place to be at!

How to Develop Essential Habits – Bright Lines

Bright Lines is an extremely effective concept for adopting new habits or changing detrimental behaviours.

When we want to make a change in our life, we might not be sure exactly how we’re going to do it. We know something is off and we make an attempt to change it – but somehow we revert back to our old habits. Maybe because there’s too much stress in our life or we don’t even know where exactly we want to go. Or maybe because our why (the reason we want to change) simply isn’t strong enough. Bright Lines help in all of these cases!

So what is it about? It is about having Rules that are very clear. This means that when you want to change something in your life – instead of making a weak or unclear decision – you make a very strong and clear one. Instead of grey you make it black and white. An example:

You want to improve your health and maybe reduce your sugar intake: A bright line is to not eat any products that contain additional sugar on the label. You would still be able to eat natural products like honey (depends on where you draw your line of course). So each time you now make an eating decision, or when you’re shopping:

  • you have absolute clarity. You know which foods are okay and which are not. When you pick something up and read the label – you don’t have to think about it and use willpower. Instead you can very easily make a decision based on this Bright Line that you’ve established for yourself.
  • you save willpower. This is especially important in the beginning when establishing a new habit. Changing your behaviour takes effort and your brain likes to do what it’s used to and what feels comfortable – especially when under stress.[1] It can already be challenging enough to change our eating habits – if you don’t have clarity about how you’re going to do this then you are going to make it even more difficult for yourself! With Bright Lines the temptation to break your resolve is going to be much weaker, because you have clear rules!
  • you make it actionable. When you’re standing in the shop – you know what to do and you take action. You put the product in question back into the shelf and you get something else. That’s a clear action that will get you closer to your goal. It’s a beginning and the change is now real. Well done!

If you follow this strategy then changing your behaviour becomes easy. I’m not kidding here. I’m using this a lot in my own life and compared to making changes when you are lacking clarity it is like day and night! It makes change so much more effective when you establish Bright Lines and clear rules for your own behaviour.

How do we implement this?

1) Decide. You make a clear choice. What is your Bright Line to optimally support your goal going to be? It needs to be right for you. Not for somebody else or dependent on what other people think. You’ve got to feel: “This is a good decision. This supports me with my goal(s)!” Your goal? That’s the WHY. The magic here is not in the Bright Lines concept, but the magic is in the WHY. If your why is strong enough – if your reasons are convincing you will be successful. Your why includes:

  • Negative consequences if you fail or don’t change your behaviour. Maybe you’ll get sick or don’t like how you look or you don’t have a lot of energy and feel lethargic most of the time. Realistically, if you don’t change, these things are going to get even worse. You need a very strong why in order to gain leverage for change. You’ve got to clearly see: “Yes this is affecting me, this is very negative if I continue and I am going to suffer.” You’ve got to make this clear to yourself. You have got to be realistic and face the facts honestly, using your best judgement. It’s a little uncomfortable, but necessary.
  • Positive consequences if you do follow through and change: “I’m going to have more energy, I’m going to feel happier and more emotionally balanced. My mind is going to be clearer. I’m going to be more healthy and feel great about myself.” You need to really get clear on the details of your WHY. Best write it down in handwriting so that it can sink in! This is what’s going to make the shift happen in your life. This is extremely important. If the why is not in place then this whole concept is not going to work.

2) Ignore. Disregard what other people tell you. If you start employing Bright Lines people might get irritated. Your friends might say: “What? You don’t eat any sugar? Isn’t that a bit extreme? Come on…” People might feel a little uneasy (they can smell that you’re changing things up!). From my own experience? Bright lines work. Period. If you make a clear decision it might seem extreme – but so what? The main thing is that it works. In the beginning you need these bright lines to support your change. Once your behaviour has aligned and your identity has shifted (to one that supports healthy or successful actions by default, actions that align with your vision for your life) and you feel like: “I don’t really crave these sugary snacks that much anymore” – then you can be more casual about things. You can have a snack here and there and it’s not going to be so bad. But chances are you won’t enjoy it so much anymore (I warned you right?). If we don’t have this Bright Line in the beginning however and listen to our friends then we might fall back to our old behaviour. So that’s very dangerous! In the beginning these strong and clear rules give you a lot of security and orientation. They help you to be successful in changing your behaviour and habits.

So when it comes to other people giving you advice: Only listen to someone who is already successful in what you want to accomplish. Is he or she succeeding in changing their habits? Is that person having healthy eating habits? If not – it’s best to disregard their advice. It’s not going to lead you where you want to go. Even if this sounds harsh and if it’s a good friend or even a family member. Be friendly and say: “Thank you for sharing, I need to do it my way. I’ve got to learn by myself how to do this.” Then you just follow through on your own best judgement. That’s going to get you where you want to go.

3) Improve. It’s like learning to throw darts. You’re not going to be immediately successful all the time. There’s going to be challenges, you may partially revert back to your old habits and that’s okay. As long as you are getting up again!  It’s important to remember that this is a learning process. You’re throwing darts and the better you get at it the more often you are going to hit the center. You need to track what you are doing, so that you know if you are actually succeeding or not! I suggest pulling out a calendar and decide: “For 30 days I am going to avoid anything where it says “sugar” (or glucose syrup and similar processed stuff) on the label.” Or:  “For 20 days I am going to take the stairs over electric staircases and elevators.” (That might be challenging if you work in a skyscraper so be careful with what you commit to!). Then for each successful day you draw an X (VERY satisfying).

Another important thing about daily habits: If you want to establish a strong and solid habit then you’ve got to do it daily. You’ve got to make a streak: 20 days or 30 days, whatever you chose. If you feel uncertain you can go for 7 days but I suggest a longer time. It is better to set a small goal and keep doing it for longer than a big one for a shorter time! Then IF you miss a day for whatever reason (something very unexpected happened or you got sick), the next day you have to make doing your habit your top #1 priority. You’ve got to just schedule it and get it done so that you keep your streak alive. This is crucial for building the new habit and reconditioning yourself!

So as you start applying this concept in your own life you’re going to:

  1. Find out your why.
  2. Make clear rules and a strong decision.
  3. Ignore what other people tell you as you’ve got to find out for yourself how things (especially your mind) work. Back away from people’s advice who aren’t successful in what you want to accomplish.
  4. Lastly you need to constantly improve and track what you’re doing. Put down that X – every single day. Make a streak. This way you check that you are succeeding. If you fall off then you’ve got to make it a priority to get back on the horse. Simply make it your top priority the next day to keep your streak alive. This is crucial!

There’s going to be ups and downs in the process – you don’t knwo what exactly is going to happen and how things will unfold. You are going to learn a lot about yourself! Yet with Bright Lines you now have a very strong and useful guideline for changing your behaviour. I wish you much success with letting go of self-sabotaging behaviours and adopting healthy and supportive habits. So that you can have an amazing impact! Not only on your own life but also on the lives of others!

 

 

 


[1]
“Stress has been shown to increase habitual behavior— for better or worse! Two experiments at UCLA and one at Duke University found that stress increased people’s gravitation toward habitual behavior. Based on her study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Quinn, J. M., A. T. Pascoe, W. Wood, & D. T. Neal. Can’t control yourself? Monitor those bad habits. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (2010).), Professor Wendy Wood argues: “People can’t make decisions easily when stressed, are low in willpower or feeling overwhelmed. When you are too tired to make a decision, you tend to just repeat what you usually do.” This holds true for both good and bad habits and is a crucial insight for their importance in our lives.”
Guise, Stephen. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

Impact Habit #2 – Clarity is Power

Back in the days I was going to school and later when I was living at the outskirts of Vienna I wasn’t really clear about what I wanted to do with my days. I really wanted to make progress and move towards my goals. But actually: I had no clarity about what exactly I wanted my days to look like. Most of the times my days would end with me being very frustrated. In the evening I would reflect about my days and I’d think: “Wow. I really didn’t achieve something today. I really don’t feel like this day was successful.” Often I felt devastated and completely depressed. Even when I had worked very hard on that day and did many many things. What I was lacking was a clear vision and strong focus. I didn’t have a clear image of what I wanted to do and so it was impossible to reach my goal and destination. As a result I wasn’t “successful”.

