The Paradox of Personal Freedom: How Positive Constraints Can Enhance Your Life

the path to freedom

As humans, we have an insatiable desire for freedom.

It’s only natural. Freedom is our essential state and we feel this in the innermost depths of our being. When freedom is blatantly denied, it is an excruciating hindrance and not tolerated for long.

However, every great truth is paradoxical from the perspective of the mind and through the filter of language. The idea of freedom is no different. You would think that total, complete freedom would mean total, complete happiness, right? But that’s not the case (in this reality, at least). Absolute freedom does not necessarily equate to absolute happiness.

Infinite options equals ultimate prison, in many circumstances. You end up with this paradox of choice issue. It’s like standing in front of shelving at a Safeway with 300 brands of toothpaste and just wasting 15 minutes of your life trying to pick a toothpaste. You don’t need that kind of cognitive burden and decision fatigue.
~ Tim Ferriss

 
Focused perspective allows for desired experiences to come to fruition, as a specific choice concentrates your reality based upon our intention. This focused perspective, or in other words, constraints on experienced reality, is the foundation for learning and evolution as humans. Limitation fosters creative solutions, resistance catalyzes growth and darkness is needed to truly appreciate light.

If you think about it, absolute freedom means sitting in infinite possibility without choosing a possibility. So in a way, you’ve chosen to compromise complete freedom just by participating in the 3D human experience.

Ok, metaphysical musings aside; what I’m getting at is this… In order to have a highly rewarding, fulfilling and purposeful life, you need to consciously apply the power of positive constraints.

You’re always making choices and assumptions (in every moment) that are condensing the light of your freedom/possibility to a focused area. And the key question is: Are you consciously aware of the choices and assumptions you’re making?

What are Positive Constraints?

Positive constraints are constraints that you consciously place upon yourself in order to direct your life in a desired direction.

For example, if you know that writing a book is something that will add immeasurable value to your life, you’re going to have to sacrifice other activities in favor of a regular writing habit. And you’re going to have to write even when you don’t feel like it. But as a result of this positive constraint, your life will be more fulfilling and you’ll create more freedom for yourself long-term.

Why Are Positive Constraints Useful?

Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.
~ Paulo Coelho

 
Positive constraints focus your experiences towards what you want to prioritize in life.

They actually create more freedom in many cases. If you want the freedom to travel the world, you have to make sacrifices to get there. You have to save money (though not as much as most people think), quit your job (or work for yourself and do it remotely) and decide where you want to go. All of those things are positive constraints to bring you to a place of freedom to travel.

Being an entrepreneur epitomizes attaining freedom through positive constraints. In order to work for yourself, make your own decisions and have freedom of time and location, sacrifices must be made to get there. A lot of groundwork is required to get any business or entrepreneurial project off the ground, yet once the ball is rolling, it can create long-term freedom in many aspects of life.

The Freedom to Choose to Concede Freedom

Having the freedom to choose your own constraints is what makes life fulfilling and worthwhile. If you’re forced to do something, that’s a blatant form of slavery. If you’re programmed into thinking you don’t have a choice, that’s a subtle form of slavery. Both are extremely disharmonious and antithetical to human happiness.

Ultimately, everything you do is a constraint on freedom. The Latin root of the word decision means “to cut off.” By making a decision, you’re literally cutting off all other possibilities. So it’s important to be mindful of your decisions in every moment, because you’re always making decisions whether you’re aware of them or not. It is choice (decision) that collapses the wave-form of all possibility and gives us a specific experience. Without choice, there would be no experience. Having free will without making a choice is to not have an experience.

The key is being conscious of the choices you’re making and being aware of what you’re keeping and what you’re “cutting off” by making a decision.

Family and Oneness

One of the most gratifying positive constraints is choosing to start a family. By starting a family, you are choosing to give up some freedom, but the rewards of caring for others, giving and sharing can greatly outweigh the emptiness that comes from just sitting on the prospect of possibilities. Plus, taking care of someone besides yourself can be immeasurably rewarding if you already have some degree of self-mastery to build upon.

Creating a family is unique in the sense that it imprints and amplifies your impact on other people (particularly children). If you haven’t released your own demons, you’re going to infect your family with your dysfunction. This is why families tend to repeat the same patterns generation after generation, unless someone becomes very conscious and grounded in their own power. On the other hand, if you’re harmonious within yourself, you’re going to spread the light of your love even more and that’s a snowball effect too. So from this higher perspective, you have the potential to create more freedom and happiness for the whole (which we’re all a part of) by choosing the positive constraint of starting a family.

