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How to Love the Rabbit Hole

I recently sat down to meditate and, in order to clear my head before I started, I decided to respond to one Facebook message so it would be off my mind and I could focus on my meditation. Two hours later...

I went down the rabbit hole.   Rabbit Hole

It's a common theme for me, rabbit holing. This time, for me, Facebook led to Pinterest which led to links of articles about Shonda Rhimes saying yes and the latest polls in Nevada, to a couple of fashion blogs and then offline to send a few unrelated texts, save some photos which sparked ideas for future stories, blogs, scenes, characters and ghostwriting projects. All of this in one adventure down my rabbit hole. So, not all bad. The problem is I can get so enamored with each of those it can keep me from the designated task at hand.

So, what is it, exactly, the rabbit hole? It was made famous through the brilliant mind of Lewis Caroll

"The little girl just could not sleep because her thoughts were way too deep, her mind had gone out for a stroll and fallen down the rabbit hole." ~ Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland

For Alice, she "fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time...to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next."

Ah, there's the hypnotic pull of the rabbit hole.

Once she landed with a "thump, thump, thump" the adventure had just begun. She turned corners and went down a "long, low hall" where she tried several locked doors. Then, she found a key which fit into a door behind a curtain. That led to a tiny passage way which led to garden, but she couldn't get to it because she was too tall. Then, ta dah, a bottle appeared that said "Drink Me," which Alice did and shrunk to ten inches tall, so she could enter the garden. By now, she "had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."

The rabbit hole often gets a bad rap, as a dark place with no end and no escape. One friend said that’s where she goes when she thinks about sad, depressing things. One said that’s where his downward spiral is and when he’s there he just keeps spinning. Another said, her rabbit hole is paved with sugar, with a chocolate cake at the end of it.

What’s in your rabbit hole? Where does your mind go on its stroll?

This got me thinking about what we can control in our environment and what controls us. Because, here’s the thing. It’s your rabbit hole. You can design, decorate and infuse it with whatever you want, with whatever is going to serve you in that moment. Actually it’s a good thing to have a dark place to go to when you need to explore your feelings, a place that feels safe and private. But, when it starts to feel rabbit holey, the good news is, since it’s your rabbit hole, you can turn on the light anytime you want. Who knows what you might discover in there with a little light on the subject?

So, I decided to turn on the light and take a good look around my rabbit hole. On the way down, not surprising, it’s covered with shiny objects, interesting pictures, all kinds of knobby things on which I can get caught, plus enticing doors that lead to who-knows-where in corridors I must peruse. The truth is, it is filled with wonder. Because, I choose it to be. I always seem to come out with nuggets and gems I didn’t have before my journey there.

One of the characteristics of rabbit holing is a lack of focus or sense of direction, time and space. So, this is where you start owning your own rabbit hole.

First, recognize that you are, in fact, in the rabbit hole. Secondly, don't judge yourself for being there. Self-judgment is the number one deterrent to self-acceptance. TweetThis [source: @cindyyantis]

Turn on the light. Look around and decide what it looks like. What color is it? Is there furniture? Fancy light fixtures? Art on the wall? Give it a bit of structure.

Is it worth sticking around for a bit to discover why you’re there? When you think about it, a rabbit has very specific reasons for digging his hole, rather than it just being a day in the park. He’s looking for safety or food or sleep time or a sense of home. What are you looking for?

Give yourself a time limit. Okay, 10 more minutes in this corridor and then it’s back to the task at hand.

Give yourself freedom within the parameters of your redecorated rabbit hole. That way you decide if you stay there or move onto to a different wonderland. Part of the freedom of designing your own rabbit hole is that it’s not about any destination or conclusion, but rather the fresh experience while you’re there and what you might take with you when you leave.

Honor your rabbit hole. Yours is like no other. And, your next one will be unlike the one before that. Enter it with a sense of wonder.

In fact, when you learn to love the rabbit hole, it really is no wonder when Lewis Caroll called it “Wonderland.” 

Tweet: "You can't always control your environment, but you can control your reaction to it." [source: @cindyyantis]

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com

 


Focus Pocus - Put Focus on Top of Your To-Do List

Fifteen phone messages need to be returned, 55 emails need to answered, the laser printer needs ink, a proposal needs to be written for a sales pitch, an annual report needs to be delivered in a half hour, your son called and forgot his baseball uniform, six employee evaluations sit on your desk - due yesterday, you have to reschedule a lunch meeting for twenty, oh and Hugh Jackman is on the Today Show...and it's only 9:15 a.m.

