The starting point for any journey can only ever be where you are right now. In this episode Paul talks about why it is often our thoughts about our current reality that prevent us from accomplishing the things we really want out of life, and also what we can do to free up our potential for success and happiness.

“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

beginningWhen I moved to London several years ago I didn’t really know the place at all. I’d visited a few times with my family for the odd touristy day out but still didn’t know my way around. So when it came to living and working here I knew I had quite a bit of learning to do.

I remember one day arriving at Waterloo Station wondering how to get to Aldermanbury, where I was due to start a new job. I had a vague idea but wasn’t sure about the quickest or most effective means of getting there. So I did what I thought was quite a sensible thing to do (particularly for a man). I asked someone! I approached a smart-suited, professional looking chap in the belief that he was probably a city worker and therefore bound to be able to help.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I’m not from around here. Please can you tell me the best or quickest way to get to Aldermanbury?”

He looked thoughtfully up into the air and pondered for what seemed like an age, and then replied, “Well to be honest with you, I wouldn’t start from here”.

“Thanks,” I thought, “what a rubbish piece of advice!”

The reason that little encounter has always stuck with me is because I think it’s a perfect metaphor for how many people go about trying to achieve a better life for themselves. They may have an idea of where it is they want to get to, but find it hard to take a step in the right direction because they resist the notion of having to start from where they are.

I’ve come to realise over the years that people can only experience dissatisfaction with their life when they believe that their situation should be different to how it actually is. I’ve noticed it with just about every client I’ve ever work with and I’ve certainly experienced it multiple times in my own life. Whilst I’ve helped a ton people work through an array of diverse and unique issues, the conversation that takes place time and time again is the one that invites us to accept reality just the way it is right now, before figuring out what to do next.

What we call ‘the stress of life’ rarely has anything to do with what’s actually going on, and has everything do with our thoughts and interpretations of what’s going on. As Human Beings we don’t ever get to experience the ‘real world’, we only get to experience our own thinking.

If we are unhappy with where we are right now, the cause of the feeling will be rooted in the thought that there is some other place we’d rather be. Or, if we are feeling stuck, that can only be due to the thought that there is a direction we are supposed to be heading in, otherwise there would be no reason to be unstuck.

When we contrast this with the way human experience really works, the only place we can ever get to is right here, right now. Thinking that we are supposed to be anywhere other than right here, right now can literally drive us bonkers.

The most stressful strategy we can adopt for motivating ourselves to change our situation (and don’t worry if you’ve been doing this, most of us have at one time or another) is to direct our emotional energy toward hating the way things are. We convince ourselves that if we can just muster up a strong enough loathing for our current landscape then we will be compelled to take massive action and finally break free from everything that has been holding us back.

There are a few reasons why this is a crappy way of doing things. Not least that it seldom works!
How many times have you heard people complain about how bad some aspect of their life is and yet months, if not years, later absolutely nothing has changed? Over time they just got used to feeling bad; they habituated into their negativity, which not only set them on a path of blaming and complaining, it also shut them off to the kind of inspired thinking they would have needed to turn their ‘right here, right now’ into something better.

In my experience there are three kinds of thought that can cause us to feel dissatisfied with where we are at:

1 – Thoughts about expectation

2 – Thoughts about purpose

3 – Thoughts along the lines of, “Anything would be better than this”

Thoughts about expectation are where we cast judgement on ourselves for how we are currently doing compared to a story we’ve been sold. All of our lives we’ve had the bar set for us by our parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, advertisers, glossy mags, even OURSELVES, with regards to the standards and accomplishments we should have reached by this point in our lives. It is where we measure the distance between who we think we are versus who think we should be and then allow the size of the gap (or chasm in some cases) to proportionately dictate how anxious we should be feeling.

Thoughts about purpose are when we get the idea into our heads that we are wasting our lives by not doing the things we would rather be doing to make a positive difference in the world and to make our lives count. It is where we feel that our circumstances and outside influences are preventing us from living our ‘true north’, leaving us stewing in frustration and resentment. The most common reason why this becomes a lingering issue for people is that they make ‘living their purpose’ dependant on a specific set of criteria having to be met.

If you ever wanted to feel really frustrated with your life then I absolutely recommend setting it up in such a way that you cannot be truly happy until you have enough money, energy, creativity, opportunity, support or freedom to do live it out in the specific way you’ve always imagined.

Thoughts that resemble “Anything would be better than this” are what crop up we are not connected to a purpose or direction and have no idea what it is that we want. What we do know, though, is that we’re not having fun right now and attribute that to whatever is happening on the outside. “I’m not happy and, although I’m not entirely sure why that is, it must have something to do with my job, or my boss, or my partner, or my location, so I want to change it all. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to change it to; I just know I’ll be happier when it’s different”. The phrase that springs to mind here is – It doesn’t matter where you go, there you’ll be.

Whenever we think these kinds of thoughts we feel stress. But the only stressful element to it is the thought itself. If nothing changed in our situation other than we were suddenly unable to think those kinds of thoughts, we would simply be people living the lives we’ve got. No comparison, no judgement, no stress.

