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The Habit Of “No”

Human beings tend to keep doing what they have been doing for a number of reasons.

And the main reason why we continue things is because doing them before helped to keep us alive - IF someone is still alive, their behaviors and strategies are effective. But this raises a question, “did the behavior actually contribute to survival?” Put differently, “what role did an individual behavior or action play in ensuring survival?”

After some consideration it usually becomes clear that the survival assumption constitutes false evidence or a false justification as the behavior played no impact on survival. This isn’t to say that there is not a valid reason for doing something it just says that there physical survival was never a factor in the decision to do something or to not do it. It was the thing that we did before and it worked, so we do it again, and again.

The impact of the survival hypothesis is that we don’t spend much time considering why we make a decision because doing so requires energy and time. It is imaginable that at some point in human history taking too long to act would have meant death. These deaths would have removed most of the considerers from the gene pool. Those who remain might act more quickly. They’ll be able to find reasons to justify their actions. They’ll  - keeping things exactly as they are. This evidence collection is automatic and requires little conscious effort, so we go along with it believing everything we think. When we get used to doing this, we become increasingly inclined to continue doing it. When this becomes our habit, our immediate reply to a request is to say no simply because doing what we are doing is keeping us safe. The outcome is that we close-off to new experiences for no valid reason. We just got lazy with our thinking.

Imagine there is a moment of time right between when you think no and say no. In this moment you’ll be able to notice the direction and intention of your thinking. Does it know exactly why you want to say no and is that reason compelling enough to say no? It probably isn’t a habit when there is a good reason. But if your mind is searching for reasons to justify saying no it could be that the habit of no is presenting itself. The difference between these two ways of thinking is that the first knows why and says no while the second says no and hunts for why.

Habits hunt for reasons for their existence when your mind is in a non-critical state. Until logic and higher level thinking are applied to a thought stream, the habit will find its justification quickly and consistently. But it doesn’t have to. When you pay attention to your automatic / initial thoughts you’ll notice that you become more aware of them as they unfold. You can then take as much time as you want before you say anything. It is going to take some mental energy to make this happen, but it is energy well spent for the boost your self awareness and control.

Is saying “no” one of your habits? In some cases it is. It’s really easy to say no because it allows you to continue to do what you are currently doing; which by virtue of the fact that you are alive and doing it, is safe. Because what you are presently doing is safe is rarely a good reason to avoid doing other things. Unless there is a real reason to not do something, maybe you should be trying other things out. Remember, there was a time when you could do practically nothing and you’ve come a long way from that point.

“The Fog Of War” - Eleven Lessons Applied To Personal Training

Robert McNamara was the Secretary of Defense under JFK and LBJ during the escalation of the war in Vietnam. He had an interesting life with many jobs, but as he got older he opened-up a lot about Vietnam. He had no lust for war and had reservations about it while he was in a position of influence. When he left office in 1968 he had already suggested that the sunk cost of the Vietnam war was too high and that the US should transition their direct fighting role to the South Vietnamese. These suggestions were not accepted and the fighting continued.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara is a 2003 documentary film about Robert McNamara. What is interesting is that he admitted to his mistakes and expressed that he had done some very wrong things while Secretary Of Defense. He learned from his actions and tried to move forward applying these lessons.

From the movie, the 11 lessons are:

    1. Empathize with your enemy
    2. Rationality will not save us
    3. There’s something beyond one’s self
    4. Maximize efficiency
    5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
    6. Get the data
    7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
    8. Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning
    9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
    10. Never say never
    11. You can’t change human nature

    When I read the list, I considered how these lessons would apply to personal training. This is possible if we regard war as a partnership between two countries / groups to fight; in a fashion similar to the partnership between client and trainer. Maybe it’s more of a thought exercise and that I have defined the players in a way that allows me to apply the lessons to something that they were never intended to cover. And that is fine, what matters is if something is useful, not that it is right.