What exactly do you want?

A good definition of success is: “Achieving a pre-determined goal.” So you set a clear goal, you achieve that goal and then you have an experience of success. Simple right? What if you don’t define a clear goal for yourself and don’t even know what success means for you? Then you won’t feel successful! Ever. No matter what you do… Even if you work for 12 hours straight on a given day. Only if you define a clear goal and then reach that goal (or its sub-goals) can you have an experience of success. Why is experiencing personal victories so important for your overall success? Find out in my article on Staying Motivated.

Clarity is Power. I can see it in my own life. Nowadays I usually have a plan for the day – I know what I want to achieve on a given day. I have one thing that is most important, also healthy rituals and habits that support my productivity and well-being. I have clarity about what I want to do, but also about my bigger vision for my life. A lot of the times I achieve the goals I set for myself – because I know and consistently remind myself of what I am working towards! This way it becomes tangible and I can move in the right direction and not be scattered and all over the place like I used to be. Focus – where you are collecting your energy like the beams of the sun with a magnifying glass. This way you really have an impact. With Impact Habits you can easily focus your energy on making changes at the right places – where it matters most.

A little technique

I use a little trick each time when I need clarity – honestly I use it almost every time when I record a video. Often I start recording a video and it just goes nowhere. I’m all over the place and my message isn’t clear. I’m not happy with my performance… What I then do is:

  • I close my eyes and in my mind’s eye I visualise a clear goal. I visualise that I finished the video and that I feel proud because I’ve made a good video. I imagine the quality of the video being good and that I was able to get the message across really well. I imagine that I delivered strong presentation. I imagine that I feel comfortable and proud of myself for achieving what I wanted to achieve.

For one or two minutes I visualise these things and get a clear picture in my head of the moment where I have achieved my goal. The point in time where it’s done. Where I feel confident and satisfied with myself and my performance. I also allow myself to become emotionally engaged and dwell in that vision for a while. Then I just let it go and continue working.

I must admit: Almost every single time when I do this – when I set a clear intention: It works! I perform in a way where I achieve my goal. This can work with anything! I also do this in other areas of my life.

Clarity is power.


 

Here’s a quick exercise to go deeper, but first we have to differentiate between “lacking clarity” and “being open to possibility”. When you’re going through the world with an explorer’s mindset saying: “I’m open to experience, I’m open to learn, I’m open to play and explore like a child”. That’s definitely a good attitude! What we want to resolve is a state of confusion, where you want something, but you can’t really define it. Or you are constantly allowing yourself to get distracted. You’re not feeling good where you are! Once you have made up your mind, made a clear decision and know where you’re going – this gives you an incredible amount of strength and motivation and self-esteem.

  1. Write down 3 situations in your life, recently or many years back, where you lacked clarity and focus. Where you felt confused and scattered. How did this state of mind feel and how did it affect your performance? Is this a desirable habit or even character trait?
  2. Write down 3 situations where you did experience clarity and focus. Find situations where you actually achieved what you wanted because you made a strong decision and made up your mind. Where you had a crystal clear vision in your mind’s eye or where you could really feel what was important to you and what you were going for. Write next to it how that made you feel. What was the impact of this, very different, attitude? Is this a desirable habit you may want to nourish? What impact will it have on you and those around you if you deliberately bring more of this clarity into your life every single day?
  3. Lastly write a short paragraph about WHY it is important for you to work on this habit of clarity and really knowing where you’re going. Also take some time to think about the consequences of not working on this crucial area of your life. Maybe you even want to try out the little technique I introduced. Before you do some task where you have to perform – at a presentation, a meeting, or maybe it’s getting up with purpose in the morning. I actually do this exact same thing before going to sleep. I visualise how I imagine the morning to be and set a clear intention for the next day. Using strong goal-setting and visualisation in your life today can enable you to make conflicting intentions and self-sabotage a thing of the past and gain certainty, purpose and definite results.

Clarity is Power. When you focus your energy things start happening. You remember that success means achieving a predetermined goal. Instead of being divided between 10 different things you get crystal clear on what you want and then concentrate your energy on reaching it. You don’t allow yourself to get distracted and keep going. Then when you achieve it you have an experience of success and this motivates you and builds your self-esteem to tackle bigger things!

Impact Habits – #1 Integrity

Today I want to start a video series called Impact Habits!

A few years ago I was living on the outskirts of the city of Vienna. There was a forest nearby and next to the house a small river was flowing. At night one could hear the animals from the nearby forest. It was a very nice place to live at and very serene. Yet I was at a point in my life where I was feeling intensely depressed. I was very discouraged and wasn’t happy with where I was in my life but also with myself. I had almost no money and was struggling financially. What was especially tough for me though was that I really wanted to change things, but I just couldn’t figure out how!

Every time I tried something, I felt like there was somebody standing behind me who was sabotaging me. I felt like my mind and my habits, my whole conditioning were working against me. I was running on autopilot and the autopilot just wasn’t working. Whatever strength I mustered and energy I invested in changing things, I always felt like being thrown down to the ground – again and again. It was a very tough and intense time. I’m sure you can relate to situations in your own life where you feel something inside of you is blocking you. Or you have a sense that certain habits are not helping you. You may feel like you are just sabotaging yourself while other people are having a much easier time succeeding, like your habits are keeping you “down”. That is exactly the reason why I am doing this video series. Because I have experienced the contrast between:

  • Getting up in the morning and feeling depressed and demotivated. When starting a project I was very quickly feeling discouraged. I had extremely high expectations of myself and I never approved of myself and my small successes. I almost never said to myself: “Great Lukas! You did that small step. That’s amazing!”, and by giving myself a pat on the back aroused motivation. I was always discouraging myself: “This isn’t good enough. You are not making enough progress. You won’t succeed with this anyways…”. Because of this I stopped many projects – simply because I was having a very negative relationship with myself and bad habits. When trying to work I fell prey to many distractions. I couldn’t even focus for a few minutes or read a book.
  • These days when I get up in the morning I usually feel very motivated and strong. I have a purpose and I know why I am getting up. My mind is clear. I follow through on the things I say that I am going to do most of the time. I have a daily routine and a daily ritual for my mornings and evenings and I usually get done what needs to get done. I work in a very focused and productive manner.

I learned that it is possible to totally change things around if one has a clear goal (a strong enough why), and applies consistent effort. Remember: it’s about small steps! Many people try to change their life quickly. They try to change many things at once. What that mostly leads to is discouragement and failure. We have to make small adjustments and small steps and build on them. We have to teach ourselves to celebrate the little victories because they will get us to our goal eventually. This is how I changed a lot of things in my life and how I am now able to have a completely different experience of life. Just by doing the small steps. Sure it takes work and consistent focus, but the rewards are really amazing!

When we do change something in our life, it is important that we focus on one thing at a time! This way we can really concentrate our energy and don’t scatter it into all six directions. Focusing our energy, like we would bundle the beams of the sun with a magnifying glass, will bring an impact. This way we will achieve results. That’s also why I call this series Impact Habits. Because by changing these small habits we:

1) Have a direct impact on our life because we are focusing our energy on a single habit.

2) Stack these small habits like building blocks. What you build stays and you can build on top of that. The bigger it gets (the more positive habits you install) – the more impact it has (ie. positive changes in your mental state but also health, job, productivity, finances, relationships). You can also imagine a small tree that starts growing. Once it’s big it starts to give it’s shade and fruits. In the beginning you have to carefully tend to it – later on you don’t even have to water it. It just starts giving on its own! It’s the same with learning to change your habits. Another analogy is that water is flowing down a river but there are a lot of hindrances. What we are doing by aligning our habits, by building Impact Habits is that we are taking away the hindrances so that the water can flow smoothly and quickly. As a result a lot of water can flow almost by itself!

