Saturday, September 3, 2011

Secrets You Must Discover: Putting the secrets into practice

I finished reading John Izzo's Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die a few weeks ago when I posted about the fifth secret. The chapters following the fifth secret talked about putting the secrets into action.

The first concept to understand is that learning begins with awareness. The more we think about something and pay attention to it, the more likely it is that we will move towards that focus.

 Much of this book has reminded me of habits I should form, or thoughts I should remember.  But if I never read this book again, or remind myself of the concepts, I won't become like what I've read.

Dr. Izzo shares of a point in his life, at the age of 41, when he realized he had hundreds of acquaintances but no true friends. He wrote the word "Friends" on a card and began carrying it around with him. He'd look at the card between 10-20 times each day. After about two weeks, having the word "friends" in his awareness led to him grabbing a bite to eat with a coworker at the end of the day, even though he was tired and normally would have gone straight home.

By changing what your mind is focused on, your decisions and actions will change as well. It is my understading that affirmative statements will produce greater results than negative statements. Example: Focus on the statement: "Be friendly," instead of: "Don't be mean".

Although it may be appealing to write down the five secrets on a card, or a list of habits you'd like to form, it's best to focus on one at a time. Dr. Izzo carried around the "Friend" card for 18 months. If we try to work on too many things at once, we may become overwhelmed or not able to focus on all of them.

It would be best to start with one card, one small phrase, and carry it around with you for at least 2 months, looking at the card 10-20 times per day.

Perhaps you don't wear pants with pockets, and a card isn't the best way for you to change your mind's focus. I use my phone multiple times per day, so half a year ago I changed the background to a picture of the words "Be Mindful" that I had written on a post-it.

Now, because of a digestive disorder, my phone says "With every food choice you make, you are either investing in your wellness or you are subsidizing your illness." Every time I look at my phone, I'm reminded to fight my disorder and stay away from the foods my body has trouble digesting.

I plan to re-read some of my posts about this book, then create a list of possible phrases to write on cards (or on my phone's background). Then I'll pick one to start becoming more aware of.

Has anyone done something like this before? What was the phrase/goal? How long did you focus on it?
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take the risk

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take".

Now I never played basketball, but recent events exemplify this obviously true statement.

In the last two weeks, I was accepted to teach English in Spain. People could begin applying for this program in November 2010, until March 15, 2011. Due to stupidity and Spain's terrible websites, I started applying in December, then gave up because I couldn't figure out the application website. In March I heard of other friends who had applied, then at the last minute applied myself. I think I submitted it electronically the second week in March.

The program accepts applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis. If they are hiring 500 teachers, they will let in the first 500 qualified teachers. I was applicant number 4,111. I thought I had no chance of getting in because I applied so late. I was mad at myself for giving up in December. But something drove me to apply anyway in March. To pay to get fingerprinted twice. To hunt down a professor for a letter of recommendation. To write a personal statement. To get a physical and doctor's note of good health. All that jazz.

That small chance drove me. A chance at a year in Spain was too good to pass up.

And look what happened!

Sure, I accepted way later than everyone else who applied earlier, and am pressed for time to get a visa, but everything will work out.

Lesson learned: You will never get in a program/make the shot if you never apply/take the shot. Take the risk.
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