    1) If a client wants to change, you’ll benefit from gaining an understanding about how they are suffering and what is motivating them to change their course. While you may not know what it is like to be in chronic pain or how unsatisfying seeing your reflection can be, a moment or two spend considering these things can soften the most dogmatic trainer enough to actually connect with a client to establish the trust needed to guide them towards a more fulfilling path.

    2) Burning more calories than we consume is, for the most part, how people lower their body weight. That is a logical and rational thought. People know this yet it does not help them achieve their fat loss goals. Their choices are based on something less rational so the solution is likely going to flow out of uncovering or addressing the illogical something that is making life unfold as it is.

    3) Often, people will only change for other people. Having enough energy to be an fantastic mother is one of the biggest motivators for a women to begin to exercise and improve her cardiovascular health. Being told that you are 6 months away dying from a heart attack moves people to make the changes they need to in order to enjoy eventually seeing their children graduate, get married and start their own families.

    4) Busy people do not have ample time to do all the things that are needed to quickly achieve optimal health. If they are able to create 3 hours a week to dedicate to to improving it, these three hours need to pack in as much of the most effective movements as possible. Stretching, while important, is not going to improve strength or boost energy as much as lifting weights and increasing movement intensity to elevate heart rate. In this case, there is an enormous opportunity cost to stretching or low intensity exercise.

    5) If your goal represents a 5% change in your body / fitness, you need to dedicate a small amount of time to it. If the goal is a 50% change, proportionately more effort is needed. Both the client and the trainer will spend a lot more time and effort at the beginning that then will towards the end simply because there is less to achieve towards the end.

    6) Great trainers, like great people, make great decisions when they have all the information they need to make a great decision. Without the information to guide your decisions, your solutions will be incomplete and maybe even geared towards solving a problem that doesn’t exist. Listening without judgment is critical for collecting the highest quality data. You’ll remain open to what is actually occurring and this will shape your counsel.

    7) Cognitive biases impact our perceptions in such a way that we see what we believe we see and we find the evidence we need in order to support our beliefs.
    The things we see may not exist at all and the real world is likely somewhat different from how we perceive the real world. Effective personal trainers are always aware that they have the capacity to see things that aren’t there and to believe things that are not true. These keep the trainer open to the world and bring them closer to seeing the truth as it unfolds in front of them.

    8) Progress is a state of constant change and each change may impact the next action. Effective coaches re-examine their clients course regularly and select different actions when they are called for. They know the reason for doing particular things and will not continue coaching something if a better action exists.

    9) Doing good work for your clients is going to mean that you engage the worst parts of their behavior. You may not track in completely on their reason for over eating chips and under eating veggies, but to do the good work as a trainer, you are going to have to engage your clients evil and self destructive actions.

    10) Everything that is possible IS possible and will come to be with the correct strategy and enough hard work. If the possible remains impossible it is simply because the strategy is incorrect or the work has not been done. “Never” is something that is said at the end of life or in the event that someone quits working towards their goal.

    11) You cannot change human nature and as a personal trainer, you need to be aware of your clients nature. In some cases you can just tell someone to stop eating candy and they will stop eating candy - it’s not these peoples nature to eat candy. Regardless, you will need to work with a persons nature to help move them towards their goal. Someone who loves eating candy will probably always love to eat candy so they need to be allowed to eat candy every now and then because their nature will be expressed if repressed for too long, and these unplanned expressions tend to be over the top and extreme. You can work with their nature by asking them to eat good quality food 80% of the time, and have some candy once a week.

    It’s probably fair to say that any good lesson can be applied somewhat to any other area in life. The Fog Of War does present some lessons and growth opportunities for personal trainers.

Fitness Professional Smell

During lunch today my brother talked about code smell. I hadn’t heard of the term before, but have a lot of experience with a similar thing in the fitness industry. “Code smell, in the realm of computer programming, is any symptom in the source code of a program that possibly indicates a deeper problem” - the program works but there is something about the code that isn’t as it should be. Seasoned programers are able to identify them because they have had enough experience to gain a high level of distinction about what works, what doesn’t and what things actually mean.