In that process it is very important that we don’t focus too much on the results in the outside, but that we keep the focus on our own process of improvement. At times we have to check if we are making progress. Do we need to change the right direction or the way we are working? Do we need to tweak this or that? Our main goal that we want to achieve is: A smoothly flowing process where we are joyfully moving towards our goal. So the main focus should be on personality-development where we are enjoying both the learning and the doing, while gradually making measurable progress. Because this cycle of positive feedback is where all the results will originate. If you are not having much success in your life then probably you haven’t developed a habit of succeeding. Check out my article and video on Staying Motivated for more details on developing strong internal motivation.

Working towards your vision has to become a fulfilling habit for you, it cannot be done by sheer force. We need engagement and enjoyment in the process if we want to succeed! This way we will be taking consistent action towards the realisation of our vision.

If you don’t know what your goal is (or could be), then it’s important that you define it. I have another article/video on this topic about writing down and clarifying your vision gradually (or developing one if you don’t have a vision for certain areas of your life) called Nurturing Your Vision. Now that I’ve covered the general information about why building strong and supportive habits is so important, let’s jump right in with the first habit we are going to work with:

Impact Habit #1: Integrity

What is integrity? It means that you are trusting yourself, you are feeling connected with yourself and you have confidence in yourself. You are upright. You keep your word, You do what you say you are going to do. This makes you feel good about yourself and gives you an internal strength. Other people can feel this too!

I want you to remember a specific time in your life when you said you were going to do something. You planned to do something, but… you didn’t do it. How did that make you feel about yourself? Maybe for a few hours, for a day, maybe even for a few days? Ask yourself honestly: “How does this impact me?”.

The next time you commit to another action at a later time, a few days or maybe a week later, you are going to feel a little insecure. This is because you are carrying around a negative reference from not following through last time. This can develop into a very negative, self-sabotaging habit, which later can become part of our identity. We might say or think something like: “I never follow through. I can’t keep my word”. Or maybe we try to ignore it and act like everything is fine (that’s how I did it for many years). In any case we become scared to even start a small project because we become afraid of failing, can’t trust ourself and don’t want to disappoint ourself. We are missing the strength that comes from many positive references of following through on what we say – on a consistent basis! The first step towards change is self-awareness. We have to admit to ourself that there is a problem in order to begin solving it. We have to acknowledge that this a habit we have to change if we want to be succesful and happier with ourself. 

Now what if we actually keep our word? Think back to a situation in your life where you did keep your word. Recall and notice: How did it feel to keep your word? How did it feel to follow through? How does it feel to complete what you said you were going to do? Chances are this feels very good to you. This gives you strength. Even a few weeks or months later! If you remember that situation where you did follow through, it is going to give you confidence in yourself! 

It is extremely important to feel confident in yourself and your ability to follow through and take action – this is how you can take more and more small steps that will eventually lead you to the successful completion of your projects and to the fulfilling of your vision! A vision that you clearly hold in your mind’s eye, can feel as tangible emotions in your body or hear as a strong voice that carries you through your days. Independently from your external circumstances and if they already reflect it.


I want to invite you to a small formal exercise to immediately take action on what you just learned. To help you with recognising the paramount importance of keeping your word and doing what you say, so that you can feel good and confident about yourself. So that you feel strong on the inside and ready to tackle bigger and more difficult projects and challenges!

Take 5 minutes and write down on a sheet of paper:

A) 3 situations from your life recently (or go back further in time if you can’t remember any recent situations) where you didn’t follow through, didn’t keep your word and violated your own integrity.

-Write next to it: How did that make you feel? What do you think are going to be the consequences or impact of doing this? Are they positive or negative and harmful? Write down whatever comes to mind and go into the emotions that come up. Put your hand on your heart and genuinely ask yourself: “How do I feel about this on the inside?” How does it feel right now, thinking about this situation where I violated my integrity?

B) 3 situations from your life where you DID follow through and kept your word. Times where you were trusting in yourself, where you were upright and kept and strengthened your integrity. Then write next to it: How did that make you feel? Even now as you are thinking about it? Again put your hand on your heart and be really honest. Ask yourself: “How do I really feel about this? How do I feel about following through and keeping my word? What is it like to be a man or woman of my word?” Again write next to it what you think will be the consequences and impact of this behaviour.

C) Write a short paragraph on why you think developing this habit of integrity is important in your life. What are going to be the rewards if you had really really strong integrity? Find your strongest why for changing this habit – this is going to be the fuel for change. Then also write down what will happen if you don’t work on this habit. If you don’t develop your integrity or it even deteriorates. Reflect about the most important areas of your life: your relationships, finances, your body and health and any important goals or projects you might have. What impact is this going to have if you don’t work on this?

I hope that this article was helpful and that you could get some value from it. I look forward to doing more in this series because I think that Impactful Habits are a crucial tool for changing our attitude, behaviour and thus changing our life. For becoming happier, more productive, successful and clearer in our mind. For living our life from action instead of reaction, so that you can actually have an experience where you get up in the morning and feel motivated. When you start a project then there is no inner saboteur – maybe the project is demanding and difficult, but you know that you have yourself on your side and that your habits align with your vision. An experience where you feel that you are supporting yourself and that you can trust yourself on each step of the way. Where you are constantly moving in the direction of your vision and you just know that you are going to make it a reailty.

How To Double Your Energy! (Physical & Mental)

These 5 things will make you 200% more energetic! Today I want to talk about how we can influence our levels of energy, that have a direct effect on how we experience our life and on our productivity.

I’m sure you can relate: Sometimes you have a lot of work to finish. You have a deadline ahead, or you need to go out and get something done but: You feel super lethargic. You feel like all energy has drained from your body, you don’t have any motivation and you would rather just go to bed and sleep or do something like watching a movie or surfing on the internet and on facebook. You’d rather do something where you can relax momentarily and shut off. Many years ago when I went to school: each time I would come home from school I would be so tired and exhausted, that I would just drop into bed. I would sleep for half an hour, one hour, sometimes for two hours. Even after that I wouldn’t feel energized. Furthermore I would have terrible sleeping habits in the evening and this would affect my sleeping schedule. It was a very bad cycle.

Over the years I have learned how to actually change my level of energy. I’ve learned this by doing a lot of meditation and releasing layers of stress from my mind. I also learned a lot from Anthony Robbins, when I was at one of his seminars. He really inspired me with his amazing amounts of energy. It seemed like he was on drugs. But he is just very disciplined and follows a clear strategy to maximize his energy levels – a strategy which he shared at his seminar. I subsequently experienced for myself that if I follow certain guidelines, I can really increase the level of energy I have and this has had a huge impact on all areas of my life.

Let’s get started:

1. Purpose.

I want to start off with what I think is the most important thing in this equation of energy. If you don’t have purpose for what you are doing and why you are getting up in the morning, there is no reason for your body to provide you with energy. If there is something that is urgent and that needs to be done, you are convinced that you can do it and you actually want to do it because you see a favourable future for yourself and want to achieve that goal – then you are motivated. As a consequence your body will give you the energy necessary to move towards that goal. But if there is no motivation in the first place, if there is no purpose in the first place – that’s not going to happen. I remember when I was coming home from school, I was just relieved that school was over. I didn’t have a purpose or reason to do anything. I would just play computer games and zone out. This would keep my energy levels very low because there was nothing drawing me. There was no purpose to my life. There was no purpose in my mind and in my body. If you have a purpose, that is going to give you a lot of energy. Even if you have a sub-optimal nutrition, don’t get enough exercise or are under a lot of stress. Even if you have a bad sleeping cycle! Only this one thing: having a purpose, having a worthwhile goal and believing in yourself that you can achieve that goal: This will give you a lot of energy. So the first key for having more energy is getting clear on your purpose. Write it down in great detail like I talk about in my article and video called Nurturing Your Vision, where I talk about journaling about your vision each day. This way you can clarify it more and more and strengthen it each day. This is going to give you more energy!