What do you do first? Does your list of tasks, obligations and deadlines leave you sitting paralyzed at your desk?

I recently re-read two books which continually have a profound impact on my life and career. It's hard to fathom that "Think & Grow Rich", by Napoleon Hill, was first written in 1937 because the principles still hold so true today. In fact, if you ask many of the top leaders currently, they'll tell you they built their formulas for success based on Napoleon Hill's brilliant insights and foresight. His book has become the Kleenex, if you will, or the generic brand, of platforms that teach us to focus on what we truly want in life as well as a clear blueprint to turn big thoughts into big reality.

The second book is "The Power of Focus", by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt, in which they layout a guideline for attaining clear focus on goals and creating new habits that lead to success. They say, "success isn't magic or hocus-pocus, it's simply learning how to focus."

A key attribute for being a strong Leader is to be a Multi-Tasker. An effective multi-tasker can have several projects going on at once, but to be truly effective, one must use what I call "Focal Point Clarity," which means peeling back the clutter around the current task so that it becomes your singular focus of the moment.

A great illustration of Focal Point Clarity was in the film, THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE. Matt Damon played a golfer who had the ability to focus so clearly on the ball going into the cup that literally everything disappeared from his mind's eye except the ball, his club, the flag and the hole. There were no trees, no screaming crowd, no judge and jury, no wind, no mind clutter. Just his focal point - putting the ball in the cup. It's worth watching the YouTube clip if you can find 6 minutes.

Napoleon Hill said, "Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it." The same principle can be used for a task on your growing list of to-do's. Here are some tips to help you focus and get to Focal Point Clarity.

  • Stop to prioritize - list by due date and how long you think it will take to finish. You may Focus To Do Listhave to do this 2-3 times a day.
  • Schedule the time by project into your Outlook or calendar program.
  • Clear everything else off your desk except for your task at hand - this is immensely helpful for peeling back the clutter, allowing your Focal Point Clarity to take shape.
  • Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses - when you peel back the layers of the job in front of you, zero in on what makes you brilliant at doing what you do. Let that lead you. It brings some joy into the moment and before you know it, it's complete.
  • Keep a running list - when something pops into your head put it on a pop-up list; to be prioritized later.
  • Handle email/mail only once - shuffling it around makes your lose your focus. Add it to your calendar if you need to and let people know you'll be responding to email twice a day. That will help you stick to the schedule without being concerned about "ignoring" someone's email.
  • Set boundaries - set your own rules for interruption - hold your calls for a time, close your door, let people know when you're available.
  • Walk away - what does this have to do with focus? Taking a break allows your conscious mind to breathe while your subconscious mind continues to work. As Napoleon Hill said, "The subconscious mind works day and night."

And, some other good tips to help you focus in general:

  • 3 squares & 8 hours - get a good 7-8 hours of sleep followed by 3 meals filled with healthy brain food - proteins, anti-oxidants, grains, vegetables - during the day, particularly breakfast which revs your focus engine.
  • Exercise - a steady flow of oxygen in the brain helps us focus, so get moving on a regular basis.
  • Take vitamins - B Complex, A, C and E vitamins help keep the brain sharp.

The reason I picked up my well-worn copies of these books is because I can sometimes fall victim to the fast moving train of ideas, obligations and deadlines that flow by all day long! In fact, I like the train analogy because it describes how my brain starts my day.

I'm standing on the train platform, sipping my first cup of java, gazing at the myriad of trains leaving the station for that day, with my mind's voice yelling out the various ports of call, "All aboard! Platform 1 leaving for Writer's Paradise; platform 2 leaving for Client Project Cove; platform 3 leaving for Fabulous Brand New Idea Island; platform 4 leaving for Hugh Ja... you get the idea.

Then, I look down at the note next to my computer which says FOCAL POINT CLARITY, and I look at my PRIORITIZED to-do list that I made before I left work the night before. I board the selected train and begin my day's journey.

As a primarily right-brainer, I've learned that I must put Focus on the top on my daily to-do list, every day, day after day. After day.

 

If you enjoyed this Thought Changer, please forward or click the SM icons or little green ShareThis button below this post and thank you for sharing!

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com

 

 


Here's How to Get to the Heart of the Matter

The word today is efficiency. It’s not the first time I’ve chosen this word from the grab bag of words I use sometimes to prompt my writing. In fact last time it sparked this: 5 Ways to Be Efficiently Creative.