How to Apply Positive Constraints

1. Decide what you want – This is the decision that cuts off other possibility and focuses your reality. Make sure you’re consciously focusing your reality and being mindful of where your intentionality is being directed.

On a larger scale, figure out your purpose. Find what you want to prioritize in life and cast aside the things that aren’t in alignment with it. Also, you don’t have to have a fixed purpose for the rest of your life. Your purpose can change and evolve as you change and evolve.

For a clearer vision of your purpose, read my article: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions

2. Implement habits to get there – Once you decide on what you want, action must be taken. Form daily habits to bring you in your desired direction.

Decide on 1-3 habits that are your “big wins” for the day and set aside blocks of time to do them, no matter what. With me, I set aside a 50 minute block for writing every morning and I record a video as well. Those have become things that I just do. Because I’ve built the habit, there is no decision to be made or questioning myself, they’re just what I do.

Don’t forget about the first hour of your day either. Your morning routine is the foundation for your day. Make your morning routine the leverage point from which you build positive momentum for the rest of the day. Ideally, it should consist of drinking a lot of water (re-hydration and cleansing), meditation and some form of stretching/mobility exercises/yoga to prime your body for the day.

More on morning routines:
How to Own Your Day: Tim Ferriss Shares His 5 Morning Rituals
The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

That’s it. Applying positive constraints is essentially just focusing and following through.

Enjoy your journey and much love to ya.

– Stevie P!

 

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5

Why I’m Not Voting

Vote for Nobody

I don’t own a TV. I don’t watch the news. I don’t pay attention to any of the bread and circuses. I’m too busy improving myself and those around me.

But word on the street is that it’s getting close to election time here in ‘merica.

People ask me what I think about Donald Trump running for president or whatever other WWE-like political stage show is going on. This inevitably leads to me saying “I’m not going to vote.”

Now before you fall off of your high horse in astonishment, let me explain… I choose not to vote, not out of ignorance, nor out of apathy (actually quite the opposite), but out of noncompliance with a broken, fundamentally corrupt and laughably ineffective system.

If given the choice between stabbing myself with a knife or stabbing myself with a fork, I would choose neither (after questioning why I would even stab myself in the first place).

C’mon, do you really think the votes are counted fairly after fiascos like the blatantly manipulated “Florida recount” of 2000? There’s obviously foul play going on, and digitizing the voting process makes it even easier to rig the game. It’s not even a popular vote anyway. People’s votes (supposedly) go to selecting members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president. (Another safeguard to make sure that only “selected” candidates are voted in?)

“Presidents are selected, not elected.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Isn’t it ironic that most people feel like their opinion is negligible when it comes to most things? But in terms of voting (which is a blatantly rigged game), they fall for the fairy tale that their vote counts?

When I tell people I don’t vote, I get two predictable reactions…

Some people say “If you don’t exercise your right to vote, then you don’t have a right to criticize anything.” But I would contend that if we have the right to vote, shouldn’t we also have the right to NOT vote? Mandatory compliance for the entire population is the antithesis of freedom. This leads into the next one.

Other people say “If you don’t like it, then leave.” Well, America was founded on the principle that the people have the right to criticize the government, and the right to overthrow it if it becomes tyrannical. Then there’s that little freedom of speech thing that just so happens to be the first amendment. If you live in a country where you can’t criticize the government, you’re in a 1984-like nightmare. I’d rather not slide down that slippery slope.

“To criticize one’s country is to do it a service …. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism – a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation.” – U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright

Insanity

The Two Main Reasons Why I’m Not Voting

1. The System is Broken

The entire political system in the US is basically a branch of the big banks. The vast majority of senators are lap dogs for big corporations (lobbying is just a fancy way of saying bribery). And the entire hierarchy is designed so that the most obedient to those interests rise to the top. Anyone who tries to bring about any real change from within it is either silenced into submission or converted into another spineless drone dancing the puppet master’s dance.

If you can’t see that there’s a massive conspiracy at hand, you’re in deep, deep denial. This is a call for you to wake up.

Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of deceit:

Regarding the rigging of the voting process itself:

Can you get any more dysfunctional and deceptive? Everything that’s projected at us is one big, theatrical lie. To even give such an institution legitimacy is an insult to our intrinsic nature as sovereign beings.

Don’t get caught up in “what’s wrong” though. Running around like a fearful, paranoid conspiracy theorist won’t help. You just need to be aware of the forces holding you back in order to transcend them.

We must focus on building a better system rather than trying to repair a hopelessly broken one.

If a glass breaks, do you waste your time trying to glue all of the pieces back together? Of course not. You get a new glass!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Dan Millman

Is Elon Musk trying to change the auto-industry from the inside? Is he trying to take over Ford or Chevy? No, he’s creating better alternatives (through Tesla Motors) that are rendering the traditional technologies futile.