2. Stress-Management

What is stress-management? Many people have a high level of stress in their life. You can see it in their bodies. They hold a lot of tension in their face, neck and shoulders. Sometimes their bodies are bent with tension and they don’t even know they are doing it, because it is outside of their awareness. I recently did an article and video on how we can improve our poste and grounding where I show you how to practically work with your body called Grounding And Posture. In there I also talk about how we can relax unnecessary tension. I walk you through an exercise where you imagine a strong string that is holding up your body, where you can relax all unnecessary tensions. This is one way you can do it with your body. There is various forms of meditation to help you with the mental aspect of stress. This way you can strengthen your awareness for your thoughts. This is important because what is connected with stress is: Negative Self-Talk. This is a big common cause of stress. If you can reduce negative self-talk and be more positive with yourself then you are going to have less stress. You can try a very simple practice like Smiling Meditation. If you practice meditation then you are going to have more awareness over your mind and you can more easily discard and release unnecessary stress that is building from your thoughts. This mental stress if it is left unchecked will manifest in the body sooner or later. If this is interesting to you or you feel like you are having too much stress: check out Reduce Stress By Eliminating Causes to find out how you can easily decrease the levels of stress in your life quickly. Effective stress-management is extremely important for increasing productivity and living a happier life! An example from my personal life: Many years ago when I would be under a lot of people, like in a public place or the public transport, I would immediately feel stressed, afraid and tense. I just couldn’t feel comfortable. Now over the years I’ve been able to recondition myself and now I am working at a job where I’m standing at railway stations. I’m under a lot of people. People are coming from all sides, it’s very crowded and sometimes cramped around me. But now it no longer bothers me. I actually feel relaxed like I would be in my living room! Because I conditioned my body and mind for that. I continuously relaxed tensions, staying very aware of my thoughts. I also practice what I teach in my other material. I work on my posture, so that I’m standing in structural alignment. I’m smiling and practicing a positive attitude towards myself and also towards others. This reflects in physical relaxation. So I’m feeling very comfortable and relaxed and as a consequence of this I have a lot more energy!

3. Sleep

If you don’t have a good quality of sleep or you are constantly getting too little sleep and you actually need more, then you are not going to have so much energy… You are actually harming your system and not getting the necessary rest. When you are having a lot of stress and don’t have strategies for managing stress properly, then you might not be able to fall asleep in the evening or have a bad quality of sleep at night. You may be lying in bed, tossing around, being stressed or afraid about this and that. My motto is: If you can solve a problem when it arises (during the day), by releasing unnecessary tensions in both mind and body, then you are going to sleep better in the evening. Of course sometimes things are bothering me in the evening, especially during stressful times. But overall I go to bed, lie down and I fall asleep. This happens when you can keep your mind at a healthy level of relaxation by doing proper stress-management. How you spend your day and your attitude during the day (like if you are having a lot of negative self-talk) – that’s going to reflect in how you feel in the evening and how you fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. When you can maintain a healthy, natural mental state within yourself throughout the day, or at least get back to it quickly when you have fallen off, then you don’t need to purposely relax yourself so much when going to bed. But that being said I am a big fan of a “winding-down-ritual”. I have rituals for both the morning and evening time. I usually meditate and do some QiGong in the evening and that helps me to calm down if the day was stressful. Another thing that is really useful is: When you go to bed you can affirm to yourself and set an intention that you are going to have proper sleep, the amount of sleep is going to be enough and that you are going to be well-rested. You imagine getting up in the morning feeling fresh, smiling and happy and determined. If you you do that before falling asleep this is going to help your sleep quality as well because you’re building a positive expectation and replacing possible negative visualisation and affirmation (that you might not even be aware of) with positive.

I recommend this short affirmation, which is from the book “The Miracle Morning“, by Hal Elrod: “Thank you for giving me these # hours of sleep tonight. # hours is exactly what I need to feel rested and energized in the morning. My body is capable of miraculous things, the least of which is generating an abundance of energy from # restful hours of sleep. I believe that I create my experience of reality, and I choose to create waking up tomorrow feeling energized and excited to take on my day, and I am grateful for that.”

Proper sleep is going to affect your body and you are going to have a stronger body, but also your mind is going to be more effective. For me it’s mostly about sleep quality. I know many people sleep 8 hours, for me 6 hours usually is enough and that’s the minimum I shoot for. You’ve got to find what’s your ideal amount of sleep. What helped me was to calculate in 1.5 hour-increments (that is supposedly how long one full sleep cycle lasts, be sure to add sometime for falling asleep). Maybe thats 8 hours or 5 hours, but: You’ve got to watch the quality of your sleep and see if you feel well-rested in the morning and if not then maybe it’s an issue with stress or maybe you shouldn’t eat that much in the evening or even try not eating in the evening. Often I left out dinner in the evening and lately I stopped having a meal in the evening altogether because I feel clearer and sleep better and also because of the many health benefits of “Intermittent Fasting“.

4. Food

When I was younger I didn’t mind so much what I was eating. I was eating stuff that wasn’t too healthy for my body and not paying too much attention to the quality of the food I was eating. The food you eat has a strong effect on you. If you’re younger then your body is more resilient but as you get older it becomes even more important to eat food that really nourishes your body and mind (see top 10 brain foods by Jim Kwik). I’m not going to say which foods are healthy or not – you’ve just got to find out for yourself. What I am going to say however is that I gravitate towards natural food and away from obvious bad food choices like processed food and an overconsumption of grains and sugar. Anthony Robbins had a great quote at his seminar that I really liked: “The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life”. Just think about a banana and how quickly it starts to get brown and deteriorate. If food can lie around for one or even two years and not undergo any substantial changes then you can be pretty sure it is dead food.

One very helpful guideline I use when I look at food is to have two categories of “good food”: There is food that is good because it is fresh, high-quality food. Food that actually nourishes the body, that has grown naturally AND then there is “good” food. It tastes really good but it is “good” in a different way. Like chips, sweets, a burger. This “good” food is very entertaining to the body and your taste buds, but it doesn’t really have good nutritional value. I make it a must for me to focus on eating foods that are good instead of foods that are “good”.

I want to have this balance where I mostly eat food that is healthy for my body and mind because I want to maximise energy and long-term well-being. This is also something I learned from Anthony Robbins. When I was at his seminar, he was having amazing energy and was in a great flow. You could see that his body and mind were at a peak state and that he was used to this. He talked about this mindset of “eating for energy instead of mere pleasure” and how this helps him to maintain this state of high energy in his body most of the time. His primary goal when eating is to maximize his energy. So I took this lesson from him and when I make a food decision I ask myself: “Is this food going to nourish me and give me energy – or is it going to drain energy?” Is it something that would give ma a short-term high, where it feels and tastes “good” and entertains my taste buds, or is it something where I am going to have the energy in the afternoon or evening to do what I need to get done and to feel great in my body. Is this food going to make me feel good for a few seconds or is it going to make me feel good for the rest of the day and for the next day and the following weeks to come? This is a decision you’ve got to make every time you are in front of some food or when you are going shopping. I am well aware of the pleasure that “good” food brings (and believe me I sometimes look at tasty foods and feel desire for them) but I prioritize energy and well-being over it. If you start applying this then you will experience a big shift.

Also considering diet I suggest that you experiment for yourself what foods you like most and what gives you the most energy. There are many diet options and people are likewise convinced of starkly contrasting viewpoints. The real answer can only lie in personal experience and in trying things out for ourselves. I’m personally still experimenting with my diet. What is really important here is that you make a decision for yourself. That is – you don’t let your decisions be dictated from outside influences (advertisement, food choices offered, your peers) but instead you use your own mind and willpower, you think and reflect: “How does this food make me feel?”, “Does this food support my highest aspirations and goals for my body and life?” and then next time you can make an informed and well-reflected decision. You may think: “Last time when I ate this food I didn’t feel so good afterwards. I wasn’t productive. I was super-drowsy.” So then you can avoid it. You can say: “No. I’m going to make a decision that is more sustainable, where I’m going to have more energy and be able to get more things done and I’m happier over the long term in my life.” Also remember that this is a step-by-step process and that Change Happens Gradually – especially when changing old habits. Be patient and kind with yourself! Even a small step and improvement is a great success!