But, this time I wanted to put it back and draw another card. I wanted to pull something different, a bigger, sexier, juicier word, a word that would really get my engine going, a word I could really get behind and be jazzed about.

Instead, efficiency. Okay, there must be a reason this word jumped out at me. The first things that popped into my head were “corporate” and “color within the lines” and “beige.” All three concepts I have a tendency to run from energetically. Yet, I know there’s something important here to discover, another way of looking at efficiency, a thought changing notion begging to be brought forth. In that moment it was as if efficiency, the word itself, was perhaps aspiring to be more, to define a deeper truth.


Will-o-heartjpg
So, digging a little further, how is "being efficient" personified? Well, to me it describes someone who uses her time well. Someone who uses economy in getting things accomplished, in other words, one who trims the fat off in order to really focus on the heart of the matter.

Ah, the heart of the matter. That’s it. Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re talking about efficiency on a grander, more macro scale. Life efficiency: meaning a life that’s focused cleanly and clearly on what matters, what’s important to the heart.

 

So, consider this:

To be efficient in getting to the heart of the matter in life, know what matters to the heart. [Tweet This: @cindyyantis]

Then once you're clear on that, trim the fat, only keeping what matters to and will serve the highest good of the heart, you, your life and the way you're meant to live it.

What are heart matters? Here are four questions to probe:

  1. What are the projects in your world that feel right, for all the right reasons, for you? Career choices that excite you, that propel towards a feeling of purpose?
  2. What causes speak to your heart in a way that feels transformative, for others and for yourself?
  3. Where do you love to spend your time and with whom?
  4. Who are the people in your life who fill you up and in whose presence you feel empowered, who bring out the best in you and who support you? And, conversely, who are those who don’t (you know who they are)?

Once you have some answers to these simple, yet deep inquiries, getting to the heart of the matter means clearing all away the superfluous, ineffective, disconnected, judgmental and incongruent distractions, in order to clear the pathway for what matters most to your heart.

Living efficiently in this way, what will happen, at least to my way of thinking, is that more of us will lead, live, work, love and communicate from and through the heart.

Nothing beige about that!

What are your matters of the heart?

Related articles

5 Ways to Be Efficiently Creative
Stop Being So Nice: Just Be Real
In Alignment - A Life Philosophy

What You Believe Creates Your Reality

What do you believe in? 

It's funny sometimes what gets you thinking about the deep questions. This time, for me, it was Crash Davis. His "I believe in... kisses that last three days..." speech in BULL DURHAM, got me thinking about how I'd answer Annie Savoy's question,"What do you believe in then?"

That led to a stream of consciousness. Then, it got me thinking about what's underneath my belief statements. Our beliefs are those simple truths that we know, without having to provide evidence. They can be guidelines to live by or simply thoughts that we feel in our gut are right. Underneath those beliefs are deeper values that provide life's standards. And, our beliefs and values are what create our reality. 

So, here are a few of my beliefs. It's quite exhilarating to put them in writing.  Do you resonate with any of them? Please add some of your own in the comment!

I believe everything’s possible even when it seems improbable.

I believe in paying it forward.

I believe in giving others a hand up.

I believe in God.

I believe in angels. I believe the power of angels is so great they can move mountains with a whisper.

I believe in a true love that lasts forever.

I believe in real friendship where you have bad days and your true friends stick by you.

I believe in the ticking clock. I wish I didn’t but time goes too fast.

I believe we make and break our own opportunities.

I also believe we don’t do it alone.

I believe in fairies.

I believe in other realms and that we can learn from them if we pay attention.

I believe a good story can heal, inspire and call to action.

I believe at the end of the day, everyone just wants to be considered, loved, heard and respected.

I believe in progress, not perfection.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Progress, Not Perfection 

I believe meditation expands time and extends life.

I believe I’m at my best in quietude. I’m at my second best surrounded by people I love. A close third is What you believe inwhen I'm on a deadline.

I believe women who are so hard on other women are simply afraid of their own power.

I believe the most powerful people are kind, generous, well-intentioned and have a healthy self-worth.

I believe your soul mate is a direct reflection of your own self love.

I believe animals are pure love.

I believe men rock.

I believe in purging “stuff” at least twice a year.

I believe infinity is defined by giving and receiving in equal measure.

And, I agree with Crash about the kiss that lasts three days...

How about you? Give it a try.

What do you believe in?

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com