And really, all of the bullshit legislation and asinine topics of discussion are akin to switching chairs around on the Titanic. We need to change the fundamental paradigms which western society is based upon. We need a monetary system that does not funnel wealth into the hands of a few. We need energy that creates abundance as opposed to limitation. We need to embrace love, as opposed to being conditioned from cradle-to-grave with fear.

2. The Power of Noncompliance

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu

For some reason, most Americans have been conditioned to believe that peaceful noncompliance isn’t an effective driver of change. Quite the opposite is true. This false belief has been propagated because, when used properly, it’s an immensely effective force.

Peaceful resistance is the only way to create positive, lasting change. Noncompliance is the kryptonite of any control system.

No law, no system, no government can be implemented unless people COMPLY with it. Any manifestation of a control system cannot exist without our acquiescence.

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Society is overwhelmingly shaped by acts, not laws. People are inspired through the heart, not necessarily through documents and signatures. What law did Gandhi pass? What law did MLK pass? Did Rosa Parks go through a legislative process? Hell no. She practiced peaceful noncompliance by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. And it was a huge moral victory.

We can also look at the events that have shaped society in more negative ways. Look at 9/11. It was a false-flag attack engineered to instill fear within the population (along with being an excuse to occupy the Middle East). Ever since that tragic day, Americans have been literally programmed with fear.

We need to take action to spark positive change, along the lines of Gandhi and MLK.

In the phenomenal novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, a utopian(ish) society neutralizes the invasion of a dystopian society through noncompliance. The utopian society had built better alternatives in every aspect of living. When the armed invaders came, they were met with peaceful noncompliance. At first, some were killed for not obeying orders. But eventually, the invading army recognized that the place they had invaded provided a better life than they could have imagined back home. The strategy of peaceful resistance caused the hierarchy of the violent invaders to implode from within.

You can’t fight fire with fire. It must be put out with water. Noncompliance is that water.

What would happen if the majority of the population refused to vote? Not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance with a system that they don’t agree with. And letting it be known, emphatically, on top of that. (See the “call to action” at the bottom of this article to do just that.) Everyone would be forced to take a long, hard look and question even the most fundamental beliefs that the government is based upon. When noncompliance hits a tipping point, the established system of government would have no choice but to be uprooted and rebuilt from the ground up.

And don’t think you don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (yes, you reading this). You most certainly do play a part. Just as an ocean is a collection of individual drops, a nation is but a collection of individual people.

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” – Voltaire

It’s about time we started an avalanche of positive change.

Change starts from within. There must first be internal change for there to be any real, lasting external change. That’s why Gandhi said, “Be the change we wish to see in the world,” not “Hope someone else will come along and change things for you.” (Which is the trap most Americans have fallen into.)

Be the change

Want Real Change?

  1. Wake up to the fact that everything being projected at us is one big, theatrical illusion.
  2. Do the inner work – Get to know yourself, meditate, journal, spend some alone time in nature…etc. Establish some self-awareness and recognize your patterns. Why do you think society keeps us distracted and focusing on utter nonsense 24/7? Because once we go within, the game is up.
  3. Clear your demons – From a place of awareness, you’ll be able to address the fears, traumas and limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
  4. Connect with love – Connect with the essence of love within you (it’s there), which is the underlying component of everything (aka God, Source, the Infinite…etc.). With this connection, love will be the main motivating force in your life, as opposed to fear.
  5. Practice small acts of kindness every day – Do not underestimate the power of small acts of kindness done consistently.
  6. Start expressing your gifts, whatever they may be – Some people are great architects, some are great engineers, some are great healers, some are great writers, some are great permaculturists…etc. Everyone has a unique gift to share with the world. We all have special talents that will become building blocks in creating a better world. You just have to do the inner work so it can express itself.
  7. Watch society change from the inside out – When we do the inner work, we will transform, then communities will inevitably transform and eventually the world as well. Change happens from the inside out, not the outside in (and especially not from the “top” down). What will this look like exactly? I don’t think we can even imagine the exact details of it from where we’re at right now. But as MLK famously stated, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

We’ve been focusing all of our energy on external authority figures for so long that we can’t even fathom what the world would look like if we all stepped into our inherent power. And that is exactly what needs to happen for any real change to take place.

Stop focusing on what, deep down, you know to be illusory and embody the change.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

We hold the key to change, and it lies within.

We shape society based on our daily actions, not by hoping someone else will come and save us.

And that’s why I’m not voting.

– Stevie P!