The issue of food has affected my life greatly. I know people who say: “Oh, but I want to enjoy food.” You can definitely enjoy food. There is food that is really good and healthy and once you are getting away from foods that are “super-entertaining” (and manufactured to be that way), then you are going to start enjoying wholesome and healthier foods that are actually good for you. These foods are entertaining in their own way – it’s a more subtle entertainment which you have to learn to really appreciate though.

5. Exercise

You can substantially increase your energy if you are moving and using your body intensely and regularly. That can be a minimum of walking each day (there’s this thing with 10.000 steps, which is a little controversial as brisk walking is different than very slow walking for example). Still even slow walking (outdoors!) is better than just sitting all day and will increase your energy levels – and it’s a great and simple place to start incorporating more movement into your days! I suggest doing 4 minutes of Tabata exercises in the morning (like suggested on Impact Theory with Shawn Stevenson who is a nutritionist and sleep expert). This helps to reset your cortisol-levels and leads to lower cortisol-levels in the evening (which translates to better sleep). But this not only helps with improving sleep quality but you also get a minimum of exercise done right in the morning. Another thing I do is when I am going to or coming from work I always jog. I like to make exercise a useful part of my day so I use it for routes I would have to cover anyways (it’ about a 5 minute jog each time). I also do some QiGong each day (this is great for joint flexibility and de-stressing) to mobilize the body. I also usually exercise for 20 minutes each day (I’ve been doing only the 4 minutes of Tabatas in the morning recently as I have been fasting). Using your body gives you a lot of energy! I don’t know how exactly it works but exercise energizes – Movement matters!


Let’s go through the steps again and see if you can remember. The first one we talked about was…

1. If you have a clear P…… then you are going to have more energy and you are going to feel more inspired. Your body is going to give you energy, because there is a reason for summoning up that energy within you. Then you are going to get more things done and you are also going to be happier – because there is meaning to your life.

2. The second thing that is really important, if there is a lot of stuff going in in your life is… It’s S….-M………. If you manage your stress very well and if you can decrease stress and let go of unnecessary tension then you are going to have a lot more energy and you are going to be more effective in your life. Also in the evening your levels of stress are going to affect how well you are able to fall asleep. It’s good to solve that problem of stress when it arises (by having proper Stress-Management) – during the day, so that you can enjoy a relaxed evening and refreshing sleep. Your self-talk, especially your n……. Self-Talk is going to have a big influence on your stress levels as well as sleep. If you can have positive self-talk then you are going to be much more relaxed. When you practice having self-awareness via Meditation then you can recognise unnecessary tensions earlier, even before they manifest in your body. If you have good body awareness and you practice improving and aligning your posture, like I explain here, or do some other type of body exercises, then you can also release unnecessary stresses and you are going to have more energy!

Remember: Excess tension is like a cage for energy. The energy is there but it is locked within the tension in your body. You can imagine that once you let go of the tension, the energy becomes free and it can flow through your body. It can flow into the things you want to accomplish in your life. It is a much more pleasant experience this way.

3. The next thing that is kind of the bridge between mind and body (what you do when your eyes are getting heavy) is S….. The quality of your sleep is affected by reducing negative and nourishing positive self talk and a healthy attitude. Also what you can do in the evening before going to bed is to set an I……… You plan clearly in your mind’s eye that you are going to sleep well and maximize the time you are sleeping, whatever the amount of time you have. You set the intention: “Okay. These X hours are going to be enough, my body is going be well-rested and refreshed from these X hours of sleep. There is going to be sufficient energy and I am going to wake up in the morning feeling motivated, happy and smiling. I’m going to be full of purpose, I know why I am getting up in the morning.” You can also visualise the first steps in the morning like: getting up, doing your morning routine (if you have one), or you can visualise eating or having your coffee in a relaxed way and then leaving the house motivated and energized. Setting an intention before bed is going to increase your energy because you are going to be sleeping better (positive attitude) and you are going to strengthen your purpose. Of course you can also use this for your days! By doing positive visualisation and affirmations you are actually shielding yourself from negative, unconstructive self talk because you have set a clear direction. If you do this intention setting in the evening there is going to be much less resistance and negative self-talk in the morning because you have primed (pre-programmed) yourself. If you keep up with this you can really change your habits in a deep way. This is going to help you a lot!

4. Now we are at the body level. The most important thing that we put into our body is our F…. This has a huge impact. What I learned from Anthony Robbins is to use food where you are maximizing your energy levels and not your (momentary) entertainment and enjoyment. You can have enjoyment as well from food that tastes good and that is nourishing and healthy, not from “good” foods (at least largely) and this is going to be an “honest” kind of good. It’s going to be more subtle than very entertaining food. The quality of the food is h… and if the quality of the food is high then your body is going to give you much more energy. It’s not going to be just a short-term burst, where you’ll be happy for a few minutes, but if you eat really healthy and good food then you’ll have long-term well-being. Now you have to discover for yourself what foods suit you, besides just going for natural wholesome foods that have naturally grown and to remember that the longer the shelf life, the shorter your life. It is imperative that you make decisions by y……. Because of you let other people (or advertisements) make decisions for you then these decisions are not going to be in your best interest (but in other people’s interest). It’s really worth it to invest the energy in informing yourself because proper food is so important. You’re going to move so much more in a direction that you are truly enjoying than when you just resign to what your environments dictates out of laziness or habit. When you are eating food that has very high q……, then you are going to have more e….. in your body and you will feel happy not for 5 minutes, but for the rest of the day, for the next day and for many days. You’ll also feel proud of yourself for taking charge of this area of your life!

Another thing regarding food that i also recommend is to experiment with reducing or leaving out your evening meal or to read about Intermittent Fasting. Especially not eating heavy foods late in the evening. I’ve found for myself that is a good thing for me. Also I usually don’t snack throughout the day – this removes many unhealthy food choices. This is an example of utilizing a Bright Line decision (4:35 video, very important concept for changing habits effectively). This has helped me a lot in changing habits (even if other people sometimes call me extreme, it simply works!) If you want to go a little more in-depth on eating then I also recommend this (16:21 long video). So by avoiding snacking overall I have more discipline and am less distracted when working This is easier if you are not used to eating a lot of sugar throughout the day, if you are, plus are not happy with that, then you might have to take a look at other things first. Its very important though that what you do feels right to you and suits you. These are merely suggestions, but I can say from personal experience that it is really rewarding to experiment – even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable at times! Remember to take small steps if you want to make sustainable changes.

5. The last thing is E……. If you move your body then your body can detox because the lymph fluid in your body will circulate. Your body is designed for movement. It is said the brain’s foremost function is motor control – movement! So when you are using your body and especially when exercising or doing sports you are not only training your body but also your mind. You are increasing your brain’s performance. What helps too is the increased amount of oxygen – especially when you are moving outside. I like to combine things to make it more efficient – so I jog when I go to work or when I go shopping. Another thing I really like is doing exercise in the early morning, at least 4 minutes of high intensity (where your pulse actually rises and that feels streneous). This way you are going to have a positive benefit throughout the day. Again listen to yourself – if mornings are too difficult for you then it’s better to do it later in the day or even in the evening than not doing it at all. This helps a lot to increase your levels of energy!

Now looking at these steps, if you make a critical assessment: judge your own level of energy, look at these areas that I’ve talked about and find one area where you feel there is going to be the most leverage. Where you feel: “I really have to look at this area”. Then start systematically improving this area (you’ve got to begin simple). You can write down WHY you want to improve this area of your life (both positive and negative consequences) and HOW you could go about doing it. Then commit to at least 1 small action (it’s best when you can take that action immediately like right now after planning to get the ball rolling. That can be a simple 2-5 minute action like throwing away junk food from your kitchen or creating a meal plan.