In the fitness field, there are what I will call Fitness Professional Smells and they indicate with accuracy when a professional doesn’t really know what they are doing. My list is below and if you find yourself working with someone who displays them, considering checking their references and their back ground because they may not be worth the money they are billing you in-spite of their claims.

Someone making a claim that seems outrageous, unreasonable, or well outside common sense. There is a saying that a line of bullshit is a line of bullshit. When it comes to improving your health and fitness it will require your hard work, your attention to nutrition and your introspection as to why you ended-up in the position of needing to improve your health. Getting out of shape takes time and sustained effort / rituals. Getting into shape isn’t going to take as long, but there’s a very good chance that it will take a year to drop 50 pounds. If you are starting on your first journey to improved your health, it will probably take longer. You’ll get there, but it is going to take YOUR conscious direct and consistence effort.

When emotional selling practices are used or when they try to make you cry so you buy. Unflappable people buy only the things they want to buy because they always remain in control and always think logically. When someone is trying to trigger an emotional response within you to get your compliance, be guarded. Things may not be as they appear. Let the emotion fade and do another check when you are able to process things logically. Very often things will be different, and if they are, engage the person and find out what their objective is. Maybe they just used the wrong tool to get the right outcome when an honest conversation is the way to go but maybe they are just trying to line their wallets and your are their mark.

Someone is making a promise on behalf of another person. Some gyms / personal training companies sell training packages and subcontract trainers to service the sessions. I am not a fan of this for a few reasons: First, the trainer does not get paid as much as they should, or the trainer gets paid what they are worth and are not of a high caliber. Next, when someone is selling something that they are not servicing, they cannot be held to account for the promises they make. Finally, training is about building a relationship with your trainer. Just because you like the person who sells you the package doesn’t mean that you are going to connect with the trainer they find for you. Pay the trainer directly and if that isn’t possible, talk to the trainer BEFORE you buy anything and find out why they are having someone else sell for them.

Someone who doesn’t have YOU as the engine of action and behaviors that will create change. If you want different results you are going to need to do things that are outside of your baseline, and you are probably going to need to do them consistently and for a fairly long time. When selling personal training, some people will neglect to tell you this because it can crush optimism and create a sense of hopelessness. But the truth is that YOU have created the very life that you feel you deserve; every action has moved you to become exactly what you are today. Becoming something different is simply a matter of deciding what that is and taking the actions needed to create it. You’ve been doing it all along.

Anyone who is selling a short cut. There are no shortcuts and you cannot hack the approach. There’s a very good chance that you already know what you should be doing in order to get what you want - hard work and mindful action. Anyone suggesting that there is a different way is selling something to you, plain and simple. It’s fine if you buy from them but you are never going to get what you want without the hard work and mindful action. It will always be there for you to do after the shortcut takes you somewhere different.

Anyone who doesn’t consume the product or service they are selling. I cannot reconcile a fitness professional who doesn’t workout. It isn’t just their lack of integrity that I struggle with, it’s the fact that being in great shape just feels really good - why WOULDN’T they make doing what they are selling a priority in their life before everything else?

Being asked to do anything overly complicated and for which there is no simple reason why it needs to be done. There should be a reason for everything you do in the gym or while being trained. If there isn’t a good reason, there’s a good chance that the trainer hasn’t thought much about it and is just selecting exercises that they’ve seen before or that they know how to coach. While better than doing nothing at all, it’s a poor substitute for well thought out program design that builds upon the movements you have become good at performing.

When you get the creeps from someone or the feeling that something doesn’t add-up. Almost all of our mental functioning is unconscious and very often we are not aware of the outcome of a process. But there will be times when we get a gut feeling about something; this represents the outcome of a process. These feelings are the result of a pattern matching some past similar experience. It is best to pay attention to your gut when you have one of these moments because there is critical information being revealed; a flag is being raised. Take a timeout and reengage the situation only when you figure out the source of the feeling. Invite someone with more experience into the situation to get a second opinion on what is going on.