How Real Change Actually Takes Place

CALL TO ACTION

If you don’t want to vote, out of noncompliance (not apathy), you can do these two things to have your voice heard: (Imagine what would happen if thousands of people did this.)

1. Tweet this…
Tweet: I’m not voting, not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance with a fundamentally corrupt system. #novote #votefornobody #noncompliance

Let’s get those hashtags trending on Twitter.

2. Email the US Government, expressing that you’re not voting out of noncompliance.

Here’s a general script for the comment: (You can copy this or create your own, with your own name of course)

Dear US Government,

I’m not voting in the presidential election, not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance. I do not wish to give legitimacy to a fundamentally corrupt system.

Every president presented to us has been SELECTED by the shadowy and deceptive powers that (wanna)be. The interests of the people have taken a backseat to the interest of big banks, big corporations, big pharma, the military industrial complex, the oil companies…etc.

I also do not have faith in the voting system. It is a rigged game and there never really was a truly popular vote.

I’m grateful, however, that I at least have the right to express this. I wish to let it be known that I am not voting out of noncompliance.

Thank you for your consideration.

And whoever reads this, I wish you well.

– Stephen Parato

 

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Time is a Sailing Ship

“We think that the world is limited and explained by its past. We tend to think that what happened in the past determines what is going to happen next, and we do not see that it is exactly the other way around! What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn’t explain a thing. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.” – Alan Watts

wake

Time is a sailing ship. The past is the wake. The future is what lies in the direction the ship is headed. And all of this concurrently exists in the present moment; the eternal now.

Both the past and future are projections from within the present.

We, as human beings, have a first person point of view of this voyage. Our body is the ship which we view the world from as we sail through space-time.

If you were to draw your perception back to a third person point of view, you would be able to see both the past (the wake left behind) and the future (where you’re headed). In the brilliant documentary “The Illusion of Time,” physicist Brian Greene compares space-time to a loaf of bread. What we perceive as now is a slice in that loaf of space-time, but the whole loaf always exists. So theoretically, if you were to somehow perceive reality from a higher perspective, you would be able to observe the whole “loaf” of space-time (past/present/future). Maybe this is the perspective of those who are able to “see the future.”

While the comparison to a loaf of bread is helpful in conceptualizing the past, present and future as the dimension of space-time, it doesn’t do justice to the ever-changing, dynamic nature of the universe. We live in a quantum soup of infinite possibility. There is no predetermined path (loaf of bread). The path is always shifting according to what you do in the present moment.

That’s why the metaphor of the ship is profound. You can change the direction of your ship at any point, and this will change both the future and the past. When you change direction, the wake you leave behind changes as well as your course ahead.

Even the simple concept of forgiveness demonstrates this. If you forgive someone who has wronged you in the past, you change the meaning of the past. So instead of harboring hatred and resentment in the present moment, you let go and feel freedom, love and empathy.

You have the power to transform past failures into learning experiences; pain into a catalyst for growth; disappointment into opportunity.

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A related, mind-bending phenomenon is called the delayed choice or quantum eraser effect, pioneered by the physicist John Wheeler. Imagine a star emitting a photon billions of years ago, heading towards Earth. And there is a galaxy in between the star and Earth. Because of this, the light will have to bend around the galaxy in order to reach Earth (which is called “gravitational lensing”). The photon can take one of two paths around the galaxy, left or right. Billions of years later, if someone decides sets up a device to catch the photon, it would behave as a wave, not a particle. This demonstrates that the photon really took both ways around the galaxy.

You could also view the photon by focusing a telescope on either side of the galaxy to determine which side the photon traveled to reach Earth. The very act of measuring the photon’s behavior means it can only come from one side. It will no longer act as a wave that went both ways, but as a particle which only went in the direction from which it was observed.

This is mind-bogglingly profound. It means that how we measure the photon now actually affects the direction it traveled in billions of years ago.

Everything is a projection from the present moment. The eternal now is all that exists, and from it you have the power to change both your future and your past.

Enjoy the voyage and sail free.

– Stevie P!

Are You Truly Free?

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Are you truly free?

Really think about it. Contemplate what your idea of complete freedom is.

To give yourself a better idea, ask yourself the following three questions…

Would I be living the way I’m living if money were no object?
Would I be living the way I’m living if I was uninfluenced by the opinions of others?
Would I be living the way I’m living if I had no fears?

Chances are, if you’re playing the role of a human on planet Earth, you answered “no” to all three.