When you apply this information then you will feel a great increase in your levels of energy! You will have more motivation (because you’re going to feel that you are living your life with P……) and if you do that you are going to have a much better experience and higher productivity. I can say from my own experience: It’s very worthwhile! I love doing it. I love keeping my energy high, by taking care of my Purpose and Attitude, my Sleep, my Stress-Management, eating healthy Foods and Exercise and this has helped me greatly. I can only recommend it. I hope you enjoyed this article and I look forward to talking to you next time!

Grounding & Posture

Today I want to speak about Grounding and Posture. About tension and how tension tires. Many people think that when they’re tensing up they are being tough but actually, if you are tense then you become like a toad. You become inflexible and lethargic. In relaxation and letting go of tension there is a lot of power. There is a lot of flow, energy and efficiency to be re-discovered.

Now why is posture so important? I remember back when I was learning how to meet women and talking to a lot of girls. At one point I made a big shift in my communication. I learned about the meaning of leaning in too much with your body when talking to girls or other people. I was leaning in a lot. I was always thinking: “I want to meet a nice girl, I want to have this girl in my life. I want this person to like me”. I was communicating overinterest with my body and it didn’t feel good. Once I stopped doing that and I changed my attitude I was surprised at the big change that came from this small shift in the body made in my communications. Suddenly women responded much more positively. Just because I was being more relaxed and staying more centered with myself. With our posture and being grounded it’s not only about our communication with other people (there is a saying “You cannot not communicate”). It is at the same time communcation with ourself. Our subconscious mind is always eavesdropping. This is on the level of our thoughts, our self-talk, the things we say out loud and also how we hold and use our body. How we use our body is a statement. If you see people dancing, or even express themselves with music: there are many ways we can communicate our ideas and feelings. Our body language is a very direct way to communicate with ourself and with other people. Today I want to talk about a few simple things that we can do, that can really improve our grounding and help with being more relaxed. Before writing at length about it, I want to invite you to listen to the short session I recorded (~15 minutes). In there I will guide you through a few simple exercises for feeling your grounding, finding structural alignment and letting go of tensions. You can connect with your body and this will allow you to experience a deeper state of balance, leading to better performance in work and in your communcations. It’s also fun and pleasant and afterwards you’ll feel refreshed and energized. You can find the recording HERE.

Closing off I want to cover the important main points:

  1. Connection with yourself. That you connect with your own body and emotions. That you take the time to, maybe even close your eyes if it’s possible, feel your body and connect with yourself. This gets you out of your head and connected with your body. This brings you in contact with your emotions and your creativity. Feeling yourself lets you also feel what you actually want in a certain situation.
  2. A twofold balance. The first kind of balance is the balance between tension and relaxation. Over the last years I’ve done many different things. I’ve done a lot of formal sitting meditation. I’ve done seminars where there was a lot of bodily movement and activity. I did a seminar with Anthony Robbins (there is a lot of shouting and moving your body), which is kind of the opposite of a stillness retreat. What I learned is that it’s really about the delicate balance of having the necessary tension, activity, strength and power and at the same time relaxation wherever possible. The second balance is our actual “balance” (proper structural alignment) within our body. Here I talked about imagining a string that helps our head rise to the top and our spine to expand. Then in the next step we imagined this solid string was holding our body, allowing us to relax all unnecessary tension around what actually supports our posture (which is our spine and the muscles in our spine). We are held up and supported by our bone structure, not primarily by our muscles. This twofold balance brings us to a level of functioning that is optimal and that is also the most pleasant and comfortable.
  3. Repetition and gradual progress. You might notice that you’ll feel really good after doing this, but then ten minutes later you realise: “Oh, again I am slouching or tensing up in various areas of my body”. That’s completely natural. We all have our habitual ways of using our body in general but also of holding tension and certain places where we usually tense up. If we want to really change things then we have to apply effort and practice the new behaviour again and again until things begin to shift. So it’s really good if we can do this often. We may find a fixed time to do it like each time we are commuting (here we can align our spine and relax excess tension with the imagination exercise of the string, or practice simply feeling our feet and relaxing tension in our feet which helps with our grounding). For many years I had a routine I was doing every morning (these days I practice some form of “Qigong” which is also similar and helps me feel the body, get grounded and relax). Grounding, feeling the body, getting in contact with the floor. Paying attention to my structural alignment, standing upright, letting go of unnecessary tensions. Over the time it acccumulates. The more you do it the quicker and more change you can achieve for yourself.
  4. At last we have to recognise that our state of mind, our attitude, reflects in our body as well. If we do a lot of negative self-talk – at some point our shoulders will be drooping. But it works both ways. If we bring our body in alignment and relax unnecessary tensions and get grounded, this will also facilitate positive emotional and mental states. This then promotes a healthy and positive body language. This has a big effect on ourself as well as on our communcation with other people.

I’m excited about you trying this and hearing from you what this does for you. For me it has brought many big changes to my life over the years. It is a wonderful thing to pay attention to your body and to take the time to take great care of yourself and make yourself more effective, efficient and happy. I hope I was able to help you in this regard. See you next time!

Getting Things Done


…even if you don’t feel like doing it. Many times in our life there is something we know we have to do, but we don’t feel like doing it. I remember the time back when I was in school. I thought that the best possible situation, my real goal would be if I had no more stress. If there were no more things which I had to do. I thought that: “When there is nothing I have to do, then I am going to be free”. Over the years I realised that this was an illusion, it is not true. I discovered that what actually matters is is that our have to’s and must’s are such, that we ourselves decide on them. They are things where we make a conscious decision, from our own volition and say: “I want to achieve this goal, I want to do this, this is important to me. It is a must for me to do what is necessary to get there”. Once we take control and are no longer a victim, like I did back when I went to school: “The outside is pressuring me, why do I have to work and study, why do I have to do this… I don’t want to do this”. There is a lot of resistance with that attitude.
On the other hand we can take charge and say: “I’m here now. I want to do the best with my life. I want to have a good quality of life. I want to take care of my family and the people that are important to me. I want to impact the lives of other people positively and… in order to do that, there are certain things which I have got to do. I am going to do them. I am committed to doing them. I make them a must”.

For me a must is getting up early in the morning. I usually get up before 6 o’clock and on many days before 5 o’clock. Why? Because I simply want to use that quiet time in the morning to meditate, contemplate, exercise, read or to work. Once my son wakes up at about 7 o’clock then it is not so quiet anymore. If I am taking care of him that morning I have to get him ready and get him to his daycare mother. There is no other opportunity have time for myself or work on a project because there are other things which I have to take care of. I have to go to work or do various chores. I am aware that I need that time. I am aware that if I don’t get up in the morning at the designated time then I’m not going to have the time to meditate. I’m not going to have the time to do those things that are important to me. Some days when I wake up in the morning, I lie in bed and think to myself: “I don’t really want to get up..”. But then I just go over it in my head: “If I don’t get up then I won’t be able to meditate this hour today, I’m not going to be able to work on this project today, I’m not going to be able to read this thing that is really important to me today”. Then I just get up. I decide that it is important and I get up. It’s not so much that I am thinking about all of these things in the morning, spinning around in thoughts. It’s more like a recognition: “If I don’t get up now, I’m not going to be able to do that”. I get up because doing those things is important to me.

When I started recording the video on this topic, I really didn’t feel like it. I recorded a first take and I felt like it was really bad. I thought: “I don’t want to do it. Actually I’d like to go home”. But then I just continued doing it, because I felt that it is important to me and that I want to do this video. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to conveniently record it at another time this week, because there were many other things on my schedule. I realised: “Now is the time. I’ve got to do it. Now I’ll just follow through”. What is super-important to recognise is that: While it may not be easy to follow through with things when we don’t feel like doing them – it becomes easier with time”. This is because each time you do something, you follow your inner compass, you act in alignment with your vision and goals for your life – you are strengthening an identity within yourself that says: “I do what is good for myself, I keep my word, I follow through on things, I am someone who works towards the realisation of my goals and I achieve them”. The more you do it – the easier it gets. I really want to encourage you to have a look at your own life and see where you could strengthen your discipline and follow through on things, just by being aware of:

  1. What are the negative consequences if you don’t do it? Get clear about it.
  2. What are the positive consequences if you do follow through on it.