Someone is suggesting you do programs that are for someone who is more advanced. High performance or advanced athletes are not the same as us normal folk simply because they have done so much work that their bodies adapt very quickly. In a lot of cases, your body would adapt just as quickly if you had done the same things they have done. But you haven’t, so your gains and adaptation are going to take a lot longer. Programming for the untrained doesn’t need to be complicated and you will progress a lot faster if you are given the time needed to adapt to the movements. A one week micro cycle may be what an Olympic weight lifter needs to pull a new personal best, but it isn’t going to do very much for most people. Programs should change a little bit over time, not all at once every 3 weeks.

So there you have it, a list of things that to me indicate that a fitness professional may not be exactly what they are presenting themselves to be. Fitness Professional Smells that you can use to figure out if you need to ask more questions or find someone else to work with.

How I Have Been Wrong

There is this thing people do that used to annoy me but that I now use as a vetting tool and that is a persons ability to admit that they were wrong. Regardless of their motivation, if someone isn’t able to say that they were wrong they are not a scientist, so their inflated opinion of what they know is tainted by an unmentioned emotional need and biased by something that isn’t an objective truth or reality.

I have been wrong a lot, even if it was well intentioned and based on everything that I knew at the time. And it is important to be wrong and to admit it because only the divine and the foolish do not change.

Here is a list of some of the ways that I have been wrong and changed over the last 15 years in the realm of the fitness industry:

Believing that nutrition is more important than food. This mistake, like a number of the ones I have made while in the fitness industry, was based on the need to make statements that sounded correct, were thought provoking, and that were sticky. But it is nonsense. Human beings NEED to eat food to get nutrients, they cannot thrive consuming the nutrients alone. Whole food is a natural concoction of 1000’s of chemicals that work in a synergistic way inside the body. When these chemicals are taken in one at a time, they have a different impact on the body and there is no certainty that this is going to be a health promoting.

Believing that the program is more important than consistency. I used to believe a lot of the hype and I would dispense this advice as though it was scientific fact. The fact that my clients were getting good results I interpreted as proof that the programing was effective. But over time I started to notice that the clients of some other trainers who programed using the same methods were not experiencing the same results. Furthermore, I noticed that clients who were using extraordinarily simple programs were experiencing great results. What I had missed was the fact that doing small things consistently will generate better results than a perfectly crafted program that is done occasionally.

Believing that by creating an emotional response a transformation has occurred. This one is false, completely false. While there may be times when an emotional response indicates a readiness for change or that a person has started their transformation, setting out to make a client cry is not helpful and will usually permanently damage the relationship. This is not to say that there is no useful information revealed when a client has a spontaneous and organic emotional response, there is just very little useful information to be gained by setting out to create an emotional response. It’s a sales tool that is used to breakdown defenses so someone can sell their services. It’s unforgivable and anyone who sets out to do it is trying to help their own bottom line and doesn’t care about the well-being of the person they are trying to take money from.

Believing that EVERYONE should workout and become more healthy. Morally I struggled with this one for a while. I believe that everyone is entitled to live an amazing life, rich in health and vitality BUT they must choose to live this life. Any coercion or pressure that forces them to choose it will usually result in more suffering as they fail to achieve success and feel worse than they would have had they not tried. I am always enthusiastic and possibility driven with anyone who is suffering the effects of poor health choices, but I’m only at their service when they choose to transform their life. Everyone CAN be more healthy but people shouldn’t be pressured into it.

Believing that what gurus said was more useful than what I knew. Within the fitness industry the gurus have a field day selling their wisdom to anyone who is looking for a shortcut. These people in turn make money dispensing this wisdom to the people they convinced would benefit from it. The problem with believing the gurus is that they rarely have any scientific basis for supporting their claims, and given that they have a financial motive for stating anything, there is a conflict of interest that motivates them to lie. Their well of wisdom in poisoned and unless science supports their claims, you shouldn’t buy into them. After 15 years in the industry, the formula for success is very simple, consistent intense work through a full range of motion, moderate amounts of good quality food (mostly vegetables), adequate rest and recovery, and a positive outlook on life in general. This isn’t flashy and it won’t make me millions of dollars, but it works for everyone and it is based on science.