So this means that in almost every sense, we’re actually quite far from true freedom. Considering that you’re reading this, you’re probably not in physical slavery, so that’s a good start. But what about your mind? What about your behaviors? What about your beliefs? What about your lifestyle? Are they really your own? For the vast majority of people, (yes, even “privileged” “first-worlders”) all of those aspects of their life and sense of self are in bondage. And most don’t even realize it.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The more cruel and extreme the slavery, the shorter lived it tends to be. Physical slavery has a finite lifespan because people are all-too-aware of their oppression. If people are blatantly repressed, their uprisal is inevitable. The human will is driven by a deep-seated yearning for liberation. If that willpower hasn’t been buried by deception, trauma and conditioning, there is absolutely nothing that can stand in its way. The many heroes who courageously rose up against (physical) slavery in America are a testament to this.

Mental slavery, however, is more subtle; more insidious. Why? Because in this predicament, people are conditioned to love their servitude, without even grasping the subliminal subterfuge of their subjugation.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley

Psychological slavery can go on indefinitely, until it’s exposed. And that makes it uniquely dangerous.

“Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.” – Morpheus (The Matrix)

We’re like dogs with shock collars. Distinctly better off than dogs in cages. But there is an invisible fence which contains us, shocking us into submission when we reach a certain perimeter. Our invisible fence consists of fear, comfort zones, money, time, the opinions of others, limiting belief systems…etc. In terms of the physical and mental aspects of life, we’re more like free-range than truly free.

The average “first-world” nation can be likened to a 300-pound man in a room filled with 500-pound people. Sure, he’s better off than the rest, but he’s still far from being healthy. But because his only reference points are those more obese than he is, he may hold the delusional belief that he’s an exemplar of fitness.

It’s both naïve and short-sighted to think that we’re truly free under this current paradigm. What is your ideal world? Does it look anything like the one you’re living in? This is not to say that we should hide in the asylum of ungrateful entitlement. We need to be grateful for the freedoms we do enjoy, but never complacent in our quest for true liberation.

Just as Harriet Tubman did, we must use our freedoms to help others achieve theirs, moving the collective towards total, mind/body/spirit, emancipation.

The Freedom Paradox

Here’s the good news…

On a deep, intrinsic level, we are always free, no matter the circumstance. Even when someone is physically shackled, at their very core they are still free.

As humans, if we do not find liberation physically, we find it mentally. If we do not find liberation mentally, we find it spiritually. This inherent freedom cannot be taken away.

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison

We are all unique expressions of infinite possibility. Our inner-most nature is beyond any confines. And absolutely nothing can take that away from us, even if we are physically or mentally enslaved. People such as Victor E. Frankl, who survived the Holocaust, are shining examples of this…

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor E. Frankl

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor E. Frankl

True freedom is beyond the ego. Beyond fear, beyond judgment and beyond the opinions of others. It is what we are left with when we reacquaint with our deepest essence.

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” – Marcus Aurelius

Though there are control systems intent on programming us to exhibit predictable, robotic responses… Though many get manipulated by the divide and conquer agenda….. Though injustice still rears its ugly head… Though the world may seem completely insane at times… Remember, you have the choice in every situation. And nothing can take that away from you.

As Ralph Smart says, We came here to be free.”

One love.

– Stevie P!

PS – Solution celebration… 

Here are 8 solutions to the subtly insidious “modern slavery” you may, unknowingly or knowingly, find yourself in:

1. Think for yourself Free your mind. Explore any and every idea. The world is an idea playground. What is holding you back from exploring the realms of infinite ideas? You have a world of information at your fingertips, don’t take it for granted. We live in the information age. Ignorance is a choice.

2. Work for yourself Though it’s an uphill battle in this society, we all have the opportunity to work for ourselves. This will provide you with immensely more physical freedom than if you have to trade your time for money with an employer.

3. Awareness – Be aware that you’re not your thoughts, but the consciousness observing the thoughts. Be aware of when you exhibit predictable, programmed responses. Be aware of your emotions, thoughts, habits…etc. Awareness is the key which opens the door to freedom.

4. Don’t identify with a label – Putting yourself in a box is the antithesis of freedom. Osho summed it up eloquently… “Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.”

5. Be your authentic self

6. Let go of fear – Fear, and everything dependent upon it, is bondage. This includes ego, comfort zones, worry, anxiety, regret, shame, guilt, hate, anger, jealousy, insecurity, disempowerment, victimhood…etc. Those all either create, or lead to, some form of enslavement. As John Lennon said, “Love is free, free is love.” Choose love.

7. Pursue your life’s purpose

8. Take responsibility for your own well-being – Response-ability… The ability to respond. Empower yourself. Take responsibility for your life, your health, and whatever else you deem important.

 

12 Ways You’re Making Life Difficult For Yourself

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Are you making life difficult for yourself?