Honestly, for me it’s mostly the negative consequences that give me the “kick”, the motivation, where a switch is turned in my mind. Once I start doing what I have to do, most of the time I start to actually enjoy doing it. Many times when I don’t feel like moving my body (for example in the morning) and then I start doing it, then it becomes good to do it. Many times when I start recording, it’s really cold these days and I don’t feel like recording or I feel uneasy and insecure. But once I start doing it then it gets very easy, joyful and fun. So get started, just follow through, keep your own word – because it builds an identity where you just know: I am someone who achieves his/her goals, who follows through and keeps his/her word, who does not need to feel like doing something in order to get it done. Then you will see yourself achieving more and more of the results that you actually desire and move the areas of your life that you want to improve towards that vision you are holding.

Feel free to take advantage of the worksheet I created for this post.

Close Your Eyes For Productivity

Let’s talk about how to quickly and effectively relax. Many people forget to actually relax and take time off during their day. If our life is very busy and there are many things on our mind then we can get lost in trying to achieve something. We get stuck trying to meet our own or other people’s demands or fighting circumstances. This way we can end up being locked into a state of mental or physical stress (mental stress always manifests in the body).

In addition states of stress tend to self-amplify and can lead to a stress-cycle. This is because when we are under stress it becomes more difficult to actually feel our body and have awareness for what’s happening in our mind. Thus we may not be able to recognize where we are holding on to something either with our mind – in a way where we tense up, or where we are literally “holding” something with our muscles (unnecessary tension) with our body. So how can we quickly get out of such stress-cycles and reset our body and mind to return to optimal functionality and also take a fresh perspective on things? How do we take a break?

A very good solution for dealing with stress is having a meditation practice, but what works very well is: Closing your eyes. Simply sitting down somewhere, taking a few moments (5-10 minutes), closing your eyes and entering the space of your “internal world”: feeling your body, emotions and noticing your thoughts. I recorded a short meditation (7:20′) for this that guides you through this process of closing your eyes and exploring that space on the inside. A space with sufficient room and time so that you can recognize what is present in your body, emotions and mind and to allow for the possibility of effortless relaxation of unnecessary tensions. As the stress dissolves you can experience how you can quickly return to a much higher state of functioning and harmony within yourself and the world. You can then see for yourself how simple relaxation and self-awareness unleashes your natural capabilities and intelligence.

I hope you enjoy the short meditation I recorded for you. It’s about 7 minutes long. Have a listen and see what it does for you. If you really want to benefit from this then I encourage you to consciously take time to relax as often and regularly as you can. Starting with once a day is good. Choose a time where you could use a break, like in the middle of the day or when you are commuting and have a fixed time where you will be undisturbed. Feel free to use the meditation I recorded or just take it as inspiration and experiment for yourself. Once you get into the habit of doing this it will become second nature. In the beginning you might have to make a little effort to get started. By doing this you can actually change your mental and physical set-point. Not only will you be more relaxed and productive after you took some eyes-closed-time, but it will be affecting your whole day. Even better: the effect is cumulative. As you develop more self-awareness and learn to effectively relax excess tensions in your mind and body your stress-management is just going to keep improving: You can reach a new set-point in your overall stress-level and thus your performance.

Another thing you can combine with this is to practice visualisation. Picture in your mind’s eye a result you want to achieve. You can also use words or a short phrase. This can be how you want to optimally spend your day or week. You can also visualise a goal that is important to you. It is important to focus on the result ie. see yourself already having achieved it. Try to give it as much detail as you can and really feel it. Now why would you do that? I love the story of Roger Bannister who was the first person to run a mile under four minutes. At his time everybody believed that it was physically impossible to do so. But he kept believing that it was (and visualising himself achieving it). It is said that he would visualise himself crossing the finish line, the time being announced as 3 minutes and with the crowd cheering. This is exactly what happened. Believing that it was possible for him allowed him to actually do it (apparently he only trained for 30 minutes a day). After he had shown that it was doable other athletes followed and his record was broken just 46 days later.

If we want to do something we haven’t done before or thing is impossible, then we have to condition ourselves to believe that it is possible. This can be done using visualisation. It also helps to align your behaviour with your values. You begin to expect the desired result and your behaviour moves along with that. It’s very useful and even one minute or two minutes of visualisation here and there can have a positive impact. I hope you enjoy the meditation I recorded, and I see you next time.

The Power Of Kindness


Today I’d like to share a story, something that happened to me yesterday that really touched me. I was working at my current job which is for a railway company, so I was at a railway station, handing out information and talking to customers. When I work I’m always trying to meditate, trying to stay with Loving Kindness (Mettā). My aim is to contribute something to the atmosphere there. I know that many people are stressed, so I like to be there, just relax and just smile at people. I want to uplift them and contribute something. At some point a homeless man came up to me. He had two shopping bags with his stuff and he looked a bit rugged. Then he asked me something, but I had difficulty understanding him. But then he mentioned the name of a shop and I pointed him towards it. He thanked me and went off. I didn’t think much of it. But about 10 minutes later he came back and again he stopped. He put down his bags and looked at me. He was smiling at me and said something I couldn’t understand, as he didn’t speak german. He seemed to be emotionally touched and he was giving me a thumbs up and signaling me that he wanted to appreciate something about what I was doing. I didn’t really understand at first. Then he put his hand into his pocket and took out a few coins, which he had probably gotten from begging. He signaled me and then gave them into my hand. He gave me the money. He was really happy doing that. He gestured me that I should buy something to eat with the money. I had the thought of not accepting it, because clearly he didn’t have much. But then I felt that I really wanted to accept that gift from him. So I bowed down and thanked him. That really touched me. On one side there is this guy who has nothing, who basically has two shopping bags with his stuff. Then on the other me, being dressed in somewhat new clothes and it’s clear that I’m not suffering from poverty. Yet still he was so generous and wanted to give me that money. That really touched me and made me think about the power of kindness. How much power there is in that. When we can stay happy with ourself and then be be compassionate and kind with other people as well. To be really  kind to them and smile at them. Because when he first came up to me I was smiling at him, I was feeling a loving feeling and welcoming him. He probably often gets judged by people, and I wasn’t doing that. I was just seeing him and being kind and that really seems to have touched him. This is so beautiful. When we can touch people… Many of us live in a city and there is a wall between people. We don’t really communicate. If you can break through that wall and actually reach people and touch people’s heart. That’s a totally beautiful thing to do that. I had to cry a little bit after that incident. I just couldn’t believe it. Why would a homeless person who basically has nothing give me something – give me money. He probably didn’t have enough to eat and still he was doing that.

For many years I thought that kindness is something that we do to other people. “You should be kind, you should be nice.” But what I learned is that being kind is actually something that you feel in your own heart and you carry it with you all the time. If you’re angry or judgemental then likewise you are carrying that in your own heart. It is you who is going to feel the effect of that primarily. Other people are going to feel it for sure. But you are the first “victim” of your anger, of your judgement and your hatred. On the other hand you are also the first benefactor of your loving, kind and compassionate attitude that you’re having. This is so powerful. I remember back when I went to school. In the mornings I always was in a mode of resistance. I thought: “School is so bad. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t like my life.” I carried this resistance in my heart. So I was feeling it all the time. When school was over, I still felt the aftereffect of that resistance. Now, as I’m cultivating more positive states and thoughts, where I’m cultivating acceptance and loving-kindness, practicing Mettā meditation that’s so different to back then. I carry that attitude with me all the time. It’s a gift for me, and it’s also something I can share with other people. It’s so beautiful when you can see that you can pierce through that wall, that often seperates people, and that you can reach someone. That you can touch another person. Like this guy who is living on the street. Just touching him. I could see his eyes alight. His heart opened. And that is so beautiful when you can do that.