Fitness Professionals - What They Should Be Doing

Entropy is defined as a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.

A humans life is the perfect example of entropy. We are born with 100% of our potential available to be actualized; all that we can do and everything we can achieve exists only during the first few years of life. Our bodies and brains are primed to be shaped by the environment, to learn how to exist within it in a symbiotic, fulfilling and life-sustaining way. This period of time is not impacted by our intellect as we do not have a high level of consciousness.

Our perfectly developed bodies move naturally, through a full range of motion, uninhibited by overuse, dysfunction or injury.

We are in a state of maximum order and this state can be maintained easily with deliberate action of thought and movement. Entropy, while unavoidable, can be postponed if the individual does the things that sustain order.

Very few people do these things. Most tend to float through life passively, doing what is easy, what feels good and what takes them off course, guided by impulse and repulsion into an unplanned future. Their body and brain become broken-down systems advancing ever faster to the final state of chaos (death).

The essential role of fitness professionals is to help the individual delay entropy. At the root of their practice is the wisdom that people are born perfect and learn to behave in ways that expedite ‎the consequences of increasing disorder. They know, or should know, that they facilitate the clients realignment but that they are not a critical or unique catalyst; their intervention is to shape the actions of the client but the client is in control of everything.

It has been my experience that most of the people who are involved in the fitness industry do not understand or accept their role. ‎It is humbling maybe for an expert to see themselves as a servant to those who do not possess their knowledge but humility is a key characteristic for anyone who is attempting to alter the course of someones life without creating a relationship of dependency.

And these may be the biggest problems with the fitness industry; the egos of those experts and their perceived need to create long term clients.

About Science and Research In The Field of Fitness

Interesting read by Helen Kollias via Dr. John Berardi’s web site.

It is mostly about the relationship between eating breakfast and changing levels of body fat. But it is so much more!

The thrust of the article is that researchers have a conflict of interest and will observe what they want to observe, report what they want to report, leave-out what they want to leave-out and put forward conclusions that reflect their bias. Regarding eating breakfast and reducing body fat levels - the findings have more to do with overall behavior and very little to do with breakfast alone; if someone begins to eat a good quality breakfast, they tend to change other behaviors so they become more inline with how they start their day.

A few weeks ago they posted an article about nutrient timing and how workout shakes make no direct long term difference to the results people get. Supplements can, however, play a role in changing behavior (in much the same way starting to eat a good quality breakfast can/does). Anyone who makes a claim that a supplement will do anything more than good quality food can is either deliberately lying, blinded by a conflict of interest or clueless. The role of supplements is to supplement a good diet so their use in some instances is helpful but never a substitute to one.

If you are, however, looking for a shortcut to better health and willfully accept someones recommendation that buying supplements from them will provide you with this shortcut be aware of two things:first, you are making them money, which is their role in the interaction and two, in the long run the shortcut is actually to eat moderate amounts of good quality food, mostly vegetables, get moderate amounts of safe exercise, keep life in perspective and get sufficient amounts of rest / recovery.

While the truth isn’t sexy, it is the truth REGARDLESS of how biased the loudest point of view may be.

Road Blocks To Transformation - Part One - Lack Of A “Must”

It is estimated that about 20% of the population get the recommended amount of daily exercise which is about 2.5 hours per week. An estimated 15% of people have gym memberships and of these, only about 30% will ever use the gym on a regular basis. These numbers are depressingly low given that inactivity leads to a reduction in the quality of life.

Of the ~5% of the general population who use a gym regularly, less than half of those people do anything other than maintain; that is they go to the gym with a stated intention that is different than their actual outcome. For example, a lot of people join a gym to lose weight or gain muscle but never lose the weight or gain the muscle, they just stay as they were when they joined. This maintenance is a success in that they are not getting worse, but they do not achieve their goal so they do not get the result that they were looking for.

