≡ Menu

In my last article, I mentioned that Pete Carroll, coach of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks uses mindfulness with his team. It’s a modern revolution in human potential that’s 2500 years old.

Cover_Dec2014_500pxThough Carroll doesn’t have his players practice meditation specifically, he does use the principals of mindfulness, of really practicing being fully in the current moment, so they can access their greatness even under the highest stress. One example in the article recounts how during a practice, fans are making tremendous noise and a task force of Marines flies in by helicopter, drops into the lake near by the field, and stages an attack on the training camp.

What we learn from this is that mindfulness is NOT finding yet another escape to get some peace. It’s about CREATING inner peace that persists even in the toughest situations. It’s presence for real life, not just for monks or people that “can’t take it.” I’ve found personally that my mindfulness training allows me to be the eye of the storm. It’s crucial to leadership!

As they say in the article, the “control-freak” coaches just don’t get this kind of training. It scares many old world business leaders that rely on their people staying in fear so they are more controllable. But, we don’t want sheep. We want Peaceful Warriors. Notice if the control-freak in your mind is intimidated by letting your inner spirit start to run the show.

Many people asked me for a follow-up so they could read more about coach Carroll and how he’s transforming football. Click the photo of the magazine cover to learn more about “mindful” magazine’s December 2014 issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they have the article online. You’ll need to find the issue at a bookstore or order it.

{ 1 comment }

Anderson Cooper did an investigative segment on “Mindfulness” this last Sunday on 60 Minutes. If you haven’t heard of “mindfulness”, you will soon. Read more to be in the know so you don’t get caught at a party, or at your job, with a silly look on your face saying, “What’s that?”

As Cooper says in the opening, mindfulness helps us get around the stresses of daily life. It means, “being aware of your thoughts, physical sensations, and surroundings”, as he puts it. This may sound trivial until you look carefully to the sentence. Most people are completely unaware of their thoughts, their true present-moment sensations (not just pains or emotions), and what is really happening in the present moment.

Cooper was very skeptical going in. He had a profound experience and said it has changed his life.

13-minute 60 Minutes video (watch in browser):

To put it simply, your mind and body are in this present moment, rather than lost somewhere else in distraction. The most common distraction being the incessant running commentary of thinking or problem solving. Why is that important? You can only ACT in the present moment. You cannot act in the story in the head, being lost in the past, future, or projections of the mind. That’s like trying to take action in a dream. Indeed, many people are stuck in their own dream rather than participating in this moment.

There are also three additional short video segments on the CBS site to view: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes/

There are literally thousands of forms of meditation. What gives mindfulness the edge is that it’s been scientifically proven in countless studies over 40 years to eliminate depression, anxiety, and stress. Even medications typically just mask symptoms, create side effects, but still don’t eliminate the problem. Mindfulness is being taught at Google and other cutting-edge profitable corporations as well as taught in hospitals to cancer patients.

Mindfulness is something we can see at the highest levels of peak performance as well. Watch the Seattle Seahawks play football and you notice they’re a different kind of team. Pete Carroll, the head coach, has created a training system that has the players be mindful in the chaos of a big game.

If it works for all these people, maybe it will work for you to create a little more peace in your busy day? You are worth trying it out for yourself!

{ 0 comments }

Caveman with ClubIn my last post, I explored how our brains have evolved to have a Negativity Bias. The more afraid cave person, literally hiding in the cave, may have had many more offspring survive than the brave pre-historic humans.

We can see the bias toward fear and cave-safety today. One of my favorite futurists, Faith Popcorn, coined the term “Cocooning” in the 1990s to describe her observation that Americans were trending toward hiding in there homes because the world seemed increasingly dangerous. This observation helped launch the Internet boom because she predicted that people needed online shopping and delivery because of this fear-based trend. We can see this back into the 1950s, after WWII, with the “nuclear family” which was a model of keeping a small family unit of two parents and the children, in their cave house (i.e. bunker), protected from the world. The idea that our parents could be harmful to our survival was also taking hold. Could it be that this cave person fear bias is encouraging the single parent home? It may be that the inner cave-mind is seeing relationships and other humans as dangerous to survival.

BUT, there’s hope! I’m VERY optimistic about Human Potential and our ability to learn and grow! Our minds CAN change and it only takes one person to begin to change their local culture. That’s what my clients do.

Here’s a short video by one of my favorite relationship teachers, Alison Armstrong, using inner cave-person awareness to describe what may be happening when there’s upset in a relationship:


Alison Armstrong - relationship expert

Of course, YOU’VE never had upset in one of your relationships, have you?

Since we’re all now highly evolved humans, we may think we’re evolved past the cave person. Our “evolved” emotions tell us it’s: 100% the other person’s fault, we’re right, they’re wrong, and it has nothing to do with being a fearful cave person. (Insert HUGE laughter here!)

I know YOU never think that, but maybe you know of someone who has? Just because we’re a bit more bald now, wear hair products, and have smart phones, maybe we haven’t completely dropped millions of years of adaptation for survival?