What is connected with this is the concept of Re-Actions. I view most of the things we are doing as reactions to our environment. Many people think they are “acting”, but most of the time we are reacting. Something happens, we interpret it in a certain way and then we respond in the way we usually respond in this situation. We respond with anger, maybe with judgement. Maybe we respond by tensing up thinking: “Oh, there’s a problem.” or “I did something wrong, I failed”. These are patterns and this is when we are reacting. We are acting once we choose our response. Once we choose a wholesome response that is actually good for us and others. This is where the power with meditation lies. To recognise which things actually are (or create) a problem for us and where we should react differently. So what we can do is:

  1. We can take a look at our thoughts that are coming up. These thoughts are triggered by external events or even just by other thoughts we are spinning in our head or as a response to a memory. Then we see if the thoughts which are coming up are actually negative and harmful, positive or neutral. We check for their nature. Then:
  2. We can notice our reactions to these thoughts. This reaction can also be negative and harmful, positive or neutral. Because when we have thoughts, we usually react to them with different thoughts. The external event that prompted the initial response might long be over. At the point of reaction is where we can really change our character. Reactions to things in the outside, to our own thoughts and to our emotions. These reactions we are doing are moving (in increasing strength) as thoughts, internal self talk, external talk and finally actions with our body (of course if we are really angry we might skip straight to insulting someone and might not notice the thought-component at all in that moment.

Now regarding the consequences: I like to view this like a music record or tilling a field. It’s like you’re recording all the time what you are doing. What reactions you are having and at the end of the day you are going to feel (hear) the sum total of what you recorded during the day. Then on the next days, months and years that follow. That’s the conditioning that you put into your mind. You’re either putting in good seeds or bad seeds. Now if you put in seeds of kindness, love and compassion that is going to give you a corresponding “harvest”. It’s going to make you feel completely different than before. It’s also going to affect other people. It also makes your mind function much better. If your mind is not stuck in tension, resistance and you’re not fighting with yourself or things in the outside. If you’re not doing things where you’d get a bad conscience then: Your mind is calm. You’re at peace and you can actually do something that you find meaningful with your life. You can contribute to other people’s lives or you can fulfill your own goals and what you want to do in your life.

I really wanted to share this story of that homeless person that came up to me and that started resonating with that loving kindness which I was beaming at him. Where I noticed his heart opening and that he even wanted to give something although he had so little… and that made him so happy. It really touched me. I want to encourage you to also pierce through this wall, to not be afraid to smile at people and be kind and to touch people. To really make a connection with people. You don’t have to talk much, it can be only a smile and a nice and loving attitude in your mind. That makes all the difference.

How To Nurture Your Vision


A few days ago I had a great chat with a good friend of mine. We talked about how each of us is feeling and what challenges we are currently going through. We hat a really beautiful exchange. We also talked about the things that help each of us in our life, to make our life better. I told him about one thing that I was doing, which I hadn’t thought so much about. Yet he was quite inspired and said: “That’s really cool what you are doing. It’s great this is giving you results!” This got me thinking… On second thought I realised it is a really powerful strategy which I want to share with you today.

It’s very simple. I have a little notebook (hand-sized) and I take three minutes on my commute to work in the morning to write down the following things. On the top I write the current date and then I write: “I am so happy and grateful, now that…” And then I begin describing goals in my life as if I had already achieved them. I describe in present tense the fulfillment of my goals in the areas that are most important to me. Especially in areas where I am struggling at the moment.
Most people do have goals in their life. It is also common knowledge that writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. Many people have written down their goals at some point, or they are writing New Years Resolutions. But if we do this and then put that vision for our life in a drawer, we are actually missing the biggest benefit clarifying our goals can give us! What is really going to help you is: if you keep repeating and clarifying the vision you hold for your life. This does a lot of things at once:

  1. If you keep repeating it you can move your goals from the realm of “impossible” to the realm of “possible”. Most of the goals that really inspire us seem quite “out there” when we set them. That’s exactly why they are inspiring to us. If you keep writing and clarifying your goal every day: you write it in the present tense, you feel how actually achieving your goal feels- this slowly moves it from the realm of “impossible” to the realm of “possible”. As you write it down it the specifics of what you want also will become clearer and this helps you to achieve it.
  2. “If you can hold it in your mind – you can hold it in your hand.” You do this by again and again clarifying and repeating your vision to yourself. Thus the vision you are having of your life stays active in your mind. You are going to start breathing and living that vision. It is going to be with you throughout your days. If you write your goals down once a year and then put them aside, your resolve is going to get lost in the external demands of your life as well as your old habits. You are going to eventually forget about it. But if you repeat it every day again and again and again you are going to develop an inner compass. You are going to feel if an action you are about to take is leading you in the direction of your goals or not. If you don’t have an inner compass then you are most likely going to live reactively – deciding on the spur of the moment. If your goal and direction is clear then you will be able to confidently engage in activities that are challenging, out of your comfort zone. You will know that they are the “right thing” to do and will move you closer to eventually realising your goal. You are living “from the inside out” instead of “from the outside in”. It will be easier to drop activities that offer immediate gratification, yet might not be leading you anywhere or offer you any long-term benefit. Writing down your goals every day really strengthens this compass and you will find yourself acting more and more in alignment with your goals, which moves you closer to their realisation.
  3. It is extremely motivating and inspiring to write down your goals in the present tense, clarify them and feel into how it feels to actually accomplish them. This is especially important if you are going through a difficult time in your life. I’ve done this exercise especially during times in my life when I have been feeling down or one area of my life felt like a complete disaster. I would sit down and I would write the vision for how I want this area of my life to be. That is really inspiring! If you are going through a fog all day and you are feeling like your life is totally not where you want it to be in some area. Or you feel discouraged and don’t know how to improve things and then you may even stop thinking about what you actually want, because of being discouraged and focused on the negative. When you start writing and you make an effort to write down what you actually want then you start getting new ideas and you can actually see a glimpse of how your life could be in that area. This is going to inspire and uplift you greatly. Especially during difficult times in your life.

This totally helped me and continues doing so. I really want to encourage you to do this. It’s only three minutes. But remember that the power with this exercise lies with the consistency. So if you decide to do it for 30 days for example, I suggest you take a calendar and mark each completed day. You can also simply draw 20 or 30 little boxes on a piece of paper and tick them off. Measuring it helps you to get a streak going and will motivate you. If you do this exercise consistently then it is going to give you results. If you only do it here and there then it’s going to be like a New Years  Resolution. You’re not going to get the full benefit you get from doing it consistently. 30 days times three minutes – that’s 90 minutes for a whole month. That’s almost nothing. A lot of people spend a lot more time watching TV or doing other things that don’t really yield a substantial long-term benefit. I think that there are things in our life that are absolutely meaningful, that can have a huge impact on our life and on the lives of people that we touch. There are things that are pleasant, that might bring joy and make us happy for the moment, but they don’t have that much of an impact (or even none). I love to focus on the things that really have an impact and that bring us closer to our vision of how we actually want our life to be.

This exercise is an exercise that can give you a lot of inspiration and motivation in the short term, but even more importantly: it is going to get you closer to your vision and have a long-term impact. You can take the goals in your life from the impossible to the possible, develop a compass for what actions lead you towards your goals and which don’t – thus you will increasingly act in alignment with your goals. You’re going to continually clarify them and feel inspired and motivated doing this. By doing these things you will move closer and closer and finally achieve your goals.


 

Edit on March 24th 2019

After writing out my goals for about three months every day in the way I outlined above I noticed that certain themes were repeating over and over. So in order to save time, but also keep conditioning and reminding myself of what matters most to me I recorded these statements (it’s about 4 minutes long). I now listen to these every morning as part of my morning routine. Now if there are things I want to work on currently I still write them down in a similar way. I can absolutely recommend this. Hearing your own voice talking about your top priorities and reminding yourself of them every day is very helpful in staying on track. This whole process has been very helpful in gaining more clarity regarding my goals and how I want to spend my life over the last months.