Or are you consciously setting yourself up, to experience life, without allowing anything to kill your vibe?

Life doesn’t have to be hard. It really doesn’t. You’re the gatekeeper of your happiness, the catalyst of your success (or failure) and the master of your universe.

You can make life more enjoyable for yourself. Actually, you’re the only one who can. You just need to first be aware of the ways you’re sabotaging your inner peace and joy…

12 Ways You’re Making Life Difficult for Yourself…

1. You’re not in touch with yourself.

You’re not aware. You’re not in tune with your essence.

(This actually allows the rest of the items listed to come to fruition.)

Get to know yourself. Get to know your body. Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, actions…etc. Awareness is the first step in changing anything, and your point of personal power.

2. You care too much about what other people think.

Not caring what people think is the ultimate freedom. It living based on inner inspiration, as opposed to perpetually being at the mercy of external forces.

“Here’s the truth : the tribe doesn’t give a shit. There is no tribe. That gang or posse that we imagine is sustaining us by the bonds we share is in fact a conglomeration of individuals who are just as fucked up as we are and just as terrified.  Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it.When we truly understand that the tribe doesn’t give a damn, we’re free.  There is no tribe, and there never was. Our lives are entirely up to us.” -Steven Pressfield (Turning Pro)

Are you living life on your own terms, or someone else’s?

3. You’re living your life based on other peoples’ (or society’s) expectations.

Piggybacking off of the last point, if you care too much about what other people think, that means you’re living your life based on their terms (or society’s terms) instead of your own. It’s your life.

I’ll say it one more time…

It’s… your… life.

If your life is based on the standards and expectations of others, you’re ignoring your inner genius, being dragged around by external forces and making life unnecessarily difficult for yourself.

4. You have a victim mentality.

A victim mentality creates a victim reality. It leaves you pessimistic, downtrodden, craving attention, dependent, and pretty much everything “negative” you can think of.

Having a victim mentality is self-imposed suffering and bondage. Lose it, if you want to truly live as you were destined to.

Be empowered and positive, and your reality molds accordingly.

See my post on the victim mentality here.

5. You have rigid beliefs.

Are your beliefs bringing you to a state of love, or a state of fear?

Are your beliefs creating obsessive compulsive behaviors?

Don’t you want to cultivate inner peace, instead of rigid, nonsensical behaviors that make life difficult?

Do you have to take one shoe off and hop five times every day at noon? (Not because you want to, but because it says you must do so in a book written by who knows who, who knows when, in who knows what context and translated and edited by who knows who.)

Are you following “rules” out of fear? Or are you letting love be your motivating force?

Skip all the fear-based bullshit used for controlling people. Choose love, and uncover your natural state of inner peace.

6. You have obsessive compulsive behaviors.

You have inflexible rituals. You have routines that make no sense. You have habits that don’t benefit you, at all. Why?

Drop the behaviors, rituals, habits and routines that don’t serve your best interest. There’s no need to hold onto them.

And be like water my friend…

Life becomes infinitely more enjoyable when you just go with the flow. Go with the flow of life. Go with the flow of your intuition. Go with the flow of love.

7. You’re trying to please everybody.

Learn to say “no” when necessary. Constantly trying to please everyone is a sure-fire way to make your life miserable. Because in doing this, you don’t live life on your own terms, while constantly compromising your character.

Develop yourself, and almost paradoxically, you’ll have the capacity to give much more.

“Become the strongest version of yourself, then help others do the same.” -Elliott Hulse

8. You’re not present. You’re clinging to the past and worrying about the future.

All forms of suffering and (mental/emotional) pain come from not being present. Think about it. When you worry about something, it’s always in the future. When you’re holding onto anger, it’s because of what happened in the past. Be aware, be present, and fall into the depths of inner peace.

But on the flipside you can make life difficult for yourself if you don’t plan when it’s necessary, or learn from the past when it’s relevant to the present. (Both of which are done in the present, by the way.)

“The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more ore you are free of pain, of suffering – and free of the egoic mind. Why does the mind habitually deny or resist the Now? Because it cannot function and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.” -Eckhart Tolle

9. You have preconceived notions about everything.

Instead of being open to all possibilities, you project (often fear-based and controlling) desires upon people and situations. When you have control (fear)-based beliefs on how situations and people should be, you set yourself up for disappointment. Preconceived notions are another form of living in the future, as discussed above.

Be open to all possibility, be present and go with the flow of life.

10. You’re too comfortable to create change.

There are so many people who are too comfortable with their fears and their pain. It’s sad that the idea of change (even for the better) can seem harder than staying in a negative situation. Don’t let your essence rot away by staying in negative situations. You have the power to change. Release your fears and practice stepping out of your comfort zone, even if it’s through very small changes at first.