I tend to work with the general population because it is more challenging - while it is fun to train athletes, there are many strength coaches out there who have a real passion for working with them. Athletes LOVE training and don’t need what I bring to the training relationship. I’m more curious about why people won’t workout, eat reasonably, and display the success behaviors that are natural for the athlete.

I have found that there are four things that are critical indicators that someone is going to be part of the 2% that is going to transform:

  1. They or someone they know is sick due to the consequences from a lack of exercise and poor eating.
  2. They are newly single and wish to exact revenge on their ex by getting into great shape.
  3. They wish to regain their peak shape after having a child.
  4. A life event or experiences has altered how they view themselves.

When someone lists one of these reasons as their motivation for joining a gym and connecting with a trainer, their success is almost a forgone conclusion.

I like working with these people, but in many ways it’s a dispassionate experience with few break-throughs as we blaze a trail that has been traveled countless times before. There are no roadblocks in their path to success because they have uncovered a very compelling reason why they need to be successful. They have transcended the “wants” and created a “must” and everything about them moves them towards this.

All of the people that join gyms who end-up not being successful are seeking something that they want to have, not something that they must have. The absence of a compelling must is a major road block of transformation.

Applying Corporate Lessons To Personal Training

David Hassell’s article “Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies” reveals the trend that people will be loyal and stay at a job or working for a company when they believe in and trust their leaders and will seek-out new opportunities whenever that confidence and trust fades.

This got me thinking about how it applies to the partnership between a personal trainer and their clients or a fitness instructor and the participants in a class.

There is a lot of talk in all industries about delivering high quality experiences and ultimately this is what personal training and fitness classes are all about. The experiences of the participants need to be enjoyable / valuable or else they will not return. But before that world class experience is possible, the participant needs to believe that it is possible and have trust in the person delivering / facilitating the experience.

When I teach a class and notice a new participant, I will always do my best to talk to them before it begins to explain to them what they should expect during and after the class. I’ll be honest that they are likely going to feel some pain in the days following because each new experience will place new demands on the body and muscle pain is often an accompanying consequence. I let them know that it may suck, it may be challenging and that they’ve made a great decision to participate and improve their life regardless of any immediate discomfort. If I am successful with the introduction and in leading the class, the new participant will leave feeling tired but satisfied with the use of their time.

I’ll do effectively the same thing with a personal training client - I’ll tell them what they should expect in the first few weeks and months, I’ll share what they should be noticing in terms of progress and they’ll be well aware that whatever they are going to experience others have experienced because the process of creating improved health and fitness is the same for everyone. It’s easy to be convincing with these conversations because human beings are basically the same from a genetic and physiological point of view. Everyone’s muscles contract and adapt in the same way, everyone’s blood vessels respond to hard work in exactly the same way, etc….

I used to view my disclosure as just being honest about the training experience, an attempt to mitigate some of the thoughts that tend to accompany the pain associated with working out, but I’m now clear that it serves another purpose. By revealing the nature of the journey before it begins, I’m creating credibility and instilling a belief that I am a capable leader and partner in their quest for a better experience of life.

Given that results come from doing hard work this trust is critical in moving them forward!

Fitness Assessments At Gyms - They’ll Find Faults

When someone approaches me inquiring about training, I skip the whole fitness assessment and will instead focus on their goals, their behaviors, their thoughts and their definitions of success, failure, and health. I do this because fitness assessments, as performed outside of a medical setting, are pointless, useless and geared towards selling what the trainer has to sell. EVERYONE can fail some aspect of a fitness assessment therefore everyone needs to buy training.

Bull crap!

Most people do NOT need training. While almost everyone will benefit from working with a personal trainer, people can and have been creating amazing results while training on their own for as long as people have been training. If you workout in an intense and pain-free way 4 times a week and eat sensible amounts of good quality food you’ll become fit and any imbalances that you have will correct themselves. Evolution ensures this.

