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Issue 73

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In this issue ~~

* Seeing New Possibility

* Action Challenge

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf

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Seeing New Possibility

From time to time, I work with a coaching client who's very trapped in their current reality. They've lost touch with their dreams and see very little possibility for the future. Responsibilities and obligations and financial constraints have closed down their world, till they feel they have very little room to maneuver.

As we go through life, our experiences color our outlook on the world and our own lives. We begin to see life through filters. When we've had good experiences, we have filters that tell us to expect more good. When we've been thwarted or discouraged, our filters tell us to expect more of that. We get stuck in our past experiences, feelings, beliefs and attitudes, and we begin limiting our possibilities.

When the "realities" of life close in on us, it's easy to forget what was once important to us. Our dreams seem impossible, so we push them out of our consciousness. We also absorb tons of negative input from the outside world. We turn on the TV or radio, read newspapers or magazines, or surf the Internet and learn that the stock market is in bad shape, that the economy is in recession, that jobs are scarce. Because it's in the media, we believe it's true. We buy into statistics and gather even more evidence that our dreams are impossible.

Advances in quantum physics have shown us that while our experiences create our beliefs, our beliefs also shape our experiences. When we expect a certain outcome, our expectation impacts what happens. On a more concrete level, our thoughts and beliefs will determine which actions we take. When certain thought patterns or actions occur repeatedly, they create neuronal pathways in our brain, in the way that carriage wheels created ruts in a dirt road. These pathways become the paths of least resistance down which our thoughts, and consequently our actions, habitually flow.

With some effort and commitment, we can change our habitual thoughts and behaviors and create new pathways that reopen the doors to new possibility.

~ Look at your beliefs. Do you hold a belief that nothing ever works out for you? That an old dog can't learn new tricks? Can you see how these beliefs are limiting new possibility? Create affirmations that reverse these beliefs, and post them in places where you'll see them often.

~ Challenge your usual expectations, and be willing for them to be proven wrong. Allow different results to emerge. A favorite spiritual teacher of mine defines "humility" as knowing that whatever happened before, good or bad, it can always be different.

~ Notice 3 new things every day. For example, on the way to work, instead of going on autopilot, actively look around and become aware of things you don't normally notice.

~ Do things in different ways, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Change your daily routine, take a different route to the supermarket or do things with your non-dominant hand.

~ Try something new. Take that class you've thought about for years. Meet new people. Challenge yourself to do that thing that's intrigued and scared you.

~ Ask others how they see you. We often hold over outdated beliefs about ourselves from earlier in our lives. Despite our achievements, that voice that says we're not good enough may continue to run through our thoughts, so that we still feel a lack of confidence or self-esteem. People outside ourselves, who aren't privy to our critical inner voice, can sometimes see our growth and new strengths better than we can.

~ Do something where the outcome is unpredictable. Try a new job or career. Ask someone out on a date. Try an art form or a sport you've never tried before. Give yourself permission to not be great at it.

Our brain receives billions of bits of stimuli every day. We couldn't possibly consciously process it all, so our filters select where our attention goes. Have you noticed that when you wake up to something, you begin to see it everywhere? It's like the pregnant woman who suddenly notices all the pregnant women around her.

By changing our filters and our expectations, we open ourselves to new possibilities. We begin to see things that may have been right in front of us before, but we hadn't noticed. By reinforcing new belief systems and attitudes with new actions and habits, we can create new neuronal pathways and make those our paths of least resistance. By doing this, I've seen many of my formerly stuck clients tap into old dreams that got buried or new possibilities they hadn't allowed themselves to think of before.

Whatever the "facts" of your world are telling you, change is always possible. It's your birthright to pursue your dreams, and people are achieving their dreams every day, no matter what the conditions in the world. For Americans, "the pursuit of happiness" is even written into our Declaration of Independence. Hold the vision for what's possible, and don't let anyone talk you out of it.

We live in an incredible world filled with infinite possibilities. Why not claim your share!


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Action Challenge

Pick an area where you've felt stuck. How can you approach it differently? Brainstorm ideas with a friend. Challenge yourself to try some of your ideas. Let it be fun!

 


Wise Words

"Think 'impossible' and dreams get discarded, projects get abandoned, and hope for wellness is torpedoed. But let someone yell the words 'It's possible,' and resources we hadn't been aware of come rushing in to assist us in our quest. I believe we are all potentially brilliant and creative – but only if we believe it, only if we have an attitude of positive expectancy toward our ideas, and only if we act on them."

~ Greg Anderson, The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness

"Begin each day with the premise that anything's possible."

~ Paul & Sarah Edwards, The Practical Dreamer's Handbook

"Our thoughts are not merely reactions to events; they change what ensues."

~ Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

"Spend enough time around success and failure, and you learn a reverence for possibility."

~ Dale Dauten

"I dwell in possibility."

~ Emily Dickinson

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Bookshelf

(click on the book or CD graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life . . . Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin

The Art of the Possible . . . Alexandra Stoddard

Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams . . . Mike Dooley (audio CD)

Creating Affluence: Wealth Consciousness in the Field of All Possibilities . . . Deepak Chopra

Making Hope Happen: A Workbook for Turning Possibilities into Reality . . . by Diane McDermott, PhD and C. R. Snyder, PhD

Own Your Greatness: A Guide to Creating a Life with Boundless Possibilities . . . Nora Lapitan

New Beginnings: A Notebook of Infinite Possibilities With Quotes and Space for Insights (Parchment Journals) . . . by Running Press

Gifts for the Soul: A Guided Journey of Discovery, Transformation and Infinite Possibilities . . . Dawn E. Clark

 

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© 2005 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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