Next time you feel the slightest upset arising in a relationship, arising within you, STOP, take a deep breath, and remember this cave person video. Notice if the Negativity Bias of the mind is trying to get you to believe your survival is threatened. Instead, have the compassion to notice if you two are just caught in the cave dance to the music of mutual cave fear. Are you nit picking the other person, which says to them, “I don’t trust you to protect me.” Are you giving them a disapproving look that says, “I’m not going to protect you any more.” Check out if that’s the the Negativity Biased cave person speaking in your mind.

As Alison would say, connect with your Human Spirit instead. Notice whatever that means to you. Maybe it has you do something nice for them FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON. Maybe you just drop whatever the fear thought is, the need to be “right” and safe, and just give them a hug to show you care for them. Notice what higher value than “survival” you’re committed to, like compassion, love, contribution, growth, etc. Surprise yourself!

Do share with us, in the comments, any moments you’ve noticed the inner cave person and what you do to reach for your higher values and Higher Self. Let’s help each other overcome the inner cave person!

{ 0 comments }

Why is it that humans tend to be so afraid of new things and change? We can even ask, why are we simply afraid of bad things happening and remember the bad more than the good?

Writers are often inspired, especially in film, by recent psychological research studies. The animated movie The Croods (2013) is one  example where art imitates life and a writer explores a shared human experience: FEAR.

In the movie, a family of cave people are lead by a father continually teaching that everything is dangerous and “fear is survival”. The hero, of course, is the one who rebels against this teaching. A hero in that she is more like how many of us would like to be. Watch this fun trailer to learn more about your biological drive to avoid any chance of pain.


The Croods (2013) trailer

The creation story of some religions has taught us that we are the offspring related to a murderous person (Cain) and that man’s struggles with good and evil are what drive us. A more recent theory in psychology, “Negativity Bias” is suggesting that our evolution, our biological drive to survive, may mean we are the offspring of the most afraid humans, like the father of The Croods. In 2001, researchers at University of Pennsylvania &  Case Western Reserve University independently found that the participants tended to make painful memories more important and pleasurable memories much smaller in comparison. This BIAS towards holding on to pain, to avoid it in the future, may trace back to our genetic past.

When we think of Natural Selection, the offspring that has the most potential for survival tends to be able to reproduce the most. Just as a white bear could hunt better when snow came to that part of the earth, and brown bears were seen too easily to hunt, the humans that hid out in caves, that avoided anything that could hurt survival, may have been the ones that survived the most. The brave humans would tend to take too many risks and die, not being able to produce offspring or stay around to protect them.

What do we DO with this? Well, often awareness is curative! Just having awareness, mindfulness, when your mind focuses on the pain of the past or is afraid of taking action, think of “Grug”, the father of the Croods. Notice if you’re trusting your cave mind OR the true present moment. When you feel that tiny bit of fear, imagine yourself as Grug’s grandchild, even more afraid than him, with a protruding brow and a 10,000 year old brain.

Grug – our great, great, grandfather

 

Rather than abusing that part of yourself, trying to shame it or beat it up, just have compassion for it, as in mindfulness meditation. Give your inner cave person a hug and thank it for trying to protect you from saber tooth tigers, woolly mammoths, and solar eclipses thousands of years ago. Notice that mind will take one argument you have with your spouse and make it huge compared to all those times you shared love. It will take one unexpected bill and generate fear like a lion is coming to eat you. Remember that the inner cave person will try to tell you, “YOU’RE IN DANGER” and even make up danger at the slightest thing that doesn’t match what you expect.

Courage is knowing what to be afraid of.” ~ Socrates

As the hero in the movie does, listen more to your evolved brain of curiosity. Fear is very subtle. Maybe you like jumping out of airplanes but you feel terrible at the thought your mate could leave you. I’ve walked across hot coals many times and think that’s fun, but the sound of a buzzing bee still reminds my inner cave boy of the time when I was 5 that I stumbled on a bee hive and got multiple stings. Just having the few seconds to feel the fear, notice the inner cave person making everything into non-survival, and get a little curious about what you can LEARN from the current situation.

Got examples of your inner cave person fears and what you’ve done to change them? Please do share in the comments!

{ 2 comments }

Launching my new Clarity.Zone domain!

Well it’s time for a new brand! I’ll be testing out a new domain: www.Clarity.Zone

Yes, you’re reading it correctly. The 21st Century is moving beyond the limited Internet of .com & .net. Just type Clarity.Zone into your browser.

History:

Way back in 2002, I had the name “Inherent Excellence” pop into my consciousness. It was inspired by my deep personal transformation and the realization that much of our experience of life if CAUSED by our inner world. Happiness and success are an inside job rather than the outside-in marketing we’re fed on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I soon realized that American’s are losing their ability to spell in the 21st Century. Chalk it up to… shrt txt msgs OMG LOL!

Why “Clarity Zone”?

I hear so often that people want more “clarity”. Often, I’m told by clients and friends that our short talk had them gain a lot of “clarity” about:

  • what’s really been holding them back for so long
  • their next important decision
  • what’s really important to them and how simple it’s going to be to create it

So, here’s to the start of something grand! I’m looking forward to your feedback on this new metaphor of the Clarity Zone. Tell me what that means to you.

{ 0 comments }