11. You’re afraid of death.

You’re afraid of non-existence. This is the root of all fear. And fear is the root of all things labeled as “negative.” There’s no need to fear though…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Don’t fear death. Embrace it. It’s the only certainty in life. Use it as motivation to live every day to the fullest.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean

12. You hold the belief that life is difficult.

When you hold a belief, guess what “reality” you get as a result?

Your “reality” mirrors your beliefs

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” – Albert Einstein

“The world is a mirror, forever reflecting what you see inside yourself.” -Neville Goddard

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ― Anaïs Nin

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ― Wayne W. Dyer

Change your perception, change your reality.

Stop making life difficult for yourself.

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

-Stevie P!

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6 Steps To Program Yourself For Happiness And Success

I want you to answer this question honestly…

How are you programming yourself?

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Are you conditioning yourself to your benefit or detriment? Are you programming yourself with love or fear? Are you brainwashing yourself to be empowered and positive, or a disempowered victim? What stories are you telling yourself?

Whatever you program yourself with becomes your experience; your reality.

“Just as your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds, your subconscious mind can be thought of as the garden, or fertile soil, in which the seeds germinate and grow. 

Your conscious mind commands and your subconscious mind obeys. Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fits a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires. Your subconscious mind grows either flowers or weeds in the garden of your life, whichever you plant by the mental equivalents you create.” -Brian Tracy

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The conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time. You always have the choice of what that one conscious thought is, and you can always change it.

You reap what you sew. Keep planting seeds of love and empowerment, and that’s what you’ll reap.

You’re the gatekeeper. You can let demons or angels into your royal kingdom. The choice is up to you…

“One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”

We create “reality”…

Placebo Effect – Think about how crazy the Placebo Effect is! Have you ever really wrapped your head around it? It’s a phenomenon in which people’s beliefs cause physical changes. That’s mind-blowing. The placebo effect is a testament to the ability of our consciousness to influence “physical reality.”

Dr. Emoto’s Water Experiments – Another example of consciousness affecting reality is Dr. Emoto’s water experiments. Dr. Emoto would subject water to various stimuli (words, phrases, music…etc), and then quickly freeze them so they crystallize. The results were amazing. Water crystals subjected to love-based stimuli would form beautiful, harmonious structures, while crystals subjected to not-of-love stimuli would would be disharmonious. Intriguing, eh?

Double-slit experiment – Then there’s the famous double-slit experiment… This experiment has repeatedly shown that matter is not what we thought it was, and that the behavior of particles change when they are being observed. This (again) hints at the effect of consciousness on “reality.”  Here’s a great video explaining the double-slit experiment:

Check this article out for more on these topics – 10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World

The field of possibilities… 
Many who study quantum physics and the fundamental structures of “reality” hypothesize that everything exists as a “field of possibility.” That everything is fundamentally wave-form, and brought to fruition (as “physical reality”) only when conscious attention is placed upon this field. This is science echoing the age-old spiritual teachings of oneness and creating our own reality. Empowering, right?

“Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves. The universe is not separate from this cosmic sea of energy.” -David Bohm (theoretical physicist and mentor of Albert Einstein)

For a spectacular presentation of these concepts, check out “Divine Matrix” by Gregg Braden…

The Law of Attraction…
The law of attraction is the belief that “like attracts like.” What you put out into the world is what you receive. You reap what you sew. The law of attraction entails creating your own reality (empowering, right?). “Reality” is more malleable and dynamic than we’ve been conditioned to think. And after studying subjects like quantum physics, these kind of ideas seem less “New-Agey” and more self-evident.

Ok, let’s bring it back to the ground now…

Common sense…
You act, consciously and subconsciously, according to what you believe. For example, if you believe you don’t deserve a girlfriend or boyfriend, you will create that reality. You’ll have bad posture, unconfident communicative abilities, and a lack of that love aura. So then, consequently, you won’t attract a girlfriend/boyfriend. What you believe is what you get. Our beliefs determine our thoughts, emotions, actions, interactions, and thus our experience in life.

“We all tell ourselves stories. We define ourselves with our stories. Is your story helpful?” -Elliott Hulse

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How to program yourself for success and happiness (or anything else you wish to BE or attain):

1. Awareness. This is the most crucial thing for any kind of personal development. You must first be aware of your thoughts in order to change them.

“KEY THOUGHT – When you choose to be aware of behavior patterns that don’t serve you, you are in a position to change them. That’s empowerment.” -dr. michael ryce

The best way to develop awareness of your thoughts is to consistently meditate (even if only for a few minutes). Here’s a really helpful list of tips on meditation.