What I know won’t work is to ask to you not to think those thoughts. As far as I can tell you don’t control that (at least not without years of meditative training); it’s just what the mind does. The smartest and kindest thing you can do to move towards the life you want, is to start by accepting and valuing your currently reality exactly the way it is. Right here, right now is the only place you’ll ever need to get to.

The starting point for any journey will never not be where you already are. As we travel through life we learn that no matter how far we get, we never leave the present. We never leave and yet we are constantly arriving.
To live with the thought that your life is not supposed to be exactly the way it is right now is to be disconnected from the most integral part of the route map of your journey; the beginning.

How do I know you are exactly where you are supposed to be? Because you’re not anywhere else.

So what is the stress-free formula for turning ‘right here, right now’ into a place you would love to hang out? Let’s take a look as I explain your homework for this session.

 

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HOMEWORK
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There is a big difference between how you show up in the world when you are trying to prove the circumstances of your life are holding you back and how you show up when you are coming from a place of inspired service. Service in this context simply means giving your best self to the world in this very moment.

There are three ingredients that help things along nicely:

1- Knowledge of how you would like to feel if ‘right here, right now’ were already the happy place you want it to be.

2- An understanding of how you would think and behave differently with that feeling as your guide. How would you treat yourself and how would you interact with others.

3- Patience.

I invite you to take each of these ingredients and add them into the mix of your life straight away.

The instant you “assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled” and operate from that space, the present moment has a habit of transforming in the most wonderful ways.

Initially you’ll notice that nothing has changed and yet everything is different. Over time, with patience, you’ll realise that not only can you peacefully go after whatever it is you want to create in your life, but you can also stay happy, regardless of how the scenery changes along the way.
Take great care. Namaste.

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Often, our ability to live a wonderful life is equal to our willingness to just let go of the issues that bother us. In this episode Paul guides you through a nice little thought experiment for defusing negative emotions and moving forward.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

fear of making bad decisionsMany people have a fear of making bad decisions and overcoming it becomes a lot easier when you redefine what a decision actually is. In this post I’ll share with you a mindset for having the confidence to decide.

How many times in your life have you put off doing something because you couldn’t decide the best course of action to take? I’ve known people plan to go out for a well earned meal with their partner and end up staying at home because they couldn’t make up their mind between Chinese or Italian. Heaven help the person who orders sweet and sour chicken when all along they should have been having lasagna  Can you imagine what it is like for them to choose between staying in their job or taking a gamble on starting that business they always dreamed of?

The fear of making bad decisions prevents people from doing all kinds of things that they might be better off doing. The truth of the matter is there is no way of knowing which direction a particular choice is going to take you. You can spend years ruminating over every possible outcome while in the meantime the world just moves on around you. It doesn’t change the fact that, no matter what you choose to do in the end, it might all turn out right and it might all turn out not so right.

But none of that matters because the secret to making great decisions is falling in love with making mistakes.

A lot of people will not make the distinction between making a mistake and making a bad decision, but there is a world of difference, and realising what that difference is can literally turn your life around and set you on a whole new path.

A mistake is literally doing something in a moment that you think is for the best but later turns out to be not such a good idea for you. A bad decision is doing nothing to correct that mistake and then letting the consequences of it define you for ages afterwards.

Here are a few of examples:

Mistake = Getting into a relationship with the wrong person
Bad Decision = Sticking with them and being miserable for the rest of your life

Mistake = Choosing Bognor Regis rather than Cuba for your annual holiday
Bad Decision = Looking for everything you can find to hate about Bognor just to prove you were right about how you should have gone to Cuba! And then going back to Bognor next year! (Bognor is a wonderful place by the way :o)

Mistake = Going into business without having some sort of a plan
Bad Decision = Injecting more and more of your personal finance, sweat and tears into it just to prove you can make the damn thing work.

Making a good decision is not about knowing the outcome before it has had a chance to happen. It is about committing to ANY course of action you FEEL is for the best and then paying attention to the lessons you are later presented with. It is the skill of interpreting the information generated by what has happened and choosing to either do more of the same or change your approach – even start again in some cases. In the same way that an aeroplane reaches its destination by continually measuring how off track it is from the set flight path and adjusting its course to get back on track, the same is true for good decision making.

Making a decision in any area is not a one time event; it is an ongoing and organic process that must evolve as life unfolds.


Homework

Think about a decision you have been putting off making. What are the possible choices you have?

Just for a moment, let go of analysing which choice you think you should make and just listen to your body; your intuition. If I were to flip a coin and the rules were Heads you choose option A and Tails you go with option B, which side would you secretly hope for, deep down, before knowing the outcome?

Just go with your instinct and do something to start to make that choice happen. Be willing to make a mistake, knowing that the only bad decision you can ever make is to not do something about the things you didn’t want to happen.

If things go wrong be willing to make a mistake in the opposite direction because, who knows, it might turn out to not be a mistake after all, but rather the realisation of your dream!

No matter what your situation you always have choice. Don’t worry about having to choose wisely, that’s overrated.


Take great care. Namaste.

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What can your bank account teach you about relationships? In this episode Paul guides you through a powerful analogy for creating a positive sense of connectedness between you can others.

Many people consider that their purpose in life is to be happy, and they’d be right!! But there is more to the story than that. When it comes to living a truly meaningful life there is an extra element. In this episode Paul talk about where to look to find your ULTIMATE purpose.