Working with clients is about helping them achieve what THEY want regardless of what I think. Just because a girl is an amazing squatter, can move extremely quickly and would be an outstanding Olympic lifter doesn’t mean that her goal of having a flat stomach and becoming a better road cyclist gets ignored. The opposite is almost true - whatever potential she has in an undesired goal will only be leveraged to help her achieve her stated goal. The world is full of people who do amazing things in areas where they have no particular innate talent.

Very often a fitness assessment will be set-up to measure athletic indicators that are then used as reasons to justify huge training investments. Failing a Klatt test is meaningless if your goal is to look good naked because your glutes, VMO and adductor muscles will be trained during the course of your body composition training. The fact is, most people will never need to perform at the highest physical level and will enjoy an amazing life simply by moving more. It won’t matter that they are quad dominant, slightly internally rotated, or whatever the test reveals.

There is another reason why fitness test performed by fitness professionals are not appropriate and that is because they are used to make a diagnosis; which most fitness professionals are NOT qualified to do. It sure does feel great to have someone look at you and say “wow, you know what’s going on with my body just by looking at the way I move” but that’s ego stroking or salesmanship. The trainer may be correct but they are not in a position to say what is going on. They are in a position only to create and administer programs. When they make a diagnosis and set out to fix it they are failing their clients in a very fundamental, and arguably, an unethical way.

That is why, if someone is going to work with me, we’ll just train the entire body including all of the smaller muscles. The methods and principles that are used will depend upon their goals, but that is it. The client isn’t broken so we don’t need to fix anything, they just need to consistently move their bodies more and reap the benefits associated with improving their health.

6 Ways To Boost Your Personal Power

People who want to create an amazing life realize that they have control over their personal power and they understand how to boost it whenever they need to. Below is a list of 6 things you can do to boost your power:

Let go of your past by forgiving yourself. Sane people can only act in a way that serves their interests so no matter what your interests are now, your previous actions served the interests you had at that time. Factor in the fact that you cannot do anything about the past, you need to just let go of anything that you are holding on to that doesn’t make you feel strong. It may take some practice, but when useless thoughts are gone from your mind you will become powerful and move closer to achieving your potential.

Accept that your thoughts and feelings create your present experience of life so adjust them as needed to create the internal environment that creates your more powerful actions. Just as holding onto your past will weaken your spirit and sap your strength, grabbing onto positive thoughts and maintaining a clear picture of what you want to become will boost your happiness and productivity. In fact, by holding onto the thoughts of what you want to make of your life you will increase the amount of mental processing that is directed towards making these thoughts a reality.

See your own actions as the cause of your immediate external environment. Powerful people cause their environment to change, people without power are changed by their environment. When anything happens, good or bad, and as soon as any crisis has passed, make efforts to see your role in it - what did you do that caused the event, what can you learn from it, how can you put these lessons to work in the future. This step is critical in boosting your personal power because you can only have power if you can cause change to your external environment. Without seeing yourself as having some control over the environment, it will only effect you and you will never be the cause of any of the things that happen to you.

Accept that other people have their own set of rules for living life. Recall that no sane person can act in a way that does not serve their interests, just like you. Given this, it doesn’t make much sense to try to hold other people to the rules that you have for created for yourself. In fact, by giving them the autonomy to act as they deem appropriate, any energy that would have been spent on making them wrong is directed towards other, more important, tasks.

Know what you want out of your life. By having clearly defined goals and end points you will know when it’s time to change your course, make new decisions or just keep doing what you are doing. Knowing what you want also closes a lot of open loops that tax mental energy. This liberated energy can then be directed toward the things that need focus and attention. Powerful people know EXACTLY what they are seeking and they know what to put their efforts towards.

Do the things that move your towards the things you want out of life. Action is a big separator between those who are powerful and those who are not powerful. Intense, sustained and focused action will move anyone towards the object of their attention faster than anything else. Powerful people know what they want and they work tirelessly only on the things that will get them closer to the things they want.