2. Stop the negative thought patterns. Once you become aware of your thoughts, you will then begin catching the negative thoughts as they arise. Simply observe and let go of them. As you do this, they’ll become less and less frequent. Soon enough you’ll be able to transcend the negative thought patterns and consciously program yourself to your benefit.

Piece of advice – Reduce the amount of news you watch (and TV in general). It’s overwhelmingly fear-based, and will further exacerbate negative thought patterns. It’s called ” television programming” for a reason. Don’t be a victim of mass fear-mongering, consciously program yourself to your benefit.

3. Plant the seeds you want. Use your self-awareness to consciously program empowering and loving thoughts into your psyche. Your self-talk should be like talking to a young child, gentle, encouraging and empowering. Be aware of what you say to yourself, as that is the experience you get.

Techniques to plant the seeds you want:

~Affirmations. Affirmations are empowering phrases that are consistently repeated, programming the subconscious mind. With affirmations, it’s crucial to affirm that your desire IS happening. The Universe works in bringing you what you believe in the present moment; what you are projecting in the eternal now. Repeated affirmations upgrade the programming system (your subconscious) in which you operate on.

Here are some examples:
If you want good health…
“I am healthy and strong.”
If you want to attract money…
“I am experiencing money flowing easily into my life.”

Note: A lot of effective affirmations start with “I am…” When you powerfully affirm that it IS, it will come to fruition.

Huffington Post – 35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life

~Visualization. Successful athletes are well-known for using visualization to optimize performance. Visualize what you desire like it IS happening right now (like with affirmations). Imagine and experience the visualization with all your senses. Become fully immersed, and you will help bring your vision to fruition. Visualize the action and actualize the vision. Consistently imagine the taste of success, and you will inevitably taste success.

“For example, one study had novice weightlifters imagine that they were performing a bicep curl exercise three times a week for eight weeks. The participants did notactually do any bicep curls or any other elbow flexion training during that time. However, they still gained strength in both the elbow flexors and extensors (44 and 32 percent increase in strength, respectively). A second study found that college athletes who performed visualization before strength training had more confidence and lifted more weight in a leg press exercise than they had done before without imagery. “ -Charles Poliquin

4. Move in the direction you want to go. Take action. Work towards your desires. If you want to get stronger, start lifting weights. If you want to become a better writer, read and write more. If you want to find your soul mate, be more open and do more things to meet people.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

5. Consistently apply steps 1-4. 

See my article “Use This Strategy To Accomplish Anything (Part 1)” for a reminder of how ridiculously effective consistency is.

6. Reap the benefits and continue on the wonderful journey of life. 

And, of course, stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

Much Love.

-Stevie P!

The Choice is Up to You

I got inspired after reading this post. Here’s the FGFG spin on it.

The choice is up to you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have the choice. You have the power. You have control.

You choose whether or not to get offended when someone cuts you off in traffic.

You choose whether or not to get angry when someone bumps into you.

You choose whether or not to wake up in a good mood.

You choose whether or not to be offended by what someone says.

You choose whether or not to let other people affect you.

You choose whether or not to watch tv or do something beneficial for yourself.

You choose whether or not to treat your body right.

You choose whether or not to eat foods you know are good/bad for you.

You choose whether or not to implement good/bad habits.

You choose whether to complain or not.

You choose to be grateful for what you have or whine about what you don’t have.

You choose to be a victim or take responsibility for your own life.

You choose what you think.

You choose your actions.

It is your choice to be positive or negative.

It is your choice to be happy or miserable.

You have the choice. You have the power. You have control. Stop being attached to stories you tell yourself. Be present. And discover how empowering life can be.

The choice is up to you.

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Happiness is THE Goal

Happiness is THE goal, and a continuous one at that.

Everything else is just a means to an end.

Why do you want a girlfriend/boyfriend? Because you think it will make you happy.

Why do you want a new car? Because you think it will make you happy.

Why do you go out and drink alcohol on Friday nights? Because you think it will make you happy. (Happy hour!)

Thinking this way is like chasing a nonexistent oasis. It is illusionary. You can buy that car, but the thirst will not be quenched. This leads to a vicious cycle that never addresses the root of happiness. No external thing (or person) can truly make you happy. It comes from within. And it is a choice.

You can choose to be happy right now.

Think about that. You determine your happiness. Empowering, right?

Everything else is a means to an end. Happiness is that end, and it is continuously produced from within.

The choice is up to you. Just do it.

And here’s a tea bag that I opened while writing this. Synchronicity at its finest.